Does The Bible Specifically Talk About A Rapture?
Many people say because the word “Rapture” is not mentioned in the Bible, that there is no rapture. However, there are no words for telephone, radio, automobile, jet planes, TV, computers, and many other items. Does that then mean that these items don’t exist, but are figments of the imagination? Obviously No, as these items clearly exist. This is not to say that because something is in the Bible, it is good and permitted by God. The Bible clearly provides the principles and examples of what is good in God’s eyes, and what is sin, what is evil, or what is an abomination. Many people also think if something is not mentioned in the Bible, it is not from God.
Webster’s dictionary defines rapture as (1) a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion, ecstasy (2) an expression of great joy, pleasure, etc. (3) as carrying away of being carried away in body or spirit. The definition of #3, is what will be addressed, as this is what most Christians are anticipating. Let’s see if there are any similar words or verses which would clearly indicate this definition. Acts 8:39-40, “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.”
The context of the verses clearly indicates that the eunuch saw Philip no more, or in other words he immediately disappeared. Also, Philip then finds himself in the city of Azotus. Verse 26 of this same chapter points out that Philip was outside the city of Gaza on a desert road. The Bible clearly indicated that Philip was raptured or caught away to a different physical location in an instant than where he was. The Greek word for snatched or caught away is “harpazo, #726- Strong’s Concordance” It means to seize (in various application): catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force). Evidently there is an outside force which can forcibly act upon someone and take them away; God is the one who causes this. 2 Cor.12:2-4, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell: or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
Therefore, it could be stated that both Philip and Paul were raptured in light of Webster’s definition. However, does the Bible specifically talk about a Rapture in which all Christians are going to be raptured at one time? The Bible does give very specific information about believers being raptured at the same time, and also having their mortal bodies changing into an immortal body. 1Cor. 15:50-54, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor doth the corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” This is glorious news, and this is our hope.
1Th. 4:13-18 also provides more evidence of Christians being raptured,“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. 15For 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.”
These previous verses are clearly what most Christian adults attribute to the event known as The Rapture. There are all sorts of distinct details about it; it is not some abstract symbolic term. The Rapture takes place at the end of the Ages- at the Last Trumpet for His Saints. Then our physical mortal bodies are changed into an immortal body. This change takes place instantly, at the twinkling of an eye- a very short moment of time. The previous verses clearly describe many different characteristics associated with a literal rapture. It would be helpful to read these verses again.
Also, Matt 24: 30-31 talks about The Rapture, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Obviously, these verses are specifically talking about a Rapture. Therefore, the Bible does give very specific information about The Rapture, and that is said to be our Blessed Hope. To deny that there is no Rapture, would be to deny what the Word clearly states. At the end of the ages- Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, He comes to gather His Saints, and we receive our immortal bodies.
The Key Question is WHEN will this happen? Also, when will this happen in relation to “The Tribulation?” Most people (myself included) would prefer that this happen before the Tribulation. Therefore, many people also think of The Rapture as escaping The Tribulation, and consequently believe The Rapture is the “Great Escape,” so that they won’t go through The Tribulation. However, does the Bible clearly indicate that when we are caught up and receive our immortal body, and whether this definitely happens before The Tribulation, or is much of the confusion largely in man trying to get the verses to fit one’s view? The Bible doesn’t give the date, but it specifically mentions certain events that will precede that glorious day- when we will be raptured. Tit. 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;” There is much information in regards to The Rapture. When these Scriptures are put together in their proper context, many people will have a much better understanding about The Rapture; many will be very surprised.
The Bible contains numerous verses that specifically deal with the timing of The Rapture. Yes, the Bible states in Matt. 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” However, this verse is often taken out of context, because the previous 30 verses describe various events that will precede The Rapture. However, this is not what many Bible teachers espouse. Furthermore, Matt. 24:4 states, “And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” Also, 2 Thes. 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any means . . .” It seems pretty clear that we are not to be deceived, and also need to know what the Bible teaches regarding The Rapture.