July 12, 2009
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
When I made a serious commitment of my life to the Lord many years ago, there was deposited in me an almost insatiable hunger for the Word of God. Thankfully, that hunger remains to this day. As a new believer, as is the case with many, I was especially drawn to the prophetic Word. There is something in the hearts of those young in the Lord that desires to know where everything is heading. We know where we have been; we want to know where we are going. How will the ages old plan of God come to fruition? This is what inquiring minds want to know.
For the Child of God, for the member of the Body of Christ; we know where we are heading. Our master promised us, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [John 14:3 KJV] These are covenant words. They are taken directly from the Jewish tradition of betrothal between a young Jewish male and his intended bride. After the presentation of the Katubah, or wedding contract; the covenant meal was received, and upon departing the young man would turn to his beloved and utter these exact words spoken by our Messiah as recorded in John 14.
Since the Bible is progressive revelation, we really don’t have any details as to how the Lord will come again to receive us in the gospel records. That is not revealed really until we get to the writings of the Apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 15 we get a hint as to how His Coming Again will come to pass. However, it is not until we get to Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians that specific details are spelled out. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18 is what I would refer to as the premiere catching away passage. I would encourage the reader to take some time and re-read that passage of scripture. It reveals the next event on God’s prophetic calendar, and it is the believer’s blessed hope and destiny.
There is much debate surrounding the timing and order of prophetic events. This is particularly the case with the catching away, or the rapture. I will not take the time here to lay out a case for any position as to the timing of the catching away of the Church. I know this is an in house debate among honest and sincere brethren. One thing all Christians believe however is that Yeshuah Ha Meshiach, Heso Christos, Jesus the Christ, is coming again! That is settled. Every one of us will see Him as He is, for we will be like Him. [See 1 John 3:2] We will all stand before Him to give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad. [See 2 Cor. 5:10]
The thing I wanted to get to in this particular edition of THE WEEKLY WORD is to introduce you to a concept concerning the catching away, or rapture, that you may have never seen before.
Many years ago when I began to study the Bible in-depth, I was providentially introduced to the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. I recommend this particular study Bible to any serious student of God’s Word. For more information, check out www.dake.com. At any rate, it was through the Dake Bible notes that I found out that there are actually five catching aways or raptures associated with what is known in scripture as the first resurrection. [See Rev. 20:5, 6] This is actually a prophetic time period that covers from the time resurrected saints of old rose from the dead and went to Heaven at the time of Christ’s resurrection, until the tribulation saints who have been beheaded for their testimony for Christ are raised to live and reign with Christ a thousand years at the end of the tribulation period. According to Rev. 20:5, 6 this will complete the first resurrection.
Let’s lay this out with corresponding scripture references.
- THE GOING TO HEAVEN OF CHRIST AND THE SAINTS THAT WERE RESURRECTED AFTER HIS RESURRECTION:
Perhaps you have never heard of such a thing. However, the Bible does portray this event. [See Matt. 27:52, Eph. 4:7 – 11, Acts 1:11]
- THE RAPTURE OF THOSE THAT ARE “CHRIST’S AT HIS COMING”:
[See 1 Cor. 15:23, 1 Thess. 4:13 – 16] I plan on going with the “first load.” How about you?
- THE CATCHING AWAY OF THE 144,000 JEWS IN THE MIDDLE OF DANIEL’S 70th WEEK:
This would be at the mid-point of the tribulation period. It would be after the first 3 ½ years. Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy refers to seventy weeks of years. [See Rev. 12:5, 14:1 – 5, Daniel 12:1, Isa. 66:7, 8]
- THE RAPTURE OF THE TRIBULATION SAINTS:
This resurrection and rapture is for those who have come to faith after the resurrection of the just. These saints have endured at least a portion of the tribulation. [See Rev. 7:9 – 17, 15:2 – 4, 20:4 – 6]
- THE RAPTURE OF THE TWO WITNESSES:
The identity of these two witnesses is unknown. Some have suggested that they could be Enoch and Elijah, since they never tasted physical death. While there identities are not known, we do learn the characteristics of their ministry. [See Rev. 11:3 – 29]
There are two main resurrections with a thousand years between them. There are five different catching aways, or raptures associated with the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the just. I would encourage you to look at the references I have listed. Study them for yourself. The study of the Word is the most thrilling and rewarding endeavor you can engage in, in these Last Days.
The Weekly Word is found in Revelation 20:6. Here the Bible says,
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. [Rev. 20:6 KJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson