The Rapture has been on my mind a lot lately. I believe that it is going to be soon, probably within the next 2 years. Here’s how the Rapture is going to work:
The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
What an exciting time to be alive! But also, how dreadful it will be for those left behind. I don’t believe that there will be a single church (of more than 20 members) that will be completely taken away. The ones left behind will be comprised of those who danced around the edges of Christianity, liking the music, liking the people, perhaps even liking the message, but who had never made a personal commitment. Also among the ones left behind will be those so-called carnal Christians. Those are the ones who prayed the prayer of salvation, they attend church regularly, and honestly believe themselves to be Christians, but their lives do not bear fruit. These people probably have a fish on their car and pray before meals, but there is no real evidence of a change in their heart.
There will also be those who became Christians, but then changed their minds. They may have been enticed away by the so-called pleasures of the world or they may have just bailed when trouble came.
In the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus clearly stated that not all of us will be carried away in the Rapture:
At that time the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the Bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The Bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!” Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.” “No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the Bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with Him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!” But He replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour, (Matthew 25:1-13, emphasis mine).
Oil is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Notice how the foolish virgins think that they can borrow the anointing from the wise ones? There are those who hang around with people who are more spiritual than they are, thinking that their anointing will rub-off onto them. It won’t. The anointing can only come from a personal experience with the Lord, and that will only come with commitment and surrender.
Those left behind are not necessarily going to hell, but they will have to go through the Tribulation, which will be the most terrible period in the all of earth’s history. They will remember what they have learned about the Rapture, and they’ll know what happened to the rest of us. At that time, many of them will finally make a real decision for Christ.
The enemy (the antichrist) is going to deceive the whole earth. His powers of deception will be so strong that even committed Christians will have a hard time not falling for his lies (Matthew 24:4-5). In fact, such deceptions are already being set up, with people investigating how the ancients built the pyramids and Stonehenge. Some of these people have said that the ancients had the help of alien technology. They have concluded that these aliens inhabited the doomed island of Atlantis. These conclusions are supported by the writings of Edgar Cayce. Some people claim that Jesus was an alien. The antichrist will explain the Rapture away by saying that we were abducted by aliens. I assure you, there is no such thing as extraterrestrial aliens. Do not be deceived! If the devil can appear as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), then he can easily disguise himself as an alien.
The Antichrist will have supernatural powers, make no mistake about that. But the source of those supernatural powers will be the devil, himself.
The secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back will continue to do so till He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved, (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, emphasis mine).
Because he will have supernatural powers, people will believe what he says, no matter how ridiculous. He will likely claim to be the reincarnation of Jesus or Jesus returned to earth. Jesus will not return to earth until the end of the Tribulation, which will take place over a 7 year period of time.
At some point, the antichrist will require all the inhabitants of the earth to receive a tattoo, or more likely an implanted microchip into their right hand or forehead that will allow them to buy and sell. That is the mark of the beast:
It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666, (Revelation 13:16-18, emphasis mine).
Those who are left behind who don’t take the mark of the beast will be beheaded—if they are caught:
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years, (Revelation 20:4, emphasis mine).
Notice I say if they are caught. My advice to those left behind: make a commitment to live for Jesus, and find a remote place—hide! But if you must choose, have the faith and courage to lose your head for Jesus (literally!).
Best of all, make a commitment now! I have written about missing flights and trains because of divine appointments (see I Missed the Train and Chapter 11 of my book Laughing in my Dreams). But believe me, this is one flight you do not want to miss! God is good!