The Three Raptures of the Church

Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: March 23, 2022
. Updated May 16, 2023.

There have been two rapture-type events in Scripture, with one to come in the future. The first was in 31 AD, the second was in late-66 AD, and the future will occur once the entire kosmos/world is under the complete control of evil.

I’ll cover these events in the order in which they occurred.

I realize this information is going to sound foreign to most, but I encourage you to check it with Scripture. Be careful not to mix all “coming” references together because there are 3 of them: the first when Jesus resurrected from the dead, the second when He ended the Old Covenant and brought in the New, and the last will be when He ends the New Covenant on earth and moves all into the spiritual realm house of God.

Jesus’ Multiple Comings

In order to understand the three rapture events in Scripture, it may help to first understand that Jesus has came to earth twice already (three times if you count his birth) and He will return again in the future. This is covered in the following two studies:

“Coming in the Clouds” – Jesus’ Second Coming

Distinguishing Jesus’ Past Comings from the Future Coming in Scripture

Also helpful is seeing the historical fulfillment of Daniel’s 70 Weeks from 457 BC to 34 AD — this was the sevening of God’s apostate people which resulted in the ending of the Old Covenant and ushered in the New Covenant.

A future coming of the 70th week is a Jesuit-created false prophecy doctrine written in the late 1700’s (details here). God did not suddenly stop sevening His apostate Old-Covenant-breakers after week 69 and decide to put their final week 2,000+ years later into the New Covenant age of grace in Christ — I will never understand why some really great bible teachers still believe this unscriptural deception.

The 70th week was the literal death, entombment and resurrection of Jesus Christ!… the most important week of earth’s entire history!!… but sadly, the followers of the Jesuit-written seminary school version all miss it, or choose to miss it because they want to tell false prophecy stories. Please see Daniel’s 70 Weeks were Fulfilled in 34 AD for details.

First “Rapture” – 31 A.D.

Jesus’ first coming in 31 AD is covered in the following Scriptures:

  • Matthew 28
  • Mark 16
  • Luke 24

The first rapture event is covered in:

  • Ezekiel 37
  • Matthew 27:52-54
  • Ephesians 4
  • Hebrews 12:22-24.

Upon Jesus’ death on the cross, He went down into Hades to minister to the souls of the dead in Paradise for 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40, Luke 23:43, 16:22-23). Those in Christ were moved from Paradise in Hades below the earth into heaven where they will always be in the presence of the Lord.

The physical resurrection is plainly described in Matthew 27:52-54. Many bodies of saints came up out of their tombs and appeared to many in Jerusalem. This physical resurrection was necessary during the physical Old Covenant era — they appeared to people as an eye-witness that Jesus is indeed the Christ.

Ephesians 4:7-12 explains that Jesus led a host of captives to heaven — this was their spiritual resurrection — and He’s given gifts to men. Jesus died for ALL of creation’s sins, not for ours/the called only (1 John 2:2).

The dry bones in Ezekiel 37:11-14 are the house of Israel. As explained above, this was their spiritual resurrection after the cross, and a physical fleshly body resurrection for many of them. Dry bones is metaphorical for their Savior having not yet come to give them eternal spiritual life (1 Corinthians 15:44-49). Fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophetic vision, Jesus did indeed cause them to come up out of their graves (Matthew 27:52-53).

Hebrews chapter 12 tells us who all is in heaven right now among the general assembly. The firstborn are there, AND the spirits of the righteous made perfect are there separately.

The firstborn are called the church in heaven — this is the New Covenant ekklesia which are all those saved by Christ’s shed blood since the cross. Jesus Christ is the very first of the firstborn, for by Him, all of creation exists (Colossians 1:13-17).

The spirits of the righteous made perfect are those who were predestined to keep the Old Covenant with God. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in 31 AD made them perfect. Jesus then brought them up from Paradise below the earth in sheol, into heaven (Matthew 12:40, Luke 23:43 & 16:22-23) where they remained under the heavenly altar (the 5th Seal) until Jesus’ second coming in late-66 AD when He avenged their shed blood (Revelation 6:9-11).

