The Rapture

by brittgillette

In the near future, an unprecedented event of worldwide significance will take place. Jesus Christ will return. In fact, he will return twice. The first time secretly; the second time so that all eyes can see him. The first instance is known as “the rapture,” and it is the blessed hope of all true Christians.

Immediately preceding the seven year period of the Tribulation, Jesus will return for all those who have placed their faith in Him. They will be transformed in an instant, and appear before the throne of God in heaven. Several New Testament passages reference this event. The Apostle Paul mentions it in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (NLT)

Why does this event occur? Jesus tells us why: “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” Revelation 3:10 (NLT)

Prior to the Tribulation (the “great time of testing”), Jesus will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, accompanied by the call of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. At that time, all those who believe Jesus Christ is Lord, who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, will be transformed into the spirit and will be caught up into the clouds to dwell forever with the Lord. All this will happen in a “blinking of an eye.” As Paul further describes:

“I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (NLT)

Almost everyone has heard of the Second Coming of Christ, but few realize that the Second Coming is divided into two parts: the rapture and the glorious appearing. The glorious appearing will occur at the end of this age, approximately seven years after the rapture. When this happens, every eye on the earth will see the Lord coming, and He will be coming to judge the people of the earth. This is the event Jesus referred to when he said, “in the future you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:64 (NLT). This will not be an unexpected coming because this event will be preceded by the prophesied events of the Great Tribulation.

However, the rapture is different. It will take the world completely by surprise, and it could happen at any moment. This is the event Jesus described when he said:

“However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the Flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the Flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.”

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So be prepared, because you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Know this: a homeowner who knew exactly when a burglar was coming would stay alert and not permit the house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Matthew 24:36-44 (NLT)

The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, quickly and unexpectedly. Those who are alert and awake will be caught up into the clouds to be with God; while those are not will be left behind to endure the “great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.”

As this website attests, this generation will surely see the fulfillment of the end times prophecies of the Bible, including the rapture, the tribulation, and the glorious appearing. Jesus instructed his followers to look for the signs of his coming. In rebuking the Pharisees and Sadducees, he said “You are good at reading the weather signs in the sky, but you can’t read the obvious signs of the time!” Matthew 16:3 (NLT) He was admonishing the religious leaders of his day, and their inability to recognize the time of his coming as foretold in the Old Testament Messianic prophecies. Just as the people of that day refused to recognize the “signs of the times,” we too must be on guard at all times, watching for the signs of his coming.

The most important sign is that Israel is once again a nation. Jesus told his followers:

“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I assure you, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.” Matthew 24:32-35 (NLT)

The fig tree Jesus refers to is Israel. It’s been six decades since Israel was once again declared a nation against all worldly odds. Jesus promised that the generation which witnessed fulfillment of this prophecy would not die off until all the things of which he spoke came to pass.

The hourglass is running out on this promise, so be alert. Invite Jesus into your heart, and change your worldly perspective into a heavenly outlook. Prepare yourself for His soon return, and you will not be disappointed. For “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

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  1. “In the near future…”

    Since Jesus, Christians have been saying these words. It’s gotta be one of the oldest consistently failed predictions in human history. It would be comedic if Christians weren’t actively working to bring about the apocalypse they’ve been predicting for 2,000 years.

  2. Hi Robert,
    As your response indicates, you are misinformed. First Christians are not trying to bring on the apocalypse. In fact my heart goes out (as I am sure most Christians heart’s do) to those who are left behind and have to go through the tribulation period. It will be the worst time on earth in all the history of the earth. Nobody in their right mind would wish that on anyone! God will bring things about in his own time. Our will is aligned with God’s will and the apcocalypse/tribulation period will only occur when God is ready! However, the return of Christ for his bride the Church (Christian believers)will happen before the tribulation starts. God commanded us to watch for Christ return and he told us we would know when it is near. He gave us signs to watch for so we would know,and those signs (as stated in the article) are occuring all around us NOW. This has never been the case in history. Unfortunately there have been people in the past who have mislead people by making predictions, useing God’s word out of context, and even giving exact dates. They were working out of the flesh and not the word of God. They missed the main prophecy that needed fulfillment that only occured in this generation:

    Mathew 32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you,

      this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

    35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

    The Fig Tree is Israel and this occured in 1948. We are that generation!

