Pre-Rapture and Rapture period

A. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “THE RAPTURE”?

The Bible teaches that there is going to be a period of seven years during which the devil will launch an all-out attack to defeat the Lord Jesus. He will do this by trying to deceive mankind to accept him as Christ. That will be a terrible time to live on earth. However, Jesus will remove all the Christians from this world just before that happens. That removal of Christ’s Bride is called the rapture (snatching away). It will spell the beginning of the last period of our world.  

B. THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING THE FUTURE OF EARTH 

  1. It is the answer of how the story of man will end

If you take God and His Word seriously, you will want to know what lies ahead of us. Sometimes it seems that sin and the devil are in control of this world. Will this continue? Will life become better? The Bible has the answers, but we need to study it.

Life is like an interesting book that you read. Will you close it and return it to the shelf just before reading the last chapter? No, if you do so, you will keep on wondering whether the hero finally won the victory.

This also applies to the Bible. You have by this time, read the story of creation and seen how everything originated, so it follows logically that you will be wondering how it is going to end. You have seen how the devil messed up God’s creation and to what lengths the Lord Jesus had to go to salvage it. So how is God going to wrap up this extremely interesting story? Well, study the Word and you will have the answer.

2. It provides the encouragement needed to persevere

Knowing what lies ahead, is a mighty incentive to do as Paul did, fighting the good battle until the end to inherit the crown of life (righteousness) (2Tim 4:7,8). Even the Son of God won the battle down below by keeping focused on His eternal reward:

looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2).

3. Time has caught up with us

A last reason for getting to grips with this teaching is that the time for these last happenings are nearer than ever, even at the door.

C. WHICH FUTURE EVENTS ARE IMPORTANT TO US?

There are three very important events to study:

      • The rapture of God’s people.
      • The judgment seat of Christ.
      • The marriage feast of the Lamb.

These topics will only be touched on to afford the reader at least a glimpse of the enormous happenings that lie ahead of us. To deal with them in depth, will call for a book of considerable length of which there are already several available in bookshops.

 D. HOW CLOSE ARE WE TO THE RAPTURE?

 Since the rapture is the first coming event, we need to know how close it is.

 God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. (Heb1:1,2).

Considering that Jesus came to earth more than 2000 years ago and that His coming heralded in the “end of these” days, we can certainly conclude that we are now living in the last of the last days.

There are also signs to confirm that the Rapture is drawing near. Let us look at some.

E. PRE-RAPTURE SIGNS

    • Israel’s returning to their land.

The greatest sign of the imminent returning of Jesus is the returning of the people of Israel to their Land. It was prophesied in Jer 30:1-3; Ezek 34:11-24; Ezek 37; Zech 10:6-10. As we will see, many of the key events of the end times center around Israel which will be the battleground for all the end time conflicts.

Their return is a miracle in itself for they have been dispersed to 70 different countries for more that 20 centuries, but retained their identity, whereas many mighty nations lost theirs. Israel’s return commenced in 1871 and became an established fact when the United Nations approved their settlement and ended British control of their land on 14 May, 1948. Approximately 7 million Jews are now living in Israel and they are still pouring in. There probably already is, or soon will be, more Jews in Israel than in the rest of the world.

    • Other signs 
      • Signs mentioned by Jesus at the very end of His ministry (Please read Matt 24:3-14 beforehand).
        • Deaths caused by famines and plagues.
        • Disasters of nature such as earthquakes.
        • Wars between nations and internal conflicts.
        • Increase of iniquity.
        • Growing cold of love.
        • People masquerading as Christ (pretending).
        • False prophets leading many astray.
        • Hatred and killing of Christians for their faith.
        • Christians no more trusting Jesus.
        • Good News preached to all nations.
        • Some will endure to the end and be saved.

Jesus referred to these happenings as the beginning of the birth pains.  God warns a pregnant mother by birth bangs that she must get ready for the birth is at hand. The nearer the birth, the more the contractions and the more painful they are. During the birth, they will be even much worse. But now she must not waste time but get herself ready for that great event.

Jesus warned that when the signs mentioned above begin to follow one another in quick succession and cause more intensive pain, the birth of a new world, the birth called the tribulation, is at hand.

The good news is that the Bride of Jesus need not go through the pain of the birth itself. If she is ready, she can escape with the Bridegroom beforehand.

So, to conclude: these happenings (the beginning of the birth pains, v8) will be widely perceived as signs from Above pointing to the rapture, because of their dramatic increase in numbers and intensity.

The signs coming before the rapture will not come as judgment on sin, for it will still be the period of God’s grace. They will come from Jesus as a call-up to His Bride to get her wedding gown spotlessly clean and fully embroidered for the Groom will be on the verge of coming. Hallelujah.

During the seven years of tribulation these signs will of course increase dramatically. The disasters of nature will then come in fearsome ferocity as judgment upon them that rejected Him as Saviour and King.

      • Signs mentioned by the apostle Paul

He spoke of the moral decay, the sinfulness of mankind, that would increase shortly before the tribulation and would be the lifestyle during it.

But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, not lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power. Turn away from these, also. (2 Tim 3:1-5).

These signs have been prevalent through all ages, but will get increasingly intense as we approach the rapture.

      • Testimony of the Holy Spirit

God’s Spirit will also witness to God’s children inwardly that the time for their deliverance is at hand.

E. THE RAPTURE

The Lord Jesus will not have His Bride going through the terrible period of tribulation. She will not suffer the persecution by a godless society, nor His judgment poured out on a rebelling world. Therefore, He will remove her beforehand.

(Please read 1Cor 15:50-52 and 1Thes 4:13-17 beforehand)

Let us sum up what we have read in these Scriptures:

  1. A heavenly trumpet will blow.
  2. The Lord Jesus will descend with a shout.
  3. He will not come right down to earth.
  4. The formerly deceased saints waiting in Paradise will accompany Him.
  5. They will be resurrected in heavenly bodies.
  6. The still living saints will be changed in a flash.
  7. All saints will rise up meeting Jesus in the sky.
  8. They will accompany Him to heaven.

What more can we say? Scripture states it so clearly: at the blow of the trumpet, the Lord Jesus will come to fetch us, His Bride. He will cause those that previously died in Him to rise first and then we that are still alive, too, will be clothed with heavenly bodies and all of us together will be caught up into the sky to meet our Heavenly Bridegroom. Hallelujah! Oh, what a day that will be!

Let us note that the Lord Jesus will not come down onto the earth but snatch us up to Him where He will be awaiting us in the sky. Someone said it is like having a box of rubble with numerous pieces of metal in it, then suspending a powerful electromagnet above the box. The moment the magnet is switched on, the metal pieces will be plucked up from the box and attached to the magnet, leaving the rubble behind.

G. THE WORLD AFTER THE RAPTURE

 The rapture will of course come as a tremendous shock to the unbelieving world that will not be able to come up with a rational human explanation for the disappearance of millions of people.

Businesses, factories, farms and governments will have lost their most reliable staff and it may take months for others to be trained up to take their places. World economies will totter or crumble altogether. This will cause a worldwide panic and desperate search for a solution.

It is into this vacuum that a sinister man, prepared and empowered by the devil, will step, and persuade the world that he has the answer to each and every problem they may face. He will be welcomed with open arms.

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