Recently I got this question from a friend: “My wife and I were discussing End Times and when the rapture would occur in reference to the coming of the anti-Christ. I am nowhere close to having the Bible memorized. Is there any scripture that tells us this. And what is your thinking on this issue?”
Here was my answer:
“There are 4 basic positions that theologians have taken on this issue. The American church starting in the 1800s really created the 4th camp in what’s commonly called “dispensationalism.” Don’t mean to bore you with the lingo. But I don’t fall into that camp. The idea of a “rapture” (from the Greek word “rapturo” can only be found in one verse (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). So I don’t believe in the Left Behind theology that believers get raptured and THEN there is a tribulation and then Jesus returns.””However, I do believe Jesus is returning. The difference is that we ARE LIVING in the tribulation and have been for some time. Jesus teaches on this in Mt. 24 and you’ll see that all the signs he gives of the end have been happening for a long time. he’s also clear that NO ONE knows when he will return. So we should stop guessing and live like it will be today. “”Now the anti-Christ presents more dilemmas. Because that is only really discussed in Revelation. Again, the “4 theological views” all look at it differently. I try not to really worry about who the anti-Christ is because there’s not much I’ll be able to do about it. Step 1: Make sure it’s not me! Historically, just about every major world figure has thought to have been the anti-Christ including my hero, Ronald Reagan. (OK, not many people believed that but there was someone carrying a sign at the 76 convention). Of course Gorbachev was thought to be that figure too…and now I hear Obama’s name thrown out there. My only thought on that is that if Obama is the anti-Christ…why can’t he get his own party to pass health care legislation? I digress.”
Then I mentioned that if he wanted my notes on Revelation I would be glad to email them to him. The same goes for you. Let me know and I’ll email you my “Introduction to Revelation.”
So again…no rapture…just Jesus returning and ushering in the new heaven and new earth…after a tribulation that will get worse and probably have some kind of “Anti-Christ” that masquerades as God or a Messiah and fools lots of people (but not genuine Christians) in false worship. That’s my opinion…but I’ve been wrong before!