Why is the Rapture necessary? Why is it so important? What happens? We break it down, frame-by-frame in slow-mo for the listener, straight from Scripture.
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Todd: Hey, welcome to the Prophecy Pros Podcast. This is Jeff Kinley and Todd Hampson and we’re going to get into the nitty gritty frame by frame play of the rapture.
Jeff: Todd, one of the things that I really appreciate about you, you’re, you’re just this multi-talented versatile kind of guy and you’re a professional animator and I know you’ve got a lot of background in that, but most of us who are not familiar with animation, how it works, don’t understand that the finished product looks one way, but there’s a lot that goes into that. You kind of break it down frame by frame. I mean are there many things that are happening behind the scenes in an animation?
Todd: Yeah, absolutely. I mean that’s a great analogy. With animation there’s typically 24 frames a second and yeah, if you slow it down, you can see a lot that you don’t see when it’s going by really fast. There’s a particular thing called a zip move where a character is in one frame and then the frame right next to it, he’s kind of blurred and stretched, then frame three, he’s in a different frame, but when you look at it really fast, it just looks like one continuous move.
Todd: So there’s little tricks of the trade like that. We were talking about that because a lot of people when they hear about the rapture and that’s what we’re talking about today and breaking down the details of the rapture, they just think of it. “Okay, it’s a rapture. You get snatched out of here.” Well there’s a lot of little mini frames so to speak that happen within that. Today we’re going to look at the primary texts for the rapture and we’re also going to look at other places where [foreign language 00:01:27] is used and how it’s always referred to a snatching out, like most a violent snatch you out of here in a blink of an eye kind of thing. We’re going to talk about that. But I thought I’d start with the primary text is 1st Thessalonians 4:16 through 17.
Jeff: Let’s dive right in.
Todd: Rather than just read the whole thing, I’m going to stop and pause on frames and talk about what’s going on here so that people can notice that there’s several mini events within this one big mega event that are going on.
Todd: So reading that, at first it says the Lord himself, and let me pause right there. This is Jesus Christ himself. He’s not sending somebody else. He’s not sending a proxy. It’s him himself is coming down. “So the Lord himself will come down from heaven.” So he leaves heaven’s throne room. Once again, just like with the first coming, when he zipped on some skin and became a man, he’s stepping out of heaven into our realm. That’s a significant thing.
Todd: And it says, “With a loud command, with the voice of an Archangel and with the trumpet call of God.” So those are three additional things. There’s going to be a loud command. Who knows? Maybe it’s like when he told Lazarus to come out of the grave, because the moment of the rapture is also the resurrection. So maybe he’s going to say, “Todd and Jeff, come forth.” With the voice of an Archangel. We don’t know which Archangel that is. Maybe it’s Michael, the War Angel, Archangel and this is really a special ops snatch and grab. The world is known as… Satan’s called the Prince of the Power of the Air. So this is his territory. So Jesus is stepping into enemy territory and snatching out his people.
Todd: It says, “With the voice of an Archangel and the trumpet call of God.” Again, we know that at the sound of the last trump, we will talk about that as we go on, but there’s actually, will we hear an actual heavenly trumpet? I believe so. Will everyone hear it? Will nonbelievers hear it or just believers? I’m not sure there’s debates on that. But these are again mini frames that we need to break down and think about because they’re really, really fascinating.
Todd: Then finally it says, “And the dead in Christ will rise first.” All right, there’s the resurrection. So I don’t know if it’s because they’re six feet deeper than we are. Then they get to go first or that they had to experience death, but that’s the promised resurrection. That’s part of our salvation is our bodily resurrection. The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up and that’s that [foreign language 00:03:56] word, it means a snatching away. A sudden fast snatching away.
Todd: “We’ll be caught up together with them in the clouds.” So there’s another frame, we’re going to be reunited with believers that have gone before us. Is this kind of a thing where time stands still for a couple minutes and we get to see people? Or is it just all so sudden and then we realize we’re there with believers that have gone before us, once we’re all there? I don’t know. These are some of the mysteries about bout this piece of word of God. “We’re caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” That’s an important detail because at the end of the tribulation, Jesus’ feet touch the earth. There’s actually touched down where he makes contact with the earth. It’s very important to note that this is not that moment, that we’re meeting him in the middle of the air, midway between heaven and earth so to speak.
Todd: “So we will be with the Lord forever.” I love it because, and I think you mentioned this in the last podcast, that 1st Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 lines up perfectly with Jesus’s words in John 14:3, where he says, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me.” Another version says, “I’ll receive you to myself.” So again, he’s not coming all the way down to earth. So it’s clearly a different event than his actual second coming where he touches earth that you also will be where I am. So those two passages line up perfectly.
