The Catching Up

“And then we who survive and are alive shall be caught up together with them to the clouds to meet our Master (Y’shua) in the air; and so shall we be ever with our Master.”

— 1 Thessalonians 4:17

Here Rav Shaul teaches that the first resurrection and the “catching up” will occur at the return of Messiah. The survivors of the great tribulation are those who “survive and are alive” which was also witnessed (2 Peter 3:10-12) at the end of what is known as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (cp. Jeremiah 30:7), and the Birth Pangs Of The Messiah.

Messiah says, “Blessed are they who are meek because they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). (See also Psalm 37:11; 149:4.) Isaiah wrote: “And one cried unto another, and said, Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, is YHWH of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3), which was echoed by Rav Shaul: “For the earth is MASTER YHWH’s, in its fullness” (1 Corinthians 10:26). Certainly the Earth is headed towards catastrophe of unimaginable proportion; but regardless of what man does to destroy it, it is YHWH’s property and He clearly intends to redeem every molecule of it.

“For in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: wherefore YHWH blessed the Shabbat day, and hallowed it”  (Exodus 20:11). YHWH calls 'tov' ('good') all that He created; therefore, fallen man’s plans to destroy the Earth will come to an end long before the Earth does – which is why Messiah says, “For then will be great suffering such as has not been from the beginning of the world until the present, nor will ever be again. And if those days were not shortened, not any flesh would live, but because of the chosen, those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21, 22).

Rav Shaul stated: “and then we who survive and are alive… shall be caught up together with them to the clouds…” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), indicating this event is concurrent with the first resurrection and therefore concurrent with transformation from mortal to immortality. There is nothing particularly bad about picturing oneself flying through the clouds, but how far do [Westerner] Christians think they need to fly to get to their travel destination? Besides, “Heaven” is not "up"; it is “in.”

There is plenty of Scriptural evidence that Messiah will take his bride into a new dimension of time and space; he will establish his Government over all the Earth and universe for the final Millennium (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25), followed by the resurrection of the wicked. Obviously then, the 1,000 year period is not “heaven,” but the Messiah claiming (i.e., taking back) what belongs to his Father YHWH.

It is much more important for those who follow the Messiah to focus on donning the garments of righteousness instead of supposing they already have all their facts straight. A future rapture is nothing but a clever deception of the enemy to make [Westerner] Christians think they’ve “got it in the bag,” when in fact they are giving authority to the Anti-Christ Church by disobeying Messiah and Torah. It should also be noted that the “rapture doctrine” never penetrated the Church of the East; it is of Western origin.

— Fellow Natzari Andrew Gabriel Roth

Editor: Clifton Ray Hodges

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