The Rapture (1)
When you start talking about the Rapture, you can make a lot of people upset right off the bat, because of their lack of knowledge of Godís word. Their belief was past down through the generations to them and even taught in their churches all of their lives. So, it is hard for them to let go of their conviction about the rapture. They donít want to believe that they will have to go through the great tribulation. Even as Noah was protected during the great flood and Daniel was protected in the lions den and as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were protected in the fiery furnace. God will protect us during the tribulation. So many of Godís children do not study Godís word, the Bible, but depend on their pastors for knowledge. This can be very dangerous, because if you donít study the Word of God and research certain words in the Strongís Exhaustive Concordance, to go back to the original word used and what it means, then you donít know if the pastor is telling you the truth or not. Jesus warns us about those that come as Christian leaders. Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
E.W. Bullinger, Bible scholar; in his Introductory to "How to Enjoy the Bible", on page 6 writes:
"When we come to ask ourselves, and say, 'Where did I learn this?' 'How did I get this?' 'Who taught this to me?' it is astonishing to find out how much we have imbibed from man, and from tradition; and not directly and for ourselves, from the Word of God.
"All that we have learned from our youth up must be tested and proved by the Word of God. Where we find it is true we must learn it over again, from God. And where it will not stand the test of His Word we must be not only content, but thankful to give it up; and receive Divine revelation in the place of man's imagination."
Even though the Rapture Theory started back in 1830 by Margaret Mac Donald from Glasgow, Scotland, a mentally ill woman who had a vision about how the Lord descends in the clouds and calls his saints to rise up and meet him in the air. You can research this in any library. Over the last 20 or 30 years the Rapture Theory has really accelerated in a great number of the churches, by people wanting to exploit this and to have financial gain through books, tapes and movies (the any moment doctrine). The rapturists teach the any moment doctrine of Jesusí return, but the any moment really is sudden death through natural causes or accidents. What is most amazing about the Rapture theory is that the Bible is not unclear at all about when Jesus Christ returns? Jesus returns at the 7th trump, the last trump, after the Antichrist has been standing in Jerusalem claiming that he is God here to rescue you; there is no secret rapture.
Letís see what the Word of God says, as Paul teaches.
You see the Sadducees were going around telling everyone that there was no resurrection and that there was no life after death. This was becoming a concern for the Christian people, because they had some loved ones that have died and it has been several years since Jesus left this earth. So, Paul tries to comfort the Thessalonians and us.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV)
 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Paul gets right to the point, the subject is ďWhere Are The DeadĒ, those which are asleep in the Lord.
 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him.
Paul says that if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we should also believe that God will bring with him our Christians friends and relatives that are already changed into the spiritual body. Jesus will bring them with him, because they are already in heaven see 2 Cor. 5:6&8 and Ecclesiastes 12:6&7.
 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.
We canít prevent or precede those who have died and are present with the Lord, because they are already there.
 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:
You ask anybody in church where are the dead and they will say that they are with the Lord. So, why in the world would God have to raise them from the graves? They are already with him. We sure donít want this flesh body back again. Letís look in the Strongís Concordance at the word rise.
Rise in Strongís Concordance G450 ἀνίστημι anistēmi an-is'-tay-mee
From G303 and G2476; to stand up (literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively): - arise, lift up, raise up (again), rise (again), stand up (-right).
G2476 ἵστημι histēmi his'-tay-mee
A prolonged form of a primary word στάω staō (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively): - abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up).
It means to stand-up or present. So the ďdead in ChristĒ, those who have died believing in the Lord, who are with Him now, will present themselves or stand-up first when Christ returns.
 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.
This is a key verse that the Rapture Doctrine comes from. Letís look at the word clouds; Paul uses the same colloquial Greek in Hebrews 12:1 when he refers to a great cloud of witnesses, meaning a group of witnesses. ďIn the cloudsĒ is an expression that means ďin a groupĒ. Christ is returning to the Mount of Olives where He will stand. That is where we will gather to Him, not in the clouds. There are many figures of speech, analogies, metaphors, etc. that the Holy Spirit uses in the Bible as tools of communication to better teach us.
