Q. Thank you for your blessed words, I read your comments daily and have a question concerning the coming rapture. I was always confused about the statement that, we would not all sleep, but the dead in Christ would rise first, then we who are alive would follow. I always felt that these two events do not happen in the twinkling of an eye together but rather there is a space of time between the two events. Then I was reading a site where the writer was basically saying that the dead in Christ that rise first will be a warning to those of us alive that the rapture is imminent and will be like the dead that rose from the graves during the death/ resurrection of Christ and were seen in the streets of Jerusalem What is your take of this view?
A. I think the writer is putting words in Paul’s mouth. Believers in Thessalonica were worried that their friends who were dying would miss the Rapture and Millennium. Paul said that not only would they not miss it, they would be the first to go. There’s no indication in the verse of a span of time between the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of living believers, and no mention that one would serve as a warning for the other.
The dead who were seen in Jerusalem following the Lord’s resurrection were fulfilling the wave offering, or sample of the harvest, associated with the Feast of First Fruits. (Lev. 23:9-11) If they were intended as a signal that something else was imminent, then we’ve been waiting 2000 years for it to happen.