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  • rapture ready

Is the Church Rapture Ready?

This article discusses whether or not the church and individuals in it are rapture ready.

You may wish to listen to this beautiful old song by Larry Norman as you read this article.

I have a great concern. I wonder is the church rapture ready in America?

I will never forget an experience I had when I was fifteen years of age. I had been working on my first job, came home and went to sleep.  When I woke up it was late in the evening, the sun was setting.  I started to look for my family. I went into the kitchen, and it seemed as though dinner was still being served except for the fact my family wasn’t there.  One plate still had food on it. There was a spoon on the floor.  Further investigation revealed that the water was running in the sink, and that both of the cars my parents owned were still in the driveway. A thought went through my head that instantaneously I knew must be true. I had missed the rapture. I was left behind.  Terror seized my heart. Tears filled my eyes. My mind raced across the sinful lifestyle I had been living.  How could it be?  I was sure glad to see the family come home from ice cream with some friends who had dropped by and quickly realized they had all ridden together.

I wasn’t rapture ready. I was practicing a lifestyle of sin. I had left Him out of my life. I didn’t believe. Had that been the real deal, I would have been left. I wonder if that experience will happen for many of the people who attend churches or used to attend churches across America.  Only for those millions of people, it will not be the real thing. We know it will happen for those who don’t believe the gospel, but I wonder is the church rapture ready?

Jesus last words given in the book of Revelation 22:20 NKJV “He who testifies to these things  says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”  As a student of bible prophecy for many years, there is not one thing that must be happen before the rapture. It is imminent. It is at the door. I believe it could occur at any moment.

Paul describes the rapture of the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Some have said, “the word rapture isn’t even in the bible.”  John Ankerberg writes in his post the following explanation of why that word is not found in your English bible:  “The word Rapture comes from the Latin Vulgate (which is the Latin Bible) rendering of raptus from which we get the popular term Rapture. So if you were reading your Latin Bible and you got down to verse 17 you would see raptus, rapture. That’s where the Bible teaches the Rapture.”

One day millions of Christians will go missing, they will be “caught up” to be with Christ. The rest of those on planet earth will be left behind to see the end of this age. I don’t want to be there.  I think that many will not be ready on that day. It is not that I want to judge anyone. This post is simply a warning that prophecy is real, and we have to be prepared.

I want to give you three reasons why the church is not rapture ready?

  1. Many are deceived into thinking that they are right with God and in fact are not right with God.

Simply repeating a prayer, or joining a church, or doing good works will not save a person.  We must have an experience with God where we are born again.  Part of that experience will be that we turn from sin and to God.  We repent from our former way of life and turn away from the things we have done that have broken God’s laws and trust in what Christ did on the cross. Intellectual assent is not enough.  Saving faith is accompanied by a godly sorrow that leads to repentance.

Jesus said these words in Matthew 7:22-23  “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

In other words, Jesus predicted people who are involved even in power ministry of casting out demons will be so deceived that they know Christ and yet Jesus says here that he does not know them, and he tells them that they “practice lawlessness”.  The worst three words ever heard by human ears at the judgment will be “depart from me.”  While sobering words, Jesus warning to us is strong motivation to search our hearts so we are really ready.

How do I know if I have the right foundation for my life? Paul told Timothy what that foundation looks like in 2 Timothy 2:19  “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” If you want to be sure you are right with God depart from iniquity.

You know you are rapture ready when you have settled your heart with Christ and live in full assurance of faith.

Others may be saved but not rapture ready as in the following points:

  1. Many lack passion for Christ and do not live careful lives or share their faith.

While a study of end time events is not necessary for salvation, it certainly is a positive motivator to live for God.  I have discovered that many in this generation bring Jesus into their life as an add-on rather than putting Him at the center of their lives.  Studying the end times allows one to see the world from a biblical point of view.  Suddenly, trouble in the Mideast, the moral downfall of the nation, or the moving of church doctrine toward apostasy all speak of the return of Christ.

When the doctrine of the return of Christ is not taught, the church loses the fire and passion for God.  Most Christians have no understanding of the significance of Israel as a nation, the role the temple mount plays in the end times and many other important things.  Yet ask most people about their favorite movie or sports team and they know a great deal. Don’t get me wrong, I like sports and movies too, but we must get back to the fundamentals.

Chuck Swindoll notes these facts:

  • One out of every 30 verses in the Bible mentions the subject of Christ’s return or the end of time.
  • Of the 216 chapters in the New Testament, there are well over 300 references to the return of Christ.
  • 23 of the 27 New Testament books mention Christ’s return.
  • In the Old Testament, such well-known and reliable men of God as Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, as well as most of the minor prophets mention Christ’s return in their writings.
  • Christ often spoke specifically about His own return to earth.
  • Throughout the centuries, Christ’s disciples and followers have adamantly believed, written, and taught that Christ would someday return to earth.
  • The Bible teaches it. The apostles declared it and wrote about it. The creeds include it and affirm it.

So when is the church going to get back to teaching it?

That passion for Christ  and the looking for his return causes us to do the following two things.

First it causes us to purify our lives. 1 John 3:3  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”   This is a good thing! If we are really looking for his appearing we would be ready. When out of town guests are known to be arriving, the house should be clean and ready.  Jesus could return any moment. How is your spiritual house?

Secondly, it causes believers to share their faith. The internal motivation that those we know and love who have rejected Christ or have walked away from Him drives us to pray and share our faith.  Another person is the only thing you can take to heaven.

How about you? Are you rapture ready? Please leave a comment below.

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About the Author:

Bob Millsaps is a graduate of North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the pastor of Fountain of Life Christian Center in Houston, Texas. He is happily married to his wife Jureen and they have three sons, and one grandaughter. Bob has served the Assemblies of God as a missionary, pastor, youth pastor, and evangelist. Bob currently resides in Katy, Texas

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