Salvation and the Rapture

As I was chatting with a gentleman who belongs to a specific faith the other day, the subject of end-time events arose. He said the false Christ would deceive many in the last days and that he hopes he will not be here at that time. I could not help but raise an eyebrow because the Bible, first and foremost, assures all believers and followers of Jesus Christ that they are saved, and it indicates that the church will be caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds ahead of the great tribulation.

Salvation: Numerous verses speak to the assurance of one’s salvation in Christ Jesus. For example, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). Another is, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Still, another is, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Many other verses speak to the assurance of our salvation, and Apostle John sums it up this way: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Rapture: Apostle Paul speaks to what many Christians refer to as the rapture of the church. Now the term rapture only appears in the Latin translation, which means “carried away.” Paul wrote, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:16-18).

The question is: When, according to the prophetic calendar, does the rapture of the church occur? The Bible makes certain that no one except God the Father knows when the rapture will happen, but Scripture does indicate that it will take place before the onset of the tribulation period. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul speaks about a time when the One who now restrains will be removed, and at which time, lawlessness will inundate the earth. The One who now restrains is the work of the Holy Spirit through the church in whom He indwells. In the absence of the Spirit’s work through the church, lawlessness will reign until the antichrist emerges on the scene. The antichrist will come as a peacemaker who deceives many, and his arrival inaugurates the 7-year tribulation.

If you believe and place your faith in the risen Lord Jesus, who is the Christ, you are saved, and best of all, Jesus said no one will ever snatch you out of His hand. As the rebellion against God continues to grow worldwide, there is coming a day when Jesus will return to take His church home to be with Him in heaven forever. Therefore, as Paul concluded, “Comfort one another with these words.”

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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