Since The Word ‘Rapture’ Is Not In The Bible, Why Should I Be Concerned About It?
The original Bible was not written in English but in three languages: Hebrew, Greek and a sprinkling of Aramaic. Although the word “rapture” is not expressly stated in the English Bible, the concept of the rapture is clearly stated in several passages of the Bible. The word “rapture” is a translation of the Greek harpazo, used in 1 Thess 4:17 and meaning to seize, carry off; grasp hastily; take out or snatch away violently. The idea of rapture therefore is the act of catching up hastily and transporting from one place to another.
1 Thess 4:16-17
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 translators of the Bible used the term ‘caught-up’ to describe rapture and translation. However, the two terms do not mean the same thing.
2 Cor. 12:2, 4
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
In 46AD Paul was caught up to the third heaven but he was not sure whether it was in his natural body as was the case of Enoch, Elijah and later John. However, he was conscious of being taken to heaven. There he heard unspeakable words. He could not utter those words either that there were no words to communicate what he heard or he was asked not to utter the words he heard. Later in the Island of Patmos John was commanded not to write what the seven thunders uttered (Rev 10:4).
Another occurrence of the expression ‘caught u’ is in Rev. 12:5 “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” This is a reference to the divine protection accorded to the Israelites in the face of a horrendous persecution by the Beast.
Enoch disappeared into heaven; God took him. Moses was raised from the dead and taken up to heaven by Archangel Michael. Elijah was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. These patriarchs were translated into heaven with their human bodies and must return to earth to die before being raptured because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Enoch returned to earth as Melchizedek, has died and will be raptured together with the Church. Moses and Elijah will return to earth around the middle of the Tribulation Period to operate as God’s Special Witnesses during Jacob’s trouble – the second half of the Tribulation Per4iod – the great tribulation. Towards the end of the Tribulation, they will be assassinated by the Antichrist, rise from the dead after three days and be raptured in time to participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Only Jesus Christ, the Perfect One, was raptured into heaven in a perfect state. He resurrected from the dead with a glorious body. The first hint of the rapture was given by Jesus to His disciples in Jn 14:1-2: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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.” Jesus promised his disciples that He would come back to the earth to take them to heaven.
For the avoidance of doubt, the rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ is not:
1. The Second Coming of Christ, but part of it.
2. The Battle of Armageddon.
3. The end of the world.
4. Physical alteration in the topography of the world.
5. The end of human government.
6. For non-Christians.
7. For Christians who have not made themselves ready.
The rapture of the Church is an event that will take place sometime in the near future. Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the earth, and then return to Heaven with the Church. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, we are given a clear description of the rapture: “the dead in Christ will rise, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord.” The next event in the Dispensational Calendar is the transition from the Church to the Kingdom age. Jesus will set up the kingdom of God on earth in Person. The kingdom age will be preceded by the second coming of Christ. The second coming will commence with the rapture of the Church and terminate seven years later with the establishment of the kingdom. A number of events will take place both in Heaven and on the earth during the seven-year Tribulation Period. The exact day and moment in time when this event will occur is unknown. However, the Word of God has given copious indications about the specific period when this event will occur.
Two separate but closely related events constitute rapture. In the first place, there will be a change in the physical circumstance of the believer, dead or alive (1 Cor 15:51-53). Secondly, there will be a lifting up or “catching-up” in the sky. (1 Thess 4:15-17). These events will happen so fast, at a speed equivalent to “a moment or the twinkling of an eye.” For every living Christian, rapture is and should be a glorious hope. The rapture was a mystery. A doctrinal mystery is divine information or truth that has not previously been revealed. Rapture is exclusively for the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is made up of Christians, those who through faith alone in the blood of Jesus Christ have received salvation for their souls. Christians are drawn from the Jewish and Gentile groups. The Church is neither an organisation nor a denomination. Christians are not necessarily those who belong to “church” denominations or bear biblical names. The church is composed of children of God, born again believers, that is those who have been made new beings by the Spirit of God when they put their faith for salvation in the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary.
