If the Rapture of the church were to take place tomorrow morning at 10:30, the world would become a dramatically different place by 10:35. The Bible, of course, does not give detailed information about the exact situation at 10:35, but it does not leave us without an idea about what things will look like after the Rapture.
The Rapture Event. There are some basic facts we know about the Rapture event as the Apostle Paul discusses it in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. First, every one who has placed their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation will be taken up. There will be no believer from this church age, living or dead, who will be forgotten or left behind. All in the Church (regenerate people) will suddenly be transported to meet Jesus Christ in the air. Second, the Rapture is a sign-less and supernatural event. The Bible gives no signs indicating that the Rapture is about to take place. So 10:30 is possible. But when it happens, it will not be a silent event. The voices of Christ Himself and the Archangel will be heard, as well as a trumpet blast that will echo around the world. It is probable that unbelievers will be aware that something momentous and supernatural has taken place, though they might not be clear on just what that might be. The moment after the Rapture occurs, there will be no saved (regenerated) person on the earth.
The World’s Condition 5 Minutes After the Rapture. At 10:35 on the day of the Rapture, several things will undoubtedly be true.
The Salvation of Many. As just noted, there is not one saved person left on the earth. But there will be hundreds of thousands who have heard the gospel prior to the 10:30 Rapture, but who never turned in faith to Jesus. Some have taught that if a person heard the gospel prior to 10:30 on the morning of the Rapture, they could not be saved later. This idea is based on 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. But a careful reading of Paul’s teaching shows that Paul is not talking about people who were simply exposed to the gospel. He is talking about those who have purposefully, willingly rejected it and instead embraced the deceptions and the evils of the Antichrist and false teachers. Paul uses the present tense to emphasize their persistent rejection of the “love of the truth that they might be saved” (2 Thes. 2:12) and their taking “pleasure in wickedness.” On the other hand, it is very probable that many people who have heard the gospel from Christians prior to the Rapture will be motivated to respond positively to that glorious gospel and be saved shortly after the Rapture.
The Explosion of Evil. We look at our world today and we see the fermentation of evil everywhere. More and more, good is being called evil, and evil good. The raw wickedness that is emerging in our culture is causing some to compare western culture to Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, today is just a foreshadowing of the explosion of evil that is going to begin at 10:35. The Holy Spirit’s ministry of the restraining of sin will be withdrawn from the earth (2 Thes. 2:6-7) when He takes the Church out of the world. Imagine if you can, what the United States will look like. As bad as our nation might be these days, we have the true church and we have morally sound Christians in government, in education, in the military and just everywhere in our towns and neighborhoods. These are resisting the evil that is growing so quickly. But imagine when those resisters of evil and promoters of good are suddenly removed at 10:30. Evil will indeed explode.
Shock and Confusion. There is always confusion and shock when a disaster occurs. Remember the terrible recent fires in Maui and in California, or the earthquakes and floods bringing death and deep trauma to thousands. And the closer one is to such events the greater the shock. So, when 400,000,000 people suddenly disappear with no trace, we can imagine the fear and uncertainty that will be present. (This number assumes that 5% of the world’s present population are truly born-again people). The Rapture is known (for a variety of reasons) by millions of unsaved people in the world. This sudden event will confront the world with a level of supernaturalism that will rock them to their core. Some will respond and seek Christ, others will not. But the confusion, fear and uncertainty will further prepare the world for a man who will promise to bring stability and peace to them. That man, of course, is the Antichrist. It all begins at 10:35.
10:35 Will Begin Evangelism’s Greatest Time. Many believers sincerely believe that when the Rapture takes place that unsaved relatives and friends are forever doomed to an eternity in the Lake of Fire. But that is not necessarily the case. Despite the terrors of the Tribulation, judgment is not the main reason for that period. If judgment was all God wanted to do, then he could do it in 7 minutes (such as with Sodom and Gomorrah). He would not need 7 years but could get His point across much quicker. But the saving of people is God’s great purpose and salvation does take some time. The gospel must be proclaimed and people hear it and then chose to respond to Jesus Christ, or not.
(1) Saving Israel. In His covenant promises to Abraham (and Abraham’s descendants) God declared that He would bring Israel into the New Covenant, which is the covenant dealing with salvation and the forgiveness of sins. In all the centuries since Jesus came the first time and died on the Cross, the nation of Israel has never turned to Him. However, Jesus was abundantly clear when He declared that He would not return to the earth again (the 2nd Coming) until Israel turned to Him in faith (Matt. 23:39). Saving Israel is God’s first and primary order of business in the Tribulation. Romans 11 reveals that it does happen.
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in: and thus, ALL ISRAEL will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. ‘And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’” Romans 11:25-27
Israel begins the Tribulation as an unbelieving nation, but that rapidly begins to change, probably as the 144,000 Jewish evangelists begin to make an impact. Jesus noted that half way through the Tribulation Israel would begin to be persecuted “on account of My name” (Matt. 24:9). Now Israel has been and continues to be persecuted by the gentile nations, but not because she has identified with Jesus Christ! The 144,000 (Rev. 7) along with the “two witnesses” (Rev. 11) apparently have a huge impact on the nation of Israel, so that by the end of the Tribulation “all” Israel has come to faith in Christ. With the salvation of Israel, the Great King Jesus can now return. But before He does there are many more that need saving. This will be the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 12:3—“in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”
(2) Saving gentiles. In the Old Testament, it was always God’s plan to reach the gentile nations through Israel. The Israelites were to be a light to the gentiles. Unfortunately, Israel behaved badly and rarely were that light bringing the knowledge of the Lord Jehovah to the nations. But that changes dramatically in the Tribulation. They will be a beacon light in that terribly dark time. According to Revelation 7:9-14, millions upon millions from every nation will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. It is important to observe that these people (of Revelation 7) were saved during the Tribulation period and are not the saved of all the ages. And while they will die for their faith, the number of them runs in the millions. This shows the great saving power of God in those days.
A Final Thought. While we may not know a lot of details about what happens after 10:30, we do know the world will be different at 10:35 as the Lord God inaugurates His plan to bring in the future aspect of the Kingdom of God. Until 10:30, we believers in Jesus ought to live for Him with energy and excellence and adjust our living so we can do so. In Hebrews 3 and 4, the author placed great emphasis on “today.” His point to the recipients of the message was that they must not procrastinate on vital spiritual matters. They must not delay making the necessary adjustments and changes in their lives as believers. Sometimes our intentions for making needed change are good ones, but we put off doing it “today.” For example, we vow to become more disciplined in our devotional lives or be bolder in public in representing Jesus Christ. But “today” is replaced by tomorrow or next week. Obviously, a 10:30 Rapture tomorrow morning will negate that plan to make changes next weekend.