When Jesus returns for His Church, will you be ready?
In I Thessalonians, the apostle Paul tells of a special revelation that He received from God about a coming prophetic event that we now refer to as the Rapture. In his account, Paul describes a moment marked with a blast of a trumpet that only those who are in Christ will hear. Then all of God’s people including the dead, those living at the time and all the young children will be carried off in the twinkling of an eye and caught up in the clouds together for a Heavenly reunion with their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In that instant, Jesus Himself will descend from Heaven to be united with His beloved bride—His Church—and begin a seven-year marriage celebration feast in Heaven. All those left behind on earth will be forced to experience the horrors of the Tribulation that the Bible warns will the worst seven years in the history of mankind in which evil and chaos will run wild throughout the earth. For some, Bible prophecy including the Rapture sounds far-fetched and maybe even ominous but it is important to know and study about the events that the Bible has foretold as they could very well happen in our lifetime.
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
I Thessalonians 4:13-17
It is important to know that the Rapture is a separate event from Jesus’ Second Coming, when Christ will again return to the earth, defeat Satan and establish His throne in Jerusalem and reign forever. But you may be surprised to know that unlike Jesus’ Second Coming that happens after the Tribulation period, the Rapture is not dependent on prophetic signs. While Bible prophecy may come to pass before the Rapture, they’re not a requirement for it to take place. The exact timing of the Rapture is only known to God the Father and it will come suddenly and unexpectedly. There will be no time in that moment to decide to get right with God so we must be ready at any given moment to meet our Saviour. The Rapture could happen today, tomorrow or years from now but the Bible is crystal clear that only those who have a relationship with Jesus will enter into His presence.
For Christians, the Rapture shouldn’t be a saddening event that discourages us but like Paul says, it should actually fill us with hope in knowing that we will soon see our Saviour face-to-face and be in His presence forever in Heaven, our true home. Being in the Lord’s presence is something we should continuously long for but while we wait for that joyous day, we must also be careful not lose sight of our mission here on earth to share the good news of the Gospel and win souls for the Kingdom of God. One effective way to do that is actually to share about what the Bible says about the Rapture and the end-time events and warn others that while there will be a day of judgement, there is still time now to become saved.
As Christians, we should examine our hearts and ask ourselves if we are leading a steadfast life in relationship with Jesus. Can you wholeheartedly declare that if Jesus were to return for His Church today, you would be one of the ones who would be raptured? The only way to belong to Jesus is to confess your sins, accept Him as your Lord and know Him by maintaining a close relationship with Him. We must be mindful to pray that we and our loved ones would be found worthy of being raptured. Whether you're ready or not, the King of Kings is coming back again soon. Will you be ready for His return?
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