The Rapture: Purpose and Timing

The purpose of the Rapture, according to Scripture, is to permit the revelation of the Antichrist. The word ‘Antichrist’ does not mean ‘against’ Christ. The Greek word ‘anti’ also means ‘another’ and the Antichrist will be heralded as another Christ; he will be seen as another saviour of the world.

Two questions we must answer:

1.What is holding back the open manifestation of the Antichrist?

2.Who is preventing the Antichrist from being revealed?

The relevant passage of Scripture is found in the second letter which the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church,Now regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we plead with you, beloved friends, not to be easily confused or disturbed in your minds by any kind of spirit, rumor or letter allegedly from us, claiming that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. Before that day comes the rebellion must occur and the “outlaw” – the destructive son – will be revealed in his true light. He is the opposing counterpart who exalts himself over everything that is called “God” or is worshiped and who sits enthroned in God’s temple and makes himself out to be a god. Don’t you remember that when I was with you we went over these things?” 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5, TPT

“And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time. For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way” 2 Thessalonians 2: 6-7, AMP

This may appear complicated but it is easily explained: The Holy Spirit is the invisible part of God’s agency on earth. The Apostle Paul explains here in 2 Thessalonians 2: 6 that it is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the church that is preventing the Antichrist from coming to the fore. So the power of the Holy Spirit is what is holding back the open manifestation of the Antichrist, in answer to our first question.

Believers in the Lord Jesus with oil in their lamps are those who are preventing the Antichrist from being revealed. Once we are no longer on earth, the Antichrist can come to the fore. It is the Church who is restraining the Antichrist, in answer to our second question.

Jesus said that we, as believers, are the “Salt of the earth” (Matthew 5: 13). As salt, we are preserving society from becoming totally evil. As believers, Jesus also said we are the “Light of the world” (Matthew 5: 14). When we go from the earth in the Rapture, the light will go out here. Satan will be cast down to the earth and there will be gross darkness on the earth. Satan will enter into the body of the Antichrist and some believe that, when this possession takes place, the thunder of it will be heard worldwide. The Antichrist himself is already here: he is a significant political figure who has for some years been actively doing untold harm in the world. Once he becomes fully possessed by Satan there will be no force on earth that can oppose his unbridled, unparalleled iniquity.

To recap: The power of the Holy Spirit is ‘what’ is holding back the open manifestation of the Antichrist (in question 1) and it is the Church – Spirit-filled believers with oil in their lamps – ‘who’ are restraining the Antichrist (in question 2).

Where will the Holy Spirit be after the Rapture has taken place?

It is important to understand that the Holy Spirit Himself will definitely not leave the earth. This has been misunderstood by some Christians. The Holy Spirit is God; He is omnipresent. That means that the Holy Spirit is everywhere at the same time. It is the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church that will go from the earth, not the Holy Spirit Himself. He will operate differently on the earth after those who were ready and looking for Jesus have simultaneously been taken home to Heaven in the Rapture. After the Rapture, the Holy Spirit will continue to lead souls to salvation in Jesus and will comfort, strengthen, protect and guide them throughout the indescribably horrendous rigours of the Tribulation.

Jesus taught on the Holy Spirit in John chapters 14 and 16. He said during His long final discourse at the Last Supper, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby) that He may remain with you forever” John 14: 16, AMP.

How the world will react to the Rapture

The world will reel in disbelief. They will have seen Jesus coming in the skies and will have witnessed people being drawn upwards to join Him in the air as though attracted by a magnet. Maybe the Rapture will have been caught on camera? Worldly Christians will be stunned when they see that Jesus has left them behind. They will scream out in terror, beseeching Him to come back for them. The media will announce this unprecedented event as the greatest Breaking News of all time. There will be many accidents worldwide as cars, lorries, buses or trains may suddenly be without a driver. There will be multiple crashes everywhere. Airline pilots will find themselves left without their co-pilot. At least one well known airline has for many years prohibited any two Bible-believing pilots from working together in case the Rapture took place while they were in flight.

People will be instantly thrown into major panic, desperately searching for loved ones who seem to have disappeared. Police Stations will be bombarded by reports of missing people, many of them children, and they will be at a loss to know how to even begin to cope because there will be so many missing at once. The Police will soon realise that in this crisis some of their own best officers have also disappeared without trace. It is more than likely that the Internet will crash. However, the Antichrist will soon get it up and running again in order to enforce his leadership of the iniquitous New World Order.

What will happen to children?

Jesus will take in the Rapture all children who have not yet reached the age of accountability. They will not be left behind to suffer the terrifying events of the next seven years. Likewise, pregnant women who are not raptured will suddenly find themselves no longer pregnant because, by the mercy of God, their babies have been taken to safety in Heaven where they will be raised by the Angels. On earth, all Maternity Hospital cots will instantly be emptied, to the indescribable consternation of parents and nurses.

What will happen to Christians who are left behind?

For those Christians who are left behind when Jesus comes (because they were living for themselves and not for Him – the ‘worldly church’) the Tribulation will be a purging and purifying process. However, they will emerge in the end shining brightly like the sun, to receive their eternal reward in Heaven. The Holy Spirit will guide all believers throughout the critically dangerous Tribulation years by warning them of the enemy’s whereabouts, for example, and leading them to safe hiding places.

The precious gifts of the Spirit (See 1 Corinthians 12) will be fully operational during the Tribulation. The gifts of the Word of Wisdom, the Word of Knowledge, Prophecy and Faith will be vital to them in those hazardous times. The gifts of Healings, and the Working of Miracles, will be greatly needed during those critical years too. All believers on the earth will be Spirit-filled at this time; they could not survive the Tribulation otherwise. Doctrinal differences will have long since have failed to be an issue.

