“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev. 3:10)
PROPHETIC VIEWS are not a salvation issue for me. While, rapture “haters gonna hate” it is one of those things (at least for me) that we can agree to disagree on as Christians. In my opinion, very few seem to believe in and preach on the RAPTURE of the saints before the Great Tribulation these days, I will continue to do so charitably. There are those who avoid speaking about the rapture due to the all the false prophecies that have been made especially in the last few years. But it makes no biblical sense to change doctrine because people have misunderstood it or preached it incorrectly.
In my humble understanding, there are three Advents or “arrivals” of Christ. The first Advent was his incarnation (God coming as man) when he came to bring us salvation from sin (Matt 1:23; 1 Tim 3:16). The second Advent will be the Rapture of the church “in the air” which will be his salvation from the seven year Great Tribulation (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The third Advent will be his coming to earth to rule and reign for 1000 years ( Rev. 19:11-14; Zech. 14:1-4).
The Rapture is when the saints who died and those who are alive “will be suddenly caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17). Christ’s coming in the Rapture for christian people is imminent meaning that he could return at any time. Many passages suggest this (1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:13; Revelation 22:20).
“The basic idea of the Rapture is drawn from the Latin term for “caught up”—rapturo. It means that the church of Jesus Christ, those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, will literally be transported from earth to heaven in an instant. There will be no death for those who are raptured. They will be taken—caught up—in the air to be with Jesus! Paul believed that Jesus’ return was imminent, and that brought great comfort to him in his daily struggles. It is not difficult to understand Paul’s longing for this to occur when faced with the trials we are confronted with daily. However, no one knows when this will happen. We do know that we are given His Word as the assurance that it will happen.” (C. Stanley)
The sense of Christ’s coming seems to not hold the same excitement as it once did for some and the idea that, “Today could be the day.” no longer seem to be as the Bible says, “the Blessed Hope.” As a young believer, I was excited about the rapture. I was excited that one day I would be able to see the Jesus that saved me from from the miry clay of sin. The Jesus that I loved was coming for me. I was excited about being in heaven with all the men and women that I was reading about in the Scripture. I was excited to be with those that I knew as believers that had died and went home before me. Many times after prayer or being in church I had a real sense of the presence of Christ knowing he could take me home to heaven at any moment. It also gave me the sense that every day I could expect great things from God. Now at this point in my Christian faith, truly understanding justification by faith alone and the grace of God I can truly do what Paul says and comfort and encourage-not TERRIFY others with these words! Those wonderful words of grace which speak about the coming of Jesus for his people.
Some Christians forget, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Phil 1:21-23). To be with Jesus is FAR BETTER! But today it is like the old preacher said, “Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.” Jesus tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24). I am excited that Jesus who is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) and Christ who is our life (Col 3:4) will appear for us and bring us home at any moment! Some Christian people wonder if they will make it because they struggle with sin. I did not say trying to get away with sin, but they fight sinful issues. Paul prayed, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:23). Paul also taught that Christ will, “Present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (Col 1:22). Child of God get ready, the Lord loves you and wants you with him, he has reserved a wonderful place for you already (John 14:1-3).
I think because people have lost this hope of the RAPTURE it seem they are giving in to a fear of death or at least the unknown. The Bible says that Jesus came so through his, “death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:15). In fact, through the new birth (John 3:3-5) the Christian has already been spiritually resurrected. Their bodies will be transformed, into a spiritual body that will be imperishable and and raised in power (Phil 3:21; 1 Cor 15:34, 42, 44). Whoopeee! Those bodies will have no pain, and never die. Each body will have a label marked by the eternal designer God as it were, which says, “made in heaven.” (2 Cor. 5:1). That is awesome. This means they already have eternal life. That is exciting! Today, yes today could be the day.