I was listening to Tommy Ice on pre-Tribulation rapture on a youtube video last week. It was a long video, over an hour, and I only had time to listen to about ten minutes. I figured I’d get back to it.
But I lost it in the flow of the dozens of music videos I subsequently watched while on vacation. Viva vacation.
All this to say I’m sorry I can’t post a link to the video, but here is the part that interested me.
We Christians know about the rapture. We understand that at the moment the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (the full number, Romans 11:25), the rapture will occur and Jesus will descend from heaven. We will vanish from the earth in a moment, a twinkling of an eye. The dead will be no means be left behind, they will also be raised and we’ll all meet in the air. Jesus will lead us to heaven. Then, the final 7 years remaining to complete the Old Testament decree regarding the Jews will resume on earth. It will be a time of Godly wrath, unleashed full force.
It’s fascinating to think about going on our daily business, driving, washing, feeding the dog, and suddenly we will hear the trumpet of God, and the next moment we’ll be airborne! The next moment we’ll be in heaven, where no eye has seen nor any ear has heard the things prepared for us!! It is a singular, unique, momentous event!
However as I listened Dr Ice put something together in my mind. There have been several raptures already.
|James Tissot, ~1900|
Father of the longest lived man on earth, Methuselah. Enoch was the 7th from Adam. He was a prophet. (Jude 1:14). He lived 365 years, then God took him home. He was the only one in a long line of the genealogical record to not have died. “And then he died…And then he died…And then he was not, for God took him.” Raptured.
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)
Prophet, servant of God. Slew all the false prophets of Baal by the sword. (1 Kings 18). Mentored Elisha. Raptured.
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11). Raptured.
Paul wrote about “a man” who was caught up to the third heaven. Most scholarly consensus is that Paul is speaking of himself. Note that Paul says “caught up” in some translations it’s “snatched up”. In the Greek it’s the word harpazo. This means snatched up. It is the same word that describes the bride’s snatching up, or of being caught up.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. (2 Corinthians 12:2)
Isaiah- This one is more speculative, but in Isaiah 6:1 Isaiah wrote that he saw the throne room. Whether in the body or not…we can’t be sure. He described the altar, the train of the Lord, the pillars,the seraphim crying HOLY HOLY HOLY. However after Isaiah exclaimed he was undone, he was a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips, the seraphim took a coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips. If Isaiah was not in the body then this is metaphorical, however the word for mouth in Hebrew is mouth, the word used here. My personal opinion is that Isaiah was bodily caught up to heaven as Paul was.
In Revelation 11 we are told that there will be Two Witnesses sent by God to preach to the entire world. This will be during the Tribulation
But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:11-12).
Many people think, and I include myself, that the Two Witnesses are Enoch and Elijah. Since it is appointed for man to die once then the judgment, and they never did, that this means the Two Witnesses are those two men and their death will occur during the Tribulation. Anyway, The Two Witnesses will be raptured.
I wrote about his remarkable instant journey from point A to point B in Gaza: here. I have always been fascinated by the practical moments. After Philip was finished baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch, he was snatched up and set down 20miles away. He wasn’t raptured to heaven but to two places on earth, but still, the notion of being bodily taken up by the scruff of the neck like a kitten and plunked down some there else with no warning is amazing. In the sense of a harpazo, a catching away, Philip’s experience fills the bill. His snatching up is the same word used on the Bride’s rapture: harpazo.
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40).
We’ve talked about various raptures in the past. They’ve all been one man or at most two. The most startling and eagerly anticipated event of all is no doubt
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
This will occur at an unknown time in the future, and it will happen to a large number of dead and alive believers.
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.(1 Corinthians 15:52-53).
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,d that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
While being raptured is not a usual nor a frequent event, neither is it made-up as some like to claim. As we can see in the bible, it has happened before and will happen again. It isn’t far-fetched and it isn’t an “escape.” A catching up or a snatching away of persons or groups of people is an event that God uses in His plan to accomplish the things He wants to accomplish. Simple as that.
How wonderful He is so sovereign He is able to put us where He wants and to take us up when He wants. How majestic are His ways. What a blessed hope our rapture is.
Come soon Lord Jesus!