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.

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

5 Responses to “When is the Rapture?”

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.