The Outer Darkness
What and Where is Outer Darkness?
Where is rapture mentioned in the Bible?
Dear John, God Bless your beautiful heart and thank you for writing. The word "rapture" is not found anywhere in the Biblical texts and is a term used by some to describe what they call an early departure of the church. This is not sound Biblical doctrine and we are enclosing a teaching to help you discover what the Bible teaches regarding this important matter.
In 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul said in verse 15 "This we say unto you, BY THE WORD OF THE LORD.... Paul was quoting and using the Word of the Lord to show them their hope. The hope found in 1 Thess. 4 with its trumpet, angels, shout and voices was written down in the Word of the Lord in the Old Testament.
Also, in 1 Corinthians 15 when writing about the same hope of resurrection (which some call the "rapture" ) he says in verse 54-55 "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 IN VICT0RY. O' DEATH WHERE IS THY STING? O' GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY?" If Paul means what he says, and says what he means, the hope of 1 Corinthians 15 was prophesied in the Word of the Lord.
Paul is quoting from two different books in the Word of the Lord, Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 25:8 to show the Corinthians their hope. This agrees with what Paul said in Acts 26:22 where summing up his Acts ministry said "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should came". Paul's Acts ministry and what he wrote in his Acts epistles can be found in the Old Testament Scriptures and that includes the hope he wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 .
In this article we will show you that the hope that Paul wrote about in 1Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 is not only found in the Old Testament Scriptures but was taught by Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry in Matthew 24 and other places. That this runs contrary to what is taught in most Bible Churches today is certain, but there are as many "doctrines and traditions of men" in Bible churches , as there are in denominational churches in this country.
For years it has been the "party line" in most Bible Churches that 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 is the hope of the church today, and that no one knew or wrote about this hope prior to Paul. This doctrine has been preached for so long and so loud that Christendom accepts this with no questions asked. But yet, we just read that what Paul said to the Thessalonians about their hope, he said to them BY THE WORD OF THE LORD. And we read in 1 Corinthians 15 that when that resurrection takes place Old Testament Scriptures would be brought to pass.
The question that Bible Believers need to answer these days is who are we going to believe? Are we going to believe what the preachers say because they have been saying it for so long and loud, or are we going to believe what the Bible says, where it says it, as it says it? We should always endeavor to study to show ourselves approved before God, and let the traditions of men fall where the may, no matter what the cost.
Let it be said at the offset of this article that we do not believe that the hope of the church today is found in I Corinthians 15 or 1 Thessalonians 4. We believe that God revealed a new and better hope to Paul after the Acts period and that it is found in his prison epistles.
If you are serious about your Bible study, and you want to get to the bottom of this issue and find out for yourself if what we are saying is true, we recommend you get 3 Bibles and lay them out before you. Open one to Matthew 24, another to 1 Corinthians 15, and the other to 1 Thessalonians 4. The subject is the same in all 3 books, and it is resurrection. We are going to compare what Jesus says about the resurrection in Matthew 24, which He taught during His earthly ministry, with the resurrection Paul wrote about in 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4. If Jesus and Paul say the same thing, then they must be talking about the same resurrection. On the other hand, if they say contradictory things about the resurrection; then they are not speaking of the same resurrection. In Matthew 24 Jesus taught the 12 apostles about a resurrection and He said in verses 29-31... "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coning in the clouds of heaven with power aril great glory. And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."( Mark 13:27 "from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven") Let's compare what Jesus says here with what Paul says.
Verse 30, "they shall see the Son of man COMING"
Verse 29, "For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the COMING of the Son of man be"
In I Cor. 15:22-23 Paul wrote, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits ; afterward they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING".
In I Cor. 1:7 he wrote, "So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST".
In I Thess. 4:15 he wrote "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"
The hope of the Acts Believers was the coming of the Lord. Paul mentions it 10 times in his Acts epistles. Check them out and see for yourself, I Cor. 1:7, 4:5, 11:26, 15:23, 2 Thess. 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23, 2 Thess. 1:10, 2:1.
