Biblical Rapture

Views on the Rapture of the Church with biblical references.

Many claim that the Rapture is not Biblical because the word Rapture is not located in the Scriptures. The word Rapture comes from the 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. This means to be carried away in body or spirit. To apply this to the Church would mean carrying the Church from Earth to Heaven. Another Latin word pertaining to Rapture is rapturo meaning caught up. Harpazo is a Greek word used that means to be snatched or taken away.

Though not referred to as the Rapture in the Bible, there are several references to the event. John 14:1-3 states, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also be where I am." Matthew 24:39-41, "That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Other passages pertaining to the Rapture are in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

When the Rapture will actually take place is debated. There are various beliefs as to when and how the Church will be Raptured. Premillennialists believe the Rapture will take place at different times during the Tribulation. Pretribulationists believe the Church will be Raptured prior to the start of the Tribulation. Others believe the Rapture will take place after the Tribulation.

Premillennialists believe that the Rapture will take place in stages. They believe that there will be a partial Rapture prior to the Tribulation. They believe only those who are "watching" and "waiting" for the Lord's return will be Raptured to spare them the trials of the Tribulation. They also believe that during the Tribulation, some of the Church who were unprepared for the initial Rapture will be Raptured at various times. One reference to this is Revelation 16:15 prior to the Battle of Armageddon. They believe that the rest of those not already Raptured will be Raptured at the close of the millennium. These will enter the Everlasting Kingdom but will have missed the Millennial Kingdom.

Pretribulationists believe that the Rapture of the Church (both the living and the dead) will occur prior to the Tribulation or Daniel's seventy weeks as the Tribulation is also known. The Tribulation is to last for seven years. They believe that at the end of the seven-year period Christ will return at the Second Coming. At the Second Coming, Christ will establish his Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 19:11-21). At the same time new believers are removed from the Earth and the wicked are judged. Therefore, only believers will enter into the Millennial Kingdom.

Midtribulationalists believe the Rapture will occur halfway into the seven-year Tribulation or Daniel's seventy weeks. Their view is that only the last three and one half years is the Tribulation. This is based on the prophecy in the book of Daniel. Some passages emphasize the last three and one half years as the time of intense judgements on Earth. These intense judgements occur after a great event. They believe this great event is the Rapture of the Church. Scriptures that support this view include Daniel 7:25, Daniel 9:27and Daniel 12:7-11. Scripture in Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 12:6-14 also supports this view.

Posttribulationalists believe that the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture will occur at the same time. They believe this based on the way the writers of the New Testament used words interchangeably. If the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are different events separated by a seven-year period why were these words used interchangeably. One example is the word parousia which means "coming", "arrival", or "presence". It is used to describe the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. In Matthew 24:27 the same word is used to describe the Second Coming of Christ.

The Bible gives several signs that believers can look for to indicate that the end is near. Although Christ said no one will know the day or the hour, he had much to say on what the times would be like. Luke 17:26: People living as if God did not exist. 2 Peter 3:3-4: People ridiculing God's word. 2 Timothy 4:3-4: Widespread abandonment of the Christian faith. Luke 17:26-30: Widespread acceptance of immoral behavior. 1 Timothy 4:1-3: Increased demonic activity. Daniel 12:4: Explosion of knowledge and freedom of travel. 2 Timothy 3:1-3: Breakdown in families. 2 Timothy 3:1-2: Widespread selfishness and materialism. 2 Timothy 3:2-5: General disrespect for others. Mark 13:7 Wars and rumors of wars. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: Human leader declares himself to be god. Revelation 13:3-7; Significant shifts in political power.

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