"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Someone has said that the average person blinks somewhere between 10,000 to 20,000 times a day. In one of those times, Jesus could return! That is an awesome thought.
In the twinkling of an eye, Jesus is going to step from His throne in glory at the right hand of the Father in heaven and make His way back to this earth. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Christians refer to being caught up as the rapture. The Greek word for this is harpagδsometha and it means a catching away. The picture of this coming promise reminds me of a metal scrapyard near my childhood home. Now, what does a scrap yard and the rapture have in common? Well, let me illustrate.
In that scrap yard, there was a great magnet on a crane that would pick up metal. If you swung that magnet across the ground, not every piece of metal would rise — only that which was made of iron. Why is that? Because the iron has the same nature as the magnet.
In the same way, if you have the same nature as Jesus Christ, then when He comes again, you're going up whether you're beneath the ground or on top of the ground. Simply said, if you've been heaven-born you will be heaven-bound. That sounds fantastic, but what assurance do I have this will happen?
How can you tell that it is close?
Jesus said, "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:38-39).
Life will be going along as usual and then suddenly, Jesus is going to come. That's the reason Jesus said, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).
Why is He coming again?
First of all, it is a rescue. Before God allows the great tribulation, He is going to take His church out. Before God declares war on this world, He's going to call his nationals home.
Second, it is for a reunion. All believers are going to be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. And the songwriter says we'll sing and shout and dance about, the Lamb will dry our tears — we'll have a grand homecoming week the first ten thousand years.
And then it will be reception. Jesus is coming to receive us to Himself. Jesus said, "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" (John 14:3).
In this hectic, demanding life, we are all looking for a heart-contentment that fulfills our yearning for love and protection. For a quiet place to rest. For guidance and comfort and deliverance from fear. The secret lies in the gentle words of Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want..." This beloved psalm's beautiful lines feed and comfort our souls. But its greatest gift is that it offers what we all need—the secret to satisfaction in this life and in the one to come—and promises what we can all experience—an intimate relationship with the loving Shepherd who fulfills the very longings of our souls.