According to a prominent strand of Christian teaching, believers in Jesus are awaiting a future in which they will be transported to heaven in an event known as “the Rapture.” The most popular biblical passage used to support this view is Paul’s eschatological discourse in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Despite common interpretations of this text in terms of an end-time elevation from the earth, the apostle does not describe a “rapture” out of our world. To the contrary, rather than describing believers being herded to heaven, Paul details events that will occur on this earth in tandem with the Messiah’s second coming.

In his presentation of the Parousia, Paul declares, “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Messiah will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up (ἁρπάζω; harpadzo) with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (4:16-17). While some read a “rapture” into these verses, Paul’s language and context argue against such a reading. First, among the Greeks of Paul’s day, “caught up” (ἁρπάζω; harpadzo) was used as a euphemism for an untimely death (see Plutarch, Letter to Apollonius 111C-D, 117B); the apostle repurposes ἁρπάζω, not as another word for death, but as a description of eternal life upon the Lord’s return.

Second, the context does not describe Jesus (or his followers) ascending to heaven, but rather coming down to earth on the “clouds” (νεφέλαις; nephelais), which are common vehicles for divine visitation (e.g., Num 11:25; 12:5; Dan 7:13; Mk 13:26; Rev 10:1). Moreover, Paul’s reference to Yeshua arriving with the sound of a “trumpet” (σάλπιγξ; sálpigx) recalls the shofar blast that accompanied God’s descent onto Sinai: “As the sound of the trumpet (שׁופר; shofar/σάλπιγξ; sálpigx [LXX]) grew louder… the Lord came down onto Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain” (Exod 19:19). Once God alighted on this earth, “the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up” (19:20). Just as Moses goes up to meet the Lord in the rarified air of the mountaintop, Paul asserts that believers will meet the descending Lord in the “air” (ἀήρ; aér)—not in a rapture to “heaven” (οὐρανός; ouranós).

Finally, just as Moses eventually comes back down the mountain (see Exod 19:25), those who meet the Messiah in the air will also come back down to this earth. Paul’s picture is of an emperor on his way back from a military campaign: in the ancient Roman world, victorious emperors would return to the capital along with a massive train of foreign prisoners, wealth, and other spoils of war. On hearing of the emperor’s return, the Roman citizens would meet their triumphant leader along the way and follow him back into the city as part of the celebratory procession. Paul envisions a similar scenario at Jesus’ second coming: The Messiah will begin his descent on the clouds and his followers will meet him at a midway point in the air so that they can follow their conquering King back down to this earth.

Although it is common in certain Christian circles to read a “rapture” into 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, this conclusion does not account for Paul’s literary and cultural contexts. Instead of describing a portal to heaven, the apostle offers a window into the eternal life that comes with the resurrection of the dead and Jesus’ everlasting reign in the Kingdom of God.

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  1. I’m amazed at how much we Gentile believers read into Scripture. I’ve been in the ministry a lot of years and have never seen or heard this explanation. Thank you for enlightening our understanding stretching our minds.

  2. Shalom Blessings to all. We’re truly grateful for all that is shared thru these deeper looks into the scriptures from a Hebrew perspective.

    Question: In that this is a deeper look, why not honor the Lord by calling Him by His birth name Yeshua/Yahshua rather than Jesus?

    • Thanks for reading, Cj. I’m glad to hear that you’re finding our articles useful. To your question, see the third paragraph of the above article for my use of “Yeshua.” When writing in English, I feel that it’s usually more appropriate to use the English name, Jesus, but I’m not opposed to using Yeshua. That being said, I should stress that English speakers (who often don’t know any other Hebrew or Aramaic words) don’t get extra points for using “Yeshua,” rather than “Jesus.”

  3. Hi Dr Schaser
    2 Peter 3:10: KJB. But the day of the lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are their in shall be burned up. Revelation 21: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the old heaven, and the old earth had passed away. Can you please explain when this takes place.
    Kind regards, Bronwyn.

