In these last days, it is tough to patiently wait for Jesus’ return at the Rapture. The news headlines are often discouraging due to how quickly the world appears to be falling into darkness.
Yet Christians are still here, and so there must be a reason why God has allowed this. The reason must be that there are still good works that God has prepared for us to do in the last days, weeks, months, or maybe even years ahead before the Rapture, as hard as that is to think about (Ephesians 2:10).
Most Christians who read Rapture Ready already know the importance of telling their friends and family about Jesus, the gospel, and the Rapture. However, it can be discouraging when our loved ones show no interest in these things, or even worse, actively scoff at the mention of Jesus’ return. It can be tempting to just stay quiet about it all in order to preserve the relationships and keep the peace.
It might also seem like some of our loved ones are simply lost causes that not even the Holy Spirit can get through to, despite the years we have spent praying for them and having conversations about Jesus, the gospel, and the Rapture.
But we shouldn’t give up, even if we don’t see progress being made now. Instead, we should think of all of our prayers and conversations as being like sowing seeds of the gospel that might only grow after the Rapture has occurred.
I am encouraged by how Revelation 7:9-17 describes a great multitude of people who will believe in Jesus and be eternally saved during the Tribulation. It is clear that this must be an absolutely incredible number of people because the multitude is so large that John said no one could count it.
Yet in Revelation 9:16, John is able to number the troops of an army that totals 200 million. Thus, we can infer that the great multitude will be much larger than this—perhaps an order of magnitude larger, which would be into the billions.
Can you imagine billions of new Christians all coming to faith within the span of only seven short years? Or maybe within only weeks or months after the Rapture? It will be amazing.
I believe that many of the people who will be included in this multitude will be those who heard about the Rapture before it happens. After that moment when all true Christians are instantly caught up to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17), millions of formerly-unbelieving people will fall to their knees in repentance. They will realize that the world-changing event their Christian friends or family members warned them about has actually occurred. This will be strong proof that the Bible is true, that God exists, and that their Christian loved ones were right.
Some prophecy experts argue from 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 that God will send a strong delusion on all the people who did not believe in Jesus before the Rapture, so that these people will be condemned for rejecting the truth. However, I do not believe this is a correct interpretation.
It is true that many people will reject the gospel during the Tribulation and will choose to follow the Antichrist instead. But this verse does not say that everyone who did not believe the gospel before the Rapture will automatically be condemned.
If that interpretation were correct, then there would be no hope for large portions of the world. For example, in North America and Europe, most people probably have at least some basic knowledge about Christianity and the gospel. Yet at least some of these unbelievers must be able to be saved because, otherwise, the great multitude of Revelation 7:9–17 would not include people from every nation, tribe, and language.
Furthermore, because of how it seems that the total number of people who will be saved in the Tribulation will possibly be an order of magnitude greater than 200 million, it seems very unlikely that these billions of new believers in Jesus will come from only the un-evangelized regions of the globe, which, at this point, are relatively few.
It seems even less likely that all of these new believers would only include people who had never heard the gospel or known anything about Christianity before the Rapture. How could these people be expected to instantly come to faith in Jesus if they had never heard about him before? (Romans 10:14)
So, I believe a better interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 is that after the departure (Greek: apostasia) of all Christians to heaven in the Rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:3), some left-behind people will choose to reject the truth that they heard from Christians about the Rapture and the gospel. Instead of believing the truth, they will gladly accept whatever lie the Antichrist will tell the world to explain away the Rapture.
These people who reject the truth that the Rapture just happened will accept the Antichrist’s lie because they will not want to believe that the raptured Christians were right. They will not want to believe that they were left behind because they did not believe in Jesus. They will want to continue living in their sinful ways and will not want to think that Jesus will be coming back to condemn them to the lake of fire if they do not repent.
These people will love the Antichrist, and they will believe anything he says because it is what their ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3–4). They will especially enjoy how the Antichrist’s false explanation for the Rapture will probably demean the raptured Christians who are dwelling safely in heaven (Revelation 13:6). This derogatory talk about raptured Christians would help convince the world to go along with the Antichrist’s war against the new Christians who converted after the Rapture (Revelation 13:7).
Furthermore, if the pessimistic interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 were correct, then it would leave Christians today feeling very distressed about the fate of their loved ones who do not currently believe in Jesus. We might worry that if they can’t be persuaded to believe now, then there will be no hope for them once the Rapture happens.
Instead of this pessimistic attitude, I believe that Christians who have told their unbelieving friends and family about Jesus and the Rapture should be optimistic about the potential future salvation of their loved ones, especially after the Rapture occurs.
Obviously, Christians want everyone we love to believe in Jesus now so that our loved ones will be raptured and thus escape the Tribulation. No one wants to imagine their spouse, grown children, parents, or best friends having to endure what Jesus said will be the worst time in the entire history of the world (Matthew 24:21).
However, if this awful experience moves our left-behind loved ones to turn to Jesus and so be eternally saved, then it will be an instance of God using even something as terrible as the Tribulation to bring good to those who love him (Romans 8:28). It is far better for someone to experience temporal suffering if it leads them to put their faith in Christ and gain eternal life, considering that the only other option is eternal destruction in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Sometimes, it is only when people’s lives are turned upside down that they will even begin to realize their need for God. The Tribulation will be a time when God will test people’s hearts in order to determine who is the metaphorical wheat that he will gather into his Millennial barn and who is the chaff that is only fit to be destroyed by fire (Matthew 13:24–30, 13:36–43).
During the Tribulation, new believers in Jesus will face very difficult times. Many will die for their faith in the Fifth Seal judgment (Revelation 6:9–11). Others will be beheaded when they refuse to worship the Image of the Beast (Revelation 13:15, 20:4), or when the Antichrist makes war on the saints and overcomes them (Revelation 13:7).
Yet even then, this is a much better fate than eternal destruction or the torment that will be experienced by those who will take the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 14:9–11). Even now, to die and be with Christ is far better than staying in this world, except for the fact that while we’re in this world, we can make a difference by using our spiritual gifts and talents for Christ, which we will be eternally rewarded for (Philippians 1:21–24, Matthew 25:14–30).
The fraction of new believers who survive the entire awful seven years will face Jesus himself at the Sheep and Goats judgment of Matthew 25:31–46, and they will be allowed to enter Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom. The others who were killed for their faith will be resurrected soon after and will join all the raptured Church-age Christians in ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:4).
Together, all Christians—those who were raptured, those who were martyred, and those who endured to the end of the Tribulation and are saved (Matthew 24:12–13, Mark 13:13)—will enjoy the thousand-year rule of Jesus from Jerusalem.
So, what does this mean for Christians today?
I believe it means that we should not give up talking about the Rapture and the gospel, even if our loved ones are tired of hearing about it. Even if there seems to be no progress being made and it feels like we are metaphorically bashing our heads against brick walls when we try to get through to them.
Jesus used an analogy of sowing seeds on different types of soil to describe the process of evangelism. When a seed lands on some soil and sprouts, it is like a person who hears the gospel and believes it (Luke 8:11–15). The moment anyone genuinely believes, they are sealed by the Holy Spirit, which guarantees they will have eternal life (Ephesians 1:13–14). This is true regardless of the level of fruitfulness that believers eventually demonstrate in their lives (Luke 8:11–15) and also regardless of whether believers persevere in their faith to the end of their lives (2 Timothy 2:11–13).
However, it is helpful to remember that when seeds are planted, they do not grow immediately. Christians who feel called to evangelize love to rejoice when one of our friends or family members finally puts their faith in Christ. But Jesus taught that the people who sow seeds might not be the same people who see those seeds sprout and grow (John 4:37–38).
