Why The Rapture. The rapture of the church has been in the news frequently in the past several years. The Mayan calendar debacle, the controversial pastor, Harold Camping who was “spiritually ignorant,” failed at two predictions. Even the popular bible teacher, Hal Lindsey made a failed rapture prediction in his book, “The Late Great Planet Earth.” Whenever such predictions fail, the church take a hit, but as history has proven time and time again, the church recovers because the gospel and everything surrounding the gospel can not be stopped.
Instead of digging into the dogma and the doctrinal interpretations, “which are many,” lets take a closer look at one aspect of the rapture of the church.
There are two stand-out passages that prove the rapture event spoken by the Lord Himself.
1. John 14:2. 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.
2. John 14:3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The best way to understand the rapture of the church is to have a basic understanding of Jewish wedding traditions, and to understand why Jesus snatches away or raptures His bride.
A contract must take place between the groom and the father of the bride. In this context the father of the bride is God. And some sort of dowry is exchanged between the groom and the father of the bride, again in this context the dowry is Jesus paid it with His life, and blood in exchange for His bride. Then after all the particulars are agreed upon, the husband (Jesus) goes away, sometimes the groom will have little or no contact with his bride. This is the beginning of the betrothal period.
Since the ascension of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the church age described in the book of Acts, the church remains in the betrothal period. It is also at this time that the husband goes away and begins building a home for his bride, John 14:2. The betrothal period is also refereed to as the Church age.
I want to be very clear that when a believer dies, pre-rapture, their spiritual body goes to be with the Lord, the physical body remains behind awaiting the rapture. The Apostle Paul said, We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8.
The Rapture Event.
Another aspect of the rapture, the physical part of receiving the bride.
The English word “rapture” is derived from the Latin verb “Rapere” meaning “to carry off,” or “to catch up.” The Greek word found in the Bible,” Harpazo. It is found in the following scripture below, which is the “harpazo” passage. The Apostle Paul wrote exactly how the application of the rapture will take place, it is by the Lord Jesus who gives a shout and a voice of the archangel that begins the rapture event.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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.
Again, the Apostle Paul addresses what will happen to the dead in Christ first, then to those who remain alive in physical form. (1 Cor. 15:51-53.) “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”
Since flesh cannot enter Heaven something has to happen to the physical part left behind of those that have died before the rapture and to those that are alive when the rapture event occurs. The physical body represent the sin nature that all people possess, this also applies to those that have died, many people who have died previous to the rapture event are either bones, dust or ash, this also covers believers who’s physical bodies do not take up a place in the ground, many believers have perished in the oceans and seas or on mountains and such.
What happens to all people (believers) at the moment of the rapture is truly remarkable. The dust and bones of the dead and those that are alive will undergo a transformation or translation, this will happen in a blink of an eye. What happens is again remarkable. This corruption mentioned in the above passage represents our sin nature, essentially our sin nature is destroyed, this is the reason why physical flesh cannot enter Heaven. Obviously the physical flesh (mortal) represents our sin nature and thus believers cannot put on immortality unless it is utterly destroyed.
Immortality represents many factors and actions. Jesus promised to all that will call on His name they would be saved and would live forever. Immortality also represents that in order to ensure our immortality a sacrifice must be made, and not just to atone for sin, but to wash away sin for good. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood cleaned the world of sin, but only to those who believed or will believe. Jesus became a vessel in which all sin will be poured into. When the bride enters Heaven, it is God, because of the sacrifice of His Son that will look upon the bride as a virgin, washed clean by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Now that we understand the rapture event, the translation or transformation of the dead and those in the flesh, the question as to why the rapture takes place begs to be answered.
Why The Rapture.
Believe it or not, the church is not populated by an infinite number of believers, in fact, the church population is finite in number. Some believe that the number of the church or bride is low in number, quite frankly, at least to me, this level of thinking is disturbing. It diminishes the power of the Holy Spirit and the affects of the Gospel message and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit described in the book of Acts ushered in the Church age. It would be utterly impossible to calculate the number of people over the last two thousand years that have died believing in Jesus Christ.
Since the rapture event isn’t date specific then it has to be a number event. The church has suffered through two thousand years of persecution and survived, but in our modern world, persecution still exists, while apostasy grows quickly. The Apostle Paul says it best in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. Paul was talking about the rapture first, and backed up his statement in saying that the rapture will not occur until apostasy comes first.“
To put this in layman’s terms, at the onset of the rapture the world refuses to have anything to do with the church and the one the church reflects, that is Jesus Christ and the gospel. What the world craves today is a system of belief with no effort or accountability. Paul described a by-product in the lack of accountability, he called it (itching ears.) 2 Timothy 4:3. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
In my opinion, the itching ears syndrome is occurring today, not just here in the U.S, but around the world. The word apostasy is defined as: a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc. The world is abandoning the gospel message for something simple, something that people can embrace while running away from accountability. Jesus described the reality of the itching ears syndrome to the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, chapter three, verse 15-17.
(Rev 3:15.) “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
(Rev 3:16.) “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
(Rev 3:17.) “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Something happens that ushers in the rapture.
It is obvious that when the rapture occurs a determination is made at the Throne of God that peoples own desires will result in shunning Jesus Christ, the gospel and those who’s testimonies point to Jesus Christ. It is not that the gospel message has no power, on the contrary, the gospel is one constant in the created universe, a power that no one can stop. To put in in simpler terms, the people at the time of the rapture want nothing to do with God and Jesus Christ and those that carry the gospel message. The rapture will occur when the Godhead of the Throne determines that the hearts of those who are neither hot nor cold keep rejecting Jesus Christ, and when They have made this determination of the heart of the people, only then will the rapture occur, thus bringing an end to the Church Age.
By removing the church, only then can wrath begin. At an unspecified time, the removal of the church will pave the way, first for the coming of the Antichrist, and the great revival described in Revelation 6:9, Revelation 7:9. The coming of the 144,000 witnesses, the two witnesses, etc.
It is my hope that you, the reader of the article will come to the Lord Jesus Christ and call on His name, and be saved.