By Chris Schang
One of the most astonishing and interesting events in the end times is the rapture of the church. The rapture is when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in the air to gather his church age believers and wisk them off to Heaven to the place he has prepared for them. The rapture will result in the disappearance or vanishing of an untold numbers of people who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his completed work on the Cross. In contrast, those who do not place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the last days will find themselves going through the dreaded Tribulation period. This is the described as the "time of Jacob's trouble" as God pours out his wrath on unbeleiving Israel and unrepentant sinners.
A question that is frequently asked is are there any rapture signs that indicate that the rapture is about to take place? In my opinion that the answer is a yes and no. You see, the rapture of the church is a secret event in that it's timing is not known by man. The Bible declares that only God knows the timing of the rapture of the church. This is repeated several times in the Book of Matthew as the Bible makes it clear that it is impossible to know the day or the hour of the Lord's rapture of his church age saints:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Mat. 24:36).
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Mat. 24:42).
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Mat. 24:44).
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Mat. 25:13).
However, despite the warnings that the rapture could occur at anytime, a church doctrine known as imminency, the Bible does tell us that the rapture will happen before the seven year tribulation period. This can be seen in the many Bible verses that stress the fact that the rapture could occur at anytime, that the church is not destined for wrath, and that God never judges the righteous with the wicked. The church in this case is made righteous by grace through faith in the Lord's atoning death on the Cross for sin. Since the rapture of the church can happen at anytime, the Bible warns believers to be ready and always looking in anticipation for the "blessed hope" of the sudden disappearance or vanishing of the church.
Now while we have made a good case for there being no rapture signs necessary for this sudden event to occur, at this point in time we can see that we are clearly in the end times or last days before the forewarned tribulation period. The signs of the end times include apostasy, an increase in wickedness, and a turning away from God by more and more people. Despite there being ample evidence of God's existence through the Creation, many have turned away from God to serve the Creation rather than the Creator. The Bible warns us about this in the Holy scriptures:
Psa 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
So as we can see from the above verses in addition to apostasy (a falling away from the Gospel and Biblical truth), an increase in wickedness, there will also be scoffers in the last days who will mock the return of the Lord. Although 2 Peter 3:3-4 might be referring to the Second Coming, we already see scoffers on the scenes today despite the fact that the rapture has not occured. We also see apostasy and a great increase in wickedness in our society. There will also be people who have departed from the faith and instead of worshipping the one true God (Creator) have instead worshipped the Creation. We can see this with the constant promotion of evolution in our schools which denies the biblical account of Creation. This has been going on ever since the mid 1800's when the theory of evolution was brought into the mainstream by British scientist Charles Darwin.
So while the rapture of the church is a secret event where the Lord descends from Heaven, with the sound of an archangel's trumpet, and calls believers up to Him in the air. The Lord will then take the church to Heaven to the place he has prepared for them. This secret event can happen at anytime and without notice, but with the end times signs abounding all around us that the tribulation period is coming quickly down the road we can also figure that the rapture of the church is ever so close as well. Yet at the same time the rapture could have occured at anytime during the church age since we know that nothing is needed to preceed the rapture before it could happen.
With other end times puzzle pieces moving across the prophetic chess board like the worlds current focus on Jerusalem, we can also see these as signs that the rapture is getting closer and closer with each passing day since it has not already occured. In fact any day the rapture could occur. The fact that many people have lost interest in the rapture and have become apathetic towards the rapture of the church further points to the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ to remove his bride from the earth before the great and terrible day of the Lord commences.
It is our prayer and recommendation that if you have not made a decision for Jesus Christ, please do not wait another day to make this choice that will determine your eternal destiny. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt on your behalf, all you have to do is accept it and have eternal life.