Sermons

Summary: A VERY CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE IN CHRISTENDOM TODAY IS ESCATOLOGY OR A STUDY OF THE LAST DAYS. THE STUDY OF THE LAST DAYS IS IMPORTANT AS IT SPEAKS TO LIFE AT THE END OF THIS AGE, AND IT CAN GIVE US MORE INSIGHT INTO WHAT LIFE AFTER DEATH WILL BE LIKE.

FOUNDATIONS OF THE FAITH:

THE LAST DAYS

A VERY CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE IN CHRISTENDOM TODAY IS ESCATOLOGY OR A STUDY OF THE LAST DAYS. YOUR VIEW OF THE LAST DAYS CAN BE INFLUNCED BY A NUMBER OF ISSUES INCLUDING YOUR BELIEF ON SALVATION, YOUR VIEW OF THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, AND YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THE PROPHETIC WRITINGS.

NOW I WANT TO START OUT BY ASSURING YOU THAT THIS IS NOT A STUDY FROM THE BOOK OF REVELATION. YOU WILL NOTE THAT OUR SCRIPTURE READING WAS FROM 1 THESSALONIANS, AND WE WILL BE SPENDING MOST OF OUR TIME HERE AND IN THE BOOK OF MATTHEW AND THE 24 CHAPTER.

THE STUDY OF THE LAST DAYS IS IMPORTANT AS IT SPEAKS TO LIFE AT THE END OF THIS AGE, AND IT CAN GIVE US MORE INSIGHT INTO WHAT LIFE AFTER DEATH WILL BE LIKE. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE? AS BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIANS WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL GO TO BE WITH CHRIST IN HEAVEN, BUT HOW DO WE GET THERE, WHAT IS THE TIME FRAME FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN? YOUR VIEW OF THE LAST DAYS WILL DETERMINE THE ANSWERS TO MANY OF THESE QUESTIONS.

THE OTHER THING I WANT TO REASSURE YOU OF IS THAT WE WILL NOT BE USING A LOT OF COMPLICATED THEOLOGICAL TERMS OR THEORIES. THERE ARE MANY THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO US, AND IF WE WENT THERE WE COULD MAKE THIS VERY COMPLICATED AND HARD TO UNDERSTAND.

THERE ARE THREE TERMS THAT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND:

1. RAPTURE

2. TRIBULATION

3. MILLENNIUM

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THEORIES AND TERMS THAT DEAL WITH HOW THE TRIBULATION AND MILLENNIUM RELATE TO THE TIMING OF THE RAPTURE. WE ARE GOING TO APPROACH OUR STUDY FROM ONLY ONE THEORY, WHICH I BELIEVE TO BE THE ONE CLOSEST TO SCRIPTURE, AND THAT IS THE PRE-MILLENNIUM, AND PRE-TRIBULATION VIEW OF THE LAST DAYS.

THIS VIEW TEACHES:

1. A LITERAL RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. WE’LL TALK ABOUT THIS LATER.

2. THAT THE RAPTURE WILL OCCUR BEFORE THE TRIBULATION AND MILLENNIAL REIGN OF CHRIST.

3. OFFERS INSIGHTS INTO OUR SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL LIFE AFTER WE DIE. IT LOOKS AT THE TIME PERIOD BETWEEN WHEN WE DIE, AND WHEN WE GO TO HEAVEN.

POINT ONE: WHAT IS THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH?

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH IS A VERY CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC IN MANY CIRCLES TODAY. THERE ARE THOSE WHO CLAIM THAT BECAUSE THE WORD DOESN’T OCCUR IN THE BIBLE THAT IT IS NOT A BIBLICAL TEACHING. I DO NOT FEEL THAT THIS IS A SERIOUS OBJECTION AS THERE ARE OTHER TERMS THAT ARE ACCEPTED IN CHURCH CIRCLES THAT ARE NOT STATED IN SCRIPTURE, CHRISTMAS AND EASTER FOR EXAMPLE. THE IDEA IS DESCRIBED IN SCRIPTURE AND THEREFORE ACCEPTED WITHOUT DISPUTE. I SEE NO REASON THAT RAPTURE SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED WITH THESE.

ANOTHER ARGUMENT DEALS WITH THE FORMATION OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL AND IS FOUND IN MATTHEW 24:34.

MATTHEW 24:34: “I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, THIS GENERATION WILL CERTAINLY NOT PASS AWAY UNTIL ALL THESE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.”

NATIONS IN SCRIPTURE ARE SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS DIFFERENT TYPES OF TREES. IT’S NOT AN UNUSUAL PRACTICE. TODAY IF WE ARE INVOLVED IN GENEOLOGY FOR EXAMPLE, WE MIGHT LOOK AT SEVERAL BRANCHES OF OUR FAMILY TREE. SO IN THIS PASSAGE, WHEN WE LOOK AT THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE REBIRTH OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL.

THIS PASSAGE IS DEALING WITH A NUMBER OF ISSUES INVOLVING PROPHECY, NOT JUST THE FORMATION OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL. THERE ARE ALSO A NUMBER OF ISSUES WE WOULD HAVE TO DETERMINE IN ORDER TO INTERPRET THE PROPHECY, AND MAKE A DECISION ON ITS VALIDITY.

WE WOULD HAVE TO DETERMINE WHAT THE LENGTH OF A GENERATION WAS ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, AS WELL AS THE APPROPRIATE BORDERS FOR THE NATION OF ISRAEL. THIS WOULD DETERMINE WHEN THE TIMING OF THE PROPHECY WOULD START. DID THE CLOCK START WHEN IT BECAME A NATION IN 1948, OR AT THE TIME OF THE SIX DAY WAR, WHEN IT REGAINED JERUSALEM, OR HAS THE TIME CLOCK ACTUALLY YET TO BE STARTED AS IT IS WAITING FOR ISREAL TO HAVE IT’S FORMER BIBLICAL BOUNDARIES.

YOU CAN SEE THAT THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS WITH THIS, MORE THAN WE CAN ADEQUATELY DEAL WITH IN THE SHORT TIME WE HAVE, SO WE ARE GOING TO START BY ACCEPTING AS FACT THAT THE BIBLE DOES TEACH A LITERAL RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.

IT SEEMS CLEAR TO ME THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES A LITERAL RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. THERE ARE THREE PASSAGES THAT I FEEL ARE KEY IN STUDYING ABOUT THE RAPTURE. THEY ARE:

1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18

1 CORINTHIANS 15:51-58

MATTHEW 24:

THESE PASSAGES DEAL WITH THE EVENTS THAT WILL PRECEED THE RAPTURE AND GIVE VIVID MENTAL PICTURES OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE.

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