    • Thanks for your question, Bronwyn. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer: even Jesus doesn’t know when these things will take place (cf. Matt 24:36; Mk 13:32), so I can’t speculate.

      • Thank you for your response Dr Schaser.
        I realise that no one knows of the timing of the second coming of Yeshua, and the end of the age, only the father, but we can know the season.
        I guess that I didn’t ask the question properly, and I do not want anyone to speculate.
        What I am trying to find out is, do the scriptures say that at the second coming, we in Yeshua, (the dead in him rising first), rise to heaven with him to live in the mansions that he went to prepare for us, and then the destruction of the earth and her left behind inhabitants burn with fervent heat?

        • Thanks for your clarification, Bronwyn. “Mansions” is the KJV translation of μονή (moné) in John 14:1, which means “rooms” in Greek (specifically, temporary “rest areas” on a journey). Some readers interpret Jesus’ promise that he will “come again and will take you to myself” (14:3) to mean something like: “I will come back from heaven at the end of days and take you with me to heaven in a rapture.” However, the “rapture” interpretation doesn’t fit Jesus’ words later in the chapter: “If anyone loves me… my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (14:23). Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “we will make his home with us in heaven,” but that “we will make our home with him [on earth].” In other words, when Jesus says that he will “come again,” he means that he and his Father will dwell on a renewed earth with humanity (cf. Rev 21-22). There’s nothing in Jn 14 that demands a “rapture” interpretation; the text to which you’re alluding does not say that believers will “rise to heaven” before those who are “left behind” undergo the tribulation (cf. Jn 16:33 for Jesus’ assurance that “there will be tribulation” for believers).

          • Thank you Dr Schaser.
            Yes! Humanity will go through the tribulation, but not our fathers WRATH, which to my understanding of the scriptures, happens after the second coming of Yeshua. Hence a need for a new heaven and a new earth. And I did not say that my understanding of the meeting of our lord in the air is a rapture, the Bible does not state the word RAPTURE.
            Kind regards, Bronwyn.

    • The way I see this verse, the verse spans the full 1000 year millennium the new heavens and earth 🌏 occurring at the end

  4. Hi, Explain the difference between the “rapture” and the second coming. Point for point, and back it up with scripture from Old testament and New Testament.

  5. This is a fantastic article Dr Nicholas. I came across this concept a few months back while reading some of N.T Wright’s work and I must say the ensuing study was quite eye opening and humbling! I think the summation that an established “kingdom of heaven” looks less like “evacuation” and is more about “occupation” lines up with scripture in a far more impacting and meaningful way. The Olam Ha-ba seems to have very little to do with “going to heaven when we die” in Jewish thought; quite contrary to the doxa of a modern Christian church!

    My next read on the topic will probably be “Apocalypse and Allegiance” by J. Nelson Kraybill. Excited to dig into articulations surrounding the reign of Domitian and how he (and the deified Caesars in his family tree) were the subject of The Revelations.

    Seems to me that as much as the book is apocalyptic in nature, it is as Jewish resistance literature against Roman oppression (proclaiming the risen Christ as the true ruler and King of everything). Also mind blowing to think the majority of the events have already played out after years of teachings to the contrary!

    • Thanks for your comments, Shaun. Yes, I’ve also seen some of Wright’s responses to “rapture” interpretations. Indeed, Revelation is an apocalyptic text insofar as it constitutes a divine “uncovering” of what will take place on earth prior to the inbreaking kingdom of God. More, much of the visionary material in the Apocalypse pertains to John’s ancient Roman world — though, certainly, some of it has a future application, and all of it remains useful for the present. Thanks again for contributing to the discussion.

  6. I agree. For most of my adult life I have thought that the prevailing popularity of the dispensational rapture scenario was displaying an unwarranted optimism that reflected the American exceptionalist mentality and spirit of manifest destiny of the mid 1800’s far more than sound and careful exegesis.