There are five raptures in the Scriptures. The ascension of Jesus Christ was the first rapture. “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. He is also the firstborn among many brethren. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Cor 15:20, 23). The rapture of the Church is unique. The rapture of the church is an event that will take place in the very near future. Jesus will come in the atmosphere heaven. The Holy Ghost will cause sleeping saints to hear the sound a God’s trumpet. They will arise with glorified bodies. As they are about to get to the surface of the ground from their graves, another trumpet will sound. Living saints who hear this trumpet will instantly be with glorified bodies. Together with the saints that were dead, will be transported up into the sky to meet the Lord in the Atmospheric heaven.
For the rapture of the church which is next in the prophetic chronological sequence, dead and living saints will participate. They will be given glorified bodies similar to the one Jesus had when He rose from the dead. The Lord will appear in the air to receive the saints and escort them to heaven. This is a unique privilege. The remaining raptures are either for the living or the dead separately.
The other three raptures will be for 144,000 Jewish Evangelists alive, Two Special Witnesses who will be killed by the Beast but will rise from the dead before being raptured. The last group will be made up of a great multitude of Tribulation martyrs. In this last rapture, living saints will not be involved. They would all be dead. However, they will receive glorified bodies in order to enter heaven and participate in the Marriage Supper. All those raptured before the personal visible descent of the Lord with His entourage will be part of the First Resurrection. Heaven is their eternal home., but not all will be part of the Bride of Christ. Only those who participate in the general rapture of the Church will be eligible for selection as Christ’s Bride and will be with Him wherever His is.
Matthew 25 is a parable of wise and foolish Christians. The wise were raptured while the foolish were left behind to suffer at the hands of the Beast. Some of the foolish virgins who missed the rapture can still make it to heaven, but not as part of the Bride of Christ. They have to be martyred to be raptured with the Tribulation saints. Those among them who manage to survive the Tribulation wrath may be selected to enter into the Kingdom in their natural bodies, if chosen by Jesus.
Why You Should Be Concerned About The Rapture Of The Church
Rapture is the only way for sleeping or living saints to enter heaven with a glorified body. Rapture is for the dead in Christ and eligible living saints. Eligibility criteria are the same for dead and living saints. There are five raptures in the Scriptures. One has taken place, four are future. The rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ is the next event in God’s Agenda for the universe. It is imminent and there are eligibility criteria.
REASONS FOR EVACUATING CHURCH TO HEAVEN
The seven years that separate rapture and Christ’s glorious appearing will be filled with activities. After meeting with the saints in the air, the following are some of the events that will take place in heaven:
1. Judgment Seat of Christ for the award of prizes.
2. First banquet in the second heaven in line with Matthew 26:29 and Psalm 23:5a.
3. Presentation of Bride to God for the Lamb’s wedding.
4. Preparation for millennial reign on earth.
5. Marriage Supper with the following saints as guests:
§ Old Testament saints;
§ 144,000 Evangelists raptured about midway of the seven-year Tribulation Period.
§ Two Special Witnesses raptured at least 48 hours before the supper.
§ Tribulation martyrs raptured on the say day as the supper, which is the last day of the Tribulation Period and of the Dispensation of Grace. This day also is the first day of the literal kingdom of God on earth.
6. Descent of the Lord with His entourage as clouds of heaven to earth. Christ will land on the Mt of Olives and carry out the following activities before settling down to the governance of the earth.
§ Deliverance of besieged Israelis
§ Destruction of the world army assembled at the valley of Megiddo – the Battle of Armageddon.
§ Angelic selection of millennial citizens from Gentile peoples and nations and destruction of the rest.
§ Institution of the literal kingdom of God on earth with Jesus as King and His wife as kings and priests over the whole world under the Lord Jesus Christ.
In conclusion note that since rapture is the only way to enter heaven, be part of the Body of Christ, and reign with Christ in the millennial earth under the Davidic covenant, it is up to every individual believer to work out his or her salvation with fear and trembling in order to quality to participate in the event.