The Rapture

In the epistle to Titus, chapter 2 verse 13 the Apostle Paul writes, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. This scripture gives the Christian the hope of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to receive His own. We look forward to what is known in Christian circles as, the Rapture. The word Rapture does not appear in the King James version of the Bible, but in the Latin text the word rapio appears where we would use the word rapture, which means the great “catching away” of the saints.

The teaching and doctrine of the rapture is the most ridiculous thing that we as Christians could teach; I mean, it is so preposterous that most people cannot envision such a thing happening today. It has not happened before in modern times. But the main reason that I teach and preach the rapture is because Jesus Christ taught it as a reality and something for us to be watching for, at any time. That doctrine of imminent return has been the order of the day since Jesus first rose into glory on that day when He rose from the Mount of Olives right into heaven as the men of Galilee stood gazing. He promised that He would come again in like manner. But, which time did He mean, the event that we call the Rapture, or the time when He will come back to the earth to set up His Kingdom? Those are two different and separate events, and we will look at several scriptures in this study to separate the two in our understanding. They are quite different in many respects and we will examine them here.

In John chapter 14, Jesus taught us in verse 3, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” That is a promise friend! God created the whole earth in 6 days, so our special place that Jesus is preparing for us must be super nice; it has been some 2,000 years in the making.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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.”

That is a Biblical description of the next event on the end days calendar and it is due at any moment now. Jesus will be coming to receive His Church and it will happen suddenly and quietly as far as the world is concerned. Only the “dead in Christ” will hear the shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Those who are not born from above that are upon the earth will not see or hear a thing. In another place it is said to be in the “twinkling of an eye”. It will be a sudden event that the world will not witness nor behold. The Lord will simply slip the Church out of here and take her (the Bride of Christ) home to be with Him.

Paul further expounds on this event in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

And, in this further explanation in 2 Corinthians 5:1-9, the apostle uses the words, tabernacle and house to mean the temporal and eternal bodies that we are concerned with in this world and the world to come. Watch closely at the language and meaning of this text. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

So much is taught us here in this text. Tabernacle means tent; it is a temporary dwelling. Our heavenly house is a permanent building that God Himself makes for us, and it is eternal! Moreover, God gives us a seal of His promise to us; He gives us the presence of the Holy Spirit to live within us until that wonderful redemption day when we will receive our eternal home in heaven! God within us! Glory to God, what a Wonderful God we serve!

There is extraordinarily little of our coming glory and blessings that is explained in the scriptures; it is somewhat veiled for now. So, the apostle puts it to us like this in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

When we start to school, we do not go immediately to college, we begin in the 1st grade where we learn the basics and fundamentals. We gradually work our way up as we learn and grow. That is what the apostle is teaching us here. He uses the analogy of our childhood verses our adulthood. When I was a child, I spoke, acted, behaved, and understood as a child, because that was my capacity. But when we become adults we know and understand much more than we did when we were children. That is the same way with spiritual understanding; now it is over our understanding and comprehension. It is like looking through a dark glass. We cannot make out the entire image, but only get hints and whispers of what is to come, “but then, face to face…then shall I know as I am known.” That last phrase brings up an interesting further hint of our coming understanding. For example, lets look at what the Apostle John teaches us in 1st John 3:2 – “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Did you catch that last phrase? It is remarkable what John is saying to us. When Jesus was on the earth immediately after His resurrection, he had new powers that we cannot comprehend. He could appear within a room without opening the door. He just appeared in their midst, the doors being closed, yet He was in His body and asked them to touch Him and examine Him to know that it was He! What John is telling us is that eventually we will be just like Jesus because “we shall see Him as He is! How about that! We are already the sons of God, but we just do not yet understand what all that entails. But eventually, when we reach college, we will understand college level understanding. We are kindergarteners now, but we will graduate one day and then shall we fully understand all things. I am longing for graduation day when we shall know as we are known. Glory to God!

We are three-part beings; we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. So, when the body dies, where does the spirit go? The Bible teaches us that it goes to be with the LORD. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.As soon as the Christian draws their last breath on this side, we awake on the other side, immediately in the presence of our Beloved LORD. Glory! No wonder the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” To keep living in this body is to be able to continue to serve the Lord in this world, but to leave this body is to gain our Glorified body and to be in the presence of the LORD Jesus Christ in Heaven, forever!

The Rapture is imminent; it is NEXT on the events to come. We should be living our lives in expectation of His return! We are not citizens of this country, or of this world, but we are citizens of heaven. Matthew 25:13“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Like the ten wise virgins, we should be ready when the Bridegroom comes. He is coming at an hour when we think not. Be ready for His imminent return because one day soon, He will appear in the clouds with great Glory and receive us unto Himself. The apostle says for us to comfort one another with these words.