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The Sudden Departure Of Believers: The Rapture
When Will It Happen, Where Will You Be When It Does? 

By Greg DesVoignes

(Originally published January 1, 2001.  Republished with updates September 2018)

"We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" 1 Corinthians 15:51

Rapture CloudWhen I first came to believe in Jesus Christ, I had no idea what "The Rapture" was. It was probably a few months after that time I even heard the term itself. I thought "rapture" meant some fuzzy experience that believers were going to have someday. It was not until about six months after accepting Jesus that I heard the explanation of what this term meant; a sudden, without warning removal of faithful followers of Jesus out of the world, into His presence. Paul described this immanent event in the following.

"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor 15:51-52

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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.

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." 1 Thess 4:15-18; 5:1-2

Wow! This was exciting! But then I heard different views on this event. The excitement of the possibility of living in a time when Jesus could show up at anytime was pre-empted by confusion. For I heard that some believe that Jesus would not return suddenly before the Tribulation Period; but there were those that believed this event would not happen until the middle [when the anti - Christ enters the rebuilt Temple], and yet another of those who believe believers will not be taken out until the end of the Tribulation.

The next event for the church is to return with Christ at the time He physically comes back to the earth and stops the Tribulation from continuing. Theologians on all sides give scripture they believe support their views. So, this was somewhat of a bummer at that time. There are different paths of belief systems that come into play depending on where in time the Rapture happens or does not happen.  Having the wrong view can lead into believing the some of the various false teachings of today.

However, as I studied for articles on the signs of the times, there were certain things I began to observe concerning the Rapture. So it seemed fitting [I felt lead] then, that this newsletter should follow two I did prior to the 2001 version that were on the signs of the times. 

In looking at the Rapture subject as to when, we will look at [1] the nature of the Church, [2] the nature of the Tribulation Period, [3] the nature of God and how he has dealt with His people. For it was these things that stood out to me in my observations

Old Testament Observation

Some camps, even pre - Tribulation Rapture camps, say the concept of the Rapture is not in the Old Testament, and was not revealed until New Testament times, or was not even a concept until recent times.   After studying parts of the Old Testament, I would have to disagree. Here are some reasons.


The account of the prophet Enoch in Genesis 5 is one indication of the Rapture concept, especially if you see it in the totality of scripture. The account says;

"And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah 300 years... And Enoch walked with God: and he was not seen for God took him." Gen 5:22,24

Wow! This man walked with God 300 years, and then God took him from the face of the earth. Hebrews 11: 5-6 gives us further insight by saying;

"By faith Enoch was translated [accompanied, transported] that he should not see death; and was not found, because God translated [accompanied, transported] him. For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased [gratified entirely] God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek [a craving worship] Him." Heb 11:5-6

Now keep in mind three points in these verses; faith, and a diligently sought out relationship, and knowledge of God, which believers are supposed to have. These will come up later.

It is also interesting that Jude says that before Enoch was taken away, he prophesied that the Lord would "cometh" [accompany, appear] with tens of thousands of His "saints" [sacred, pure, blameless, consecrated] for the purpose of judging all who do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. Jude 14

So, if Jesus is coming with his saints, they must have left to be able to come back.

So there are two Rapture concepts here; departure from the earth without seeing death, and the mention of returning to execute judgment upon the ungodly of the World. We need also to recognize the presence of faith, the relationship with God as a vital part of the taking up of Enoch.


Elijah the prophet is another Old Testament example that shows the concept of the Rapture. God powerfully used Elijah in an extreme apostate time of Israel. He caused rain to stop and start; he healed, raised the dead, called fire out of heaven, and was responsible for the death of 450 prophets of Baal who prophesied for Jezebel.

The apostate Ahab, king of Israel, and his occult following wife, Jezebel (means - wife to Baal, unchaste), and another king, Ahaziah, pursued Elijah. However, God consistently protected Elijah. One thing that is apparent about this man was that He was always obedient to God. He went where God told him to go, even if it seemed to mean problems. Yet at the same time, as James said, He had a nature like ours. So even after miracles, he became depressed, fearful, and felt alone. God even ministered to him in these times. Then something happened.

