See what Uwemedimo Ekaette has to say on RAPTURE
RAPTURE: DEBUNKING THE DECOY
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.1 Thessalonians 4:15 (KJV)
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (KJV)
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV) Wherefore comfort one another with these words". 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (KJV).
Can this happen without a rapture, a physical trumpet being blown, then people seeing Jesus in the cloud, etc. I'm somehow confused. Can you help out?
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
Firstly, Paul was talking about ressurection not rapture. From vs 13, don't be ignorant about those who sleep or have died in faith, in the Lord, they will be raised at His 'Coming' then vs 15 explained how the dead would be raised to life. We that are alive and remain at His coming. Now the coming of the Lord here has three dimensions, firstly, the revelation, the unveiling, the manifestation of God in a people. God revealed in us. The word used is Apokalupsis. Acts 2:11-22; 2Thes 1:7 &10. He comes to be admired in the saints. When He is manifest in us or revealed in us, we shall be just as He is. So that's a dimension of the coming
Another dimension is the appearing. The Greek word is Epiphanea - to appear and be manifest.
Epiphanea see 1Tim 6:14; Titus 2:14; 1John 3:2 it means for something to be thoroughly understood. This coming will make us know Him fully.
We come to have an experiential knowledge of Him. We know him in our experience. That is His appearing in our circumstances as healer, provider, comforter, etc.
Lastly, is the word 'coming' which means, Parousia. the presence of God. To be near, to be present. God is always near us and present with us but we don't even know it. This is where the Apokalupsis and Epiphanea makes sense, we shall progressively come to thoroughly understand His presence, His nearness to us then we shall be changed to be like him, We shall see Him and know Him for who He really is. The Lord shall descend- this explains how His presence is made manifest and the effect it will have on us.
God keeps descending. Remember Jacob 's ladder. The gate of heaven, angels ascending and descending. Angels are messengers, God's servants, ministeries.
God descends in a shout- the Greek word is command. The word of the king is a command, a decree. I will declare the decree..." He descends, He comes with a shout, a decree to raise the dead. He shouted, Lazarus, come forth. That was the shout of ressurection. That shout is still on. The dead shall hear the voice of the son of man and they shall live. Hallelujah!
The shout is with the trumpet. Trumpet symbolises message. The gospel is the message that causes the dead in tresspases to rise from the dead. Even physical dead people are raised by the gospel isn't it?
The word archangel in Greek is chief messenger. The five fold ministries are the chiefest of ministries in the body of Christ. They are governmental ministries. They carry with it authority to command obedience. This is Very Christ manifested in ministry gifts. The trumpet is actually symbolic of a message like I said before. The angels in revelation had trumpets which the sounded. every sound of a trumpet carries with it a message. like in the military, there is sunset, there's a particular trumpet sound for battle, when a hero is fallen, there's victory sound, there's parade. So trumpet actually means message. The angel is not a winged creature but a messenger. The trumpet is the message which the messenger brings. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's the message that liberates and set free, the message that delivers from sin and death or eternal destruction. This is the gospel that raises the dead from the grave. Jesus is the ressurection and the life. He said, "I Am" not will be. He is. His presence when made known, unveiled or manifested which is a dimension of His coming; that's the Apokalupsis. For this presence to be manifested or for this coming to be tangible, we must thorougly understand Who He is, God must grant unto us the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation in the knowledge (GK- Ginosko- knowledge gained by experience) of Him so that we might know the exceeding greatness of His power at work in us (power available to us, power in us and power through us) this selfsame power that God exerted when He raised Jesus from the death. This is the ressurection power. Paul cried, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection..."
Having this thorough knowledge of His presence makes the presence tangible. This is what the Greek refered to as Epiphanea translated 'Appearing of the Lord' in 1Jn 3:2 KJV. We see Him, we know Him then we become like Him, just as He is. That's a dimension of His coming. He comes. The last dimension is the blessing of His manifest presence, His nearness to us known as Parousia in Greek. Jesus said, "I am with you always...where two or three are gathered together in His name". God cannot lie! How often have we robbed ourselves of the reality of His nearness, His Presence. We do not appropriate the gains of His presence because of ignorance. We limit His power and presence. We seem to be blinded with our ideas, doctrines, creeds, activities and His presence eludes us but He keeps COMING and showing up in our meetings but we do not see Him, we do not perceive Him. We have a believe of a futuristic coming. Oh Yeah! Perhaps the consumation of His coming to close this age. But what do we make out of His presence now? Jacob said, "God is in this place yet I did not know it" Which place? He called the place Bethel - (House of God, the gates of heaven). Isn't that our problem today? The church is God's house, individually we are God's house as well but we don't know that God is in us, God is with us. Angels ascending and descending. Oh that we might know this. Paul said, "I bow my knees..." (the Jews stand to pray). The weight and all importance of this matter made him to bow his knees in prayers. What did he pray? "that the eyes of our understanding be enlightened"... that we should have a thorough understanding in our mind about the Lord's Christ, that we might come to know Him in an intimate way, a personal way in our experience. Not necessarily reading scriptures and Christian literature but by revelation. So, he continued the prayer saying, "...that God will GRANT, BESTOW upon us the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him." That's it! When that is done, the power is manifested because of the presence, ressurection becomes imminent.
Verse 17 explains how the dead are raised to life not rapture. The Lord Himself first descends. Now, Understand that it's not a physical coming because the Lord is Spirit. No physical eyes can see a spirit. Scriptures say, "And the LORD is that Spirit, wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". Since it is the Lord Himself that is a Spirit, so, the whole matter is spiritual. Jesus had problems with the Jews of His days because they lacked spiritual comprehension. In John 6, He told them that if they don't eat His flesh and drink His blood, they have no life and they will die. It was hard for them to believe it because they didn't understand what it meant. His physical body and blood would not be enough for the Jews of that time, talkless of it reaching us now to feed on and drink but they couldn't understand that He was talking about offering himself up as a sacrifice, the passover lamb that all families had to kill and eat during the feast of passover. Jesus was the fulfilment of it. They have no need to kill another lamb. He is about to present His body to be killed, blood will flow out and humanity will be saved. Jesus told them, "except you it this which I offer to you, my body and drink my blood, except you accept me, my sacrifice for sin, you shall yet die like your parents who ate manner in the wilderness which Moses gave them but I am the true bread sent down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread of life, shall not die. What a statement! Very hard sayings; will this man give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink? They lacked spiritual wisdom and revelation, they did not understand but I liked what Jesus said in verse 63 of John 6, "....It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken, the things I am saying to you, they are spirit, they are spiritual and they are life, they give life". This implied that He wasn't talking about eating His physical body or flesh and drinking His blood. He was talking about spiritual matters. Paul says a carnal man, ordinary man using his 5 senses cannot understand and recieve spiritual things, they are foolishness to Him. So Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:15-23 that God should grant and bestow upon the church at Ephesus the SPIRIT of Wisdom and Revelation. My friend, are you not persuaded that this whole stuff is a spiritual matter?. What man knoweth the things of God, is it not the Spirit of God? Now the Spirit of God reveals the deep things of God unto us. Sorry to say that people without the Spirit will find it hard to understand this things. They will give it mere literal or physical interpretations. That's why we see all these confusion in the body of Christ. People making claims that they are spiritual, yet not allowing God to teach them, allowing their carnal mind to explain spiritual things. This is error!
[09/04 12:20] Uwem Ekaette: The presence of God is a reality. John 14, Jesus said, "...I will not leave you comfort less, I will not leave you as orphans, I will ask the father to send another comforter, the Holy Spirit..." Remember, we had clarified that The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:17. Paul even said there is one God, one Lord, one Spirit. That's Ephesians 4:4 if I am right. So, 1 Thes 4:16 says, "...the Lord Himself..." The Spirit of God will descend from heaven (Greek-ouranus) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings. "perhaps from the same as G3735 (through the idea of elevation, mountain, throne." The church is heaven, heavenly Jerusalem, it's also called the mountain of the Lord, the church is in the heavenly places. We are raised and seated together with Christ in heavenly places. Jacob called Bethel in Gen 28:17, the gate of heaven which symbolically represents the Church, the house of God. The gate of a house cannot be in the earth and the house in the sky. isn't it? Think about it! So heaven is not somewhere beyond the skies. It is the realm which God dwells. God dwells in us and we dwell in Him. We live, move and have our being in Him. This is another hard saying and the carnal mind cannot fathom or understand it. But when we know it, death is abolished because where God lives, sin, sickness, diseases, depression, death, etc are abolished. Oh that we come to know this truth. The presence of God is real my friend.
