How close are we?


By Timothy Johnson

Preacher’s Point

I came to Christ at age fifteen, and God called me to preach at sixteen. From the get-go, I was fascinated by prophecy. When I was younger, I desired (and thought the odds were good) that I would live to see the rapture. However, as time passed, I began to think that maybe the rapture was a generation or two away, and my odds of being alive when it occurred were lower than I hoped. Then 2020 hit, and God renewed my belief that I had a good chance of being alive when the rapture came. I am currently in my mid-sixties. I have no guarantee that I will live to see tomorrow. Still, since most people die in their seventies or early eighties, the odds say I have five to fifteen, maybe twenty years left. The point I am trying to make here is that I most likely have less than twenty years left, and I believe my odds are good for being alive when the rapture comes.

Are we that close?

If you are unfamiliar with the Biblical event people call the rapture, it is a future moment when Jesus Christ appears in the air. He will resurrect those Christians who have died since His resurrection, and He will also take those Christians who are still alive when this happens. The event is mentioned several times in Scripture. The most vivid description appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

No one knows when the rapture will occur (Matthew 24:42, 25:13). I know I said that I believe the odds are good that it could happen before I die, hopefully in another twenty years or so, but the truth is, it could be hundreds of years away.

Jesus tells us to watch for the rapture multiple times. In Mark 13, while speaking about the event, Jesus uses the word “watch” four times in five verses.

As a child, I remember my Mom watching for my Dad to come home. When she saw the car coming down the street, that was her sign that Dad would soon be walking through the door. Jesus wants us to watch for the signs.

The list of signs for the rapture is extensive. Many of the signs, people can rightfully claim, have been happening since forever. However, with the signs that have been occurring throughout human history, such as earthquakes, famines, and pestilence, the Bible explains that as we get closer to Christ’s return, these events will increase in frequency and intensity, like contractions for a woman in labor (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

These signs are essential, but the Bible talks about life after the rapture since not everyone leaves during the rapture. As life today gets closer to life after the rapture, we can see that the rapture is getting closer.

Shortly after the rapture, the Antichrist orchestrates a treaty with “many nations” over Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27). The world will consider this treaty a diplomatic miracle. The event will catapult the Antichrist to world fame. Not long after this, the world’s nations will follow the Antichrist. Borders and nations will still exist, but the world’s kings, presidents, and prime ministers will be in lockstep behind the son of perdition.

A huge sign occurred in 2020 when governments around the globe shut down privately owned businesses. This blanket closing of businesses was a sign of the coming rapture because, after the rapture, the Antichrist will control who can buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17). No laws were passed, the closures came through proclamation, and the vast majority of people worldwide fell in line. If the rapture comes within the next fifty years, then the Antichrist is alive today. When he witnessed how quickly businesses were closed and how little resistance came from the populace, he probably thought, “Well, that was easy enough.”

The things happening in the church, or maybe I should say Christianity, are signs of the end of the age and the soon coming of the rapture. 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Notice, “in the latter times.” The latter times is the time shortly before and after the rapture.

You cannot depart from something you never had, so this passage is not about the world; it speaks of the church. Many churches talk of having faith in God to get you through difficult circumstances and situations. Still, they do not speak about the faith needed for salvation. I say this because sin is rarely mentioned in modern churches. Sin is often considered an error or a mistake. An error is something we can correct. You have made a mistake if you turn left at an intersection instead of right. Drive around the block or turn around, and the situation is fixed. But sin is something only God can fix. Only the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, can eliminate sin.

Having faith that God can turn around some circumstances in your life is pointless without having faith in Him for salvation. God may cure your problems, but Jesus even asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).”

The church gives head to seducing spirits by equating worship and the Spirit of God with good jives. When Paul gave Timothy instructions on what to preach to the church, he told him to use words “to the subverting of the hearers.” Preaching aims to overthrow people’s hearts, not solely to make us feel good. Modern preaching does not bring the “Dear God, What have I done!” response God intended.

The doctrines of devils play into this as well. If Satan can keep churchgoers more concerned with how they feel instead of what God wants, then Satan has little work to do.

Other passages discuss the condition of the church in the last days. Some are 2 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and Revelation 3:14-22.

In the world beyond the church, there are signs of the last days in how people behave. A simple list reading will show that these things are more prevalent than fifty or sixty years ago. Remember, like contractions for a woman in labor. I am well past my usual word count, so I will leave you with one such list from 2 Timothy 3:1-5; “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website:; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: All Scripture KJV.

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