“Do you believe in the Second Coming?” he inquired. When they turned to answer him, he had vanished, leaving his seat belt fastened. Upon arriving at the end of the Thruway, drivers related to the toll collector their story which he had already heard a dozen times before.Dr. Lydia M. Fish of Buffalo State College has a collection of some sixty such reports.
Could these accounts be true? In Hebrews 13:2 we read, “Be careful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Anyway, the case of the vanishing hitchhiker will serve to remind us of a day coming when many will disappear from off the earth.
Ian Macpherson writes in a prophetic magazine of an airline in the United States that positively refuses to permit two Christian pilots to be jointly responsible for the flight of any of their aircraft. Why?
Well, the reason is that they take seriously the biblical teaching of Christ’s Second Coming to rapture the true church. At Christ’s coming those who are truly His will suddenly disappear and, if this were to take place when a plane was in the air with two Christian pilots at the controls, disaster could result.
Perhaps you’ve read tracts on the subject or have seen the Rapture Journal with the headline, “Multitudes Missing,” relating the disappearance of millions of people from off the earth–showing express trains traveling at high speed and suddenly left driverless; of storm-buffeted ships on the high seas without helmsmen; of airborne passenger-laden planes plunging to their destruction as Christian pilots are raptured. Is this fact or fiction?
Will the number of missing persons make a tremendous impact upon the world, or will it all happen without headlines? It is reported that some newspapers have the headlines already made up, with the complete story from the Bible as to the meaning of the event we call “the rapture,” to use when it OCCURS.
We read of one Bible teacher who expects that UFOs will be blamed for the disappearance of people from off the earth. He sees the antichrist rejoicing in the fact that all of the religious zealots are gone, for they would surely seek to hinder his program of a united world political-religious system.
Today we would like to ask the question, “For whom is Christ coming?”
We fear lest many have the mistaken idea that our Lord will return for all believers regardless of their state or condition. Sarah Foulkes Moore, in HERALD OF HIS COMING, points out that our Lord gave exhortations to uninterrupted watchfulness. She notes: “He gave His disciples no reason to believe that their readiness for the Rapture rested on any experience of salvation they may have had. He made it pointed and plain that their conduct at the moment of the Rapture meant the winning of the prize.” And she warns: “All teaching, all preaching, all activity, religious, secular or otherwise, that today ignores the Lord’s solemn warning to His own to “watch and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy” dissipates watchfulness and makes for sloth and carelessness.”
For whom is Christ coming? Will He take all of the babies when He comes ?
One Bible expositor says: “Yes.” He replies: “I believe that little children who have not reached a time of accountability will be caught up in the rapture.” Another claims that all children under seven will be raptured and pictures a woman of the world screaming because her child is missing. On the other hand, a well-known prophetic writer was sent this question: “Will children who are dedicated to Christ before the Rapture, even if both of the parents are not born again, be caught up with the Lord at that time?”
His answer: “No, they will not!” He further contends, “The Rapture is a special blessing for born again people.” He goes on to explain: “The only way children under the age of accountability will be caught up in the Rapture, is if one or the other or both of the parents is a born again believer.”
His reasoning is based on I Cor. 7:14 which states: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”
So the possibility does exist that if one or both of the parents are born-again Christians it would have its effect upon the children who are under the age of accountability. According to this interpretation, babies of believers who are raptured will also be gone when Jesus comes.
Who, then, will be raptured when Jesus comes?
The Rev. Basil G. Mowell, writing in the PROPHETIC WITNESS says: “Some believe that all who profess to be Christians will be taken. But our Lord’s parable of the wise and foolish virgins who all went out to meet the bride- groom contradicts such an opinion.”
Continues Rev. Mowell, “Religion and church-going may mean Christian profession, but if we do not possess the oil of God’s Holy Spirit, we shall not he taken to the marriage feast when our Lord comes, hut will surely he left behind to face the day of God’s wrath on the nations of the world.”
Mowell goes on to explain from the Scriptures who will he taken when our Lord appears in the air.
1. Our Lord will come for those who belong to Him. In speaking of the order of the resurrection, Paul writes: “Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” (I Cor. 15:23)
Thus, our Lord is coming for those who are redeemed by His precious blood and have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Only those who have been cleansed from sin will enter Heaven.
2. He is coming for those who are looking for Him. Hebrews 9:28 reminds us: “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
There seem to he many Christians who are not looking for our Lord to come. However, for those of us who are ready to meet our Saviour, the thought of rapture is our “blessed hope.” In view of the fact of Christ’s coming, we are told to comfort one another with these words.” (I Thess. 4:18)
3. Jesus is coming for those who are living lives of watchfulness and perseverance. How often our Lord commanded His disciples, saying: “Watch: for you know not when the Master of the house comes …. lest coming suddenly He finds you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!” (Mark 13:35-37) Again He urges, saying: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36)
Our Lord is very insistent that this should be our attitude of watchfulness in order to be ready for His coming.
Billy Graham writes: “We do not know the exact time when Jesus Christ will come; but we are to be on the alert. You may be among the many thousands who at this moment are not ready. You have never received Christ. Your heart is not cleansed of sin. You’re not ready to meet God. I beg of you to make ready now.”
One young man related how when he was a boy he thought of Christ’s Return as signaled by the sound of a heavenly trumpet and the voice of the archangel. At the time, he wasn’t a Christian and he thought, “That will give me just enough time to pray the sinner’s prayer and get saved.” Later, however, he read where our Lord’s coming will take place “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.” He decided it would be too late then to get right with God, and made his decision at once for Christ.
Carl Richardson, in admonishing listeners of the “Forward in Faith” program, warns: “Don’t wait until the Church disappears. Come now. Pray where you are. Make things right between you and God. Confess your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus. Welcome Him into your heart and prepare to go with the Church.”
Indeed, in the words of Jesus, we would declare: “Be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour that ye think not, the Son of man cometh.”