NOTE: The word “Rapture” does not appear in the Bible. It is a word we have chosen to describe something Biblical. Other words like “Bible,” “Sovereign,” “Trinity,” or “Missionary” also do not appear, but nevertheless they describe some truth. The word “Rapture” is from a Latin word “rapio” which means “to snatch away.”
A. Specifics of the Rapture
1. Biblical Synonyms:
a. “Translated” – “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
b. “Caught Up” – “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.” (2 Corinthians 12:2, 4)
c. “Resurrection” – “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” (Romans 6:5) Notice also the word “rise” in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
2. Characteristics of the Rapture
a. Christ Himself will come in the clouds to meet us – “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
b. The Lord will Shout – “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:” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). He will also probably say, “Come up hither” (come here). “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” (Revelation 4:1) See also Revelation 11:12; 17:1-3; 21:9-10.
c. The Voice of the Archangel will also be Heard – as above – 1 Thessalonians 4:16
d. The Trumpet of God will Sound – “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52) See also 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 4:1; Matthew 24:31; Revelation 1:10.
e. The Dead in Christ Shall Rise First – “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:” (again 1 Thessalonians 4:16)
f. Then those that are Alive and Remain Shall be “caught up” ( g. The Saved will meet the Lord in the clouds in the air) – “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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) Also 1 Corinthians 15:52
h. In this Moment we Shall all be Changed – “Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54) i. Our Transformation will Take Place in the Twinkling of an Eye – General Electric says that the “twinkling of an eye” is 1/65th of a second. Wow!
j. All who are Saved will be with the Lord Forever from that Point on – 1 Thessalonians 4:17
3. Example of Raptures
a. Enoch – “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Also Hebrews 11:5
b. Elijah – “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11)
c. Jesus Christ – “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)
d. Paul – “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.” (2 Corinthians 12:2, 4)
e. The Two Witnesses – “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth… And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. and they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:3, 12)
B. The Christians’ Judgment In Heaven (The “Judgment Seat of Christ”) – “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) NOTE: “Judgment Seat” is from the Greek word “BEMA” which means “a foot-breath, a rostrum or tribunal.” It is sometimes a reference to the judgment box that a referee stood in high above the Greek Olympic stadiums (like a press box). There he would watch to see who won and who ran according to the rules. Those who won races climbed to the top of the steps in the stadium to have an olive-leaf crown placed on their heads (a corruptible crown – 1 Corinthians 9:25).
Let us look at the facts of this day:
1. Every Single Christian Shall Stand Before the Judgment Seat of Christ – “…for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10) Also 1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:10
2. Every Tongue Shall Make Confession to God – “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)
3. Every Knee Shall Bow to the Lord Jesus Christ – The same is said of the unsaved – “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” (Philippians 2:10) Also Isaiah 45:24
4. Every One Shall Give an Account of Himself to God – “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Also 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. The word “account” comes from the Greek word “logos,” and literally means “a log, computation.” This accounting will not be of our sins (Romans 4:8), but of our works for God after salvation. What have we done with God’s Good News since our sins were forgiven? “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Good – as living sacrifices – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) Also – “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25) Bad – living for ourselves – “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13)
5. Everything we Have Done with Ourselves Since Salvation will be Tested by Fire – “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:13)
6. Whatever was Done for God and with God’s Help will be Rewarded – “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 3:14) These rewards may be:
a. Royal Rewards (Crowns):
i. Crown of Life (for a life of self crucifixion) – This could be physical martyrdom – “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) or spiritual martyrdom – “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)
ii. Incorruptible Crown – A reward for running by the rules – “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefor so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
iii. Crown of Righteousness – Those who live as though Christ could come at any time – “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
iv. Crown of Glory – An Elder’s crown – “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:4)
v. Crown of Rejoicing – A crown just for soulwinners – “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
b. Named Rewards:
i. Prophets Reward – To those who receive and accept God’s man – “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward;” (Matthew 10:41)
ii. Righteous Man’s Reward – To those who receive and accept the righteous – “and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matthew 10:41)
iii. Disciples Reward – To those who receive and accept any disciple (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41; Hebrews 6:10)
c. Unnamed Rewards:
i. For faithfulness (Matthew 25:21-23)
ii. For positions – For being a good wife, husband, child, father, employee, or employer (Colossians 3:18-24; 4:1)
iii. For willingness (1 Corinthians 9:17)
iv. For giving – God is a meticulous record keeper (Philippians 4:15-18; Romans 15:28; Matthew 6:19-20)
v. For fellowship, fearing God and thinking upon God (Malachi 3:16-17)
vi. For loving others (Matthew 5:44-48)
vii. For being persecuted (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:22-23)
7. Whatever Was Done for Self and in the Flesh Will be Burned Up and Lost Forever (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 John 1:8)
8. Every Christian Shall Receive Some Reward, Whether Great or Small (Revelation 22:12; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Ephesians 6:8)
C. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb – This will take place in Heaven, just prior to Jesus riding back to earth. Read the doctrinal passage in Revelation 19:1-8. It will probably happen towards the end of the 7-year tribulation on earth, and probably after the Judgment Seat of Christ. It should be noted here that there are no physical marriages of husbands and wives in Heaven – See Luke 20:27-40.
1. God’s People are Referred to as His Spiritual Wife
a. Israel “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah 54:5) Also read Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:19.
b. The New Testament Church
i. Christ Portrayed as the Bridegroom – “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” (Matthew 9:15) See also Matthew 25:1, 6; John 3:29.
ii. The Church Portrayed as His Bride or Wife – “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4) See also John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-33.
iii. The Church Today is Espoused to Christ – “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2) To “espouse” means “to marry, take up, or make one’s own; To betroth.” Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines “espouse” this way: “to bestow in marriage by contract, in writing, or by some pledge.” Unlike our society, marriage in Bible times had an espousal stage where a man and woman were bound together legally as husband and wife, but did not come together in sexual union. They were legally married, but physically separated (Matthew 1:18-25).
2. At the Rapture, the Church is Taken to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – As portrayed in the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, and the parable of the marriage of the king’s son in Matthew 22:1-14.
3. The Lord Himself will Serve the Dinner After the Wedding – “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” (Luke 12:37)
- What is the Rapture? (prophecyfortoday.org)
- Who God says I am (davidmuia.wordpress.com)
- Rapture On Feast of Trumpets This September? (intimategoddotorg.wordpress.com)