The Day is Coming
Many people have asked me my belief about the rapture. They want to know if it's a real event about to take place. They want to know when it will happen. They want to know how to be sure they will go to meet Jesus in the air along with the rest of the saints of God. Some are Christians for many years. Others are babes in Christ. All have the need to know. And I have the need to tell.
First, the word Rapture is not found in the Bible, which causes confusion. So let's look at that word briefly. The rapture is mentioned in the Bible, just not by that particular word. Rapture is, in Greek harpazo, in Latin rapere. It means to be taken away suddenly; caught up; snatched away. So - yes, absolutely, rapture is a real event about to take place for the dead in Christ and the saints of the church, also known as the Bride of Christ. How do I know this is true? Let's look at some Scripture.
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
If you are a born-again Christian, the above verses should give you hope and the joy of anticipation.
"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 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" (I Corinthians 15:50-53).
In other words, we cannot enter heaven in our corrupt bodies. We have to leave them and enter heaven in the new, perfect bodies Jesus will give us that never practiced sin, for heaven is for the pure of heart, not the sinner.
The “trumpet” that will sound is the voice of the Lord Jesus. His voice will be loud enough to penetrate 6-feet of earth or more, many leagues of water, and layers and layers of dessert sand or mountain snow. The shout will be that loud, and yet, will not hurt the ears of those of us who remain alive. Yet, as loud as it will be, the unsaved will not hear it. How I long to hear that trumpeting voice!
Why will God send Jesus for us?
Apostle Paul says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:9).
We are to be removed from this dying world to make room for the wrath of God on earth. He cannot take vengeance in earth against those who mock Him and those who reject Jesus while His holy ones remain here. We are not destined for wrath, but for a blessed eternity with the Lord.
Will we see some of the signs of Jesus' coming before He comes, or will we be "caught up" before the hardships start?
I believe we are already seeing phase 1: Setting the stage for the Tribulation. The way the government is pushing for a one world order, one world religion, one world government, and one world financial system makes me think that Jesus is choosing His cloud now and that the anti-Christ is close at hand. I do not, however, believe we will see the actual Tribulation.
Will things get tough for a while?
Yes, I believe that will happen. We're already seeing earthquakes in the ocean causing Tsunamis. The Philippines alone have been overcome by 18 major storms this season. Many are dead as a result of the storms and others are still missing. Thousands are homeless. There are illnesses that rock this old earth like cancer and AIDS. We should not fear these things though as they are the signs Jesus spoke of as “the beginning of birth pangs” or “the beginning or sorrow” (Matthewe 24:8) that would take place before the coming of the Lord in the Bible.
Addendum: Now we can add the devestating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan.
Let’s not become confused. There are two “comings” of the Lord. The one we eagerly await, which is the rapture in which Jesus will come in a cloud for the church, but never touch down on earth, and the second coming of the Lord to earth when He will set things right and end this world as we know it today.
When will Jesus come?
No one knows the day or hour of the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:36). Only God knows for sure the timeline He has written into the history to come. But we know that Jesus will come when the days that have been appointed to the Gentile (these are unsaved non-Jews) are over. We also know for sure that Jesus will come AS a thief. He's not a thief, but will snatch us away as a thief snatching up booty. One article I read recently, which gave no credit to the author, said this:
"Now, when a thief comes he does not announce his coming, He does not announce his time for if he did telegraph the time of his arrival all would be prepared. A thief comes unexpectedly. He comes when no one has a forewarning of the exact time and moment of his entry. What else about a thief is of great significance? A thief seeks out and takes the most precious, valuable objects and if he knows the quality and the value of what is present he will disdain the ordinary or common place objects and will seek out the most valuable of articles. What is more valuable than a soul? Nothing! The soul has the greatest value conceivable. 'For what shall it profit a man if he gains the entire world and loses his soul' (Matthew 16:26). So the "thief: would then come unexpectedly to acquire the most precious of all things. The thief does not come to stay; so it is with Jesus He will return only to receive His Church, the saved ones, and then to go back to His Father's Kingdom."
Look at what Jesus said about heaven for the Christian, the born-again soul. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).
The Book of Revelations is just that. It's a book of revealing truth. It reveals the truth of who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is, and their jobs concerning the people on the earth: God's people creation: Humanity. In this Book, Jesus promised that once we are saved, we are free from the wrath of God. "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (Revelation 3:10). If God left us here to suffer the Tribulation that would make Him a liar, and God cannot lie. God promises to keep us safe FROM the HOUR of trial. That is the Tribulation. (Remember: 1,000 years is as a day to God, so the seven years of tribulation are merely a small increment of time to Him.) We will not walk through the fire of His wrath. We will not be crushed on the threshing floor. We will not be the tares that are burned up. We will be eternally children of God living in His new earth.
Look at what else Jesus promises us. "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name" (Revelation 3:11, 12). Jesus will write God's name, His name and the name of their city on all who believe. Wow! I'm excited about that. That means we have been accepted as eternal residents of the Holy City under the domain of the one true God. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.
People have asked if I’m scared of the Rapture. Truthfully, I used to be terrified of the thought of the rapture. It was not because of the booming voice, or the rising to meet Him in the air, but of being left behind when everyone goes. It terrified me that I certainly cannot be good enough to be with God’s Trinity forever. Coming from my religious background, and not knowing any better, I tried to work my way in. I worked myself sick and still didn’t feel accepted. It was only after I knew that God is Love, Jesus is the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier that I was able to trust.
I still work harder than I probably should, but it’s no longer because I feel unworthy. Now I work to help others find this peace of God, this blessed assurance that lets me know I am accepted, this eager anticipation of the coming of the Lord. My work is now my joy. I plan to work for Jesus till He calls me home.
Is the rapture coming? Yes indeed, we just don’t know the day or hour. How can we be ready to meet Jesus in the air? Make sure you have accepted Him as Savior and Lord of your life (prayer example below). Be quick to forgive others and seek forgiveness of the Lord for your mistakes. And believe that God loves you so much that He sent His ONLY begotten of the flesh Son to die for you. Jesus indeed came in the flesh, and those who deny it have an anti-Christ spirit working in them.
Prayer for salvation:
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I am sorry for all the things I've done wrong in my life. I ask You now to forgive me completely so that I can stand before You in righteousness. God, You promise in Your Bible that if I call on You, you will forgive me, cleanse me, and save me from the pit of hell by the cleansing blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I accept that for myself right now.
Jesus, I ask You now to come in me, fill me, be Lord of my life. I receive You now as my Savior, and the Lord of my life.
Holy Spirit, I ask You to come into my heart now and fill me so that I can begin to learn about Jesus in a personal way.
Thank You, God, for sending Your only Son to die for me that I am now saved and made whole in Your sight.
I pray this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.
Pastor Suzanne L. Taylor
P. O. Box 84
Carmel, Maine 04419