The word rapture (in Greek harpazo, in
Latin rapere) means to be caught up or taken away
suddenly. The rapture refers to the sudden removal of
all of God's people on the earth. In the twinkling of
an eye, born again Christians will suddenly be
transformed out of our human bodies and will rise up
into the air to join Jesus Christ.
Christians are afraid to talk about the rapture of the
Church. Deep down they feel an excitement about the
prospect of being snatched away in the twinkling of an
eye to be with the Lord and Savior they love, worship,
and have given their lives to. However, they fear being
labeled or criticized for a hope that many through the
ages have had; a hope that God fully intended for us to
have. God warned us against ignoring the hope that
end-times prophecy gives us in I Thessalonians 5:19 when
he said "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat
prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to
the good. Avoid every kind of evil."
There is a
reason Christ warned his end-times followers 13 times in
the New Testament to not be deceived, and to watch and
be ready. He wanted us to be excited about His glorious
the other hand, does not want us to be excited. He is
the master deceiver and wants us to believe his
deception rather than the signs of Christ's return given
to us by Jesus himself. He will send many to deceive us
and to rob us of the joy of living every day in
anticipation of Christ's return.
who believe that the Bible is the truth and is the very
word of God, it's easy to believe in and rejoice in the
prophecies that tell of the rapture of God's Church.
The Bible tells us of others who have been taken up into
heaven in very much the same way that we will be at the
time of the rapture. Elijah was taken up into heaven
like a whirlwind.
2:11-12 "As they were walking along and talking
together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire
appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went
up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried
out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen
of Israel! And Elisha saw him no more."
also taken from this life so that he would not
11:5 "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that
he did not experience death; he could not be found,
because god had taken him away. for before he was taken,
he was commended as one who pleased God. and without
faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who
comes to him must believe that he exists and that he
rewards those who earnestly seek him."
will the church be raptured? We know there is more
evidence today that He is coming for His Church soon,
than at any other time in history. As these signs
intensify, all of us who know Christ as our savior will
be looking toward heaven and awaiting the coming of our
biblical scholars feel that the rapture will occur prior
to the Tribulation Period, or a pre-tribulation
rapture. Thus God will spare his Church from the
persecutions of the Antichrist and the wrath of God that
will fall upon the inhabitants of the Earth during the
end times. Those who come to Christ following the
rapture will live through the persecution of Christians
by the Antichrist and even martyrdom for their faith.
There are several other views of the timing for the
rapture of the Church, however, here we will examine the
pre-tribulation view and the biblical support for it.
One of the
best supporting verses from the Bible for the rapture of
the Church is found in Revelation 3:10.
you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep
you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the
whole world to test those who dwell on the earth."
is a promise made by Christ to one of His seven
churches, the church of Philadelphia. The hour of trial
Jesus speaks of in this verse is the period of time that
our Lord calls the "great tribulation, such as has not
been since the beginning of the world until this time,
no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21).
many verses in the Bible that describe the rapture.
Christians in the first century church were so driven by
the coming of their Lord and savior in the end-times
that they shared their faith everywhere. Paul wrote to
the Thessalonian church in I Thessalonians 1:6-10
became followers of us and of the Lord, having received
the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy
Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia
and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the
Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and
Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God
has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of
entry we had to 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, even
Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
in being taken up to meet Christ is the essence of
hope. A hope that Satan will fight and challenge with
all of his might.
We also read
the following in I Thessalonians 4:16-18
Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with
the voice of the 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 in the air, and thus
we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage
each other with these words."
will shout a loud command as he descends from heaven,
and we will hear the voice of the archangel, perhaps to
lead Israel during the seven years of tribulation as he
did in the Old Testament. It should be an encouragement
to all of us in these times of lust, greed, corruption,
self-centeredness and resistance to all things that are
Corinthians 15:51-53 says, "Behold, I tell you a
mystery; we shall not 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 all be
changed. For this perishable must put on the
imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."
The Greek word here is harpadso, meaning
"snatched up" to be with Christ. When Christ comes to
set up his earthly kingdom at the end of the
tribulation, he will come with power and the holy angels
to bind Satan, and to deal with the earthly Kings who
are gathered at Jerusalem to oppose Him. When He comes
for his Church at the time of the rapture, He will leave
his Father's house and come in the clouds to call the
dead in Christ and then the living church to "come up
hither," where they will join with each other in the
clouds to live with Him in His Father's house. Belief
in this kind of resurrection was common among the Jews
of that day. Martha believed Jesus when he challenged
her to understand the coming resurrection of the dead.
