How can we know we haven’t been left behind? What a great question! We are glad you asked. We all have questions about who God is and what his plan for all of us includes. Let’s dive in and find the answer to your question today!
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.Thessalonians 5:1-2
What is the Rapture?
In the preceding context, Paul comforted the Thessalonians by revealing more about the rapture of the Church (see article on What is the Rapture and When Will it Happen?)
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Paul continues by detailing what happens after Jesus raptures the Church: The day of the Lord (seven years of tribulation) will come just like a thief in the night.
They (those left behind, unbelievers) will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day.
1 Thessalonians 5:3-5
Paul continues encouraging this Church, telling them believers will not go into the tribulation:
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
The tribulation is the time God’s wrath is poured out on “earth-dwellers” (Revelation 16:1):
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.Revelation 16:1
The Thessalonians were rightly concerned about being in this time of tribulation. Paul meant to comfort and encourage them with his teaching about future things. However, after this Church received this letter, false teachers contacted them and again disturbed their composure:
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2
Paul corrected this false teaching by telling them to remember what he had taught them (2 Thessalonians 2:5). It won’t come until (vs. 3-9):
When Will the Rapture Happen?
- The apostasy comes.
- The man of lawlessness is revealed (aka. The beast, the antichrist). He will take his seat in God’s temple and display himself as God.
- The Restrainer is removed.
1) The Greek word translated “apostasy” means “departure,” or as the King James Bible Version translates it, “falling away.” This word either implies a departure from the faith, or Paul may mean “the rapture.”
2) Paul’s second point is more apparent. The identity of the antichrist hasn’t been revealed yet. It would have been if they were in the tribulation. (That’s how we know, as of the date of this writing 12/03/2021, we are not in the tribulation time.
3) The Restrainer is removed. Most orthodox scholars take this to mean either the Church or the Holy Spirit. I think Paul means the Holy Spirit, but since both are taken at the time of the rapture, there’s not much practical difference between the two views.
How Can We Know We Haven’t Been Left Behind?
A fourth reason they won’t be in the tribulation is that they are believers. Paul then tells them God’s purpose for the people in the tribulation time:
“And with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness (Thessalonians 2:10-12).”
4) It’s not for believers; believers won’t be there.
Please believe now; you don’t want to be there.
Please watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU Video on this page to accept Jesus Christ right now.