The Rapture is a subject of much debate, along with many teachings, movies and books. Due to this, many people are confused or not sure about what the Bible has to say concerning the Rapture. Many have been deceived, whether their deceivers deceived them on purpose or are themselves deceived. Do note that the term "Rapture" is not found in the Bible, but is commonly referred to as the "coming of the Son of Man" or "our blessed hope" and similar phrases. This, in part, has led to much of the confusion. Man's own interpretation (some of which led by the Holy Spirit, some not) has helped figure out when Scripture is referring to one event and not another.
So to the best of my ability, and with much guidance from the Holy Spirit, I will attempt to assemble much of the verses in Scripture that may refer to the Rapture and the time just prior to it. In fact, much of the first parts of this began to be fulfilled during the early church and continues to be fulfilled today. As it is, the end has yet to come. Since it is an ongoing fulfillment, I have excluded some parts of the prophecy that have already been fulfilled and likely won't be fulfilled a second time. I am referring specifically to Jesus prophecy of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. This explains why I skipped it some verses in the following work.
Please critic this and show me any bias I may have included so I can fix it. I desire this to be the best it can be without my own bias, although I understand that it is nearly impossible to do. If you see that I am missing some verses, do let me know, as I have attempted to assemble as much as I could find. I cannot stress enough how much I want reader input on this, please help me make this be the best collection of verses about the Rapture that it can be. Even help me fix spelling errors, grammar errors, and typos.
So without any further introduction, here is what the Bible says about the Rapture.
What must happen before the End?
Jesus said that many would come in His name claiming to be the Messiah and that the time is near and will deceive many. We will hear of wars and rumors of wars and revolutions but we are not to be alarmed by this because these things must happen. But the end will not come right away, it is still to come. He said that nations will rise against other nations and kingdoms will rise against other kingdoms, along with famines and pestilences and great earthquakes in various places. This is not the end of the age, but only the beginning of birth pains.
Before all this, along with during and after, we will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death. They will deliver us to synagogues and prisons. We will stand before governors and kings, and all on account of the name of Jesus. This will result in our being witnesses to them. We will be hated by all nations because of Jesus. When we are arrested and brought to trial, we are not to worry beforehand about what to say and how to defend ourselves. We are to just say whatever is given us at the time, for it is not us speaking but the Holy Spirit. Jesus will give us words and wisdom that none of our adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. We will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of us to death.
At that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. Brother will betray brother to death; and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate us because of Jesus, not a hair from our heads will perish. By standing firm we will gain our lives. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the agape of most will grow cold, but those of us who stand firm to the end will be saved. The gospel message will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
From the time Jesus went up to heaven until the time He comes back for us, He is preparing a place for us in His Father's house. Once He prepares a place for us, He will come back and bring us there so that we will be where He is. He is the way to get there, for no one can come to the Father except by going through Him.
What will the End be like before the Rapture?
Before the Rapture, once the gospel has been preached in the whole world, the end will come. It will be a time of great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive; but for our sake (whom He has chosen) those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to us, "Look, here is the Messiah!" or, "There He is!" we are not to believe it; for false Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even us – if that were possible. We can now be alert and be on our guard since Jesus has told us ahead of time.
We are not to go out when someone tells us, "There He is, out in the desert," or believe it when someone says, "Here He is, in the inner rooms." For when Jesus does come, we will see Him like lightning from the east can be seen in the west.
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
What will happen at the Rapture?
Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, causing the moon to not reflect its light. The stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time, the sign of Jesus will appear in the sky, being seen by everyone and causing the nations to mourn. They will see Jesus coming down from heaven on the clouds of the sky, with great power and glory. He will come with a loud command and the voice of the archangel. He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, the trumpet call of God, and they will gather us from everywhere. We will all be changed by the power of Jesus – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. When the trumpet sounds, the dead in Christ will rise first, rising imperishable. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air. And so we will be with Him forever.
When we see all these things beginning to take place, we know that Jesus is near, right at the door; and we ought to stand up and lift our heads, because our redemption is drawing near.
