For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18).
Thoughts about the rapture of the church keep coming to my mind in the light of current world events. Please remember that there must be at least 7 years between the rapture and the second coming of Christ (Daniel 9: 24-27). In the rapture, God transports believers to heaven and their bodies change into glorified, immortal human bodies like Jesus had when He was resurrected. In the second Coming of Christ, Jesus and the saints (us) come back to earth. Jesus defeats the Anti-Christ and sets up His 1000 year rule on earth (Revelation 20).
So many things that are happening now run parallel with the Word concerning the period prior to the second coming of Christ. The problems with middle East peace and the Palestinian state solution encouraged by our government; the rapid rise of Islamic terrorism; the problems with Iran acquiring nuclear weapons; The Iranian president’s forceful diatribe promising to annihilate Israel; the rise of Russia’s influence; the flat-lining of cultural standards; the rise and acceptance of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle; and the current economic mess worldwide. These issues point to a time called the tribulation by the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have reached the point of no return. We’re very close to the time scenario predicted by the prophets in the Bible when Israel will enter into a covenant of peace. When that happens, the tribulation begins. It will last 7 years and will begin as a time of pseudo world peace. This will quickly spiral into mayhem as natural disaster after natural disaster causes the nations to plummet into chaos (see Revelation 6-19 for the details).
According to 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the rapture of the church seems to be somewhere around the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace treaty. Right after that world conditions warrant the rise of the person called Anti-Christ. He will have a plan to right the world economic woes and t o stabilize the friction in the Middle East. We the church will be gone! Listen to Kenneth Wuest’s translation of 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4:
Now, I am requesting you, brethren, with regard to the coming and personal presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, even our being assembled together to Him, not soon to become unsettled, the source of this unsettled state being your minds, neither be thrown into confusion, either by a spirit [a believer in the Christian assembly claiming the authority of divine revelation and claiming to give the saints a word from God], or through a word [received personally] as from us or through a letter falsely alleged to be written by us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come and is now present. Do not begin to allow anyone to lead you astray in any way, because that day shall not come except the aforementioned departure [of the Church to heaven] comes first and the man of the lawlessness is disclosed [in his true identity], the son of perdition, he who sets himself in opposition to and exalts himself above everyone and everything that is called a god or that is an object of worship, so that he seats himself in the inner sanctuary of God, proclaiming himself to be deity.
The world as we have known it is fading away. Now is the time to get our “ducks in a row!” Put God and His kingdom first in your life. Don’t be lulled to sleep by complacency, compromise, and lukewarmness. It’s a bit surreal for me to think this way, but it really does seem that the rapture must be soon. Get ready and stay ready! We’re going on a trip!
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:1-3). Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:50-52).