Ask Your Preacher
I have an enormous fear of the Rapture and the return of Jesus. It all started when I was, like, five years old. My grandfather was an Assemblies of God pastor, and they showed a film about the Rapture (meant for adults) one Sunday night. It was shot in the 70's. This was, like, in 1988 or so... but I have had nightmares and feared it since then. Now I find myself watching the news constantly and cherishing my time with my family. I am seriously tortured. I try to live a good life. I pray everyday. I am not much of a reader, but I try to read God’s word; I recently bought a devotional Bible to ignite my reading more. I try and tithe 10%. My only hang-up is that I cuss sometimes, but I am convicted of that. I just want to make sure all my ducks are in a row, so I can make it to heaven, and I want to share with my family. It's so hard to talk about these things with others. It seems they don't understand. Hopefully, someone can help me onto the right path.
You don’t need to worry about the Rapture or some sort of apocalyptic tribulation following it because those events aren’t in the Bible. They may make for a riveting movie to scare people, but it isn’t from the Bible. On the other hand, you are right to want to prepare for heaven! We’ll talk a little bit about preparing for the Judgment Day after explaining the Rapture.
The word ‘rapture’ means ‘caught up’ in Latin. The term ‘rapture’ is used to describe an event that many think will take place right before the days of tribulation in Revelation. The problem with this theory is that it is wrong. There will be a time when all christians will be caught up into the air to be with Christ – the end of time (1 Thess 4:14-18). The book of Revelation doesn’t describe events in the future; it describes events in the past. The book of Revelation deals with problems that the church was to “shortly” see come to pass (Rev 1:1).
Furthermore, the tribulation taught by many denominations is based off of a misinterpretation of Matthew chapter twenty-four. Matt 24 is dealing with the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Jewish temple that would happen in 70 AD. If we carefully pay attention to the context, Jesus is talking about the Jewish temple’s destruction, not a worldwide trial thousands of years in the future (Matt 24:1-2). Jesus specifically said that the tribulation would occur within that generation’s lifetime (Matt 24:34).
There will be a day when all the faithful are caught up to meet Christ in the heavens. The day He returns (Acts 1:11), all mankind will be judged at the same time (Jhn 5:28-29). In that great day (Jude 1:6), the whole world will be burned up with fire (2 Pet 3:10-12). There will be no post-tribulation, pre-tribulation, semi-tribulation, etc.; there will only be the great Day of Judgment (2 Pet 3:7, 1 Jn 4:17). There are five things the Bible says you must do to be saved and prepare for that great day. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” and then email us back if we can help you find a faithful church that will teach the truth and help you get to heaven.
God is all good and created only good in the beginning, including man. Then evil entered into the picture, and there was sin. God did not stop this from happening. I don't understand.
In the end, when we are all judged and those who are allowed to become a part of the promised Paradise on Earth are left, can the same scenario as before occur? Can evil once again enter the picture and put Paradise in jeopardy as it did before?
Learning From History
Dear Learning From History,
Paradise isn’t going to be here on Earth, and we are told that it is a place where sorrow and death will never occur (Rev 21:4). Therefore, we have a guarantee that God will protect heaven from what happened here on Earth. 1 Pet 3:10-12 tells us that eventually God will destroy the earth by fire. After that, He will establish a spiritual universe (heaven) where those who love Him will exist forever. Here is a list of verses that teach on that subject:
1) 1 Cor. 15:42-50
vs. 47 says our bodies will not consist of earthly components
vs 50 says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
2) Lk 20:34-38
a) vs 36 says we will have bodies like angels
3) Jhn 14:2-4
a) vs 2 says we will dwell where God dwells (heaven)
b) vs 3 says Jesus is preparing a place for us now
4) 2 Pet 3:10-13
a) vs 10 says that when God uses fire to destroy the earth, He will both destroy the works of the earth and the earth itself.
5) Heb 1:10-12
a) vs 11 says the earth and heavens will perish like an old garment
b) vs 12 says that the earth and heavens will be changed like one would change and put on new clothes
c) the new heaven and earth will not be a redo of this earth, but an entirely new garment.
6) Matt 24:35
a) Heaven and earth are temporary, unlike God’s Word
7) Heb 11:13
a) faithful people are considered strangers and wanderers on this earth
8) Php 3:20
a) our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth
9) Jhn 18:36
a) Jesus refers to His kingdom as not being “of this world”
Does the Bible give us an explanation of why God allows natural disasters to happen and sometimes even take the lives of loved ones?
Dear Shaken Up,
Natural disasters are a byproduct of sin. When God created the universe, He made everything good (Gen 1:31). The world didn’t have disease, thorns, suffering, and all the other problems we see today. Originally, Adam and Eve lived in the perfect paradise of the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8). It is only after Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden because of their sin that all the problems we see today began. The first recorded earthquake didn’t happen until the days of Noah when all the world had turned to violence and evil (Gen 6:5-7). When the world was flooded because of sin, God broke open the fountains of the deep, which would surely have quaked the planet (Gen 7:11). The first recorded natural disaster (Noah’s flood) was caused because of sin. It was mankind’s sin that forced God to flood the Earth to save Noah’s righteous family (1 Pet 3:20). God wanted paradise and peace for mankind, but we have warped His creation because of our sin.
I've always been told that there is a rapture and that Revelation is about the future... but the more I am trying to read, learn, and understand the Bible, the more I'm confused about the end! I've heard from some of my friends in Christ that Revelation is about the past Roman Empire!! Please help. I am so confused.
Dear Book Befuddled,
Your friends are right. The book of Revelation is about the past, and the "Rapture" isn't something you will find in the Bible. If you want to understand the book of Revelation, we have a class series on the topic that can be found here. The Rapture is an idea that comes from taking parts of the Bible out of context. That class series should help you put it back in context.
Why do we have people with different colors of skin?
Dear Color Blind,
We all came from Adam and Eve (Gen 3:20). Eventually, mankind was scattered across the whole earth after the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:9). Different races were created as these scattered groups became more isolated. This is very similar to how you see parents and children looking alike – they share noticeable physical traits because they are closely related. The groups that were scattered from the Tower of Babel were isolated by their language differences, and therefore only married amongst their specific language group. This isolated intermarrying created distinct physical characteristics that differentiated one group from another (i.e. skin color, eye shape, face shape, hair color). The different races of the world are nothing more than large family groups created after the Tower of Babel.