What You Wish For :: By Walter Diepeveen

Be careful what you wish for. You might just get want you want. Especially since God honors free will.

Would it surprise you to know that not all Christians are excited about the Rapture? Or that some don’t even want to be Raptured? At least not while they’ve got it good.

Having had a few discussions with other ‘believers’ on the topic of the Rapture, and after searching the Scriptures repeatedly for myself, I have come to the conclusion that the Lord will not remove anyone who does not want to go at that appointed time. Of course some readers will consider that a harsh thing to say. Some would argue that anyone and everyone who simply calls themself a Christian will be rescued from the coming Tribulation. I beg to differ. I have found no Scriptural basis for that idea. On the contrary, there are plenty of warnings and examples in the Bible telling us to be found ready and to be watching.

Of course not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one. Remember that Jesus did say that we must be born again to see His Kingdom.

John 3 (all Scripture NIV)

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

It’s not enough to know about God. I contend that one must WANT to be part of the Kingdom. Must WANT to be Raptured. It’s not enough to be a casual Christian or regularly warm a pew seat.

One Bible passage in particular initially caused me to wonder. In Revelation 6 it tells of souls kept under the throne who were calling for justice but were told to wait until the full number of martyrs is reached. Why the distinction between 2 groups?

Revelation 6

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

The best explanation I can come up with is that they were nominal Christians (not born-again) at the time of the Rapture and it didn’t take much to convince them that they had missed the event, so they were the first crowd to get martyred early on during the Tribulation. To be followed later on by other martyrs.

But further to the nominal Christian question, I’ve come to wonder about other Christians who are lukewarm, or who have unscriptural ideas of the Rapture.

There are 4 kinds of Christians that I’ve found troubling when I’ve talked about the Rapture to others. I believe their thoughts go against Scripture and God’s nature:

1) Some of the teens and younger adults that I have talked to, get a sad look in their eyes. They want to graduate, find the love of their life, get married, have children, own a home etc. The Rapture to them would cut short their dreams and ambitions.

I liken them to children who don’t want to take a bath or go to bed when they’re supposed to.

1 Corinthians 2

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,

and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love Him.

2) Some don’t believe in the Rapture at all, even though they profess to be Christians and may be very ‘churchy’. A couple of these folks have said to me that the actual word ‘Rapture’ is not found in the english Bible.

Well neither is the word ‘Trinity’… (forehead slap) but it is easily proven.

When someone in the Church doesn’t want to believe that there will be a Rapture at all, aren’t they calling into question a Tribulation as well? It just snowballs from there when we want to ignore or delete sections of Scripture. We can’t ignore Scripture just because it disturbs us or we find it requires some actual thinking. Just because you say you didn’t know what the speed limit was doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get a ticket. Ignorance is no excuse when you stand before a judge.

1 Thessalonians 4

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

3) The next is the over-the-top prepper. They don’t believe that we will be spared the Tribulation Wrath of God. They are not only stocking up, they’re blaring all over social network sites and through emails that we are gonna see all of the bad things happen and that we all need to buy guns and hoard peanut butter and that soon our compasses won’t work anymore. Gasp!

Okay, I’ll admit that I have some things stocked away for emergencies and disasters. My family has suffered through lengthy power outages and ice storms more than once. But if you have read the Book of Revelation through, you should be able to figure out that no amount of prepping will be sufficient for 7 years of God’s Wrath. Prep your heart before you prep your pantry.

So there are ‘Christians’ who expect that the Church will have to go through judgment and wrath on this earth. They believe that perhaps to somehow purify the Church we would need to suffer through at least part of the Tribulation. “After all, so many Christians suffer in other parts of the world we can’t expect to be spared.”

Well I’m not saying that we won’t see some persecution or trouble as well, should the Lord tarry. But just because we have had it so good in America for so long it doesn’t mean that we deserve payback during the Tribulation…

The Bible says we are the bride of Christ. Does it make any sense that a groom (or loving father) would harm (or scare to death) the bride prior to the getting her for the wedding? When someone insists that the Church will go through some or all of the Tribulation, they are questioning and insulting God’s character. To quote Donna Wasson: God is not a wife beater.

