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What is the rapture?

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People often get confused because the term “rapture” does not occur in most Bible translations, but the concept the word represents—a calling up of God’s people without them dying—is biblical. The word itself comes from a latin word meaning “carrying off/snatching away.” Also, many Christians don’t agree on when or if the rapture occurs. If you’d like to read our article about rapture timing, you can find it here.

There are several passages to consider that help us understand what the rapture is, but the basic answer is that God has a time of judgment planned for the world where He will pour out His wrath on all who have not allowed Jesus to take His wrath on their account, and He intends to “snatch away” His people from the earth before that wrath is poured out, because the wrath was already poured out on Christ on their behalf. The wrath is not for the believer, but for those who have refused to hide within the Son.

Though views vary concerning the rapture’s timing, the one constant is that the church at the time the rapture comes—rather than facing ordinary human death—will be called up to be with the Lord in the air and then will always be with the Lord, a permanent homegoing (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17). They will join those who have died before them. Another word you will often hear along with the “rapture” is “the tribulation,” which is the description of that time of God’s wrath that occurs at the end of the age which is basically the subject of most of Revelation 4-19.

For further study, you would do well to read and digest the following Scriptures that speak of the event: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, 1 Corinthians 15:50–54, Matthew 24:29-31, Revelation 4-22 (most of the book).

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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