It is believed that once we die we go either straight to heaven or hell. If this is true, who are the dead that will rise in the rapture?
Michael Pearl: Take it away! This is Mike Pearl sitting here behind the camera, once again, with Jared in the background operating the equipment. He has some questions that you’ve sent in. I’m going to try to answer them. I have not seen them. I have no idea what he’s asking. So, I’m going to just let him shoot it to me and we’re going to see what we can find. What’s the first question, Jared?
Jared: It is believed that once we die we go either straight to Heaven or Hell. If this is true, who are the dead that will rise in the rapture?
Michael: Paul said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” He said, “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ.” He said, “I also have a desire to stay with you.” Now, he said, “It’s more expedient, I think, if I abide with you.” But he said, “But to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
In other words, let me illustrate it this way. Here is Paul on the earth in the presence of all the Christians. He said, “I’d like to stay here with you, to be with you.” He said, “But, I also have a desire to depart and be with Christ.” He said, “But when I die and I am absent from the body.” That is, something will be missing. The soul, which is part inside of our body, the soul will be missing. It will be, he said, “present, with Christ.” So, Paul said that when he dies, he would be absent from the body, but, he, himself, would be present with Christ.
Now, if the soul slept, as some teach, and was unconscious for the next 2,000 years, then there would have been no advantage in dying. Paul would have been wrong when he said, “Absent from the body is present with Christ.”
Then, he went on to speak of desiring (this is in Corinthians) to be clothed upon with his new body. Then he says there in 1st Thessalonians 4:14‑15 and 1st Corinthians chapter 15, he speaks of the... Let me turn to that one in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 and read some of it to you. He said, “I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
Let me go back up to 15:44. He said, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Two different bodies. He said, “And so, it is written.” I’m skipping... “…the first man…” …I’m skipping down. Verse 51, “Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise.” “Twinkling of the eye and the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. We shall be changed. For when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” So forth.
Then turn to 1st Thessalonians chapter 4. He says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ...” This is Paul dead. “The dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
So, he says, verse 15, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.”
The Bible calls this dead state “sleep.” This natural carnal body goes to the grave. The spirit goes to be with Christ. At the second coming, when Christ comes back, it said, “Those which sleep in Jesus will God...” So this is the sleep. Those who sleep in Jesus at that time will God bring with him.
Here’s somebody coming back with him while we who are alive and remain down here are waiting for his return. These which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. But then the dead in Christ — that’s those that are in the grave right now — will rise first and be caught up to meet him in the air. Then we will be caught up, those who are living, right afterwards.
What you have is, the dead bodies are in the grave, their souls are present with Christ coming back in the air, and that resurrection takes place moments before those who are alive are transformed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. “So shall we evermore be with the Lord.”
Voiceover: If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.