Biblical Answers About
Death, the Resurrection,
and the Rapture
By Pastor F. M. Riley
June 1, 2017
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 9:27-28
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ," Titus 2:13.
There appears to be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding today, even among true believers, about the subjects of death, the resurrection, and the rapture. In this study, I make no promise to clear up all of the misunderstanding about these subjects, but I can and do promise to give to my readers some Scriptural light on what the inspired Word of God has to say about these subjects. Let us begin.......
MAN'S APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH
Does the Scripture text for this study actually and literally say that all men must die? No! It most certainly does not! What this passage in Hebrews 9:27 actually and literally says, is that "it is appointed unto men once to die." Yet many today in the churches and the ranks of Christianity, dogmatically teach that every person born into this world must experience death. That is not what this Scripture says, and it is not what the inspired Word of God teaches.
Now let's go to God's Word and get the Scriptural truth about man's appointment with death.
The very first mention of death in God's Word is found in Genesis 2:17, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Now who was speaking in this Scripture? It was the Lord God! And who was He speaking to? God was speaking to Adam, whom He had created. It then should be glaringly obvious, to those believers who pay attention to what they are reading in God's Word, that it was the Lord God who made Adam's "appointment" with death. Adam did not make the appointment! God made the appointment! And since it was the Lord God who made man's appointment with death, then it is the Lord God who can cancel that appointment, at any time He chooses, for anyone He chooses.
That this is absolute Scriptural truth is quite evident to any one seriously studying God's Word. For some believers in the history of mankind, have already had their "appointment with death" cancelled, and for some believers living today the Lord God will yet cancel their appointment! Glory to God!
Proof? Gladly! None other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself explicitly stated that some believers will never experience death.
In John 11:25-26, in speaking to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, in the context of the death of Lazarus, the Lord explicitly stated, ".....I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth [is alive; living] and believeth in Me shall never die. Believeth thou this?"
Do our readers believe what the Lord Himself said? Martha said she did! 11:27.
Of course she did! After all, it is clearly recorded in the inspired Word that Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, never experienced death. Read it for yourself in Hebrews 11:5 and Genesis 5:18-24.
But Enoch was not the only person in the Bible and human history who never experienced death. The inspired Word makes it very clear that the prophet Elijah, was taken to Heaven in a whirlwind without ever experiencing death. Read it for yourself in 2 Kings 2:1-11.
It was also the Lord Jesus Himself who gave the message about the "new birth" recorded in John 3, which includes verse 16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I am well aware that the word, "perish," in this Scripture is referring to perishing eternally. No true believer will ever "perish" eternally, but all incorrigible unbelievers will. What makes the difference? Whether one has believed on and placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of their eternal soul.
Every true believer is given "everlasting life." Even though the body of true believers presently grows old and dies, the true believer doesn't die. Having believed on the Lord Jesus, death has become merely a doorway that the true believer steps through into "everlasting life" with the Lord Jesus and His people. Glory to God!
As verification of this truth, it was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who also said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life," John 5:24. Notice that the Lord Jesus clearly stated here, that those who believe, already have "everlasting life" as a present possession. While their bodies may grow old and die physically, their souls have already "passed from death unto life." Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
Doesn't the inspired Scripture also plainly state that "Enoch was translated that he should not see death," Hebrews 11:5? Every honest reader knows that it does. Enoch was the 7th generation from Adam, and a type of those true believers who will be raptured to glory just before the seven year Tribulation period. Those true believers who are alive on the earth at the time the rapture occurs, also will not see death. Read it for yourself in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
Folks, what some believers today overlook or ignore, is that Christ Jesus paid the penalty for our sins in full.
No dear readers! It is not true that every person born must die! Those true believers living at the time of the rapture will never meet the angel of death, nor experience death. Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
The inspired Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:51, plainly stated, "Behold, I shew [reveal to] you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [die physically], but we shall all be changed." The Greek word translated as "changed" in this Scripture literally means, "to change; to exchange." See Strong's No. 236. In other words, believers still physically alive at the time the Lord comes to rapture His saints to glory, will never experience death, but rather are going to exchange this old body, with it's fallen "sin nature," for a brand new body, "that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself," Philippians 3:20-21. Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.
