Many people who don’t believe that Christ taught the rapture often use just that assertion for their position of denying a pre-Tribulation rapture of the church. This is somewhat understandable.
At the same time, there are people who do believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture of the church who are emphatic that Christ never taught this doctrine during His ministry on earth. This, to me, is not understandable and quite perplexing, troubling, and sad.
For those who believe in the pre-Tribulation rapture of the church, wouldn’t they want to know that the Lord Himself taught the rapture of the church? Wouldn’t the knowledge of Christ teaching on the rapture be a blessing for those who believe in the pre-Tribulation rapture of the church? Shouldn’t they be thrilled to have this information and want to share it with their brothers and sisters to reassure them to an even greater degree of the “blessed hope” found only in Christ (Titus 2:13)?
The objective of this study is to come to an irrefutable conclusion as we analyze the overwhelming evidence that supports the absolute truth that Jesus Was the First to Teach the Rapture!
Rapture Passages in the Gospels
The following is a list of rapture passages found in all four gospels, some of which we will be examining.
Parable concerning the rapture: Matthew 25:1-13, The 10 Virgins. There are other allusions, but this should suffice.
The Rapture in the Olivet Discourse
The reason the rapture is found at the end of the Olivet Discourse in the synoptic gospels is very simple: Jesus graciously answered the specific questions asked by the disciples, then proceeded to tell the seed of His church a mystery that He also touched on in John 14:1-3 and Luke 17:34-37 and which Paul revealed in full within his epistles. Why wouldn’t our Lord allude to the rapture of His church? He has the seed of His bride listening intently to his revelation of the end-times, and the day of the Lord begins with the rapture of the church. What better opportunity to show them their “blessed hope” than at this time?
Unknown Day and Hour – Watch Therefore
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:32-37). (emphasis mine)
Whenever the prophetic Scriptures allude to the “day or hour” that “knoweth no man,” or our Lord coming as “a thief in the night,” rest assured that this is always referring to the rapture of the church. Such verses include: 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 2 Peter 3:10 (a fascinating verse covering the entire day of the Lord, from the rapture until the Lord recreates the heavens and the earth after the millennial Kingdom, in one short statement), Revelation 3:3, Matthew 24:43, and others.
We will know the season – and we see those signs today – but we can’t know the “day or the hour” when it comes to the imminent rapture of the church. But we are commanded to watch, and watch we should all be doing!
A Snare is Coming – Watch Therefore
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man“ (Luke 21:34-38). (emphasis mine)
Always remember to differentiate between “them” and “us/we” in prophetic Scripture. The “snare” will ultimately become the wrath of God after the rapture of the church and continue through to the end of the seven-year Tribulation, and will come upon “them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” We, the Lord’s bride, are not appointed unto wrath and will be with our Bridegroom residing in the Father’s house during this horrific time (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
If anyone attacks you for your belief in a pre-Tribulation rapture of the church by calling you an escapist, point them to Luke 21:36 and remind them that Jesus Himself commanded us to “pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” This statement goes hand in hand with Revelation 3:10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.”
The Breakdown of Luke 17:26-36
Luke 17:26-36 is unique in that this was spoken by Christ to His disciples in the presence of the Pharisees (Luke 17:20-22). Just as so much of future prophecy in the Tanakh (Old Testament) has a blending of near and far, so, too, was Christ’s teaching on the last days – after all, He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14). Always remember that we need to rightly divide – or cut straight – the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), as future prophecy is written in just this way so that only those with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit given to the man or woman of God can make sense of it.
Here’s the breakdown of this passage of Scripture:
Luke 17:26-29 describes the condition of the world before the pouring out of God’s wrath, which will begin with the rapture of the church.
These verses read:
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-29).
Of important note is that the destructions in both Noah and Lot’s day didn’t occur until “Noah entered into the ark” and “Lot went out of Sodom.” Both are perfectly clear pictures of the rapture before the wrath of God is poured out in the last days.
These comparisons of Noah and Lot can only be applied to the conditions before the rapture of the church. Life will be going on, seemingly, as it always has been (2 Peter 3:2-4). Sure, there will be problems – there always are – but the world won’t be expecting what’s about to come upon them when the ultimate trigger event, the rapture of the church, commences.
The world will in no way be operating as usual at the Lord’s Second Coming, as seven-plus years of God’s wrath on humanity and creation – as well as the wars, demonic attacks, natural disasters, pestilences, etc. – will have an absolutely devastating effect on what little life remains.
“Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:30).
There are two ways of looking at Luke 17:30, and both are acceptable.
- If the Lord is speaking of the rapture in Luke 17:30 – and the rapture will reveal the Son of man – then this interpretation is self-evident.
- If the Lord is referring to His Second Coming in Luke 17:30, then the interpretation would be as follows: In four verses – Luke 17:26-30 – Jesus gives us the “bookends” of the time of God’s wrath within the day of the Lord, beginning with the pre-rapture conditions in Luke 17:26-29 and culminating with the Second Coming in Luke 17:30.
“In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:31-33). (emphasis mine)
Jesus then reveals at the end of the teaching, as He does in the Olivet Discourse, some details regarding the rapture of the church in Luke 17:34-36:
“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:34-36). (emphasis mine)
The two different events seem to be distinguished by the terms “In that day” (Abomination of Desolation) and “I tell you, in that night” (the rapture). Remember, the Jewish day begins at sunset, goes into the night, and concludes with the daylight hours.
From this, it could also be surmised that the Abomination of Desolation might happen during the daytime in Israel (the Eastern Hemisphere), while the rapture might occur during the nighttime in Israel (although one shouldn’t be dogmatic).
For those who believe that Luke 17:34-36 is not speaking of the rapture but of the judgment after Christ’s Second Coming and that those taken are the wicked, I must point out a few things and conclude with a determining factor.
First, this teaching does not align with either His Second Coming (when He immediately destroys His enemies) or the separation of the sheep from the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. When Jesus judges the nations at the separation of the sheep and the goats, all people living on earth will come to Him (whether on their own accord or by angelic insistence), and He will judge them accordingly.
Secondly, when Christ comes back, life will not be “business as usual,” with commerce and labor going on as if nothing has happened. This world will be an absolute mess with very few people living through it, and the entire earth will be waiting for Christ’s Second Coming.
Thirdly, and practically, there are no other verses in Scripture that speak of people being taken for any reason other than the rapture of the church. After Christ’s Second Coming and separation of the sheep and the goats, then the angels “shall cast them [the goats] into the furnace of fire,” but not during the course of everyday business, which won’t even exist at that point, and not until after their judgment. The parable of the net makes this abundantly clear:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:47-50). (emphasis mine)
For me, I think there’s more than enough evidence laid out so far in this article to show that the rapture was clearly taught by our Lord. I’m sure that, unfortunately, there will still be skeptics up to this point. But what I’m about to present to the reader will be absolute, undeniable confirmation. And, if someone ever asks you for proof that Jesus taught the rapture, just respond that the proof is in the original Greek language!
One Taken and the Other Left – The Determining Factor
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh“ (Matthew 24:40-44). See also Luke 17:34-36 above. (emphasis mine)
Now we embark on what should be the most incredible, awesome, and thrilling part of our study. Once the reader has considered the evidence provided below and what the ramifications of this evidence reveals, it should produce in all of our hearts great joy and extreme thankfulness!
The Greek word for “taken” – as in “one taken and the other left” – in Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36 is 3880 παραλαμβάνω “paralambánō” (from 3844 /pará, “from close-alongside” and 2983 /lambánō, “aggressively take”) and means to take (receive) by showing strong personal initiative. To receive near, i.e., Associate with oneself (in any familiar or intimate act or relation); by analogy, to assume an office; figuratively, to learn — receive, take (unto, with). 1. To take to (cf. παρά, IV. 1), to take with oneself, to join to oneself: τινα, an associate, a companion. 2. To receive something transmitted. [Definitions from Biblehub.com]
This is exactly the same word Christ uses for “receive” in John 14:1-3:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (emphasis mine)
There can be no doubt that the “one taken and the other left” passages in Matthew and Luke are speaking of the rapture and have absolutely nothing to do with any purging or judgment of the wicked. There is not one Scripture that speaks of a universal purging of the wicked during everyday activity, but if there were, we can be absolutely certain that “paralambano” would not be the word used for such an event.
Here are the judgments given to us in Scripture, and none of them are a “one taken, and the other left” situation:
Christ’s Second Coming – Immediate destruction of all who have taken The Mark of The Beast while they wait for him near and around Jerusalem (their own gathering).
