Section 9: The End Times
Week 2: The Resurrection
Day 2: Our Resurrection is Tied to Christ’s Return
1 Thess. 4:13-18
There is some debate as to when the resurrection of believers will occur. We’ll talk about this more in the Digging Deeper section, but there are two basic views regarding the timing:
Christ Will Return to “Rapture” the Church Prior to His Final Return to Earth: The Bible seems to say that a time of great tribulation will come up the world at some point in the future. A number of theologians argue that God has promised to spare the Church from this tribulation (see 1 Thess. 5:9 and Rev. 3:10). To accomplish that, Christ will return to get the Church prior to the start of the Great Tribulation. At that time, the dead in Christ will rise first and the believers who are alive at that time will be caught up with them to meet Christ in the air. Those who come to faith in Christ afterwards, during the Great Tribulation, will receive their resurrected bodies when Christ returns at the end to establish his kingdom. The resurrection of believers, thus, happens in two stages: one at the rapture of the Church and another when Christ returns to establish his kingdom on earth.
All Believers Receive Resurrected Bodies upon Christ’s Return to Earth: The second view takes a simpler approach. Many theologians argue the resurrection of all believers happens at the same time when Christ returns. We’ll discuss this more in the Digging Deeper section, but they argue God hasn’t promised to spare the Church from the Great Tribulation. There is, therefore, no reason to imagine multiple comings of Christ or multiple resurrections of believers.
Read 1 Thess. 4:13-18
Our resurrection won’t happen until Christ returns (either at the rapture of the Church or upon his ultimate return to earth)? Why do you think that is? Why doesn’t it happen immediately upon death?
WANT TO DIG DEEPER?
In the next Digging Deeper section we take a closer look at the debate over the timing of the “rapture” of believers.