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If the Rapture Happened Today?

Newsletter #15
 "And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:32
There will come a date in history when Jesus will step into history to remove His church (the true church is known as His Bride). Jesus will return  suddenly and abruptly. This fact is clear from several passages in the New Testament. Only the actual date is uncertain. Many followers of Jesus are unaware of all the Bible teaches regarding the ongoing personal involvement of Jesus Christ in His universe. In sovereign power and wisdom God retains His sovereign rule in every age of history. It is quite possible for us to be left behind.
Suppose, for discussion purposes, the Rapture were to happen today?
I live in Silicon Valley, part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The current area population is about 7 million persons; the San Jose region houses about 1 million. Before the Gold Rush the area was sparsely populated. Over the three or four generations since the Gold Rush, the total number of persons born, raised, died, or still alive might number 2 million for San Jose alone? 
How many people in the region knew Jesus personally while they were alive? How many now alive know Jesus today in this area? Ten percent of the total population knowing Jesus seems unreasonably high somehow? When I moved here to attend Stanford University in 1954, church attendance in these parts was only a few percent. Church attendance is not a good indicator you will say, and I agree. I have met thousands of followers of Jesus living in this area  in the past half-century. There are certainly many closet-Christians in this area who would never darken the door of a church building but who know and serve Jesus quietly in their daily lives. All things considered, are there 100,000 followers of Jesus now alive in greater San Jose?   God knows those who are His. I believe God does not desire that anyone should stay lost and I am certain He is very available to help anyone. There is plenty of evidence Jesus loves His enemies and is more than interested in bringing them into His family.
What would the “faithful remnant” actually experience today if Jesus came for us in the Rapture today
We know from First Thessalonians 4 and First Corinthians 15, that the dead in Christ will be raised first and this will occur in history on the day called the Rapture. 
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died previously) lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
The events of the rapture will apparently take place very rapidly in time. “In the twinkling of an eye” in fact. Instantaneous as seen by an outside observer but subjectively drawn out for the participants who have a lot of adjusting to do.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

The Rapture locally, in my area, if it happened  today would mean that a few hundred thousand fellow Christians, who died here and are buried here, will suddenly appear with new bodies on, alive and well as if they had never died. I (we) will not have much time to react because “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

The center of attraction on that day will be Jesus  in Person: resplendent and triumphant. we shall all be changed—“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye...”

I have pictured the Rapture as if it were only a local event occurring in the area where I live. In reality, it will actually be world-wide and global.

There is yet another fascinating aspect of the Rapture as an intersection of time and eternity. Suppose I were to die today as a follower of Jesus expecting that I will be raised from the dead on the “Last Day?” Surprise! When I take my last breath and exit my old body, I expect to time travel to the Rapture “in a moment, in the twinkling of and eye.” I am now an old man, 86 years old, so my possible exit from this mortal life could happen any day.

It is not world events which concern me the most, it’s the brevity of my present life! Many people, including the Apostle Paul, have been given access to heaven for a short time. Those so privileged usually say they would prefer to have remained “up-yonder” instead of being sentenced to additional time on the planet. 
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

A favorite passage of mine, for half a century, is the following:
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1-11)

(See, The Eightfold Way of Knowing God,

There is no reason for anyone to doubt his or her final destiny in God’s vast universe. Jesus Christ, presently alive from the dead is there for any and all.
The sequence of events on the Day of the Rapture (whether today or ten years from now) —accompanied by the above transformations—will likely include the following features:

1. A radical change in our experience of time,
2. Experiencing the “Judgment Seat of Christ” in community as a transformation for each of us,
3. New resurrection bodies for all of us who know Jesus,
4. A new home as promised,
5. A new community and new environment,
6. On Everlasting Destruction,
7. The Day of Man and the Day of the Lord
8. The Church at the End of the Age
9. The Concept of the Remnant,
10. The Tiers of Heaven,

C.S. Lewis anticipated these eventualities in life when he wrote,
"God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks onto the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right, but what is the good of saying you're on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else--something it never entered your head to conceive--comes crashing in; something so beautiful to us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down, when it's become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realize it or not. Now, today, in this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever; we must take it or leave it." (Mere Christianity)

No one need be left behind! 
Please write if I can help,
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Previous messages in this series: 
1. Compromised Christians
2. Closeted Christians

3. Cultural Christians

Special Feature:

Meet my awesome friend David Goss, an ace volleyball player at Stanford a few years back. Dave is now pastor at an outdoor church meeting in a park in Isla Vista, California. Drop in on him next time you are in Santa Barbara!

Your Brother,

Editor: Lawrence Hoppis

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