A Voice in the
"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes into Me, though he may die, he shall live. And everyone living and believing into Me shall never ever die. Do you believe this? ..Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who comes into the world." (vs25-27)
When it comes to discussions of the Rapture, there are many (human) viewpoints. From Scripture we believe the Lord will "receive" us to Himself (Jn14:3) prior to the resumption of Daniel's 70th week with Israel. But there are many, who confuse prophecies about Israel and the Church, who think the Church goes through a special so-called "Tribulation", one that is distinct from the past 2000 years of affliction the Church has been experiencing in many ways at various times in history, just as Jesus promised would be the case. (Jn16:33) As the various camps argue with each other, they taunt with words like, "when you find you were wrong, I'll wave to you anyway, as we are on our way up." In the end, whoever was right won't matter, because the Lord will come for us all anyway; and those who were wrong will end up in the Lord's presence anyway.
This article is not going to be a discussion of pre/mid/post. (There's enough past writings on the subject at the website, if you're not sure)
But there is a category of person who claims to name the Name of Jesus Christ, but they don't believe in -any- Rapture... pre, mid or post. Can such a person truly be a "[C]hristian"? In the past we have suggested that, certain people, if confronted with the Scriptures about a "pre" 70th week Rapture, and come away from such a revelation holding to "mid" or "post", that such unbelief -may- indicate a person's true heart. And since it's been awhile, lest anybody get all 'excited' at that statement, let's be reminded that "not knowing for sure" (one way or the other) is not necessarily such a scenario. There are many Believers, for whom their walk with the Lord up-till-now has involved other areas of growth in the Scriptures. It is not yet their time to be assured regarding the Rapture. They are yet dealing with cleaning out certain worldly ways from their lives...things that are more important to their life at the moment, as they seek to be pleasing and faithful to the Lord. If a person hasn't yet learned about the world's carnal ways, and gotten them all cleaned out to now be living holy and pure lives, knowing about the Rapture is of much less-significance in the eternal scheme of things. But if a time comes and the person is faced with the 'truths' about the Rapture, and comes away believing something different than what Scripture teaches, it causes others to wonder -what- 'spirit' taught them those false doctrines; since God's Holy Spirit knows only -one- "Truth" to "guide" us into. (Jn16:13) But, like I said above: this article is not about that. But this little bit can be food for thought, for you who haven't considered the matter, to chew on awhile.
But if a person does not believe in -any- Rapture, after hearing the Truth; such a person CANNOT BE a True Believer. And we understand this from this little exchange between Jesus and Martha. Believing in the Rapture is one-and-the-same along with believing in the Deity of Jesus Christ. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you -will- also believe in the Rapture when enlightened about it. If you believe in the Rapture, it is because you believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
However, let us back up a bit and take a look at the quoted portion from the top.
Jesus has made several "I AM" claims over the past chapters. In each case He has authenticated His claim with a sign. His being the "Bread of Life" was authenticated by multiplying the few loaves to feed the thousands. (ch6) He proved being the "Light of the World" by giving sight to a blind man. (ch9) And now He is claiming to be "the Resurrection and the Life"
So he "stayed two more days" (vs6) when He heard Lazarus was sick. He 'dawdles' along. He knows Lazarus has died (vs11) as He takes His own sweet time to get there. By the time they arrive, Lazarus has been dead "four days" and in such a hot climate, the body would be stinking pretty foul. (vs39) Jesus is making sure they know that He is truly giving life. Lazarus has not merely 'recently' died, and now needs CPR. He's good-n-dead... on his way back "to dust". (Gen3:19) The people are remembering that He is capable of healing "the eyes of the blind" (vs37), but they are not quite prepared for what He is about to do now.
Why did He do this? That the people "may believe" that Jesus was sent by the Father. (vs42) And when the sign was complete, its purpose was fulfilled, as, many "believed into Him". (vs45)
Now, notice the 'authority' with which Jesus raises Lazarus. "He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus! Out Here! Now!" (vs43) He is not like the whiny parent who "just can't control" their children because "kids will be kids", but is like the parent who stands at the door, calling the errant child in, "Get over here! Right now!" This is what the people noticed continually about Jesus, that He commanded the unclean spirits "with authority" (Mk1:27), and taught "with authority". (Lk4:32) He's the One that's "in charge".
