The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Rapture, Are we going to heaven?

I understand that the catching away a k a
The rapture is a highly debatable subject.
I think we would all be rich men if we received a pound £ for every differing interpretation on this event. None the less here is my thoughts below… And no I don’t have the sacred cow :cow2: !!!


MATT 24 :31

“And he will send forth his angels, with a great trumpet. And they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

I’m seeing that the gathering together at the great trump parallels with Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 15 :51-52. At the last trump,for the trump will sound, the mortal dead or alive will put on immortality, with in a twinkling of an eye. For just as lightening comes from the east and flashes even to the west. Matt 24: 27. This also parallels with 1 Thess 4:16. Christ will descend with the trumpet of God, and the dead will raise first. Vr 17 those who are [alive and remain] will be changed, and both the risen dead [and] those alive will [be caught] up in the air to [meet] the lord, and so shall we ever be with him.


It would seem, through out the Hebrew culture, it was a very common act,to go out and greet /meet a person visiting you before their actual arrival. And in a few of the instances below, after the custom of greeting and acquainting had taken place, the one being visited would escort the visitor back to their abode/ dwellings While other members present would follow behind.[ie] salves/ servants etc.

Exodus 18:7*
Moses went out to [meet] his father-in-law, bowed down, and kissed him. And they asked each other about their well-being, and they went into the tent.

Genesis 18:2
So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to [meet] them, and bowed himself to the ground

Genesis 33:4
Then Esau ran to [meet] him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

1 Samuel 13:10.
soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to [meet] him and to [greet] him

Luke 15:20
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

Acts 28:15.
And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to [meet] us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns.When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage…[Paul continued on, with his newly arrived escort to the place, they left to go and greet him]


Mathew 25:1 -13

1Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to [meet] the bridegroom.
2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to [meet] him!’
7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

I reason those virgins who were ready, went out to [meet] the newly [arrived] bride groom, only to [greet] him and escort him back as they enter the the wedding banquet, and the door was shut, Many would assume they go to heaven. But we see a little further in the parable the unwise virgins knocking on the door of the wedding banquet. Rather like the door that’s shut on the ark,with the soon to be punished outside knocking for entrance.

I think it’s interesting to note.That in the three n/t accounts used here [ie] Paul’s going out to [meet] his arrivals.The virgins going out to [meet] their arrival and the caught away saints going to [Meet] their Arrival. All use the same Greek word for [meet/apantesis]
G529 ἀπάντησις - Strong’s Greek Lexicon Number G528.
the act of meeting, to meet
the act of meeting, to meet (a phrase seemingly almost technical for the reception of a newly arrived official).
a (friendly) encounter

In each case it seems to be suggesting, it’s an act of meeting / greeting a newly arrived or arriving official.


1 kings 1: 32-34.

The time was at hand for king David to hand over the throne. He orders for his son Solomon “ the son of David”t o ride into Jerusalem to be anointed as king,by the priest Zadock and prophet Nathan.Then “blow the trumpet “
Vr 39.Solomon is anointed and the trumpet was is blown.
Vr 40. the people who were [gathered] to Solomon on his donkey, came up,and followed him whilst the earth was rent. [note] Zach 14:4.

Matt 21:1-11, Zach 9:9,

Like wise the people went out to [meet] Christ and [gatherd together] to pave the way for Christ,as he descends from the mount of olives, riding a donkey. The people shouted with joy “Hosanna to the son of David” this re-enactment had deep spiritual meaning from Israel’s past, they would know Christ was making a statement of becoming king.

Both Solomon’s and Christ entry I believe are a shadows of Christ’s second coming.
Only at the second Christ’s triumphal entry will be on a white horse [symbolically] Rev 19:11, were he will come and reign with power and all authority. And the going out to [greet] them / him or the [gathering] together to them / him,and the closing of ranks behind them / him and following the king/s on entry, is a shadow of the catching away [ie] our [gathering] together unto him.2 Thess 2:1. Being brought into his kingdom Reign with him here on earth.Matt 6:10.


Jhon 3:13.

“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”

Without dragging this post out, we know
Enoch couldn’t of gone to heaven, and that he did eventually die Heb 11: 13. There have been a few ideas put forward concerning Enoch’s being taken. Seeing the Hebrew word [lâqach] can mean to “Carry away” and the Greek word [metatithēmi] can mean to “transport / transfer” one of those ideas is he was caught away, to another location elsewhere as not to face a situation of immediate death. Jude 1:15.

