angelhorn02I received the following question:

Dear Nathan, thank you for all of your wonderful studies. I was reading your lessons about the Rapture and I too believe in a pre-parousia manifest kingdom. Where I have trouble understanding your interpretation of I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 is when you say that Paul and those of the present calling, the “one body”, will be included in those saints who will hear the trumpet of God and the shout of the Chief Messenger to meet the Lord in clouds and be changed to “always be together with the Lord”. First it’s my understanding that the dispensational divide at Acts 28 brought forth many significance changes in how God dealt with mankind. Among one of them was Paul’s attaining to a unique resurrection namely the “exanistasis”

I don’t doubt that those called into the “one body” after Acts 28, will live to see the events that unfold at the “conclusion” of the kingdom era (Matthew 24, I Thess. 4 and I Cor. 15). It also seems logical that there will be men and women born “of the flesh” during the kingdom era who will become disciples and “sons of the kingdom” alongside the “sons of the wicked”, as outlined in Matthew 12 and the parable of the sower. They will need to be “changed” to have eonian life. All of these resurrected and born, will live throughout the pre-parousia kingdom until the “beginning of sorrows”.  But my question still remains, are the events outlined in I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 4 directly applicable to those saint’s under the new administrations of God under grace namely the administration of the compliment and the secret (musterion).   

Will not those who have been positioned in the “high calling” or “calling above in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), at our out-resurrections and “manifestation”, have already enter into our inheritance and reality long before the events of I Cor. 15 and I Thess. 14 will transpire? Are you suggesting that those believers “of the nations” in the “one body”, the “compliment of the One completing the all in all”, will be part of the company of saints on earth who are “remaining” or “surviving” the affliction? Will Paul and those membered into His Body be among those saint’s holding out their expectation to meet the Lord in the clouds at the “last trump” and “shout of the Chief Messenger”?
In my studies, I notice a distinct Jewishness associated with the secret in I Thess 4. Israel was ALWAYS associated with the call of a TRUMPET. Check this out by referring to a concordance. Under Moses, the sound of the trumpet was a signal for the gathering of Israel.
“ … when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount” (Exodus 19:13).  

In Numbers 10, the LORD told Moses to make two TRUMPETS of silver “FOR THE CALLING OF THE ASSEMBLY” (v. 2). Verse 3 says that when the trumpets blow, “all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee (Moses).

Again, if you read Joshua 6:2-5 you’ll notice how trumpets were tied to the children of Israel.

I believe these passages are veiled references to 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15. Trumpets have had a very close association with VICTORY! Victory is also coupled with trumpets as Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55, “…Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”  Just before Paul wrote about VICTORY OVER DEATH and the grave, he said in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:

“Lo! a secret to you am I telling! We all, indeed, shall not be put to repose, yet we all shall be changed, in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP. For He will be TRUMPETING, and the dead will be roused incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

It is my observation that the sound of the trump or trumpet will signify the GATHERING of believing Israel at the Second Coming (Parousia) of Christ. As members of “His Body”, the “one body”, it seems logical that we will have already been perfected in Him and “transfigured” long before these events occur. Besides, trumpets are NEVER associated with the “Church which is His Body” revealed after the suspension of God’s dealing with Israel at Acts 28. It seems that we will be the first to be raised or changed—that is to say, transported into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son (Col. 1:13).

Thanks for your time!

Thank you for reading/listening, and for your good questions.

First of all, though it is a little off-topic for your questions, let me say that, while I cannot deny that we believers of today are a part of the “one body,” I would not use this term as the descriptive term of believers today. The reason I say that is because of my belief that the term “one body” means “one substance,” and speaks of all those who partake of Jesus Christ and therefore become, in part according as they partake, as He is. From the very first time that anyone received a position out of God (such as the priest Melchizedek, or Moses the lawgiver, or Aaron the priest, etc.,) there have been people who have partaken of Jesus Christ and become in measure as He is. No one could ever represent God in any capacity unless he had first partaken of the One Head, the One Source, Jesus Christ.

The ultimate expression of the One Substance of Christ will be in the kingdom of God, when all people from all ages who have ever been chosen to represent God (and have not later lost that position, as Judas and Saul did) will be raised to take their places in the great Kingdom ekklesia of God. At this time, we too will be raised and take our places in that One Body. However, so will the Acts period believers, the Israelites from down through the ages, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, etc. The special thing about us is that we are seated in the most exalted (super-heavenly) seats in that Body. Notice that this is only a privilege if there are lower seats. If everyone is a Great Exalted Potentate, then my being a Great Exalted Potentate is more or less insignificant. If only a few people are Great Exalted Potentates, however, then my being one is a great privilege. So not everyone is in the Body of Christ. It is a great privilege to be there. But also not everyone in the Body of Christ is seated in the most exalted (super-heavenly) seats in the Body of Christ. For me to be there, then, is an even greater privilege. This is the truth of our privileged position today. But the first revelation of the Body of Christ in the New Testament is in Matthew 16:18, when Christ says that “on this rock (of the twelve) I will build of Me the ekklesia.” An ekklesia built out of Him is His Body, that is, His Substance. The twelve are integral to that, and they are part of the Acts period company of believers, not our company today. I Corinthians speaks of the Body of Christ, and is not speaking of believers today. Therefore, I believe our privilege is to be in the most exalted dispensation of grace company WITHIN the One Body, not simply being the One Body.

