|It’s absolutely amazing to reflect upon the growing denial that the rapture of the Church is imminent. Somehow, it is becoming more and more fashionable to reject the most amazing and encouraging promise in all Scripture. Yet the promise is there, and clearly presented: At some time approaching the beginning of the seven-year tribulation, the Church – the Body of Christ, living and dead – will be instantly borne aloft, to be forever home with the Lord. Then will come the “wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16).
John, recording one of the most intimate scenes to be found in Scripture, recalls how Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving them for a little while, and that they couldn’t follow Him.
We all know the story. Peter argued that if allowed, he would accompany his Lord wherever He went, and would lay down his life for Him. Jesus’ answer is classic. He told the overly-enthusiastic Peter that before the cock crowed the next morning, he would stoutly deny that he was even one of the Lord’s disciples.
And then, Jesus responded by making a marvelous statement for the ages … to Peter and by extension, to all of us:
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:2,3).
The Apostle John faithfully recorded these words. Today, we read them with the emotion that was felt when they were initially uttered. This amazing promise began with the disciples, then spread through the infant Church: The one thing Jesus made very clear is that He will return at some point to take His followers home.
Later, other Apostles (chiefly Paul) were progressively given more and more details about this process and the timing of its conclusion. From the first century until the moment that one reads these words, His promise to return for His own is the central feature of the Church.
And speaking of the Church, there is the marvelous opening of the Book of Revelation. It begins by laying out the future pathway of the Church, illustrating its future history in the Letters to the Seven Churches. A very special promise is made to the Philadelphian Church:
“10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev. 3:10-11).
The “hour of temptation” mentioned above can be translated “hour of testing” or “hour of trial.” Theologians down through the ages have taught that this is a metaphor for the Tribulation, which will be the period of ultimate testing for Israel, not the Church.
“1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;” (Zech 14:1,2).
Jerusalem is the center of the Tribulation’s battles, not the Church. Notice that Zechariah speaks of “all nations.” The Tribulation is global. Israel is the target. The Church is to be kept from the horrors of judgment, or to put it biblically, “I will come again and receive you unto myself.” What a promise! (Click to Source)