Do you believe in the rapture?
The rapture is a false doctrine arising from a misunderstanding of scripture. The word rapture does not appear in the Bible. ‘Rapture’ comes from the Latin Vulgate.
From Wikipedia: Rapture, when used in eschatological terms, is an English word used in place of the Latin word ‘raptus’; taken from the Vulgate, which in turn is a translation of the Koine Greek word ‘harpazo’, which is found in the Greek New Testament manuscripts of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 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.
Using Strong’s Concordance:
Caught up <726> harpazo; from a derivative of 138 (choose, take).
It is translated in the King James Version – ‘catch up’ 4 times, ‘take by force’ 3 times, ‘catch away’ 2 times, ‘pluck’ 2 times, ‘catch’ 1 time, ‘pull’ 1 time. Meaning - to seize; carry off by force; claim for one’s self eagerly; to snatch out or away.
The false doctrine of the latter-day antichrist, rapture and tribulation is a misunderstanding of prophecy.
God’s kingdom is not in heaven. No one other than Jesus Christ goes to heaven.
John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
God’s kingdom will be upon the earth.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
God’s kingdom will be the restored kingdom of David bearing rule over all the earth.
Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Daniel writes of this time:
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
Isaiah writes of this time:
Isaiah 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
The psalmist is inspired to write of this time:
Psalms 2:6 Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’"10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
This is the time of righteous judgment in the earth prophesied by Paul:
Acts 17:31 "because He (God) has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
The antichrist is not something we are waiting for. It has been active within the church since the first century AD.
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
The deception that Christ didn’t come in the flesh i.e. as a man, is enshrined in the false doctrine of the trinity which insists that Christ is God with the nonsense that he was 100% man and 100% God at the same time – thus denying that he was flesh exactly as we are.
The antichrist has been alive and well for centuries and its false doctrines are firmly entrenched within mainstream Christianity.
The tribulation in the last days is centred on Jerusalem and will bring an end to the down-treading of Jerusalem by the gentiles.
Luke 21:24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Matthew 24 contains a prophecy concerning Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s return.
Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15 "Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 "Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 "And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand. 26 "Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The great tribulation is the gathering of the nations against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.
Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.
Further detail is given in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This is also the battle of Armageddon described in Revelation 16.
Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
From verse 15 we see that Christ returns to gather the faithful whilst the nations are preparing to make war on Israel. The faithful will be raised from the dead and gathered with the living to meet the Lord in the air.
They are not taken to heaven because they are to reign with Christ on the earth.
1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For 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. 17 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.
The living faithful are gathered as described in Luke 17:
Luke 17:34 "I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 "Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 "Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left." 37 And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
Following this gathering they will be with Jesus when he saves and restores the nation of Israel as the kingdom of God upon the earth.
Revelation 20: 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
The return of Christ with his saints will begin with an earthquake that will change the topography of the land of Israel.
Zechariah 14:3 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. 5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You.
Christ and his saints will rule over the mortal population of the earth for 1000 years; after which there will be a second resurrection and final judgment. Sin and death will be eradicated and all who live on will possess the divine nature. God will live in and with his people on the earth forever.
Paul explains what is going to happen:
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Revelation 21 describes this time:
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
This will be the fulfilment of God’s purpose.
Numbers 14:21 "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD—.
I hope you find this helpful.