When is the Rapture?

April 2, 2010   |   Category: Urgent Questions   |  

By Irvin Baxter


We Shall All Be Changed

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians describes our final victory:

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. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Paul says this occurs at the last trump, which the Bible tells us is the seventh trumpet. 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 11:15 are referring to the same thing. For the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall be raised, and we shall be changed.


Transformed Instantly

At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, all born again Christians will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). At the sound of the “last trumpet,” the dead who were born again during their lifetime will be resurrected from the dead. At the same time, those who are born again and still alive on earth will be transformed instantly, from mortal beings to immortal beings. Romans 8:11 tells us that our mortal bodies will be made alive if we have God’s spirit living in us.

It is often taught that at the rapture all of us will instantly disappear, but that is not what the Bible says. It says we will be changed in a moment and in the twinkling of an eye. When Jesus Christ was caught up, He was seen leaving the earth. Just as they were able to see Jesus go, so will people be able to see the church go.


Of That Day and Hour No One Knows

“But of that day and hour no one knows,” Jesus said to His disciples on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:36). Some say we cannot know the day and the hour when Jesus will return and gather His church to Himself. But others claim that Jesus was speaking only to people living in the first century, not to people living today.


The Times and Seasons

Just before He was caught up to heaven, Jesus’ disciples asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus replied specifically about what would happen “at this time.” In other words, His response was particularly directed to the first century generation in which they were living. He said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.” (Acts 1:7) Will we also, then, be unable to know the times and the seasons?


The Sons of Light Will Know

The answer to this question is found in Matthew 24:34, in which Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” “This generation” refers specifically to the people who live to see all of the terrifying events that Jesus had just mentioned as increasing immediately before His return; such as wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes in various places, widespread famine and disease, and the Antichrist’s rise to power. Paul validates this view, saying,

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5

We will know, according to Paul, the times and the seasons. If we pay attention we will see the day of the Lord coming. This settles the controversy about knowing the times and the seasons, but what about knowing the day and hour?


Those in Darkness Are Surprised

1 Thessalonians 5 and Matthew 24:42-43 teach us that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. The master of the house will not know what hour the thief will come. The thief clearly represents the Lord. The master of the house was living in darkness and was not ready for the coming of the Lord. Unbelievers are the ones who will not know the hour of the Lord’s coming. Paul explicitly states that the coming of the Lord would only be a surprise to those living in darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 indicates that, unlike the situation with unbelievers, the day of the Lord will not overtake His children of light as a thief in the night. If we keep studying the scriptures, and strive to understand current events in light of Bible prophecy, we will know the generation and the times and seasons. And as the time draws nearer, we may not only begin to understand the day of His return, but the hour also.


The Harvest of the Earth

In chapter 14 of Revelation we see a vision of Christ reaping a harvest.

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. Revelation 14:14-16

Jesus compares souls to a harvest in John 4:35. The reaping of the good harvest of the earth is the rapture of the church. This harvest that He reaps is immediately before the wrath of God, described in Revelation 14:17-20. Thus, the rapture of the church occurs just prior to God’s wrath.

The harvest signals the end of this age, at which time Jesus Christ will come back for the rapture of His church and the Battle of Armageddon. Jesus prophesied of the harvest. We call it the “rapture,” although the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible. It is merely a word we use that means “the catching away”. 1 Thessalonians speaks of this “catching away.”

“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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17


Immediately After the Tribulation…

Those of us who have been taught a pre-tribulation rapture cannot read Matthew 24 without concluding that Jesus placed the rapture immediately after the tribulation of those days.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31


Not a Salvation Issue

The timing of the rapture seems to be the most controversial of all prophecy teachings. However, whether it will occur before, during, or after the tribulation has no bearing on your salvation. God can come for any one of us at any time. Jesus said in Matthew 24,

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Matthew 24:42-43


At Any Time

Whatever you believe about the timing of the rapture, or whether you even believe in Bible prophecy, if you were to die right now, you would be immediately removed from the earth to stand before your Creator for judgment. The Bible says, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:18) This is not the time to emphasize only the parts of the Bible we like, to make us feel good. But it is time for us to make sure that our lives are in line with all the teachings of God’s Word. If ever there were a time to walk closely to God, this is the time, as we see the day of the Lord drawing near.

