It is quite likely that one day soon you will find that I, along with millions of Christians around the world, will have suddenly disappeared. All that may be left of us will be the clothes we will have been wearing at the time.
When he was on earth, Jesus told us always to be ready, because he would return unexpectedly, taking us by surprise like a thief in the night; and he told us to pray that we would be found worthy to stand before him.
When he does come back, it will be to judge the world, before he sets up the long-prophesied millennial kingdom. That judgement will be an outpouring of the wrath of God on a world that has rejected him. In a series of increasingly terrible punishments, over seven years, half or more of the world's population will be killed by famine, disease, disasters and war, before Jesus himself returns to destroy the remainder of those who rebel against him.
However much we may suffer at the hands of men – 50 million Christians were killed for their faith in the last century – God never subjects his own people to his wrath. At the time of the flood, when he destroyed all men and animals on the face of the earth, he preserved Noah and his family, shutting them away from the disaster in the ark, and God himself sealed the door on them. When Lot was living in Sodom, the destroying angels took care to remove him from the city before they brought destruction on it. In the same way, God will remove his own people from the earth before his wrath is poured out on it.
In the first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul tells us how the dead in Christ will be raised and we believers who are still alive shall be caught up with them to meet Jesus in the air. In his second letter he reassured them that the day of Christ – his return in wrath to judge the world – would not happen unless the departure came first, followed by the revelation of the antichrist. That departure (misleadingly translated “apostasy” in many bibles) is the removal of all believers from the world.
All the elements, that are necessary for the final prophecies of the end to be fulfilled, are in place or could be put in place very quickly. God is testifying to many of his people around the world that the time is now very short.
There is nothing else that needs to happen before Jesus comes back for us. That's why we know it could happen at any moment. The time after that is less certain. There will be a last seven years of judgement, but they may follow immediately after our removal, or there may be a gap; we don't know.
The people whom Jesus will take to be with him are those who will have put their trust in him for salvation, repented of their lives of rebellion against and independence from God and tried to obey him. Only through Jesus is it possible for anyone to come to God, because Jesus took all our sins and their penalty on himself. Because of that sacrifice for us, we are able to be identified with Jesus and approach God directly. Without him, none of us are fit to come into God's presence.
All of us who have trusted God like this will be taken, together with our children who have not yet reached the age of responsibility. Some people think that all young children will be taken, even those from unbelieving families.
If anyone refuses to be identified with Jesus, refuses to accept his sacrifice for us, there is no way for him to be accepted and he will have to bear all the punishment for his own sins, which means eternal separation from God and punishment in hell for rebelling against him,
When Jesus takes his own out of the world, all those who refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour will be left behind to face his wrath. Do not be surprised if those left behind include a large number of clergymen. That someone wears a dog-collar does not guarantee that he is a Christian.
Although – I fear – you will ignore and dismiss this warning until after it has been fulfilled, I think that you will still be able to turn to God after the believers are removed. God will make sure his word continues to be proclaimed and many millions of people will repent and believe in him. (But be warned: some people think, on the basis of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, that those who already know the gospel message but have rejected it will be given over to deception so that they will be unable ever to repent.)
However, you will have lost the chance to escape the time of wrath and will have to go through those last seven years. Quite apart from all the death and suffering caused by the judgements of God, evil men will cast off all restraint and many people will be killed by random violence. Believers will also face unprecedented hatred and persecution from the rest of mankind and most people who obey God will be killed as a result. Nevertheless, they will be raised to life at the end of those seven years and will be with Jesus for ever. But only those who endure to the end will be saved, whether that end is death or faithful survival till the very end of the seven years. There will be no chance of repentance for backsliders and those who try to compromise with the enemy.
The final “decider” will be the much touted “mark of the beast”. Exactly what it will be is unclear, but it seems it will be a tangible sign, maybe a tattoo or an embedded RFID chip on the forehead or right hand, which will be required to let anyone buy or sell. It will almost certainly require a specific declaration of loyalty to the antichrist – and therefore a rejection of the true God – to receive it. Anyone who does receive it will put themselves beyond the possibility of repentance and salvation.
Please take this warning and repent now, rather than leave it until you have no alternative but to pass through the judgement.
Here is an article on how to know God for yourself.
Last modified: 23rd October 2015