In the Air
There are several passages that the rapture theory uses and we will go through each of them one by one, starting with Thessalonians:
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – for this to you we say in the word of the Lord, that we who are living – who do remain over to the presence of the Lord – may not precede those asleep, because the Lord himself, in a short, in the voice of a chief-messenger, and in the trump of God, shall come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we who are living, who are remaining over, together with them shall be caught away (harpazo) in clouds to meet (apantesis) the Lord in air, and so always with the Lord we shall be; (YLT, comments added)
In this passage, we see the Greek work harpazo which means “caught away.” This is where the word “rapture” comes from. Bible scholars use the word “rapture” to refer to this Greek word harpazo. Note this is a new definition, which was started by Lacunza in 1812.
Next, look at the Greek word apantesis. Apantesis means “to meet and return with an escort.” The tribulation theory argues that believers will be snatched from Earth, meet with Jesus in the air, and then go to heaven. This is an incorrect interpretation of the word apantesis, because there is no return. This word is used three other times in the Bible. Look at these passages:
Matthew 25:1-6 – Then shall the reign of the heavens be likened to ten virgins, who, having taken their lamps, went forth to meet (apantesis) the bridegroom; and five of them were prudent, and five foolish; they who were foolish having taken their lamps, did not take with themselves oil; and the prudent took oil their vessels, with their lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all nodded and were sleeping, and in the middle of the night a cry was made, Lo, the bridegroom doth come; go ye forth to meet (apantesis) him. (YLT, comments added)
Acts 28:15 – and thence, the brethren having heard the things concerning us, came forth to meet (apantesis) us, unto Appii Forum, and Three Taverns – whom Paul having seen, having given thanks to God, took courage. (YLT, comment added)
The first passage in Matthew I discussed in The Barley Overcomers. Five virgins brought extra oil, while five did not. The five that brought extra oil represent the barley overcomers. They will meet the bridegroom (which is Jesus) and escort Him to the wedding. In the verse in Acts, Paul came from Jerusalem and met with believers. The believers came from Rome, and met with Paul to escort him back to Rome. Both of these passages are referring to the second coming. Jesus will come from heaven and meet with the overcomers in the air. The overcomes will come from Earth, and meet Jesus in the air, and to escort Him back to Earth. Then, they will reign together for a thousand years, which is the Age of Tabernacles.
Tribulation or Not?
There are two passages that discuss tribulation:
Revelation 7:14 – and I have said to him, Sir thou hast known; and he said to me, These are those who are coming out of the great tribulation, and they did wash their robes, and they made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb; (YLT)
Matthew 24:29-31 – And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth smite the breast, and they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven, with power and much glory; and he shall send his messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens unto the ends thereof. (YLT)
The pre-tribulation theory says that Jesus is coming to take Christians away to heaven so that they may escape the tribulation. However, Revelation says those who are COMING OUT of the great tribulation, and Matthew says immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION. So the overcomers have to go through tribulation. There is no evidence that this tribulation is physical destruction. From a spiritual point of view this makes sense, because throughout the Bible, those with the most faith in God, often suffer the most persecution by their peers. So up until the second coming, the overcomers will suffer the most persecution.
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