1 Thessalonians 4:17
ESV - 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
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Although the two words in our English translation of 1 Thess. 4:17, "caught up," are from the Latin raptus and occur only once in the New Testament, it does refer to the Rapture. It is the Rapture in this context: The Rapture of the Saints 1 Thess. 4:13-18 1 THE EVENT—The Fulfilment of Christ’s Promise John 14:2,3 The Display of Christ’s Power 1 Thess. 4:16 The Realization of Christ’s Presence 1 Thess. 4:17 2 THE ACCOMPANIMENT—the Shout of a King 1 Thess. 4:16 the Voice of the Chief messenger 1 THESS. 4:16 the Trump of God (The Lord Himself as Prophet, Priest and King) 3 THE FULFILMENT—Resurrection of sleeping saints 1 Thess. 4:16 Rapture of living saints 1 Thess. 4:17 Reunion of all saints 1 Thess. 4:17 It entails both those who have died and those alive when the Lord returns. His coming is in the air, not to the earth, and will happen just before the Tribulation starts (Revelation 3:10). And finally, that era ends with His coming to the earth (Mt. 24:29-30; Rev. 19:11-16).
My understanding is that the events described in the passage cited in the question correspond to a "post-tribulation" view of the timing of the Rapture with respect to other end-times events, in that the Rapture will occur simultaneously with Christ's visible return at the close of the age, after the events of the great tribulation have already occurred. So, the reference to being "caught up" in that passage would indeed refer to the Rapture. By contrast, a "pre-tribulation" interpretation of the Rapture would hold that the Rapture will occur prior to the beginning of the great tribulation in order to save the redeemed from experiencing the events that will occur at that time, and will also occur without the unsaved knowing what has happened to the redeemed (although the post-Rapture absence of the redeemed will be evident to those who remain on earth). By my understanding, the Scripture passages commonly cited in connection with this view are Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9, which describe the redeemed as being saved from God's wrath, which would be inconsistent with the redeemed having to remain on earth during the pouring out of that wrath through the events of the great tribulation.
The Dispensationalism doctrine, made popular by John Nelson Darby, asserted that Christ’s coming would occur in two stages: an invisible secret rapture, (or snatching away) of the Church at the beginning of the 7-year period, and a visible glorious return with the Church to the earth. Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth and many similar books popularized the secret rapture to the point that most Christians today believe is the Bible truth. The secret rapture theology is based on two major, (in my opinion) false assumptions: 1. The Gap theory – the 70th week of the 70-week prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 is applied to the end of time. There is no logical reason for separating the 70th week from the other 69 continuous prophetic weeks. The Catholic counter-reformation teachings of Jesuit scholar Francisco Ribera (c 1590) sought to deflect Martin Luther and the Reformers’ accusation that the papacy is sitting in the temple of God seeking to control the of Christendom by acting in God's place (2 Thess 2:1-8). 2. The second assumption is that the Church will be raptured and not go through the great tribulation - seven years of tribulation during which a world dictator (Antichrist) will rule the Earth and a terrible time of tribulation for those not raptured. During this time, the Jews will gather back to Palestine to be converted and God will select and seal 144,000 literal Jews who will evangelize the world with the Gospel. Cannot find any Scripture that points to such events. Furthermore, to suggest that evangelization will take place after the coming of Christ is to create a "second-chance" theory that is not Biblical (Rev 22:11). Such a view places millions of redeemed in heaven while grace is extended to those still living on the earth. The text often cited in support of a secret rapture (1 Thess 4:14-17) appears to teach just the opposite: the coming of Christ will be both seen and heard, will be loud with shouts and trumpets – hardly anything secret about it. God's living people ("we which are alive") will be gathered together with the resurrected righteous to meet the Lord in the air (see also 1 Cor 15:51-54). Revelation 3:10, may refer to the great tribulation, but the text does not say that God’s people will not experience it or that will last seven years. The Scripture clearly teaches that the saints of God will go through the great tribulation (Matt 24:9; Mark 13:11; Luke 21:12-19; Rev 13:14-17).
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