Is the Rapture Real?

I suppose we shouldn’t even call this post a “Revelation misconception” since there isn’t really anything in Revelation about people being taken to Heaven while everyone else gets “left behind.” In fact, there’s very little in the Bible that speaks to this view and the idea doesn’t really match the Biblical narrative. Christians have always generally suffered through great tribulation just like anyone else all throughout history (though it’s possible God will protect us from some of that final tribulation just like He did Israel during the plagues of Egypt). But it’s important we do endure difficult times because we are God’s witness to the world and how we serve others in suffering helps bring them to Jesus. 

There are a few passages in the Bible that talk about us joining Christ in the air, the primary one being 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. However, if we look at these passages in the light of the main story arch of the Bible, we see that these verses are not about us being raptured away to Heaven, but rather, when Jesus finally returns to earth, we will be taken up into the skies to join Him on His way down. Christians are His welcome home party. But Christians only go up in that moment to immediately come down. 

After Jesus died, He was resurrected into a new glorious, imperishable, immortal body which Christians will one day will put on too (1 Corinthians 15). Paul saw Jesus’ return as our resurrection moment. When Jesus appears in the sky, first, all of the Christians who have died before us will be resurrected to join Him. Second, any Christians who are still alive on the earth at that moment will be resurrected to join them as well. So the Bible doesn’t paint us as flying off into Heaven never to be seen again, since resurrected bodies belong on the new heavens and new earth. Rather, the Bible paints us as flying into the clouds to join Jesus in His descent. 

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