For those who may be unfamiliar with the term “rapture,” it means “caught up” and is clearly taught in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17, “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. Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (NKJV). In every passage that speaks of the rapture (see John 14:2-3; 1st Corinthians 15:50-55; Philippians 3:20-21; 2nd Thessalonians 2:1 and 1st John 3:2) there is no indication as to the timing of the Rapture. We are simply encouraged to expect it at any moment, as we see in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also EAGERLY WAIT FOR THE SAVIOR, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In keeping with this truth it’s also instructive to note WHAT WE DON’T SEE in every Rapture passage. We don’t see ANY SIGNS that must precede His coming. This is in contrast to Christ’s Second Coming to this earth to establish His 1,000 year kingdom as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (see Revelation 19:11-16). This grand event will be preceded by many signs (I would encourage you to read Matthew 24:3-31 to see the signs the Lord Jesus gave to His disciples followed by His glorious return as the “Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”…verse 30). This Coming will be seen by all, as taught in Revelation 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM,” while the Rapture will not be seen by the world of unbelievers. This is borne out in 1st Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We (believers) shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in A MOMENT, in THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Because the Rapture is a sign less, imminent event, it is wrong to try to fix dates for when it will happen. This has been done countless times and when the Rapture never occurred as predicted, unbelievers scoffed at the idea of the Second Coming of Christ. We hear of such scoffers in 2nd Peter 3:3, “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” Not only have unbelievers scoffed, but true believers have become disappointed, discouraged, and even doubtful regarding the truth of the Rapture…all because they failed to realize that we are not told to calculate when the Lord Jesus will return to take us home to glory. In fact, our blessed Lord Jesus warned us NOT to set dates for His Coming. We had referred to Matthew 24 previously regarding the Lord’s Second Coming to reign over the earth and in verse 36 Jesus declares, “But of the day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Even believers living during the Tribulation Period just prior to the Lord’s glorious return will be unable to pinpoint the exact time of the Lord’s Advent. If this is true for those who will have many signs preceding His Coming, it is surely true for those of us who are waiting for the Rapture to occur.  (358.1)  (DO)