Rapture? – What you should really be prepared for
Read below or listen here (voiced by Chioma Phillips):
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51
*all scriptures are from the NKJV, unless indicated otherwise
There are days in which you can’t find words to aptly describe the rumblings and the storms raging on the inside. The feeling of nothingness that plagues the mind that has suddenly realized that all of the things we have built on earth and for which we have made ourselves slaves to the system of this world, will come to an end. On such days, it is hard to see that which lies beyond what the eyes can see, except only by faith. And I bet you, we are living in such days right now; the days preceding the coming of the Lord or what some call “rapture”. I deliberately put the word “rapture” in quotes, because it’s not even a word in the Bible; it’s more of a concept that tries to give picture to what the second coming of the Lord and the events around it will look like. I will try as much as possible to explain what I mean.
All my life, I have heard preachers preach with all strength about “rapture” and the evil that will befall anyone that is not raptured and all that stuff and this has created such a mind troubling issue in the Christian churches, to the point that people are more afraid of “missing the rapture” than they are afraid of the consequence of not having a relationship with the very One they suppose is bringing the “rapture”. But just maybe the Lord will give me flow in this article to let someone know what they should really be paying attention to.
My take on the issue of rapture
There are lots of things to say about the second coming of the Lord; ranging from the issue of ‘no one knows the day and the hour that He will come’, which is true, to that rapture is about being snatched up in some kind of magical flying in the air to meet the Lord, like movies have shown over the years etc. Well, if that is the true picture of what being caught up means, I really don’t know, but I really do think it’s more about being changed from this mortal body into immortality at the coming of the Lord. And also there is the popular debate between the theory of a pre-tribulation “rapture”, which many believe in and a post-tribulation “rapture”, which many do not believe in. They even named this argument “the two schools of thought” as regards the pattern of the coming of the Lord. Personally, and just a few weeks prior to writing this article, my take on this matter was the belief in the post-tribulation meeting with the Lord when He comes, and I was ready to argue my position with anyone about it based on the few scriptures that I am aware of. But when the Lord gave me a new perspective about the whole issue of two schools of thought as regards the “rapture”, I realized what was more important than the debate. But before I share what the Lord helped me to understand, let me share the scriptures on which I based my first opinion of a post-tribulation meeting with the Lord.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Matthew 24:21-22
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:4
And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. Revelation 15:2
Regarding the scriptures above, my question concerning those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture would be: If the saints would have been snatched away by rapture, before the tribulation, and if the saints will not be on earth during the days of tribulation, why would the Lord want to shorten the days for the elect’s sake? Think about it.
Secondly, if the saints will not be involved in the days of tribulation, why is the coming of the Lord, whose coming is supposed to be the “rapture”, come after the tribulation? Or let me put it this way, why is Jesus who is bringing the “rapture” coming after the tribulation if the saints are not to be part of the tribulation? Where would they be at this time? Think about it.
Thirdly, why should Revelation 7 speak of a multitude of people who came out of the tribulation, if they were never part of the tribulation?
Lastly, why should victory over the beast, his image, his mark, his name be attributed to those standing on the sea of glass, if they were not on earth during the days of the beast… which is the days of tribulation?
What the Lord made me understand
On this particular day, I pissed someone online off, when I mentioned that the story of the pre-tribulation rapture was a lie that the church has told its people for years and for which reason they have not prepared their people for the tribulation, having made them believe that they will be snatched away without seeing the tribulation. I could tell he was very angry with me and then spoke about the debate of the two schools of thought concerning the issue. I lost my peace after that very short conversation with him and had to go to the Lord to understand what He thinks about the two schools of thought. The Lord said “That there are two schools of thought about the subject simply means that something is wrong.” He went on to say “Should not the thought of the Lord be what should school everyone?”
Sincerely, I didn’t expect that response, for I had never thought about that angle all my life. Then the Lord took me to a story in Acts 23 where Paul was brought before the council of Pharisees and Sadducees. An argument erupted between the Pharisees and the Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead: for Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. Acts 23:8 Then the Lord made me understand that just as the Pharisees and the Sadducees liked to argue about the issue of resurrection of the dead or no resurrection of the dead, yet they rejected Him when He introduced Himself to them as the Resurrection and the Life, so shall men of this age argue about how He is coming, but won’t pay attention to He that is coming. You can’t understand just how much His words and this understanding liberated me. I felt like I was riding on the winds of heaven. It was like a load of madness was taken off my shoulders to know that it is easy and quite frankly very religious to talk about the “rapture” or the coming of the Lord but have no clue about the coming Lord.
Like the days of Noah and Lot, should we really not know?
