The whole idea of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappearing on March 7, 2014 reminds me of the movie, “Left Behind.” That movie depicts the time when Jesus will return to collect all believing Christians from the earth and take them to heaven with him. In the movie, the plane remained in flight with just some of its passengers missing—leaving behind clothing and jewelry and other earthly things. Will there be intense investigation into what caused the people to vanish similar to what is going on now regarding the missing flight full of people?
Jesus declared that he was definitely, positively, you-can-count-on-it-with-certainty coming back to earth to gather all of his followers across the planet—gather them to himself in the clouds. There’s no mistake about it. If Jesus said that was going to happen, it will! After all, he promised to his followers that he would be raised from the dead after being crucified. That happened! God keeps promises.
Paul reinforces the promise of Jesus’ return for his own in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” Doesn’t this painting by Susanna Katherine (at left) capture the event nicely?
Because of early translations of the phrase “caught up” from Greek to Latin, this spectacular event is known among Christian circles as “The Rapture.” That’s a descriptive word – rapture. Its dictionary definition is, “The state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy.” Yes, we believers will be in ecstasy to be with our Lord, to see him with our eyes and hear his voice with our ears. We will truly be with him. What a time of true rapture!
But, many won’t experience rapture—the ones who are left behind. Friends and family will suddenly vanish off this planet. Those left will mourn the vanished. What kind of speculation will happen then? Some will believe the Bible to have been true. Others will probably come up with some really weird explanation—snatched by aliens or vaporized by an unknown weapon of some sort. Will the world be sad or happy to get rid of all the pesky Christians?
Until the investigators find wreckage of Flight 370, there is still hope that some mysterious plot took that Malaysian Airlines jet to a secret location where all the people on the plane are still alive. Not likely, but maybe. Those left behind to mourn didn’t have a choice. I grieve along with those families. No one gave them notice their loved ones would vanish. Neither did those who have “vanished” know what was to sadly come upon them. I hold out hope they are still alive and will be found soon. May there be a time of rejoicing ahead.
Regarding our future time of vanishing as Christians to meet Jesus in the air, we have made the choice. We have said “yes” to Jesus; we will meet him in the air when he comes! Those who might get left behind have a choice, too. Any one who has ever heard the gospel or heard about Jesus can join the ecstasy simply by trusting in Christ now with their lives.
How do we get this message out to them so they will take it seriously? Oh, that all people would want to experience, together with billions of other Christians, “The Rapture of the Vanished!” And, not be left behind to mourn.