Have you ever wondered what has happened to the Rapture of the Church? I certainly have, and I have also questioned whether Christians today even believe that Jesus is coming back at all.
For most of my life, the message of Jesus Christ coming for His church was alive and well. I remember on Easter Sunday morning in 1973 when our church choir sang the popular Gaither song, The King Is Coming. Only the choir knew that a skilled trumpeter was strategically perched in the balcony, and at just the right moment he would blow the trumpet. It was a stirring event to say the least!
Then there was that perfect red heifer born in the mid-80’s that confirmed the Jews would soon be offering sacrifices in the Temple. And who didn’t read the best-selling Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins? First published in 1995, the intensity of the message was clear: Jesus is coming soon, and if you’re not ready, you will be left behind!
For decades stories circulated through the church attempting to tie current events to the coming of Christ. Things like a government assigned number could eventually become the mark of the beast. This caused many to be leery of social security numbers, direct deposits and credit cards—basically anything that had a number. Another story was the increasing population of vultures in the Middle East that was surely a sign of the approaching Battle of Armageddon. On and on they went—one unnerving story after another.
For years I struggled with too little faith to believe that Jesus would save me, so preaching on the rapture was a frightening thing. However, when I was born again at age twenty-three, my fear of the rapture subsided. My faith had grown and I was able to believe that Jesus would do what He said: “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”1 It’s been a love affair with my Savior ever since, and I began looking forward to His coming.
Over forty years later, we are still bombarded with stories about four blood moons, ginormous earthquakes and tsunamis. I don’t keep up with which Biblical prophecies have being fulfilled and whether the signs match what Jesus said would signal His return in Matthew Chapter 24, but it does seem like it could be just around the corner. After all, the fig tree is in full bloom. There’s a whole lot of shaking going on, since everything that can be shaken is now shaking. The world is clearly in a quagmire of muck as some kind of crazy has replaced common sense. There are plenty of wars and rumors of more, while mankind has sunk to a new low on God’s moral scale. Today, you don’t have to look very far to see that evil is called good; and good is called evil. Surely it can’t be long until the Father says, “Son, go bring my children home!”
Has non-stop media coverage of world events numbed us from the realness of what we once believed? Have too many books been written suggesting the rapture isn’t Biblical after all? Could it be that modern-day preachers no longer expect Jesus to return and thus do not preach it? Has the long delay nullified Jesus’ words, or maybe the Lord has forgotten His promise? Not. Even. Remotely!
The Bible is clear: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”2
Jesus gave us a clue about the timing of His coming: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!”3 Did you see what I saw—at the doors?
A few nights ago I had a dream that lasted perhaps only a few seconds, yet it was very real nonetheless. In the dream, I was asleep in my bed when awakened by a strange sense of being pulled upward. A suction-type force was swirling all around me, as if I were wrapped in it. I wasn’t afraid at all, but remember having a smile on my face and a sense of joy deep inside. I calmly thought to myself—this is it…this is the rapture! Then the sensation ended and I attempted to tell someone what had happened to me. I explained like this: “I just experienced the rapture!”
The next morning I wondered what might be the purpose of my strange dream. Had I been given a brief preview of that amazing moment when the power of Holy Spirit will draw the Redeemed upward towards heaven? Could Jesus be giving us a heads-up of His soon return? Could it be that Jesus actually is—at the doors?
The best advice I know is the words of Jesus Himself: “Now when all these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near!”4
Personally, I believe Jesus IS coming back soon! Are you ready for that amazing moment? ~ Janie Kellogg
1Romans 10:13 (NKJV); 22 Peter 3:9 (NLT); 3Matthew 24:32-33 (NKJV) 4Luke 21:28 (NKJV)