Let's move on......
Recently I've received emails telling me in no uncertain terms, that the "Christian" sender of the email doesn't believe in "the rapture" and that I am wrong to advocate or emphasize it. Or, they tell me that they do believe in a rapture, but that it is not going to occur when I think it will, that is, they believe it will occur at the end of the tribulation.
Let me say clearly that whilst I personally believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church and believe I am entitled to say so, I DO NOT think anyone else has to believe likewise to be a Christian, or to be spared the penalty for their sins, or to go to heaven.
In fact, I must honestly say that even though I currently strongly lean towards there being a pre-tribulation rapture, I cannot say that I am one hundred percent certain as to the timing of this event.
Ultimately however, because God never forces us to believe anything we don't want to, I guess it's up to the individual as to their beliefs on this subject and their interpretation of the relevant bible passages. The main thing is to make sure we each have a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ, believing Him to have forgiven our sins by dying in our place for them, living like we really believe He rose from the dead and is coming back again, and serving Him with the abilities and knowledge He has given us.
If our faith is strong and we are humble, He will give us the strength to face anything between now and when we see His face.
" THE RAPTURE
Matthew 25:13 tells us this
event will come without any warning whatsoever : Watch therefore, for ye know
neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
So, where will all the Christians be after this event
takes place? In the book of Revelation, John is called away to Heaven in
Revelation 4:1 when he is told to "come up hither." John, a
Christian, is Raptured in this passage.
While he is in Heaven, John records events taking place,
both in Heaven and on the earth, during the period of time commonly referred to
as the Tribulation Period. John sees two completely different environments, as
recorded in the book of Revelation.
In Heaven, John witnesses a time of celebration, worship,
and praise as Jesus Christ is revealed as the Saviour of the world. On earth,
John records a horrible series of judgments that are taking place, the likes of
which no man has ever seen nor will ever see again, as seen in Matthew 24:21.
In Heaven, John sees, as recorded in Revelation 19:7-8,
the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as it takes place between the Bridegroom,
Jesus, and His Bride, the Church. Since the Bride is in attendance at the
wedding, we know the Bridegroom, Christ, has come to earth for His Bride. In
the same manner John was told to "come up hither" in Revelation 4:1,
the Church has been Raptured!
To properly understand the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, it's
important to grasp the fact the Pre-Tribulational Rapture event parallels the
actions of the bridegroom in the pattern of ancient Jewish wedding tradition.
In this tradition, after the engagement, but before the wedding, the groom
departed to prepare a new home for his bride, which was usually an addition to
his father's house. The bride was kept in a state of anxious waiting pending
his return which would often come at an unexpected hour, perhaps in the middle
of the night, as a surprise. The wedding was usually followed by a honeymoon of
seven days which matches up nicely with the Antichrist's covenant between
Israel and her enemies which the prophet Daniel told us would be one biblical
week in duration (seven years - the length of the Tribulation Period).
When Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation Period,
as seen in Revelation 19:14, He is followed by the armies of Heaven (the
Bride), which are seen riding white horses dressed in fine linen, white and
clean. The fine, white linen is symbolic of the righteousness of the saints, as
seen in Revelation 19:8.
When Jesus returns with His Bride, the Church, He will be
dressed for war at the Battle of Armageddon where He will defeat the armies of
the Antichrist and the false prophet. In the aftermath of their defeat, the
Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire that
Thessalonians 4:18: Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
I hope you are somewhat comforted by this explanation of
the Rapture, but you'd do well to recognize there are many who don't believe
there will be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. Some prefer to think
Christians are going to have to suffer to get into Heaven rather than be
protected by the Saviour.
Here are a few things to
remember from the Bible that point toward that line of thinking being
When the flood came (a judgment from God),
Noah, a righteous man, was kept safe inside the ark.
When Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed (a judgment from God), Lot, a righteous man, was kept safe.
Considering the fact the Church is referred to as the
Bride of Christ, wouldn't He have an interest in protecting the Church? Of
course! We don't call Him Saviour for nothing! The Church is not appointed to
wrath, according to 1st Thessalonians 5:9, but to salvation through our Lord,
All these things I've just explained are demonstrative of
why John saw Christ's followers worshipping Him in Heaven saying, "Amen:
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and
might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen."
Have you trusted in the Saviour? If not, this is the day
to do so. Any moment now, the Lord Jesus Christ may call His Church away to be