This brief post serves as a tie-in to one of the key issues in our understanding of biblical last days prophecies, which is the timing of the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
Identifying the real underlying cause behind a pretribulation rapture would be one of the easiest and most clear-cut pieces of investigative journalism ever. It would not take long for investigators and journalists to discover that those people missing through the rapture…hundreds of millions around the world…were all practicing Christians. Investigators would quickly put two-and-two together regarding what these missing people all had in common, and thus eliminate any competing bizarre and speculative explanations, concluding instead that this event must have been the heretofore popularized biblical rapture.
God does not make mistakes. He is not inaccurate. Every person raptured will be a Spirit-born Christian, without exception. This will be the largest, homogenous group of people to ever participate in any single event of history. If every person amongst hundreds of millions of people disappearing in the twinkling of an eye around the world, were all and only exclusively Christians, everyone on the planet would quickly know this. If within a moment of time there were absolutely no believing Christians to be found anywhere on the entire planet, this would become immediately apparent in many parts of the world. It would be common knowledge within days, possibly hours, and in some locations even minutes, that this event was the New Testament rapture and nothing else.
No amount of secular media spin, no matter how liberal the initial bias, would be able to explain away or refute the common knowledge among the populace that those family members and friends they lost in the great disappearance were all uniformly and exclusively practicing Christians. If three, four, or five hundred million Christians were instantly raptured from the earth, it would be extremely difficult to spin this event as anything other than the biblical rapture. What other possible explanation would come close on the plausibility or believability meter?
It is the uniform nature of the people missing that is controlling. UFO abduction would not make sense. Why would unidentified flying objects abduct hundreds of millions of Christians, as opposed to the God of the Bible abducting Christians in a rapture event?
It would make no difference if journalists began their investigation from a completely secular, non-biblical perspective. The initial focus of the investigations would be about the people missing, not about Bible prophecy. The investigations would all lead to the same consistent conclusion. Any subsequent questions regarding the meaning of Bible prophecy relating to the disappearances would only become a secondary factor after it was clearly established that the people missing were all Christians. People around the world would quickly know this was the rapture, as an indisputable conclusion of fact, because they would have personally known the people who disappeared. A pretribulation rapture by definition also occurs pre-Antichrist, so there cannot be a concerted worldwide governmental organization in place to spin the rapture into something other than the rapture. This cannot be the “deception” referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.
On a full transatlantic 747 airliner crossing, moments after a hundred passengers had vanished off the plane instantly, a shocked man in row 25, standing up and looking around the lighted cabin interior at the remaining passengers, would remark out loud to himself more than to anyone in particular, that his missing wife was a Christian and that this was the biblical rapture. This left-behind husband would know without a doubt the reason why his Christian wife had suddenly disappeared. A woman in row 28, also standing up to visually search amongst the nearby passengers, would overhear this comment, and confirm with resigned sadness that her missing husband was also a Christian, and that this was the rapture her husband had told her about while reading the Left Behind books a few years ago. A young couple in the middle seats between rows 25 and 28, overhearing this exchange, would frantically say that their small children were also missing. Within ten to fifteen minutes everyone on this jetliner, because of the confined space, would have heard and processed the idea that Christians and small children had all disappeared in the biblical rapture.
Similarly, because of the large proportional number of hundreds of millions of Christians that would be raptured pretribulation, within the confined and finite space of our planet, the initial speculation that the cause of this vanishing was the biblical rapture would be instantly set in motion as a natural result of the close personal relationship between the people raptured and the very people left behind. Again, the uniformly Christian composition of the people taken would preclude any bizarre, paranormal explanations.
This is one reasonable and straightforward construction of people’s reactions that would shortly follow the rapture during a mid-flight 747 jetliner crossing over the Atlantic Ocean. This same scenario would repeat itself quickly across the globe as people “compared notes” and realized who had disappeared. The idea of the rapture as the plausible explanation for the disappearances would become concrete fact worldwide, hours or days before any alternate fantastic explanation could be fabricated by anyone. With this many people left behind and personally affected, the world would not be looking to a detached, impersonal, and spiritually ill-equipped secular media to provide a believably authoritative explanation for the clearly supernatural disappearances. They would already know the cause behind the disappearances, based upon their personal relationships with the Christians who had been instantly raptured.
If a pure, easily identifiable, homogenous group of 500 million Spirit-born Christians all disappeared in the twinkling of an eye, it would make no difference in this explanatory interpretation if an equally large-sized group of unsaved nominal churchgoers were unexplainably left behind. The question would not degenerate into whether only “good” Christians were taken and mediocre or less dedicated “Christians” were left behind. The clarity of the identification and nature of the large mass of those people taken in the disappearance would not be clouded or diluted in any way by the nature of those nominal churchgoers left behind. Their condition would be a separate and unrelated issue way down the list of immediate considerations.