Is the Rapture a Scriptural Teaching?

With this page I hope to make some points about a subject that all should have some knowledge of. I hope here to point out that many precepts that lots of Christian people seem to take as Bible truths are not that at all. We all should be seekers of truth and so letís go into this idea of the "Rapture".

First, as all probably know, the word Rapture does not appear in the Bible at all. The definition of the word is that it is a strong feeling of great joy. Ecstasy is a synonym and implies being overwhelmed or carried away by strong emotion. I suppose that this is the reason that the word has been used to describe what people think will happen when Christ returns. There is reason for this belief based mostly on 1Thes.4:14-17. Here it is in NIV. "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lordís own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Here verse 17 is taken literally and is described by the word Rapture. There has been a lot said about the rapture lately and a number of books have been written known as the "left behind series" of books. "Left behind" referring to those not caught up in the "Rapture".

I guess part of the reason for writing this page is to try to reassure folks that there really is no danger that they might be on an airplane and have the pilot caught off to Heaven or anything like that. There certainly is no intention here to minimize the importance of the Second Coming of Christ. But there is reason to question some of the expectations and conclusions of some, or maybe I should say of many. It amazes me the huge number of people that seem to equate belief in Christ with this idea of what they call the rapture, which is scriptural only, based on their interpretation of scripture. I donít think they realize it, but there are a number of inconsistencies with all this. For instance the scripture says that, "the dead in Christ will rise first". I thought that the belief was that they are already in Heaven. Then it seems that the concern about those left behind is that they will have to suffer the agonies of the time of trouble. If their final destiny is torment forever in Hell, it seems that anything they might suffer in the time of trouble would be small in comparison. I have tried to show in other pages that their final destiny is not torment forever in an imagined Hell of fire and brimstone.

I would like to mention here 1Cor.15: 51. Here it is in NIV. "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed". There are many, and I am one of them, that believe that this is referring to the Second Coming of Jesus. Paul in this whole chapter is referring to the resurrection and is here mentioning the last trumpet and that when it sounds "the dead will be raised" and that they will be "imperishable". This has to be speaking of the church and the first resurrection. This is referred to in Rev.10: 7 as when the seventh angel will sound his trumpet. That the "mystery of God will be complete", the "mystery" being Christís Church.

Thus we "will not all sleep, but we will all be changed". Many believe that the Thessalonians scripture, before mentioned, about "being caught up with the Lord" is being referred to here. All the true followers of Jesus that have died down through the age are here resurrected to be with him. "The dead in Christ will rise first"; this is the first resurrection and will include each one as they now die. When they die they will be immediately raised; they will not sleep. But someone might say, "but the scripture says that they will be raised together". If I understand language this scripture could mean that they will be raised at the same time or raised to be together. I donít think that it makes this distinction. It seems that this scripture could just be saying that they will be raised to be together with the Lord and will not require their physical flying through the air to meet the Lord.

Another scripture that might be mentioned is in Luke chapter 17. Here Jesus is speaking and referring to things such as one being taken and another left. The point is or at least as I see it and Iím not alone, is that he is here not even talking about his Second Coming. He is talking about his followers all down through the age. That all those that hear will not be part of his Church. Matthew 22:14 referred to this. Here Jesus when talking about the marriage supper says that "many are called but few are chosen".

And those that are chosen will have part in the first resurrection, and it very well may be that what is now known as the "rapture" will be a much more natural occurrence than being snatched from seats of airplanes and flying through the air. However it happens Iím sure we will all end up saying, "God is great".

The important thing in all of this is that all should believe in Jesus. Those people all have that part right. I think it is good that our President believes in Jesus. I have written another page that tries to show that to be part of Christís church requires more than just to believe. I hope that this page will interest some to look into what the Bible says about the Second Coming of Christ rather than to be so fascinated by books of fiction that are based on someoneís imagination.