Many Christians believe their ministers, who tell them that God's Kingdom is established by the Rapture.
The Rapture scripture goes like this. "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them
which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus
died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring unto Him. 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. For the Lord Himself shall descent from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and 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." (1 Thess. 4:13-17). On the basis of this scripture many ministers
confidently preach that Christ will come for those washed in the blood of the Lamb and establish an
everlasting heavenly kingdom.
A little reflection on the history of Christ, however, reminds us that He fulfilled prophesies from many
books of the Bible at His First Advent. Notable among these are Psalms 22, Isaiah Chapters 9 and 53, plus
many individual scriptures.
Ministers who teach the establishment of God's Kingdom based of five verses of prophecy must be lead
into error. There are many prophesies of God's Kingdom in both Old and New Testaments, and only by
harmonizing ALL of them can we get some idea of what to expect of the rapture. Don't misunderstand me,
being truly washed in Christ's blood and emerging a new person dedicated to walking in Christ's
footsteps will get you into God's Kingdom, either alive or through the resurrection unless you blaspheme
against the Holy Ghost by refusing a present truth message. "Whosoever speaketh against the Holy
Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." (Matt. 12:32).
Here is the prophecy of the living saints who enter the Kingdom. "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great
multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood
before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried
with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all
the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the
throne on their faces, and worshiped God. Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and
thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the
elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came
they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are
they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the
throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun
light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall
lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Rev.
7:9-17). Now that's a rapture because they live happily ever after with the Lamb before the throne of God.
But note, "these are they which came out of great tribulation." (Rev. 7:14). This great multitude survives
the time of trouble. There is nothing easy about their experience.
Also, this is not the only rapture. The sealed servants of God in the same chapter also have one. "And I
saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud
voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth,
neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard
the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of
all the tribes of the children of Israel." (Rev.7:2-4).
These 144,000 descendants of Jacob (who God renamed Israel) are not only washed in the blood of the
Lamb, they are also sealed. Here is their Rapture. "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion
(Zion), and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their
foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great
thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sang as it were a new song
before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the
hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were
not defiled by women (false churches are characterized in the Bible as fallen women), for they are
virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from
among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for
they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:1-5). Note that these 144,000 "follow the Lamb
whithersoever He goeth" and are "before the throne of God." They are gloriously rapturously happy; it is
The seal of the 144,000 is having the Lamb's "Father's name written in their foreheads." The Lord gives
His name twice in the Book of Exodus. He calls Himself Jehovah. "I am the Lord: and I appeared unto
Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by My name JEHOVAH was I not
known to them. And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the
land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers." (Ex. 6:3,4). The Lord also calls himself Jealous.
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Ex. 34:14).
Either of these names leads us to the Lord's covenant with his people, which is expressed in Ex. 20. "I am
the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou
shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of
any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water that is under the
earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous
God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them
that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that
taketh His name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all
thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou,
nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is
within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and
rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord hath blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honor thy
father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou
shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness
against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife,
nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's." (Ex.
20:2-17). Note particularly that God shows mercy to those who love him, and keep his commandments.
That is the heart of the covenant.
This seal on the forehead of the 144,000 is knowledge of and obedience to God's Law as amended by
Christ. (How Christ changed the Law is a subject too big to tackle here.) These 144,000 of the tribes of
Israel are "without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:5). They keep the commandments, like the
Seventh Day Sabbath. They keep those parts of the Law that have been designated "a statute for ever,"
like the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. (See Ex. 12, Lev. 23.)
In the Rapture of the 144,000, we see a phenomenon. Heaven has planted a "beachhead" or to be exact a
mountaintop on earth. This is the beginning of the fulfillment of what Christ taught us to pray for; "Thy
kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:10). This is a fulfillment of prophecy
also. "What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation (the media)? That God hath founded
Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it." (Is. 14:32).
Once Zion, the mountaintop is established, it remains as a place of learning forever. "And it shall come to
pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the
mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and (people from) all nations shall flow unto it. And many
people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord (Zion), the house of the
God of Jacob: and He will teach us of His ways, and we shall walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go
forth the law (God's Law as amended by Christ), and the word of God (prophetic message calling God's
people out of the world) from Jerusalem." (Is. 2:2,3).
