The Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology that refers to “being caught up”.
The Koine Greek of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 uses the verb form ἁρπαγησόμεθα (harpagisometha), which means “we shall be caught up” or “taken away”, with the connotation that this is a sudden event.
The dictionary form of this Greek verb is harpazō (ἁρπάζω). This use is also seen in such texts as Acts 8:39, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, and Revelation 12:5.
The primary passage for the belief in the rapture comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 17. Let’s take a look at what it says.
The Bible Verses That Talks About The Rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
You can see in this passage that the Apostle Paul is encouraging the believers in Thessalonica about the fate of those who die before the return of Christ. He is telling them that they will raise from the dead when Jesus returns. He then goes on to say that the rest of us that are left here on this earth will be caught up in the air to meet them and Jesus.
It is the term “caught up” that is called “the Rapture.” However, this is not the only occurrence of people having been caught up. Let’s look at the other examples in scripture.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.
The Apostle Paul had an experience that he talks about being caught away as well.
2 Corinthians 12:2-4
2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know – only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.
The Apostle Paul here does not know if his experience was real or a vision. However, he does describe being caught up to what he called the third heaven. Now, this does not mean that there are 3 levels in heaven. It is the Greek definition of the place where God resides. The first heaven is the sky, the second heaven is outer space, and the third heaven is where God lives.
Finally, and probably the greatest example of someone being caught up to heaven is the example of Jesus Himself. The book of Revelation alludes to this in Rev. 12:5 but the story is told in Acts 1.
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
And this is where it ties back into the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Just as they saw Jesus ascend into the clouds, we will see Him return and meet Him in the clouds.
When Will The Church Be Raptured?
There is a lot of speculation on when this will happen. Some say it will be a pre-tribulation rapture, others say a mid-tribulation rapture, still, others believe in a post-tribulation rapture, and some quibble over the timing and say it is a pre-wrath rapture.
I believe that the church will be raptured before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth, however as to timing, I honestly don’t have a clue. I guess you could say I believe in a pan-tribulation rapture. It will all pan out in the end!
The fact remains that the Bible does teach that believers in Jesus will be caught up (raptured) when Jesus returns. So here you have it. I have shown you where in the Bible it talks about the Rapture.