WHAT IS THE RAPTURE?
Understanding the Rapture according to God's Word.
What is the "rapture" and the signs of its coming? Are the rapture and the second coming, the same event? No, the rapture and second coming are two very separate events. Does Jesus come back to earth, to live and walk among us again in this Age? No and He has warned us that impostors will come and do just that, pretending to be Him. Will the church simply disappear one day and arrive in heaven at the call of the Lord? The Bible says that all the tribes of the earth will see Jesus when He comes for His church and that it will be a huge event. Let's look at what the Bible really has to say about it.
Before Jesus was crucified, He shared His heart deeply in regard to the future. Jesus let His disciples know that He would be leaving but also that He would come again for His people.
Jesus said He would "leave, to go and prepare a place and come again for us, so that we may be with Him."
John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know." Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
What did Jesus mean by “in my Father's house are many mansions?"
This is in regard to people living in heaven and having homes there. He has prepared a place for each and all of His children. He said “I go to prepare a place for you.” Did He say when and how this would happen? Yes, He said “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
The Rapture is when the true Christians, who are alive at the time, are “raptured up” joining the ones who previously died in Christ, and meet the Lord in the air. Everyone will see Jesus and our bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and He will then take us all to heaven to the place He has prepared for us.
Is there more information on how Jesus is coming again?
Yes, in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus told about what we call the “rapture” and the things which must happen first. After Jesus ascended to the Father, the early disciples and apostles have longed for the Lord to “return.” It is written about and referenced by Peter in his books of the Bible, by Jude, James and Paul in various places including 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy. The “coming of Jesus for His saints” is also recorded in various places in the old Testament, including the Book of Daniel.
In his later years, John the Apostle, was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos and while there, the Lord took Him in the spirit to heaven. He was also given many dreams, visions, exhortations and shown much about very important things to come. The Lord told John to write "special letters to seven of the early churches" and ordered John to tell of what is to come and to do it all as He, Jesus, was instructing John. The whole Book of Revelation is really from Jesus to His church by way of John.
The Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation tell of the events leading up to the Rapture and completely correlate with what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke chapters 17 and 21.
It is very important to know, that Jesus never said He was coming back at the Rapture to stay. Jesus did not say that He would set foot on the earth at the Rapture. Instead, He said that He would come from heaven with Saints who were in heaven already (1 Thessalonians 4:14) and angels, and call the remaining Saints up and unto Himself and return to heaven. The Lord makes it clear that “anyone walking the earth and claiming to be Jesus” is an impostor. Jesus will only stop in mid-air and call “the Saints up” and then to heaven.
Please read the article, “Is the word “rapture” in the Bible?” It explains how Jesus “openly takes us up” from this world and how the word “rapture” that we use today, is taken from the Latin Vulgate translation of the Greek word “harpazo.”
Here are three sections of Scripture, directly describing the “coming of the Lord” to “gather up” His Saints. Please read them fresh today, considering the rapture and events that will precede it.
Matthew 24:30-31 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Luke 21:25-28 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
If you will notice, the rapture is most often described with the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven or with clouds. In the New Testament, this will always be referring the Rapture when there are clouds involved. At Armageddon, Jesus comes on a horse with the Armies of heaven and no saints are "gathered up" as the rapture has already taken place by then. The rapture is the time of the "gathering up" of the Lord's people. Saints are not “caught up” or “gathered up” at any other time as recorded in the New Testament other than at the Rapture. Even by the time the Great White Throne of Judgment happens, all saints will have long been raptured and living with the Lord. The Great White Throne of Judgment is the time of Judgment for the Lost and happens after the Millennium (see the timeline chart).
Some warning verses about impostors, false prophets and the time of deception that precede the Rapture, can be found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Here are two sections from the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 24:4-5 "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.”
Matthew 24:23-26 “Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.”
The Lord has warned us to never believe that anyone we see here or there on earth is Him. Jesus is not coming at this time to set foot on the earth. And we must know that anyone claiming to be Jesus (even if they perform incredible miracles and signs) that this person is NOT JESUS. Anyone who does is an imposter.