"Then it came to pass as they [Elijah and Elisha] went on and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire and parted them asunder. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven." 2 Kings 2:11

Now then, the Word also tells us that Elijah would have two returns, of which one has already taken place; when Jesus was transfigured and Moses and Elijah appeared with Him [Matt 17:1-3]. The next appearance could be during the Tribulation period [Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6; Matt 17:10-13; Rev 11:4-14], at which time he again is considered a troubler. For what he and his partner [possibly Moses] do in Israel against the ungodly, makes movie special effects a real thing during this time. Again the concept of being taken up alive to heaven, and returning.

Noah And The Flood

Jesus warned in Matthew 24:37-38 that the world would be as it was in the days of "Noe" (Noah).  In Genesis 6 we see God telling Noah that the earth had become violent and apostate from him.  He told Noah he was going to destroy the people and the earth because of it.  But for Noah, the man "who found grace in the eyes of God" (Genesis 6:8), he and his family were to be taken up from this destruction through obedience to God.  In obedience Noah built the ark.  God gave the people of the earth 120 years to repent during this building.  Obviously they did not believe and were destroyed while this small remnant, Noah and his family, were taken up above the flood waters in the ark.

Hebrews 11 says of this:
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." Hebrews 11:7

Peter also tells us:

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2:5-8

Lot And Sodom - Gomorrah

Speaking of Lot; in Genesis 18 we see God telling Abraham he is going to destroy Sodom (where Lot lived) and Gomorrah because they were ungodly.  They were so ungodly that they even "vexed" Lot.  God tells Abraham that he is going to destroy these two cities but would spare them even if there were just ten righteous in the cities (Genesis 18:20-32).  There were not; only Lot, his wife (?) and two daughters (?)

We see later in Genesis 19 that two angels came to Lot in the form of men to warn Lot that God was about to destroy the city.  The people of the cities of that time were so bad that the men attempted to break into the house of Lot to rape these two angels.  Homosexuality must have been quite accepted and prevalent then as it is becoming today.

The angels warn Lot that God has sent these angels to destroy the city.  They tell Lot to gather his family, including son's in laws, and to get out.  The account says that when Lot warned his sons in laws, that they mocked him in disbelief.  Then an interesting thing happens that shows a Rapture concept here.  The account says:

"And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. Genesis 19:15-17

Lot seemed to have a desire to argue with these angels and told them he did not want to go to the mountains and asked them to spare a city for them called Zoar.  The angels did this.  But notice in the verses below something that one of the angels told Lot: The cities could not be destroyed until such time as Lot and his family were out of them.

Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.  The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.  Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven".  Genesis 19:22-24

In the same manner, Enoch was taken from the earth before the flood came.  So we see in these accounts of Noah and Lot the Rapture concept of being taken out by God before destruction comes.

When Will It Happen?

Now the controversial question arises of when this sudden departure of believers is going to happen. So from a Biblical historical view, we need to recall the time line of the last days prophetical events in their order. They are; the apostasy, the removal of the restrainer, revealing of the anti Christ, and the Tribulation. To give us some insight as to the possibility of when, we need to see what the Word tells us about the nature of some elements involved.

Nature of The Tribulation

The Word tells us some things about the Tribulation as to it's description and who it is directed at that may be revealing. The following are some examples. The Tribulation is:

The wrath to come. 1 Thess 1:10

Wrath upon the children of disobedience. Eph 5:6

The Day of the Lord, sudden destruction. to those who live in darkness 1 Thess 5:2-5

A curse that devours the earth for breaking God's covenant. Is 24:5,6

A time the Lord punishes the inhabitants of the earth. Is 26:21

Tribulation the world has not seen. Matt 24:21

The days of vengeance. Luke 21:22

An hour of testing for those who dwell on the earth. Rev 3:10

A snare to all who dwell on the earth. Luke 21:35

A time of woe to the inhabitants of the earth. Rev 12:12

Trouble for Jacob [Israel]. Jer 30:9

Purging, purifying of apostates. Dan 11:35; 12:10

Note that for the most part, these judgments are directed to the inhabitants of, and all who dwell on the earth at that time, and to Israel, whom God is not through dealing with yet. Who are these who inhabit or dwell on the earth at this time? Other verses give us the answer. They are those who are apostate, i.e. Children of disobedience [Eph 5:6], those who broke the covenant with God [Is 24:5-6], and those who did not keep his word and denied Jesus name [Rev 3:8-10]. I am going to interject an example of denial of Jesus' name here.

