Christians from many different denominational backgrounds are eagerly looking forward to an event widely known as the ‘Rapture.’ End time Bible prophecy is unfolding before our very eyes and the excitement is mounting from day to day.
Unfortunately, a number of people are posting on YouTube videos in which they confidently announce that the return of Jesus in the Rapture will be on this or that day, giving their own personal reasons for their opinion. Many such dates have come and gone, and we are all still here as I write (24 July, 2018).
It is very unwise to waste time in speculation about dates, particularly as Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 24 that even He does not know when His Father will send Him to take home to Heaven those who are ready and looking for His coming. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” [Matthew 24: 36, KJV]. Rather than speculating, we should prioritise getting ourselves ready, making sure that we have plenty of oil in our lamps. It is helpful to read Jesus’ parable about Ten Virgins who were waiting for the arrival of the Bridegroom. Only those with oil in their lamps were able to go into the wedding supper when the Bridegroom eventually came for them [Matthew 25: 1-13].
Topics on the Rapture to be covered in this series
In this series of articles I aim to cover the timely, highly significant subject of the Rapture from various angles. Together we will consider the following, among other topics:
#. The origin and meaning of the word ‘rapture.’
#. What will happen at the Rapture.
#. Who, according to the Bible, will be taken in the Rapture.
#. The main views regarding the timing of the Rapture.
#. The probable explanation of the Rapture that will be given by the New World Order leaders as they come to terms with the unprecedented event of the simultaneous disappearance of millions of people worldwide caught up out of sight in the clouds as all those left behind watched. It is written, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him” [Revelation 1:7, KJV].
#. The Bride of Christ must resemble her heavenly Bridegroom. He is not coming for a worldly Bride. Guidelines will be given on what we can all be doing in order to be ready for the return of Jesus.
#. The importance of leaving a letter, a Bible and other relevant literature, in a conspicuous place for our loved ones who do not believe in the Rapture, or whose lifestyle indicates that they may well find themselves left behind. It would be criminal not to warn our dear ones of the horrendous, irreversible consequences of taking the micro chip during the Tribulation. They need to be told that it will not be too late to be born again after the Rapture, provided they consistently refuse to take the RFID micro chip. A full explanation will be given in a later article.
The origin and meaning of the word ‘rapture’
The English word ‘rapture’ describes a state or experience of being carried away. It comes from the Latin verb, rapio rapere raptum, meaning to seize or snatch away in ecstasy of spirit, or the actual removal from one place to another. It means to be carried away in spirit or in body; the Rapture of the church specifically means the carrying away from earth to Heaven of believers in Jesus who are ready and are looking for His coming.
The Greek word from which the term ‘rapture’ is derived is found in 1 Thessalonians 4: 17 where it is translated ‘caught up.’ The original Greek New Testament word is ‘harpazo’ which means ‘to snatch or take away.’ Elsewhere the word ‘harpazo’ is used to describe how the Holy Spirit caught up Philip near Gaza and instantly brought him to Azotus [Acts 8: 39-40]. The same Greek word is used to describe the Apostle Paul’s experience of being caught up into the third heaven [2 Cor. 12:2-4]. There can be no doubt that the word ‘harpazo’ is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of Christians from earth to Heaven.
Some argue that the word ‘Rapture’ is not in the Bible. The answer I give to this objection is that in the early translations of the Bible, neither are the words ‘trinity,’ or even ‘grandfather’ found, but the concept of both definitely is.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” [2 Corinthians 11: 2, KJV]. Our Heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, will come for those who resemble Him, those who share His nature, those whose life is Christ [Colossians 3: 4]. He will return like a bridegroom coming for his fiancée who is head over heels in love with him. Our Heavenly Bridegroom is coming soon for those who are one with Him – those who are showing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and are eagerly looking forward to His return to take them to His Father’s house in which are many mansions. The marriage has been arranged according to eastern custom, and the Bridegroom has promised His Bride-to-be that He is going away to prepare a place for her and that He will return to take her to Himself [John 14: 1-3].
The Rapture is a Mystery
The Rapture of the church is a mystery: that is, it is revealed in the New Testament only, and is not specifically mentioned in Old Testament Scripture.
The foreshadowing of the Rapture in the Old Testament
However, the Rapture is foreshadowed in the life of Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam and great grandfather of Noah. It is recorded in the book of Genesis that Enoch enjoyed a remarkably close walk with God: “Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him]” [Genesis 5:24, Amplified Bible]. God caught Enoch up to Heaven before the Flood judgment. It is thought that Enoch had given his book, the ‘Book of Enoch’ to his great grandson Noah for safekeeping. It is possibly the oldest book in the world and, incidentally, is available in paperback from Amazon. We have a copy in our family.
