Wanted – Dead or Alive :: by Robert S. Ditmore

Notice Jesus said “I will come again” in verse 3 of John 14:1-6.

John 14:1-6 – “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Why is He coming again?

Among other things, to “receive us unto Himself that where He is we may be also.” And this is very good news, so when is this going to happen?

Isaiah 26:19-21 –  “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. Come, my people, enter into your rooms and close your doors behind you; hide for a little while until indignation runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” (He will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem Zechariah 12:9) see also Isaiah 57:1-2, and Zephaniah 2:3.)

And the earth will reveal her bloodshed and will no longer cover her slain.

Isaiah indicates this will occur at the resurrection of the dead (v.19) when He comes to receive us unto Himself we will enter our rooms and close our doors behind us to hide for a little while until indignation runs its course. Jesus confirms this timing with the resurrection event in John 11:25.

John 11:25-26 – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who LIVES and believes in Me will NEVER DIE. Do you believe this?’”

Jesus is speaking of the resurrection and how people will come to life when He makes the incredible assertion that “everyone who LIVES and BELIEVES in Me will never die.” Wait just a minute, I thought everyonewho is born on this planet will die, so just who is it that will NEVER die?

It is those who are ALIVE at the resurrection, and who BELIEVE in Him, that will never die. So incredible a statement is this that Jesus, to emphasize it, asks, “Do you believe this?” Well what else is He going to do at the resurrection with all those who are alive and believe Him at the time? Will He let us face His wrath and then resurrects us? Seems inconsistent with Jesus our Creator and the “Author of Life.”

This is the “Blessed Hope” spoken of in Titus 2:13: “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”

And just where are we going?

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught   up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

Looks like a permanent relocation to me. It is Jesus returning “in the clouds” to “receive us unto Himself” that “where He is, we may be also.”

And how is this going to happen?

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 –  “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 5In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

So why did Paul confirm this “Blessed Hope”  in Titus 2:13, and why did Jesus say “Let not your hearts be troubled” in John 14:1, so that as Paul says, “we might be comforted by these words” in 1 Thessalonians 4:18?

Paul confirms the timing of this “catching away” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, as occurring with the resurrection, as stated by Jesus in John 11:25 and Isaiah 26:19,20. So every fact is confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). We have Jesus, Isaiah, and Paul asserting that we will be caught up with Jesus  to the place He is preparing for us at the resurrection of the dead just prior to the Day of the Lord until the “indignation runs its course.”

This indignation that runs its course is the “Day of the Lord,” the seven-year time of Jacob’s trouble, the seven-year Tribulation, where God pours out His wrath upon an unbelieving world, and will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. We will discuss more about the Day of the Lord in a minute, but please notice this from Isaiah 26:21a:

“ For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.”

This is a clear reference to the Day of the Lord and it follows directly on the heels of the resurrection in verse 20 and the hiding away of His people in their rooms until the indication runs its course.

Isaiah 13:9 – “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.”

Sounds like wrath and indignation to me!

Zechariah 12:9 – “And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 30:11 “‘For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, ‘to save you; for I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly

And will by no means leave you unpunished.’”

So God will pour out His wrath on the UNBELIEVING world that is left behind since the BELIEVING world has been caught up in the clouds to be with the Lord forever. Notice in Jeremiah 30:11 the Lord says “I am with you to save you, and they will not be completely destroyed but chastened and punished.” This is Israel and this is the group God will turn His attention to when the BELIEVERS are removed.

So who are the BELIEVERS and what has this select group done to garner such a distinction?

First off, they are not agnostics or atheists. They are believers in God (Jesus) as He commands in John 14:1. Second, they are the “children of God.” So how do you become a child of God? John tells us in the first chapter of His gospel:

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…”

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (v.14). But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (v. 12a). who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (v. 13).

John 3:3, 5 –  Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see (or enter the kingdom of God.’”

You are promised the right to become a child of God by receiving Him, and when you do you are born-again. If you don’t receive Him you will NOT be born-again and can never enter, or even see, the kingdom of God, as John 3:3, 5 so clearly indicate.

Some people think that we, meaning everyone in the world, are all “children of God.” Nothing could be further from the biblical truth.

Galatians 3:26 – “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

It is best when we read the whole verse and not just the first half. So how are we children of God? By faith in Christ Jesus!

The Word of God says there are two kinds of children in this world: Children of God and children of the devil.

1 John 3:10  – “ By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

So who is “Him” that we must receive?


John 1:1 is the answer, Him is the Word that was in the beginning with God, and IS God, and became flesh and dwelt among us.


Numerous verses in both the old and new testament clearly indicate that Jesus is God: 1 John 5:20 says (paraphrasing) We know the son of God has come, Jesus Christ, the true God and eternal life.


And Isaiah 9:6 “ For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


Revelation 19:12 says that Jesus has a “name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” And in verse 13, “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.”


So how do we RECEIVE Him—the Word of God?


I would suggest by reading and believing it – the Word of God, and Him, and His-story.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 6:40 – “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”


Ephesians 1:13-14  – “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

John 6:28-29 – “Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’”

Romans 10:9-10 –  “… that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness,  and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6 – “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for  our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

2  Corinthians 5:21 – “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”

Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved

In conclusion:

I believe there is a Rapture. It occurs at the resurrection, but whether you believe in a rapture or not it is clear  in the Word of God that there is a resurrection. And I believe, as this article represents, the Rapture  and resurrection occur at the same time – just prior to the Day of the Lord, when God comes back for His children. He wants them ALL – dead or alive.