Although the word 'rapture' does not appear in English translations of the Bible, it is a term commonly used in associations with events which relate to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The meaning of 'the Rapture' is the idea that Jesus will first come to take away the saved to heaven at the beginning of a 7-year period of time known as 'The Time of Jacob's Trouble', 'The 70th Week of Daniel' or 'The Tribulation'. The true believers will disappear in the "twinkling of an eye" as they are transformed into their new, perfect, complete spiritual bodies in an instant before being caught up to Heaven by Jesus. The sudden absence of millions of people, will, of course, not go unnoticed on Earth. At the beginning of the Tribulation the identity of the antichrist will be revealed. Non-believers will be left behind to face severe tribulation as the antichrist rises in power and takes on the role as the Beast, or Satan incarnate, who proclaims himself to be god and requires all people on Earth to worship him. The second half of the seven year Tribulation is known as 'The Great Tribulation'. Although the Church will be absent during this time, new Christians will endure extreme persecution, to the point of death by beheading. With the rise of ISIS in the Middle East one has to wonder if there isn't an Islamic connection. Later, at the close of The Tribulation is when Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in triumph and glory to defeat the antichrist and his armies. It is at this point that His return is known as the Second Coming, when Jesus will be victorious over His enemies and will establish his millennial reign of Peace on Earth for a thousand years (the millennium) with His saints, the church.
After the thousand years, the rest of the dead will be raised to kneel before their judge, Jesus Christ, at the Great White Throne judgment. They will then be separated from God forever after they are cast into the lake of fire, while the saved will live forever with Christ in a new heaven and earth (Revelation 19-22).
The important differences between the rapture and second coming are as follows:
1) At the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).
3) The Rapture is the removal of believers from the earth as an act of deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 5:9). The second coming includes the removal of unbelievers as an act of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41).
4) The Rapture will be secret and instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The Second Coming will be visible to all (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:29-30).
5) The second coming of Christ will not occur until after certain other end-times events take place (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15-30; Revelation chapters 6–18). The rapture is not precluded by any unfulfilleld prophecy and is thought to be imminent; that it could take place at any moment (Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Distinct Differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming are Important!
1) If the Rapture and the Second Coming are the same event, then the believers would have to go through the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10).
2) If the Rapture and the Second Coming are the same event, then the return of Christ would not be imminent – there are many prophesied events which must occur before He can return (Matthew 24:4-30).
3) In describing the Tribulation period, the Church is not mentioned at all in Revelation chapters 6–19. During the Tribulation, also known as “The Time of Jacob's Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) – God will turn His primary attention towards the redemption of the remnant of Israel (Romans 11:17-31).
Definitions and Origin of the Rapture
- The English word "Rapture" is derived from the Latin verb "Rapere" meaning "to carry off," or "to catch up" or "catch away" or "pluck out".
- The English word "Rapture" is derived from Middle French rapture, via the Medieval Latin raptura ("seizure, kidnapping"), which derives from the Latin raptus ("a carrying off").
- The Latin Vulgate translates the Greek ἁρπαγησόμεθα as rapiemur meaning "we are caught up" or "we are taken away" from the Latin verb rapio meaning "to catch up" or "take away".
Harpazo : the English transliteration of the Greek word for Rapture.
There are three main theories regarding the time frame of the Rapture:
- Pre-Tribulation or Pre-Trib: the Rapture event happens before the 7-year Tribulation, and is also known as 'The Blessed Hope'.
- Mid-Tribulation or Mid-Trib: the Rapture event happens in the middle of the 7-year Tribulation
- Post-Tribulation or Post-Trib: the Rapture event happens at the end of the 7-year Tribulation
Two other lesser known and less popular theories are Pre-Wrath and the Partial Rapture theories. In Pre-Wrath the Rapture event happens after the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation, but before God's wrath is experienced on Earth as detailed in the Book of Revelation. The Partial Rapture is a subset of Pre-Trib, in which ONLY spirit-filled Christians who are ready, watching, and waiting for Jesus will be rewarded by being raptured.
The Rapture theory gained in popularity in the 1970's due to books written by Hal Lindsey. In The Late Great Planet Earth Lindsey promoted the idea of an imminent Rapture based on the global situation at the time qualifiying as the beginning of fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Some speculate that many non-believers who are left behind after the Rapture will finally come to belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior as a result of the Rapture. The others who are left behind will persist in their stubborness and disbelief, concocting theories to "explain away" the catalclysmic, supernatural event. Some of these theories may be tied to the great deception spoken of in Revelation, possibly even having to do with claims of 'alien abduction' or a 'natural, universal, evolutionary cosmic purging' of the inferior, intolerant Christians.
Jesus told his disciples to look for Signs which would indicate that the End was near. The Signs he mentioned included
- Deception : false Christs leading people astray
- Wars and Rumors or threats of Wars amongst the nations
- Earthquakes and Tsnuamis
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)
"…For I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when I have gone and have prepared a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself so that where I am, you also will be."
John 14:2-3 (NIV)
FOR THOSE WHO WERE LEFT BEHIND!!!!!
