Ever since I became a Christian almost two decades ago – you know, that baby christian, new believer who knew very little… I remember more often than not people talking about the rapture. It wasn’t described as something heavenly or something people actually look forward to. It was always in this manner, “I don’t have to worry about the tribulation, we will be gone before then.” I’m not sure what I thought about this back then, but I felt really weird about it.
Picture me in 2004, naive young Christian, eager to learn about this hot topic that many would refer to – I could not find one single thing about. Googling the Bible verses didn’t help and would just confuse me more because it seemed like it wasn’t really supported by scripture. I was so curious and eager to learn. I just wasn’t sure why it was such a hot topic? If you and I trusted, believed, and had faith in the Lord, does it really matter if we are here or not during the tribulation?
Here’s another Bible verse that would confuse me about the rapture.
The Coming of the Son of Man: Matthew 24:29-31 NKJV
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
This literally talked about Jesus second coming AFTER the tribulation and that’s when He will gather His elect. Then it follows with this:
No One Knows the Day or Hour: Matthew 34:36-39
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the day of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
The question that deeply disturbed me: “So if no one knows the day and the hour of His coming, then how would you know believers won’t be here during the tribulation?” This popular belief of the rapture felt like haunted me for almost two decades because the Scripture told me something else. I think maybe haunted is such a dramatic word, but it was because anytime I would ask about the actual scriptures to support the theory, it was almost like I offended them. Honestly, what’s the big deal lol. I felt stumbled.
I met a family through church when I was eighteen. She was one of my mentors I guess you could say. I remember she is Hawaiian and has five sons. I would go to her house and she would teach me many things about the Bible. She would tell me stories when they used to live in Hawaii, about their marriage, and of their firstborn son. She told me, “the worst you could be as a Christian is the kind that has one foot in and one foot out.”
She proceeded to draw on a piece of paper a line in the middle – one side being one foot with Jesus and the other foot with the world. She told me this is the one reason why a Christian will lead astray their descendants, other fellow Christians, and why many unbelievers will never want to know Jesus. She then confessed that in their earlier marriage, this kind of life led their first son astray from Jesus and at the time of our conversation, he will not go to church or open the Bible.
The only lukewarm thing I know is lukewarm water. Lol. I asked her to explain and she pointed to the verse where it says you are neither hot or cold about Jesus (Rev 3:16), one who does not study or share the Gospel, let alone live it. They know Jesus is real, but don’t really believe in their heart what He says so they don’t truly live it. Therefore, the fear of God is not apparent in their lives.
It kind of reminded me of when I was young. I was taught that even the Muslims believe Jesus is real, but they do not believe what He said. They believe Jesus is real, was born of a virgin, the nearest to God, and of the second coming, but they don’t believe when Jesus said He’s the Messiah. How the heck do you believe all that but don’t believe WHAT JESUS SAYS?! Mind boggling. SO confusing. All this somehow led me back to the topic of the possible misconceptions of the rapture – that people (even Christians) will believe Jesus is real, but not necessarily believe what He says.
Diving Deep Into The Book of Revelation
I’m thirty six now, so this was a long time of confusion regarding this topic. In the year of 2020 during the start of covid… I was getting extreme anxiety from people, their toilet papers, and just the reactions in general. I have the blessing and the curse of empathy so I felt it ALL — therefore, there was over the roof anxiety. My chest hurt, my mind was tired, and my heart seemed to beat so rapidly. Even Christians who were tripping out over Covid sucked the energy out of me. Where did the peace and trust in the Lord go? It was too much for me and I had to seek the Lord for answers… because who are we as Christians supposed to be like during trying times? Lord, give me peace. Give me clarity.
God led my friend Michelle to tell me about the audio plans she’s been doing. She told me she did the book of Revelation and it was really good. I kind of dismissed it for a while because I truly despise audio plans. People talking, I can’t skim, etc. Ahhh! Well, eventually I gave in and I started with Revelation. Then, I went back to Genesis and followed it chronologically. Right now I’m in Deuteronomy and completely going through it SUPER slow, sigh.
Let me tell you now though, starting Revelation first was the key for me. It’s interesting to see how God answered my prayers. (And interesting how I pushed it off) I needed to understand the end to fully grasp the beginning. So odd, I know. Genesis now to me, is not just Adam and Eve’s story, Abraham’s, or even just Jacob’s. It’s my story. It’s your story. Understanding this leads me to understand that they are our ancestors, our family and therefore, our story. It’s about restoration. It’s about how God wants you and me to be in the book of Life.
I had to really feel this as part of me to understand the second coming. It took me this phase of my journey with Christ to understand just really how much love He has for us. I’ll explain this fully in a minute, but I need to emphasize how GREAT God’s love is. He always pursues and He is unwavering when it comes to our salvation. Not only that, but He promises to protect us during the great tribulation. Revelations 12:13-17 explains that the woman (the Church) will be protected from the dragon (Satan) and cared for in the wilderness. When has Heaven ever described as the wilderness? Also what’s interesting is the crazy part of the tribulation is actually 3 1/2 years while the first part is actually peaceful before the anti-christ is revealed. 3 1/2 years doesn’t seem that long, but look at what two years of Covid did to people.
In a short explanation: It should not matter if we are here or not during the tribulation. What SHOULD matter is what our faith in the Lord is like, how willing we are to follow Him STILL through any tribulation and definitely THE great tribulation. That is even more important because, what if you’re wrong? What if you ARE still alive during this time? How will you handle the tribulation? Will you be mad and angry at God or will you be faithful still?
I like to look at my life during times that are hard. How do I react? Do I still have faith? Or do I grumble nonstop and complain? Do I profess I hate my life or do I still give glory to the Lord? The answer to this would greatly reveal how I would respond if I lived through the tribulation. In those days, it will be the worst of it all.
I’ve learned some amazing stuff in Revelation that was brought up beforehand in the books of the Bible. Let’s jump in:
Referring back to Matthew 24:31, there is only one second coming. There are no two separate accounts for this. Otherwise wouldn’t it be called the third coming? 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 explains the second coming. The dead believers will be raised up FIRST and the living believers who survive the tribulation will then be raised to their glorified bodies. We all will meet up with Jesus in the clouds as He descends from heaven to earth. It says we shall forever be with the Lord. What will Jesus do when He comes the second time? Go back to Heaven and says sayonara? Lol then what about the millennial reign?
After the second coming, Satan will be imprisoned and then the earth is made new. There will be no more sin. Jesus’ millennial reign of peace will begin as heaven on earth.
There will be peace for one thousand years with His elect. The people who continued to follow Jesus and lived their life according to Him. What a taste of heaven we will witness. Can you imagine seeing what heaven will be like for one thousand years?
Here’s something to ponder even MORE about!
In the book of Zechariah 8:4-5, it did say that there will be old men and women, and that people will have children. I haven’t done these Bible studies yet, but basically it would be a spirit world (Jesus, angels?, and the elect) with human beings (surviving gentiles who helped the elect during the tribulation. God separates the goats and the sheep Matthew 25:31-46.) I was confused about this for a while. Why did God need to separate the goats and sheep if the believers will be raised up to glorified bodies? Also, the resurrected will not marry just like angels (Matthew 22:30) So then huh, children? Of course, the book of Matthew chapter 25 explains it. Anyway, these believing gentiles will get to also live during the millennial reign. They get to see Jesus with their eyes! Forget blind faith, here’s Jesus! Woooh, alive for ONE THOUSAND YEARS? Does that sound insane? Not really!
Just look back at Genesis when Adam lived to nine hundred plus years. He almost lived as long of a life that this millennium will be. One of his descendants lived even longer! So the one thousand year reign of peace is not that difficult to grasp, but the thing is – since God made things new and satan imprisoned, there will be no sin. The surviving gentiles will reproduce as they are still alive. They will repopulate the earth. Really, I just wonder how living with Jesus is like!
After The One Thousand Years of Peace
After the millennial reign, Satan is let loose from his prison (Revelation 20:7). He then will be allowed to roam and deceive the nations from the four corners of the earth. The Bible then explains the numbers of the deceived believers will be like the sand on the seashore.
Can you imagine… actually being deceived again? After living with Jesus for ONE THOUSAND YEARS, in complete peace and harmony. Seeing with our own eyes what eternal life will be like with Jesus — and then to throw it back in His face and follow satan. This is not even blind faith anymore. This is Jesus showing us to our faces what being with Him will be like. It’s such a hard thing for me to realize that even after all that, there will still be “believers” who will join satan’s army once again.
Referring back to exodus, like the stubborn king of Egypt who will not let God’s people go — is the heart of many. Hard hearted. It’s sad to know that people will still choose their own self. But good news, not all will be deceived and there will be those who remain faithful.
They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
This lake of fire mentioned here is called Gehenna – the Greek word for the actual hell that everyone thinks of when they think of hell. The Bible calls it the second death and no more chances are given. To think of it even deeper, no human being has ever been sent to Gehenna yet.
To make all of us confused even more, no one is even in the actual Heaven right now either as Jesus is the only one in Heaven. No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. – John 3:13. If you read certain bible books that refer to Sheol/Hades, this can be made clear. I wont write about it now though as that requires a totally different post!
Remaining Faithful Now And Forever
Each one of us should take this life seriously. Abide the words of Jesus, live it, and bless others with it. Whether or not you and I are alive during tribulation is the least of our worries. If it’s not you and I, then it could possibly be our descendants. Live our life with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26) so that our children can understand what THIS actually means. They can then teach this to their children and so on. If we don’t practice this daily, or skip this and act in such a lukewarm manner, our children will also live their life as lukewarm Christians. When things are good, you can easily forget the Lord. Maybe that’s why many will be deceived in the end. Their hearts was not set on the Lord.
With that said, a change deep within our hearts need to be transformed now so that others can also be transformed. If it cannot be transformed now when we are alive… then when will it ever be transformed?
We are the salt and light of the earth. God loves us this much to give us so many chances to choose Him. Before tribulation, during tribulation, during the millennium, and afterwards. This is what I mean by God’s love for us is unwavering. He shows us and will show us continually until the end of time. It’s ultimately up to you and me to choose.