"We Best Leave Jesus Off a Pedestal" was the title of a September 20th, 1997 article in our local newspaper, the Spokesman - Review. The article was written by a United Methodist pastor in our region, citing the mercy of Mother Teresa, as a reason to put aside religious differences, saying that there is "touchable divine in everyone".

While being merciful to people is what God wants, it is not the whole picture. We can see this in Jesus' message to the church in Thyatira when He said,

"I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and they patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [tolerates] that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

And I gave her time to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds..." Rev 2:19-21

So although this church did many good deeds, she tolerated false religions and basically went to bed with them [committed adultery], which shows where Jesus was with them. And this church most likely performed the charity, service and works with the other religions. Works, service and good deeds does not mean Jesus is present. We can even see the corporate world into these things today. The result of this adulterous ecumenical relationship with the false religions is seen in what happens to the followers this church birthed.

"And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches will know that I am He which searcheth the reigns and hearts: and will give unto every one of you according to your works." vs. 23

This apostate church, in spite of it's good works, goes into tribulation with those of the false religions she had a relationship with; unless it repents. Now, going back to the nature of the Tribulation lets see if we can find someplace the body of believers fit in these things.

First, the body of believers is not Israel; so we do not fit in regard to Jacob's trouble. If we have not broken the covenant with God in being apostate, then we do not fit here either. Are God's children, children of disobedience? No.  Unless we join in with apostasy we are not recipients of wrath and do not fit here. How about receiving punishment, purging or purification?

"Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like him for we shall see Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." 1 John 3:2-3

If your hope is in Jesus and His appearing, you are already going through a purification process and are pure. Now those associated with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) do not believe in a pre-tribulation Rapture.  This view results in their assertion that they are leaders of the true church which they are to perfect by their "army" "new breed".  So, if the body of Christ cannot seem to fit in any of the aforementioned, where does this body fit?

Description of The Church

While the last section reveals a lot as to fate of believers, we need to take this further. We need to see a description of the body of believers that may help in seeing where we fit in regard to the Tribulation period.

Paul said,
"Ye also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood [sacred]... But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." 1 Peter 2:5,9

"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph 2:21,22

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in You?... For the temple of God is holy, what temple ye are." 1 Cor 3:16, 17

So the Word describes each believer as; living stones, which together since the beginning of Pentecost, have been being
 built up as a spiritual house [regenerated], a dwelling place of God. It also refers to believers as a holy and royal priesthood. This priesthood is sacred. The Word further says that God also dwells within each believer and each believer his holy to Him. This word "holy" means, sacred, pure, and blameless. [Keep this in mind; it comes up later]

Now do we see God's wrath against His own temple, against that which is holy, a place He dwells? Can we find any reference of His dwelling being purified during this time? To shed some light on this, let's consider the tabernacle and the two temples built by Israel.

God's Tabernacle

The tabernacle and its furnishings were made according to the instructions of God after Israel left Egypt. He plainly stated that it was to be made according to His Word, and that there were not to be any of man's additions, subtractions or substitutes in the construction, materials, and furnishings. God made it for a place for Himself to dwell in the midst of His people, Israel. Upon its completion, the Word said His glory filled it [Exodus 40:38]. What more His Spiritual house, the body of believers?

The temple that King David started, and his son King Solomon built eventually replaced this tabernacle. After the temple was built, the high priest would purify the temple by sacrificing a red heifer and sprinkle its blood on it. The same applied to the second temple built by Ezra after the Babylonian captivity.

