1 Cor. 15:51-52, 1 Thess. 4:16-17
With the present world situation regarding the Corona Virus (Covid 19), people all over the
world, for fear of dying suddenly became aware about God. Unexpectedly, people regardless of
any religious affiliation are praying and calling upon the name of their God. Lots are becoming
receptive to the Gospel and though churches are closed because of the lockdown, Sundays, and
middle of the week worship service continues with lots of people in the internet watching just to
hear the message.
The Rapture is becoming more and more popular issue not only for Christians but also for
unbelievers now. Hollywood Christianity with its corrupted and half-truth presentation of the
Biblical events in the Old Testament and New Testament is creating an impact to lots of people
having different beliefs. Famous actors playing the role of major Bible character makes people
imagine things and do a lot of speculations. Social media like you tube, face book, etc., are filled
with illustrations as well as lessons and about this controversial topic. This morning we will see
how the Word of God tells us about this futuristic event.
A. Rapture is the term commonly used for the catching away of the saints described in
our text and on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The Rapture is:
1. A resurrection of the dead in Christ.
2. A catching up and translation of the living New Testament Saints (v. 17)
3. The term “caught up” in 1Thess. 4:17 is also translated “pluck” (Jn. 10:28),
“pulling [out of the fire]” (Jude 1:23), and “take by force” (Acts 23:10). It refers
to a forceful seizing and a snatching away. It is used of the devil snatching the
word of God from the heart of the foolish (Mt. 13:19) and of the Spirit of God
snatching away Philip after the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39).
B. The result of the Rapture:
1. The result of the rapture will be chaos here on earth. All true believers in Jesus
Christ all over the world will be “taken”. Millions of people in all walks of life will
suddenly disappear, including infants. Airports, streets, freeways, subways,
supermarkets, hospitals, schools, offices, banks, etc., will all be in shambles. Left
behind people will be searching for the missing without a trace. Churches that
will remain will realize their mistake, but then it’s too late, and they have no
alternative but to go back to the Bible and admit their mistakes.
2. Immediately after the rapture, the anti-Christ will begin his reign, the seven-year
Tribulation will start
3. The Holy Spirit will be removed before the tribulation (2Thess. 2:1-8).
Illustration 1: “You May Have My Home, John”
A Christian doctor in London wanted to arouse his page boy as to the salvation of his soul. One night
the doctor explained to him that “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thess.
4:16). He ended the recital by saying, “When the Lord comes, you may have my home, John.” The
boy was surprised. “And my car.” John was more surprised. “And my furniture, and my money.” The
boy could only gasp, “Thanks.” Alone in bed he began to think: “If the doctor goes to heaven, what
will I do with his house and car and all the rest? Where will I be?” He woke up the doctor and
explained his problem, and before morning he was also ready.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
II. God’s great promise (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible, assuring us that “we” (i.e., all believers,
whether dead or living when Christ returns) shall suddenly be changed, with our dead or
dying bodies instantly transformed into incorruptible, immortal bodies, which can never
III. God’s great timing
A. This great change, when it finally occurs, will take place “in a moment.” The Greek
here is en atomo, “in an atom of time.” This word is used only once in the New
Testament and is the smallest particle of matter that is already indivisible.
B. It is further described by “the twinkling of an eye,” where “twinkling” is the Greek
rhipe, is also used once. Rhipe is a jerk (of the eye, i.e. (by analogy) an instant)
C. The above description “in a moment” and “the twinkling of an eye” clearly teaches
us how swift and speedy will the rapture event be.
D. I do believe that this event will only happen one time and will never be repeated
Illustration 2: Twinkling of an eye.
The average duration for a single blink of a human eye is 0.1 to 0.4 seconds, or 100 to 400
milliseconds, according to the Harvard Database of Useful Biological Numbers. For purposes of
comparison, the tick sound made by a clock lasts about one second. So, it would be possible to blink
three times during a single tick of a clock. Evidently there is nothing else in this present world
comparable in rapidity to this miraculous event. Probably even we who are waiting for this to
happen will also be caught by surprise due to its speed.