    • You’re right that “rapture” theology is particularly modern and Western, Dan. You’re also right that a close look at the text(s) shows that they do not support the idea. Thanks for your input.

  7. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus, while not knowing when the time would come, does mention that one would be taken and the other left. Also, the judgments of Revelation don’t seem to be for the church. I think these things need to be considered, as well.

    • Thanks for this comment, Bill. Yes, like 1 Thess 4, Matt 24:30-31 also gets misinterpreted as a reference to the rapture. I am planning to write an article on Matt 24:30-31 next.

  8. Hello, thnks for your insight, then if this is so who will live in the new jerusalem? Its clear that the new jerusalem will not have a temple because the lamb himself his our temple, The promise of the kingdome age wasnt promise to israel such as isaiah 65 etc.? John 14 Jesus said that he will GO to prepare a place so we will be where he is, so where are these mansions? Thank you very much

  9. Just another false” progressive” explanation of a well-revealed event that will take place much sooner than we could expect. Paul was right on track when he described the catching-away of the truly Born Again Church” Beware of those who “wrest” or twist the Scriptures (II Peter 3:15-16).

    • Charles, I’m pretty sure this is the first time anyone has described my approach as “progressive.” If you’re going to use 1 Thess 4:17 (i.e., “catching-away”) as proof of “the Rapture,” you’ll need to actually deal with the language and context of the passage, and *show* that Paul speaks about a rapture. That is, assertions (like the one you’ve made here) need to be supported with biblical data — calling an alternative view “progressive” doesn’t get you any purchase on the validity of your own view.

    • Dr. Schaser is correct…. the proof text for there NOT being a pre tribulation rapture is that famous passage in Thessalonians. Everywhere, Paul is talking about the second coming which Jesus clearly says is AFTER the tribulation and AFTER the sun and moon go dark….
      …might notice that!

    • John Darby really did a number on the American Church, and it is only since 1830 AD that anyone has ever taught a pre-tribulation rapture. His dispensational doctrine wipes out the gospel for the church as he teaches that the Gospel is only for the Jews in the tribulation. That takes away from Christianity the very teaching of the one who founded it!

      Paul agreed with Matthew 24 and with Jesus when he clearly taught that the parousia will not come until the man of sin is revealed… that is the antichrist. (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-4)

      The parousia is not something that can occur at any moment, until after we see Jerusalem surrounded by its enemies and that man of sin breaks the covenant and declares himself to be God. 70 AD certainly was not that time of the great tribulation like many would like to say, or else pregnant women and nursing mothers would still be going through great distress after more than 2000 years. (Matthew 24:19-21) This time of distress is still in our future and the 70 AD trampling of Jerusalem was only a foreshadow of what is to come in our future… which could be very soon.

      But just as God took care of those who put the blood on their doorways and killed all the 1st born who didn’t have blood over their doorways, He will also take care of those who have the blood of Jesus cleansing their souls at the time of the Tribulation.

      Certainly this does not mean some Christians will not be put to death and that many will suffer, but they will not be lost to eternity because of going through the Tribulation!

      I used to believe in Darby’s dispensationalism and the pretribulation rapture, until in recent years, but that was because the church taught it and I just thought they knew what they were talking about. Obviously, they didn’t know, and they just absorbed it from those who taught them… it has become tradition in America, but not with most Christians in other parts of the world. The Scriptures teach otherwise. More than 70% of American churches today have accepted the doctrine of John Darby. And the Scofield Bible with its dispensational study notes alongside the very words of Scripture is mostly what perpetuated this false doctrine of dispensationalism and a pre-tribulation rapture!

    • Thanks for your question, Richard. 1 Corinthians 15 is about the coming physical resurrection of the dead on this earth, which Paul also describes in 1 Thess 4:16-17. Neither of these passages, however, describe a rapture to heaven.