But with the church, Jesus, our high priest came. His blood was poured out on a temple made without hands, and was thus already purified [Hebrews 9].

We need to ask if God ever subjected woe, destruction, wrath, and punishment upon his dwelling places? Yes! But Why? Simple: the apostasy of the people. Both of these man made temples had been polluted with falsehoods, by aspects of other religions, by polluted prophets, priests, other gods, and others from the outside [Jer 23:11; Ez 8; Ezra 9; Neh 13].

This apostasy, in the case of the first temple, did lead to God departing His dwelling. Then, the temple was destroyed when Israel was taken by Babylon. Its people and the furnishings of the temple were carted away into captivity. This was a prophetical example.

In the case of the second temple, the people were so polluted with falsehood; there is no recording of God ever dwelling in it.  There is no mention at all of the ark of the covenant.

 Later on they fell under the rule of the Roman Empire. It is interesting that God did not enter this temple until Jesus came. But Jesus was enraged when He saw what was going on inside of it. Jesus said of this temple;

"See ye not all these things; verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here any one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matt 24:2

This temple was to be destroyed 70 years later by Rome. Why? Jesus said,

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them. How often I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left desolate." Matt 23:37

They, like Laodicea, would not let Jesus in to dwell among them. Israel was religious, kept tradition, honored Him with their lips; but as Jesus said,  their hearts were far from Him (Matthew 15:8, Isaiah 29:13). They did not have any faith or knowledge of Him.

So, Jesus began building a new temple, a spiritual house made without hands. He then allowed one more time, the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed. Desolation comes where God does not dwell, where Jesus is not let in. But God dwells in believers, does He not?  But not in an apostate church.

So, concerning God's temple, it is apostasy that brings about His departing from His temple. When He is gone, destruction comes. Now the question we have to ask concerning the Tribulation and this spiritual house where God dwells [His church]; Is God going to leave His dwelling, or is His dwelling going to leave with Him?

What Restrains Anti Christ?

We know that before the anti Christ comes, there will be an apostasy fueled by the following of false doctrines of the so called revival of this time. However something else must happen during this apostasy, but before the anti Christ is revealed. Paul said,

"And you know what with-holdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed..." 2 Thess 2:6, 7

The question here is, who is it that is restraining the revealing of the anti Christ and who is it that must be taken out before he is revealed?  Paul noted that he had previously told the Thessalonians who or what was restraining the anti-Christ.  He did not repeat that in this letter.  However, since he did teach that, the answer is somewhere in scripture.  Now, Some would say "what" is the Holy Spirit.  Let's look at the Holy Spirit in this. The Word tells us that He; teaches [John 14:26], guides [Rom 8:14], commissions [Acts 13:4, commands [Acts 8:29], restrains [Gen 6:3], convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment [John 16:8], and He dwells in each believer [Eph 5:18].

What happens when the Holy Spirit is absent? It is obvious that there would be no teaching or revelation from God. There would also be nothing to convict the World of sin, righteousness and judgment, and nothing to restrain it. One example of what happens when there is a void of the Spirit can be seen in the case of King Saul when he rejected the Word of God.

"But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." 1 Sam 16:14

Jesus gave another example. He said;

"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came': and when it comes it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes out and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there..." Matt 12:43-45

So where there is a void of the Holy Spirit, demonic spirits come in. In the case of the anti Christ, the head of demons; Satan, possesses him. He is called the "man of sin", whom the whole world follows. Is this restrainer the Holy Spirit who has now departed allowing the man of sin to be revealed? Revelation tells us that no one can stand against Him. He even overcomes the saints (yes, those who believe after the Rapture).  It is then interesting to note that Jesus said, "the gates of Hell shall not prevail" against His church [Matt 16:18]. Is the church missing at this time? Did the church leave?

Some say that it is the body of believers themselves, who have the Holy Spirit in them.  This is possible too because we have seen in our examples that God did not bring about destruction until Enoch, Noah, and Lot were removed out of harm's way.

