The Rapture of the Church is the next event on God’s prophetic timeline. It is one of the great hopes of the Christian faith, and it is shrouded in mystery. When will it occur? What will it be like? Some wonder where the idea of the Rapture comes from, considering that the word “Rapture” does not appear in English translations.
1. The Blessed Hope
2. Diligent Waiting (A Parable)
3. Watchful Waiting
4. Eager Waiting
5. Dead Men Walking
6. The Mysterious Transformation
7. Transformation Into the Likeness of Christ
8. A Grand Exit
Where Does the Word "Rapture" Come From?
Our word Rapture derives from the Latin translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which translates the Greek harpazo (to catch up or carry away) as rapiemur from the Latin rapio. Harpazo occurs fourteen times in the New Testament with four variations of meaning, each contributing to our understanding of the Rapture.
Harpazo in Scripture:
Matthew 11:12: take it by force
Matthew 12:29: plunder
Matthew 13:19: snatches away
John 6:15: take Him by force
John 10:12: the wolf catches
John 10:28: neither shall anyone snatch them
John 10:29: no one is able to snatch them
Acts 8:39: the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away,
Acts 23:10: take him by force
2 Corinthians 12:2: a man… was caught up to the third heaven
2 Corinthians 12:4: he was caught up into Paradise
1 Thessalonians 4:17: shall be caught up together
Jude 23: pulling them out of the fire
Revelation 12:5: her Child was caught up to God
The following eight Bible passages provide the best information regarding Jesus Christ’s imminent return and Rapture of the Church.
The Blessed Hope
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me [Jesus]. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And 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. And where I go you know, and the way you know.
Diligent Waiting (A Parable)
A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, “Engage in business until I come.”
When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. The first came before him, saying, “Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.” And he said to him, “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.”
Luke 19:12-13, 15-17(ESV, emphasis added)
The day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-6
As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Dead Men Walking
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus…. The dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 16
The Mysterious Transformation
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Transformation Into the Likeness of Christ
Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
A Grand Exit
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 by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (emphasis added)
The Bible is God’s story of redemption and reconciliation. It has a beginning and an end. In our modern translations, some of the books do not appear in chronological order, but we’ve got the beginning and ending placed correctly. Genesis marks the beginning of time, and Revelation marks the end. Many translations highlight the words of Jesus Christ in red. Do you know what the final red-letter words of Jesus are? “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20). And the response of our heart echoes that of the apostle John, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)