In the Blink of an Eye

Rapture 4  Many people wonder about the rapture. Is it real? When will it happen? Perhaps you’ve heard someone say that the word “rapture” isn’t even in the Bible, so why does it get talked about? Or maybe your pastor hasn’t talked about the rapture at all, and you’re wondering what I am on about here. Well, the rapture of the church is a big deal and it’s probably closer than we think so it seems worth exploring a bit. So the goal of this blog is a cursory discussion on the topic.

In a nutshell, the rapture is when Jesus comes for his church. The Apostle Paul described it this way: “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52) No one knows the exact date or hour this will happen, but it will happen suddenly, in a moment, and it will happen quickly, in the blink of an eye. First the Christians who have died are raised, then we Christians still living are transformed.

As I mentioned, we do not know exactly when this happens, but we are correct to surmise that it occurs just before the seven year tribulation period. We can confidently come to this conclusion when we analyze the Biblical text as a whole and, in so doing, we see a promise that believers will be protected from the “time of testing” as in Revelation 3:10: “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” Further, verses such as John 14:3 and Thessalonians 4:16-18 clearly do not include judgement as is found in other verses (ie: Matthew 13:34-50 and Revelation 19:11-21) about Christ’s second coming. From this we conclude the rapture is “pre-tribulation”.

But is the word “rapture” even in the Bible? Well, the word “Bible” isn’t even in the Bible, so maybe this question is more of a distraction than a legitimate inquiry. Still, the word we find in Scripture is “harpazō” which is a Greek word meaning “to snatch or catch away”. According to Vine’s expository dictionary this word conveys the idea of force suddenly exercised. It is used in several places, including Acts 8:39 in reference to Philip being “snatched away” by the Spirit of the Lord and in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 in reference to Paul being “caught up” to the third heaven. So we can dispel the argument that “rapture” is not in the Bible, for it is simply our modern word for harpazō.

The Bible tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) so because the rapture is clearly mentioned in the Bible we know it is real. Philip was raptured to God in Acts 8:39; the Apostle Paul was raptured to the third heaven, and Christians fortunate enough to be living at the right time will one day be raptured to God without ever experiencing death. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, should find this very exciting! Paul wrote to those on Thessalonica: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

So we should find the coming rapture very encouraging and we can encourage one another by discussing and acknowledging the coming rapture as our blessed hope. Space does not allow me to discuss in great depth the reasons we have to believe the rapture is closer than ever, perhaps even likely in our lifetimes (depending on how old you are now), but one “super sign” happened when Israel became a nation again in 1948. As Jesus shared in Matthew 24:32-34: “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place.”

Mark 13:32 tells us “…no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” So we do not set dates or make specific predictions, but when we do see the signs we have every reason to be hopeful, and if you watch closely, you will see the signs!

For further reading on the subject, I’m happy to recommend these resources:

Don Stewart: Educating Our World

Behold Israel

Olive Tree Ministries

Dr. Mark Hitchcock

Let us now eagerly await our blessed hope: “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Happy New Year

2018   How many times have you made a steadfast New Year’s resolution, saying to yourself, this time it’s going to stick? Perhaps you even told your friends, made a pact with a family member, or in some other way determined to assure success. Were you trying to quit smoking, lose weight, stop drinking, or maybe shop less? Maybe you wanted to spend more time with your spouse, or avoid relationships altogether. Maybe you resolved to drive closer to the speed limit? How many times has your resolution failed mere days or even hours after you made it?

Often at this time of year we find ourselves focused on what we want to change about our lives. We look in the mirror and want to change what we see or we gaze at our bank account balance and focus on changing what we spend our money on. Some of us will devote real time and energy into a new diet plan or exercise routine while others may focus on improving our relationships. Still others may decide now is the time to find a new job or make that big geographical change we’ve been dreaming of. Without a doubt, New Year’s has become the time to look forward and plan for the changes we long to make.

But what if tomorrow never comes? Mathematically speaking, the probably exists that at least some of us reading this right now may not live to see New Year’s 2019 and it is in light of that possibility that I wish to emphatically urge each of you reading this to consider the chance that you will not see tomorrow. Psalm 39:4 states: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”  The Bible tells us it is appointed for all to die once, and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27) but that Jesus Christ was sacrificed to take away our sins (Hebrews 9:28) that we might have eternal life with God in heaven (John 3:16). Whether you believe that or not is irrelevant because “It is written, ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” (Romans 14:11)

Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess. That is the reality facing each of us when we die – whether or not we choose to believe it now. The difference is this: those who believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him for their salvation will be saved. And then there is everyone else. As it is written: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12).

