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Featured Rapture Question

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by LaGrange, May 21, 2022.

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  1. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I’m sure this question has been answered but I haven’t found it yet. I have a couple more I may ask as well.

    “Apoc” = Apocalypse

    In the Rapture you go to heaven without dying. How can this be?

    Enoch and Elijah are usually thought to be the Two Witnesses (Apoc 11:3-12) that return during the Tribulation because they didn’t die when they left this world. Many theologians believed you have to die in order to go to heaven as we think of heaven (Aquinas, STh., III q.49 a.5 ad 2). The only exception may be those who are alive at the end of time. I am not even sure of that because, due to Original Sin (Rom 5:12), ALL must die (Heb 9:27). Also, to receive the Beatific Vision (1 Cor 13:12), that is, see the Essence of God, you must die (Ex 33:20), according to Aquinas (STh., I q.12 a.11).
     
  2. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Paul says we are “changed” “transformed” the mortal makes way for immortality

    So, even if we don’t “die”, as we understand it, this earthly flesh will cease to exist.

    Beyond that, I don’t believe scripture goes into detail as to how that happens.

    peace to you
     
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  3. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi Canadyjd,

    I think I understand what you are saying. “Changed” could mean you die and are, at the same time, “transformed”, that is, come back to life and receive your glorified body. I say that in my comment below. (Does everyone believe that, if you are raptured, you receive a glorified body?) There are other problems though. I raise a couple of them in my comment below. Let me know what you think.

    God bless


    1 Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall rise again incorruptible. And we shall be changed. (DRV)
    1 Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; kWe shall not all lsleep, but mwe shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for nthe trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (KJV)
    1 Thess 4:15-16 For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment and with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first.
    16 Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air: and so shall we be always with the Lord.
    Job 19:25-26 For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the “last day” I shall rise out of the earth. 26 And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God. (Aquinas quotes this verse in his Summa - STh., Supplementum q.75 a.1)
    John 6:40 And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in him may have life everlasting. And I will raise him up in the “last day”. (Aquinas quotes this verse in his Commentary on Job, Lecture 2)

    My Comment: I think the key to reconciling death with the rapture is this: You cannot go to heaven, receive a glorified body, receive the beatific vision, and then come back and live on earth. The Rapture verses really don’t say that. So what some call the Rapture really is the Resurrection of the Body (united with the soul) at the end of time. Job 19:25-26 refers to the “Last day” and then Job says he will rise and be “clothed again with his skin.” John 6:40, speaking of the faithful, Jesus says He will raise him up on the “last day”. Not a thousand plus years earlier. Also, in this same verse, the context is “life everlasting” so the “last day” would mean the “very last day”. As far as those on the last day not having to die, some think, at that time, death will overtake them and then, immediately, the soul will return to the body. St. Ambrose thought that, commenting on 1 Thess 4:15-17. (Navarre Commentary). Others think God could make an exception to the rule that all must die before going to heaven (Rom 5:12, 1 Cor 15:22). This would mean that those faithful alive at the end of time would rise and go to heaven without dying. Also, this could be the case with the Two Witnesses. Possibly there could be exceptions and they could have died and are brought back to witness. For example, some think Moses could be one of them. There is a way you could have a thousand year reign after the Tribulation and still be amillenial. This would put the Second Coming and the Resurrection of the Body, among other things, at the very end. I’ve been influenced by this minority view.
     
  4. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Multiple issues. The two witnesses. Are identified as ". . . standing before the God of the earth. . . ." Mark 9:1-4, ". . . And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. . . ."
    Now the rapture will not in any way take place before the resurrection at Christ's second appearing, 1 Thessalonians 4:15. 1 John 3:2.
     
  5. Alex2165

    Alex2165 Member

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    Death relatively virtual thing.


    Death is unnatural to humans, because at the beginning first two humans have been created immortal.


    Death is very similar to sleep when body switched off, but the soul drifts to a certain realm of dreams, almost like out of body experience.


    This is why in some writings of the Bible death compared to sleep and called so.


    Paul has his own experience with such phenomena while saying that he knew a person who ascended to Heaven, but I think he was talking about himself.


    GOD can take a person to Spiritual Heaven with or without physical body, and you already presented some examples of it.


    Why GOD does it, no one knows, He has His own plans and His own purpose for it, but in general, all humans must die like Adam and Eve, because their sin of knowing Good and Evil passed to all of us.


    Resurrection will restore mortal physical bodies to immortal bodies again and we will receive our physical immortality back.


    As you may know, also exist and Spiritual Death, the Second Death, which is the Death of the Soul.