The Separation of the Sheep and the Goats – All those who haven’t taken The Mark of The Beast gathered together, at the same time, for judgment.
Those who rebel against Christ after the Millennial Kingdom – Destroyed by fire from God out of heaven as they are gathered together against Jerusalem (their own gathering).
The Great White Throne Judgment – Resurrected unsaved dead, judged, and thrown into the Lake of Fire.
What About the Gathering of the ‘Elect’?
Here’s where people tend to get confused, and we will show that there is a logical and rational explanation for the differences between the rapture of the church before the Tribulation and the gathering of the ‘elect’ after the Second Coming of Christ.
The following is Mark’s account of Christ’s Olivet Discourse toward the ending of His teaching on His Second Coming:
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven” (Mark 13:24-27). See also Matthew 24:30-31. (emphasis mine)
Christ, immediately after His Second Coming, will “send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” This is Christ, through His angels, gathering together every saved Israelite – those resurrected from “the uttermost part of heaven,” and those alive on earth who survived the Tribulation “from the uttermost part of the earth” – to Jerusalem to be with their Messiah for the Millennial Kingdom.
How do we know this is a different event from the rapture of the church, besides the obvious context discrepancies? Because the Greek word translated “gather together” as when the angels “gather together” Christ’s ‘elect’ after the Second Coming in Mark 13:27 and Matthew 24:31 is completely different from the Greek word that Christ used for the rapture of those who He will “receive” and those who are “taken” to Him in John 14:1-3, Matthew 24:40-41, and Luke 17:34-36, as noted above.
This word, for the “gather[ing] together” of Christ’s ‘elect’ after the Second Coming, is 1996 ἐπισυνάγω “episunagó” (from 1909 /epí, “on, fitting” and 4863 /synágō, “gather together”) – properly, bring together (gather), i.e., group together (collect), especially to accomplish the intended purpose of the gathering. (Note the force of the prefix, 1909 /epí.)
For quick review, the word Christ used for the rapture for “taken” – as in “one taken and the other left” – in Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36, and “receive” in John 14:1-3 is 3880 παραλαμβάνω “paralambánō” (from 3844 /pará, “from close-alongside” and 2983 /lambánō, “aggressively take”) and means to take (receive) by showing strong personal initiative. To receive near, i.e., Associate with oneself (in any familiar or intimate act or relation); by analogy, to assume an office; figuratively, to learn — receive, take (unto, with). 1. To take to (cf. παρά, IV. 1), to take with oneself, to join to oneself: τινα, an associate, a companion. 2. To receive something transmitted.
Two totally different Greek words, with two totally different meanings, for two totally different events!
While the Jews today are coming back into the land of Israel, they will be dispersed one last time by the Antichrist, the nations, and the enemies of God after the Abomination of Desolation, where they will flee to the wilderness mountains. It is there that they will begin to acknowledge that Yeshua is their Messiah and, after Christ comes back at His Second Coming, they will be regathered one last time by His Holy angels and will fulfill the many passages of Scripture, such as these:
“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all” (Ezekiel 37:21-22).
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God” (Amos 9:13-15).
The “episunagó” is the gathering of the elect of God by the holy angels – the people of Israel – at the end of the Tribulation, to be united with their Messiah and King for the Millennial Kingdom of Christ in the land of Israel, never to be uprooted again.
The snatching away of the church to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) is the glorious event that unites the body of Christ – His bride – with our loving Bridegroom and Savior, Jesus Christ, before the Tribulation begins, through the “paralambano” of the rapture.
My Humble Plea
For those who believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture of the church and have, as of yet, stood firm in their position that Christ never taught the rapture, I humbly ask that they reconsider their stance. We should never be too mature in our faith as to never learn something new from the Word of God – I’m a living example of this reality. Please, beloved, check your pride at the door of your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into this marvelous truth.
After all, wouldn’t we want to know that Christ taught the rapture? Wouldn’t our case be made that much stronger? Wouldn’t we celebrate this wonderful knowledge that our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, went out of His way in sharing with the seed of His church and, by extension, those of us alive today, our collective “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)?
My prayer is that the children of God, concerning this subject and every beautiful doctrine of the Lord found within His Holy Word, will:
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Please feel free to distribute this article as a witnessing device to share with others this amazing truth with all who have ears to hear. After all, we should want to show our brothers and sisters in Christ – and even the lost – that Jesus Was the First to Teach the Rapture!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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