Now, if the Lord has already come once to die for sinners, then the coming we have been reading about must be his second coming, right? Why is it so hard for Bible Believers to admit that? Bible believers often say that their hope is not the second coming of Christ, but it is the "rapture" and quote I Thess. 4:15! If our eyes are not deceiving us, doesn't Paul say they would be caught up at the COMING of the Lord? And doesn't he mention His coming 10 times in his Acts epistles? And if Christ has already come one time, wouldn't this be his second coming?
Verse 30 says, "They shall see the Son of man coming in the CLOUDS OF HEAVEN"
In 1 Thess. and 1 Cor. 15 when Jesus comes He COMES IN CLOUDS.
Verse 17 says, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them IN THE CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air". If you want to know were the clouds are, look up into the air, and you will see them. It's the clouds in the lower atmosphere that is being referenced in these Scriptures.
Verse 31, "And He shall send forth his ANGELS"
In 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15 when Jesus comes in the clouds He will COME WITH ANGELS.
In 1 Thess. 4:16 it says, "HE will descend from heaven with... the voice of the ARCHANGEL."
Michael is the archangel and the prince of Israel (DAN 12:1-2) and where Michael goes so does HIS ANGELS, read Rev. 12:7.
Verse 31, "And he shall send his angels with a great SOUND OF A TRUMPET"
In 1 Thess. and 1 Cor. 15 when Jesus comes IN THE CLOUDS WITH ANGELS A TRUMPET IS BLOWN.
I Cor. 15:52 says, "FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND and the dead shall be raised" I Thess.4:16 says "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven ...WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD".
Verse 29 says "Immediately after the tribulation of those days... vs. 31 "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet".
The Trumpet in 1 Thess. 4 and I Cor.15 is specifically called THE LAST TRUMPET.
In I Cor. 15:52 Paul wrote, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the Trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised".
If Paul said they would be raised at the last trumpet that means there are other trumpets blown before it. There is no denying the fact that before the second coming of Christ trumpets are going to be blown. In Rev. 8-9-10-11 there will be at least 7 trumpets blown before Jesus comes. In I Cor. 15 Paul said the dead would be raised at the LAST TRUMPET. If there are 7 Trumpets blown before He comes which Trumpet is Paul referring to? That's easy, it's number 7 in Rev.11:15, and it so happens that when the seventh trumpet is blown in Rev. 11 a resurrection of the Saints takes place, they are judged and rewards are given out to them, read Rev.11:15-18. Also read 2 Cor. 5:8-11.
Every trumpet that is going to be blown before Jesus comes is found in the book of Revelation, so don't waste your time running all over the Bible, trying to find another trumpet to get around the last trumpet in I Corinthians 15. If a trumpet is going to be blown, if a seal is going to be opened, if a vial is going to be poured out in the tribulation, YOU WILL FIND IT IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION OR DANIEL. If it's not in those books don't waste your time running through the Bible to come up with another trumpet, vial, or, seal. (It's amazing what people and preachers will do, to get around that last trumpet!! Just believe The Book and relax; for if you are saved and have believed what is Truth for today written in the Prison Epistles you won't be here when the last trumpet blows anyway, for I Cor.15 and I Thess.4 is not your hope. God gave us a new and better Hope and it's found in the Prison Epistles of Paul and IT TAKES PLACE BEFORE THE FIRST TRUMPET EVEN BLOWS. We will lay out the details of this hope later, but in the Acts period, a pre-tribulation hope was unheard of.
WHEN THE RESURRECTION OF MATT. 24 TAKES PLACE, NOT ONLY WILL THE LORD DESCEND FROM HEAVEN IN THE CLOUDS WITH ANGELS AND A TRUMPET, BUT A VOICE WILL BE HEARD ALSO.
The voice is not mentioned in Matt. 24 but it is in JOHN 5:25, 28. It says "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live"
In I Thess. 4:16 Paul said "the Lord shall descend fray heaven WITH A SHOUT"
The shout is for the dead; the trumpet for those alive.
Verse 31 says "They shall GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Also read Mk.13:27)
In 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15 when Jesus comes WITH A SHOUT, A TRUMPET, AND ANGELS, HIS ELECT WILL BE GATHERED TOGETHER.
