For centuries, Old Testament believers waited for the promise of a Redeemer to be fulfilled. Many generations passed after Adam and Eve were given the promise of a Savior. No doubt, skeptics and scoffers of past millenniums joined in the chorus of unbelief concerning the coming of a Savior. That did not deter or alter the Plan of God. “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Gal 4:4-5 NIV).
His coming as a babe in a manger, His life on earth, His death on the Cross to pay the sin debt of mankind, and His victory over death in resurrection are historical evidences that God keeps His Word. Having been proven wrong, the scoffers emerged again to continue their rant of unbelief. Concerning these, the Apostle Peter writes … “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7 NIV).
God’s Plan for the Ages is on track, unhindered so that He can manifest His love and grace to humanity who can only have relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. Once again the familiar strain of unbelief is raised –“where is this coming?” It is their mocking response to the promise that Jesus gave His disciples on the eve of His arrest. “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” (John 14:1-3 KJV). That sure return of Christ for His own is theologically called the rapture.
The truth of this anticipated event is so certain that the Apostle Paul mentions it in every chapter of his first epistle to the churches in Thessalonica. The witness of the Christians in that area had become known to all … “They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thess 1:9-10 NIV). The apostle gave his commendation and encouragement to the persecuted believers … “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess 2:19-20 NIV). For these believers Paul prayed … “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thess 3:13 NIV).
The Apostle Paul reaches a peak of excitement when he writes … “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:16-17 NIV). He is coming again – perhaps this year?