Summary: A general sermon on the rapture.

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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

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