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Mystery Un-muddied

Satan, the great deluder–the infernal illusionist–has muddled one of God’s most wonderful promises. As a matter of fact, it is the second most wonderful promise in God’s Word. Both promises, numbers one and two, are inextricably linked.

Paul the apostle reveals that second promise 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 further elucidates this tremendous promise of God to those who belong to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ: “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Again, Satan–Lucifer, the fallen one–has used every nefarious tool in his bag of tricks to muddle this great promise from the Almighty. He has particularly done so during the last several centuries.

Muddling this promise fits into the devil’s scheme to strike at the very heart of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. That plan–the salvation of the souls of lost human beings–is the first of the two great promises from the heart of God. This first is linked to the second by the one and only way to receive redemption, explained by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is that link. The Lord answered His disciple, Thomas: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14: 6).

Man’s understanding of how to “cometh to the father” is the  matter Satan desires to muddy. He has done a dangerously good job of doing so.

Even the current pope of the Roman Catholic Church preaches that there are many ways to Heaven. This is in direct violation of what the Lord Jesus Christ said. He is the perfect, sinless, Lamb who died, was buried, and resurrected for the redemption of mankind and should know. Yet the religionists of the world promote their own particular ways to attain salvation.

Again, Pope Francis has said that everyone–even atheists–will one day be redeemed. Satan has indeed managed to darken humanity’s pathway to redemption.

So, it is no wonder that there is such controversy–so much misunderstanding and deliberate confounding–about this second most important promise so closely linked to salvation itself. Sadly, in my view, even Christian theological seminaries join in the corruption of truth regarding this great “mystery” Paul unveiled in that 1 Corinthians 15 account of the Rapture of the Church. These institutions for the most part hold that Jesus’ own words about this great promise to God’s people–the Church–have nothing to do with the Rapture.

Paul called this event a “mystery” that he was revealing. He was, he said, showing the facts surrounding that promise to all believers of this Church Age (Age of Grace). The seminaries for the most part say that this was the first unveiling of the Rapture–that Jesus or the prophets never previously revealed this promise of snatching believers from Planet Earth, both living and dead.

I beg to differ–dogmatically.

Paul the great apostle was revealing a mystery that was, until that point, wrapped up in the words from the lips of the Creator of all things–Jesus, Himself. The Lord told His disciples about His coming death and going to the Father. But, they understood none of it. It was a complete mystery to them. Paul unveils the truth of what Jesus was promising. That is the “mystery” the apostle was showing all believers who were to come afterward.

Here is the mystery the Lord Jesus pronounced that Paul was later to reveal: “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 plainly laid out His next intervention into the affairs of mankind, as we have seen a number of times by examining the “days of Noah, days of Lot” prophecies of Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:26-30. It should be noted that most seminaries hold that this has nothing to do with Christ’s coming in the Rapture, just as they that deny John 14:1-3 has anything to do with the Rapture.

These teach that, in both instances, the Scriptures involved allude to Christ’s Second Advent (Revelation 19: 1), not the Rapture. Again, I adamantly disagree.

Jesus says in John 14:1-3 that He “receives” believers to Himself and goes with them directly to the Father’s House, where He, Himself, has prepared places for them. In the Second Advent, He comes all the way to Planet Earth, bringing the saints with Him from Glory.

In the “days of Noah, days of Lot prophecy,” He says that business on earth will be going along in a rather brisk fashion–indicating, perhaps, even a “boom.” At the Second Advent, when He comes back with the saints from Heaven, as many as three-fourths of humanity will have died due to the great wrath and judgment that will come upon the planet during the Tribulation, the last seven years preceding Christ’s Second Coming. That certainly will not be a time of “business as usual.”

We are in a time of economic “boom” at this very moment in America–although the evil in the world is raging and growing worse. That “mystery” taught by Paul the apostle, unveiling the words Jesus issued in prophecy as recorded in John 14:1-3, I believe, is “even at the door” (Matthew 24:33).


