This is a subject that can bring about varied opinions linked to various locations in scripture. While growing up in an Assembly of God pastor's home my parents both were to me at least very 'sound' scripturally speaking. God's Word said it, they believed it and it was settled. The exact topic of the Bible being anything other than it's simple claim never really had a floor for debate. The realization of my faith agreeing with theirs was like it was there all along. Just a right feeling. Although they were probably thinking the rapture would happen in their lifetime it did not. And so we wait and occupy hopefully pointing souls to the only true peace to be found on the planet. I am not one to suppose or certainly not apply dates but there is supporting scriptures that are provided with this subject. Matt 16:3 and Luke 12:56 tell of Jesus pointedly and even with passion say the times that surrounded them are discernable. Being true then over 2000 years ago as Jesus spoke with passion how much more passionate is the truth in the here and now present tense that we inhabit. Friend we exist in a very discernable time in God's timetable.
Matthew 24: 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Given the facts of God's Word it is clear that as Noah and his family were spared God's wrath I believe the true Church of Jesus Christ today will be spared. The Holy Spirit currently is exposing what season we are in and pointedly with passion speaks to men and women's hearts that God is about to pull out those that have accepted Jesus according to His amazing grace. It is written the world hated Jesus. Today it hates those who believe in and follow His teachings. Even so the tribulation period has not yet begun. When this falling away or rapture commonly called does happen God's true wrath will then begin. Seven years marking the beginning of His wrath upon those who have chosen to fight God Himself under the leadership of a man referred to as anti christ. This is the wrath God will render to those who refuse him is seen clearly avoiding the Gentile Church. 1st Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Key and of the things most surely believed is this. God is Love. Each day He witholds His coming testifies of this. 1st John 4:10 Herein is love not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son. John 3:16 probably the best known scripture popularly. For God so loved the world that he sent his son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Friend, NO ONE SHOULD PERISH !!!
Few if any at all people of all Biblical faiths would disagree with these truths. People without any as yet Biblical background still have the measure of faith given at birth by God himself. Romans 12:3 God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Although some choose to misuse (even atheists exercise loudly faith in 'no God') all do in reality use this God instilled faith given by Him at birth. People let a lot of things have priority apart from God's truth. Nevertheless Revelation 3:20 is appropriate to all. Jesus does stand and knock at the door to everyones heart. He never goes away while we are in our lifetime.
Quick summary of two things. 1. God cares about everyone. 2. Simply put it is He that provides for anyone the gift of Jesus Christ by placing on him the sins of the world (everyone). Jesus obedience to the cross is the only payment God will accept for our sins as 'paid in full'. Without faith in Jesus dying on the cross and God raising him from the dead man is Christless and covered with sin that will be judged without fail by God Himself.
So now. Since God is Love and also put quite simply he desires with a holy passion us all to be with him for eternity. Don't you think he also would with at least some degree of simplicity provide us with the truth of this next wonderful and however brief the twinkling of an eye may be interpreted event popularly known as the Rapture? From 1 Thessalonians 4: latter verses The Lord will descend with a shout, saints bodies from the grave will be resurrected, people who remain will be changed, all will join together and be with the Lord forever. This all in a instant! Such a marvelous time and soon to be a reality with world conditions pointing more and more to the ushering in of these facts.
Rapture Conversation / 2nd Thessalonians 2
2nd Thessalonians 2 begins strictly with Christians being lovingly informed before graduating into some very plain specifics of the Anti Christ's beginning and end. Progressing into seeing the Anti Christ and his demise we get a glimpse also those who have chosen Anti Christ instead of Jesus. The latter portion of this chapter again expresses the love of God to his Church in encouraging and establishing us as believers with comfort.
With those thoughts lets look at what the Word or Jesus (the Word made flesh John 1:14) tells us in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 verse by verse.
Verse 1. Begins by describing the actual fact that the rapture IS on its way and true Christians will be gathered together at that time. The word 'gathering' here mirrors latter part of 1st Thessalonians 4.
