The Rapture – The Who, What, Where, and Why of the Rapture of the Church
By Chris Schang
The rapture of the church is an end times event foretold in the Bible where God takes believers from the age of Grace to Heaven during what will be seen as a sudden and unexpected disappearance from Earth. The rapture is described as occurring before the Tribulation period when God pours out his wrath on unbelieving Israel and unrepentant sinners. For this reason the rapture is referred to as the pre-tribulation rapture.
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.” – Revelation 3:10
The Rapture – The Why?
The rapture of the church will bring to a close of the church age as we know it. The age of grace will finally be over as the Holy Spirit will not be sealed within believers as He is now. The Holy Spirit will return to his role as seen in the previous Old Testament times where believers worked out their faith and salvation. While the word rapture is not specifically mentioned in the scriptures, the event is clearly foretold in the Bible.
“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.” – (1 Thes. 4:15-17)
The Rapture – The Who?
So from the scriptures we know that the rapture of the church is for believers living during the age of grace who have been saved through faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
As mentioned previously, the rapture is an event whereby God removes the church from the earth before pouring out his wrath on unbelieving Israel and unrepentant sinners. The rapture is also referred in the Bible as being an imminent event that can occur at anytime. The early church was encouraged to always be sober and ready for the appearing of the Lord or the rapture. I believe the Lord wanted the church to always be watching as he knew that mankind has a tendency to get distracted and fall asleep at the wheel as he does with so many other things. It is easy to get caught up in the cares of the world and miss being ready for the rapture and the appearing of the Lord.
Jesus warned us to remain constantly watching as he said that his return at the rapture would be like a “thief in the night” in that many would be found to be unprepared.
“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” – 1 Thes. 1:9-10
“God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thes. 5:9
The Rapture – The Where?
And where does the rapture take place? The Bible specifically mentions that the Lord will return in the air and call the church up to meet him. Afterwards we shall be with him forever. One of the most common mistakes made by post-tribulation rapture believers is viewing the rapture of the church and the Second Coming of Christ as being the same event. This is simply not the case. In the rapture of the church the Lord comes to the sky, calls believers to join him, and then it is off to Heaven to be with the Lord forever. The rapture will be a very quick event with the sudden disappearance of millions of people. The Bible refers to the rapture as taking place in the twinkling of an eye which science has determined is a small fraction of a second.
1Cr 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Cr 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Cr 15:52 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.
1Cr 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
The Second Coming on the other hand is an event where the entire world will see the visible return of the Lord. The Bible actually says that the Lord will come down to earth and place his feet on the Mount of Olives where a large earthquake will then occur.
Zec 14:4 – “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. Zec 14:5 And ye shall flee [to] the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, [and] all the saints with thee.”
The Rapture – The What?
So as we can see the rapture of the church will most likely result in the sudden disappearance of millions of people and with the absence of the visibility of the Lord, whereas the Second Coming will result in everyone on Earth seeing the visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As for a specific date of when the rapture will occur the Bible is silent. The Bible simply says that at a time of the Father’s choosing Jesus will return to the air and snatch his bride from the Earth. The rapture event is always described as being imminent in that it could occur without warning and at anytime. So we should always be sober and watching for the blessed hope of the rapture fo the church.
May the Lord return for the rapture speedily in our days. With that we are admonished to keep looking up for the blessed hope of the rapture of the church.
Philippians 3:20 – “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”
1 Thessalonians 5:6 – “so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”
James 5:7-9 – “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord…for the coming of the Lord is at hand…behold,the Judge is standing right at the door.”
I hope you have learned more about the rapture in this article. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rapture Forums for more information.