Because of this, those who sow the seeds need to have more faith and patience than those who see the results of the harvest. Being a sower of the gospel can be more challenging because we may never see the results of our hard work in this life. Yet we are promised that our work for Jesus will never be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Therefore, we should not lose hope if we do not see the seeds we are sowing grow into the plant of faith before the Rapture.
There are some types of trees that produce pinecones that only sprout when they are subjected to the intense heat of a forest fire. This may be like some of our loved ones who seem extraordinarily resistant to the gospel now. But once the Rapture happens and the Tribulation begins, their hearts might soften, and the Holy Spirit will finally be able to work in them without so much resistance (Acts 7:51).
These people who come to faith in Jesus after the Rapture will go on to tell others about what has happened and will also share the gospel with them. In this way, that great multitude who will be saved during the Tribulation can be seen as being partly due to our efforts to sow seeds now that might blossom later in those who will be left behind.
In heaven, we will finally see the results of all the people that we ministered to, and these people will be like a crown of rejoicing to us (John 4:36, 1 Thessalonians 2:19–20). These people will likely include people that we never met personally but who were saved because of someone else that we shared the gospel with. For example, the family friend who shared the gospel with Billy Graham had no idea at that moment that Graham would go on to become a world-famous evangelist. Similarly, perhaps some of the people we pray for and share the gospel with now might go on to become fantastic post-Rapture evangelists.
Therefore, Christians should not stop sharing the gospel with everyone we can, in whatever ways we can. We also need to tell people about the Rapture, the seven years of the Tribulation that will happen after it, and what the events of the Tribulation will involve. By doing this, we are sowing seeds now for a post-Rapture harvest.
This is why I felt an urgency to write and publish my newest book, titled, A Detailed Biblical Introduction To The End Times: The Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Seven-Year Tribulation, and Pre-Millennial Return of Jesus Christ (available at https://www.amazon.com/Detailed-Biblical-Introduction-Times-Pre-Tribulation-ebook/dp/B0BYDYFTC1 in eBook and paperback formats).
I wanted to share everything I have learned about the end times and support it with detailed references to the Bible. My goal was to write in a way that is extremely clear and does not presume any pre-existing knowledge of Christianity so that the information would be understandable to people who will become brand-new Christians after the Rapture.
I hope there will be many left-behind people who might have at one point heard something about the Rapture, the end-times, or the Tribulation. They will be desperate to find information that explains what has happened, what it means, and what to expect in their future. But they will probably know very little about theology and might never have read the Bible. They will need to be introduced to what the Bible teaches about many things, but most importantly, about how they can put their faith in Jesus to have eternal life.
However, I am not optimistic that my book or others like it will remain available for very long after the Rapture happens. Governments and companies could easily remove books about the Rapture and the Tribulation from all major platforms and perhaps even take Christian websites offline very quickly after the Rapture occurs.
Therefore, the most valuable resources for left-behind people will probably be hard-copy resources that will be left behind in the homes of raptured Christians or that we give to friends and family members now before the Rapture happens. Anyone who God leads to come across our left-behind letters, Bibles, and other resources will be amazed that Christians knew about the Rapture ahead of time. This would be strong evidence that what we were telling them about Jesus and the gospel was also true. This advance warning of the Rapture will also help our left-behind loved ones not fall for the Antichrist’s lies.
So I would encourage all Christians who read this to get your left-behind letters ready, along with any Bibles and other hard-copy resources you believe would be helpful for brand-new Christians who will believe in Jesus after the Rapture. Put them in places where they will be seen by anyone who might enter your home after the Rapture to look for you or who breaks in to find food or other supplies.
All the signs of the coming Tribulation are becoming more frequent and more intense, just like Jesus said they would (Matthew 24:7–8). It cannot be long until we are finally all caught up in the clouds to be with Jesus forever. Yet what we do now in these last few moments could make an eternal difference for the great multitude who will be saved after the Rapture.