The biggest questions many Christians have during these times is: “When are the end-times coming” and “When are we going to be raptured?” Nowhere in the Bible is the term “Rapture” found. It is a Latin word that describes being taken away in a state of joy, caught up or plucked up. Scripture tells us that Enoch and Elijah went to Heaven without dieing. Christ went up into the clouds and it was witnessed by many. Phillip was taken away and reappeared at a new location. (Acts 8:39) The Apostle John, author of Revelation was taken to heaven but he did not know whether he was in the body or his spirit. The term rapture is used referring to the church rising from earth to Heaven. Practically every theologian agrees this will occur. They just can’t agree on when it will happen. I Thessalonians 4:13 – 16 – “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” I Corinthians 15:35 – “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 52 to 55 – “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’”
John 14:1 – 3 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
This is not Christ’s second coming. That is believed to come after the Tribulation when the Antichrist is sitting in the Temple saying he is god. But as Christians meet Christ in the air we will have resurrected bodies and will go to be with Him forever. Jesus warns that those who are unsaved believers will end up in the Tribulation period. When the church meets Christ in the clouds, could be at different times. It could be prior to the Tribulation, after 3½ years or at the end of the Tribulation.
We are told the beast described in Revelation or the “Antichrist” will rise to power. He will be killed and come back to life and form a one-world government. After a time he will negotiate a peace with Israel and an agreement to protect them. He will be given unusual supernatural powers and many will be convinced that he is the messiah. The Antichrist will rule as the Jews believed Christ should have done if He was truly God’s Messiah. Another beast rises that we call the false prophet heading a one-world religion. The false prophet requires that everyone must worship the Antichrist who rules over every nation, race and tongue. There will be millions who have gone to church for years who were never saved and were not raptured.
II Thessalonians 2:8 – 12 – And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
Revelation 3:10 – “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Many believe this means those who are saved will be raptured prior to the Tribulation. However, there are many who believe that Christians will go through part or all of the Tribulation. I believe that the Antichrist will be held back until the Holy Spirit is withdrawn at the time the church is raptured. I Thessalonians 1:10 – “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” I believe Christians will be rewarded for being faithful and will not have to endure the atrocities of the Tribulation. However, Scripture tells us that God wishes that no one will perish. It would be highly unlikely many would be saved if the church was removed and the Holy Spirit was gone and the great deceiver had control of everyone.
During the Tribulation there will never have been a time like it. There will be gigantic earthquakes, volcanoes erupting, stars falling from the sky. There will be the most evil people ever to have lived. There will be starvation, sickness and no hope. One-third of the population, over two billion people, will die during this seven year period. We believe there will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists that will convince many Jews that they had been deceived by the Antichrist. They will accept Christ and many will be martyred. Do you want to hang around or meet Christ?
One thing we are sure of knowing. The true Messiah, Christ, will come to rapture the church and we will meet Him in the air. He will not come as a ruler until after the Tribulation. Anyone else will be from Satan and he was capable of deceiving 1/3 of the angels. Don’t allow him to sway you if you are left behind. If the church is gone and the Holy Spirit is in heaven it may be tough to repent and be saved. What’s the BIGGEST gamble in LIFE? To deny Christ!
Matthew 10:28 – “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Fear God!)
Matthew 8:26 – “He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” You must have faith!
We are in the end times. We just do not know when that day will come. If you have repented and have been saved there is absolutely nothing to be worried about. Live each day with peace in your heart and love for God. If you fear, as a saved believer, that you may be missed in the rapture, pray for faith. Rely on God’s promise! (We are saved by grace and not by works.)