What Is the Rapture?

From the earliest days of the church, Christians have anticipated a day in which Jesus will return for all those who believe in Him. This hope is rooted in many Scripture passages, all of which make it clear that the issue is not whether Jesus will return but when.

The term rapture is derived fromĀ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 . Like other texts referring to Christ’s return, this passage speaks of Jesus returning in power and glory to resurrect the dead. But more clearly than any other passage, it tells of His “catching up” of believers.

The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

The term rapture itself is taken from Jerome’s 4th century Latin translation, the Vulgate. He translated the Greek term for “caught up” with the Latin term that had the same meaning — rapiemur. Rapiemur is from rapto, the word from which rapture has been derived.

Not all Christians use the term rapture, but for many Christians this term aptly represents the glorious moment when Jesus will appear in the sky to “catch up” His church before returning to rescue a remnant of Israel and set up His kingdom on earth.

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