the rapture part 1
THIS BLOG DEALS WITH THE MEANING, THE PURPOSE OF RAPTURE AND THE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES FROM WHICH 'THE RAPTURE' CAN BE VIEWED.

WHAT IS RAPTURE?

DO NOT CAUSE ANYONE TO STUMBLE, WHETHER THE JEWS, GREEKS (THE GENTILES) OR THE CHURCH OF THE GOD.’ (1 COR. 10:32). IT IS EVIDENT FROM THIS PARTICULAR VERSE THAT THE BIBLE, THE HOLY WORD OF GOD DIVIDES THE WHOLE HUMANITY WITHIN THREE CATEGORIES: THE JEWS, THE GENTILES AND THE CHURCH OF GOD. THE CHURCH IS A SPECIFIED COMMUNITY WHICH IS CALLED OUT OF THE JEWS AND THE GENTILES AS ONE BODY WITH THE CHRIST BEING THE HEAD (EPH. 2: 11-12)
IN THE FINAL DAYS OF THIS WORLD, GOD WILL DEAL WITH EACH OF THESE THREE ENTITIES INDIVIDUALLY. AT ANY MOMENT CHRIST THE BRIDEGROOM WILL APPEAR TO TAKE AWAY HIS BRIDE, THE TRUE CHURCH FROM THE PRESENT WORLD. THIS EVENT IS TERMED AS RAPTURE, WHICH IS THE LORD’S COMING INTO THE AIR.

PURPOSE OF RAPTURE

NOW THAT WE HAVE SEEN WHAT RAPTURE IS, LET’S DRAW OUR ATTENTION TO THE THREE-FOLD PURPOSE OF RAPTURE. FIRSTLY, CHRIST BEING THE BRIDEGROOM WILL COME TO TAKE AWAY HIS BRIDE, THE TRUE CHURCH IN THE PRESENT TIME. THIS IS EVIDENT FROM EPH. 5:22-33 WHERE PAUL COMPARES THE UNION OF HUSBAND AND WIFE TO THAT OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.

THE NATION OF ISRAEL AND ITS FINAL RESTORATION IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY DEAR TO OUR LORD’S HEART. THUS, MAKES IT THE SECOND PURPOSE OF RAPTURE. THIS WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE DAY OF ARMAGEDDON (REV. 16:16), THE FINAL BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL WHICH IS ALSO REFERRED AS THE FINAL WORLD WAR WHEN HE WILL APPEAR ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVE TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AND ‘TO KILL’ THEIR ENEMIES (REV. 19:13-15).

THE THIRD AND THE FINAL PURPOSE OF RAPTURE IS TO ‘DESTROY’ THE PRESENT HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. IN 2 PET. 3:10, THE AUTHOR REVEALS, ‘BUT THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF. THE HEAVENS WILL DISAPPEAR WITH A ROAR; THE ELEMENTS WILL BE DESTROYED BY FIRE, AND THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING DONE IN IT WILL BE LAID BARE.’ FURTHER IN REV. 21:1-4 WE SEE THE CREATION OF ‘A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH.’ 

RAPTURE FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

THE TERM RAPTURE IS DERIVED FROM THE LATIN WORD ‘RAPTARE’ WHICH IN BIBLE IS TRANSLATED AS ‘CAUGHT UP’ (1 THESS. 4:17). RAPTURE PARTICULARLY REFERS TO THE LORD’S SECOND COMING BUT IT CAN ALSO BE SEEN FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.

RAPTURE AS A PLUNDER

THE WORD ‘HARPAGMOS’ IS THE GREEK TRANSLATION FOR ‘CAUGHT UP.’ THE WORD ‘HARPAGMOS’ MEANS ROB OR PLUNDER. A THIEF ROBS SOMETHING WHICH IS VERY PRECIOUS OR EXPENSIVE. IN A SIMILAR FASHION, OUR LORD IS COMING TO ‘PLUNDER’ THE MOST PRECIOUS AND EXPENSIVE THING ON THE EARTH, THE TRUE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BRIDE (REV. 3:1-3). HERE’S A NOTABLE THING, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LORD’S SECOND COMING AND THE THIEF. THE THIEF COMES TO ROB SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM. BUT OUR LORD IS COMING TO SNATCH AWAY SOMETHING THAT ALREADY BELONGS TO HIM (1 THESS. 4:17; 5:1:3, REV. 3:3). HE PURCHASED ‘HIS OWN’ WITH HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD WHICH IS UNLIKE THE CORRUPTIBLE THINGS LIKE GOLD AND SILVER BUT IS PURE AND FLAWLESS (1 PET 1:18-19).

RAPTURE AS A VOYAGE

THE RAPTURE CAN BE SEEN AS VOYAGE OR MOVING UP TO A NEW PLACE. PAUL IN 2 COR. 12:2 USES THE SAME WORDS, ‘CAUGHT UP TO THE THIRD HEAVEN’ WHICH PROVES THE FACT THAT THE RAPTURE WILL BE AN EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL VOYAGE FROM THE EARTH TO HEAVEN. MOREOVER, WE HAVE AN EVERLASTING HOPE TO BE WITH THE LORD IN HIS FELLOWSHIP FOR ETERNITY AND WE KNOW THAT THE LORD IS PREPARING A PLACE FOR US AND HE WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE US TO BE WITH HIM (JOHN 14:3).

RAPTURE AS THE RESCUE FROM DANGER

IN 1 THESS. 1:10, PAUL MENTIONS THE COMING WRATH WHICH IS OFTEN REFERRED AS THE GREAT TRIBULATION. IT IS THE EVENT THAT WILL FOLLOW UP THE RAPTURE. WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT IT IN THE FOLLOWING BLOGS BUT FOR NOW IT IS ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE COMING WRATH HERE IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION. 1 THESS. 5:9; REV. 3:10 MAKES IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE LORD WILL SNATCH US AWAY FROM THIS EARTH BEFORE THE GREAT TRIBULATION. THERE ARE MANY INSTANCES IN THE BIBLE WHERE THE GOD’S PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RESCUED FROM THE DANGER. FOR INSTANCE, CONSIDER THE LAST VISIT OF PAUL TO JERUSALEM WHERE THE MULTITUDE FURIOUSLY SURROUNDED HIM TO TEAR HIM APART INTO PIECES, (ACTS 23:10). THE CHIEF CAPTAIN REALIZED THE NEED TO RESCUE PAUL FROM THIS DANGER AND HENCE COMMANDS THE SOLDIERS ‘TO GO DOWN AND TAKE HIM AWAY BY FORCE FROM AMONG THEM.’ THUS, PAUL WAS RESCUED FROM THE DANGER.

CONCLUDING THOUGHT

AS PAUL WAS RESCUED FROM THE DANGER, IN A SIMILAR FASHION THE CAPTAIN OF OUR SALVATION, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL SNATCH US AWAY FROM THE GREAT WRATH TO COME. BUT FOR THAT WE HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR HIS RETURN BECAUSE HIS COMING WILL BE LIKE A THIEF, IN SILENCE AND STEALTH. 

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK Mr. KOSHY MATTHEW FROM BORIVALI CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLY, MUMBAI. IT IS THROUGH HIS HELP AND STUDY THAT WE COULD INTERPRET THIS PARTICULAR SUBJECT IN THE RIGHT MANNER.