Sealed By God

This brings us around to the Church as a dwelling place of God, which is through the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is the one who is restraining the revealing of the man of sin, will He depart believers? Will He abandon the spiritual house that God has been building and leave us? Will these "living stones" become spiritually dead?  Not so according to the following verse.

"Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the World, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love....

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise..." Eph 1:3, 13.

The Holy Spirit is not leaving the believers, as believers are sealed. What can be said as to what happens then if the Holy Spirit is the restrainer and is taken out of the way? Because of the Holy Spirit, believers are, as Jesus said, the salt of the earth, and the light of the world [Matt 5:13, 14]. Without the believers as the salt [a preservative] of the earth, decay and sin would abound. Without this light, all would be in darkness. Without salt and light, there would be nothing to contend against the darkness of the man of sin.

The Nature Of God In Judgments

Rebellion Of Korah

One of the most revealing aspects I saw concerning this question of the time of the Tribulation, was the nature in which God dealt with certain people during His disciplines and judgments. The first one I noticed was when a man named Korah lead a rebellion against Moses after Israel left Egypt.

"And the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron saying, 'Separate yourselves from among this congregation that I may consume them in a moment'. And they fell on their faces and said, 'O God, the God of the Spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation'?" Num 16:21-22

Like with Noah and Lot, God's answer was, "No". So Moses, acting as intercessor, pleaded with the congregation to separate themselves from Korah and those who rebelled against Moses [ultimately God].  After these people separated themselves from Korah and those who remained with him, the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and his family, and fire came down from heaven and fried the rest. But those who had separated themselves were not affected. Grace and a warning here.

The Days of Noah

We look again at Noah but now in view of the nature of God's judgments. In the Noah account, it is an entire world, which has fallen away, with only one righteous. It was here that God said during this apostate time;

"My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." Gen 6:3

Grace again with a warning that the time would come when His spirit would no longer restrain man. God gave them a 120-year warning to repent; which they did not, and the great flood came. Again we see that God had a different plan for the righteous. 120 years before the rains came, God told Noah to build an ark. And again, seven days before the rains came, God told Noah to enter the ark. God Himself closed the door of the ark, and the flood came. The ark rose above the waters.

What I noticed again is that the judgment did not start until the righteous one was safely taken out of the way.

The Destruction of Sodom

The destruction of Sodom reveals another. First came the warning. God told Abraham he was going to destroy Sodom. Abraham knew Lot lived there and asked the Lord if He would destroy the righteous with the wicked. Not so! When the angels came to destroy the city, they did warn Lot and told him to leave with his family. When Lot tarried, an angel grabbed Lot and said,

"Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do anything till thou come thither." Gen 19:22

The very presence of righteous Lot prevented the angel from carrying out the judgment on the city. But after Lot was gone, the destruction began. As with Lot, God will also deal in a similar manner with the 144,000 Jews during the Tribulation period. Just before Jesus opens the Seventh Seal which is the beginning of the trumpet judgments, an angel said;

"Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Rev 7:3-4

God's Warning and Grace Today:  Be Separate!

As covered in the article on the last days ecumenism, the end of the church age within the last part of the apostasy, marks the forming of the alliance of a one-world spirituality with the corporate world [Rev 17-18]. As it was in the past, God again calls it, Babylon. This time also marks the forming of the one world government of the old Roman Empire. Together these will reach a peak during the Tribulation period. But here again, God calls out a warning to His people before destruction. Speaking of the revived Babylonian system, Jesus said,

"Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues... Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she will utterly be destroyed with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." Rev 18:4,8

Again there is a forewarning and plea to be separated from this apostate system, with a promise not to have to partake in the affects of the Tribulation wrath of God and the judgments. This is God's pattern and his nature.

Enoch Walked With God And Was No More: Then Came the Flood

Now we come to what I feel is an intriguing aspect of the nature of God. That is how God dealt with Enoch. Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, and the third generation prior to Noah and the flood. He spent less time on the earth than any of his relatives, by several hundred years. His sudden departure did not involve any wrath or judgment at all. Although the world may have been in an apostate state at that time, Enoch was taken up two generations before the flood.

What caught my attention on the circumstance of Enoch's departure were; no purging, punishment, woe, destruction, etc., but the simplicity that he was pleasing to God because he had faith in God and a relationship with Him. Referring back to Hebrews, remember it was said of Enoch that by his faith he pleased God, and this was his testimony, his witness; others saw it. Then, suddenly, he was not found.

It would seem that he was the only one at this time who had this faith, and thus pleased God; for continuing on the thought of Enoch, the writer of Hebrews said,

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him..." Heb 11:6

The next thing about the Enoch account is also revealing. Continuing on the subject of faith and pleasing God as referenced to Enoch, Hebrew 5:6 continues;

"For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." vs. 6

"Diligently seek" means to have a craving to worship God. This was Enoch. He also believed that God rewards [gives to] those who have a craving to worship God. This is what God requires and this was pleasing to God. Thus, Enoch was removed.

Do we have a craving to worship God? Is our faith solely in God, do we walk with Him? Do we believe He is a rewarder for this? Is the Tribulation period a reward for pleasing God? I find it interesting that the last thing we are aware of that Enoch said before he was taken up, was that the Lord would come with tens of thousands of those who were blameless, pure;

"To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." Jude 15

Enoch preached about God.  Enoch, the man who had a witness of faith, spoke of the return of the Lord with His own, and judgment; and then he is taken. What is interesting is that, despite Enoch preaching this, despite his witness, and despite his being taken up, the people continued in their apostasy, escalating in it, until the flood was suddenly upon them.  As noted before, there are those today that discount the Rapture, believing they are on earth at this time to perfect the church and the world.  However from Jude 15 we see that God's people would "return" with Jesus to execute judgment.  We must ask where did they go to return from?

Wrath On The World

Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, spoke of the Rapture of the church as noted previously in this article.  Speaking of the the "day of the Lord" he said to the people;

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, 'Peace and safety', then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child: and they shall not escape.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." 1 Thess 5:1-5

So there is another forewarning. Notice that Paul equates the timing of the Rapture with the sudden destruction of the Tribulation. He says this day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night to those not of the faith, those who are in darkness. Paul said that that day will come as a thief in the night; but points out that God's people are not of the night, but of a different time, the day. He went on to say that therefore, that time will not overtake [seize, possess] the children of the day. Darkness comes when the light is gone.

Paul then goes on to point out;
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess 5:9

Believers do not have an appointment to this day, but for another appointment, which Paul said, was:

" wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come." 1 Thess 1:10

What I considered here is; do believers wait for wrath, or do believers wait for Jesus? When you look at verse 10, Paul did not say Jesus will come and deliver us from the wrath to come, he said he already "delivered "us from it. This tells me the deliverance came before the wrath comes.

A promise was made to the church at Philadelphia because they; held fast to God's word, and did not deny [contradict] the name [authority, character] of Jesus. To this church Jesus said;

"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." Rev 3:10

Note that this hour comes to all the world, specifically stating it is directed to those living on the earth at that time. If Jesus is going to keep this church from this time, but it is for those who are on the earth; where is this church? One of the most revealing verses of the nature of God concerning His people can be found in Psalm 31. It coincides with the account of Enoch. It says;

"Oh how great is Thy goodness, which though has laid up for them that fear thee; which though hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men! Though shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the Lord: for He hath showed Me His marvelous kindness in a strong city. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Thine eyes... O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer." Ps 31:19-23

In these verses we see the words describing what God does with His faithful as; preserveth, hide them, keep them, and showing kindness and goodness. So we must ask ourselves if the Tribulation period is goodness and kindness from God. Has He laid up wrath for us?

Coming Theories: A Setup

One of the most cruel deceptions and mockery of the Rapture is seen in the suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult. Believing that the comet Hale- Bopp signaled the coming of their deliverance, they killed themselves thinking that their spirits would be taken aboard some delivering spacecraft that was hidden behind the comet.

