How can you say there is a Rapture when that word doesn't even exist in the Bible?
Jesus doesn't return until after the 7th Trumpet sounds, and the 7th is the last one and the farthest one out. The word "rapture" is not even in any Bible manuscripts.
First and Second Thessalonians pretty well put things into perspective, especially when it is stated clearly that the "evil one" will be sitting in the temple claiming to be God, and it goes on to say that Jesus will destroy him at "the brightness of his coming!"
And in Revelation, what about the saints under the altar that are crying out for their blood to be avenged on earth, and they are told they must wait a while longer until "others have been killed as they were"--why are these not "raptured" out and spared this fate if Jesus is coming to get his saints and saved ones?
It is true that Jesus' second advent (bodily descent) back to earth will be in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-17). But that is not equivalent to the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15:52, when He only will appear in the clouds.
For one thing, Paul wrote to the Corinthians near the middle of the 1st Century, while John wrote Revelation decades later. So the Corinthians would not have known, specifically, about the seven Trumpet Judgments. However, they would have understood that the "last trump" was an eschatological term, most likely referring to the Hebraic Feast of Trumpets or Rosh haShanah.
On the other hand, Jesus' second advent will be at the "great trump" of Yom Kippur, which will be the Seventh Trumpet of Revelation 11:15. This trumpet is the one referred to in Leviticus 25:9; Isaiah 18:3, 27:13; and Zechariah 9:14. On the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, five days after He returns (on Yom Kippur), people from the nations will stream to Jerusalem to worship Him (Zechariah 14:16). More details can be found here: Why are the "last trumpet" and the "seventh trumpet" not the same trumpet?
Thus, just as Jesus fulfilled the Hebraic Spring festivals & holy days at His first coming, He also will fulfill the Hebraic Fall festivals & holy days at His second coming. These will include the Feast of Trumpets with the Pre-wrath Rapture, Yom Kippur with His second advent (both of these events being distinct stages of His second coming), and the Feast of Tabernacles by accepting praise and worship from the people of the world.
I believe that 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 is a clear depiction of the main Rapture event, where believers will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up [i.e., "raptured"] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17)The Greek verb "catch up" (harpazo) is translated as "rapturo" or "rapere" in Latin, from which the English "rapture" has been translated. You can call it whatever you want if you don't want to call it a Rapture; nonetheless, 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 describes a catching up event of believers.
Most who believe that Jesus is coming again don't dispute that there will be a catching up of believers. The disagreements about it pertain to when, during the 70th Week, the catching up will occur. I have become convinced that there will be more than one catching up event, but I definitely do not believe that one of them will be a "Pre-tribulation" Rapture. For preterists who do not believe in a "seven-year tribulation" period at all, I suggest reading these two email responses that I have written:
When you say "First and Second Thessalonians," that is a pretty broad range of Scripture. It sounds like you are referring, more specifically, to 2 Thessalonians 2:4,8. However, this does not disprove a Rapture event. The real, evil face and deception of the man of lawlessness/perdition (that is, the Antichrist) will be revealed (2:3) to the world in the middle of the 70th Week. He will proclaim himself to be God (2:4), will blaspheme and slander the real God, and will exercise his authority for 42 months (Revelation 13:5,6), which is 3Ĺ years (12:14). After that 3Ĺ-year period has transpired, and after Jesus has returned to earth at His second advent, then the Antichrist/beast will be destroyed (2 Thessalonians 2:8) by being tossed into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).
However, the 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 passage does not address the exact timing of the catching up event or, as Paul phrased it, "being gathered to him" (NIV) or "gathering unto him" (KJV) in 2:1. Paul simply was indicating that this gathering would not take place until the onset of the "day of the Lord" or "day of Christ." Those of the "Pre-tribulation" view believe that the "day of the Lord" will be the entire seven years. Those of the "Post-tribulation" view believe that the "day of the Lord" will be the literal 24-hour day on which His second advent occurs. I disagree with both of those views.
I believe that the "day of the Lord" will not commence until the opening of the Seventh Seal, probably about a year prior to Jesus' second advent. (The fifth trumpet judgment, alone, will encompass five months: Revelation 9:5,10.) My description of this can be found in the Seventh Seal: the Day of the Lord section of Part 2 of my Chronology of Revelation commentary.
As far as the saints in Revelation 6:9-11 go, they will not be caught up out of the world yet because the main Rapture event will not have taken place yet. It will not take place until after the opening of the Sixth Seal; then the great multitude of saints, who will be caught up into heaven, will be seen soon thereafter (7:9,10). They will return later, with Jesus, at His second advent to earth, at the Seventh Trumpet.
People who believe only in a "Post-tribulation" catching up of believers (on the 24-hour day that Jesus returns to earth) will claim that Matthew 24:30,31 is a picture of this gathering of believers and of Jesus' second advent, on the same day. I believe that Matthew 24:30,31 is the "Pre-wrath" Rapture event, taking place soon after the signs of the Sixth Seal (24:29), but it is not Jesus' second advent. If you wish to understand why I believe this, you can read my email responses here for more details:
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