So, I want to tie the rapture [harpazo] in with the wrath to come on the earth especially at the onset of the tribulation period. We read about the harpazo/rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death]. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].
This is Paul’s first ever letter to the Churches. He had gone to Thessalonica on his 2nd missionary journey and taught them much, but especially about the return of Christ to take His Church out of great trouble ahead. They had an imminent return expectation and expected a pretribulation harpazo [snatching away]. However, after Paul’s return home folk died and the Thessalonians were concerned as to what would happen to their loved ones at the harpazo [rapture?] And so He wrote his first letter to them to remind them of his teaching on this subject and to encourage them to comfort one another with these words! If we or they had to go through the great tribulation period, what comfort is there in that? NONE!! It’s kinda like ‘God saves us out of His wrath and fury to come, then say’s nah, sorry, just joking! You’ve got to suffer with the godless, evil, haters of this world!’ Hmmm I don’t think so. The harpazo or rapture is God’s way of delivering His Church from immensely terrible times like there have never been before or will ever be again, He does this because of His great love and mercy towards His Son’s bride to be. He does it because His Son Christ Jesus bore the wrath of God for us so that we should not experience it, and He did it because of His covenant with us through the blood of the New Covenant through His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ! And He does it because he said He’ll do it in His word.
More of this next time.