I’ve read what you have posted, and I think I understand where you’re coming from. Yet the modern-day Rapture dogma, as publicized today, is still questionable. I’ll try to clarify. I think it wise that we first identify the doctrine’s composition.
1) “Rapture” is not found in any of our oldest Greek manuscripts. It has its origin in the Latin word “rapere,” which means to “take away,” “snatch out,” or “to seize.” We must not call “rapture” a biblical term for there is no Greek word that translates it.
2) The idea is that Jesus will suddenly appear in the air to snatch away from the earth and take to heaven all living saints, as well as the resurrected bodies of those believers who have died.
3) If you are on the roof of your house, or riding horseback, or in your car on a busy highway, or in bed with your spouse, you will be “snatched” or “caught up”—disappear all of a sudden. Your unregenerate friends and relatives will be amazed at your sudden disappearance. Cars will crash without drivers; planes will fall without pilots.
4) At the “Rapture,” Jesus “snatches up the church” only. But at “The Revelation,” when He is revealed once again, He will “return with the church” and bring an end to the “Tribulation” and “Armageddon.” A thousand-year earthly reign will then commence.
Does this sound like something you’ve never heard before? If yes, it is because you’ve never read it before—at least not in the scriptures. The scriptures used to support the “Rapture” are 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, where Paul deals with the Lord’s return. Revelation, chapters 4-5, are supposed to capture the heavenly scene, and the 7-year “Tribulation” period, which follows the “snatching up,” is described in Revelation, chapters 4-19—or so allege the “Rapture” defenders.
Now read me carefully. If 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17 do not teach the “Rapture” creed, the entire core of the screenplay collapses. We agree that when Jesus returns, He will bring with him “those who have fallen asleep” (v.14). Furthermore, we concur that when He makes His second advent, He will “snatch up” those of us still living “to meet the Lord in the air” (v.17).
It is agreed further that those of us still living will not precede or go ahead of those who have died (v.15). We will be caught up together with departed saints, after they have been resurrected from their paradise abode. These saints will accompany Jesus (“God will bring with Jesus,” v.14) as He gathers to Himself those who are still alive.
This is where the agreement ends. Premillennial advocates have Jesus descending twice, once to “rapture” saints and once more when He returns with them to put an end to the “Tribulation” and “Armageddon,” followed by a thousand-year earthly government.
In this matter, they select a few highly symbolic passages from the Book of Revelation, tie them in with the Thessalonian verses, and the “Rapture stage” is ready to perform. Nowhere in the Thessalonian verses is it remotely implied that Jesus will descend twice more. Please keep that idea in mind as we examine this dramatic creed. For if, as stated earlier, these verses fail to advance the “Rapture” doctrine, it falls by the wayside.
It is wise to remember that nowhere in scripture is it taught, or remotely indicated, that Jesus will personally and visibly return twice more. His second advent is alluded to time after time, but never a third advent. Nor do the scriptures speak of saints ascending into heaven twice, once at the so-called “Rapture,” and once again “when the thousand years are over,” as the doctrine is advocated.