Every week I find in my email inbox a number of predictions for this or for that concerning Bible prophecy. Many involve the writer’s prediction of the time of the Rapture, based upon a specific formula he or she has figured out, or has adopted from someone else’s `thoughts.
Some, such as the particular writer I’m thinking about in writing this commentary, send out each year a dozen or more predictions of the time of the Rapture to various forums, including mine. His predictions usually revolve around traditional Jewish holy days. Although every prediction has thus far failed to come to pass, the writer is persistent, becoming more adamant about the validity of his date-setting with each succeeding “forth telling.”
I must admit that I’ve come to sort of look forward to unwrapping these missives to peek at what we might have, kind of like opening a surprise package. One thing sure…it’s never a disappointing exercise. He always has something new and unusual to spring upon the recipient. If he remains so persistent–based upon the way world events are shaping up–he is bound to be at least nearly right about the timing of the Rapture at some point. One week in particular, his email offering was a little less absolute in its predictive tenor, but nonetheless given with confidence, as usual. At any rate, this one struck a chord, and prompted me to think again on the words of Jesus that have burned in my spirit since I wrote a ten-part series to which I gave the title, “Scanning a Fearful Future.”
–More about that momentarily.
The emailer wrote:
DOES THE BIBLE GIVE US THE DAY OF THE YEAR FOR WWIII (EZEKIEL 38–39)? I have written much over the past 3 years about my Biblical studies that show World War 3 (the Sudden Destruction) and the Rapture to be the very same day. If the start of the Great Tribulation is going to take place in the next 5 months, and I am totally convinced that it is, then we need to take a very close look at this BIBLICAL day (it is in the very near future… In light of current events all around the world, especially involving a very possible imminent attack, involving Israel and Iran and/or Syria, this rapidly-approaching BIBLICAL day takes on a very urgent and ominous meaning for this year. The Bride of Christ may have already celebrated its last Christmas on this earth.
Yes, well…I guess he was a bit more adamant about things than I remembered at first reading. Still, the prognostication was mild in comparison to many of his previous declarations about the Rapture and its timing. The date he predicted was April 11, 2012… So, another date-setter missed the mark.
I give this article the title “Rapture and Sudden Destruction” because I believe although he was obviously wrong on the date, the persistent emailer is, at the same time, right in this instance without even realizing it. He was not correct on the date, of course. He was not correct in that his figuring was based upon Jewish traditional holy days. All such figurings have failed to produce the Rapture. Besides, no man knows the day, we are told by the Lord. There is no relationship anyone has been able to show, so far as I can tell, between any Jewish traditional holy day and that “twinkling-of-an-eye” moment prophesied in 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, and, I believe, by Jesus Himself as recorded in John 14:1-3, and given by John in Revelation 4:1-2. The Rapture of the church will be sudden, unannounced, and unanticipated by most of the world’s population.
Paul the apostle, who, of course, was chosen by God to prophesy the Rapture, foretells much about that coming time when millions of believers will go to be with Christ in one atomos of time (an increment of time so brief that it cannot be divided). Paul writes further about the time immediately surrounding the moment of the Rapture:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6)
Paul tells Christians to be ever alert to the times that surround them. He exhorts them to “watch.” Jesus said the same thing as recorded in Mark 13: 37: “What I say unto one, I say unto all; watch.”
Jesus and Paul were referring to watching the events and issues of the times in which they will be living. There is no specific sign that signals the Rapture, but all of the signs of societal conditions will signal that the time of Christ’s coming in the Rapture is very near, even at the door. The day of God’s judgment beginning to fall upon rebellious mankind, the apostle Paul wrote, would begin like a “thief in the night” breaking into a home. Jesus had likened His coming to a thief in the night as recorded in Matthew 24.
While writing that series of articles I called “Scanning a Fearful Future,” I sensed the Lord impressing upon my spirit that Jesus’ words were all important in foretelling exactly when all of His impending judgment would suddenly break loose upon a world that has shown its hatred for His Son, who came to die for the sins of mankind. There will be no world-rending things, like all-out war or total economic collapse at that time. Even though portentious signs of the times will be prevalent, it will still be, relatively speaking, business as usual when Christ breaks in upon a world ripe for judgment. The persistent emailer was on the right prophetic page in this instance. It will be the Rapture that brings the awesome judgment of God upon this fallen planet.
Again, Jesus foretold:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)