Concerning Elijah, we see he was taken up by a whirlwind into heaven / [shâmayim] also meaning “sky.” I don’t think Elijah being taken up into heaven is what the sons of the prophets had in mind.2 kings 2:16. Also it has been heavily suggested that Elijah was still present on earth after this event because it is said he wrote a letter to king Jehoram. Who was not king at the time Elijah was taken away from Elisha. It would seem Elijah was transferred to another location here on earth. Rather similar to the n/t account of Phillip at Acts 8:26-40. It would seem none of these accounts show persons going into heaven and making there abode there, but rather they were transferred to other locations on earth
According to were God wanted them to be.


The righteous, being separated from the wicked, before God acts in judgment, is a pattern through out the bible, as was in the case of Gods people in and going out of Egypt, Lot, Noah, and those fleeing to the mountains in 70AD. With out doubt there are many other patterns/ shadows that run through out the bible, that eventually end with the ultimate fulfilment. And i think the same could be said about the, rapture [ie] one step closer to the ultimate separation of the wicked and righteous at Rev 20:15. Another interesting point is that in all these cases of separation they are not a separation from tribulation but Gods wrath that takes place here on earth. Jhon 17:15. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world,” but that You should keep them from the evil one. Although not appointed to Gods wrath. I see no indication, one will go to be with the lord in heaven to escape all calamity coming upon the earth. Although it would seem clear the righteous will have protection from Gods wrath during this time Rev 9:4.

At Christ’s return I see believers being separated from the climax of Gods wrath [after] the tribulation. Those who are alive and [remain] ie [after the tribulation] will be [gathered] together with the resurrected dead to Christ himself. For the final climax of the great and terrible day of the lord, I understand comes [at/after] his return, and just before his millennial reign.

As Noah was delivered so will the righteous.The flood came and “took” all of them [the wicked] away, so to will the wicked be snatched away from the earth at Christ’s second coming Prov 2: 22 +psalm 37. The wicked will be uprooted, they will be cut off and when looked for they will be no more, all the while the righteous will inherit the earth with the lord for blessings. Matt 24: 40-41 The wicked are the ones “taken” [ie] the flood **“took”**them all away, and the believer left to inherit the earth Matt 5:5 after Christ’s return and judgment.


The way I see it, is upon Christ’s return
those who are his won’t be jumping on
Planes,boats or arranging coach/ car/ foot journeys etc …to be with him,in some sort of mass pilgrimage.

1 Thessalonians 14:16 +Mathew 24:31

Christ himself with his holy army will [gather] together, his elect from the four winds, corners of the sky/[ouranos]. I do not believe - believers are taken out of this world into heaven. I believe they are **caught up / gathered together to greet/ meet Christ and be with him forevermore at the point he begins his kingdom reign in here on earth.The gathering together to him will also separate those who are his for the kinder judgment before the bema seat of Christ, a judgment for rewards not salvation 2 Cor 5:10 + 1 Cor 3:15 ,from those ripe for Gods wrath and judgment. For the believer is not appointed to wrath/ death by punishment which the son will render [at/after] his coming. 2 Thess 1:7-8 / 2 pet 3:10 / Rev 19:13-15. Which I believe will be the final climax to Gods wrath being poured out in this age. I don’t see those mentioned coming with Christ in Rev19 as pre-raptured saints. I believe these to be the angelic hosts that will render judgment with Christ at his return. Matt 24+ 2 Thess 7-8.

Joel 2:31

The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

MAtt 24:29-30

29.Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

30.Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

After Christ’s delivers his Father and Gods wrath and judgment …

After Christ’s return and judgment, I believe this Is when I see the millennium reign to begin. All those rescued out of the valley of decision Joel 3:14 [and] their future offspring will now themselves live In a new age under the rule of Christ and his chosen rulers + his faithful servants. Luke 19:12-27, Rev 19:15. Until their sifting Rev 20:7-9.

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True. It’s not subscribed to, by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and many mainline Protestant churches. But then again, neither is my Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) tribulation theory. :crazy_face:

Hi Holy-Fool-P-Zombie.
Is this thought, something you
truly believe ? As we haven’t been acquainted yet, I’m not to sure how to take your reply ? :thinking:

Dear Bowsixtysix, you bring up an interesting topic!

My personal understanding of Scripture is that all people are bi-partite, i.e. body and spirit. At the point of death, spirits will separate from the bodies they inhabit. Bodies, in whatever state they are in, will await the day of resurrection. The spirits of those who are “in Christ” will enter heaven and remain there until that day occurs. Others will simply await the judgment day, upon which they too will be resurrected unless they are still alive when it comes.

