I have read your Q&A’s about Armageddon and the end of times. I have noticed that you have stated that not all prophecy has been fulfilled, “Any passage which describes the coming again of Jesus or the final Judgment Day will clearly be fulfilled in the future”. I was wondering if you are stating that there is a day when Jesus is going to come back and take away all the Christians leaving behind the rest of the people or are you talking about when someone dies (physically)? Which you can apply scriptures like 1Thess 4:13-16 and many others. Also wouldn’t Revelation be a book of encouragement for those that are being persecuted and maybe die for their beliefs and not talking about Jesus’ second coming as to take away living Christians at the end of time? This would give them hope that if they died as martyrs they would have a place in heaven.
There is a common teaching amongst evangelicals that there will be a "rapture," at which point the Christians will be taken up, leaving behind the non-Christians on the earth. This is portrayed in bumper stickers, popular movies and books and talked about in sermons. The problem with this teaching is that the idea is nor found in the Bible. There are a lot of false or speculative ideas about end-times out there, and this is one of them. The verse most commonly (ab)used to teach this is 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Here Paul describes the Christians (saying "we") "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord in the air." Whether or not this being caught up in the clouds is literal or not is debatable, but in any case, there is absolutely no mention of non-believers being left behind to wonder what happened to the Christians. Passages which describe the second coming of Jesus and the onset of Judgment Day do not suggest a leaving behind on the earth of those who are not saved. Daniel 12:1-3, Matthew 24:30-31 Revelation 20:11-14 and others either do not mention this thought or imply that there is a simultaneous resurrection of all to face judgment at the end of time. I definitely agree that Revelation is a wonderful book which was certainly intended to be an encouragement for those who are persecuted and even killed for confessing Jesus.
John Oakes, PhD