If we study the Rapture of the 144,000, we see a third group to be raptured. This is what the 144,000 are
taught as they stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion. "And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many
waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and
no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from
the earth." (Rev. 14:2,3). The "many waters" are many purifying spiritual messages. The "voice of a great
thunder" is the echo of the sound made as the first seal is opened. "And I saw when the Lamb opened
one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and
see." (Rev. 6:1,2). The new song, which the harpers teach, can only be learned by the 144,000, theirs is a
knowledge ministry. As Christ opened the scriptures to His followers at the start of His heavenly ministry
(see Luke 24), so under His guidance, the harpers open the scriptures to the 144,000.
Which brings us to the first rapture, that of the harpers, which takes place in the time of the plagues."And
I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in
them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had
gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his
name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sang the song of Moses the servant
of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just
and true are Thy ways, thou King of saints." (Rev. 15:1-4). This rapture takes place in heaven before the
founding of Zion. And the song the harpers sing, "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of
the Lamb," is a song about the Law of God which came to men from God through Moses, and the kingdom
of God which was delivered from bondage by God through Moses, and the blood of Christ the Lamb
which was shed for the remission of sins. Again this is a knowledge ministry. To sing this song, the
harpers must understand and walk in the Law of God as amended by Christ. They must know the gospel
message and the angel messages of Rev. 14 ("many waters") and particularly the prophecies of the
Kingdom of God as revealed by V. T. Houteff when Christ opened the seal on the first thunder and sent
him to tell the church, ("the voice of a great thunder").
Altogether we have discussed three raptures, three groups of righteous Christians who stand before
God's throne and are forevermore with Christ. But there is a pattern for the Rapture that was established
at the resurrection of Christ. " ... the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen
asleep were raised; and came out of the graves after his resurrection, they went into the holy city and
appeared to many." (Matt. 27:52,53). This group of resurrected saints was caught up to heaven to stand
before God's throne with Christ. "Jesus said to her, ... go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending
to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." (John 20:17). Of the three groups that stand
before God's throne with Christ, only the harpers are seen in a heaven-like setting, they stand on a "sea
of glass mingled with fire" before the throne of God. (See Rev. 15). The 144,000 are raptured on Mount
Zion and the great multitude are raptured in God's Kingdom on earth. (See Rev. 7 and 14).
So the harpers most closely resemble the raptured saints of 1 Thess. 4:17, "we which are alive and
remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." Paul made this
prophecy to the saints establishing the early Christian church, persons who had dedicated their lives to
establishing Christ's Kingdom on earth. These were not your average Christians.
Although Christ's Kingdom on earth differs from God's Kingdom on earth (the latter containing no
children of Satan, see Matt 13, particularly verses 41-43); the principle established at the resurrection of
the saints with Christ calls for only a select group to be caught up "to meet the Lord in the air." That
group is not all Christians (who are gathered in three groups), but only the harpers who begin the
harvest. They are the "wave sheaf' that begins the harvest. "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say
unto them: When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and reap the harvest thereof, then ye
shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the
Lord, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the (Passover) Sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Lev.
23:10,11). Here again is a pattern that points to the rapture of the harpers. Only a few sheaves of grain
were lifted up before the Lord by the high priest. But all the grains were harvested. Remember that Christ
likened the gathering of God's Kingdom to the wheat harvest. (See Matt. 13:24-30,36-40).
Which of God's servants will be harpers or stand with the 144,000? Except for the tribes of Judah and
Benjamin, the knowledge of one's tribe has mostly been lost on the earth. Most of the 144,000 can only be
called by God, who will tell them their tribe. So it is with the harpers, only a direct call from God can
choose them. This much I know, theirs is a knowledge ministry, and their knowledge is of the scriptures
and the Angel Messages of Rev. 14 and their ranks will not include those whose acquaintance with
prophecy begins and ends with the Rapture scripture, 1 Thess. 4:13-17.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden