BY Pastor Joseph Chambers
1 Corinthians 15
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
It is impossible to separate the power of the Holy Ghost from the Rapture and Resurrection of the Saints. If the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was clearly the Divine function of His Spirit, then our resurrection is even more the sovereign work of the same Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul said it plainly, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11) This verse is not only speaking of His resurrection but also our present resurrected life with a clear secondary meaning in relation to our coming resurrection. You cannot separate our present Spirit anointed life from our future Rapture and resurrection. It is all the work of His Holy Ghost in us, shedding forth the power of His resurrection. If you do not have that power working in you now, you cannot expect to receive some kind of infusion when the Son of God splits the sky.
This future demonstration of this office of the Holy Ghost is breathtaking. The powers and supernatural activities of this event will expend the greatest display ever to occur at one moment of time since creation. In fact, I think it will be so similar to creation that we can learn much from that historical moment. The account of Moses in Genesis is a beautiful picture of sheer Holy Ghost creative power. When God the Father chose to create this earth, the Son of God was the Word and the Holy Ghost was His right arm. "And God said" was a statement which embodied the action of His eternal Son, who He called the "Word." John's gospel begins with this account, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (St. John 1:1-3)
But we must give His eternal Spirit His rightful place, also. Even before Jesus the Word spoke the first statement of creation, the Scripture stated, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2) I love that statement, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The triune God was creating this Universe and each member of the Godhead was powerfully involved. The Father made the choice, the Son spoke the Word, and the Spirit of the Father and the Son acted in supernatural powers and this cosmos "was created." Every sphere of life in this entire created universe is throbbing with His spark of life since that moment 6,000 years ago. If His presence was withdrawn for one minute, every expression of living cells, atoms, and molecules would fold in instant death. All life is the living manifestation of the whisper of life by His mighty Spirit.
Creation was an incredible moment of mighty acts of power. Our bodies are a living testimony of this power, as is all of creation. Every creature after his kind was created and Adam named them by their characteristics. Scientists baffle themselves in their study of life when they refuse to believe the account of Genesis. I have been reading a book entitled, The Body Electric. This capable doctor and surgeon speaks glowingly of the body's ability to heal itself and has proven that our body is not just a mechanical machine. His documentation of a current, which he cannot understand, acting in the human body amazed him. All I could think was how much he needs to meet this Creator I know, and then he could know. The mystery of life is everywhere and God's Spirit (the Holy Ghost) is the ordained source of every speck of that life. Nothing exists apart from our Great God.
The Holy Spirit fulfills this office of all life and resurrection as the Spirit of Jesus Christ. All the glory is given to Christ when the Scripture says, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (St. John 1: 4-5)
The glory goes to our Lord Jesus Christ who by His Spirit gives physical life to all creation, even the unsaved. " . . . For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:45) Thank God that He not only gives us natural life and a natural world where His evidence is everywhere, but to the souls that surrender to His saving blood, He gives much, much more. It is impossible to be "born again" without the convicting office of the Holy Ghost and His renewing and sealing of our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. His Spirit renews our spirit and we are quickened to life in His likeness. We become "new creatures." "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17)
1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
The Rapture and the Resurrection
No wonder the Holy Ghost is called "the Seven Spirits of God." Just as in the trinity we do not dare speak of three different Gods, so in the person of the Holy Ghost we do not speak of seven separate and different Spirits. The Holy Ghost is one, but His expressions and offices are set forth in the completed expression of "seven." He is the Spirit of Life and was active with Jesus Christ in His resurrection. He is to us the Spirit of Life and there is no resurrection without His anointed powers. Jesus Christ could not be held in death because there was no sin to grant powers of death to His enemy, Satan. If His resurrection was aided by the Holy Ghost even though He was without sin, ours is totally dependant upon the Holy Ghost because of the death which works in our sin nature. But our Lord by His blood has defeated death as our substitute and if we are cleansed by that blood then death has lost its sway. "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25a)
Our resurrection and rapture is guaranteed by His New Testament covenant with us. To the Corinthians He said, "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." (II Corinthians 5:4-5) The Holy Ghost anointing upon our life is our "insurance policy" or "earnest" (guarantee). Multitudes of empty church people are going to be miserably disappointed after the rapture. You have no assurance of this glorious hope of the rapture if you have no fire of the Holy Ghost in your soul. His living and anointed presence working in your life is your certainty of readiness. It is not an experience we need but a total surrender to His will and leading. Our song must become, "Where He leads me, I will follow."