Jeff: Before we get to the last verse in that passage, I want to back up just for a second and maybe slow it down even more a little bit. To ask you a couple of questions about that. You talked about Jesus descending with a command. My translation says, “A shout.” If we know anything about a shout, we know that a shout is by definition loud, right?
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: So know that whatever Christ says is going to be loud. Obviously it’s going to be heard by every believer across the entire planet.
Todd: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeff: That means it’s going to be a supernatural command. Obviously it’s going to be authoritarian because something’s going to happen to us based upon the words that come out of his mouth. So there’s going to be a call, a summons, if you will. I think that’s part of the trumpet thing. We’ll get to that in just a second. But I think it, like you said earlier Todd, it’s really the summons of a bridegroom to his bride, calling the bride to the wedding, which fits in so perfectly with that John 14 passage about Jesus going away as our betrothed and we are his beloved.
Jeff: When he comes back and he calls us to be with himself and later on in this passage it says, “Thus we shall be with the Lord in the air and with one another.” The whole idea of being with Christ is a theme that really runs throughout the New Testament. I mean, really all the way, I mean, you could go back to his choosing of us before the foundation of the world. But even in Mark chapter three verse 14 where it says, “He called his disciples.” It says, the number one reason he called them was that, “They might be with him.” That’s what it says. Then we get to John 14 and of course they were with him. John 14 Jesus says, “I’m going away. I’m going to come back so that you can be with me.” Right here in this passage, says it again, “Be with me.”
Jeff: Read about in Revelation when we’re in heaven with eternity with God, it says, “They are with God, within his presence.” So the whole idea of this depth of relationship and intimacy with God, that tells me that the rapture is more than just a clinical theological happening. Man, it’s a romantic event.
Todd: So you think the Lord longs to be with us even now?
Jeff: Oh absolutely. He longs so much that he’s preparing this place for us in heaven. So you’ve got this shout of Jesus and as you said, the voice of the Archangel. Wow! Wouldn’t that be great? That it would be Michael? Of course, we know there are more archangels than Michael, we just don’t know their names and people say, “Well, what’s he going to say? What’s going to be his word?” We don’t exactly know, maybe like the bridegroom helper, what’s it called?
Todd: The groomsmen.
Jeff: Thank you very much, it’s like my tongue got tangled. Anyway, so in the parable of the 10 virgins, he says, “Behold the bridegroom come out to meet him.” Perhaps it’s something like that, that he’s going to say. Then of course, the trumpet of God. Of course in ancient Israel that the trumpet was used to bring the people of God together. That was one of the reasons why the trumpet was used in secular culture to announce the arrival of a King. So you’ve got this whole trumpet thing. I mean, are we getting the sense of this is a dramatic moment in history? Yes, this is going to be a huge event in the course of our experience with Christ. Of course, when you look over to 1st Corinthians chapter 15, Paul tells the Corinthians about this event, and he says in verse 51, “Behold, I’ll tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
Jeff: So even those who are dead in Christ, meaning those who have died in Jesus and we who are alive depending on who’s alive at the time of the rapture, we’re all going to be changed in the air. It says, “When will this happen? How fast will this happen?” This goes back to this whole frame by frame. I says in verse 52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will be raised first imperishable, and we shall be changed.” It’s very interesting, this word, moment in the Greek language is the Greek word, [foreign language 00:09:27] which we get our word Adam from. It’s simply a word that means that which is indivisible.
Todd: The smallest amount of time possible.
Jeff: Yes. The smallest amount of time, like you can’t divide that amount of time. It happens so quickly. It’s instantaneous. It happens, it says, “In the blink of an eye.”
Jeff: Which is like, 100th of a second type thing. The twinkling of eye, excuse me. And so there’s going to be an immediate event that happens. And you know what’s really interesting to me is that if you think about it, Jesus Christ is not physically been on this earth for 2000 years. This is going to be his first quote, unquote, onsite miracle in 2000 years, though, he’s done many miraculous things in people’s lives, going to transform us.
Todd: That’s one thing I wanted to point out is that you have these little clusters of miraculous moments like Moses and the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, of course creation when God spoke things into existence, and then all of a sudden after a long period of church history where it’s not that God doesn’t work supernaturally, but this is one big mega, overt, crazy supernatural event that’s going to be a game changer.
Jeff: It’s prophesied. That’s the thing. It’s not just something that God happens to have done in someone’s life. This one’s in the Bible. They say it’s going to happen. Paul writes about that and Jesus, and so we know that event, that a miracle is going to happen in time. The effect that it has on us is that we, our bodies are changed and we’re given new bodies, imperishable bodies, and people say, “Well, why do we want to have new bodies?” Because listen, we haven’t been in the real presence of God. We’re talking about the holy, majestic, sovereign, shining Chicana glory, God in Heaven. We need new bodies to withstand really the trauma of being in the presence of God. That’s why quite frankly in John one, when you read the vision of Jesus that he gives to John, and you see them in all of his glory, the Bible says, John says, “I fell at his feet as a dead man.”
