I have been pondering quite a bit lately about the doctrine and event known as the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ. There has been much talk and speculation recently that we should be anticipating the Rapture any day as the prophetic signs converge and the world events seem to be aligning with the End of Days. A quick glance at 2 Timothy 3:1-5 confirms that the signs pointing to societal breakdown are accelerating. And with the various nefarious, anti-christ like characters popping on the world scene who would like to dominate and control our every move, it is no wonder that there is much anticipation for a soon Rapture.
The degradation of society around us and the pressure on Christians to conform to unbiblical societal norms is the catalyst for many believers to experience the same anxiety as Lot prior to being delivered by God from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) 2 Peter 2:6-8
Such anxiety is the natural fuel for anticipating Christ’s return and crying out “Come quickly Lord Jesus”.
In Hebrews 10:23-25, it references that believers in Christ would recognize the approaching of the Day which is Biblical lingo for the seven years of the Tribulation (aka Daniel’s 70th week). So, if we as believers are able to discern that the Tribulation is soon at hand, we also should recognize that the Rapture is near since it precedes the start of the Tribulation (Pre-Tribulation view). This would also explain why anticipation is building among believers.
Although we are instructed to watch for the coming of our Lord Jesus, He specifically states that we cannot know the day or the hour of His coming (Matthew 25:13). There have been many willing to predict His return in the past and proved wrong. Social media and such are full of wild theories on this subject which should be avoided. The Scriptures offer the definitive foundational truth for understanding the Rapture within the boundaries of what God wants us to know.
So, below are a few Scriptures to provide a brief overview and introduction to the Rapture. It is far from being comprehensive. I am making the assumption not everyone reading this knows about or understands the Rapture. This is a controversial subject even within Christian circles. I will not use this opportunity to defend the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. However, I do believe a literal, honest reading of Scripture makes it obvious the Rapture is an event on God’s prophetic calendar prior to the Tribulation.
Jesus used parables and analogies to communicate truth referencing events and traditions the people of His day recognized. The Jews of the 1st century would have been very familiar with the traditional Jewish betrothal and wedding traditions which Jesus utilized to emphasize His relationship to the Church (i.e. true believers). The predominate symbolism is that of a bride which is analogous to the Church (Revelation ch 18-22). Many other Jewish wedding analogies are woven through Scriptures painting a picture of Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church. A great booklet describing the parallels is “A Christian Love Story” by Zola Levitt.
In John 14:1-6, Jesus tells His disciples that He is going away to prepare a place in His Father’s house for them and that He will return to take them to Himself. This is the same promise the Jewish bridegroom gives his bride in the Jewish betrothal mentioned above. The bridegroom and bride become engaged, the bridegroom leaves for a time to build a room onto his father’s house prior to the wedding. At the end of a period of time, which only the groom’s father knows, the groom comes for his bride to carry her off to the wedding feast.
The Rapture is the fulfillment of the promise Jesus gave His disciples in John 14. It is the unexpected snatching away of the Church of Jesus Christ comprised of His true believers and followers. Jesus will appear in the air as promised (Acts 1:9-11) prior to the Last Days Tribulation to take the Bride to His Father’s house in heaven.
The purpose of the Rapture is to rescue the Church from the wrath and judgement (Revelation 3:10-12) coming during the 7 years of the Tribulation period. This is not the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which occurs at the end of the Tribulation when He returns bodily to judge the nations, vanquish His enemies and set up His kingdom on Earth for 1000 years.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the Apostle Paul clearly elaborates the how and who of the Rapture. The word used for Rapture is “caught-up” in the New King James text which is the Greek word harpazo that connotes to pluck, snatch, pull or take by force. It is the Latin word raptus where we get the English word rapture. At the event, Jesus Christ descends from heaven with a shout to snatch His Church with the dead in Christ going first then the living believers taking both to the heavenly realm. The shout and the snatching is reminiscent of the Jewish groom announcing he is here to whisk away his bride.
