According to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary,
“Rapture: God’s taking the church out of the world instantaneously.”
Rapture comes from the root word, rap: to snatch, and is closely related to rapt: snatched away; transported. The word rapture is not in the Bible, but the definition is certainly fulfilled in the following Scriptures:
1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep [those who have died in belief] in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep [have died]. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
“I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [of the Church Age]. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible [not to die again], and we shall be changed.
After these things [the last messages to all the churches] I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
Although the chronological order of events often goes ahead in time and then comes back to where it left off, the main flow of events carries true through the Book of Revelation.
Upon arrival from the Rapture, it appears that believers will be in their new bodies:
20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Upon being raptured into heaven, the Church elders are depicted with “heads” on which they wear their rewards of crowns:
Around the throne were twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
Then in Chapter Five, the rest of the church (described as living creatures; 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature) is numbered:
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.
The Rapture precedes the revealing of the Antichrist and the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation Period which is not prophesied to start until Revelation chapter 6, and the 144,000 Israelites are not saved until Revelation chapter 7.
25bBlindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles [Christ’s Church is completed] has come in.
26aAnd so all Israel will be saved, as it is written.
Romans 5:9, and 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9 all confirm that believers are saved from wrath by having faith and belief in Jesus.
Next week we will discuss: “When will the Rapture occur?”
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All Scripture quoted is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.