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Deciding When Will The Rapture Happen

By Essie Osborn
It says in the Bible that only God the Father knows when the end times will come. Jesus said this to His disciples when they asked Him when the events He talked about would occur. Ever since biblical times, people have wondered: When will the rapture happen?

People even in Jesus’ day were expecting Him to come back and ‘catch them up’ into the clouds to be with Him. There have been many times when people believed the end of the world was near; at the end of the eighteenth century many people dressed in white and spent New Year’s Eve on rooftops in hopes of being taken up to heaven.

Since this is a purely Christian belief concerning the end of the world, the second coming of Jesus, and the beginning of His thousand-year reign, the Bible is our best guide to these events. Prophecies in the holy book are found in both the Old and the New Testament; prophecy is said to be known to be true when foretold events ‘come to pass’. This means that Christians must rely on faith that Jesus will return to end all pain, suffering, and wickedness.

There are many different opinions about this world-changing event, even among believers. Some Christians don’t give credence to a rapture of the Church. Some ministers think that the end is near, while others don’t focus on coming events. There are those who believe they will escape the tribulation, and others who are stockpiling food and other supplies against the impending judgement. The study of the end times is called ‘eschatology’.

In the early 1830s, the idea of a ‘pretribulation’ event began to be popularized. This belief was held by one minister and said to follow a prophetic word given to a teen-age girl. However, it was and is controversial, thought by many to be an error in biblical interpretation. There is no record of early church writings on this subject.

There is a series of books – the biggest-selling series of all time – about a pre-tribulation rapture. The books follow those left behind after all believers and all young children disappear from the earth. Movies have been made from the books, as well. Although many Christians read the books for enjoyment, they may not share the idea that they will be raptured before God’s seven years of judgement begin.

Much commentary has been written and many sermons given on this topic. Most believers do not expect to be spared the seven years of judgement that God sends on the earth. Many see world events as signs that the end times are near. However, since the Bible commands all to ‘occupy’ the world until Jesus returns, life goes on.

Knowing that Jesus is returning to set up His kingdom on earth and that believers both alive and dead will be with Him before the battle of Armageddon is a comfort to many. People hope to see it happen in their lifetime; however, no one knows when the Lord will return to call His people to Himself.

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