Could the rapture discussed in scripture actually be a miraculous death?

Email Received:

Could the rapture discussed in scripture actually be a miraculous death? 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 starts the ball of this topic rolling with what concern? Disappearing (raptured) saints? No...dead saints...believers who had fallen asleep.

2 Thessalonians 2:1,2 continued this train of thought to comfort/edify the hearers who were concerned that the day of the Lord had already come. The Thessalonians, whom Paul was addressing, erroneously were reasoning that they didn't "make the train" and thus (knowing prophetically what was to come after this event) would go into the tribulation. Why? Were there missing saints (raptured)? No...this concern stems, again, from the dead/sleeping saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Also, could 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 be describing an event at/near the very end of the 70th week?

Tedís Response:

The word "rapture" comes from the Latin rapio or rapturo, meaning "caught up" or "snatched away." A person who dies is buried in the ground, not caught up or snatched away from the earth.

One might think of a dead person's soul/spirit leaving the earth. However, Paul associated the rapture with the resurrection of the dead; and together with live believers at the time, all of their physical bodies would be glorified and caught up into the air at once (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Paul even described the body of a person resurrected from the dead, and that body's ultimate transformation into an imperishable and immortal state, in 1 Corinthians 15:35-55.

I believe that in 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14, Paul was encouraging believers to maintain a hope for their loved ones who had died (or, figuratively speaking, "fallen asleep"). They were to have an expectation that, at some point, dead believers would be resurrected and would live again. When Jesus appears again in the sky, He will bring with him the souls/spirits of the believers who have died and gone to heaven, and they will be reunited with their resurrected bodies at that time.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, he simply was explaining that at the next appearance of the Lord, when the main Rapture event will occur, the bodies of dead believers would rise, after which all believers (including those at the time who have not died) would be caught up into the clouds to be with the Lord. That is, on that particular day, live believers will not precede dead/resurrected believers in meeting the Lord in the air; they will go up together.

According to 2 Thessalonians 2:2, the reason why the Thessalonians were unsettled about this issue is that some false prophecy, report, or letter from an undisclosed source had been circulating among them. Allegedly, this bogus information had come from Paul, Silas, and Timothy; but Paul was indicating that it had not.

I think it can be assumed that the Thessalonians associated the event of being gathered to Jesus (that is, the resurrection and ensuing rapture) with the day of Jesus' next appearance (commencing the day of the Lord period). Paul already had explained this to them in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, as part of his first letter to them.

However, the false report that they had read, indicating that the day of the Lord already had come and gone, evidently contradicted this. This naturally would have troubled the Thessalonians and caused them confusion. Their perplexity would have been enhanced by the fact that they had not yet witnessed either a resurrection or a rapture event. As such, Paul set the facts straight for them in his second letter, which was consistent with what he had said in his first letter.

I believe that 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 directly parallels 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Both of these passages are describing similar aspects of the main, Pre-wrath Rapture event.

I also believe that the same event is described in Matthew 24:30,31. Note that this takes place immediately after the signs shown in 24:29, which are a depiction of Sixth Seal signs (Revelation 6:12,13). Jesus will not return all the way down to earth, to rule and reign, until the Seventh Trumpet is blown (11:15-17).

Thus, the bulk of the trumpet judgments (proceeding after the Seventh Seal is opened) will take place between the primary pre-wrath rapture, when Jesus will catch up glorified believers to be with Him in the clouds, and Jesus' second advent (bodily descent) back to earth (at which time there probably will be a secondary rapture event of a lesser number of people). I feel it is very likely that the period of time between these two events, the "day of vengeance" (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4), will last approximately one year (the final year of the 70th Week), as described on my Seventh Year page.

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