After the rapture, the emotional effects will be the most devastating. It won’t be the same for every person, but I’m sure that each one will have something disturbing to live with and to try to deal with. Here are just four of perhaps the most painful emotional effects of the rapture.
Fear of the unknown. For those who are unaware of or who have rejected the doctrine of the rapture, the sudden reality that millions of people on this earth have suddenly disappeared will be quite shocking. But people that have chosen to reject the rapture, instead of now believing in it, I’m guessing will instead turn to other possible causes of the disappearances. Some will probably blame the disappearance on aliens. Others may blame it on radiation in the air. But most will probably claim ignorance, and will say to themselves, who knows, who can know what has stolen so many of our people away. But in all their questionings of what happened, there will no doubt remain a deep deep-seated fear of something unknown. This may be the worst kind of fear, because it leaves us without any possible solution and thus without peace.
Panic, anger and anguish over a financial collapse and personal loss. We can’t be certain of how much financial damage will result from the rapture, but many predict that within a month there will be a world-wide financial collapse. This won’t be a huge problem for some; but for the rich, when they realize that their wealth is about to evaporate and they are helpless to prevent it, they will no doubt begin to panic and will hoard whatever they can, like canned foods and gasoline.
Anger will follow close behind panic, as people, especially the rich, feel betrayed and cheated. But I think the most devastating emotion many will experience is a deep-seated sadness and anguish over the loss of their wealth—which will be so painful and troubling, because it is what they have put their trust in for their entire life. Thus when it is taken away they will feel devastated and humiliated, which may cause some to even take their own life.
Grief over the loss of loved ones. Many theologians believe that all children under the age of accountability (about age twelve) will be raptured. That means that every non-Christian mother and father will lose all their young children. Can you imagine how devastating that will be to so many families? The whole world will be stricken with grief. I imagine that it will be much like it was in the days of Moses, when God struck dead every firstborn of Egypt so that there was “a great cry in all the land of Egypt” (Ex. 11:6; 12:30). However, it will be much worse than in Egypt, because it will be world-wide and not only one child will be lost but all young children. Families of four or five young children will all suddenly be gone!
But not only children will disappear, many adults will vanish as well. Many husbands will lose their wives and many wives will lose their husbands. Also imagine all those who will lose their best friends—those whom they had such high regard for because they were so good and kind to them. Yes, the whole world will be shocked and grieved over the disappearances of their loved ones. And this sadness is something that will stay with them for a long time. Many will not survive this terrible loss.
Guilt feelings. A cousin to the emotion of grief is guilt. Left behind parents will probably suffer from guilt the most. If they are ignorant about the rapture they may blame themselves for their missing children, supposing that they could have done something to prevent it—to be better parents. On the other hand, those that knew about the rapture will probably feel guilty about not being good enough to be raptured with their kids. Either way, these guilt feelings—which is self-condemnation and is often encouraged by the devil—is a terrible tormenting emotion; and if one is unable to deal with it, it can be very self-destructive.
Guilt feelings can also be very beneficial. Since God has given us a conscience, He has a very good purpose for it—to lead us to repentance. Thus, for some, their guilt feeling may serve to convict them of their sin (Rom. 3:20); and then God will have the opportunity to give them His gift of repentance. Hence, many, I think, upon seeing their loved ones disappear, in their deep sadness and pain, will cry out to God in repentance. Therefore, I believe that the first wave of conversions to salvation will come just after the rapture.