1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 describes what many Christians believe to be the event called the rapture. In the rapture, Christ will take even his people who are still alive into heaven. By that means, God will rescue them from all their troubles in this world.
Some other Christians have difficulties with this belief. One of the most important problems is that the Book of Revelation seems not to mention this event. For that reason, different groups of Christians often find it hard to agree about when and whether the rapture will happen.
However, Christians must not say that such an event is impossible. Christ rose into heaven while he was still alive (Acts 1:9). So did Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) and Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5).
The Book of Revelation may not describe the general rapture of Godís people; however, it does describe a very similar event in the lives of two of Godís servants. The two witnesses will speak Godís message during the final years before Christís return. Their enemies will kill them, but God will raise them to life. Then, while they are still alive, God will take them into heaven.
Another difficult question about the rapture is whether it will happen publicly. Again, different groups of Christians do not agree. However, John explains clearly what will happen to the two witnesses. They will rise up to heaven publicly, although a cloud will hide them from sight. That was similar to what happened to Christ; John was a witness of that event (Acts 1:9).
That cloud may not be an ordinary cloud. In such passages as Exodus 34:5, 1 Kings 8:10-11 and Mark 9:7, the cloud was evidence that God himself was present. It showed (or, perhaps, hid from view) Godís glory (how splendid and beautiful God is).
Next part: A great earthquake (Revelation 11:13)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.