  10. I am a full believer in the rapture of the church as Jesus would never let his bride go through the tribulation period. There are two distinct returns of our Lord – the rapture and his 2nd coming. We will return with Jesus to this earth upon His 2nd coming.

  11. The Millennium is O.T. Ezekiel, Zachariah
    1. The rapture is in the O.T. Enoch and Elijah are both a foreshadowing of the rapture.
    2. Postmillennial does not allow for who is populating the world during the millennium reign.
    3. Bride protected from God’s wrath in O.T. in Isaiah, Daniel Prophecies.

    • Agree, God’s wrath is for a world in rebellion, not the Church, or Bride of Christ. The Church is no longer mentioned after chapter 3 in revelation because it is likely not there! If the Church is required to suffer God’s wrath, one is saying Christ death was insufficient -beware!

  12. sure! teaches same. No two second comings of Christ! The topic is enlightening. Tim Lahaye’s Left Behind book popularised it all when the movie was done on the secret rapture theory. Whether one takes it literally or symbolically the trumpet and the shout in the main “rapture” verse does

  13. Totaly disagre with you interpritatiojnn The rapture spoken of in 1 Cor 15 and 1 Tess 4 is for the Church only You cannot have Israel and the Church together, As Abraham was promised his posterity Israel would be as the sand od the sea.And Gentile as and Jewisjevery im

    • I’m not seeing “rapture” anywhere in 1 Corinthians 15; the text describes the “resurrection of the dead,” but this event should not be conflated with a rapture to heaven. Stephen, if you’re going to appeal to 1 Thess 4 as a proof of “the Rapture,” then you need to do more than just assert that this is so. Instead, you need to reckon with what the passage actually says (including its broader literary and cultural contexts), as the above article does. In other words, in order to support the “1 Thess 4 = rapture” position, one must gather textual data to support this view. Since everything in Paul’s discourse can be understood without recourse to the Rapture idea, the burden of proof remains with those who find a “rapture” in the the text.

    • 🙂 Or, more precisely, heaven *will become* a place on earth when the new Jerusalem comes down to earth from heaven (Rev 21:1-2) — this dovetails with Jesus’ prayer to God, “Your Kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). So, yes, Belinda Carlisle was on to something.

  14. First, I want to share that this site: “Israel Bible Center” has taught me much about the OT and Jewish culture and I so love the Jewish people, I am so disappointed you have not given me enough room to respond. This saddens me!

  15. No the word rapture is not in the Bible But caught up is , & come down is also so to come down we have to go up — No? very good discussion. Love you brother

    • Harpadzo =Outline of Biblical Usage: to seize, carry off by force to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly to snatch out or away 1Thess 4:17 the word (caught up) the term rapture from Latin raptus- (a bird 🦅 of prey that snatches something with great violence and suddenness.

  16. Another important point is the word “to meet”, apantesis. This word also occurs in Acts 28:15 where we read the brethren came out “to meet” Paul as he was entering Rome. When Paul met them he did not turn around and return where he came from but rather continued to Rome with the brethren escorting him as a sign of respect. Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes that this is a technical term for a dignitary being greeted and escorted into the city.

  17. Look at Scripture as a whole and the rapture is in view in 1 Thess 4 and in context of 1&2 Thess is pre-tribulation. Rev 4-5 the church is in heaven. Jn 14:1-3 is fullfilled pre-trib. Mt 25:31-46 no post-tribulation rapture., etc. Need to look at entire Word of God.

    • David, we only have space in our articles to take on one or two texts at a time. I will write another post soon on Matt 25 and Revelation, neither of which describe the rapture. I suppose that I will need to follow that article with one on John’s Gospel, since Jn 14 is another text into which people seem to be reading “rapture.”

  18. There is not enough space to type what the Lord showed me about this. Any serious Bible scholar knows there are two accounts on the Lord’s return. One he comes as a thief in the night and the second he comes as a conquering warrior to destroy Antichrist Government.

