Part 4 - Concerning The Hope Offered to Israel During The Acts Epistles

This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called Comparing Israel's Hope of ‘Resurrection’ with the Gentiles ‘Appearing’ in Glory.

When speaking of “Bible Things” we should use “Bible Terms.” The word that most Christians wrongly 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 – RAPTURA; “seizure, rape, kidnapping,” from Latin raptus “a carrying off, abduction, snatching away; rape” (see or 15:.). The earliest attested use in English is with women as objects and in 17c. it sometimes meant rape (v.), which word is a cognate of this one. Why would anyone want to use a word for violent forceful rape as a word for resurrection?

Whenever Paul writes about the resurrection, he always uses the word “HOPE” (See Titus 2:13, Acts 28:20, Eph. 1:18). The word “HOPE” is a Bible word 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; “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV). 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, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”

But that cannot be true, for Paul also told them; ‘they would be resurrected at the last trumpet in I Cor.15:52,

“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.”

This “last trumpet” is the seventh of seven trumpets, which will be blown DURING the tribulation before Jesus comes at the END of the 7-year Tribulation period. Paul also told them that “the day of Christ.” which is to be His 2nd coming, and their gathering together unto Him, was not at hand, for it would be PRECEDED by both the “falling away first” and the revelation of the Anti-Christ, all of which takes place During The Tribulation, NOT BEFORE. (2 Thes. 2:1-6) You cannot ignore these facts when reading 1Thess. 1:10.

Having the foregoing, the question that we must answer is; “What then is ‘the Wrath to Come’?”

That expression appears 3 times in the Bible, Matt. 3:7, Luke 3:7, and 1 Thess.1:10.

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matthew 3:7 (KJV)
“Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Luke 3:7 (KJV)
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV)

In Matt. 3:12 and Luke 3:17 we see the “day of Christ,” as the day not only of Israel’s hope but also of “the wrath to come” which is identified as the very day that Jesus comes in fire to burn up the chaff AFTER He gathers the precious wheat [believers] into His garner [His barn].

Clearly, that day occurs at the VERY END of the 7-year Tribulation period. That same day He will returns with His angels to Destroy The Wicked Unbelievers (Matt. 3:12, 2 Thes. l:7-9, Jude 14-15, Rev.19:11-21, 1 Thes. 5:2-9. 2 Pet. 3:10, Malachi 4:1-3).

Note 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). For, it is at the last trumpet that the believers are to be caught up “to meet the Lord “in the air (1Thes 4:17). That’s why Paul told them that they could “REST [relax]” when the wrath fell as seen herein 2 Thessalonians 1:7 “And to you who are troubled rest [relax] with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (at His 2nd coming ‘in wrath’).

IF I Thess. 4:15-18 and I Cor.15:51-55 speak of the hope of the church which is “the Body of Christ” today (which it is not, notice we said “IF”) and “IF” God did not reveal a new and better Hope to Paul after the Acts period as seen in Paul’s post-Acts epistles of Ephesians, Philippians. Colossians, Titus and 2Timothy, then you could be assured that “the church, which is His Body” would go through the tribulation just as Paul said. But in fact we have Paul’s latter epistles of his post-Acts ministry concerning “the mystery [secret]” of the Gentile “body of Christ.” Therefore, it would be false doctrine to preach a post-Acts a pre-tribulation resurrection (that many mistakenly call the rapture).

If you believe that I Thess. 4:15-18 and I Cor.15:51-55 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, not before.

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 declare the truth by comparing Scripture with Scripture as we have here. The Devil is doing everything he can to keep believers from seeing the whole UNIQUE Pauline Truth about the Hope contained in Paul’s Prison Epistles (Ephesians through Philemon).

When we go up against the religious doctrines and religious 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 may turn away from US and accuse us of being trouble makers. Isn’t that exactly 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 reveal the Truth that God had revealed unto him.

It would be much easier to just go along with the religious system and falsely preach their ‘rapture to heaven’ as being the hope of the church today as the vast majority do. It would be much easier to just ignore and even deny the contextual truth of what Paul said about “the Hope” of 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15. 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 the Truth for today, trusting that others will see how He always cares for us.

In other words, if God revealed a hope to Paul in his Prison Epistles AFTER the Acts period, which is different and better than the one that 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 of Christ” today?

The concept and portions herein have been enlarged, adapted, and enhanced by Arthur J Licursi, being drawn from: