What if there is no Rapture and everybody has to go through the tribulation?
I have a question for you concerning the rapture. I have been thinking about this a long time and I was wondering what you thought of this. With all that is happening in the world today, especially in Israel and Lebanon, it seems that the beginning of the end is at hand. Suppose some catastrophic event shakes up the earth, causing a huge tribulation upon mankind before the church can be raptured. Therefore the church of Christ, in surprise, goes through the awful period of time which the Anti-Christ appears and the world in huge turmoil. During the tribulation, with no rapture taking place, Jesus comes again, the righteous go to heaven and the wicked are destroyed till after the thousand years are finished.
My question is this: What would you do if a rapture never took place? How will that effect your faith in God? What will your reaction be if there is no rapture and you had to see the tribulation take place? I am asking myself the same questions and I am wondering what is your input on this?
I believe that the concept of a Rapture eventóthe "catching up" of believers in Christ, thus avoiding the ultimate wrath of God dispensed upon the earthóis very credible and plausible in Scripture. Here are two examples:
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changedóin a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory" [Isaiah 25:8]. "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" [Hosea 13:14] (1 Corinthians 15:50-55)I don't know if you have read enough of my commentaries to know that I do not believe in a "Pre-trib" (prior to the 70th Week) Rapture. I used to embrace that theory; but now, in fact, I believe it is a very perilous idea propogated by many evangelists and among many churches, giving people the mistaken idea that they will be caught up and out of here before the "bad stuff" happens. When the "bad stuff" begins to happen but the Rapture has not, I believe that multitudes of disillusioned Christians will be absolutely terrified. I also suspect that many will fall away from the faith because they have been led to believe, falsely, that they would be "out of here" before the 70th Week begins.
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep [died] in him. According to the Lordís own word, we tell you that we [believers] who are still alive, who are left till 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 with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)
I strongly believe in a Pre-wrath Rapture event, to take place after the opening of the Sixth Seal of Revelation 6:12, and just prior to the onset of the Day of the Lord. I do not believe that this will occur until about 6 of the final 7 years have transpired. Therefore, if we remain alive, we will witness all of the events of the Antichrist's rise to power and even much more after that. We simply will need to get ourselves mentally and spiritually prepared to depend on God more and more to sustain us during that time. If you have not read my Rapture commentary, you may wish to do so.
I have studied Bible prophecy for decades, and never before have I seen a scenario playing out before, as we have seen happening in Israel and Lebanon, that easily could be the precursor to the 70th Week covenant. Therefore, at some point if I see a covenant or agreement involving Israel taking place, especially it is for a 7-year period of time, it will make me suspect that, possibly, the 70th Week may have begun.*
*This email response was written in the summer of 2006, when conflicts between Israel and Lebanon were escalating. Since then, the Eutopean Neighbourhood Policy has gone into effect. Thus, it is very possible that the 70th Week has begun.
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