She responded to Jesus, "I know that he will rise again
in the resurrection in the last days."
rapture does occur, billions of people will be left
behind full of surprise and shock at the disappearances
of their loved ones, friends, and acquaintances.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but
we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of
an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,
the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be
what explanation the Antichrist will use to explain away
the disappearances of millions of believers. But, one
thing is for certain, with the main obstacle to his plan
for the world removed, the way will be clear for the
Antichrist to implement his evil plan for the world as
is prophesied in the Bible. With the followers of
Christ gone, few would stand in the way of a world
religion that deifies man, and a world government that
criminalizes belief in God.
Thessalonians 2:3, 6-7 "Let no one in any way deceive
you for it (the Day of the Lord) will not come unless
the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is
revealed, the son of destruction. And you know what
restrains him now, so that in this time he may be
revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at
work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is
taken out of the way."
Apostasy may have 2 different meanings. The first
is to fall away from the faith. In our world today,
many are turning to a new age faith that vilifies belief
in salvation through Christ, and changes the Word of God
to fit an inclusive, creedless, self-gratifying religion
that requires nothing and promises everything, including
godhood. A belief that releases us from any
responsibility, accountability or consequences in life,
is becoming more popular in our humanist society and
will gain in popularity as the end times progress.
meaning for apostasy in this verse is to depart, and may
be a reference to the rapture. The forces of the
Antichrist are restrained on Earth until the Holy Spirit
which dwells within God's Church is removed by the
rapture. With Christ's followers removed from the
scene, the Antichrist will be released to usher in the
world's new age religion with all of its evils.
this depressing time descends upon us, we can rejoice.
God promised us that he would deliver his Church from
the persecutions of the Antichrist and the wrath of God
that will follow his rise to power. The rapture is the
fulfillment of that promise.
Thessalonians 5:4,9-10 "For you yourselves know full
well that the day of the Lord will come just like a
thief in the night. For God has not destined us for
wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord
Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake
or asleep, we may live together with him."
return for those who have died and those who are still
living and deliver us from the wrath and tribulation
that will be suffered by those who follow the
5:9 "Much more then, having now been justified by His
blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through
Thessalonians 1:10 "and to wait for His Son from
heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who
delivers us from the wrath to come."
come for his Church suddenly at a time when we least
expect it. For this reason, He instructs us to be
ready, always prepared, and on guard for his coming. As
those around us turn their backs on God, worshipping
themselves, other gods, or false prophets instead, we
should be looking up. We should have our spiritual
lives in order, so that we might escape what is to
come. Especially as we are now witnessing the
beginnings of birth pains, God reminds us that we need
to be in prayer constantly so that we will not be led
down the other path and miss His coming.
21:34-36 "Be on guard, that your heart may not be
weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the
worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like
a trap; for it will come upon the face of the earth.
But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order
that you may have strength to escape all these things
that are about to take place, and to stand before the
Son of Man."
God felt it
was so important for us to be alert and watchful for his
coming that he reminded us several times to be ready.
24:42 "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know
which day your Lord is coming."
24:44 "For the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you
do not think He will.
24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even
the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father
25:13 "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the
day nor the hour."
It is to our
benefit that God didn't tell us the hour of His coming.
It encourages us to live righteously as Christ may
return any time, and it encourages believers to work
diligently for the souls of friends, family and the lost
of this world. It reminds us that we have much work to
do and may not have much time to do it. If there was
ever a time to be an example, share your faith, and make
sure that everyone you know has heard the name Jesus, it
rapture of the Church, the tribulation will fall upon
the Earth. For those of us who received Christ and were
prepared for His coming, we can shout for Joy. The Lord
has prepared a place for us and we will be with him
26:19-21 "Your dead will live; their corpses will
rise. You who lie in the dust awake and shout for joy.
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth
will give birth to the departed spirits. Come, my
people, enter into your rooms, And close your doors
behind you; Hide for a little while, Until indignation
runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come
out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the
earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her
bloodshed, and will no longer cover her slain."
Many Christians will read about the
rapture of the Church which will occur before the
tribulation and respond with "It's too good to be true!"
or "I donít deserve to be saved from the wrath to
come." We often overlook, however, that trials and
tribulations are a standard part of everyday life in a
fallen world. But our Lord specifically informed us
that the tribulation is a special judgment of God. It
is for our sake that these days will be shortened for
us. This escape from wrath is not based on merit, but
on what the Bible says. God deals with us on a basis of
grace when we accept him as our savior, and this basis
extends itself to the tribulation. We should celebrate
the saving grace of Christ. Let the joy that fills your
soul at the mention of His return show in your life.
Let it be an example that draws others in. Then tell
everyone you know the reason for the hope that is within
you so that they too may look to the future with
excitement, hope and confidence, and you will see them
in your Fathers house at that great time of reunion and