Summary: Skeptics point out the Long Length of Time it’s Been since Jesus' promise, the wrong predictions of date-setters, and the lack of current supernatural interventions as excuses to write off the Rapture. But has God changed His mind?
HAS GOD CALLED OFF THE RAPTURE?
1 Thess. 4:15-18
1. A deacon had a talking female parrot that always said, “Kiss me! Kiss me!” This bothered the deacon.
2. Then he heard the pastor had a parrot who always said, “Let’s pray! Let’s pray!” That sounded more dignified, so he approached the pastor about putting his parrot with the pastor’s to change his parrot’s comments. Pastor agreed.
3. So the deacon brought over his parrot and stuck it in the cage with the pastor’s parrot. As usual, the deacon’s parrot cried, “Let’s Kiss! Let’s Kiss!”
4. The pastor’s parrot bowed his head and said, “My prayers have been answered!”
B. WHERE DID THE REFRIGERATOR CAR GO? [7700, # 4887]
1. There was a mysterious disappearance of a refrigerator car from the center of a long freight train during a non-stop trip of 25 miles in Pennsylvania on a night in 1898.
2. Until it was found by a farmer 3 weeks later, concealed in trees, no one could imagine what could have happened.
3. While rounding sharp steep curves, the car became uncoupled at both ends. After it toppled from the rails, the rear section of the train caught up with the front section of the train and the recoupled itself with the front section!
C. ANOTHER MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE
1. But the Bible tells of a greater mysterious disappearance – millions of Christians will simultaneously & instantly disappear from the Earth. This event is called the Rapture. Why will God do this?
a. Remove the Church before the Great Tribulation.
b. To bring Israel to salvation (after Rapture).
c. Also to Judge the world who’ve rejected God’s Messiah.
2. But although there are hundreds of Scriptures pointing to Christ’s Second Coming & Rapture, some Christians have written-off the idea of the Rapture, or more dangerously, quit looking for and expecting the soon coming of Jesus Christ.
3. 15 “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thess. 4:15-18.
D. THESIS & TITLE
1. I want to expose three subtle arguments the enemy uses to get us to quit looking for Jesus’ soon coming;
a. The Long Length of Time it’s Been;
b. Previous False Alarms of His Coming;
c. Life Goes on Normally (‘we see no supernatural’)
2. So I want to address the subject: “Has God Called Off the Rapture?”
I. LONG LENGTH OF TIME
A. THE MEANING OF ‘QUICKLY’ ‘SOON’?
Scoffers and unbelievers have long derided our Lord’s statement, “Behold, I come quickly” (Rev. 3:11; 22:7,12,20).
1. However the meaning of “soon” is that it could happen “at any moment.”
2. Like my answering machine. Message: “I will return soon.” I use the same announcement whether I’m going to be gone 2 minutes or 2 weeks. Why? Because I want to encourage the caller without revealing how long I’ll be gone.
B. BUT THE LORD WAS CLEAR ON 2 POINTS:
1. No one knows the Day or Hour – even the Son!
a. Mk. 13:32, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
b. The Lord Jesus didn’t misrepresent the length of time because He didn’t know how long it would be.
2. The Lord Himself did teach it would be a long time before He came back for us.
a. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come…. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’” Mt. 24:6,48.
b. “The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep…. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.” Matt. 25:5,19.
3. The Lord knew what a test of faith such a delay could be, so He warned us in advance.
4. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” 2 Peter 3:9.