What the term Rapture means and why it matters
The term Rapture indicates a swift catching up or rescuing of devoted followers of Christ before the terrible events of the Tribulation. Does this mean that some people will not have to live through the holocaust that is coming? YES. Terrible events are coming—the Rapture is your ticket to escape.
The English term Rapture comes from the phrase caught up in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. There the Greek text (the original language of the New Testament) includes the word harpazo, which means to seize upon with force or to catch or snatch up. The Latin translators of the Greek New Testament Bible translated that word, harpazo, rapturo. The Latin, rapturo, became the root word for the English term Rapture.
Through the Rapture, God will catch-up His church—the devoted followers of Christ. By this event faithful followers of Christ will be saved from the terrible Tribulation-period events that are to come. John, the writer of the book of Revelation, said it this way, The church will be “kept from the hour of testing that shall come upon the world” (Revelation 3:10). Paul, writing of the quick and sudden nature of the Rapture records,
“Behold I show you a mystery we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment in the twinkling of an eye…the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised…and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
Writing to the Thessalonian Church, Paul wrote,
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout…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.” (1 Thess. 16-18)
Jesus spoke about the suddenness of the Rapture.
- “There will be two in the field, and then suddenly one will be left.”
- “There will be two women grinding at the mill. One will be taken, and one will be left.”
- In addition, in Luke 12 Jesus notes the importance of expecting His return. In Matthew 24 Jesus spoke of the need to be watching and waiting and ready for his return.
- The Rapture represents Jesus fulfilling His promise to come again (John 14:3; Acts 1:9) and rescue His people, the true Church, from the upcoming time of wrath (Rev. 3:10).
- There are more than two dozen allusions to the Rapture in the Bible. The admonition is to be spiritually prepared for this event. Those who are not spiritually prepared will be left behind and will have to endure the horrors of the seven-year tribulation period.
A general overview of what the Bible states will happen in the last days is presented in the next section.