The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, gives us a startling picture of what will take place when Christ returns. His coming will affect every member of the Body of Christ, whether they are with the Lord or alive, awaiting His return.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, “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. 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: 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.”
Our Lord, who has ascended into Heaven and taken His place on our behalf as Mediator, intercessor, Advocate, and the Lord, “will descend from Heaven with a shout.”
Every living believer will hear that shout; the unbelievers have no part in this; and the shout will be a signal for the resurrection of the bodies of those who have died in Christ.
The bodies of those who are with Christ shall rise first. They, with all living believers, shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
We want to note here that it is the Resurrection of the bodies of those in Christ who died that will take place at the Rapture. It is not that the spirit will be raised.
The spirits of the departed saints are already with Christ in heaven.
The spirit of the believer in Christ Jesus can never die, and therefore can never need resurrection. The dead in Christ are not in grave, but alive with Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 shows that those who have died in Christ shall come with Him at the rapture to receive their glorified, immortal bodies.
The term “clouds” does not necessarily mean the clouds of the air. It probably means that clouds of believers shall arise from every nation to meet the Lord in the air. We find the “clouds of witnesses” mentioned in Hebrew 12:1.
What a joyful compulsion that will be! “Caught up to meet our blessed Lord and Savior, whom not having yet seen, we love.”
A change shall take place within our bodies
Paul says that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…but we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump” – (1Corinthians 15:50-51).
Philippians 3:20-21 “For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall fashion anew body of our humiliation”….We shall actually receive a glorified, immortal body like our Lord.
The Holy Spirit, through John, tells us that “we know that when He shall be manifested we shall be like Him.” We have been translated from Satan’s authority in Christ’s.
We have already been conformed in spirit to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). We are waiting now for the Redemption of our bodies, the receiving of a glorified body like unto our Lord’s.
Paul mentions this hope in Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Christ speaks of His coming in Luke 17:30-35. “In the day that the Son of Man shall be revealed…in that night there shall be two men in one bed, the one shall be taken, and the other left. There shall be two women grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Also Matthew 24:40, “There shall be two men in the field; one is taken, and one is left.” Here is revealed an eternal separation of the Body of Christ and the world.
- E. W KENYON – The Bible In The Light of Our Redemption