Are you wondering what is going on? Where did everyone go? No, no one was abducted by aliens, no atomic bomb caused everyone to disappear. Think back to who it was that disappeared. It was the ones who BELIEVED AND TRUSTED IN ONLY JESUS CHRIST! I don’t know how long it has been for you since the disappearance of millions of people(Christians). But I’m sure the world is still in chaos and turmoil for you and the rest that were left behind. BUT THERE IS still hope for you! But you must be careful. BE VERY CAREFUL! Don’t believe everyone on the news or in the paper about some cheesy explanation of what happened. There were no UFO’S or any secret Military experiment. We disappeared because Christ took us home. It was called the “RAPTURE”. Jesus came for us in the clouds and we met him-when he called for us.
It will be so much harder now, but you too can still be saved and have eternity in Heaven. DO not receive a Mark from any person who claims to be GOD! DON’T!!!! Don’t let anyone make or force one on you either-Not even a leader of a state or the Police or anyone in the Government! Don’t even let a family member try to talk you into it. 3 1/2 Years after the millions of people disappeared-their will be a smart, powerful and charming leader who will seduce the whole world. Don’t believe him! Don’t Bow to him or Honor him or anything! HE IS THE ANTICHRIST! Do not receive this mark that he will force or make EVERYONE to get……In order to survive. It’s a mark-a Tattoo or a chip(under the skin or on)…it might even be an invisible mark by a Laser. In any event-don’t take it,receive it or accept it! Without it you won’t be able to buy or sell, or save or anything. But don’t get it. If you do-You will receive Gods WRATH without measure. The Mark is 666. This side of the Rapture-no one really knows what that means. But, during the Tribulation period (your in it) it will become clear to what it means.
If there is even the remote possibility of you going to Israel-GO! GO! GO! Find a way there. Israel will be supernaturally protected by GOD. It will be safe there. Then at the 3 ½ point. GO to Petra!!!! Please! But right now, Look for other Christians-NOW! Go find a Bible as quickly as you can! Read Daniel and Revelation. Begin praying and pray with others. GOD will give you hope and will guide you. You must put your trust and faith completely in Him. Take that little step. You will receive blessings and guidance. Also, Seek out the 144,000 sealed Jews-LISTEN TO THEM! They are SEAL by GOD himself.
Your road will be long and hard, but God will guide you. Since you’re in my house reading this letter (you may have broken in) So What! You’re welcome to everything. Sell everything! Buy Gold and Silver and even diamonds. You will need them for survival. But please-whatever you do, don’t receive the Mark. If my dogs are still alive when you come in here. Please, please take care of them for me, for as long as you can.
Thank you and I pray that you will trust in the Lord.
You have heard the rumors…
Greetings to all:
You have heard the reports. You have heard the rumors. Where is everybody? You hear frantic screams of mothers wondering where their baby has gone. You hear of pilotless planes crashing into buildings. You hear of piles of clothes being found all over the world. What has happen??? You may not believe this, but God has called His children home. This event was the Rapture. All those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, are now in Heaven. You may think this a load of bull, but hear me out. How else can you explain all the signs before hand??? I’m writing this in May 2004, and the situation is looking worse and worse as the days, weeks and months pass. By the time this letter is read, I can guess the world’s economy has either collapsed to nothing or on the verge of collapse. One thing I urge of you, the reader, is not to believe the one who tries to explain this off. Don’t believe in the government’s so call “road to recovery” plan that includes for you to accept a mark in the hand or forehead. Don’t believe them. For this person who is the main spokesman is the Anti-Christ. And the mark they want you to receive is the mark of the beast. And if you accept it, you’re are going to be in a world of hurt. It is irreversible. Once it’s done, it’s done. So please, dear reader, don’t deny Him. Make Jesus Lord of your life like I, and many millions who disappeared, did. Don’t wait till you are going to be forced to make decision by the government. When either you choose Jesus and eternal life, or you choose the mark and eternal seperation from God. Make the right choose now. Tell God you acknowledge Him, His Son. He died for your sins. He wiped your record clean so that you may have eternal life with Him in Heaven. Do this and I promise you won’t regret it. In fact, next to Jesus, I’ll be the first one to greet you. 🙂
P.S. Dad, I try to talk to you, but you wouldn’t listen. I hope this sways your thinking about God….
The kingdom of God is within you and all around you. It is not within buildings of wood or stone. Split a piece of wood and you will find me. Look beneath a stone and I am there. —Stigmata
“One who knows nothing can understand nothing.” —Ansem, Kingdom Hearts
Dear Uncle Brock,
This is Marshall Taylor, your Nephew. Right now you’re probably in shock or maybe you aren’t. I know that you used to be a Christian. Please, if you already haven’t, accept Christ as soon as possible. You most likely know what is to come. Your family is in heaven with Jesus. Please don’t be discouraged.
Dear Friends and Relatives who have been left behind,
I have felt, deep in my heart and soul, that the Rapture was coming soon. All the wars, pestilence (SARS, AIDS, etc.), and turbulent weather all over the world were signs given to us by Christ in the Holy Bible. There are many other signs as well, you can read them on this website and on many other sites and in the Holy Bible. Please read your bible, the Rapture and the Tribulation and finally Armageddon, the end of this world as we know it, are all mentioned throughout the bible and now you know all those predictions are true.
Those of us who truly believed and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, are no longer here on this earth but with our Savior, Jesus Christ, in Heaven with his Father, our merciful God.
It is not too late for those of you that were left behind, pray to Jesus and invite him into your heart, give Him your soul and your life, ask for his forgiveness for all your sins. Our God is a loving and awesome God and wants all of you with him.
Your time upon this earth is almost over, you must accept and believe in Jesus Christ, as your Lord, Savior and Redeemer to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The time is now, repent of your sins and invite Jesus into your heart and your life for the Tribulation is upon the earth.
Do not accept the “sign of the beast, 666”, It cannot be removed and then you will be doomed.
Together in Love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
To the Daddies that are left,
Don’t worry about us now daddy. We are in a safer place now. We tried to
tell you the good news about Jesus Christ, but you didn’t listen. Remember
that one time I got on my knees before you and cried my heart out because
you weren’t save. We told you this would happen. I love you daddy. When you
and mama got divorced and you told me you never wanted to see me again…
the only way I got through that was with Jesus Christ. This is your last
chance daddy Jesus is real. Go to my room, there will be a bible by my
bed… I highlighted all the right verses. Ask him daddy.. then end is
coming soon. Don’t get left behind forever.
Dear Left Behind,
This letter goes out to everyone! who has been left behind and that are still on this earth. This letter goes out to left behind mothers, fathers, children, teenagers, grandmothers, grandfathers, cousins everyone!. I also want to dedicate this left behind letter to my family, my parents, my 3 brothers, my best friend (sister) Tetechie Beasley, all of my associates that I encountered on Earth. This left behind letter is all for you!!!!!!!!!
If you’re wondering where I am at I am not here on Earth. I am with God in Heaven. Yes, that’s right The Rapture has happened. Since I became Christian since my 10th grade year of my 2nd year of High School I knew that this day would come. I knew it would come. I bet you’re all scared right now. But, I don’t mean to be mean or hasty or nasty it’s just that when I was on Earth. I was trying to influence and encourage all who have not became to know God. Know Christ. Know Jesus. Know His Son. His one and only begotten Son that died for my sins as well as for yours.
Yes, you all ”believed” in God. That’s not enough though. I was unSaved for 15 years. I decided to become Christian when I was 16. For all those years when I wasn’t Saved I use to think the same exact way too. I use to believe ”well, I am good person. I will be going to Heaven”. No!, doesn’t work that way. When I wasn’t Saved I believe that was the Enemy telling me that because all I thought I was a good person, did good things, helped people out. But the also the Enemy would have made it where I would been in Hell too. See what I am saying?
The Rapture didn’t hurt. It happened so fast. I remember when I would read the book of Revelation there was something I would remember this verse would talk about God going to prepare a place for you (a mansion) and when it’s time for His return he would com back and me (whoever accepted Christ). I took that so seriously! because I believed that for myself. When you read the Word I believe it for myself. That I trust God and have Faith that He will keep his promises to all who have accepted Him as their Personal Lord and Savior. See what I mean?
I love you all who I touched while I was on this Earth. It was truly a blessing to have met you all. God surely picked out great people for me to be in my life. Of course, no one could do that BUT God. God is so marvelous, magnificent. His Son DIED for me and my sins. No one, in mankind could do that for me. No one!! All the time in prayer I could not get enough of knowing that His only begotten Son died for my sins. That’s truly a ….a (I am speechless). I know right now the world is cold, bitter, sad, violence, people crying, people looking for everyone. I cannot even imagine what’s it’s like now on Earth. I don’t want to know.
I do believe if any of you would have accepted Christ as you’re lord and savior you too would feel the joy, the passion, the compassion of God’s love. Great things come to people who have accepted Him. Sad to say not who continues to follow the Enemy. Doing his dirty work. God can free you. He can forgive you. If you ask him too. He will!! He will!! I miss you all. And I love for you all. But, I cannot stay. God has took me home. When I was on Earth I use to think that ”It’s never too late to welcome God into you’re heart”. Now, I believe otherwise. It can be too late. That’s what makes it so sad.
Dear Left Behind—all you have of me is memories, memories of what it was down on Earth. The friendships, the relationships. If you go to my house. Look into my room. I bet my parents have all my Christian surrondings in my room. All you have memories and ”things” of me. That’s all. I can see you all again if you accept God. Other than that. I cannot. I am sorry for that too. I truly am. I am so sorry. Do not blame God for what has just taken place. Do not cuss at God. Do not be mean to God. Do not do anything. If anyone is to blame. Sorry–Left Behind I have to say this but blame yourselves. Because when I was on Earth I did try and influence and try and get you to come a step closer (on your own time) to accept Christ. That’s not my fault.
To anyone who is reading this. I will say this. I love you all. I pray that things will happen for the better. And you all will accept Christ as your lord and savior. Being a Christian is a lifetime pact that all Christians have to keep. Once you accept God. Do not turn your back on Him. That’s the worst anyone can do as a Christian. Take me for example. I was a ”fake” Christian when I was 14-15 I wanted to do it for my ”Christain friends” I did not do it myself. Now when I was 16 I totally did it for myself. This to me isn’t a ”kid” thing. It never is a ”thing”. It’s forever once you do it.
