What is The Rapture?

What is The Rapture? The Bible has the answers.

As we continue with our Beginning and End Rapture series, this article will serve as a basic primer on the Biblical definition of the Rapture.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

The Rapture Defined
The Rapture is the supernatural removal of the Church, the true born again believers in Jesus Christ, from the Earth, to meet Jesus Christ, who personally comes to meet the church in the clouds before being taken to Heaven. Despite the foolish, un-biblical “prophecies” of debunked false teacher Harold Camping in 2011, the Rapture is indeed a real Biblical event.  It is one of the most dynamic, exciting and heavily-discussed events in Bible prophecy. There are several purposes of the Rapture but one of the main ones is to remove God’s faithful believers from the Earth before the Day of The Lord (also known as the Great Tribulation), the final 7 years of the Earth before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This will be a time where God will pour out His wrath in a series of supernatural punishments and natural disasters on the Earth, permit fallen angelic beings to return to Earth as well as the start of the brief reign of the Antichrist.It will be a time of death and devastation the world has never experienced as the sinful, God-rejecting world is punished for its numerous sins and rebellion against The Lord.

The world will be similar to the way it was during the “Days of Noah” when evil, fallen angelic beings presented themselves as “the gods” to humanity. The Rapture is a sign of God’s love and mercy for faithful believers in Jesus Christ who will not suffer through these difficult years. This is why in verse 18 above the Apostle Paul wrote “comfort one another with these words.” The comfort is that when things are at their worst in the world, Jesus will come and protect His church from it all.

A Literal “Catching Up”

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air”
In order to avoid suffering through any of the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation, the believers in Christ will be “caught up” (the Greek word harpazo) and taken off of the Earth. As verse 16 from the opening passage states, Jesus Himself will come down from Heaven in a cloud into the Earth’s atmosphere and will meet the believers who are ascending to Heaven in the cloud and take everyone back to Heaven. (In a similar manner to God coming down in a cloud to meet Moses on Mt. Sinai).

Christians who die have their souls enter Heaven waiting for the Rapture. At the moment of the Rapture those deceased born again Christians who died before the day of the Rapture, will return to their bodies and be resurrected, with a new heavenly physical body. This great feat was already done by Jesus at His own resurrection, which is why verse 14 above states: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” This process of receiving a new, Heavenly made body (as opposed to our present earth-made bodies) is called translation. The Apostle Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 15:

There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another… So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:… It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15

In the “twinkling of an eye”, the believer will be changed from having an earthly body to having a heavenly body. Thus the spirit of the born again Christian, which was given from God, will finally be housed in a body given by God. This is the translation. And it will occur at the Rapture first to those who have passed away and then those who are alive.

What Happens to Christians in Heaven after the Rapture?

The church (consisting of all believers on Earth) will be united with Jesus Christ. In the Book of John Jesus said:

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

The place prepared for the Church is where believers will reside with Jesus until His Second Coming, when He returns to Earth to reclaim it and rule from Jerusalem in peace and righteousness.

 

When Will The Rapture Happen?

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” – Matthew 24:36

Although the Bible gives signs there is no specific date given for when the Rapture will take place. This is why Jesus Christ encourages believers to “watch” and stay faithful in living a Christian life until His return to gather His church and take them to Heaven.

Conclusion

This article’s purpose was to give the basic Biblical explanation of what the Rapture is right from Bible prophecy. If you are already familiar with it or if this article helped your understanding, we strongly recommend you read the Beginning and End Rapture Series for much more information on the purpose of the Rapture, the foreshadows of it all throughout Scripture and the timing of it in Scripture. Part 1 of the Series can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.

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Comments

  1. I would highly recommend this website to all readers. I’m not saying that every information on this website are all facts, because no human can truly translate the meaning of the words in the bible. Some prophcies are visual and other prophecies need to be deciphered. I really like what the author has done with this website. I also like how you have Biblical references to support your arguments. Regardless of most non-believers that come on this website to talk nonsense, you dont judge them, you simply reply in a polite manner.Keep up the good work B&E. God will definetely reserve a seat for you up in Heaven.

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  2. Dale Holliday says:

    2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
    2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
    2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come A FALLING AWAY first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
    2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
    2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

    the greek word for “a falling away” is apostasia coming from the word histomai and the greek has a kai before apostacy meaning a specific…. tyndle correctly tx’s this as The Departing… the kai indicating that he had made reference to this to the before and they would know which departing he ws referring to…. the only departing Paul spoke about can be found in verse 1… the coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto him…. verse three is a reference to the rapture…. and the word depart is also a fine tx for it’s other location acts 21:21. in first century greek apostasia was not a religous word it just ment to depart… it was not until modern times that this word became our modern word apostacy meaning forsake religion. anywho great site.
    oh i almost forgot:
    https://www.dbts.edu/journals/1998/combs.pdf

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    • Hi Dale,

      I have to respectfully disagree. ἀποστασία has a religious connotation in every usage you find in scripture. Tyndale is not really relevant because the Lexical evidence goes back centuries before him. You mention Acts 21:21 – And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake [ἀποστασία] Moses saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

      The entire connotation is obviously talking about falling away from the religion of Mosaic Law keeping. It is a spiritual commentary not a physical movement or departure.

