Was just looking through my older posts the other day when I realized I did not follow up on the post “On Rapture (Part 1)”, which was written in December 2014!
So after more than a year, here is the sequel to that post…
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
In Part 1, I pointed out that Robert does not believe in the Rapture. He asserted that Paul was just reassuring the Thessalonian believers that they would one day reunite with those who had gone before them. Thus, to him, words like “caught up together/ in the clouds/ in the air” are just figure of speech, not to be taken literally.
But isn’t he a huge advocate of “reading the plain meaning of the text”? Why does he not believe we will be literally caught up (rapture) to the clouds and meet the Lord in the air when that is what the passage plainly says?
Frankly, I see no reason why we should not take Paul’s words at face value. After all, there is already a case of “rapture” in the Old Testament…
Then it happened, as they (Elijah and Elisha) continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
(2 Kings 2:11)
Would Robert say that Elijah was only taken up figuratively? Would he insist the story never actually took place but is only meant to somehow encourage believers, telling us we will all go to Heaven after we die? Or would he argue that “taken up” is not the same as “rapture”?
Let’s take a look at the definition of the Greek word for “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17:
harpázō (Latin: Rapturo) – properly, seize by force; snatch up, suddenly and decisively – like someone seizing bounty (spoil, a prize); to take by an open display of force (i.e. not covertly or secretly).
Notice how the prophet was taken up in a sudden, forceful (“in a whirlwind”) and open (witnessed by Elisha) manner? If this is not harpázō , I wonder what is?