The coming of christ has many different names, categories, and definitions. There are different beliefs on what is going to happen, when it will happen, how it will happen, and the timing of all the things that are going to happen. People have different interpretations of Revelations and therefore hardly anyone believes the same thing when it comes to the rapture of the church. I mean, no one knows honestly, so I guess it would be more accurate to say that no one's guesses are exactly the same.
The other night as I sat down to eat a dinner with my boyfriend and his family, this exact discussion arose. Some of his family believe one thing, some believe the opposite, and the rest really do not know (I fall into that category). To catch you up:
Belief #1: Rapture First- People who believe in this theory say that the current followers of Christ will be raptured first (aka, taken from this earth to spend eternity with Jesus) and then the Tribulations that is outlined in the book of Revelations will take place. Followed by the tribulation, the people who realized they had missed out the first time and would like to dedicate their lives to Christ would be given a chance to do so. The "second rapture" will occur (this is when many people believe 144,000 Jews will realize Jesus is the Messiah they had been looking for and will also be saved) and then the full-out war between God's people and Satan's people will occur. Obviously Satan is defeated and we spend eternity as God's bride.
Belief #2: Tribulation First- People who believe in this theory believe that everyone on earth, believers and non believers alike, will be suddenly thrust into the tribulation that Revelations outlines. After that, there will be one and only one rapture of the people of God and then the fight between heaven and hell will commence.
Obviously these theories go much deeper and each have valid scriptural evidence to back up the claims. If you've by chance never taken a look at Revelations, its extremely symbolic and hard to interpret. It certainly goes above and beyond human understanding, as I believe God meant for it to go. My point I want to make here today is, are you ready for either option?
It would be easy and comforting to believe that we christians get to be raptured first and skip all the pain and suffering that comes with option 2. I think its safe to say that we all would prefer this to happen. The question is, however, what if it doesn't? What if option 2 is actually most accurate. What if you and I and our babies have to live through the years of tribulation, something that is quite literally hell on earth,? Are you ready to still worship God and still believe that He is good?
Sadly, I think the answer to this question is "no" for a lot of us. If the antichrist himself held a gun to our heads and told us to accept his mark or die in the name of Jesus, many of us would choose the easy way out and take the mark. Even harder, if he held a gun to our children's heads, most parents would most definitely accept the mark. We most definitely would choose satan and sin over Jesus. We absolutely would do what was easiest, what was most just in our own eyes. It would be a no-brainer to continue to conform to this world, a world that Satan controls.
I'm coming with this message today to get you thinking. In this day and age, not very often do we stop to pause and think about this reality. We do not know when Jesus will come to claim his bride. We do not know if we will suffer or if we will be given grace. It could be 10 minutes or days or weeks or years. But are you ready? And are you ready to die for your God? Are you ready to say "Yes, Satan. I follow Jesus and I know that You will be defeated and I will voluntarily let you take my family's life from me right now because I know that we will be in a much, much better place for our faith in Him"? That's a tough statement to spit out. But it's something you have to think about now.
As a near 20-year-old who has her whole life and a college degree ahead of her, this is something really hard to think about. I've been pinning wedding ideas and baby ideas for years now, and I'm finally getting to a point in my life where that very well could be the reality for me in the next 5 years. I could be a new bride with a baby on the way. Thats exciting. Everyone wants to meet Mr. Right and get hitched and pop out some kids and decorate a home together and grow old surrounded by happiness and family. It's literally the American Dream. But honestly, this might not be a reality for me. Jesus could be calling his bride home sooner rather than later. Am I ready to say "take my life and all the dreams and plans I've looked forward to since I could remember. I choose Jesus, not that."..? I think, in all honestly, I am.....