The Rapture According to Paul and Jesus

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is the primary rapture text. There is an amazing linkage between this section of Scripture with another well-known (but easily missed) statement by Jesus himself. Keep in mind that the rapture was an unknown mystery until it was revealed to Paul. Now that this mystery is revealed we can see it supported in veiled language throughout Scripture in the Old and New Testament.

John 14:3 is a beautiful promise from Jesus. The three phrases in his promise to us line up perfectly with the three aspects of the rapture as seen in it’s key text. This should give us much comfort and joy as we think about our Lord’s promises to us.

With this in mind, it also sheds new light on Jesus’s statement to Martha just before he raised Lazarus from the dead. In John 11:25-26 we read, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

Notice the last phrase is curiously different than the truth found in the first section of the verse—that though we die, we will yet live if we believe in him. The last phrase has a double meaning. If we believe in him we never face the second-death (Hell/separation from God etc.). But, this verse—with the rapture now in view—also points to the fact that those who “remain alive (1 Thessalonians 4:17)” when Christ returns will, very literally, never die.

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