    This is considered as a final Death in which life completely seized to exist in all its forms.


    Personally, I think that some people indeed may ascend to Heaven in physical bodies and would not experienced physical decay, just like Jesus Christ died physically on the cross but was resurrected and came back on Earth in the same physical body that even preserved His wounds, but seems to be now immortal.
     
  6. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi 37818,

    I’m thinking out loud on this so my understanding is a work in process. Two things I want to comment on: 1. You must die in order to go to heaven and 2. You receive your glorified bodies at the Second Coming at the very end of time.

    1. You must die to go to heaven

    Mark 8:39 And he said to them: Amen I say to you, that there are some of them that stand here, who shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God coming in power. (Mark 9:1 in KJV)

    My Comment: The “Kingdom” is the “church” and here Christ is speaking of the kingdom and His glory in “this world” (Mark 8). Peter, James and John saw the spread of the gospel. In context, Christ speaks about following Him in Mark 8. THEN in Mark 9, Christ speaks of His kingdom and future glory in the “next world”. I think this may be why the DRV puts the first verse in Ch9 in the KJV as the last verse in Ch8. I may talk more later on the church because I see the Catholic teaching on the “Communion of Saints” while studying the Rapture. Very interesting!

    Mark 9:11-12 Who answering, said to the Elias, when he shall come first, shall restore all things; and as it is written man that he must suffer many things and be despised. 12 But I say to you that Elias also is come (and they have done to him whatsoever they would), as it is written of him. (see also Matt 17:10, Mal 4:5)

    My Comment: Christ said Elijah would return and suffer and die. He said he would die in verse 12 which is hard to see but the verse is comparing John the Baptist to Elijah. Elijah will die before Christ’s Second Coming just as John the Baptist died before Christ’s First Coming. He didn’t say Moses would return. Aquinas said Moses appeared in his soul and not his body. He was seen as the angels are seen (Aquinas, Commentary on Matthew, ch17).

    2. You receive your Glorified Bodies at the Second Coming at the very end

    My Comment: I may not be totally getting what you are trying to say but I would say regarding this:

    The Rapture not taking place before the Second Coming

    I agree with adding these distinctions: the Rapture and the Second Coming are really the same thing and the Second Coming comes after the thousand year reign. I don’t think you would agree with that but we do agree that the Second Coming is where and when we enter heaven with our glorified bodies. I think we agree on that. Thanks for your input!
     
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  7. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi Alex2165,

    I’ll answer you tomorrow!
     
  8. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Totally false. The word of God nowhere teaches any such thing.
     
  9. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Does scripture teach that death entered into the human race because of sin?

    peace to you
     
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  10. Campion

    Campion Member

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    Here is what the word of God teaches...

    Gen 2:17 ---> "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."


    Genesis 3:3 ---> "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."


    Genesis 3:19 ---> "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."


    Ezekiel 18:4 ---> "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."


    Romans 5:12 ---> "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."


    James 1:15 ---> "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."



    Seems pretty clear to me.
     
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  11. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Death because of sin did. If there was no death prior the tree of life would not have been there for them to have freely.
     
  12. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    I thought of that as well. There was certainly no death prior to sin, but could they have died if they hadn’t sinned and not eaten of the tree of life?

    Something to ponder. I do agree, however, with the other poster that death is an unnatural intrusion into God’s original design for mankind. We are created to live forever.

    peace to you
     
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  13. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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  14. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi Alex2165,

    Sounds like you believe in soul sleeping. I was reading what the Calvinist theologian, Louis Berkhof, said regarding soul sleeping:

    “In Heb. 12:23 believers are said to have come to … “the spirits of just men made perfect,” which certainly implies their conscious existence. Moreover, the spirits under the altar are crying out for vengeance on the persecutors of the Church, Rev. 6:9, and the souls of the martyrs are said to reign with Christ, Rev. 20:4. (Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p689)”

    My Comment: This means Berkhof believed the soul, after death, has the ability to do things. Berkhof, by the way, was amillennial. He believed that, at death, the souls was separated from the body and the body decayed in the grave. The soul received a new glorified body at the Second Coming which was at the end of time. This is my view exactly!
     
  15. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Rapture and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb

    I want to try to expand a little bit and paint a picture that may stimulate some thinking.

    1. Most of us believe that when you die your soul immediately goes to heaven or hell. Later, at some point, you receive your glorified body.

    2. When your soul, immediately after death, goes to heaven, most would believe it is conscious and doing something, as Berkhof said. What would you (your soul) be doing? I’ve seen where some say you would Fellowship. Fellowship with God would mean praising God, listening to the Word, singing and offering the prayers of the saints (Apoc 5:8, Apoc 8:3-5, Apoc 6:9-11).

