The Rapture and the End Times
When Daniel asked if I would like to post a topic on his blog, my first thought was what an honor it is. Daniel is an amazing man of God, trustworthy, reliable, has a soft heart, and you can count on him to never put God in a box – because Daniel never thinks inside the box anyway.
My name is Jesse Walker, I’m the host of a radio program called “The Unwinding Path” on KXEG 1280AM in Phoenix, and do a lot of guest speaking at churches, conferences and college groups. Some of my most requested messages are “Proving the Resurrection of Jesus,” “The Science of Genesis,” and, with the uproar about December 21st 2012, “The Rapture and The End Times,” among others.
I have been studying what the Bible says about the end times (aka Eschatology), for years, and, though God’s Word makes it clear that no man knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ return (whether the rapture or the second coming), I have often wondered how I would live differently if I knew Jesus was coming back at a specific time. One of the main ideas I have is that I would sell most of my possessions and give the money to the poor and hungry (Luke 12). Another is that I would tell as many people as I could, as fast as I could, about Jesus (Matt 28).
To get to the basics then, the rapture and the second coming are two separate events and are often times confused and mis-understood. On top of all this, there are many differing views about this subject. For the sake of time I will condense this blog to focus on the rapture, and the view that the majority of Christians believe about the rapture, namely pre-tribulationism.
The rapture is an event that will occur sometime in the future at which time Jesus will come back in the clouds (and will not come down to the earth) and call all Christians up to heaven. Sometime after this event, Jesus will come back to earth and set up His earthly kingdom. Please note that they are not the same event but two totally separate events. First the rapture happens then the second coming (where Jesus will actually come back to the earth).
Years ago I ask God to show me the truth about the rapture since there are so many views held by many good Christian people. On any issue I simply want to know truth, whether it’s good or bad. Here’s what God allowed me to believe: That the rapture (where Jesus comes back in the clouds and calls all Christians up to heaven) would occur before the 7 year tribulation period.
However, in the last few months I started digging even deeper into God’s Word. As I did, I forced myself to question, not only my beliefs about the rapture, but also everything I had ever heard from Bible prophecy teachers. Let me stop right here and say that I still believe that the rapture will occur, but after careful study of God’s word (consulting even the Greek New Testament), what I found is nothing like any of the teachings out there. In fact, the pre-tribulationists will probably call me a pre-wrather and the pre-wrathers will probably call me a heretic. After God showed me this new information, I asked Him why He allowed me to believe something that wasn’t fully accurate. His response was “You asked me to show you the truth, but you weren’t strong enough to handle it until now.”
I believed and taught the “typical” pre-tribulation rapture doctrine for more than a decade. I still call myself a pre-tribulationist when it comes to the rapture, but it does not occur in the timeline of Revelation the way most pre-tribulationists teach it.
Having said all that, I see Revelation, and what the Bible teaches about the end times more clearly than I’ve ever seen it before, and am currently working on the teaching about the subject for one of our upcoming radio programs.
I would appreciate your thoughts. I know this can be a sensitive subject and I want everyone to remember that salvation is not based on what one believes about the end times, but that Jesus is our risen savior!
I might also like to use some of your thoughts on one of our upcoming programs so please post your name and town if you comment.
You may read Matt 24 and 25, 1 Thess 4, and Revelation (among many others) for scriptural basis.