I love you. I am thinking of you all. Sincerely,
I have started a Left Behind letter over and over and over. Every time I have, I wondered if it was too negative. I just could not get a “good news” message out of it as much as I tried. Then I would think, well, there are thousands of pieces of literature out there already – what more could I possibly say? Then I would begin again on a more personal note – and found I was doing too much “I told you so…” Well, I pondered that awhile, and I realized the reason I was so negative was because I was “angry.” Yes, angry.
When I would address a certain person (in my mind’s eye), I would get angry at remembering all the times they were witnessed to; or all the times they would say “Don’t preach at me.” I would think, holy mackeral, you were with me all this time…you HAD to see Christ SOMEWHERE in me! I would think of all the times they called me, or turned to me in times of trouble because they KNEW I had an inner resource (greater is He that is within me, then he that is in the world).
I’d think of all the times I had interceded in prayer on their behalf (and told them so) and they allowed it, accepted it, while they were still needy – but then they would turn away when the problem was over, never thanking Jesus for the outcome. Oh I would get angry thinking about how much I wanted to share with them – things I had heard and learned from you dear brothers and sisters in “cyber-space”….or when I read them a news headline that just screamed PROPHECY FULFILLED! and they would look at me like I had two heads.
I wanted to tell them – “Look, this is coming to pass…” “Look, things are lining up, the storm is brewing, Jesus will be coming soon!” But they would shake their heads, or say, “Yeah yeah, He’ll come sometime – maybe now, maybe a hundred years from now…who cares?” (“where is the promise of his coming?”) Some of them with a little more (head) knowledge would say, “Well, there will be a lot of people saved after that Rapture thing – didn’t you say that?” And I would tell them not to take that chance, not to be so complacent and willing to make up their minds later for it could be too late – for their heart might be too hardened by then!” So what could I possibly say to them in a letter left behind?
I “felt” like telling them – “every time I witnessed to you and every time you heard and rejected it, it will be as hot coals heaped upon your head!”(Prov.25:22) But, hey, this is meant for the “enemy”! Not for those you love! But the truth is, every time they are witnessed to, every time they reject or put off accepting the Lord, they will be held even more accountable and without excuse. Those times we witnessed to them will indeed become ‘as coals heaped upon their heads,’… …..we cannot remain silent….but so often we do.
Then I tried the approach to write as if from a ‘heavenly’ perspective. But, there is really no “good news” salvation message in the Tribulation. I think that the people who get saved during the trib will be those who never realized before the love Jesus Christ has for them. I think there will be little hope for those who have had all the good news preached to them NOW and still rejected it. Let me give you an example: Before I knew I was lost, I assumed that when I came to the end of my days (sometime in the far far future) that I would somehow be put on a scale of balances – my good deeds would outweigh my bad…and that would determine my rating in heaven (no, I never thought about hell much).
Before I knew I was lost, I remember a conversation I had had with someone when I said this, “I know WHO Jesus Christ is…but how can I LOVE Him when I have never known Him?” Now that was a prophetic statement, although I did not know the “deepness” of it at the time. I believe with all my heart, soul and spirit that was when Jesus began calling to me – He knew I was searching, but I was spiritually blind. This is what is meant, I believe, by “Once I was lost, but now I’m found…” I was seeking, but HE is the One who found me. The statement I made back then to a friend was the key – I knew WHO He was, but indeed, how can I love Him having never known Him?
After that, I finally realized that Jesus had sought me, bought me, and saved me, and that’s when I could finally love Him. It was a heart thing. I had to fall in love with Him, not just know about Him…not just believe that He was the Son of God with my head….I finally could love Him because I understood that He loved me first! How can you not love someone who has REVEALED His love for you? When two people discover and declare they love one another, the relationship begins to blossom.
That is why I believe that the ones left behind, who will be saved, will most likely be those who are witnessed to by God’s special witnesses, and who will come to the knowledge and understanding that even NOW they can be saved if they will show Him that they are willing to lay down their lives for HIM, as He once laid down His life for them.
Those we witness to now, know who He is, but they do not yet love Him. They may likely still reject Him in the trib because they believe love is tolerance at any cost, and they will feel bitterness, betrayal, anger, and fear. They will ask, as some people even now do, “How can this God let all these bad things happen to people?” They will blame God – they will say things like, “If He is in control of all things, why is He allowing all this evil and letting these catastrophies happen?” But, I believe that the ones who get saved during the trib will be those who turn to Him knowing they deserve to be where they are – left behind – and they will fall on their faces in repentance and will realize the only hope left is not for their mortal lives, but for a place in eternity with Him. And that is why they will be willing to forego the mark and die as martyrs for His testimony. This is the ultimate “Those who lose their lives will find it.”
Thinking about this, where does that leave any good news to be said? There is none. And now I know why I am so angry at those I want to address in a left behind letter – it is because not only have they ignored or rejected my face-to-face testimony and witness now…but they will probably ignore and reject it even then, during the trib. And that makes me angry because I see the loss – I realize if they are left behind, having had every chance now to come to know Him, they probably won’t be saved at all….and I am angry…I am angry like you would be angry at your child if you told him over and over not to play with matches, and he did not listen, and lit them and his clothes caught fire, and he was burned and scarred…………angry like you would be at your child if you told them to hold your hand and not dash ahead out into the street, but they broke away and ran and was hit by an on-coming car………angry, angry, angry….because all the pain and hurt and anguish and suffering and grief could have been avoided! But the anger isn’t against the child himself!
