The Rapture in the Bible

The Rapture in the Bible

What does the Rapture in the Bible mean? How is it related to the Christian faith? This article contains some information regarding this Biblical prophecy...
Is there a reference of the Rapture in the Bible? On what theory is this doctrine based? The Rapture is one of the most highly debated topics in the Church. The meaning of the word Rapture in the dictionary is, 'The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven'. In the Christian eschatology, the Rapture is considered to be an event when all the Christians will be assembled together in the air to meet Jesus Christ before His Second Coming. This specific meeting is said to take place seven years (a significant number in the Bible), prior to the Day of Judgment. The Day of Judgment is actually believed to be Armageddon or the End of the World where there will be a final war between the good and the evil. In the seven year gap, the world will go through a phase of Tribulation (which is mentioned in the Book of Revelation), where the people's faith and belief will be tested and many of them may attain martyrdom in this process. However, the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are two entirely different phenomena and must not be confused as one.

Interpretation of the Rapture

Though the word Rapture is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament in the Bible, there is a mention of this phenomenon in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17,

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For 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: 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 above-mentioned Bible verse is taken from St. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, in which he tells the Christians of Thessalonica about the three important events in Christianity - the coming of the Lord, the Resurrection, and the Rapture. He also corrected the misinterpretation of the people regarding the Rapture. The Thessalonians believed that only those people who were alive during the Second Coming will have the privilege of entering the Kingdom of God. But contrary to this belief St. Paul clears the speculation and mentions that not only the living but also the dead will rise and go up to meet the Savior.

According to St. Paul (as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:16), Christ will descend in all his glory. An archangel, believed to be Archangel Michael, will precede Jesus announcing His arrival accompanied by the blowing of trumpets. Once Christ has descended above the ground, the dead, whom St. Paul refers to as those who fall asleep, will rise out of their graves and ascend towards the firmament to commune with Jesus. After the dead have risen, the living will also rise in the air to meet Christ. The risen people will be united with Christ for eternity and will enjoy the fruits of Paradise.

Other Biblical References of the Rapture

Apart from the Bible reference. mentioned previously, on the Rapture, one can also find several other mentions in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, St. Paul tells that the Christians who have been resurrected from the dead and the Christians, who are alive, will share Christ's glorified body. There is a divided opinion among the Christian denominations - the Pretribulationists and the Posttribulationists. According to the Pretribulationists (or the Dispensationalists), the Rapture will take place before the world confronts Tribulation and Christ will descend from heaven to take the believers to Paradise. Christ's second coming is supposed to occur after the Tribulation phase. But in the Posttribulationists' (the Amillennialists) belief, the Rapture and the Second Coming are one event.

John 20:19; 21:1-3, states that all the risen Christians will be a part of Christ's resurrection and will receive His glorified body. The verse in Revelation 3:10, mentions that Jesus will protect His believers from the clutches of the Antichrist or Satan. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, there is a mention of salvation where Christ brings comfort to the believers, before the Armageddon and all the unbelievers will perish in hell. This incident is similar to the story of Noah, where he and his family were saved from the wrath of God and the rest of the mankind perished in the flood. There are many hidden references of the Rapture, the true meaning of which can be revealed only after delving deep into the meaning of God's Word.

There are mixed views about the doctrine of the Rapture. Many theologians believe that only believers will be taken up to meet Jesus. So whether this is just a hoax or is based on solid proof, this theory may vary according to individualistic opinion.
Advertisement