It concerns me that this blog has me continuously proclaiming doom and gloom. But I really am an optimistic guy. Certainly there will be plenty of doom and gloom during the Great Tribulation when God pours out His wrath on earth. While seeing the stage being set for the Tribulation isn’t pleasant, we can be encouraged remembering that the Lord will remove His followers before the Tribulation begins. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:9, NKJ).
Most people even dismiss the Rapture as being mere pie in the sky wishful thinking. It is too incredible to be believed. But the Bible clearly indicates that a time is coming when a generation of Christians will be instantly translated into our resurrected bodies and removed from earth. If you need to be convinced of this, study carefully 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.
The Rapture of the Church is the next major event that has been prophesied. Paul expected the Rapture to be imminent in his day because he included himself in those who would not face death, “we who are still alive and left…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The doctrine of the Rapture is intended to be encouraging; knowing that we have to die or face the Tribulation before we are resurrected is discouraging (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Another reason we know the Rapture precedes the Great Tribulation is given in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. This was written to put the Thessalonians at ease that the persecution they were suffering was not the Tribulation which would have meant that they missed the Rapture described in Paul’s first epistle.
Scripture also describes two very different phases of the Lord’s return. Only believers will see Him at the Rapture while all people on earth will see Him when He returns at the end of the Tribulation to set up His kingdom here. We meet Jesus in the air at the Rapture but at His second coming he sets foot on Mount of Olives. And there are many other distinctions like this.
For a through discussion of why I believe that the Rapture must precede the Tribulation, see my PowerPoint Bible study titled “The Rapture of the Church.”
Jesus promised, “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3, NKJ). Until that day, “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).