  19. I just want to reply to the comment that we cannot see Israel and Church together in 1000 y. kingdom. 1Thess.4:17 “And so we will be with the Lord forever” If the resurrected believers are to be with Jesus forever – He is going to spend 1000 years on earth.

  20. Only 45 words 2comment! Glad a scholar backed me up. Quit talking/arguing abt it. Never believed in pre/mid/post trib rapture. John? says about enduring THRU. SO TIRED of peeps saying we’re gonna be outta here. it’s US that are the witnesses, ‘left behind’ was FICTION!

    • Yes, Janine — the “Left Behind” books series certainly constitutes a thorough misunderstanding of the biblical text. More on that in my next post 🙂

  21. If the second coming is after a secret coming, then it will be seven years to the part second after the seven yrs tribulation, so I will know when the second coming is.

  22. The word “rapture” appears in the Latin Vulgate translated from Greek “harpagisomethain” translated in English “we shall be caught up”. The rapture is imminent which means it can happen at any moment though not necessarily soon. Richard Northorp is spot on. Arabella Gregory is also correct.

  23. Thank you Dr.Schaser for your clear review.Holding interpretations to the literary and cultural context is difficult when we have been taught mostly from a personal viewpoint of what we want to “read into” the scriptures.Looking forward to the rest of your studies on this.

    • Thanks, Larry. To be sure, reading the text closely in its literary and cultural context is not always easy! But you’re right that it can help us to avoid misinterpretations. More rapture-related articles coming soon.

  24. There is no such thing as a rapture. Follow the timeline of the tribulation leading up to the return of the Lord and you will see that the so called “rapture ” occurs at this moment in time when the dead in Christ are raised.

  25. Some will say, but we are not subject to the wrath of God. This is true but the tribulation period is not the wrath of God. It’s the wrath of Satan. God’s wrath comes after the return of Christ. After the saints have been gathered.

  26. Heaven is a spiritual place. Physical things cannot enter heaven. Only our souls ascend to heaven and our bodies turn to dust. The new testament is completely false from beginning to end. If it was the word of God, why would it have so many contradictions in it?

    • Sandy, nowhere does the Bible say that “our souls ascend to heaven” after we die. Yes, heaven is a spiritual place, but that does not mean that it is not also physical, since the “spirit” world is also described in “physical” terms according to Scripture. You might find the following IBC article helpful on this point:

      On your understanding of the NT, I think it might be helpful for you to dispense with the Greek philosophical notion of “contradiction” when you approach Jewish texts. Ancient Jews were not as beholden to the “law of non-contradiction” as we are in the modern West (having been strongly influenced by classical Greek thought). The identification of “contradictions” is orthogonal to the question of whether or not the NT is “true” or “false.”

  27. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you will be also.”

  28. I Thes. 4:16-17 should be read in conjunction with I Cor. 15:51-53 to really understand the concept of the meeting and the takeout (rapture) of the saints before the judgment just as God took out Noah and his family before the judgment of the flood. Space doesn’t permit full explanation.

  29. God will always take out His own before judgment falls on the world. We have the examples of Noah and Lot. The Lord will take out (rapture) the saints; then the rapture of the 2 witnesses (Enoch and Elijah) of Rev. 11:3-13. After that, the judgment on the world.

  30. Thank you Leisa, Jesus speaking in Jn 14:1-3, Said ‘if it were not so I would have told you’ I rather believe Him than any man whose understanding is limited. I encourage you all to prepare for His second coming than engage in what is unprofitable to your soul.

  31. Nicholas, could you respond as to how certain believers think the marriage supper of the lamb is the 7 yr tribulation? Is there something in the Jewish wedding customs that would allow for this explanation?