In 1 Corinthians 15:50-53, it specifically outlines what happens to those who are Raptured. In an instant, the human body is changed from the fleshly corruption to spiritual incorruption. The thought is the new spiritual body will be like the resurrected body Jesus had after His resurrection and prior to His ascension (1 John 3:2-3).
All throughout the Bible, God has given us pictures or types of the Rapture whereby He has kept and preserved the righteous believers from judgement and wrath. Specifically, you see Noah and his family who were rescued from the Flood, Lot and his family were first taken out of Sodom and Gomorrah before its destruction, and of course, Enoch and Elijah both who did not see death but were taken bodily to heaven. The Apostle Paul, himself, uses the same word “harpazo” to describe his being taken to heaven for a brief time in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. The idea of God protecting and preserving those who follow Him in truth is not a new or contrived concept.
The Book of Revelation describes that it is Jesus Himself (The Lamb) that pours out the wrath upon the nations during the Tribulation. And we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 that Paul the Apostle clearly states that believers are not appointed unto wrath. So it surely makes sense why the Church is removed from the Earth prior to the Tribulation given she is His bride and not under the judgement of the nations.
Believers in Christ have been anticipating the Rapture for almost 2,000 years. But today there is a heightened sense and anticipation among believers that the Father is about to reveal to the Son it is time to go for His bride. But is the bride ready?
The True Church
So the question now obviously arises, how is the bride or the Church to know if they are ready for the coming of Jesus Christ at the Rapture?
In the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus emphasizes watching in anticipation and preparing for His return. The parable delineates the virgins into two groups; the wise and the foolish. The distinction is the preparation. The wise virgins are attentive to preparing themselves for the arrival of the bridegroom coming with oil for their lamps. While the foolish virgins come unprepared to the place of waiting without the necessity of oil.
Like in 1 Thessalonians 4, a shout announces the coming of the bridegroom. All of the virgins ready themselves but the foolish are left scrambling for a supply of oil. The oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer or in this case the wise virgins in this parable. This is the defining moment for all the virgins. The wise are welcomed by the bridegroom into the wedding feast and the foolish are shut out. Not only is the door to the wedding feast closed but the bridegroom sadly does not acknowledge knowing the foolish virgins.
The Holy Spirit is the line of demarcation for the outcome of the parable as it is for those who are called the true Church of Christ. In Romans chapter 8, The Apostle Paul beautifully explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer in Christ. But it is in Romans 8:9b where Paul puts the stake in the ground defining who are the true Church of Christ and who are not.
Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Romans 8:9b
Jesus had a similar pertinent conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21) explaining that the natural man cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only one who is born-again of the Spirit. Jesus further explains in these verses it is through faith in the the Son (Jesus) that a person is born of the Spirit. This is the common thread that runs through the teaching of the New Testament.
“The person who gives no evidence of the presence, power or fruit of God’s Spirit in his life has no claim to Christ as Savior and Lord. The person who demonstrates no desire for the things of God and has no inclination to avoid sin or passion to please God is not in dwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus does not belong to Christ.”John McArthur – The New Testament Commentary on Romans 1-8
It is the walk of true faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone that authenticates the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Are you Rapture ready?
Like the foolish virgins in the parable who are refused entry to the wedding feast, there will be a group of people shutout of the Rapture left on Earth to endure the 7 years of Tribulation. Those who remain are what author Pete Garcia refers to as the Remnant.
Initially, there will be many in the remnant who are in shock that they were not taken in the Rapture. Several verses in Gospel of Matthew may offer insight to the plight of these individuals (Matthew 7:13-14 & Matthew 7:21-23). But like the foolish virgins, they will have all the wedding paraphernalia except the one that matters.
The vast majority of the remnant will be dazed trying to understand what happened while looking for answers from civil, academic and spiritual leaders. The mass disappearance of millions of people will most likely trigger chaotic reverberations through governments, financial markets and societies around the world. Many will possibly try to put a spin on the Rapture event to explain it away or exploit it for their own purposes.
