- Biblical Evidence for the Rapture
In I Thessalonians 4:17, the word ‘caught up’uses the 5th century Latin Vulgate word “rapiemu” producing the English word “Rapture”
- It shows that the second coming of Messiah is a biblical concept
“For the Lord himself shall descend 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 that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” [I Thessalonians 4:16-18]
3 other texts are also used to prove the Rapture
Problem – In its context, it does not work
I Corinthians 15:51-54 – quoting Hosea 13:14
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in 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.
But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
Hosea 13:14reads “I will deliver them out of the hand of death. I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy death; O hell, I will be thy bite: comfort is hidden from my eyes.”
It confirms the resurrection of the dead, and transformation of the living into the resurrected immortal state – it does not mention the Rapture, or being ‘caught up’
For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.
This text is an affirmation of the resurrection of the dead, but it does not mention anything about being ‘caught up’or even the 2nd coming.
For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.
Then shall two man be in the field; one is taken, and one is left: two women shall be grinding at the mill; one is taken, and one is left.
These verses are interpreted to mean when Yeshua comes, the one raptured will be the one taken away. The one left on earth [the unbeliever] will be ‘Left Behind’.
In the Full Context, it points to a different interpretation, especially when compared with its parallel in Luke 17
- The Vultures
Yeshua tells us that the generation of His return will ignore the warnings leading up to the big event
In this context Yeshua speaks of those who will be taken away and those left behind
However, the one ‘taken away’is not ‘raptured up’.
Just as the flood came and took people away in judgment, this passage also refers to people taken away in judgment
This becomes clear in the same teaching of Luke 17:37
In this verse, the disciples specifically asks about the ones taken away; “Where will they be taken, Lord?
“And they answering say unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Where the body is, thither will the eagles also be gathered together.”
The corpses of those taken away will be food for the birds
This corresponds to those who perished in the flood
Now read Revelation 19:17-18, 21
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid heaven, Come and be gathered together unto the great supper of God;
that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, and small and great.
and the rest were killed with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of his mouth: and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Those left behind are the righteous. As Peter said in II Peter 2:9
the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment;
- The Rapture in the Torah
The belief of the rapture can only be used in one text – I Thessalonians 4:17
Whenever the Apostles taught a concept, they backed it up with the Torah and the Prophets. We almost never find a concept in the Epistles. The writers clarify and explain what is already written.
The authority structure of the scriptures is laid out this way
That is why Yeshua, Paul, and the other writers constantly site proof text from the Torah and the prophets in their teachings.
Question: How is it possible that Paul would introduce something so significant as the rapture when Moses did not mention it, the prophets did not mention it, nor Yeshua mention it?
Could Paul pass over something of this magnitude without mentioning a single“as it is written”?
What is the Torah’s prospective?
- Messiah and the Ingathering
At the end of Deuteronomy, there are a number of serious curses, one of which isDeuteronomy 28:64
“And Adonai will scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers, even wood and stone.”
In Deuteronomy 30:4,God promises to gather his people from that exile
“if any of thine outcasts be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will Adonai thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:”
In the Targum of Yonatan [an early Aramaic paraphrase of the Torah] projects the ingathering as a component of the coming of the Messiah
“though you may be dispersed unto the ends of the heavens, from there will the Word [MEMRA] of the Lord gather you together by the hand of Elijah the prophet, and from there will he bring you by the hand of the King Messiah”
Major Point: Moses and the Prophets promise that one day God gather his people.
In a Jewish prayer that Jews pray 3 times a day, talks about this event
“Blast the Great Shofar for our freedom and life a banner to gather our exiles, and gather us together from the four corners of the earth. Blessed are you, Of L-rd, who gathers the scattered ones of his people, Israel” [10th Benediction of the Shemoneh Esrei]
The Prophets all testify regarding this great return to the land [Isaiah 11:12, 27:13, 56:8, 66:20; Jeremiah 16:15; 23:3; 29:14; 31:8; 33:7; Ezekiel 20:34, 41; 37:21]
Read Isaiah 11:12
“And he will set up an ensign for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
- The Great Trumpet Blast
Isaiah connects the Ingathering of the Exiles and their return with the sounding of the Shofar
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great trumpet shall be blown; and they shall come that were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and they that were outcasts in the land of Egypt; and they shall worship Adonai in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.”
Ezekiel 37:21-22, 24ties the coming of the Messiah King with Ingathering of the Exiles and appoints the Davidic King over them. Notice how the prophet uses the name “David” as a title for the Messiah
“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Adonai: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all;”
“And my servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in mine ordinances, and observe my statutes, and do them.”
In traditional Jewish eschatology, the ingathering of the exiles is an event firmly linked with the coming of the Messiah and the final redemption.
Yeshua gives this expectation in Matthew 24:31
“And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
With these words, Yeshua alludes to the Isaiah prophecies of the ingathering of Israel and Judah. He mentions the great trumpet and the gathering from the four corners of the earth. The elect being gathered are the chosen people – Israel.
- The Resurrection and the Ingathering
Ezekiel firmly links the ingathering with the resurrection of the dead. The vision of the ‘dry bones’is explained as a vision of the final ingathering of Israel
“Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Adonai: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.”
Traditional Jewish eschatology links the sound of the trumpet blast that starts the ingathering of the exiles and the coming of the Messiah with the resurrection of the dead.
All of these elements answer Paul’s words in both I Thessalonians 4:16-18and I Corinthians 15:51-54. To Paul, the rapture, the resurrection of the dead, the coming of the Messiah, and the ingathering of the exiles are all the same event.
Paul looked forward to the day when Messiah would come. When he spoke of that day, he did not feel it necessary to provide proof texts. They were all established points of doctrines he felt it unnecessary. When Paul mentioned these events, he assumed his readers knew what he was speaking about.
His readers did, but because of the loss of the Jewish roots, we do not, the church was left to fill in the blanks. They supposed that Paul was talking about Christians being taken to Heaven by the Messiah
- What about Gentile Believers?
Paul narrows the scope of the ingathering event to believing Israel when he says those “in Messiah” are the ones to be raised and ‘caught up’.
Are Gentiles to be left out of this rapture?
No! All the redeemed in Messiah are fellow heirs with Israel and will share in her exodus to the Promised Land
“The Lord Adonai, who gathereth the outcasts of Israel, saith, Yet will I gather others to him, besides his own that are gathered.”
These others are Gentiles – Matthew 8:11is connected to Gentiles [the Centurion’s Faith]
“And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven:”
POINT: I Thessalonians 4:16-18makes no distinction between Jews and Gentile believers
- Carried on the Clouds
If I am correct, when the rapture comes, we must revise our travel plans. According to the Prophets, the destination of the ones raptured is not heaven; it is the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem
Q – Will the Messiah gather the exiles and all Gentile believers with them and carry them in the clouds to the land of Israel?
In Isaiah 60, the Prophet tells us about the final redemption and the great ingathering. He describes the children of Israel returning to the land with hosts of Gentile nations. Isaiah 60:8 declares:
“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?”
The Midrash of Shimoni comments on this verse saying that “the clouds will carry them to Jerusalem” from the very ends of the earth –both Jews and Gentiles. This rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 60:6 fits well with Paul’s assertion that we “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”
We will all go up to Jerusalem for the great coronation of the King, and as Paul says,“so we shall always be with the Lord”