There are many who would deny the doctrine of thesuggesting that it is a recent doctrine introduced by Darby. However, the certainty of the rapture from Scripture is well established. In fact, there are six raptures spoken of in Scripture…the one that we are waiting for right now is simply the fifth out of six. The six are:
- Us/Believers in Christ
- The Two Witnesses
The first one was Enoch was walked with, who was not and was then taken by the Lord. The Hebrew word lakakh is the equivalent of the Greek harpadzo. We then see that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot. “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire [appeared] with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11) Next we learn from Revelation 12:5 that Jesus was taken up to God. “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne,” (Revelation 12:5). The word for caught up is the same word (harpadzo) that we find in the classic rapture passage of I Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up [harpadzo] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). What we learn is that the event in I Thessalonian, will be of a like nature to what happened in Revelation 12. We know what Jesus’ “rapture” looked like thanks to the detailed description in Acts 1:9-11.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their
sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This [same] Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Thus, we see that when Jesus was caught up He was bodily and visibly taken up. It was not some allegorical event but it was very real.
The next rapture we learn about is when Philip was caught up after speaking with the eunuch.”Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39)
The next rapture will be when the two witnesses are taken up during the tribulation in Revelation 11.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:11)
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. (Revelation 11:12)
Finally, the rapture where believers will be taken up is found in I Thess 4:17 (see above). The timing of that rapture is hotly disputed and this brief article is not the place to address it.
There really shouldn’t be any question about the rapture. Scripture is replete with passages that speak about it. It will be literal, bodily, and visible when it comes. We don’t know the day or the hour, but we do know that it is coming soon.