The comment, which was made as part of the new 'Ask NT Wright Anything' podcast series from Premier, is the ﬁrst time the former Bishop of Durham has directly spoken on this particular area of eschatology.
The Surprised by Hope author admitted the themes raised in the Pauline letter had never been a big part of his theological thinking in his early years: "I never heard about The Rapture until I got married.
"My late father-in-law was an old school Elim Pentecostal, with his Schoﬁeld reference Bible and the whole thing was mapped out.
"I had never met somebody expounding those themes before as I had been in quite traditional Anglican circles and we never talked about this."
The series, which is the ﬁrst time Wright has released a podcast, launched this week with Premier in partnership with SPCK and NTWrightOnline and will provide listeners an opportunity to send their questions to the St Andrews-based theologian.
The series is hosted by Unbelievable? presenter, Justin Brierley and hundreds of listeners have already submitted questions via the website, covering a wide range of theological topics.
Wright continues: "When Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians people were worried that when Jesus returned, those who were dead would stay dead and miss out on the 'new day'.
"Some people have taken the verses that followed literally, but the problem is that that is not what this verse is about.
"Paul is awfully good at mixed metaphors.
"When Jesus comes back, it's not to snatch people away from earth but rather to transform earth with the life of Heaven and to transform us as well. He doesn't come back to take us away, but to heal the world and to heal and transform his people."
The podcast will be released fortnightly and will be available on iTunes, Podbean and at www.askntwright.com
The show went to number 1 in the UK Religion and Spirituality podcast charts following its release this week.
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