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23 Responses to “When is the Rapture?”

  1. Peggy Ruble

    God has opened my eyes to these scriptures the past few years but I could not get the explanation said in some type of order. Your site explaining the difference between the “rapture” and the Harvest came up and explained everything that I had been thinking.
    What has fascinated me these past 4 years is the presence of the second solar system that has arrived. Cameras all over the world has picked up pictures (me included and I live in sw Missouri and caught 2 suns in my camera one morning). So when we go through the tail of debris following them, I think it will be like stars falling and the planets surrounding this second sun are so big that they are already blocking the light at times. Look up the sun simulator that is trying to keep the world from seeing/knowing about this event. We are very close to Christ’s coming. God bless and thank you.

  2. David Oxford

    I agree. We don’t know the time of the “rapture”. I do believe it will come after the tribulation. How many Israelite’s died during the plagues of Egypt? None that I know of. God was protecting them.

  3. Lynn Hopkins

    I think that “caught up in the (air) is instead in the spirit the “breath of life” and putting the mortal being together is another mis-understood old time error. The bible Paul tells us that blood and flesh will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven and if we are raised immortal we will have a body as the angels not as flesh and blood so the Asp cannot harm the child. If those in the Millennium went through the so called Rapture (the Devil’s Plan for the unknowing) they can only have a heavenly Spiritual form as Michael and Gabrielle or perhaps the Mortals are headed for the Lake of Fire or the Millenium for the teaching! Only one chance supposedly then its over with the return of Christ. The appearance of angels associated with brass and fire in the eyes, etc., seem to indicate an immortal body in the visions mentioned with angels and obviously walking is the volcanic fires on Earth supports that. I certainly appreciate DR Irvin and you fellow chroniclers of the End Times and the teaching you have given me. I pray that I am in the First Resurrection, left behind to do great labors for our Savior before His return. Unlike the like the authors that have stupidly done Satan’s work on Earth by that Title and books to deceive, the luke warm! Sorry for my laspe in spelling and details and length but I hope to help financially with my pittance. Wish I could help in Israel and witness there but I am limited in finances and proud of not being! burdened with things Those that come late to the work in the Vineyard always regret not titheing when they have money and working, being heathens, but better late and avid than luke warm and doubting. I am praying to be used and recalled to Israel to work. God Bless, Unworthy Hopkins

  4. Sherrie Ace

    How can Jesus come before the 7th Trump?? The Bible says only at the 7th trumpet shall the dead rise first and we who are alive shall follow!! So it has to be after Gods wrath because then the 7th trump shall sound!!! So ready there’s no rapture at all! We are merely escaping Jesus word that will kill satans end ! And Armageddon !

    • Peggy Ruble

      Revelation 14
      The 144,000 are the “firstfruits”, then the 2 witnesses and then the rest of the dead and then “rapture” of the living. The dead in Christ rise first.
      This is what God has been showing me recently.

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello Petet,

      Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

      30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

      31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

  5. Scott Benzing

    In Matthew 24 and Mark 13 and Luke 21 you see after the great tribulation a cosmic disturbance involving the Sun, Moon & Stars. Then Jesus comes in the clouds then we meet him in the air. In Revelation 1:7 Jesus says he comes in the clouds with power and great glory and when you read Revelation 6, you go thru the seals and when you read seal 6, there you will see the Cosmic Disturbance and the whole world seeing Him who sits on the throne and seeing the Lamb. They want the rocks to fall on them to hide from the Wrath Of The Lamb. It is right at this point where we are raptured up and God’s Wrath will begin. Not before or after the Cosmic disturbance but during the cosmic disturbance is when we are raptured. We don’t go thru the Trumpet or Vial judgements, also when Christ has his angels gather the elect, they do that at the Sound of A Trumpet. That is the Last Trumpet that Paul refers too. It is not a Trumpet relating to the Wrath of God. It is the Trumpet of God. I believe it will be on Yom Teruah-The Feast of Trumpets in Leviticus 23…

