Is John 11:25-26 a reference to the rapture?
During part of a day in the life of our Lord, we learn a remarkable truth about the biggest question every man has: life, death, and then what?
We are able to understand this question posed in these two verses by considering the basis of the conversation the Lord has with Martha. The Lord uses physical death to confirm a deeply spiritual truth, full of hope, that the faith of a living man, ensures no spiritual death (v26).
I believe we find a pathway to our answer in the response that Martha gives in verse 24 to the Lord’s statement of verse 23. The Lord is not revealing new truth; He makes a statement of fact, and Martha, without hesitation, agrees. Therefore, as the NT was not written at this point, we must look for our answer in the OT. In this hope that Martha is in complete harmony with, we learn a basic truth – in the face of death, where there is faith, there is hope in resurrection. The Rapture is not in view, certainly in the interpretation of the immediate context, as the Rapture is a NT truth that relates to the Church.
Martha, a Jewess, knew that God had promised a Messiah and that He would bring a kingdom. Logically, in order for the Jews who had died to share in the kingdom, there would have to be a resurrection.
However, beyond logic, what did Martha know? Job (19:26) declared that “he shall see God” in the flesh, even if the body had been destroyed. We read in Isaiah 26:19, “Your dead will live,” and in Daniel 12:2, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake some to everlasting life. (Eze 37:11-14, KJV), taught about the hope of resurrection for the Israelite.
The apostle Paul in his defense at the end of the book of Acts 23-28 in essence is charged with preaching the resurrection of Christ. He shows that what he was teaching wasn’t new truth. It had been taught to Israel of old. To Felix, “there shall certainly be a resurrection” (24:15, KJV), “the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers” (26:6, KJV), and in verse 7 (KJV), “unto which promise our twelve tribes earnestly serving God night and day, hope to come for which hope’s sake.”
So, what do we take for ourselves today? First, we enjoy the great truth that Christ is our hope. He has risen, and so we will rise. Second, many NT verses teach the truth of the Rapture related to the church, but there is a key verse that relates to resurrection. “Every man in his order” (1Cor 15:23, KJV). John 11 has this truth at its heart. Finally, to those who grieve loved ones presently, the message of comfort from the Lord Himself to you is, they “shall rise again.”