On the Rapture:
If you are not familiar with this event of the Rapture and are wondering where the word comes from (because some say this word “rapture” is not in the Bible), the word in the scripture comes from the passage in 1 Thessalonians on the subject matter, chapter 4 and verses 15 to 18:
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which
are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede
them which are asleep.
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:
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.
18 “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
The word caught up in the Greek is “harpazo” which means “to seize”, “to carry off by force”, “to snatch out or away”. Thus the word was translated to “rapture” in our English language.
As for the timing of the Rapture being before the 7-years Tribulation, some people say that those who believe this are deceiving themselves for the fear of things to come. No, that's not it at all. The Word of God is true and what is told and prophesied will take place--that's why we believe. But we will see much of the early terrible judgments coming upon the earth.
No, we will see plenty for sure, as we are beginning to see even now. It will get very difficult right up to the time of the Rapture. Jesus called this time “as the time of Noah”, the "beginning of sorrows" and the "increasing birth pangs".
As we have already seen, God the Father is the only one who knows when the Rapture will take place. He gives as much time as is possible for people to get saved, while things around us get worse.
But there will be a time – and I believe very soon – when things will get so bad that God will say to the Son, 'Enough, no one can live under these conditions any longer, now is the time to go and call your Church home'. (Church meaning all the believers who are saved by grace and who have received Christ as their Saviour at that time.)
On the wars of Armageddon and Gog and Magog:
While I'm at this, since the news media outlets are all talking about Armageddon these days, I just want to also clarify that this war of Armageddon is not until after the last 3-1/2 years of the 7-years Tribulation, at the very end when Jesus returns to earth with all His saints following (Rev. 19:11-21).
If there is a prophetic war that could take place now before the Rapture, it would be that of Gog and Magog spoken of in the book of Ezekiel, chapters 38-39. And that would be quite possible.
However, there are various thoughts as to whether this Gog and Magog unit mentioned here is the same as the one mentioned in Revelation 20:8 that rises up clearly “after the thousand years are expired”.
In the book of Ezekiel, was the prophet here referring to the end times before the Rapture or the end times after the thousand years? No-one has been able to explain this question yet. But in Ezekiel, it seems to be clearly a cabal of like-minded nations led by Russia. And we are seeing the rattling of Russia quite a lot these day, where it is top subject matter in the media who mistake the war of Armageddon for a present threat.
No one knows the Gog and Magog spoken of in both Ezekiel and Revelation. We know that many nations will come into the Millennium. It could be that if Russia makes it through, and I can't think how that could be, but if it does, it might be the one to rise its head up again at the end of the Millennium, reverting back to its reluctant ideology of conquering the true God and the world. Or it may be any other nation that will turn against God again at the end of the thousand years. That is yet to be witnessed.
Who knows? Nobody right now. The only thing that we can expect is that there could possibly be a war before the Rapture taking place based on what we see going on today.
The last generation
But what we know for now is that time is closing in... Jesus said that the generation who sees Israel become a nation again will be the last generation before the Great Tribulation. According to the Bible a generation is 70-80 years. We are now at 74 years since 1948. The Rapture could happen at any time – anytime at all.
The key, again, is for every one of us to be ready for the Lord to call up His saints – those who have accepted Him as their personal Saviour and Lord, through His redemptive work on the cross. Read the book of John in the Bible if you are not familiar with the Gospel message... and then the others—Matthew, Mark and Luke. Same message, different audience. Seek Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh... join a born-again church... do whatever you need, but don't delay, time is truly running out. One day, at a time when no-one expects it, the Lord will call...
“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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
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