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello Scott,

      The 6th Seal, 7th Trumpet and 7th Vial are all the same event. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
      Compare the Scriptures.
      6th Seal
      Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
      7th Trumpet
      Revelation 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
      13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
      7th Vial
      Revelation 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

      Notice in all three of these accounts the same thing is happening. Great Earthquake, Great Hail, wrath of God, mountains and Islands being removed. It is the same event, the Rapture of the Church at the Return of Jesus and then He pours out his wrath and great hail falls on the people.

  6. Gay Langley

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Several years ago the Spirit of the Lord hovered over me and said “Gay, go tell the world that I am coming soon, I am standing at the door, & the hour is late. Tell them to repent and turn from the sins and return to me NOW”. He said this to me 3 times. I am pleading with everyone to call upon the name of the Lord and reconcile with God. In Sept. of 2017 the Lord told me that: “The Time of Sorrows has Begun”. I believe this is for the USA.

  7. After studying the book of Revelation for twenty years, I knew that “the book” had to contain information on the resurrection of of the believers. What a joy it was to finally find the passage in Revelation 14:14. Are those that teach a different time false prophets??

  8. Endtime is a blessing to me and has opened my eyes to so many things I’ve overlooked. I changed my view on the timing of the rapture after seeing an Endtime video, and this article has further opened my eyes about Christians one day knowing when the Second Coming will occur.

  9. Sandy Davison

    You say, when we die, we immediately go to be judged. I don’t see it as such in scripture: The Bible tells us that when we are dead we know absolutely nothing. Here are some Scriptures to support this belief: (all from the NIV)

    Ecclesiastes 9:10
    “Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.“

    Ecclesiastes 9:5
    “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.“

    Psalm 6:5
    “No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?”

    Isaiah 38:18,19
    “For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those that go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today.”

    Psalm 88:5
    “I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.”

    Psalm 28:1
    “To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.” (grave)

    Are we judged individually or during the judgment after we are resurrected when our Lord returns?

  10. Alfred Curtis

    Daniel’s 70 week prophecywas 69 weeksto the coming of Messiah, which he did at Jordan when he was “Cristed”, “Anointed” with the Holy Ghost coming in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice anouncing Him as the Beloved S’on. Jesus ministry on Earth ended when he was “cut off:” in the middle of the week,and by His perfect sacrifice made en end of all Jewish sacrifices; this also confirmed (ratified) the Eve and Abrahamic Covenants’ then the over spreading of abominations til the end times and the final 3-1/2 years of the “Day of Vengeance of our God” (read Isa.61). There is no mention what ever of any “7 years” in the Book of Rev’n. The so called treaty between Antichrist and the Jews is false teaching and robs Christ of the Glory of His Sacrifice
    for all mankind. That’s why Jesus stopped in the middle of the verse when he read from Isa.61 in the synagogue in Nazareth. His ministry was to be 2 periods of 3-1/2 years., (1) To preach the acceptable year of the LORD and (2) to proclaim the “Day of Vengeance of our GOD, THE FINAL 3-1/2 YEARS, spoken of in Rev’n under 3 measures of time.

    • Doug Norvell

      The Major Scriptural Problems
      The doctrine of preterism rises or falls on the teaching that all of the events of the book of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 AD. Following is a partial list of prophecies in Revelation that have clearly not yet been fulfilled.
      1. Revelation 9:15-16 prophesies a war that will kill one-third part of men… This has not yet happened in all of history. It must be future.
      2. Revelation 11:1-2 says that Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles for 42 months prior to the Second Coming…This didn’t happen in 70 AD. The Romans simply destroyed Jerusalem. There was no occupation.
      3. Revelation 11:3-12 describes the ministry of two witnesses that will prophesy during the 1,260 days of the great tribulation. They will then be killed and three and one-half days later rise from the dead… Nothing like this happened in 70 AD.
      4. Revelation 13 describes a time when every person on earth will be required to have a number in order to buy or sell…This has never happened in all of history.
      5. Revelation 13 prophesies the coming of the False Prophet who will pull down fire from heaven in the sight of men. He will deceive the world into following the Antichrist by means of those miracles that he has the power to do… Where is the account of this in history?
      6. Revelation 16:12 states that the Euphrates River will be dried up to make way for the kings of the east to invade Israel at the Battle of Armageddon… The Euphrates did not dry up in 70 AD.
      7. Revelation 20:1-6 teaches that Satan will be bound for 1,000 years at the time of the first resurrection… Preterism teaches that the first resurrection occurred in 70 AD. However, the 1,000-year binding of Satan has obviously not yet occurred.

      Other Scriptural and Historical Problems
      Core Teaching: Who is the “he”?
      The core teaching of preterism is that the confirmation of the covenant spoken of in Daniel 9:27 was fulfilled by the ministry of Jesus Christ, and has nothing to do with a coming Antichrist. Preterists also contend that it was Jesus who stopped the daily sacrifice by the sacrifice of Himself on Calvary. It then follows that there is no gap between the 69th week of Daniel’s prophecy and the 70th week. Thus the 70th week has already been fulfilled.
      If Jesus is not the one who confirmed the covenant, stopped the daily sacrifice and placed the abomination of desolation in Daniel 9:27, then the entire teaching of preterism is invalidated. So the pivotal question becomes, who is the “he” who confirms the covenant?
      Notice that the same “he” who is to confirm the covenant in Daniel 9:27 is also to take away the daily sacrifice and to place the Abomination of Desolation.”
      And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the
      overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
      Daniel 11:30-31 tells us in no uncertain terms that it is the Antichrist (the king of the north) and his followers who take away the daily sacrifice and place the abomination of desolation.
      “For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”
      This passage is obviously not referring to the Messiah. Would the Messiah ever” have indignation against the holy covenant?” Would he ever “pollute the sanctuary of strength?” Obviously not! The entirety of Daniel 11:21-45 is discussing the actions of the king of the north -the Antichrist.

      • simon nkambule

        Believe the scriptures almost all is been fullfilled .just ask the holy ghost to reveal it to you and you will see.let me give you a hint (a day is a year in prophecy calendar) do the calculation of 42 week of trebulation on daniel daniel and 62 weeks from the end of daily sacrifices along the way you will discover Who is antichrist (first beast reffered to in revlation 13 from the sea and another one from the earth)
        May the holy ghost bless you with the revelation.
        Our Lord Jesus is Savior and revealer of secrets to his children.

        • The two witnesses are two individuals empowered by God in miraculous ways. There is no reference of them being a large group of people. Their purpose is to preach the gospel and punish the wicked, the enemies of God. Nowhere in scripture is the church told to punish the wicked, but only to preach the gospel to all nations and love our enemies.
          God often does things in the Old Testament as examples then does them is a greater way in the New Testament. In this case, they will have power to do 2 things, shut up heaven so that is does not rain and turn the water into blood along with all plagues. Now that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Where have we heard this before? Elijah shut up the heavens so that it would not rain, and Moses turned the waters into blood and sent many other plagues. These two witnesses are Elijah and Moses. In the Tribulation Period, God will not be relying on willing earthen vessels to fulfill His will on earth like He does during this Age of Grace, but He will be going into action Himself to fulfill His will and judgments and He will not be limited in what and how He decides to do it.