When will the people who believed in Jesus- ( disciples, ones that Jesus did miracles for/to and they believed) be caught up for their first resurrection? Are they part of the Old Testament saints but in the New Testament of scripture? If the church doesn’t begin until Pentecost in Acts 2- and Jesus had died, was resurrected, ascended, and was glorified- I just can’t figure out where those believers that walked with Him during His time would fit in!
This is a great question. While most people believe the Church began at Pentecost, some scholars, myself included, look to the Lord’s comment about John the Baptist for the answer. In Luke 16:16 He said, “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
The phrase Law and Prophets was a euphemism for the Old Testament. Jesus was saying that John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. Therefore when Jesus began His ministry, the New Testament era began.
The Holy Spirit was not given until after the resurrection, but according to John 7:37-39 those who became believers during the time Jesus was alive would receive it later. The idea that the Church didn’t come to be until Pentecost is more human tradition than a fact of the Bible. The disciples received the Holy Spirit on Resurrection Sunday (John 20:19-23). Perhaps all the other believers did too.
If that’s a correct assumption, then those who became believers during the Lord’s ministry are part of the Church and will be resurrected at the time of the rapture.