In this world of uncertainty, many are seeking for answers to life’s challenges and wondering what the future holds for the human race. Headlines constantly highlight the unrest throughout the world today with news of natural disasters, wars and threats of widespread epidemics. Is there any hope of safety and security in our future?
Hope can only be found in the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Unlike other religious writings, the Bible stands alone, in that not one prophecy has ever failed. Prophecies of the Bible pertaining to the future of planet Earth bring hope when those seeking for answers gain understanding of God’s plan for all of humanity.
History records the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible; therefore, the veracity of the Word of God is proven, which makes it a dependable source of revelation about future events. Jesus said that “not one jot or tittle will pass away till all be fulfilled.”
The Last Days
Prophecies of the Bible describe both the condition of the world and God’s response to the world in the last days. The last days are the times in which God fulfills the remaining prophecies of His Word. The Apostle Paul wrote the following to Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men [people in the church] shall be lovers of their own selves [homosexuals], covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:1-5). Paul continues by stating that many who attend church are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth” (v.7).
These conditions would be appalling if describing society in general, but are much worse considering that Paul is referring to the prevailing atmosphere in much of the church in the last days. Thank God this does not describe the entire end-time church, for Paul says that some will turn away from this Apostasy.
Paul also describes how the church will fall into Apostasy: “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the Faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of Devils” (I Timothy 4:1). So the means by which the church will fall into Apostasy is false doctrine, that is, believing something other than what is written in the Word of God.
Daniel describes the last days as a time when great technological advances and mass transportation will be prevalent. The Lord told Daniel to write the following: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the Book [regarding end-time prophecies] even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).
Jesus told the hypocrites that they could discern the sign of foul weather by the appearance of the sky, but they could not discern the signs of the times.
Obviously, these prophecies, and many others, speak of the current conditions of the church and the world. Therefore, we can expect that the prophetic future is about to transpire.
He’s Coming Back
Jesus told His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if Igo and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
Simply put, Jesus will return to take all true believers to His Father’s House in Heaven. The manner and order of these events and the fulfillment of all the other end-time prophecies are clearly delineated in the Scriptures.
Paul describes the manner in which the Lord will come and receive His True Church. He wrote, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [believers who had died], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [the believers who die before this event will be resurrected at the Rapture before those who are alive and resurrected at the Rapture]. For the Lord himself shall descend form Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we [believers] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17).
The souls and spirits of the saints who die before the Rapture go directly to Heaven while their bodies remain in the grave. But when the Rapture occurs, Jesus will bring the souls and spirits of these saints with Him and then resurrect their bodies. Then those who are “alive and remain” shall be “caught up together” [resurrected] to meet the Lord “in the air.” This paints a beautiful picture of the Resurrection.
Paul further details this event, especially for those believers who are alive at the time of the Rapture. He said, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [not all believers will be dead at the time of the Rapture], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be changed [given glorified, eternal bodies]” (I Corinthians 15:51-53). Praise God!
The word “Rapture” is not actually in the Bible. It is simply a title that describes the Greek word harpazo, which is translated “caught up together” in I Thessalonians 4:17. Harpazo means to carry off, to snatch up and to seize. The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines the word rapture as “a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion”, “a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things,” and “an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion.” These definitions are truly expressive of this great event.
This will be a literal event and fulfillment of end-time prophecies concerning the church. Saints will literally and instantly be given eternal bodies, will meet the Lord in the air [from the Greek word “aer” meaning above the Earth’s surface and in the lower atmosphere] and will be taken to Heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord will remove His Church from the world in order to pour out His judgments upon those who do not accept Him and His way of salvation, to chastise Israel so that they will return to Him at the end of the Great Tribulation, to end all rebellion against God and to send His Son Jesus Christ back to the Earth to rule what He created in righteousness.
After seven years of Great Tribulation, the Lord will bring those who were resurrected at the Rapture back to the Earth with Him at His Second Coming. John wrote, “And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He Who sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in Righteousness He does Judge and make war [referring to the Battle of Armageddon]…And the armies which were in Heaven [the resurrected saints] followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [referring to the glorified bodies of the saints]” (Revelation 19:11, 14).
The True Church is removed from the world before the Great Tribulation, simply because the Lord did not appoint the church to suffer the wrath He will pour out upon this world. The Apostle Paul said, “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep [at the time of the Rapture], we should live together with Him [in His Father’s House].”
In conclusion, the Rapture is simply the Resurrection. To believe in the Rapture is to believe in the Resurrection. All who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will participate in the Rapture before the Lord pours out His judgment upon the world.
The Lord gives everyone the invitation to “Come. And let him who hears say, Come. And let him who is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely” (Revelation 22:17-18).
To accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord you must simply:
- Repent, or turn away from sin.
- Confess your sins to God.
- Believe that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins.
- Accept that you are now cleansed from all unrighteousness.
- See the Lord for His will for your life and obey Him.
- Produce fruit by leading others to Jesus so that they may accept Him too, and
- “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).