The Blessed Hope:
A Closer Look Into the Rapture
by Brian Price 11/8/05
"13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." - Mark 13:32-33
A day in which no one knows the day nor the hour could only be a day of great expectation. Yet it is a day in which many will be caught off guard. What day could this be? It is none other than the Rapture of the saints. Just as an expecting mother does not know the day nor the hour of the birth of her child, so will Christ come upon us.
The rapture is a very unique event yet to be played out in the whole history of mankind, in which God actually rescues his people (the Christians) before his wrath is poured out upon mankind. In fact, it could very well be the second most important event in all of human history! The first most important event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is so astronomically important that it simply cannot be true! Or is it true?
Let's keep some things in mind before going over this issue:
1) If the rapture is true, then not even Jesus Christ himself knows when the day or the hour is!
2) If the rapture is true, then there must be some examples in the past which we can look at.
3) If there really is a rapture, then only very few people will actually be ready!
4) And finally, if there really is a rapture, then the forces of evil surely must know about it.
Not Even Jesus Christ Knows The Day
Jesus Christ openly stated to his disciples that he did not even know the day nor the hour of his coming, however, he did say it would be like a thief in the night... Scoffers usually throw out the fact that every eye will see Christ at his second coming. They are correct, however, this fact does not discredit the reality of Christ's snatching away of the church like a thief in the middle of the night(the Rapture). There is no doubt about it, the Bible cleary talks about the Second Coming of Christ. That's not the argument. The argument is this: Is Jesus really going to come before his second coming?
Let's first look at the Gospel of John."14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
14:2 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.
14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." - John 14:1-4
Here we have our Lord telling the disciples to relax because he is going to come back again. The scripture here is very clear; Christ is not only telling the disciples he is going to Heaven to be with his Father, but he is also telling the Christians that he is going to come again and receive us to himself. Obviously, the disciples are still in their graves, so this promise has yet to be fullfilled. But here is the key question; (supposing there is no rapture) why would he come for us and then take us to heaven to our mansions, when we know for a fact that there is only the Second Coming of Christ - a literal descending of Jesus Christ from Heaven to earth to reign as King of the whole world?! He must be talking about something else!
"19:8 ...for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints...
19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war...
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." - Revelation 19:8, 11, & 14
One important scenario post-trib supporters have a hard time painting is the very foundation of their beliefs; the Second Coming of Christ! A question that lingers (supposing there is no rapture) is this: Does Christ snatch up the Christians as a thief in the night (to heaven), clothe us with white garments, then immediately descend to earth to fight the forces of Antichrist while at the same time having every eye seeing him all in less than 1 day? But that wouldn't make sense since the Bible says "the armies which WERE in heaven." Obviously, a resurrection happened prior to Christ's Second Coming (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Besides that, we all know the very day and hour that all this (the Second Coming) is going to happen which discredits any notion that Christ is going to come as a thief.... And not only do the Christians know the day and hour that Christ will come again, but even the dang armies of Antichrist know the day and hour! Talk about coming with the element of surprise!"17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them..." - Revelation 17:14
The truth is, Jesus Christ is not coming with any kind of element of surprise! That's why the bible says he will make WAR with the Antichrist and his armies. It will be so obvious that even the sun will be darkened and the moon won't give her light (Matt. 24:29)! It's going to be a showdown! Only a rapture before the tribulation could explain this coming as a thief which the Lord repeated so many times. If there really is such an event, then truly it will be such a surprise to those who scoff at God and his Word. They'll be left here on earth to worship the man who'll claim to be God, and they'll be fooled into taking the mark of the beast, thinking the Antichrist really is Christ.
But this is a problem, how can Christ say that he will come as a thief, and yet allow us to know the very day of his coming (supposing there is no rapture)?! He specifically said that not even the Son of man (Jesus Christ) knows the day nor the hour of his own coming, yet we DO know the day and the hour, how is this so? Either (a) the Bible has clear contradictions in regards to the Second Coming, (b) Jesus Christ wanted to leave us with riddles, or (c) there must be two distinguishable events (a rapture AND a second coming)!
"12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." - Daniel 12:11
"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." - Matthew 24:15-21
"6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" - Revelation 6:12-17
Daniel was told that there would be specifically 1,290 days (or 3 and 1/2 years) left once the Beast sets up his image. Once the Beast does that, then that means the Christians need to head for the hills because that's when the beheadings begin and the Beast only has a little bit of time to kill before Christ comes! That also means that before that time, there was already 3 & 1/2 years spent! How do we know that? The two witnesses of Revelation!