In 2 Thess. 2:1 Paul wrote "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM.
In verse 42 Jesus said "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
In these verses Jesus compares his coming with a thief breaking into a house. A thief comes suddenly and unexpected. He comes in and then gets out as fast as he can WITH THE VALUABLES AND JEWELS HE CAME AFTER.
In these verses, Jesus Christ is as a thief breaking into a house. The house is this world that the devil is the god of (Matt.12:29). As a thief breaks into a house, to take something of value out; His coming is to take his elect out of this world, so that he can destroy it along with the devil (II Pet.3:10).
THE RESURRECTION IN I THESS. 4 AND I COR. 15 WILL BE SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED ALSO.
In I Cor. 15:52 Paul said: "IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trump: For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised..."
When Paul says: "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," he is showing you HOW FAST that resurrection will take place. But when he says "AT the last trump", he is showing you WHEN it will take place. It will be sudden and unexpected, just like the hope of Matt. 24.
This fact is brought out by the Lord in John. 11. In John 11, Lazarus who was Martha's brother died and she wants Christ to raise him from the dead. And Jesus said unto her in vs. 23 "Thy brother shall rise again". Martha saith unto him, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said unto her: "I am the resurrection; and the life: he that believeth in me; though he were dead, yet shall he live. AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE.. BELIEVEST THOU THIS?"
When Jesus said, "he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live" He is referring to those who are dead when the resurrection of the last day takes place. And when He said "whosoever liveth and believeth in me" He is referring to those who are alive when the resurrection of the last day takes place and he says: "THEY SHALL NEVER DIE". When the resurrection of Matt. 24 takes place, those believers who are dead will be raised and those believers, who are alive, will be gathered together without dying.
In I Cor. 15:51 Paul said: "I shew you a Mystery; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, but we shall be changed..."
The Mystery of I Cor. 15:51 is not the resurrection, but it's the fact that there will be some caught up without dying. But this is a mystery hidden in the Scriptures, for in vs. 55 Paul quotes Isa. 25:8 which says "O Death where is thy sting?" In other words, in the Old Testament Scriptures, it was written down that somebody was going to get out of this life without experiencing the sting of death.
This is what Jesus is referring to in John 11 when he said "He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die." That was the only time that Christ mentioned that fact to anyone, and prior to Paul it was the general consensus that by the time that resurrection took place all believers would be dead. But God opened up the Scriptures to Paul and he was the first man to fully understand that fact and write about it. But, nevertheless, it was in the Old Testament Scriptures, even though concealed.
(Isn't it wonderful how the Bible opens up when you just believe what the words say and ignore what the preachers say?)
In I Cor. 15:54 Paul said when it takes place "THEN SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS THE SAYING THAT IS WRITTEN, Death is swallowed up in victory, O Death where is thy sting?" O Grave where is thy victory?"
When the resurrection of I Cor. 15 takes place, Old Testament prophecies concerning resurrection will be brought to pass, namely Hosea 13:14 and Isa. 25:8.
The resurrection Jesus describes in Matt.24 is the hope of the New Covenant that God made with Israel.
In Acts 28:20 Paul told the Jews in Rome "For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for THE HOPE OF ISRAEL, I AM BOUND WITH THIS CHAIN."
Paul refers to the Hope of Israel 4 times in Acts.
1. In Acts 23:6 he mentions the Hope as being resurrection 2. In Acts 24:15 he mentions the hope as being resurrection 3. In Acts 26:6-8 He mentions the hope as being resurrection 4. In Acts 28:20-23 he mentions the Hope in connection with the Kingdom of God.
The Hope of Israel was to be resurrected into the Kingdom of God, as a matter of fact; the only way they could get into the Kingdom of God was by resurrection.
That's exactly what Paul is showing the Corinthians in I Cor. 15. In that chapter he is showing them how to get into the Kingdom of God, and guess what he told them had to happen for them to get in? They had to be resurrected and changed. WHY? Because in vs. 50 he said: "Now this I say; brethren, that flesh and blood- cannot inherit the Kingdom-of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." And in vs. 51 he told them they would all be changed, and the change would take place in resurrection. I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 is the hope of Israel. The hope of Israel was resurrection into the Kingdom of God, which is exactly what Paul is writing about in this chapter.