Unfortunately there are many UFO type cults around the world that have similar beliefs. Today we have many that claim they are visited by aliens and even taken aboard spacecraft. What will be said if, suddenly, millions of people vanish from the earth? How will this be explained? It is quite obvious that those who are believers in the alien abductions will have this as their theory: A mass abduction. Some of these people already believe this is going to happen. Who is it supposed to happen to? According to the UFO believers and even others, it happens to those who are not going along with their plan for the world.  So, these are to be taken for further indoctrination and reprogramming. This is their belief.

(Note: I wrote the above paragraph in 2001.  Things in the UFO realm have progressively gone mainstream.  The History Channel's "Ancient Alien" series is a prime example with their "ancient astronaut theories".  It is their belief that the gods and demons mentioned in the ancient myths ( they include the Bible as one of those myths) are actually aliens from distant galaxies or star systems.  These shows are progressively trying to be more convincing as they say that the aliens are already dwelling among us.  They suggest the government is aware of them (kind of like the movie series "Men In Black), and the channel's interviews with some former government officials of various countries and others are claiming this to be true.).  They are calling for the government(s) to go public with these things.

Another one of these theories comes out of those involved in "The School of the Prophets". Having a past association with those of the Kansas City Fellowship, the Latter Rain Movement, and Dominion Theology (NAR of today), these believe only their prophets hear the voice of God. Using fear as control, some in this movement say that those who do not listen to these prophets are evil. And what is the result of not listening?   According to one so-called prophecy of one who was part of the Apostolic Movement years ago, 700,000,000 evil people will be removed from the face of the earth.

Another similar utterance comes from a like minded person by the name of Bill Britton, a Latter Rain Movement prophet.  It shows also that these have a different view of the Days of Noah.  The description of one of his books called "In Jesus: The Pattern Son" it says

"In this day when Christians are focused so much on signs and wonders, the author reminds us that Jesus Himself is God’s greatest sign of all. This sign was given when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but will be fulfilled in its completeness with the endtimes manifestation of the mature sons of God, when the “many-membered” body of Christ, the Church, receives the anointing of the Spirit “without measure,” and walks in the power and authority of the Lord Himself.

In that day will be fulfilled in the saints what Paul called “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). While many Christians futilely await a “Rapture” that will take them far away from the travails of the earth, God actually has a far better plan. While the “children of darkness” are swept away in judgment, the “children of light” will be “entering into the day of God’s glory, the unveiling of His power and majesty in the human flesh of His body, the Church.” A glorious destiny awaits those who will press forward to enter into the fullness of mature sons of God."

In another of Britton's books titled, "A Closer Look At The Rapture" 1986 he says,

"It will be as in the days of Noah. How was it in Noah’s day? The flood of judgment came and took all the wicked away, and the righteous were left to inherit the earth. The wicked had been taken away - yet man has devised a theology in which it is just the opposite; they claim the righteous will be taken away. The Bible, my friend does not teach any such thing. Proverbs 3:26 - for the Lord shall be they confidence and shall keep thy foot from being taken. - it is plain here that the righteous are not taken. Well, if someone is to be taken, who is it? Proverbs 11;6 says - the transgressors shall be taken. Think of it - the transgressors shall be taken. That is not what man has taught us, is it?"  Source:  Doctrines of Demons -PDF, Trish Tillan, Banner Ministries pg 11

What will the leaders of this NAR, Manifested Sons of God, Dominion Theology say when the Rapture happens? And how much more control and validity will they have over those who follow them?

