We resume our teaching on Biblical Prophecy with the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture of the Church will be the most shocking event to happen in all of human history. Millions will disappear in “the twinkling of an eye.” The most vivid description of the Rapture of the Church is given in Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” I Thessalonians 4:16-17.
In an effort to cast doubt upon this soon-coming event, some have attempted to claim that “rapture” is not a Biblical term and, therefore, not a valid part of Bible Prophecy. According to Dr. John Walvoord; “The term rapture itself is derived from the Latin Vulgate version of I Thessalonians 4:17 where the expression ‘caught up’ is translated by the Latin word rapturo.” The Latin word “rapturo” is the English word “rapture” and is actually the one-word synonym that Believers use in place of the phrase “caught up.” In the original Greek text, the word used is “harpazo,” meaning to “to seize upon by force,” “to snatch up” and so, the English word “rapture” is an excellent translation for the Greek word “harpazo.”
The Rapture is spoken of by Paul in the Scriptures as a “mystery” referring to the fact that it was not revealed in the Old Testament, but is teaching for the Age of Grace. Paul states: “Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” I Corinthians 15:51-52. And Paul referred to the Rapture as the “Blessed Hope” of the church: “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13. At the Rapture the Lord will return to resurrect the dead and translate those saints still living on the Earth, to meet the Lord in the air and return with Him to Heaven (John 14:1-3).
The Bible teaches the Rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation. Hand in hand with this is the doctrine of imminence, which emphasizes that the Lord can return any moment without regard to signs. All signs are for Israel and therefore relate to when He will come with the saints at the end of the tribulation period (Revelation 19:11-21).
Evidence of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture is found in these Scriptures; “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things (the Tribulation) that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36. “For God did not appoint us to wrath (the Tribulation), but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” I Thessalonians 5:9. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains (the Holy Spirit in the Church) will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” II Thessalonians 2:7-8. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial (the Tribulation) which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” Revelation 3:10. “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this” (after the Rapture of the Church) Revelation 4:1. John’s “come up here” is a picture of the Church being caught up at the Rapture. Revelation chapters 6-19 are the revelation of the seven-year tribulation. From this point (Revelation 4:1) on, the Church is not mentioned again until we come to Revelation 19:7, where we see the Church preparing for the “marriage of the Lamb” and her return to earth. While the Earth and those still upon it are going through the Great Tribulation, the raptured Saints of God will be simultaneously attending events in Heaven, namely, the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10) and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 19:7-9).
The Rapture will take place seven years prior to the “Glorious Appearing” or the second stage of His coming. In the first stage, at the Rapture the Lord comes for His Church; whereas, at the end of the Tribulation period He comes back with His Church. At this event “every eye shall see him” although at the Rapture He will come “as a thief” and only believers will see Him (I John 3:1-3). Only those who have been born again by the blood of Christ will hear the “shout” that will complete the Church age and begin the Day of the Lord. Our bodies will be transformed like our Lord’s resurrection body, in that our glorified bodies will be spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, rather than physical. The Rapture of the Church will be a glorious time of reunion with our loved ones who have gone before us, and best of all, as John proclaimed we, “shall see His face,” Revelation 22:4. Is isn’t any wonder then that Paul described the Lord’s coming as the “blessed hope.”
Great confusion and fear will occupy the minds of those left behind after the Rapture, the terror on the earth in those days will be hard to imagine. Many explanations for the disappearance of those missing will be considered. And, out of this confusion, because of this incredible event, the world will be looking for leader to tell them what has happened, and at that point a man will step out onto the world stage with all the right answers. This man is the antichrist.
When will the Rapture occur? Jesus told His disciples: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” Matthew 24:36.
You will find no date setting in our teaching, but we believe the time is growing near, so keep listening for the “Shout” and the “Sound of the Trumpet” because;
Jesus is Coming Soon!