Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed --
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
I Corinthians 15: 51-52
Surreal, the times we live in are surreal. The definition of surreal, according to Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary, is: "having the intense irrational reality of a dream."
Doesn't the thought of the rapture of believers in Jesus Christ seem surreal? Like a dream that it even could happen? The fact that we will hear a trumpet, the dead in Christ will rise from their graves and we will be changed in the smallest amount of time, doesn't it sound "preposterous"? (As Chuck Missler states when talking about the rapture.)
But that is the "blessed hope" of the Church, and as my pastor says, "Don't mess with my blessed hope!" Churches that teach there is no rapture, or that we must go through the tribulation are in fact doing that, messing with our hope. I just read in Titus about the blessed hope:
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself [His] own special people, zealous for good works." Titus 2: 11-14
Jesus told us that we would not know the day or the hour, but He did say we can know the times and the seasons.
Many might say that people thought they were in the times and seasons throughout the Church Age. Like during World War II, people thought surely that Hitler was the antichrist, especially when the Jews were being eradicated in the ovens of the concentration camp in Germany.
Or in the year 1666, I read that many people thought that was the end of the world, being that it was the year of triple sixes. Even many people thought in 1988 that we would be caught up then.
Now many believers are talking (and arguing!) about the Revelation 12 sign in the constellation of Virgo. This Saturday, September 23, on the Feast of Trumpets the planet Jupiter will exit the womb of the constellaton Virgo. All the features of Revelation 12: 1-2 will be in place in this particular sign from the heavens.
Revelation 12: 1-5"Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne."
So many, many in the Body of Christ believe that possibly this might be the day that the Church, whom they say is the Child, (not the male Child, who is Christ) will be caught up to meet the Lord. Even the word for "caught up" is harpazo, the same Greek word used in I Thessalonians 4:17:
"Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."The point of this blog is not to argue that this is going to happen this weekend. But the surrealities among us with hurricanes, monsoons, people losing their minds, artificial intelligence, Israel being back in the land and so forth sure sounds like the end of the end times. In Luke 21: 25, Jesus described these end times and they sound just like today's headlines:
Oh, and by the way, today, September 21, 2017 just happens to be the UN's International Day of Peace. No matter that it says I Thessalonians 5:2-3:"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;"men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
Though there have been many arguments about this Revelation 12 sign, and what it means, it seems the Body of Christ has become polarized over this very issue. I have not wanted to say much about it, for fear of others scoffing at me, if the truth were known."For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape."
With all that, I believe that the catching up could happen this weekend. Or it could happen later this fall. Maybe even later than that. God Himself knows the perfect time, and that is enough for me.
I am not going to stake my claim on a particular day, but I do want to be ready. For even though this seemingly absurd event called the Rapture is scoffed at by the world, it is going to happen. My greatest test is overcoming the lukewarm test, being blase or consumed with arguing with others about the whole thing.
The only way I can do this is to keep looking to my gracious Lord and Savior. Though there are millions of distractions: books, movies, tweets, facebook posts and snapchats, He calls me simply to bear His yoke daily. Bearing it is the most wonderful and gracious thing I ever get privileged to do. The yoke that Christ asks me to wear is, in the Greek, chrestos (5543 Strong's).
"Christ's yoke is chrestos, as having nothing harsh or galling about it." (page 2327, Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible, ESV, 2013)Let's just work on being ready for that Day.