In 1 Cor. 15th chapter Paul showed us that there are two bodies; the flesh body and the spiritual body. Paul also showed us a mystery that we would not all die before Christ comes back and a secret that we who are alive would be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye into our spiritual bodies.
Letís look at the word ďairĒ in verse 17. This verse really sounds like we are going to fly into the clouds, up, up and away into the air.
Air Strongís #G109 ἀήρ aēr ah-ayr'
From ἄημι aēmi (to breathe unconsciously, that is, respire; by analogy to blow); ďairĒ (as naturally circumambient): - air. Compare G5594.
The Greek word translated ďairĒ is aer, which also means to breathe or respire. It refers to our spiritual body, our ďbreathĒ of life body. Remember the secret? We gather back to Christ, along side our Christian friends and relatives who have since passed away and are coming with Jesus, in our spiritual bodies.
 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Paul wants to clarify his previous letter 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Thessalonians were beginning to worry about Christís return.
2 Thess. 2:1-8
 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,
The subject is "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering unto Him".
 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Paul is saying; donít let false teachers confuse you about when our Lord returns or be confused by our first letter in 1 Thess. 4:13-18. Paul is about to tell them (us) what to look for before our Lord returns.
 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Paul says, the great apostasy (falling away) will come first and that man of sin is revealed. Satan himself; the instead-of-christ will be revealed. The falling away is not from church meetings, but from the truth being taught in Godís house; False prophets, teaching false doctrines, to Godís people. In Amos 8:11 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land-- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.
 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as god sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Letís look at the word Anti-Christ in the Strongís Concordance:
Anti- Christ G500 ἀντίχριστος antichristos an-tee'-khris-tos
From G473 and G5547; an opponent of the Messiah: - antichrist.
Letís Look at the word Anti in the Strongís Concordance:
Anti G473 ἀντί anti an-tee'
A primary particle; opposite, that is, instead or because of (rarely in addition to): - for, in the room of.
Satan himself will come as the instead of Christ claiming to be God and setting in the temple of God; deceiving a lot of Godís people. Satan is going to claim to be Jesus and that he has come to rescue Godís people.
In Ezekiel 13:20-23
 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
 Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
 Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Letís look at the word pillows
In the Strongís concordance the word comes from:
Pillows H3680 כּסה kâsâh kaw-saw'
A primitive root; properly to plump, that is, fill up hollows; by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy): - clad self, close, clothe, conceal, cover (self), (flee to) hide, overwhelm.
God is saying that he is against you covering up Jesusí outstretch arms that welcome his people to him, with your lies; to hunt the souls to make them fly. It makes God mad for people to teach that his people will fly out of here. The Antichrist, Satan, will have all the credentials necessary to convince the world that he is in fact the Messiah that has come. This will happen at the sixth trump, BEFORE Christ returns.
 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
Paul is reminding them that he covered all this when he was with them, but false teachers had been up to "no good".
 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
The word what is the same Greek word that is translated as who in verse 7 and it should be who also. Some teach that the church is restraining satan from coming and some teach that the Holy Spirit is restraining satan. That the Holy Spirit will be removed when the church is raptured out and satan will come. This is not documented in our Lordís Word. The he who now restrains satan is Michael The Archangel. See Rev. 12:7-9 below:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Where is satan now? In Rev. 12:7 it says there was a war in heaven, why? Because satan is there. Heís in heaven behind Jesus, where Jesus commanded him to be.
Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The word high as in ďhigh placesĒ in the Strongís concordance means heavenly places.
You see satan is in heaven making accusation against us Rev. 12:10. His spirit is here on earth just like Jesus Christís Holy Spirit is here on earth.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Now you know satan is in heaven and he will be cast out by Michael The Archangel. Satan was here in person in the Garden of Eden and was around until he tempted Christ and Christ put him behind Him. Satanís evil spirit roams this earth seeking whom it can devour, but thank God that Christís Holy Spirit is here to comfort us. When satan and his angels are cast out of heaven by Michael, then will that wicked one be revealed.
Rest assured that the day of our gathering back to Christ will not come until after satan himself shows up claiming to be God. The anti-christ will set himself up in the temple of God, saying that he is here to rescue you.
Next study we will see what Christ has to say about the end times.
May God Bless You
Servant of Jehovah
Godís Letter To Us, The Bible