How confident are you about the future for you, your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren?
God is just. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus…on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8,10 NIV
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT END TIMES? The story is told of a person who had become a Christian after hearing the Good News of John 3:16. He had confessed his sin, repented, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord. He was so excited that he would often express his joy by saying he had a one-way ticket to heaven. As time passed and he read God’s Word, he began studying what would happen in the end times. Soon he began sharing how he did not have a one-way ticket but a round trip ticket. People were confused until he said, “Not only will I go to be with my Savior and Lord when I die or when the rapture takes place, but I will also return with Him in His glory when the revelation will take place.”
Two world changing events are coming. There is the rapture of the Church and the revelation of the Lord. What is the difference between them? The first time Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers, he identified the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:1-9. For further references see John 14:1-3; Romans 8:23; 13:11; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Philippians 3:20,21; and Revelation 3:10. In his second letter to the Thessalonian believers, he wrote them to clarify the difference between the rapture and the revelation. See the above Scripture focus. Here is a comparison:
1. The word “rapture” is used to describe Christians meeting Jesus in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 states, “For 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. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” At this event, Jesus is personally coming to take His believers to heaven. Christ is not setting foot on earth just yet. Jesus will only be seen by believers. However, there will be a shocking void because Christians will have vacated earth for heaven. Now look at 2 Thessalonians 1:7. Paul used the word “reveal.” The word “revelation” describes when Jesus comes to judge earth. At this event, Jesus Christ will be seen by everyone on earth. Everyone will have to face the King of kings and Lord of lords.
2. When the rapture takes place, Jesus Christ will be accompanied by the Archangel. Read again the 1 Thessalonians passage. To announce that the rapture is happening, a loud commanding voice will be heard along with the blowing of a trumpet. It will take place as quickly as you blink your eyes. During the revelation, the above Scripture focus indicates Jesus Christ will be accompanied by many powerful angels in a blazing fire. At this appearance, which will be so commanding and captivating, the whole world will finally realize God’s holiness and power.
3. When the rapture takes place, Jesus Christ will come for a peaceable purpose. Believers will be with Jesus forever. Paul told believers to encourage each other with this promise to anticipate. No more wars, sickness, pain, hurt, accidents, etc. What a glorious day that will be! However, when the revelation happens, Jesus Christ will come for the purpose of judgment. Two groups stand out. People who have ignored Jesus or willfully disobeyed Him will face punishment. What a sad day that will be!
4. When the rapture takes place, Jesus will come for all Christians. When the revelation happens, Jesus will come with all Christians. See verse 10. Believers are to share in Christ’s coming for a second time to earth. The first time He came as a baby and died on the Cross for man’s sin. The second time Jesus comes, Christians will come to rule and reign with their Savior, Lord, and King.
SOMETHING TO DO
Having learned how things are to play out in the world, now read the newspaper or listen to the news. Do you see any signs of things pointing to the rapture or the revelation?
SOUL TIME PRAYER
Thank you, Lord God, for convicting me of my sinful ways and separation from You. Thank you for giving me your Word, the Bible, which teaches me and directs me how to live. And thank you that I am now prepared for the end times should You come to rapture believers before I pass from this life to heaven. I long to see you, Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. AMEN!