The Antichrist will be unique; he will not be a false-Jesus, he will be a false-Christ (a false-Messiah).
He will be a false Messiah who will deny the Messiah-ship of the true Jesus Christ. He will try to say that Jesus Christ was not the real Messiah or the Son of God. Through his lying charisma and deceptive abilities, he will come posing as the “real” Messiah. After a while, his real colors will start to show and eventually, close to the end, just prior to the Rapture, he will go completely open declaring himself as God and even sitting in the Temple (that will be rebuilt in Jerusalem) as God.
The Bible warns of this serious “false-Christ/Antichrist” in particular.
This Antichrist will be a son of perdition. He will be very, very convincing of being a good guy but he will really be “of the devil” and will try to destroy all the plans of God and take as many people to hell with him as possible.
This false-Christ or Antichrist is spoken of in many places. Here is a section of Scripture that explains what must happen before the Rapture, including what this evil deceiver will do.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 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, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains 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. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Notice in these verses how he will work unrighteous deception among those who perish. The wicked will easily fall for him because they love the darkness more than the Light. They do not even receive “the love" of the truth. Those that truly love God, who know and trust their Bible, will realize what is going on because they love God, His righteousness and truth, even to the uttermost.
The Bible has so much to say about all these things.
The Lord wants us to know the signs of His coming, what to watch out for, who the enemy is, how he works and not to be deceived. The Lord wants His people prepared. The devil has already started with great deception. We are living during the time of the apostasy or great falling away described in the verses above in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. And it will not be long, before tribulation and persecutions come like not since the early church and will even surpass it.
The Lord said something very important that we must hold on to. We must be willing to stay faithful to the Lord at all cost, not looking back at or longing for anything from this world.
Luke 17:32-33 “Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
As persecution increases, times will get very difficult for people staying true to Jesus Christ. The Lord also said,
Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
If fear tries to come upon you when learning of times to come or even in the future when things get tense, remember this next verse.
Matthew 10:28-31 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Does anyone like being persecuted or going through hard times? Certainly not. Do we have a choice about it? Not really. What are we going to do about it?
We are going to stay true to our Lord and try to warn people of two things:
1. There is a false-Christ coming who will be very deceptive. Do not fall for him. He will appear to start out doing good but will really be utter evil. The good will be short-lived. He is really coming to bring destruction on the earth and lead people to hell.
2. Look for the Coming of our Lord! People need to get right or they will get deceived and left. After the rapture, there will be no second chance (see the article, The opportunity for salvation does not last forever). Not only that, but anyone who worships the antichrist and takes his mark, is eternally doomed (Revelation 14:9-11).
The secret of how Christians will endure is this:
Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
I pray that neither you or anyone in your family will have to endure much tribulation. But I also pray, that if anyone should, that all will be prepared and endure to the end. We know that if God should take us to it, that He will bring us through it. Whatever time a person has left on this earth, is nothing compared to eternity. The most important thing a person can do in calm times or in hard times, is do exactly what Jesus said to do in Mark 12:30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Keep God #1. Love, hear and obey Him and nothing will be able to snatch you from the Lord's hand!
OTHER "BASIC RAPTURE" ARTICLES
IS THE WORD "RAPTURE" IN THE BIBLE?
Understanding "harpazo" - the word "rapture" comes from & where it's seen in the Bible.
Understanding pre, mid & post tribulation, millennial views, preterism & more.
MYSTERY OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS
A prophecy in Daniel foretold the coming of Christ & also the concept of the "last week of years" is derived; sometimes called "the 7 year tribulation."
THE TRIBULATION & THE WRATH OF GOD
Understanding what really happens during the last 7 years of this Age.
TRIBULATION & WRATH, BIBLICAL DEFINITIONS & USAGE
A word study taking a deeper look at original context.
THE BEST BIBLICAL MINDSET FOR LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS
As shown in 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Copyright 2014 E. Cockrell May be copied for personal study or instruction but shall not be copied and/or distributed in whole or part without permission or for financial profit.