1 Thes 4:13 But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are sleeping, that you would not grieve even as also the rest who have no hope. (16) Because the Lord Himself...will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are living, who are left remaining, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will be always with the Lord.
Today we are living a holy life for the church. If the Lord delays His coming back, we all shall eventually "sleep," that is, die physically. All the believers who have died are waiting for resurrection. If we live until the coming back of the Lord Jesus, we shall not need resurrection. However, we shall still need rapture. Furthermore, those who have died will need to be resurrected and raptured as well. Rapture, therefore, is actually the end of our life on earth. This means that the conclusion of our life is neither death nor resurrection--it is rapture. In the Scriptures there is not such a word as rapture, but the thought of rapture is there. As used by Christian teachers, the word rapture means to be taken away, as what happened to Enoch and Elijah (Gen. 5:24; 2 Kings 2:1, 11). Matthew 24:40- 41; Luke 17:34-36; 21:36...all refer to rapture, to the taking up of the believers to the heavens. In the New Testament the rapture is an important subject. In [1 Thessalonians] 4:13-18 Paul speaks of it only in a general, elementary way. He tells us that the living, together with those believers who have died and have been resurrected, will be caught up to a meeting of the Lord in the air. He wants to impress them with the fact that the Christian life, which is a holy life for the church life, has a hope. Therefore, this life is absolutely different from the hopeless life of fallen mankind. The hope of the Christian life is the Lord's coming back, and this hope includes resurrection and rapture.
Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee, Life-study of Thessalonians, pp.140-141. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. Please visit us at www.emanna.com. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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