You say: "How did Gentiles in that church end up with Israel's Hope?" Because in the Acts period, they were grafted into Israel the good olive tree, according to Rom.11:17. And being grafted into the tree, they partook of the fatness of the olive tree. The fatness of the olive tree were the blessings and promises made to the fathers, who were the root of the tree - Rom.15:2'7. And one of those blessings and promises WAS THEIR HOPE OF RESURRECTION.
In Matt. 24:11 Jesus said "Many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (A reference to apostasy) And in vs. 15 He said, 'Men ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the Holy place..." (A reference to the anti-Christ Dan. 11:31) In vs. 24 he said "there would be false Christ's; and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (A reference to the Devil working miracles)
In II Thess. 2:1 he wrote: "Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him; "that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor as by letter as from us that the day of Christ is at hand." The day of Christ in vs. 2, was his coming and their gathering together unto him in vs. 1. The Thessalonians were "all shook up" because somebody wrote then a false letter and told them it was at hand, that is, it had already taken place. Which, if it were true, they were left behind to face the wrath of II Thess. 1:8-9. So Paul to assure them that He had not come, tells them in vs. 3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not came, except there came a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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."
For years Bible believers have wrestled with these scriptures because they have been taught that the "so-called" Rapture in I Thess. 4 was a pre-tribulation rapture. We speak from personal experience for we once believed that, and every time someone would point out these verses to us, we did what so many continue to do today, do everything but believe them.
But, when we finally made up our minds to just believe what they say, the verses opened up to us like a flower! What is Paul saying? He is saying that the day of Christ in vs. 2 was His Coming and their gathering together unto Him in verse 1 which is the Hope found in I Thess. 4.
Somebody wrote a letter to them, forged Paul's name to it, and told them it was at hand, that is it had taken place. They were shook up, for if that were true, then they had missed it, which would mean they would be destroyed by the wrath of God of II Thess. 1:8-9. Paul writes this letter to assure them that they had not missed the Day of Christ, which is His Coming, which was their hope. But, that the Day of Christ would not take place until after a period of apostasy and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, which they knew, had not taken place.
(He also mentions the Devil working miracles in verse 9)
The point that we are making is the Hope of I Thess. 4 which was the Day of Christ, would not take place until AFTER a period of apostasy and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, just like the resurrection in Matt. 24. Don't get up tight thinking you're going to be here when the Anti-Christ is revealed, for if you have believed The Mystery you are in the Body of Christ and I Thess. 4 is not your hope. We have a new and a better hope found in the Prison Epistles, which can be found at: Hope, Promise and Calling. And that Hope takes place before the Tribulation ever begins, maybe years before.
We believe these 12 similarities between Matt. 24 arid I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 are enough to convince any fair minded believer that we have been looking at the same resurrection. If they are not the same then there will be two resurrections that will take place in the future at the same time that are identical. Well, the reason they are identical is because they are the same.
In conclusion we would like to point out that the Thessalonians as well as all of the believers saved under Paul's Acts ministry were given the revelation of a new and better hope of resurrection that God revealed to Paul after the close of the Acts period and it is found in his Prison Epistles. The Body of Christ which has it's citizenship in the Heaven of the heavens has ONE HOPE but it is not found in I Thess.4 or I Cor.15, it is found in the Prison Epistles and the family of God (Body, Bride, Wife and Guests) has ONE HOPE in Resurrection that will happen when He Who is The Resurrection and The Life appears for them.
When speaking of "Bible Things" we should use "Bible Names".
The word that most of Christians use today for resurrection is the word "Rapture". The word "Rapture" is not a Bible word at all. It does not appear in the Bible one time. Upon looking at its definition, it is a terrible word to use for resurrection. The word "Rapture" means, "Violence of a pleasing passion". "A state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion, ecstasy, or passion in a carnal, sensual, sexual manner". As a matter of fact the word "Rapture" comes from, the Latin word WHICH IS THE SAME LATIN WORD FOR RAPE. Why would anyone want to use a word for violent forceful rape as a word for resurrection???
