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“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Now, brothers, about times and dates, we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3)
This drawing illustrates a dream about the rapture, which was given to me on December 21, 2004. It is mainly relevant to Christians.
The Rapture Dream, My thoughts and the lessons I learned, (The short version. For the full version, see below.):
The Scripture teaches in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3 that when the Lord Jesus comes, we believers who are still alive and left at his coming will be “caught up” (Latin Vulgate: “raptured”) together with him. The Scripture also teaches that although unbelievers will be completely surprised at Jesus’ return (for he will come like a thief in the night to them), believers should not be surprised but should be waiting expectantly for him. Many of Jesus’ parables and teachings warn us how to live and how to be ready for his return: Matthew 21:33-22:14, 24:36-25:30, Luke 17:20-37, 18:18-30, 19:11-27, 21:34-36, see also 2 Peter 3.
I believe the main reason why the Lord gave me this dream about the rapture was to bring me to repentance over areas of my life where I was in sin. It was to save me from squandering my life and from having regrets when my life is over. I really thank God with all my heart for giving me this dream because it is really like having a second chance at life. Out of all my End Times dreams, I think this one has made the greatest impact on me. By God’s grace, he has used it to make big changes in my life.
In this dream, I was being raptured, but as it was happening in slow motion I was given time to reflect on my life now that it was over. There were a few things that became amazingly clear to me and several things which I bitterly regretted about the way I was living my life up until that point. The Lord was showing me what I would have thought and felt like if he had chosen to rapture me at that moment in time.
The following are the main lessons I learned from this dream (roughly in the order I realized them):
1) God’s Word (the Bible) is TRUE. He meant exactly what he said!
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
In all my End Times dreams, I wake up extremely sobered and filled with the fear of the Lord. Certainly, one of the things I consistently see afresh after having these dreams is the complete truthfulness of God’s Word as it slices through everything in my life and lays bare the attitudes of my heart. There is no escaping or fudging the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God, and when he returns, that sharp sword (his word, Hebrews 4:12-13) which proceeds out of his mouth will judge every action, thought and attitude of ours (Revelation 19:13, 15). We would be wise to fear God and obey his Word today so that on the Last Day we will not be ashamed of our conduct.
2) We must keep short accounts of our sin with God and repent immediately after we sin.
“When I was silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD;–and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.” (Psalm 32:3-6)
At the moment I was raptured, I was caught off guard and had unconfessed sin. I was also walking around feeling condemned and defeated because of it. As the psalmist says, “When I was silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). I sorely regretted not confessing my sins immediately and walking around in defeat and guilt. Jesus died to give us a peaceful, abundant, victorious life of power, but when we harbor sin and idols in our hearts and when we fail to repent immediately, we are hindered from seeing that abundant life manifested in us (See Joshua 5:13-7:26 ).
3) We need to go to whatever measure it takes to deal with the sin and stumbling blocks in our lives.
“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30)
I realized how evil, entangling and hindering sin is to us. What is more, God had clearly and frequently put pressure on me to deal with particular areas of sin in my life, but I had been negligent in going to the full extent of what it took to completely do away with the sin. Had I dealt with these habitual sins and regular stumbling blocks I would have walked in victory, peace, joy and intimacy with God. There was nobody to blame but myself for this.
4) Always live in the fullness of intimacy with Jesus. He died to give us this, let us continually live in it.
“Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2 AMP)
Although I knew the truth of God’s grace, and although I knew that intimacy with Jesus was made continually available to me through his shed blood (Hebrews 10:19-23) I failed to consistently live in that place. This is mostly because I was negligent to deal with my sin, most notably my idolatry.
It was also because of my unbelief in God’s grace and forgiveness. My unbelief actually came from being stuck in habitual sin. It was a vicious cycle of sin and condemnation and of stumbling blocks and sin. I really mourned my unbelief because I could have lived in much greater intimacy with Jesus over those years. Jesus had made it possible, and it was always available to me, I just chose not to walk in it.
5) Do not squander your time or your talents. (Matthew 24:45-25:30)
I sorely regretted not redeeming all of the precious time which God had given me. I also regretted not investing my talents to the fullest capacity. Had I done this, they would have been very fruitful for eternity, but a few things in my life had not come to fruitfulness and some had only been fruitful in part. My laziness, procrastination, distraction and basic disobedience were the culprits.
6) Obey every small thing God tells you to do, for God often speaks through a gentle whisper, which is easy to drown out. (1 Kings 18:9-13)
God had gently nudged me by his Holy Spirit to do many things which I realized I had not obeyed. Other things I had fully intended to obey but I had put off doing. Delaying is actually disobedience because, at the time I was raptured, I still had not obeyed!
