Jesus Reaps / Rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:17 forms the basis that associates rapture with
the arrival of Jesus Christ in the clouds. "Rapture" is from the Latin term "rapio," which is a translation
of the Greek term "harpazō."
Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up (harpazō) together with
them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
(1 Thess 4:17)
The Latin "rapio" and the Greek "harpazō" means to "seize" or "carry off."
While rapture is not well understood, it is often confused erroneously with resurrection where a person's
soul is joined with a body. Note carefully that the first resurrection occurs later
If one takes the time to consider all of the evidence, a clearer picture of rapture emerges:
1. While on earth, Jesus speaks of reaping / harvesting through a couple parables: the Parable of the Tares
(Matt 13:24-30, 36-43) and the Parable of the Dragnet
(Matt 13:47-48); these parables describe the gathering of Believers and
separating them from non-Believers at the end of human history.
2. There are two accounts of Jesus' second coming: a) Jesus' prophetic account of gathering the elect
(Matt 24:29-31), and b) the apostle John's witness of Jesus reaping
(Rev 14:14-16). What the apostle John describes as "Jesus reaping"
is in reality Jesus is sending out His angels to gather Believers from around the heavens
(Matt 24:31) and the earth (Rev 14:15).
3. When carefully observing the apostle John's account of the heavenly Temple of God, the only human souls
that he sees are a) saints who died for their faith (Rev 6:9-11), b)
tribulation saints (Rev 7:13-15), and c) the 144,000 bond servants
(Rev 14:1-3). There is no mention of Believers who did not die from
persecution of their faith. Elsewhere in the Bible, third heaven is described has having, in addition to the
Temple of God, "the city of the living God / heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb 12:22-24),
which could reasonably be where the other souls of saints reside.
4. The apostle Paul, writing to the churches of Corinth and Thessalonica, provides additional information
of this reaping but with a view towards Believers (1 Cor 15:51-54;
1 Thes 4:16-18). Note that while the apostle Paul is speaking generically
of all Believers, the period of this last trumpet is of the great tribulation.
When Paul speaks of the last trumpet, "the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be
changed (1 Cor 15:52-54), he is speaking in the context of immortality
and being clothed, not resurrection. It is this robe of righteousness (Rev 6:11;
7:9-14; 19:7-8) that defines
"immortality" and fulfills the saying that "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
6. The data infers that rapture is the time that Jesus and His angels gather all of the souls of Believers
to the Temple of God so that they may receive their white robe and attend the marriage feast
Understanding the apostle John's narrative of God's judgment is difficult because it is
punctuated with a parallel contextual account. This obscures the purpose of rapture and gathering of all to the
marriage feast, and these interruptions can be easily seen:
Rev 11: the 7th trumpet is mentioned.
Rev 12 - 13:
interrupts the narrative of God's judgment with an account of Satan, the origin of the beast / antichrist and
Rev 14: the reaping by Jesus is mentioned.
Rev 15 - 16:
pertains to the dispensing of the bowls of judgment.
Rev 17 - 18:
interrupts the narrative of God's judgment with information on the subtle and seductive influences that lead
people astray from God and the subsequent judgment of the symbolic representative of this influence – Babylon.
Rev 19: mentions the fine linen robes, bright and clean,
that represent the righteous acts of the saints required for attendance to the marriage feast.