WHAT HAPPENS IN THE RAPTURE & END TIMES?

What’s Happens In The Rapture And End Times?  

When studying the “End Times” in systematic theology it is called the study of “Eschatology”. Let me first start by saying that there is MUCH that could be said about this topic and I have pages and pages of term papers from Seminary to prove it (Hahaha)!! Having said that, what I venture to share with you through my responses below is a very high level yet practical and applicable understanding of these events. My goal is to answer your questions but moreover, to also spur you onward for a much deeper study in God’s Word about these future events Ok, lets dive in!

 

What Is The Tribulation Period?:

During the end times there will come what Scripture calls the “tribulation” period or also spoken of as the “Day of the Lord” (Isiah 2:12) (Joel 3:14) (1 Thessalonians 5:2). It will be a seven-year period of time coming in the future where God will complete His discipline of Israel while also issuing his judgment on all unbelievers in the world. The “Beast” (Revelation 13) also known as the “Antichrist” will come into power at this time. Half way through the 7-year period the Antichrist will show his true nature and will demand to be worshipped as God (Revelation 13:1-18). The last half of those seven years is referred to as the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:15-30) because the wrath of God will greatly intensify on the earth during this time. Under the rule of the Antichrist, the wickedness of man will have reached its peak, and it is met with God’s wrath against sin. God will unleash the “seven bowls of wrath” upon the earth and they will be the most severe and intense judgements the world has ever witnessed before (Revelation 16:1-18:24). It will be a horrific experience for those on earth at that time.

 

After all of these events conclude, Jesus will return (commonly called his “Second Coming”) to begin his millennial rule on Earth for 1,000 years of peace and prosperity. During this time Satan will be imprisoned by God. Upon conclusion of His 1,000 year reign Satan will be released for a short time where the nations will again be deceived and will mount a rebellion against the Lord but it will end quickly and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 20:7-10). Finally, God will issue his final judgment on all unbelievers since the beginning of time and all of sinful mankind will also be cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 20:11-15). Once this has all been completed, God will usher in a “new” heaven and a “new” earth. The new Jerusalem will descend from Heaven and all believers will live on a renewed and sinless earth with God forever (Revelation chapter 21 and 22).

 

 

What Is The Rapture Of The Church?:

 

The “Rapture” is what we call the event that takes place prior to the “tribulation period” that I spoke of above. On this day, all believers will be removed from the earth to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). God removes the church so believers will be spared from the hour of trial and wrath that will be coming to the world (Revelation 3:10) (1 Thessalonians 5:9). While the word “Rapture” is not actually in the Bible, we use that term because it means “A carrying off, a transport, or a snatching away” which perfectly aligns with the concept of what Scripture teaches about this event. The Rapture is something that every follower of Christ should eagerly anticipate. It will be a moment where in the blink of an eye, we will finally be free from all sin and will be in the presence of the Lord forever. There is no restriction in Scripture that prevents the rapture from occurring at ANY moment. It could literally happen today or it could be hundreds or more years from now. No one knows the day or the hour so its important that we live our lives every day knowing that the Lord could call us up to heaven at any given time.

Following the rapture of the church, all resurrected and raptured believers will then face the judgement seat of Christ (also referred to as the “Bema Seat” or the “Rewards Seat”). This is not a judgement of sins nor salvation. This is a judgement of our works committed during our life on earth. Good works done with poor motives will be burned up but works done with good motives and in obedience to the Lord will be rewarded with what the Bible commonly refers to as “crowns”. (2 Corinthians 5:10) (Romans 14:10-12) (2 Timothy 2:5) (2 Timothy 4:8) (James 1:12) (1 Peter 5:4) (Revelation 3:11). Remember, the rapture and the Judgement seat of Christ both occur prior to the start of the tribulation period. 

 

Finally, I just want to clarify that as discussed above, the rapture is not the same event as Christ’s second coming. These are two distinctly different events. The rapture takes place prior to the tribulation period and we will ascend upward to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:17). After the great tribulation ends, Christ’s second coming will occur (Matthew 24:29-30) and He will descend from the clouds and be visible to all (Revelation 1:7).

 

As I mentioned in the opening, my responses are very high level and meant to serve as a launching pad for you to go deeper into these important events in Scripture. The “end times” (Eschatology) is a very in-depth area of study but I believe that it pleases God when He sees his children spend time stretching themselves and worshipping him with their minds (Mark 12:30).  Keep it up!       

Closing Prayer:

 

"Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the comfort found in your Word. Thank you for the peace of knowing that there will come a day when you will rapture your church to protect them from your wrath and judgments to come. Thank you for saving me …….In Jesus name, Amen”.

God bless,

Stephen Matthews

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