The Old Testament is always a picture and a shadow of the realities of the New Testament. God would do something in the Old to set a precedence for something He would do in the New. In the New Testament we have a blessed hope, the coming of our Lord in the clouds, we call it the rapture.
There are two men in the Old who picture the rapture. They are Enoch and Elijah. They both went to Heaven alive. Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him. The story is that they were out walking together one day, and it got close to night time and God suggested that they were closer to His house than they were to Enoch’s. God and Enoch walked into Heaven together. Elijah went to Heaven in God’s fiery chariot. That’s where we get our spiritual song, “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.” Enoch and Elijah picture the rapture.
And so, when Jesus comes back to get His children, those who are alive will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. We will be caught up with the Lord, and so shall we ever be with Him. Comfort one another with these words.
The other group is the dead in Christ. They shall rise first. When Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the top of the mountain to pray, He was transfigured before them. There appeared Moses and Elijah talking with Him about His crucifixion. Elijah is evidently the one of the two that went to Heaven alive that God chose to represent those who are alive when Jesus comes.
Moses is the one God chose to represent the dead in Christ. There are some interesting verses about Moses in the Old and New testaments. No man buried Moses. Nobody knows where he was buried exactly. God Himself buried Moses. Then we read in the New Testament that the arch angel Michael, the warring angel, fought with the devil over Moses’ body. Moses could not enter the Promised Land because of his anger at the waters of Meribah. God told him to speak to the rock and water would come flowing out. He got mad and struck it twice instead and dishonored God in the midst of the people. Because of the grace of God, in the New Testament, Moses ended up in the Promised Land with Jesus and Elijah.
God buried Moses and the arch-angel Michael fought and got his body from the devil, from the world of the grave. When Jesus comes in the clouds, He will bring with Him those who have died before. They are with Him in Heaven. Their spirit will be with Jesus in the clouds and their body in the grave. Then when Jesus descends with a shout and the trumpet of God sounds with the voice of the arch-angel, their spirit and body will be made one again. The graves will split open as the saints arise. Then we who are alive will be caught up together with them.