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Living in the Age of Signs

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4 Things Every Christian Should Know About the Rapture

Discussion of the End Times and the Rapture can raise questions, apprehension, and fear. "Why do I need to study prophecy?" "It is too complicated, and I don't understand what it means." "It makes me anxious." Even for long–time Christians, prophecy can seem overwhelmingly complex. At first glance, passages written two thousand years ago appear disconnected from modern life. But if we accept this limited perspective, we will miss the rich truth God has provided for us. We cannot understand where we are now if we do not understand where we are going.

As we delve into this challenging subject, let's explore biblical answers to four of the most frequently asked questions about the Rapture.

1. What signs indicate that the End Times are near?

The Rapture—the raising of the Church into heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:17)—is the next event on the prophetic calendar. The following four signs suggest the Rapture is near.

The Sign of Deception
Many people will claim to be the Messiah and claim to have the answers for a troubled world. Jesus says to "take heed"—literally to keep our eyes open so we are not fooled. In the End Times, people will be crying desperately for leaders to deliver them, and they will seek mystics and religious leaders who claim to have deeper knowledge.

The Sign of Disputes Among Nations
The book of Revelation tells us that the Tribulation will be filled with war—ceaseless, unending, terrible war—that will escalate until the entire world is involved. As we move toward the End Times, there will be increasing conflicts, border skirmishes, race wars, and national battles.

The Sign of Devastation
Today, millions of people in the world are going hungry, even though God has blessed our planet with abundance. Famine will intensify as the Rapture draws near. Scripture also anticipates increasing earthquakes, which has been confirmed by science. Finally, Christ spoke of pestilence, and our world is already experiencing the spread of tragic, uncontrollable new diseases.

The Sign of Deliverance Into the Tribulation
Just before Jesus returns, there will be an explosion of persecution. This is occurring today with the rise of radical Islam and its aggression against Christians in the Middle East. As we draw closer to the end, many will pay a high price for living out their faith.

2. Why should I avoid determining a date and time for the Rapture?

The fact is, we cannot calculate the day Christ will return for His Church because God has specifically chosen not to reveal it to us.

When the apostles asked Jesus about the future, He replied, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:7–8).

Only God knows the time, and only He knows when time will run out. Future truth impacts our present responsibility. The knowledge that He is coming soon should put urgency into our step and determination into our service.

3. Will I be a part of the Rapture if my body is cremated?

When Scripture says, "The dead in Christ will rise," it is speaking of the bodily resurrection of believers. At that time, the spirits of believers will be united with their perfect and complete resurrection bodies. "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. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18).

If God can accomplish the hard work of calling creation into existence through His spoken words, then it will be no problem for Him to call back the bodies of those who have been swept into the sea, or consumed by fire, or maimed by the attacks of an enemy.

4. What will happen in heaven after the Rapture?

After the Rapture, Christians will come before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgment will not determine whether we are able to enter heaven. Our sins have already been forgiven through the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It will, however, be a time to account for the works we have accomplished on earth, and we will be rewarded accordingly. We will receive positions of authority in the coming Millennium based upon our faithfulness to God while on this earth and for the influence we left behind.

There is so much relevant truth to be discovered in the Bible's prophetic passages! Studying God's plan for the future can help determine what side we will be on when Christ returns. By understanding the Rapture and the events of tomorrow, we will change our view of today!

Further Your Study of Bible Prophecy With Dr. Jeremiah's Study Set

The Book of Signs

31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse

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