4) The final type is where I believe a great many in the Church are today. They understand there will be a Rapture, but don’t seem to want to fully believe in any of the 3 possibilities: pre, mid, or post. They are kind of saying “Whatever happens will happen.” They don’t think we can know for sure. One friend like this was confused by a television preacher who spouted his ‘bounce’ theory. In a nutshell the preacher said that the Rapture and the 2nd coming are the same event… (If you could see the pain on my face over this). Let me just say for the record that they are NOT the same event.

So, maybe some Christians are being kind of ostrich-like and don’t what to think about it too much. Or they don’t want to believe anything for fear of being wrong. Or maybe they’ve had heard so many Rapture sermons that scared them decades ago – yet it has not happened yet – they can’t get excited anymore. They are actually the ones that are mentioned here:

2 Peter 3

4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

Now I can understand those who are weary of waiting for His promise to return. There have been date setters hard at work ever since Jesus ascended. There is also a flood of disinformation coming from the enemy in this generation especially. Counterfeit doomsday countdowns have been ‘prophesied’ by the enemy to dull our senses and make cynics of us all.

Old Testament Example to Learn From:

Jesus prophesied that the Rapture would be like the removal of Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Luke 17

28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

Outside of Lot’s immediate family, not even his future sons-in-law could be convinced to leave. They had a choice presented to Lot by angels no less. Yet they obviously didn’t believe that a rescue was needed or wanted. They couldn’t even bother to check out the angels themselves. Their mocking could easily have discouraged others (probably their own families at the very least) from believing as well.

Genesis 19

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

It actually took some serious coaxing and time and still it was basically a forced evacuation for the angels to physically get Lot and his immediate family to leave the doomed city.

Genesis 19

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.

In this historical account we can see God at first actually forcing Lot and his family to leave seemingly against their wishes, but in the end he gave them a choice and ultimately honored their free will. They still had a decision to make.

Genesis 19

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

Lot’s wife is not even mentioned by name in the Book of Genesis. What a frightening thought. Such a prominent character example in the Bible yet we don’t even know her name from the Scriptures. These frightening words of the Jesus come to mind:

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

We simply know her as Lot’s wife. I would venture to say that her name is blotted out of the Book of Life. Shudder.

Genesis 19

26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

She stands as an eternal monument to portray God’s insistence on honoring free will. She will forever ‘look back’ at that proud place. She obviously didn’t want to leave. Her heart was not in the right place and she was not pointed in the right direction. She must have been considered somewhat righteous to be a candidate for rescuing. But she had regrets or second thoughts. Now honestly, would the Lord want to Rapture anyone who would cast a glance back while on their way towards him for ‘the meeting in the air’ so beautifully promised (in 1 Thessalonians 4:17) ?

I think not. I consider her to be the example of the nominal Christian. Here is what Jesus said about her in verse 32:

Luke 17

30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!

33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.

35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”

In the parable Jesus told in Matthew 25, the groom comes only once for His bride (one Rapture) and there is only one wedding feast (Marriage Supper of the Lamb). When the groom surprises, He won’t be looking for guests or bridesmaids. He will be coming only for the ‘Wise Virgins’ who are found ready. Those who are ready will enter into the wedding feast. The Rapture is not for bridesmaids. Nor is it for a runaway or reluctant bride. Rather, He comes for the virgin bride who is ready.

Matthew 25

1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

It is not by or own efforts or works that we would be saved or Raptured. We are saved by grace alone.

Ephesians 2

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Watching cannot earn us salvation, but the Lord is coming to call up and rescue those who are in right relationship with Him, who want to go willingly. We certainly are to told by Jesus to be watching for His return. So it must matter to Him.

Luke 21

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

And finally, there is a reward for loving the Day of His Return. As Paul tells us:

2 Timothy 4

8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Don’t look back. Look up!