What is the rapture?
The rapture, it’s a term that many Christians use and talk about. You may have heard someone talking about the rapture maybe coming soon. But what is the rapture all about? Is it really in the
bible? Although the word rapture doesn’t appear in the bible, it is a term used to describe when Jesus comes to take His church. Paul writes about it in his first letter to the Corinthians in chapter
15, verses 51-53:
Behold! 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, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
And when the Thessalonians asked about their fellow Christians who had died, Paul wrote them in first Thessalonians 4: 13-18;
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
In these verses, Paul describes what’s going to happen when Christ comes and calls His church to Him. But why is this going to happen? In the end times, God is going to send his judgments against the world for all it’s sin. Everyone who has accepted Jesus as their savior and His sacrifice as atonement for their sin, has been forgiven. God promises us that when He does judge the world, we won’t have to face it. In 1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10, Paul writes;
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among 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 delivers us from the wrath to come.
And in Revelation 3:10, Jesus promises John;
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
Since we have accepted God’s forgiveness of our sins, we do not have to endure His judgments on the world for it’s sins. God will take us to a safe place out of the way of His wrath on the world.
According to the scriptures, it will all go down something like this. First Jesus will descend from His Father’s house where He is preparing a place for us (John 14: 1-3, 1 Thess. 4:16)
We will hear the trumpet call of God, the last trumpet for the church.(1 Thess. 4:16) The dead in Christ will rise first and be given incorruptible bodies to join with their spirits. (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
Then those who are alive will be changed into immortal bodies, ( 1 Cor. 15:51,53) and caught up together in the clouds with those who have died and meet our Lord Jesus where we will always be with Him. (1 Thess. 4:17)
And all this will happen in a twinkling of an eye. (1 Cor.15:52)
When is this going to happen? Jesus tells us this in Matthew 24: 36-42;
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
Jesus says only the Father knows when this is going to happen so we need to stay prepared, it could happen at any time. Don’t wait until tomorrow to accept Christ, it may be too late to avoid the tribulation.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 . Standard Bible Society: Wheaton (all verses)