Do We Really Vanish?

Q. For some time now, I’ve wondered if we will simply disappear at the Rapture. When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He did so visibly. Also, the saints that were raised up appeared in the city to hundreds of people. So where do we get the idea that we would vanish, leaving our clothes behind? Am I missing something here?

A. I don’t view the Lord’s ascension as a model of the rapture.  I think it was a unique event where the Lord arranged for witnesses to show the manner in which He would return (Acts 1:10-11).  And the holy people from Matt. 27:52-53 were a special sign to Israel, fulfilling the wave offering of the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:9-11).

In 1 Cor. 15:51-52 Paul wrote that we would be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye.  Since the Greek word translated “changed” means “to be transformed”, I think we can assume that this instantaneous transformation will include both location and composition.  I think vanishing is a lot more likely possibility than having the world watch while we float up into the air.

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