Promise of the Rapture Jesus promised in John 14:3, “I will come again.” Where was He going? Remember that Jesus said this to sorrowing disciples because He had just told them He was going away (13:33,36). He will tell them later (16:7) that it will be for their benefit that He go away. So where was He going? To where He was before He came to earth. “I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (16:28). In chapter 16, He said three times that He was going to the Father (vv10,17,28). Where is the Father? In the Father’s house (14:2 – “In my Father’s house are many rooms”). What is the Father’s house? Heaven, the place from which He came. At this “coming again” He says He will “take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (14:3). Jesus promised to come again and to take the disciples to the place where He is going.The attacks on the pre tribulation rapture often run something like this…The word “rapture” is not found in Scripture.The Latin Bible does contain the word rapio (1Th 4:17), and our English word “rapture” is derived from it. Rapio means “to seize or snatch away.”
Purpose of the Rapture (Why?) What is the purpose of this great event? Jesus stated two things about the purpose of the Rapture. One is “to receive you unto myself” (this happens in the air) and the other, tied closely to the first, is “that where I am there you may be also” (this happens by taking us to the Father’s house). Paul writes that the purpose is “to meet the Lord in the air.” And as a result, we will forever be with the Lord (1Th 4:17). What needs to happen, then, for this purpose to be realized? They must be changed, which is exactly what we find in 1 Corinthians 15:51: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (KJV). Thus, believers who have died are raised and changed, and believers who are living are changed. Immediately afterwards, we will be “caught up together … to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1Th 4:17 KJV). Perhaps His anticipation of this event is even greater than ours!
Pre-tribulation Rapture (When?) A number of Scriptures point to a pre-tribulation Rapture. First, consider texts teaching that Christ’s return is imminent. If He were not going to return until after the seven-year tribulation period begins or concludes, the texts emphasizing His return “at any moment” (i.e., imminent) appear senseless. Some argue the tribulation period has either passed or we’re living it now. Jesus described the tribulation as follows: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mat 24:21 ESV). This language strongly implies the tribulation has not yet occurred. Consider some of the imminence texts. In Titus 2:13 Paul says we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” . Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, “… so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end” (KJV). Also, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 instructs us to “wait for His Son from heaven.” The teaching of these and additional texts (Php 3:20; Heb 9:28) is that we await the “any-moment” appearing of our Savior to take us to be with Him. The imminence texts are consistent with a pre-tribulation Rapture position. Second, there are texts teaching exemption from wrath. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says that we are to wait for His Son from heaven, even Jesus, who “delivered us from the wrath to come” or, literally, “the coming wrath”. The coming wrath is a reference to the tribulation period.
The nature of the tribulation itself is God’s wrath (Rev 6:17). Paul writes, “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 5:9). If some contend that part of the tribulation is not God’s wrath but Satan’s, the argument doesn’t hold, for we are saved from wrath – period. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation [judgment] for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Revelation 3:10 is also helpful here, where Jesus promises, “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” . He does not say, “I will keep you in” but “I will keep you from.” The next verse (v11) tells us exactly how Christ will accomplish this – “I am coming soon.” We are saved from the coming wrath (i.e., the seven-year tribulation period) because the Rapture will remove us from the place where that wrath will be poured out. Third, a pre-tribulation Rapture is consistent with the removal of the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. Paul is writing to address the faulty belief among the Thessalonians that the Day of Christ had already arrived (v2). They had received a letter, claiming to be written by Paul, which led them to embrace this false view. Because of this, they were “shaken in mind” and “alarmed” (v2). They believed they had missed the Rapture and were going to endure the horrors of the tribulation period!! The tribulation period cannot begin until this restrainer is removed!
Who or what is this restrainer? First, note that the word for restrain (v6) is katecho and means “to hold something back.” Second, both neuter and masculine nouns are used to refer to this restrainer (v6 “what” and v7 “he”). Third, consider that this restrainer must be removable. Fourth, the restrainer must be powerful enough to hold back the outbreak of evil under “the man of lawlessness.” The Antichrist cannot be revelealed untill after the rapture ( 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). Only God can hold back the outbreak of evil. I believe this refers to the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is spoken of in Scripture as restraining sin and evil in the world (Gen 6:3) and is our restraint as believers. He convicts us of sin and wars against the flesh, thus restraining the full outbreak of evil in our lives. But how can God be removed, for God is omnipresent? I believe the restrainer is the Holy Spirit at work in and through the Church. This is the only view that adequately explains the use of both neuter and masculine genders. In Greek the word pneuma (Spirit) is neuter. But the Holy Spirit is also referred to consistently in Scripture by the masculine pronoun “he” (esp. in John 14-16). Mark Hitchcock wrote, “The church and its mission of proclaiming and portraying the Gospel is the primary instrument the Holy Spirit uses in this age to restrain evil. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Mat 5:13-16). We are the temple of the Holy Spirit both individually and corporately.” But how can the Holy Spirit of God be removed? Is He not omnipresent? This is why I say the restrainer is the Holy Spirit in the Church. The event in 2 Thessalonians 2 seems to be a reversal of the Day of Pentecost. What began the Church Age? The coming of the Holy Spirit. What will end the Church Age? The removal of the Holy Spirit. How can He be removed? By removing from the earth all those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (i.e., all that are part of the Church) at a pre-tribulation Rapture.
WHAT IS THE MYSTERY CALLED THE RAPTURE?
