I think a more applicable question would be, "What does the Bible have to say about the rapture?"
You said — I think a more applicable question would be, “What does the Bible have to say about the rapture?”
Now, I agree with that, for sure. BUT, you must remember that this “issue” was raised by others, in that there was no one who ever understood that the Bible taught that (i.e., the “Rapture”, or being “taken up”).
So, this was not given as an answer from authority on the “teaching of the Rapture” — but rather — only an answer to some “criticism” that no one else ever saw the same thing (before) in history. And that was clearly not the case — as has been shown here.
NOW, having said that — indeed — the Bible is the authority for this teaching and not whether someone taught it five years ago, 100 years ago or 1,000 years ago.
In that light — *even* the “criticism” (from others) is illegitimate (according to your “thinking” above) because their criticism seems to indicate that for the Bible to have something to say “authoritatively” about an issue — it *must* have been “authenticated” by another person’s commentary and writing on the matter, sometime in ancient history (or else, the Bible is not “authoritative” on the issue). That’s absolutely false thinking.
No matter *when* a teaching is “promoted” by “people” — the Bible, alone and by itself, is the only authoritative teaching on the matter — no matter how many years or centuries it takes “people” to “discover” it.
You must remember that the “church” is something that was not known or taught about in the centuries before Jesus. It was a new thing. Now, I’m not saying the teaching of the Rapture was a new thing (because it wasn’t and it was quite old, going back many centuries) — but I’m just saying that to make a “criticism” on the basis of the “age of a teaching” is not legitimate.
AND..., from that standpoint — indeed, the Bible does teach such a thing as the Rapture (being caught up, taken up — forcefully, as in “Strong’s”).
Thanks for making that point and perhaps it will take people away from trying to make a big issue on “when” a teaching became known to the public and rather — into the authoritative word of God (instead).