It’s interesting how many Christians ‘feel’ the Lord’s return for His church is soon. When so many people are talking about something, you start to think they might be right. Christians, who believe in the rapture, base their belief on a number of things. Certainly their belief is based on scripture, the condition of the world with the pandemic, the increasing amount of evil, and all the corruption we see in our government.
And though I agree with their assessment to some extent, the Bible teaches us that the rapture is an imminent event. In another words, it can happen at any time. Usually, we think more about it when things are bad or aren’t going our way.
The Rapture is a Mystery
The apostle Paul spoke of it as a mystery (I Cor. 15:51). In the Bible a mystery was truth that hadn’t been clearly revealed before. It was new information. It is something that is made known in a manner and time appointed by God. I have written before about the difference between the Second Coming and the Rapture. https://assuranceofheaven.com/2020/07/17/the-end-of-days/
The Spanish Flu, WW I, & the End of the World
I shared with my friends what Christians might have been thinking in 1918. The Spanish flu began that year killing millions while World War I had been going on for four years (1914-1918). One writer commented, “War, famine, disease and death occurred on a worldwide stage and on a scale that truly was unprecedented.” Although the rapture was not a prevalent teaching then, I’m sure many thought the end was near.
The Expectation of the Early Church
Because the rapture is imminent, meaning there are no signs that precede it, it could have occurred anytime since the ascension of our Lord back to heaven. Jesus could have come back in the first century. The early church expected Jesus to return in their lifetime. The book of James is one of the earliest New Testament books. Guided by the Spirit of God, he stated that “the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8). He also said, “Behold the judge is standing at the door” (James 5:9). He told them to “be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord (James 5:7).
Dr. Renald Showers in his book, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, cites Greek scholars that show “draws near” (v. 8) and “is standing” (v. 9) are in the perfect tense and indicative mood. This means that the action was completed before James wrote his epistle and continues on in that completed state. It suggests that Jesus coming is still near and He continues standing at the door.
2000 years Later
In the first century some decried, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (II Peter 3:4). And now it is almost 2000 years later. Today people are saying the same thing. But what is often overlooked is that God’s love delays His justice. The Lord is longsuffering not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9). We all should be thankful for that!
It’s been a long time since His promise. But, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) He has promised that He is coming for His church. We just don’t know when. Are you looking for the Blessed Hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ? (Titus 2:13) It could be sooner than soon. Could be today!
You can know you have everlasting life and will go to be with the Lord at the rapture.
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