The word means ecstatic joy or delight.
For the Christian it is the joy we will have when we are caught up in the clouds to see Jesus!
This future rapture event is best described in 1 Thessalonians 4:
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The rapture was the topic this weekend at our high school winter camp. At any moment, in a moment (1 Corinthians 15:51-57) we could be in the clouds with Jesus! This reality should encourage all Christians to find comfort in our present troubles (John 14:1-3) and to purify us in our present temptations (1 John 3:1-3). This weekend we were praying God would save those who do not love Jesus and will be anathema (1 Corinthians 16:22)! We prayed they would join the rest of us in saying, “Maranatha!” which means “Come, O Lord!” The Lord powerfully answered these prayers and did a genuine work of revival and salvation! Praise Jesus Christ for his goodness to us and we cannot wait to behold his glory face to face! Sure as the sunrise, Jesus is coming soon!
As you can see by the video embedded above, we made a rapture movie. I shared the idea for it with Luke Melrose, my colleague in making movies at Compass Bible Church. We decided everyone in the movie should be someone the high school students would not recognize so they would not laugh at or be distracted by one of their friends. We cast some of our college students. We also partnered with my friend Andrew Gutierrez who graciously cast some new friends from Grace Community Church and let us film there. Luke shot the movie in two days and edited it right up until camp.
Before we showed the video, I let our high school ministry know it was something different from what we had done before. It was not a fun camp video. It was not a video of me preaching. This was something to help them think about the rapture. After the movie was over…
I have never heard such a loud silence.
The main response was from students who were already Christians. Some students were even crying for their lost loved ones. They told me how they were going to go home and share the gospel with someone specific. This was before I even brought up an application point on evangelism. The connection was clear in their minds. Many people are not ready. We need to talk to them now while there is time. Whatever your eschatology, the fact Jesus is coming soon should give us a powerful sense of evangelistic urgency.
To Jesus we say, “Come!” And to the world we say, “Come to Jesus!” And let us pray the coming for both is soon.
Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 22:20 – He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!