Another Old Testament event that dramatically foreshadows the Rapture is the extraordinary way in which the prophet Elijah did not die but was caught up to Heaven in a horse-drawn chariot of fire [2 Kings 2: 11-12].
What will happen when Jesus comes for His Bride? Consider these Scriptures
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” [John 14: 1-3, KJV].
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Listen, and I will tell you a divine mystery: not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in an instant – in the twinkling of his eye. For when the last trumpet is sounded, the dead will come back to life. We will be indestructible and and we will be transformed. For we will discard our mortal “clothes” and slip into a body that is imperishable. What is mortal now will be exchanged for immortality. And when that which is mortal puts on immortality, and what now decays is exchanged for what will never decay, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says: Death is swallowed up by a triumphant victory! So, death, tell me where is your victory? Tell me, death, where is your sting? It is sin that gives death its sting and the law that gives sin its power” [1 Corinthians 15: 51-56, TPT].
Jesus said, “Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Remain passionate and free from anxiety and the worries of this life. Then you will not be caught off guard by what happens. Don’t let me come and find you drunk or careless in living like everyone else. For that day will come as a shocking surprise to all, like a downpour that drenches everyone, catching many unaware and unprepared. Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage and grace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur and that you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with a clear conscience” [Luke 21: 34-36, TPT].
The Apostle Paul wrote, “This is the word of the Lord: we who are alive in him and remain on earth when the Lord appears will by no means have an advantage over those who have already died, for both will rise together. For the Lord himself will appear with the declaration of victory, the shout of an archangel, and the trumpet blast of God. He will descend from the heavenly realm and command those who are dead in Christ to rise first. Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage one another with these truths” [1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18, TPT].
The Apostle Paul also wrote, “Now, beloved brothers and sisters, concerning the question of God’s precise times and specific seasons, you don’t need me to write anything to you. For you already know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and as a complete surprise. For while some are saying, “Finally we have peace and security,” sudden destruction will arrive at their doorstep, like labor pains seizing a pregnant woman – and with no chance of escape! But you, beloved brothers and sisters, are not living in the dark, allowing that day to creep up on you like a thief coming to steal. For you are all children of the light and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night nor to darkness. This is why we must not fall asleep, as the rest do, but keep wide awake and clearheaded” [1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6, TPT].
Who will be caught up?
Those “in Christ” – 1 Thessalonians 4: 16
Those who belong to Him – 1 Corinthians 15: 23
Those who are worthy – Luke 21: 36
There can be no shadow of a doubt that, although we cannot know the day of the Rapture, we can, and certainly do, recognise that we are in the season of Matthew 24: 6-8, in which Jesus will be sent by His Father to take His bride home. Since the middle of the last century the incidence of earthquakes and volcanoes, wars and deadly epidemics has increased to a previously unprecedented degree of frequency and intensity. How great is our responsibility to warn the lost, and to be much in prayer for their salvation.
A Note on The Passion Translation
Many Christians, like me, are finding that when they read verses in The Passion Translation that they’ve read maybe a hundred times before, those verses are suddenly springing to life. As I have quoted a number of verses from TPT in this article, it seems a good place to share something about how this powerfully impacting Bible translation came to be written.
A few years ago, the Lord granted Dr Brian Simmons a visit to Heaven and commissioned him to write for Him a new translation of the Bible that would be ‘full of passion.’ Jesus promised to help him, and His hand can indeed be seen throughout Brian Simmons’ work. This is what he writes on his website about his Translation:
“The Passion Translation is a new, heart-level translation that expresses God’s fiery heart of love to this generation using Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts, merging the emotion and life-changing truth of God’s Word.
“So why another translation? Many wonderful versions of our Bible now grace our bookshelves, bookstores, software programs, even apps on our phones. So why add one more? The reason is simple: God longs to have his Word expressed in every language in a way that unlocks the passion of his heart. The goal of this work is to trigger inside every reader an overwhelming response to the truth of the Bible, revealing the deep mysteries of the Scriptures in the love language of God, the language of the heart.
“If you’re hungry for God and want to know him on a deeper level, The Passion Translation will help you encounter God’s heart and discover what he has for your life.”
Dr. Brian Simmons
Note from So Greatly Loved
Sid Roth interviewed Dr Simmons on ‘It’s Supernatural’ three years ago. It is an enormously uplifting interview, simply full of the miraculous. I feel the Lord would have me share the video link. May you be blessed as much as I have been.
In this first article in a series on the Rapture, Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com.