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What Is the Rapture?

Study Biblical Theories About an End Times Rapture

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What Is the Rapture?
Bryan Mullennix / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

Many Christian faiths believe and teach about a future, end-times event when all true believers who are still alive before the end of the world will be taken from the earth by God into heaven. The term describing this event is "the Rapture."

Although the term "rapture" is not found in the Bible, the theory is based on Scripture. Those who accept the Rapture theory believe that all non-believers on the earth at the time will be left behind for the tribulation period. Most Bible scholars agree the tribulation period will last for seven years, the final seven years of this age, until Christ returns to set up his earthly kingdom during the Millennium.

The English word "rapture" is derived from the Latin verb "Rapere" meaning "to carry off," or "to catch up."

When will the Rapture occur?

There are three main beliefs regarding the time frame of the Rapture:

Pre-Tribulation Rapture:

The most popularly taught view among Christian faiths is known as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, or "Pre-Trib" theory. Those who accept this perspective believe the Rapture will happen just before the tribulation period, at the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel. The Rapture will usher in the final seven years of this age. True followers of Jesus Christ will be transformed into their spiritual bodies in the Rapture and taken from the Earth to be in Heaven with God. Non-believers will be left behind to face severe tribulation as the antichrist prepares to take his place as the Beast half way through the seven year period. According to this view, non-believers will still come to accept Christ, in spite of the Church's absence during this time, however, these new Christians will endure extreme persecution, to the point of death by beheading.

Post-Tribulation Rapture:

Another popular view is known as the Post-Tribulation Rapture, or "Post-Trib" theory. Those who accept this perspective believe that Christians will remain on the Earth as witnesses during the seven year tribulation period, until the very end of this age. According to this view, believers will be either removed or protected from the terrible wrath of God predicted toward the end of the seven years in the book of Revelation.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture:

A less popular view is known as the Mid-Tribulation Rapture, or "Mid-Trib" theory. Those who accept this perspective believe that Christians will be taken from the Earth to be in Heaven with God at some point during the middle of the seven year period of tribulation.

How will the Rapture Occur?

According to several verses in the Bible, believers will suddenly, without warning, disappear from Earth in the "twinkling of an eye."

Continue to "Biblical References to the Rapture."

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