The rapture, as Christians call it, is the Biblical prophecy of Jesus appearing in the sky and calling all the real Christians home to heaven. Those Christians who have passed away since Christ’s resurrection will also be resurrected and acquire their eternal bodies. Those Christians who are alive when the rapture comes will appear, to those left behind on earth, to vanish into thin air, as they are taken up (raptured out) by Christ. The living Christians will also receive their resurrected bodies at this time. It all sounds like a lot, but from finish to end will take the wink of an eye.
Many Bible verses describe or at least allude to this future event. The two most recognized passages are, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “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 shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” and 1 Corinthians 15:52, “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.”
The rapture has been portrayed in books and movies, preached about from pulpits, and written about in newspapers.
The consensus is the rapture will plunge the world into utter chaos as those left behind deal with this catastrophic event. Hundreds of millions of people vanish. Since the rapture occurs all over the planet in less than a second, some will be in bed, some eating lunch; others will be sitting down to relax at the end of a workday. Millions of traffic accidents because of cars left with no drivers. Plane crashes all over the planet because aircraft suddenly become pilotless. Fires break out as planes crash into residential areas — more housefire start when cooking pots are left unattended because homes are void of inhabitants. The ensuing chaos rages out of control as many emergency personnel is no longer with us.
Havoc in the streets, terror in homes as loved ones have vanished, confusion in every corner of the globe as people look for answers. Does a nation have a new superweapon? Have the extraterrestrials decided to start harvesting humanity? Is what is going on man-made or coming from God? Does God even exist? If He does, what is He doing? Why would God do this? When the rapture comes, will it be this chaotic, or will it be nearly unnoticed?
Consider these passages:
In the Sermon on the Mount, talking about salvation, Jesus says, “few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).
Jesus is later asked the question, “Lord, are there few that be saved?”
His response, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23-24).
Even though the number of the people of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant will be saved (Romans 9:27).
Christ, in talking about God avenging His children, asks if He will find any faith at all when He returns. Luke 18:7-8, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Hundreds of millions raptured out? Maybe only millions? Dare we even consider that it may be less?
What I am trying to get people to consider is — will there be so many people raptured off this planet to cause the ensuing chaos we expect?
The fewer people that leave, the less chaos the event will cause.
Depending on the source, the estimated number of Christians in the world is between two and five billion. Christ did say there would be some tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). Therefore, we know not everyone that calls themselves a Christian is genuine. Jesus also mentions that there will be people who, from all outward appearances, belong to God. Still, the truth is God “never knew” them (Matthew 7:21-23).
In describing the condition of the church when the rapture occurs, Jesus finds an organization that, because of apathy, makes God sick to His stomach. He also sees a church relying on wealth and is arrogant. If that is not enough, Christ is located on the outside, pleading to be let in (Revelation 3:14-22).
When it comes to our current lives, maybe Christians should consider some soul-searching in light of Jesus’ question, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County, Indiana. Website: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; Email: email@example.com; Mail: 410 S. Jefferson St., Rockville IN 47872.