We have established that the one of the signs of the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets is that the “dead in Christ” will rise, those chosen to be a part of this FIRST resurrection to reign with Christ in the Millennium.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thes. 4:16).
The next scripture is key for the order of events for all those who are alive when this event happens which is what I want to share in this last blog on the Feast of Trumpets.
“THEN we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:17).
So let’s take unpack this scripture, starting with the word first word, THEN. Then indicates that the next event will happen after the dead in Christ are raised, but it is not clear WHEN.
Most Christians assume that after the dead in Christ resurrect that those who are alive are “caught up” with them immediately. BUT, this is because most Christians aren’t familiar with the blueprint of the Feasts and how they are fulfillment of these scriptures that are about Christ’s return.
THEN indicates afterwards. This coincides with the Fall Feast blueprint, because there is an appointed period of time of ten days that elapses between the Feast of Trumpets and the next Fall Feast, which is the Day of Atonement. It is on the Day of Atonement that the Lord sifts out those believers who are alive to be His overcomers; for it is the day of reward/judgment of the Church.
The scripture does say, “we who are alive AND REMAIN.” The word “remain” defines those saints whose hearts “abide” in the Lords, so this defines those who are “caught up.”
“He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruits; for without Me you can do nothing”(John 15:5).
Next, the purpose of the “dead in Christ” being raised from the grave is to inherit God’s promise of their “glorified body.” They need to first be above ground, “in the air,” where the Lord can breathe new life into them:
” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ez. 37:10).
These will then join those “overcomers” who are “alive and remain” who are called to reign with Christ in the Millennium. But this won’t happen until after the Day of Atonement. They will also inherit the promise of their gloried body.
“..who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself”(Phil 3:21).
The two will come together with Christ and begin the glorification process during the Feast of Tabernacles, until the 8th day when they are ready to ascend to the throne and descend to the earth as Christ did.
Now let’s briefly take a look at the words “caught up” in 1 Thes. 4:17. These words have produced the word “rapture” in the modern Christian theology. The greek word for “caught up” means “harpazo” which is translated “caught away or seized.”
Indeed, all believers can be “caught up” in the Spirit with the Lord when His presence is amongst us and heaven’s reality seems to be larger than earth’s reality. But we can also be “seized” by the Lord when the Holy Spirit is calling us forth (trumpet/voice) and we draw ourselves toward Him in our hearts. Moses gave us that example at Mt. Sinai when He went up to be in the thick could-like presence of God (Ex. 19:18-20).
Whether we actually lift off the ground like Jesus did when He walked on water and was transported from the place He and the disciples were in the boat to the land across the sea,
“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And i was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (John 6:16-21).
or translated like the disciple Phillip,
“Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:39,40).
or we get “caught up” sitting in our living rooms worshipping and the fire, wind, and rain of the Holy Spirit “seizes our hearts,”
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2),
I really can’t say for certain.
But I do know that the union with Christ is for the purpose of escorting the KING (Commander in Chief) to His kingdom here on the earth to reign….Not to go away with Him to stay in heaven.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and TrueNo, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp work, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19:11,13,14)
Many misinterpret this “caught up” or rapture idea thinking we are to escape and live in heaven eternally and miss the “days of tribulation.” But this contradicts the Lord’s prayer, which IS THE BASIC BLUEPRINT OF GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION (Matt. 6: 9-13).
“Thy kingdom COME, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”
God’s heart is to bring His kingdom to earth to rule, redeem, and multiply His goodness, not destroy it. Anyone who has embraced the Lord’s sanctification process has NOT been trained by it to run away from the Lord’s battle, or to hide from the battle we are going to win. It has trained us to follow our Commander in Chief!
God is also NOT taking us away so He can destroy the earth. The earth will go through tribulation due to God’s judgment in correcting the choices we have made to sin. But this will lead creation through a process that produces healing, life, and His love! God and His army are coming so that the earth can be restored back to His glory through righteous leadership. This is why the Bible says that “creation early waits for the revealing of the sons of God”(Rom. 8:19).
Jesus informs us that the “last days,” before the Fall Feasts begin to go “live,” are going to be similar to the days of Noah.
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37).
Noah was never taken from the earth. He was divinely protected through the flood of judgment. Lot was removed from Sodom, and taken to another city on the earth so he would be spared from the Lord’s judgment. In both instances, the WICKED were removed from the earth, not the righteous. The Lord even tells us in the Beatitudes in Matt 5:17 that the meek (gentle) will be blessed and inherit the earth, not be removed from it.
“For as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took THEM away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left..(Matt. 24:37-40).
The “THEM” in the above scripture was the WICKED, not the righteous!
Jesus is coming back to judge the nations, and there will be consequences for those who oppose Him. But God promises us protection, as He declared in Psalm 91, and showed us that same pattern of protection for His people in Egypt when the 10 plagues were released.
“And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land. I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be” (Ex. 9:22-24).
Finally, let’s unpack the word “clouds” in 1 Thes. 4:17. Clouds represent both literal and figurative in the Bible. In the literal sense, God’s presence comes like a cloud at Mt. Sinai, and the cloud covered the children of Israel by day when they were in the wilderness.
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way”(Ex. 13:21).
Clouds are also figuratively used in referring to the list of the “heroes of faith” in Hebrews 11 as the great cloud of witnesses.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1).
Jesus speaks of the day He comes back “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and glory” (Matt. 26:64). I think these clouds are again those “witnesses” who are a part of the Lord’s army escorting Him here to earth.
John also begins the book of Revelation with this statement in the first chapter of how Christ is coming with clouds (witnesses):
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen”(Rev. 1:7).
I believe the sign of the “dead in Christ” rising from the graves, and the sound and sign of Christ and His army coming will cause an alarm to ALL Christians who will then mourn. This is because the “fear of the Lord” will be upon us, and we will understand our frailty in the presence of the Lord and recognize our need to repent. This is why the next ten days before the Day of Atonement are called the “Ten Days of Awe,” as Christians are in awe that the time is at hand for the Millennium reign to begin.
We will all be in a state of reflection: Are we ready? Will we be like the 5 wise Virgins in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, who had oil? Or will we be like the 5 foolish Virgins who didn’t have oil and the door was shut joining those in the First resurrection (Matt. 25:1-13)? These Fall Feast “dress rehearsals” each year helps us examine our hearts so we are ready.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13).
In the next blog, I will write about the the Day of Atonement.