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)