    3. On earth, while still in the body, as a Christian you are offering prayers for the saints (Eph 6:18) and you are Fellowshipping with God. The apostles Fellowshipped with Christ on earth.

    Here’s my point:

    All those Christian’s who died before the Rapture and those who will be raptured (I’m not arguing the Rapture right now), are in heaven at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Apoc 19:9). They are Fellowshipping and Worshipping God. So it is not only those that are raptured that are at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb but all the Christian’s who have died. This shows that the Marriage Supper is timeless. The other thing is that you are doing the same thing on earth in a dimmer way. You are Fellowshipping with God on Sundays through listening to the Word, through prayer and through singing hymns and you are asking each other to pray for you (prayers for the saints). Also, The Marriage Supper on earth could be seen through the symbolic partaking of the wine and grape juice at service occasionally or, in other cases, more often. The bottom line: All the Christians are worshipping God all the time and NOT just at the Rapture and NOT just in heaven.

    Catholic Doctrine of the Communion of Saints

    The Christians in heaven and on earth explained above points to the Catholic Doctrine of the Communion of Saints which describes the church, as we say, as the Church Militant (Christians on earth) and the Church Triumphant (Christians in heaven). We say they are “connected” because even death cannot separate us (Rom 8:38). It is ONE BODY (1 Cor 12:25-27). That’s what the “Communion” means in the Communion of Saints. It is in the Nicene Creed (325ad). They are all doing the same thing and therefore, through Christ, we can effect one another through our prayers. The church also includes the Church Suffering (Christians in purgatory). Also they are ALL (the whole church) partaking, perhaps at different levels and in different ways, in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which we see as the Eucharistic Sacrifice, that is, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We see it as being offered on earth, under the earth (purgatory)(Phil 2:10) and in heaven.

    Side note to keep in mind:

    Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Eucharist)

    Altar is near the throne (Apoc 8:3). Most of the Book of the Apocalypse portrays events prior to the eternal state so, when it mentions the “altar” and the “Lamb”, it points to events that are happening “at the same time” as events on earth. This means the “Prayers to the saints” are asking for an answer for things to do with what is happening on earth. This all shows the Church in heaven, on earth and in purgatory (upper part of hell) are one.
     
  16. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    I am of the point of view that death was part of the good creation. Sin caused death to be an enemy. 1 Corinthians 15:26. Revelation 20:14.
     
  17. Alex2165

    Alex2165 Member

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    Hi Grange.


    It is good that we have the same thinking and agree on this issue.


    I actually do not believe in soul sleeping, because soul is not physical entity but spiritual one and it does not need sleep, rest, or anything else.


    I just make certain comparison with some places of the Bible that touches this subject concerning death and sleep, and always tried to present these places of the Bible as a figure of speech, a metaphor, as allegorical expression, and it shall be not understand literally.


    I used to go to Seven Day Adventist church because they worship on the Sabbath Day, and among some of their twisted doctrines was one doctrine saying that people actually do not die but sleep.


    So they rejected death as such and replaced it with "sleep." They took these places of the Bible literally and of course it was impossible to convince them otherwise.


    I found such believe as complete lunacy, but considered the fact that people believe in many much more insane and worse things, I did not argued with them much.
     
  18. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi Alex2165,

    I’m glad you don’t believe any longer in soul sleeping. I’m sorry for misunderstanding you. That’s interesting that you use to be a Seven Day Adventist. Keep studying! God bless.
     
  19. LaGrange

    LaGrange Member

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    Hi All,

    Rapture and Marriage Supper of the Lamb

    This is kind of a meditation or thinking out loud because it is incomplete and my thoughts are not totally organized. I’m trying to show how you can see Christ in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb while on earth as well as in heaven and a couple of other things.

