There is a prevalent view of the an event called “the rapture”, which has been popularized in movies and novels, which depicts Christians being caught up into the air as by some mysterious force, with their clothes lying at the place of their departure, which must assume them to be naked as they rise into the sky to meet Jesus.
True enough, perhaps, but, mysterious. And several popular suppositions doubtful.
The rapture is an eschatological concept held by some Christians, particularly within branches of American evangelicalism, consisting of an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise “in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” In Paul the Apostle’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the Bible, he uses the Greek word “harpazo”, meaning “to snatch away” or “to seize,” and explains that believers in Jesus Christ will be snatched away from earth into the air.
John Nelson Darby first proposed and popularized the pre-tribulation rapture in 1827. The idea has been revised and discussed since it was first proposed and there is much discussion and differing views about the details.
The rapture event is not important to know about, in and of itself, because it does not affect a person’s salvation or faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us something spectacular is going to happen – and your view of “a rapture” and whether you believe it or not changes nothing.
READ AND REASON WITH ME:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 ¶ But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
15 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 have fallen asleep.
v16 For the 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.
v17 Then, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
And, there are these verses:
1 Corinthians 15:51 ¶ Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
HERE IS WHAT WE CAN KNOW:
1. The word “rapture” is never used in the Bible. Here is what it does say:
(a) “God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus”
(b) the dead in Christ will rise
(c) we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
(d) we shall all be changed,
(e) the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and
(f) we shall be changed
Key Words used:
- bring with Him
- will rise, raised, rose
- caught up
2. We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:15)
3. (a)The Lord Himself will descend from heaven
(b) with a shout, with the voice of the archangel
(c) and with the trumpet of God,
(d) and the dead in Christ will rise first.
4. (a) Then, after the dead in Christ have risen to meet Him in the air, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
(b) and so we shall always be with the Lord.
5. (a) We shall not all sleep (die),
(b) but we shall all be changed,
6. The corruptible (body) must put on (become) incorruption, and this mortal (body of death) must put on (become) immortality.
7. Death is swallowed up (ended), i.e., we shall live forever with God.
WE CAN ALSO KNOW:
1. Revelation 1:7 “BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”
Many commentators and Bible teachers assume that since “every eye will see Him (Jesus), that every eye will see people being “caught up” with Him, which is never said nor is it implied.
2. We also know that the Rapture (Caught Up – Harpzo, as written and described in the New Testament Greek language) is a Spiritual event, a Spiritual matter, and that a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned or appraised.
Those left on earth will most likely be astounded at the aftermath but they will be seeing only what is LEFT BEHIND! How do we know these things? The Bible says them, very clearly.
And, with a careful study of these scriptures IN CONTEXT of the verses and chapters which come before and after, AND staying in CONTEXT of the entire Bible,
WE CAN SURMISE THIS:
1. Our mortal bodies at the time of the rapture will cease and will be changed or transformed into something completely new.
2. What goes up to meet Jesus in the air will not be our mortal corruptible bodies. It is likely the earth will be covered with the scattered clothed corpses (bodies) of Christians. What a phenomenon!
IMPORTANT COROLLARY VERSES
Matthew 24:29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
31 “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
Hebrews 9:27 “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
(Then there are two instances in the Bible in which men, Enoch and Elijah, are taken away by God before they die. But, these are unrelated to the “rapture”. https://www.gotquestions.org/Enoch-Elijah.html)
Just know, we must be ready for His return and His catching us up to meet Him in the air! So, as the Apostle Paul said, “Comfort one another with these words”.
Your Brother and Friend,
PS: My study notes which are primarily taken from the New American Standard Bible version, and from Strong’s Bible Concordance, the The Dictionary of the New Testament and The Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, are available upon request.