…that read thus: God’s Stimulus Package: The Rapture! and a simple, stray thought came to me. Does this I believe errant escatological view, this predominate doctrine in evangelical America of a pre-tribulation rapture, possess the tendency, even if not realized by most of those who adhere to it, to produce more an anxious anticipation of avoidance rather than an eager and joyous expectation? Or, to put it another way…am I more excited about being whisked away from bad stuff than I am about the Second Advent of my Redeemer…more a focus on an event versus than a focus on a Person?
Only in a culture relatively prosperous and indulgent, distanced by decades, for the most part, from far-reaching trauma on a national scale, could an eschatology of escape and easy entitlement take root and flourish. The early church, while often under great persecution, poverty, and tribulation, longed…and expected… to see Christ return. I, too, a misfit with no righteousness of my own, saved by grace lone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, soli Deo gloria, long to see Him return.
Could ramble for hours, but enough for now.
Matthew 24:7-9 (ESV)
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
Acts 1:11 (English Standard Version)
11and said,(A) “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,(B) will(C) come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
John 17:15 (English Standard Version)
15I(A) do not ask that you(B) take them out of the world, but that you(C) keep them from(D) the evil one.[a]
1 Thessalonians 4 (English Standard Version)
13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,(AD) that you may not grieve as others do(AE) who have no hope. 14For(AF) since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him(AG) those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you(AH) by a word from the Lord,[d] that(AI) we who are alive, who are left until(AJ) the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For(AK) the Lord himself will descend(AL) from heaven(AM) with a cry of command, with the voice of(AN) an archangel, and(AO) with the sound of the trumpet of God. And(AP) the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be(AQ) caught up together with them(AR) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so(AS) we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.