What is The ‘Rapture’?
The ‘Rapture’ is an event spoken of in several scriptures in the Bible when Jesus will return and gather or ‘snatch up’ His followers before the fiery judgment on earth begins to rain down. The word ‘Rapture’ does not appear in scripture but comes from the Latin translation of the old texts. The Greek words in that Jesus and the Apostles used described a couple of different aspects of the event. The first is ‘parousia’ which means ‘gathering or coming and receiving to oneself.’ This word focuses on the aspect of the rapture where Jesus gathers together God’s family to Himself as a groom would come gather up His beloved bride. Believers in Christ are called the ‘bride of Christ’ in the Bible. In the context of the Jewish wedding of the time, the groom would spend a year preparing a place in His Father’s house, and then would come at an unknown moment and snatch his bride-to-be away to the wedding and life together. The second Greek word used in describing the Rapture is that of the ‘harpazo’ which focuses on the quickness of the event. In English, it is translated as ‘catching away or snatching’ as if in the last moment. Both ideas are present in the passages that describe it.
The Rapture is a day of Resurrection
This specific event occurs at the end of the age during the Seven Years, and those who experience it will not die, but will immediately be taken up into the clouds to meet Jesus in the air. They will meet up with those who have died, and everyone will receive new bodies like Jesus’ resurrected body. At this time, Jesus will ‘save’ or restore His followers’ bodies and give them eternal physical life. When He died and rose again, He saved the whole person. Not only did He save us from a spiritual hell, but a physical one as well. Just like the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in Christ will receive eternal life, our bodies will be completely perfected as well. These bodies will never get sick or die!
After the Rapture, there will be a time of judgment during the second half of the Seven Years called the Day of the Lord. Then, Jesus will return to earth with His followers in their restored bodies, and He will defeat the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon and set up His Kingdom on earth. (For more on the 3 part nature and salvation of humanity, read the post titled “Jesus Saves Everything” on this website).
The Rapture is a day of Salvation
On this day Jesus will restore or ‘save’ our bodies from the path to death and decay. But the salvation will also be a salvation from the final time of judgment during this age. At the end of the Seven Years, Jesus will judge the Antichrist, the False Prophet and all who align themselves against Him, who have been persecuting Jews, Christians and all who refuse to take the Antichrist’s mark of allegiance. This time period begins on a specific day and lasts for an unknown period of time. It is called the Day of the LORD and is a time of wrath that includes many judgments listed throughout the Bible. It was a Day prophesied and foreshadowed throughout the Scripture and finds its greatest detailing the book of Revelation. Believers in Jesus have been exempted from this wrath, and so they will be snatched away at the last moment before judgment falls and the Day of the Lord begins. These two events occur back to back and are key to understanding the timeline of events that happen during the Seven Years before Jesus returns. (For a detailed explanation of the Seven Years, read the post titled “7 Year Prophecy” on this website).
The Rapture is a day of Reunification
The Rapture brings together the believers in Jesus, all at the same time, at the end of their service and right before the end of the age. Jesus brought His followers together into a ‘body’ to work together as one with Himself as the ‘head’. He did this to create a ‘family’ who would carry out the Great Commission to go into all the world and spread the gospel of His salvation to all mankind. Once the gospel has gone into all nations, and everyone has come to trust in Jesus who chooses to, then the end of the age will come. At the rapture, Jesus will gather up this total group of people containing both those who have died and those who are living to be re-united together with each other and to be with Jesus Himself forever. What an incredible day it will be to see all fellow believers who we’ve been separated from in time and space, and most of all, to be with Jesus who loves us so much that He died for us so that He could be with us! I can only imagine what it will be like to look into the eyes of my Creator, who put aside His majesty, to live a perfect life as a common carpenter, fully human (though still fully God), who dealt with pain, sadness, exhaustion, rejection, false accusation and a horrific murder all for the love of me and you! But He rose again so that we could have eternal life and be with Him forever!
The Rapture is a day of Victorious Celebration
The Rapture will happen in the ‘twinkling of an eye’, but it will also come with great fanfare. Jesus’ sign will be seen in the heavens and the tribes of earth will mourn. Celestial events of unmistakable magnitude will announce His coming. The sun will turn black, the moon to blood, stars will fall, the earth will quake, the sky will roll back as a scroll. These events all describe what would happen directly before meteors hit the earth - which are the first three judgments of the Day of the Lord. He will come back in the clouds, just the way He left, to snatch away His ‘bride’ to safety. The dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive and have survived until that moment, will be caught away together with them to safety with Jesus for all eternity. Jesus will come with fire and mighty angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the sound of a trumpet of war.
The war trumpets announcing of the wrath of the Day of the LORD will follow. Those who have been raptured will go to heaven to be with Jesus during the time of wrath. The time of the Great Commission will come to an end, and the End will begin. After the judgments, Jesus and His followers will return on white horses, and He will defeat the Antichrist and His enemies in the battle of Armageddon. After this defeat He will reward His faithful followers with an inheritance and responsibilities in His kingdom on the Earth that has been restored to a place of peace, love and justice!
The Rapture and You
We are currently living in the time of the Great Commission - the time when the gospel of Jesus Christ is going out to all nations so that everyone can have a chance to believe that Jesus died for their sins, and receive the forgiveness His forgiveness, and that He rose again ensuring that believers will receive eternal life. If you believe, you will take part in the Rapture, whether you are dead or alive when that day comes. Are you ready?
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me (Jesus). In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go 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, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord (Jesus), that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet 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 thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-56
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17