Since I haven’t heard any mention of this in the forum so far, I thought I would bring it up and see what people have to say about it.
I confess the rapture is not something of which I am enthusiastic about (which doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the “Left Behind” series as I enjoy many other religious sci-fi flicks). I am not a big fan of eschatology in general. Frankly, it seems to me that eschatology causes more trouble than it is worth, leading groups off in strange directions like the Jehovah Witnesses. So whatever the truth of any of this stuff may be, too much focus upon this element of Christianity isn’t very helpful for the living of our lives or the welfare of the world. As far as Christian beliefs go it ranks right next to the virgin birth in importance to me – one which I could discard quite easily. Though it seems to me that the case for this one in the Bible is stronger.
1 Thessalonians 4: 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, 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, shall 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.
But if this isn’t a favorite topic of mine, then why bring it up? Well as a few people may have gathered, 1 Corinthians 15 is a favorite of mine which I seem to harp upon frequently and the latter part of it shares enough of the same language to suggest that it too is referring to the rapture.
1 Corinthians 15: 51 Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality,
Here Paul seems to be saying that at that same event he describes in 1 Thessalonians, those who are raptured will be instantly transformed from the physical natural body we have now to the imperishable spiritual body like that of resurrected Jesus. However, not being one who tends to see things described in the Bible as magical/supernatural events, I am strongly tempted to interpret this passage as an event where a large number of people have their physical bodies vaporized by atomic bombs or a large meteor impact leaving only the spiritual body which can indeed leave this world to be with Jesus.