No topic is as sought out, as picked over, and as intriguing as it is despised, as is the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. No claim ever made was as audacious as was Christ’s, because by boldly proclaiming that not only could death not hold Him, but that the whole earth would one day mourn at the sight of His return (Revelation 1:7). Think about it, either Jesus had serious delusions of grandeur, or He is who He says He is, God in the flesh. The humbled Servant, faithful to the point of death, who willingly allowed His creation to brutally beat, strip Him, mock Him and finally subject Him to a humiliating death by crucifixion, would one day return victoriously in the clouds with the armies of heaven behind Him (Phil. 2:8/Matt. 26:64).
It did not make sense to His disciples, nor would not until after His resurrection. The paradoxical nature of God’s methods (Isaiah 55:8) abounds in the man Christ Jesus. Not only in His Sermon on the Mount or parables, but also in His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). To save our life, we must lose it (Luke 17:33). To be first, we must be last (Matt. 20:16). Victory in what seemed defeat (Mark 15:32/1 Cor. 1:18). Longsuffering in what seems abandon. Justice in what seems silence (2 Peter 3:9).
A persistent lie from the very pit of hell is that the cross was a setback and that we worship a defeated Savior. As the author of Hebrew’s appropriately notes, we should be…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2). Without Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, ALL would be lost. There was NO other way to reconcile fallen man, with a holy God. If anything, the cross demonstrates the lengths He will go to demonstrate His love for us, by sacrificing that which He holds most dear on our behalf. The cross was a down payment on His rightful inheritance (Psalm 2:7-9). We (the Church), our His prize.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
As we look back to antiquity and wonder about our ancient history, the peoples of the millennium will do likewise. They will marvel at our struggles, and all the trials and tribulations the church underwent as we lived in a fallen age. They will marvel at the retelling of the very moment Christ tore open the sky and came back to earth in the absolute grandest, and most terrifying of fashion. Those who are born during this coming millennial reign, will hear of how Christ singlehandedly defeated all the armies of the world; how He threw the Antichrist and the False Prophet alive into the lake of fire. They will hear of Satan’s binding in the abyss, not having experienced life in a world under his control. They will hear of the judgment of the nations, and marvel that there was a time when national Israel wasn’t the center of the universe.
Moreover, they will hear about the Rapture of the Church.
The Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:13/1 Cor. 15:51-55) will not only be the moment of our birth (into our glorified bodies-Romans 8:28-30), but will also serve to terraform the geopolitical landscape for that coming final week of years. World leaders today think they can use this crisis to their advantage, but in reality, God is simply removing the restraint (the Spirit indwelt Church) so that His plan can go forward (2 Thess. 2:7). That final week, Daniel’s 70th, will be a time of unprecedented terror and sorrow, such as the world has never seen (Matt. 24:21-22).
There has been seventy-three years since the world was at war, and even now, the nations of the world grow restless. The nations are like racehorses, violently snorting and stamping, impatiently waiting for the gates to swing open and the horn to blast so they can charge out. All the restless riders appear to be in place, and prophetic track with its soft unbroken earth, lay open before them, eagerly awaiting to swallow their hooves. The current world order is inadequate for what Satan has in mind, global domination, so he must capitalize on the next major crisis to align the nations as he sees fit. He knows it is the Rapture of the Church, but he does not know when. So leading up to that event, he needs the nations at a point where one man can assume total power. Not just political power, but economic, religious, and military power as well.
Even now this man lives, and is quietly and unassumingly positioning himself to be at the right time and place. Whether he knows it or not, he is being groomed for this role as we speak. He is preparing for the singularity. The Singularity will not come in some glorious fashion where men evolve into the next big thing. Rather, the Singularity will be where one man assumes control over the entire planet (Rev. 13:7). He will not face the divine restraint the world is currently under, but instead, will have the full backing and authority from the god of this age (Luke 4:5-6, 2 Cor. 4:4).
What the world leaders are waiting for now, they are not entirely sure; but they sense something coming, like one who smells the rain before the storm. There is an energy in the air, and the time seems ripe for transformation. The unbelieving and Christ-rejecting world thinks they are entering into the Age of Aquarius, but what they will get instead, is the age of antichrist. The age of antichrist will be filled with false signs and wonders. This age begins shortly after the Rapture of the Church, this where Christ triumphantly reclaims His bride (both the living and the dead) to Himself in the air. There, we will be paraded before the prince of the power of the air as a cherished prize, and we will go to be with the Lord forever.
Once the church is removed from the earth, Satan will have to move quickly to consolidate all authority under this one man. He will be a god of fortresses, who understands dark sentences, blasphemes God, and will do all that he pleases (Dan. 8:23-25, 11:36-39). The world will marvel after the beast. While they will initially be brought into some apostate form of religion known as Mystery Babylon, ultimately, they will be instructed by the False Prophet to abandon their apostate devotion to her and instead, worship the man of lawlessness directly. He will have supernatural power, but not of his own, but from that of his benefactor, Satan.
But in the midst of this global turmoil, will come judgments. One after another, unrelenting in their delivery, terror, and ferocity. Bunkers and caves will not save men. Great armies will not save men. Technology will not save men. Luxuries will not save men. In fact, the only salvation found in this final week of years, will come at great suffering and ultimately martyrdom, because that will mean you did not surrender to the lie and follow the beast and his false prophet (Rev. 13:7). If you did not follow the beast or his prophet, it is ONLY because God spares you from the delusion coming upon the earth in those days by way of death (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
But as our days grow shorter, and twilight’s shadowy reach keeps extending over the horizon of man’s domain, we lose heart. We may marvel in our technology, yet, we cannot solve the riddle of our own hearts. The further we transgress down this path, the further we drift away from what saves us. For many even today, redemption is almost completely lost, as they have been given over to a debased mind (Rom. 1:28). They are unable to come to the knowledge of the truth as to be saved, but instead, trade eternal redemption for momentary pleasures. Even those momentary pleasures are fleeting and cannot feed the gaping hunger each of us feels when we are apart from our Creator. We were created in the image of God, and nothing but union back to Him through Jesus Christ will suffice.
Nevertheless, our struggles remain oppressive and burdensome. Though at present they seem permanent, these afflictions are really only momentary. If you are reading this, you were chosen to live in these very days before our Lord’s return. Our works and struggles are being reconciled to our own fullness of time, one which God has seen and set aside for us from before the foundation of the world (Ephesian 1:4).
Each of us has a particular mission to accomplish at this particular point in time (Eph. 4:11-16). We are to let the light of Christ so shine in our lives, that others are drawn to its warmth and security. We are to do this until we fulfill our own roles. We are to do this until our world comes to its end, whether that end is our death and we go to be with the Lord, or at the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the air for His Church.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18