  3. As your response indicates, you are misinformed. First Christians are not trying to bring on the apocalypse.

    “At July 19th, 2006 Washington DC inaugural event for CUFI, after recorded greeting from George W. Bush, with four US Senators and the Israeli ambassador to the US in attendance, Pastor John Hagee stated : “the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.” [Source]

    The Fig Tree is Israel and this occured in 1948. We are that generation!

    Many Christians regard a generation to be 40 years, and so they predicted, based on your reasoning above, the Christian rapture will occur in 1988. Obviously that didn’t happen.

    In any case, what length of time do you consider a generation?

  4. Hi Robert,
    The news flash you posted is from a blog,and is obviously making an attempt to paint an incorrect picture of Pastor Hagee and his beliefs. The news flash states:

    “A few weeks ago, to little notice, Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, founder of the new “apocalypse now!” national lobbying group CUFI”.

    In the actual email he sent out to CUFI members which is posted below in that blog and in which they get their information, there is nothing even close to that quote in it. The CUFI (Christians United For Israel) is an organization created for the support of Israel. Here is their Purpose Statement:

    Statement of Purpose
    The purpose of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) is to provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues.

    Nothing even close to an apocolyptic agenda there! Here is a link to their website that gives more info. on what they are about: About CUFI

    I have studied Pastor Hagee’s teachings as well as many others who support Israel and believe we are in the last days and I can tell you without doubt none of them believes or is calling for Israel to attack Iran in order to bring on the apocolypse! In fact any Chritian who reads and studies their Bible knows that the exact oposite is going to happen (especially Pastor Hagee). God told us in Ezekiel 38 & 39 what is going to happen! In short Iran, Russia, Turkey, and others are going to launch an attack against Israel in an attempt to destroy it. This is known as the Gog/Magog war! I linked it so you can read about it if you like. It is because of this attack that Christians have their eyes upon Iran. If you read the news, you know those exact countries are alligning as we speak and all that is needed is a spark to set things off. Will it be Israel that attacks Iran because of the nuclear issue that is that spark? Only God knows, but however God brings it about….this was all fortold thousands of years ago and is about to occur now!

    A Biblical generation can be anywhere from 40 to 120 years. Most people agree and I do also that the generation spoken of in the prophecy is more than likely 70 years. In any case it is the signs we are watching more so than trying to calculate the exact year. Here is a link to some info. on them you might find interesting: Recognizing Signs of the Times

    In 2Peter God told us about this time were in:

    3:2I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

    Time is short Robert and I pray you will get your information from God’s word and not from the TV & Internet. May God bless you Robert!

  5. Faithwalker, sorry I must stick to my guns here. The source didn’t obtain John Hagee’s comments from the newsletter, as you believe, but from his oral statements at a CUFI conference.

    As for your views that we are in the “end times,” they’re not even convincing to most of your fellow Christians. Seems that’s where you should direct your prayers.

  6. Belief in the Rapture or End Times is not a salvation issue! My fellow Christian brother and sisters are saved no matter what their position on this issue is. Therefore my prayers remain with those who are lost and have not recieved Christ as their savior!

  7. It seems you’ve missed the point. Most of those who accept the Bible as an authority are not convinced we live in the “end times.” Why don’t they agree with you?

    I think it’s because critical biblical scholarship long ago debunked this belief. See for example Robert Price’s Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church Was Left Behind.

    Finally, why do you claim “in the near future” when by your own calculation the “end times” could be as far away as 80 years from now?