There are many other false beliefs and false prophesies that are similar to these. I do find these interesting in view of the Rapture, and the differing views of its time. I have to ask, what are the reasons behind these beliefs? Why, now in these times is it being taught that those who are considered wicked, non-conformers will disappear? An answer may be found in Revelation and in Hebrews, which also may give an indication of the timing of the Rapture. Speaking of the anti- Christ, John said;

"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies: and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." Rev 13:5-6

What is this tabernacle and who are those that dwell in heaven? Are these the martyrs, the saints that are living and are killed during the Tribulation? No, because after John sees these things [the blaspheme of God and His people] in verse 5 & 6, he says;

"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." Rev 13:7

By the way, the anti Christ does this in league with the ecumenical false church, the one world spirituality of the time. And he remains in league with them until mid Tribulation when he enters the temple declaring he is God.  Revelation 17 continues,

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.  Revelation 17:14-18

So it would appear that there is going to be this false church, the whore of Babylon, that as power over the kings of the earth until they and the anti-Christ, turn against it.  Then could it be that the anti Christ is blaspheming [to revile, speak evil of], those whom the false doctrines say were removed from the earth; the evil ones? Is this the tabernacle in heaven [which would have to be there even before mid Tribulation]?   This is what is bothersome about the New Apostolic Reformation followers.  Not believing in the Rapture, they believe they will perfect the world so that Jesus will be able to come back.  To them, Jesus cannot come back until they complete this task with their "Joel's Army", "Manifested Sons of God", "New Breed" of "Dread Champions". Consider the following verses concerning tabernacles.

"For we know that if our earthly tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house made without hands, eternal in the heavens..." 2 Cor 5:1

"... the way into the holies of all was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing. Which was a figure for the time then present... But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building..." Hebrews 9:8, 9, 11

As we saw earlier in Ephesians 2, are not we the dwelling of God made without hands? Does not Christ dwell within us? Then what can we say about what this tabernacle is, and those who dwell in heaven that the anti Christ is speaking evil of; those that do not dwell on the earth? These left prior to the revealing of the anti Christ.

These scenarios to excuse away the Rapture, to build a hatred for the truth and those who follow it, are already being set up. I wonder what was said of Enoch when he suddenly vanished?  We see in scripture that when Elijah was taken up, his followers went on a futile search looking for him thinking that maybe God had put him somewhere else

Many Were Left Behind

I find it interesting that out of all the first born relatives of Enoch's ancestors written of, and of one son and one great grandson, who were living when Enoch walked the earth, only Enoch was taken up. The rest of his family was left behind. Were they not like Enoch? Apparently not before, nor after he was taken up.

It was a few years after Enoch was taken up that Noah was born: while still many of Enoch' s relatives were alive. Yet, the word tells us that Noah was the only righteous person on the earth. His father [Lamech] and grandfather [Methuselah] were alive to see him build the ark, but were not considered to be of faith as Noah was. Yet it also appears that these two were not counted among those to be judged, as they died a few years before the flood and not in it.

This scenario is somewhat sad. Why? Because all in this godly line had to have been taught of God. But only two had something that pleased God: Faith, and a relationship with Him; Enoch, and Noah, who was born after Enoch were taken. Enoch was spared living in a time of extreme ugliness, and Noah was spared perishing in the flood, which was the final result of apostasy and depravity.

Faith And A Relationship With God

We are living in similar times. And again, as scripture tells, believers will be delivered yet again from the destruction. The question we need to ask ourselves is; do we walk with God as Enoch did?  Are we consistently spending time with God and becoming more intimate with Him so as to have righteousness based on faith? Do we diligently seek Him and believe that He is a rewarder of those who do? Is He our first love, or are there things of the world in our lives that are?

I have seen in this study that the more we come to know God, the more of the nature of who He is will be known, and the more we will understand who we are in Him. And perhaps, we, in this time, will actually see that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, just as Enoch believed and saw.

But we need to be honest with ourselves and ask where God fits into our lives. Is it fifteen minutes a day, a week? Or maybe an hour on Sunday at church; and the rest of the week the written Word sits on the shelf along with prayer and worship? Perhaps we may see that the cares and affairs of the world have priority over a relationship with God, walking with Him and knowing Him.

"Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge..." Is 5:13

Many were left behind in the times of Enoch and Noah. Will it be the same in these times?  When will this event happen? Speaking of the Day of the Lord, and His coming, Jesus said,

"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matt 24:44

And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ (annointed) ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake....

...And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled...

 ...For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man... Luke 21:7-12, 29-32, 35-36