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Rapture Delayed

We have looked a number of times in this column at those who mock the end-times message and the Rapture in particular. Because those who scoff have been of the abrasive, unbelieving variety for the most part, there is a standard Bible verse reply I’ve usually employed in response.

The scriptural reply has most often been intended to let those mocking know that they are, in actuality, fulfilling Bible prophecy.

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (2 Peter 3:3-4)

As of late, however, such a reply doesn’t quite fit that which should compose an appropriate response. That is because the questions are coming weekly from genuine believers in the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church. These Christians are worried–some very worried.

These look around them and on every side they see and feel the satanic pressures from this fallen sphere closing in. Issues and events –the very ambience in which they find their lives engulfed–generate thoughts that their circumstance is beginning to look much like the Bible’s description of the Tribulation itself.

To illustrate the growing angst, I’ve chosen the email of one such Christian brother who wrote this past week. His words pretty much get right to the point of the many other emails expressing like emotion. Here it is in its entirety:

Why is the Lord delaying the rapture? It should have happened years ago. We would be in the millennium now enjoying true peace and prosperity without the suffering. I don’t get it. It’s God call of course but 58 million aborted babies in the US since 1973, Christians tortured and murdered worldwide, people who believe in Jesus longing for his return suffering immensely. I don’t get it where is our Lord and Savior?

The emailer didn’t use any soft nuances of greetings or any other niceties. He just laid his spirit-distressed emotions right out there.

You don’t answer such gut-wrenching concern with the apostle Peter’s prophecy as given above. This child of God is worried. He is puzzled; he is perplexed. It’s the kind of questioning I’ve heard in my own kid’s anxieties when they were young and felt disappointed for one of my failures or the other to keep a promise. “Dad should never let me down like that” is the tone.

Only, this perceived unkept promise isn’t from an imperfect, human father. I say “perceived unkept promise” because the promise isn’t unbroken whatsoever. The error is in the question of the imperfect child asking it. His Perfect Father will, as always, be one hundred percent faithful to keep every promise made.

The Lord Jesus, Himself, in His ascended position, said the following to John the Revelator:

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

Jesus said it, and that means the Heavenly Father said it–promised it! Jesus said that He and the Father are One. They are inseparable–one and the same–the first and second Persons of the Godhead–the Trinity.

God cannot lie, the Scripture tells us. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God keeps His promises. So, this brother in Christ, like all the other believers who look to the “blessed hope” of Titus 2: 13, who are in fear and worry while watching this fallen world closing in, need an answer from the Word of God.

The Heavenly Father gave the answer to Peter to pass along to us, just a bit farther on in Scripture. The answer to why the Rapture hasn’t occurred as soon as almost all of us wish it would occur is, at least in part, wrapped up in the following:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

The Tribulation that will follow this Age of Grace will be filled with horrors that even John, under divine inspiration, had trouble describing. The Lord wants to provide every moment possible during this present dispensation for those lost in their sin to come safely into the shelter who is His beloved Son Jesus Christ. God wants this for the lost, because, following the Rapture, making the decision to accept Christ for salvation will be more difficult by a multiple of factors. Facing beheading is but one of those factors!

That is the reason–or at least a primary reason–the Rapture hasn’t yet occurred in this generation, according to God’s Word.

That said, I must take notable exception with the emailer’s contention that God is “delaying” the Rapture. You can take this to the bank–well, to the banks the way they used to be–God is not delaying the Rapture. It will happen precisely in the twinkling of the eye at the moment the Father has determined.

Jesus said: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:36)

God knows exactly the instant He will send His Son to get His Bride, make no mistake. There is no delay.

On that note, issues and events closing in on us show that we are almost certainly very near that exhilarating moment of instantaneously finding ourselves face to face with the Lord Jesus. Just how near we are to the Rapture–if we could indeed know–would likely allay all fears.

Because of the lateness of the prophetic hour, I sense that my book released just recently: “Essays In Apocalypse: Some Thoughts On the End Of Days,” is a book I’ve been commissioned to write.

It is a time such as never before to listen for our Lord’s Shout: “Come up here!” (Rev. 4: 1)



  1. Annie says:

    Thank you Terry, I fully and wholeheartedly agree! Yay verily. I am amazed at how many illustrations are coming to life, as I fellowship with a dear Elder Christian in recent hours. She was like a big sister or mother to me when I was brought forth for such a time as this in 1979. We have looked at scriptures together just today, that have fully insured us of our fathers great Mercy towards each of his children. Some of us have more narrow fields of vision and lifestyle because of the light given to us. Others of us have Liberty to associate and do things in a good heart before God that could be a stumbling block two others of us who have a more narrow understanding of holiness.

    The word of the hour that we’re hearing is Judge not that ye be not judged, no no one after the Flesh, and walk holy before the Lord not comparing yourself one with another. Where you have light, walk in the light. And you will have fellowship with the Son.

