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A Guide to Explaining the Rapture to Children

by Stephen Davey

Debbie asked:

“What advice do you have for explaining the rapture to children?”

Thank you, Debbie, for your question.  When Christian parents discuss the Bible in their home and make church a priority, their children will encounter concepts like the rapture and many others. Some things are hard – even for adults to understand.

The rapture, a significant event in Christian eschatology, often will likely prompt questions from curious young minds. As Christian parents, guiding our children to comprehend such a profound concept can seem daunting. But with patience, understanding, and faith, explaining the rapture to children becomes a journey of spiritual growth. Here's how to get started:

Lay the Groundwork

Firstly, create a strong foundation of basic Christian beliefs for your children. Teach them about Jesus' life, His death and resurrection, and His promise to return. Talk about the gospel often. Help your children come to understand the grace and mercy of God. This solid groundwork will make the concept of the rapture more accessible and less scary.

Use Child-Friendly Language

When explaining the rapture to children, simplicity is key. Derived from 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the term "rapture" refers to believers being "caught up" in the clouds to meet the Lord.

You might say, "The rapture is when Jesus will come back to take those who love and follow Him up to heaven. We don't know exactly when, but it will be a wonderful time for all who believe in Him."

Address Their Fears Compassionately

Children might find the idea of the rapture intimidating and scary. Answer their questions patiently and soothe their fears. Reinforce the joy and hope associated with Jesus' return and remind them of God's never-ending kindness and love. Use it as an opportunity to reinforce the gospel. If your child is old enough to understand and respond to the gospel, this might be the conversation God uses to bring about his/her salvation. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Share Relevant Bible Verses

With this and all questions about God, I recommend using the biblical text as much as possible. You want your children to know that the things you are teaching them are not your ideas. These are truths that came from God, and we find the answers in His Word.

In this context, verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and John 14:2-3, where Jesus promises His return and speaks of preparing a place for believers, can be particularly insightful.

Promote Open Communication

Encourage your children to share their thoughts, feelings, questions, and concerns with you. Reinforce that it's perfectly alright if they don't understand everything at once. But, you want them to know that they can always approach you with their doubts or concerns. Take them seriously, don’t brush them off, and come back to these big questions as your child’s maturity increases.

Pray Together

Prayer is a powerful way to tackle challenging topics like the rapture. Pray with your children for understanding, wisdom, and peace. Thank God for His promise to return for believers.

Emphasize Preparedness

In the course of explaining the rapture to children, stress the importance of being ready for Jesus' return. Even many adults miss this. I encounter many individuals and many authors who are focused on the timing of the rapture. They scour the newspaper, looking for clues that the rapture is coming soon. Sadly, many people have even predicted specific dates.

Every Christian in every generation is to live as if the rapture could be today – because it could be. That’s the important reality. We need to be found ready.  As I said earlier, this discussion is an ideal opportunity to reinforce the significance of accepting Jesus as our Savior, living out His teachings, and sharing His love with others.

What ideas do you have? What resources have you found? Use the comment section below. 

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Mark C says:
Will the rapture come before or after the tribulation in Revelation? Thank you!