The anger is against the lack of obedience that could have prevented the tragedy….because all the while you are knowing the lack of obedience caused this – your heart is breaking over and over, a million times over, because of the injury, because of the failure, because of the privation and loss. I got angry trying to compose a “left behind” letter because I know that those I love will be in a state of hardship in the trib and it is avoidable; and I am in a state of sorrow even now, knowing they may likely be absent from me for eternity. Have any of you who have children ever said this: “I’d rather be sick then have them sick.” Have you ever thought, “I’d rather do this or do that for them, than to watch them have to go through this.”
Well, Jesus our Savior did just that – He died for us, showed us He is Master/Conqueror over death; He resurrected and gave us the assurance He would do the same for us. Is God going to be angry at people who have rejected His Son? Yes. Can we be righteously angry at those we have tried to bring along with us, but who have refused to come? Yes….but the sorrow overrides the anger. Kinda like when your child doesn’t listen, gets hurt, you want to yell at them “I told you…” but instead you are holding them, hugging them, wiping their tears and rocking them because they are so precious and you love them so much…grateful it wasn’t worse, hoping they’ve learned a lesson, but nonetheless, so glad they are with you. But for those who don’t accept Jesus Christ, there will be no “with you.” They will be gone forever.
Right now it is hard for me to even think that. I don’t want to face it. Perhaps that is why I can’t write a left behind letter – I get too angry, I get too emotional, I get to sorrowful. How can I tell someone I love what to do, how to cope, after I’m gone…knowing chances are I will not see them ever again? How can I hold out an offer of salvation through Jesus during the toughest times of their lives, when they could not accept it during the best times of their lives? How am I to cope with this loss even now? Yes, in heaven, God will wipe away every tear, former things will no longer be remembered…..but for now, right here in THIS body….it is impossible for me to think I can forget those I love so dearly.
Well, if this isn’t a negative letter, I don’t know what is. Maybe I should just use it for a “Left Behind” letter anyway. Maybe those who read it will see and understand the anguish that we (who are saved) anticipate. Maybe it could make a difference. If there was anything I could say right now that would change someone’s mind about their eternal destiny it is this > GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD ….YOU!….THAT HE SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON – JESUS CHRIST – WHO LOVED YOU SO MUCH THAT HE DIED FOR YOU – EVEN BEFORE YOU EVER KNEW HIM – TO TAKE AWAY YOUR SINS AND GUILT. HE WILL TRADE YOUR UNWORTHINESS FOR HIS WORTHINESS. HE WILL TRADE YOUR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE KNOWS THE WAY AND HE WILL LEAD YOU TO THE FATHER IN HEAVEN. TRUST HIM. LOVE HIM…BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED YOU! That’s all. He will perform the miracle in your heart even though you might not understand it or “feel” anything different. That is what faith is. Faith is just believieng Him.
Loved ones, I want you in heaven with me…with the Lord Jesus Christ! Please don’t play with matches…please don’t run out into the street! I don’t want you to be hurt. I don’t want you to be lost. If I could grab you and hold onto you and never let go of you as I fly up to heaven to meet Him in the Rapture – I would do so. I would never loosen my grip on you. But I can’t. So Jesus is extending His Hand out to you right now….take it.
When you do, you will be ready to hear His voice when He calls us up. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Only then will my own heart rest easy to know you will be with us for all eternity. I love you! And as the song goes, “If love doesn’t last forever, what’s forever for?”
For all eternity in Jesus,
I’ll assume that I don’t know your status, but I’m glad you’re reading this. Don’t stop. What you are about to read is able to set you free no matter where you are right now, but it depends what you decide to do once you’ve taken it all in. So here goes. That truly is the bottom line of God’s love for us of course. He gave us free will, even to reject Him. That’s the essence of love – it doesn’t force you into anything. But we do have to live with the consequences of our choices and how we have exercised our freewill. The nice thing though is that you can change the course of your life at any time by making new decisions.
Jesus Himself said that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.(1) You may have the problem that you don’t believe in Jesus so how can you believe what He said. Well, the fact that you’re reading this means you are searching because you realized that there’s an emptiness within or that there are things you don’t know or haven’t taken serious. I’ll bet that by the end of this letter you will be ready to receive the truth about Jesus Christ. Why am I so confident? Because He Himself has put the truth within you(2), and as you read I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal God’s plans and purposes to and for you. After all He loves you enough to have died for you!(3)
What is truth, and what does it mean to be set free? Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.(4) You know that if all you got was food, you’d be dissatisfied. Why? Because there’s more to you than just flesh. You need relationships too. Truth is, we were created in God’s image.(5) He is spirit and so are we. Denying that has dire implications for your future. We live by the words of God. The Bible says that the word of God is truth.(6) We’re talking absolute truth here. This means that the words of God are what set us free. The word of God says that Jesus came to set the captives free.(7) It also says that Jesus is the word, and that the word became flesh and dwelt among us.(8)Jesus therefore sets us free. But free from what?
