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Summary: At a time of uncertainty and with death so prevalent around us, it gives us great comfort and hope to know that there is hope in the future for all who trust Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Sept.30, 2001

A man went to see his doctor because he was suffering from a miserable cold. His doctor prescribed some pills, but they didn’t help.

On his next visit the doctor gave him a shot, but that didn’t do any good.

On his third visit the doctor told the man to go home and take a hot bath. As soon as he was finished bathing he was to throw open all the windows and stand in the draft.

"But doc," protested the patient, "if I do that, I’ll get pneumonia."

"I know," said his physician. "I can cure pneumonia."

Sept.11th tragedy in the US has brought out some doomsayers. Some are predicting more of the same. Some are saying this is what happens to a sinful nation. Many are now wondering about the future. What’s the future gonna hold for us? This world is ailing. All sorts of prescriptions are being used to bring back a sense of hope for the future. Just like the doctor, who doesn’t like to be confused, we want to have a cure that works. People seem want to want soemthing they can be in control of to bring a sense of normalcy.

BUT the pressures mount, with the economy going south, 40% less people traveling on planes, people in general seem to be hunkering down, unsure of what to make of this and that news. So what about the future? Are things gonna get much worse?

As pastor, I want us to think biblically about the future. I hope that u don’t use the National Enquirer or even the Vancouver Sun, or even the so-called experts in Middle East affairs as your authoritative source for info re: the truth about the future. In fact, according to the news sources, there will be lots of lies in a propaganda warfare as the US tries to misinform the Taliban and the Osama Bin Laden’s network of terrorists. It is of little use to trust these sources, even if it come from the experts in Middle East affairs. Here is one expert George Fielding Eliot, in 1938, who said: “ A Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is a strategic impossibility.” And we know now, that this expert is so dead wrong. Another example is entertainment expert, a filmmaker and head of 20th Century Fox in 1946 said this: “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Another example is the Science Digest in August 1948 that boldly predicted “Landing and moving around on the moon offers so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them.” Shall we blindly trust the reports that come from “the experts?”

"I believe World War III actually began Sept. 11, 2001," John Hagee tells the Los Angeles Times. And people are listening: "At Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, people were turned away the Sunday after Sept 11th attack on America, as 15,000 packed the sanctuary, the adjoining chapel and 4,000-seat gym to hear Hagee’s message that the beginning of the end is coming." But apart from Hagee and a few comments by Hal Lindsey, there’s not much in the story to justify the headline, "Talk of ’End Days’ Soars" (from CT Today Weblog ). It seems, there is much uninformed expert Christian talk too going around.

Well, if you and I really wanna know the future, best to get it from a really good and trusted source – the Bible. So far it’s been right on target, for instance, predictions re: Christ such as His descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen.12:3, 17:19), His crucifixion with criminals (Is.53:12) piercing of His hands and feet on the cross (ps.22:16), the soldiers gambling for His clothes (Ps.22:18). The piercing of His side and the fact the bones were not broken at His death (Zech.12:10, Ps.34:20) and His burial among the rich (Is.53:9). Jesus also predicted His own death and resurrection (Jn.2:19-22). No one has been successful in proving the Bible to be untrue or unreliable. In fact several who have tried to do it, who were a lot smarter than I am, such as Harvard Law Professor Simon Greenleaf and Josh McDowell, who researched and studied the Bible, found it to be wholly trustworthy. They were converted after they concluded their investigation in trying to prove the Bible to be unreliable.

So let’s go the Word in search of an answer what’s gonna happen in the future.

A. What is the “rapture” about?

First, it is rapture not raptor!

What is it really? This is the teaching that the church will be "caught up" or raptured in the clouds with Jesus and the resurrected believers and be with the Lord forever. It is clearly taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:17: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (NASB). There is little disagreement on that.

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