The rapture is a controversial teaching with its basis on one short set of verses in 1st Thessalonians. It is a teaching that has a wide spectrum of interpretations and applications. This teaching tightly unites those who believe in it, but more and more it terrifies many who have some association with it. In Parts I and II of our 3-part series, we began systematically walking through the scriptures in question. As we have attempted to clearly define each element of these scriptures, we have seen many of the contradictions and inconsistencies with this rapture teaching rise to the surface. In Part III, we closely examine what it means to be "caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Our only objective is to adhere to what the Bible really teaches and walk away from anything else.
The main scriptures used to teach a rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NASB) reads: 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. The rapture teaching interprets these verses in a very dramatic way. As soon as Jesus returns with an audible cry and the blast of a trumpet, he miraculously and immediately raises all faithful Christians who had died over the last 2,000 years. In the next moment, he snatches up to heaven those Christians who are still living on the earth. What is left behind is chaos, fear and destruction.
While this rapture teaching uses Scripture as its basis, its conclusions could not be further from the true meaning of those texts. In Parts I and II of our series, we explained the scriptural basis for and the method of Jesus’ return. We discussed how his return begins in a stealth-like manner - as a "thief in the night.” Then we defined the spiritual nature of the "shout" and "trumpet." We talked about what the "dead in Christ" rising first means. We defined what we know and don’t know about their resurrection. All of these carefully considered details firmly disprove the rapture teaching.
Check out our January 2, 2023 podcast, “Do I Suffer from Rapture Anxiety? Part III” for more. We focus in on what it really means to those Christians living on earth at Jesus’ return “to be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Our conclusions are based on the immediate and larger context of these verses, the meanings of the words, and the harmony of the rest of the Bible. The result is a teaching that brings hope and joy, not only to all faithful Christians, but to every other human being as well. Please join us for this in-depth, 3-part study of God’s Word. It may change your life!