“Why do you not understand my (Jesus) speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father will ye do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I (Jesus) tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”
If I asked you who was the very first murderer named in the Bible, most would probably respond it was Cain, who killed his brother Abel. However, in the Scripture above John clearly points out it was actually Satan, not Cain, that committed the very first murder. Unlike Cain, Satan did not personally kill his first victim. Rather he did it through lying and deception, by telling Eve she surely would not die if she ate from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, even though God had commanded Adam and Eve to NOT eat of that tree. If they did, God said “…thou shalt surely die”. They believed Satan rather than God and as a result of their sin they would physically die. For their death Satan was directly responsible. Remember, the Bible tells us “…the wages of sin are death.” – Romans 6:23.
The one attribute repeatedly given to Satan throughout the entire Bible is that he is a liar, a deceiver. He will say and do anything to get people to go against the Will of God which is clearly stated in the Bible. In other words, he will do anything to try to convince everyone the Bible is NOT true or accurate. Only by doing this can he move people away from what the Bible says and convince them whatever they are doing is okay, even when it is sinful and directly goes against what the Bible says.
“…Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
So, you might ask, what does Satan’s known lies have to do with the timing or even the existence of the coming Rapture? Well, believe it or not, even though the Rapture, the taking away of His Believers BEFORE the beginning of the final 7 year Tribulation, is clearly explained in great detail in many places in the Bible, there are still many mainstream Christian churches today that are teaching “in the name of Christ” either the Rapture will never occur; it will occur during the Tribulation; or, it will happen at the moment of Jesus’s Return at the conclusion of the Tribulation. For some of the arguments about the timing of the Rapture, you may want to review one of my past posts (When will the Rapture Occur – Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation), which I wrote to explain why the Bible states, I believe, clearly it will be BEFORE His Wrath is unleashed on an unbelieving world.
To be totally honest with you, I am an unapologetic believer in the pre-tribulation belief the Rapture will occur before God unleashes His Wrath on this world. Now, let me be crystal clear! Nowhere in the Bible does it state one MUST believe in the Rapture or its timing to be saved. If you have absolutely accepted Jesus Christ died for your sins, that He rose from the dead and you ask Him for forgiveness of your sins while honestly attempting to walk in His ways, YOU WILL BE SAVED and will spend eternity in Heaven with Him. However, be careful! God gave us His Holy Word, the Bible, to instruct us and inform us as to what is coming. By ignoring what He has said, you are ignoring what He wants us to know, to be aware of. In the more than 3 years now I have been writing these articles, I have often been besmirched and ridiculed for promoting and repeating what the Bible clearly says. The argument is always I must not be a Christian if I don’t believe their teachings, which directly disputes the Holy Word of God. In fact, of all the subjects I have ever written about, it is the timing of the Rapture that gets the most virulent scorn from people who disagree with me. Is this the way Christians should act or are these simply Satan’s minions also trying to deceive us?
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
The most prominent of the arguments the Rapture will not occur until Jesus Returns at Armageddon is the belief that it is a relatively new concept only introduced to the Christian church in 1831 by John Nelson Darby. Actually, there is ample evidence of people believing in the pre-Trib Rapture going back hundreds of years before Darby (try studying Pierre Poiret or John Edwards, just a few who believed in the pretribulation Rapture and lived long before Darby). More importantly, when Paul first told all of the Rapture, the actual occurring of it during the lives of the people he was talking to was irrelevant to them at the time. It only became relevant to the people who would be potentially alive to see it and who mourned for their dead, not knowing if they were going to miss it or not. Of course, the critics main argument has always been the word “Rapture” is never mentioned once in the Bible. (By the way, neither is the word “Trinity”, “grandfather”, etc.). But what is mentioned in the original Greek is the word “harpazo” which is translated as “caught up” or “snatch up”. They totally dismiss the notion of meeting Christ in the air PRIOR to the coming Wrath of God even though the Bible clearly states this:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ (people who have already died believing in Christ) shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) together with them in the clouds (not on earth) to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15:51, approximately 25 years AFTER Jesus’s death and resurrection, he for the first time explained the Rapture so that people would not equate it to something that already happened during Jesus’s life. It had never been introduced before which is why he referred to it as a “mystery”. He explained to all what it was all about when he said:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Don’t be confused. The last trumpet referred to here is not the last trumpet of the 7 trumpet judgements listed in Revelation 9, but rather is the last trumpet intended for the Church. Jesus went to Heaven after His Resurrection and has been preparing a place for His Believers. When He is ready, He will return to take us out of the world BEFORE the Coming Wrath of God, as has so clearly been told us in Revelation 3:10 – “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (wrath), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Remember, He did it to Noah and his family before the Flood. He did it for Lot before His Wrath was unleashed on Sodom and Gomorrah. He did not make Noah and his family swim around in the flood for a while before saving them! Shortly after this in Revelation 4:1 we then see John going through a “symbolic” Rapture when he wrote ” After this I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were a trumpet (not one of the trumpets of the 7 trumpet judgements discussed much later in the Book of Revelation) talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things WHICH MUST BE HEREAFTER (capitals mine). And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
It is only after John immediately goes to Heaven in Revelation 4:1 does he then describe all the trials and tribulations which will THEN be unleashed on the earth as part of God’s Wrath during the coming 7 year Tribulation period. Interestingly, after John goes to Heaven in a form of the Rapture, the Church is NOT MENTIONED AGAIN ONE TIME until the end of the Book of Revelation, AFTER Jesus Returns. How much clearer can it be? These are only a few examples pointing to why the Rapture will occur PRIOR to the 7 year Tribulation, not during and not after it!
