Will People Have a Second Chance to Be Saved After the Rapture?

Charles H. Dyer
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Will people have a second chance to be saved after the rapture? This question is based on a misunderstanding of events following the rapture. We like to assume that those who have not yet placed their faith in Christ will watch those events unfold and finally say to themselves, “This is what God predicted. It’s coming to pass. I’d be foolish now not to trust in Christ, because I know what’s going to happen.” But in Revelation 9:20 John writes, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands.” In the end, people have to choose whether or not they believe what God has said, even when the events are clearly taking place. And sadly, many will choose not to believe.

This has been true in the past, it’s true today, and it will also be true in the future. In 2 Thessalonians Paul writes that in the coming tribulation period Satan will use “all power and false signs and wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish” (2:9–10a). Satan will employ every means possible to trick and deceive those still living on earth into accepting his false narrative. Paul then sadly concludes people will perish “because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false” (vv. 10b–11). The sinfulness of the human heart, coupled with Satan’s grand deception and God’s supernatural hardening, will be enough to effectively blind most to the truth of what has actually happened.

Someone might appear to have totally rejected the gospel message but not completely closed their heart to God’s prompting in their life.

I see at least one historic parallel that might help us understand this reality more clearly. The Bible predicted the exact time of the Messiah’s first coming (Dan. 9:24–26). It also announced where He would be born (Mic. 5:2), predicted that He would arrive in Jerusalem riding on a colt (Zech. 9:9), and stated that He would die with the wicked, be buried with the rich, and yet somehow prolong His days (Isa. 53). In fact, there were scores of other direct, dramatic prophecies fulfilled at Christ’s first coming. But in spite of all these clear prophecies, the religious leaders in that day still chose to disregard them as they condemned Him to death. This is a good example of how prophecy, even when it was clearly known, could still be disregarded. The same thing will be true in the future, especially for those who have knowingly heard and rejected the claims of Christ.

Thankfully, the situation isn’t totally hopeless. While it appears that those who have deliberately and knowingly rejected Christ won’t have a second chance to accept Him following the rapture, only God knows the condition of the human heart. Someone might appear to have totally rejected the gospel message but not completely closed their heart to God’s prompting in their life. Many have heard the gospel message countless times without responding, only to “have the light come on” the next time the gospel is presented. They hadn’t so much rejected the claims of Jesus as simply been blind to the truth of the message. So it’s possible that some who have heard the gospel prior to the rapture will hear and respond to the message afterward.

In addition, millions who have never heard the gospel message will have the opportunity to hear and respond during the tribulation period. Revelation 7:9 describes “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” An angel explains to John who they are. “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14). Believers from around the world will come to faith. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that many of them will be martyred during the tribulation period. The price tag for following Jesus during this time will be quite high. Yet, thankfully, many will respond.

For Further Reading:

What Does the Bible Say About the Future?

by Charles H. Dyer

Anyone can make predictions about the future. The real question is, “What does God have to say about it?” The end times is one of...

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