Can you imagine the plight of a meteorologist tracking a storm on radar as it approaches a densely populated city? He cannot stop the storm or divert its path. The only hope of saving lives is by quickly warning those in its path so they can escape before the storm’s devastation.
This scenario is a perfect parallel of ministry to this end-time generation. The growing darkness of those within the world’s system is obvious. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. The prophecies of Scripture link endtime events to the things we are seeing in our generation.
Yet, many remain unaware of the approaching storm that will usher in the Tribulation Period. Others have heard the warning, but are without hope, believing there is no way of escape. To them, the only ray of hope is to withstand the storm of events that will usher in the seven years of tribulation destined for planet Earth.
The complexity of problems in the world causes people to ask: Is there any hope for planet Earth? When will it all end?
The chaotic times we are seeing today will only get worse for the inhabitants of Earth who refuse to heed God’s prophetic warning and continue to walk in their own darkness – defying the God Who created them.
Yet, in the same time frame, there is good news for those who walk by faith in God’s Word, looking for the Lord’s appearing. In Proverbs 4:18-19, Solomon really puts it into Biblical perspective: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”
The Perfect Day is coming for the Body of Christ. It will begin when the Earth lease expires and the righteous are recompensed on Earth. The Perfect Day will include an awesome endtime harvest of souls into the Kingdom of God – and then the Rapture. The righteous dead of all ages will be resurrected and caught up to heaven, along with the righteous who are alive at Christ’s appearing: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Paul is referring to the appearing of the Lord to catch away the Righteous out of the Earth just before the Tribulation. What he describes in verses 16-17 should not be confused with the passage in Matthew 24:29-30 which refers to the Second Advent when Jesus will come back to Earth with the saints and end the battle of Armageddon. The Tribulation Period will end, and satan will be bound. Then, Jesus will begin His 1,000-year reign of peace and righteous rule here on Earth (Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-5).
Removal of the Restrainer
The Rapture is the key event that will allow the rise of the Antichrist to power, according to II Thessalonians 2:1-8: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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...And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed...”
It seems that the phrase, “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” in this context, refers to the Second Advent, which is also called the “day of Christ” in the next verse. But the phrase, “our gathering together unto him” can only describe one event – the Rapture. These are separate events, different in purpose and separated in time by exactly seven years.
This can only describe one event - The Rapture!
Notice Paul said there were two things which must happen before the day of Christ. First, there would come a “falling away,” or a catching away. Second, the “man of sin” (Antichrist) would be revealed.
The Amplified Bible footnoted the phrase “falling away” in II Thessalonians 2:3, stating “A possible rendering of the Greek apostasia is departure [of the Church].” Instead of a backsliding Church, I am convinced Paul is referring to the departure of the Body of Christ from the Earth before the man of sin is revealed, as the antichrist.
The Rapture takes place before the antichrist is revealed.
In Revelation 4:1, John states “...the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither...” And immediately John was before the throne of God. This indicates the Rapture takes place before the anitchrist is revealed. This is confirmed in Revelation 5:9-10 by the fact that John saw the 24 elders who represent the Old and New Testament saints around the throne of God singing the song of the redeemed. Then in Revelation 6:1-2, when the first seal is opened, the antichrist is revealed riding a white horse.
The Greek and English Interlinear New Testament renders: For the mystery already is working of lawlessness; only there is he who restrains at present, until out of the midst he be gone, and then will be revealed the lawless one; whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth. (II Thessalonians 2:7-8)
The Body of Christ reflects Christ (who is the light of the world) to a sin-darkened world with such intensity that it restrains the antichrist until our departure from the Earth. When the righteous are removed, the antichrist will be revealed, and his appointed time (seven years) begins.
Just as literal rain covered the Earth in seven days after Noah and his family entered the ark, so will the antichrist begin his seven-year flood of deception upon the Earth at his appointed time.
Today as believers, we must continue to occupy and hold back the antichrist spirit until we complete the work of God before Christ’s appearance. Hebrews 10 and 11 reveal there is a definite connection between our faith and the Rapture.
Hebrews 11:1 says: “...faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Romans 8:25 tells us, “...if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it,” and the Rapture is that blessed hope (Titus 2:13). It is through faith in God’s timetable that we have patience to wait for the fulfillment of that blessed hope of His appearing.
Let’s ask ourselves: Are there any promises in the New Covenant which you receive just because they are in the Bible? Generally speaking, no. You must first hear the promise. Then you must make a decision to believe it. Finally, you must have active faith to be a partaker of the promises.
Surely believers in our generation should be able to walk with God with the same hope and faith-filled expectation as Enoch did in his day: “...Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)
Hebrews 11:5-6 gives us the faith connection: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
The word “translated” means to remove, and it was used to reveal the catching away of Enoch.
The Book of Jude reveals that he was the one who prophesied that Christ would come “...with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds...” (Jude 1:14-15)
Enoch’s prophecy brings us to a very obvious conclusion that the saints must first be “caught up to Heaven” before they can come back with Christ from heaven as revealed in Revelation 19:11-20 and Zechariah 14:1-5.
Enoch experienced his own private rapture.
Although the Rapture was not for Enoch’s dispensation, God revealed it to him. He was so completely captivated by that revelation, he experienced his own private rapture.
Enoch proved that faith gives substance to that blessed hope, and it is our evidence of the Rapture that has not yet been seen in our day.
The Rapture has been framed and woven into the fabric of God’s Word. Yet, it isn’t apparent to everyone. The Scriptures reveal that not everyone will see Him when He appears at the time of the Rapture.
Hebrews 9:28 seems to give us the bottom line concerning the blessed hope of that Perfect Day: “...unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (deliverance).”
The hope for mankind in the midst of a world of darkness is not found in horoscopes, psychic hotlines, or even in religious tradition.
The only hope for humanity is in the Person of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God, the Light of the world, and the anointed Messiah. As born-again believers, we must be busy about our Father’s business – looking for that blessed hope of His appearing to catch away those who have placed their faith in Him and in His resurrection power. That Perfect Day is nearer than ever before, and we must occupy until He comes.
Gain understanding on what the Bible really says about this topic.
We must discern the intent of the word to get the full understanding of the Word of God. Interpretations of the Word of God must be based on the Bible itself rather than with the carnal mind and indoctrination. This program delves into the context of a variety of scriptures to rightly divide the Word to discover the sequence of events surrounding Tribulation, The Rapture and the Second Advent. Click to Order