When to expect it:
"But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels
which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father."
"Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour
when ye think not."
What may happen:
The dead ~
1 Thessalonians 4:16
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with
the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead
in Christ shall rise first:"
1 Corinthians 15:52
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for
the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed."
The living ~
1 Thessalonians 4:17
"Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we
ever be with the Lord."
How to ensure Salvation:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved."
For many the Rapture is both a great expectation
and a debatable wonder. Some live their whole life rapped in the expectation
that the Rapture will quickly whisk them away from the World and save
them from trouble and hardship. While others take a more hard line view
and work on the concept that this event will occur either during or
just near the end of what has been termed the Great Tribulation. Yet
there are sufficient entries in the Bible to tell us that the time and
date of this event is shrouded in mystery (Mark 13:32). We are clearly
told that the details are not common knowledge. But that we care expressly
told to be ready at all times (Luke 12:40). The Master returns when
we might not expect. Yet if we are diligent and ready, we will be actively
working in the World in the service of our Lord and Saviour. To either
ignore our spiritual calling or to focus on only the Rapture would be
to do otherwise.
So who shall be taken hold of and released? The dead and the living
are both mentioned. So we can expect that those who have died in the
faith will be transfigured or reshaped as they are raised to meet Christ
in 'the air' (1 Thessalonians 4:16). These are termed the first to be
called. But the time between these and those who are alive is not mentioned.
Perhaps we may see that it is as the words 'in a twinkling of the eye'
suggests, the living will be raised so quickly that there would be no
hint of a difference or perceptible time lag between the two events
(1 Corinthians 15:52). Those that are alive when these things come to
pass (1 Thessalonians 4:17) shall also meet the Lord. Not for a temporary
moment. But for all of eternity. True, this concept of endless time
has many confused and perplexed. Not really a place to go deeper in
this short scriptural reflection. But one we may consider later.
So this event which has been called the rapture has also been somewhat
divisive in the Church. Within the Post Modernist Church there has been
a weakening of such Biblical topics as the Rapture. Even to the concept
that there is no Hell or Judgement. That everyone gets to go to Heaven.
Though in some Churches I have sat in, they even debunk the idea of
Heaven. Citing a New Age concept that the original Jewish belief system
has no structure of such a place. Which sadly has meant many now believe
in just living a relatively good life and dying with a few relatively
kind words quoted over the grave. With no concept or idea of release,
forgiveness, redemption or a beautiful rest and peace found through
For those who have grown up with the Bible as
the Word of God and the Message of Grace and Hope, there is an understanding
that we each must come to God on our knees. That it is only through
the Grace afforded us through his Son Jesus the Christ that we may have
assurance of our acceptance by God and entry into Heaven (Romans 10:9).
It is not by living a so called 'good life'. Even Hitler was 'good'
to those he favoured or loved. Why at the same time cruel and relentless
to those he chose to hate. Such a wishful concept is Worldly and says
more about the individual working their way into Heaven than by God
accepting them through the Grace God has made available.
As a sort of visual metaphor, we could imagine a great wall in which
a safe and beautiful garden is ready and available to any who wish to
enter into. The only criteria is that they enter through a special gate.
One where they must bow down very low to the ground and accept with
humility the gift of the Garden and the spiritual place of the God or
Gardener. While many will accept this and enter through the gate; there
will be those who will try and dig their way in. Or perhaps climb over
the wall to gain access. Yet others may try and break through the wall.
Yet again, there would be those who would wander aimlessly around outside
constantly denying that the wall or the garden exists at all. In each
of these cases they would never enter in and by their choice lose out
on the blessings and beauty of the gift.
So, in a nutshell, what I have been trying to express; the actual Rapture
is not something we can or should focus on, as it will happen when it
does. Not by our designs or by our so called cleaver calculation. The
need to be right with God is the one and most important factor throughout
the ongoing story. Good deeds are a dime a dozen and in the end add
up to nothing if we reject the actual gift of God's Grace. What we do
need to do is to be ready and alive in our faith. Talk about our God.
Share the Bible story with everyone. Let people know where you stand
in this story. Be a shining light of Gods gift of Grace to the World.
Lord, Let me be;
A light of your Grace,
A voice in the darkness,
A hand to the fallen,
A comfort to the sorrowful,
A strength to the weak,
A guide on the path.
That I may do your will,
In all things and at all times.