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How to explain the rapture of the church to kids

The rapture of the church is hotly debated among theologians as to WHEN it will happen. Today, Katrina Cheshire presents a pre-trib perspective on how to talk to our kids about the rapture!
By Katrina Cheshire

What exactly is the rapture? And how do you explain it to your kids?

With all kinds of theories floating around out there, your kids might get confused. Maybe you’re not too sure about it all yourself! In any case, the best place to start is with the Word of God. Keep reading for some tips on how to explain the rapture of the church to children!

Children ask a lot of questions, especially when they really want to know the truth about something. With the downward spiral our world is in, a lot of kids and teens have become very interested in the book of Revelation, end time events, and the last days. Knowing what verses to use to answer their questions could come in very handy, so let’s dive right in!

What is the rapture?

The rapture is the “catching up” of Christians by Jesus, who returns to take His bride home. The book of 1 Thessalonians says, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

This means that the Lord Himself will come to take us home. In 1 Corinthians 15:52, it says that the rapture will be, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” The twinkling of an eye is instantaneous. It will be immediate and complete. We will be removed from this earth to meet the Lord in the air. 

Where does the word rapture come from?

People like to argue that the word rapture isn’t in the Bible. However, the word rapture comes from the Latin word rapturos, meaning “caught up.” In the Greek, the word used is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. Harpazo is also used in Scripture when it talks about Paul’s experience of being “caught up” into the third heaven, and in Acts 8, when Philip is “caught away” by the Spirit and literally physically transported from the desert to the town of Azotus. 

How do we know the rapture is pre-tribulation?

Scripture is replete with examples that foreshadow the pre-tribulation rapture. This is a great way to explain this to kids, as stories and examples will remain in their minds more easily than verse references. Just as in Scripture we see Abraham sacrificing Isaac as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, we also see foreshadowing of the rapture. Enoch is one example – Enoch was “taken up” before the flood covered the earth, but Noah and his family went through the flood. Noah is a picture of the Jews, who will endure the tribulation; Enoch is a picture of the church. Another example from Scripture is Joseph being called to Egypt before the 7-year famine, while Jacob’s family went through the famine. Likewise, Daniel was called away on business before the fiery furnace; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego endured the flames. 

In Luke 21:36, Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Many Christians downplay the pre-tribulation rapture because they claim it’s an “escapism” mindset, and yet Jesus literally said that we should pray to escape these things!

In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, it says, “…His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” The tribulation is the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the earth. Even though His direct wrath isn’t poured out until the second half of the tribulation, the first half of the tribulation is still His wrath! 

Matthew 24:36-39 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only…so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” If the rapture were mid or post-tribulation, we would know when it would be. The second the antichrist signed a peace treaty with the Jews, we would be able to count 7 years until the rapture. This would completely do away with the expectancy of waiting and hoping for the rapture!

The tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble. After chapter 3 of Revelation, the word “church” is not mentioned again until chapter 19. Instead, the horrors of the tribulation are detailed, along with the repeated mention of Israel. 

Why does it matter when it is? 

Whether or not you believe the rapture is pre-tribulation isn’t a salvation issue. This means that what you believe about the timing of the rapture doesn’t affect whether or not you’ll make it to heaven. HOWEVER, what you believe about the rapture DOES affect the way you live your life.

If you don’t think Jesus is coming back until the middle or end of the tribulation, you have no reason to live a life of expectancy, because the tribulation hasn’t started yet, so you know the rapture isn’t soon. You don’t live with your eyes on heaven, longing and waiting for the return of Jesus for His bride. 

In Jewish culture, the bridegroom would build a house for his bride. She would have no idea when the wedding would be – she had to live in preparation and readiness. When the groom’s father said it was time, he would set off to claim his bride, bringing her home for a wedding ceremony. They would then consummate the marriage for seven days. What a perfect picture of what Jesus as our bridegroom is going to do with us, His bride! We won’t know He’s coming to take us away until it happens. 

How does the rapture change our lives? 

The short answer is, it gives us HOPE! We know that Jesus isn’t going to leave us here through the outpouring of God’s wrath (although who knows how bad things will get before then!). We can keep fighting the good fight of faith, while also keeping a loose grip on the things of this world and a readiness in our hearts for heaven. There’s a reason that every generation since Jesus’ time has hoped and believed that they would be the ones. It’s because this world is not our home – we’re pilgrims on a journey to a land of glory. 

Remind your children that there is nothing to be afraid of about the rapture! Heaven will be the most wonderful thing they can imagine. Encourage them to press on with their dreams, but to keep heaven in focus and the world ever-so-gently gripped between their fingers. What’s coming is more marvelous than they could ever dream of!



The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.


Katrina Cheshire is a home school and Bible college graduate and the author of Seller of DreamsShe is passionate about good stories and the power they can have in shaping a life.

With seven siblings her life is full of adventure and excitement! She loves to design and sew clothing. She enjoys writing endless stories and read even more of them. You can find her making music with her brothers and sisters or dancing for the glory of God.

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  • Dr. S. R. Watkins, Ph.D
    Posted at 11:30h, 28 August Reply

    Read Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle, and it will end all the debate about the so-called rapture.

  • Major storm
    Posted at 19:04h, 01 October Reply

    As a GenXer Growing up the youngest in a pentecostal/non denominational home, I remember my parents point of view changing on the timeline of the return of Christ. For the longest time my parents told us they believed Jesus would return mid-trib. In my late teens i walked away from my faith. Tried to ride the fence as a frontman of several rock bands in Seattle, the closer I came to real success the further i slipped away into drugs & alcohol. Fast forward,
    Yeshua Hamashiach met me where I was! I had to find the truth for myself. One day I heard a clip of a pastor talking about the mercy seat. A question came to mind. ” why would all of the Christians throughtout history be forced to endure horrific deaths for their faith & this last generation escape it? Who benefits if the rapture teachings have been a lie? How much less would the body of Christ prepare for hard times if they truly believed they wouldn’t be around for the worst of it?” Once I heard the truth I know it was the truth. The rapture isn’t in the bible, before skulfield the concept of Yesha making multiple trips was never taught in sermons. The church is asleep, they drifted off somewhere between gay weddings & a passive, all excepting Jesus! Contexts is everything! They have watered down the world of God! I am not judging, just looking for fruit! We need to STAND together for our children! Leaders have turned against this nation & have not fulfilled their oaths! All those who pushed the genocide jab need to be arrested, charged & see public trials for crimes against humanity!

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