Dear Readers, it is very popular in these end times to discuss the rapture. In fact, coming out this weekend is the Hollywood movie starring Nicholas Cage "Left Behind". So, what is the discussion among Christians? When!!!!! and Who!!!!! will be raptured? These questions are the main points of discussion. Firstly, there is a division among Christians: some are pre-tribulation and others mid-tribulation. I never thought too much about which position I was until I did a deeper study of Revelations and thanks to my husband's guidance in that. Pre-tribulation believers like to think that they will not have to endure the terrible events of the end times and that believers will be raptured before God's judgement on the earth. In my study, I was told that the word rapture is a word which means the harpozo (being taken away) as Paul tells people that there is a mystery whereby resurrection will happen in the twinkling of an eye 1 Cor 15:52. In Rev. 6:10 we are told that there are those (martyrs) who have already been killed and they want to know when they will be avenged. They called out in a loud voice, "How long Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them as given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they has been was completed. Rev. 6:10. These are those who are already with the Lord martyred throughout history. Concerning end times, what is clear to me is that some believers will be raptured and others not. It is a choice. But, what about all those who have died before and were ignorant of the Lord or had not made the choice for Christ while alive? What about those who have not been ministered to that are alive now? Well, those are good questions. We can ask those questions as informed Christians of end times. We wonder as portrayed in the the movie, title - Left Behind, what will happen. Matthew 24:40-41 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Acts 1:9-11 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. What will happen to them, those left behind?
In Thessalonians 4: 13-15 we read according to Paul - And now, dear brothers and sisters, we
want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you
will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that
Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus
returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died... We
tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the
Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who
have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a
commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet
call of God. First the Christians who have died will rise from their
graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on
the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Who/What number is that and when will that be completed/happen? We don't know. Jesus said that no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
We also know that many will die for Christ in the end times... who has not died and are to be killed for their testimony remains a main question still for many like myself and if you don't have such opportunity, then what? Make
it your goal to live a quiet life, mind your own business and working
with your hands, just as we instructed you before.Then, people who are
not Christians will respect the way you live and you will not need to
depend on others. Thessalonians 4:11-:12
In Revelations, we read that the Seventh Seal is brought forward, here we think we are witnessed to what Paul meant by those that were of the 'rapture'; yet, we are not sure. It seems a kind of flashback. We read the 144,000 asking Rev. 7:14 "who are they" and the answer is that they came out of the great tribulation; they are those (of many nations) who gave testimony of Jesus Christ and were killed for their testimony. To be sure, upon reading further into Revelations, we could suppose to be finally brought up to speed regarding who comes back to life as in Rev. 20 where we read that all those who gave testimony for Jesus over all history who had died for Him and who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not receive his mark (during the tribulation) came to life and that they will reign with Christ for a thousands years...
And to be sure, in John 14:1-3 we read Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if
it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a
place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back
and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Now pre-tribers like to point to Paul as they think he tells us that all believers will not be killed/die but be 'raptured' as they will not experience any of the tribulation. As a mid-trib thinker, I think that what Paul is telling us is that we 'believers' will experience part of the tribulation (before God's wrath as described in many other chapters) and we will be 'raptured' ... but each of us and in his/her own turn 1Cor 15:23.
For sure is that all of us, as Christians made alive in Christ Jesus, the truth and our inheritance is that our salvation is in Jesus Christ and that if we want to be saved it is only through Him and that means that we will die to this world or be taken away. Scripture assures us that we have til the last minute. The parable of the workers at the vineyard and other scripture tell us that salvation is for all those who seek the Lord even at the end (last moment of the day) and no one gets to the Father expect through Jesus Christ.
If you want to read a good book on this subject, I suggest 'The Window of the Lord's Return' by John Shorey, 2010.