"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
--1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17
Being Florida residents, we are constantly reminded to be prepared for a hurricane. During the months of June through October, the threat is very real.
We are told to keep a supply of water, food, medicine and a few other essentials. Such things as gasoline for generators, batteries, and candles are on the list.
Being prepared for a natural disaster is a way of life in many areas. Jesus said to the disciples on the Mount of Olives, at the end of the age, there would be earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and of course, many false prophets.
He also told them these events and conditions would be like the beginning of sorrows. That has been interpreted to mean birth pains. As any mother knows, labor pains increase in frequency and intensity as the birthing time comes nearer.
We are seeing a great increase in natural disasters on our planet in the last 30 years. One such disaster is flooding (Luke 21: 25). Storms are increasing in number and intensity. Entire islands in the Caribbean and East Indies have literally been destroyed in recent years.
The list of examples could accumulate into a book. We are constantly seeing prophesies of both Jesus and the prophets happening before our eyes. I sincerely believe the time for the rapture is very near. Of course, we are not to predict these events, but the signs and conditions are in line with prophesy more than ever.
It seems so evident the stage is being set for the microsecond twinkling of an eye as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 52. If you think this cannot literally happen, just take note of the many scriptural predictions that have already taken place.
Israel is once again a nation (Ezekiel 36: 24). It has been nearly 2,000 years since Jesus ascended into Heaven and for the first time in the history of the world, mankind has the ability to wage the nuclear war described in Zachariah 14: 12.
Our country and much of the world is rebelling against God. Scoffers as the Bible predicts will be numerous in the last days. 2 Peter 3:3-4 "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?'"
Lawsuits and complaints have led to God being removed from governments, schools and even our homes (1 Timothy 4: 1). This is seen as a sad day by many, but I also see the possibility that God's prophetic truth is coming to pass. Possibly, this is His plan coming together.
That we understand the sequence of the events of the end of the age is important. My understanding is the first thing to happen will be the rapture. The word "rapture" is not in the Bible but is described by Paul in first Thessalonians 4: 16-17 (this article's leading scripture). Rapture comes from the Latin word "rapturo," meaning to take away quickly.
Paul describes an event taking place in the twinkling of an eye. The Lord Jesus will descend, and take up the dead in Christ first, then the rest left alive, will be taken up to meet with them in the air.
Jesus will return to the earth for that split second to claim the church. Those that have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb will go with Jesus to that place described in John 14: 1-3. Those that do not believe will be left behind.
Those non-believers will be subjected to a seven-year period of tribulation like the world has never known (Matthew 24: 21). The conditions that will exist on earth will make the natural disasters we are experiencing now seem like a gentle breeze on a sunny spring day.
One fourth of mankind will die as a result of famine, earthquakes, war and other disasters (Revelation 6: 8). One third of the vegetation will be burned up (Revelation 8: 7), which will cause worldwide famine and wars for food. Also, the oxygen supply will be depleted.
The gates of Hell will be opened and locusts will be unleashed upon the earth that sting like scorpions (Revelation 9: 3-6). Men will beg God to let them die, but that request will be denied.
There will be a world war. Some believe this will be the War of Gog and Magog, prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Personally, I believe Gog and Magog will be before the rapture and a nuclear war as written in Zachariah 14 will likely happen in the second half of the tribulation.
Every person on earth will be covered with running, festering sores (Rev. 16: 2-11). The sea will be turned to blood (Rev. 8: 8).
Mighty Kings and other men of power will gnaw their tongues in pain (Rev. 6: 15). The earth will quake so intensely many islands will disappear.
At the beginning of this seven-year tribulation, the Antichrist will appear. He will deceive the whole world into believing he can save the world. He will establish a one world government (Rev. 13: 3-4). We are already hearing the term "globalism," which infers a new world order. Many Americans support this initiative, not knowing they are pawns in fulfilling God's plan.
Also, a one world currency will be established and a mark will be required for any individual to be permitted to buy or sell anything (Rev. 13: 17-18). Anyone accepting this mark ensures themselves a one-way ticket to the eternal fires of Hell (Rev. 14: 10).
Does the tribulation sound like a plan you want to participate in? My guess is, "No!" You can prepare for this certainty much easier than I can prepare for a hurricane. John 3: 16 "Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Believe what? Christ Jesus crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected. It's that simple. To make it even easier, God gives us a belief method called "faith."
We did not have to be there when He raised Lazarus from the dead, or walked on water or fed the 5,000 with one basket of fish and bread. We did not have to witness His crucifixion or see Him walk out of the tomb, resurrected and alive. "By faith ye believe."
John 20:29 "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."