Bible Study

Special Study. The Rapture of the Church


The Bible teaches the return of the Lord will be in two stages. They are the "Rapture" and the "Revelation." They are not to be confused as the same thing. They are not the same. The Rapture occurs at the beginning of the Tribulation Period and the Revelation at the end. The word "rapture" is not found in the Bible but the event is described. It comes from a Latin word which means "to snatch away or seize by force." The Greek word in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 for "caught up" is harpazo which means "to seize by force or snatch up."

                         It is the same word used in John 10:28 for the word "pluck."

                               In Matthew 11:12 & Acts 23:10 it is translated "take by force."

                                       In Matthew 13:19 is rendered "catcheth away."


The word "Rapture" in the English language carried the idea of joy. The rapture will be a joyous occasion for the Christian because we will be going to a better place; we will be reunited with saved loved ones and also the Lord; and we will be spared the valley of the shadow of death.


The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will come and literally snatch from earth all those people who have trusted Him as their personal Savior, whether they are dead or alive. They will literally disappear from the planet faster than you can blink your eyes. This sounds bizarre but the Bible teaches this. The Bible says in

1 Corinthians 15:51, 52Behold, 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.

Notice he says we shall ALL be changed. That throws a partial rapture theory out the window which states that carnal believers will be left behind and only spiritual believers are taken at the Rapture. That theory only promotes pride. Who sets the standard for being spiritual? How would you know if you were spiritual enough? Where is the line drawn between spiritual and unspiritual? All believers struggle with their fleshly, sinful, nature and to deny this indicates you are deceived, you have some serious pride problems or you are living in the Twilight Zone.

Do you recall what John said in 1 John 1:8—... "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

The Bible also says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17For 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.

The Lord will not set foot on the earth at the Rapture. We will meet Him in the air and forever be with Him and be reunited with loved ones who have died who knew Christ as their personal Savior. The Christians who are raptured will not have to face death. The Rapture can happen at anytime. It could be today! The

Bible says in Philippians 4:5—Let your moderation be known unto all men. THE LORD IS AT HAND.

Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:2—For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a THIEF in the night. For those not looking for His return, the Rapture will come unexpectedly like a thief.

The people who are left behind after the Rapture are those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. They will go through seven years of terrible tribulation described in the book of Revelation. It will be a time of world wars including nuclear wars, famine, pestilence, disease, plagues, earthquakes, drought, heat waves, limited water supplies, persecution, earthquakes, cosmic disasters, government control, and tormenting creatures. (See Revelation chapters 6, 8, 9, 13, 16) The only way you can avoid going through this period is to ask Jesus Christ into your heart and trust Him to be your Savior. Ask Him to cleanse you of your sin and trust Him to take you to Heaven when you die. You must do this before the Rapture. That is why you should do it TODAY. Good works, church memberships, confirmations, burning candles, praying to idols will not get you to Heaven and will not deliver you from being left behind at the Rapture. Jesus Himself said He was the only way to Heaven.

The Bible says in John 14:6—Jesus saith unto him, I am THE WAY, the truth, and the life: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.

The Bible says in John 3:16—For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you intend to go to God's Heaven you will have to go His way and that way is through Jesus Christ. There is just no other way!

Some have asked, "Why is the Church not going through the Tribulation Period?" Let me answer this inquiry. When a nation goes to war, what does it do with its ambassadors in enemy countries? It pulls its ambassadors out of that country. We are ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), and God is going to pull us out before the judgment falls just as He pulled Lot out of Sodom and Noah was pulled out of the destruction of the Flood in the only safe place he could be, the Ark.

1 Thessalonians 1:10—.... And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come.

Wrath is for the unbeliever. If the Lord returned in the middle or the end of the Tribulation, we would not be delivered from wrath.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-9—...The Day of the Lord is any period of God's intervention in judgment into the affairs of men. It begins after the Rapture occurs. He will come as a thief to the world because the world is not prepared for His coming or looking for it at all. Christians are not to be caught off guard. If Christ came in the middle or at the end of the Tribulation, He would not be coming as a thief.

Romans 8:1—... There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. There is no condemnation or judgment for those in Christ.

Revelation 3:10—... Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

The words "kept from" come from the Greek word "ek" which means "out of the wrath to come. It is translated 800 times "out of." If the Lord wanted to say we go through the wrath, He would use the preposition "dia." Revelation, Chapters 1-3—... The Church is mentioned 19 times. In chapters 6-18, there is no mention of the Church. Why? It is not in the Tribulation, that's why. Revelation 4:1, 2 is believed to be a reference to the Rapture of the saints. The Church will return at the end of the Tribulation, with Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:14). If the Church is raptured in the middle or the end of the Tribulation, how do you explain its absence in chapters 6-18? You can't. If Jesus came at the middle or the end, Christians would have to stop singing...

"Glad day, glad day, Jesus may come today!" They would have to start moaning, "Sad day! Sad day! Jesus can't come today. I'll live out each day and anxious be, the Beast and False Prophet I soon shall see. Sad day, sad day, Jesus can't come today!" Where's the comfort in that? Beloved, we are not looking for the AntiChrist, we are looking for Jesus Christ!

Titus 2:13—... Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; How can the Rapture be a blessed hope if we are going to go through the Tribulation? What will be so wonderful about starving, persecution, and beheading? How can that be a comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:18)?

If we are going through the Tribulation, why are we not given instructions on how to prepare ourselves? It's because we are not there. Isaiah alludes to the possibility that our departure could be hidden under the cover of a worldwide catastrophe.

Isaiah 57:1—The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

The Hebrew word for perisheth is ovad which means "to cause to disappear." It is the only term, out of fifteen Hebrew words for "perish" that does not refer to a bloody destruction. Therefore, it is quite possible that the world will think we have perished when, in fact, we have been rescued from the evil to come. The Hebrew term translated taken away is the word asaph, a harvest term that means, "taken up into a place of safety." The only catastrophe that could be large enough to hide our departure, while causing the world to think that we perished, is a worldwide nuclear exchange. Such an event could happen without warning within minutes. Micah addresses this issue of the disappearance of good men.

Micah 7:1-4—... Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit. [2] The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. [3] That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. [4] The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.

Micah uses the same word for "perished" that Isaiah used, ovad, which means "to cause to disappear." Micah says the good man has departed from the earth. Zephaniah alludes to the rapture too.

Zephaniah 2:3Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.

The saints will be hid in the day of the Lord's anger. We are saved from the day of God's wrath and will not go through the Tribulation period.

The Rapture and the Revelation need an interval for the Judgment Seat of Christ where Christians receive their rewards from the Lord. If we are raptured at the end of the Tribulation, no one would be born in the Millennium. The Bible teaches that the surviving saints, those saved in the Tribulation, will enter the Millennium and have the ability to have families and people will die. This could not happen if we are raptured at the end of the Tribulation. When we are raptured we will be given a glorified body. If we were raptured at the end, there would also be no need for the sheep and goats judgment (Matthew 25:31-33) which separates believers and unbelievers.

Critics claim the pre-tribulation view is a recent one. That is not true. The command to be watchful for the imminent return of the Lord is taught by the early church fathers. In A.D. 120, a letter known as "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" reveals the attitudes of the early Christians about His coming. Chapter sixteen states, "Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched. Be ready, for you know not the hour your Lord cometh."

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Shelby, NC 28151


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