End Times #8: A Pre-Trib Rapture is the Most Merciful Option

Some people have a lot of trouble accepting the idea that God would rapture the church out but leave everyone else to go through the tribulation.  They think it is heartless and cruel of Him.  

I, however, think that a pre-trib rapture is the most merciful thing God could do.

In the movie Left Behind (with Nicolas Cage), a young woman who missed the rapture looks around at all the pain and heartbreak and devastation ... and she screams out about how the loving God her mother worshipped would never cause something as tragic as that to happen.  He would never take people away and let others be left behind to face the troubles of the tribulation.

Or would He?

The thing is, I think a pre-trib rapture shows just how loving and merciful and patient He is, how much He wants everyone to come to Him.

[And I have to ask ... 

If God created a way for us to be saved ...

... if He Himself, out of His enormous love for us, paid the penalty of death for us that our sins deserved so that He could have a relationship with us for all of eternity ...

... if He offers everyone the chance to be saved, even writing everything down for us in the Bible so that we could know the truth clearly and find Jesus ...

... if He put evidence of Himself all around us in nature so that we all have the chance to know He's real ...

... if He calls to everyone's heart and if He waits patiently for everyone and anyone to come to Him, giving us chance after chance ...

... and then if He gave us the right, the choice, to accept Him and His offer of salvation or to reject Him and His offer of salvation (Think about that for a minute!  The all-powerful God of the universe allows Himself to be rejected by His very own creation?  By mere humans?  Isn't that incredible?  Isn't that incredibly humbling?  It is to me!  And it makes me want to love Him more!) ...

... if all of this is true, then what is heartless or cruel about that?  

What is heartless or cruel about providing every opportunity for us to be saved, about giving us chance after chance and evidence after evidence because He loves us and wants us with Him eternally, but then letting us choose for ourselves and get what we want?  

Those who reject Him and His offer of salvation don't want Him and His offer of salvation.  So if they are left behind or end up in hell, they got what they wanted.  A life without Jesus!  

How is it heartless or cruel to let people decide for themselves what they want, and then to let them get what they want?  

People want what they want but they don't want the consequences.  They want what they want but then when they get it, they blame God for being "unfair."  

But it's not God's fault.  He has given us every chance and done everything He can to get us all to heaven, even leaving heaven and putting on human skin so that He could come to earth to die on a cross in our place.  So that we could live.

What is heartless and cruel about that?

Take a few minutes to watch these songs.  They sum it all up beautifully.  "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle and "Oh, What Love" by The City Harmonic]

Yes, the tribulation will be a terrible time, unlike any other on earth.  But it is also the best thing He could do.

To take out all believers before the tribulation (and to take out the newest believers before each new set of judgments is unleashed, as I believe it will be) shows great love and mercy for those who have chosen Him as Lord and Savior.

But it also shows great concern for those “left behind,” because the tribulation will be a “final call” when God clearly shows Himself and proves the Bible to be true, giving people a last chance to call Him Lord and Savior.  

[And let’s not forget how many calls and warnings God has graciously given over time, even putting it all into print in the Bible.  No one will be able to say that God didn’t warn them.  It’s all there, in His Word.  

And I personally think that this world-wide virus and unrest is a last wake-up call before the rapture.  God seems to be doing all He can right now to wake people up, to make them feel hopeless and helpless in this world, so that maybe they would seek Him.  

I mean, seriously, how much more does He need to do to wake people up!?!

I think there will be many people on earth who, after they see the rapture, will complain that God never gave them a chance.  They will say things like, "If God is real, why didn't He prove He is real?"

Well, He did ... it's called Creation.

"Oh, that's just evolution.  It's nature," they'll say.  "If He's really real, why didn't He send us a clear message, in black-and-white?"

He did ... it's called the Bible.

"No, no, that was just written by men.  An interesting old book.  Nothing more.  But if He was really, really real, why didn't He come down here and show Himself to us physically?  Then we'd really believe!"

Once again, He did ... and His name is Jesus ... and they still don't believe.

