“Houston, we have a problem.” A potentially serious issue with the Apollo 13 spacecraft back in 1970 caused one of the NASA astronauts to supposedly utter this phrase. In reality, it was stated in the past tense as “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Regardless, it’s famously misquoted and is quite useful to this present article. Except, I’m going to change that incorrect statement somewhat and keep it in the present tense.
“Remnant Church, we have a problem.”
And what is that problem, you might ask? Glad to tell you.
It has to do with the exact accuracy of Bible prophecy and the effects of the current coronavirus.
As literally everyone on the planet knows, this pandemic has wreaked financial, economic, and social havoc, except in North Korea (because, you see, it hasn’t affected them whatsoever because their superb medical facilities and unprecedented preventive measures have kept the virus from their country, so says Kim Jong Un – I suppose other nations would have the same results if they shot and killed every person who had the slightest possibility of contracting it – but, I digress).
What COVID-19 has also completely shattered is hope of the very near timing of the Rapture. What? That’s silly, you might say. There is no timing to it as it could happen any time. It’s imminent. We even have all the converging signs to assure us of that.
That’s all true, but…
What did Jesus say in Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26-30 about when the Rapture would happen?
“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
Here’s the key to our present dilemma:
“they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage”
“buying and selling, planting and building”
In other words, very normal, secular times. People had no particular cares. They were living life as they always had.
That, folks, is not this immediate, present time. What’s going on all around us is very much not normal. The world is basically shutting down. There is little buying and selling. Certainly, no eating and drinking in public. People everywhere are stockpiling, self-quarantining, and absolutely freaking out.
Sorry to say, but given the fact that Bible prophecy must be exactly fulfilled, the Rapture cannot happen right now.
Another little-known fact is that Russia, Iran, and Turkey are seriously on the outs with each other right now. They’re all positioned in Syria for their own reasons and will eventually, collectively attack Israel in Ezekiel’s War. But, not right now. Of course, it’s true that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but these guys want nothing to do with each other at the present time. One big reason is because of the seriousness of the coronavirus in Iran. No Russian or Turkish soldier in Syria wants to get anywhere near an Iranian for fear of contracting the disease. So, it seems as if through allowing this virus (I don’t for a minute believe that God brought it as judgment), God is slowing down the Rapture timeline. Despite the convergence of all the signs we’ve been watching, God appears to be walking back how soon it will happen.
And this is part of the issue at hand. Many of these signs appear to be at their outer limits. So much demonic activity, such hate and rage, the amount of false teachings, the number of false prophets, massive numbers of high-intensity earthquakes, locust plagues, extreme Christian persecution. I liken it to the stretching of a rubber band. You can only stretch it so far before it breaks. This was beginning to be the situation with the build-up to Ezekiel’s War, but has that now lessened? Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to continue unabated, but will the Wuhan virus cause some of these on the Left to reduce their rhetoric? It doesn’t look good rooting against the president when that causes lives to be lost. Maybe the tension on the rubber band has been reduced for now. If so, that seemingly means that the imminence of the Rapture has been pushed back for the time being.
I know this goes against the whole concept that the Rapture could literally happen at any time, but look again at what Jesus said. The times have to be normal.
Now if some prognosticators are correct, we could have a serious recession or even depression. In the normal course of those events, recovery can take years: 5 – 10 – 15 years. According to these financial experts, that’s how long it could take for us to get back to normal. None of us wants to hear that, and no one who looks for the soon return of Jesus even wants that to be the case.
So, here’s my take on the matter. I call it the Rapture Snapback Theory©. There, I just copyrighted it.
In order for the situation around the world to get back to normal where Jesus’ Words are faithfully fulfilled, things need to change dramatically at some point in the relatively near future. Who knows the timing on that? – not me – but the change would have to be as unprecedented as this whole virus nightmare. One possibility is that God steps in and does…something that changes the equation. Perhaps the recent news about the anti-malarial drug chloroquine will be the answer. Maybe that is the something. Another is that this government bailout actually works for the time being. Businesses and individuals all receive massive government funding that keeps us all afloat, the stock market rebounds on such good news, and we all quickly forget the coronavirus. We put it behind us and get on with that normal life that Jesus describes.
One other idea that has been floated is a debt Jubilee. Just like the Biblical year of Jubilee when all accounts were set back to zero and no debts remained, wouldn’t it be great if all student loans, corporate loans, and credit card balances were eliminated? What could be better? On top of that, send everybody $1,000 or more every month—again, because the government owes everyone a basic living wage and what could be more fair? — and we’d probably be living the utopian life that so many have dreamed of for years. We’d have the full faith and credit of the federal government behind all these wonderful notions, so what could possibly go wrong?
There is a slight problem with all this money soon to flood the economy in whatever form it may take. There’s nothing that will back it up. Among economic circles there’s a concept called Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT. It essentially says that the Fed can keep pumping out dollars indefinitely with no consequences. This is the thinking behind the liberal mindset that says the government can and should pay for all these “rights” that we the people are owed by this country, and we can do it with unlimited dollars.
Unfortunately, there is a piper to pay as Weimar Germany found out in the 1920s with this kind of policy when they abandoned the gold standard and began printing money. Hyperinflation set in, and a loaf of bread cost a wheelbarrow or two worth of deutsche marks. Things might be good for a while with this kind of MMT thinking, but it never ends well.
But, here’s the bottom line. I think the economy, the markets, and the way people live will snapback to some definition of normal in the relatively near term. God’s got His own timeline for this lost and dying world. He wants His faithful servants to do their jobs of representing Him as His ambassadors, as the imagers of God as He created us to be. Additionally, He surely wants as many people to turn to Him in faith as possible, but He does have limits as to how much rebellion and disobedience he’ll tolerate in the world. The Lord our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has brought wrath and judgment at the appropriate time in the past, and He’ll do it again.
As faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we should not dismay, nor should we fear. God is in control. We can trust Him. Soon, very soon, Jesus will catch us up to the clouds to be with Him.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for two novels: The Tattooed Cat and Alien Revelation. He has recently released Looking Up – Volume 3, a non-fiction work that contains essays and devotions on end-times and prophetic events. Gary’s intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can reach him at his website: www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol.