The word "rapture" may stir up thoughts of something so wonderful that it would take us out of the mundane and ordinary every day experience and lift us up to a place of sheer joy; just like the song says: "Caught up in the rapture of love." This word "rapture" is defined in Funk and Wagnalls dictionary as: "The state of ecstatic joy” as well as it being: “the act of transferring a person from one place to another, a snatching away." It also notes that the word rapture: "comes from the Latin word 'rapio' which means to seize or the state of being rapt" (to be carried away or transported bodily.)
Now there is another word I'd like to speak about. "Hope". This word has lost it's meaning over time. It is now mostly used in a sense of "wishful thinking", but not with any real expectation that the thing hoped for will actually happen. For example, the weather report forecasts rain. But we might say: "I hope it doesn't rain because I made plans." So off we go, with umbrella in hand, because we really didn't expect that bright sunny day. We only wished it would be so. Yet the dictionary describes hope as: "to desire with expectation of obtaining, to have confidence. Desire accompanied by expectation."
I bring these two words up because of their Biblical connection to each other. The Rapture is a future event promised to all who have been born again. It is also known as “our blessed hope”...something we can expect with confidence according to His word to us.
Jesus said He would come again to take all who believe in Him to be where He is, or rather, where He was about to go since He spoke these words while He was still here on earth.
"In my father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you will be also."
The Apostle Paul wrote about this experience saying:
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet call of God: and the dead in Christ will come to life first; then we who are still living will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so will we be forever with the Lord."
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Awesome isn't it? And wonderful beyond words! And yet it seems so odd to me that this, being the Hope of all who believe in Jesus as their Savior, is spoken about so little amongst Christians. And, even worse, among the saved ones who are aware of it, some of them refuse to believe it. But regardless of whether we believe in it or not, it will absolutely occur at the appointed time. The dead in Christ (in other words, those who have died who believed in Jesus as their Savior or Messiah over, approximately, the past two thousand years) will be resurrected, and those of us who believe, who are alive at the time of His appearing (aka: the Rapture) will 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. We will literally be "snatched away" by Jesus Himself fulfilling the promise that He made when He said that He would come again to take us to be where He is. We will all be given brand new bodies suited for eternity that will never feel pain, get sick or die ever again.
Paul put it so beautifully when he wrote:
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
He also wrote in another place about the Rapture saying:
"Behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep (in other words: die) but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (it will happen that quickly) at the last trumpet, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we (the living) will be changed. For the corruptible (the dead) must put on incorruption and the mortal must put on immortality; then will be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory"
Here it is again. The dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible and those of us who will be alive at the time that this event will occur, will be changed from mortal to immortal by the power of God. And, as mentioned before, we will be given bodies like Jesus had after He was raised from the dead. (Philippians 3:21) Now this amazing event may have been a mystery to the people that Paul wrote these words to in the first century, but it is not a mystery anymore.
You may ask: "When will this event take place?" It will happen before the Day of Wrath begins because it has also been revealed that "Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come." (1Thessalonians 1:10, 1Thessalonians 5:9 and Romans 5:9-11).
So, what is the day of wrath? It is a time when judgment will be executed on the unbelieving world (see Revelation chapters 6-20). But, God, knowing this day was coming, has been calling out to all mankind to receive His generous offer of salvation for centuries. It is not His will that anyone perish but that all would be saved. (1Timothy 2:4) Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ has been proclaimed all over the world and many have received God's gift of eternal life by faith. So, anyone left behind to experience the coming judgment, which God gave His utmost to save them from, (John 3:16) will have been left behind by their own choice. Perhaps they thought that religion would save them. Or maybe they chose to rely upon their own "goodness" or "righteousness" to qualify them for Heaven. What ever their reason will be, one thing is for sure, they rejected God's gracious pardon through Christ and chose their own way. On the other hand, those experiencing the Rapture will be people from all different nationalities, cultures, races and beliefs. What they all will have in common though is that; at one time in their lives, they faced the fact that they were sinners and, in a moment of humility, accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Simply put, they bowed the knee to Jesus.
Now there are also those who recognize that they are sinners but choose to live in and die in sin rather than to accept deliverance from sin and it's consequences, the second death being the final consequence of sin. (Revelation 20:15) But I am writing this to those who believe in happy endings. Jesus Christ is that happy ending.
For God made him (Jesus) who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Jesus is the promised Messiah sent by God to take away the sins of the world. He is the Savior of the Jew and of the Gentile (non Jew). But if you reject the atonement that he offers to you, your sin will remain and that sin will be judged. But those of us who have accepted GOD's gracious pardon through faith in Christ, have passed from death to life. We have a true hope. And this "Hope" is the "Rapture".
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, and whoever has love for the Father has love for his child (Jesus).
1 John 5:1
That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord (ruler, messiah) Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him (Jesus) from the dead, you shall be saved.