The Rapture - Figment of the imagination or something coming?
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
- 1 Corinthians 15:52
The concept of God ruling the universe is already a huge debate for many who find it hard to wrap their minds around this idea. The debate is endless on whether He is real.
There is another reality that Christians embrace and are actually looking forward to - and it's the occurrence of the rapture.
The rapture, according to the Bible, is 'an end-time event' which will see the Second Coming of Jesus taking place with Christians who are alive being 'caught up and the dead in Christ being raised to unite with Him for a while. During this time, what is known as The Great Tribulation will take place.
Many look on this occurrence as a 'fairy tale' story, while some believers do not think about the 'finer details' of the afterlife.
For others, this deserves nothing but total dismissal.
Family and Religion reached out to Pastor Ethon Johnson of Mission of Mercy, who shared that whether persons take it seriously, it is a phenomenon that will happen.
"The phenomenon that many speak of; but it is not important enough to take seriously; because it could never happen without their knowledge; is an event that has already taken place and will happen again," she points out.
Making reference to the biblical character Enoch, who was described as walking with God all the days of his life, she said he was the first person to be 'raptured' after God 'took him'.
EARTH TO HEAVEN
Expanding on the advent of the rapture, Johnson said it is the supernatural or divine act of transporting a person from one place of existence to another, especially from earth to heaven.
"From the beginning of time, it's been taught that the ability to go to heaven is not mystical as so many would have us believe, but it is a natural occurrence that was provided to us through a holy relationship with our Heavenly Father," she said.
As Christians, it is their ultimate goal to live their lives to ensure that this doesn't happen and leave them behind.
Although they will still have the opportunity to be saved, Johnson said it will be a whole lot harder to hold on to their faith.
"During The Great Tribulation, many souls will suffer great hardships, that today, if you told them the conditions they will be facing, they would say those things cannot happen. Things will be so painful and difficult that men will seek to die, but death will flee from them," she said of Bible prophecies.
Pointing out that many now have the chance to repent and are ignoring the opportunities, she said there will be coming a day (after the rapture), "with the Holy Spirit taken from the earth and lawlessness becoming the new order. There will be nothing to stop the unleashing of demonic powers on the earth," she said.
Stressing the reality of the rapture, Johnson reminds of the story in 2 Kings 2:11, where Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
"Though his departure was so evident to men, many still doubted the possibility of a departure to heaven. To focus on a certain word and act is one of the greatest deceptions of the enemy," said Johnson, even as she urged believers not to lose sight of the fact that this event will happen.
"No man knows the minute of the rapture, but as Noah warned men of the impending flood and none believed, today, men are being warned to repent of their sins and still so many will not believe," she said, even as she chided some preachers for gladly saying what people want to hear to keep them happy and in the pews still bound to sin.
"They gladly plumage their congregation on a Sunday morning, but sadly care nothing about their souls to tell them the truth so they would be spared from the dreadful demise of hell."