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The Rapture of the Saints

The Rapture of the Saints



By: Jack Heckathorne Author of the book "Separation of Church and God, The Final Judgment"


The Rapture


The word “Rapture” is not found in the Bible. It is taken from the Latin word “Repair” which means to “snatch up.”  It has become a common term in theology to describe the event outlined in

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18. The Greek phrase Ex-Anastasis, though less common, is more accurate meaning, exit resurrection.

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus (believers who have previously died) will God bring with him. 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 (the rapture) shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

 (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)


The Bible speaks of Christ returning three times, once as the suffering Messiah, once in the clouds at the rapture, and once returning as a King to put down evil and establish his Kingdom on Earth for a thousand years.


Two things must happen in order for the Antichrist and the one world government to function unencumbered; the removal of the Church, i.e. believers at the rapture along with their resistance to the one world government, and the removal of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit “indwells” (lives in) every Christian, so the Christians must be removed as well. This will trigger the tribulation period.




Many people are confused about the timing of the removal of believers from the earth. In order to understand if it comes before, during or after the tribulation it is essential to know something about the theological “dispensations” (time periods) of the world’s history and how God deals with mankind in them.


There are 7 major dispensations. I have illustrated them in chronological order. God never changes but the way he deals with mankind changes in each dispensation.


ßEternity past


1. The Age of Innocence. Creation/Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

2. Age of Gentiles-Continued until the flood. Judgment of unbelievers.

3. Age of Israel-The history of Israel and God’s dealings the Jews.

4. Hypostatic Union-Jesus time on earth. The Cross

5. The Church Age– Interrupted the Age of Israel. Advent of the Holy Spirit.

6. The Tribulation– Final seven years of the Age of Israel. Removal of the Holy Spirit. Judgment of unbelievers. “Seven days of Years”

7. The Millennium-Gods kingdom on earth for 1000 years.


Eternity future >


The dispensations do not overlap. The church age and the age of Israel cannot exist at the same time. At the end of every dispensation there is always a major event. At the end of Innocence, it was the fall from Eden, at the end the Gentiles, there was the flood, at the end of Israel, there was first coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. At the end of the Church age, it will be the return of Jesus Christ in the clouds (the rapture) and at the end of the Tribulation, it will be the return of Jesus Christ to the Earth on the Mount of Olives as a conquering king. At the end of the Millennium the Earth will be destroyed by fire and finally the Great White Throne Judgment of all unbelievers.


We will start with the dispensation of Israel. It continued up until the time of Christ.

There were seven years left in this time period for the Jews, as God’s chosen people, to initiate the preaching the gospel around the world before the church existed. The problem is that the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Someone had to preach the gospel. Therefore, God interrupted the age of Israel and intercalated the Church age in which we now live. The great tribulation will be the last seven years of the dispensation of Israel which will occur after the church age. During these seven years the Jews will finally be convinced that Jesus is the true Messiah and will go forth with one hundred and forty four thousand witnesses in the face of the Antichrist.


Indwelling Holy Spirit


During the entire Old Testament, which includes the age of Israel, there was no indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is, the Holy Spirit did not live in the believer as he does in the church age today. [John 14:17, Jn 15:26, Jn 16:13] The Holy Spirit did not come until Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, which began the Church age. During the final seven years of Israel the Holy Spirit will be removed in order to fulfill the age of Israel just as it was before, without the indwelling Holy Spirit. This will require the removal of the church which consists of all believers. When Christ returns seven years later, after the tribulation, the entire church returns with him because the age of Israel will have been completed.


“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean…And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God…And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11,14,15,16)


So, since the Jews refused Jesus, God instituted the gentile church as a substitute for Israel to preach the gospel. He also chose a substitute nation (client nation) to be predominant in preaching the gospel. Many countries have been client nations. For example, in the 350 AD Ethiopia was the client nation for Christianity and very prosperous until the wars with Satan’s religion of Islam came along a couple of centuries later. Satan deceived them and eventually, they fell away from Christ. Various nations have been a substitute for Israel ever since. Currently, the United States is the client nation but, for the same reason, it is rapidly turning from God.


When the church has served its purpose-when the last person accepts Christ-the Church age will be over and it will be removed.  There will be a seven year peace deal between the Antichrist, the Palestinians and Israel which will mark the beginning of the final seven years of the age of Israel. Shortly after, or possibly immediately after, this event happens the rapture will happen. This peace deal will also allow Israel three and one half years to rebuild the temple. After 31/2 years the antichrist will be killed by someone and come back to life (mocking the resurrection of Christ) and then go to the Holy of Holies in the Temple and claim to be the Messiah.


