We are looking at the Rapture. An event whereby God separates Christ believers and non-believers. Although it’s a singular one-time event, different interpretations of its timing have caused it to be labeled; ‘Pre, Mid, or Post’ Tribulation. ‘Pre-Trib’ believers trust the Rapture will happen prior to the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period. ‘Mid-Trib’ believers think it will occur at the mid-point, or half-way through the seven-years. And ‘Post-Trib’ believers understand it to occur at the end of the seven years.
The seven year ‘Tribulation’ period (also known as the seventieth [70th] week of Israel’s national history) is divided into two parts, each 3 ½ years in length. The first half is also known as the “Tribulation” while the second half is designated as the “Great Tribulation.” They are also often referred to as the “Wrath of Jesus Christ” and the “Wrath of God."
The Rapture as an event will be a ‘spiriting away’ or ‘gathering’ of the spirited souls of Christ’s believers. If the Rapture occurs Pre-Trib, those ‘caught up’ will miss the entire seven-year Tribulation period. If the Rapture occurs Mid-Trib, those involved will endure the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation but miss the "Great Tribulation" (second 3 ½ years). If the Rapture occurs Post-Trib, it will coincide with Christ’s Second Coming and those still alive will have suffered (prior to death) through part or the entire Tribulation years.
For over two thousand years people across the world have been increasingly exposed to the Bible and its story about the role and purposes of Jesus as the Christ/Messiah. God’s call to humanity has always been to know (of) Him [God the Father] and then to know Him again through the role, purpose, and sacrifice of Jesus for the redemptive [spiritual] salvation of mankind.
The dead who heeded God’s spiritual call prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection were taken to heaven. For the “dead in Christ” who heeded Jesus’ spiritual (Gospel) call between His resurrection ascension and the future coming Rapture, their spirited souls will ascend to new life at the Rapture regardless of its Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation timing.
Now that we have an overview of what the Rapture is, and when it will occur (in relation to the Tribulation) let’s look at what being "left behind" means. Those still alive after the Rapture (those 'left behind') will endure the consequences of the Tribulation judgments for as long as they are alive. What will those who are ‘left behind’ endure? Death and destruction by men and nature beyond anything endured in history [Mt 24:21]. The longer one is alive in a post Rapture world the more difficult life will become with ever increasing odds of death.
Since the very beginning of God’s interaction with mankind, He has been warning and chiding those who refuse to recognize Him and heed His instructions as to their moral and ethical obedience, or lack thereof. He has used people and events throughout history to make His Word and commandments known. God’s desire is to lose no-one. That none should be excluded from His Holy presence and eternal life [John 6:39].
However, because His love is unconditional, He allows each of us to decide and choose whether we will believe and trust in His "Word", (Jesus) or not. He gives each of us ‘Free Will’ to choose which path we will travel. The path that leads to Him, or the path that takes one away from Him. At birth we all start on the world’s path. As such, our 'free will' begins on day one. We enter this reality as sparked and energized spirits ready to inhabit a living soul and be challenged by the ‘lessons of life’ that await within the choices and decisions on our return journey to God.
At some point in life we are each introduced to an opportunity to know the Word of God. From that moment on, new awareness colors our previous spiritual ignorance. When our spirit is activated by acknowledgment our spirit enters a realm of being tried and tested. Our choices and decisions are now each challenged with a consequence of coming closer to God, or staying farther away. With each decision we can choose to walk the world’s way or the Lord’s path by our response. With each life lesson consequence, we can learn, grow, discover, or experience new knowledge and a variety of emotions.
From first breath to last, we are on a continuum of choices to come to know (of) God through His Spirit in Jesus, or not. For the spirit filled believer each choice is an opportunity to respond morally and ethical, the same way Jesus did, and as God (our Father) would have us do also. For the believer, God’s indwelt spirit counsels a validated and true response to the world’s challenges or temptations. For the non-believer (with an ‘inactive’ spirit) the Lord’s spiritual counselor remains silent.
Until we, as a corporeal vessel housing our spirit, invite the Lord’s Spirit through Jesus Christ to come and dwell with us, we are on our own. However, when we invite Him by ‘ASKing.’ Ask, Seek, Knock, on the door [Mt 7:7-8] that’s it! When we ask, He will respond as our Lord, who will then send His Spirit to lead and guide ours and His Spirit will spark our inactive spirit into activation.
Every decision we make has the potentiality of ending 'good, bad, or ugly.' We choose, engage, and experience every activity and its life lesson with its outcome or consequence. We grow through and/or from the lesson, or not. Then move on to the next choice, decision, and (re)action. Remember, the inactive spirit is ‘inactive’. With an inactive spirit, we are on our own. Our choice of action is dictated by our desires, wants and needs, and occasionally by the consequence of a similar past experience.
With the spirit of Jesus counseling ours in every choice/decision/action we contemplate, we are never alone. God’s Spirit dwelling with ours, within us is all we need. When we need advice all we need do for guidance is ask! We ask, He answers through His spirit within us. The Spirit of Christ advises and counsels each time we engage Him. In this way we are given privileged information as to our best interest in that moment of choice or decision, irrespective of the world’s influence or our current moral and ethical strength.
When the spirit of the Lord lives within us, we have the opportunity for a life fully blessed.
Join me for Part 3 when we look closer at the Rapture.
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