Seems the closer we get to the event Christians commonly call “The Rapture”, the more argument I hear about it. As we examine the subject, we must first acknowledge that the word rapture is mentioned nowhere in The Bible. For this reason, there are Christians who claim that there will never be an event described as “The Rapture”. Further, they say that because there were no sermons mentioning the Rapture before the 1800’s, the early Church (going as far back as the Apostles) never recognized “The Rapture”. While these few facts, (which their conclusions are based upon) are technically correct, they are misleading and not representative of all the information we have on the subject.
While it is true that the word “Rapture” is not mentioned in The Bible, the whole concept of the event stems from specific verses, the most clear of which is:
KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
16 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:
17 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
You see, before “The Rapture” was being preached in the 1800’s, The Church called the event “The Catching Away”, and researchers have found sermons on the subject dating back to around 300 AD. Since Christianity was barely made legal by the Roman Empire around this time, I would say the early Church recognized the “Catching Away”.
So, whether you call it “The Rapture” or “The Catching Away”, just what is this event, any way? Well, it’s not only when the dead in Christ are resurrected and meet Him in the clouds, but also when those who are still alive in Christ shall be gathered in the clouds to meet Him in the air and be with The Lord forever. Verse 17 couldn’t be clearer about that. Yet, I don’t believe that just because we may still be alive during the “Catching Away”, that we will be caught up in our present form. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 gives the reason most believe the Catching Away is also a great metamorphosis for Christians.
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 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.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 John 3:2 describes the change further:
KJV 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
I believe Revelation 19:7-8 describes the completed metamorphosis:
KJV Revelation 19:7-8
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
The Bride of Christ is the Church, and one of the purposes of the Catching Away is the rescue of the Saints. At some point after The Church has left, the Tribulation begins. That isn’t to say there won’t be any Tribulation Saints, but those will be the ones who accepted Christ after the Catching Away. Life will be difficult during the Tribulation to be sure, but the next time The Lord comes, He comes as a conquering King followed by the Raptured Saints:
KJV Revelation 19:11-14
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
These are only a few examples of the many scriptures which support what the Rapture is, but are great examples as to why I believe in The Catching Away. I choose to believe in it exactly as The Bible says. That’s why I watch the sky…