Questioning the Rapture?
I have seen some folks recently denying and greatly misunderstanding the Rapture as taught in the Bible. There seems to be great confusion about what the Rapture is, and when in eschatological chronology, it is supposed to happen.
Some people apparently conflate "Rapture" with the timing of the Rapture in a very strange way. They think that those who teach of a Rapture, or the mere mention of that word necessitates that they hold the position of pretribulation dispensationalism. That is not at all the case, and it seems they are woefully unaware of the various Rapture views within premillennialism (the dominant eschatological view of the early church).
I've even seen, and shaken my head at, people saying the Rapture wasn't invented until the 1830's which is again confusing pretribulationism with the Rapture. They are not the same thing. Pretrib simply describes the timing of the Rapture in relation to the Great Tribulation according to that one view.
John Chrysostom “For when a king drives into a city, those who are honorable go out to meet him; but the condemned await the judge within.”
Let's first define the term
The word Rapture comes from the Latin translation of the Bible, and it is found in the first letter to the Thessalonians 4:17 which reads, "deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur [rapture] cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus."
In English, that's "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
In the original Greek, the word translated "caught up" is αρπαγησόμεθα of which the lexical word is αρπάζω, which means to snatch away or carry off.
So the Rapture refers to an event in which the Lord will gather together and "carry off" those that believe in Him. That this will happen is an undeniable truth of Scripture. Only the timing of the event is disputed.
Hopefully that clears up a lot already.
While 1 Thessalonians 4 holds the principle teaching of the Rapture, there are many more verses in Scripture that describe this event.
Verses on the Rapture
John 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
This verse plainly states that just as it is certain that Jesus will leave (His ascension), He will return to receive His own. We will be caught up and gathered to Him.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him"
Will we be gathered to the Lord? Absolutely. This is the Rapture.
Matthew 24:31 "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
This is a very clear verse in the well-known chapter on the Second Coming that describes believers being gathered together. This is the Rapture. This verse lines up with what we read in Revelation 14:14-16. The same event.
There are many other verses we could look at as well such as in found in Matthew chapter 13, or 1 Corinthians 15, but for this post I don't think it is necessary to go on and on. The point has been made: Believers will be gathered to the Lord, caught up in the air, exactly as the Bible teaches.