Then we who are still alive 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. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
The word rapture comes from the Latin rapere, meaning, “to seize” or “to abduct.” It is translated from the Greek word that is rendered “caught up” in English Bibles today.
What is the doctrine of the Rapture? Simply put, it is the teaching that Jesus Christ will return and take all Christians, both living and dead, off of Earth and into Heaven to be present there during the time that the Great Tribulation is taking place on earth. Seven years later Christ will return openly in power and glory to destroy the wicked and to establish His Kingdom.
A nineteenth-century British preacher, John Nelson Darby, was the one who developed the Rapture teaching and began to promote it in the 1830s. He was the founder of the Plymouth Brethren Church and developed a scriptural interpretation called dispensationalism. The idea of the dispensationalists is that God has had different rules for different groups at different times. For instance, He had the law for the Jews and now we have grace for the Church.
Darby’s teachings were refined and popularized by C. I. Scofield, an American lawyer and minister who authored the noted Scofield Reference Bible at the beginning of the twentieth century. Primarily through Dr. Scofield, Protestant evangelicals came to generally accept the teachings of both dispensationalism and the Rapture.
Is the Rapture a false hope?
Experiencing the End Times without the Rapture for the redeemed would be like Noah without a boat, or Lot not getting rescued by the Lord’s angels. In fact, the Lord directly references these two events as relating to His return for the bride:
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
Many serious Bible researchers believe in a particular Rapture and End Times sequence, including a Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation (or Pre-Wrath), and Post-Tribulation Rapture. They cite multiple scriptures to back up their choice. They are quite insistent that only their interpretation is correct.
The traditional view of the Rapture, the “harvest” at the end of the age, is that there is only one harvest, and then comes the end. However, Scripture gives abundant witness to show that the one harvest mentioned in the above passage actually consists of three separate phases that differ in timing, as well as in the crop harvested.
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13: 24-30)
The three phases of the harvest are: the barley crop, the wheat crop, and the crop of grapes. Our Lord is profoundly merciful, and does not want anyone to be lost forever. All three positions are correct. There will be a Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, and Post-Tribulation Rapture!
The Barley Harvest and Rapture of the Saints
During the growing season of a farmers crop there is a first fruits growth that comes up in the field first. This crop is to be an offering to the Lord. It is to be tied with a red cord or a sheave to make it well known to all who are in the field that it is an offering to the Lord. We, as Christians and Messianic Jews, are the first fruits of the field of harvest. We are marked by the Holy Spirit as belonging to our Lord. Jesus was the first fruit and we will follow after Him.
These who believe are the barley grain. Barley grain is a soft seed. In days of old when they wanted to separate the grain from the chaff they would put the barley on a sheet holding the four corners and would raise the sheet to the wind. This process is called winnowing. It would easily separate the two and would give them the pure grain. This is what we are like. We are soft and pliable in the hands of the Lord to be corrected and re-aligned to His ways.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15: 20-23)
After this I looked, and there in heaven was an open door. The first voice that I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (Revelation 4:1)
We believe we will be part of the “in-gathering” (or Rapture) with Christ Jesus during this time. We will not experience the wrath of the 7 year Tribulation period:
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
The Wheat Harvest and the Tribulation Rapture
About half way through the 7 year peace treaty there will be a Rapture of the Tribulation Saints by the Lord. Before this can happen, many prophecies will occur that are in Ezekiel 36-39. There is also a direct correlation with the 7 year peace treaty, the rebuilding of the Temple, and many other things spoken in the written word of the Bible (the inspired Word of God). As you begin to study this, you will see for yourself that this is true.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands… (Revelation 7:9)
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)
So we see in the above passages this wheat harvest will be a very great harvest, of those that had robes by virtue of their Faith in Messiah, but were not yet ready when the Bridegroom came for the Bride at the First Resurrection Harvest.
Wheat is a tougher grain than barley. Thousands of years ago, farmers used a tool called a “tribulum” to separate the chaff from their wheat. Today our word “tribulation” is derived from the name of that tool. It takes a tribulum to break the seed from the chaff. It goes through a breaking process to become free and be what our Father, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, would have us to be sons.
We have a God who loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, Yeshua to come in the flesh and dwell among men, teach us the way, die for us as a perfect sacrifice with all the sins of the past, present and future upon Himself, and taking the stripes upon His back, shedding His precious blood, was buried, raised, and ascended into heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father and making intercession for us. He did it all for us! Just as the ancient farmers used a tribulum to separate the chaff from their wheat, God will use the Tribulation to separate the chaff from the lives of the Christians at this time.
The final Harvest and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
The last harvest will be the grapes harvest that comes from the four corners of the field. The grapes have to be crushed to be made into “New Wine.”
The Great Tribulation will bring this about. This symbolizes the people who accepted Christ during the second half of the 7 years, known as the Great Tribulation. That group of people will have to endure the most horrendous time on Earth ever.
Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and One like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a gold crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. Another angel came out of the sanctuary, crying out in a loud voice to the One who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So the One seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. (Revelation 14:14-16)
This Rapture is symbolized by the Two Witnesses, who finish their testimony and are martyred by the Beast.
Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” They went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them. (Revelation 11:12)
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my mountain where I seek refuge.
My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge,
and my Savior, You save me from violence.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I was saved from my enemies.
For the waves of death engulfed me;
the torrents of destruction terrified me.
The ropes of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
I called to the Lord in my distress;
I called to my God.
From His temple He heard my voice,
and my cry for help reached His ears.
Then the earth shook and quaked;
the foundations of the heavens trembled;
they shook because He burned with anger.
Smoke rose from His nostrils,
and consuming fire came from His mouth;
coals were set ablaze by it.
He parted the heavens and came down,
a dark cloud beneath His feet.
He rode on a cherub and flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness a canopy around Him,
a gathering of water and thick clouds.
From the radiance of His presence,
flaming coals were ignited.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High projected His voice.
He shot arrows and scattered them;
He hurled lightning bolts and routed them.
The depths of the sea became visible,
the foundations of the world were exposed
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
He reached down from heaven
and took hold of me;
He pulled me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my distress,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out to a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me. (2 Samuel 22:2-20)
If you are not a believer, it would surely in your best interest to come to know Jesus as Savior early rather than later. You can claim Him now:
Jesus, I thank You that You came to save us from our sins and redeem us back to the Father God that was lost when Adam sinned in the garden. Please forgive me of my sins and I choose to turn from them and I ask You to help me to sin no more. I invite You Jesus to be my Savior and Lord over all of my life. I invite the Holy Spirit to live in me and teach and guide me. Thank you Lord Jesus! Amen!
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
The end is coming – sooner than we think!