The Rapture

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in , , | Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008

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What is the purpose of prophecy and why should we take the time to study it? Simply put, God gave us prophecy so that we would not only know that He can be trusted (because what He says is true), but so that we can find forgiveness and salvation before it's too late for us. In other words, if the first function of biblical prophecy is to prove that He is who He says He is then the second function is to get us to take that knowledge and use it to make the most important decision of our lives.

He doesn't want to see anyone perish and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Him to have given us a blueprint for life on this planet in these end times (so that we would recognize when time was short) only to watch many people thumb their nose at Him and His Word because they don't want to believe that it's possible that something written 2,000+ years ago could have any relevance to today - at least not with any degree of specificity.

One of the most dramatic events of the end times is what is known as the Rapture. However, begin to describe to people what it is (an event when Jesus Christ returns to call those who are His to meet Him in the sky) and many laugh, roll their eyes, and maybe even equate it to Islam's promise of a heaven filled with virgins.

WHY DOESN'T ANYONE BELIEVE ANYMORE?

I'm always amazed by how rational, smart human beings can be so close-minded when it comes to religion and specifically Christianity. With all the incredible scientific and medical advances in this day and age why are we as a people so inclined to believe that the impossible is possible through technological pursuits, but we cannot for a second allow ourselves to believe that the supernatural exists?

On second thought, many people do believe in the supernatural although it's to the extent of psychics, ghosts, and UFOs - just not anything that has a religious component to it.

This generation is full of scoffers, mocking the prophesied return of Jesus Christ to Planet Earth. This is as the great Apostle Peter foretold it would be at the end of the age of grace (Church Age): “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

God’s prophecies are 100% accurate, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least that there is the scoffing and mocking today, exactly as one of God’s prophets said there will be as time nears the Lord’s return.

Many signals are occurring simultaneously, and with phenomenal frequency and intensity, pointing to where we are on God’s prophetic timeline. Chief among these are all of the geopolitical dynamic intrigues surrounding the nation Israel - God’s prophetic timepiece.

The sneering at the thought that there could possibly be a Rapture just throws fuel on the fire of the end-of-days deluge – the end that is coming in with a flood of last-days indicators as foretold by Daniel the prophet: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).

Daniel was foretelling what would happen from the time the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would die for the sins of mankind until the very end of human history at Armageddon. Great, convulsing, prophesied issues and events would, near the very end of the age, he forecast, gush through the generation alive at the time like a flood.

One of those predicted events of the end-time flood is the level of anger that will be against believers who proclaim that one of the most stupendous events of all human history will one day – perhaps very soon — take millions upon millions from the earth’s surface in a fraction of a second.

What's interesting to me is how we were also told why this would happen since there can be no spiritual discernment among those of the lost world. Believers in Jesus Christ can understand, while those who do not belong to God’s family through belief in His only begotten Son cannot understand:

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:11-14).

Trying to explain or defend the rapture to the world of the lost is, therefore, fruitless. There is just no way they can come to understand or believe this doctrine, unless and until they repent, ask for - and accept - God’s grace gift offer of salvation through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross at Calvary nearly two millennia ago.

We can go through the vast body of scriptural text, laying out the Bible facts as we are confident God’s Word presents truth about the rapture. Yet, unless and until one is capable of spiritual discernment from the Holy Spirit, a person, no matter how intellectually brilliant, can never come to believe those facts. They might even come to understand the facts in a purely cerebral sense, but never truly comprehend them to the point of knowing that the rapture is a cataclysmic event in the future of one particular generation of earth’s inhabitants.

IT COULD HAPPEN TODAY!

Country music artist Tim McGraw's hit single "Live Like You Were Dying" was a number one hit in 2004. It tells the story of a man faced with a terminal disease and how he chooses to spend his final days on earth: sky diving, bull riding, fishing, and mountain climbing. At a deeper level, the song's subject also begins to read the Bible and forgive everyone who had ever wronged him.

All of us are faced with the terminal disease called death that should keep us motivated to use our time wisely. The Christian has an even more urgent deadline approaching: the Rapture of the church when Jesus Christ returns to call those who are His to meet Him in the sky.

The Bible says that event could happen today. If you lived today as if it were your last day on earth, what would you do differently? Most important, who would you tell about Jesus? Who would you urge to repent of their sins and receive God's forgiveness if you knew that Jesus' return was just a few hours away?

The truth is, His return is nearer now than it was yesterday - and it could be today. Who is waiting for you to share the good news of the Gospel with them before it is too late?

CONCLUSIONS

An amazing 27% of the Bible is prophecy and 20% of the books of the Bible are prophetic. The existence of Jesus Christ is an historical fact so why would we ignore the prophecies of His Second Coming if it is mentioned almost twice as much as His First?

Revelation 19:10 says, "The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus." Prophecy is all about Christ. We are told to “watch and pray” for the Lord’s return.

Jesus chastised the Pharisees for not knowing the signs of the times in His day. So, He wants to us know the signs today, for they instill in us hope for the future and encourage us to evangelize the lost while there is still time.

We will continue to try and help you do so by keeping our eyes on the “signs of the times” and report them to you as best we can. With prophetic events happening around us at a quickening pace it is becoming more or more difficult to stay on top of it all during these end times. However, we are up for the challenge! Not by our power and strength, but by His!

For now, forget about all the debate amongst Christians about WHEN the Rapture of the Church will occur along the prophetic timeline. What's important is that we're aware that it's a certainty. Most importantly, I encourage you to join us in this pursuit of reaching others for Jesus Christ and to share these findings with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers alike before it's too late.

RECOMMENDED READING:
The Pretribulation Rapture
My Fascination With The Pre-Trib Rapture
Imminency
What Secret Rapture?
The Think-Not Generation
Jesus Prophesied The Rapture

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