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Rapture “Mystery” Revealed

With so much controversy involving the topic of the Rapture boiling today, I thought it good to look a little closer at that event internally. That is, it might prove interesting to examine the Rapture within the Pre-Trib view to look at a divide that exists.

Mostly, preachers don’t want to address prophecy or, in particular, the doctrine of the Rapture at all. Since the call of Christ to His Church is next on God’s calendar of events, in the view of Pre-Trib proponents, ignoring this great promise of rescue from human history’s most terrible time is something that both baffles and disturbs.

We who are familiar with that great future event know, at least cursorily, the differences within the various views of when the Rapture will occur. Whether it will happen Post-Trib, Mid-Trib, Pre-Trib, etc. is sometimes hotly expressed by the various proponents. However, the vast numbers of preachers in America’s pulpits today would tell you that the Rapture is a mystery to them, as is most of Bible prophecy.

Indeed it is a “mystery” to them, because they never have opened their Bibles with the thought toward looking into the Rapture–the very thing Paul said is a ” mystery” he was showing us–that is, showing believers. They like to use the joke: “I’m a Pan-Millennialist. I believe it will all just pan out in the end.”

Again, it isn’t the hot debate between the Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, and Post-Trib views of the Rapture I wish to address. To me, the debate is over. The Pre-Tribulation view is the only one in total context of what the Bible says about that great promise that rings true–that makes sense. Paul’s “mystery” unveiled, from the Pre-Trib perspective, is what I hope to dissect a bit.

The Scripture, of course, that sets up this great event is as follows:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Paul says he is presenting a “mystery.” That is, he is dealing with an heretofore unknown matter–unknown to (not understood by) believers in Christ. And this “showing” of this “mystery” is the nuance of truth I wish to examine within the Pre-Trib view of the Rapture–the view I’m convinced is the one the Bible presents through Paul’s unveiling of this most important doctrine.

The seminaries within fundamentalist-evangelical Christianity hold mostly that the Rapture was never dealt with in anyway whatsoever until Paul “revealed” it. The most academically inclined among these will tell you that this “mystery” was never alluded to in the Old Testament. They go on to say it was never mentioned in any way by Jesus and the prophets. It is, they say, only in the Pauline epistles that the Rapture is unveiled.

I believe this is untenable, except by those who refuse to consider that Paul was “showing” the mystery–the mystery of the Rapture that had already been made manifest. He was explaining it, not just pulling it out of the hat for the first time. Paul was unveiling the Truth about what Jesus, Himself, indeed had alluded to as given in the Gospel accounts.

The first mention of this “mystery”–the Rapture–by the Lord we look at was recorded by John:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3) 

Jesus said that He will “receive” us to Himself, exactly like Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 15:51 when he says we will be changed–transformed–for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15: 50). That translation into Christ’s presence Paul further unveils in the following prophecy:

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. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

The next words of our Lord about this “mystery” Paul is “showing” us is found in the Gospel of Matthew–in what is known as the Olivet Discourse:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Matthew 24:36-41)

Jesus further gave prophecy regarding that future, catastrophic break-in on human history as recorded in Luke 17:26-30. I think it is unfortunate that the most purely academic among fundamentalist theologians within the ranks of Pre-Trib Rapture proponents can’t see Jesus’ “mysterion” mention of the Rapture in the Gospels–the “mystery” Paul is plainly unlocking for understanding for all believers.

I believe that we are very near the moment of being the generation of believers who will be beneficiaries of that twinkling-of-an-eye moment when the Lord shouts, “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1).




  1. Julie says:

    Always have ‘wondered’ about Matthew 24 passage – DOES it refer to rapture OR second coming?


    • Terry James says:

      Jesus’ prophecy on the “days of Noah” and “days of Lot” in Matthew 24: 36-42 and Luke 17: 26-30 could not be referring to the time of His Return in Revelation 19:11.

      At the Second Advent, when Christ comes back at Armageddon, things will not be “business as usual” with the planting, building, marrying and all of the normal things of life going on. Perhaps as many as three-fourths of the world’s population will have died violently through God’s Wrath and Judgment and Antichrist’s atrocities.

      Jesus says He will break in suddenly on a relatively normal circumstance, regarding the carrying on of life as usual.

      Judgment will fall that very day when He catastrophically Intervenes –just like God Intervened with the flood of antediluvian times and at Sodom during Lot’s day.

  2. willie williams says:

    Hi Mr. James:    My name is Todd Church.  I have been following your blog for quite some time now and enjoy your teaching s and insights very much.  You and I have something in common.  I’d like to discuss a few things with you if you have the time. God BLess, Todd Church

  3. Hello, glad to meet you via mariasettles’ reblog. Grateful every time I find another saint teaching Scriptural truth.

    I appreciate your information in the comment above about Jesus’ “days of Noah” reference, for you have convinced me it IS a reference of His to His coming FOR His Bride and not WITH her, as I had been understanding.

    Please do see that Jesus also addresses the rapture in John 14:2-3 and in Rev. 3:10.

    In the former, He is telling His 11 remaining disciples with whom He has just entered into covenant that He will come FOR them, now His Bride, in accordance with the Jewish wedding custom of that day. The Lord has just led me to write of it starting in Part 4 forward in this series “Our Exalted Position.” (Rev. 3:10 is addressed in a subsequent part.) Please read from Part 4 forward (if the Lord so leads you).

    God blesses us ALL as we press into Him about such mysteries as “the Christ!”
    Our Exalted Position – The Lord Is With Us

  4. Shirley Huesman says:

    Terry – What do you base your comments on regarding we are the generation that will partake in the Rapture? What is a generation? I know you base this on scripture, but children who are present in this generation would see the signs that Christ is coming soon, yet they are not of the generation that we are. Please explain. This has always been confusing for me. Thanks!

    • Terry James says:

      Generation is a term that can be tightly defined or loosely defined. It can mean those born approximately 20 years apart, like, for example, a mother and her daughter. That is the way the term is most often used in today’s vernacular. I.e., we have “Baby boomers,” Generation X,” “Millennials,” etc.

      The term generation can also be used to denote an entire lifespan. For example, the Bible says in one instance that lifespan of a generation is three score and ten. All who are alive in that period is part of that general time-frame, or generation.

      The subtitle of my new book “15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind,” encapsulates both definitions, I think.

  5. Rick says:

    This seems to me an old testament prophesy foretelling a pretrib rapture. It’s amazing how intricately that God has put together his word.

    Isaiah 26:19-21 (NKJV) Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead.
    Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past.
    For behold, the Lord comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.

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