If I ever seemed to say that we would be involved in the second coming privileged group who will be gathered together to meet the Lord in the air, it was probably in the sense that I was describing dynamically what it would be like to be a part of that company. For example, you might hear the trumpet, you would know it was time to go, if you were on the top floor of a building you might step to the window, open it, and jump out to go floating up into the air, or you might stop your car and get out in order to go floating up into the air, etc. I was trying to describe what it will be like for those people who will take part in that great event, not suggest that I know that I myself will be a part of it. The main focus of that event will be Israel. They will be the elect ones gathered from the four winds to join Him in defeating the anti-Christ, to mourn with Him for the atrocities against Him committed in the rebellion, and to join with Him in bringing in His glorious parousia reign on earth.

As for Paul, I believe he will be a part of the dispensation of grace company, but he will also be a part of the Israelite contingent of that company, and so might well be involved in this event. I agree that since he gave up all he had in the Acts period to take hold of and become a part of the new dispensation of grace company, then I cannot just say that his inclusion in that event in I Thessalonians necessarily proves he will be a part of it. However, I see no reason that being a part of the dispensation of grace company in Israel would preclude one from welcoming Christ to earth when He comes, so I see no reason to think that Paul including himself in that event in I Thessalonians 4 is untrue.

As for us, I do not think that we will have anything to do with the gathering together and defeating the anti-Christ, etc. That is Israel’s part. However, we might be allowed to partake in this event at least to the extent of being called up into the air ourselves and then descending as He descends, even if we are halfway around the globe and nowhere close to in sight of His actual coming when it takes place. Since His parousia will shine from east to west like the dawn, I think it will be felt around the globe, including wherever we may be. However, I can only speculate on this. We might, as you say, have nothing to do with it. I really don’t think I have enough information on this to make a definitive statement.

The dispensational change did bring about many changes. One of those was a new resurrection company of which we will be a part, and Paul, since he switched into our company, will also be a part of it. However, since Paul already revealed that he is going to be alive already at the parousia of Christ, when he was raised in relation to it makes little difference as to whether or not he will be a part of that later event.

I think I made it clear that I believe that I Corinthians 15 is talking about the start of the kingdom of God, whereas I Thessalonians 4:15-18 is talking about the parousia at the consummation (coming together to a desired end) of it. I do believe that I Corinthians 15 is talking about the resurrection at the start of the kingdom. We will be a part of that resurrection. I think that the exanastasis you mentioned is a special company of people within the larger company of people resurrected at the start of the kingdom. We might well be the first ones raised, and that is why Paul talks about “advancing” to it. However, we will still be a part of the general company who are raised to the kingdom of God, and that is why I think I Corinthians 15 is talking about our resurrection. It is talking about the resurrection at the beginning of the kingdom. Though, as you say, if it is talking about when the Acts period believers are raised then, and if we are raised before that, it might not be talking about our resurrection specifically. Hmmm. You do bring up a good point here. However, I would say again that I describe us as having a place in that resurrection only because that is the same general company of resurrection we will take place in, not because I believe us to be a part of the Israelite company Paul was writing I Corinthians to.

I am confused by your mention of a “dispensation of the compliment.” I have no idea what you are talking about. It would make more sense if you had said the “dispensation of the complement,” but I still am unsure what would cause you to use that term.

I do not paint I Thessalonians 4 with the same brush. I think verses 13-14 are talking about the start of the kingdom, 15-18 about the parousia at the “end” (consummation) of it. I do not believe that I Corinthians 15:50-57 are talking about the parousia. I believe that those verses are talking about the start of the kingdom. Our resurrection will not take place long before the one described there. It may only be minutes before, or they may take place at the same time.

I do tend to think we will survive the tribulation, for that test will not be for us. We will be like the teachers or monitors there to help those going through the test, but not taking the test ourselves. If to give them an example some of us might give our lives for Christ during that time, it would not cause me problems. Maybe that will not happen either, though. So we might well be alive and remaining at that time. If we died in the tribulation, we would be raised at that time, with the other martyrs, though we would not be gathered to Christ for the final battle, since we are not Israelites.

I agree that our change will take place long before the parousia of Christ. I do not believe that I Corinthians 15 is talking about the parousia of Christ. It is talking about the start of the kingdom. I Corinthians 15:50-57 and I Thessalonians 4:15-18 are talking about two different things.

You have to be careful about picking out words that are never associated with post Acts 28. Since we have a small number of short books, this can be a bit misleading. For a word that occurs many times before and not at all after, this might be significant. But trumpets are spoken of mostly in Revelation, and only 7 times before that. To say that it is significant that those 7 are never in post-Acts 28 books…well, is that really significant? For example, you can make a big deal about how many Old Testament quotations there are in pre-Acts 28 books and how few there are after, and that would be true. However, there are, as I remember, NO quotes in I Thessalonians, and the most quotes after Acts 28 are in Ephesians. From this criterion, Ephesians would be pre-Acts 28 and I Thessalonians post. This would not be right!

We might well be the first into the kingdom. If so, I don’t think it will be by very long. The most important thing will be our exalted position. A few days later when others are raised, the order will not matter so much as the position.

Thanks again for the great questions. Keep studying the Word!