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Monday, May 10, 2010

What is the "Rapture" and is it a Bible Teaching?

The Rapture is the belief that faithful Christians will be BODILY caught up from the Earth, suddenly taken out of the world, to be united with the Lord “in the air.” The word “rapture” is understood by some persons, but not by all, to be the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

The word "rapture" does not occur in the Bible and the belief that faithful Christians will be BODILY caught up from the Earth is not found in the Bible.

Only 144,000 Go To Heaven - Not in Bodily Form

The book of Revelation shows that the total number of those with the hope of going to heaven is a relatively small and limited number: 144,000. Along with Christ, they would be kings and priests in heaven. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-4; 20:6) Included among them would be individuals who had been associated with the congregations in Thessalonica. (Acts 10:34, 35)

The Bible shows that those who will go to heaven (those of the 144,000) will do so only after they have died and not in bodily form. In writing to Christians in Corinth, Paul stated: “This I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52) So upon dying in faithfulness during Christ’s presence, each one with the heavenly hope will instantaneously receive his heavenly reward. “In the twinkling of an eye,” he is resurrected as a spirit creature and “caught away” to meet Jesus and to serve as a coruler in the Kingdom of the heavens.

After referring to the 144,000 Christians with the heavenly hope and who had died, Paul added: “Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (Thessalonians 4:17) “The living” would be those alive during Christ’s presence. They would be “caught away” to meet the Lord Jesus. As in the case of faithful early Christians, death as a human is necessary for them to be united with Christ in heaven. (Rom. 8:17, 35-39)

Vast Majority of Mankind Have Hope of Future Earthly Paradise

The Bible shows that God's original purpose was for mankind to live on Earth (Gen. 2:17) and that the vast majority of mankind would have the prospect of being resurrected in the future to life in Paradise on Earth:

"But the meek ones themselves will possess the EARTH, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace." (Ps. 37:11)

Ps. 115:16 says: "The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the EARTH he has given to human beings." (NRS)

"For thus saith Jehovah that formed the EARTH and made it, that formed it to be inhabited. " (Isa. 45:18) ASV

Matt. 5:5: "Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the EARTH."

Matt. 6:9, 10: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon EARTH."

2 Pet. 3:13: "There are new heavens and a new EARTH that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell."

Related Articles:

Do All Good People Go to Heaven? (WBTS)

Who Will Inherit the Earth? - "As in Heaven, Also Upon Earth"
How should we understand promises of earthly blessings? Are they relevant today? (WBTS)

Eternal Happiness--In Heaven or on Earth?
Heaven is viewed by many as the only place to find true peace and happiness. Is heaven simply a place of blissful peace? (WBTS)

For more, see:


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