      In the Septuagint, which 1) was written in the same Koine Greek of the ancient New Testament manuscripts, and 2) greatly influenced New Testament writers, ἀποστασία refers to a religious defection not a “departing” or “physical movement”. Here are more examples:

      “If we have transgressed before the Lord by apostasy [ἀποστασία], let him not deliver us this day.” – Joshua 22:22

      Hezekiah cleans the temple after the wicked, false god worshiping Ahaz is dead which was “polluted in his reign, in his apostasy [ἀποστασία]” 2 Chronicles 29:19.

      “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings [ἀποστασία] shall reprove thee…” — Jeremiah 2:19

      Going back to the KJV:

      His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass [ἀποστασία], and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers. – 2 Chronicles 33:19

      The clear contextual and lexical meaning in Scripture is spiritual rebellion against the Lord. The word is never used to indicate a physical departure. I hope that all makes sense. God bless.

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      • Dale Holliday says:

        thank you for that info…. learn something new every day. will definately review what i have in light of what you said…. Bible geeks are awesome!

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      • Yes, I most certainly agree that one has to always look at Scripture in Context.
        Rav Saul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was to counter a letter sent by a writer who wished to misdirect the assembly there and more over to create disharmony of the fact that they had already missed the Rapture. Rav Saul was now countering this False Teaching in his 2nd Epistle. In chp2;1, He clearly refers to the Rapture, but shifts his focus to the false teaching in 3 areas, In Mind, Spirit or Word. then he moves on to exposing the Tribulation period as states about the Apostosia which is already taking place before our very eyes.
        Blessings

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  3. I learned so much from reading this. Thank you

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  4. Shalom & Blessings In the Name of Yeshuah ha Meshiac.

    Praise the Adonai for all that is shared on this site regarding Apostasy and the Great falling away that we see in these End Times.

    My only comment is on the above quote from Matt 24;;36, It has nothing to do with the” Harpazo” or commonly known as the Rapture. Matt 24;36 is a reference to the Day of the Lord and was spoken to a Jewish Audience. Also the Term “nobody knows the day or hour” was a reference to Rosh ha Shanna which is inline with the Moedims (set appointed times) during the Tribulation or Yacob’s Troubles.
    The Harpazo was a Mystery that was only revealed by Rav Saul (Paul) post resurrection of the Mashiac.
    But Yes it will happen before the battles of Psalm 83 & Ezekiel 38/9, but post Isaiah 17.
    Pre Trib is correct and very much inline with the Jewish Wedding.
    Baruch be shem Yeshuah ha Mashiac

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  5. There is no such thing as a Rapture. All the verses used to say that there is a Rapture are complete misinterpretations. I Thess 4:13-18 are simply a description of Christ’s Second Coming. If the verses ARE the description of a ‘Rapture’, what does that mean? Does that mean Christ will come again for a THIRD time? Please.

    The Rapture is a fairy tale for western christians who are so pampered and bottle feed ‘prosperity and blessings’, that they can’t handle the thought of suffering for Christ.

    Bless God.

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  6. My issue with the Rapture is centered around the Trumps that are sounded. In Corinthians 15.52 there is a distinction that at the LAST TRUMP. When we go over to the Revelation trumpets, the 7th and LAST trumpet in Revelation 10.7 coincides with the “Mystery” in 1 Corinthians 15. 51. Then in Revelation 11. 15 the 7th angel sounds the Last Trumpet and “…The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ: and he shall reign forever and ever”. This sounds to me like the same events are being described in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelations 10.7 and 11.15. Only this event doesnt sound like a rapture but the final coming of Christ. Am I missing something here? Can you clarify where i am wrong?

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    • I don’t think you are missing anything, Jason. I think you have stumbled on the Truth. I think that the verses people use to point to a ‘Rapture’ are simpy the Second Coming.

      It seems to me that the idea of a Rapture is an invention created (without malice aforethought) to help us coddled western believers who shudder at the idea of suffering, or persecution. Jesus never spoke of a Rapture that I can tell.

      It seems to me the idea of a Rapture is a product of imagination.

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      • Hi John,

        I would ask that you look at my response to Jason. I addressed his concerns with my interpretation of the scriptures in question. Thanks. God bless.

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        • Sorry B & E, I think you’ve been listening to too many of your own sermons. The Pharisees could have written a book (as you have above re ‘the Rapure’) on basic spiritual questions, too, but they would have beena lot of vain words.

          Mt 23:37-39, is (again) a verse about the Second Coming.

          Please consider taking your head out of the Jewish Festivals, and consider taking up a hobby beside pouring over theological minutiae.

