“So what is your past?” pastor Shannon asked me.
“My past is forgiven and forgotten.” I was barely able to say. My chest was so tight with emotion I could hardly breathe. Gratitude, the most overwhelming emotion of all.
“So what’s your future?” he asked.
“I have a glorious future in the LORD Jesus Christ.”
We had just been raptured.
It all started at a family camp of sorts. My wife and I and our kids, Cindie and my mom and many others were there. We were all watching a comedian who had just finished sharing a joke intended for the kids in the audience.
Suddenly a storm blew in from out of nowhere. The wind started blowing and the clouds darkened the sky. You could hear the booming and crackle of thunder and flashes of lightning were everywhere. There wasn’t any rain but everyone was concerned about getting struck by lightning so we ran for cover. Most of us were under the protection of some outdoor building… most everyone except Cindie. She was looking up fascinated by something in the sky, a beauty and wonder held her gaze. When all of a sudden she was struck… but this was no ordinary lightning after all.
The “bolt of lightning” (if you could even call it that) lingered, attached to her, glowing blue wisps of glory. It connected to something inside of her and caused her to glow too. (I have since heard this described as the astral cord – “Milky Opalescence” which appears blue. To my mind it’s God establishing a spiritual umbilical cord connection to his ‘babies’). She started to lift off the ground, the light drawing her heavenward.
Immediately after this, Catherine and I started to ascend on a wispy beam of glory as well. In fact, most everyone else around us were also being drawn into the sky. I looked at her and was just SO happy I was included. “I get to come too!” I said triumphantly and embraced Catherine warmly.
We were taken to a holding platform vessel of sorts. We were just about to enter the platform when suddenly, I panicked. I thought the LORD would realize his error and send me back or even that my sudden fear would disqualify me. I grabbed onto my baby girl Emma’s leg thinking I would fall. When I did not fall I was so embarrassed I apologized to Emma profusely.
We were with a group of about twenty others (there were many other “platforms” around us). Among us was my mom. Her pastor was there as well and they were thrilled. They talked together like this was the day they were living for and seemed quite at home. They talked about a much beloved brother in the Lord and friend of theirs who had passed on. They were content to know he was around here somewhere.
There were Bibles there for each of us, provided for our comfort. ESV, NIV, the translations went on and on. There was even one there that said, “containing extra Catholic content”. Someone wanted us all to be comfortable with even our own favorite translations. I was looking for an New Living Translation and was wondering which was Jesus personal favorite when pastor Shannon asked me the question:
What’s your past?
What’s your future?
What I have discovered about the LORD is that he delights to show mercy. He isn’t looking for excuses to keep anyone out. No, instead he is more intent on getting everyone in and has already provided salvation to all. He says to us, “Everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved.” This verse is repeated three times in Scripture. Once in Joel, once in Acts, and once in Romans.
His is a generous salvation and Jesus is a generous Savior. I mean, he’ll save anyone… just look at me!
REGARDING THE RAPTURE
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 ESV)
The Bible clearly teaches about a rapture – a transporting of every believer from earth to heaven. Scripture seems to indicate it is an imminent event – that it could happen at any time. There are several views on when the rapture takes place. Scripture doesn’t nail down the timing of it as much as some would like.
Here are a few theories:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture: http://www.gotquestions.org/pretribulationism.html
- Pre-Wrath Rapture: http://www.gotquestions.org/pre-wrath-rapture.html
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture: http://www.gotquestions.org/midtribulationism.html
- Post-Tribulation Rapture: http://www.gotquestions.org/posttribulationism.html
- I have even heard a theory once that suggests that half of the tribulation has already occurred in 70 AD and that there only remains another three and a half years.
Not sure what a Tribulation even is? This will help: http://www.gotquestions.org/tribulation.html (VERY interesting read! This article assumes the sensible pretribulation rapture view.)
Quite honestly, I don’t have a rock solid position as to when the Rapture will occur. I tend to lean toward a Pretribulation theory because it makes the most sense to me when you consider all of the Scriptures, and strengths vs. weaknesses of the position. Pre-wrath and Mid-trib certainly have their merits but come with assumptions. Post-tribulation theory seems a compelling option as well. I never thought so until reading the article just now… but, it certainly has its weaknesses as it too assumes some things. I encourage you to read through the articles for yourself.
I will end this post with Jesus parable which, I believe, speaks to the whole rapture issue:
New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
- Interesting discussion (contains a story of someone going to heaven)
- Enoch and Elijah raptured, but Why?