Here is a clip from the movie Jerusalem Countdown, released in 2012. The movie was from a book written by Pastor John Hagee. I haven’t seen the movie and I make no statement or claim about Hagee because this essay is not a discussion about the book, the movie, or the pastor. It is not a discussion about whether there IS a rapture, nor is it a discussion about the timing of the rapture.
I’m focusing here on the visuals of the rapture as presented below in a 3-minute movie clip.
At some point, the LORD will declare the Age of Grace closed, for He will have gathered the quota of people He has grafted-in to Himself (Romans 11:25). This will be the signal that the pause put in place for many years in God’s working with the Jews, will resume. That pause was initiated 7 years before the close of the age of Law. (Daniel 9:24-27). God did this because the Jews, who were given charge to make God known in the world, failed to do this, and they rejected Him as their Messiah when He came in His incarnation. (Romans 11:11, all of Romans 9). So He began gathering a Gentile people to Himself and charged them with the task. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). When the grafting-in is done, the Age of Grace is done.
Here are the two most clear verses related to the joy that awaits the persevering Christian, also known as the rapture. The joy comes from knowing that the rapture is an event, it will happen, and there is no judgment connected with this event for any Christian. Christians can look forward to it in hope and blessing.
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:21-52)
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
In 2008, there used to be many more rapture clips on Youtube. Just as there are amateur film-makers publishing clips related to their favorite secular subject, there are amateur Christian film-makers publishing clips of their favorite subjects, too. Capturing the joy, fear, mystery, and wonder of the moment of the rapture is a favorite among many people. We will not be here to see that moment, but we are fascinated with the instant that heaven and earth collide. What will it look like? What will it sound like? Will there be many people found to be Christian who will go? Will few found to be Christian and are called home? What about the graves?
But for some reason the rapture clips are fewer in number than they used to be. Fortunately one thing Youtube is good for is you can always find a cheesy 70s or 80s rapture or Tribulation movie. Thirty and forty years ago, eschatology was a more mainstream Christian doctrine. It was talked about, preached, and there were books and movies made. I know that books like ‘88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988′ blighted the cause, but still, with all the wrongheaded stuff, there was right-headed stuff too. Now there’s no stuff. Either there’s either a big yawn, or a black hole where eschatology used to be.
I watched part of one of the rapture movies the other day on Youtube, it was excruciatingly cheesy and awful, but I did like the witnessing parts of it. It obviously had come out of the 1970s Jesus Movement. It preached rapture from Matthew 24, which is incorrect. However it was earnest. As I said, the parts where the witnessing happens was enjoyable. A key to the witnessing was the inclusion of eschatology, something you don’t see today. There was no “God has a plan for your life” but “Jesus wants you to be ready for your next life.” I think we are cheesier now in the way we witness, and totally wrong-headed about failing to speak of the future prophecies and the Second Coming of Christ. Paul was with the Thessalonians only three weeks, and he taught them about the rapture right away.
Anyway, the movie I watched part of was called “A Thief In the Night” series, and I think there are several movies in the sequence. However, movies like that were so low budget, they couldn’t afford to show the impact of the rapture, lol. This clip does.
In most rapture movies, the event is invisible. During the instant of the rapture, and the few moments after the rapture, there is no noise, no impact on land or sky, and nothing to indicate people have been taken except a pile of clothes left behind. People look adoringly at a husband, go in the kitchen to get him some coffee, and return to see an empty chair and a wedding ring on the table.
In the clip above, there is a light in the sky, a parting of the clouds, a rumble in the air and on the earth, and blazing light for a moment as souls are taken.
After the sky snaps shut, there are some clothes drifting down from above, lol. Then the cars start crashing and a helicopter falls from the sky. The chaos begins.
I think the above depiction is closer to the way it will be. I’m not sure, of course, no one is, aside from what is declared in the verses of holy scripture. But the verses themselves do offer some clues, and other verses do also. In the 1 Corinthians verse, we read
–the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command,
–with the voice of an archangel,
–and with the sound of the trumpet of God
Many rapture movies present the rapture as happening silently, or if there is noise, only the Christians will hear it. Yet the rapture will be an unprecedented global event, affecting every person on the planet. Will no one hear the trumpet? Will only Christians hear the cry? What were the circumstances when other cries from heaven occurred in the bible? Were they undetectable to bystanders? No.
There’s the scene on the road to Damascus. Jesus in heaven broke through the veil separating heaven and earth, and spoke to Paul. Paul heard Him clearly and conversed with Jesus. (Acts 9:4). The men who were with Saul/Paul heard the voice, too.
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. (Acts 9:7)
Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. (Acts 22:9)
In John 12:29-30, Jesus is explaining that He must die. Jesus praises the Father, and the Father answers from heaven-
“Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
In Daniel, when the angel appeared to him and gave the vision, Daniel wrote later, “I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves.” (Daniel 10:7 cf. Luke 2:9)
It seems from these examples that when a voice from heaven speaks to someone on the ground, those on the ground hear it, or some reverberation of it. It seems that when a connection is made from heaven to earth, people sense and know that something supernatural is happening (they usually express fear or terror). I think when Jesus cries out and the trumpet sounds, people will hear a rumble or thunder. I think they will see a light. I think it very likely may be as it was shown in the clip. Food for thought, idly. We won’t know until it happens of course. And I believe that moment is near.
Please enjoy an exposition of the rapture from Thessalonians, Corinthians, and John, by John MacArthur.
Here is a good verse to ponder as you watch, and think about the perfections of our glorious Savior
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
The rapture is when He takes His bride up to glory with Him. Encourage one another with these words.
Spurgeon devotional: Purity of Heart and Life