Why the Rapture? :: By Terry James

My contention continues to be that the answer to this question can be found within one verse. It is a statement by the ascended Lord Jesus Christ to John, the disciple Jesus called “beloved.”

I believe there is a singular word to describe the reason for the Rapture. We will, I hope, get to both the Scripture passage and the word that I believe answers the question, “Why the Rapture?”

First, we need, for those not familiar with the term “Rapture,” to provide a definition.

The word “rapture” isn’t expressed as that term in the Bible, at least not in the English versions. It is given in the Latin Vulgate, however, as rapturo—translated from the Greek language in which the New Testament was mostly written. The Greek word for the great snatching away (being “caught up”) is harpazo, and it eventually became called the “Rapture” by most in the English-speaking world.

It is the “twinkling of an eye” moment the Apostle Paul prophesied will take place at some unknown time, a time only God the Father knows. Here is the Scripture passage encompassing that stupendous event:

“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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18).

So, what is the purpose of this event Paul tells believers to “comfort” ourselves in, considering that it will take place at some unknown instant? Certainly, the great apostle spent much writing time telling of this call of Christ into the clouds of glory. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, for example.

Paul himself looked for this event to happen during his time on Earth. He preached and taught, assuring the believers in Thessalonica that this event hadn’t yet occurred—because many of them feared it had happened and they had missed it somehow. Paul went to great lengths to explain the truth of the Rapture—the harpazo. (Read 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.)

So, again, why the Rapture? To be given so much ink by the most prolific writer of the New Testament and by one of God’s most prominent prophets, the Rapture must have monumental significance.

The Rapture is indeed one of the most significant events that will play out in human history. This is because it is a rescue from the most horrific time in all of human history. Jesus, the Creator of all things, said the time to come will be the worst to ever occur, even until His return at Armageddon (Revelation 19:11).

Here, again, is what the Lord said of that ultimately evil time that is about, at this very moment, to burst upon a judgment-bound world.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

God is about to pour His righteous judgment and wrath upon a world of rebels–those who have totally turned their backs on Him. Planet Earth is about to endure global warming and climate change–and, much worse, the wicked Ephesians 6:12 sorts are constantly and falsely declaring. The Lord of Heaven–Creator of all that is—is about to demonstrate who is in total charge.

He is a righteous God and cannot allow the rebellion to continue beyond the point He has determined.

But “righteous” is the key word here. God is righteous. And His righteous judgment and wrath are not for those who are righteous but for those who are unrighteous.

Now, to get to the Scripture and the word promised at the beginning of this article.

The Scripture that encapsulates the reason for the Rapture in one verse is the following:

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Jesus’ words of comfort were to all believers in Him for salvation down through the ages, as well as for the church at Philadelphia. It is a promise to keep all believers of the Church Age (Age of Grace) out of the Great Tribulation He told of in Matthew 24:21.

And that brings us to the single word that encapsulates that salvation. It is the word “righteous.”

All who are righteous will be kept from the Tribulation. This is because God the Father sees all who have believed in His Son Jesus for salvation as being “in Christ.” That is, all born again are seen through God’s holy eyes as being covered by the precious, holy blood of the Savior, Jesus Christ. This means that we who accept Jesus as Savior are clothed in the righteousness of the Son of God, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, in order to bring all who will accept His sacrifice to redemption and reconciliation with God the Father.

To miss accepting this truth is to die in sin and go to the lake of fire, or to go through that horrific time called the Tribulation, if still alive when it begins. To accept God’s free grace offer of salvation is to go to the Savior, Jesus, when He calls, as the Apostle Paul has prophesied.

The Rapture is to spare you terrible anguish and separation from God forever. Here is how to make sure you go in the Rapture, and to Heaven–and not into eternal torment.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).