The other day I was driving my son and daughter to school when my son started a game of “Would You Rather.” We frequently play this game to pass time in the car. Usually, the two alternatives he gives are superpowers. This time when he asked, “Would you rather fly or…” I stopped him. “Son, there’s not many things I would rather do than fly.” His response surprised me. “Would you rather see Jesus?” He thought he had found something his dad would rather do than flying, and he was proud of himself.
I am a simple man who uses simple language and thinks simple thoughts, so I used my simple ways to explain to my son that when Jesus calls us, the Church, to meet Him in the Rapture, we will fly to Him in the clouds where we will see Him face to face. Therefore, I will be able to fly AND see Jesus on the same day! I went on to tell my son how there is NOTHING I would rather do than see Jesus. On that day when “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), I will have my greatest desire granted.
My children have asked many questions about the Rapture. In answering their questions, I have been able to do what Paul commanded us all to do in 1 Thessalonians 4:18: to “comfort one another with these words.” All believers, in fact, are instructed to anticipate our Savior’s return. Paul tells us that there is “a crown of righteousness” that the Lord, “the righteous Judge,” has reserved for “all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:18).
What is a glad day for believers, though, is a fearful day for unbelievers; after the Rapture of the Church will be the Great Tribulation. The seven-year Tribulation will be a terrible time to be alive. Satan’s “son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) will enforce his will on this earth. He will persecute the Jews and any who refuse the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17).
When Jesus Christ came the first time, the Jews denied Him as their Lord and Savior. They saw His miracles, they heard His teachings, but they still denied Him. However, through the events of the Rapture and the Great Tribulation there will be no doubt who the King of Kings is. Of course some will still deny the truth. Perhaps they will claim it was aliens who took the missing people. Those unbelievers who reject the truth will neither hear nor understand because, like the Jews of Jesus’ day, they will have blinded eyes and hardened hearts (John 12:40). God will send them “strong delusion,” and they will believe the lies of the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:8-11). For the Jews, the events of the Tribulation will be signs (Luke 21:25-26); some of them will turn to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But they will believe amid great suffering. Jesus explained that just before His coming “shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). The Tribulation period will end triumphantly, however; the Lord Jesus will arrive on earth to destroy His enemies, including the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:8), and to establish His millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:1-4).
On one hand, I eagerly look forward to the Rapture. I anticipate the thrill of flying through the air to meet my Savior, Jesus Christ, in the clouds. On the other hand, the great judgment that comes after the Rapture will be damning to the unbelievers left behind. With that coming judgment in mind, we are encouraged by Paul’s words to Timothy to “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2) so that we may save as many as we can from the coming day of evil (Proverbs 16:4) and from eternity in hell. The same One “which testifieth these things” of the Tribulation also says, “Surely I come quickly. Amen.” And so we pray with John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
The above article was written by Jonathan Thornton. He is a military veteran and member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at email@example.com.
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