    If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, there should definitely be a definite change. But to grow into the full stature, that’s as God works in each of us to will and do his good pleasure. He has made it plain and clear to us that it is not wise to compare ourselves one with another. For who is it that makes us to differ? It is simple obedience to light that God has given each of us in response two are seeking him. So let your lights be burning and keep your eyes on Jesus and all the promises that are yours in Christ Jesus, may you be ready willing and able to share his word with all that he would send to you. For lookup, Redemption is Indy drawing nigh. When I consider all the things that are out there on the table that are to occur in this month regarding peace and security, regarding the unveiling possibly of a president’s Middle East peace plan, or confirming of a covenant? It is no time to be caught up in playing video games, in saddling up to the world and its pleasures, and becoming lukewarm and complacent. It is high time to awake out of sleep and to put on the garments of praise, and keep your robes washed in the blood of the Lamb, by instant confession of sin and instant reaching out of your hand for reconciliation. Truly, I believe our judge is standing at the door. And I believe he is simply looking at the Father’s Eyes, waiting to see the twinkle in His Father and our Father’s eyes, as he says “Son, go get your bride.” An old scripture song of almost 40 years ago has continued to replay in my heart. Now is the time to take the kingdom, rise up be strong, is Christ command. For every Power and Dominion is giving now into your hands. Ye that have ears to hear the trumpet, ye that have hearts to understand. Now is the time to take the kingdom, rise up, be strong, possess the land. I am so looking forward to the moment when our great God dispossess the possessor.

  2. okpops@cox.net says:

    I find it troubling That a believer would question God on the timing of the Rapture. Here’s my attitude on That subject which comes from a pastor namedAdrian Rogers. “The world is growing gloriously dark”.. that expresses my joy at the current chaos.

    Have a BLESSED day


  3. Beth Stertz says:

    Thank you Terry for your continued encouragement and for remaining faithful! I feel it too – the “closing in”. The rapture is very close.

  4. GWA says:

    We are told to “ENDURE”…..that one word says so much! I also want to be home but……I am fully aware of the fact God long suffered with me so who am I to deny anyone else the time he/she needs to come to Jesus and get on the ark.
    I also get impatient but God has a way of cooling my heels and it’s now become a total “one day at a time” thing for me.
    Many of us are parked next to the Red Sea with no escape from our present circumstances but I know rescue will come at just the right time.
    I can put head to pillow nightly knowing God has this all under control and everything is going according to His plan.
    God Bless……..and I am always praying for my dear brothers and sisters.

  5. SRB says:

    I also have wondered why the Rapture hasn’t happened yet considering all the babies being aborted here and around the world every day…along with all the other debaucheries etc. But then I tell myself that all those unwanted babies will be in Heaven for sure, whereas, the unsaved grownups are walking on a razor’s edge and God is still allowing them time to hopefully get saved. But there is definitely an expiration date for the Church age and I for one cannot wait!

  6. tripsfam@gmail.com says:

    Dear Mr James I must write to let you know how the Lord is using you to encourage believers who feel discouraged as we await the glorious day of His return. I understand all the sentiments you have written about in your letter this week and applaud you for encouraging us and taking us to the truth of His word! Please continue to encourage us all the more as we see the day approaching … we are weary and burdened and ready to meet our groom! Until He comes I know every hour , minute , and second count in sharing the gospel message to this dark world. I’m hard pressed to want more time for them to come to salvation yet long desperately to see Jesus call us to our wedding celebration! Then at the same moment despair thinking how much longer can we endure the insanity surrounding us if He isn’t coming soon! Thank you dear brother in Christ! May God bless you and all of us as we wait patiently and walk worthy until He brings us home.

    Sincerely Beth

    • Glenn says:

      Spot on Beth. My emotions go up and down like a yo-yo. This difficult time for America has forced me to move my trust in the sovereignty of Jesus Christ over all things. I so loved my country and what it stood for. I don’t like what it’s turned into. If I didn’t believe in His sovereignty, my despair would be almost unbearable. I like Jan Markel’s words (paraphrased): “Things are not out of control. Everything is falling perfectly into place” for the Lord’s Return.
      Lord, grant me patience and please hurry. Maranatha Lord Jesus.

  7. Fran Cole says:

    About 12 years ago or so I was praying and upset on the way to church one Sunday over the state of the world,unsaved husband,etc. and as I was walking towards the church said “how long will you tarry,Lord”? and an audible voice said ” I will not tarry”. You can believe I was shaking when I got into the building and shared with others. We are still here,still waiting,but God’s timing is perfect and He will NOT tarry beyond his set time to call His Bride and start the judgement of this earth. I’m so anxious to hear that trumpet,but prayer is needed more than ever for the state of this world. Its invaded the churches here as I found when I took the grandkids to sing with the VBS for an Ecumenical service a couple of weeks ago. Our church board had voted to withdraw from the Ecumenical council,and oddly (but A God Thing) we had all forgotten that all the churches go to that service for the Harvest Festival . We were early and I looked at the responsive reading which started out “In star and crescent,wheel and flame,in rugged cross and empty tomb,we image forth one matchless name,one holy matrix,fount,and womb. It went on to talk about each “act of ardent worship in Buddhist chant,and Muslim prayer,in shofar,drum and sacred song,prism’s dazzling light and we are all one…Well,I wasn’t and got the kids and walked out and went to church which was later and shared with the other board members and pastor. He felt it was a Ba’hai prayer and that the Lord definitely led us to leave that council and wiped the service from our minds except for myself who apparently was to bring back evidence that we were led in the right direction. 5 churches still in the council and the service was led by the lesbian United pastor who lives openly with another who also has a church! How it must grieve the Lord’s heart that such things have infiltrated the “Christian” churches and how many of those sitting there were deceived by “good feelings” and didn’t hear the word of Truth. No wonder we are grieved and long for our heavenly homes and need to pray fervently for those under such deceptive leadership who perhaps only have head knowledge of Jesus and not the heart knowledge that leads to salvation. Keep praying and keep listening for the trumpet! It surely can’t be much longer!

