"The Rapture” is a very popular religious concept among many who believe in the doctrine of Premillennialism. The following chart presents the basic idea.
Because of this FALSE concept about “the Rapture” many have concluded the Bible does not speak of a coming Rapture, and miss the opportunity to teach the TRUTH about “the Rapture” to those who are interested in the Rapture .
First lets learn a little about this word “Rapture”:
By definition, the word Rapture is a state or experience of being carried away.
The word is not found in most Bible translations. It is in the Amplified Bible (in parenthesis) as a definition of the expression “caught up”, in 1 Thess 4:17.
The English word comes from a Latin word, rapio, which means to seize or snatch in relation to an ecstasy of spirit or the actual removal from one place to another. In other words, it means to be carried away in spirit or in body. The Rapture of the church/kingdom means the carrying away of the church from earth to heaven.
The Greek word “harpazo”, from which the term “rapture” is derived, appears in 1 Thess 4:17, is translated “caught up”, and means to snatch or take away.
The Latin translation of this verse uses the word rapturo.
“then we (saints) that are alive, that are left, shall together with them (resurrected saints) be caught up (raptured) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess 4:17
Other places where this same term is used:
It is used to describe how the Spirit caught up Philip, near Gaza, and brought him to Caesarea. Acts 8:39
It is used to describe Paul’s experience of being caught up into the third heaven. 2 Cor 12:2-4
In Rev 12:5 it is used of Jesus being caught up to God after his death and resurrection. (See Acts 1:11, Mk 16:19, 1 Tim 3:16 = taken or received up)
Obviously, this word is used in 1 Thess 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of people from earth to heaven. 1 Cor 15:24 says when “the end” comes, Jesus will “deliver up” (different word, same event) the kingdom/church to God.
So the Bible does teach THERE WILL BE A RAPTURE! BUT
Note what happens as we build this pictorial view of the 2nd Coming of Jesus
ALL will be raised. . . the Righteous meet the Lord. . . the Unrighteous go into eternal punishment
The Righteous/kingdom delivered up to God to ever be with Lord in heaven
This is THE END when the earth is dissolved and the last enemy (death) is abolished
Paul further explains that when Christ comes: 1) it will be with flaming fire to take vengeance on those who obey not the gospel (1 Thess 1:7-9) and 2) to be glorified in his saints and gather them unto himself (1 Thess 1:10, 2:1). Here is the completed chart picturing Jesus' 2nd coming.
One additional point: In addition to John 5:28-29, John records Jesus saying the resurrection and judgment of both the righteous and the wicked would be "the Last Day" (the End) - John 6:39-40, 12:48, Matthew 25:31-46.
But Someone Says, “What about the Kingdom, Tribulation, and Antichrist?”
Let’s see what the Scriptures say about all of these:
The Kingdom: Plain passages of Scripture tell us Christ is NOW ruling on His throne. His kingdom now exists:
Mk 9:1 - "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There are some here of them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power."
Before he ascended Jesus told the apostles they would “receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you” and would be his witnesses. Acts 1:6-8
On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles with power and they proved God had raised up, the crucified Jesus, to sit on David’s throne (in heaven), just as He had promised. Acts 2:1-36
Paul said those in the church at Colossae had been redeemed in Christ and translated us into the kingdom of Jesus. Col 1:12-14
John said he and those in the churches of Asia were IN the kingdom. Rev 1:9
Zechariah said that when He (Jesus) ascended to the Father He became a Priest and King on His throne in heaven. Zeck 6:12-13
Christ’s kingdom began about 2,000 years ago when Jesus became a king upon His throne, as both Lord and Christ!
The Tribulation is now underway, and has been for about 2,000 years.
2 Tim 3:12 - "… all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
1 Pet 4:12-14 - Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13 but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. 14 If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you.
Concerning these first two points, notice that in AD 95, John said he and the churches of Asia were already in tribulation and in the kingdom!
Rev 1:9 - "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
The Antichrist: Many were present in John's day, about 2,000 years ago.
1 Jn 2:18, 22 - "Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; …… Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist,...."
1 Jn 4:3 - "and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already."
2 Jn 7 - "many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver & the antichrist."
Antichrists continue to exist down to this day (e.g., the modern state of Israel, the Muslims, the Hindu, etc.- all who "deny that Jesus is the Christ").
The only way to "miss" these first three things is to close ones eyes to them.
The Rapture has not come yet and will not come until the second coming of Christ. When it comes, it will be immediate, final, and complete; just as we have previously noted.
The Bible Teaches:
We are added to Christ’s kingdom, IF and when we obey the Gospel of Christ
We will undergo tribulation in this life, IF we live and stand for the truth
Many antichrist do now and will continue to deny Christ and oppose the truth
When Christ comes all the righteous (living & dead) will be caught up (raptured) to meet Him in the air, to ever be with the Lord!
But someone says, “What about the 1st Resurrection?”
A major part of the false premillennial “rapture” doctrine includes their misunderstanding and misuse of Rev 20:1-6, where the expression “this is the first resurrection” is used referring to Satan being bound and the saints reigning with Christ for “a thousand years”.
So, this raises the question: When and What is the 1000 years of Revelation 20? and, What “kind” of resurrection is John referring to when he says the “1000 years” reign “is the first resurrection”? (The premillennial theory says the 1st resurrection is 7 years (same say 3.5) before the beginning of their 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth.)