No one knows about that day or hour, not even angels in heaven who are with God, nor Jesus who is the Son of God, but only God the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of Jesus. For in the days of the Great Flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the very day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what was would happen until the flood came and destroyed them. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them. That is how it will be at Jesus' coming. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. In the same way, no one in the field should go back for anything. We must remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. On that night, two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be working together, one will be taken and the other left; two women will be working together, one will be taken and the other left.
What should we do?
So we must keep watch, because we do not know on what day Jesus will come. We must be ready; because He will come at a time we will not expect Him. He will come like a thief in the night. It is like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. So we must keep watch because we do not know when Jesus will come back – whether it be in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If He comes suddenly, we are not to let Him find us sleeping. What Jesus says to His disciples, He says to all of us: "Watch!"
We are to be careful, or our hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. That day will come upon those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before Jesus, the Son of Man.
Some Things I Cannot Say with Certainty
There are a few things I could add in but would clearly favor one theory over the other. Some verses look like they are referring to the Rapture but actually might not. Because of the difficulty to write about it and stay neutral, not favoring one theory over the other, I could not write about it in depth above, but have reserved it for here. Here are some of these.
According to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory, Jesus will come to gather the elect before God pours out His wrath upon the world as referred to in Revelation 6-19 (Link), known as the Tribulation. Basically, those who hold to this idea believe that the elect will be spared from the Tribulation. Jesus may have referred to this when He said in Luke to always be on the watch and "pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen" and in Revelation to the church in Philadelphia that He will "keep them from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth".
This could also be referring to the Great Tribulation, which is the second half of the Tribulation where God pours out His wrath more fiercely. This is core of the Mid-Tribulation Rapture theory, where Jesus will come in the middle of Tribulation to gather the elect before the Great Tribulation. It could be argued that some of which is mentioned in Jesus prophecy is a reference to the first half of the Tribulation.
Jesus seems to quote Isaiah when He referred to the darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the heavenly bodies. The context of the passages in Isaiah that Jesus might be quoting suggests that the Rapture comes as part of the God's wrath. If this is the case, then this would support a Mid-Tribulation Rapture or a Post-Tribulation Rapture. The Post-Tribulation Rapture theory says Jesus will gather His elect when He comes to set up His kingdom on earth and reign for a thousand years. With both the Mid- and Post-Tribulation Raptures, we could very well be in the first half of the Tribulation, with the bulk of the Tribulation yet to come.
Also, Peter makes a reference to the "day of the Lord". It could be that it has nothing to do with the Rapture, but rather Jesus' coming to set up His kingdom, or something else. It could support the Post-Tribulation Rapture theory if it is about the Rapture.
Here are some verses that most likely are about the Rapture, but I could not find a way to include it in the work above.
- Titus 2:11-14 (Link), especially verse 13
- Revelation 22:7, 12-17, 20 (Link) – Either this is about the second coming of Jesus where He sets up His kingdom on earth or it is about the Rapture. Or it is about both, either way it is a good read.
- ↑ Matthew 24:15-20; Mark 13:14-18; Luke 21:20-24 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:4-8 ; Mark 13:5-8; Luke 21:8-11 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:9-11; Luke 21:12-16 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:10-14; Mark 13:12-13; Luke 21:17-19 (Link)
- ↑ John 14:1-4 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:14, 21-25; Mark 13:18-23 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:26-27; Luke 17:23-24 (Link)
- ↑ Luke 21:25-26 (Link)
- ↑ Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:27-28; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (1 Cor. 15:51-52 is commonly believed to be about the Rapture, although it could refer to when Jesus sets up His earthly kingdom); Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:33; Mark 13:28-29; Luke 21:29-31 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:36-41; Mark 13:32; Luke 17:26-36 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 24:42-44; Mark 13:33-37; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 (Link)
- ↑ Luke 21:34-36 (Link)
- ↑ Luke 21:36 (Link)
- ↑ Revelation 3:10 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 13:10, 13:6-16, 34:4, 34:1-17 (Link)
- ↑ 1 Peter 3:10-13 (Link)