The world today is not the same as the one we grew up in. It is easy to see how things are rapidly changing, and sometimes it feels like the whole world has just fallen over a cliff, leaving us to wonder what could possibly come next. For people of faith, those who believe in Jesus Messiah, how confident can we be in what we believe about the last days? I have been asking myself that question over the last few years, and my consistent choice to press in to a more intimate walk with Jesus has revealed much.
I remember telling a mentor of mine in late 2015 or early 2016 of a desire I had to write a book focused on the Bride of Christ and how she (the Bride, the Church) should prepare for His coming. It was a seed God had planted within me long before and birthed a years-long running desire I honestly didn’t know what to do with, a desire that felt a little like trying to hold unformed jello in my hands. I imagine someone on the outside looking in may have found my pursuits/choices of study over these years to be all over the place, inconsistent, always getting “high” over the latest & greatest preacher/subject/book/thing I had read, learned, or heard, but not appearing to consistently move in one direction. But what I even did not fully realize was all that God was resonating within me was designed to solidify purpose born out of the desire He had planted, and that purpose is to help get the Bride ready. The thought is so exciting to me now I can hardly contain it!
You might ask ‘how does that play out’? ‘Why does it matter’? Some of you may even be thinking ‘get ready for what’? There was a day a few years ago I came in to speak with my Pastor about an article I had written and was prepared to post on my blog site about my views of the end times, the rapture, and the Lord’s second coming. At the time, my Pastor encouraged me to take into consideration all the view points and beliefs about the end days, because up to that point I had been very one-sided and convinced the view I held was automatically the correct one. I had no way of debating any other view point because I had not taken the time to study any other.
Because of this I spent a full year studying and debating the topic of the rapture occurring at any other given time, but especially pre-tribulation (since that appears to be by far the most wide-spread and popular view). Even though this was contrary to what my article first outlined, I studied it to the point where I actually jumped onto that bandwagon, got excited, and was getting more comfortable speaking about it – although each time I did there was a check in my spirit I wasn’t able to explain.
Now for more reasons than I have time here to write, I have come full circle and stand more convinced than ever that the Lord’s second coming occurs at the very end of the tribulation, and the rapture will coincide with His second coming, meaning I believe the pre-tribulation rapture view is not biblical. I believe the Church, His Bride, will be here all the way through, and I believe she has a strategic role to play in the end times!
What was necessary for me at the time of my discussion with my Pastor was a lesson in love and humility. I believe that the Lord allowed and encouraged this within me so that now, today, when I speak to folks about why I believe people of faith will be here during the tribulation, the sharp edge of arrogance has (I pray) been replaced with a more compassionate one of love and understanding.
It’s important to note that I do not see this (WHEN the rapture occurs) as a core belief or worth breaking fellowship over with anyone who happens to hold a difference of opinion. But I DO see it as a critical, detrimental piece of preparing the Bride for her role during the tribulation. In my opinion, the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture has done extensive damage to the global church, leaving her vulnerable and uncertain rather than fearless and ready.
In Matthew 24, Jesus outlines about 22 things (depending on how you count them) – and begins by sayings “see that no one misleads you”, which to me is a strong directive to know and understand them. He warns that these things are the beginnings of birth pangs of the end days, and in verse 33 we find a significant commandment by Him – “when you see all these things, recognizethat He is near, right at the door”! Recognize, to know with certainty! I believe we are in the early days/years of the generation on earth when Christ returns. Although there have been other times throughout history where many of these things have taken place, it is only within the last decade or so that many of these signs are now happening for the first time ever on a global level.
A good example of what I mean is that there will be an increase in knowledge noted in Daniel 12:4. An interesting article posted within Industry Tap notes that Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; noting that “until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years”. The article goes on to say that today “different types of knowledge have different rates of growth… But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours“.
There are also several reasons why I believe that Matthew 24 isn’t referencing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., but again, another conversation. 😊
In a sermon posted by Mike Bickle in IHOP CBETS, (International House of Prayer, Center for Biblical End-Time Studies) he outlines 4 negative characteristics of people who don’t know the biblical narrative of the end times:
- Fear (caught in what I call “category #3” –i.e. what in the world is happening??)
- Offense (God’s leadership cannot be trusted… “How can a loving God…”)
- Lust (immorality + – self medicating to escape)
- Deception (false prophets, false narrative, great falling away)
He goes on to say that the most intense darkness across the earth is simultaneous with the greatest revival in history. The most intense Holy Spirit manifestation of power, the most intense demonic darkness activity together on the earth (wheat and tares maturing together), and people/nations will be asking “what is happening”.
We as a people of faith should have the answers!
Preparing the Bride for His coming is important because we don’t want to be confused along with everyone else, which is where I believe buying into the false narrative of a pre-tribulation rapture leads us. I personally want to be part of the people of understanding, fearless, and having insight and shining brightly (from Daniel 12:3).
You may be among those who say that it doesn’t matter one way or another, thinking that I can believe this way and possibly be just “pleasantly surprised” if a pre-tribulation rapture occurs. To me, this is to deny the opportunity the Lord is laying before me to help shepherd His people through this time by not being caught off guard and just taking a big fat chance that I will not wind up being one of the “very elect” that was tested and “deceived” (Matthew 24:24). That is not what I want. I want my Lord Jesus Christ to be able to delight in me that I endured to the very end! I want the promised crown (Revelation 3:10-11)!
One thing also, because no one knows the day or hour He will come does not mean that we cannot know and understand the season and the signs. Perhaps the time still is so far off that I will not be part of that final generation who is here and alive when He returns but even and especially if that is so, I want to be able to leave to the next generation a more fuller understanding of the end times than my parents and grandparents left me. Now is not the time to stick my head in the sand!
Want to learn more? I invite you to come with me on this journey! There is a global hunger for understanding, and God is raising up a people who understand! The International House of Prayer’s Center for Biblical End-time Studies – Empowering Believers in the Forerunner Message is a great place to start. There is a wealth of knowledge and information they are more than willing to share with anyone, and especially those who may be more than casually interested.