After the initial reaction to the Rapture, the stage will be set for the Anti-christ to come on the world scene to usher in the Tribulation, a time unlike any other in human history. Jesus specifically warns that deception will abound during those days (see Matthew 24) being characterized by false prophets, lawlessness and false signs and wonders.
So, discovering and knowing what is true during those days will be challenging. Being equipped with the Biblical truth is vital to providing real answers and hope while navigating the turmoil that will ensue.
Rules for the Remnant
I happened upon a piece written by Pete Garcia that is called the “Rules for the Remnant” which was designed as a primer for all of the remnant left behind after the Rapture. Pete created a timeline of the Tribulation events for the remnant to clarify what to expect and most importantly how to get yourself on the right course for eternity. So I have included a copy below as it is relevant to this conversation. Pete has graciously permitted the use of his material for this post. I encourage you to visit his site at rev310.net for more information and timely articles on this subject.
Rules for the Remnant
By Pete Garcia / rev310.net
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
That day was supposed to be like any other. Before it happened, life went on like it always had…work, school, play, family. But then it happened. And now no one knows what is going on. All anyone knows is that a bunch of people and all the children are disappeared. So if you’re reading this and you find yourself in the above scenario, know that this event is called the Rapture of the Church. The Church is not a denomination, but people from all walks of life. Anyone, who has either placed their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ or is under the age (or mental capacity) to make such a decision, is caught up to heaven. They have been changed from mortal to immortal, and now exist in the reality of eternity. They have been given perfect, flawless, and timeless bodies to exist with and in the divine order for the rest of eternity. This was the Rapture. It’s in the Bible. Read it for yourself if you can find one. [John 14:1-3; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2nd Thess. 2:1-3; 1st Corinthians 15:50-56; Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 3:10]. So if you’re reading this, you need to know what is coming. You’re life and eternity will depend on it.
The Rapture- this just happened. The Church is rescued and evil is no longer restrained on the earth.
The Time Gap- we don’t know how long this gap will last, perhaps months or even a few years, but there is a window of time between the Rapture and the official start of the Tribulation. During the gap, there are some things we think will likely happen:
- Pt. I-The Muslim nations surrounding Israel take advantage of the global chaos and launch an attack, and are defeated, greatly expanding Israel’s current borders (Psalm 83). Pt. II– Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and Sudan will go to war against the nation of Israel. God supernaturally defeats them. (Ezekiel 38-39). These two events fundamentally destroy Islam as a belief system. Israel then begins to rebuild her third temple.
- The world will reorganize into ten-regional powers. This global system becomes known as The Beast.
- Out of the ten regional governments, three will be overthrown and one man (the Antichrist) rises to power. He will be aided by another known to us as The False Prophet. He will be able to do supernatural signs and wonders. They create a mark that is put on either the hand or forehead to buy or sell. DO NOT TAKE THIS. Remember, these two men will not appear evil at first. (Revelation 6, 13)
- Two Witnesses also arrive during this time. They will have supernatural powers and will preach from Jerusalem for 3 ½ years. They cannot be killed or destroyed until the 3 ½ years are completed. (Rev. 11)
The Tribulation (Revelation 6:18) the official name for this is the 70th Week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27). It is a seven-year period, which God will unleash 21 divine judgments upon the earth. Over 1/2 the world’s population dies as a result. The seas are turned to blood, fresh drinking water is turned to blood, and the sun and moon cease to give its light. A contract between the Antichrist and the nation of Israel begins the 21 judgments.
