What will the rapture be like? The Bible gives us four things:
1. There will be a return. John 14:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:16
The original “I’ll be back” came from Jesus, not Arnold Schwarzenegger. We’ve already seen in John 14:2-3 that Jesus told his disciples that he was going away, to the Father, to prepare a place for them and that when he was finished preparing the place, he would return for them. Well the rapture is the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to return. In fulfillment of His promise 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us that at the rapture “…the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” In other words, Jesus will return for us.
Everyday when I leave the house I say to the kids “Ok – I’ll see you in a bit.” When I run an errand I say to Kristin “Ok – I’ll see you in a bit.” I say this because I’m not going away forever – only temporarily. Jesus in effect told us before ascending to heaven, “Ok – I’ll see you in a bit.” So the first part of the rapture involves Jesus’ return (as promised).
Now don’t confuse this with Christ’s second coming. He’s returning for his church, but he’s not returning to the earth (at this time). When Jesus came to die – that’s what we refer to as his first coming. When Jesus comes to reign (for a thousand years) – that’s what we refer to as his second coming. You see, for it to count as one of Jesus’ comings, he has to actually touch down on the earth, which won’t happen during the rapture. First Thessalonians 4:17 is clear on this point when it says we will “…meet the Lord in the air…” At the rapture Jesus will return for his church, but he will not return to the earth at this time.
So we see that first there will be a return. Secondly we see that…
2. There will be a ruckus. 1 Thessalonians 4:16
When Jesus returns he’s going to make a great big commotion. We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that when he returns it will be “…with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…”
You must understand that in the Bible the trumpet call consistently was used to gather people together. For example, in the Old Testament…
- In the Old Testament when the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness for 40 years, Numbers 10 tells us that it was trumpet that would gather them together, whether for worship or for war.
- In the New Testament, the trumpet serves the same exact purpose. In Matthew 6:2 Jesus instructed the people that when they gave their tithes and offerings they weren’t to announce it with trumpets. The idea here is that they weren’t to gather everyone together to show off how generous they were.
As a kid my dad would whistle for us. Wee-Ooh-Weet! Wee-Ooh-Weet! It called us each night from the neighborhood to gather together for supper. I remember getting lost as a kid and listening for Dad’s whistle. It was the call “come gather over here!”
In the same way – all throughout the Bible the trumpet was used to gather people together. So it makes perfect sense that when Jesus returns, he will blow the trumpet, which is the call for the church to gather together to meet the Lord in the air.
So we see that secondly, during the rapture there will be a ruckus. Thirdly we see that…
3. There will be a resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
1 Corinthians 15:20 says “…Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Christ was the first to be raised from the dead, but not the last. Here’s how it will work at the rapture…
- If you’ve already died when Christ returns you will resurrected first.
- If you’re alive when Christ returns you will rise to meet the Lord in the air directly after the dead in Christ are raised.
The other day I was at Costco and the lines were backing up. A new cashier opened her register. Who got to get in this new line first? The ones who had been waiting in line the longest. In the same way, those who have been waiting the longest (those who have already died) will be the first to rise from the dead at the rapture. As 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 puts it “…the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up…”
So we see that thirdly there will be a resurrection. Fourthly we see that…
4. There will be a reunion. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that when Jesus returns we “…will be caught up together with them [that is, with our deceased Christian loved ones].” I personally believe this will be the second most emotional experience humanity has ever had.
- children will be reunited with their formerly deceased parents
- a mother will finally meet the baby she miscarried
- a father will be reunited with his son that he lost to Leukemia
- friends who will have been separated for years will reunite
It’s going to be absolutely awesome! Now I say it’ll be the second most emotional experience because at this time we will meet our Savior for the very first time. As great as the reunion will be, it will be far better to finally see Jesus face to face! But I digress. My point is this: At the rapture, there will be a reunion.