For what was the third or fourth year in a row that I can remember, there was again a lot of hype about the Christian Church being raptured at the Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh Hashanah) in the second half of September. Intense speculation surrounding the Revelation 12 star sign only added fuel to the fire of what were already unrealistically high expectations. Like the last three or four years, it was another false alarm. We’re still here and I’m left wondering what the unsaved make of all this?
I’d be lying if I were to deny being a tad more attentive to the sound of the shofar during that weekend; but, honestly speaking, the mere fact that gobs of people were expecting the Rapture to finally happen told me that it wasn’t going to. As believers, we are to know the season of the Rapture and to endeavor to keep our lamps full of oil, so to speak; but when The Word says that ONLY God knows the day and the hour of that glorious event when Jesus Christ comes for His Bride, I think it’s best to take God at His Word. We should just continue to go forward in Christ, to love and serve Him in thought, word and deed on a daily basis. I believe in doing this so that we will be in God’s Will.
When the morning of September 24th came, I remember breathing a sigh of…hmmm? I can’t say whether it was one of relief or confusion or sadness or consternation. In all sincerity, I confessed to The Lord that I wasn’t doing somersaults in my anticipation of the Rapture. I know that to see His Radiant Face of Pure and Everlasting Love will be the absolute apex of my existence — and I pray to be found worthy of that indescribable privilege. Yet there are those I dearly love and care about who don’t yet know The Lord, or they do but aren’t living for Him. My heart is burdened for them. There are also the zillions of others I don’t know who need God’s Redemption. I guess my undefinable sigh can be attributed to a concern for the unsaved. Furthermore, I see the utter depths of moral decline in today’s society.
While I believe that a time of God’s Judgment is undoubtedly coming soon upon the earth, He wishes that no one perish into an eternity without Him. The Church has been given more time to reach the unsaved with The Gospel of Jesus Christ; and on the strength of that, the aforementioned sigh was, indeed, partially one of relief. It’s wonderful to see Him pouring His Spirit out among the nations, but I’m also praying that a good many among the wicked will soon be brought to justice for the world to see.
Several days later I was reading chapters 13 through 17 in the Gospel of John, all the while caught up in my musings about the Rapture not happening (again). As I was reading, I could hear That Still Small Voice saying to me that the Timing of the Rapture is for God alone to know and that His Timing will be Perfect. In the meantime, He started telling me through His Word what the Church should be doing, and not to be so ‘caught up’ in leaving (No pun intended, I assure you).
In John chapter 13, Jesus set an example for us by washing the feet of His disciples. Here, God Incarnate is admonishing us to serve one another. Jesus then expounds on that theme in commanding us to love one another in verses 34 & 35. We need to be a living testimony of the Power of His Transforming Love to a world that is duped into thinking that they don’t need it. We need to be one in Christ.
Chapter 14 starts off with Jesus reminding us that we will experience trials and adversity in this life as true believers in Him, but that He will help us to overcome them. He plants the thought of preparing rooms in His Father’s Mansion for the faithful, for us to hope in and look forward to. He says He will return for His own — and He WILL VERY SOON!
In verses 15, 21 & 23, Jesus states that those who truly love God will walk in obedience to His Word. In verse 24, however, He bluntly proclaims that those who don’t won’t. For example: If a person who says they love God, yet is sleeping with a boyfriend or girlfriend; or who believes in a woman’s right to choose; or sees homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, they are basically calling God a liar. It’s impossible to truly love and serve The Lord in Spirit and in Truth if a person denies the Authority of God’s Word. Choosing not to is tantamount to playing the fool, for God will not be mocked.
John 15 encourages us to abide in Christ. Walking in obedience before God and bearing fruit for His Kingdom is an essential part of that. He will ‘prune’ and discipline us to make us more fruitful. Those who prove to be unfruitful will be cast aside and burned. Their choice, not God’s. Verses 18-27 remind us that true followers of Jesus Christ are NOT of this world. I’m afraid a good many believers tend to forget this. Too many have become too comfortable, and their roots run too deep into the ways of this wayward society. Jesus Himself came up against plenty of pushback during His Earthly Ministry. We can expect the same if we are courageous enough to go against the grain of what today’s society believes is acceptable.
In the ensuing two chapters, 16 & 17, Jesus is making it clear that tough times await those who truly follow Him but that He will meet their needs and give them the Strength and the Grace to overcome.
So, the crux of this post is that we should be consumed with loving and serving The Lord in the here and now, and should leave the Timing of the Rapture up to God in His Infinite Wisdom. Our task is to know Christ Jesus on a deeper level and to make Him known to the world.