Pastor and Bible teacher Jack Hibbs says many believers are not excited about the imminent return of Jesus because they don't believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. That, he says, is one of the reasons for the prevailing apathy that exists in the church today.
But, Hibbs says, Scripture makes it "absolutely clear" that the rapture will take place. The only questions are: When will it happen, and what will we do to prepare for the coming of Christ for His bride?
"The validity and necessity of the pre-tribulation rapture view of the church can be found in Colossians 3," said Hibbs, the lead pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, California. "It says, 'if you were then raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then you also shall appear with Him in glory."
Hibbs backs up the Colossians 3 passage with John 14:1-3, which says, "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you back to Myself, that where I am, you may be also."
"You can't take away from John 14:1-3 in any form and say there is no rapture," Hibbs says. "Jesus said himself, 'I am leaving to prepare a place for you. I'm coming back. I'm going to receive you to Myself. That's where I am.'
"The rapture is a biblical doctrine, and Paul stressed it in Thessalonica for about three and a half weeks when he preached and founded a church," Hibbs says. "He taught them key biblical doctrines, and two of them were predestination based on God's foreknowledge and the rapture of the church. First Thessalonians 1:10 says ... 'and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.'"
The rapture, Hibbs says, is the believers' "blessed hope," and will always be that until Christ's return.
"How could you not get excited about that?" Hibbs asks. "My mom, on her deathbed, with her last words, asked, 'What's taking Him so long?' That should be our last words. The rapture is biblical doctrine, and it's something to get excited about. You are not going to be punished for your sins during the tribulation period. Your sins were already punished on the cross. So you should be excited about Christ coming back for you."
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