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Summary: JUST HOW CLOSE ARE WE TO THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

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THE RAPTURE

1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18

INTRODUCTION:

IT COULD HAPPEN DURING THE DAYTIME. A HUSBAND GETS READY FOR WORK AND KISSES HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN GOOD-BYE. HE GETS CALLED OUT OF A MEETING TO BE TOLD BY A NEIGHBOR THAT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN HAVE DISAPPEARED FROM THEIR FRONT YARD. THE ONLY THINGS LEFT ARE THE CLOTHES THEY WERE WEARING AND HIS WIFE’S JEWELLERY.

PERHAPS IT WILL HAPPEN AT NIGHT. YOU ARE HAVING A VISIT WITH YOUR PARENTS. YOU SAY YOUR GOODNIGHTS AND TUCK THE CHILDREN INTO BED. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT YOU ARE AWAKENED BY YOUR MOTHER. SHE ASKS YOU TO HELP HER FIND HER HUSBAND AS SHE FEARS SOMETHING STRANGE HAS HAPPENED TO HIM. SHE TELLS YOU SHE JUST ROLLED OVER TO FIND ONLY HIS PAJAMAS AND JEWELLERY IN THE BED. STRANGLY ENOUGH WHEN YOU TRY TO WAKE YOUR WIFE, YOU DISCOVER ONLY HER NIGHTGOWN AND JEWELLERY AS WELL. YOU CHECK FOR THE CHILDREN AND THEY ARE ALL GONE.

PERHAPS IT WILL HAPPEN WHILE ON A TRIP OF SOME KIND. YOU’RE ON BOARD AN AIRPLANE FLYING AT 30,000 FEET. THE CABIN IS FILLED TO CAPACITY. THERE’S NOT A SEAT LEFT ANYWHERE. ALL OF A SUDDEN THE PLANE TAKES A NOSEDIVE AND BEGINS TO CRASH.

YOU LOOK AROUND TO FIND THAT THERE ARE NOW MANY EMPTY SEATS IN THE CABIN. THE ONLY THING LEFT WHERE PEOPLE HAD BEEN ARE THEIR CLOTHES AND JEWELLERY. TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE YOU OVERHEAR THAT THE PILOT AND CO-PILOT ARE NOW MISSING. HOW DO YOU LOSE SO MANY PEOPLE AT 30,000 FEET?

ALL THESE SCENARIOS AND MANY MORE ARE POSSIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEXT EVENT ON THE PROPHETIC CALENDAR. THIS EVENT WHICH WE CALL “THE RAPTURE” OR “THE BLESSED HOPE” OF THE CHURCH, IS NOT THE FINAL COMPONANT OF OUR STUDY ON THE LAST DAYS, BUT IT DOES GIVE US A MUCH FIRMER BASIS OF UNDERSTANDING AS FAR AS TIME IS CONCERNED. THE FINAL COMPONANTS WILL DEAL WITH THE TIME PERIOD THAT WE CALL THE “TRIBULATION” PERIOD AND THEN JESUS’ “GLORIOUS APPEARING” TO USHER IN HIS MILLENNIAL REIGN.

INTERESTINGLY BAPTISTS FOR A LONG TIME HAVE HAD A GREAT DEAL OF DIFFICULTY WITH THIS ELEMENT OF ESCHATOLOGY. YOU WILL NOT FIND THE WORD “RAPTURE” MENTIONED ANYWHERE IN SCRIPTURE, AND BEING “PEOPLE OF THE BOOK” THIS POSED A PROBLEM FOR SOME.

I REMEMBER BEING IN A CHURCH IN THE MONCTON AREA DURING MY ABC DAYS AND ATTENDING A CONCERT BY THE GOSPELAIRES. NOW THE GOSPELAIRES WERE PRIMARILY A WESLEYAN GROUP, AND I CAN CLEARLY RECALL BILL LAPOINTE INTRODUCING A SONG ENTITLED “I’LL SEE YOU IN THE RAPTURE”. IN HIS INTRODUCTION HE MADE THE STATEMENT “I REALIZE WE DON’T AGREE ON THIS PARTICULAR THEOLOGY, BUT IT IS WHAT WE AS A GROUP BELIEVE AND SO WE INCLUDE IT IN OUR CONCERTS”.

I DO FEEL THAT THE “RAPTURE” WILL BE THE NEXT EVENT ON THE PROPHETIC CALENDAR. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT NEED OCCUR TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR IT. IT COULD HAPPEN AT ANY TIME, EVEN PERHAPS DURING THIS CHURCH SERIVCE. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT, JUST SITTING IN WORSHIP AND THEN BEING TRANSFORMED AS THE SCRIPTURES STATE “IN THE BLINKING OF AN EYE” INTO THE ETERNAL PRESENCE OF GOD.


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