    The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Breaking of Bread) took place on Sundays, the first day of the week (John 20:19). All Christ’s appearances after His resurrection (John 20:1) occurred on Sundays, the “Day of the Lord” (John 20:19). Christ revealed His glorified body to them. This means The “Day of the Lord” could be one day or many. It can be one day like a Sunday or it could be a thousand years (2 Pet 3:8). Luke speaks of the “Last days” (Acts 2:17) but then the “Last day” (Acts 2:20). So it seems that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (same as the Breaking of Bread - 1 Cor 10:16) can be observed on a day in time, like a Sunday, or also like a thousand years, or timeless, like in heaven. It can be going on in both places at the same time. Jesus can reveal Himself to His faithful in His glorified body here on earth through the “Breaking of Bread” (Luke 24:13) or obviously through the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven (Apoc 19:9). For those in heaven and on earth to see Christ’s glorified body at the same time shows the unity and that we are “one body” (1 Cor 10:17). We don’t have to be Raptured and be in our glorified bodies to see the Lord. Yes, to see Him face to face, this is true, but you can see Him literally in an invisible manner, that is, like a glorified body while here on earth through the Breaking of Bread (Marriage Supper or Eucharist). The disciples on the road to Emmaus “recognized’ Jesus in the “breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:31). It was the “crucified Christ” that appeared in the “Upper Room” to Thomas. This shows that the Crucifixion and the Marriage Supper (Lord’s Supper) are United and the same. This is why we call it the Holy “Sacrifice” of the Mass (John 20:27). Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) and the “Lamb” signifies “Sacrifice” ( Apoc 5:6). As I’ve said before, there is a unity of the body of Christ of those on earth and in heaven (and Purgatory). The “Marriage” in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is speaking of the marriage of the bride (Church - Eph 5:29) and bridegroom (Christ - Mark 2:19). And since Christ’s bride is not just in heaven but here on earth, He unites Himself to her in the Marriage Supper which is the Eucharistic Sacrifice present on earth (Luke 22:19) and in heaven (Apoc 19:9, Apoc 5:6).
     
  20. Darrell C

    Darrell C Well-Known Member
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    Hello LaGrange, I wouldn't mind taking a crack at an answer. But there are several key areas of understanding that have to be addressed in order to, I believe, rightly conclude on the matter.

    The first problem I see in trying to find an answer is the presumption that it is true that men have to die in order to go to Heaven. While it is true that "fleash and blood" cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, I think we might do well to consider that in Christ's glorified body we see "flesh and bone:"


    Luke 24:39
    Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.



    So if flesh and bone can go to Heaven, as we see our Lord had, then we have to determine why "flesh and blood cannot."

    I would just suggest that the reference to flesh and blood is referring to the means of receiving the Kingdom of God, not the condition one is in when they do finally go to Heaven.

    Consider:


    John 1:11-13 King James Version

    11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

    12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.



    Being born of God (v.13) is a result of God's will. Not of blood (we are not born being members of the Kingdom), not of the will of the flesh (we do not become born of God because we determine to be), and not of the will of man (other men do not bring about being born of God in other men).

    So the first point I would make is that we are not seeing a prohibition of men being alive going into Heaven. In the Rapture, we will, if we are still physically alive, be made like Christ and receive the redemption of our bodies. We will have never died, and we will, like Christ, have flesh and bone.

    When we consider Christ's teaching concerning being born again, we are told no man will enter the Kingdom of God except he be born again. Two kingdoms have to be understood in the teaching as both being literal: the Kingdom God promised Israel (the Millennial Kingdom of Revelation 20), and the Kingdom of God which is the realm we enter when we are born again. Regeneration, or, New Birth, or, being born from above, or, being born of God all refer to the same thing. And no man will enter into either the Kingdom promised to Israel or the spiritual realm we have entered into when we were born of God and became sons of God.

    So the answer to the question, "How can this be," is the same as the one given to Nicodemus some two thousand years ago:


    John 3 King James Version

    3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.



    Again, two kingdoms in view: the one Nicodemus was familiar with (he is rebuked because he limits his understanding of Christ's teaching to a physical nature, he should have been thinking along the lines of Ezekiel 36:27 an Ezekiel 37 (the valley of dry bones/dead Israel)); and the one Christ was speaking about that we who are born again understand, the spiritual rule and reign of God in the Church He would begin building at Pentecost.

    No man will enter either except they be born again, and we do not have to die to receive that life. We are dead when we receive that life, and we receive eternal life because we are brought into Eternal Union with God when we a rebaptized into Christ.


    9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?




    Nicodemus asks "How can a man be born from above (born of God)? How can a man be born of the Spirit and water?

    Christ answers his question:


    14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

    15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.



    So, we see the same thing we see in John 1:11-13, being born of God is a result of Christ coming, and here we see that the condition for man to be born from above/of God/of the Spirit is that Christ must be raised up. The picture of the brazen serpent is that whoever looked to it would not die. Similarly, we who look to Christ will, according to His teaching, will never die/perish. Physically, yes, but we have a life we did not have when we were physically conceived and born into this world.

    When the Rapture takes place, we are immediately glorified (following the resurrection of those who died in Christ) and will go to be with Him forevermore. We will not die physically, and will in fact have flesh and bone as He did.


    Continued...
     
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