First, remember John told us (plainly) in John 5:28-29 that the physical resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked will be at the same time - "the hour" when ALL in the graves hear His (Jesus') voice and come forth!
Second, there is nothing in Rev 20 that indicates the 1,000 years of that chapter will start sometime in the future — when Christ comes again.
Also note that the "binding of Satan" (Rev 20:1-3) and the saints “reigning with Christ” (Rev 20:4-6) are both described as being 1,000 years. It is the same 1000 years. They are coexistent and coextensive. This is obvious when we understand the binding of Satan and the reign of the saints.
THE 1000 YEAR BINDING OF SATAN: How and when Satan is bound is explained in scripture (Matt 12:29, Lk 10:17-18, Jn 12:30-32, Heb 2:14-15, Rev 1:18 and Rev 12:10-11). Jesus was victorious over Satan in life and death, and granted US that power by his blood through His gospel. Satan IS BOUND in relation to the lives of saints IN Christ Jesus (1 Jn 5:18; 1 Jn 1:7; Rom 8:1, 37-39), and has been since the Pentecost of Acts 2. Some miss the point on the binding of Satan when they ASSUME that binding means COMPLETELY immobilizing or destroying Satan. Let the Bible define what the binding is and understand it is FOR US TODAY, being coextensive with our victory over sin and Satan IN Christ.
When we understand the scriptures declare that the time of the binding of Satan began over 2,000 years ago, it is obvious that the 1,000 years of Rev 20 is a symbolic expression, just as the term “thousand” in Psa 50:10 is symbolic: “the cattle upon a thousand hills” are God’s. The number 1000 is used to represent a “complete” number, or time, or power…
THE 1000 YEAR REIGN OF SAINTS: When and how do saints live and reign with Christ? Note: In Rev 20:4 John saw the faithful in Christ (both the living and dead - physically). That is, he saw those who overcame Satan as in Rev 12:11 - by Christ's blood, the Word and their "willingness" to die for Christ (martyr spirit). They "live and reign with Christ“ - and in verse 6 the blessings of "living and reigning with Christ" are described as being:
1. Second death hath no power over them. (This is the state of all the faithful in Christ. Rom 8:1)
2. Be Priests of God for 1,000 years. (This is the relationship all the faithful in Christ have with God. 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6)
3. Reign with Christ for 1,000 years. (This is the relationship all the faithful in Christ have with Christ. Rev 5:9-10; 1 Jn 1:7; 1 Jn 5:18; Eph 2:5)
Again, the 1,000 years is seen to be a symbolic expression, since it encompasses man's priesthood (1 Pet 2:5) and living and reigning with Christ (Eph 2:5), which obviously began over 2,000 years ago.
Note carefully: John says this "living and reigning with Christ“ IS “the first resurrection". This is an apt description of those raised from spiritual death in sin to spiritual life in Christ, which both Jesus and Paul calls a resurrection. John said that Jesus declared that those who hear and believe him are passed out of death into life (John 5:24-26). In Eph 2:5-6 Paul affirms that man is dead in his sins (spiritually dead), but that God made us alive with Christ and raised us up with Christ, where we reign with Christ over sin and Satan. When we, with faith in Christ, repent and are baptized our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38), we are raise to “walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4), in the “likeness of Jesus resurrection” (Rom 6:5), and where we were dead in sin we are now “alive unto God IN Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11). This is our “new birth” into the “kingdom” (Jn 3:3-5). This IS the 1st Resurrection!
One last point on this. Everyone wants to know, “But what about verse five?” It is a parenthetical expression concerning the "rest of the dead", that is those who are not of the first resurrection. Note: All men are "dead in sins and trespasses" (Eph 2:1) but some are "raised with Christ" through faith (Eph 2:5-6), and the "rest of the dead" (those dead in sins and trespasses) continue in that state ("lived not") until the complete time and/or power of salvation by Christ (the 1,000 years) be accomplished. Also we should note that the expression "lived not until the 1,000 years be finished" does not require that they live (be spiritually resurrected) when the 1,000 years is accomplished. It simply states their condition even unto that time. The later part of the chapter tells us what happens after that time - they are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. For a study of this expression ("UNTIL") see its use in 1 Tim 4:13 [“Till I come, give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching.”] and 1 John 2:9 [“He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in the darkness even until now.”]. In neither case does it indicate a change in action or condition after the time or event named. Timothy was to keep on reading and studying after Paul came AND one who hates his brother after the "now" of 1 John 2:9 continues in darkness. Just so in Rev 20:5, the rest of the dead remain dead (spiritually) after the 1,000 years are finished.
SUMMARY: Kingdom (1st Resurrection), Tribulation, Antichrists, & Rapture
According to the scriptures:
Christ’s kingdom came into existence about 2,000 years ago and
the 1st Resurrection is our New Birth into that kingdom
The tribulation of the Lord’s people began about 2,000 years ago
and will continue until the 2nd coming
There were many antichrists about 2,000 years ago and
they will continue until the 2nd coming
When Christ comes the world will come to an end,
all will be judged and the Lord’s people will be caught up (raptured)
to meet him in the air, to ever be with the Lord!