“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“
This passage gives us a chronological sequence of events related to the Rapture.
The word “then” means afterward, thereupon, thereafter. This word denotes succession in numbering and shows the chronological sequence. The word “then” strongly opposes the former state of resurrecting the dead. This is an entirely different event. The previous verse explained the place of the dead bodies at the Rapture. This verse explains what happens to those living when Jesus comes again.
we who are alive and remain
By the word “we,” Paul includes himself in those who might be living at the Rapture. He was disappointed but not mistaken. Paul’s expectation of the Rapture kept him on the tiptoe of anticipation of meeting the Lord face to face.
Healthy Christians live in anticipation of the Lord’s return.
A healthy Christian lives on the tiptoe of expecting Jesus’ return. Jesus may come today, glad day! Are you living in anticipation of the Lord’s return?
What actuality does ‘caught up’ mean in the KJV?
I Thessalonians 4:17 Correct Versions.
Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.
New World Translation
Then we who are alive, who remain, will be snatched away at the same time together with them in the clouds for a meeting with the Lord in the air, and thus we will be together with the Lord always. Lexham English Bible
then we who are living, who are remaining over, together with them shall be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in air, and so always with the Lord we shall be;
Youngs Literal Translation
Then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be snatched away in the clouds in the air to meet the Lord, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. New European Translation
There is no mention here of the righteous being caught up to Heaven. Christ descends from Heaven before the believers meet him. Christ will reign for ever on David’s throne in Jerusalem, and they will be with him, here on earth. It is therefore impossible that they should spend eternity with him suspended in mid-air. ‘The air’ extending only a few kilometres above the earth’s surface means that it cannot refer to Heaven, the dwelling place of God.
The Greek phrase translated “caught up” (Greek harpazo) really means to be snatched away; it does not carry the idea of any specific direction. It also occurs in Acts 8:39: “The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more… But Philip was found at Azotus”. This records how Philip was miraculously transported from one place on earth to another. When Christ comes, the responsible will be gathered together to the place of judgment; they will not be left to make their own way there.
It is possible that their means of transportation to that place will be literally through the air. Jesus said that “in the day when the Son of man is revealed…two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:30,36). This gives the same picture of a sudden snatching away. The disciples earnestly asked, “Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together” (Luke 17:37). As the eagles fly instinctively through the air and then land on earth where the carcase is, so the responsible will be brought to the place where they will meet their Lord in judgment.
The word rapture is not a Bible word, it is never found in Holy Scripture.
The Truth Shall Make You Free:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
Warwick, of course the word rapture is not found in the Bible. Many other theological concepts derived from the Word of God are not found either. The word rapture is simply a summary of exegesis, exposition and the systematizing of those ideas from the Word of God.
ἁρπάζω occurs 13 times; this word is translated as “catch up” four times, “take by force” three times, “catch away” twice, “pluck” twice, “catch” once, and “pull” once. 1 to seize, carry off by force. 2 to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly. 3 to snatch out or away. The issue is where were believers are carried off by force? The passage is clear–to meet the Lord in the air to forever be with the Lord. This event is clearly a snatching away to heaven. Did you proceed to my next two studies on this verse?
Most cultists interpret the Bible (use of hermeneutics)in a distorted way by not taking the meaning of a passage from the context of the passage itself. That is why you jump from verse to verse. It is important to beware of a number of false systems of interpretation: 1) do not simply take the etymology of the word but look at it in its particular usage in context. 2) Do not interpolate Scriptures by reading our own ideas into the text. 3) Any biblical word does not have a single meaning but many meanings depending on context. Christadelphians constantly make these mistakes in interpretation.