  8. You use the word “Most” in an attempt to put emphasis on the point you are trying to make that Christians don’t agree we live in the End Times, but I disagree that “Most” don’t believe it. Where do you get this information or is it just your opinion? Sure there are people out there that call themselves “Christians”, but in fact don’t know Christ. There is a difference between knowing Christ is real and asking him into your life to be your Savior. There is a difference between seeking him with your heart and just claiming to live for him. There is a difference between owning a Bible and reading/studying it! That is why Christ said:

    Matthew 7:21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    True believers in Christ who study his word, know his word his true and accurate. The rapture and second comming are part of his word and is based soundly in his word in the Bible. It has been given through the prophets and it will come true!
    One reason (among many) that some Christians may not understand the times we are in is because it is not their gifting. We are all given spiritual gifts by God:

    1 Corinthians 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

    To someone not gifted in prophecy, understanding and reading the signs given to us may be difficult. That is why some of us ARE gifted in prophecy so that we can be a watchman to warn others:

    Corinthians 12:14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

    As far as the book you linked, the men who wrote it claim to be Biblical shcolars and preist, but their intention is to prove the word of God wrong and to make people who believe in the End Times look like whackos. Anyone filled with the spirit of Christ does not seek to prove the word of God to be wrong because the spirit of God does not work against itself. Here is a scripture God gave to them:

    Romans 1:21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

    As for you Robert, I know from your comments and from visiting your site that you are an atheist. That is absolutely your choice to make just as it is mine to choose to follow Christ. Although that is your choice, I have and will pray that God will open your eyes and bring you into his saving grace! You are more than welcome to come here and ask honest questions in an attempt to understand. However, this is a blog for believers in Christ who believe the Bible to be the inspired and true word of God and who are anxiously waiting and wathcing for his return! Your comments seem to be an attempt to mock and debunk those beliefs. If that is the case then I suggest you find and apologetics blog! This isn’t one!

  9. …I disagree that “Most” don’t believe it. Where do you get this information or is it just your opinion?

    Anyone slightly familiar with the beliefs of the major Christian sects can attest to this. Catholics comprise 1.2 billion of the world’s 2.1 billion Christians, and they don’t believe the end times are imminent. That’s over half right there. Then there are the various Protestant sects, only a few of which believe as you. Next come the various Orthodox sects, and they largely align with the Catholics on this issue.

  10. Catholics follow teachings from the Apocryphical books which are outside the Bible Canon. They also believe in purgatory which is not Biblical. So it’s not hard to see how they are mislead about the teachings of the End Times…as are many who have had pastors who teach flawed theology or denominations that change what the Bible actually says. As I stated most believers who study the word of God and know it also know and belive we are in the last days. Even secualar people know in their spirit that something is up. I am sure you have heard of RaptureReady.com! They attract about 250,000 unique visitors and eight million views a month. More people are aware than you are giving credit for.

  11. As I stated most believers who study the word of God and know it also know and belive we are in the last days.

    “Where do you get this information or is it just your opinion?”

    😉

    I am sure you have heard of RaptureReady.com!

    It’s one of my favorite sites! It provides a never-ending stream of amusing, crazy quotes which make the rest of us laugh. This is the source of its popularity I think.

  12. I don’t expect you to understand. In fact I know you won’t because you have hardened your heart to God and say he does not exist. He told us in his word about you:

    1 Corinthians 1:18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    We could go back and fourth on this for months, but we will just have to agree to disagree. You think your right and I know I am because my wisdom comes not from man but from God! 🙂 I pray and hope someday your eyes will be opened and you will have a change of heart and accept the salvation that Jesus is offering you by his grace! May God bless you, guide you, and protect you Robert!

  13. Actually, I haven’t “hardened my heart” against any deity, like you haven’t “hardened your heart” against Mazda (the god of Zoroastrianism). You, like me, simply lack belief in that god.

    You think your right and I know I am because my wisdom comes not from man but from God!

    I only seek to understand religious belief, and that’s why I dialogue with believers. But if there’s one disturbing trait among all of you – regardless of whether you believe in Yahweh, Allah, Zeus or Mazda – is that you “know” you’re right. Well, obviously, some of you are mistaken, despite what you “know”, and quite possibly, all of you are. This certainty is scary. It’s the kind of certainty that moved believers to fly planes into buildings and dictators to kill millions. Never is the acknowledgement that you could be mistaken – and that is something sorely needed.

    Best wishes, and may a little skepticism and reason illuminate your thoughts 🙂

  14. Rapture is the best time of all the beautiful things of life of the believer

  15. Rapture is the best time of all the beautiful things of life of the believer

    Amen Kinobo! 🙂


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