One of the most popular children’s books ever written is by Judith Viorst: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Atheneum, 1972). Alexander is a red-headed tyke whose day starts like this: “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” For a young boy, that is definitely the start to a bad day.
But there’s a day coming in the future that will be much worse. In fact, it will be the saddest day in human history. Once it happens, history will move at a prophetic pace to the conclusion of God’s plan for the world. This day will not only be the saddest day in history, it will be the happiest day as well. This single day in the future will divide the whole human race into two groups: saved and unsaved. That day is the day of the Rapture—the day Jesus Christ returns in the clouds to gather His Church to Himself before the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation on earth.
Those who participate in the Rapture will rejoice as they see their Savior face to face for the first time. But those who are left behind will know only devastation. The word “regret” captures something important about that day. Alexander, the little guy whose day got off to a bad start, was not having a “regretful” day. His day was “bad” because of a chain of events that were simply frustrating. But it wasn’t a regretful day
To feel regret is to know you didn’t do something you should have done. And even worse is the realization that it’s too late to make things right. For Christians, it is a reminder that we need to be about our Father’s business while there is still time. The people left behind on the day of the Rapture will feel regret because they failed to listen to the words of Scripture warning of the coming of that day.
I will follow Jesus’ lead and make no predictions about when end-time events will be set in motion (Matthew 24:36). But following Jesus’ lead again, I will say confidently that the day is coming (Matthew 24:1-35). What we do between today and that day will determine our actions on the day after He returns.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul wrote to comfort the believers in Thessalonica—giving much-needed hope and encouragement to those who were longing for Christ’s appearing. They had been taught that Christ was going to return to earth for His Church, but they also knew that some of their Christian friends and relatives had died and would not be alive when Christ returned. Paul explained that Christ would return for all believers—both the living and the dead: “And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (verses 16b-17). For the believer, it is a day of rejoicing.
It’s the day after that day that you do not want to be found on planet earth. As the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from earth with the Church (2 Thessalonians 2:7), evil will gain the upper hand on earth through the Antichrist—the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3). For seven years, it will be hell on earth.
Because the day is unknown, we must live in a state of preparedness. Preparation is the proof of anticipation. As we eagerly wait and watch for that day (1 Corinthians 1:7), we should live holy and godly lives (2 Peter 3:11), pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and persevere (Revelation 3:11-12). Perhaps most of all, we should prayerfully reach out to share the Gospel with those who are not ready for that day.
Will you be full of rejoicing on the day Jesus appears for His Church? Don’t live one day in regret. Commit your heart to Him as Lord and Savior today!
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org