A day approaches, and sometimes it feels so very close and real to me, but farther than my ability to reach out and touch it; for I am still in mortal flesh, and this day will require that I be transformed into an immortal being.
I have longed for this day for some time, written many articles in regards to it, and spoke about it openly among family and friends. A few agree with me—and some do not. If you were to put me on the witness stand today and pepper me with questions, the verdict rendered would be—“guilty as charged”—in my beliefs about the Rapture.
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The Rapture is the first of the end-time events; and once it happens, it will change everything forever. I believe it to be a true doctrine of the early church, one that was upheld and verified in scripture that was written down long ago. All scripture is God-breathed, and just as true today as it was when it was first delivered to the believers in the first-century church.
I hold a pretribulational view of the Rapture, meaning I believe it precedes the seven-year tribulation.
Christians, through the saving blood of Christ, are raptured from this earth just prior to the seven-year tribulation, which is a time of God’s judgment. Also during this time, the earth will grow very dark spiritually under the worldwide rule of a man called the Antichrist. (This time of tribulation is detailed specifically, and prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation.)
I had someone say to me that if I believed in the Rapture then I believed a lie, because it infers that Jesus comes again—twice. I do not believe a lie, as the Rapture is a separate and distinct event which prepares the way for two things:
-God’s judgment of the unbelieving world, giving both Jew and Gentile unbelievers one last time to repent and receive Jesus Christ as the sacrificial gift for their sins.
-Second, Christians are removed and caught up into His presence in the air before this time, spared from God’s indignation and judgment.
Strong biblical artillery below supports this belief—
“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Rom. 5:9).
And, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:9).
Sometimes, people, even Christians, are generally confused about the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ, thinking they are one and the same. They are not. Here are the characteristics and differences I see in the scriptures that may give some clarity.
-Jesus is in the air for this one event, and we are “caught up” or raptured to meet him there. He does not come to earth for the Rapture.
-The Rapture happens at the end of the church age. Once we’re gone, it naturally brings an end to the church age.
-The Rapture is a big surprise to everyone. One second we are here, and the next moment—vanished. To the unbelievers, it will be cataclysmic; it is going to completely rock the planet. To the Christian, it should be a pleasant surprise, expected and anticipated with joy.
-The Holy Spirit is moved from his restraining position at this time, as He is referred to as “the restrainer.” This unique quality of the Spirit is taken out of the way so that the “lawless man” may be revealed.
“Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:5-7).
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
In the scriptures, it states the setting and timeframe of His return to the earth for the first time since His ascension into heaven. It will be after the seven-year tribulation, when Jesus touches down at the Battle of Armageddon in the valley of Jezreel near Megiddo in Israel. We have both the timeframe and location in the end-times events when Jesus Christ will come in glorious splendor.
Two different events, but both are central to Jesus Christ and the end-times.
If I have just a few moments to speak with someone about the Rapture and I have to cut to the chase, this is what I say: “May I share up and down with you?”
Up – The Rapture: Christians go up and meet the Lord in the air.
Tribulation – for seven years, and it starts after the Rapture.
Down – The Second Coming of Christ: Jesus Christ comes down to earth. He descends from heaven first, at the battle of Armageddon flanked with His bride, the church of raptured believers, and the angels in heaven. See Revelation 19:11-21.
Most people see the difference of the two events when I share this; sometimes, I can see the light bulb turn on.
Rapture deniers are still around, and there are quite a few lined up here. Oh dear, some even believe the Rapture already happened in 70 A.D. This is a very weak belief with no historical evidence. Historian Flavius Josephus (a writer of that time) would have authenticated or even mentioned the marvelous event of the Rapture taking place in A.D. 70. His historical details of that time are meticulously recorded and actually available on Rapture Ready for further study, if you are interested. There is no mention of anything resembling the Rapture in his writings. It would have disrupted life and society, and would not have gone unnoticed. Someone somewhere would have documented it.
Also, just one more historical fact is that the book of Revelation was written around A.D. 96 by John the Apostle, exiled and imprisoned on the island of Patmos. Obviously, this fact was overlooked by this group. I seriously doubt John and those he was writing this down for, namely believers, were left behind at the Rapture had it occurred in 70 A.D. Look here:
From Christian Courier: “The external evidence for the late dating of Revelation is of the highest quality.
Irenaeus (A.D. 180), a student of Polycarp (who was a disciple of the apostle John), wrote that the apocalyptic vision “was seen not very long ago, almost in our own generation, at the close of the reign of Domitian.” The testimony of Irenaeus, not far removed from the apostolic age, is first rate. He places the book near the end of Domitian’s reign, and that ruler died in A.D. 96. Irenaeus seems to be unaware of any other view for the date of the book of Revelation.”
Source: Jackson, Wayne. “When Was the Book of Revelation Written?” Retrieved from christiancourier.com on July 27, 2018.
I am putting all my belief 100 percent in the fact that it did not take place in 70 A.D., and we are pressing up to the Rapture right now—at the door.
Distractions of this world can keep us from the anticipated joy of the Rapture. It’s good to remind ourselves that this earth is not our eternal home—heaven is. Let’s not allow the things of this world and Rapture deniers to draw our attention away from His coming glory. It is so not worth it!
And with that, I still say, come Jesus, come—the Spirit and the Bride say come!
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
I remain encouraged, and I am Rapture Ready. I hope you are, too!