God’s plans are not limited to this world. That’s why He sent His son Jesus. It’s a plan of salvation for a time when the world as we know it will cease. And the world is characterized by sin. Jesus will set us free from sin and reconcile us to the presence of God. He didn’t say that when you accepted Him as Lord and Saviour that He would take you out of this world, but He did say that He was coming back for all those who believe and love Him. That’s called the rapture, and in concept it is well outlined in the Bible.(9) Christians don’t dispute the rapture, they just don’t agree to the timing of the rapture, but we’ll come to that later. Lets focus on salvation first. And yes YOU can get saved, even if the rapture has already taken place!
God’s word says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (God), AND, you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead that you will be saved.(10) The day will come when we individually appear before the judgement throne of God.(11) Salvation is for such a time, but is acquired beforehand. Salvation secures, for us, the mercy of God, which triumphs over judgement(12), and instead of being eternally separated from our creator, we are given robes of righteousness(13) and an eternal place in the kingdom of Heaven.(14) Your chance is now! At the end of this article is a prayer that will lead you to salvation. Refer to it any time you feel the desire to receive Christ, and let the truth set you free.
Even as I write in this month of September 2000, we are living in end times. Jesus said that when we see the buds on the fig tree, we know that summer is near.(15) Likewise, when we see the signs He spoke of in Matthew 24(16), we will know that the end is near. I want to draw your attention to this critical period in the history of humankind called end times. What is it? When will it be? How will I know, and what does it mean for my life and future?
What is meant by “end times”?
“End times” or the “End of the Age” refers to the end of the world as we know it, culminating with the judgement of humans by God. Remember that Jesus was God who came in the flesh and dwelt among us.(17) He, therefore, taught as one who had authority.(18) He taught with authenticity. He knew what was to come. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus was asked about the end of the age:
Matthew 24:3 As he [Jesus] was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” [All scripture quotes are from the New English Translation (NET), available at http://www.bible.org/netbible/index.htm]
His disciples wanted to know when the end would come, and what signs would be indicators that the end was near. There’s an important point to take note of in this verse however. The disciples made a connection between the end of the age and the second coming of Jesus. The signs would come first, but Jesus would return at the end of the age.
When will the end come?
Jesus deliberated as He answered the disciples’s question. We see that He takes 41 verses in Matthew to tell them what will happen. It was obviously important for them, and us, to know. Even though Jesus does spend time on the detail of the answer however, what He taught that day was a summary of the vision He reveals to John (and us) in the book of Revelation. But first lets see what He said in Matthew:
Matthew 24:4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and they will mislead many.
Remember, Jesus is describing the end of the age and its signs. Before anything else, He warns us to watch out. We should be on guard against deception, and particularly concerning our belief of who Jesus Christ is. Remember, He is the Son of God(19), who was crucified, dead and buried, but was raised to life again,(20)and is now where? In Heaven with the Father.(21) Another thing that is clear is that many will be mislead, so in end times we can expect to see large numbers of people following falsehoods.
Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 24:7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 24:8 All these things are the beginning of birthpangs.
These are signs of the beginning of the end of the age! Wars, famines and earthquakes are the “buds” on the fig tree that tell us summer is near.
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. 24:10 Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 24:12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 24:13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
What follows is the abundance of sin and absence of love in society. False peace and love will abound and lawlessness will mark the day.(22) In this atmosphere, Christians will be persecuted to the point of death. Once again a warning. Endure to the end! This means that we are to endure in our faith as Christians, because that in itself will become a difficult test of genuine belief. But the Gospel will be preached globally. Many will be martyred, but the preaching of God’s Word will ensure that no-one has an excuse for not believing in the Lord Jesus.
Have you recognized any of these signs in the world you live in? Sure you have, but you may be asking “Wars, famines, natural disasters and persecution have been happening for decades, even centuries, so how do I know that these scriptures apply to today?” To answer that we have to go to the book of Daniel, even Jesus, in the next verse of Matthew 24 refers to Daniel:
Matthew 24:15 “So when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’–spoken about by Daniel the prophet–standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 24:16 then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 24:17 The one on the roof must not come down to take anything out of his house, 24:18 and the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 24:19 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 24:20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 24:21 For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen.
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks have been determined
concerning your people and your holy city
to finish the transgression,
to bring sin to completion,
to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up the prophetic vision,
and to anoint a most holy place.
9:25 So know and understand:
from the going forth of the message to return and build
Jerusalem until the anointed one, the prince,
there are seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.
It will again be built, with plaza and moat,
but in distressful times.
9:26 Now after the sixty-two weeks,
the anointed one will be cut off and have nothing.
As for the city and the sanctuary,
the people of the coming prince will destroy them.
But his end will come speedily like a flood,
until the end of the war that has been decreed;
there will be desolations.
9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many
for one week. But in the middle of that week
he will bring sacrifice and offering to a halt
on the wing of a desolating abomination,
until the decreed end is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
Daniel received a prophecy of seventy weeks concerning the duration of events leading up to the end of the age. The word “weeks” here in Hebrew means “sevens.” These are periods of seventy “sevens” of years. Seventy periods of seven years each have been determined for sin to run to completion, for Jesus to atone for iniquity and bring everlasting righteousness, for the vision received by Daniel to happen completely, and for God to set up His throne with us in His presence. The anointed one in Daniel is Jesus. It takes 69 weeks until the crucifixion of Jesus (cutting off of the anointed one), and the destruction of the temple (sanctuary) by the coming prince, which occurred in cf 70 AD. That leaves one week to go, or seven years, for the completion of the vision. We see in Daniel 9: 27 that “the one who makes desolate” makes peace with many for one week (or seven years). During this time Jews begin to sacrifice in the temple again, which had to have been rebuilt. But in the middle of the week (three and a half years) ‘the abomination of desolation’ stands in the temple and stops sacrifice. These are the actions of the Anti-Christ.
