What we are watching for
Back in the day when people used to wander malls there were kiosks with maps and little arrows saying, “You are here.” You could determine where you were in relationship to where you wanted to be. Our current “You are here” locates us before the Rapture and before the Tribulation. Where we want to get to is Eternity with God. At this period of time, in addition to normal path of death, we can get to our forever home by being Raptured or by continuing down the life path that leads us to the Tribulation.
Just as we used to do with kiosk maps, saying to ourselves, “OK, I go past Macy’s and it’s on my right” we need to be familiar with landmarks pointing to our final destination, we need to watch for markers pointing us to both the Rapture and the Tribulation. To prevent being deceived, we cannot afford to take a wrong turn. Here’s what we need to keep our eyes on in the future:
1) Israel: the first of the end times’ boxes to be checked off by becoming a nation in 1948. We need to keep watching because Israel is the key to the end times.
2) The Second Coming: Jesus returns to Planet Earth, defeats all the armies of the world that are gathered around Jerusalem, and claims His kingdom.
3) The Rapture: suddenly, at the same time everywhere, all true believers and followers of Jesus Christ will be “snatched” off the planet.
4) The Tribulation: The final 7 years of man’s time on earth. It starts with a treaty guaranteeing Israel’s security and ends with Jesus coming back.
5) The Mark: some kind of ID is inserted or tattooed on or in your hand or forehead. Without it you are not allowed to buy and sell. With it, you lose eternity.
6) One World Government: The entire world will live under the same dictates. The global economy moves to the wishes of the antichrist.
7) The Antichrist: With God’s permission, this person runs the whole world and Satan ultimately gives him the total power over everything.
8) The False Prophet: This person apparently devises a one size fits all, everybody gets a trophy religious system. He demands that everyone worship the antichrist.
Standing at our current “You are here” – we’re looking down the road leading towards the Second Coming but there are two major prophetic events before we can get there: the Rapture and the Tribulation. Mankind is firmly on the path that leads directly to the Tribulation, but constantly hovering over that path is the ultimate detour, the Rapture.
What is the Rapture? It means we’re outta here! It means that the faithful are suddenly swooped away from earth by an irresistible force and deposited safely into heaven. We will rise to meet the Lord in the air (1Thes 4:13-18). We will not all die but be changed “in the twinkling of an eye” (1Cor 15:51-52). We will be rescued from the coming wrath (1Thes 1:9-10).
Just to be sure we aren’t confusing the two “Jesus events” still ahead, let’s look at some points of contrast between the Rapture and Second Coming:
The Rapture: could happen at any time
Second Coming: happens at a specific, sorta predictable point
The Rapture: takes place in the air (1Thes 4:17)
Second Coming: takes place on earth (Zech 14:3-4)
The Rapture: Only believers will see Jesus (Acts 1:9-12)
Second Coming: Everyone will see Jesus (Mt 24:27-31)
The Rapture: Jesus comes for His saints (1Thes 4:17, John 14:3)
Second Coming: Jesus comes with His saints (1Thes 4:14, Rev 19:14)
The Rapture: a time of great joy (1Thes 4:18, Titus 2:13)
Second Coming: a time of terror (Joel 3:12-16, Mal 4:5)
Now for the big question, when does the Rapture take place? The answer to that question is a ongoing topic of discussion among Biblical prophecy scholars; it’s the area of prophecy where there is the least agreement. There are three primary points on the timeline of the end times where most scholars would say, “Personally, I think it’s at this time?”
Next time we’ll look at the three most likely points when the Rapture could logically occur: Pre-trib (before the last seven years of the Tribulation); mid-trib (more or less at the 3 ½ year mark of the Tribulation); post-Trib (at or immediately before the Second Coming at the very end of the Tribulation)
Please, neither offhandedly accept nor reject what is said in this blog. Check it out. Look it up for yourself in the Bible. If you are a child of God, you are in good hands and there is the most wonderful eternity waiting for you. If you are not a Christ follower, now is a really good time to honestly explore the truth claims of the Bible.