We’ve all got questions, and “what is the rapture and when will it happen?” is a great one! You may be wondering who God is, and have many other questions. We are glad you are here and hope you find the answers you are looking for.
What Will the Rapture Be Like?
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (raptured), and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).” (Parenthetical word is my addition to this passage).
In this passage Paul answers a concern the Thessalonians had about those who had “fallen asleep,” a euphemism for fellow Christians who had died. The Thessalonians were concerned that those who had died would miss the blessings living Christians would receive who are alive when Christ returns for His Church. What is the Rapture and When Will it Happen?
What Does Rapture Mean?
When Christ returns, living believers will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds that accompany God’s presence. The word “rapture” is not in the English Bible text. Translators used the Latin word rapiemur to translate the Greek word for “caught up,”which in turn is transliterated into the English word “rapture.”
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.…God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep ”(1 Thessalonians 4:13-15).
Important: Paul claims he received this revelation directly from the Lord.
Jesus Promises to Return
Jesus promised His disciples that when He returned to His Father in heaven, that He would prepare a place for them (in heaven):
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also ”John 14:3
Want to know more about Jesus? Please read “Who is Jesus?” to find out more about him.
When Will the Rapture Happen?
The Bible splits the time of the rapture of the saints to meet Jesus in the clouds from the return, the Second Advent, of Jesus to the earth. The time of the rapture is not known, and in the rapture Jesus’ saints come to Him:
“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come .”(Mark 13:32-33)
The time of Jesus’ Second Advent to the earth is known and at that time He will bring His saints with Him (Revelation 19:14).
The Second Coming of Christ
There are Christians who believe the timing of the rapture and Jesus’ Second Advent are simultaneous or almost simultaneous events. Often, Christians who see the Church inheriting the Old Testament promises to Israel believe this while Christians who see God’s program for the Church as separate from the promises to Israel see the Church raptured seven (or 3.5) years before Christ returns in His Second Advent.***
Notice too, Paul didn’t give this prophecy just to give these believers’ head knowledge. He gave it for a practical reason: to comfort this Church:
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope….Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13,18
***Note: The rapture and Second Coming have associated teachings that we hope to address in future articles: the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks of years, and the seven year time of tribulation yet future for Israel (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27).