Are You Ready For The Rapture?
Most prophecy scholars will agree that the generation who saw Israel become a nation is also likely to see the coming of the Lord; “this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Matthew 24:34.
We live in a world entirely different from that of even just before World War II. Travel capabilities have advanced beyond our wildest dreams; medical science has brought cures for diseases that would have at one time been completely fatal; and everyday our world seems smaller and smaller as knowledge and communications enables us to communicate with people on the other side of the globe quickly and easily. We also live in a world filled with war and terror. Like never before, people feel insecure about their safety. Things we thought were only possible in the Middle East are beginning to happen in the West. And yet, all these things were foretold centuries ago.
An Unknown Time
More than any generation before us, we have reason to believe we could see coming of the Lord. “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” Luke 21:29-31. We must be prepared, for the Rapture could occur at any moment. It could even occur before you’re done reading this!
But Jesus specifically warned us about date setting. “Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels in heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36. Many people in the past have made guesses on the day or year that Jesus would return, and many of those dates have come and gone and so they were obviously wrong. I even heard a rumor recently that the Rapture will occur in August of this year. How would they know that, if even the angels in heaven don’t know?
As I mentioned the “generation” earlier, Tim LaHaye offers some important insight on this matter. The generation he speaks of could be one of four different generations, and I will briefly outline them, based on the structure of the original Greek text and the placement of the word “generation”:
1. The first generation could have been the generation of the disciples. However, nothing occurred in that time that could be likened to the Rapture or Second Coming. This generation has long since passed away, so it’s basically impossible that this is the generation discussed.
2. The next generation is the generation that saw World War I. Although this is still technically possible, it’s becoming unlikely as most of this generation has also passed away. LaHaye says that this should not be ruled out for a few years.
3. The most popular of speculated generations is the generation that saw Israel become a nation in 1948. A few years must be added, as you would likely have to be about ten years old to actually comprehend what happened. This would include anyone born around 1938. And much of that generation is still likely to live for quite a few years yet.
4. The fourth generation is the generation that lived through the Six Day war, in 1967. Based on previous acceptance of being ten years of age, this would include the generation born around 1957.
Of course, it could also refer to some future event involving Israel and the Jews. Still, most experts still strongly believe it will occur during the generation of those in 1948. Nonetheless, we have significant reason to hope and believe that we will be alive to see the Rapture of the church.
Most believers are eagerly awaiting the Rapture, the next major event in the Christian faith. This hope leaves us with a desire to live a holy life, but also to help bring others to faith. That is our mission during these times – to help others find the truth.
It’s a heartbreaking thought to imagine a loved one suffering through the tragedies to come after the Rapture. It’s also a scary thing to think of all the people who will die because of the Rapture. Think of it, millions of people go missing without warning. The disasters will be innumerable. Many will die in accidents, plane crashes, fires or because of terrorism or suicide. If the Rapture occurred tomorrow, this would be your last day to lead your best friend, sibling, cousin, parent or even a new acquaintance to salvation. And what if it is their last chance to hear about it? What if they died in an accident just following the Rapture?
It is true, God gave us all free will and the fate of our soul is our own choice. There are some seeking the truth, and there are many more who are determined that the Rapture is a silly fable that Christians cling to naively. You won’t be able to help everyone find Christ, but with prayer and the truth there’s so much you can accomplish!
Don’t let the thought come into your mind that “seeing the Rapture is unthinkable, too good to be true,” because that will discourage you. At one time, it was unthinkable to have running water inside your home. Until 1948, it was unthinkable that the Jews would ever have a homeland again. The Rapture will occur, it’s just a matter of time. And we are truly more likely than any generation before us to be alive to see it!
A Reason for Righteous Living:
What better reason to prompt yourself into righteous living than knowing that at any moment you could be called to God’s side? Often, just before I am about to do something I know I shouldn’t, this thought crosses my mind. Many, many times it has changed my mind. I wouldn’t want to be caught in the act, whatever act that may be, when Jesus calls us home.
Prophecy is a great reason to feel encouraged, because we know that no matter what our present troubles are, we will find justice and comfort in the arms of the Lord soon. It is with this promise that we can encourage each other. I write this primarily to encourage my fellow believers, that although we watch in dismay at what is going on around us, it won’t always be this way. We, as believers in Christ, have such a wonderful future ahead of us, and when we focus on that it puts perspective on what could be seen as just stumbling blocks in this “time of choice.”
It is also in prophecy that we see the harm in judging others. We know that we will all stand before the judgement seat of God, and that time could come very soon. As God alone knows “the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” Hebrews 4:12, we have no place in judging the motivations or the character of a person. While we are not to tolerate all behavior as acceptable, for some things are stated explicitly in the Bible as being wrong, “God tells us to keep our personal judgments to ourselves” (The Merciful God of Prophecy, Tim LaHaye, p. 176).
Prophecy and the knowledge that every morning when we awake we are one day closer to being with God gives us the courage to profess our faith enthusiastically. I will gladly take all the criticism and ridicule if only to lead a few souls to Christ. The Bible tells us to lay up our treasures in heaven, not on earth, because all things on earth shall pass away. I will be most rewarded for setting an example as a Christian to others and helping people find salvation than I will for anything else.
No Better Reason To Be Joyful:
The six o’clock news is rarely “good news”: famines, earthquakes, wars, disease, terror, and persecution. Yet, even in this you can find comfort, because this is exactly what Jesus said would happen (see Luke 21). How can you live in despair, as a born-again Christian, when the end time events prophesized two thousand years ago are coming to life, promising that Jesus is coming soon? We should be rejoicing, spreading the Good News to everyone we know. Our actions should be holy and our prayers should be filled with thanksgiving. Imagine, that of all the believers who have lived on this earth, we could be part of a select few who are alive for the Rapture! When I think of that, I can’t help but smile.
The gospel is being preached around the globe and the stage is set. According to Biblical studies, experts have determined that the Rapture will occur when the world has a high population. On top of that, more and more people around the world are accepting Christ as their Savior. Interest in end time prophecy has sky rocketed in the last few years because even secular scientists are beginning to feel that the earth might not last even another century. People are seeing the end of time as we know it, and they are turning to the Bible for answers.
We should be spreading the word to everyone we know, not only so we can make the family of believers even larger, but so we can find the maximum amount of peace and security in our own faith. Every time I talk to another person about salvation, I am more and more convinced about it.
It could happen any moment. There’s never been greater cause to expect it, and Jesus told us to be ready. This is an exciting time to be alive, although frightening, because we see history winding down to it’s close. Even if God decides to wait another fifty years, we are still living in the “end times” in the larger spectrum of things. Keep your eyes open for the coming of the Lord, and keep your heart pure so we can have confidence when we stand before Him!