These past few months have been an interesting time for the whole world. I’ve heard many friends comment on how they can’t wait for the rapture of the church—before the tribulation.
With the uncertainties of the times and every day talk increasing about the idea of a one world economy, a cashless society, mandated vaccinations, and a one world order, it’s no wonder that some believe for certain we are nearing the Lord’s return.
To prove my point, even pastors agree it’s nearing.
Lifeway Reseach did a phone survey of 1,000 pastors between January 24 through February 11 and found that a “vast majority of pastors see signs of the end times in current events.”
And while the rapture of the church is something that everyone agrees will happen, there are differing viewpoints of WHEN it will happen. But how does knowing the time impact how people get ready for the rapture? It matters a lot actually. And this is why it’s important to ask yourself a question about that.
For me, I grew up being taught as a Christian, that the rapture of the church would actually happen before the tribulation (pre–tribulation). However, as I’ve read the Bible and studied it over the years, the phrase, “what if” has continued to press into my heart.
What if…the rapture of the church doesn’t happen before the tribulation?
If you’re new to the Christian faith or are not too familiar with the book of Revelation or the study of end times (eschatology), here’s a few general points of explanation. These are my simple definitions for the sake of discussion—it’s just for basic understanding.
Here’s my disclaimer. I’m not diving into deep theological discussion or word for word translation to answer when biblically the rapture of the church will happen.
Definition of the Rapture of the Church
Essentially a basic definition for the rapture of the church is the belief that God is going to remove from the earth those living persons who have placed their faith in Jesus. They will then be reunited with God in heaven.
So, what is the tribulation?
Definition of the Tribulation
A basic and very generalized definition for the tribulation as mentioned in the Bible, is the time when there is a time of extreme suffering on the earth, including famines, wars, persecution, and death.
Okay now that we’re on the same page when talking about the rapture of the church and the tribulation, let’s get back to the “what if” question.
What if the rapture of the church happens after the tribulation?
Many evangelical Christians and church leaders hold to the belief that the rapture of the church will occur before the tribulation happens on the earth. This is something that is not explicitly clear in scripture. In fact the timing of the rapture of the church is a disputable matter. It is not an absolute to the Christian faith.
And so, let me ask you this….
What if you believe the rapture of the church happens before the tribulation but then…it doesn’t happen that way?
Yes, this has been the “what if” question that I’ve wrestled with over the years. Especially because this is a disputable matter. Meaning, no one really knows for sure when the rapture of the church is going to happen.
You see, I don’t want to go into deep theological discussion as to when the rapture of the church will happen. Instead I want you to ask yourself this one question as you figure out ways for how to prepare for the rapture of the church.
Why find out?
Why wait to find out when the rapture of the church happens to determine what or how you are preparing for it today.
I think this is a very thoughtful question to ask yourself if you believe you are a Christian. And it’s also good to ask if you’re curious because the current times are creating anxiety or wonder in you about the timing of the rapture of the church.
If you want to believe in a pre–tribulation rapture—that’s great—except for if the rapture of the church doesn’t actually happen that way. But, what if instead, it happens mid–tribulation or at the end of the tribulation?
I ask you to consider asking yourself the question “Why find out?”, because there’s a lot at stake for us as believers if we focus on the timing of the rapture of the church and when it will actually happen.
I offer you this thought to consider.
Instead of focusing on the time of the rapture, what if we focused on being prepared to persevere in all circumstances.
Whether or not we’re in the present “labor pains” of the end times as Revelation describes (because there’s disagreement on that too) now is the time to be prepared to persevere.
If we set our minds on a pre–tribulation rapture, it is a little easier for us to have a faith that is ready to “escape” this world. But, instead what if you were prepared with a proactive faith?
Do you feel like you’re strengthening your faith to persevere in all circumstances? Will you be ready to endure suffering in the days to come?
It all starts with having a relationship with God that is growing daily. Here’s 10 Benefits to Reading the Bible That’ll Inspire You to Read it Every Day.
What do you think about this?
Have you ever considered that it’s not as important to know the timing of when God might actually rapture the church, but that it’s more about being prepared to persevere?
What are some ways you are preparing for the Lord’s return? Share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Has the things of this world these past few months made you anxious or wonder how you can overcome fear when it won’t go away?
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