With various eschatological theologies on which perspective is correct for the rapture (i.e. is it pre-tribulation? Mid-tribulation? Or post-tribulation?), I’ve been asking God, Lord, what is the truth about the rapture, really? Because a lot of people have varied things to say about it, which are all effectively based on Your word, anyway?
And so all the more lately was I drawn to read up on and watch material on the rapture and Christ’s second coming – just as much as I was enthralled with it right before I received assurance of salvation. It was reminiscent of how, at 15, after reading and having dreams about the rapture, I asked God for assurance that I will be among those who will be raptured. I was then immensely scared of being left behind by my Mom, whom I knew even then was going to be raptured. I wanted to go with her and not be subjected to apocalyptic end-time tribulation scenarios described in Scriptures. For a long while, even after receiving such assurance, for the most part, I still pretty much acted and had the perspective of someone who had not yet received such assurance. It took awhile for me to realize that I am very much a part of the bride of Christ, and acquire such Bridal paradigm.
Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For this we declare to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him in death]. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 AMP
Speaking of such Bridal paradigm, upon watching that video and reading 1 Thessalonians 4, I had the following realization, reminding me of a book entitled “The Bridal Generation”, which I read a couple of years ago: As the bride of Christ, we should long to be raptured for the right reason. Just as a bride’s primary (and perhaps rightfully only) reason for marriage is so she can spend a lifetime with her husband (and not because she is running away from her family of origin or hometown), so should our longing be: to be more intimate with Jesus until we are one with Him. It is our longing to be with Him, which will draw us to meet Him in the clouds when He comes again for His bride. Preparing to leave one’s family home and single life should be part of the preparations of marriage, just as the physical leaving thereof is part of the consequences of marriage when the newlyweds leave and cleave. Similarly, our preparations for the wedding feast should entail a setting apart for the groom, and preparation of spirit and soul for leaving behind life as we know here on earth, so we can be with our Bridegroom soon.
Now can the pre-tribulation folks be faulted for wanting the rapture to take place before the tribulation? If their motivation is borne of excitement to finally see and be (re)united in the flesh with the Bridegroom, a desire arising out of wanting greater intimacy with Him, then perhaps they are right on track. Anyway, if you were a bride, wouldn’t you excitedly anticipate your wedding day and want it to be imminent? How much more if the Bridegroom is Christ!
I realize, however, that a number of those who count themselves as part of the Bride of Christ, myself included, still have desires and longings in this world that they are either clinging to or awaiting to be fulfilled. These desires are not bad in themselves – like having children or grandchildren (or seeing them grown), paying off home and car amortizations, rising up one’s career ladder. But all of these desires – whether fulfilled or unfulfilled should be of no moment (or even nothing) compared to the desire to be with the Bridegroom. Perhaps this is why we should not merely desire what is good from God for these are but mere shadows; we should desire God. Period. Part of the readiness for union with the Bridegroom is ceasing to focus about other desires or longings (hence full surrender thereof.), but to just have one single desire throbbing in one’s heart, mind and will: to be with Him, whatever it takes.
Perhaps the delay in coming for the Bride is not caused by lack of readiness of the Heavenly Accommodations, but because the Bridegroom wants the Bride to be ready for their union, as well. (I’m not saying this is gospel truth; our Bridegroom can come as He pleases). There is no question about the Bridegroom’s excitement and longing for the union to take place, as everything has already been prepared and fulfilled on His end. In His excitement, He, Himself, is ensuring the Bride’s readiness for the time of their coming together, so their joy would be complete.
With all of these, I believe the Lord just answered my prayer for the correct perspective for the rapture: it boils down to the readiness of the Bride for the Bridegroom. When we look at our hearts and lives, are we truly ready for union with the Bridegroom? Or in the first place, is the desire to be with the Bridegroom truly first place in our hearts? How big is our anticipation of finally seeing and being with Him face to face?
Prayer: My Jesus, You are the desire of my heart. Yet right now, I know that there are still aspects of my heart, which are not fully ready, not yet fully surrendered, to Your coming again. Though I am getting ready for the day of our union, there are just times when I am distracted with many cares of this world. Search my heart, Lord and burn away the chaff. Forgive me, Lord. With the washing of Your Word, being made clean by Your blood, thank You for a new day to start anew. Give me blinders, if that’s what’s needed, for undistracted focus on You, and finally being with You – spirit, soul and body. I surrender all of my desires, hopes, burdens and prayers to You, knowing and having assurance that their ultimate fulfillment is You and in You. Nothing else matters; nothing in this world will do. Jesus, help me to greatly and zealously anticipate our meeting and to be fully be ready for the time of our much-anticipated meeting. By Your Spirit, by Your grace, Lord. Amen.