I can already hear the questions now. The word Rapture isn't in the Bible so there is no rapture of the church? I would counter-argue that the word, doesn't exist but the intent or meaning of it does.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 ~ " 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." (NIV).
To understand the context of the word "caught up" we have to research the origin in the Greek or Latin and we find two things, in Greek the word for "caught up" is harpazo. It is used thirteen times in the New Testament and means "to take forcibly, to snatch, or to catch up." That is what the Rapture is. The Lord will snatch up His church off the earth in the blink of an eye. In the Latin the word is Raturo, which is where we get the word Rapture from. They both mean the same thing when searching for the Greek or Latin meaning of the words "caught up."
In the context of 1 Thessalonias 4, Paul was addressing believers in Thessalonica who were concerned about loved ones who had already died. They were thinking, that if they died, did they miss the Rapture? Some were so concerned about it that they were bordering on grief and despair and that is why Paul taught on what it truly meant as a means of comforting them and give them a better idea of what was going to happen.
In verse 13 he said, ~ "And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope." (NLT). In other words, don't worry about it, don't get upset but be comforted. Let me tell you what will happen and how it will take place.
After he made this statement about the Rapture, Paul then reiterated to them again in verse 18, "Comfort one another with these words."
The Lord Himself spoke of this event in John 14:2-3 ~ "In My Father's House (where? in Heaven) are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (Where? In Heaven.) And if I go and prepare a place for you, (Where, to heaven), I will come again and receive you to Myself.(Jesus died, went to heaven and is coming back for us); that where I am (where is He now? In Heaven.), there you may be also.(We will be in heaven with Jesus).
When He says, "receive you to Myself," that could be literally translated, "Take you by force."
In 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Paul added some more details to this future event. He said, "Behold I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in a 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." (NIV).
It is that fast.
In Matthew 24:40-42, Jesus spoke again of the Rapture when He said, "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming." (NIV).
There are countless theories pertaining to the Rapture.
1. There is NO Rapture.
2. Partial Rapture Theory, only the Spiritual Christians will be taken.
3. Pre-Tribulation - All Christians believers in Jesus Christ will be taken.
4. Mid Tribulation Rapture - We will have to endure some of the Tribulation but the Rapture will happen before things get really bad.
5. Pre-Wrath Theory - We will be Raptured 3/4 of the way through the Tribulation Period.
6. Post Tribulation - the believers will all be taken up with Jesus Christ comes back for the Second Coming.
7. We know it exists, but don't have a clue to when.
Pre-Tribulation offers the best answer based on what the Bible states because all other reasons contain fatal errors in the way you might interpret the meaning of scripture you find that you have to bend it to get it to fit.
Pre Tribulation has legitimate questions that can be found in the context of what the Bible says at face value. We have to realize however, that there are plenty of Christians who believe in various beliefs concerning the Rapture and when it will happen, but this is NOT essential in order to be saved. We can agree to disagree.
Reasons for Pre-Tribulation
1 Thessalonians 1;10 ~ "and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." (NIV). The coming wrath is the Tribulation. This scriptures backs up that believers in Christ, will escape the wrath of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 ~ " We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen sleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 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. Therefore, encourage each other with these words." (NIV). - This scripture references how the believers of Jesus Christ will escape the wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 ~ "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (NIV). - Reminds us why we will escape the wrath of God.
Is there any precedence in the Bible where righteous people have escaped God's judgment? Yes.
In the story of Noah, we read in Genesis 6:7-9 "So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth - men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and the birds of the air - for I am grieved that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God."
Genesis 7:1 ~ "The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation." (NIV).
So Noah was spared from the judgement God poured forth over the earth during the Great Flood. The righteous were spared.
Also in Genesis 18:23-26 ~ "Then Abraham approached him (LORD) and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not sparte the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people it it? Far be it from yo to do such a thing - to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and wicked alike. Fare be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? " The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." (NIV).
We know as we read further on, that Abraham haggled with God til it got down to ten people, that God said He would not destroy it in verse 33.
But we know that the city of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed but Lot was warned by two angels to remove his family from the city because God's judgement was coming to rain fire down on the city to destroy it. Genesis 19:29 ~ "SO when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived." (NIV).
So what will happen to children and babies during the Rapture?
1 Corinthians 7:14 ~ "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but s it is, they are holy." (NIV). Children and babies will be taken in the Rapture based on the age of accountability, and it is different for everyone, there is no set determined age. Only God knows when that is for each individual.
What about Christians living in a backslidden state at the time of the Rapture? Will they be left behind?
No, they will be taken as well. As long as they are true believers in Jesus Christ, there salvation determines their entrance into heaven, not their sin state at the time that the Rapture happens. Salvation is assured, sin doesn't keep us out of heaven as long as we are believers.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ~ "Behold I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in a 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."
So does that mean that the Holy Spirit will leave when the church does at the Rapture? Does that mean there will be no more Christians during the Tribulation period?
No, the Holy Spirit will not be removed. He will simply step out of the way of restraining evil up to this point. The Holy Spirit's work on earth is to work in the hearts of men and women to share the good news of the gospel. This will happen during the Tribulation Period as people come to Jesus Christ after the Rapture because they waited to make a decision to follow Jesus after it was too late for them to go during the Rapture. They will now in some cases literally have to pay for that decision with their lives as they endure the Wrath of God's judgement on the Earth for the 7 years of the Tribulation Period and join the Tribulation martyrs referred to in Revelation 6:11 ~ "Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they they had been was completed." and in Revelation 7:14 ~ "I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "There are they who have come out of the great Tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (NIV).
So when will the Rapture happen?
No one knows.
Matthew 24:36 ~ "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (NIV).
Having established the fact, however, that no one knows the precise day or hour of the Rapture, it must also be noted that it could happen at any time. It could happen today. It could happen tonight. It could happen before you finish reading this blog post. And it will happen in a moment so rapid, you can't even measure it in human time.
In 1 Corinthians 15:52 ~ "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." You leave one time frame and enter another with no sense of movement. There will not be any time to make that decision that quickly if you're waiting for that last moment to give your life to God.
Did you have time to make your decision? It will happen that quick. So I would caution you to make that decision right now, if you haven't already. Put your faith in Jesus Christ, who is the ONLY way to get you into heaven. How can you do that? Simply pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart.
Father, I come to You, confessing my sin and asking for Your forgiveness. I thank you, Lord, for You have promised that if I will confess my sins, You will be faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I want to turn from my sins and live in Your will. I ask that You give me the power through Your Holy Spirit to live the right way.
I thank You that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the price for my sins, and then rose from the dead. I accept Him now as my Savior, my Lord, and my Friend. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ. I surrender myself to You; make me what You want me to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!
If you prayed this prayer, meant it from your heart, then believe YOU are saved and if the rapture happens at any point after this, you will be joining us in heaven! You are saved by putting your trust and faith in Jesus Christ which is the ONLY way you can get to heaven. Nothing you do no matter how wonderful you think you are living with do it. Don't wait make your decision. There is no guarantee of tomorrow or even the next Monday. If you have questions, please contact a Pastor or you can email me at Stevenkat27@gmail.com. I'd love to help lead you to Christ!