(And if current circumstances really are leading up to the rapture and end times, I would add this ...)  Then the people left behind after the rapture would say, "Oh, but Jesus was just a man, a good teacher.  Nothing more.  But if God was really, really, really real and if He really did want me to believe in Him, then He should have done something to get my attention, to make me turn my thoughts and eyes to Him, to make me want the help and salvation He offers me."

Once again, He did.  It's called "allowing the coronavirus to upend our lives, allowing lawlessness and fear and chaos to spread, handing the world over to its own rebellion and hardness of heart so that we could see the consequences of ignoring Him and what a world without Him is like, all so that He could get our attention and wake us up before it was too late."

And yet they still didn't believe.  

And after the rapture they'll say, "If the Bible was true that there was going to be a rapture where millions of Christians disappeared when Jesus came back for them, then why didn't it happen?  Why was it that aliens, not Jesus, came and took all those trouble-makers instead?"

And they'll never believe, because they don't want to.

But when they stand before God in the end, no one will be able to say, "But I didn't know You were real."  That excuse will not work with Him.  Because He made Himself abundantly clear in many ways, giving us enough proof that He's real and giving us enough of a push to see our need for Him and to inspire us to seek Him.

Romans 1:20"For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Acts 17:27"God did this [created the nations] so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

God will hold us all accountable for the choice we make (or don’t make).  And in the end, He will give us what we wanted.  If we wanted a relationship with Him, we'll get it, eternally.  But if we wanted Him out of our lives, He'll allow it.  He won't like it, and it will grieve Him, but He'll give us what we wanted - a life, eternal life, without Him.  The choice is ours.]

I think we are getting a huge wake-up call - a final call - with what's going on in the world right now so that as many people as possible can be saved before the rapture.  

But I think the pre-trib rapture will be the greatest “wake-up call” the world will receive, so that as many people as possible can be saved before the door to salvation is eternally closed.

[This "Nesting" post from Rapture Ready pretty much expresses how I feel right now too - how I am praying for and trying to reach a last few unbelievers, how I am trying to get things in order, to clean up the house, to make sure our Bibles are out in the open (even stocking up on a bunch from dollar stores and thrift stores because Bibles will probably be banned during the tribulation), to have our stockpiled food easily accessible, etc., for the sake of those left behind.  It's my prayer that all this food we saved isn't for us, but that it's for those who might find our home during the tribulation.  We could be wrong, but I agree with this author that "We KNOW that Jesus is literally 'at the door.'  We can feel it in our bones."]  

After the rapture, there will be no ambiguity about Jesus and Satan, heaven and hell.  And it gives people time during the beginning of the tribulation to see the truth and to choose Him before He releases the divine judgments – His wrath – on the staunch unbelievers.

If the rapture is mid-trib or post-trib (which is possible, if the theologians who believe this are correct) then the believers of the church age will face terrible persecution at the hands of man and Satan.  But if this were true, what incentive would there be for unbelievers to turn to God during that time, while the Christians are being persecuted?  Why would people side with the Christians if there was nothing to prove to them that the Christians are right?  They would have no real reason to think that the Bible was true all along or to desire to turn to Christ in the face of such persecution.

But if the rapture is pre-trib and before the mass martyrdom starts, then the world would have the biggest wake-up call ever and the greatest proof that the Bible is true, causing many people to turn to God despite the fact that they know the persecution is coming.  The proof of God, the proof that the Bible is true and predicted it all, would be so shockingly clear that they would know that they have no other option than to choose God or choose eternal death.

And many people would be willing to choose God then, to face death so long as they know they will have life eternally.

And so, if the rapture will be the greatest wake-up call and the event that forces people to choose – if it brings many people to Christ – then it is indeed the most merciful thing God can do.

If there’s one thing that I know about our God (especially as I read Jeremiah right now) it’s that our God is the God of many chances.  He is always calling and calling to the people.  And He constantly warns them about upcoming judgment, over and over again, in the hopes that they turn to Him and repent and that He won’t have to unleash judgment on them.

