God is going to social distance Himself from the world, and He’s going to take all genuine believers in Jesus with Him. Christians commonly call this event “the Rapture”. As we watch evil taking over our nation and the world, we can easily understand why Paul called it “the Blessed Hope”.
I find it very understandable that Christians are a little leery of talking about the Rapture. First, we don’t all agree on the timing of it. Second, some apparently genuine Christians don’t believe in it at all.
Mostly, though, it’s just such a fantasy kind of story. The prince slays the dragon, marries the scullery maid, and everyone lives happily ever after. Alice in Wonderland. Lord of the Rings. Cinderella. The thing-a-ma-bob that does the job is bibbidy-bobbedy-boo.
But if we only believe and defend doctrines that fit into a matter-is-all-there-is world, then not one single foundational doctrine of the Christian faith is true.
Do I believe that the God of the Bible created the entire cosmos?
Do I believe that He set the universe in order and maintains the planets in their orbits now?
Do I believe that Jesus Christ, 2nd person of the Trinity, was born of a virgin, lived a totally sinless life, died a literal death on a Roman cross for the sins of the world, and three days later God raised Him from the dead?
None of these things are believable unless the God of the Bible is real and is as described in the Bible. If Jehovah is real and is as He is presented in the Bible, then there’s no reason not to believe in the Rapture.
As most people know, “Rapture” is the word used to describe what we could call “the heartbeat of the Heartbeat”:
“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.” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-18)
That is not the return of King Jesus to set up His thousand-year Kingdom on earth, because in the next chapter, Paul writes, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” (1st Thessalonians 5:2) A successful thief comes without warning, takes what is valuable, and leaves without anyone knowing he’s been there.
On the other hand, when King Jesus returns to set up His earthly Kingdom, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so! Amen!” (Revelation 1:7)
By the way, believers are the valuable possession which the Lord will take with Him when He comes like a thief in the night: “… looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:13-14)
The word translated “special” there is “periousion” in the Greek. Strong’s says it is used to mean “costly, treasured, select, specially chosen”! That’s us, brothers and sisters! Can you believe it?
What am I saying! Of course you can believe it. God’s Word says it. We are “costly, treasured, select, specially chosen”, by Him!
I believe the Rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation begins, because the Great Tribulation is also the time when God once again focuses His attention on Israel and deals with the world primarily through the 144,000 Jewish converts who will evangelize the world with blazing effectiveness during the Great Tribulation:
“And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed…” (Revelation7:2-4)
In order for the Jewish saints to be the undisputed, certified witnesses of God, the Gentile Church will have to be removed, just as the nation of Israel had to be removed in order for the Gentile Church to be accepted as the carriers of the message of God in the first century. Had the Jews remained, they would have tried to retain their special position as God’s chosen people. They did try, in fact. The Pharisees hunted down Jews who converted to faith in Jesus. Paul was himself an example of this: “I am the least of the apostles, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1st Corinthians 15:9) The Gentile Church will have to be removed so that the rising anti-Semitism even in the now apostate “Christian” churches does not speak with any shred of authority to contradict the 144,000.
Maybe we Gentile Church saints aren’t going to be the cause of the “great multitude” of Tribulation conversions. (Revelation 7:9-17) Maybe it’s all or almost all the work of these 144,000 Jewish believers in Jeshua. Isn’t it strange, I had forgotten about them. The last time I thought about them must have been two decades ago. That’s very strange. I’m not prone to forgetting major themes in the Bible like that. We, the Gentile Church, are going to hand off to these sealed servants of the Most High. Gentiles will once again be the audience for a Jewish witness to Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel.
Does that answer everyone’s questions about the Rapture and the Second Coming? Speak now or forever muddle around in confusion. 😉 😉