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certainly must come for them before He can come with them. The assurance that God will bring them (Greek— lead them forth) with Jesus (1 Thes. 4:14) is evidence, that He will first come for them, they being caught up to meet him in the air. Verse 17. The Greek word here rendered "to meet" signifies a going forth, in order to return with. The same word is used in Acts 28:15,6 where the brethren came out to meet Paul and had a season of thanksgiving with him at Appii Forum and the Three Taverns, when he was on his way to Rome. This exactly accords with our being caught up to meet Christ and afterward returning to the earth with Him.
Again, at the Rapture Christ comes as the Bridegroom7 to take unto Himself His bride, the Church.8
At the Revelation, He comes, with His bride, to rule the nations.9
Zech. 14:5. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
(6) Acts 28:15. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns; whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
(7) Mat. 25:10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
(8) Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it
should be holy and without blemish.
28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30. For we are members of his body.
31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
(9) Rev. 2:26. And he that overoometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Rev. 5 :10. And madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.
At the Rapture He comes only to meet the saints in the air, 1 Thes. 4:17.
At the Revelation, He comes to the earth,10 and His feet stand upon the same Mount Olivet from which He ascended.11
At the Rapture the Church, like Enoch, is taken out of the world.12
At the Revelation, the Millennial Kingdom is begun.12 In Luke 21:28, the Rapture is referred to at the beginning of the Tribulation. "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Redemption here meaning the first resurrection, same as in Rom. 8:23.)18
In Luke 21:31, the Revelation is referred to, when "these things" (the Tribulation) have come to pass, and the kingdom of God draweth nigh.
Rev. 19:15. 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.
See also Rev. 12 :5.
(10) Acts 1:11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
(11) Zech. 14:4. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5. . . . And the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee.
(12) Acts 15:13. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name,
15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
(13) Rom. 8:23. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
The Rapture may occur any moment.14
The Revelation can not occur, until Antichrist be revealed, and all the times and seasons (which point to the day of the Lord) in Lev. 26, Daniel and Revelation be fulfilled.
The Revelation ushers in the day, the Day of the Lord.16
The failure to make this distinction has led to great confusion among commentators upon this subject.
For instance: In 2 Thes. chapter 2, the apostle, in the first verse, speaks of the Rapture, to-wit: the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto Him, o2 which He had written so fully in the previous epistle, especially in the 4th chapter.
In the second verse he speaks of the Revelation, or Day of the Lord,' which could not come, except there be a falling away first, and the "man of sin" and "that wicked," or the Antichrist, be revealed.
And yet, most commentators have argued that the apostle, in both of these verses, referred to one and the same event, and thus they have made Scripture contradict itself.
But we see plainly, that Paul had no intention of contradicting Christ's admonitions, unto all, to watch for His coming, as being imminent. Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:3540. He only made the distinction, as above stated, between the Rapture and the Revelation. The persecuted Thessalonians thought that they were in the Tribulation, and that the Day of the Lord had set in.f But Paul corrects them, first by reminding them that the Lord had not come for
*Greek, the oldest MSS. read 'cup''ov = Lord, not xpurni = Christ. See Bengels' Gnomon and others.
t iviami'cev (enesteeken) which authorized version renders "at hand," means to be present, or to have set in. See same word in Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 3:22; 7:26; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 9:9, in each place rendered "present."
(14) Mat. 24:42. Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
(15) 1 Thes. 5:2. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as
a thief in the night.
Luke 17 :30. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Also 2 Thes. 1:7-10; 2 Pet 3:10-12, etc.
them yet, as He had said that He would (1 Thes. 4:15-17), and then by adding certain other things which must occur before the Day of the Lord should come. He had told them that the Day of the Lord should come as a thief in the night (1 Thes. 5:2), but that they were not of the night, and therefore He exhorts them to watch and be sober. (See also Lu. 21:36.16)
Another evidence of the difference between the Rapture and Revelation consists in the fact that the Church is to escape the Tribulation, which precedes the Revelation. (Mat. 24:29-30.)
Enoch, a type of the Church, by his rapture,—that is by being caught away or translated (Heb. 11:5)—escaped the flood.
Christ says, in Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
And in keeping with this injunction He gave a blessed promise to the Church, in Rev. 3:10, viz.: "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try tnem that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly," etc. A special hour, or time, of temptation—i. e., trial—is here mentioned, which shall come upon all the world ( oiKouficny-oikoumenee — the whole habitable —same word in Mat. 24:14—all the world).
It is a time of trouble not limited to Judea, but as extensive as the inhabited earth. This accords with the great tribulation described in Mat. 24:21, a "tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world . . . nor ever shall be."
Jesus promises to keep the Church from, or (ex) out of this tribulation, or hour of temptation, that is, the watchful and prayerful believers will escape it. Luke 21:36. Now, as it covers the whole earth, there is no way
(16) Luke 21:36. Watch ye escape all these things that shall therefore, and pray always, that come to pass, and to stand beye may be accounted worthy to fore the Son of man.
of escape from it, but to be taken out of the world, and this is accomplished by the Rapture. Acts 15:14, and 1 Thes. 4:17, which thus presents a glorious deliverance for the Church.
The elect,17 a portion of Israel,18 will be gathered back to Jerusalem,18 and pass through the fire, or great trial.20 Like Enoch, the Church escapes from it.
(17) Mat. 24 :22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
(18) Isa. 65:9. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
See also verses 15 and 22, and Rom. 11:5-7.
(19) Isa. 1:26. And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness. The faithful city.
27. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
Zech. 10:6. And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them: for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them.
7. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as' through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.
8. I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.
9. And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries;
and they shall live with their children, and turn again.
10. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.
(20) Zech. 13 :8. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say. The Lord is my God.
P&a. 57 :1. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
Isa. 26 :20. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Also Psa. 27:5; 31:20.