The Rapture of the Church
What is Rapture?
The word Rapture is derived from the Latin Word "Rapturo" which means "caught up". It refers to the belief by christians that True believers who have died in christ will be raised and believers who are still alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the cloud to meet the Lord in the air."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."1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
The concept of the Rapture is based on various biblical verses as is inspired by the Holy spirit. Opponents of this view argue that the word Rapture is not in the bible but they fail to realize that even the word bible does not appear in the bible too. The bible is a book of faith and the theory of Rapture is a subject of faith. If one refuses to believe in the Rapture which was also promised by lord Jesus himself then they are denying the reliability and validity of God's Word. Jesus said to his apostles."For I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when I have gone and have prepared a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself so that where I am, you also will be" john 14:2-3
In the above quotation Jesus did not say that he is coming back to rule for a thousand year but to take his church to heaven to be with him. This statement shows us the difference between Rapture and the second coming when Jesus will come to defeat the anti christ and rule for a thousand year on earth. The Second Coming is the literal return of Jesus Christ to earth as King in power and glory to rule for a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6
More Biblical References about the Rapture
- "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." Matthew 24:40-42
- "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Philippians 3:20-21
- "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." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
When will The Rapture happen?
The timing of the Rapture sparks a great controversy among Christians.There are three main beliefs regarding the exact time frame of the Rapture.Will it occur before, during, or after the tribulation period? The tribulation period is the three and half year period that immediately precedes the return of Christ to establish His millennial kingdom, which will last for 1,000 years. It will be a time of trial and disaster during which the evil spirits will be released and the Holy spirit will no longer be on earth.This period is refered to as the great Tribulation.
The three groups or opinions of rapture are Pre-Tribulation Rapture- Those that believe the rapture will happen before the tribulation period. Mid-tribulation Rapture-Those that believe the Rapture will happen during tribulation and Post-tribulation Rapture- Those that believe the rapture will happen at the end of tribulation.
If we read the scriptures very attentively, we will find out that the apostle Paul made it clear in 1 thessalonians 5:9 that the church will not be present to face the wrath of God. The wrath of God here points to the great tribulation when the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.Revelation:13.5"For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."1 Thessalonians 5:9
Again paul affirmed in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 that the holy spirit will not be on earth when the lawless one is revealed and that only then will the church be taken up, meaning that rapture will happen before the great tribulation.
"Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming."2 Thessalonians 2:3-8
Also in revelation 3:10-11 Jesus promised the believers that they will be spared of the great trial that will befall the world.This hour of trial refers to the great tribulation."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. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown"Revelation 3:10-11
Again Jesus said in the book of luke 21:36 that we should try to escape the tribulation by all means. The word escape indicates that the event is about to start and we must escape the great hour of trial.
"For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:35-36
A fourth reason that justifies the absence of the church during the great tribulation is the marriage of the lamb.The marriage of the lamb symbolizes a great feast in heaven after the rapture of the Church, when Christ comes to claim His bride and take her to his Father’s house The scriptures foretold in revelation 19:6-9 that the marriage of the lamb will be going on in heaven during the last phase of the tribulation. It is also written in revelation 19:11-21 that Jesus will return immediately after the feast in heaven on a white horse to defeat the anti christ and to establish his kingdom.
Having said that, One can emphatically affirm that our Lord Jesus will never leave his people to be on earth during the great tribulation. The dead in christ and those alive will be called up to meet the lord in the air and so will ever be with the Lord. It is therefore my view that the rapture will take place before the great tribulation.
The Difference between Rapture and second coming
Many christians does not fully understand the difference between the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ. They are often confused with the two events. The rapture and second coming are similar yet they represent two separate events. Both involve Jesus returning. Both are end-times events and both are in the scriptures.
- The rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth to bring the tribulation to an end and to defeat the Antichrist and his false prophets.
- During the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air(1 Thessalonians 4:17). During the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth Revelation 19:14.
- The rapture is imminent (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The second coming follows a sequence of events.
The end time is truly upon us. Jesus is coming back very soon. The rapture is imminent and now is the time to repent and give our lives to God. The next minute may be too late.
Why is the Rapture being delayed ? We all pray for the Lords mercy over our families, friends and loved ones who have gone astray. We all pray that the Lord forgive us when we backslide and the Lord answers. He answers by granting us more mercy, more time to repent and more grace. Yet we ask why the rapture is being delayed. We must rejoice for the mercy he has granted us by delaying his return so that all may come to repentance. How certain are you that you and all your family members will be taken. Are you not being selfish by asking the Lord to come now because you think you are ready or are you scared that you might fall back into sin. A true Christian does not set time for the Lord but rather thank the Lord for each day that he allowed for more souls to be saved. It is good to be eager for the Lord's return but it would even be better if more souls will repent and come to God because of the one minute that is added before Jesus returns.
" The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance 2 Peter3:9
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”Revelation 3:22