Are there rapture clues in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
After all, Christians are the Body of Christ.
As the Scriptures tell us, the burial of Jesus’ body after His crucifixion was symbolic of His Church, the body of believers, also called the Body of Christ — “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Cor. 12:27). Because we are bonded with Christ through God-granted faith, we are, like Paul says of himself, regarded as having been slain with Christ —“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Romans 2:20). Our sin is slain. Our old selves are dead, nailed to the cross — “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14). The life of the Christian is a reflection of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah — “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Romans 2:10, 11). We are regarded as the Body of Christ, regarded as crucified with Him, buried with Him, raised with Him.
But although our lives are one with Christ, they are still bound in the same sinful flesh that they wore before they knew Him. Like Lazarus, resurrected by Jesus from the tomb, we too still wear the stench of death enmeshed in the linen burial strips that wrap our bodies. We await the final redemption when our bodies will be transformed to suit the new life of Christ dwelling within us — “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:52) Maybe, just maybe, the pattern of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection is telling us something about when this glorious future moment will take place.
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matt. 17:22-23)
The slain body of Jesus was dead for sometime between two to three days. Sometime on the third day, he was resurrected from the dead. On the third day, He removed His burial linens. On the third day, He left the tomb. Is it possible that this could be seen as a picture of the resurrection, rapture, and redemption of the Church? If the literal body of Christ was raised on the third day, perhaps the figurative Body of Christ, the Church, will also be raised on the third day.
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
If one day is equal to one millennium in God’s eyes, then we can look back on history and see that the two thousand years that have elapsed since the start of the Church are regarded in a divine perspective as merely two days. Being in the twenty-first century, we have already begun the third millennium since the time of Christ, which in the formula of 2 Peter 3:8 equates to the third day of the Church.
If this is a hint as to the timing of the resurrection/rapture of the Church, we who passionately look forward to that impending moment should try to ascertain a more exact time as to when on the third day Christ was resurrected.
Mark 15:34 tells us that Jesus died during the “ninth hour,” which according to ancient Jewish time divisions in the first century is sometime between three and four in the afternoon. This was on Thursday. Between then and Friday evening elapsed the first day of Christ’s death. The second day of Christ’s death was between Friday evening and Saturday evening. This means that the third day on which Christ was arose from the dead was between Saturday evening and Sunday evening.
Can we be more exact?
“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it… the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” (Matt. 28:1-2,5-6)
In this passage, we read that the body of Christ was already absent from the tomb before the daybreak of Sunday. Jesus was resurrected sometime in the night between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. In other words, if this is a foreshadowing of the rapture of the Church, the resurrection of the Body of Christ, it will take place sometime at the beginning of the third millennium since the start of the Church — that is, soon after the start of the twenty-first century.
But we don’t know exactly when.
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32).
It could be right away. Or it could be a few centuries. But we do know that it was in the dark hours before the light of dawn, and this may symbolize the wicked period of the end times while the cup of iniquity is reaching its fullness in the time of Antichrist.
Another interesting thing is that we have a precedent of the rapture in Exodus also occurring on the third day. “YHWH said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready for the third day. For on the third day YHWH will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people… So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. And he said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.’ On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.” (Exodus 19:10-11, 14-17).
In Thessalonians, we are told that the rapture will also be accompanied by the sounding of a trumpet. Just like at Mount Sinai, the Lord will descend from heaven with a loud noise and appear before His people while they leave their homes to be gathered together before Him. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16)
If that resurrection, the great final assembly of the Elect in Christ, is hinted at in Exodus 19, then we may draw a clear parallel, another clue pointing to a rapture on the third day — again, that is the start of the third millennium of the Church Age. And you may have noticed that, in the passage in Exodus, the trumpet blast and the appearance of YHWH takes place “on the morning of the third day,” just as Christ was resurrected at the start of the third day and had already left the tomb by daybreak.
Brothers and Sisters, we are in that time period now, the period of deep darkness preceding the dawn, the beginning of the third millennial day of the Church Age. Remember, Moses was told to consecrate the Israelites on the two days preceding the coming of YHWH. As Moses instructed the Israelites to abstain from sex and wash their garments in preparation for the appearance of YHWH on the third day, I think it would be wise that we ourselves smell the stench of our burial linens and wash them, purging our lives of sin as much as we can in preparation of Christ’s soon coming. After all, it is already the third day. How long this dark night will drag on, we can’t be sure. But its clear that we are already encompassed by end-times apostasy and the age of Antichrist. Until that time, let us wash our garments, so that when the rapture comes, the heavens cry, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Revelation 19:6-8)
Being now in the prophetic time period of the end of the age, the only real way that we can measure our proximity to the end is by the clues given in Scripture.
When in the sequence of events does the rapture take place?
In Mark 13, after Jesus warns about the coming abomination of desolation performed by the Antichrist, as well as many false messiahs, earthquakes, famines, and wars, he says “… after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.” (Mark 13:24-27). The angels gather the Elect — rapture. That’s the moment we’re waiting for, and it takes place right on the heels of a cosmic darkening of the heavenly luminaries. That darkening is described again in detail, in Revelation 6:12-17 — “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Comparing those two texts, we clearly see an order — the rapture of the Church right after the opening of the sixth seal. It is at the sixth seal that the people of the world proclaim that the wrath of God has come. This is the day spoken of throughout prophecy as the day of the Lord, the day of YHWH (Zeph. 1:7, Amos 5:18, Joel 1:15). “For the day is near, the day of YHWH is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.” (Ezekiel. 30:3).
Based on the proclamation of God’s wrath in Revelation 6, it appears that the day of the Lord commences at the sixth seal. This is important because Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”
The eschatological sequence of events appears to place the rapture just after the sixth seal, at the start of day of the Lord, which is preceded by a great rebellious apostasy and the revealing of the Antichrist. This sequence makes sense because the Antichrist’s abomination of desolation, when he sits in the temple of God, is likewise ordered in Mark 13 before the cosmic darkening of the sixth seal and the rapture; and in Revelation, the great multitude of the Elect appearing in heaven is in chapter 7, verse 9, just after the sixth seal — “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…”
So, synchronous with the notion that the Body of Christ will be resurrected during the night of the third millennial day, it appears that the rapture does in fact take place during a certain dark period in history, at the apex of the Antichrist’s evil reign.
“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thess. 5:2).
This period is considered a night in history, when people are spiritually asleep, chasing after dreams.
“As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.” (Matt. 25:6)
I pray that all who read this can already hear the midnight cry. I pray that we all set aside our dreaming to brightly greet the imminent reality that the Lord Jesus Christ is about to steal us away, His prized possession. Those who God foreknew and predestined to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ will recognize the signs of the times. Purified by the blood of Christ, they will continue to wash their garments with faith and righteousness, just as it was granted to them by God to clothe themselves with fine linen. They will escape the world in its darkest hour to eat and drink with Christ in paradise. “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19:9).
“They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:39-40)
“Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)