The general assembly, or “mass gathering” in the Greek, is the great multitude that keeps growing in number as those in Christ die their physical earthly death during this Church Age — they are seen in Revelation 7, 14:1-5, 15:5-8. Since Christ’s resurrection, we who are in Him never truly die but go directly into the presence of the Lord upon our earthly death (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Mount Sion and its inhabitants are as follows (Hebrews 12:22-24):

  • The city of the living God
  • The heavenly Jerusalem (different from New Jerusalem)
  • God/Theos (plural), the Judge of all
  • Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant (and included in Theos)
  • The general assembly (mass gathering)
  • An innumerable company of angels
  • Church of the firstborn
  • Spirits of the righteous made perfect

There were no living saints raised here in 31 AD (check the verses provided). God keeps during tribulation, not removes; so the remnant will remain up until the time of God’s final wrath which will end the entire earth for good (John 17:15). Wrath is different from tribulation — through much tribulation do we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). The redeemed are not appointed to God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Second “Rapture” – 66 A.D.

Jesus’ second coming and the second rapture event are covered in the following verses:

  • Matthew 24
  • Mark 13
  • Luke 17 & 21
  • John 6:39, 40, 44, 54
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
  • Revelation 1:7
  • Revelation 11:11-12

Jesus came as the bridegroom in late-66, then 45 days later, He returned with the saints in wrath on those who slaughtered Him and the saints (see The Jewish-Roman War & the Two Witnesses in the Great Tribulation for details).

Jesus says He will raise up the physically dead (nekros) AT THE LAST DAY at the LAST trump (1 Corinthians 15:52) in all of these following verses: John 6:39, 40, 44, 54. In case someone missed it or didn’t understand, Jesus repeated Himself FOUR TIMES. However, this message was not for us — Jesus was speaking to the people who would see His second coming in their generation… Jesus was speaking to those who were alive when He was on earth in the flesh (see the following section titled Jesus Announced the Time Frame of His Second Coming for details). This last day was for God’s apostate people and the end of the Old Covenant.

The second rapture event was when the two witnesses were raised in Revelation 11:11-12, 3 1/2 days before Jesus’ second coming in late-66 AD. Their physical bodies were raised as an eye-witness for the people but will return to dust in the air when they become a quickening spirit (1 Corinthians 15:43-49). No flesh, renewed or otherwise, will ever enter God’s presence which is His spiritual, heavenly realm (1 Corinthians 1:29).

We know from the explanation in the 5th seal (Revelation 6:9-11) that those who were martyred before Jesus’ second coming would be joining the Old Covenant saints in heaven. They all returned with Jesus in wrath to avenge their shed blood.

The phrase “shall be raised” in 1 Corinthians 15:52 is G1453 which is egeiro — it means “to arouse.” The dead in Christ are “raised first” because no living-in-Christ are raised until earth’s final day. All dead-in-Christ immediately become quickened spirits who join the Lord in heaven… this is why the living cannot prevent those who died before them (1 Thessalonians 4:15).

The living in 1 Corinthians 15:52 were “changed,” NOT raised. These were those who were hiding in the mountains in the very presence of Jesus Christ while God’s wrath was being poured out on the last day of the earth/land. These people were the surviving remnant who I believe were given apostolic powers after all the apostles but John were martyred prior to 66 AD. These were the “few” who were chosen to be servants of Christ and take the Gospel message into the second century AD (Matthew 22:14).

Again, there were no living saints raised here in 66-70 AD (check the verses provided). Remember that God keeps, not removes; so a remnant will remain up until the time of God’s wrath on the entire earth (John 17:15).

Jesus Announced the Time Frame of His Second Coming

When God was walking on earth in human flesh as Jesus Christ, He was talking to the people and told them the following:

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” ~Matthew 16:28 (KJV)

Those who were physically alive in Jesus’ day would not die until they saw Him coming in His kingdom.

And there is a second account in Luke 9:27 — “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus literally said that He was speaking to people who would still be alive to see Him and His kingdom come, the same kingdom which He called the “kingdom of God.”

The kingdom of God and the kingdom reign of Jesus Christ on this earth are one and the same — they are both SPIRITUAL.

Sidenote: We are not waiting on Jesus to come in the future to reign on this earth because He is already doing so! Please see The Kingdom of God is Here and The Millennial Reign studies for more info.

Jesus spoke the words in Matthew and Luke sometime during His 3 1/2-year ministry on earth around 28-31 AD.

We know He came in the clouds in wrath on those who literally pierced Him from late-66 to early-70 AD … this was immediately after the Great Tribulation of the saints from early-63 to late-66.

So there were less than 40 years — known as “one generation” — from the time that Jesus spoke the above words to the time that the “Son of man came in His kingdom” and they all “saw the kingdom of God.” That just gives me chills every time.