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what the father wanted?’ ‘The first,’ they answered.” (Matthew 21:28-31)
7) Realize that “now” is the time you have been allotted by God. Don’t be deceived into thinking ‘someday’ or ‘later’ or ‘tomorrow’ you’ll get around to ‘it’. One day (maybe much sooner than you expect) you will not have someday, later or tomorrow.
“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Selah. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions” (Psalm 39:4-8).
My prayer should have been, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Our allotted time is what has been given to us by God–our lifespan. Today is the day to believe and obey. Do not take tomorrow for granted. You may not have tomorrow.
8) Be ready at all times for Jesus’ return. You never know the day or the hour.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:42-51)
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28)
THE RAPTURE DREAM, given on December 21, 2004, My thoughts and the lessons I learned (as it was originally recorded, with minor grammatical editing):
(My dream, as originally recorded, is in italics. Interspersed throughout the dream are some extra comments I have made on it (in regular, non-italicized text). My thoughts during the dream and my subsequent interpretation of it, as originally recorded in December 2004 (which I believe is the most important part) is listed at the end (also in italics).
The night before I had this dream I had entangled myself in some sin. Foolishly, I put off confessing my sin to God (Psalm 32:3-5). I was frustrated and angry with myself and sulked around in various other discouragements and defeatist thoughts. I went to bed pretty upset and without repenting of my sin. Though Jesus grants me eternal right standing in God through faith in His blood (Romans 5:1-11), during these few hours I was unrepentant before God and was still needing to be “reconciled” to Him in that sense:
I observed a believing friend of mine backslide into all kinds of sin. She kept persisting in going her own way and strayed further and further from God without repentance. (In real life, at the time I had this dream, this friend was walking close with the Lord. Though I never would have imagined her backsliding at that time, yet about a year later she had strayed into all kinds of sins, just like this dream had foretold.) This person was trying to be self-sufficient rather than surrendering to God. She was denying her sin instead of confessing it. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
I believe the lesson in the first part of this dream is to come to God just as you are. We should never put off coming to him because we feel we have to aright ourselves first and somehow make ourselves presentable to God before we come to him. “…Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31).
Only the blood of Jesus cleanses, justifies (puts into right standing with God) and arights a person who has sinned. Come to him just as you are, with all your sin, and HE will cleanse you and aright you. (See also: John 13:1-17 ).
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:8-2:2).
This is precisely what I should have done the night before I had this dream!
Next, my husband, Joe, said he was going out to encourage one of our ‘believing’ friends back into the faith because he was straying too. In my dream this ‘one’ friend was actually, in a weird way, 3 people we know who are all of the same character. (In real life, these three friends alway seems to waver in and out of Christianity. They always talk like a Christian, but they seem to backslide frequently and be unrepentant a lot of the time. We have always wondered whether or not they are true believers.)
Joe returned a little while later and was appalled at his friend’s blunt response to him: “I walked with you for part of the way, but I wasn’t ever really, truly walking with you. I walked the Christian walk, talked the Christian talk, but it was all a game to me. I’ve been faking it all this time. I walked with you in the same direction for awhile but I wasn’t truly following Christ like you were.”
Joe was saying to himself, “I cannot believe it! I’ve been duped! I can see clearly now though. It makes perfect sense to me now. I knew all along something wasn’t right with this person, but I couldn’t discern the true character of this person. Now I understand and can see the truth of God’s Word regarding this now. I can see now.” He realized that this person who seemed to be a believer at times (but who backslid repeatedly) was actually an unbeliever acting like a Christian. We know that from Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds (tares) (Matthew 12:24-30, 36-43) that believers and unbelievers will grow up alongside each other and, at times, can be difficult to tell apart.
The Scripture came to my mind from 1 John 2:18-20, “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.”
*For some years after I had this dream I always wondered why it began with observing two backsliders. It was only after receiving revelation on another End Times dream given to me in December 2008 that I realized the significance. In both dreams there were two kinds of people that were juxtaposed against each other. One was a true believer who was sinning like an unbeliever while the other was a false believer who acted like a believer. In the end, each person was revealed to be who they truly were. In my dreams, the true believers were finally repentant while the false believers finally denied Jesus…though from their outward actions they were not always easy to tell apart.
Though this demonstrates that only God knows our hearts, I believe there is a much stronger, important message in this: Not everyone who professes to believe in Jesus is a true believer. The difference between a true believer and a false believer is the difference between knowing God and not knowing God, spending an eternity in heaven or an eternity in hell. I feel I need to spend just a minute to touch on this extremely important issue.
There are countless people in churches who think they are truly born again, saved Christians, yet they do not realize that they are actually unbelievers. Therefore, it is of UTMOST importance that each one of us, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
(See “Message“ to know how to become a true believer).
This day in age, “getting saved” has often been reduced into simply ‘saying the sinner’s prayer’, or taking on a Christian lifestyle, joining a church or believing in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. But real salvation is not repeating a sinner’s prayer or cleaning up our lives and behaving like a Christian, nor is it a matter of mental assent to a set of true doctrines (James 2:19). Rather, true salvation is about knowing and trusting in Jesus as our Savior in our hearts. Salvation is not based on faith in the fact we’ve prayed the sinner’s prayer or have changed our lifestyle or have believed in true, Christian doctrine. Salvation is based on believing in and personally knowing the Person of Jesus.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day [Judgment Day], ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
I do not feel like I can stress this point enough: We must seriously examine ourrselves to see whether or not we are truly in the faith. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). If you cannot honestly say that you personally know Jesus (like how you know other people) then this casts serious doubt on your ‘salvation’. There is a world of difference between knowing of somebody and knowing somebody. I know of the Queen of England, and I know about the Queen of England and with all my heart I believe the Queen is the Queen of England…but I don’t know the Queen of England.
Therefore, it is wise to ask ourselves: Do I know Jesus personally? Do I know Jesus as my Savior? And more importantly, does Jesus know me? See Luke 13:22-30.
I do not say this to instill fear but to provoke us into seriously examining the genuineness of the ‘salvation’ many of us profess to have, just as the Scriptures say we should do (2 Corinthians 13:5). Both my husband and I spent years in the church, having prayed the sinner’s prayer, cleaned up our lifestyles and believed in all the correct doctrine, genuinely thinking that we were born again (mainly because others told us we had ‘done’ what we needed to do to ‘get saved’). However, it was only years later when Christ came and revealed himself to us (individually) when we realized that all along we had never been saved! We thought we were saved, we acted like we were saved, for the most part we believed what saved people believed, but we never knew the Savior, Jesus, personally. I thank God he came to me and opened my blind eyes and revealed himself and his salvation to me!!! I know Jesus, and he knows me, and I know I am saved.
After this, I looked over at my backsliding friend (from the beginning of my dream), who was sitting up against the wall in my dad’s house. (The imagery of my earthly father’s house appears frequently in my prophetic dreams from God. It has been revealed to me that this is symbolic for my Heavenly Father’s house, the dwelling place of those who truly believe in Jesus). Joe, this woman and another male Christian friend and I were all together in my Father’s house.
Though at first my friend had tried to be self-sufficient and denied her sin, she had eventually surrendered to God and confessed her sin. She was enjoying the great peace and rest of having been reconciled to God. A peaceful smile was on her face as she gazed at something out of the gigantic windows. As I looked at her a light began to shine on her from outside. It was soft at first and then shone brighter and brighter.
Immediately I looked out the window and the dark, overcast clouds (for it was dusk) were lighting up. Instantaneously in the core of my spirit I knew absolutely that it was the rapture and Christ was coming down in the clouds to collect us (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ).
The light kept getting brighter and bigger and nearer to us. It’s extremely hard to explain, but it was like there was life in the light. It was as if the light itself was a living entity and was making its way toward us. It was almost similar to how a person would approach us (opposed to a light just shining out everywhere and happening to randomly fall on people). (Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).) This living light was specifically coming to collect the four of us Christians.
The Scripture from John 1:4 describes it perfectly, “In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men.”
The light continued to increase as it came for us. Then suddenly the sky was ripped open, and heaven was in the place where it had been ripped!!
I only saw heaven for a split, instantaneous second–only long enough for me to recognize it as being heaven. I cannot (during my dream or waking moments) describe anything about it or what it looked like even though I do believe I saw it. I recognized it and saw it without “seeing it” (if that makes any sense). At the exact time the sky was split open and heaven was revealed, I heard the sound of many, many trumpets and a loud trumpet. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up [raptured] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
I also heard the sound of the fullest, hugest, greatest, grandest and tremendously glorious heavenly orchestra. They were playing the greatest, grandest, most glorious song I have ever heard. Its glory is beyond words. The song that was being played was one of royalty and exceeding majesty and glory. It was definitely a royal processional song for, what I perceived to be the coming of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (All glory to God forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
All my senses were focused on this overwhelming experience before me, but it only lasted for a little while until all my senses were then drawn in to focus on what was happening to me.
The light was getting ever brighter and closer. It was coming for us. It engulfed us, consumed us and, for lack of a better description, swallowed us. I soon lost physical sight of my two other Christian friends, and then eventually of my husband who was standing right next to me, and we started to go up. For a little while, although I couldn’t physically see Joe, I could still sense his presence next to me. I could physically feel the G forces of being drawn up to God. Eventually I could no longer see myself or the others nor could I sense Joe’s presence any longer because the light was so all-consuming.
The light penetrated and filled every part of me, including all my insides. I couldn’t see or sense anything except the light. At this point I could sense that God was stripping my physical body from my spirit, and my spirit man (the ‘real me’ as my ‘flesh man’ is simply just my ‘earth suit’– 2 Peter 1:13-14 ) was still being drawn up to God (see the latter part of 1 Corinthians 15 ).
Very soon I sensed that my physical body was completely gone and that it was only me, my spirit, that was still ascending. Finally, when I sensed I had stopped ascending, the light began to decrease so that I was once again enabled to physically see. As the brightness began to go down I could just barely see that I was in some kind of space, but I could not make it out because the beams of light were still too radiant.
Then I woke up.
(Below are my thoughts on the dream immediately after I had it, as originally recorded in December 2004, (in italics). Subsequent comments are in regular, non-italicized text.)
My words cannot adequately describe the intensity and immense reality of this experience. I do not believe I was out of my body like Paul the apostle (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). However, the dream was phenomenally real and tactile. It was so real that I thought it was actually happening. At the time I truly thought I was being raptured!!!
Now I want to explain what I was thinking as I was being drawn up to God. I believe this is the important part of the dream and what God wanted to make me aware of. I believe it is the reason why He gave me this dream.
Scripturally, the rapture is instantaneous, but I think in this dream it was in slow motion so that God could show me certain important things.
First of all, I believe the rapture is very close–much, much, much closer than we think although we don’t know exactly when. As Jesus warns us in so many places throughout the Scriptures, we always need to be ready at any hour for our Master’s return.
Whenever I have an End Times dream, I wake up extremely sobered and absolutely filled with the fear of the Lord. I awake trembling at the extreme truthfulness of His Word. As a result, the Lord has graciously helped me make big changes in my life, especially in the areas of dealing with sin, in sharing the gospel and in heeding the truth of God’s Word. These End Times dreams, and particularly this rapture dream, have greatly helped both my faith and my obedience to God’s Word.
As I said previously, the night before I had this dream, things had been pretty rough; I went to bed entangled in unconfessed sin. I woke up the next morning December 21, 2004, and realized it was the next day. However, I fell asleep again after this and had this dream…..but as far as I was concerned, I still thought I was awake and it was “today”, December 21st, 2004. I thought this dream was actually happening in real life.
When the light first began to shine out the window and I perceived it was Jesus coming to rapture us, I thought, “Oh no, Lord! No, you weren’t supposed to come today! I really believed you were coming back very soon, maybe even within a couple of years or even a year, but not today! It is too soon! I went to bed last night with unconfessed sin, and I’m presently groping around in it, putting off reconciling things with you. I’m doing this because I don’t want to deal with it now (because I am lording over my own life at the present moment instead of allowing you to have the throne and lordship over my life).”
“No, God, you can’t come now. I wanted to be watching and looking forward to your return when you came back (like I am at the times when I’m walking close with you!) I experience really close intimacy with you sometimes but I’m not in that intimate place all the time and certainly not right now in this present moment of you rapturing me. You caught me at a moment when I was off guard! Why couldn’t you have come after I confessed my sin and was reconciled with you? Or a day ago before I got into this sin (and failed to keep a short account by immediately repenting–remember the immediacy of 1 John 1:9)? Two days ago I was longing for your return and looking into the clouds for you, but you caught me at a bad time right now when I am wallowing in my failures and sin!”
Jesus’ words in Luke 12:35-40 hit me squarely, “Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
As I was being drawn up to God I tried to “reconcile” with Him on the way. I started to confess and repent of my sins because I knew that extremely soon I was going to see him face to face. I know that Jesus has justified me by his blood and by that alone am I worthy to stand in His presence (Romans 3:21-26, Romans 5:1-11). I know that the Lord will not look upon my sin but upon the righteous blood of Jesus who has made me righteous before God. However, I still felt the burden of my unconfessed sin (Psalm 32:3-5). I felt a real urgency to resolve these issues (all my sin including my downright pride and arrogance not to repent immediately).
I was reminded of Peter’s warning to us in 2 Peter 3:10-14, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.