"11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." - Revelation 11:3
By the time the witnesses are preaching, Jesus Christ has already come for his saints, and taken them to his Father's house! And from that very moment, you can literally count the number of days that Jesus will return. That means, one date IS NOT KNOWN, but the other IS KNOWN!"9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." - Daniel 9:27
This week that Daniel is talking about is not a literal week of 7 days, but rather it is a week of 7 years (1 day = 1 year; 1 week = 7 days; 1 week = 7 years). The final week, or 70th week of Daniel's prophecy, is the very last week of prophecy in which the Beast will make a peace treaty with the world for 7 years, and in the midst of the 7 years, he will cause the daily sacrifices in the Jewish Temple to cease. He will also kill the 2 witnesses, claim to be God Almighty, cause the world the receive his mark and worship him and his image, and he will declare war upon the Christians. This will result in the most troublesome times with which the world will have ever known.
But when exactly does this last week of prophecy, or 7 year tribulation begin? There must be some way to determine the exact timing of this dramatic event... The answer is none other than the Rapture of the Church!"2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." - 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Here we have Paul telling the Thessalonians not to worry, because the Second Coming of Jesus Christ won't happen until 2 important events happen:
1) A falling away first.
2) That man of sin (the Beast) be revealed.
What is this falling away that Paul is talking about? Is it the great Apostasy? Is it a literal falling away of something? Or is the answer in the verses following?
Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
Apostasy means - 1. An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion.
Many people believe this portion of scripture is refering to a Great Apostasy (abandonment) in which many churches throughout the world fall away from their faith, or literally abandon what they profess to be true (ex: the Bible). If Paul is talking about this "Great Apostasy" in which many Bible believing churches "fall away" from the foundations, then we have a problem. The problem we have is that there have always been churches in which the congregation has "fallen away" from the word of God. The Catholic Church is a prime example. The Catholic Church has been far away from the word of God ever since it was established in 312 A.D. by Constantine. The Catholic Church leads the world in Christianity that has "fallen away" from the word of God with a membership worldwide of over 1 billion souls.
Even when John wrote the book of Revelation, we have many examples of churches that have somewhat fallen away from their foundations, or have literally abandoned their faith. Read what Jesus Christ said to just one of those churches:
"3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." - Revelation 3:1-3
Now let's take a look at some more verses in 2 Thessalonians:"2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth** that he might be revealed in his time.
2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming..." - 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
**the falling away
Take notice of this passage and pay close attention to the timing of events in this context. Paul says that there is something that is withholding the Beast's appearing. What could it be? Without reading the previous scriptures, one could use his imagination. The only thing holding the Beast back is this "falling away" that Paul spoke of in the prior verses. But who is this "he who now letteth will let?" The answer can be found in Acts chapter 8."8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." - Acts 8:39The Holy Spirit is the one who hinders the Beast from being revealed! Acts 8:39 is the only passage in scripture where the Holy Spirit of God actually "caught away" someone (at least to the best of my knowledge). Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, describes that we which are alive and remain shall literally be "caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17)." Paul was telling the Thessalonians that the Holy Spirit of God living in the Christians is the only thing hindering the Antichrist from being revealed! It is when the Spirit of God is actually "caught away" or "fallen away" or "taken out of the way" that starts the 7 year tribulation! But doesn't this contradict the fact that God is everywhere at one time (omnipresent)? The answer is simple. No. The scriptures simply state that there will be a "catching away." That does not mean that God will not be omnipresent anymore. The purpose of the rapture is simply to rescue the Christians before God's wrath is poured out upon all humanity. Once the Christians are raptured up to the Lord in the air, the Antichrist can now be revealed, and the deceiving can begin. We are told in the book of Revelation that there will be literally multitudes saved in the tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14), so then we must conclude that the Holy Spirit will definitely be active in the tribulation. It is as if the Holy Spirit simply stepped to the side to allow the Antichrist to come into power, but did not totally step down from being God.
There Must Be Examples If The Rapture is True" 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth..." - Matthew 5:13
Christ said we, Christians, are the salt of the earth. Salt preserves. We, Christians, preserve the world from becoming corrupt. It is the Holy Spirit in us that allow us to be the light and the salt of the world. If we are taken out of the world, then the world will become corrupt and full of darkness, and that is exactly what will happen when the rapture occurs, but only God the Father knows the day and the hour.
