| Part 3: What Actually Happened |
Who are these missing people and what actually happened to them?
This event is described in the Bible as a bodily and alive “catching up” (or rapture) from earth to heaven of God’s faithful people, the Christians - being true believers in Jesus Christ.
Sounds impossible doesn’t it? Yet God states His abilities are unlimited:
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Think about it. If it’s not by divine authority, how could what’s just happened to humanity be physically possible? Quite obviously, based on the known laws of physics, it simply can’t be. Furthermore, if not by God then how did whatever took us discern all the true believers in Jesus Christ from the rest of humanity?
[Evidence] Fortunately, nearly 2,000 years ago God prophesied exactly what would happen:
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep [died] in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
“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 [raptured] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
And this is exactly what has just occurred. Very soon (if not already) you will be hearing reports from hospitals that some of these missing people are those who have died just prior to the moment when this global disappearance actually happened.
The same is true of all those who have died in Christ since the Spirit of God indwelled believers at Pentecost (50 days after Jesus’ Resurrection) and in the centuries following until the rapture. Those believers who have died prior to this time will be resurrected at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2), along with the Tribulation martyrs (Revelation 20:4-6). All unbelievers from the beginning of mankind will be resurrected the end of the Millennium to appear before the Great White Throne Judgement (Revelation 20:11-15).
For those believers who have died since Pentecost, God has now raised them to life by transforming their corrupted mortal earthly bodies into immortal and glorified physical heavenly bodies (Philippians 3:20-21). He then reunited their newly glorified bodies with their souls from heaven, where they have been residing with Jesus ever since they died (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
And God did it all just moments before He similarly glorified the bodies of all genuine Christians who were alive on the earth at the time; “catching up” both them and us together to Jesus, meeting Him in the air and the proceeding into heaven.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We [genuine Christians] 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 [in Christ] will be raised incorruptible [glorified], and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
The practical reality of the rapture is also described in the Bible:
“Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.” (Matthew 24:40-41)
So why have we all disappeared now? It’s because God had declared a finite timeframe for mankind to populate the earth and seek to know Him. But now this period is drawing to a close and He is about to pour out His righteous judgement on a sinful and unrepentant mankind (Romans 1:18), being all those who have failed to acknowledge Him. However before His wrath comes, God first removes His faithful people because His Word declares:
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
Note: If you’re somewhat familiar with biblical prophecy, the rapture of the Church is not the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is a separate event that will occur in just over seven years from now, as you will see detailed below.
Because they are not genuine Christians. For there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11).
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] he who does the will of My Father in heaven… And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21, 23)
The primary reasons for this are:
1. They did not genuinely believe in Jesus Christ: Having not “Confessed with their mouth” and “Believed in their heart” (Romans 10:9).
This means they are “in name only” or lukewarm Christians (Revelation 3:15-16) who may have externally appeared to others as genuine Christians, but in actual fact didn’t truly believe in their hearts. Genuine inward belief is always manifested outwardly in ones words and actions. However God judges not by how one overtly presents to others, but by the motivations of their heart.
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight; But the LORD weighs the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2)
2. They rejected the truth of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible: Being deceived into following a false teaching or doctrine.
There are many “Christian” denominations whose adherents will have missed the rapture because they’ve followed religious leaders who profess non-biblical false teachings and religious doctrines created by man. Biblical Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship as children to a loving Father, which every genuine Christian has with God through Jesus Christ.
Anything other than adhering to true biblical Christianity, exactly as it’s written by God in the Bible – being the single, complete and inerrant written Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19) – is heresy; and will not be honoured by God.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
“[Satan] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him… for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Sadly, these false teachers have deceived many millions of well-meaning Christians to miss the most blessed event of this age, to be raptured by Jesus Christ bodily and alive into heaven. So how could so many people be deceived? The answer is simple, because they’ve failed to objectively evaluate the evidence for themselves, but have mistakenly trusted the subjective reasoning of their religious leaders.
If you’re a Christian who thought you were saved, consider when was the last time you asked yourself “Is that teaching biblical?” - most likely not for a while, if ever. Regrettably this is an all too common scenario because successful deception is convincingly delivered, easily believable and usually incorporates elements of truth to create validity, making perfect sense in the mind of the one being deceived.
The only protection against such deception is self-conducted objective evaluation, if you don’t know the Word of God then how can you expect to identify such false teachings?
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
If this is you, you’re not alone. Consider the world’s largest denomination comprising some 1.2 billion professing Catholics, many of whom will still be here if they’ve strictly upheld the doctrinal teachings of this false religion. Catholicism denies some of the most fundamental biblical truths such as faith in Jesus Christ alone as the only means for salvation, among others.
Often the leaders of such denominations are being deceived themselves, passing their erroneous beliefs onto their congregations with conviction. If your denomination is in this category, you need to return to genuine biblical Christianity immediately. To help you do this, we’ve written a white paper on the Top 10 Non-Biblical “Christian” Religions - Why they contradict the Word of God.
In the next part we’ll explain how these missing people got into heaven, what happened to all the children and who is deserving of God’s wrath.