The rapture is the next event on God’s prophecy schedule. It is an event unparalleled in all of history! We saw a picture of the rapture when God took Enoch alive, translated him instantly from earth to heaven. (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5). The rapture itself will be a joyous reunion of all the saints alive and dead, meeting our Lord in the air, to be with Him forevermore! It is the ultimate moment we all long for, look forward to. The glorious resurrection! The glorious meeting! When God gives a bride to His Son! At long last!
God has planned this prophetic moment, and the ones afterward, since before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4). The amazing thing, is that He has told us before the time! (Matthew 24:25, Amos 3:7, 1 Corinthians 15:51).
Prophecy matters very much to the Lord. Prophecy is a doctrine, it’s Eschatology (“Last Things“). The longest speech Jesus made was the Olivet Discourse, about last things. Every book of the New Testament except Philemon has last things in it! Last things matter to the Lord.
As for the rapture specifically, it is our hope and joy. It is the sweetest promise. It is the doctrine with which we encourage each other! (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
that the righteous will rise first in the morning of the resurrection, and before the living saints are changed, and are with Christ; that they will both be taken up together to meet him; and that they shall all be with him, and that for ever, and never part more; than which nothing can yield more true and solid comfort” (Gill’s Exposition)
Even more glorious, Jesus said we are not appointed to wrath and He will keep us from the our of trial that is to come upon the whole world! (Revelation 3:10).
Ans yet we have so many people mocking and scoffing at last things. (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:8). “Where is the promise of his coming?” they will mock. “How come He is taking so long?” they will scoff.
Satan has even put it to some people that there is no rapture at all. They claim it is a made-up event from the ravings of a demonically influenced Scottish girl named Margaret MacDonald and picked up by John Darby in the 1830s. Nonsense. But several times a week I receive emails apprising me of this “fact” and they deny the doctrine completely.
Others are influenced by satan’s notion that there will be a partial rapture. That God has selected some to go and some less faithful to stay so as to be polished by the Tribulation and be ready to meet Him later.
Worse, many Christians have fallen for the notion of a ‘post tribulation’ rapture. These people believe in the rapture, just not that it will occur before the Tribulation. The confuse the trumpets and twist some scriptures and throw in some personal martyr complexes for good measure. They believe that Jesus will hurl wrath at His bride and then bring us home.
But if the rapture will be post-Tribulation, Paul never needed to write the Thessalonians a second time to reassure them they had not missed the rapture because what seemed like the Tribulation had begun. 2 Thessalonians 2 would have been a different letter. Paul would have said, ‘yes it’s started, but hold on, you can make it with the help of the Spirit.’ But he didn’t.
But there is an even worse tribulation position than the denial, the partial, the post. It is the “Pan-Tribulation” position.
It is the position for some reason that irks me the most. You hear it sometimes from Christians, who, when discussing the rapture and last things, and the rapture’s timing, they say, “I’m a pan-tribulationist. Everything will work out in the end. HAR HAR HAR.” They think this is funny. They think this is clever. They even think this is pious.
What they are in effect saying is, one-third of the bible doesn’t matter to them. Studying these things so as to encourage each other doesn’t matter to them. In casually dismissing these important doctrines, they are agreeing with satan to steal hope. They are being used by him to confuse the sheep. They are destroying an important witnessing tool for Christians. They are dampening urgency.
The Doctrine of Last Things and the Rapture Doctrine itself is not seen as an essential doctrine for salvation. It is seen as a “nonessential” for belief. But that doesn’t mean it’s not essential to know. It doesn’t mean it’s not essential to study. The rapture IS a very important doctrine.
The Rapture of church-age believers is a source of great encouragement and motivation to godly Christian service (1 Cor. 15:58). The Rapture is a very important doctrine. It helps to motivate the Lord’s people to stay awake spiritually and it helps to motivate the churches to stay busy in the work of preaching the gospel to lost souls before it is too late. (source)
Being a “pan tribber” was alien to Paul’s mindset. He had a very short time in Thessalonika and the first things he taught were the last things.
The Rapture Is an Important Doctrine
First, the rapture is an important doctrine. Many give the impression that the rapture is some kind of secondary doctrine that need not be given too much attention. We are often told that we should focus on the “big ticket” theological items such as the Virgin Birth, the Vicarious Atonement, the Trinity, Salvation by Faith Alone, and the Deity of Christ. Only after these doctrines are mastered should we then consider or contemplate the doctrine of the rapture. Along these same lines, many contend that the rapture is certainly not something that a new believer should give too much time or attention to. …Such thinking was foreign to the mindset of the Apostle Paul. Interestingly, the Thessalonians were new believers (1 Thess. 1:9). … The point in all of this is that although the Thessalonians were new believers, Paul never hid the doctrine of the rapture from them. On the contrary, he openly disclosed this teaching to them along with many other doctrines.
In his letter to the Thessalonians, before more fully developing the doctrine of the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul briefly mentioned this doctrine in 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Paul obviously believed that the rapture is a foundational doctrine because he mentioned it immediately after discussing other basic doctrines such as the Holy Spirit (1:5) and conversion (1:5, 9). He also mentions the rapture doctrine (4:13-18) just after and before discussing other basic Christian truths such as sanctification (4:3, 5:23) and the dimensions of man’s nature (5:23). Evidently, in Paul’s thinking, the rapture was just as important as these other truths and deserved the same level of treatment and understanding.
With so much of last things occupying up to a third of the bible, with each book of the NT except Philemon teaching us last things, with Jesus spending the most time of all telling the answer to the question what are the signs of the end, and with Paul delivering the rapture doctrine early and firmly to the new believers, WHO IS SOMEONE TO SAY “I’m a pan-tribber. It’ll all work out in the end” !
Shame, O, for shame!
when you ask them about the last things and how the story ends, they don’t have a clue. They say, “Well I don’t know if I’m a-mill, post-mill, pre-mill, pan-mill, whatever mill. I don’t…but I don’t think it’s really important.” That’s like saying, you know, that a book is written, the most important book that’s ever been written in the history of the world, the only book that truly reflects God’s purpose for humanity and you don’t care how it ends? Of course you care how it ends. (source)