For many years I believed that a rapture would happen. I mostly was concerned for my mother because she has been through an inordinate amount of suffering in her life (more than most, like Nazi holocaust level suffering) and so I assumed that God would remove her before the Tribulation occurred if it occurred within her lifetime. I believed it because so many Christians do so I thought it was a given. I didn’t see myself as someone who would be taken because, somehow, in my thinking I thought that it wasn’t just about Christians being taken but that it was certain Christians who would be. I thought that the ones who would be taken were people who had suffered greatly already and had achieved a higher state spiritually-people who were more enlightened and that if they were left here, it would be both redundant and cruel. I did not see myself as someone who has achieved that status.
Recently, I started talking to some people online about the rapture and found out that now, there are all these different beliefs attached to it. Some believe in a pre-trib rapture, some a mid, some an end-trib rapture and some believe in all three. Then I started looking up information about the rapture online and discovered that the rapture came from a theologian named John Nelson Darby. In his researching of the Bible, he found certain scriptures that sound as if it is describing an event where people are taken before the Tribulation. This was in the 1830s. It has stuck since that time but I also found that the scriptures he is getting this from, he is simply misinterpreting their meanings. Because of discovering this information and because of what is happening in the world right now, I seriously doubt that a rapture will take place (I actually think it is now too late and should have occurred already if it were going to) and even though I would like to be taken, I am more upset that my mother won’t be. She has already learned all she could (at least I feel that way) learn from suffering. All I can do is have faith that God knows what he is doing and that she will be taken care of in the way he feels is most important.
The word 'rapture' is not written in The Bible. The rapturist gets from the Latin translation of Greek harpazo
, which means to literally seize. Greek harpazo
is the word used for "caught up" in the KJV Bible.
2 Corinthians 12 and Acts 8 with Philip are the main examples we have in God's Word to go by.Acts 8:39-40
39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
The "caught away" phrase is Greek harpazo
. As soon as Philip had baptized the Ethiopian, God caught away Philip to another location on earth. Philip did not die, nor was he changed in any way for God to do that.
The other main example of harpazo
was by Paul:
2 Cor 12:2-4
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up
to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up
into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Per Acts 14, Paul was once stoned and assumed dead, and the Apostles stood over him and Paul arose. So most likely the above description of the one caught up was about Paul himself; he was being modest.
What was 'caught up' to Paradise in Paul's example? We know Philip was merely transported on earth while in his flesh to another location. But in Paul's case, something else was "caught up".
There are several examples in the OT Books of the prophets, especially Ezekiel, and how The Spirit took hold of them and transported their spirit by vision to another locale, or heavenly scene (see Ezek.3, & 8, and 40). Paul didn't know whether he was 'in the body' or 'out of the body' when caught up to Paradise.
Per the story of Lazarus and the rich man which Jesus gave per Luke 16, the location of Biblical Paradise is in the heavenly dimension, not our earthly dimension. So what part of Paul's being was "caught up" to that location?
With many NDE's (near death experience), people have reported how during surgery they somehow found themselves out of their body and above near the ceiling looking down on their flesh body on the operating table and doctors, nurses, etc. They mentioned not feeling any pain, and their not being able to communicate with those in the room. This kind of thing scares many people, but plenty of doctors have reports of it from some of their patients.
That's not something we should be scared about, but we should understand it. Per God's Word, we are not just a flesh body. God made us with a spirit inside our flesh body that at flesh death a "silver cord" is severed, releasing our flesh back to the ground where it came from, and our spirit goes back to God Who gave it (Eccl.12:5-7). Obviously, the one Paul said was "caught up", their "silver cord" was not severed, and was thus revived.
This shows us how to interpret the "caught up" of 1 Thessalonians 4 about our gathering to Christ Jesus at His 2nd coming. Per that Jesus descends to this earth, bringing the "asleep" saints with Him, and then those of us still alive are "caught up" with them in the clouds.
Will that be like the Acts 8 example with Philip? Partially. Being seized (harpazo) and transported to another location is involved with the future 1 Thess.4 event.
And will that future event be like Paul's in 2 Cor.12? Yes, more so. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul defined the resurrection body being a "spiritual body". And he revealed that on the "last trump" we alive shall be "changed" "at the twinkling of an eye", suggesting that our flesh shell will immediately be cast off, revealing our "spiritual body".
That is what God's Word teaches on that matter.