And in so many places, He shields or spares the righteous people when He releases His judgment or punishment.  He pulls out Lot and his family before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.  He spares Noah and his family from the flood.  In Jeremiah 5:1, He says He will spare a whole city for one righteous person.

The way I see it, to spare believers from the tribulation and to send a huge wake-up call (and warning) at the same time to unbelievers - giving more people a chance to come to Him - fits very neatly with God’s character.

There are some theologians who claim that the next event on the “end times” schedule is not the rapture, but the final coming of Christ to rule.  They claim that we believers are waiting for Christ to come back and to pronounce final judgment and begin His final reign.

While this would be fine for the believers, it would be awful for unbelievers.  If Jesus came back again right now – if there was no rapture and no tribulation – then there would be no "second chance" for unbelievers.  No final call.  When He returns to rule on earth, there is no chance to change your mind.  Your decision has been made.  Your final answer given.

While this sounds fine for believers, I think a rapture and tribulation are more merciful for unbelievers because it gives them another opportunity to choose God.  More proof, before it's too late.  As terrible as the tribulation will be, it would be eternally tragic if they never had this last chance, if they never had this final proof that the Bible is true and the opportunity to get their souls and their allegiance in order.

The tribulation is not just meant to be a time of God’s judgment being unleashed, but it is also meant to be a time when people will clearly and knowingly decide whom they will worship.  There will be no “I just didn’t realize that God was real and that the Bible was true.  I didn't know I was picking the Satan over God.”  Everything will be made crystal clear to force people to decide, to pick a side.  And as I said in an earlier post, since the believers of the church-age have already decided, there is no reason for them to go into this “deciding time.”

All of these things put together (the things I looked at in these “End Times” posts) – the timing of the events, the explanation of the groups of people and how they are taken out of the earth, the descriptions of the elders, and the knowledge of God’s mercy and love and how He gives many chances and always spares the righteous – point clearly to a pre-trib rapture.  At least for me.

That being said, I know I could be wrong.  And if so, then at least I know what to expect during the trib.  And I know that even if we have to face persecution or martyrdom (as many people around the world are currently facing), my eternal soul is secure.  Satan may be able to destroy our bodies, but he can never destroy the souls of the saved.

Are you ready?

Studying and understanding the end times has only created in me a burning desire to live for eternity and to help as many people as possible find their way out of the fire.  (Not that I always succeed at that, but it is my passion.)  Maybe this is the “blessing” spoken of earlier for those who read Revelation and take it to heart.

Understanding the horrible events of the tribulation – and knowing that I would not want to go through them myself – makes me concerned for the unbelievers I know.  Yes, I know it says that there will be many that come to faith during the tribulation, but do we want our loved ones, neighbors, and friends to be left behind to experience that?

Believing in a pre-trib rapture shouldn’t make us lazy and comfortable, like “Oh, at least we’ll be out of here and don’t have to worry about going through that.”  It should make us go, “Hey, friends, this is what will happen if you are left behind.  Take the way out that God provides, not only the way out of the tribulation but also the only way out of hell.”

2 Peter 3:11-14:  “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed it’s coming.... So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”  

Do you live in a holy, godly life?  In a way that draws others to Christ?  Are you at peace with God?  Are you living in a way that you can have confidence when you stand before Him, when Jesus comes back again?  Are you doing all that He is asking you to do?  Are you ready to die or for Christ to come back again, in the twinkling of an eye?  If that were to happen today, would there be any important task left undone?  Would He say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?  Are there any unreached loved ones that don’t know about your faith and the reason for the hope you have?  Do they see anything different about you that would make them want to know our God?  Do you worry more about offending God or offending people in this wicked culture?  Do you long for the coming of the Lord or have you made this earth your home?  Are you fighting for souls and God’s Kingdom in prayer, if not in action and word?  What you do for God's Kingdom will be all that remains when everything else burns up. 

Where are your treasures?  What is your faith in?  What are you betting your soul on?  Are you rejecting the only way to salvation and eternal life (Jesus)?  If so, are you prepared to get what you wanted? 

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