It was only the slightest instant, but everything had changed. Seth was out of the plane now, and it was as if time was standing still. He looked around, and then he was certain of it. There was something new about how it felt, just being there in that presence. It was Jesus and there was no question. There was thrill and joy and not-believing-but-believing-it all at the same time. And there was a feeling that this moment should never stop, that it was meant to always be.

Yet not everything was right. From somewhere within him came a murmur of dissent. Seth was torn with emotions, but a conviction was rising inside him, making itself more clear.

He wasn't sure what to do with it.

There were others there too. But he saw only Jesus now, and he knew this would have to be faced.

Then he was there with him.

In the silence between them, Seth sensed that everything was transparent. This was not a place for secrets.

"You would stay behind?" Jesus asked him.

"Yes, Lord," Seth admitted.

Silence again. Then Jesus said, "What is coming is a great rebellion. Many will fall under the spell of this magic. It will be difficult not to be deceived. This is a trial. My enemy will have power to make war and to conquer. He always seeks to destroy, and now his anger is aroused. You will not be exempt."

The gravity of this sunk into Seth's mind. He felt himself sweating, realizing that everything hung on this next moment. He didn't want to go back. But something inside kept driving him to go back.

Finally he spoke. "Will there be a chance to tell people about you?"

"Yes, those in pain and confusion will seek answers."

"So there will be new Christians?"

"Yes, many."

"Will they suffer?"

"Yes, much."

"But you will be with them yourself, won't you? You are always with your people."

"Of course."

"When I became your follower, I was told to count this cost, as others had before me. I guess I believed in your paradox, that the one who seeks to save his life will lose it, while those who give up their lives for you truly live. I thought this pattern was for me, too."

Seth paused. Then he said simply, "My brothers and sisters will be there, doing your work. Even you will be there. Why shouldn't I be there?"

Jesus gazed steadily at Seth, his eyes speaking a subtle satisfaction. He finally said, "You would stay, then?"

"Yes, Lord."

Again, it was only the slightest of instants, this unrapture, and Seth was back in the plane, heading to London. He looked down. Everything was just as it had been—his clothes, his shoes, even his WWJD bracelet.

Glenn Paauw is the International Bible Society's director of product development.

This article is part of Christianity Today's Readers' Forum series, presenting commentary on issues facing Christians today. It does not necessarily represent the views of the magazine or its editors.

Related Elsewhere

Earlier Christianity Today stories on the Rapture and eschatology include:
What Hal Lindsey Taught Me About the Second Coming | At UCLA, amid war protests and police helicopters, teachings on an imminent end made a lot of sense. (Oct. 25, 1999)
Apocalypse Now | Worried about the future? Revelation says more about church life today than about how the world will end. (Oct. 25, 1999)
Stop the Dating Game | Don't do what Jesus said can't be done. (Oct. 25, 1999)
Reflections: End Times Edition (Oct. 25, 1999)
Inside CT: Obsessed with the End Times (Oct. 5, 1998)
The Bible Study at the End of the World | Recent novels by evangelical leaders say more about popular American Christianity than about the end times. (Sept. 1, 1997)

Issue 61 of Christianity Today sister publication Christian History examined the history of how Christians have perceived the end of the world.

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