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THE CATCHING AWAY (AKA THE RAPTURE)

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A doctrine called the “rapture” has developed among Christianity, giving false hope to many, saying Jesus will come and catch away His people before or during the great tribulation.  They designate The Lord’s return for the catching away as a distinct event from His return in glory at the end of the great tribulation. This is in opposition to Scriptural principle and truth that shows us that those whom God has called are delivered from a trial only after they have endured it.

Old Testament Scriptures speak of how severe the great tribulation will be for the Jewish people.  It also makes a promise to them that is not made to the other nations of the world. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it…For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee… Jer 30:7-11. 

This deliverance of Israel from the great tribulation at its conclusion can be found in other Scriptures as well, such as,

 Zec 14:1-9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle…Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south….  Also in Obadiah 1:17,  But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.  We see this same promise to Israel in Joel 2:32, And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. 

                It is this deliverance of Israel from the evil nations of the world that Paul saw and applied to the Body of Christ when he spoke of the catching away in 1 Th 4:15-17, For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  When Paul said "by the word of the Lord," he meant God’s word, the Scriptures, He was not in the habit of developing teachings that were not based upon the Scriptures.  Another context showing how Paul received this revelation is found in 1 Cor 15:51-52, Behold I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  Here we see Paul speak of the catching away of “all” who are truly saved from sin, as a mystery.  Paul referred to mysteries as something hidden in the Scriptures and not plainly seen by the literal word, as a truth that needs divine revelation to be recognized.  (This principle can be seen in the “mystery” of God calling the gentiles Ep 3:3-6,  Ro 10:19-20).  Because Paul did not reveal what Scriptures were the source for his revelation does not mean they could not be found or that they were meant for the church only.  It was revealed to Paul that even though God promised a miraculous deliverance for a remnant of Israel, those who “remained” from the Body of Christ at the end of the church dispensation and survived the great tribulation would also be included in this deliverance.  This can be seen in the book of Romans where Paul reveals that the Church plan has an end, and at this end is when the deliverance to Israel will take place, As spoken about in Joel 2:3  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come inAnd so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, Rom 11:25-26.  This context places Israel’s deliverance and the conclusion of the Church dispensation at the same time.  Therefore, there cannot be a catching away of the Body of Christ prior to the deliverance of Israel.  Those “remaining” of the Church and Israel through the tribulation, who have taken on the divine nature of Jesus Christ will be caught up to be rescued from the destruction.

There is additional evidence to show that the catching away will take place at the conclusion of the great tribulation. The time period of the catching away, found in the three major New Testament Scriptures dealing with this subject, place it as the same time as the glorious appearance of the Lord, after the tribulation:  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition 2 Th 2:1-3. This context deals with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering unto Him (catching away), as the day of Christ.  Nothing in this context says anything to separate these descriptions of the time when the Lord returns.  It deals with them as one event, and places it after the arrival of the antichrist, which begins the great tribulation time period (Mt 24:15-21).  The context in 1 Thes 4:15-17 continues into chapter five where it places the Lord’s return for the catching away at the same coming in which He will bring destruction upon the world.  Both 1 Thes 1:15-17 and 1 Cor 15:51-52 speak of this event with the sound of a trumpet.  In 1 Cor 15 it calls it the “last turmp.”  Because  Mt 24:29-31 tells us that the glorious appearance also has a trumpet sound, the catching away cannot take place before the glorious appearance and still have the “last trump” sound.  

The catching away and the glorious appearance are at the end of the great tribulation.  This is when the Lord will return in merciless wrath against all who oppose and persecute Israel, to prevent the destruction of the remnant of Jews and Christians, who are alive and remain through the tribulation.  This remnant, being gathered together in Jerusalem, Zion and the Mount of Olives, will be calling upon the name of the Lord for deliverance from imminent destruction, the catching away will be the answer to their prayer.

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