Christianity can be condensed into four words: Admit, Submit, Commit and Transmit. -Samuel Wilberforce
The word rapture is taken from the Latin verb (rapere) which is used in the Latin Bible in 1 Thess. 4:17. The English meaning is “to be seized” or “to be caught up”.
The Rapture refers to an event which will mark the end of the Church Age and which will be an occasion of great joy to Christian believers. All believers, both those who have died and those who are alive at the time, will be taken up to meet Jesus Christ, who will have returned to “the air”, earth’s atmosphere. Then, the Christians and the Lord Jesus will return to heaven together. At the time of the Rapture, Christ will not set foot on earth; and He will be visible only to believers. READ 1 Thess. 4:17; Acts 1:11.
The Rapture is to be distinguished from the Second Advent of Christ. While the Rapture sets the stage for the Second Coming, these are two separate events. A chart giving comparisons between these two future appearances of Christ is found in a later section of this article.
There has been controversy for many generations concerning the timing of the final events in human history. The position held by the majority of categorical and fundamental Bible teachers is as follows:
* We are presently in the dispensation known as the Church Age, and we do not know when this age will end.
* The Rapture will occur at the end of the Church Age; and the day of the Rapture will be the first day of the sever-year period known as the GreatTribulation.
* The Second Coming of Christ will occur on the last day of the Tribulation period and will usher in the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ.
The statements above are part of a position, or viewpoint, concerning the chronology of the final events of human history, a doctrinal concept known as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture / Pre-Millennium Tribulation view. There are several other schools of though among Christian scholars; and this article does not attempt to sort out the differences in these viewpoints categorically.
* The living hope, 1 Peter 1:3
* The blessed hope, Titus 2:13
* The purifying hope, 1 John 3:3
The Rapture takes the sting out of death, 1 Cor. 15:54-56.Therefore, the Rapture removes the despair of bereavement, 1 Thess. 4:13-18. This confidence in the Rapture comes through the obtaining of wisdom, discernment, and knowledge of the Plan of God, Job 19:25-27. The edified believer has confidence. The result is blessing, peace, a relaxed mental attitude, and stability.
Contrasts Between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