Dr. Andrew C S Koh
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever (please read the rest of 1 Thessalonians 4 on your own).1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Paul spelled out the end-time prophecy concerning the rapture in this passage. The word rapture is derived from the words caught up in verse 17. The Greek word for caught up is harpazo. The Latin word for harpazo is raptura. Rapture comes from the Latin word raptura. The Thessalonians Christians were worried because many of them had died but Jesus did not come back. They wondered whether they had missed out on the second coming. Paul reassured them to the contrary.
Rapture is not the same as the second coming of Christ as these are 2 separate and different events. On the day of rapture, Jesus Christ will come down from heaven preceded by an angel’s shout and a loud trumpet blast. The trumpet is a shofar or ram horn. Christians will be caught up to heaven to meet the Lord in the sky. Two groups of Christians will be raptured, The first group will be those who had died before the rapture. The second group will be those who are still alive at the rapture. The rapture is imminent, meaning that it can happen at any time. No one is privy to the exact day or time, except God, the Father, Matthew 24:36, 41-21.
But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.Matthew 24:36
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and one will be left.Matthew 24:41-42
The rapture will come suddenly, like a thief in the night, 1 Thessalonians 5:2. Those raptured will be transformed into spiritual, imperishable, and immortal bodies to meet the Lord in the sky, 1 Corinthians 15: 52-53. Even those who died a long time ago will be resurrected and raptured. How this is even possible is a mystery and God is revealing this to us.
For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.1 Thessalonians 5:2
Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.1 Corinthians 15:52-53
There are three theological positions on the timing of the rapture i.e. pre-tribulation, before, mid-tribulation, at the middle, and post-tribulation, at the end of the 7-year tribulation. The second coming of Christ will take place at the end of the 7-year tribulation, Revelation 19. Christ will set up His millennial kingdom on earth. for 1000 years, Revelation 20. This theological position is called pre-millennialism.
If you subscribe to pre-tribulation rapture, the rapture is imminent, which means it can occur at any time. However, if you subscribe to mid or post-tribulation, it will not be imminent. Certain events must happen first, for example, the anti-christ appearing onto the world scene, the signing of the peace treaty, building of the the third temple, and so on before the rapture can occur.
Are you rapture-ready? Are you sure, you will make it to the rapture? Are you sure, you not be left behind?
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. If you are not a Christian yet, you can become one right now, right where you are. In a simple prayer, confess to Jesus that you are a sinner, acknowledge that you believe He died for you on the cross, and surrender your life to Him. Find a Bible-believing church near you, inform the pastor about your prayer, join in the fellowship of believers, and grow in the faith.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of salvation by grace and justification by faith in Jesus Christ. Thank You that You died on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins for us. Thank You for speaking to us through Your word. Help us to be ready before the rapture by accepting You as our Lord and Saviour. Help us be vigilant of world events even as they unfold and be aware of the times that we are in. We pray for mercy, grace, protection, wisdom, and knowledge, in Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.