Is the Rapture coming soon?

Christians don’t have to worry if the world gets worse, because, as some Christians believe, Jesus comes down and whisks us off to heaven just before all hell breaks loose on earth. He tucks us safely away from it all while this evil world gets what it deserves.

That’s assuming, of course, that the world is getting worse, to the point a rapture is necessary to spare Christians from Armageddon and all the other horrific things mentioned in the book of Revelation. But the world isn’t getting worse, all hell is not going to break loose, and Christians aren’t going to heaven either, so there’s no need for a rapture in the first place.

Jesus has already set up his kingdom on earth, and this is where the action is. He’s not sending anyone to heaven, he’s bringing heaven to the earth. That’s always been his goal, to set things up “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). His plan has never been to separate out those who believe in him and lift them OFF the earth and up to heaven. Jesus came to put this earth to rights, not leave it a burning wreck while all the good people watch from afar in the safety of heaven.

But what about when Jesus comes in Matthew 24 and “Two men will be working in the fields – one will be taken, one left behind”, and 1 Thessalonians 4 when Jesus comes down from heaven and lifts Christians off the earth to meet him? Aren’t they talking about a rapture of God’s people? But a rapture to where? There’s no talk of being whisked off to heaven in either of those verses. In Matthew 24 Jesus is talking to the Jews of his day about the destruction of their temple (verses 1-2) and the horrific things about to happen to them (verse 16), and he’s warning those people to get out of Jerusalem while they can. There’s no mention of them going to heaven. Nor is there in 1 Thessalonians 4. It’s about Christians meeting Jesus in the air and the clouds of earth (verse 17), and no mention of going to heaven after that.

The rapture misses the entire point of Jesus’ coming. Jesus came to fight the last battle against the powers and kingdoms of this world, declare the Jewish system of sacrifices, rituals, the temple and its priesthood dead and gone, and announce the start of a new creation all together, patterned on the Kingdom of Heaven in spirit and attitude. In other words, Jesus came to put things to rights here in the earth, not talk about the earth becoming so evil we’d need to be raptured off it.

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