The Seven Seals (Revelation 6): 1/4 of the world’s population dies
1. The White Horse (Antichrist-false peace)
2. The Red Horse (War)
3. The Black Horse (Drought/Famine/Economic disaster)
4. The Pale Horse (Plague/Disease)
5. Martyrdom of those who refuse to worship the beast (slaughter of the Tribulation saints)
6. A Great Earthquake that causes such a geological disturbance, the dust and smoke obscure the sun, stars, and moon
7. Silence in Heaven
The Seven Trumpets (Revelation 8-11): 1/3 of the world’s population dies
1. Hail and fire mixed with blood
2. A great mountain cast into the sea
3. Wormwood- a meteor that poisons (makes bitter) a third of the drinking water
4. A third of the sun, moon, and stars darkened (great cold, darkness)
5. First Woe (Demonic Locusts plague those who take the mark)
6. Second Woe (one-third of mankind killed by a demon army)
7. Third Woe (Lightning, Voices, Thunder, an Earthquake and Great hail.)
The Seven Vials/Bowls (Revelation 16)
1. Grievous Sores on those who take the mark of the beast
2. The rest of the seas turn to blood
3. Rivers and fountains turned to blood
4. Great heat
5. Great darkness over the seat of Beast Kingdom
6. Euphrates River dries up
7. A massive earthquake and vast earth changes
The Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19)
At the end of the seven years, the Beast’s armies, along with the kings of the east, gather in the Megiddo Valley (Israel) try to destroy what remains of the Jewish people. The skies are rolled back and Christ returns in power and glory, followed by the Armies of Heaven. He destroys the armies gathered there. The Beast & False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire.
The Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25)
Christ judges the remaining nations. Those who aided Israel during this 70th Week, are allowed entrance into the earthly, millennial kingdom, of which, Christ rules as the undisputed King. Those who attacked or did ill towards the nation of Israel (and her inhabitants), are cast into outer darkness and await judgment.
The Millennial Reign of Christ (Revelation 20)
Christ will reign upon the earth for 1,000 years. The world is released from the curse of sin and becomes a paradise. People will be given unnaturally long life spans. If a person does not choose to follow Christ, they will die at the age of 100. At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan is loosed for a season and is cast into the Lake of Fire.
The Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:10-14)
The unsaved/unredeemed dead of all ages is brought before Christ and are judged according to their works. Everyone here is ultimately cast into the Lake of Fire because their works cannot save them. What is determined here is how severe their torment will be in the Lake of Fire for all of eternity. Death and hell also cast into the Lake of Fire.
Eternity Future (Revelation 21-22)
A new heaven and new earth are created, as the former ones are passed away. For the redeemed, eternity future will be a glorious adventure. One filled with worship of God and being in His presence, exploration (seeing all that God has been working on these past two thousand years), of peace, joy, comfort, happiness, contentment, and love forever.
Rules for the Remnant
- Do place your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
A. Admit you’re a sinner and need a Savior (Romans 3:23, 6:23)
B. Believe in your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and God raised Him from the dead (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)
C. Call upon the name of the Lord, trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Romans 10:9-13)
2. Do NOT take the mark of the beast. This means you will not be able to buy or sell anything, but if you take the mark, you are damned forever. Better to struggle for a few years than to suffer for all eternity. (Revelation 14:9-11)
3. You will probably be martyred. The Beast’s systems will be vast; artificial intelligence, global surveillance, robotic weapon systems, as well as supernatural forces (demons) aiding them. Do not fear the first death (physical). Do fear the second death (spiritual). The first death is not the end, only the beginning of a glorious future with Christ. If you die spiritually as well, you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
4. Endure to the end if you can. Run, hide, pray. If you survive the seven-years, you will enter into the Millennial Kingdom.
Author’s note: Print two-sided (Georgia font, type size 9). Laminate. Keep or give it to someone.
Here is a link to the original article: https://www.rev310.net/post/rules-for-the-remnant
We are moving towards the days in history that are the cap stone of God’s plan for mankind on the Earth. The prophetic warning signals are flashing all around us today. I do not have any foreknowledge on when the Rapture will occur. It could be tomorrow or years away.
No matter what side of the Rapture we are on when you read this, before or after, there is hope provided by God through Christ to all who will receive Him. The decision you make about Jesus Christ and His finished work will set your course for eternity and potentially what side of the Rapture you land on. Romans 10:9-11 explains:
......that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11
Some other Scriptures to read and understand related to faith in Christ are: Romans 3:10, John 3:16-21, Titus 3:4-7, Ephesians 2:4-10, John 14:6 and Titus 2:11-14.
To those who eagerly wait for Him (Jesus Christ) He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. Hebrews 9:28