Whenever Paul writes about resurrection he always uses the word "HOPE" (See Titus 2:13, Acts 28:20, Eph. 1:18). The word "HOPE" is the Bible name for resurrection not the carnal, sensual word "Rapture".
People use I Thess. 1:10 to try to prove that the resurrection in I Thess. 4 takes place before the tribulation period begins. They point out that it says they would be delivered from the "wrath to come" and that they were not appointed to wrath in I Thess.5:9. But, that cannot be true, for Paul also told them; they would be resurrected at the last trumpet in I Cor.15:52 and the last trumpet is the seventh of seven, which will be blown DURING the tribulation before Jesus comes at the end. Paul also told them that the day of Christ which was His coming and their gathering together unto Him, was not at hand, for it would be PRECEDED by a falling away and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, which all takes place DURING THE TRIBULATION, NOT BEFORE. (II Thess. 2:1-6) You cannot ignore these facts when reading I Thess. 1:10.
The question then that we must answer is, "what is the Wrath to Come?" That expression appears 3 times in the Bible, Matt. 3:7, Luke 3:7, and 1 Thess.1:10. In Matt.3 and Luke 3 it is identified as the day that Jesus comes in fire to burn up the chaff after He gathers the wheat into His garner. That day is at the VERY END of the tribulation just before He returns with His angels to destroy the wicked unbelievers (II Thess. l:7-9, Jude 14-15, Rev.19:11-21, I Thess. 5:2-9. II Pet. 3:10, Malachi 4:1-3).
Also the "wrath to come" that Paul wrote of in I Thess.1:10 will not come UNTIL AFTER THE LAST TRUMPET IS BLOWN (Rev.11:18) and it was at the last trumpet that they were to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. That's why Paul told them that they could "REST" when the wrath fell in II Thess.l:7.
If I Thess. 4 and I Cor.15 are the hope of the Church of the Body (notice we said "IF") and "if" God did not reveal a new and better Hope to Paul after the Acts period, then you can be assured that the Church of the Body will go through the tribulation just like Paul said.
And it would be false doctrine to preach a pre-tribulation resurrection. Further more, if you believe that I Thess. 4 and I Cor.15 is the hope of the church today then, you ought to be honest enough to preach that it will take place at the end of the tribulation and not before. We have more respect for a man that believes that I Thess. 4 is his hope and preaches that it will take place at the end of the tribulation than we do for a man that claims it as his hope but denies that it takes place at the end of the tribulation like Paul says it will.
We realize that what we just wrote is not going to be "well liked or received" by most Bible believers, but somebody has needed to stick their neck out and say this for a long time. We know this is not going to "win many friends, and influence many people "but somebody has got to be willing to become even as the filth and off-scouring of the world and be looked upon as an evil doer by God's own people, if that is what it takes for people to get their eyes open to what their hope is. The Devil is doing every thing he can to keep you from seeing the Truth about the Hope contained in the Prison Epistles.
When a ministry goes up against the doctrines and traditions of men that have been believed and taught for many years, it will usually find itself alone on the outside looking in. Some friends will turn against them and turn away from them and accuse them of being trouble makers. That's what happened to Paul and those who believed what he taught but he was willing to suffer abuse if that is what it took to show and reveal the Truth that God had revealed unto him.
It would be much easier to just go along with the religious system and preach their "rapture" as being the hope of the church today for the majority do. It would be much easier to just ignore and even deny what Paul said about the Hope in I Thess. 4 and I Cor. 15 like everybody else is doing. (we know for we did it for years in ignorance). But when God reveals His Truth from His Word and replaces the old hope with a Hope that is new and better, one can only change their thinking and preach Truth and trust in God others will see He always cares for us.
In other words, if God revealed a hope to Paul in his Prison Epistles that is different and better than the one he wrote about in his Acts Epistles wouldn't it be wrong to go on teaching the hope in the Acts Epistles as the Hope of the One Body today?
All God's Blessings, The Believers
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Today the principles of right division have been almost lost so we offer teachings from the Word of God that will illuminate how to rightly divide the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15 states "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". Click to learn more.