Summary: God’s Word has given us ample warning of the coming Rapture. We are each responsible for how we treat and react to these warnings.
SIGNPOSTS ON THE ROAD TO RAPTURE
INTRO. This is a very important doctrine and yet it is not believed by many church members. [Dad used to tell of a woman who told him that she did not believe all this business about Jesus coming so soon. She asked, "What do you think about that?" Dad replied, "Your attitude just helps to make my point." (II Pet. 3:3-4) "...there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,...saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?..."]
While we may not be able to tell the day or hour, Jesus gave us many signs whereby we can tell the time is near at hand. Over 300 scriptures in the N.T. alone point to his return. [If there were 300 signposts in 27 miles saying "Dallas Ahead", you’d be a fool not to believe it was getting near.]
Many signposts, pointing to the return of Christ, have already passed and even now mankind is passing signposts left by Jesus that indicate His return for His children is near.
I. SIGNPOSTS PASSED.
A. Many things Jesus told His disciples to look for, have already come to pass.
1. (Mk. 13:2) -- "Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
2. Jesus is talking of the destruction of Jerusalem in the near future. The city was leveled to the ground by the armies of Rome under Titus in 70 A.D. (Describe the destruction of the Temple.)
C. Matt. 24:14.
1. The gospel was to be preached to all nations. The end would not come until this was done.
2. It was the last command of Jesus before He went back to Heaven.
a. (Mk. 16:15) -- "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
b. (Matt. 28:19-20) -- "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:..."
c. Acts 1:8-9
3. But the people settled down and got comfortable. Then came the murder of the deacon, Stephen and the persecution by Saul. This prompted the dispersion of Jerusalem Christians throughout the world. Acts 8:1-4. This was the beginning of the Christian missionary movement.
4. Now, between individual missionaries and all the electronic ministries, we can safely say that the gospel has been preached in every nation on earth.
5. In 597 A.D., Pope Gregory I sent a monk, named Austin, to Britain to make Catholic converts of the Anglos.
a. When Austin arrived he found that almost 200 years earlier Ireland and Scotland had been introduced to the Gospel by a Christian named Patrick (who demanded repentance of sin toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour - and practiced baptism by immersion). [in other words -- Baptist]
b. Upon further investigation, he found documented evidence that Lucius - King of the Anglos in 180 A.D., had made a public profession in Christ and had been baptized which sparked an evangelistic movement in Southern Britain.
c. After this, he discovered that Baptists had been in Wales since, at least, 62 A.D.
d. In fact, the religious historian, Eusebius, writes that Simon Zelotes (the apostle- (Lk. 6:15), "passed beyond the Ocean to the isles called the Britannia Isles."
D. Deut. 4:27 --- Ezek. 11:17
1. In early 1918, in the middle of WW I, the city of Jerusalem was under the control of the Ottoman Turks. The British Commander in charge of Middle East Forces was General Allenby. He had been working in conjunction with Lawrence of Arabia to dispel the Turks from Jerusalem. While Lawrence and his forces surrounded the city, Allenby sent 3 sopwith camels (remember, the Turks had never seen an airplane) over the city dropping leaflets that said, "Surrender Jerusalem Immediately". He signed it simply Allenby. When the Turks read this they misinterpreted the name Allenby as Allah bay (messenger of God). The city was turned over to the British forces without a single shot being fired. Isa. 31:5
2. In Ezekiel 37 -- the valley of dry bones and the two sticks.
3. Later that same year, the Balfour Declaration was passed that allowed Jews the freedom to return to Palestine. But the issue was not pressed and it was, for the most part, lost in the bureaucracy.
4. Then came WW II and the subsequent holocaust.
5. On May 15, 1948 the U.N. made Israel a nation after almost 2,000 years and gave the Jews a small portion of the Arab nation of Palestine. The surrounding Arab countries declared war against Israel at 12:01 am, May 16.
6. Then on June 6, 1967, as a result of the Six Day War, the Jews captured Jerusalem. Luke 21:24b was fulfilled.