Rapture Doctrine Biblical?
Updated: Mar 22, 2020
This post will help clarify whether the fairly recent doctrine known as “the rapture,” if this is biblical.
One of the foundational scriptures used for the rapture teaching is 1 Thessalonians 4, so we will review this first;
1 Thessalonians 4 - 5
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with the in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (NASB). 1 Thess. 4:17
As we read the full context of chapter 4, we can clearly discern the topic is regarding the resurrection. Verse 14 references the dead in Christ stating, “those who have fallen asleep (dead) in Jesus” and to not “grieve (for them), as do the rest who have no hope (nonbelievers).”
Verse 15 clarifies that “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep (dead in Christ).” This helps us know this is referring to the 2nd Coming of our Lord and Savior. “Shall not precede” solidifies that the dead in Christ will be raised from the dead first, then those still alive who are saved will be lifted up to meet the Lord and be “together with them in the clouds.” This was a message to “comfort one another“ (v. 18) that they would see their loved ones again and be joined with their Lord and King at the final resurrection.
Verse 16 stats that “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 shall rise first” This could not reference some secret rapture of the church if Messiah is descending from heaven. The shout and trumpet are biblical signs of war declared (on the wicked and lawless). In addition, chapter 5 immediately continues mentioning “the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (v. 2). And v. 3 says “destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs...and they shall not escape.” This is the final judgement of the wicked on earth.
Paul again encourages the church in saying, “whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another...” (5:10-11).
Continuing into 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 it clarifies that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night to those who are in spiritual darkness. It also reminds us to "not sleep...watch and be sober."
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” Then verses 4-6 say “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
Speaking to believers, apostle Paul warns to be sober for the last day when Messiah comes "as a thief in the night." This is the Second Coming.
Here's a quick video overview on why this pre-tribulation teaching is false.
Rapture Teaching Proven False (for mobile)
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all 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” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Verse 51-52 says that the dead shall rise at the last trumpet of the Final Coming. Throughout the bible, a trumpet (or Shofar), references war and/or a King entering a kingdom. To show respect, people would come out to greet a King to show faithfulness and loyalty. In like manner, at the Second Coming, believers who are still alive (and likely under many tribulations) will meet Messiah in the clouds. The followers of Messiah who are alive when Yahusha returns, will be changed AFTER the dead rise, at the END.
Rapture Biblical? (for mobile)
Messiah's Statements on End Times
“unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been spared; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short” Matt. 24:22
Clearly, we read here that for the ”sake of the elect” Messiah will return before they are all martyred. There will indeed be extreme persecution on believers during this time and even during the entire Gospel Age since Messiah's ascension. As Stephen (Acts 7) seen Yahusha standing at the right hand of God, so He still reigns at this time. Every enemy will be placed under His feet, with the last enemy being death and the grave. We are within the 1,000 year (symbolic of many generations) Millennial reign. Those of us with the fruits of the Holy Spirit who cast sins away and pursue righteousness with fear and trembling are "kings and priests" of YHUH (YaHUaH).
In Matthew 28:18-20, Messiah said He would be with us unto the end of the world, not until some secret pre-tribulation rapture;
“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
In John 6:40, 44 and 54, Messiah repeatedly tells us that He will raise up the dead (in Messiah) at the last day;
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Those who remain abiding in Messiah’s light (following Him and Elohim's Commandments unto righteousness), won’t be caught by surprise. Rather, we are to be watchful awaiting His Coming to judge the wickedness of this world.
In John 16:33, Messiah told us we would have tribulation, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Revelation 11:15, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.”
So the Scriptures is telling us that believers in the end of time will go through tribulation and will face the beast (church) system. At the end, the dead will rise and then the living elect will be caught up in the air to meet Messiah. His wrath will be poured out on the Earth to judge those who have rejected Him.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord (Master) in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (Master).” - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
The “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” is at the end, not 7 years before Messiah returns on His white horse. Revelation 19:8-9 says that the bride is not ready until Revelation 19 and we are at the END of the tribulation;
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
Then two sentences later in verse 11 we find the “Second Coming of Messiah”,
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Anyone who teaches that believers will be raptured to avoid tribulation, and will be at the wedding feast with Jesus, while everyone on Earth is enduring seven years of tribulation, is teaching contrary to the scriptures. Followers of Messiah have faced tribulation for the last 2,000 years, as it is part of our purification and testing. His apostles and disciples were persecuted and killed. In addition, millions of Christians have died at the hands of the Jews, the Romans and the Roman Catholic Church. Even today, many Christians in other countries are being persecuted and killed for their faith. Being found with a Bible can lead to certain death in many countries. Why would God treat us differently? Are we better than those who were martyred for their faith, such as the Apostles, John the Baptist, and even Messiah Himself? Shall we reject the cup He had to endure?
Let's review a quick overview of Dispensationalism, in which this Rapture teaching came out of. It is a rather new doctrine when comparing to Church history.
Dispensationalism Beginnings (for mobile)
The more that I researched this topic, the more dangerous this rapture teaching became. It’s proponents defend it as a major part of the gospel. However, throughout the Bible, we are shown and told that those who follow Elohim and His Son will face persecution and tribulations. An estimate of 10 million believers have been martyred for the gospel of Yahusha Messiah. This is the case throughout the Gospel Age. If Christians are supposed to escape God's wrath with a secret pre-tribulation rapture, the question begs to be asked, "Why aren't Christians escaping God's wrath now?" Yet, we must admit that Christians have been persecuted for the past 2,000 years. Will there really be a pre-tribulation rapture for the last generation of saints? In a word, the answer is "no." The Bible repeatedly indicates there will be one gathering of the saints which occurs at the Second Coming.
This rapture doctrine attempts to make believers they will have an escape from such tribulations. In contrast, Messiah prayed that the Father would “not take them from the earth, but protect them from the evil one.” We are told that His “grace is sufficient," which means we can endure trials and tribulations because of His grace, not to escape them.
In conclusion, the concept of believer’s being “caught up” at the last trumpet is biblical, but it all happens in “a twinkling of an eye“ while the elect who have not been martyred yet, will be caught up to meet Messiah. Believers are not promised to be removed prior to the last trumpet. On the contrary, scripture states, “the dead will rise first.” For those who claim that the dead in Messiah are raised at the rapture; they usually have to separate the church and Israelite's into two groups. They make the assumption that the church is raptured while the Jews are left to endure the great tribulation. This concept is not based on scripture either. Originally, the Hebrews (Israelites) were YHUH (YaHUaH's) chosen people first. At the time of Messiah and the Apostles, the gospel was “to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles." Yet, in Revelation, we read of the 7 candlesticks which represent the church (assembly), and no longer are Jews and Gentiles separate, but all in Messiah shall be saved.
- Be Blessed in Yahusha Messiah