Last Monday, we closed on a new home. The house is new to us, but in actuality, it is 110 years old. The move, by design, is going slow. We did not make the big move of furniture until Saturday and did not spend the night there until then. We still have a lot of little boxes to move, but it’s nothing large.
Along with most everyone else, moving day is a dreaded thing. Unless I have another earthly move before I die, my next move will take place much faster – in the twinkling of an eye; 1 Corinthians 15:52 says, “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.”
Seen in movies, written about in books, preached about in sermons, the rapture of the church has been in the public eye since the late ’60s. Critics claim that all believers being taken at once, basically vanishing off the face of the planet at the same time is preposterous. Disagreements about the rapture are not only between Christian and non-Christian, but also between Christians themselves. Some will claim the biblical wording is symbolic and not literal. There are even some who claim the event has already taken place.
Whenever anyone makes the announcement he or she is leaving the natural questions would be, “ Where are you going? When are you leaving?” In the course of time, thousands of people have made a date for the rapture in an attempt to answer the “when” question. The problem with setting a date is Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only,” Matthew 24:36.
The timing of the rapture is unknown, but Christ did give us hints or signs to watch for to indicate the time is approaching. It’s just like watching the leaves on the trees change from green to the beautiful red, orange and yellows of fall tell us that colder weather and snow is on the horizon. We see the leaves change, and we know winter is coming. We do not know the date or time of the first snowfall, but we know the event is not far away.
Some of the changing leaves we should watch for in anticipation of the rapture are an increase in the intensity of natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, political turmoil and economic problems of a national and global scale. The major event we needed to watch for has already taken place – the restoration of Israel in 1948 (Ezekiel 37).
The answer to the “where” question is much more certain. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” When the rapture takes us out of here, we are leaving to spend eternity with Jesus Christ.
A day is coming when Jesus Christ will appear in the air; the trumpet will sound, I will hear his voice say, “Come up hither.” It is my prayer, my hope and my desire that my next moving day comes soon.
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at [email protected] Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points may be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.