Now let’s briefly take a look at the words “caught up” in 1 Thes. 4:17. These words have produced the word “rapture” in the modern Christian theology, which isn’t in the Bible. The Greek word for “caught up” means “harpazo,” which is translated “caught away or seized.”
Indeed, all believers can be “caught up” in the Spirit with the Lord when His presence is amongst us and heaven’s reality seems to be larger than earth’s reality. But we can also be “seized” by the Lord when the Holy Spirit is calling us forth (trumpet/voice) and we draw ourselves toward Him in our hearts. Moses gave us that example at Mt. Sinai when He went up to be in the thick cloud-like presence of God (Ex. 19:18-20).
Whether we actually lift off the ground like Jesus did when He walked on water and was transported from the place He and the disciples were in the boat to the land across the sea,
“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And i was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (John 6:16-21).
or translated like the disciple Phillip,
“Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:39,40).
or we get “caught up” sitting in our living rooms worshipping and the fire, wind, and rain of the Holy Spirit “seizes our hearts,”
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2),
I really can’t say for certain.
But I do know that the union with Christ is for the purpose of escorting the KING (Commander in Chief) to His kingdom here on the EARTH to reign….Not to go away with Him to stay in heaven.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True. And in righteousness He judges and makes war…And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp work, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron…” (Rev. 19:11,14-15).
Many misinterpret this “caught up” or rapture idea thinking we are to escape and live in heaven eternally and miss the “days of tribulation.” But this contradicts the Disciples Prayer [called by many as the LORD’S Prayer], which IS THE BASIC BLUEPRINT OF GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION (Matt. 6: 9-13).
“Thy kingdom COME, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
God’s heart is to bring His kingdom to earth to rule, redeem, and multiply His goodness, not destroy it. Anyone who has embraced the Lord’s sanctification process has NOT been trained by it to run away from the Lord’s battle, or to hide from the battle we are going to win. This process trains us to follow our Commander in Chief!
God is also NOT taking Christians away so He can destroy the earth. The earth will go through tribulation due to God’s judgment in correcting the choices believers and the non-believers have made to sin. It will produce a “shaking” to break the evil strongholds and to set the captives free (Is. 24). This will lead creation through a process that produces healing, life, and a revelation of His love.
God and His army are coming so that the earth can be restored back to His glory through righteous leadership. This is why the Bible says:
“creation eagerly waits for the revealing [unveiling, stepping forth, “catching up” of the sons of God”(Rom. 8:19).
Jesus informs us that the “last days,” before the Fall Feasts begin to go “live,” are going to be similar to the days of Noah.
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37).
Noah was never taken from the earth during the tribulation of his days. Noah was divinely protected through the flood of judgment. It was Noah’s obedience to the Lord’s instructions to build an ark and share the news of repentance for 120 years prior to the flood that was a part of his “sanctification process.” Noah obeyed the Lord wholeheartedly. Jesus captures the heart of Noah’s example when He said,
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
From the story of Lot, he was removed from Sodom, and taken to another city on the earth so he would be spared from the Lord’s judgment. In both instances, the WICKED were removed from the earth, not the righteous.
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took THEM all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left (Matt. 24:37-40).
The “THEM” in the above Scripture was the WICKED, not the righteous!
The Lord even tells us in the Beatitudes in Matt 5:17 that the meek (gentle) will be blessed and inherit the earth, not be removed from it
Jesus is coming back to judge the nations, and there will be consequences for those who oppose Him. But God promises us protection, as He declared in Psalm 91, and showed us that same pattern of protection for His people in Egypt when the 10 plagues were released.
“And in that day, I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land. I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be” (Ex. 9:22-23).
I believe the sign of the “dead in Christ” rising from the graves, and the sound and sign of Christ and His army coming will cause an alarm to ALL Christians who will then mourn. This is because the “fear of the Lord” will be upon us, and we will understand our frailty in the presence of the Lord and recognize our need to repent. This is also why the ten days following the Feast of Trumpets are called the “Ten Days of Awe,” as Christians will be in awe that the time is at hand for the Millennium reign to begin, which means judgment will begin in the house of the Lord.
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17)?
We will all be in a state of reflection: Are we ready? Will we be like the 5 wise Virgins in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, who had oil? Or will we be like the 5 foolish Virgins who didn’t have oil and the door was shut, joining those in the First resurrection (Matt. 25:1-13)? These Fall Feast “dress rehearsals” each year helps us examine our hearts so we are ready.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13).