The rapture of the believers is the day of the appearing of the Lord, in which all those who are still alive will be caught up in the clouds with Him:
“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.
16For the Lord Himself will descend from the 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”. – 1 Thess. 4:15-17
The word ‘rapture’ although not used specifically, in the original Greek, the word translated to mean ‘caught up’ also means a rapture.
In the Christian circle, rapture as explained here by Paul the apostle, is an event that will take all believers whether ‘asleep’ (meaning dead) or living at the time into the eternal presence of God. Those who ‘sleep’ will ascend first, followed by the living.
The rapture is a time that the living believers in Christ always look forward to, because though we are in the world, we are not of the world and the troubles of this world have us looking forward to the eternal glory of God’s presence.
Before the Rapture
There are things we should be aware of as believers; we must know the timing of things in the plan of God. What are the characteristics that should tell us when the rapture is at hand?
Jesus gave us a lot to watch out for in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. Let’s take a look:
“’Tell us’, they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.’”
- Matthew 24:3 NIV
We see the desire of the disciples to know and be ready. They were wise enough to ask this question, which led Jesus to reveal the knowledge we know have. So, from the chapter, if we are to summarize the things that Jesus said, we can paraphrase them to be:
Before the rapture;
- Many will come in my name claiming to be the Messiah (false messiahs and saviors); v4-5;
- You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; v6;
- Nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; v7;
- There will be earthquakes and famines; v7;
- Believers will be persecuted and put to death, and hated by many because we are named by the name of Christ; v9;
- Some Christians will renounce Christ and hate and betray each other; v10
- False prophets will deceive many; v11; and finally;
- The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give light; the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken; v29
So, Jesus is kind enough to give us a road map and things to watch out for, to point our remembrance to the rapture. These are the events that will lead to the great day of the rapture as spoken by Jesus, the Son of God.
After the Rapture
These are the events that will commence after the rapture:
- When the people of God are taken away from the earth, they will stand before God as in a judgment to receive their reward for their deeds, not a judgment to determine hell or not. [Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15]
- There will also begin a period of suffering and great tribulation upon the remnant on the earth. [Revelation 6:17]
- Jesus will return again to establish His kingdom on the earth and reign for a thousand years. [Revelation 19:15; 20:4]
- Satan will be thrown into prison for the thousand years. [Revelation 20:2]
- Satan is then released to deceive the nations into a final battle against the saints, but he will lose and be thrown into the lake of fire, where the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet are also. [Revelation 20:7-10]
- All those who didn’t accept Christ will be resurrected and judged. They will be cast into the lake of fire where they will suffer their fate of everlasting punishment. [Revelation 20:11-15]
- Then, there will be a new heaven and a new earth; a new Jerusalem of God where the redeemed will dwell forever. [Revelation 21 and 22]
These are the events that will take place before and after the rapture.
Though no man, angel or even the Son of God knows the day of the appearing, we are given signs to guide us, and encouraged to watch and pray that we may not be caught unawares.