What and When is The Rapture?

The Rapture has become a very popular discussion lately. More and more people are looking forward to it and even expecting it during their own lifetime. In fact, more and more Bible teachers are declaring the very same thing. So exactly when will the Rapture take place?

What is the Rapture?

The word “Rapture” means “to seize and carry away.”

The word “Rapture” is not found anywhere in the Bible. However, the concept is revealed to us in I Thess. 4:16-17 (NIV) where it says: “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. 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.”

Think about this for just a moment. What kind of chaos would there be on the earth if all of the born-again Christians would suddenly disappear from the earth? Planes would fall from the sky because the pilots disappeared. There would be a multitude of automobile pileups because the drivers of so many cars suddenly disappeared. How many businesses would collapse because the people that ran those businesses disappeared?

The Three Theories

There has been much discussion throughout history as to when the Rapture will be. Everyone agrees that it will be during, or just before, the Tribulation Period. However, there are three theories as to when during the Tribulation Period it will happen.

The first is a pre-tribulation rapture. This theory holds that the rapture will happen before the 7 year tribulation starts. Some teach that it will even be a few years before the Tribulation Period actually starts.

The second is a mid-tribulation rapture. This theory holds that the rapture will happen in the middle of the tribulation period. In other words, it will happen 3 ½ years after the tribulation starts. This theory became popular after many discovered that many Scripture passages seemed to indicate that the Church would be on the earth during the Tribulation Period. Yet, at the same time other Scripture passages seems to indicate that the Church would not be on the earth during this time. Since it is the Church that will be raptured, this theory was the only one that seemed to be true.

The third is a post-tribulation rapture. This theory holds that the rapture will happen at the end of the Tribulation Period. In other words, all Christians will have to go through the Tribulation Period. This theory is not held by very many people in our modern time.

When Will The Rapture Happen?

Jesus told us that there is no way that we can know when the Tribulation Period will start nor when the Rapture will take place. He told us in Matthew 24:36 (NIV): “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Jesus then goes on in the following verses about how suddenly and unexpectedly He will return. In fact, everyone will just be going about their everyday business, exactly as they did when the flood came. He said that it would be as unexpected as a when a thief breaks into your house and steals. We have no idea when that might be. Except in this case, we know that Jesus is coming again.

I Thess. 5:2 (NIV) emphasizes this by saying: “for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” Then, as if to make sure that we understand, God says in: “I Thess. 5:3 (NIV): “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”

At the Last Trumpet

Several passages indicate that the Rapture will be accompanied by the blast of a trumpet.

In Matthew 24:31 (NIV) Jesus says: “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.”

Then, I Cor. 15:52 says “at the last trumpet.” I Cor. 15:52 (NIV): “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.”

The problem with this interpretation is that between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal God places his seal on “the servants of God.” This is before any of the Trumpets of the Tribulation Period are sounded. Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior before the Rapture are never called “Servants of God.”

Only twice is this phrase used in reference to the Saints or the Church, and these are to call attention to the work of the Saints. Before the Rapture, the Saved are called “the Bride of Christ.” After the Rapture the Saved are called “the Servants of God.”

There Will Be a Falling Away

Before the Rapture happens, many will desert Jesus who used to believe in Him. I cannot comprehend haw people are able to do this, but this is exactly what the Bible says.

While talking about the second coming of Jesus, it says in II Thess. 2:3 (NKJV): “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.”

This is happening right now. People who used to call themselves Christians are now turning against Christianity and turning to other beliefs. Many of them simply denying the truth of the Gospels. They still claim to be Christians, but they deny the salvation that comes through Jesus.

NOTE: Take heart. There are also multitudes around the world accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Note also that II Thess. 2:3 says that the Rapture will not come until the “son of perdition” (the Antichrist) is revealed. This indicates that we will know who the Antichrist is before we are raptured to meet Jesus in the air.

What Shall We Do?

Luke 21:36 gives us the answer. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (NIV).

In Luke 21:34, Jesus warns us about becoming too involved in worldly things. Luke 21:34 (NIV): “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”

This does not mean to give up and neglect your business, family, recreation, etc. It simply means: do get involved in anything that will take your mind off Jesus and what He wants for you. Make Jesus a part of everything you do.

If we want to be ready when the Lord comes again, we need to spend every minute of our time with Him. Keep Him foremost in our thoughts and always be aware of His presence with us. Talk with Him as if He was always walking beside us, because He is. Then, when He returns, we will not be surprised, we will just rise up to meet Him as if it were the most natural thing in the world, because it will be for those who love Him.

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