End time prophecy is one of the most controversial topics among Christians. People often argue whether Christians in the end times will face a time known as the “Great Tribulation” (the time of reign of the Antichrist characterised by terror, or will instead be taken up to heaven or “rapture” (as is commonly known) prior to the Great Tribulation.
There are three mainperspectives on the timing of the rapture. Pre-tribulation doctrine states that the rapture will occur before the tribulation. The mid-tribulation doctrine is of the view the rapture occurs near mid-point of the tribulation. Whereas the post-tribulation view states the rapture will occur after the end of the tribulation1. Bible verses from the books of Daniel, Matthew, 1 Thessalonians and Revelation are often quoted to support each view point.
Regardless of view, there are many arguments supporting each doctrine. Before proceeding, I must stress that I'm no scholar in end time prophecy. There are multiple online resources that clearly explain these doctrines. My aim here is not to advocate for any given view.
How I wish I could truly understand all the end time mysteries in the Bible. But the truth is, I may never come to fully understand them all. Some things, I believe, have been left a mystery for a reason. They may even be too complex for our mere human minds to comprehend.
Nevertheless, one question I often ask when this topic is raised is: do we really need to argue about the timing of the rapture? Isn't it enough that as Christians we can agree that Jesus Christ is coming back?
Does the time of “rapture” really matter?
It's great that we can seek an understanding of the Word of God (The Bible). Not excluding the book of Revelation, or any other verses that speak about the end times. I hold nothing against the need for deeper understanding. In fact, I believe it is something we as Christians should strive to do for the duration of our lifetime.
But sometimes I wonder whether we spend too much time arguing or debating about these doctrines. Each side often tries to make their point and often never coming to an agreement. Does the point in time when the “rapture” occurs really matter that much? Should this really be a cause for concern or argument?
I for one am not concerned whether we will experience the tribulation or be “raptured” prior to the tribulation. God is our refuge and strength and will remain to be through every trial or tribulation (Psalm chapter 46, verse 1). If it is God's will for us to go through the tribulation, let it be so.
If we truly believe in God's promise to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy chapter 31, verse 8), we can rest assured that he will be with us and will carry us through the difficulties in our lives. But even still, if it is His will that he saves us from the tribulation, let it be. It's God's will that matters and may His will be done.
I may not have all the answers or be fully knowledgeable in this area, but I still trust that God is sovereign and will do as He says he will. In any case, only God is all-knowing. My hope is not in total understanding, but is in Jesus Christ.
What is my focus?
I feel privileged that God chose to reveal something about the last days to us. This is only by the grace of God. Jesus tells us in advance about the end times to warn us of what is yet to come. This revelation I believe, was not to make us fear, but rather to ensure we are not alarmed but prepared (Matthew chapter 24).
Therefore, my primary concern is this - am I living a life that is pleasing to God? Am I living according to God's plan and purpose? Am I spreading the gospel as God commanded me to? Am I standing firm in my faith? Am I willing to take up my cross and follow Jesus to the very end of my life (Matthew chapter 16, verses 24-25)? Am I ready for Jesus' return?
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew chapter 28, verses 19-20)
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast. She is passionate about the Word of God and hopes her life testifies of the amazing love of Jesus Christ.
Kandima Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html