Monday, June 8, 2015
Will we have to live through wars, famine and world destruction before the Rapture takes place?
Let begin by reviewing the timing of these events, because the Second Coming of Jesus actually occurs in two parts.
In the first part, Christ returns for His Bride (the Church) in what we call the Rapture. But He won't actually come to earth at this time, but rather appear "in the clouds." This is why the Apostle Paul says we will rise to meet Him in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) This event will usher in the Great Tribulation, which is described as a terrible time of suffering and hardship when God will pour out His wrath on the earth. That's why the Church will be gone during the Tribulation. As Paul wrote, "God has not destined us for wrath." 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
After the Great Tribulation, which lasts 7 years, Jesus will physically return to earth, along with the Saints (the Church) and after destroying the enemies of Israel, He will reign upon the earth for a period of 1,000 years. This physical return is what is technically referred to as "the Second Coming."
So this is what I'm assuming you are asking: Will the Church be required to endure wars, famine and world destruction before the Rapture takes place?
The Church has, and will continue to experience all the hardships and difficulties associated with a fallen and rebellious world that is under the temporary control of Satan. Wars, famines and the like are part of living in this world and Jesus told us they would certainly be present and even increase before His coming. (See Matthew 24:6-8) But what the Church will not experience is the outpouring of God's wrath for reasons stated above.
Already believers are experiencing heightened persecution and there's no reason to believe this trend will abate before the Lord comes for us. I fully expect them to continue and increase. But these are the kinds of things Jesus told us to expect (See John 15: 18-21) and they mark as belonging to Him.
Will believers suffer hardships and persecutions? Yes.
Will believers suffer the wrath of God? Absolutely not. Jesus already bore God's wrath for us on the cross,