So with the finite nature of our earthly lives as a back drop, I want to implore each of you to consider the brevity of your mortal life on this planet, to recognize that physical death is not the end, and to challenge you with the task of accepting the free gift of salvation that is available through Jesus Christ, if you haven’t already. For the temptation, when it comes to our relationship with God, is to assume we have another day…or another hour. The fact is, we may not even have another minute. Please, please, reach out to God now, while there is still time.

And know that accepting Jesus Christ as your savior is a New Year’s resolution that will never fail!

Here are some resources that may help you:

NeedGod.com
Church Finder
Lee Strobel
Answers in Genesis

Take the time, do the research, learn for yourself the truth about God. But do it now, for tomorrow could be too late. Of course, we’re always happy to help answer your questions, too. Email us anytime at ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

God bless.

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Future Things

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For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

As you look at the world around you, what do you see? Everywhere, people are going about their activities, rushing to and fro, seemingly with ant-like singleness of purpose. From a higher vantage point, perhaps that’s even what we look like, ants darting around. And while we hear stories on the news and have at least a casual awareness of international events, we seldom give them much thought, at least not enough to truly affect our plans. Wars, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tsunamis, economic collapses, people dying of starvation or suffering persecution at the hands of oppressive regimes, and so many more things are happening all around the world but life goes on and those things fade into background noise as we focus on executing our own plans. We go forward with every expectation of living our lives to their fullest extent.

But it’s all coming to a climax. We don’t like to think about it, we don’t know much about it, and we mostly try to deny or dismiss it, but despite our ant-like bustling around, way deep down inside each of us knows that there has to be a day of reckoning; that this growing global chaos cannot continue forever; something has to give. Perhaps as evidence of a burgeoning concern for our collective future, attendance at the fall prophecy conference put on by Jan Markell and her Olive Tree Ministries last October was double expected levels. More than 6000 people attended, some waiting in traffic for more than an hour to get inside for this event. Indeed, it seems people are becoming at least more curious about what is to come.

But we don’t have to wonder too hard. God has made it clear in the Bible that the end will come and Jesus will return as he promised. The question really is: when? And Jesus answered that question in Matthew 24:36-44: “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Of course, probably every generation since Jesus ascended to heaven has thought the end was near. So are there any signs right now that signal us we might be truly getting close to the end? Well, certainly the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 is a unique event of epic proportions and a signal we should not ignore. But a little closer look at the world today reveals certain situations that fit with Biblical prophecy as signs of the times. Space here doesn’t allow an exhaustive list, but let’s take a cursory look at some of them.

We’ll start with unrest and lawlessness in Europe. Greece’s fall into near financial ruin and the well-publicized Brexit vote both signal dissension and economic instability in the European union. Meanwhile in Switzerland, the opening ceremony for the Gotthard Base Tunnel showcased a bizarre and tasteless opening ceremony that featured a dancing goatman, which is often symbolic for Satan, with other dancers bowing down in what appears to be an act of mock satanic worship. And more open borders and mass refugee immigration from troubled areas of the world have led to increased terrorist activity leaving citizens and governments alike on edge. Many prophecy experts believe the Antichrist will arise from Europe and the current unrest there certainly seems to be the perfect breeding ground for such a thing to happen.

And we have wars and rumors of wars seemingly in every direction we turn. One country threatens another, terrorists seem to operate everywhere, and North Korea is stirring the pot in the biggest of ways. Rogue nations dabble in nuclear programs while the people of the world watch powerlessly. On December 23, 2016 the UN voted against Israel while Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, abstained from the vote. This seems to align with prophecy in Zechariah 12:3, which speaks of countries aligning against Israel. And, rather obviously, this only adds to the tension in the middle east.

And people are falling away from sound Christian teaching in large numbers. Just as the Apostle Paul prophesied in his second letter to Timothy: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) This is evident in so many ways all across the globe. Even some churches have become nothing more than social and political outreaches, promoting lifestyles and politics completely inconsistent with sound Biblical doctrine.

So we see that there are, indeed, many signs that the end could truly be much closer than any of us care to think. We are called to be watchmen on the wall, praying day and night and sounding the warning, and there seems to be plenty to warn the people about, for indeed, if that day draws near, and it sure looks like it does, then the time to get right with God is now. Right now.

To learn more about prophecy and eschatology, we are proud to recommend these resources to you:

Olive Tree Ministries

Behold Israel

Pastor Mark Hitchcock

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To stay current on Reign Drops, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReignDropsBlog/

Or follow us on Twitter: @ReignDropsBlog

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.