How Near the Rapture? :: By Terry James


We’ve just paused to examine, to marvel over, the coming of the Christ child—the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Christmas is, therefore, perhaps an even better time than ever to think on Christ coming again to wrap up all involved in that majestic purpose the Lord declared “finished” from the cross at Calvary.

God’s Word–Jesus, Himself—gave many signals of the wrap-up of matters involving the reclamation of this fallen planet. All of those signals were, most end-times seminary scholars seem to believe, issued to point to the Second Coming. The signs Jesus gave, we are told by many in this category, don’t include the mystery later revealed to and by the apostle Paul. I refer to the first phase of the Second Coming. Paul divulged that “mystery” in the following, of course.

“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-5).

I disagree with my friends who believe Jesus never alluded to the Rapture while He was on earth in the flesh, preparing to sacrifice Himself for the sins of fallen mankind. I believe that He did so while speaking to His closest disciples who asked Him questions after He said He would be going away (speaking of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension). The Lord said:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).

Jesus was talking here about His return to receive believers into His presence–above the earth (in the clouds); he wasn’t speaking of meeting them on the earth’s surface. Christ’s words here involve the “mystery” that Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 15. Jesus will call all believers to Himself in the air (Revelation 4:1).

Like in the case of His words to His disciples and to us down through the centuries, Jesus’ prophecy concerning the wrap-up of this earth age was meant for all believers, not just for the Jews, I’m convinced. The seminarians mostly believe that Matthew chapters 24 and 25 (the Olivet Discourse) were given only for Israel. The signs given in the Olivet Discourse, they proclaim, therefore don’t include mention of the Rapture of the church of this present age.

We have looked many times in these commentaries how and why I (and may I add significant Bible prophecy teachers) find Christ’s reference to that stunning event in the Olivet Discourse—for example, in Matthew 24:36-42 and again in Luke 17:26-30. We believe these words of our Lord speak explicitly about a time like the “days of Lot” and how He will intervene catastrophically just as He did in that evil time.

Jesus said people will be buying, selling, marrying, planting, and building just as usual. He will intervene into that wicked, evil time, and judgment will fall that very day. But first, just as Lot was taken out of Sodom, so believers must, in that future day of evil and wickedness, be removed is the clear implication.

How near the Rapture? How soon might we hear this call to all believers?

We’ve explored weekly all of the things going on in this world of corruption. We’ve especially dealt with the great deception and deceivers the Lord Jesus warned of. We’ve examined in detail every signal, from deception and deceivers to the precise characteristics of end-times man given by Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 3. They are all front and center in every news cycle as we live our daily lives. We are, as was Lot in Sodom, sorely vexed!

We face such wickedness not just monthly and yearly, but during every minute of every hour during the news cycles that bring ubiquitous evil-doings before us. Therefore, our question about the nearness of the Rapture is a good one.

The days of Lot seem to surround us. When such ungodly, unholy vileness reaches a level that God no longer can abide it, He acts. His next action in dealing with the corruption defiling mankind is scheduled as the last seven years of human history before the Second Advent—the Tribulation.

First, remember, His people—all born again of this Age of Grace (Church Age)—must be removed.

Has the present earth system corrupted itself to the point that the Lord must once again—and finally—begin deconstructing through the most horrendous judgment in history, this incorrigible world of rebellion? In reading the following, I believe we can get a sense of the Lord’s holy mind through words He gave David millennia ago. I see them as comfort in these times.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off” (Psalms 37:7-22).