Four Simple Truths about the Rapture
In 2011, a man attracted national news with his prediction of two specific dates for the return of our Lord, known as the rapture. Billboards around the country were rented at enormous costs, savings and retirement accounts of good people were cashed out, and many prepared for what they thought was going to be the end of the world. Sadly, they were mistaken. Many in the national media began to glory over this confused man’s failure. Which, in turn, brought a great deal of mockery upon the serious and important principle of the Bible of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The rapture has lost some credibility in the eyes of the average lost person.
I would like to give us four truths every person should know about the rapture. This is, by no means, an all-encompassing doctrinal treatise on the Second Coming, but rather four foundational truths every person should know about the next great event on God’s prophetic timetable.
- IT WILL HAPPEN
What was lost in this man’s predictions was the truth that Jesus is most assuredly coming again! John 14:3 states, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” I Thessalonians 4:16 states, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.” God promises to come back someday and take us to heaven to be with Him for all eternity. If God says something “shall” happen, it will happen!
- ONLY GOD KNOWS WHEN IT WILL BE
Speaking on the timing of the rapture, Jesus tells us in Mark 13:32, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Speaking of this very thing, Acts 1:7 states, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” In recent days, there have been false theories concerning a secret code of numbers contained in the Bible that can predict a certain date when Jesus is coming back. God plainly tells us in Acts 1:7, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.” We have been given some clues and events that signal our Lord’s soon return, but nothing that would give us a specific date.
- THE TRIBULATION FOLLOWS THE RAPTURE
The tribulation is a seven-year period that immediately follows our Lord’s return. However, many people seem to be confused as to when the tribulation will actually take place. Several times, while out knocking doors, I have heard people explain that we are currently experiencing the tribulation. Looking at the big picture of the end time events, the great truth behind the timing of the rapture and the tribulation is that God will remove all the saved and take us to heaven before the tribulation begins, thus saving us from any and all judgment associated with tribulation (Romans 8:1, Revelation 3:10, 4:1).
- SOME WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE SAVED FOLLOWING THE RAPTURE
Since many people want visible proof that the Bible is true and that what it states about heaven and hell is actually fact, they hold the belief that they can wait until the rapture occurs before putting their trust in Christ. We are called to “walk by faith not by sight.” God clearly states in II Thessalonians 2:11-12 what the fate will be for those who reject Christ before the rapture, “And for this cause [rejecting the Gospel] God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”In other words, if a person hears a clear presentation of the gospel before the rapture and rejects Christ or chooses to wait to accept Him, they will not have an opportunity to get saved after the rapture. God will allow them to “believe a lie” and not come to the saving knowledge of Christ. Conversely, someone who has never heard a clear presentation of the gospel may get saved after the rapture. Revelation 7:9 speaks about “a great multitude, which no man could number” that will get saved from out of the tribulation. These are people who have never heard about salvation before the rapture and accept Christ at some point during the tribulation. This truth should lead us to understand that we must possess a sense of urgency when we witness to those around us. We must compel others to make the decision to accept Christ while their heart is tender and open to the gospel. Remember, they may never have another chance.
Even though the world stills scoffs at the idea of the rapture and asks the question,
Where is the promise of His coming?
We must still keep these simple truths in mind as we look forward to the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ.