There is an expectation among believers that the return of Jesus Christ is near. It is a common belief among Christians, we believe Jesus will return and while we wait on him, we would like to know the mysteries surrounding his return.
Because of this mystery, many Christians are looking for ways to determine how near Jesus is to return to the earth. Among Christians, we can find countless debates on whether there will be a rapture or not, or whether there will be a pretribulation rapture or mid-tribulation rapture. But what we want to do if we are going to understand the mysteries behind the return of Jesus Christ, is read the bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help us.
Looking to the word of God for the answers to these debated questions, we will seek to understand John who wrote how important it is for us to read, understand, and prepare for what Jesus has revealed to his Church. This benchmark John put in place for us, is the guiding principle we Christians need to understand to know whether there will be a rapture of the Church and whether it will be a pretribulation or mid-tribulation rapture.
In his letter to the Church, John wrote, “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” And reading this verse found in Revelation 1:3, many of us once believed by reading the book of Revelation we would be blessed.
There is no doubt we will be blessed upon reading the book of Revelation, but the blessing will not come simply by reading the book of Revelation. For us to understand what John was communicating and for us to receive the blessing, we need to understand what the scripture is explaining.
First, we need to put the book of Revelation in context realizing it is a book revealing what God is about to do in the world before he enforces and brings his kingdom into view. Isaiah told us, God was sending his Son into the world to set up his kingdom, and unlike all the kingdoms before it, the kingdom of Jesus Christ will have no end.
Because the kingdom of God will have no end, God sent his Son into the world that whosoever believes in him will have everlasting life. That is because an eternal kingdom will have the need for its citizens to be eternal for it to last forever.
The promise of God to everyone believing in his son is the life of his son, eternal life is the promise, and those coming to Jesus Christ will not remain under the judgment of God which is upon and coming upon the world because of sin which is the message and story of the book of Revelation.
And because there is a coming judgment, the children of God will need to prepare for it so that they won’t be swept away in the judgment. The blessing that comes with reading the book of Revelation will come because we understand what God is communicating and because we keep or prepare for what God is sending upon the world.
Reading the vision of John is the beginning of the blessing, because to hear is to understand what we read, and keeping the words of the prophecy is to obey and do what ‘s needed to prepare for the outpouring of God’s judgment.
This should cause us to wonder if there will truly be a pretribulation rapture or a mid-tribulation rapture because if God is calling us to prepare for what is coming upon the world it would indicate there won’t be a rapture but maybe a rapture at the end of judgment that will transform the children of God into eternal sons of God in a twinkling of the eye?
There is no doubt Paul did speak of the dead in Christ being raised up first, then those who are alive will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. But if we are to truly understand what Paul was communicating, we will see that these two events are taking place simultaneously not at sperate instances because the raising of the dead will take place at the end of judgments along with the transformation of the children of God who are alive.
The purpose and coming of Jesus Christ were to save his people from their sins, and as we look at how God saved us through his Son Jesus Christ, we will see that as he hung on the cross God was pouring out his judgment on his Son, a judgment that was to be poured out on us and in pouring out the judgment on his son we escaped God’s judgment.
We were not prepared for the appointment of God’s judgment that was poured out on his Son, and revealing his love, God sent his son in preparation for the judgment and appointed hour, and because Jesus was prepared for the appointed hour, we escaped God’s wrath having the opportunity to accept God’s mercy through his son Jesus Christ.