 Is The Rapture after the Tribulation?


Obviously not, but this is something Satan wants Christians and non-Christians to believe for two reasons: He wants Christians to think that God will not deliver them from his wrath and to lull unbelievers into having a “wait and see” attitude concerning the acceptance of Christ so that he will have a much stronger hold on them during the tribulation.


We will receive our resurrected body at the Rapture. When Christ returns to the Earth at the end of the tribulation, with the saints to rule and reign for a thousand years, we will come with him to the Earth and already have our resurrected body. In addition, if this post-tribulation idea were true it would contradict the Bible when it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, that we will receive our resurrected body when we meet him in the clouds. In fact, it would preclude this event altogether.


The Seals


God will use a seal to protect the one hundred forty four thousand Jewish witnesses who become believers at the beginning of the tribulation.


“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev 7:4)


Everyone else on the Earth is an unbeliever. They will be stung by “locusts” of some sort which will be released from the bottomless pit prior to the time Satan is cast into it.


“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star (angel) fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.


And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.


And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Revelation 9:1-6)


What do we notice here? There are only two groups of people, the Jewish witnesses, who are sealed, and the unbelievers which do not have the seal of God. There are no Christians other than the 144,000 Jews. The church is gone. The Jews of Israel have changed their minds (repented) about Jesus as the Messiah and the 144,000 are preaching, so the church would not be necessary during the tribulation. Therefore, the Rapture must happen prior to the last seven years of Israel.


Evaluation Judgment of Believers


While the tribulation is happening on Earth, the believers, which have been previously raptured and have received a resurrected body, will be in Heaven being evaluated for their works which they did while they were on Earth. This is God’s judgment of the believer’s works and it will take place in Heaven.


“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day (of Judgment) shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”  (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)


. At the “Evaluation Judgment of believers” some will be called “great” and some will be called “the least.” We will be ranked similar to a military ranking, because we will rule and reign with Jesus on earth, in our indestructible resurrected spiritual bodies during the final one thousand year period of world history known as the millennium.


Some of you may be placed in charge of highly important things or personal assistant to the King and some of you may be dog catchers. Jesus will not have any important tasks for ignorant Christians, who have spent their life entertaining themselves and ignored his word, in his kingdom on earth.


“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so,( dead works) he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them,  (good works) the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19)


Christians, which make up a large percentage of the world’s population today, will be removed at the rapture and another one third of what is left will be killed in the battle of Armageddon and other battles. In addition, many will be killed because of Gods wrath being poured out in the form of his seven judgments upon the earth (possibly one per year.) This will leave the world sparsely populated at the end of the tribulation


The final three and one half years of the tribulation will be marked with war against Israel and God’s judgment upon mankind until Christ returns with all the believers in their resurrected bodies to rule and reign with him for a thousand years in God’s kingdom on Earth. We are preparing for our assignments now and with our knowledge and indestructible body we will have full power to carry out our assignments from our King, The Lord Jesus Christ.


The Holy Spirit has controlled history through Christians in the past to keep evil from becoming rampant in order that the Gospel could be taught and to fulfill prophecy, but once it is removed at the rapture Satan will have full control of the world, until his man, the antichrist and his armies of evil men, are destroyed seven years later by Jesus Christ himself. During this horrible tribulation period every being in the universe will be observing. They will see exactly what Satan would be like if he were a god. All love, knowledge, truth, happiness, power, life, wisdom, justice, creative ability, and righteousness originate from the true God and neither Satan, the angels or any human is capable of providing these things. Therefore, Satan is not qualified in any way to be a god. God has always known this and so will every other creature in existence at the end of the tribulation. Christ returns at the end of the tribulation to destroy the evil works of Satan.


Prior to the creation of man, God’s character was impugned by Satan and his fallen angels.  Satan had declared himself to be a god when he said “I will be like the most high” God knew that Satan could not be God and would not allow this disruption in his perfect Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, Satan and the demons were judged, sentenced and cast out of Heaven and onto the Earth in order to resolve this conflict. He has appealed his case and is awaiting his condemnation. Earth’s history will vindicate God’s character of condemning Satan and his followers (men and angels) to the Lake of Fire.


