The Apostle Paul was given the ministry of the Grace of God, the gospel of our salvation. Scripture tells us he was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Consequently, the Holy Spirit did NOT give him copious amount of material concerning the time of the Tribulation but rather gave him the Word needed for us to fulfill our duty of living a life of testimony and giving the gospel of salvation to people so we can escape the Tribulation.

The end time prophecy for the world was given to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos. John being one of the three Apostles identified as having a Jewish ministry. This is not a coincidence but rather the design of God. In the book of Revelation there is a limited reference to the church. After the first three chapters of Revelation the word church cannot be found though in the seventh chapter you find the number which no man can number from every tribe of the earth having been rescued from the Tribulation. These are rescued “out of” great Tribulation by an event we call the Rapture.

We learn of the Rapture from the Apostle Paul which was chosen to reveal to the church the seven mysteries of God. This event is not a reference to the Resurrection but a totally before unknown event. This is why it is identified as a “mystery”. The Resurrection of the dead is spoken of many times in the Old Testament and again during the kingdom ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. To qualify as a “mystery” it must be speaking of a previously unrevealed event.

1Cor.15:[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

[52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

[53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

[54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

[55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

[56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

[57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

[58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

What we see is a quick spontaneous calling away of the body of Christ as a whole. A harvesting if you would of not only dead saints of the past but those who are alive at the time of the event. A time when we will receive an eternal body made like Jesus’ glorified body. Verse 58 indicates it is a time when Christians will receive rewards for our labors of this life for the cause of Christ.We find more details of this in First Thessalonians:

1 Th 4: [13] 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.

[14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

[15] 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.

[16] 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:

[17] 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.

[18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Having written of what is to happen to us which are alive at the time of the Rapture, the Apostle Paul reveals what is to happen to those who have already died in the body of Christ and the order of the Rapture.
First let us notice it is the Lord Himself who comes down to receive us and NOT the angels which are in Heaven. Thus, this is NOT the harvesting spoken of in Revelation nor in the Gospels which speaks of a gathering done by angels.

Secondly it is the dead which come out of the grave before we are taken out and changed.

Thirdly, this occurs in the air and NOT on the earth. At the Second Advent Christ lands on the Mount of Olives and rescues the Jews (Zech 14)

The timing of this event is not expressly given but some details are.

  • We are to be NOW waiting in expectation for an imminent return of the Lord.
  • We are told there will be a falling away first and many shall depart from THE faith.
  • It will occur with the blowing of the Last Trump which is blown in the Jewish Feast of Trumpets.
  • We are told it saves us from the wrath to come.

Romans 5: [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

[9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

 

1Thessaloninans 1: [9] For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

[10] And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1Thessalonians 5: [8] But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

[9] For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

[10] Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

 

Notice “the” wrath not just any wrath but “THE” wrath.

We are waiting for Jesus to return to deliver us from the wrath to come. Which wrath? The wrath of Hell? Surely, we have been saved from that already knowing we are already sitting in heavenly places in Christ.

Any honest theologian would be hard pressed to make this wrath any other aside from the wrath poured out on mankind during the Tribulation.

In Romans chapter eleven we told the blindness of the nation of Israel which exists to this day cannot end until we the body of Gentile believers are harvested home.

Romans 11: [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

[26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

 

In short the mystery of: the church the bride of Christ, indwelling of Jesus in the believer, the gospel, Israel’s blindness, all culminate in this one event the Rapture.