The Three Raptures of the Church

Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: March 23, 2022
. Updated December 26, 2022.

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

It may help to first understand that Jesus has come to earth twice already 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

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 to witness that Jesus is indeed the Christ.

Ephesians 4:7-12 explains that Jesus led a host of captives to heaven, 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. Jesus told them “I will cause you to come up out of your graves” (Matthew 27).

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

The firstborn are all those who were predestined to keep the Old Covenant with God — they are those who Jesus brought up from Paradise into heaven.

The spirits of the righteous made perfect are all those who have died in Christ since the cross. This 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.

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)
  • An innumerable company of angels
  • The general assembly and church of the firstborn
  • God/Theos the Judge of all
  • Spirits of the righteous made perfect
  • Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant

We see those who died in Christ prior to 31 AD in the 5th seal in Revelation 6:9-11. They are waiting on their blood to be avenged which will happen after their fellow brethren will be killed (from 31-66 AD) as they were. For a full explanation of the seals, trumpets and vials/bowls, see this study.

There were no living saints raised here (check the verses provided). God keeps, not removes; so the remnant will remain up until the time of God’s wrath on the entire earth (John 17:15).

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 (details here).

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.

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 but will return to dust in the air when they become a quickening spirit (1 Corinthians 15:43-49).

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.

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

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: 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.

There are two “last days.” The first was the last day of the Old Covenant old heaven and old earth from late-66 to early-70 AD. The final last 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 (details here).

Keep in mind that there is no future rapture of dead physical bodies. The first man is flesh but the second man is a quickening spirit – 1 Corinthians 15:43-49 (details here). 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.”

There is no Pre-Tribulation Rapture

God keeps us on earth through tribulation. Only the living saints are raised at the very end because that is God’s wrath which we are not appointed to experience. God’s wrath is not our tribulation.

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).

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 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.

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. Please read these articles: 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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