"In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
It seems as if every Christian is consumed with knowing when the Second Coming is going to happen. The majority of Christians want to go to heaven without having to go through the time of wrath described in the bible. On the other hand, the way some Christians live I am beginning to wonder if some of them want to know the signs of his return but are not preparing for that day.
Ever since I have been a Christian I have heard of the pre-tribulation rapture and how Christ will return. However will we be ready for the day Christ comes for his elect and is there any signs identifying the beginning of what we understand as the tribulation? What I donít understand is each of the gospels uses the words ďafter the tribulation of those daysĒ then you will see the Son of God coming in the clouds of glory. Why would God use these words if we are going to be raptured before the tribulation Jesus Spoke of?
On the other hand, the timing of the pre-tribulation rapture is not clear. In theory the present time could be considered as being a part of the pre-tribulation concept. If that is true, why are we still here?
For the most part, the pre-tribulation doctrine is expounded from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I havenít seen scripture apart from this passage used to support this view, rather it is an interpretation that scriptures appear to contradict. When we read further 1 Thessalonians 5:2 describes the coming of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 as the day of the Lord.
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2
We also learn that the coming of the Lord will come after the wicked man or the lawless one is revealed. This same lawless one will be destroyed with the brightness of his coming.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2 Thessalonians 2:8 KJV
I have also heard that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is not the second coming because Jesus doesnít setfoot on the earth. However, the bible doesnít reveal the exact location where we will meet Jesus in the air. Can we presume that Jesus will set his feet on the earth after he has gathered his elect while descending to the Mount of Olives?
The view for the pre-tribulation rapture adds to the confusion when they tell you that this is not the second coming. The bible doesnít mention a third or fourth coming. Those who believe in the pre-tribulation rapture tend to make each passage on his return stand on its own as if each passage revealed the whole plan of God separately.
Ask a farmer if when he goes into a field to harvest its crop if he stops harvesting when he has 10 bushel to put in his barn. Does the farmer return several times for an additional 10 bushel? Anyone who has watched a farmer reap knows that he goes over his field once to harvest the entire field.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out ó those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. John 5:28-29
The above passages are never mentioned when the pre-tribulation rapture is taught. In fact Daniel 12:2 & John 5:28-29 is rarely proclaimed primarily because it doesnít seem to fit within the most popular beliefs of Christís return. In the same way the day of vengeance and retribution doesnít appear to be applicable for those going to heaven so it too is not proclaimed. However Jesus said
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matthew 5:18
As an ambassador of Christ it not an option to proclaim what applies to the average Christian, instead I have the obligation to present the complete message of his word. The parts I may not agree with or the parts that doesnít appear to be applicable are still within the message he gave me to proclaim. Therefore I have an obligation to make an effort to understand the entire message so I may proclaim my Lordís message.
In other words proclaiming Godís word does not have an option of choice that allows you to proclaim the good stuff only. What the above passage means that the unjust are going to be raised at the same time with those God will reward with eternal life. God is not partial when he reaps the earth of its people he will reap all of mankind. However consider this, when you pick tomatoes off the vine donít you keep the fruit fit for human consumption and throw the bad fruit away? Wonít Jesus do the same?
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:31-32
However, if every person on the earth is raised at the same time what would be the purpose of describing the tribulation that would come upon the earth? Isnít it possible for God use the tribulation to refine his people like silver and gold? That he may receive glory by destroying the man of lawlessness by the splendor of his coming?
The problem is that we want to hear the good stuff that applies to us. What about the bad stuff that happens to the ungodly the people God loves and doesnít want to see them perish? Should the bad stuff compel us to reach out to the ungodly to tell them what is going to happen to them? There is still time to take the gospel into the world that will perish because they donít want to hear about the message of salvation. It is still our task to proclaim his message even when the world doesnít have any need for Christ and refuse to repent. They will perish because it is their choice to reject God and his plan.
As Christians we know we are safe and our eternal destination is secure but what about those who have been deceived and think that they are people of good moral character. Jesus can say I never knew you when the world refuses to make an effort to know him. Have you ever thought that Jesus wants to know where your loyalties lie? Jesus wants you to make him Lord in this day and age because we have the guarantee that he will be Lord of the next age.
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
The day of Salvation is right now and you have the opportunity to repent of your evil ways and make Jesus Lord in your life. The choice to serve Jesus the rest of your life is a choice that gives you eternal life in heaven and Godís Kingdom.