The Rapture is the belief that believers will be “caught up” into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. Jesus will take away the faithful followers on earth, who patiently waited for His return. In the Book of Revelation, there are two visions of the coming of Jesus, the harvest of the earth (Rev 14) and the rider on the white horse (Rev 19). I’m interested to know whether there have been studies by scholars on the Book of Revelation in order to find the concept of the Rapture.

Which part of Apostle John’s vision is interpreted as the Rapture?

(Note: I'm asking this because my answer to the previous question (Is “Rapture” mentioned in the Book of Revelation?) had 2 downvotes, which made me assume that my answer was wrong!)

  • 1
    The problem is that there are so many views. Search the site for "eschatology" and you'll begin to see how many. Remember that even though we have the prophecy, it doesn't mean that we understand it 100%. There were many prophecies about Christ in the Old testament, but many still didn't recognize Him when he came. Many thought he would be an earthly ruler. We may have to accept the answer "We're not sure, but here are various thoughts on the matter that all have validity". The question of what views exist has already been asked here. Jan 24, 2014 at 13:23
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure you can only ask this in the context of pre-supposing a rapture at all, which only a handful (of mostly modern) eschatological views even do.
    – Caleb
    Jan 24, 2014 at 13:24
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    @Mawia For what its worth...I agree with David and Caleb. The word "rapture" isn't in Revelation. Only the presupposition handed down by John Darby (1800s) that dispensationalism is logical will lead one to find Revelation "explicitly" displaying "the Rapture." The real question at play here is how exactly does this question "define" "Rapture." americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp
    – user5286
    Jan 24, 2014 at 14:09
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    "Rapture" is taken from the Greek words translated "caught up" in 1 Thess. 4:17. The entire secret rapture thing made popular by the Left Behind series is not Biblically supported very well. Your sequence of events in that answer are not supported by 1 Thes. Christ comes, then the dead rise, then they are "caught up" with him.
    – user3961
    Jan 24, 2014 at 17:38
  • @fredsbend Did you notice that Christ came two times in my answer? First on the clouds and second on the white horse. I think no one really understood what I was explaining.
    – Mawia
    Jan 24, 2014 at 18:07

4 Answers 4


The rapture itself is not described in the Revelation, and for that reason there are three common conceptions as to when it will occur, of which I am sure you are aware.

There are however some hints we can use to form our own opinion as to when it will occur in Revelation.

As I'm sure you are aware the rapture is a concept formed from being caught up into the air in:

1st Thessalonians 4:17 KJV

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The first clue we have is in the verse preceding this:

1st Thessalonians 4:16 KJV

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

The second clue comes from the Revalition.

Revelation 19:11 KJV

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

One last clue is in:

Revelation 19:14 KJV

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Although my answer is probably not what you are seeking it is the best answer I can give.


Revelation 6-8 follows closely the timeline Jesus gave in Matthew 24 on the end-times events and His return. Based on the parallel events, where the Bible interprets itself, we can tell at which point deliverance comes for God's elect (the rapture):

Mt 24:5, Rv 6:1-2 -- Mt: False Christs; Rv: First seal (false savior on white horse).

Mt 24:6, Rv 6:3-4 -- Mt: Wars; Rv: Second seal (people kill one another).

Mt 24:7, Rv 6:5-6 -- Mt: Famines; Rv: Third seal (scarcity on earth).

Mt 24:9, 21, Rv 6:7-8 -- Mt: Great tribulation; Rv: Fourth seal (widespread death).

Mt 24:9, 22, Rv 6:9-11 -- Mt: Martyrdom; Rv: Fifth seal (martyred for their testimony).

Mt 24:29, Rv 6:12-14 -- Mt: Sign of the end of the age; Rv: Sixth seal (moon and stars).

Mt 24:30, Rv 6:15-17 -- Mt: Sign of Christ's coming; Rv: Christ seen.

Mt 24:31, Rv 7:9-14 -- Mt: Deliverance of Christ's elect; Rv: Great multitude comes out of great tribulation.

Mt 24:14, Rv 8:1-7 -- Mt: Wrath of God; Rv: Seventh seal (see acknowledgment in 6:17).

My source is from The Rapture Question Answered: Plain & Simple by Robert Van Kampen, a proponent of a pre-wrath timing of the rapture.

  • Interesting. Does the book explain in detail how exactly "The Great multitude in white robes(Rev 7:9-17)" are the ones from Rapture?
    – Mawia
    Jan 26, 2014 at 4:34
  • @Mawia By the parallel timing in Matthew 24. First the great tribulation, then the deliverance; so the robed ones are said in John's hearing to have "come out of great tribulation" (7:14). See also the sequence of tribulation and deliverance in 1 Peter 4:12-13. See also the pairing of persecution and deliverance at His coming and showing wrath in 2 Thess. 1:4-8.
    – Steve
    Jan 26, 2014 at 16:19
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    The great multitude in white are those who came out of great tribulation. The Greek for "out of" is EK. It may mean "out from the midst of" or "out from within". IOW, they escaped out from the great tribulation.
    – SLM
    Jul 26, 2018 at 15:02

Which portion of Revelation is the Rapture?

