Last summer I had a conversation with my brother in law that kind of took me by surprise. I guess I knew about the diversity of opinion of the end times and the idea that we may be in the tribulation, and or near the second coming of Jesus and when that happens then – it’s over, man! Then I recently had another, let’s just call it a ‘conflict’, that some Christian leaders do not want to take a stand at all and wish to just ‘go with the flow’ about the end times. It’s almost like whatever happens, happens, and let the cards fall where they may. The comment was made, “I am an agnostic when it comes to end time stuff. It doesn’t really matter, if you believe in pre, mid or post tribulation rapture. It will all work itself out in the end.” Maybe I was raised in a small circle, but has the church teaching on the Rapture diminished over the last few years?
I believe that one day Jesus will return for His church and take us back with him to heaven BEFORE the tribulation begins. My friend, I know there are many so called educated bible scholars out there teaching today that this will not happen. Did you know that the fact they are out there teaching this very thing is one of the signs of the last days? “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ “(2 Peter 3:3-4)
The Bible clearly teaches there is a Rapture coming and that during the Tribulation the church will not be present. Did you know there have been several raptures recorded in the Bible? The word rapture does appear in our English Bible, but the definition, to snatch away, to appear in another place, does. There are several occasions where someone was snatched away to another place in the bible. The Idea of this happening is not new, and it has happened before.
The first recorded snatching away was Enoch. The bible calls him a ‘was not’, in Genesis 1:23-24 “and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years and Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him.” And again in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” And in Jude it hints that he was a prophet as well. In verse 14 to 16, this was right before the flood of Noah, “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His Holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’” Remember, this was right before Noah’s flood. One of the last days prophesies for us today is that it will be like the days of Noah before the Rapture for the Church.
Elijah was another person to be taken away without seeing death. He was a mighty prophet of God, and did many great things before God and the people while he was here on earth. But when it was time for him to go to heaven, God did not let him see death. In 2 Kings 2:11 we read, “Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.” He was snatched away, or raptured to heaven and did not have to experience death in this life.
Then we have Philip. In Acts chapter 8 verses 26 through 40 there is the story of Philip witnessing to a man. After he is done, and the man accepts Christ and is baptized, Philip is snatched away to another place. In verses 39 and 40 it says, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.” Philip did not miss a beat! So you see, Philip was transported, or raptured to another place on earth.
And then we have John. In Revelation, John was taken to Heaven to see the future. Revelation chapter 4 verse 1 and 2, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things’. Immediately I was in the Spirit and behold a throne was standing in heaven and One sitting on the throne.” John was snatched away to heaven to see future events, soon to take place. John was snatched away, or raptured to heaven to see what was going to happen in future events.
The church is the bride of Christ. If you are a believer, and have placed your trust in Him as your savior, then you are part of the bride. To understand the concept of imminence of the rapture, you should understand Jewish customs of marriage. You see, marriages were arranged by families back then. And once it was agreed that a young man and young lady were set to be married, they were betrothed. This was a binding contract. We do not have anything like it today, but it was as if they were already married. They were to keep themselves pure for each other until the day of the wedding. During this time the young groom would go out and prepare a place for the new couple to live. If he was thoughtful and caring, it may take a long time to get things just right. If he was in a hurry, or careless in how he prepared for his new bride, he may be finished in a very short time.
So one would never know at what point the groom would return and say, I am done and ready to take my bride. This was a waiting period for all involved. But what the bride’s job in all of this? She is to stay pure and clean and ready for at any time the groom could come back, and she is to wait in anticipation for him at all times day and night.
I heard the tale of a bride and groom going to get married. The groom was not there yet, and the bride was waiting for him in all her white splendor. Her gown was so beautiful, sparkling white flowing to the floor. She waited so long and he still did not arrive, he was delayed still. She grew tired of waiting and thought she would take a walk in the garden. As she walked the bottom edges of her dress became soiled. Oh my, she thought, but she quickly dismissed her fears, thinking to herself, the spots will never be seen they are on the bottom edges and hidden. You cannot see it from far away. So she continued to walk and came to a stream. She was tired to walking and decided to sit down on a rock to rest. A large bullfrog jumped in the water, splashing all down the front of the dress and drenched her hair. “Oh no!” she thought, I must get back to the church and fix this before my groom comes. As she got up from the rock, a dark impression from where she was sitting was left on her once beautiful gown. She began running back to the church to try to fix this mess she had created. I can just fix my hair, take some water and clean these spots, it will be fine, she thought. As she ran she tripped and fell, ripping the front of her dress. She began to cry. How could he ever accept her now? There was no fixing this. She continues on, the tears flowing and thoughts racing through her head as to what she was going to tell the love of her life. If he rejected her, what would she do?