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          • Hi John,

            Thanks for getting back to me, but I will respectfully disagree. The Feasts were set up by God for Israel forever (Leviticus 23). More importantly, as stated before, they foreshadow various aspects of the ministry and work of Jesus Christ. Here are some idioms from the New Testament:

            “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29 (an idiom of the Hebrew Passover).

            “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” – Matthew 24:36 ( a double idiom referencing the Feast of Trumpets and the Hebrew wedding).

            Also let’s not forget the alignment of events in Jesus’ life with the Feasts:

            He died on the day of Passover, a Feast that is a total foreshadow of His sacrifice on the cross. In New Testament Scripture Jesus is called “our Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

            His body was in the grave for the Feast of Unleavened bread – His body, the “bread of Heaven” having no sin of its own (and thus being “unleavened.” Hence Paul telling us: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.”).

            He resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits, the feast of the barley harvest, pointing to the resurrection of all believers. (“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”)

            50 days later the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles (a gift from Jesus) on the day of the Feast of Pentecost. This was a feast where two leavened (sinful) loaves of bread were offered. This foreshadowed the Holy Spirit baptizing both the sinful Jews and Gentiles at Pentecost into one body: the Church.

            Do you think all of these events happening on the exact day of God’s ordained feasts are coincidence? I definitely do not.

            Even the age we are living in now, the church age, was referenced by Jesus: Do you not say, “There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35). This is the time to plant seeds of the Gospel for the coming Harvest and the next feast, Rosh Hashana, which will be the gathering of the body of believers in the clouds with The Lord. At the blowing of the “Last Trump.”

            So now when you see Paul, who referenced EVERY SINGLE SPRING FEAST in Scripture, saying, “Last Trump”, there is clearly precedent to know he is once again making a Hebrew idiom to reference the Feast of Trumpets. So rather than being minutiae, it’s very critical to fully grasping the Holy Scriptures in my view. God bless.

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    • Hi Jason,

      This is an excellent question. The last trump is Jewish idiom referring to the final trumpet of Rosh Hashanah, the Feast if Trumpets. A series of trumpets were blown at which time, the Jewish nation had to gather at the temple for the feast. At the final trump referred to as the Shofar HaGadol or “The Last Trump”, the nation was to gather. Remember, these feasts are commanded by God in the Mosaic Law and we know from Colossians 2 that they were all a foreshadow of Jesus Christ. The time of Jesus’ ministry on Earth fulfilled the spring feasts. Now it is time for the fall feasts in the end times, with the Feast of Trumpets next. And this will be fulfilled with the Rapture.

      So in short, Paul is not referring to the 7th trumpet of Revelation. He is making a very direct reference to the Feast of Trumpets and the Last Trump as known in Hebrew culture. Remember also, that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 20-40 years before the book of Revelation was written, so it would not even make sense for Paul to be referencing something that had not been revealed by The Lord Jesus yet.

      When the Rapture happens, we will meet Jesus in the clouds. When Jesus returns to Earth at His Second Coming, we will be with Him. This is confirmed in Jude:

      “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”- Jude 1:14.

      Ironically, Jude is quoting Enoch, who happened to have been rapture himself. But the point is clear: when Jesus returns to Earth from Heaven, His saints will be right behind him. Which means they are already in Heaven.

      As for Revelation 10:7 and 11:15 – The mystery revealed to the prophets was that Jesus Christ is the way to salvation. I will not get into too much detail here, but Revelation 11 is an extremely important chapter because it provides the timing of the mid-point of the final 7 years before Jesus’ Second Coming. It is at this point that Israel is betrayed by the Antichrist and truly starts to seek the full counsel of God – meaning worshiping God and understanding that Jesus is the Messiah, the mystery that they were blinded to until “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11). At this point Israel will seek God’s protection from the Antichrist and Satan and receive it (which is exactly what we see envisioned in Revelation 12 with the woman fleeing from the dragon for 3 1/2 years). This is a glorious moment because Jesus has been waiting for Israel to wake up and understand their salvation. But they will still be tested. Satan’s temporary rulership over the world comes to an end when he is kicked out of Heaven and no longer permitted (see in Revelation 12). He is no longer “god of this world” (as Jesus called him) and this is why it says he knows “his time is short.” The whole reign of wickedness is about to come to an end. Jesus has taken over as Supreme Ruler at this point, hence the celebration in Revelation 11. It is not the end, but the God-permitted authority Satan once held, which we know really existed, has come to an end. Satan last move is to endow his power into the Antichrist and let him have his short reign and mount a force to fight Jesus at Armageddon.

      So this all coincides with the mid-point of the 70th week (which is the 6th trumpet). So after the persecution of the final 3 1/2 years the full revelation takes place and Israel finally call upon Jesus Christ as Lord.

      Listen to Jesus’s own prophetic words:

      “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” — Matthew 23:37-39.;

      This is when the mystery is fully revealed. When Israel finally gives Jesus the praise of Messiah and Son of God. When we start realizing the 70th week of Daniel and the end times are about reconciling Israel back to the Lord, these concepts become easier to see. I hope that helps. God bless.

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  7. Amen! Hallelujah! Maranatha!

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