What Exactly Is "The Rapture"?
1Thessalonians 4:13-18 "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 this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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".
In verse 17 the English phrase “caught up” is translated from the Greek word harpazo, which means to seize upon with force, or snatch up. For those who say the word “rapture” is not in the Bible, they have not done their homework. Notice the following:
1Thessalonians 4:17 (Latin Vulgate) "Deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus". Looking at the abover verse in Latin, the word rapiemur is the appropriate tense of the verb rapio. This word is the Latin equivalent of harpazo. We get our English words “rapt” and “rapture” from this Latin verb.
John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. 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".
This is the promise that the Lord made at the last supper. This promise was only given to his believers. (Judas had left by then) This little tidbit is important in that if Judas was in the room, it would not have been applicable.
Job 19:25-27 "For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth: And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me".
The anticipation of a bodily resurrection is seen throughout the Bible. Job declared the previous statement and it is known that Job is the oldest book in the Bible. When the Lord comes to gather His Church, there will be a generation alive at that time. Notice what Paul says to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 "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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?"
The Bible clearly teaches us to expect Him at any moment. Imminency expresses hope and warm spirit of expectancy, which should result in a victorious and purified life. Do not get the Second Coming and the Rapture confused. They are two separate and distinct events.
Jesus relies on the ancient Jewish wedding throughout the gospels for many of his parables; climaxing in His promise to the believers in the upper room in John 14. In the traditional Jewish wedding, the first step is the Ketubah or betrothal. This is merely the establishment of the marriage covenant. The bridegroom would negotiate the price (mohair) because he must pay for her. Once the bridegroom paid the price, the marriage covenant was established. At this point, they would be regarded as husband and wife. From that moment on, the bride was declared consecrated or sanctified exclusively for her bridegroom. As a symbol, the groom and bride drank a cup of wine over which the betrothal had been pronounced.
After the covenant was established, the bridegroom left his bride at her home and returned to his father’s house for approximately 12 months. This afforded him time to prepare a place within his father’s house, for his bride. At the end of this period of separation, the bridegroom came, usually at night, to take his bride to live with him. The groom, the best man, and the other male escorts left the father’s house and conducted a torchlight procession to the home of the bride. Although she was expecting her groom, she did not know the time, so his arrival was preceded by a shout which announced her imminent departure to be gathered to him.
Shortly after their arrival, the wedding party followed them to the bridal chamber (huppah). They would wait outside while they consummated the marriage. The groom would exit and announce the marriage was consummated and the wedding party would return to the wedding festivities and remain in the father’s house for the next seven days. During those seven days, the bride and groom remained hidden in the bridal chamber, after which the groom came out with his bride. Her veil was now removed so everyone could see her.
Jesus is our Bridegroom. He has departed and will return for his bride. The Bible is very clear that He will return for his Bride, the Church, and that no one knows the day nor the hour. However, it does not say we will not know the season.
The Great Tribulation is also known as The Time of Jacob’s Trouble and is basically God’s wrath being poured out. When and why are questions we constantly seek answers for. The “why” is answered in the following:
Hosea 5:15 "I will go [and] return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early".
The “when” can be answered in the following:
Romans 11:25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in".
1 Thessalonians 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…"
Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him".
Revelation 3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth".
What about the Rapture? Will we be in the same condition as Jesus? Will our bodies be resurrected?
1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is".
There is no greater excitement than to think that the God of this world would take us home to be with Him to live forever. The coolest part is the ride up may be just as exciting!