I occasionally give messages on chapel services held here in the seniors’ residence where I live. The following is an excerpt from one I “preached” last July. It may address some of the points you have brought up - but not all of them! I talked about what happened on the Mount of Transfugration.

In 2 Peter 1:17, 18 Peter wrote this about his experience:

My own eyes have seen his splendor and his glory: 17-18 I was there on the holy mountain when he shone out with honor given him by God his Father; I heard that glorious, majestic voice calling down from heaven, saying, “This is my much-loved Son; I am well pleased with him.”

Peter, along with fellow disciples James and John, saw a transformed Jesus in all His glory. They heard the voice of God from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, and I am wonderfully pleased with him.” They also saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. What did they actually see? They could not have seen the bodies of Moses and Elijah – Moses body had been buried somewhere in Palestine. Deut. 34: 5. “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab. He was buried in a valley near Beth-Peor but nobody knows where to this day.” Elijah had been transported away in a fiery chariot - we are not given any more details regarding his body. So, back to the question: what was it that these three disciples saw that day on top of the hill?

We are bi-partite beings. That means we have two parts – our body and our spirit. Our spirits are the real us, who we really are. Another word used for that is our soul. Our bodies are simply what our spirit or soul exists in while we are here on earth. Our bodies change - they grow old, they become frail, and eventually they die, sooner or later. Then they are buried or cremated or otherwise disposed of. Some may be buried at sea. Others may even be devoured by wild beasts. Eventually, they return to the dust from which they were made. Your body will die one day (unless the Lord returns first), but not your spirit. It is immortal.

I looked after Alida for over five years after we moved to Shalem. I watched as she slowly deteriorated. A week before Christmas 2017 she suddenly stopped eating and drinking. She never ate or drank anything again. I knew she was dying and I prayed constantly, asking the Lord to take her to Himself. She left this world two days after that Christmas. All her children were gathered around her bed. At the moment she took her last breath, her face literally glowed. She was safe in the arms of Jesus. Her body was dead, but her spirit was alive. Those of you who have lost a spouse know what I am talking about. Many of you here this afternoon do.

How can I be so sure of all this? How can we know that the spirits of our loved ones are alive today, in heaven with Jesus? Because He told us! Mark 12:26 “But now as to whether there will be a resurrection—have you never read in the book of Exodus about Moses and the burning bush? God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and I am the God of Isaac, and I am the God of Jacob.’"

Jesus continued: "God was telling Moses that these men, though dead for hundreds of years, were still very much alive, for he would not have said, ‘I am the God’ of those who don’t exist!”

By these words of Jesus, we can know that believers who die EXIST. They are alive – remember, I am talking about their spirits. They are alive right now and waiting for the day when they will be given glorious new bodies like Jesus’ body. That’s our hope for our loved ones. It’s our hope for ourselves. It’s a sure and certain hope. We can hold on to that!

I have told some of you about something wonderful I experienced only a few weeks ago. One afternoon I fell asleep in my recliner. After dozing for about twenty minutes, I awoke with a start. I hadn’t been dreaming and I was wide awake. I looked up. There, standing in the middle of the room, was Alida. Not the frail woman I had watched die, whose body now lies in a grave in the Edenbrook Cemetery. I visit the cemetery twice a week to water the petunias I planted over her grave. In the vision, she was large as life, looking as she had when she had been around 35 or 40 years old, in the prime of life, and dressed in clothes I didn’t remember her wearing. I wanted to say something to her but no words would form in my mind. She stood there for 10 or 12 seconds - then the vision disappeared, just as the visions the disciples saw of the spirits of Moses and Elijah vanished from their sight that day on the Mount of Transfiguration. The vision was God’s way of assuring me that Alida is right now alive in glory, just as Jesus had stated that Moses and Elijah are also alive in glory.

The future for the believer is glorious. None of us looks forward to going through the pain of death. The best we can hope for is that we will not suffer. But we need not fear death because after we have passed through death’s portal we will be alive in a way that we can’t possibly imagine. Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, what awaits us in heaven.

So, that’s my personal - maybe too personal - reflection about what might await me in the not-too-distant future. I realise I haven’t specifically talked about the rapture but you can probably get an idea how I might think about it.

