Bible Study Series: Resurrection, Rapture & the Redeemer
The Rapture, the Bridegroom & the Transformation
by I Gordon
- We'll begin with some thoughts on the Jewish background to scripture which help when exploring the following passages
- We'll look at revelation on the transformation - what is revealed in 1 Cor 15 about be transformed into His image
- We'll look at the revelation on the translation - what is revealed in 1 Thes 4 about the 'catching up' at the Rapture
- We'll end with a dream about the Rapture that a family member had
"When the night arrived for the wedding festivities to begin, and it was time to go for the bride, the groom was dressed as much like a king as possible. If he were rich enough to afford it, he wore a gold crown. Otherwise it would be a garland of fresh flowers. His garments would be scented with frankincense and myrrh.
THE APPAREL OF GROOM AND BRIDE - Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, Fred Wright.
- Firstly, note the speed of transformation: Paul says that this transformation from of this old tired body to a new spiritual body like Jesus' resurrection body, happens in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The Greek word translated moment is 'átomos'. This is the smallest possible period of time. The Complete Word Study Dictionary says 'This is the word from which "atom" is derived... When referring to time, it means an indivisible point of time, an instant, a moment." You might remember when John saw heaven open in Revelation chapter 4 and heard the voice saying 'come up here'? It says "immediately" he was before the throne. That is the same type of thought. Paul also says it will happen in the 'twinkling of an eye'. Now this does not meaning 'a blink'. Messianic Jewish believer Dr Arnold Fructenbaum writes "This is not a reference to blinking but to a sudden flash of recognition. It is like seeing a person and suddenly recognizing who he is." Imagine that you are in the supermarket, looking at noodles, peanut butter and hmmm chocolate. Suddenly you look up to see your friend John in the same aisle, right next to you. How long does it take from seeing him to recognizing him? It is in an instant. 'Oh its John' you think. Our brains do it instantly as long as our still eyes work as they should! When the Lord returns we shall see Him and before we can even say 'Oh it's the Lord!' we shall be changed - In a moment, an instant, an atom of time.
- Secondly, is there a further hint 'in the twinkling of an eye'? (A second look): There is another point to consider in this 'twinkling of an eye' phrase as it was a known Jewish idiom in Paul's day. This phrase was actually used for a particular time of the day, at twilight, at the moment that night began.2 So it is possible that Paul was also alluding to this change into Jesus' image occurring at the end of this day of grace, before the darkness of tribulation comes. Paul did remind us that we, as believers, are sons of the day and not of the night or darkness.
1Th 5:2-5 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. (3) While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (4) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; (5) for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;
- Thirdly note the time of transformation - at the last trumpet: Paul tells us that this shall occur at the last trumpet. Some believe this is pointing to the 7th trumpet in the book of Revelation but Revelation, and the disclosure about the 7 trumpets, would not be revealed to the Apostle John until 30 years later. Also the trumpets in Revelation deal with the judgements of God upon the earth where as this trumpet is to do with glorification of His bride. The answer of what the last trumpet alludes to is again found in the Jewish background. Paul gave the Corinthians four examples of how the Jewish feasts are fulfilled spiritually in this letter and this is one of them:
- The feast of Passover is referenced in 1 Cor 5:7 'Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.'
- The feast of Unleavened bread is referenced in 1 Cor 5:8 'Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.'
- The feast of Firstfuits is referenced in 1 Cor 15:20,23 'But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep... But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming.'
- And the feast of Trumpets is referenced here in 1 Cor 15:52 'in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.'
'It is evident from the fact that Paul used the definite article 'the last trump' that he expected the Corinthians to know what he was talking about. The only knowledge they would have of trumpets are those spoken of in the Old Testament, especially those of the Feast of Trumpets. The last trump refers to the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year. During the ceremony there are a series of short trumpet sounds concluding with one long trumpet blast which is called the Tekiah Gedolah, the great trumpet blast. This is what Paul means by the last trump. As such, it says nothing concerning the timing of the rapture; only that the rapture, whenever it occurs, will fulfil the feast of trumpets.'
Dr Arnold Fructenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah3
"Those who live in the modern western world do not catch the full significance of Jesus' promise. This is due to the fact that in His promise Jesus was drawing an analogy from Jewish marriage customs in biblical times. Since this is so, those marriage customs must be examined if one is to grasp the significance of the promise."