Jeff: He had this trauma that happened to his nervous system and just to his mental overload. We need to be changed in order to withstand the glory of being in the presence of Jesus Christ. So it’s going to be a massive, incredible, instantaneous miracle that’s going to take place. Jesus is going to do something that’s never been done before. He’s going to make us completely like him.
Todd: I think it’s interesting to point out to that point too, that he spoke creation into existence. And here, once again, we have his voice speaking our new bodies into existence, so to speak. And yeah, I tell people the same thing our body, our current bodies can’t even handle the sights and sounds we would see, we would explode on impact.
Jeff: Yes, absolutely.
Todd: So we need new glorified spiritual bodies that can handle that.
Jeff: Absolutely. We would explode. We would burn up as a cinder in his presence. That’s the thing that I think a lot of times that people talk about, there’s this famous sort of painting. It says, I think the caption says, “First day in heaven, first moment of Heaven.” It’s got this picture of a girl who’s like running in the arms of Jesus and she’s got her arms wrapped around his neck and kind of thing. I tend to think when we look at scripture that that’s not going to be the case. We’re going to be on our face before Jesus Christ. We’re going to be worshiping him. We’re going to be overcome by all and glory. When you read in Revelation, chapter four where we see the throne room of God there, man, they’re not given Jesus high fives. They’re falling on their face to worship him. This is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.
Todd: In all of his glory.
Jeff: In all of his glory, he’s not our bro, kind of thing. I mean he’s the God of the universe. Think of that moment when we are raptured. It’s going to come at an unexpected time, which is why we should always be prepared for the coming of the Lord. We’re going to get more into some of the specifics of this here in just a little bit, but I think it says something to us about our preparedness and about the fact that this is a Christ who deserves our devotion right now.
Todd: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think scripture teaches, we should be looking for that moment, being prepared for it, expecting that moment to happen at any time. We see that in the parables of the bridesmaids, some of them were ready, some of them weren’t. We see that in all the type ology. We see that clearly taught in first and second Thessalonians that we need to be looking for him. It’s amazing.
Jeff: Yes. It’s what theologians call the doctrine of immanency, meaning that Christ could return anytime. There’s many scriptures in the New Testament, just a couple of them where Paul says, Romans 13:12, “The night is almost gone. The day is at hand.” 1st Corinthians 1:7, “Awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We talked about Maranatha, our Lord come, how the early church used that to greet one another. Philippians 3:20, he talks about heaven, he says, “From which we also eagerly await a savior.”
Jeff: Philippians 4:5, the Lord is near, talks about waiting and 1st Thessalonians, the coming of the Lord is at hand and James and on and on and on. Like you said, Titus 2:13, looking for the blessing. This is the most expectant moment of a believer’s life, and we’re going to be with the Lord. That’s the promise that we have.
Jeff: Then of course in Revelation 3:11 Jesus says, “I’m coming quickly.” Revelation 22:7, “I’m coming quickly.” Revelation 22:12, “I’m coming quickly.” Revelation 22:20, “I’m coming quickly.” I mean, how much more does Jesus have to tell us he’s going to come back?
Jeff: And it’s going to be soon and it’s going to be quickly. So we have to be prepared for that glorious event’s going happen.
Todd: So Jeff, that’s been 2,000 years almost. So I think a lot of believers have lost the art of waiting. So what would you say to a believer that says, “Well that was 2000 years ago and he said he was coming quickly, but he’s still not here yet.” What would you say to somebody that said that?
Jeff: Well I’d say a couple things. We have to ask the question, what in the world is God waiting on? Both from a believer standpoint and from a world standpoint, we see our world deteriorating. We see things happening in our culture that are mirroring the days of Noah. So we’d have to ask ourselves, “Why has God waiting?” I think one of the main reasons that he’s doing so according to 2nd Peter chapter three verse nine is that he is waiting for those to come to Christ who are going to come to Christ.
Jeff: Romans 11:25 talks about the fullness of the Gentiles and there’s going to be, if you’ve ever thought about this, I don’t know if our listeners have ever considered this, but the fact that there’s going to be a last Gentile to come to Christ.
Todd: Let’s find that guy right now.
Jeff: Yeah. Seriously, let’s go locate him, just do an internet search form because guess what? There’s going to be that person. Once that person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, God’s going to say, “Okay, blow that trumpet. Let’s do this thing. Let’s get down there and rescue my bride. Because my wrath has been building against this dam of mercy for 2000 years. The dam is about to break on planet earth.” So I think that God is waiting because he’s… number one, he’s setting the stage for the end times, he’s setting the stage for revelation.
