This is the second post in a seven-part series. The rest of the series can be reached from this post.
“Rapture”, from root words meaning “seize” or “carry away”, is the name given to the moment when Jesus returns to call His people away from the world, to be with Him forever. Here are the two most significant Scripture passages on the subject:
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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 14:1-3
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Joy for Christians
After centuries and generations of looking forward to it, trusting that it will come, the day has finally arrived! All the troubles that mattered in earthly life are instantly forgotten; there are no more money problems, no more worries of any kind. All illnesses are long gone; the mortal body is exchanged for an immortal one.
Most of all, we’re with Jesus in the Home that He has prepared for us. Instead of seeing “dimly” or knowing “in part“, we see “face to face” and “know fully” (1 Corinthians 13:12). And “so we will always be with the Lord.“
Sadness for Those Left Behind
Jesus warns that not everyone will be meeting Him in the air, only those who have already chosen Him ahead of time. Others will be still on earth, still going about their business as usual. But, without the Christians, what will that business be like? Estimates for 2020 are that there are 2.38 billion Christians 1, almost one-third of a world population of 7.9 billion 2. They are participating in society: Working at jobs, raising families, taking part in sports, arts, government and other activities. What will happen when those people are not there?
Proportionately, more of the world’s charities and other philanthropic associations are staffed by Christians than by any other groups. Think of Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, Compassion International, and many, many others. Who will feed the hungry and care for the sick once the Christians are gone?
The Bible does not give a really clear indication of when the Rapture will happen among other end-time events. There are three timing interpretations, each vigorously defended by its adherents. The one that makes the most sense to me is that the Rapture will happen before any of the other end-time events, called pre-Tribulation 3. Post-Tribulation means after the rest of the events 4, and pre-Wrath means in the middle after some of the warning events but before the God’s final cleansing of the world 5.
One timing point that all agree on is that there will be no ramp-up or easing into the situation; it will happen in an instant. Jesus warns that “just like the days of Noah” before the flood, people will be “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” until suddenly:
Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.Matthew 24:36-42 (Also Luke 17:34-36)
Regardless of timing, though, the fact of Rapture is clear. Jesus’ followers alive on earth at the time will be gathered all at once to meet Him and join Him in our new forever home. I’m looking forward to it!
Footnotes and Scripture References