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The Rapture ~ What Is It? ~ When Is It?  

 

There is a particular event in the Scriptures referred to as "The Rapture" or "caught up".  The word English word 'rapture' is derived from the translation of the Latin word 'rapturo'. For centuries, Latin was a common language from which the New Testament was translated from the Greek. The Latin 'rapturo' is the word used for the Greek word 'harpazo' used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  

Harpazo translates to:

seize          carry off by force          seize on          claim for oneself          snatch out or away          to catch up

The rapture of the church is a promise from the God of the universe to remove:

  • His Church, His Believers, His Children and His Bride from the earth before He pours out His judgment on the wicked and unbelieving on the earth. Just as a person may have several titles here on earth, such as husband, father, brother uncle and such there are also several titles for the Believer throughout Scripture so do not let that confuse you.
  • This will happen in a time Scripture refers to as the end-times, before the time of tribulation, The Great Tribulation and the Day of the LORD, The Wrath of God.  

We are living in the end of the End-Time now.  

The rapture can happen at any time. 

The Tribulation and the Great Tribulation will occur in in a seven year period just prior to the return of Jesus Christ.  It has been anticipated for thousands of years and we are here at this point in history.  

How do we know?  The LORD Jesus Christ told us what to look for as signs of His return.  Those signs are here and we await with great expectation.

God has revealed Himself through His creation, His word, and through the Prophets.  

His Word teaches us many, many amazing things that have happened and will happen.  One of those is His coming to earth.

The prophets told of:

  • His first coming
  • the rapture
  • second coming and the Day of the LORD

He said He would come and He did, about 2,000 years ago.  We now await the rapture where He calls believers out of the earth.   His first coming was to restore our relationship back to Himself.  To do this He came to earth and took on human flesh to pay the price for sin.

He:

  • was beaten
  • was crucified on a cross
  • buried in a tomb
  • rose to life on the third day:
    • having paid for our sins
    • proving He is God with power over death
  • taught His followers for 40 days
  • ascended into heaven
  • sent His Holy Spirit to those who received Him as LORD
  • continues even to today to impart His Holy Spirt to those who received Him as LORD

 

Jesus Christ fulfilled over 100 prophecies written in the Scripture.  There are many more that He is fulfilling now and will fulfill when He comes.

              Artist Credit: Gustove Dore 



Previous Raptures & Removals From Earth

 

Enoch: Genesis 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Elijah: 2 Kings 2:11Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind

Jesus Christ: Acts 1:11 “who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

 

 

Future Raptures & Removals From Earth

 

Believers: Revelation 7:9-15 "After these things I looked and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, stnading before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne, and to the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

 

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  

  

Two Witnesses: Revelation 11:11-13 "Now after the 3 1/2 days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquack, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven."

Some Believers Come Out Of The Great Tribulation: Revelation 20:4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat on the, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." 

Believers Are With Jesus When He Returns:  Jude 1:14-15 "Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying "Behold, the LORD comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."  

 

Looking at the book of Revelation we find that the Church is not mentioned after chapter 3 however in chapter 19 we are given the vision of the Bride of Christ, which is the Church.  There is a marriage supper which means a wedding has taken place.  Jesus Christ is the Groom and the Church is the Bride.

In-between chapters 3 and 19 is the tribulation and the Great Tribulation and the Day of the LORD. These are progressively destructive times on the earth.  The LORD continues to warn those on the earth through:

  • 144,000 Jewish Believers in Christ
  • Two Witnesses (Jewish Believers in Christ)
  • Three angels
    1. Calling to every nation, tribe and language to fear God repent and receive Yeshua, Jesus Christ
    2. Announcing Babylon the Great has fallen
    3. Warning to not take the mark of the Beast

It appears more are brought in after the first rapture ~

Consider that when the Christians and Messianic Jews (Jews who believe in Christ) are raptured out of the earth ~  

  • With the current hatred of Israel from all the other nations, who will be there for Israel?
  • Would this be the start of the time of Jacob's trouble?
    • The LORD sends His messengers and many believe  
    • We find the 144,000 in heaven in chapter 14 before the Day of the LORD

Revelation 20:4 says those who died during the tribulation come to life and will rule with Christ for a thousand years.

Is The Rapture Before, Mid-way Or At The End Of The Seven Year Tribulation?

Let us look at some Scripture to help give understanding

Our Bible contains two letters addressed to the church in Thessalonica (1 & 2 Thessalonians) and two letters addressed to Corinth (1 & 2 Corinthians), by the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts records Paul's travels to these churches in chapters 17 & 18.  It notes other stops as well, but it is verses from these letters to these two churches and verses from the book of Isaiah, an Old Testament Prophet, that we want to look at. 

1 Corinthians 15: 50 - 58

50 "Now This I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will 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 has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in Victory."

55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the Victory through our LORD Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing tha tyour labor is not in vain in the LORD."

First, the way that Paul's letter is written tells us the Corinthians believed the rapture was coming however, they wanted to know what happens to those who died before the rapture; are they included? Paul answers by bringing discussing the rapture in context with the literal resurrection of the dead.  These are two different events: the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Paul points to the resurrection in verses 55-58, by taunting death “where is your victory, where O death is your sting?"

He is declaring death a defeated foe because of our Savior’s victory over death.  

Image Credit: Jesusiscomingsoon.club


1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
 

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. 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 forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words

1) Paul mentions here about the "last trumpet"

In vs 16 Paul distinguishes between the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God at the rapture.  This is important because the “last trumpet,” in 1 Corinthians 15:52, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are one in the same.

 

2) That it is "the dead in Christ will rise first" who will rise. Note: IN CHRIST is critical.  It does not say all the dead will rise.  The rest of the dead will not rise until after the final 1,000 years noted in the resurrection in Revelation 20:5

"The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection." This means that some who were dead were already raised. This would have happened at the rapture.

 

Isaiah 26:19-21

19 Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.  20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. 21 For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain. 

Image Credit: RaptureWatcher    

This is one of many scriptural proofs that the rapture has to happen before the tribulation. This clearly speaks of:

  • the dead rising
  • the calling out of God's people
  • a safe place
  • the indignation of God being poured out 

The Day of the LORD brings a final end to evil and wickedness to those who have refused Him every step of the way and it is done in one Day.  He gives opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, but they refuse.  Do we know people like this?  Yes we do. Pray for them.

This day is coming and when it comes it will be DONE, there is no negotiating, it is final, it is finished!

He has shown Himself through the generations.

 

It cannot be any clearer. I pray you are ready!