Rapture: Four basic questions

Christians debate the rapture. Some don't even know what it is. This article introduces four questions related to this eschatological event.

When the topic of the rapture comes up in conversation, certain questions get asked regularly. Is the rapture real? When will it happen? Who will be raptured? Will children be included? These questions will be briefly addressed in this article.

Is the rapture real?

Matthew 24:30-31, Mark 13:26-27, Luke 17:34-35 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 all talk about people being gathered together by Christ. Paul talks about being gathered in the air. Some say this is not literal, but figurative. However, neither the Greek nor the context require a figurative reading. Therefore, it seems apparent that some will be ‘raptured’ to meet Christ. The rapture is real.

When will the rapture take place?

According to Scripture, no man knows when Jesus will return and gather his people (Matt 24:36, 42-44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32-35; Luke 12:46; Acts 1:7; 1 Thess 5:2). However, Jesus said we will know the season is near when certain events take place. The events which will signal the season is near are not war, pestilence, and technological advances. Instead, they are the darkening of the sun and moon, falling stars (Matt 24:29-33; Mark 13:24-29), a massive earthquake, lightning, thunder, and giant hail (Rev 8:5; 11:19; 16:18-21). Therefore, it seems clear that we do not know when the rapture takes place; we only know that it will occur some time in the future.

Who will be raptured?

Scripture tells us that the saved will be raptured. It describes the saved using the following terms (NASB quoted):

To sum up, Scripture teaches that those from around the world who are saved will be raptured. Both the living and the dead believers will be raptured.

Are children raptured?

This involves two questions. The first question is whether children are saved (often refered to many as the “age of accountability,” meaning that before this time children are not held accountable for their sins because God graciously allows them in). The second, whether children will be in the rapture, is greatly dependent upon the first. If they are saved, they will be raptured. If they are not saved, they will not be raptured.

Two passages often used to support this doctrine are 2 Samuel 12:21-23 and Deuteronomy 1:39. However, neither of these passages specifically say that children will be in heaven if they perish before a certain age. No scripture is explicit on this case. The only thing that it is explicit on is that no one is righteous and no one seeks after God on their own (Romans 3:10-11; cf. Psalm 14:1-3). Therefore, I rest on the hope that God will have grace on the young who do not know about sin. For God said that “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Rom 9:15; cf. Exod 33:19).

Personally, I believe that those who are unable to comprehend their sin will be given saving grace by God out of compassion and mercy. Only God knows whom these individuals are. Therefore, if God does grant saving grace to young people, then they will be raptured. If he does not, then they will not be raptured.


The rapture will take place at some time in the future. When it occurs, those who are believers will be taken up to meet Jesus in the air. Although I cannot be dogmatic about this, I believe children will be included. However, if you want to be confident you will be with Christ rather than face the judgment that follows, you must put your faith in Christ alone for salvation.

About John L. Rothra
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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. John Rothra

    There are a few ways to look at that verse and its context. First, that Jesus is saying that the kingdom of God is given to children. Second, that Jesus is calling for a child-like approach to Jesus. The context calls for the latter. Jesus has just praised the one leper of ten who humbled himself enough to offer thanks to Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). Next, the Pharisees rejection of Jesus is pointed out after they ask about when the kingdom of God was coming. Jesus said the kingdom was right before their eyes, refering to himself, if they would stop rejecting him (17:20-21). Next, Jesus tells the disciples that at the Second Coming, those who reject Christ will be judged; those who accept Christ will be saved (17:22-37). After this, Jesus tells the disciples to keep persistent in their prayers as they await the consummation of the kingdom at the Second Coming (18:1-8).

    Now we come to the immediate context. Jesus tells a parable of two men: a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee was very proud and boasted to God of his righteousness; the tax collector humbly confessed his sin and his need for God. Jesus praised the tax collector (18:9-14).

    At this point, the disciples start keeping children and those bringing babies to Jesus from approaching. The children and parents were seeking Christ with open arms, contrasted with the Pharisees pride and rejection of Christ. The disciples prevent the children from coming near Jesus. Here, Jesus tells the disciples and those around them that the children expressed the type of desire, excitement, and humility that is required to enter the kingdom of God (18:15-17).

    The story after this shows this continued contrast between prideful self-righteousness that leads to rejecting Christ and the humble, child-like longing to seek Christ. A ruler asked how to enter the kingdom and Jesus said keep the law. The rule boasted of his righteousness. But Jesus told him he must be willing to give up everything to follow him, which requires a level of humility this ruler was unwilling to express (18:18-23).

    In conclusion, the statement about children in Luke 18:17 does not expressly teach that children will be in heaven, but uses children as an object lesson in humility and joyfully seeking Christ. While I believe young children will be in heaven, it is because of God’s grace and mercy alone.

  2. Chris Burton

    Well I was going to say, with that said, the argument about children being saved rests on their faith in Jesus, and as Jesus Himself said, “..anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18;17

  3. Chris Burton

    Seems to me you answered all the questions with the final statement “put your faith in Christ alone.” With tha

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