The goal of Satan has always been to destroy the Jews in order to prevent the return of Christ, thereby negating God’s promise to the Jews that he would preserve them to the end. Since powerful client nations (such as the United States) have stood beside Israel throughout history, he has tried to destroy them in order to get at the Jews. This is his attempt to show God to be a liar and therefore imperfect and thereby justifying his own claim to be a god. The tribulation period will be his final chance and he will be extremely desperate because he knows what the Lake of Fire will be like far better than any of us. His attempt will fail and those who march against the Jews will be destroyed. Satan will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for one thousand years.


Satan will have had his time to show what he would be like as a god and accomplished nothing but sending people to Hell and in the process destroyed the world. Now Jesus will demonstrate what the real God is like with his millions of righteous believers in his Kingdom on earth. We can look forward to one thousand years of world peace and a time of unparalleled happiness during the Millennium. There will no longer be nations or politicians. Jesus Christ will be the Perfect King and the righteous believers will carry out his instructions.


“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms (nations), and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)


“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms (nations) of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear(trust) thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:15-18


If you should be unfortunate enough to find yourself living in the tribulation whatever you do, DO NOT TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST OR PLEDGE ALLIGENCE TO HIM OR WORSHIP HIS IMAGE. Remember, there will be no restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit during that time and Satan will rule the entire world. He will not want Christians around preaching the true gospel so, many tribulational believers will be killed and go to Heaven, but that is much better than the alternative of living more comfortably for those seven years and spending eternity in the Lake of Fire. Better yet, believe on the one who took the punishment of death upon himself so that he can save you right now and avoid the tribulation altogether.

God declares that we must be "made righteous" to live with him forever. Your religion will not save you, your good deeds will not save you, your denomination will not save you, nor will your unbelief change reality. Only through Christ will you receive a pardon from sin.


“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5-6)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)


“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)


What are we saved from? We are saved from the wrath to come, on Earth and the Lake of Fire.


We, as believing Christians, need not worry about having to live through the tribulation. Although many of us may suffer some persecution, by Godless men, until the Rapture occurs, we will not have to endure the full brunt of Satan’s evil schemes or the wrath of God’s judgments during the Tribulation.  If you are now saved you could not be unsaved by taking the mark of the beast. You have already made your decision. Only unbelievers will enter the tribulation. To Church age believers we have a promise from the Lord himself.


All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise (under no circumstances) cast out. (John 6:37)


God will deliver us from the wrath of the tribulation as he has delivered so many of his children in the past.

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” (Psalms 18: 2, 17, 19, 43, 48, 50)

The prophet Isaiah wrote about Christ’s Earthly Kingdom.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice (snakes) den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign (an emblem or sign that indicates authority or command) of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11: 6-10)

The Apostle Paul instructs Church age believers;

“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)

Jesus delivered us from the wrath of Hell at his first coming. Paul is speaking about all of the wrath to come, including the tribulation. He will deliver us from wrath at his second coming. God will never declare his wrath upon his own children.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:10, 13)

Yom Kippur- Ark of the Covenant   

The Jews celebrate a day called “Yom Kippur” or as we call it “The Day of Atonement.” The blood of animals would be shed in a ritual as a picture of the blood of Christ being shed for the sins all of mankind. It points to a literal day during the tribulation as the last opportunity for salvation. Then will come the wrath of God upon the unbelieving wicked.

“The place where the blood was put was symbolic, as was the whole ritual.  It was called the mercy seat. Being on the lid of the ark, (of the covenant) the mercy seat was between the stone tablets of the law of Moses (within the ark) and the space between the outstretched wings of the cherubim over the ark (symbolizing the place of God’s dwelling).

Without the blood the ark with its law and cherubim paints a terrible picture. There is the law, which we have broken. There is God, whom we have offended. Moreover, as God looks down, it is the law broken by us that he sees. It is a picture of judgment, of our hopelessness apart from grace. But then the sacrifice is performed, and the high priest enters the Holy of Holies and places the blood of the innocent victim upon the mercy seat, which thus comes between God in his holiness and ourselves and our sin. There has been substitution. An innocent has died in the place of those who should have died, and the blood is proof. Wrath is averted. Now, God looks in grace upon the sinner.” [James Boice, Foundations p. 224]

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”… (1 Peter 1:19-20)

A covenant is a solemn agreement. The Lord Jesus Christ has done his part in providing salvation by the shedding of his blood for all sin on the cross. Have you done your part?

 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9) ~

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