Summary: A general sermon on the rapture.
The Bible is the sacred book of the Judeo Christian
Religion. It is divided into two divisions: The Old and New
Testaments. While accepting many of the Old Testament
teachings, Christianity is largely anchored in the New
Testament. Its founder is Jesus ( Matt. 16:18 ) who is
viewed as the heart of the New Testament.
Jesus designated his religious group as the Church and
he called disciples to be trained as assistants in spreading
his gospel of salvation ( Matt. 4: 18-22 ). His teachings,
miracles, and prophecies were numerous and they included
both earthly and heavenly existence.
Our sermon today will focus on one of Jesus’
prophecies known as the Rapture. This word is used
to describe the return of Christ to the earth and the end of
human existence, often viewed as the end of the world.
In this regard, the sermon has been entitled, The Rapture:
A Mysterious Certainty. The sermon will encompass three
dimensions of the subject, namely: human concerns about
the end of time, futile human effort to predict the end, and
the biblical stance regarding the end of time.
Prior to addressing these dimensions, brief attention
will be focused on the textual anchor for the sermon which
encompasses two different Scriptures. The first one in
found in John 14:4 where Jesus gave the prophecy of his
going away to prepare a place and that he will return
to earth. The next one is Paul’s message to the people at
Thessalonica who were worried about the fate of their
deceased loved ones who would not be present at the
second coming of Christ ( the Rapture ). Paul assured them
that the dead in Christ shall rise first at the rapture. ( 1st
Thess. 4:16 ). Since that time, humanity has held widely
different views about both the rapture and its aftermath.
Three of the more widely prevalent responses are: To
deny the possibility of a Rapture, to predict the time of the
Rapture, and to heed biblical teachings on the Rapture.
Against this textual background, attention will now
be directed to the earlier specified concerns, the first of
which is - human concerns about the end of time. It is a
truism that many people have hidden concerns about the
end of time, but they seldom express views on the prospect.
Hence, there is the general tendency to focus instead on
personal preparation for death. This is a minor indication
of the end of time, but only the personal level. Accordingly,
such an awareness leads to making wills, establishing
foundations, and charitable donations - all of which are
motivated by a recognition that life is finite and will,
therefore, end whether there is a Rapture or not! The
Christian believers, in this connection, are seeking to be
prepared for the best of both eventualities: death and the
Rapture. This glorious fact leads to the second aspect of
the sermon which is - Futile human efforts to predict the
end of time, or Rapture. While not accepting the reality of
the rapture, humankind has had a recurring interest in the
end of time. Accordingly, there have been and continues to
be useless effort to predict the end of time. Probably the
most widespread attempt to foretell the end of time
occurred in the year 1999. As can easily be recalled there
was the Y2K prophecy in which it was widely predicted
the end of time would occur at midnight December 31, 1999.
Many persons made earthly plans for that reality only to find
themselves alive January 1, 2000. It must be noted,
however, that there were earlier dates given for the end of
time. One widely known religious leader taught that the
end of time would come in 1996, but it did not so end. That
person has now designed another date, May 27, 2011, for
the end of time. Even before the dates of 1996 and 1999
were given there was a prophecy given by Nostradamus
(1503 -1556 ) who specified 2012 as the end of time. Well,
for those who believe in foretelling the end of time, there
are two times to ponder - 2011 and 2012. Against this
dilemma, attention will now be turned to the third aspect
of the sermon which is - The Biblical view of the Rapture.
Prior to citing biblical teaching on the rapture, attention
is called to two references on this word as contained in
the Foxfire website. Among the selected ones are:
The Rapture is a belief that all "true Christians" will be
gathered together in the air to meet Christ at his return and
the Rapture is the 'catching away' of the true believer in
Jesus, as described in 1st Thess.4:16-17..
Beloved, while these are but a few of the views on the
rapture, it behooves Christian believers to be knowledgeable