We could very well be the final generation of the Church alive on earth when Jesus comes for us. Jesus is coming again, and for us, the Church, in an event called the Rapture. It is an imminent event, which means it could happen any moment. This is not to be confused with His literal, physical return to this earth which He said there’d be noticeable signs of how near it is. Seven years separate these two events which is known as the seven‑year Tribulation, Daniel’s 70th week, the time of Jacob’s trouble and a time of wrath. The Scriptures that deal with the Rapture do not give a hope of just survival through tribulation but deliverance from wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 4:1).
The teachings on the Blessed Hope or Rapture of the Church are to have a positive effect on our walk not as a cop-out, not to live irresponsibly, or to merely escape.
- It is the Blessed Hope zeal‑adding hope (Titus 2:8‑12).
- It is a comforting hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13‑18).
- It is an accelerating hope to cause us to abound in God’s work (1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Corinthians 5:7‑10).
- It is a purifying hope (1 John 3:1‑3; Titus 2:8‑12).
- It is a lively hope (1 Peter 1:3).
- It is a redeeming and saving (delivering) hope (Romans 8:23-25).
The Rapture is an imminent event meaning it can happen at any moment. Some say Jesus can’t come for us because the Church isn’t without spot or wrinkle according to Ephesians 5:26, 27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The truth is that no unfulfilled prophecies stand between the Church and the time of its Rapture. The Church does not have to be perfected for the Rapture to take place. Ephesians 5:26, 27 doesn’t say Jesus is coming back for a Church without spot or wrinkle. The spots/wrinkles (stains, moral blemishes, flaws, moral disgrace, faults and failures) in the Church won’t stop Jesus coming for us.
It says He is washing it with the water of His Word that He might, “… present it to Himself a glorious Church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” There will come a time when we will be presented to Jesus a glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle, but this will take place after our corruptible, blemished bodies are changed in the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:53; Phil. 3:21), and our works are judged (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Jude 23 and 24 tells us about the spot and where we’ll be presented before Him faultless‑‑it’s before the presence of His glory in Heaven, “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”
The spot is in our fleshly nature or the law of sin or principle of sin in our members (Rom. 7:21‑24). There is also a testing or purification by fire on our works of what sort or quality they are (1 Corinthians 3:13). We are being purified now by the Blessed Hope (1 John 3:1-3), but we won’t be completely purified until the redemption of our fleshly body is complete (Romans 8:23).
If getting rid of all the carnality in the Church was the condition before He could come in the Rapture, carnal unrepentant people could determine the plan of God for the rest of the Body of Christ. It would also imply no one would be getting saved because at salvation people aren’t born again spiritually matured without spot or blemish.
At the Rapture, our fleshly nature within the outward man, the mortal body, is purified to being incorruptible, undefiled, incorruptible and glorious. We then appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account for our works and deeds done while in our body (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:12).