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About the Rapture

Scripture does teach the concept of a rapture, but what Scripture teaches is very different from what the popular culture teaches. To know what the rapture truly is (and isn’t), let us study this term, both in Hebrew and in Greek.

The popular term is taken from the Greek word harpazo (ἁρπάζω), which refers to seizing, plucking, or taking away by force.

NT:726 (ἁρπάζω) harpazo (har-pad’-zo); from a derivative of NT:138; to seize (in various applications):
KJV – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

This corresponds to the Hebrew word l’qakh (לָקַח), which means “to take.”

OT:3947 laqach (law-kakh’); a primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications):

The word l’qakh appears in Genesis 5:24, where we are told that Elohim “took” (לָקַח) Hanok (Enoch)—and that he then walked with Elohim.

Genesis 5:24
24 And Hanok walked with Elohim; and he was not, for Elohim took him.
וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ חֲנוֹךְ אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים | וְאֵינֶנּוּ כִּי לָקַח אֹתוֹ אֱלֹהִים

But what does it mean when it says that Elohim “took” Hanok? Hebrews 11:5 tells us that Hanok did not see death.

Ivrim (Hebrews) 11:5
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because Elohim had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased Elohim.

However, we also know that he did not go to the throne room in heaven, because Yeshua said no one had ascended to heaven at that point, except Him who came down from heaven (i.e., Yeshua).

Yochanan (John) 3:13
13 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”

It may be that Yeshua emphasized His authority by pointing out that no man had gone to heaven and returned. It might also be that the writer of Hebrews meant Hanok was chosen to avoid the second death (i.e., the lake of fire). While a complete analysis of this topic is outside the scope of this study, let us also consider the example of Eliyahu (Elijah), who went up into heaven in a whirlwind.

Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 2:11
11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Eliyahu went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Some say this means Eliyahu was taken to the throne room in heaven, because six verses later we read that his body was searched for, but not found.

Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 2:17
17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send them!” Therefore they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days but did not find him.

However, we will show that Eliyahu could not have gone to the throne room in heaven. Notice Yehoram (Jehoram) became king of Judah nine verses later, in 2 Kings 3:1.

Melachim Bet (2 Kings) 3:1
1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.

Yehoram’s coronation ties to 2 Chronicles 21:1.

Divre HaYamim Bet (2 Chronicles) 21:1
1 And Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. Then Jehoram [Yehoram] his son reigned in his place.

Twelve verses later, in 2 Chronicles 21:12-15, seven years after Eliyahu was allegedly caught up to heaven, King Yehoram received a letter from Eliyahu.

Divre HaYamim Bet (2 Chronicles) 21:12
12 And a letter came to him from Eliyahu the prophet, saying, “Thus says Yahweh Elohim of your father David: Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah,”

If we are willing to receive it, this is similar to the example of Phillip, who was caught away by Yahweh’s Spirit, yet was later found on earth (in Azotus).

Ma’asei (Acts) 8:39-40
39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of Yahweh caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

Philip was caught up in the spirit. His physical body remained here on earth, while his spirit was caught up to heaven. We know his physical body was not caught up to heaven, because Philip himself was later found in Azotus. This is likely also what Shaul describes in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, where he says he was caught up (in the Spirit) to the third heaven (i.e., to the throne room in heaven).

Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 12:1-4
1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of Yahweh:
2 I know a man in Messiah who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, Elohim knows — such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I know such a man — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, Elohim knows —
4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

When Shaul said he did not know if his experience was in his body or out of his body, it merely meant that his experience was all-engrossing—for if his body had been physically caught up to the throne room in heaven, then his body would not have survived. Therefore, he could only have been caught up in the Spirit. This was an invisible event that took place in the spiritual realm (not in the physical realm).

If Shaul’s catching away was spiritual and invisible, then is it possible that Matthew 27 speaks of both a physical and a spiritual catching away as well? Could it also lay the groundwork for the first rapture in the Renewed Covenant?

