What is the Rapture and will there be One?
In eastern North Carolina, we are accustomed to hurricane weather and warnings. When threatened by a hurricane, we are warned ahead of time to make preparations or to evacuate certain areas depending on the storm’s severity. These warnings give us an opportunity to minimize the damage caused by the storm. Choosing not to follow these instructions can mean the difference between life and death. In the same way, the Bible also gives us a clear warning of the things to come. When the Bible speaks of the future judgment of the earth, it is God’s warning to us to prepare for evacuation if we desire protection from that pending judgment.
For many years we have heard much talk about a “rapture” event due to take place in the future. On several occasions, people have predicted specific dates they thought this event would take place. Obviously, none of these predictions have come true; so, just what are people talking about when they speak of the rapture?
The Bible speaks of a rapture event that will take place in the future. Many Christians and non-Christians alike have agreed that this book is sacred. Archaeological discoveries have supported the evidence that the Bible is a divinely inspired book. It contains historical detail about the earth’s origin, the early history of man, of Israel in particular, the gospel (good news of salvation), the rise of the Christian church, as well as prophecies of world events that will conclude with the return of Jesus Christ.
According to the Bible, Jesus will return to judge the earth and lead us into a new “millennium” (1000 years) age of peace on the earth. The Bible concludes with the vision of a new Heaven and a new Earth after the final conflict with evil is won. The word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, but the concept comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV: “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.” This is a message of encouragement to believers who have trusted in Christ for their salvation. It speaks of a mysterious end-time event that will begin the fulfillment of many other prophecies related to a time of great tribulation and judgment.
The rapture will be an evacuation of Christian believers who are expecting Jesus to come again and have prepared for His return. This event will occur without warning, other than what is already given in the Bible. It will be a sudden world-wide disappearance of Christian believers to protect them from God’s anger that will be poured out upon the earth in increasing acts of judgment. (Job 21:29-31; Isaiah 26:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:16; 5:9). As we approach the end of this age, The Bible also teaches that there will be false teachers will present themselves to mankind as the Christ, as well as many other signs that that mark the return of Christ. These signs will include: “signs and wonders in the heavens, earthquakes in various places, wars and rumors of war, wide-spread diseases,” etc. (Matthew 24:5-7, 23-25; 1 & 2 Thessalonians; 2 Timothy 3).
Many of these signs have already come to pass right before our eyes! We have the opportunity to make preparations now just as we would do during the threat of an approaching hurricane. So, how should we prepare to evacuate to avoid facing the judgment of God?
Plan of Salvation
The Bible tells us the plan of salvation for everyone is provided through Jesus’ death on the cross that paid the penalty for all sin and rebellion against God. Only those who will believe in Him and receive Him by faith will benefit from this “atonement” (covering of our sins) that brings one back into fellowship with God. God became the only perfect man (without sin), in the form of Jesus Christ, to demonstrate His love for all humanity and to give up his human life to redeem us from our sins and set us free from our rebellious nature. His resurrection offers us a living hope that just as Christ was raised from the dead, all who believe in Him will receive a new life through spiritual rebirth (new beginning) and one day arise from the grave to live with Him in Heaven. When we confess our sins to God, we are admitting that we are sinners and asking Him to forgive us. The Bible says that when we confess, God will forgive us and cleanse us from those sins (I John 1:9). We then repent by changing our old way of life in sin and choose to give ourselves to Him; serving Him daily in the new life He gives us. Then we tell others what He has done in us and publicly confess our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. When we do this, the Bible tells us that we are saved and are given the gift of eternal life (Romans 10:8-13).
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today and you too will be saved!