Summary: Without warning millions of people instantly vanish from the face of the earth! Civilization is torn apart, chaos reigns. The Rapture has just occurred!

The Rapture and Left Behind!

"Left Behind" series Part 1

Text: 1Co. 15-50-53 & Selected

Cross Creek Community Church

Pastor Dave Martin - Jan. 7, 2001

God’s Word is Powerful, Relevant, and Life Changing!

1 Cor. 15:50-53 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

Without warning, millions of people instantly vanish from the face of the earth! In the following hours, civilization is torn apart as anarchy and chaos reign supreme. It is a time of great tribulation for those Left Behind. This will literally be the headlines in Newspapers, CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Network. Society trends and current events are pointing this direction. We see tremendous advances in technology and communications, which are leading us closer to events we read about in the Bible - events that take place in the "last days".

Many people today avoid prophecy saying it’s too scary or hard to understand. Yet God does not want us to be ignorant concerning the future. He gave us the Bible to read and understand what will be taking place, note some interesting facts concerning Bible prophecy:

* Estimated there are over 1845 references to the Second Coming of Christ in the Old Testament.

* 17 Old Testament books give the Second Coming prominence.

* In the New Testament’s 260 chapters, there are 318 references to the Second Coming of Christ.

* This is one 1 out of every 30 verses! 23 of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event.

* For every prophecy concerning the birth of Christ there are 8 looking forward to His return!

God has placed much emphasis upon prophecy in the Bible, so we as Christians can discern the times and what God says about the future.

* There is a growing hunger in society to know the future - give examples.

* I read where 62% of Americans believe Jesus Christ will return someday.

* We "sense" something happening globally, supernaturally God is stirring His people.

We need to look at the BIG PICTURE in order to understand Biblical prophecy better:

Check out the back of your bulletins for God’s grand plan for the "future".

Number each event in the correct order:

__6____ 1000 year millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

__2____ The appearance of the Antichrist (world ruler).

__5____ Literal Second Coming of Christ to earth.

__8____ Creation of New Heavens & New Earth.

__3____ The seven year tribulation period begins.

__1____ The Rapture of all true believers (the Church).

__4____ The Battle of Armageddon begins.

__7____ Great White Throne Judgment for the unsaved.

__9____ Living throughout eternity with our Lord.

(The correct order is: 6, 2, 5, 8, 3, 1, 4, 7, 9)

Bible teaches two parts of the Second Coming of Christ: (Many examples)

As a thief in the night

Every eye shall see Him

Meet the Lord in the air

His feet shall touch the Mt. Of Olives

Descend with a shout (come up hither)

Coming in the heavens with all His saints

Twinkling of an eye

Whole world will see Him coming as lightning shines

* God gives us "pictures or illustrations" in the Old Testament concerning various things we see in the New Testament. A few examples are:

OT we see the slaying of the Passover lamb - in the NT, Jesus is the lamb of God.

OT we see Abraham & Issac as a picture of the future Messiah, Jesus in the NT - (promised son, miraculous birth, carried wood, obedient unto death, Mt. Moriah - Golgotha). What a wonderful God!

OT we see Jonah in the fish belly for 3 days - in the NT, we see Jesus buried for 3 days.

* These are pictures, snapshots of the future....

* Let’s look at the snapshot picture of the rapture....

The Rapture overview is...

... ILLUSTRATED with Enoch of the Old Testament.

Gen 5:21-24; Jude 1:14 & Heb. 11:5

Genesis 5:21-24 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

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