Many people have heard of the rapture, -it’s the taking away of the church- but there’s some confusion on what it really is and who it affects.
So what is the rapture? The rapture is the sudden taking up –in an instant- of the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s the blessed hope -when the Lord appears and calls and takes up all believers -dead and living. The Rapture is an End Times event associated with other events like the Great Tribulation and Armageddon.
The rapture takes place in the End Times. Let’s take a closer look.
What Are the Signs of the Rapture?
According to the Bible, the rapture will occur in the twinkling of an eye. It’s a very sudden event.
Today there are no prophetic events left that must precede the rapture, but there are prophetic events that describe our current times as the End Times.
Other signs of the End Times are the push for a one-world government, the the occupation by Israel of the Temple Mount, desire of religious Jews to rebuild the temple, and the increasing numbers of Jews who are coming to faith in their Messiah.
Another sign of the End Times -and a sign the rapture is near, is that the gospel will be preached to all the nations:
The Rapture is widely regarded by Bible scholars as an End Times event. Listen as Bible scholar Don Stewart discusses the Rapture and other End Times events with Pastor Greg Laurie:
Rapture of the Church Bible Verses
Here are some of the core Bible verses that describe the event known as the rapture:
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24:30-31
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Mark 13:32
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 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 changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Titus 2:13
What Happens After the Rapture?
After the rapture occurs, the Great Tribulation will occur. This is where Satan is allowed to have dominion over the earth for a period of 7 years.
Once the elect are removed, there will be nothing holding back Satan who has always wanted to have free reign over the earth.
He will then establish the Antichrist and the false prophet in a one-world government.
The Antichrist will have absolute power and authority, but he will still be opposed by many. He will not tolerate any opposition.
His rule will be tyrannical and cruel.
The Bible tells us about the Antichrist in may places in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Here are a just a few of the many references:
And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 1 John 4:3
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. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7:25
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,[a] that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.[b] And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Revelation 13:5-10
Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church
There are many scholarly views of the rapture.
The Pre-Tribulation rapture view is the most popular of rapture views, and I agree with the majority of Bible scholars in thinking it has the most evidence to back it up.
The most common views besides Pre-Trib are are Post-Tribulation and Mid-Tribulation.
It’s important to point out that tribulation views are not fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Many good Christian people have different views on the rapture, but having a different rapture view doesn’t make somebody any more or less a Christian than somebody who holds a different view.
The Post-Tribulation rapture view holds that believers will not be raptured until after the Tribulation occurs.
This means that believers would suffer through God’s wrath.
Pre-Tribulation scholars contend that God would not pour out his wrath on believers, since his Son already gave his life to prevent just that. God the Father poured out his wrath on Jesus at the cross so the believer would not experience God’s wrath.
The Mid-Tribulation view is a nod to the expectation of the 7-year reign of the Antichrist that is divided in two.
The first half of the Great Tribulation is quite peaceful, because the Antichrist appears as a man of peace.
But at the end of first half of the Tribulation, the Antichrist goes to the Temple and presents himself as God and demands to be worshiped as God. He shows his true colors, and the violence really begins then.
This will be a tough time for all people on the whole earth.
According to the Mid-Tribulation view, God will rapture his church after the conclusion of the peaceful first half of the Great Tribulation.
Who Will be Raptured?
The true church of Jesus Christ will be raptured.
All others will be left behind. Matthew says “all the peoples of the earth will mourn” and “he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds” (See Matthew 24:31 above)
The rapture is only for the true church of Jesus Christ. It does not include those who have rejected the message of the Gospel.
When Will the Rapture of the Church Take Place?
According to the Pre-Tribulation view, the rapture will take place before the Great Tribulation where God pours out his wrath on an unbelieving world.
The exact timing of the rapture was a popular question even in Jesus’ day.
When Jesus was asked when the rapture would occur, his answer was:
But Jesus went on to say:
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37-39
And indeed, many will be totally unaware.
But those who love God’s word know that while we don’t know the day our the hour, we do know the season:
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:32-35
Some folks ask why God pours out his wrath on mankind, and why he would do it at this time.
It’s because they have willfully, repeatedly and actively chosen not to believe in God in spite of the great evidence of who God is.
The evidence is ample in science, history and the scriptures themselves.
God’s word has been shown true in all cases, and people are without excuse.
Here’s how the Bible says it:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. –Romans 1:18-20
What’s the Difference Between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ?
The rapture is the taking up of the Church from the earth at God’s appointed time. Jesus Christ appears in the air and takes his church up with him.
During the rapture, Jesus Christ does not come all the way down to earth.
Believers meet him in the air. It’s all made clear in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:
According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Is the Word Rapture in the Bible?
A lot of people ask this question.
The English word rapture is derived from the Latin word rapio, which means rapture. It means “the state or experience of being carried away”.
The English New Testament is translated from the Greek word “harpazo” which is translated into English as “caught up.”
So is the word “rapture” in the Bible? Sure it is -if you’re reading a Latin version of the Bible. It’s called the Vulgate.
Here’s the quote from 1 Thessalonians 4:17 from the Vulgate. The Latin word for rapture in this grammatical form is rapiemur.
17 “Deinde nos, qui vivimus, qui relinquimur, simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Christo in aera, et sic semper cum Domino erimus.”
So… yes. The word “rapture” is indeed in the Bible, even if this isn’t what you expected.
Rapture of the Church Bible Verses
15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. 1Thessalonians 4:15-17
Can You Still Be Saved After the Rapture?
What if you miss out? What if you -or a friend- didn’t “get it” and didn’t accept God’s free gift of salvation?
What if you are left behind and you see the rapture happening before your very eyes? And you knew all along it was going to happen?
If you find yourself in this predicament, you can take some hope from this.
You can still accept Jesus then. You can accept God’s gift of salvation!
We know this from the Book of Revelation:
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:13-14, ESV
But it’s much better to accept the work of Jesus at the cross before the rapture. There’s a reason the Great Tribulation is called the Great Tribulation.
These are not good times for anybody. It’s far better to accept Jesus now.
“The second coming of Christ will be so revolutionary that it will change every aspect of life on this planet. Christ will reign in righteousness. Disease will be arrested. Death will be modified. War will be abolished. Nature will be changed. Man will live as it was originally intended he should live.”
― Billy Graham, Billy Graham in Quotes
“You’re an immortal, divine being. A little god, and yet, you toil like a slave. Isn’t that hilarious?”
― Stefan Emunds, The Second Coming of Jesus Christ – A Short Story
“Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching. But not anymore. It is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever brightening beam in a darkening world.”
― Billy Graham, Billy Graham in Quotes
“what the situation will be like in the world before the Lord returns, namely, Christ will be despised, and the preachers of the Gospel will be regarded as fools.” – Martin Luther