The Biblical concept of the rapture, or “Harpazo- catching away”, of Christians from the earth is the hope of all Christians who are now alive and are looking forward to the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The timing of this event is one of the most hotly debated topics among Christians and for good reason. The Bible simply does not give us enough information to know, without a shadow of a doubt, where in the sequence of end time events this will occur. So rather than speculating on what we don’t know, I’ll focus on what we do know from scripture.
GOD set a precedent with Noah, and Abraham’s nephew Lot, regarding how HE poured out HIS just wrath on sin, but protected those who were declared righteous (justified by their faith in GOD) from HIS wrath. Noah and his family were sealed by GOD in the ark before the rain started, and angels came to Lot to warn him and escort him from Sodom before GOD rained down fire and brimstone. In the same way, scripture tells us that Christ followers will be protected from HIS wrath during the end time period;
1Th 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Isa_26:20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.
Jesus also gives this message to the Church of Philadelphia (which refers to this type of church during the end times) through the apostle John in Revelation;
Rev 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
So when does GOD’s end time wrath begin?
In Revelation 4, Jesus takes the scroll, which will declare GOD’s final judgment & wrath on the earth, from GOD’s hand and proceeds to open the 7 seals that hold the scroll closed. As bad as the judgments are that are represented in the opening of the first 5 seals, GOD has not yet begun pouring out HIS wrath on the earth and those who have rejected him. When the 6th seal is opened we see in Rev 6:17 the indication of the beginning of the wrath of GOD;
Rev 6:12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,
Rev 6:13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.
Rev 6:14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Rev 6:15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,
Rev 6:16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,
Rev 6:17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
As stated in Rev 6:17, these events are a signal and warning of the start of GOD’s end time wrath on the earth.
So we know that for true believers and followers of Christ, we know that we will be taken from the earth at some point before or slightly after this time and before the 7th seal is opened.
Immediately after the 6th seal in Rev 6, we are told that the protective seal of GOD is put on the foreheads (more than likely spiritually) of 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the original 12 tribes of Israel. Also, a great multitude is seen standing before the throne of GOD in white robes holding palm branches;
Rev 7:13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
Rev 7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
These are of course Christians and they have come out of the great tribulation but at what point they came out is not stated. However, when taking into account Rev 3:10 above, and Luke 21:28, it would appear to mean they came out at the beginning of the great tribulation period;
Luk 21:28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
What is the great tribulation period?
In Daniel 9, a final 7 year period (day for a year as fulfilled looking at the first 69 weeks) is declared for the Jewish people in which the antichrist confirms a covenant (or treaty) for 7 years but breaks it in the middle of the 7 years stopping the daily sacrifice and offering, and sets up the abomination of desolation. The 3 ½ years (42 months) left is the great tribulation. It is the final 42 months that the antichrist (beast) has full control and reign on the earth;
Dan 9:27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
Rev 13:5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
Rev 13:14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
So, from Rev 3:10 we know that there are some who will go through the hour of trial (great tribulation) to be tested. They will be forced to take the mark of the beast or die. They must not take the mark under any circumstance;
Rev 14:9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
Rev 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
So who is going through the great tribulation (the hour of trial – testing)?
Those who do not have a relationship with our Lord and savior before He returns. Jesus searches the hearts and minds of everyone. He knows what you are thinking and where you heart is.
Don’t wait until life on this earth turns to a living hell before you start thinking about eternity and what you believe. The time to seek GOD and His Word is now!
Jesus is the only way out of this mess and we do not have the luxury of thinking we can wait until we are older before thinking about eternity.
Many prophetic events are in play now that indicate that we are in the last days.
May GOD open the eyes and ears of those who do not believe.
Mat 24:40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.
Mat 24:41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.
Mat 24:42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.