Jeff: I think secondly, he’s waiting for the lost to repent. Jesus still loves sinners. He still wants people to come to Christ and he’s still working through his Holy Spirit to romance and woo and to convict those people of their sin, to bring them. Then he’s just waiting for the appointed time, this time for the wedding to begin for the bride of Christ.
Jeff: I find it just fascinating to me, this whole idea of the rapture, and we talked about this word [foreign language 00:16:51], the Greek word, which means to violently seize or snatch away someone to rescue them type thing. That word is used in Acts chapter eight, where it talks about Phillip being snatched away and suddenly finds himself in a whole different location.
Todd: Same word, right?
Jeff: Yes, exact same word. 2nd Corinthians 12:2, where Paul says, “I was caught up to the third heaven.” Exact same word. In Revelation 12:5, it’s talking about the Ascension of Jesus uses this word, [foreign language 00:17:19]. So Jesus was raptured at the Ascension, so in 14 times in the New Testament it’s used in five of those 14 times, it means to disappear. So, I mean, that’s a little bit of a detail on behind the scenes kind of thing. But the whole idea, Todd, is the fact that Jesus has promised to return for his bride, he’s going to return for his bride and we should be looking for his return and anxiously awaiting and anticipating that. In the meantime, we’ve got to keep getting the message out and telling people about Jesus.
Todd: Amen. That’s right. Today would be a good day.
Jeff: It really would be. Yeah. It’s very interesting, my mother came to Christ on her deathbed and I asked her why she had not done this before and her answer was, “Well, I guess I never got around to it.” But she came to Jesus on her death bed. And guess what, maybe some people listening today have just thought to themselves, “Well, I just never got around to it.” This doctrine of the rapture is not meant to frighten people. It’s not meant to scare people into heaven, at the same time it is a reality. And if that produces a sense of urgency in your life to get your heart right with Christ, to repent of your sins and give your heart to Jesus Christ, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If that’s what motivates you, then so be it. That’s the way God’s drawing you to himself.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: It’s exciting doctrine. By the way, the very last verse there Todd, back in 1st Thessalonians chapter four, in verse 18, remember what it says there? It says, “Therefore, do what with these words?” Comfort one another.
Todd: Comfort one another.
Jeff: Comfort one another. So for believers, the rapture is a great doctrine. It’s kind of a… it’s that exhale.
Todd: It’s a breath of fresh air.
Todd: And to me it’s another support for the pre-trib view because how could that be comforting if you had to go through seven years of hell on earth to get there? It is our escape clause. It is our… again, it’s not that we won’t face tough things. Christians are being persecuted all over the world, worse now than any other time in history. But at the same time we have some of the biggest revivals in history, Iran right now, Muslims are turning to Christ in droves, underground church in China, Malaysia, God is definitely working behind the scenes.
Todd: I think that goes back to what you said about there is that last person that needs to receive the Lord and perhaps this is the last in gathering of some of the people that he’s trying to reach. We don’t know the timing of it, but it sure seems like it’s closer now than it’s ever been before. That’s for sure.
Jeff: Yes, that’s so true. You’re right about the revival. I’ve seen it firsthand in the Philippines, what God is doing right now.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: I think that the bottom line just of an encouragement to believers who are listening out there to embrace this doctrine. Hey, dive in 1st Thessalonians chapter four, dive into first Corinthians 15, dive in John 14. Get into these passages for yourself and study it and just allow the Holy Spirit to give you that comfort to make sure that you’re his and that you’re going to be rescued by this great conquering hero, Jesus Christ when it comes back for us. So that’s a little bit of the doctrine that we’ve unpacked today. There’s more, right?
Todd: Yeah, absolutely. [crosstalk 00:20:06]. There’s lots more.
Jeff: We can always talk about more.
Todd: I love what you said. I mean that really is the crux of it, right there is don’t take our word for it, dive into the word, learn it for yourself and again this is conversational. We’d love to hear from you. If you have questions about the rapture or any other topic. We want to hear what’s not clear, what you need to figure out, what confuses you. Those are the things we want to address. We want to make sure that this podcast is something that you can look forward to hearing and learning from and we just count it a privilege to talk to you each week.
Jeff: Absolutely. So send those questions into where, Todd?
Todd: Prophecyprospodcast.com. There you can ask questions. You can also find out information about Jeff’s ministry, my ministry, and some live events doing called the Daniel Project and all kinds of other stuff. So that’s prophecyprospodcast.com. See you next time.
Jeff: Hey, thank you so much for listening. We’re really excited you found us. Make sure to subscribe if you have not done so already. If you like what you heard, please let us know by leaving a review, that does us a huge favor and helps us out a lot. For more resources or to ask questions or find more about our ministries, go to prophecyprospodcast.com and a major thank you, major shout out to Harvest House Publishers for helping us with this podcast.