What is the Rapture?

Many people say there is no mention of the rapture in the bible. They are slightly correct, because the word ‘rapture’ is not found in the Greek bible, instead the Greek bible mentions the word ‘harpazo’.  Then where do Christians get the word ‘rapture’ from? When the Greek bible was translated into Latin, the word ‘harpazo’ was translated into ‘rapio’ which means ‘caught up’ in English. English translations are based on the Greek bible and not Latin, that’s why we have the words ‘caught up’ as translation of ‘harpazo’. Because Latin was the mainstream language that was used by Europeans, the Latin bible became more accepted to English speakers. More and more English speaking believers started translating the word directly from Latin, and ‘rapio’ became ‘rapture’. So in essence, ‘caught up’ and ‘rapture’ means the same thing.

Christians consider the rapture to be the single most important feat in history. For me, it will be the most exciting day of my life! But what is the rapture? This is the meaning of the rapture: “For 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. After 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

The rapture has four dimensions:

1.Jesus Christ will come down from heaven

Is this the much touted second coming of Christ? No! The second coming of Christ has to do with Him establishing His Kingdom on earth forever and ever. In this second coming, He’ll be accompanied by believers of all eras (both old and new testament). He’ll be literally establishing His Kingdom in Jerusalem for 1000 years, then forever and ever afterwards. On this second coming, He’ll have a small matter of the Battle of Armageddon to sort out first. This will be a literal war, where all people who denied Jesus fight against Him and His angels.

On this particular return (the rapture), His mission would be to get all believers dead or alive to be with Him in heaven for the ‘wedding supper of the Lamb’. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He said “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). How long will the ‘wedding supper of the Lamb’ take? 7 years! Can you imagine a seven year non-stop wedding bash? No you can’t, and neither can I, but that’s what it’s going to be!

2. Dead people will rise

This is very exciting. Imagine if the rapture happens on Saturday morning when people in the townships bury their loved ones, when all of a sudden they see tombstones removed and no bodies in the tombs. Unlikely? How about this one? A family prepares to bury their loved one, when they suddenly see a coffin empty with nobody in it. Still impossible, right? That’s what’s going to happen on that time. People will disappear in cemeteries, and funeral parlours will have bodies unaccounted for. They’ll be gone, and it will be the biggest scandal in the history of funeral undertaking.

3. Living people will disappear

Jesus described this plainly. He said “I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:34-36). We’ll all be posting on the forum, when all of a sudden believers disappear. For the first time this forum will be without Christians, if they are sincere at the moment. Some people will be sitting at their desks with their colleagues, when they disappear and their colleagues shout out of fear. Others will be in church, when few disappear and the majority cry because they lived a life of hypocrisy.  Some pastors will be left behind, and they will be beaten by their congregation for misleading them. That will be a day when Christians are separated from ‘Christians’.

I hope I’ll be at home with my family at that time, so we can miraculously disappear together.

4. Caught up together in the air

The law of gravity says it’s impossible for men to float (fly) in the air. But on that day the law of gravity will be broken forever, and it shall never be recognised any more. Both living and resurrected Christians will float to the sky and meet Jesus there. How would we manage to float with these bodies? The bible says we’ll get new bodies that are similar to the body that Jesus Christ got when He Himself was resurrected. This body will allow us to float in the air and travel millions of kilometres into space. It will be the biggest re-union the world has ever seen! We’ll be meeting people whom we have only read about in books. Most importantly for me, I’ll be re-united with my folks who died as believers. There are other people I’m looking forward to meet.

After meeting Jesus in the sky, we’ll be floating all the way to heaven, trillions of kilometres away. We’ll passing the sun, moon, stars, galaxies and going straight to third heaven where God lives. We’ll be doing what NASA will never ever do.

On the other hand, it will be sad not to see people I expected to see. The bible is not clear on this, but I believe we’ll be able to see people who are left behind. When we look down on earth, we should be able to have a view of what’s happening in the world. The thought of seeing people who are left behind will kill our hearts. I hope I never have to see any of my family members.

But the bible does mention that God will wipe away our tears (Revelations 7:17). How will God do that? I don’t know! Will we forget our loved ones who are left in the world? I also don’t know!

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