By Oscar M. Baker
These are the hopes respectively of the dispensation of promise and the mystery. The rapture concerns an earth people, who here on the earth expect the coming of the King. Among those who go out to meet Him at His coming are the five wise virgins; the foolish ones not being ready, miss it. The manifestation concerns those whose citizenship is in the heavens, who are seated with Christ at the right hand of God. The manifestation is to be in the heavens and to the principalities and powers there. Those who take part in it are those who are there, those whose life is hid with Christ in God.
So the rapture is for earth-dwellers; and the manifestation if for heaven-dwellers. The rapture was not a secret hid in God from ages and generations. This resurrection and the change that is a part of it are revealed in John 11:24-26. In the last day, when the Lord comes, the believing dead will be resurrected and the believing ones who are alive will live forever, that is, be changed. But the people should have a resurrection in heaven and be manifested with Christ the Head was not known to ages and generations till revealed by the Apostle Paul after Acts 28:28.
In the rapture, the believers are caught up to the air (not heaven) to meet the Lord as He comes to take over the kingdoms of this earth and rule on the throne of His father David. All the guests and the virgins will return with Him to the earth where a marriage supper will be observed and the King will take over His rule on the earth. At one time the people of Israel were invited to this marriage, but they refused the invitation and even killed some of the servants who gave it. But a day is coming when other servants (angels) will come and gather scattered Israel from the highways (among the nations) and bring them to the supper. These are the nation, a nation born in a day, who will bring forth the fruits of the kingdom, taking the place of those rejected. These are earth-dwellers.
But the manifestation does not pertain to the earth and those that dwell in it. When Satan is cast out of the heavens, and his angels with him, then will Christ be manifested (seen) in the heavens. And it is promised that when He is manifested, then His church which is His body will be manifested with Him. The members, both living and dead, are there (at least in potential). Their lives are hid with Christ in God and will continue there till their resurrection and manifestation in that place. Nowhere do we find any of these will be resurrectedhere on the earth and then have to be transported to heaven.
At the pronouncement at Acts 28:28, the rapture ceased to be a hope for anyone. The kingdom was set aside for the time being and another program set in motion. But all through both these dispensational times there were multitudes of believers who were not sons of God or firstborn, who could take part in neither of these hopes. They will be resurrected here on the new earth when the heavens are no more. See Job 14:12; Heb.1: II; 2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 20:11.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today Vol. 20, No. 1)