The word “rapture” is not actually found in the Bible. It is a term we use for a series of events that happen in the end times.
What takes place at the rapture?
- Jesus leaves heaven and comes to the earth (technically, in the air over the earth)
- The Christians who had already died and were already in heaven with Jesus will receive resurrection bodies and be with Jesus in the air
- The Christians who had not died and were still on the earth will rise in the air to meet Jesus and their earthly bodies will be transformed into resurrection bodies
- (All Christians from past & present, formerly dead and alive, are now in the air with Jesus)
- A heavenly decree is issued that the kingdom of the world (of which the Antichrist is the ruler) is now the kingdom of God and Christ. Thus, the Antichrist is overthrown by decree, but it is not until after the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out that Jesus & the army of resurrected believers actually come down to the earth from the air to wage war and physically overthrow the Antichrist and his kingdom.
When does the Bible say that the rapture occurs?
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (ESV)
51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (ESV)
15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Revelation 11:15-18 (ESV)
15Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.
18The nations raged, but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name, both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
What are the major events that occur after the rapture of the church?
- Revelation 16 – the angels pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath (plagues) on the earth
- Bowl #1 – harmful and painful sores on those who have the mark of the beast & worship its image
- Bowl #2 – sea turned to blood and every living thing in the sea dies
- Bowl #3 – rivers and springs of water turned to blood
- Bowl #4 – sun scorches people with fire & fierce heat; people curse God and do not repent
- Bowl #5 – kingdom of the Antichrist is plunged into darkness; no repentance
- Bowl #6 – Euphrates River dries up; demonic spirits go out to assemble the kings of the earth for battle against Jesus and the resurrection army, assembling them the place called Armageddon.
- Bowl #7 – Greatest earthquake ever; cities fall; fall of Babylon; islands and mountains are gone; 100 pound hailstones fall from heaven on the people.
- Revelation 19
- Jesus & the resurrection army come down from heaven to destroy all those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
- Beast and false prophet thrown into the lake of fire
- Revelation 20
- Satan bound for 1000 years
- 1000 year (Millennial) reign of Christ
- Satan released from prison
- Satan deceives many on the earth (not Christians in resurrection bodies) to rise up against God, but fire comes down from heaven and consumes them
- Satan is thrown into the lake of fire
- Great white throne judgment (non-Christians resurrected; all whose names are not found in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire)