The Rapture: What is it? When is it?
In scripture the rapture is described in scripture 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.1Thess 4:17 It is our being caught up to meet the Lord. As He promised I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again, and receive you unto myself.John 14:2-3
The word rapture comes from the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus. 1Thess 4:17 The we...shall be caught up in English is rapiemur in Latin. Rapiemur is the future passive of the Latin verb for to seize away [rapio, -ere, rapui, raptum], and the English wword rapture comes from the future participle of rapio [rapturus, -a, -um], just as the English word capture comes from the Latin word capio.
Our Lord was referring to the rapture in scripture when He said, And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 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.Matt 24:30-31 However, the rapture is only part of this thorough gathering of all His elect. In addition to the Christians who will be gathered into His rest,Heb 4:9 and go to the place prepared,John 14:2-3 the heavenly city.Heb 11:16 The enemy-of-the-gospel elect are also gathered: As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakesRom 11:28 They enter His wrath instead of His rest: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.Ps 95:11 As we go to the place prepared for us, they are returned to Israel: Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel,Ezek 37:12 where they are saved after He has arrived And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstbornZech 12:10 and For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.Rom 11:27 The gathering of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other is all of His elect.
In scripture the Lord says, But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,Matt 24:37 and it is written And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in. And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.Gen 7:16-17 The door was shut and the flood was on the earth. The door to the day of His rest is shut when the last gentile enters-in: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in,Rom 11:25 as in the days of Noah, His wrath will rain down upon the earth. We are also told that the rapture follows the revealing of the man on sin: Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.2Thess 2:1-4 These verses not only tell us that His coming and our being gathered to Him will follow the revealing of the antichrist, but also tell us how he will be revealed. He will sit in the temple showing himself to be God by sitting in God's place: the mercy seat between the cherubim on the ark of the covenant.
The time of the rapture is at the time when the two witnesses ascend into heaven: And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.Rev 11:12 The two witnesses are part of all His elect which are gathered from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Matt 24:31 They are changed, putting on immortality and ascending into heaven, at the same time, the same twinkling of an eye, that we all are changed at the last trump.Rev 11:15 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.1Cor 15:51-53 The church enters His rest and the rest of mankind enters His wrath.
The rest into which the church enters but His-enemy-of-the-gospel elect do not enter is His day of rest Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.eb 4:7 It is the same day as the day of the Lord But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.2Pet 3:10 It begins with His coming like a thief in the night and ends at the end of His 1000 year reign when there is a new heaven and a new earth And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea"Rev 21:1 and His bride, the church, descends in the place He prepared for her And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.Rev 21:2
It is written in second Peter But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,2Pet 3:8 and the day of His rest, the day of the Lord, is a 1000 year day, which is the third day of the prophecy in Hosea to Jews who will live in His millennial reign After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.Hosea 6:2
What is revealed by the 1000 year days in scripture is a week of 1000 year days with the last day of the week being the day of the Lord, the day of His rest. The last three days, the three at the end of the week, are what scripture calls the last days, and are the time of the Messiah, spanning from His first coming and the end of His millennial reign: And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations [goyim: uncircumcised] shall flow unto it. Is 2:2 The uncircumcised have been coming into the kingdom since He left, and the first day is the day in which Adam ate of the forbidden fruit and died at the age of 930 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.Gen 2:17
Early Church Father Tertullian"
But we do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem, 'let down from heaven [Five Books Against Marcion, Book 3, Chapter 25]
Early Church Father Justin Martyr:
We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, 'The day of the Lord is as a thousand years,' is connected with this subject. And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place. Just as our Lord also said, 'They shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but shall be equal to the angels, the children of the God of the resurrection.' [THE SECOND APOLOGY OF JUSTIN FOR THE CHRISTIANS ADDRESSED TO THE ROMAN SENATE, Chap 81]
Early Church Father Irenaeus:
For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.' This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.
[Irenaeus against Heresies, Book 5, Chap 28, sec 3 ]
But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that 'many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' [Irenaeus against Heresies, Book 5, Chap 30, sec 4]
The predicted blessing, therefore, belongs unquestionably to the times of the kingdom, when the righteous shall bear rule upon their rising from the dead. [Irenaeus against Heresies, Book 5, Chap 33, sec 3]