The Rapture :: by Grant Phillips

I have believed in the rapture of the Church since I was just a child, and still do. I realize that some Christians do not believe that this is an actual event, and that is okay. We are still brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

Maybe one huge reason that others do not believe in the Rapture is because it is such an unusual, one-of-a-kind event. The very thought of millions of people rising from the graves and those alive vanishing in thin air, all in the blink of an eye, is just too awesome to be real. Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened, or ever could, say some. Is that really true? I don’t think it is. Consider the following:

Long before we ever came on the scene, God created angelic beings. From just the little we know about angels, this was some accomplishment.

When God created the world we live in, nothing like this had ever happened before, at least as far as we know. When He created mankind, animal life, plant life, sun, moon, stars, and the galaxies, this had to be one whale of an event. The angels must have been standing around in amazement.

When God covered the entire earth with water and drowned every living being except those protected in the ark, that too was a one-of-a-kind happening. It has never happened since, and it never will happen again since God promised that He would not destroy the earth again with water. The people of Noah’s day did not believe there would be a flood. It had never even rained at that point of time. However, regardless of the impossibility of that ever happening, the flood came just as God told Noah. Every living being on earth drowned, except those God protected in the Ark.
When the Creator God stepped out of Heaven and became man by being born a human baby boy from a virgin girl named Mary, that had never happened before, and will never happen again. To top it off, He accomplished this feat without the natural male/female procreation method He Himself created.

These are just four obvious events that happened in the past, and are either beyond even the scale of an event like the Rapture, or at least equal to it.

In the future, probably the very near future, Jesus Christ will call His bride up to meet Him in the air. Only He knows the number, but they will come from the graves and from the living. All will be given new heavenly bodies within the twinkling of an eye. Here one second, gone the next. Especially considering the events mentioned earlier, does this now seem like such a difficult thing for Him to accomplish? I don’t think it does. To us it sounds impossible, but to God it’s “child’s play” so to speak.

Another reason given for there being no Rapture is that we who believe in the Rapture are just “copping out”. We think we are too good to go through the Tribulation and are not facing reality. I just don’t see it that way. Consider the following:

·        Why does Jesus have Paul make it so clear to us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 that His people will first be removed before He finishes the remaining years (seven) promised to Israel and also judges the earth?

·        Why does Jesus tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that “…God hath not appointed us (the Church) to wrath (Tribulation) but to obtain salvation (Rapture) by our Lord Jesus Christ”?

·        Why does Jesus tell us in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee (the Church) from the hour of temptation (Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try them (those without Christ) that dwell upon the earth”?

·        When God judged the world by a world-wide flood, He removed His own from harm’s way first. Why are Noah and his family an exact parallel to the Church being removed from harm’s way first, before God judges the world a second time?

·        Jesus reveals Himself in Revelation chapter one. In chapters two and three He speaks only to the Church. In chapter four verse one Jesus shows a door open in Heaven, and afterwards He is no longer addressing the Church, but the world that He will soon judge.

·        In the last chapter of Revelation and verse seventeen, we see the Church mentioned again as the bride. The Spirit and the bride are inviting those from the Tribulation to come to Jesus Christ for salvation. Therefore, the bride is already in Heaven with the Lord.

·        Is it not odd that God’s chosen people Israel did not see the signs in the Scriptures of Jesus coming as a Lamb before He would come as a Lion? As a nation, they missed His prophesied arrival on earth as God’s sacrifice for the redemption of mankind (the Lamb) because they were looking for Him to return and set up His kingdom on earth (as the Lion). Is it possible that many of God’s chosen people of the Church are misunderstanding the difference between the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus (His return as the Lion)? Even so, He will still arrive as prophesied (the Rapture first, then the second coming), just as He did two thousand years ago.

·        I too find John 14:1-3 somewhat more difficult to understand. Is He referring to the Rapture or to His second coming? I think the key is in the phrase, “Let not your heart be troubled”. This is merely my opinion, but could He be providing comfort to His own (the Church, represented by the Apostles) by letting them know that He will come for them before He brings judgment upon the world?

·        Another thought is that when Jesus’ wrath falls upon this earth, everyone upon the face of the earth will feel it. I simply cannot see Jesus, as our bridegroom, lashing out in wrath on His own bride, the Church. No groom would do that. Any groom would first move his bride out of harm’s way, before exacting justice on his enemies. Jesus said in Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it, That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”.

o       Someone may say that the Church is being persecuted today and has been since day one. Therefore, why would the Church be removed to avoid persecution during the Tribulation? What is the difference? The difference is that the persecution of the Church is not coming from Jesus. It is coming from His enemies, Satan, to be specific. Satan administers persecution now, and will do so during the Tribulation. Jesus will administerjustice during the Tribulation, but will remove His own before doing so.

o       Someone else may say why will Israel go through the seven years of Tribulation, and not the Church, since they too are God’s people? This is a legitimate question. Christ’s true church has never rejected Him. Israel has, and still does. The Church was never promised any given number of years for God’s discipline. Israel has, and there are seven years remaining.

o       Also, God works with mankind via dispensations. When the last person is brought into the Church by salvation through Jesus Christ, the Church Age dispensation will end. Jesus will then remove His Church, and the dispensation for Israel will continue where it left off with the remaining seven years that remain in God’s promised 490 years for Israel. Israel has completed 483 years of the 490, but they have seven more years to finish the total of 490 years.

o       The Jewish betrothal and marriage experience is an exact parallel of Jesus and His bride, the Church, culminating with the Rapture.

These are some of the major reasons I do believe that Jesus will remove His Church prior to the Tribulation period. If you do not believe as I do concerning this wonderful prophecy, I certainly have no quarrel with you. As I previously stated, as Christians, we are brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, and will in the end, be with our Lord and Savior worshipping Him together for all eternity.

I also see striking similarities between our physical life/death and the Rapture. Keeping in mind that there are no signs for the Rapture, but all end time signs point to the Tribulation and beyond.

As we age, our body approaches the time of our death in the future.

In our early life, we do not see many, if any, signs pointing to our death at an old age, but the closer we get to the time of our body dying, more signs begin to appear. Read the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes. Our vision fades. Our hearing fades. Our joints begin to hurt. Other body parts begin to fail. These would be signs that the end of life for our body is coming to a close.

Since Jesus’ ascension, the clock started ticking for the world to end. From that point and for many years thereafter, the signs were either non-existent or slow to appear. However, in the last 62 years the signs have exploded on the scene in rapid succession and increasing in severity. The signs of physical human death are the same. In the beginning they are either non-existent or slow to appear, but as the end approaches, the signs come rapidly and increase in severity until death overtakes our body.

This world as we know it is going to die just as our body ages and dies. Jesus has provided signs for us to know when the time of death, for the world and our body, is approaching. Just as our body dies in its final fight to live, the world will die beginning with the Tribulation and all that will follow. We are seeing these signs now. Daniel is no longer a closed book, but is open for understanding. Revelation has never been a closed book. We are rapidly approaching the final scene of death. All the signs are here.

The good news (for Christians) is that life follows death, and not just life, but eternal, everlasting life. Jesus explains this to us in 1 Corinthians 15 through His Apostle Paul. In death our bodies are lowered in the grave, but in Christ our bodies are raised up to eternal life. After our body dies, we (in our spirit) are consciously alive with Jesus Christ. At the Rapture our bodies are changed from earthly bodies (that eventually die) to heavenly bodies (that never die).

As previously stated, there are no signs for the Rapture. The signs are for the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church. Since there are no signs for the Rapture, but we are clearly seeing the beginning signs for the Tribulation, we must be very close to our Lord coming for us.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

Grant Phillips