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The Rapture: Are you Ready?

Updated: Feb 3

The rapture is the prophecy of the return of Jesus Christ, where He will come "on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24: 30-31 NKJV). The word rapture does not appear in the Holy Bible. However, it is used to describe the event in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 where we will be gathered to Jesus Christ. Beloved, I would like to confess to you that I had a rapture dream a few years ago:

I was sitting on a patio in the back of a small restaurant with my husband and sister-in-law. Lanterns were strewn on top of short poles, their lights illuminating the scenery below. The night was calm, the weather was good, and it was the early evening. The sky was still blue. Then I saw it: the rapture. In the skies above clouds moved in and many angels poured out of it in a manner that was so fast it was impossible to determine how many there were. It was somewhat scary, to the point that I sprang up in my bed with my heart pounding. I didn't go back to sleep that morning.

This is a prophetic dream, and the book of Acts 2:17 talks about how "your sons and daughters will prophecy" in the last days. Jesus tells of the signs of the end times in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Various prophets and apostles also speak of the signs. The rapture is discussed in the books of Daniel, 2 Timothy, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and Revelation, just to name a few. However, this article is not focused on the signs of the rapture, but rather if you will be ready when He comes. To do this, I would like to focus on the books of Jesus's brothers James and Jude.

James and Jude were brothers, and James was the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19). In the gospels of His disciples, we learn that the crowds would follow Jesus. On one event, Jesus was preaching at a house, and we are told that "the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, 'He is out of His mind'." (Mark 3: 20-21 NKJV). By verse 31, we learn that "His brothers and His mother came... calling to Him."

When people told Jesus that His mother and brothers were there, He looked at his disciples and said, "Here are my mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, is My brother and My sister and mother."(Matthew 12:49 and Mark 3:34). Jesus knew that Mary, James, and Jude were going to have Him committed. The peculiar thing about this is that Mary knew Jesus's purpose, for she was told by the angel, Gabriel, that she would conceive Jesus and that He would be called the "Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Yet, she went with her sons to commit Jesus as he was preaching in a house. As for James and Jude, it wouldn't be until after Jesus's resurrection, that these brothers would truly learn who Jesus really was.


 

(OPINION: This is the life of a Christian: people who don't know the Bible or don't believe in God think that you're out of your mind when you follow God, and when you follow what He asks you to do. It won't be until God speaks to them and opens their heart that they may change their mind about you. Even so, many people in this world will not change their ways or their beliefs.)

 

The Epistles of James and Jude

Now, James and Jude have their own epistles in the Bible. Despite their initial doubt of Jesus as our Savior they open their epistles similarly:


"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ..." (Jude 1:1 KJV).


"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes..." (James 1:1 KJV).


James is writing to the twelve tribes of Israel, meanwhile, Jude is writing to those that are "sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ". Jude's book is one chapter. James's book is five chapters. James speaks to the positive side of trials under your faith, the evils of sin, and overall, how to be good under the law of God. Meanwhile, Jude warns of false teachers and briefly speaks of the rapture.


Jude warns of false prophets in verse 4. A false prophet is someone who speaks of God, but they don't place the name, the power, and the blood of Jesus Christ on their preachings (see 1 John 4). You can see that clearly in their ministries because they don't speak of repentance and changing your ways. Think about what Jesus did. Matthew 4:17 says that after he was led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by Satan, of which Jesus rebuked Satan on all three trials, Jesus began His preaching to say "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Consider His disciples and you will find that they had their lives changed as they walked with Jesus. The one who didn't accept change was Judas Iscariot, and he sold the gospel (JESUS CHRIST) for money and later hung himself.


We must repent from our sins and turn back to God! Turn back to He who loved you first! If we don't, we will not be ready for the rapture. If you are not ready for the rapture, how can we be ready for heaven? In James 1: 15 he warns us that when desire is conceived, it creates sin, and when that sin is full grown, it creates death. James also tells us to fulfill the law to love your neighbor but not to show partiality because it is sin (James 2:9).


James warns us of the evil of sin, and Jude warns us of false prophets. In addition, the disciple John tells us to test the spirits, because false prophets will mislead you (1 John 4:1). In addition to warning of false prophets, Jude also speaks to the rapture by citing the words spoken by the prophet, Enoch. Look at what he says in verses 14 and 15:


Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Now, compare this to what John says in Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Earlier in this article, you read what was written in the Gospel of Matthew; that He will come on the clouds with great power and will send His angels to collect His elect people.

Clouds, sky, day, white, grey
The Holy Bible says that the second coming of Jesus Christ will come on the clouds. Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

While Jude cites Enoch's prophecy, and provides a warning to us, he also gives a blessed, directional message to Christians:


But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:20-21)


Instruction from James and Jude

The book of James tells us to "receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21). The Bible tells us that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:15 KJV). James also directs us to be patient, because "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 4:7 KJV).


In the book of Jude, and the second epistle of Peter, (and elsewhere) we are told that there will be mockers, chasing after their own lusts. In the gospels of His disciples, we are told by Jesus to watch for these signs that he spoke to his disciples. The New Testament is filled with information on the signs to look for in the end times. To know these signs, I strongly recommend that you spend time reading the gospels of the disciples and the book of Revelation in the New Testament, and the books of the prophets in the Old Testament.

When Jesus returns, will you be ready? Have you kept His commandments? Have you "loved God with all of your heart, soul, and mind" (Matthew 22:37), and have you "loved your neighbor as you loved yourself"? (Matthew 22:39). Have you kept yourself in the love of God, as Jude explains, and received the engrafted word with meekness as James suggests? If you sinned, did you confess it to your brothers and sisters, the church, and asked for forgiveness from the person you sinned against and from God? Have you repented from your sins as Jesus Christ taught us, and as James reminded us?


Believe me brothers and sisters in Christ, I have work to do myself, and some of my answers to these questions is no. I am not perfect, and I do not want to come across that way. However, I know what I need to do, and I must work toward it as I am sure you do too.


But beloved, pray to God and the Holy Spirit for wisdom in these matters, and please understand this one thing; that no one can truly know the timing of the rapture or Jesus's Return. The Bible says, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36 KJV). The only thing that we can know based on the Bible is that it will happen. So let me ask you again: When Jesus returns, will you be ready?


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