IV. The great shout
A. We do not know whether the voice and the trumpet will be heard and distinguish by
others than the “dead in Christ” and the “living saints”. We know however that the
dead in Christ shall hear the sound, for it will be “intensely penetrating”.
B. There will be no graves so deep, no catacombs so rock covered, no mausoleums so
thick, but the sound shall reach their depths and the dead in Christ shall hear the
command for them to rise.
C. The shout is the “shout of triumph” over death (1 Cor. 15:54-57) manifested in the
raising of the dead and the instantaneous glorification of the living saints who will
never taste physical death.
D. Or it may be a command just like when the Lord raised Lazarus.
V. The great trumpet
A. In at least three biblical passages concerning the rapture, a trumpet is mentioned (1
Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 4:1). How are we to understand this?
B. Dr. Dwight Pentecost writes, “The phrase ‘the trump of God’ is significant, for in the
Old Testament the trumpet was used for two things—to summon to battle and to
summon to worship.” (Dwight Pentecost, Prophecy for Today, p. 30)
1. To angels the trumpet blast will mean “Prepare for battle!” According to various
New Testament passages on. Jn. 14:30; Eph. 6:12; 1 Jn. 5:19) this present world
lies in the hands of the evil one, the devil, and the very atmosphere is filled with
his wicked power and presence. Satan (Eph. 2:2) will obviously resist believers
being caught up through his domain and becoming freed from his wicked
worldly system. Remember he is called “prince of the power of the air?
Therefore, the trumpet commands the angels, “Prepare for battle! Clear the
way for the catching up of those resurrected bodies and those living believers!”
2. To all believers the trumpet blast will mean “Prepare to worship!”
In Numbers 10:1-3 we read, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Make
thee two trumpets of silver . . . that thou mayest use them for the calling of the
assembly . . . and when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall
assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle
Regarding the rapture trumpet, Numbers 10:4 seems to be especially significant:
“If they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the
thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.”
At the rapture only one trumpet is sounded, suggesting that in God’s sight
believers occupy a place of utmost importance. We are all “head princes” in the
mind of God.
Illustration 3: Reason why Satan will interfere
Our transformation will be quick (in a twinkling of an eye) but not our transportation (not literally
mentioned). Elijah when he was transported up to heaven was taken by whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11).
Why whirlwind, chariot and horses of fire?
The two witness in Rev. 11:11-12 ascended up to heaven in a cloud being seen by their enemies.
The Lord ascended up to heaven not in a very quick way. (Acts 1:9)
VI. Our New bodies
A. Our new bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body. He “shall change our vile
body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working
whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).
B. Christ is able thus to create new bodies for us in a moment, just as when He created
all things in the beginning: “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9).
1. It is a real, physical body (Lk. 24:36-43).
2. It is an incorruptible body (1Cor. 15:42). It is not subject to decay and infirmity.
3. It is a glorified body (1 Cor. 15:43). This speaks of the kingly glory of the
resurrected Christ in which the believer will share.
4. It is a spiritual body (1Co 15:44). This does not mean the resurrection body is
not physical, which would contradict the entire testimony of Scripture; it means
the resurrection body is not natural like man’s present body. 1Cor. 15:44
contrasts the natural body with the spiritual body. Both are real bodies, but they
are different types of bodies. In man’s present condition, man’s spirit is subject
to the body to a large degree; in the resurrection, the spirit will control the
body. Of the cherubim, the Scripture says, “Whithersoever the spirit was to go,
they went” (Ezek. 1:20). This will be true for the resurrected believer.
5. It is an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:53). This means it is not subject to death.
VII. When will it happen?
A. The Bible teaches the imminent return of Christ
B. It could happen any moment. This describes Christ’s teaching regarding His coming
for church-age saints (1Th. 1:9-10; Tit. 2:12-13; M. t 24:42-44; Jas. 5:8-9; 1Jn. 2:28;
Rapture is our blessed hope and it could happen any moment from now. Are you ready
to be raptured or to be taken up? If not yet it’s time for you to repent from your sins and
receive Christ as your personal Saviour. For those you are already saved, be patient,
whatever your situation is, hold on, Christ is coming.