Is information about

the Rapture biblical?

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.

What the Bible says is going to happen

The Bible is very clear about what is coming (and likely soon). I say soon because Jesus noted there would be signs that announce or serve as precursors to the ominous prophecies associated with the last days. Those signs are evident today.

They include the rebirth of Israel, a move to make Jerusalem Israel’s capital city, turmoil surrounding Jerusalem, plans to rebuild the third temple, strange cosmic, geologic and volcanic events, animal die-offs, apostasy in the church, the technology to support a global economy, and the rise of evil.

A general overview of prophecies likely to be fulfilled in the near future include:

  1. Believers in Jesus Christ will be taken away in the Rapture. The term Rapture indicates a swift catching-up or rescuing of God’s people before a dreadful, unprecedented, seven-year period known as the time of Jacob’s trouble or, the Tribulation. Those who live during this period will see the rise of the Antichrist, war, pestilence, plague, and persecution. Most of humanity will not survive. However, before this season of sorrow, God will rescue or rapture His Church (His followers). In the event known as the Rapture, believers will be caught up, in “the twinkling of an eye,” to be with the Lord in the air, and will thereby escape the “wrath that is to come” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
  2. Israel will be attacked. Ezekiel prophesied that a vast coalition would rise to attack Israel. Russia will lead this coalition and will attempt to destroy Israel with overwhelming force. Multiple nations and hundreds of thousands of soldiers will be involved. However, when it seems that Israel is about to be destroyed, God will intervene and extinguish Israel’s enemies. The scope of the devastation and the one-sided nature of the victory will be unprecedented. It will be a supernatural event that will draw many to faith. Possibly connected to this event (sometimes called the Gog-Magog war) are prophecies concerning the destruction of Damascus and the expansion of Israel’s borders.
  3. The Antichrist will rise to power and negotiate peace with Israel. Israel will sign a seven-year peace covenant with her enemies. This treaty will be brokered by a charismatic new world leader, who will later be known as the Antichrist. He will rise to power through promises and diplomacy but will soon break the treaties and usher-in more pain and violence than the world has ever known. The Bible does not provide extensive details about his reign because the horrors associated with it are difficult to articulate. He will make Hitler look meek and mild. He will dominate a one-world government, economy, and religion. He will thrive on pain and death, and be supported by a false prophet who will force people to take a mark of loyalty, also referred to as the mark of the beast. Those who take the mark indicate a desire to reject God and have no hope of redemption. Those who do not take the mark will not be able to buy or sell. The Tribulation period believers who refuse the mark will be hunted down—millions will be put to death.
  4. The Battle of Armageddon and judgment. The most significant military force ever assembled will gather in the valley of Jezreel, also known in Hebrew as Har Megiddo, which is the root of the English term, Armageddon. The Antichrist will order his troops (likely, millions strong) to attack Jerusalem. At the last moment, when all seems hopeless for the Christians and Messianic Jews defending Israel, Jesus will return, and with Him believers who were with Him in heaven. With a word, Jesus will destroy all enemy forces. The Antichrist and False Prophet will be judged and cast into a “bottomless pit” for 1000 years. A great earthquake will change the topography of the world after which the earth will be regenerated in preparation for the Millennial Reign of Christ.
  5. The Millennial Reign of Christ. After the judgment of the Antichrist and False Prophet, Jesus will establish His throne in Jerusalem, and the earth will return to Eden-like conditions. There will be beauty and peace, and best of all, Jesus will rule in righteousness in fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies. Saints who returned to earth with Jesus during the battle of Armageddon will reign with Jesus. Believers in Christ who survived the Tribulation period will also live on this earth, in renewed bodies marked by extended life spans. The Millennial Kingdom will be wonderous, but humans will still have the ability to have children and rebel against God. In time, many will reject the rule of Christ and will look for a leader to lead them in rebellion.
  6. The final conflict and judgments. At the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ, Satan (who embodied the Antichrist) will be released from the pit and will lead humans in one last great effort to rebel against God. He will foolishly wage war against the new Jerusalem, and as before, Christ will easily thwart his efforts. The final judgment (determining who will forever be in hell or heaven) and a final accounting (a time when our deeds and life works will be acknowledged by the Father) will follow, and with this, an eternal reward in heaven for the followers of Christ.

More on what the Bible says it is going to happen

Matthew 24 notes that wars, various ‘signs’ and ‘birth pains’ will precede the Tribulation. Daniel 9 notes the Tribulation period will begin when a Peace Covenant (brokered by the man who is later known as the Antichrist) is signed by Israel and her enemies.  These things are true, but it is also true that none of these things need to take place before the Rapture event takes place. The Rapture, the sudden catching-up and rescue of faithful believers in Christ is promised, imminent, and the way to avoid the terrible Tribulation period events that are sure to come.  The best way to ensure that you are not left behind when the Rapture takes place is to be in right relationship with God before Jesus returns.

There are at least 100 Bible prophecies that will be fulfilled in the last days. However, it is possible that the next significant prophetic event to take place will be the Rapture. Some prophecies have requisites. For example, the prophecy concerning the Antichrist forbidding sacrifices in the Temple has several requisites: First, the Temple must be rebuilt, and second, the Peace Covenant must be signed as this ushers-in the reign of the Antichrist. However, the fulfillment of the Rapture prophecy has no remaining requisites.

It is also important to note that the Rapture is presented as a singular, instantaneous event. There will be no warning and no subsequent (second-chance) event. Individuals will either be ready, caught-up and rescued by Christ, or they will be left behind and will have to endure the terrible events of the Tribulation period.

Will it be possible to be forgiven, become a Christian, and have the hope of eternal life in heaven after the Tribulation begins? YES. However, it will be very, very difficult to live as a Christian during this time in history. Most will not survive—most humans will not survive.

The wise will not delay or defer a spiritual decision to believe in, and become a faithful follower of, Jesus Christ. Are you ready for the return of Jesus?