Watch this brief video intro to our topic first:
Pastor JD Farag made a point back in 2020 that I’ll never forget. While I can’t remember the exact quote, the essence of it stays with me: The Lord has sure given us a world that’s easier to let go of. I know that can be said of me, that this world holds no draw anymore, and for most who do see the nearness of the rapture and tribulation. Some of us long to be gone from here, even if we’re still feeling a little frightened of the unknown. The concepts of being excited and afraid were covered in previous articles. Many, however, have a sense of dread over the rapture because they’re still hanging onto this world; yet we’re told in 2 Timothy 4:8 that there will be a crown of righteousness awarded for all those who long for His appearing.
There are plenty of reasons why believers are still holding on. In this writing, we’ll cover three points: heart breaking, heart taking, and heart faking.
What could break the heart of a spouse, parent, grandparent, or friend more than the thought of the rapture coming before the ones they love come to Jesus? In the past few days, I’ve had two encounters with believers who fear for the unsaved people in their lives. We know, if we’ve read the Book of Revelation, what will befall our lost friends and family. I have the same fear for someone I dearly love, someone I’m not positive is trusting in Jesus for salvation. That’s the understandable basis of fear and dread that can and does steal sleep from us.
Soon after Covid began, when it was evident to many mature believers that Jesus could soon come, I had a tough conversation with a mom who knows her adult daughter is unsaved. I can truly say it wasn’t me who interjected hope into the discussion. The Spirit reminded me so that I could tell that fearful, dread-filled mom: You have raised your daughter to know what the rapture is, so when it happens, you have every reason to hope she will immediately call upon the name of Jesus for salvation. Not only that, but because of her daughter’s strong and determined personality, I challenged that mom to imagine what a mighty voice her daughter will be in telling others what had happened and Whom to call upon.
It wasn’t platitudes on my part. I found consolation as well for the one over whom I’m so grieved. If this young man is left behind, I am certain he will know where millions, including me, have been taken, even amidst the deception and web of lies they will use to explain away our disappearance. It’ll be his moment. He won’t call; he will scream for Jesus. I believe he will boldly tell others to do the same at the risk of death. Do I want this for him? No. Do I still lose sleep over it? Yes.
This portion of the article isn’t a quick fix or even a fix at all. It is my hope to give you a different way to deal with the dread you have in your heart over the rapture and what it will mean for the lost loved ones in your lives. Pray with me that when their moment comes, they will remember our influence and the stands we have taken and do likewise. May our words and actions now be their training ground for the stand they may soon be forced to take.
I guess this begs the question: Is your life one that is influential to the lost around you? I never feel I say enough or do enough, so this can’t be based on feelings. I just hope to plant the question in your heart so that you can determine if you’re speaking up in boldness when given the opportunity, risking rejection and ridicule, or if you’re shrinking back in fear. If you need a little encouragement on the topic, I have a series that ran here on Rapture Ready called How Do I Share What I Know? In that series, I remind us all: This is our first end-of-the-world scenario. We’re doing the best we can as we learn. Let’s just not get comfortable on the sidelines doing nothing but rather step into the role that God has planned for us based on our unique voice and gifts.
How many believers do you know whose hearts have been taken captive by this world? Sadly, for me, I would say most. I don’t mean they’re all sinful, but they sure are enamored by the glittering things of this world. Those who are entrenched in this world, whether focused on good or bad things, likely appear the same to God when He looks upon them. While the following is an Old Testament passage, one spoken to Israel, does it not drape perfectly over the shoulders of the American church?
“For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us'” (Jeremiah 2:27).
That’s a terribly sad verse to me since I know the Lord Jesus has seen my back more than He’s seen my face some years of my stumble of faith. Now, I hope my walk of faith allows Him a better view. I’m working on it anyway. I self-audit probably more often than most need to, but since I was so far from Him during fallen seasons, I keep my eye trained and on the lookout for the deceptive temptations of “good” and bad idols.
The “Good” Idols
Those who dread the rapture for this reason have kids to get off to college and grandbabies to rock and dreams to chase. They don’t see Pastor JD’s words as true at all. This world to them, though filled with what they agree is ever-rising evil, isn’t bad enough to leave just yet. I remember being a young mom and a fledgling novelist first learning about the rapture. I must admit, it crossed my mind that I wanted to see my kids grow up and have my first book published. Nothing about those desires was sinful necessarily, but they were still me longing to keep splashing in a mud puddle when I had the great sea awaiting me. (That’s a CS Lewis paraphrased quote.) They were me clinging to idols of family and a future here rather than eternity with Jesus.
My greater issue was that I didn’t truly know Who was coming for me. I hadn’t yet scratched the surface in my intimate relationship with Jesus. Now, everything, even my cutest-in-the-world grandbabies, don’t keep me moored here. I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready to see Jesus! If that’s not you, then I would encourage you to go read the two installments before this article: Rapture: Why Are You Excited? and Rapture: Why Do Most Fear?
