Tap to Read ➤

What is the Rapture in the Bible?

Marlene Alphonse
One of the most important and most divisive topics in the Bible is the Rapture. Read on to know more about it.
There are a number of contradictory views regarding the Rapture. Many theologians believe that a time will come when the believers will be taken to heaven. However, many denominations of Christianity do not accept this doctrine.
According to the Christian eschatology, this event will take place just before the Second Coming of Christ, where all the Christians will 'catch up' or be 'carried off' to heaven. This event is considered to be a mid-air gathering of people to commune with Jesus, just before He Comes.

Rapture in the Bible: Unveiling the Mystery

The literal meaning of the word 'Rapture' doesn't mention physical transportation at all, but instead describes it as a mental state of being lost in something very engrossing (this is where the word 'rapt' comes from). 
There is no specific mention of the word 'Rapture' anywhere in the New Testament of the Bible. However, many have been believing it to be imminent for the last few decades. In John 14:1-3, Jesus instructs believers to have unwavering faith, as those who trust in Him and God above will enter heaven in glory.
There are 2 instances in Old Testament regarding the Rapture. The prophets Enoch and Elijah are described to have been taken to a 'different place' in their physical form. Another reference is seen in St. Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians where he says that Christians will enter the Paradise along with Jesus in all grandeur where good conquers over evil.
The Rapture will be a sudden phenomena, and not everyone from the family will be taken. There would be no time for preparation and the followers will be taken in their human form. This meeting between the followers and Jesus will take place 7 years before the Day of Judgment. The Armageddon will be the last phase, where a war between good and evil will rage.
The real meaning of the term is a conflict between the 2 denominations of Christianity, the Dispensationalists and the Amillennialists. The Dispensationalists (Pretribulationists) are of the opinion that this event will occur before Tribulation but according to the Amillennialists (Posttribulationists), the Second Coming and the Rapture is one single event.

When is the Rapture Predicted to Happen?

There is no exact time or date described for the Rapture to take place. But the Bible mentions a tentative period when this phenomenon may happen. It is divided into three periods - pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation. 
A reference to tribulation can be found in the Book of Revelation, which mentions a seven-year gap during which the faith of many a believer would be tested. The period of tribulation is also referred to as Daniel's 70th week. The number seven is of significance in the Bible, where it is mentioned a number of times, both in the Old and New Testaments.
It is said to occur in a 'twinkling of an eye' (as mentioned in many Bible verses), suddenly and without any intimation. People will disappear or will be taken in a flash, sans any premonitions. The three different time frames are based on a single theory of a seven-year period, which is believed to fall before Christ's Second Coming.
  • In the pre-tribulation, the followers, after receiving spiritual bodies, will be taken to heaven before the tribulation. The non-believers will be left to perish, when the Beast (presumably the Antichrist) will begin his reign on Earth.
  • During the mid-tribulation phase, also referred to as mid-trib, the believers will be lifted up.
  • The post-tribulation is the end of the period. This is believed to be the present age, which precedes the Second Coming. In this phase, the remaining people will be protected from God's wrath or will be completely eliminated from the face of the earth, as mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Biblical References

A few Bible verses that refer to this prophetic event have been mentioned, for a more clear understanding.

✦ At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ~ Matthew 24:30-36
✦ Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. ~ Matthew 24:40-41

✦ For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. ...
... After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
✦ Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
✦ Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. ~ John 14:1-3
Being one of the highly debated topics in the Church, it is completely one's own choice whether to believe in the Rapture or to not.