  1. Ole Birkland says:

    Thank you, Terry, for continuing to speak the truth, rather than compromise your message in the interests of ‘political correctness’, as so many have done.

  2. Susan Heinrich says:

    I’m confused. Jesus told the thief on the cross that “today you will be with me in Paradise. And, “absent from the body, present with the Lord.” I’ve always understood that when we die the soul goes immediately to Heaven and at the Rapture our changed bodies will be joined to our souls to meet Jesus in the air. Is this right?

    • Terry James says:

      When Jesus told the thief on the Cross that he would be with Him in Paradise, it was still during the Old Testament Economy. When people died, before the death, burial, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, people who died went to the center of the earth –to Paradise.

      Jesus had not yet died and descended into Hell (the Paradise side of the Abyss.)

      Jesus went there to preach to the lost in the other side of that place, then to “take captivity captive.” This means that Christ took all (the Saved) within the Paradise side of the Abyss to Heaven, where they will be for eternity.

      Now, during this Age of Grace, when the believer dies his or her spirit goes directly to be with Christ in Heaven. Therefore, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. This happens instantaneously upon death. It will happen instantaneously when the Rapture occurs. It will happen in the “twinkling of an eye”!

      • Ed Wood says:

        If I understand correctly, Terry, before Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the dead went to Sheol which contained a place of torment for the unrighteous and, as you said, Paradise, for those who had followed God based on the Old Testament standards. I believe this is what we see represented in Luke 16:19-31.

        When Jesus ascended, he took the righteous people with him while the evil people are still down there awaiting their resurrection and the judgment which will condemn them forever to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

        Do I have this right?

      • Terry James says:

        Ed, that’s my understanding too.

  3. Ed Wood says:

    One of the big misconceptions that people have is that the Bible is difficult to understand. Yes, some of it which involves symbolism, such as we find in Revelation, do require one to put in the effort to do some research, but the parts which reveal the means of salvation are clear as a bell: Jesus is the ONLY WAY! Period!

    Of course it doesn’t help that the “experts” step in and muddy up the waters, as you’ve said, Terry. The remedy is to read the Bible for oneself with an open mind and let God’s Holy Spirit do the rest. The lesson here is not to be misled by the so-called experts even if they wear clerical collars or have have an impressive collection of college degree letters following their names.

    Remember, the Sanhedrin of Jesus’ time was comprised of “experts” in the Hebrew scriptures – and all of them except Nicodemas and Joseph of Arimathea had it totally wrong about Jesus, didn’t they?

  4. mary says:

    I am in agreement with you Pastor! I believe as you do about the words Jesus spoke in John. There is also Hebrews 9 that says he will come again, not to deal with sin. We all know his second coming is to deal with Israel and to deal with the nations of the world. I guess the fact of the matter is that not everyone really studies God’s beautiful word, I personally love his word! For us to understand we must be in God’s Word very often keeping our minds set on things above. I think alot of people are focused more on worldly matters. Unfortunately!
    I think it’s like with Enoch, he walked with God and God took him. Enoch must have had a strong revelation of what was going to befall mankind, and it gave him an urgency to walk with God strongly! I believe when one believes Christ’s return is imminent it will cause one to walk strongly because you know what will befall humankind, and you are actually waiting for that return, after all it is why it’s called “The Blessed Hope”

    • Kim says:

      Well said and great insight, Mary! I never thought about the correlation of Enoch and the Rapture before. I agree that NOW is the time to walk strongly with God. I feel that urgency in my heart to know God and let Him be known before time runs out.

  5. Ed Wood says:

    Thanks, Terry, for answering my inquiry regarding what happened to the departed pre- and post- Jesus’ ascension. Even my “church days” before I left because most of organized religion tossed out the Bible, I never heard it presented in a sermon or Bible study. Nor, sadly, did Bible Prophecy receive much attention. According to what several people who had gone to seminary that I knew, that was the case in those institutions as well. That means at least one-third of what the Bible is virtually ignored.

    I’m glad you are around doing such a great job filling in all those gaps.

    God bless!

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