The Rapture: Encouragement for Perilous Times :: By Jonathan Brentner

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of the Rapture is how it encourages believers during difficult and dangerous times. And we need its comforting salve now, perhaps more than ever before.

Where I live, gas prices are double what they were fifteen months ago, and the cost of natural gas has increased eighty percent. As the war rages on in Europe, we can expect these prices to continue their upward climb and accelerate the pace of rising food prices.

A Prophecy News Watch article, The Ukraine Conflict Could Further Breakdown Our Food & Energy Supply Chain, explains this emerging crisis much better than I can do. Food shortages will likely impact most people by the end of 2022. We live in perilous times that grow darker by the day.

The threat of the Ukraine war spreading beyond Ukraine looms as a distinct possibility. Could another world war erupt later this year?

China recently issued a dire warning for the US to stay away from Taiwan and implied that our warships would become “scrap metal” should America attempt to interfere with their upcoming invasion of the island nation.

Please know that I am not trying to scare anyone, but simply pointing out why we need the comfort and encouragement that comes from focusing on our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). All believers need to hear and grab ahold of the joyous hope we have in Christ regarding His imminent appearing.

New Testament Encouragement that Flows from Our Joyous Hope

Many times, after mentioning the Rapture, the writers of the New Testament either instruct us to use its truth to encourage others or as a reason for steadfastness in our walk with the Lord.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11, Paul instructs the Thessalonians to “encourage one another” and “build one another up” with their hope in the Rapture. The apostle tells them, and us, that the expectation of Jesus’ appearing is to be a key source of comfort during difficult times.

In the verse that follows the wonderful promise of a glorified body in Philippians 3:20-21, we see these words:

“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved” (Philippians 4:1). We possess a heavenly citizenship and look forward to receiving imperishable bodies at Jesus’ appearing.

These things help us persevere in our faith during turbulent times. It’s not a doctrine we can afford to toss aside in today’s world. It’s meant to comfort us as well as strengthen our resolve to remain faithful to our Lord Jesus.

After writing about our glorious hope in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, Paul writes these words in verse 58:

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Our focus on Jesus’ imminent appearing reminds us that a reward awaits us for faithful service. Along with the Rapture comes our appearance before the Bema seat of Jesus; it’s the time when He rewards us for faithful service, but that’s not all.

Revelation 3:10-11 is a passage that also refers to Rapture. Notice that Jesus mentions “patient endurance” ahead of the promise that His church will miss “the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world.” (Note: This “hour of trial: not a persecution of the church, but something that will impact the whole world and all those that “dwell on the earth.”)

I think of Jesus’ words about “patient endurance” when I become impatient with waiting for the Rapture.

After promising to come for us before this worldwide trial, the Lord says, “Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” Just as Paul writes about in 2 Timothy 4:8, there’s a reward for those who love “his appearing.”

So not only do the truths of the Rapture encourage us and motivate us to remain steadfast in our walk with the Lord, but there’s also a special “crown” or reward for believers who use them in this way.

Our Blessed Hope is a Much-Needed Source of Comfort

I think of Jesus’ words about “patient endurance” when I become impatient with waiting for the Rapture.

  1. Our Blessed Hope Comforts Us

I find much relief in knowing that the storm clouds we see gathering on the horizon tell us that we will soon be with Jesus. When we look realistically at what’s coming our way, it’s certainly not good news. But oh, the Gospel contains the best news imaginable for just such a time as this.

Paul refers to our joyous expectation of meeting Jesus in the air as our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:11-13). The Gospel is meant to train our hearts to look up in anticipation of Jesus’ appearing. As such, it comforts us when the world turns upside-down, such as now.

How did Jesus respond to the troubled hearts of His disciples who became deeply troubled at the thought of the Lord’s departure from them? He made this comforting promise to them that applies to us as well:

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

I find great comfort in knowing that Jesus has not only saved me but loves me so much that He’s preparing a special place for me in His Father’s house. We have a glorious forever home beyond the violence and lawlessness of our current world.

  1. Our Blessed Hope Calms Our Fears

Our “blessed hope,” along with the other details we find in Scripture regarding our future, calms our fears as nothing else can. When we compare these prophetic texts with world events, we see that God remains sovereignly in control of everything in our world. He said the world would look like this as we near the end of human history as we know it, and it does.

Vladimir Putin can huff and puff all he wants and perhaps resort to nuclear weapons in the future, but he cannot thwart God’s plans for us or the world. Everything will happen just as God’s Word says that it will. The Lord will keep all His promises to us!

Isaiah 46:8-13 tells us that it’s God’s character to tell us what is going to happen far, far in advance. Does it not calm our fears to know that God can predict what will happen thousands of years in advance? He is absolutely sovereign, and as such, He will keep His promise to keep us out of the wrath of the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10) that we find detailed in Revelation 6-18.

Our Blessed Hope Versus the War in Ukraine

I do not know the long-term (or even the near-term) impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Apart from truths related to our “blessed hope,” I cannot imagine remaining calm amid Putin’s implied threat to use nuclear weapons.

I do not know how much suffering might come my way before Jesus appears, but I know future shortages of food and wars cannot take away my joyous expectation of seeing Jesus someday soon with an immortal and incorruptible body!

Although the reference to “Gog” in Ezekiel 38 might possibly refer to a future leader of Russia, I personally believe it refers to Putin. In verse 4, the Lord says to Gog that He “will turn you around and put hooks into your jaws.” I do not know what will happen next in Europe, but at some point, Russia will join with Iran in their invasion of Israel.

In this short video, Jimmy Evans explains the possible connection between the current war in Ukraine and China’s invasion of Taiwan, as well as the coming Gog/Magog war. I believe he presents a credible scenario. If his analysis is correct, the world may be much closer to the events of Ezekiel 38 than most people can even imagine.

Also, consider that in just the past week from the time of my writing this article, Putin openly condemned Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights and sent combat aircraft and additional military equipment to Syria.

Unless a great many world events that foreshadow the coming Tribulation take a most unexpected and dramatic one-eighty turn, the world will continue its rapid advance to the time when the judgments of Revelation 6-18 commence. Our world may grow darker before then, but we know that Jesus is coming for us before the start of the Tribulation.

The good news for us does not stem from things getting better in this world, but in our blessed hope of Jesus’ appearing to take us to the place He’s preparing for us. Amid the chaos and uncertainty of our world, we can find much comfort and strength from the Words of Scripture that tell us about Jesus’ soon return for us and promise to us of a future where we will reign with Jesus and dwell forever in the eternal state.

I believe that Paul’s instructions to “seek the things that are above” and set our minds on them (Colossians 3:1-2) applies to focusing on the hope before us. Maintaining such a focus requires a fierce battle at times, to be sure, but one worth fighting.

I find considerable encouragement and peace in my expectation of Jesus’ appearing; I hope you do as well.

Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

My new book, The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times, is now available on Amazon.

Jonathan C. Brentner

Website: Our Journey Home