Perhaps you’ve seen the social media posts and blogs recently that claimed or came near to claiming that the rapture of the church was going to happen on April 23, 2018. If you’re like me, you’ve seen this before and like today, every time, the prognosticators of earthly doom always get it wrong.
Rapture predictors always use “creative” interpretation and complicated math to make the case why the rapture will happen on their chosen day. But they always fail for a simple reason.
The scripture never supports their predictions.
Allow me to give you one simple reason why, from the scripture, rapture predictions are always off the mark, and why, from current events, the rapture is not likely to happen anytime soon.
It doesn’t matter what the rapture crazed say about biblical feasts, creation dates, complicated mathematical formulas for biblical history and so on. There is one simple passage of scripture that tells us, directly, and without apology that such efforts are always doomed to failure. It’s Matthew 24:14. Here it is: “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
The fact is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not yet penetrated the whole world. Revelation 5:9 reveals a picture of Heaven that includes every language, tribe, and nation from the earth. “By your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
Now, the reality of the world we live in right now tells us that these passages of scripture have not yet been fulfilled. The second coming of Christ, along with the rapture, doesn’t take place until every language of man has heard the Gospel. Make no mistake, the message of the Gospel is being accelerated in these last days. I’ve written about that previously. I believe the Great Commission will be fulfilled in our lifetime. But it hasn’t happened yet. Allow me to present the evidence.
There are currently 7.2 billion people on the earth. Of that number, just over 5 billion people have heard the Gospel at least one time. That means that just over 2 billion people have yet to hear about Jesus. That number represents not only people in what we refer to as “reached” nations, but it also refers to people in unreached areas, include small tribes scattered throughout South America, Africa, and parts of Asia who have never heard the Gospel. Some languages remain to be reached, or have a Bible translation, or even hear the name of Jesus. I think Matthew 24:14 tells us, in the context of the end times, that Jesus doesn’t return until at least some people from these languages have been reached. And forgive me if I sound harsh, but why would you want the Lord to come back now when 2 billion people remain without the hope of salvation, without even having heard the good news about Jesus even once? I want the Lord to come back. But I also want everyone to hear about Jesus so that they too can long for his coming.
Now, I’ll throw this in for free. Unlike most American Christians, I’m not what we call a “pre-triber.” I don’t think the scripture directly supports that view. I won’t get into long details here about why that is, I’ll simply refer you to Matthew 24:29-31, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 20:4-6 which make it clear that the resurrection of the righteous dead takes place near the end of the tribulation, not the beginning. And the dead rise before those who are raptured. Thus, the rapture takes place at the end of the tribulation. This has also been the historical view the church up until the last 200 years. If that view is correct, then the rapture isn’t due to happen anytime soon. So all the calculating and twisting of biblical dates and histories avails to nothing. The plain text of scripture denies the rapture crazed any validity.
Whenever you hear about new dates for the rapture or claims that say, “I’m not saying the rapture will happen that this date, but it’s prophetically important,” turn and run the other way. Some say that certain days are prophetically important. But it is only important in one way: it is another doomed false prophecy.
Jesus will return. The scripture promises that. But instead of losing our heads over the rapture let’s spend our hearts reaching those last 2 billion, and more, so that they can long for Christ’s return with us.