Dr Renald Showers4
|Jesus in John 14||Paul in 1 Thes 4|
|Firstly it is a message of hope and comfort: "Do not let your hearts be troubled" (vs 1a)||Comfort one another with these words (vs 18)|
|Secondly it is based on faith in Jesus: "Trust in God; trust also in Me" (vs 1b)||We believe that Jesus died and rose again (vs 14)|
|Thirdly it involves the personal return of Jesus: "I will come again" (vs 3a)||For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven (vs 16)|
|Fourthly it involves being taken to Jesus "And receive you to Myself" (vs 3b)||Then we... will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (vs 17a)|
|Fifthly it involves being with Him in the place He has prepared "That where I am, there you may be also" (vs 3c)||And so we shall always be with the Lord (vs 17b)|
At the end of the period of separation, the bridegroom came—usually at night—to take his bride to live with him. The groom, the best man, and other male escorts left the father's house and conducted a torch-light procession to the home of the bride. Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the time of his coming. As a result, the groom's arrival was preceded by a shout, which announced her imminent departure to be gathered with him.
Dr. Chuck Missler, Pattern is Prologue: The Rapture, Part 2: The Wedding Model,
The first thing she saw were lots of people standing outside in a country-side setting. She was among them. Everyone was looking up and no one was saying a word. They were all believers and they all knew that the Lord was coming very soon. And so they were silently transfixed on the sky. Nothing else mattered. And then she saw the Lord Jesus come down through the clouds, gloriously surrounded by a vast array of angels on every side. In her dream she didn't feel or see herself rise but suddenly, in an instant, the scene changed and she was in Heaven, bowed at His feet in worship. And she said that she had this overwhelming understanding that He had done it all! He had done it all. It wasn't worthy is the Lamb and look at me as well. There was no boasting. No pride. No high-fives with Jesus saying 'didn't I do well!?!' It was simply 'worthy is the Lamb'. She knew in all her being, that He had paid the full and ultimate price to save her and all she could do was fall at His feet in worship, amazed at the grace of this God who would allow Himself to be brought to the place of utter weakness on a cross so that we may be forgiven, cleansed, and given full rights as children of the living God!
I have written about this here:
Some other useful links are:
In another article Fructenbaum writes:
"The seven holy seasons of Lev 23 are fulfilled in the order in which they fall. What follows the feast of trumpets is the Day of Atonement, which was a day of Israel's national atonement coupled with the affliction of the soul. The Day of Atonement is to be fulfilled by the seven years of Tribulation , during which Israel will suffer afflictions leading up to her national repentance and restoration. And just as the feast of trumpets precedes the Day of Atonement, so will the rapture precede the seven years of tribulation."
I recommend you watch 'Before the wrath' as it is very good on this whole Jewish (and specifically Galilean) wedding model. The part about the bride being lifted up comes at the 1hour 4min mark.
Some points from this:
- There are lot's of 'Rapture dreams' going around. Just have a look on YouTube. Or maybe don't. We should always weigh what we read, hear and see by scripture and not external revelation... even if someone says it is a dream or word from the Lord. Does it line up with what scripture teaches is the most important rule.
- I might be a little biased on this dream (I mean, she is my Mum after all!) but knowing her walk with the Lord and the circumstances surrounding how she received it... and the fact that she couldn't at the time make this up as she knew nothing about it... well it makes me believe my Mum on this one (just this one time!)
- In my Mum's dream you will note that she saw everyone outside, looking up, knowing He was coming. This obviously stands in contrast with some books and movies about the rapture that have cars driving off the motorway and planes falling from the sky, exploding into large balls of fire... as believers are taken up. That is obviously pretty dramatic and makes for a explosive movie scene but personally, I don't see God causing chaos at the rapture. I think it is quite possible that believers will know He is about to come as that day or possibly hour comes close. Firstly the dead in Christ rise first before the rapture. Is this in an instant along with the rapture or is there a gap of time? Scripture isn't clear. But if there is a gap, even a short one, then this will be the biggest indicator ever that the time of the rapture is at hand! The book of Revelation also ends with 'the Spirit and the Bride say come'. I believe as that time draws close that the Spirit who dwells within us will start saying 'Come!' And the bride, prompted by the Spirit, will also say 'Come!' There could well be an internal "knowing" as that time draws near. And again, this might only be hours before the event. We don't know. But certainly, from what my Mum saw, the believers were outside, waiting and knowing that He was coming VERY soon!
- Take note also of the revelation and realization of God's utter incredible GRACE in my Mum's dream. When she was with the Lord she knew right through her entire being, that HE had done it ALL. We would do well to learn more about this while here, even before we see Him. But on that day we will fully grasp it!