The beginning of this seven year period is marked by a confirmation of covenant with many by the Anti-Christ, and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple for sacrifice. This still has to happen as at the date of writing. Jesus said that when these events take place, there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen.(23) This is the Wrath of the Lamb referred to in Revelation(24), which is a series of judgements that Jesus pours out on the earth and its inhabitants. These judgements are before Judgement Day, and are really a result of God’s mercy in that He gives people a chance to see His power and accept salvation through His Son before the end of the age.
Matthew 24:22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 24:25 Remember, I have told you ahead of time. 24:26 So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. 24:27 For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 24:28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
This period of great distress and suffering has been cut short by God for the sake of those who love Him. That’s how bad it will be! But He warns us again: Beware of falsehoods. People will claim to be gods during this time of history, even Christ Himself, and will be convincing because they will even perform miracles. Remember, God Himself has given us the truth about His Son. All scripture is God-breathed(25), and it says that the truth will set you free.(26) The truth about Jesus is that God the Father loves us (you and I) so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us, and whoever believes in Him (that’s Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life.(27)
Verse 27 of Matthew 24 (above) is talking about the rapture. The rapture is the taking of all those who truly believe in Jesus. This surely is the greatest sign that the end of the age is at hand. Millions of true Christians will vanish from the earth. Where will they go?
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them [dead believers] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord always.
Believers who are alive will be caught up suddenly with all those believers who died, and will meet Jesus in the air. Jesus (in Matthew) also warns that it will be sudden, as lightning flashes from the east to the west.(28) This may sound far fetched to you, but it’s the truth, it’s the word of God, and knowing and believing it will save you. At this stage of history, do you not rather want to be a believer and be a part of Jesus, who has all authority and power on earth?(29)
Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 24:30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
More signs, depicted by the sun, moon and stars. Then Jesus (the Son of Man) will come, and He will come with power and glory and He will take up His kingship. But many want to know when that will be. What does Jesus teach?
Matthew 24:36 “Now about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, except the Father alone. 24:37 For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 24:38 For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 24:39 And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. 24:40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left. 24:41 There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. 24:42 “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 24:43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Jesus said that only the Father knows when His second coming would be, but He compares it to the situation Noah and his family faced when the great flood came. Noah knew it was going to rain, and he was expectant. He entered the ark in faith and waited for it to start raining. Do you think he was surprised by the rain? Of course not. He knew the season, but not the day or hour. Unbelievers and scoffers however, were taken by complete surprise and were drowned. They had rejected God’s word. The truth was not within them and they were not therefore set free. So it is with us. Jesus has given us the signs to watch out for and has commanded us to stay alert and to be ready. Jesus has given us the truth about Himself and about the end of the age. Dare we reject His truth? Dare we scoff at the prophecy of Jesus? You are witness to the signs He spoke of. Do you not think that God is talking to you? Calling you? Call out to Him and pray, right now. You will be saved! Mercy triumphs over judgement.(30)
How does knowing all this affect me?
Many Christians argue about when the rapture will be. Remember the rapture is a separate event to the second coming of Christ, but many believe they will occur together. Briefly, some believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, some in a pre-wrath rapture and some in a post-tribulation rapture. Now that’s a mouthful isn’t it? The tribulation is generally accepted as being the period during which God pours out three series of 7 judgements on the earth and humankind.(31) Jesus Himself referred to the severity of the tribulation:
Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen.
Some hold that the disappearance of Christian believers in the rapture will be before this, but some believe we will endure the tribulation. Others believe that the rapture will occur somewhere in the middle of the tribulation before the Wrath of the Lamb (32) (pre-wrath). It is not my intention to support any of these views, but rather to underplay the importance of the rapture “when”, and emphasize the surety of its occurrence, and its implications for believing in Jesus Christ.
Biblical prophecy is true. This means that we can rely on the truth of God’s word. We’ve seen what the Bible says about end times and signs thereof. The rapture (and the second coming of Christ) will happen. If the rapture has not yet happened, our faith needs to be prepared and ready for the day. If the rapture has already happened, there is very little time left to the second coming of Jesus Christ. You can still receive salvation by believing, but once He comes its too late to change your mind.
The book of Revelation is a prophecy given to John by Jesus of the fate of our planet and the destination of humankind. Many are discouraged by the prophetic nature of Revelation. I will summarize important events that are relevant to this discussion. The first seven judgements, of a total of 21, are called the seal judgements (or dooms).(33) These start the tribulation period, during which time a quarter of earth’s population dies.
The seven Seals:
- Establishment of the Anti-Christ, or False Christ. (This is the rider of the first white horse who is given a crown and the ability to conquer his enemies.)
- Global war. (The rider of the red horse has a sword and is given permission to take peace so that people will war with one another.)
