I recently read a blog post by a pastor friend of mine named Dave Flowers – Ten Things Christians Say That Drive Me Crazy
I enjoyed the post and understood on some level much of what he had to say, however he made a comment in his list that I certainly had to take issue with. The third saying on his list had to do with Christians who refer to “The last days” or “The end times” and he followed with this comment: “I’m not sure if any concept has been responsible for more “Christian” lunacy than this. Setting aside the fact that the theological concept of the “rapture” was almost completely invented in the early 1800′s…” He followed with more on this issue that drives him crazy but this quote in particular stood out to me.
Now, I understand that over the years the rapture has been abused and I admit has even caused some “Christian” lunacy – but all due to misunderstanding and ignorance. Date setters have come and gone and turned the whole idea into a laughing stock (Recall Harold Camping in 2011? People were so sure this false teacher was correct that they sold all their possessions to get the word out that the world was ending in May 2011 – See Beware The Snare Of Date Setting) Even news stations such as CNN ran stories on the false prediction and the whole world laughed at Christians and the notion of Jesus returning. False predictions make all Christians look like idiots. But no matter how many people laugh at us; no matter how many jokes it creates in the office place, the rapture will happen one day and it will catch the entire world off guard.
I engaged in a friendly debate with Dave over the matter and at his recommendation I decided that the best course of action would be for me to write a response blog – and this is why I write, to explain why I believe the rapture must happen!
First, I must define what the rapture is according to the Bible, for those who are unaware. I will establish all my proofs for the rapture directly from the Bible – this alone debunks the idea that the rapture was invented in the 1800’s but it is actually a mystery revealed in the very word of God. There are countless books and in-depth writings that go into much more detail over the rapture but in order to keep it simple for this blog the rapture is essentially a promised resurrection for all those who have faith in Jesus Christ. The rapture is not to be confused with the second coming – which is a promise given to Israel that Jesus would return physically and overthrow all governments, setting up His kingdom on the earth and ruling as the literal king of the world. In the rapture Jesus remains in the clouds and calls all Christians up and out of this world, snatching us away and taking us to heaven to be with Him.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
“15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Jesus left this earth to prepare a place for us in heaven but promised to return and take us to heaven to be with Him. He has been gone now for nearly 2,000 years and since we are only human, many Christ followers have died waiting for this promise. So when Jesus comes, those who have died in Christ and those who are alive and remain, will all be changed into our promised glorified bodies and we will all be caught up together in the clouds with Him.
1 Corinthians 15:50-53
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 John 3:2-3
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Jesus promised to come back and get us and take us to heaven – but we cannot go to heaven in our present body. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, so we must be changed. We must change out of this corrupt body and put on an incorruptible body. We must change out of this mortal body and put on immortality. Jesus will make this change for us when He appears in the clouds and we see Him. When we see Him we will be changed to be like Him, in a moment – a twinkling of an eye. The change will happen in a split second and at the sound of the trumpet we will be miraculously transformed into a glorified resurrection body. In our new form we will be ready to inherit His kingdom and travel with Him to heaven.
The most important truth of all is that the rapture is the completion of our salvation.
“22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
In the book of Romans Paul points out that we are eagerly awaiting the completion of our salvation. The work on the cross made it all possible and the Holy Spirit has been sealed in our hearts as a guarantee – for we were saved in the hope of the rapture! We were saved with the promise that God, who began this work within us, would be faithful to complete it.
When we surrender to Christ we become born again – however this spiritual rebirth happens inside of a corrupted and sinful body and we groan within ourselves, looking forward to the day when our bodies will be redeemed. Our salvation comes with the guarantee that one day bodily redemption will happen, at the rapture and we will be made complete in Him. And so we eagerly await this hope!
This is why the rapture must happen – it is directly linked to our salvation.
Like Paul, I believe we should be comforting each other with these words. It’s a wonderful promise rooted firmly in the Bible and I hope to see you in the clouds!