Now let's look at some examples in the Bible. If there really is a rapture of the saints, then there must be some kind of examples we can look at!"24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." - Matthew 24:37-39
Noah, the man who found favor in God's eyes before God destroyed the world the first time, is an excellent example that there is a Catching Away of the saints!"7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." - Genesis 7:1
The Bible says that Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:8). The Bible also says that Noah built the ark for no more than 100 years (Gen 5:32, Gen. 7:11). For nearly 100 years, Noah preached to the people of his day that God would someday destroy the world by flood. God wanted the whole world to repent, but instead, it repented God that he had made man (Genesis 6:6). However, God does not and did not want anyone to perish, but he wants all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But since the people of the earth did not repent, God still had to go through with what he told Noah he would do, that is, flood the world. We can only imagine what it was like. We can only speculate that while Noah was building this enormous boat on dry land, lots of people were laughing and scorning him, yet Noah was still building and still preaching to them that God would bring forth judgment. Only until it was too late did they realize Noah was right all along. So here we have a case in which God first saved his righteous people (8 people total), and then destroyed the wicked afterward. But, even after God shut the door and Noah and his family were safe in the ark, God still gave the world 1 whole week more to repent (Gen 7:4)! It is utterly amazing that God was still longsuffering enough to give mankind 7 more days to get on their knees (Luke 13:5). I am sure there was plenty of room on the ark for a few hundred more people."17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all." - Luke 17:28-29
Christ also gave the example of Lot, being in Sodom and Gomorrha. The people in those cities were too busy caring about the things of their lives, that they failed to recognize the real issue: repentance. Like Noah and his family, God saved Lot, his wife, and his daughters before his wrath came upon those cities.
How Many People Will Be Ready?
The rapture is an event that mirrors the two examples of Noah and Lot. In our day, not many people are watching for the coming of Lord. In fact, a lot of professed Christians are waiting for the coming tribulation instead of the coming of the Lord. What a confused bunch! We should not be waiting for the wrath of God, but we should be waiting for his salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9)! The Bible says that those who wait for the Lord are blessed! And just like those people in Noah's day, people in our day will wish they would have repented and watched for the Lord Jesus after it's too late."12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching...
12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." - Luke 12:37,39-40
Even The Demons Believe and Tremble
Earlier it was stated that if there really is a rapture, then even the devils must know about it. The truth is, the forces of darkness DO KNOW about it, in fact they are PATIENTLY AWAITING it to happen! Don't believe me? The following is a quote from Cuttingedge.org in which the author of the article "Possible and Probable Events in the Future" interviews the New England Director of the House of Theosophy, Bill Lambert, about the possible fate of a certain group of people** before or at the appearance of The Christ [he's the Antichrist to us but to the unsaved he is the Christ or Savior of the world].
**The devil wants the unbelievers to believe they themselves are saved and that the true Christians are the evil ones. However, this is just a lie."NOTE: MINUTES BEFORE THE ANTICHRIST ARISES, SOME SUPERNATURAL SOUND WILL BE HEARD, AND SPIRITUALLY FELT, BY EVERYBODY ON THE PLANET, SIMULTANEOUSLY. AT NO OTHER MOMENT IN WORLD HISTORY WILL SO MANY PEOPLE BE IMPACTED AT ONCE. THIS ACTION IS DESIGNED TO GET EVERYONE LOOKING AROUND AND UPWARD, AS TO WHAT CAUSED THIS SOUND. THEN, WITH EVERYONE'S ATTENTION AROUSED, IMAGES OF ANTICHRIST WILL APPEAR SIMULTANEOUSLY OVER THE ENTIRE EARTH, SPEAKING TO MANKIND, EACH IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE. THE "SIGNS AND WONDERS" WILL HAVE BEGUN."
The author then details further about The Christ (Antichrist), and continues on to explain his questions and Bill Lambert's responses:"At this point, Bill nodded his head affirmatively that the Pope was a proper receptor to the Christ. This is the most direct acknowledgement by a influential person involved in the planning for the appearance of Christ that the current Pope is ready and waiting for the appearance of The Christ. This acknowledgement also points to the Roman Catholic Pope as the False Prophet, because Bill stated, very pointedly, that the preparation for the New World Order religion was being paved by the Ecumenical Movement, which is being spear-headed by the Pope. Bill then explained the fate of those members of Group #3, those whose personal consciousness was not now, nor could ever be, raised sufficiently to accept the Christ. Bill likened them to a person who had spent his entire life in a totally darkened room. If a sudden, intense light were to shine into this room, the person's eyes would not be able to endure the light. The person would try to flee the light and go into another room which was dark. Persons of Group #3 will "elect to leave for another room". [Lambert's exact words] At this point, I raised my hand and asked, 'How do these people do this, Bill? No one can simply declare his spirit to leave this world. Do these people commit suicide?' Bill answered emphatically, "NO". He said, "I do not know how it will happen, but these people will leave this dimension." After much thought, I have concluded that Bill is talking about the Rapture of the Church." - www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1052.html
It is absolutely undeniable proof that the occult world is literally patiently awaiting the Blessed Hope as are the true believers. However, almost all of them are spiritually blind to the fact that the true Christians are actually going to be rescued by the Lord Jesus himself before the tribulation of the world begins! Those who are religiously "Christian" will be left to believe this man (whomever he is) is actually the Christ!
