"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess, 4:16-18).
"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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:51-53).
What are these Bible passages telling us? Let's take a close look at the first one. Jesus will come out of heaven into the clouds. (He will not come to the ground at this time) The dead in Christ will rise out of their graves to meet their Lord in the air. After that, we who are on earth minding our own business will suddenly be "caught up." This is where we get the term "Rapture." The Latin translation of the term "caught up" is rapturo which is where we get the word rapture in English. It means to snatch away by force without warning.
Now, the second passage. Paul starts off by revealing a mystery. The concept of the Rapture was not taught in the Old Testament. The fact that God would join gentiles into one body was a mystery. We shall not all sleep,- that is, we shall not all die. In the twinkling of an eye, we will receive our glorified body. Combined with "Rapture", the context makes it clear that this event will take place in the "twinkling of an eye." Jesus will take his bride to his Father's house (John 14-2) We will then enter Heaven with our Lord.
As to the timing of this event, there are 3 prominent views. The first is a post-trib rapture- This view teaches that the 2nd coming of Christ and the rapture will be one event. Christ will come in the clouds, catch up his church, and then perform a u-turn right back down to earth. This belief is not consistent with scripture.
The second is a Mid-trib view. This view teaches that Christ will return in the middle of the tribulation. Around when Antichrist sets up the "abomination of desolation"
The most constituent and credible view is called the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This view teaches that before the tribulation period, the rapture will occur. This implies that the event would be imminent. That is- no warning signs will have to occur. I personally believe that the Church will be raptured prior to the tribulation. Whatever our views are, the most important thing is that we all come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour over our lives. Through this everything else mentioned in the Bible lies upon. Amen.
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