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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Where is the Rapture in the Bible? (2 Kings 2)

I wonder if maybe the most common argument against the Rapture is that the English word “rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible. So, then it must be a new doctrine which is not based on Scripture, right?


While it is true the word “rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible, it would be impossible to deny that Paul is describing the future rapture of the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.

There are actually 11 “raptures” described throughout the Bible, which typically use the phrase “caught up” in English, “laqach” in Hebrew, “harpazo” in Greek, and “rapio” in Latin, which is where the word “rapture” comes from.

Why the English Bibles use the phrase “caught up” rather than “rapture,” I don’t know. But clearly "rapture" is not a new doctrine.

In fact, the first two raptures described in the Bible occurred in the Old Testament. Enoch was raptured in Genesis 5 and then Elijah in 2 Kings 2.

The rapture of Elijah was the most vivid description of a rapture in the Bible:

2 Kings 2:11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

But the people in Elijah’s time had a hard time believing Elijah had been raptured up to heaven until they searched for him and couldn’t find him.

Then there is the question of Jesus' rapture.

If we believe the Bible is God’s Word, that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross in our place, was buried, 3 days later arose from the grave, and then 40 days later ascended into heaven, what exactly do we believe happened when Jesus “ascended” into heaven?

Acts 1:9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

If we believe Jesus ascended into heaven, we are in fact believing in the Biblical doctrine of the rapture.

But Jesus’ rapture is not the last. Paul described the “rapture” of the church which will happen at the end of the church age, before the Tribulation begins:

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

When you think about it, doesn't it make sense that the church age would end with the church leaving. Then the Tribulation, the 7-year period of God's judgment on those who have chosen not to repent and believe in Jesus will begin.

As we see the birth pangs of the end of the church age increasing in frequency and intensity and a shadow of the future Tribulation judgments being cast over our time today, are you preparing for the rapture of the church?

Jesus said “be ready.”

Luke said “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your head, for your redemption is drawing near.”

If Jesus comes to rapture those who have repented of sin and trusted in Him tonight, are you ready?

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