There are 3 accounts of Jesus proclaiming, “…this generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled/done” — Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30, and Luke 21:32.

Jesus’ second coming has already occurred where He came and dwelt in Spirit with His redeemed for 45 days, followed by Him coming as a warrior; and He will return again as the Bridegroom in the future. See the studies “Coming in the Clouds” – Jesus’ Second Coming and Distinguishing Jesus’ Past Comings from His Future Coming in Scripture for more info.

The Future Rapture

We are currently in the 1000 years in Revelation 20:1-6. The saints are experiencing it in the spiritual realm while we are in the spiritual kingdom on this earth — our physical bodies are the temple of the living God (details: Millennial Reign studies Part 1 and Part 2).

The final coming of God and Christ, and the future rapture of the living is covered in the following verses:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:22-29
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
  • Revelation 20:7-10

During the New Covenant church age, our first resurrection was when we died to the old man and put on the new (Romans 6:6), so the second death has no power over us. God is a God of the living (Mark 12:27, Luke 20:38) — His children shed their carnal adam-flesh but they do not die.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that on the last day, the dead in Christ will rise first, then the righteous living will ascend to meet them and Jesus in the clouds. The word then here does not mean immediately after; just afterwards.

There are two “last days,” but I prefer to call the future one the final day.

The last day was the ending of the Old Covenant old heaven and old earth from late-66 to early-70 AD (see New Heaven & New Earth is Not What We’ve Been Taught). This is also when the spirits of the righteous stopped waiting in the unseen grave below the earth (Hades) and began going directly into the presence of the Lord upon their earthly death. THE last day ended when the Savior ended Jew and Greek and made all adam-flesh one race in need of Him.

The final day will be the end of this entire kosmos/world which will end the earthly New Covenant new heaven and new earth and move it into God’s spiritual heavenly realm for eternity (see Earth was Destroyed BEFORE the Present Creation for proof). Jesus tells us there is a beginning and an end (Revelation 21:6 & 22:13). Jesus was the firstborn and will be the last before we move into the next aion/age that the Holy Elohim/Theos has planned for us (see God Works in Ages for info).

Keep in mind that there is no future rapture of dead physical bodies — the days of the need for physical eye-witnesses are long gone and we have been in a spiritual kingdom of God for nearly 2,000 years. The first man is flesh but the second man is a quickening spirit – 1 Corinthians 15:43-49 (details here in the Soul, Spirit & Body study). The dead in Christ are already in the heavenly realm with Him… they have been raised first… they are no longer in this earthly realm to “rapture.” God doesn’t want our cursed, ruddy bodies which are dust — that will remain with this destroyed firm when it all ends (Genesis 1:1-2).

Just remember that the LAST day for the Old Covenant world is not earth’s FINAL day!

There is no Pre-Tribulation Rapture

A pre-tribulation rapture goes directly against the teachings of Jesus Christ Himself. The false pre-trib doctrine does not teach what the bible actually says. Jesus must remain on His throne in heaven at the right hand of God the Father up until His final coming that will end this earth for good (see Earth was Destroyed BEFORE this Present Creation).

Through MUCH tribulation do we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

We are NOT appointed to God’s wrath which He will pour out on the entire earth in the not-so-distant future (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

There WILL be a pre-wrath rapture before earth’s end, likely 3 1/2 years before it’s all destroyed.

For Further Understanding

It helps to understand that we are in a spiritual kingdom while on this earth. Please see this article: The Kingdom of God is Here.

We ARE the New Covenant spiritual Israel and our new agape hearts are New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-4). See this article: God’s Chosen People. Israel is now spiritual Israel and is a PEOPLE… all those saved in Christ Jesus. The Old Testament Jews were dealt with by 70 AD — they no longer exist on earth in God’s eyes because there is no longer Jew or Greek — Jesus made ALL adam-flesh ONE RACE by His work on the cross.

What will further muddy your understanding is believing the false doctrine of a future “Millennial Reign” for an “Israel” that is based on DNA/genetics. No flesh will glory in the Lord’s presence – 1 Corinthians 1:29. For details, see the Millennial Reign studies: Part 1 and Part 2.

In Closing

God wants His children to know His Truths so we can be spiritually prepared for every minute of every day while we are here on this sinful earth… and we are in a critical time. When God’s children hear His Truths, they will know it. Pray for wisdom and understanding given by the Holy Spirit which is our gift from God our Father.

I love you all. Happy studying!

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