    • Hi, Michelle. I likely won’t be much help here, as don’t spend any time in the “tribulation timeline” discussions. To my knowledge, there’s nothing in Jewish wedding customs that would support the notion that the marriage supper of Revelation 19 should be associated with a tribulation. As for Revelation itself, nothing in the language of Revelation 19:6-10 explicates a “tribulation” or anything lasting “seven years.” Those who make this connection may be drawing from the “seven years” reference in Ezekiel 39:9, but I can’t be sure. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t give too much time or thought to the various links that some want to make between the biblical books for support of “end-time tribulation” speculation.

  32. I was taught dispensationalism and believed it all my life until I was challenged to prove it biblically without reading into the scriptures preconceived notions. That was the beginning of my reversal of theology. I came to understand the rapture to be the hope to avoid suffering which Jesus declared.

  33. Dr Nicholas what does it matter if we go into heaven or come back to earth at that time. Paul does tell us “so shall we will always be with Yeshua” it does matter to me if I’m in heaven or on earth with the Lord.

  34. As Bible school dean I teach all the theories to students. According to our translation the pre, mid and after rapture and the messianic view like Dr. described in article. But sum up with, what does is matter, it has nothing to do with ou salvation. Blood does, HIS

  35. Please allow me another, just love HIM and follow HIS orders and be saved and be with HIM at the end. And we can speculate when it is to heavan, Mic. 3:7, but its not to argued. The tabarnacle gives us the time despensation. Love GOD, DEUT. 6:5

  36. Dr. Schaser, it struck me that a lot of tension and disagreement over this subject could be alleviated if we had greater insight to your & IBC’s hermeneutical method. May I ask what school of thought you might most closely align with?

  37. Thank you. This is a great discussion on this topic. Much like the Israelites were in Egypt for the plagues will we who believe be here in the tribulation. Thank you for more insight on this thought! I want to know more about this topic.

  38. the same time so many Jewish believers compares the Jewish wedding with the rapture. .. seems like that hangs in the air if there isn’t such a thing as the rapture? Jonathan Cahn a Messianic Jew also teaches the pre tribulation rapture?

  39. We shall be hidden “in a man”. If believers would only believe ALL scriptures and the continuity from OT to NT, they would see the Kingdom of Heaven described here on earth by the OT prophets. Tell the persecuted of this day there will be no tribulation for believers!

  40. Shalom. I have not believed in a “Rapture” before the tribulation or 2nd coming of Messiah. Why would believers be warned of what is to happen if they are not going to be here? I have always thought the Trumpet blast would be just before the return of Messiah. Thank you for this explanation.

  41. “Paul asserts that believers will meet the descending Lord in the “air” (ἀήρ; aér)—not in a rapture to “heaven” (οὐρανός; ouranós).”
    This case was not made convincingly, for ex., “not in a rapture to “heaven” (οὐρανός; ouranós).”
    Who is reading into the Scripture here?
    “Once God alighted on this earth, “the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up” (19:20). Just as Moses goes up to meet the Lord in the rarified air of the mountaintop, Paul asserts that believers will meet the descending Lord in the “air” (ἀήρ; aér)—not in a rapture to “heaven” (οὐρανός; ouranós).” This case was not made — based on the Moses quote? This needs a more comprehensive analysis, in view of the depth of the N T.

    • I’m having trouble following your objection, Mark. I’ve included the Greek that Paul uses (i.e., the term for “air”), as well as the Greek he does not use (i.e., the term for “heaven”).

      • Thanks, Dr. Schaser — What you’re doing here is what I’ve been doing as well for quite some time…trying to take every nuance of the Scripture and make sure I see it as it intends to be conveyed, with the help of the HS, of course (John 16:7…)
        So, no doubt you are a serious scholar and know your stuff, which I appreciate as I have spent my life in Messianic ministries. I agree that many things have a clear bias such as the ostensible replacement of Isreal by the Church despite the fact that the vine has lost some branches but hasn’t been uprooted.
        The point here is, I believe the analogy of Moses coming down the mountain is not enough (cf. Acts 17:11); notwithstanding, this subject has been detailed so much in the last 2000 years, I would need far more space to make what I believe would be a fair case — I don’t believe the Moses analogy plays into this setting.

