Preparing for His Return

Note: This topic has been written on a sixth-grade level in order to provide understanding to both adults and children.

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The rapture is often talked about in the Bible, although the actual word isn’t always used. The word “rapture” means “transport.” “Transport” means, “To remove from one place to another.” So, to be “raptured” means to be moved from one place to another.

How do we know that Jesus will really come back?

There are promises in the Bible that tell us so!  Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended (went up) to heaven (Acts 1:3). After He was gone, the disciples just stood there, looking up into the sky after him. Acts 1:10-11 says, “And while they were looking up to heaven with great attention, two men came to them, in white clothing, And said, O men of Galilee, why are you looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come again, in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (BBE; additional formatting by author)  The angels told the disciples that Jesus would be coming back.

Another promise is located in I Peter. (I Peter 1:4-7) “God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear. You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.” (CEV; additional formatting by author)

Where will those who are raptured go?

I Thessalonians 4:16, 17 says, “With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever.” (CEV, additional formatting by author)

What will heaven be like?

(Matthew 13:44-46) “The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field. The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a shop owner is looking for fine pearls. After finding a very valuable one, the owner goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.”  (CEV)

The apostle John had a vision of heaven. He tells about it in Revelation 21:10, 23. “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God…and the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”  (KJV)

When will the rapture happen?

(Matthew 24:36-44) “No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man comes again, it will be exactly like the days of Noah. In the days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and getting married until the day that Noah went into the ship. They were not aware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes again. At that time two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. Two women will be working at a mill. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. Therefore, be alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will return.

You realize that if a homeowner had known at what time of the night a thief was coming, he would have stayed awake. He would not have let the thief break into his house. Therefore, you, too, must be ready because the Son of Man will return when you least expect him.” (GOD’S WORD)

(Mark 13:34-37) “As a man going away, leaving his house, and giving his slaves authority, and to each his work (and he commanded the doorkeeper, that he watch), then you watch, for you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, at evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or early; so that he may not come suddenlyand find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all. Watch!” (LITV)

No one knows the exact day or hour when Jesus will come back for those who love and serve Him with all of their hearts. We must live for Him as if we expect Him to come each moment!  If we do this, the fear of being “left behind” when He comes back will never bother us. God doesn’t want us to worry; He wants us to be excited about His coming!  (Luke 21:28b) “…look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (KJV)

Who will go in the rapture?

In order for us to go to heaven, we must follow the plan of salvation explained in the Bible. Acts 2:38, 39 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (KJV)  Once we have repented, been baptized in Jesus’ Name, and received the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking in other tongues, we are “rapture-ready.”  However, the responsibility to Him doesn’t end there. We must then choose to live a holy life, separated from sin. Leviticus 20:26 says, “I am the LORD, the holy God. You have been chosen to be my people, and so you must be holy too.” (CEV)   The Bible also talks about being holy in I Peter 1:16. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (KJV) If we do not faithfully follow God’s Word, we will not go to heaven.(Matthew 7:21)  “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do.”(GNT)

Additional reading: Acts 1:4, 5   Acts 2:4   Acts 8:17   Acts 10:44-48   Leviticus 20:7

How can I make sure I’m ready for the rapture?

God’s Word is just like a big instruction book; it holds all of the answers to salvation!  Some people even call it the “Road Map for Life.”  As long as we follow what it says, we cannot go wrong!  (Matthew 6:19-21) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (RSV)  Matthew 5:3) “God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!” (CEV)  (Matthew 18:4)“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (KJV)

We have hope!

(John 14:1-3) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (KJV)

(II Timothy 4:8) “Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day; and not to me only, but also to all those who love His appearing.” (MKJV)

Copyright © 2004 Growing with God 2 by Mark and Glenda Alphin

Definitions derived from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English

Scripture quotations marked (BBE) are taken from the 1949/1964 Bible in Basic English. Printed in 1965 by Cambridge Press; public domain.

Scripture quotations marked (CEV) are taken from the Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, ã1995 by the American Bible Society.

Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.—Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.—Oak Harbor, WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995

Scripture quotations marked (GOD’S WORD) are taken from the Holy Bible, God’s Word Translation. GOD’S WORD is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations.

Scriptures marked (LITV) are taken from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, copyright © 1976-2000 by Jay P. Green, Sr. All rights reserved.

Scriptures marked (GNT) are taken from the Scriptures marked as “(GNT)” are taken from the Good News Translation – Second Edition 1992 © by American Bible Society.Scriptures marked (MKJV) are taken from the Holy Bible, Modern King James Version, copyright © 1962-1998 by Jay P. Green, Sr. All rights reserved.