By Nathan Jones
Can having hope in the Rapture also be a sign of the end times?
On Saturday, April 9, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of the Blessings to Israel Ministries Saturday podcast show. During the hour long interview we took a look at twelve major end times signs in an attempt to raise the awareness of people concerning the numerous things going on in the world currently, how they relate to Bible prophecy, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
#2) Hope in the Rapture
Brian Thomas: The world is getting increasingly more wicked, and that's why I'm really looking forward to the Rapture of the Church, because as bad as things are today, they will become worse tomorrow. We can already look around us and see the escalating immorality and crime and just the sin nature, and it can get a bit depressing. To think that these things are going to become so much worse during that seven year period called the Tribulation, well there is just no reason why I would want to be here to experience that. I know sometimes that we who believe in the Pre-Tribulational Rapture get accused of being cowards or escapists, but we simply are going along with what the Bible states — that we are not appointed to the wrath of God.
I do think it's important that we bring up the Rapture because it brings the Church hope.
Nathan Jones: Indeed, the Apostle Paul said in Titus 2:13 that the Rapture is our "blessed hope." As we see these prophetic signs increase and as we see the world just coming to ruins around us, believers in Christ can be encouraged that Jesus is coming back. Our response to the Rapture in and of itself becomes a sign of the end times.
The Rapture is an amazing hope to have, Brian! It is an amazing hope to have because we can know that as terrible as it is getting out there, believers in Christ don't have much longer to worry about it. We also don't have to worry about having to endure the 21 judgments God pours out upon the earth as soon as Jesus opens the Seal Judgments during the Tribulation which will just devastate the planet ecologically, politically, and well you name it. The world will be in utter ruins the Bible forewarns us.
Being part of the Church and being saved means we won't have to be here to witness the truly rapid descent into immorality. Now is the time for anyone out there who isn't saved to ask Jesus to be their Savior and so be included in the Rapture.
We can read about the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 and John 14. When Jesus Christ comes to take believers in Him up to Heaven to dwell with Him during those seven years of tribulation which will befall the planet, we can say with high probability that will not look down and see what is going on the earth, and that's a good thing. We instead will be with the Lord celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which is a great party that He throws. We will also be going through the Judgment of the Just when the Lord will reward us for our work done while on earth. And, we will be preparing to come back with Jesus who at the end of the Tribulation returns to the earth to conquer the Antichrist and his one-world system. Jesus will afterwards set up his thousand year Millennial Kingdom right on here on earth.
Believers in Christ don't have to worry about living through any of the Tribulation. We can look at the signs of the times around us and instead of dreading being possibly destroyed by them, we can be encouraged and have hope that we will be rescued from them through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely! You make a great point that when we look around us and see all the immorality and pain in the world that it can be depressing, but I quickly remind myself and I hope others do the same that even though we are not happy that these things are happening, we do find joy in knowing that all these "labor pains" are pointing to the return of our Messiah. We know that we will be with Him very soon, and so there is just so much great hope and joy in that fact.
Nathan Jones: That is a great hope, Brian! That is also an important point you bring up, because there are some people who believe that if you are looking forward to the Rapture then you are just getting your kicks from watching the world get trashed by crime and violence and all these natural disasters going on. That is just so far from the truth!
The reality of it is the joy in knowing that the Lord is coming soon, and even though the world will go through seven years of intense suffering the Bible says that millions of people during that time will come to know Jesus as their Savior. It surprisingly takes that much devastation to get people to start thinking about the Lord. And then, we know afterwards Jesus ushers in a thousand years of Him reigning right here on earth in peace and righteousness and justice. So, for the believer in Christ, we can look at all this and say, "Wow, it is great that we know the Lord is coming soon and it is awful what is going on now and we have to endure some of that, but when He comes we will be rescued from it." That is the hope that the believers in Christ have and only believers in Christ can have.
Brian Thomas: We have so much to look forward to. So many say Bible prophecy is all gloom and doom, but this is not a gloom and doom message. Bible prophecy provides a message of great hope and joy because we have so much to look forward to.
Nathan Jones: Concerning Bible prophecy, too many people focus on the negative aspects like the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast. They will obsess over those aspects and over the horrors that will happen during the Tribulation. But, this only covers our short time leading up to the Tribulation, and then the seven years of Tribulation. After that we are talking about 1,000 years of the Lord ruling. Sure, it will get bad again at the very end of the Millennial Kingdom when Satan is released, but again that is just for a brief time. Then we get to experience eternity. Eternity is all about being with the Lord who loves us, who created us, and was willing to die for us. Yes, we have to get through the little bit of bad points along the way, and we can tend to focus too much on them because that is where we are living on stage right now where all the bad stuff is happening. But, this terrible time is just like a small blip on the radar of eternity and wonder ahead of us, if we know Jesus as our Savior.
The next end times sign we'll look at is the increase in natural disasters.