    • SRB says:

      Good grief! This is why we have got to really know the World of God so we won’t be deceived. Christians have got to know their Bible ( hopefully KJV) and have correct doctrine. Thank the Lord you could see the deception and know the truth.

  8. Ed Wood says:

    We should all keep in mind that God knows the entire course of history while we humans have only the ability to see what has past – and that only from accounts kept by other humans from those times or by the conclusions reached by learned researchers viewing archaeological evidence (who might be wrong!). Our “past vision” is imperfect at best and our “future vision” is nonexistent.

    Even so, it is a very human trait to second-guess God and I myself have done it more than once, even though I am old enough to know better. I have to remind myself often that my perspective is so limited that I don’t have the right (or the perspective or the intellect) to second-guess the Creator of all things about anything.

    It isn’t our place, after all, to know the exact hour that Jesus will come to remove believers from harm’s way, but the Bible does give plenty of information about the way the world will be when the end of this age is near.

    Since I believe that the Bible evidence strongly indicates that time is indeed very close, Jesus’ instructions for us to “Watch” becomes more and more imperative.

    We can all rest assured that God’s timing is perfect and that the Rapture will be right on schedule – God’s schedule, not ours!

    • 2bfaithful@ comcast.net says:

      I have also had a heightened expectation of the Lord’s coming to catch us away being very close, and this on several times in the past five years. Each time I experienced this, I learn to wait more patiently, to be wiser in my sharing of my blessed hope, because I don’t ever want to fall into the error of sounding a trumpet to others around me, rallying them to try to take hold of my hope.

      I do so appreciate the work of the spirit of God and keeping us awake to the hour. And may we continue to against hope hope, and always be prepared to give an answer to those who God will send to us to ask the reason of Our Hope.

      Like so many others have shared with Terry James, I’m so grateful for a safe place to pour out our encouragement one to another, without the backlashing and scoffing that often accompanied other places I visited in the past on the web.

      When the Lord tells us to set our affections on things above, surely this is the Supreme affection. To see him, and to then be like him complete in every single fruit of the spirit, and filled with the full holiness our hearts long for.. oh what a lovely Jesus, Oh What a marvelous savior. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and help us keep our lights burning and our heart searching for each lost lamb, yet to come into your fold.

  9. lyndon weggery says:

    2 Peter 3:9 is the key verse here Terry.Well done.

  10. Pam Dolin says:

    Thank you Terry for sharing that letter you received. I so identify with the author of who sent it to you, as I long for His return every day. It is hard to be patient. I would like to share the verse directly after Revelation 3:10, for additional comfort…
    Revelation 3:11 reads…
    I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have,. so that no one will take away your crown!
    Amen! Come Lord Jesus, We want to be with you!

  11. jlivingstonclark says:

    Anyone who reads the Book of Revelation would clearly know that during the Tribulation the world will experience things and events 10 times worse than anything we are witnessing now. God is going to pour out his wrath. What we are seeing now is nothing compared to what is still to come. God is going to give each and every individual an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel (Matthew 24:14). The important thing here is that the longer it is before the rapture, the worse the world is going to get. Christians must be prepared for extremely difficult times and for persecution. And sadly, the average local church and pastor is not preaching this.

  12. Stephen says:

    As I read Matthew 25, I see only the wise virgins being taken in the Rapture of Jesus’ Bride. The foolish virgins will be left behind because while they had lamps they had no oil.

  13. Judy says:

    Referring to Job’s suffering at times is very helpful. Not that it is easier, but helps keep me hopeful. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  14. Janet Weaver says:

    I agree with you Brother James and since I too have been waiting a long time I also can agree with many of the brothers and sisters. I am 96 years old and live in an assisted living complex which many of us believe is God’s waiting room. However, right now I think we should be praying for our brothers and sisters in the Carolinas. There is a Cat 4 hurricane moving in on them tomorrow night. We should pray for God to redirect this storm and diminish it. Pastor Faraq in Hawaii and his people did this and God honored their prayers and acted. So people PRAY.

  15. mary says:

    Thank you Pastor, I am confident and agree with you! I was thinking the same thing the other day, the Lord just is wanting more to come is the encouragement I felt in my heart. My daughter voiced this to me a few weeks ago as well, the encouragement in my heart was the same, The Father just doesn’t want to loose any of us, were my words to her, and when I am discouraged I too go back to Peter, God is not slow as we count slowness, he is longsuffering not willing that any should perish. It is comforting to know and see his love! It is beautiful! Amen

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