Q. Hi! First I would like to thank you for such a wonderful website. I have a question. I have always believed in the rapture of the church, mostly because that is what I have always been taught. However the more I read in the Bible, the more I am convinced that every scripture that I am directed to that supposedly refers to the rapture is actually talking about the second coming of Christ (after the tribulation). I just don’t find any scripture that solidly backs up the idea of a rapture. It really is frustrating to have others pointing out one line of scripture here and there that supposedly backs it up, only to find that when I read more than that one verse it seems to cause more doubt about the rapture. I would truly appreciate any help in this matter.
A. The mysterious nature of the rapture derives from the fact that it’s a secret event, and is purposely left unclear. Paul described it as a sudden instantaneous disappearance of all believers that comes without prior warning (1 Cor. 15:51-53) and is meant to take everyone, including Satan, by surprise. It wasn’t introduced on Earth until nearly 20 years after the cross.
Another clear reference to the rapture is the passage from which it gets its name, and that’s 1 Thes. 4:16-17. The Greek word there is “harpazo”, and is translated “caught up” in English in v. 17. But it means “rapture” in Latin, the first language the Bible was translated into, and from then on that’s what it was called. You can tell it’s not the 2nd Coming because in the rapture the Lord will only come part way to Earth and then we will go up to be with Him. At the 2nd Coming, the Lord will come all the way to Earth to be with the people here.