Many will turn to Jesus immediately after the Rapture

Huge numbers of people will be born again immediately after the Rapture. Some will be astounded to see that Jesus did indeed rise again from the dead. Every eye will see Him coming in the skies, and nobody on earth will be able to deny any longer that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today. Others will learn with a shock that family and friends who had warned them about the Rapture were right after all. However, they will not be left on earth to go through the Tribulation without the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. It is believed that Ministering Angels will also be on the earth to help newly born-again Christians.

Some readers may already know that, for at least twenty-five years, certain caring Christians have been fulfilling their calling to prepare safe houses for Christians during the Tribulation. These dedicated believers have been equipping such places with everything that could be needed. Some mature Christians have even offered to stay behind instead of being taken in the Rapture in order to help those who will be going through the Tribulation. I know of one intercessor who bravely volunteered, but the Lord told her that He has other plans for her.

When will the Rapture take place?

A close study of Matthew 24 throws some light on this question. In the King James Version of the Bible the three distinct time zones referred to by Jesus are separated by the word ‘then’ in verses 9 and 16.

In Matthew 24: 4-8 we read a graphic description of the days in which we are currently living, and have been experiencing for many years:

#. Verse 5: many will come preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, claiming to be Jesus Himself, and will deceive many.

#. Verse 6. there will be many wars, and rumours of wars being on the verge of breaking out.

#. Verse 7: nations will rise up against each other, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be severe famines, epidemics on a large scale, and earthquakes worldwide in places where earthquakes had not been known before.

#. Verse 8: Jesus sums up this unsettling period as “the beginning of sorrows.”

THEN. . . It is suggested by theologians that Matthew 24: 9-15 describes the first three and a half years of the seven year Tribulation:

THEN. . . It is suggested that Matthew 24: 16-27 describes the second half of the Tribulation: a time of increasingly severe misery.

Who is the Bride?

We are currently living in the Church Age – the Age of Grace: the period between the Resurrection of Jesus and His coming again in the skies to take His Bride to Heaven to be with Him forever. The Bride consists of Christians who are living for Jesus only, not for themselves; they have made themselves ready for His return and are expecting His coming. Notice the significance here of our first picture: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” Colossians 3: 4, KJV. The Bride of Christ is head over heels in love with her heavenly Bridegroom. He IS her life. Scripture makes it clear that only these Christians will be taken in the Rapture. Jesus is coming for those who give Him first place in their lives and honour Him in everything. The Bride resembles her Bridegroom.

Indications that the Rapture will be before the Tribulation

#. In Revelation chapters 1-3, we read the letters written to the seven churches in Western Turkey. “The seven churches become a representation of all churches, for the number seven denotes completeness, fullness, wholeness, and perfection.” Dr Brian Simmons’ footnote to Revelation 1: 4 in The Passion Translation New Testament.

#. Then in Revelation chapter 4 we read of the catching up (rapture) of the Apostle John into the throne room in Heaven: “After this I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future. At once I came under the [Holy] Spirit’s power, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne!” Revelation 4:1-2, Amplified Bible.

#. It is highly significant that neither the word ‘church’ nor ‘churches’ is mentioned again throughout the Tribulation period shown to the Apostle John, and so graphically described by him in the book of Revelation. It is clearly not the intention of God that the church should go through the Tribulation. In future articles we will examine how we may ensure that we are ready for the coming of our Heavenly Bridegroom.

#. Scripture consistently makes it clear that God’s perfect will was not that believers should have to endure the Tribulation period. The Apostle Paul wrote, ” And now you eagerly expect His Son from Heaven – Jesus, the deliverer, whom he raised from the dead and who rescues us from the wrath to come” 1 Thessalonians 1: 10, TPT.

#. This view is further corroborated by Paul in the same letter, “God has not destined us to experience wrath” 1 Thessalonians 5: 9, TPT.

#. Luke writes about making sure that we are ready for Jesus’ return, making it clear that we can indeed escape the Tribulation, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” Luke 21: 36, KJV.

#. 1 Thessalonians 5: 3 states in the context of the Lord’s return, “When people are saying, All is well and secure, and, There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction (ruin and death) will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child: and they shall by no means escape, for their will be no escape” AMP.

NOTE: this sudden destruction will come upon them, not us, because we are well aware of the Rapture that is shortly to take place, and are learning how to get ready so that we will not be caught unprepared.

Why the Rapture can neither be Mid-Trib nor Post-Trib

No man knows the hour of the Lord’s return (Matthew 24, verses 36, 42 and 44). However, we know from the Book of Daniel that the Tribulation period begins with a seven year covenant. This seven year covenant is generally believed to be a peace treaty made by the Antichrist to give lasting peace between Israel and the Arab nations. This means that if the Rapture was “mid-Tribulation” or “post-Tribulation we could easily pinpoint the time of Jesus’ return from that date of the signing of that peace treaty. Jesus clearly states in Scripture that no man would know the time of the Rapture, but His Father only. The Pre-Tribulation view is irrefutable.

Make Sure You are Ready!

Note from So Greatly Loved

I intend to share much more teaching in future articles on how to be ready for the return of Jesus for His Bride. This is teaching that has revolutionised my own life, and which I have been encouraged to publish. You may find these articles that I have already published helpful: “Get Ready for Your Journey” and “Jesus Teaching on ‘Without Love You will Not Be Taken in the Rapture.'”

Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts by Dr Brian Simmons. Copyright 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified Bible, copyright 1954, by the Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.