The opening comments to tonight’s program were based on a topic posted at the Christogenea Forum.
Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians, Part 5: The Rapture of the Wicked.
Presenting the end of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, we discussed the supposed Rapture of the Saints, and discovered that Paul never really described such a Rapture at all. Rather, he was poetically depicting some of the events as he perceived that they shall take place at the Second Advent of the Christ, in relation to the resurrection of the dead and the regathering of the people of God. Many denominational Christians expecting a so-called Rapture expect to be lifted up into the heavens and into the clouds at any given moment, which is a childishly ridiculous fantasy.
We pointed out that by writing “clouds”, Paul was very likely only referring to throngs, just as he used the word for cloud in Hebrews chapter 12. We also showed that where the King James Version has the words “caught up”, the literal meaning is more properly carried off. In part, a more practical reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 may read “Then we, the living who are remaining, at once with them shall be carried off in throngs for a meeting...” But this is not all.
We also elucidated the fact that where Paul spoke of a meeting “in air”, or “in the air”, he was not talking about the sky or the heavens, since in the Gospels wherever the sky is referred to the Greek word is οὐρανός, or heaven, and not ἀήρ, or air. We argued that everywhere the phrase “birds of the air” is mentioned in the New Testament, the word is οὐρανός, which is otherwise usually translated as heaven in the King James Version. If the οὐρανός is the abode of the birds, then by saying ἀήρ Paul could not have been referring to the sky. Here in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 the word for air is ἀήρ, not οὐρανός, so using it Paul did not intend to refer to the abode of the birds. Rather, he was referring to the physical world, as opposed to the spiritual, using the word just as he had used it in a reference to Satan, the prince of this world, as the “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians chapter 2.