In the last chapter He made the claim, "I give them eternal life" (10:28) There are lots of charlatans who lead people into cults with wild promises. There have been several who conned everybody to commit mass-suicide, with the promises of euphoria on the other side, either in a waiting space ship, or some other promise. The Islamic suicide bombers are given false hopes of being with Allah, and having a harem of virgins. But in all of these cases, the people jump into death 'blindly'. They don't stop to consider that they have been given no authentication or proof that anything they are being told contains even an iota of truth. When people consider the definition of "faith", they think they must step out 'blindly' because "faith is the certainty of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb11:1) Well, it might be true that a person takes "blind" steps. But faith is not based on "nothing". Faith is not "empty". It is based on God's -person-, and His -doings-. The most notable 'doing' that humanity can see is Creation. (Rom1:20)
When Jesus promises "eternal life", this is not a blind promise. When He promises to -give- "eternal life", how do we know He can deliver on His claims? Lazarus' body was beginning to rot. With authority Jesus commands, "Out here! Now!" And people were not left wondering "if" or "whether-or-not" He had been successful, having to merely take Jesus 'word' that what He said was true, even though there was no proof; because, -there- was Lazarus, standing before them! Now, considering the burial custom of those days, where the body was wrapped ("bound" vs44) in clothes, it is obvious that Lazarus did not find himself suddenly "awake" in the tomb, and 'walk' outside. Not only did Jesus raise him; He also physically 'moved' him outside before everybody for inspection.
In a few more chapters when Jesus, Himself, rises from the dead, we will consider how Jesus' resurrection is the very foundation of our eternal life, and the hope for our resurrection; as He was the "firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." (1Cor15:20,23)
But notice in Jesus' conversation with Martha: He discusses the Resurrection. The person who believes into Christ, if they die, they shall live again.
But notice the next sentence: Everyone 'living' and 'believing' shall what? "..NEVER EVER die.." What is that? The Rapture! Notice that the context of Paul's discussion of Jesus the "firstfruits" of the resurrection, is also the -same- context in which he proclaims (in case we missed it from Jesus' conversation with Martha), "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep (die physically), but we shall all be changed." Notice that the Resurrection and Rapture are tied together: "the dead will be raised" and "we (the ones he was just saying that "not all sleep") shall be changed" (1Cor15:51-52) As Paul reiterates, "..the dead in Christ (Believers) will rise first" and then "we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together at the same time with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.." (1Th4:16-17)
The ones who "not all sleep", who "are alive and remain" are the ones Jesus says, "-living- and believing" shall what? "NEVER EVER DIE". That which has been coined by popular use, with the term, "Rapture".
And notice that Jesus asks Martha, "Do you believe this?" Notice He does not ask her, as He did the blind man in ch9, "Do you believe into the Son of God?" (9:35) He does not ask regarding her faith in Himself. He asks if she believes "this". What? That which He has just been expounding: the Resurrection and Rapture.
What is her response? It is the same response the Ethiopian gave to Philip when he wanted to be immersed, his testimony that he was saved: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts8:37) The Person and Deity of Jesus Christ.
Part of the essence of Jesus Christ is the fact that He made "all things" (1:3) and that "life" is part of His very essence. (1:4) If a person claims to believe in "Eternal Life", such a belief is impossible without also believing that Jesus is -very- God. And that Eternal Life is attained via two alternate journeys depending upon the time of the Lord's return: 1) Death and Resurrection, or 2) the Rapture.
Time and history will progress. People will be born. Some ("few" Mt7:14) will come to Saving Faith in Jesus Christ. For most of history those believers will die, physically, like all mankind does, returning "to dust". But when Jesus returns for His own, He is not going to kill those Believers who are alive at that moment, just so they can be resurrected. No! Those who naturally died along the way will be resurrected. And those "living and believing" at that moment will be caught up to the Lord at the same time the resurrected ones go up to meet the Lord...only, with changed bodies. (1Cor15:50-54)
Do you believe this?