By Keith Weaver
One can’t help but notice events occurring around the world these days. Even unbelievers realize there’s something going on, but for the born-again believers that are watching and aware, these signs point to the soon return of the Lord, and thereby the Rapture of the Church!
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matthew 24:33)
Knowing the Rapture could happen at any moment, let’s explore what it is, when it will occur and what we need to do as Christians…
First, the Church is not appointed to wrath:
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
Second, the Church is not only kept FROM temptation during the Tribulation, but FROM the hour of its occurrence, not THROUGH the temptation:
“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)
Notice the difference:
“from” (G1537 – ek): “A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out ( of place, time or cause)” [Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries]
“through” (G1223 – dia): “A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal or occasional). In composition it retains the same general import: to avoid” [Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries]
Third, Jesus said for men to love their wives as He loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). So for Him to place the Church in Tribulation would be equivalent to spousal abuse, since the Church will be His Bride (Revelation 21:9 & 22:17).
Fourth, the Rapture is a rewards event for saved people:
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
But there are saved people who will lose that reward because they’re not looking for Him ’till later’:
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:11)
And fifth, here specifically is the admonishment from Jesus to those who believe He will not appear until during or after Tribulation:
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:48-51)
“shall cut him asunder” (G1371 – dichotomeo): “to bisect, that is, (by extension) to flog severely” (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)
Notice the admonishment is to the “evil servant” who’s offending “fellow servants”. That’s saved people creating arguments with saved people. Mid and post-Tribulationists will be taken by the Lord in the Rapture, however they will suffer severe loss of rewards for not only believing their Lord would allow them to endure the time of Tribulation, but for arguing with their brethren about it.
Which brings us to this final point: The Rapture topic does not determine salvation and therefore should not be debated as that’s considered in God’s Word to be unrighteous (Romans 1:29-32). As Christians, we’re to give an answer for our hope of eternal life (1 Peter 3:15 & Titus 1:2), but not debate as that creates division.
So what do you need to do now? Tell everyone you know what Jesus has done in your life and can do in theirs. Tell them about the free gift of eternal life that He offers and how little time there may be left for them to make a decision to receive it.