The Lord gave us a clue about His coming and what men will be doing in those days. Yes, it’s true that no one knows the day or the hour of His coming except the Father, but my question is this, should the believers who have the Holy Spirit of God, Who is the One Who knows the hidden and deep things of God, not know? I think they should. For Jesus said, concerning the days of His coming: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:37-39. Obviously, Noah knew the day of the coming of the flood, he was the one that built the ark of safety from the flood. This brings me to another angle. When Jesus said “occupy till I come,” could He have been providing us with a clue within that which He gave us to be occupied in, such that we will know of His coming? I believe so.
The five wise and five foolish virgins
The story of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins I believe was one of the earliest Bible stories I was told as a child. The story never loses its freshness. But now I read it with a different understanding, especially as it relates to this topic of the coming of the Lord that this article is about. It’s very interesting how that the story of the ten virgins is found in Matthew 25 just after Matthew 24. It’s like Matthew 24 is about the coming event, while Matthew 25 is about how to prepare, what to prepare for and Whom the preparation is for. From the story, it’s clear that the ten were all virgins (sanctified saints of the Lord), they all were separated unto the waiting of the Lord, they all were carrying lamps (which are the words of God to them), they all fell asleep while waiting (which alludes to the weariness of the days of waiting). But scripture records that five were wise and five were foolish. Why? When they heard the voice of the bridegroom coming, five realized that they hadn’t enough oil in their lamps. They tried to borrow some from the other five, but were denied and while they rushed out to buy more oil, the bridegroom whom they had spent all day waiting for came, went into the chamber with the five virgins who were considered wise, locked the door and out rightly told the five who went to buy oil that he knew them not when they finally came back. Very sad I must say, but also very instructive. A breakdown of this story, will look something like this: All are virgins, all are separated unto the Lord, all have lamps that are working, which is the word of God spoken to each one or written in the Bible, all knew that the bridegroom was coming, all fell asleep while waiting, all heard the voice of the bridegroom as He approached, but sadly, not all had oil, which speaks of the Holy Spirit.
I learnt a lot from the Lord by asking simple questions. I remembered asking the Lord some years back how it would be possible that even the saints might be deceived in the end of days which He spoke of in Matthew 24, He said, “They will be deceived by reading the scriptures without the Holy Spirit.” For me, that was a mind blower. Meaning that the very scriptures that they read and which they believe, without a walk with the Holy Spirit, will be the very thing that will deceive them. That didn’t make sense, until I realized the Apostle Paul alluded to the same thing when he said “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.” If you ask me, the entire crop of people that are saying that God doesn’t exist or that say the Bible is a lie have all at one time or another come in contact with the Bible, and finding various “contradictions” in the written words, believed that an all knowing and all powerful God shouldn’t make mistakes with His own words. But are there really contradictions in the written word of the Bible? Yes, there are. Are those contradictions resolved in the Holy Spirit? Yes. They are resolved in the Lord Jesus who is the actual Word of God. Revelation 19:13.
So, I will say to anyone reading this article, if you have prior knowledge of what I shared here, then use this as a reminder, but if you have not, then use it as counsel from a brother. Do not be overly troubled by the forthcoming joining of the saints with the Lord, which some call rapture, it should create joy, rather than fear. Also, do not be troubled by the events that will plague the earth in the days of the tribulation, the Lord promised to keep you if you overcome. Why? The tribulation, as it were, is not a bad thing, well for those who are in Christ. The Lord called it the test that will test everyone on earth. See Revelation 3:10. Meaning it’s a kind of final exam for those whose love for God must be tested, before reward comes. I will talk about this in my next article, as the Lord will give grace.
My advice then will be to not be carried away with whether the coming of the Lord is through a pre-rapture tribulation event or through a post-rapture tribulation event. The question is, do you know the Lord of the Kingdom that is coming and does He know you? And another thing is this, instead of trying to “escape” this earth, which is the general context in which most people see the rapture, that is, as a way of escaping tribulation, and not as a culmination of life in Christ, won’t you rather be connected to the reality of God, by which things that eyes have not seen, things that ears have not heard and things which have not entered into the minds of men, but which only the Spirit of God can reveal, will be manifested in you?
Instead of trying to “escape”, won’t you rather be the one in whom God will manifest on the earth the mystery of godliness in which God is revealed in a man on the earth like He did with Christ? Instead of trying to “escape”, won’t you rather be the one in whom the mystery of the power of the ages to come; which is the reality of the power of an endless life that makes a man’s life go beyond this life and into eternity, be manifested? Won’t you also rather be amongst those who will rule the earth from their dwelling place in heaven and for which the new earth is prepared according to the mystery of Rev 12:12 and Rev 13:6?
If you can answer these questions genuinely, then the rapture story and whatever context in which many have used it, will stop being the focus, but instead a genuine walk with the Lord will become the priority. Why is this important? There are lots of different versions of the rapture and tribulation story which can create confusion more than instruction and the amount of sorcery and witchcraft available on the earth to make such confusion happen is staggering. So, while you go on with whatever God has given you to be occupied with, do all to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, for in Him is the pathway of light for those who will be called the wise virgins before the throne of God.
Blessings always. From your brother.