How will they explain the rapture?
The Rapture. Call it the great escape it you want, but for sure it’s the hope of the church. First there is the blessed hope, the rapture, then the glorious appearing of our great God. That’s the order; the blessed hope then the glorious appearing. Blessing first, then glory.
…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you Titus 2:13-15
It seems crazy, doesn’t it? It seems the path of human nature is to reject anything that hasn’t been experienced. Spiritual things that don’t comply with what is familiar are what the Bible calls mysteries.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
The rapture is this; first Christians who have died will come with Jesus in the air and their bodies will rise from their graves, or from wherever their ashes are scattered. Their bodies will be restored with their spirits and souls and become incorruptible. The bodies will change from death-doomed to eternal, incorruptible bodies like Jesus. Then in a moment…
Moment is translated from the Greek word atomos and it is the smallest measure of time that is absolutely indivisible. It’s as quick as quick can get.
Twinkling is the blink of an eye.
So, faster than can be humanly measured after the dead in Christ are raised, Christians who remain alive at the time of the rapture will be changed. Their bodies will change into the incorruptible, eternal bodies like Jesus has, and quicker than the blink of an eye, we’ll be in the physical presence of Jesus. That’s the rapture. That’s the rapture and it is the blessed hope.
Have you ever imagined what that would look like? We’ve seen the pictorial depictions of the rapture. Clothes left behind, spirits heaven bound, cars and planes crashing, and a whole lot of people left behind wondering what just happened.
How catastrophic would this be for earthlings who remain? Will it generate a collapse of society, failure of systems and services? How will those who remain explain it? Lots of people have speculated scenarios for this event.
One proposed scenario has it that up to this time true Christians will have been so despised for their intolerance, and ironically, their failure to demonstrate love that they will be categorized as a hate group, or even as terrorists. Their mysterious disappearance will be written off as God’s judgment against them for not loving and tolerating the debauchery and sin that will prevail by this time.
Believe it or not, another scenario has it that the catastrophic disappearance of multitudes of people will directly involve extraterrestrials. Yep—aliens nabbed them.
As farfetched as these scenarios are, it’s going to take something powerful to explain this off as anything but what it really is—the rapture of the faithful Philadelphian followers of Christ. Enter the Antichrist. This is where he comes in.
One of the marked characteristics of the Antichrist is that he creates an environment of exceptional deception. He has the power to deceive greatly, and it may be that he will use this gift to deceive the world into believing whatever scenario he chooses to use to explain the mass disappearance of so many.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
He’ll also be a silver-tongued devil, gifted with the ability to supernaturally convince people to believe what he wants and to do what he desires for them to do (Daniel 7:8, Revelation 13:5). He’ll have no problem explaining the rapture.
One thing for sure, the Antichrist will show up right on time to bring order to the chaos left behind by the evacuation. He won’t be revealed, or come into power until the church is gone from the scene, AKA rapture. The rapture is as important to the Antichrist as it is for the church. The rapture provides the platform upon which he’ll take his ascendency to great power.
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
The blessed hope is blessed because the rapture removes us from what is to come. That’s a big blessing. The experience of the tribulation is nothing to be desired, but it’s revealed to us to inspire us to live lives pleasing to Him and to incite us to reach the lost.
What are some other possible scenarios for explaining off the rapture after it occurs?
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