The Sheer Display of Holy Ghost Power
No one can possibly doubt the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost. The Bible is a catalog of incredible acts of Divine intervention, expression, and creation. From the parting of the Red Sea, where a host of tens of thousands of escaping Hebrews fled before the Pharaoh's army, to the event of three Hebrew boys that were unscathed by a fiery furnace, miracles are the common facts. Elijah was supernaturally transported from earth to Heaven, Lazarus was called out of a tomb after his body was already decaying, and Blind Bartimaeus received his sight by a simple command. All of these miracles and a multitude more fill the pages of God's Holy Bible. The Spirit of God was the Father's and the Son's manifestation of the Godhead's every supernatural act.
This future resurrection and rapture will be the church's grand finale of supernatural intervention. Nothing since creation comes close to revealing so much power in one moment of time. Every grave of every dead saint from all history [except Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and the saints that arose at His resurrection (Matthew 27:51-53)] will be opened as a testimony to his or her escape. Their dead bodies will be changed from the dust of death and in some cases gathered from seas or the winds to become glorified specimens of eternal lives. Millions of living saints will step out of their suits and dresses into transformed specimens of the same eternal glory.
There is no such thing as a secret rapture. There is no way such a display of Holy Ghost power can escape the attention of this world. Thousands of cars in the developed world or riding carts in the undeveloped world will suddenly be missing their drivers. Telephone lines will be jammed with frantic calls from hysterical husbands, wives, parents, children, etc. to make missing person reports. Big name politicians, who discover that their old grandmother that begged them to serve Jesus has disappeared, will drop to the floor of some government chamber unable to stand. The news will suddenly be filled with liberal ministers explaining the disappearance with deceiving words to cover their broken theology. The world will never be the same after that day. There will be millions that repent and prepare that day for what they missed.
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
9 Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof.
The Event Itself is Supernatural in Every Detail
The Apostle Paul declared this by describing the details, "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." (I Thessalonians 4:16-18) Our Father does not send His greatest archangel, but the Son Himself will descend into the mid-air. It's a little thing with God but it's a transcending matter to the church. Satan is the "prince of the power of the air." This evil personage of fallen glory has a kingdom of millions of fallen angels organized for warfare. They inhabit the air above us and even the saints with glorified bodies are no match for their skills. Michael, one of the greatest of angelic beings, refused to rebuke Satan in his own power but rested in the victory of the Lord. Jude, the brother of Jesus, stated, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." (Jude 1:9) Our victory now and forever is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
So Jesus descends into mid-air above us, but below Satan's kingdom, and leads His saints back to the mountain of His Holiness, Mount Zion on the sides of the North. (Psalm 48:1-3) The very nature of this victory is totally divine and supernatural. Someone has said that gravity loses its hold, but, no, my friends, gravity has no need of change. The earth's gravity or natural power has never hindered the acts of God. Nothing about this event is natural. Jesus had but to speak and the storm on the Sea of Galilee was quieted. Demons (fallen angels) begged for mercy at His feet. Death is already a vanquished foe, so His descent to rapture His Bride in waiting is but the first transcending act of His coming kingdom.
The Son of God shouts as He descends. Why does the Bible confirm that He shouts as He returns into mid-air? Consider that He shouts just to dislodge the army of the fallen angels or disorient them and confuse their battle plans. Of course, He shouts to wake the dead for He is the Word and when He speaks, there is creation in His voice. This shout will shake the universe and start the entire matter of resurrection. Every grave of every saint will hear that shout and the earth will literally cast out the dead. This is His earth and He created every atom of life. When He shouts, nothing in this universe will resist. His shout is a triumph over every foe.
His archangels are mighty spirits or created beings to whom He has given great power. The presence of an archangel giving orders suggests a host of angels at the archangel's command. So, indeed the Lord comes with a host, a multitude, and they will take up positions before every fallen angel in Satan's charge. Nothing could possibly be hated more by Satan than to see the church escape his accusations. The saints have always been "Satan's axis of enemies." He hates the saints that defy his effort to lead them to hell. This great host of our Lord's Heavenly army will compose His defense of the resurrected and raptured saints. We will not need to fight as we pass through the mid-air, meet our Lord, and follow Him to the Heavenly Jerusalem for the Judgment Seat of the saints and our celebration around the throne.
