Rapture – How can one word cause such consternation and disbelief? How can words infuriate so many people? How can a biblical verse defuse folks into not accepting a word that describes the action? The word is raptured, but I have coined the word ruptured to describe the alienation among churches. One of the definitions of ruptured is a breach of harmonious, friendly, or peaceful relations. (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary-1989).
What causes the rupture of faith or belief is the promise of the rapture not being taught, ergo being ruptured. However, there are so many derived explanations. For instance, the fact that the rapture isn’t taught in seminaries and most churches is God’s word being ruptured. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God has strong words for anyone who adds or subtracts from the prophetic words (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19).
Many people say that since rapture is not in the scriptures, they don’t believe it. When Jerome translated the scriptures into the common language of his day, he used the Latin word which we translate in English as raptured. Since modern translations use the phrase “lifted up” or “caught up,” here is an insipid comment about a translation when all three words mean the same.
As an aside, the words Bible, the Trinity, and others are not in the scriptures either. Continuing with the analysis of rupture, I once asked a Christian Service Minister why their church did not teach about the end times or the rapture. The simple answer was, “It just isn’t our thing.” Amazing! It was Paul’s thing. In fact it was also Jesus’ thing as He also referred to this special redeeming action:
“I solemnly assure you, an hour is coming , has indeed come, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who have heeded it shall live” (John 5:25).
If you are still confused about the rapture, it is the sudden removal of the church people, the Body of Christ, to meet Him in the clouds. Notice that is individual people who are raptured, not whole denominations. We immediately receive a new spiritual body and are brought to heaven. We need another body, one that is immortal, not subject to disease, sickness, or death. While we are being lifted off earth, the restrainer, the Holy Spirit, lifts His hand from the world. After an undetermined time, all hell breaks loose as the Anti-Christ comes to power and the tribulation begins; and the wrath of God commences on earth as predicted.
If one word could summarize our generation, it would be “whatever.” Can you think of a better word to describe the major event in a person’s life which isn’t of interest? The TV interviews on the street strongly show this indifferent attitude, not only to scripture, but anything to do with history, geography or well-known people. The un-stated word is, “I really could care less.” And this is true about Christians not wanting to understand their faith.
I don’t comprehend the non-teaching or exclusion of a sacred truth. Maybe it is religious correctness or is it because it sounds like a massive alien abduction? Or does it seem far out? All along, we have accepted creation, angels, heavenly chariots, the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus. Incidentally, the ascension of Jesus is a form of the rapture. So is the heavenly visitation of Paul and John. Now can you believe in it? If not, remember Enoch and Elijah were also brought to heaven without dying. They were raptured or lifted-up or translated or caught up.
Scripture says that the time of the Anti-Christ and the tribulation period will not start until the restrainer leaves earth (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The logical question then is where did the Holy Spirit dwell during His earthly stay? The Bible is replete with proof that the Holy Spirit dwells in born-again people.
“Guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us” (2 Timothy 1:14).
“All were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).
“They were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:11a).
“The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will instruct you in everything” (John 14:26).
“If you with all your sins know to give your children good things, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13).
“Stay awake, therefore! You cannot know the day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).
“The moral is: keep your eyes open for you know not the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
The most repeated scripture for the rapture is this: “The Lord himself will come down from heaven at the word of command, at the sound of the archangel’s voice and God’s trumpet. Those who have died in Christ will rise first. Then, we the living, the survivors, will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thenceforth, we shall be with the Lord unceasingly. Console one another with this message” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
The earthly tribulation period is not something you want to experience with the machinations of the Anti-Christ and the wrath of God. Born-Again people are not going to be here per scripture. Why is this so?
Since the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit is within the Lord’s people, isn’t it obvious that if He departs He is going to take us with Him?
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places, otherwise how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2)?
The righteous will be raptured and dwell with God until He returns with us at His Second Coming. The unrighteous will never know love and be continually tormented.
Heaven is a beautiful place with colors that are vivid. In fact, heaven is alive with color, some of which we have never seen on earth. We are already told of sapphire tile work as clear as the sky itself and a sapphire throne from which the bright water of life flows. And don’t forget the rainbow as brilliant as an emerald. We will also marvel walking on the crystalline golden roads. Personally, any negative happenings will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Heaven will be completely peaceful.
Believing in the rapture, we are accused of escapism. This is absolutely true as we accept that God created us and loves us. Why wouldn’t we accept His eternal plans for us being with Him at His timing? People not choosing His plan will have an entirely different eternal reality with unsavory humans and energetic demons in a vast hell hole. And this is all preceded by trying to avoid the beguilements of the Anti-Christ and hiding from the wrath of God. See the entire Chapter 6 of Revelation and contemplate your future without Jesus.
Christ Himself tells of this horrible period as He predicted, “Indeed, if the period had not been shortened, not a human being would be saved. For those days will be more filled with anguish than any other from the beginning of the world until now or in ages to come” (Matthew 24:21-22).
Paul issues some calming words as, “God has not destined us for wrath but for acquiring salvation through Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
For unbelievers, they will regret their former mindset.
Perhaps the “whatever generation” is missing the impact of their careless attitude. It seems that while everyone is up-to-date on the world news via the “important” happening in this minute process, not many are aware of what is happening in the spiritual world. Regardless of the lack of eschatology or End Times teaching in the churches, people are oblivious of the coming events as their immediate electronic news is more important.
Some Christian people are more than curious about the timing of the Rapture. Searching scriptures, we find an admonition to stay awake and be prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus. The apostles were just as curious as we are and asked Jesus about his return and the end of the age. The twenty-fourth Chapter of Matthew contains thorough prophetic words from Jesus. In addition, Paul’s second letter to Timothy seems to be lifted from the 2018 media. It contains a list of every human failing which we are exposed to daily in the news and on TV (2 Timothy 3:1-9). Paul also states a warning that in the end times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and directions of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).
We can take all these prophecies about end times and realize they are an everyday happening and are increasing. Therefore, since the rapture precedes the tribulation which is having its birth pains now, it is logical that the rapture is imminent. Be ready; stay prepared.
Far from absorbing all this daily negative media chatter, our position has to be we are God’s children, and we look forward to his coming. The apostle John speaks to everyone in a calming voice for all of us awaiting the rapture:
“I have written this to you to make you realize that you (ed. already) possess eternal life—you who believe in the name of the Son of God” (John 5:13).