This dispensation of Grace that we live in was revealed to the Apostle Paul.So, what of this mystery known as the Rapture? It’s a mystery because this was never a promise made to Israel! 1 Thessalonians:4:16-17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout… 1 Corinthians:15:51-52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery…We don’t find the word ‘rapture’ in the Bible.” So as we point out in that chapter, yes, it is in the Bible, in the Latin New Testament. Rapturos: you find it right there in 1 Thessalonians 4 beginning at verse 13 and so forth! Paul explains, 1 Corinthians 15:51 He says, “I’m going to show you a mystery.” Now there, mysterium, mysterios, or whatever the word is in the Greek, it doesn’t mean something that you cannot understand; it’s being revealed. Something….for the first time. Something unknown before now is going to be revealed. You wonder how this is going to happen? Well, we’re all going to get new bodies! The dead will be raised incorruptible, 1 Corinthians 15 says, and we shall be changed. We won’t all sleep, we won’t all die, but we will all be changed, transformed! So we will all be changed. The dead will rise incorruptible and we will be changed. This mortal must put on immortality. “This corruptible must put on incorruption,” Paul says there! Now, that sounds like we’re meeting Him in the air. He’s not coming to this earth—meeting Him in the air because He’s fulfilling His promise: “I’m going to take you to My Father’s house of many mansions.” So He’s not coming to the earth at that time to reveal Himself. This is not when His feet touch the Mount of Olives, as it says in Acts 1, but we’re caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And then it says, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”!
From Bro Chad’s (Watchman on the wall 88) article titled… THE RAPTURE : WHY IT’S CALLED THE BLESSED HOPE? Throughout the Bible, God tells us very clearly to be watchful for His soon return. In fact, He tells us that if we are watchful and sober, that day will not catch us off guard, but unfortunately, for most of the world it will catch them off guard: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 – “But of the times and the seasons…Very clearly, we’re told if we are vigilant and watchful, that day will not overtake us like a thief! We are also instructed to look for the ‘Blessed Hope’: Titus 2:13 –“Looking for that blessed hope… Why are we told to look for that ‘Blessed Hope’? What is so ‘blessed,’ and why should our ‘hope’ be in it? I’ll tell you why, because it is an event where the Lord will remove Christians that are truly His before the coming judgement of God on this Christ-rejecting world.
As Chad simply put it…. We will been soon gone in A WINK, A BLINK and A TWINK!
This judgment period is called ‘the Tribulation’ and will take place for seven-years. Those that have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are NOT appointed to this coming wrath. Before this horrific timeframe begins, Jesus Christ will remove those that are genuinely His off the Earth to be with Him in Heaven in something called the ‘Rapture.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:17: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up… In verse 17, the phrase “Caught Up” is translated from the Greek word ‘Harpazo’ and the Latin ‘Rapturo.’ That is the word from which we get ‘Rapture.’ Upon closer inspection of ‘Harpazo”s definition, we learn it literally means: To snatch away To take away To pluck away To claim for oneself eagerly To seize by force
The Book of Revelation :
The Rapture, as we believe, is the moment when Jesus calls for the Church and so, in a twinkling of an eye our bodies are transformed, and we are caught up to meet Jesus in the air. The Rapture is a promise made to believers in Christ who are here in this Church Age that we will be gathered up to Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He does what the Father tells Him, and so He’s waiting for that word from the Father. I believe that we are on the cusp of the rapture! I liken the Rapture to a pregnancy. The signs of the approaching due date were very evident, but we still didn’t know the exact moment. We could sense it was getting closer and closer. Like a delivery date, I believe that the timing of the Rapture is getting closer and closer. I believe that we are on the cusp of the rapture.
What we do know from the Bible is that the Rapture is a separate event from the Second Coming.
At the Rapture, Jesus will return for His saints. At the Second Coming, He will return with His saints.
At the Rapture, Jesus will appear in the air At the Second Coming, He will descend to the Mount of Olives as a prelude to His earthly reign.
At the Rapture, Jesus will bring a blessing for His saints. At the Second Coming, He will bring judgment for those who have rejected Him.
The Rapture could occur at any moment. The Second Coming will occur seven years later.
Read the passages about Christ’s return in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19. These talk about the Second Coming. But, read the Rapture verses such as 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15 and John 14. All these verses when compared reveal the Bible is telling two different stories. The Rapture and the Second Coming are clearly separate events.
Yes, they are! The contrast between 1 Thessalonians 4 and Revelation 19 are telling. Thessalonians talks about Jesus appearing for the Church as a deliverer in grace, bringing salvation and deliverance for those of us who are His. Jesus arrives as if He was a Bridegroom. Whereas, in Revelation 19, the Lord comes in great wrath! He returns and lands on the earth, not just stays up in the clouds, as He does at the Rapture. At the Second Coming Jesus arrives as a warrior ready to rule as a King. Obviously, as told in Revelation 19, the Church comes with Him.
There are many pictures of these differences in the passages. Even in the book of Revelation where the Lord is dictating to John His letters to the seven churches, in chapter 4 John is caught up, he is snatched up and translated up to Heaven. In Revelation 5-18, John is there witnessing things going on in Heaven and describing future events that will happen on the earth. The Church is not mentioned until Revelation 19 when the Church returns to the earth with the Lord. So, that’s why we think the Rapture comes for the Church in an instant, and the Church is snatched away before the Lord returns subsequent to the Second Coming.
I would add on top of that great answer that not only do we see the differences between the verses that deal with the Rapture and the Tribulation, portraying two totally different stories, but we have the iron-clad promise of God that the Church is never destined to endure the wrath of God. Revelation 3:10 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9, and other verses all say that the believer in Christ is not destined to endure the wrath of God.
Over and over again we are told in the Bible to look for the Blessed Hope which is Jesus Christ, and not for the Antichrist and not for any of the other signs. This principle of imminence is why we believe the Rapture has nothing that precedes it. We don’t have to look for other signs, we just have to look for Jesus Christ!