My friend, this little tale is just like us. If we have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, then he has washed us white as snow. We are called the bride of Christ. We are clean and pure and are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. That is our job while we are here. And we are here to share Jesus’ love with others. We are to stay pure for our Groom. But what do we do? We go out and walk in the world, we dabble in things we know we should not. As a Child of God, you have a Robe right now, given to you by Jesus. How clean have you kept it? Will you be embarrassed to have Jesus see how clean you have kept his Robe he has given you?
Just as in the Jewish Wedding, the groom will return at any time. There is a verse that says Jesus will return at any time for His church. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 it says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
When Jesus was here, His disciples asked him when He would be coming back and what would be signs they could look for to know the time was near. He answered them in Mathew chapter 24, verses 4 to 13. Jesus is speaking here to his Jewish Disciples. You must realize that the perspective of all this comes from ground zero, Jerusalem. Having said that, Jesus mentions several things, many false Christs coming claiming to be the Messiah, Wars and Rumors of Wars, Nation rising against Nation, and let me just say the root meaning of this word is Ethnic group against ethnic group meaning racial tensions and fighting between people groups. We are seeing this more and more with all the racial tensions building up in in the last years especially. There will be Famines, Starvation, and Earthquakes in various places. Then he describes these things as birth pangs. Also Christian persecution, pure hatred for the name of Christ, many followers will simply just fall away and stop following at all, false prophets will mislead people. Lawlessness will increase, crime is on the rise. They want to even do away with police of all things. This is only the spirit of Lawlessness we see right now; it is a pre-shadowing of what will be in full force during the Tribulation. And because of this, people’s compassion will dwindle. Their love will grow cold. Now let’s go back to the statement of birth pangs. Birth pangs start small, and increase in pain, length, and intensity. They get unbearable if you ask any woman who has gone through them. But Jesus says in verse 6, all of this must happen, and it is not over yet. My friend, if you just look around, Jesus, sitting with his twelve disciples 2000 years ago, just described our world today. I am not going to go into the increase of these things, but yes, it is a fact, and they are getting worse.
With all that I have just described, this is the most compelling reason I believe that the rapture is so very near. End times are moving at supersonic speed. Even if the person who does not know anything about any of this, knows there is something up. The Bible has Jewish roots and history, and when you understand Jewish marriage customs it is easy to see how the rapture is not some far out teaching.
What has to take place before the rapture? Absolutely nothing! The imminence of the rapture, as in the wedding, could happen at any time. Yes, there are many end times prophesies that have come to pass, and things are moving at break neck speed. If you just look around you don’t have to look far to notice something is going on. One hundred years ago, no end time’s prophecies were fulfilled, did you know that? Now they are everywhere.
Some Christians think that the church will be there during the Tribulation, or that somehow we are in it now. My friend, we are not in the Tribulation now! The tribulation is a set number of years, seven to be exact set aside for judgment to a world that has rejected Christ. When Revelation talks about the Tribulation, it does not mention the church. In chapters 1 through 3 it described the churches, but between chapters 3 and 4, something happens. In verse one of chapter four, John states, “After these things…” After what things? Then he hears a voice telling him to “Come up here”, it is Jesus Himself. I believe John witnessed a picture of the Rapture of the church to come, and we will hear something like that as well. The Bible says there will be a shout. Have you ever wondered what that shout will be? We may just hear the words, “Come up here”! How awesome would that be?
Another reason I am looking for the Rapture, it that the Holy Spirit is still here in this world. The Tribulation will not take place until the Holy Spirit has been removed. Where does the Holy Spirit live? He lives in every believer. When a person accepts Jesus as their savior, the Holy Spirit comes into that person and lives in them; he is described as a comforter. So until the Holy Spirit is removed from earth and is not here constraining the evil, then the tribulation will not take place. In 2 Thessalonians verses 3 to 9, it is talking about the antichrist coming, and in in verse 7 states that the spirit of the antichrist, or as the verse describes, lawlessness is already at work here in the world, but cannot be revealed with the ‘restrainer’ here. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will say with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end my the appearance of His coming;” Who is the restrainer? It is the Holy Spirit, and the Lawless one is the antichrist. And this verse states when the church has been raptured and the Holy Spirit has been removed, the Antichrist will have full reign here on earth for a time. Then Jesus will come in His Second coming and then he will defeat him and set up His kingdom here on earth.
Enoch was described as a Was Not for he walked with God. I believe the Rapture is closer now than ever before. I want to be a Was Not, how about you?
There are many other scriptures but I just want to say, it is clear the Rapture and Second coming are two separate events. We as a church will go up in the Rapture, have the Marriage supper of the Lamb for seven years while there is Tribulation here on earth. Then we will come back with Jesus riding on a white horse to conquer evil and set up His kingdom here on earth!! My friend, do not be left here. Accept Him now. I have heard people say, I will accept Jesus after the rapture comes if that happens. The Bible says there will be strong delusion coming. And it will be so bad, you will not want to be here anyway. Please visit our page and let us know if you have prayed to accept Him. We would love to hear from you and pray for you.