Paul wrote extensively about this "change" in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. All true believers will experience this "change," both those who have already died, and those who are still living when our Lord comes. But carefully notice in studying this passage, the distinction Paul himself made between the body and the soul, 5:1. The body is not the real believer. The body is simply the house that we [our immortal soul] are presently living in. We believers have no desire to die, or for death, but rather to be "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven," 5:2. And we shall be, at the time of the resurrection and rapture.
It is stated very clearly in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, that at the time the Lord comes, the souls of those "which sleep in Jesus" will come back with the Lord, 4:14. Those souls will reenter their resurrected "new bodies," [Philippians 3:21] just before being "caught up" at the rapture.
However, there is a second group of believers who will still be physically alive when the Lord comes, 4:15; 4:17. This second group of believers will never experience death. Rather in a split second, our bodies will be "changed," [1 Corinthians 15:52], and made like the Lord's glorious body, Philippians 3:20-21.
Then those "dead in Christ" who have been changed and resurrected, and the "living in Christ" who have been changed, will all be "caught up together.....to meet the Lord in the air," 4:17. Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
Every true believer is going to fly! You may be one who has never been on an airplane, and who has never flown previously, but at the time of the rapture you are going to fly.
I have actually had a "professing Christian" tell me that they enjoyed my preaching until I came to this "rapture business," and right there they turned me off. They just couldn't believe in suddenly being lifted off the ground and flying through the air, and they didn't want to hear about it or discuss it.
But folks, the rapture is explicitly part of the true believer's "blessed hope," Titus 2:11-15. How can one claim to "believe God's Word," and yet refuse to believe what the Word says about the rapture of all true New Covenant believers?
As far as being bodily lifted off the ground by the Lord's appearing, there is nothing for any true believer to dread or fear, for the Lord Jesus has never lost one of His people yet, and will never lose one who truly, by faith in His saving grace, belongs to Him. Yes, when the inspired Word says, "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," 4:17, there isn't a thing for the true believer to worry about. Beside that, you will have no time to fret and worry about it. It will all take place in an instant of time. One minute you will hear the Trumpet of the Lord sound, and the next instant you will be with the Lord high above the earth, ready to be taken to glory. Oh yes, what a soul thrilling experience this will be for all of God's children. Glory to God! Praise the Lord! What a day of rejoicing it will be "When the saints go marching in!" Praise our precious Lord Jesus.
I have now gone over Scriptures from the inspired Word which concern the true believer's death, resurrection, and rapture. I hope every reader of this study will accept these Scriptures at face value for what they actually and literally say.
And I hope that every reader is, or will become, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's appointed Savior for mankind, Matthew 20:28; Luke 19:10 For folks, the time for these truths to be fulfilled is here! We have arrived at the Scriptural "time frame." At any minute of any day (or night) now, the Trumpet will sound, and the Lord will appear in the heavens, calling the "dead in Christ" to come forth with their new bodies, and calling "we which are alive" in Christ to experience an instant "change," and all of us to be "caught up together" to meet our Lord in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I earnestly would like to meet every reader of this study in glory when our Lord comes. Please don't disappoint me.
"Even so, come, Lord Jesus," Revelation 22:20.
<<<<<<< O >>>>>>>
Dear reader, if you are one who has tried to call me, and could not get through, I sincerely apologize, but my old phone does not ring most of the time. I have no idea why, and have tried to have the phone repaired, but it still isn't working right. It does ring occasionally, but not like it should. I thank each reader who has been patient with this situation.
If there are those who like to write, please address all correspondence to me at: Pastor F. M. Riley, 14275 County Road 8120, Rolla, Missouri 65401.
God bless you all is my prayer. See you SOON in glory,
<<<<<<< O >>>>>>>