2 Timothy 3
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
The Mortal Will Put on Immortality
Of all the Holy Ghost powers manifested, nothing is more glorious than our change from the mortal to the immortal. Let's allow the Apostle Paul to describe this moment in our future. "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (I Corinthians 15:50-54) This passage reveals the indescribable facts of our coming change. Our bodies are destined to put on a "house not made with hands." (II Corinthians 5:1) Everything about our new house/body will be supernaturally constructed. Flesh and blood born of woman is a marvel and was originally created to live forever with the aid of the Tree of Life. This new body will replace the old so we can share in His resurrection likeness for eternity. While we will enjoy the Tree of Life in the new city, we will not need its fruit to live forever.
Consider our body that is made of billions of cells constantly dying and being renewed, replaced with new eternal ones. This body is a living organism created to constantly replace itself by its built-in creative powers. It is substantiated by a kind of supernatural life which proceeds from the Spirit of Life. We are already a marvel but this is only a taste of the new body. Every cell will be changed in a moment. The present corruptible body will be totally changed to an incorruptible body by the quickening of the Holy Ghost. The mortal will put on immortality and this change will be instantaneous. When Jesus descends into the mid-air and shouts the command, an explosion of resurrection will master the darkness of death. The saint, dead or alive, will be infused with this sheer supernatural power to step out of flesh and blood and step into flesh and spirit. All of this, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."
Can you imagine a stubborn husband that rejected his wife's gentle witness and Godly life sitting beside her when this change occurs? A beautiful Godly woman will suddenly become a glorified radiant saint. That man will never have another comfortable day unless he is enabled to fall on his face in repentance and prepare to die at the hand of the Antichrist crowd. Encounters of this nature between the resurrected and the "left behind crowd" will be multiplied millions of times. "Death will be swallowed up in victory" right before a stunned world and this world will never be the same again. It will produce conviction and consternation far beyond any past human event of devastation and judgment.
Graves Opened and Saints Appearing
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was God's "first fruits" of the coming resurrection of the dead in Christ. It was the type or example of how the future event will be manifest. The picture that Matthew gave us will be replayed and multiplied by millions. It will be sheer Holy Ghost power great enough to shake the cosmos out of its complacency of sin. I promise you that sin will never have the same satisfaction after this coming hour. Matthew alone described this first fruits resurrection of dead saints. He stated, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matthew 27: 51-53) This is God's pattern.
This old earth will tremble like a dying man at the very moment the Lord shouts. Rocks will be rent and immediately "graves will open" all over this earth. Many graves will be in long lost graveyards, built over, paved over, under houses, commercial buildings, and highways. They will be opened wherever they are and the world will finally know that "Jesus is Lord." No wonder the Bible says "every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:11) This is a perfect moment for that confession, at least for millions.
The Resurrected saints will visit homes and marketplaces across this globe. Notice again, "They came out of the graves . . . and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." This is going to be one of the great moments of the coming Pre-Tribulation Rapture. No wonder the Bible says, "the dead in Christ shall rise first." Imagine an old grandmother knocking on the door of her favorite grandson that has put off surrender to Christ and now has missed the Rapture. When he sees her in her new body and senses the glory of her resurrection how his heart will smite him. Multitudes of those in these type encounters will have already made their last choice and have no hope. Many will still find mercy, get saved, and be killed by the Antichrist's throngs of thugs.
Never has an event of Biblical fulfillment exceeded the transcending moment of the Resurrection and Rapture. There are other wonderful truths that will also be grand in their fulfillment but this beginning of the end exceeds them all. The resurrection and rapture is like the opening of a long and glorious drama with each day revealing more and more of the accomplishment of His cross and redemption plan. This world as we know it cannot continue much longer. Even nature is groaning for redemption and the dead will be removed from its bowels of sorrow. The spiritual war that is being raged by Satan and his host is especially directed to defeat this prophesied event. Satan will fail and we will escape before his last acts of blasphemy. The Rapture is certainly at the door.