We must take into serious consideration that none of the original apostolic fathers who planted the New Testament church believed nor taught on the doctrine of the Pre-tribulation Rapture.

Pre-tribulation rapture theology originated in the eighteenth century, with the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather, and was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and further in the United States by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 20th century. Some, including Grant Jeffrey, maintain that an earlier document called Ephraem or Pseudo-Ephraem already supported a pre-tribulation rapture. (Wikipedia)

Jesus will take away the faithful followers on earth, who patiently waited for His return.

The Bible does not sustain the theme of Christians being taken away or flying out of the earth. The Bible maintains that the role of the Christian is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to the earth with our hearts (intentions and motives) and minds (our mindsets or culture) for the purpose of restoration. Jesus is seeking for believers who have his mind, his nature, the fruit of the spirit, his character, his function (High Priests). This is the reason we must be transformed in our minds, this is not an option for the Christian believer.

Jesus has already prophesied about us, we simply need to prepare and believe that he will do through us everything he promised.

John 14:12 Berean Study Bible

Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.

Ephesians 4:21-23 Berean Study Bible

Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him, in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus, to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

In Noah's story, the wicked were taken away or destroyed, the righteous remained or were left behind. We need to be on the earth to rule with the nature of Christ.

We, the saints, have a mandate of restoring the earth. Jesus will not physically return to a miserable church. He will return for spiritual sons, a first-born priesthood who is bringing the redemption of all things.

Acts 3:21 Berean Study Bible

Heaven must take Him in until the time comes for the restoration of all things, which God announced long ago through His holy prophets.

Luke 17:20 "Berean Study Bible -

The Kingdom is unseen. The kingdom is gradually revealed in the heart of believers. When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs." In the end, the Kingdom will fully manifest and every human will see it with the naked eye.

Habakkuk 2:14 Berean Study Bible

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Numbers 14:21 Berean Study Bible

"Yet as surely as I live and as surely as the whole earth is filled with the glory of the LORD,

John 3: 30 (NKJV) - The Kingdom of Heaven and the nature of Christ grows internally

"He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease (thoughts that do not align with the Kingdom of Heaven and the nature of Christ)."

Philippians 2:5 Berean Literal Bible -

The mind of Christ is the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus

1 Corinthians 2:16 Berean Study Bible

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 KJV+

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

What about caught up?

CAUGHT UP: G726 - ἁρπάζω - Harpazō - From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

G138 - αἱρέομαι - Aihreomai - Probably akin to G142; to take for oneself, that is, to prefer. Some of the forms are borrowed from a cognate (ἕλλομαι hellomai), which is otherwise obsolete: - choose. Some of the forms are borrowed from a cognate hellomai, hel-lom-ahee; which is otherwise obsolete.

G142 - αἴρω - Airō - A primary verb; to lift; by implication to take up or away; figuratively to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind); specifically to sail away (that is, weigh anchor); by Hebraism (compare [H5375]) to expiate sin: - away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up).

MEET: G529 - ἀπάντησις - Apantēsis - From G528; a (friendly) encounter: - meet.

G528 - ἀπαντάω - Apantaō - From G575 and a derivative of G473; to meet away, that is, encounter: - meet.

AIR: G109 - ἀήρ - Aēr - From ἄημι aēmi (to breathe unconsciously, that is, respire; by analogy to blow); “air” (as naturally circumambient): - air. Compare G5594.

MEET IN THE AIR: The purpose of being renewed in our minds is to escort Jesus-Christ to the earth with our Christlikeness or heavenly Divine mindset.

Your question “and the rider on the white horse (Rev 19)."

Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV)

  • Christ on a White Horse - We will conduct the grape harvest with Jesus Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

“a robe dipped in blood” the blood of the Word of God speaks of His DNA in us. Joseph’s prophecy comes to pass.

Genesis 37:31 Berean Study Bible

Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the robe in its blood.

“followed Him on white horses” the forerunners of the Kingdom. The prophecy of Zechariah 14:20 comes to pass Berean Study Bible

On that day, HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the house of the LORD will be like the sprinkling basins before the altar.

“He Himself treads the winepress” the grape harvest. The prophecy of Genesis 49:11 and Isaiah 63 come to pass. Genesis 49:11 Berean Study Bible

He ties his donkey to the vine, his colt to the choicest branch. He washes his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.

Which part of Apostle John’s vision is interpreted as the Rapture?

Revelation 4:1-5 (NKJV) - The Throne Room of Heaven - Catching Away

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones, I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white [b]robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Revelation 5:1-7 (NKJV) The Lamb Takes the Scroll

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loosen its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look at it.

So I wept much because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Revelation 12:4-8 (NKJV) - The Man-Child or believers with the fullness of the nature of Christ are caught up

His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

As a commentary:

"Elijah shall first come to seal the beloved ones."

Commodianus 240 AD, ANF 4:211

We must first take into account that Jesus the lamb of God (G286 - amnos - Singular) is not mentioned in the book of Revelation whatsoever. Only the word (arnion) is mentioned in the book of Revelation, the lambs of God or a collective group of believers (G 721 - arnion - Plural).