Verse 2. Reassuring love is exhorting Christians to not be swayed by what our minds are trying to think or by false spiritual giftings such as tongues and interpretations, even words and writings from well known and recognized leaders of the faith. Remember, Matthew 25:13 tells us simply 'watch'. Ye know not the day nor hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Verse 3. This is a verse with regards to apostasy and a whole lot of people interpret this as a large exodus of backsliding Christians. As we consider the overall 'rapture' subject of this chapter, remember also a few things. Ephesians 5:27 reminds us Jesus is coming after a glorious bride, one without spot or wrinkle. Is this a description of a bride having very recently lost a large portion of her 'body' maybe 25-30% or more? Not by any means does this fit. Also Jesus poignantly with emphasis in Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Thinking in terms both of a large exodus of the saved of the earth and to believe Jesus in context here seems to console a double standard type of thought. This falling away I believe is adhering to two simultaneous things while still dealing with the Rapture. #1. Christ's bride without spot or wrinkle whom the gates of hell has not prevailed, 'falls away' or is raptured. # 2. And the man of sin is I believe now revealed, the son of perdition. The man of sin is unable until the righteousness of Christ is removed from earth to reign in full power.
Verse 4. Some reiteration pointing to the fact who is being discussed. It IS the Anti Christ. Supporting scripture from Isaiah 14:14. I will be like the most high. Satan incarnate. God's Word telling Christians in simple terms who this is.
Verse 5. Here God's Word is visiting and asking Christians 'by way of remembrance' I've told you these things. John 5:43 was one example where He did prophesy, I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Verse 6. This is a powerful, even very powerful truth of the supporting pre trib Rapture belief. This verse begins by saying the words, And now(present tense) you know what(Church) withholds that he(Anti Christ) might be revealed in his time. Clearly while the Church is still in a pre Rapture form here on earth Anti Christ cannot be revealed or be in his time. Anti Christ's revealing is pointedly clear after Christians have 'fell away' or having been Raptured as noted in Vs 7. Until He (the Church) be taken out of the way.
Verse 7. As Christians we see clearly the spiritual battle of God's people vs those who oppose Him. These workers of iniquity are at work warring daily through their big guns of media fed flesh fulfilling agendas. However it's clear also that even as a child 'let's' or hinders a pet's wanderings so does the Holy Spirit 'let' or 'hinder the devils actions' until He (the Church) be taken out of the way (or is raptured). This simple analogy of a Child who controls their pet and the Holy Spirit of God controlling Satan's kingdom is not without backing by the Word. Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord. His presence (in Christians everywhere) Romans 8:11 The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in Christians is obvious. His presence when 'taken out of the way' (raptured Christians) allows the Devil and his incarnates (anti-christ and false prophet) to their evil will. Puppet men continue onward led by darkness even as mass numbers have disappeared as is written.
Verse 8. And then (after Christians and the Holy Spirit to a large degree are gone, look who can now be revealed) shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming (Last verses of Revelation Chapter 19 is prophesied here, marking the end of 7 years tribulation).
Verse 9 - 10. Even him, whose coming is after working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them who perish because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. (The him here, Satan incarnate is the anti-christ. Full of power and signs complete with lying wonders puppet men trudge deeper into the black pitch of entrapment).
Verse 11 - 12. These two verses gives reason to at least a partial fulfilling or beginning in a measure of God's judgment. Romans 12:19 Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Here puppet men that continue to reject the cross of Christ has God himself bolster their reasoning against His cross. These who chose pleasure in unrighteousness instead of faith in Jesus's Cross are now damned by God by the rejection of His Cross.
Verse 13 - 17 These last five verses leave off dealing with the Rapture and pivots toward believers and being thankful for God's mercy usward. Exhorting to 'stand fast' and not sway from our traditions or His Word. Concluding in loving advice through grace bestowing us comfort within our innermost being while assuring our sure foundation in word and deed.