But, my intent is not to argue (again) when the Rapture will occur but rather will it actually EVER occur either before, during or at the end of the Tribulation. Yes, but Satan would have you believe otherwise! By getting you to believe in the postponement or even that it will never occur, he is trying to get you to not prepare yourself! Remember what we were told in Matthew 24? “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” God DOES NOT want us to be unprepared! He wants us to be watching, to be mindful of what He has Promised those who do Believe.
In the ancient Jewish tradition, once a man was betrothed (engaged) to his wife, he immediately left her to go to his father’s home to basically build an addition on to the home for he and his wife to live in and raise their family. How long it would take him was never known. When he was finished with his work, he would come back unannounced for his bride to then go through the marriage ceremony. Meanwhile, his wife was admonished to stay vigilant and be ready for him because she also did not know when he would return. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? “In my (Jesus) Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” – John 14:2. It took God 6 days to create the entire universe and it has taken Jesus 2,000 years so far to prepare His Bride’s place in Heaven. Wow!!
Take what Jesus told His disciples and compare it to the ten virgins and I believe you will see why being prepared is so crucial.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so: lest there be not enough for us and you, but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they THAT WERE READY WENT IN WITH HIM TO THE MARRIAGE (capitals mine): and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. WATCH THEREFORE, FOR YE KNOW NEITHER THE DAY NOR THE HOUR WHEREIN THE SON OF MAN COMETH (capitals mine).”
Jesus Himself told us we must be ready for His Return. Obviously, all ten of the virgins knew someday the groom would return and they would go to the wedding but only five of them were ready! The other five also knew some day he would return but they were not ready! In Satan’s diabolical scheme, he wants us all to be ill prepared for when Jesus does come back for His bride, the believing Church. If we are not prepared, we will be like the five foolish virgins who thought they were ready, but were not. If we have been led to believe Jesus Returns at Armageddon after the 7 year Tribulation period and we know it will be exactly 7 years from the confirming of the peace covenant between Israel and the Palestinians, then we would therefore know exactly when Jesus will Return and we would have the time to eventually get ready. Or, because we know it has been given to the anti-christ to rule the world for exactly 1,260 days from the Abomination of Desolation (What is the Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Prophecy?) or midway through the Tribulation, we again would know the exact date of Jesus’s Return. Then we can get ready. But, the Bible says we won’t know it so we must be prepared for Him to come for us at any moment, regardless of when that moment is. Satan, the great deceiver, does not want us to be prepared because IF we are prepared, we will probably share Jesus’s message of hope and love thereby saving many others from the coming trials. A win for Jesus is a loss for Satan! Just think if the five wise virgins had told the five foolish virgins to get prepared and get oil for their lamps. How many of the five foolish virgins would have been locked out of the wedding ceremony?
Even though the actual timing of the Rapture is not ultimately critical to being saved for eternity, there is no question Satan would prefer we all believe it will occur in the distant future where we might postpone our readiness for a short while. But by the grace of God, He has given us the signs to be looking for to know in our hearts we are living in the Last Days and therefore the Rapture could occur at any moment. It is absolutely critical we tell others of His Promise and to do this in a way that does not scare them but simply makes them aware of His imminent Return. We must all get prepared for His soon coming! You can help others by simply doing what He has asked us to do, and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.” His Word, not Satan’s!
May God Bless you as we await His soon Return for His Saints!