  42. May I ask the historical context of Jesus sending out disciples in two’s. Appreciate your time. Thank you.

  43. Paul says when christ comes descending out of heaven the risen christians and transformed believers will rise to MEET the LORD in the air…that is the fulfilment of John 17:24 and Col.3:1-3-Christians will APPEAR WITH CHRIST IN GLORY…

  44. I spent the first half of this year studying the topic of the rapture and the second coming, and have come to the same conclusion: there is no rapture! What an eye-opener!! My whole internally-perceived-doctrine of the second coming has had to change.. thanx for the confirmation. Not alone! X.

    • I’m glad you found the article helpful, Xavier. Rearranging prior understanding is not always easy, but sticking to what the text actually says sometimes calls for such reorientation. Thanks for reading.

  45. Thank you so much for adding great insight into rapture lve been reaserching more on this topic and that of the anti Christ.

  46. It seems to me you do believe in a rapture, just not ‘a rapture to heaven’. Since believers meet the Lord in the air is that not a snatching up? From Rev it seems episunagogue out of the Great Trib (2 angels with sickles), not pre-trib.

    • I think that Paul describes people being “caught up” in the “air” to meet Jesus, but not caught up to “heaven” to stay there while tribulations occur on earth. Paul envisions Jesus and believers coming right back down to earth upon meeting him in the air — there’s no “rapture” in which people remain in heaven.

  47. “The Messiah will begin his descent on the clouds and his followers will meet him at a midway point in the air so that they can follow their conquering King back down to this earth.”


    For me, this article is one of the final puzzle pieces I needed.
    Thank you!

  48. On the question of linking John 14:1-4 to the popular rapture teachings: I look at the context and see that this statement by Jesus takes place in the upper room just after Judas had left to betray Him. Jesus is therefore addressing the remaining eleven close disciples and not a general audience. He said He would be returning to take THEM with Him. And we know they died at different times in different places. I therefore understand this portion as a spiritual message to them.
    I have literature of an author who was raised in the Aramaic language and customs that explains “caught up in the air” as an Aramaic idiom that means to rush out to meet someone?

    • Thanks for these comments and the question, Gerrie. On “caught up” in Aramaic, there’s a few different words that one could use to approximate Paul’s use of harpadzo, so it would depend on how one would want to do that. On the idea as “going to meet someone,” we actually don’t need recourse to Aramaic to understand that this is what Paul means — since he’s writing in Greek to a Greek-speaking audience. Pauls says explicitly that believers will be caught up “to meet” (apantesis) the Lord in the air,” and this is the same word used when people come out of Rome to “meet” Paul as he is coming in (see Acts 28:15). That is, when Paul comes into Rome, people “meet” him on his way, and then following him back into the city; in a similar way, Paul that envisions believers will “meet” the Lord in the air and follow him back down to earth. Thanks for your contribution, Gerrie!

  49. In spite of the Jewish/biblical ignorance and nonsense of former tugboat workers and their books (of which there is no end), thank you, thank you for the faithful and trustworthy truth!!!!!!

  50. I have for years said that we will be going through the tribulation, and felt i was the only one that saw it that way. I keep asking for Scriptures that talk of the rapture and have been given the same ones over and over but i don’t see it the way others seem to. So glad to see someone saying pretty much what i have been thinking, although you give insights that i had not thought about.

  51. I believe that there will be a rapture in that Christ will return for His church before the tribulation and before He comes again to reign on earth and several passages suggest this:
    John 14:1-3; 2 Thes 2:1-8; Rev 19!! The Bride has to be in heaven for the Marriage!!!

  52. Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. (Bridegroom=Christ ,bride=church,


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