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What Does The Bible Say About The Rapture?

WHAT IS THE RAPTURE?


According to many Bible scholars on end-time prophecy, the prophetic Scriptures speak of two separate events. The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ.


In this post, we will look at what the Bible says about the Rapture.

The Rapture will occur when Jesus Christ returns for his Church. This is when all true believers in Christ will rise from the earth, joining Christ in the sky and be taken into heaven.

For clarity, the Second Coming of Christ is when Jesus returns with the Church to defeat the antichrist, overthrow evil, and establish His thousand-year reign.


WHERE DOES THE WORD RAPTURE COME FROM


Many claim the word is not found in the Bible. That is true. It is not found in the English Bible. The term Rapture is derived from 1 Thessalonians 4:17 - Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord.

The phrase “caught up” is a Greek word, harpazo. It means “to snatch, to seize, or to take suddenly and vehemently.”



WHAT ARE THE MAIN BIBLE PASSAGES THAT SPEAK OF THE RAPTURE

Joh 14:1-3 - “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.


1 Corinthians 15:50-52 - Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.


Some characteristics of this event described in 1 Corinthians are:

-It will happen in a moment.

-There will be a trumpet sound.

-It is a mystery. A whole generation of believers, probably the most considerable portion

of Christians, will go to heaven and receive new, glorified bodies without dying.


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and arose again, so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Some characteristics of this event described in 1 Thessalonians 4 are:

-There will be a shout from the archangel.

-There will be the trumpet sound of God.

-It will happen suddenly without warning.

-The dead in Christ will rise first. Note: A similar thing happened when Christ was

crucified - Mathew 27:51-53 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two,

from the top to the bottom. And the ground shook, and the rocks split apart. The graves

also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had died were raised, and coming

out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the Holy City and appeared to

many.

-We will all meet Jesus in the air.

-It will be forceful; it can’t be stopped.

-There will be no time to get ready. If we are not ready it will be too late

Luke 17:34 - I tell you, on that night two men will be in one bed; the one will be taken and the other will be left.


Matthew 24:42-44 - “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord will come. But know this, that if the owner of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for in an hour when you least expect, the Son of Man is coming.

We must be watching. That does not mean staying awake, but being sensitive to what is happening in our world and even more importantly, to what the Bible and the Holy Spirit are saying.


HAS A RAPTURE EVENT HAPPENED PREVIOUSLY?


Enoch – Genesis 5:24 - Enoch walked with God, and then he was no more because God took him.


Elijah - 2 Kings 2:11 - As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.


Jesus (Second Adam) - Acts 1:9 - When He had spoken these things, while they looked, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him from their sight.


THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE

Can we set a date for this rapture event? No. Anyone who tries or claims to set a date is deceived. It is impossible to know the day or the hour that this will take place. If someone makes that claim, do not believe them.


Acts 1:7 - He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or the dates, which the Father has fixed by His own authority.


Matthew 25:13 - “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.


Matthew 24:42 - Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord will come.

Matthew 24:44 - Therefore you also must be ready, for in an hour when you least expect, the Son of Man is coming.


We don't know the day or time. We know that it will happen suddenly and come quickly.


Matthew 24:36 - “Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (not even the angels know)


The general timing of the Rapture is usually described in relation to the Great Tribulation. In other words, the Rapture will happen either before, during, or after the Tribulation as described below.


Pre-Tribulation: As the name indicates, pre-tribulationists maintain that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. Raptured believers will escape the wrath of God poured out during the Tribulation.

Mid-Tribulation: This view teaches that believers will be caught up to heaven at the midpoint of the Tribulation. Most mid-tribulationists believe that the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11 will signal the Rapture.

Post-Tribulation: This view holds that the Rapture will occur at the end of the Tribulation in conjunction with the second coming of Christ to earth. Believers will be transported to meet Christ in the air as He returns and will then escort Him back to earth.

I always say I believe in the pre-tribulation Rapture. Still, we need to be prepared for the possibilities of it being mid or post Tribulation.


Here is why I think Pre-Tribulation seems to work best.


The Place of the Church in Revelation

-In Revelation Chapters 1-3, the Church is mentioned 19 times

-Revelation Chapters 4-19 describes the tribulation period, but it is silent about the Church, and the Church appears to be absent



The removal of the Restrainer through the Church


2 Thessalonians 2:5-9 - Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? Now you know what restrains him that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already working. Only He who is now restraining him will do so until He is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His presence, even him, whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders.

-The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Holy Spirit works through the Church.

-When the Church is removed, the activity of the Holy Spirit through the Church will be taken away.

-Some may ask, How can you get rid of God? The Holy Spirit will still be here on earth. But He will not be indwelling believers now; it will be more like His OT ministry when He came upon people.

-The lawless one (antichrist) is revealed when the Restrainer is withdrawn.


The Church Is Exemption from Divine Wrath


1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 - For they themselves declare how we were received by you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.


1 Thessalonians 5:9 - For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,


Revelation 3:10-11 - Because you have kept My word of patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation which shall come upon the entire world, to test those who dwell on the earth. “Look, I am coming quickly. Hold firmly what you have, so that no one may take your crown.

-The Great Tribulation is a pounding judgment against a rebellious world

-Christians are not promised an easy road, and there will be trials, tribulations, and persecution; the Bible teaches us that we do not need to endure the coming Tribulation.


Some examples of this in Scripture

-Noah and his family were kept safe in the ark during the judgment of the flood.

-Lot and his family were removed from the judgment at Sodom and Gomorrah.

THE IMMINENCE OF THE RAPTURE


The Rapture is portrayed in the New Testament as an event that could happen at any moment. It is something as believers we should be for all the time.


Another reason to believe in the pre-tribulation Rapture is that only those who believe in pre-trib can genuinely say that Jesus may come today. Someone who believes in the mid-tribulation Rapture has to accept that the Rapture is at least 3.5 years away because the Tribulation has not begun yet.


WHO WILL BE RAPTURED?


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 - For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord.

-Alive Believers (all Christians living)

-Those dead in Christ (all Christians who have previously died)


WHAT ARE THE SIGNS FOR THE RAPTURE


There are no prophecies that require fulfillment for the Rapture to take place; there were never any signs given in the Bible.

-The Rapture is both sign less and imminent from our standpoint

-All signs in Scripture are related to the Second Coming (see this post to understand more).

-Obviously, if the signs point to a soon Second Coming and the Rapture is before the Second Coming, we can assume the Rapture will happen soon.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO MISS THE RAPTURE?

The world will try to explain it (all sorts of theories, UFOs, a weapon of mass destruction, conspiracy theories, spiritual explanations – maybe a “cleansing”). Many will suddenly remember what they learned but never accepted in Church, were told by friends/family. It is likely many will suddenly become "believers." Tribulation saints will be persecuted and even martyred for their faith.


Revelation 6:9 - When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had held.


7:13-14 - Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these clothed in white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” He said to me, “These are those who came out of great Tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


Revelation 20:4 - I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and the authority to judge was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness of Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.


Will people have another opportunity to be saved?

Many Christians have a question: Will friends and family who have heard the truth but rejected Christ have another chance?


Revelation 7:9 - Then I looked. And there was a great multitude which no one could count, from all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.


Revelation 7:14 - I said to him, “Sir, you know.” He said to me, “These are those who came out of great Tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


Revelation 14 it talks of the 144000 witnesses that give witness.


I believe that, yes, there will be another opportunity. Still, it will come with a great price and likely mean martyrdom, as indicated in Revelation 7:14 and 20:4.



Something to consider, how does this information impact me today? Am I ready for these events to take place?

 

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