So Jesus the Lord, the Spirit descends from heaven with a shout, a command. We His messengers have recieved a commandment to bless, to reconcile the world unto God not to impute sins on them. Ps 133 speaks of the commanded blessings. The shout is is a decree. David said, I will declare the decree. Brethren, whatsoever thing we shall decree shall be established. Shout! Shout! for the sound of the king is in the midst of her. Now this shout is from the trumpet, the gospel message of the archangel, the chief messenger, this is a corporate messenger, these are the five fold ministry gifts in the church. God comes in the ministry gift. the gifts of ministry is the hand of God, the mouth, the eye, the feet, the mind or heartbeat of God expressed to His people. When the ministry gifts operate effectually, the dead, spiritual and physical are raised to life. We that are alive and remain at His coming (the Greek word is Parousia meaning presence, nearness) do not prevent them. Then we shall be caught up. The Greek word is Harpazo, meaning sized away, pull away by force. That's the same word translated in Latin as Rapture. The real meaning of the word is "a strong feeling that absorbs the mind" That doesn't sound like fly away home. Rapture is not an escape. It is an ascending to the elevation, the realm where God dwells. John had the invitation at the island of Patmos. Revelation 4:1-2, the voice said to him, "Come up hither" and immediately, he was carried away in the Spirit. His physical body was still on earth but in the Spirit he was carried and was showed things in 'heaven' the realm where God dwells. He was shown the Revelation of Jesus Christ which he was asked to write. He was seeing and hearing spiritually in that experience and writing down physically. Paul had his own rapture which he recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. He was caught up to the third heavens. There is no historical record by Paul himself or any other person that said that Paul disappeared to heaven. Paul never taught so or testified so. carnal men made up fantasies from their mind to support their escapist rapture theory. Of course it's a theory. Ressurection, immortality is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that raises us up from death condition. There is spiritual, moral and physical ressurection. But that is altogether a different subject.
Ezekiel had his own rapture experience. As a captive slave of the babylonians, he was with the captives at the river Chebar and suddenly, something happen to him. Ezekiel 1, 37. He saw visions, he was carried away 'IN THE SPIRIT' not in the physical. This was John's experience too in Revelation 17:3; 21:10. He was carried away in the Spirit. Rapture is a spiritual experience. Do you really think it makes sense for us to fly up into the skies and hang between the skies and the earth dangling with white clothes forever? Brace up! Here is the spirit of wisdom. We have a better hope, a living hope, a hope of ressurection, immortality, a hope of changing into His likeness. We shall not all sleep or die, those of us that are alive and remain, we shall be changed in the twinkle of an eye, in a moment, we shall be changed in the atoms of our bodies, clothed with life, immortality. We shall be changed. The sting of death has been destroyed which is sin as we progressively appropriate it, Understand it, as we look into the perfect law of liberty, the gospel of salvation by Christ, we are being changed from glory to glory. Hallelujah! Whosoever has this hope purifies himself. Isn't this better than the rapture saga?
Come to think of it; how do we meet with Him in the air and remain there in the air forever? That whole phrase is laden with symbology. Don't we often say that, "we want to be free as the air" ? What do we mean? isn't it a colloquial expression of needing freedom? How come when we read such expression in scripture we tend to take it very literal. Jesus in John 3 said that, "...the spiritual man is like the air that blows"; you don't see where it's coming from and going, you can't catch it, you can't cage it. Death cannot hold down those who died in Christ and buried under earth in a grave where they can't breath. But When the presences of God is manifest, the dead shall rise above the under ground experience of suffocation and become free as the air forever. The word translated 'Air' actually means breath in the Greek as rendered by the KJV in verse 17 of 1Thes 4. We shall be free like the air forever, we shall breath the breath of God once again and live, we shall be caught up to God and to the throne, to heaven, the presence of God, the dwelling of God. Hallelujah! Therefore, console ye one another. Remain blessed!