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The Rapture – just what is this and what in the world are people referring to when they speak of it? The Apostle Paul spoke about it the most out of the twelve Apostles. In three consecutive Sabbaths (Acts 17:1-2), Paul taught them extensively on the subject!

1 Thessalonians 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.  (14)  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  (15)  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.  (16)  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:  (17)  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.  (18)  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  (2)  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  (3)  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  (4)  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  (5)  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  (6)  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  (7)  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  ( 8 )  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  (9)  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  (10)  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.  (11)  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

What exactly is the Rapture? The word “rapture” cannot be found in the English translation of the Bible. However, it is found in the Latin translation from which the English version came. Charles Ryrie had the best description of this event:

Rapture is a state or experience of being carried away. The English word comes from a Latin word, rapio, which means to seize or snatch in relation to an ecstasy of spirit or the actual removal from one place to another. In other words, it means to be carried away in spirit or in body. The Rapture of the church means the carrying away of the church from earth to heaven.

The Greek word from this term “rapture” is derived appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, translated “caught up.” The Latin translation of this verse used the word rapturo. The Greek word it translates is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. Elsewhere it is used to describe how the Spirit caught up Philip near Gaza and brought him to Caesarea (Acts 8:39) and to describe Paul’s experience of being caught up into the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). Thus there can be no doubt that the word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of people from earth to heaven.

Charles Ryrie

Therefore, we can see that the Apostle Paul was teaching that there would come a time when the Church would be “caught up” to meet Jesus in the clouds. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) This is a separate event where Jesus protects His Bride, the Church, from the devastating outcome of the Tribulation. Jesus spoke about the end times in like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-38) and the days of Lot (Luke 17:28). The Rapture is not the same as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the Tribulation because at that time, Jesus will step foot on the Mount of Olives. (Zechariah 14:4)

One cannot fully comprehend just how the Rapture will take place, but the Bible says it will happen in the twinkling of an eye – in less than a blink!

1 Corinthians 15:51-52  Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Those who have died prior to the Rapture will receive their new body on their way up to meet their soul from Heaven. Then we who are living at the time of the Rapture, will receive our new body as we go up to meet Jesus in the clouds. How can that happen? I don’t know but I believe God’s Word and trust it. Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a place for the Church in His Father’s house. While He is in Heaven, He is preparing a place for His Bride and will receive us to Him.

John 14:3  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.

Jesus didn’t say He was going to come to earth to receive us but that the Church would go to Him where He is so we can be there also! Doesn’t this excite you? We are part of His body. He is the head of the body (Ephesians 1:22) and we are His body! How can the Lord allow the body to go through the Tribulation? He would be punishing His own body! This is why Paul comfort ourselves together.

Friend, it is no coincidence that God has placed you here for such a time as this so that you may be saved if you are not already. Please click here and the link will open up in a separate tab to You Can Be Born Again and Know It!