I received the following email from a co-worker today… and seeing that this is a topic that comes up quite often in Christian debate, and it is something that some people have very strong feelings about, I thought I would share it, and my reply, with you.
I've read so much in the past few months from the Bible about the end times. It is NOW, I believe. As far as I can discern, everything is in order for the rapture.
You know much more about it than I do--how do you feel and what do you know in that it is time for the rapture?
"The Rapture" is a much debated issue among theologians.
We often can get very isolated in our local churches... and thereby we often believe that everyone else believes exactly what our local church pastor(s) have told us over the years is the only valid interpretation of end time events.
- There are those who believe the church will be raptured out before the Great Tribulation.
- There are those who believe the church will be raptured out after the first 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation.
- There are those who believe the church will go through all of the Great Tribulation.
All quote scripture to back up their position, and most can make a pretty good case... However, I personally have found each of these positions, and the arguments of the men who promote them, not wholly convincing when examined against the light of all that the Scriptures say concerning the end of time. In other words, I find holes in each position that I am unwilling to just ignore… Perhaps in time God will allow me to understand this issue even greater, and I may come to a settled opinion on who has gotten it right, but I am not there yet.
With all of that said, I can find nothing in Scripture that is yet to be fulfilled in order for the rapture to take place… and nothing that would cause me to believe it will happen in the next 5,000 years or more. Therefore, I have intended to live my life prepared to meet my God at the next moment, and to live my life in faithful service preparing the next generation, and the ones that may follow to do the same for as many years, and as many generations, as the Lord in his mercy may stay his hand of judgment.
Grace for the Journey,