One area of prophecy that is the most significant for the Christian believer is the expectation of Jesus Christ’s return for the Church. The pre-tribulation rapture is the moment when Christ comes in the air to catch away all who are spiritually ready. The rapture is the doorway between two opposite worlds. On earth we have sin, suffering, and strife. In heaven, there is nothing but holiness, happiness, and cries of “hallelujah.”
“The dead in Christ will rise, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord” (1 Thes 4:16-17).
“Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality”(1 Cor 15:51-53).
Because the pre-tribulation rapture is likely to be the next major event on God’s calendar, it is all-important to be cognizant of the rapture’s nearness. If you should find yourself left behind, you’d suffer a double tragedy of missing out on the splendor of heaven and having to face the various judgments God will be pouring out on the earth.
The rapture is clearly something any person with a logical mind would not want to miss. Unfortunately, most people are unprepared to meet the Lord Jesus. One of the biggest reasons for the lack of readiness has to be the fact we are drowning in a sea of warning signs.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Mat 24:33-34).
Final Warning Incorporated
Authors of prophecy books have a natural tendency to aim for book titles that imply the most dire scenario. I’ve run across dozens of books and sermons that have the phrase “final warning” in their titles.
I know those words sound catchy, but they imply that you should not expect any more warnings from the author. For the sake of continuity, if not honesty, any subsequent books by the same writer should be given titles such as “Final Warning 2,” “Final Warning 3,” or “More Final Warnings.”
Asahel Nettleton wrote a sermon entitled, “The Final Warning.” I was never able to determine when he wrote it, but I do know Nettleleton died in 1844. More than 150 years later, we still have plenty of “final warnings” in publication. Here are a few book titles from the past few years:
The Final Warning
The Final Warning: Your Survival Guide to the New Millennium
God’s Trumpet Call: A Final Warning
Jesus’ Final Warning
God’s Final Warning to America
666: The Final Warning
The Last Day: The Final Warning
Final Warning: Daniel’s Prophecies Decoded
A Final Warning to America
I’ve talked to some of these authors, and most of them seem to believe that it doesn’t matter if the passage of time has thrown doubt upon their “final warning” cries. They assert that their main goal in writing the books was to make people aware of the approaching end times.
In the story of the boy who cried “wolf!” the young lad was certainly active in warning the villagers, but we all know he eventually warned them a little too often. A “final warning” title may increase sales of books, but if the Lord Jesus fails to return on cue, everyone who has read these books will become immune to the end-time message.
“Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet 3:4).
Jesus Did Say He’s Coming Back
When I talk to unsaved people about the rapture and world events, 90% of them agree with the validity of Bible prophecy. Most of them even admit that we are headed towards the tribulation hour. If I try to tell them we might be getting near to the end, that’s when I get strong opposition from them. “Not in our lifetime,” is the average reply I receive. I always try to reason with them by saying, “You agree Jesus is coming back, and the likelihood of His return only increases each year. Because there is nothing to prevent Him from returning, why not at least be open to the possibility?”
A large portion of the population strongly refuses to consider the prospect of prophecy being fulfilled in our generation. In all honesty, many of these people probably have a good reason for not wanting to see the end times: the start of the tribulation would signal their doom.
In most wars in which two main forces are at odds, it’s historically common for fighters to realize they’re on the losing side and then defect to the side that’s winning. This is particularly true in tribal conflicts. If you’re not in Jesus’ camp, you’re on the losing team. For the time being, sinners still have the opportunity to abandon their loyalty to Satan and to realign themselves as soldiers in God’s army. Once Jesus returns to earth, it will become too late for someone to change his or her allegiance.
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17).