The Bad Idols
I don’t have room here to cover them all, but do I need to? We know what elusive things in this world captivate our hearts. Have you ever noticed how the word captive underpins the word captivating? That’s been me, that’s been you, held captive by the lies of the prince of this world and the sins that so easily entangle (Hebrews 12:1). So, for some now, that’s what motivates their dread of the rapture — the notion of getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar. A life lived with active, intentional, unrepentant sin isn’t one that shouts, “Come, Lord Jesus!” If the Lord tarries and gives me the inspiration needed, I hope to offer a deeper teaching on the subject. For now, this may simply be food for thought. Are you in dread of the rapture because you know you’ll be found wallowing in the mud rather than marching toward the sea?
A verse came to mind on this topic long before I reached the point to write this session. I originally learned the NIV version, but I see my NASB sure adds an even greater element of truth.
“Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8 NIV).
“Those who are followers of worthless idols abandon their faithfulness” (Jonah 2:8 NASB).
Be found faithful when He arrives, beloved. John says it so well:
“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
If your back is to the Lord and your hands are clinging to worthless idols, you need only let go and turn around. No matter how tempting the world seems, it’s all a lie. Truth is on the way to claim you. Don’t greet your Savior in shame.
A heart faker, whether they realize it or not, is likely clinging to good and bad idols, a mixture of both of the above explanations. This is the believer who is going through the motions, but at the core of who they are, isn’t walking closely enough with Jesus to have developed a heart to love as He loves. They may not even have what they would call a sense of dread over the rapture, but maybe they should since they aren’t walking in all sincerity before Him.
Each time I read a particular passage in Isaiah, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a believer last year. I was too passionately sharing with a man about what’s going on in the world and how it proves just how close we must be to the rapture. He didn’t necessarily question the nearness of the rapture, but it sure didn’t seem to affect him that life as we know it is over other than how it’s impacting him financially. Finally, when I realized my words weren’t swaying him on a heart level, I brought up what would become of those left behind, thinking that point might lead him to greater concern. Instead, he laughed and shrugged and said, “What do I care? I’ll be gone.” I just stopped. What point was there in talking to a faking heart who cared nothing for those who will face the most horrific time known to man, a time that’s so treacherous that if the Lord doesn’t cut it short, no life will be left at all?
In Isaiah 39, King Hezekiah, a man who had faithfully walked in obedience to God, made a grave error. Because of that, he was warned by the prophet Isaiah that the days would come when his house and all he had built, including some of his own sons, would be carried off into captivity to Babylon. The king’s response:
“Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘the word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘For there will be peace and truth in my days'” (Isaiah 39:8).
Translation: What do I care? I’ll be gone.
How can any believer, one who professes to love Jesus and walks sincerely with Him, not cast a thought in the direction of those who will be left behind? I have to believe it’s one of two reasons:
- This one is me giving the benefit of the doubt. What is described in Revelation is so troubling for the human mind that some won’t allow themselves to ponder on it or consider those left behind.
- Their heart is truly that selfish, that set on self that they genuinely don’t care what happens to others. In this case we have to question, not their salvation necessarily, but certainly a genuine relationship with Jesus. You can’t identify with Him and walk closely with Him and not have developed His heart for others.
The first is a little easier to accept than the second since it’s more about burying their head than a hardened heart, but both need our prayers. If you, in any way, identify with the heart faker, then I urge you to pray and ask Jesus to burden your heart for the lost and those who will be left behind. As believers, we are the last example of who Jesus is that the lost will see. Are we genuine? Do we love others? What are we telling them about Jesus by our lives, our actions, and our beliefs?
Finally, this: In context, in the verse below, Peter is talking about the care of the church, the flock.
“…but proving to be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3).
Should we not even and especially use this charge and be examples toward those who are yet to be born, the unborn-again flock, those who may find salvation during the tribulation because of our love and care for them today?
This was much to cover. I pray it settles upon you as your heart has need.
Grace and peace,
Daybreak, Last Days of Light – Free book download
How Do I Share What I Know? (Lisa’s Rapture Ready Series)
Prepare Your Heart – Rapture Ready series in process
About Daybreak with Lisa:
Daybreak is a way of life, one of exposing the rising darkness and telling of the soon-coming Light. We only have so many daybreaks remaining before that final sunset when we, as believers, are caught up in the air to meet Jesus.
As an author, Lisa Heaton is a storyteller with a heart for truth. Her greatest desire in her fiction and nonfiction work is to challenge the reader to discover the truth of who Jesus is and who they are to Him. Now, here as we wait for the any-minute arrival of Jesus for His church in the rapture, Lisa’s latest mission is to warn the lost and wake the found and to help others discover their unique voice to share the truth of our times. More at DaybreakWithLisa.com.