Religion Magazine

What is the Difference Between the Rapture and the Resurrection?

By Sjbedard @sjbedard

When people talk about the end times, they may focus on the rapture or the resurrection. There is somethings in common and yet in many ways, they represent two very different world views. Both are based on the same passage,

“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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17 ESV)

Both rapture and resurrection people see something dramatic happening when Jesus returns. But there are differences from there. Some think that Jesus appears, gets his people and retreats back to heaven for a few years before making his real return. Some think the rapture and the resurrection are the same thing. That would require a post-tribulation rapture (which is close to what I believe).

Are the rapture and the resurrection the same thing? Yes and no. They both refer to the event when Jesus returns and takes up his people. After that, the differences rise up (see what I did there?).

Rapture theology sees this event as being about struggling Christians being rescued from this evil world, being protected from the tribulation and being relocated in the perfect realm of heaven. Rapture theology is really an escapist world view.

Resurrection theology is different. The resurrection is more about Jesus coming to us, not as a rescuer but as the victor. He comes as a triumphant conquerer who takes us up to transform us, allowing us and those Christians who have died before to return to earth (which is still good according to God), where we will be able to enjoy a resurrected earth (the new heavens and the new earth).

Where we land on either of these two views says much of what we think of both heaven and earth, as well as the role of Jesus.

  • 1 Thessalonians
  • End Times
  • Eschatology
  • Rapture
  • Resurrection

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