- Extensive famine. (The rider of the black horse has a balance. During this time the average daily salary of a person will only cover 1 person’s rations for 1 day.)
- Death. (The rider of the pale green horse is called death and is followed by Hades. He is permitted to kill a quarter of earth’s population by the sword, famine, pestilence and wild animals.)
- Completion of the number of martyrs. (During this time Christian believers are persecuted and killed until their set number is fulfilled. The cry of the martyrs is heard by God.)
- A great earthquake and darkness. (The sun will go dark, the moon red, and stars will fall from the sky. Believers will receive a mark from God that will identify them as believers.)
- Silence in heaven for half an hour. (Preparation is made for the next 7 judgements, the trumpets. This is accompanied by thunder, lightning and an earthquake.)
The seven Trumpets:(34)
- Hail, fire and blood. (One third of all trees and the earth is burned up, and all the grass is burned.)
- Explosion in the ocean. (What is likely to be a meteorite falls into the ocean. One third of the sea turns into blood, one third of the sea creatures die, and one third of the ships are destroyed.)
- Asteroid poisoning of fresh water. (Wormwood turns one third of earth’s fresh water bitter, and people die from the poisoned water.)
- One third darkening. (One third of the sun is darkened, one third of the moon is darkened, one third of the stars are darkened, one third of day and night will be without light.)
- Release of demons. (Demons are release from the abyss. They are locust-like with a scorpion function to sting unbelievers only. Those stung will suffer for 5 months and wish to die but will not.)
- Mobility of huge army and death. (200 million soldiers on horseback kill one third of all humanity using fire, smoke and sulphur.)
- Disruption of the world system. (Two witnesses will prophecy, die and be resurrected. An earthquake in Jerusalem will destroy one tenth of the city and kill 7000 people. The Anti-Christ (Beast) blasphemes God, conquers believers and rules globally. Unbelievers worship the Beast. The False Prophet rises up to worship the Beast and performs signs and wonders. The False Prophet institutes the mark of the Beast on the hand or forehead which limits trade to those who have the mark.)
After the seven Trumpets, seven Bowl judgements are poured out.(35) These are:
- Sores on unbelievers. (Ugly and painful sores occur on those who have the mark of the Beast.)
- Death of ocean life. (The seas turn to blood and all ocean life dies.)
- Freshwater turns to blood. (Rivers and springs of water are turned to blood.)
- Scorching heat. (The sun scorches people with fire and terrible heat.)
- Darkness. (Darkness covers the Beast’s kingdom, and people suffer and bite their tongues because of the pain.)
- Armageddon. (The Euphrates River dries up to prepare the way for the kings of the east. The kings of the earth gather for the battle of Armageddon.)
- Natural disasters and the Day of the Lord. (A loud voice from the temple proclaims “It is done!” Lightning, thunder, and the biggest earthquake known to humanity occur. Jerusalem is split into 3 parts, and the cities of the nations collapse. Hailstones of 100 pounds fall. Jesus returns!)
The book of Revelation reveals the details of what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24, and provides vivid signs that lead, over a period of seven years, to the end of the age and the second coming of our Lord. These signs clearly set out what MUST happen and because God warned us beforehand their fulfillment bears witness to God’s power and mercy. What must happen sounds terrible, but God is being merciful in that He gives humankind profound warning of the end of the age. Humans will suffer, and that includes Christians, but our hope and strength is in Jesus Christ who, when He comes will redeem believers and glorify them with eternal life in the kingdom of God. I know that I have said that before, but I can’t stress the importance of choosing to believe in Jesus enough. What this all means for you is that you need to prepare yourself for what is to happen. Accept the truth and reject the lies of what people are saying. Believe what the Bible says about salvation, judgement day, and eternity, and give your life to Jesus Christ.
May the blessings of the one true God cause you to find Him, His Son, His Spirit, and His gift of salvation which He extends to ALL.
Summary excluding Revelation
- Watch out!
- Persecution of Christians
- False prophets
- Continued preaching
- Rise of the Anti-Christ
- Wrath of the Lamb preceded by the abomination of desolations
- False signs and wonders
- Jesus has warned us
- His coming is sudden (this is likely the rapture)
- Astronomical signs (sun, moon and stars)
- Astrological sign (as in the birth of Jesus(36))
- Jesus comes
Prayer for salvation:
What follows is a prayer that will help you receive salvation. Pray it out aloud to God and believe it in your heart. Expect that it will change you and your life.
I realize that I have not been obedient to your Word, and that this constitutes sin. I also realize that the only sin you wont forgive is my rejection of you. I am ready to do what it takes to receive salvation. I am ready to commit to You and to believe. I am ready to repent in my heart. Please forgive me Lord Jesus. I confess that You are Lord. I choose to acknowledge that right now. I believe that you died for me Lord Jesus, so that my sins could be blotted out. Thank you! I believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead, and that you sit in heaven with the Father. I choose this day, to accept your covenant Lord Jesus. Thank you that I am now saved. Help me to develop my relationship with you. I want to know you Lord Jesus. May your name be praised for ever.
Congratulations! You are now saved and have become a son or daughter of the most high God, co-heirs with Jesus Christ. My suggestion to you is that you find a Bible and read the gospel according to John. Enjoy!