Friday, December 08, 2006

Eschatology 101 (Part 13)

"and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31)

What is this gathering of his elect? Several times through scriptures the return of Christ is coupled with a gathering together of those who belong to Christ. For example in John 14 Jesus tells this disciples that he is leaving, but "... I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:3)

This event is some times called "the rapture". The word "rapture" comes from the Latin verb "rapere" which means "to carry off, abduct, seize or take forcefully". It was used in the Latin Vulgate (about 405 A.D.) translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which is a key verse about the gathering of the saints to Jesus Christ.

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)

Again we see the familiar pattern, Jesus returning with Angels (even Archangels), with the sound of a trumpet and then a gathering of the saints (both dead and alive).

1) Clouds 2) Angels 3) Trumpets 4) The gathering.

We are told that the dead in Christ will rise first and then those who remain, those alive will be taken up (raptured) to be with those we where just resurrected and to be with Jesus.

How does one qualify for this resurrection? Did you notice how 1 Thessalonians 4:16 puts it, "And the dead in Christ will rise first". This is the key, it is those in Christ.

Next time we shall look at what that means.

God bless,


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