“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14). (bold emphasis mine)
Many Christians today are signing off letters and email with this ancient word. But what does it mean? And what does it have to do with the Rapture? For you who are new to Rapture Ready and perhaps even new to Christian thought, it might be of value to explore this ancient word and extract its full meaning.
Wikipedia tells us that Maranatha is originally an Aramaic word. The Aramaic language is a dialect of Hebrew spoken at the time of Jesus by most people living in the Roman province of Judea, the area we know today as Israel. The interesting thing about this word, which was transliterated rather than translated into Greek and Latin, is that it can mean two different things, depending on how the word is segmented.
Again, according to Wikipedia, the Koinē Greek: Μαρανα θα, transliterated to English as marana-tha means, ‘Come, our lord!’ However, if segmented as maran-atha the translation is “Our LORD has come!”
In the King James Version of the Bible, this Aramaic phrase occurs once in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 16:22) as “Maran-atha.”
While all this can seem to be a hair-splitting exercise, it is noteworthy that both interpretations of this word work in our modern world. On earth today, the idea that God came in human form to show the world how to get back to Him is scoffed at, even by some “Christian” scholars. So, if we use the word as Maran-atha, we Christians are acknowledging Jesus’ Kingship and kinship with the Father. (Notice, in the Titus passage above that the writer designates Jesus as “our great God and Saviour.”) When we use the word as Marana-tha, we are asking Our LORD to come. Since both expressions are spot-on, using the full word “Maranatha” would seem to contain both ideas at once.
So, what does all this have to do with the Rapture and the nature of it?
Just as there are two ideas contained in the word “Maranatha,” there is also more than one idea to be found in the term “Blessed Hope,” as it appears in the verses from the Book of Titus at the top of this article.
Our Blessed Hope is, of course, Jesus Messiah. In Him, we are redeemed from our sins (John 1:29). In Him, we have the Bread of Life (John 6:35). In Him, we have our Rock of Salvation (2 Samuel 22:2-3). In Him, and through Him only, we come to the Father in Heaven (John 14:6).
And there are two future events when Jesus Messiah Himself will descend, first, into the atmosphere of planet Earth and gather all His elect to take us to be where He is; and, second, where Jesus comes to earth and sets His foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4-5). At that time, the Kingdom of the Millennium is set up by King Jesus, and those of us who were with Him in heaven and return with Him to the earth at the last day will reign with Him forever and ever (Revelation 5:9-10). This second event is known as the Second Coming of Christ.
Well, you say, wait a long minute, here … what about the first event? That, my friends, is the Rapture – The Blessed Hope of our Salvation from the tribulation. Those of us who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, who claim Him as Saviour or Lover of our souls, will not endure the seven years of great trouble that will come on the earth to test all the people – the time between the Rapture and the Second Coming.
So, how does that work? Well, quite honestly, I don’t know, exactly. I do know that Apostle Paul has made it clear in several passages that there will come a day that no one expects, when the dead in Christ will rise from their graves to meet the LORD in the air. Then we, who are full believers, will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, our earthly bodies made ready for eternal life, and we, too, shall rise to meet the LORD in the air. We will be caught up by Jesus. The Greek word used in the Scripture is Harpazo. That same word in Latin is Rapere, from which our English word “Rapture” comes.
Listen to the words of Apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 15:51-53:
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.”
And from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no [Blessed] hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the LORD’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the LORD, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep [died]. For the LORD Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up [Harpazo] together with them in the clouds [not on the Mount of Olives!] to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”
For those who will argue that Paul is talking about the Second Coming here, let me ask you, what would be encouraging about facing seven years of God’s wrath? And to secure the idea that Jesus has promised to save us from the wrath of the tribulation, we turn to Jesus’ own words in Revelation 3:10:
“Since you have kept My command to endure patiently [to stand firmly in the faith], I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” [All the comments in brackets are mine.]
The Rapture will happen instantly, as Paul says, ‘in the twinkling of an eye.” Folks, a ‘twinkling’ is less than a second of time! That’s fast. In an instant, hundreds, thousands, even millions of people all over the world are going to disappear, one day – one day soon! Those who are left behind must go into the seven-year tribulation to be tried and tested. The awful news is that things are going to get so bad that if the LORD doesn’t come to the Mount Olives at an ideal time, no one would be left alive on the planet (Matthew 24:22). Still, amid the horror, untold numbers of people will call on the Name of the LORD and so be saved during this tribulation period. More bad news – these will be beheaded for their faith. But more really great news – these will join us in heaven, and be with the LORD forever and ever, and return to the earth at the end of the seven years when Jesus sets up His thousand-year reign on earth.
As bad as things seem right now on the planet – many experiencing loss of freedom, shortage of food, a tremendous increase in political corruption, rising mendacity in people who are supposed to be trustworthy, an exponential increase in lawlessness for the first time in our lives – as bad as all that seems right now, it is going to get worse before Jesus comes to put an end to unrighteousness.
Trust me; you do not want to go through the tribulation to be saved. At least not when you can be saved today, right now! How? Below the prayer, you will find the A.B.C.’s of Salvation. If you are ready to honestly and truly commit your life to Christ, this is as good a starting point as any.
You cannot be saved by doing good works. You cannot be saved by being a good person. You cannot be saved for eternity in Christ by believing in a different ‘god,’ or by chanting a mantra, or even by going mindlessly to a church. Our only hope for salvation is in the Grace of God Almighty, given to us freely as a gift, through the sacrifice of His One and Only Son, Jesus Messiah, Who shed His precious blood for you and me for the forgiveness of human sin. The only act we can do to achieve eternal life is to believe this.
In John 6:27-29, Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man [Jesus] will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.’ Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.'”
Don’t be caught being one of those asking, “Where have all the people gone?” Instead, be among those rising to meet Jesus Messiah in the air; be among those who, instead of going through the unspeakable horror of the tribulation, will be feasting with Our Saviour in heaven for seven years. But that’s another story for another day.
Meanwhile, set your heart on heaven while your feet still walk on the earth, and we’ll meet with Jesus in the air any day now.
MARANATHA! Our LORD has come! Please come soon, LORD Jesus.
Let us pray –
Heavenly Father God,
As we see the day of wrath approaching, we give You thanks and praise for fulfilling Your eternal promise to save us by sending Your One and Only Son to us for our salvation. LORD God, while we are still here, please give us the strength and encouragement needed to reach out to those who are still caught in Satan’s snare. Father, you love us with an everlasting love and are patient in sending Jesus back to gather us because You would like everyone on earth to come to Your saving grace. Nevertheless, the day will come, whether we are ready for it or not. Please help us to spread the Good News of the Gospel to as many as we possibly can in the time we have left.
In the strong and precious Name of Jesus, Yeshua Ha’Maschiach, we pray. Amen.
If anyone reading this devotional has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation:
A – Admit
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess and Choose
Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
MARANATHA, Come soon, LORD Jesus. Come!