Cheers, Norm

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Hi Norm good to hear from you and thank you for your sensitive post. Sorry to hear about your loss of Alida. It must truly be comforting to know she is in safe hands. Although i might have slightly differing views, i do totally get were your coming from. I don’t think any of us have the final stamp on what we say on Gods word as such. But one thing is for sure, we have a kind and Merciful God, and ALL at some point in the future will experience his love and true mercy.

It’s my theory that Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)…is the most probable, end-times tribulation scenario. It’s based upon Christian people, who claim to have visions (or the gift of prophecy) - seeing zombies during the end-times. Do I believe it? I believe it is very possible. And I believe the folks, claiming the visions - are sincere.


Let’s say I like, to “think outside the box”. And reading this article, in today’s Patheos’ Catholic newsletter…is a good example, of “thinking outside the box”.

Had a brief look at some of those links.Gonna have to give them a good listen to at some point. Certainly a different take on things :flushed:

You took the words, right out of my mouth. :wink:

A lot of good points. You appear to support a post-Tribulation rapture:

I agree with you. But I believe these verses describe the third of three raptures–the final rapture–which happens just before the Wedding feast, before the Second Coming, as I recently discussed in “The Temple, the Antichrist, and the Structure of Revelation,” and depicted in my chronological Revelation chart linked to therein.

I don’t pretend to know with certainty, but possibly Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Paradise alive, and Paradise (a.k.a. “Abraham’s bosom,” Lk. 16:24) is a temporal location, which used to be located in Sheol below, adjacent to Hades; but which was relocated above with Christ at his ascension (Ephesians 4:8 ESV, cf. Lk. 23:43 & 2 Cor. 12:3-4), and is now apparently neighboring, but separate from, God’s throne room.

Again, please consider my lengthy discussion in my original post. I believe the first, pre-Tribulation rapture will provide escape for Christians who hear God’s call, just as Noah heard God’s call, and escaped the Flood in the Ark (a type for Christ, as well as a type for the first rapture).

Regarding Christ’s reference to Noah in the last days, I would argue there will be two “takings,” one of the alert righteous who hear God’s call, like Noah; and later, one of the wicked:

Matthew 24:39-42 (NIV)
39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them [airō] all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken [paralambanō] and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken [paralambanō] and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

As Arthur E. Bloomfield points out in Signs of His Coming: A Study of the Olivet Discourse (1962):

Days of Noah chart

Jesus proceeds to amplify his reference to the days of Noah by telling about those who would be taken and those who would be left. Some readers have connected the word took (took them all away) with taken (one taken and the other left) and have gathered that those so take will be carried away to judgment.

There is no confusion in the Greek, for the words are not the same. The word for taken means to take along side of one—as a companion—“So shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Two men may be so closely associated that they are sleeping in the same bed; one is a Christian and the other is not. During the nigh the Christian is taken. Even more spectacular will be the going of those who are working with others. They will disappear, leaving only their clothing, even as Christ left His clothing in the tomb.

(I’m going to cross-post my comment in “The Temple, the Antichrist, and the Structure of Revelation.”)

I have pondered over the understanding
Of who’s taken and who’s left for on and off over the years. When in the past I have posted on this very same subject, I have always left the door open for it to be interpreted either way and I think I should have left that interpretation open in this post also.

The word [took] in Mathews account In
Greek is airō it can carry the meaning of
Being swept away.

The word for [taken] in Mathews account
In Greek is paralambanō it can carry the meaning of being alongside one / being
taken away.

The act of being swept away could imply
one is gently swept away, or forcefully
swept away. In this case we know it
would be with in context to apply

Like wise being carried alongside another
could be in an intimate sense, or in a forceful sense [ie] when they [took] Christ striped and beat him. Which Implies a forceful taking for punishment. In the gospel of Luke’s account,
it is the righteous who are left on the earth, the wicked are taken out of it [ie] burnt up / swept away.

To be honest I can see it from both sides. Therefore probably best I left it open to interpretation like I usually do. Either way
Still fits with in my understanding of the
catching away.

You appear to see Jesus returns for judgment and to gather his people AFTER a time of tribulation. This is how my NT prof, Dr. George Ladd, read such texts, as outlined in his book, “The Blessed Hope.”
And he saw Jesus catching up the church to meet him and then come with him to rule on the earth.

Hi Bob, I think that is pretty much my understanding in a nut shell. I haven’t
heard of the author Prof, Dr George Ladd,
Or of his book titled “The Blessed Hope”
But it sounds like a book worth
considering for a future read.