Bejamin Creme, the kind of John the Baptist for the Anti-Christ, is currently traveling the world, getting individuals and groups of people ready for this appearing of "the man." Of course, this man may not actually be THE ANTI-CHRIST, but he certainly fits the Biblical profile for him. Mr. Creme not only travels the world declaring the existance and presence of his Christ, but also has a website that promotes the soon appearance of him. Below is the introduction to the website:
"In the midst of war, fear and famine, new hope is in the world for us all! Many now expect the return of their awaited Teacher, whether they call him the Christ, Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna, or the Imam Mahdi. Millions now know that the Teacher who fulfills all these expectations is already living among us. Maitreya, the World Teacher, has not come alone, but with a group of wise Teachers who have long guided humanity from behind the scenes. They are returning to the everyday world to help us solve our most critical global problems. Maitreya is not a religious leader, but an educator in the broadest sense. He is here to inspire us to create a new era based on sharing and justice, so that all may have the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, health care, and education. His open mission in the world is about to begin. As Maitreya himself has said: 'Soon, now very soon, you will see my face and hear my words.' "
Not only is the website, Share-International.org, filled with information regarding this so-called Christ, but it also has an enormous question and answer section. Here is a list of just some of the frequently asked questions:How will we recognize the Christ?
If Maitreya is the Christ, then who or what is the anti-christ?
What is the essence of his teaching for the new age?
What will Maitreya’s initial task be?
When Christ was here before, he went through a cycle of events, and was crucified and killed. What is to prevent that from happening again?
Will the Christ have a long ministry compared to the three years Jesus had?
What will be some of the attributes or characteristics of the Aquarian Age?
How can we be sure that he, the Christ, will not be rejected?
Will Maitreya become a public figure?
Why when Maitreya comes on major television will he not use his own name?
Since he is the World Teacher, does that mean he will be more involved in certain fields of human endeavour than in others?
Why does Maitreya appear differently to different people?
Why, if Maitreya appears before 600 or even more people at a meeting of a religious group in Britain ¯ as in Edinburgh and York ¯ do we see nothing about it in the media?
How are we to know for certain that Lord Maitreya is not the false Christ?
(1) Will the United Nations be the governing body of the world, or (2) will there be another organization and (3) will Maitreya 'head up' this organization?
How do we know ‘your’ Christ is who you say he is and how do we know he is not someone who is trying to obtain some form of powerful position in the world with the purpose of world domination?
For more on these FAQ's, click here.
So as you can see, not only do true believers in Jesus Christ believe he will save us before the wrath of God is poured out upon the whole earth, the dark forces of Satan are also patiently awaiting the rapture with hopes that this "Christ" will lead the world into peace, safety, and the common good for all humanity. This man will be their savior, their messiah, however, he will be their betrayer.
A Plea To The People
I hope that this has helped to clarify what exactly the Rapture of the Church is, and if it really is biblical. I had one person debate with me about the Rapture, and his claim was that there is only one Second Coming of Christ (I agree, however I believe we will be with Jesus physically when he returns) and that the Rapture was just something made up by a Satanic Jesuit woman. Folks, just do a word search on the word Rapture, and do the research yourself. You will come to find out that the early Christians (as far back as the 3rd century A.D.!) believed in a "catching away" of the true *church (*body of believers) before the Second Coming. It is an event that will overtake the world, and only thousands, perhaps millions, will be ready for it. If you aren't sure that you will be with the Lord Jesus when he returns the second time, then please accept God's Free Gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus! It only requires faith, which is a willingness to turn away from sin, and a real turn toward Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and for salvation. It's called repentance."3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." - Revelation 3:10"21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." - Luke 21:34-36
People scoff that God will actually rapture his church. But just like God raptured Enoch before the flood, the same will happen to the true Christians who are still living at that moment in time. The world will be caught off guard! Make sure you're right with Jesus before it's too late!