Matityahu (Matthew) 27:50-53
50 And Yeshua cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the set-apart city and appeared to many.

What became of these saints? Is it possible that they were taken to heaven when Yeshua ascended to heaven in Acts 1?

Ma’asei (Acts) 1:9
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

And if they went to be with Yeshua, could they also be the saints who return with Him?

Hitgalut (Revelation) 19:14
14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

Could it be that whenever Yeshua comes to earth, He gathers to Him all those who died while believing on Him, since His last visit? And that they stay with Him forever? Is this what Shaul spoke of in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17?

Thessaloniqim Aleph (1 Thess.) 4:13-17
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, even so Elohim [Yeshua] will bring with Him those who sleep in Yeshua.
15 For this we say to you by the word of Yahweh, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of Yahweh will by no means precede those who are asleep.
16 For Yahweh Himself [Yeshua] will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Elohim. And the dead in Messiah will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Yahweh in the air. And thus we shall always be with Yahweh.

Could this also be the same event spoken of in Daniel 12:1-2, which speaks of an awakening that takes place just after “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (i.e., at Armageddon)?

Daniel 12:1-2
1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Everyone who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

When some arise to everlasting life (while others arise to shame and everlasting contempt), it means that some of us will go be with Yeshua (while others will go to the lake of fire). In other words, when Yeshua returns, all those who fell asleep while believing in Him will awaken, and will be with Him forever.

Hitgalut (Revelation) 20:4-6
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of Elohim, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and set-apart is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

It seems likely that while Yeshua will gather those who fell asleep believing on Him, those who are still alive and believe on Him will be left here on earth, so they can fulfill the prophecies over Israel during the millennium.

Then, when the thousand years is finished, Satan will be released from his prison, and will again marshal the armies of the world against Israel, in the second war of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38).

Hitgalut (Revelation) 20:7-9
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from Elohim out of heaven and devoured them.

Later we will show that it is Yeshua who brings down the fire from heaven. We will also see that those who fell asleep during the millennium will return to heaven with Him at that time (in the third mass rapture), while life on earth continues for a little while longer. Then Yeshua will return one final time, and the earth will be burned up.

Kepha Bet (2 Peter) 3:10
10 But the day of Yahweh will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

When the earth is burned up, those who are still alive will be transformed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. This will be the fourth and final mass rapture.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 15:52-53
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

This also agrees with what Shaul writes in 1 Corinthians where he tells us that when we are raised, we will not receive physical bodies—but that we will receive incorruptible spiritual bodies. Such incorruptible spiritual bodies will be necessary for survival in heaven (because there is no oxygen in heaven).

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 15:35-55
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?”
36 Foolish one, what you sow [natural body] is not made alive unless it dies.
37 And what you sow [natural body], you do not sow that body that shall be [spiritual body], but mere grain — perhaps wheat or some other grain.
38 But Elohim gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is Yahweh from heaven.
48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; nor does corruption [natural body] inherit incorruption [eternal life].
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed —
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

Thus, apart from the raptures of Hanok, Eliyahu, Philip, et al., Scripture speaks of at least four mass raptures. The first occurred in the first century, the second takes place at Armageddon (right before the millennium), the third takes place at the end of the millennium (at the end of the second war of Gog and Magog), and the last and final mass rapture takes place when the earth is burned up.

In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Yeshua tells us that the tares will be taken into bundles first, and then burned.

Matityahu (Matthew) 13:24-30
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
27 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?’
28 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?’
29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
30 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.”‘”

The wheat that will be gathered into Yeshua’s barn (i.e., the land of Israel) represents His true followers who die daily to their flesh in order to walk in faith and love, fulfilling as much of the Torah as they can. In contrast, the tares may represent the Christians, who not only reject the Torah, but also reject the Hebraic version of Yeshua (in favor of a torahless Jesus). (They probably perish during the tribulation and the cup judgments.)

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Nazarene Israel
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