John 21:15 - Blue Letter Bible

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. G721

These two links from the Blue Letter Bible provide all verses with the lambs of God "Arnion":



The lamb G721 arnion is the Elijah company who prepare the church to receive the fullness of God’s glory. The spirit and the mantle of Elijah will seal believers who have prepared their souls for the glory of God.

"a Lamb standing on Mount Zion", the arnion (the Elijahs collective group of believers). These are the ones who harvest the 144,000 (a metaphorical number, there will be more than this number, 12 x 12 = 144 speaks of God’s Kingdom of Heaven structure).

Revelation 14:1-5 (NKJV) - The Lamb and the 144,000

It is clear that the Elijah harvests the 144,000 in Revelation 14.

Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being first-fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Scholarly Inquiry

I’m interested to know whether there have been studies by scholars on the Book of Revelation in order to find the concept of the Rapture.

You can study the book of Revelation from the writings and teachings of the original Apostolic Fathers who established the New Testament church. You will not find the Rapture theology within their teachings.

Victorinus on the Apocalypse is a great study. Hippolytus is also very good. Origen Adamantius "Man of Steel" has some awesome eschatological teachings. There are also some great commentaries from Matthew Henry.


One of the literary devices in the Revelation is when an announcement is made of the appearance of something but then when you look at it it is something completely different. For example:

[Rev 5:5-6 ESV] (5) And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." (6) And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

The same thing only opposite occurs here:

[Rev 13:11 KJV] (11) And I beheld another [wild] beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

This happens again at the "rapture" here:

[Rev 21:9-10 ESV] (9) Then came one of the seven [ARCH]angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." (10) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,

People tend to picture the "rapture" as a slow flight, like this. However, Paul describes it as "the blink of an eye":

[1Co 15:52 NLT] (52) It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

Those who live in today's economy know that a Tesla rocket doesn't travel as fast as a paycheck does!:

[Pro 23:5 NLT] (5) In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

So Paul expected to be transformed instantly at the same moment as the dead were to be raised:

[1Co 15:50-55 ESV] (50) I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (51) Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (53) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (54) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (55) "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"

But this is not a one way trip. The saints are going to "meet the LORD in the air". The word "meet" does not refer to a one way trip but rather is the word used to refer to meeting an approaching dignitary because it is rude to just wait for them to knock on the door. No, you go out to the airport and accompany them for their arrival:

[Act 28:14-16 ESV] (14) There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. (15) And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. (16) And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.

This is also significantly related to the "wedding" motif in the gospels:

[Mat 25:1-13 ESV] (1) "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. (3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, (4) but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. (5) As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. (6) But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' (7) Then all those virgins rose 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, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' (10) And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. (11) Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' (12) But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' (13) Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Paul says relates the then current situation to the experience of the Jews in the wilderness:

[1Co 10:9-11 ESV] (9) We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, (10) nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. (11) Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

So Paul and the Corinthians were living at the cusp of the end of the ages. To the Hebrews says the same:

[Heb 3:8 ESV] (8) do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,

[Heb 3:17 ESV] (17) And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?

Like Paul who believed the end of the age would happen during the 40 years of the current and LAST generation, just as Jesus had promised:

[Luk 11:29-32, 50-51 ESV] (29) When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. (30) For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. (31) The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. (32) The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. ... (50) so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, (51) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. [Luk 17:25 ESV] (25) But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. [Luk 21:32 ESV] (32) Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.

The Revelation speaks of the same thing:

[Rev 12:14 ESV] (14) But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. [Rev 17:3 ESV] (3) And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.

To the Hebrews describes what was going to soon arrive as this:

[Heb 12:22-24 NKJV] (22) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, (23) to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, (24) to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

He says Abraham was looking for the New Jerusalem:

[Heb 11:10 KJV] (10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

And like Paul, John expected to be changed:

[1Jo 3:2 KJV] (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

So John in Revelation is pointing to the "changed". Christ appears and with him instantly appear the saints. They descend with him as he judges the shepherds/rulers of Israel:

[Eze 34:17-20 KJV] (17) And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. (18) Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? (19) And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. (20) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.

This is not some mythical "final judgment" that we hear about all the time, as some worldwide judgment and end of the planet. He judges the shepherds of Israel only at that time with the promised Ezekiel 34 judgment. These probably refer to the 7 last bowls.

When one reads Hebrews it sounds like the dead in Christ have preceded the Hebrews to whom he rights:

[Heb 12:22-24 NKJV] (22) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, (23) to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, (24) to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

But Paul makes it clear that the dead in Christ do not precede but that they all go up to meet the LORD together:

[1Th 4:13-17 KJV] (13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [IE: "precede"] them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

One might ask, "So where is the new Jerusalem"? Well, it did not arrive visibly:

[Heb 12:18 KJV] (18) For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

The idea there is that it isn't material - it is composed of people.

So the rapture occurred circa 70ad. Though it is described as a city descending to earth it is mostly metaphor and invisible.

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