As the disciples stood on the Mount of Ascension, they watched as Jesus rose from the earth and floated into the clouds. They saw Him being drawn toward heaven. They watched Him go. The resurrected Jesus “was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven’ ” (Acts 1:9–11).
One day soon, the glorified Jesus will return. He will appear in the clouds. We’ll see Him! “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God ... Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17).
When? “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36). If someone tells you that they have it all figured out, you can dismiss them as a heretic. No one knows when Jesus will appear.
Is there anything in the prophetic Scriptures that remains undone? Is there anything else on the prophetic timeline before the rapture of the church? Maybe. Jesus said, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Some suggest that there are unreached peoples that must be reached before the end can come. But, with the advent of international travel, international missions, and radio and internet transmissions, hasn’t the Gospel reached the nations? I contend that the rapture could occur today.
Seven hundred years before Jesus arrived at Bethlehem, God spoke to Isaiah. God said, there is something that will occur prior to the arrival of the Messiah. God promised that a forerunner would precede Jesus. “ ‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of hard service is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.’ A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity together will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:1–5). Preceding the Messiah’s arrival, one would come to prepare the way.
God repeated His promise to the prophet Malachi. “ ‘See, I am going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way before me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to his temple, the Messenger of the covenant you delight in—see, he is coming,’ says the Lord of Armies” (Malachi 3:1).
Those Messianic prophecies were marvelously and miraculously fulfilled! “ ‘In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight!” (Matthew 3:1–3).
What God promised in the Old Testament, He did. What God promised in the New Testament, He will do!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.