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Ken writes  --> Ken's rapture questions:
This subject of the "rapture" has come up many times recently.  Because of that, and a couple other things, I have decided to pose a couple questions here myself.  These are honest questions.  There are many teachings out there.  The rapture teaching is one of them.  The more I am exposed to many of these teachings out there, the more honest questions I have.  With the aid of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, I believe I can answer those questions too.  However, some people do believe these other teachings out there. . . . So . . . I am open to further explanation as anyone cares to provide.  In my life, my personal understanding of the Word of God, must be my final test.

A 'golden thread' should run through our personal beliefs. We should see how one teaching moves to another and, in truth, through the whole gospel, and 'good news of Jesus', and through the whole 'Plan of Salvation', in our personal walk with Christ. We must be critical, searching diligently for the truth, as for hid treasure. One must be willing to search Scripture with an open mind, understanding no one knows everything but God.
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The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:1-9, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: "

Paul knew his "departure was at hand" and he was "about to be offered."  He was going to take that long sleep men sleep. Paul was going to be one of the dead, to rise from the dead, and be present "before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; "  In fact, Paul told Timothy to be diligent to come to him shortly.

When Paul in Philippians 1:23 wrote "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: "   Paul understood there are differing periods of time between departing this world, and being with the Lord at His appearing.  That is why Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:8, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,..."  to be given to  "... all them also that love his appearing"  "... at that day..."  Paul knew well, when he awoke on Resurrection Morning, it would be like he awoke from a deep sleep, not knowing how long he had been "asleep" in the grave.

Paul said in Hebrews 11:39-40, after listing several prophets and holy men who had died before Paul was born, "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."   Is it not comforting to know our departed loved ones get some true rest, without having to view the injustices of this world?  (side question)

Question 1
Paul said he would not get his "crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" until "that day"  If Paul did not get his crown until Jesus appears, how can Paul be in Heaven, without a crown, waiting till the church is 'raptured'?
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The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus 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 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."

Question 2
How could ". . . we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord . . . prevent them which are asleep.",  from being with Jesus?  If they are asleep, are they asleep in heaven?  Also, how can "the dead in Christ shall rise first:" if they are not still dead?  In fact, Paul was telling them to comfort their bereaved with thoughts of a resurrection from death.  When Jesus comes the dead in Christ, "even so them also" will God bring from the sleep of death.  Just like Jesus rose from the dead!
---   A gift of Eternal Life!  Praise the Lord!

Question 3
Just one other question.  If "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:"  how can there be any secret mystical 'rapture' in that?  The Bible also says, "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."   Descending from Heaven with a shout sounds pretty sudden, loud, and public.  Doesn't the Bible say every eye shall see Him, including those who pierced Him?
    Revelation 1:7    John 19:37    Zechariah 12:10    Revelation 6:14

It is not my intention to offend anyone.  Lord willing, after some time, depending on any response to this posting,
I will answer the above questions within my understanding.  Or maybe even ask a few more questions.

Hallelujah,   Praise the Lord,   Maranatha,   The Lord Comes!

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Jesus Is Coming, Soon.

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