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Summary: The rapture of the church...it is the next great event to take place...and by the signs of the times it won't be long. Back in 1 Thessalonians 5 it says that the day will come like a thief in the night.

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH PART 1

READ 1 Thessalonians 3:13 18

This morning we are going to kick off what will be a 6 8 week series on the subject of the Last Days...and I want to take us up through to the Great White Throne judgment. And I want to begin with an event that is shortly to come to pass...The Rapture of the Church.

There are some here this morning that have some knowledge concerning this blessed event...and yet there may also be some here, and I know there are multitudes outside the church that have little or no knowledge whatsoever concerning this matter.

And yet this will be the most momentous...the most earth shaking...most cataclysmic event that this world will ever know...it will be this that God will use to get the attention of the world...and it is due, according to the word of God, to take place in the very near future.

In Matthew Jesus told us to pray...that we would be counted worthy to escape all of these things that are coming upon the earth...for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

The rapture of the church will cause multiple millions of people to instantly disappear from off this planet to go and be with the Lord. From all denominations...Protestant...Catholic...completed Jews....everyone in the world who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Notice I didn't say everyone who goes to church...or everyone who is baptized in water...or everyone who tries to live a good life...or those who held a position in the church. Only those whose name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be taken.

In a moments time we shall be changed...and that word moment actually means a measure of time that cannot be divided...in the twinkling of an eye. ZAP! And that means that if you have been holding back from God...waiting until the conditions are right for you to make a commitment to Jesus Christ...it will be over before you know it...and you'll be left behind.

**As we begin, I want to remind you that the word "rapture" is not found in the Bible...but it very appropriately represents the phrase "caught up" in verse 17 of the passage I read. The word rapture is actually the Latin translation of the Greek word found in Scripture.

It should be pointed out that when Paul wrote these verses, it was the first time specific details of the rapture were spelled out anywhere in the Scriptures Old or New Testament.

And Paul wrote about this mainly to comfort the Thessalonian Christians who had recently suffered the loss of loved ones. The people didn't have doubts that their loved ones would some day be resurrected...but they were grieving because they thought their loved ones would miss experiencing the glorious events that would take place at Christ's return.

And so Paul is telling them not to grieve as one who has no hope...yes they have died...but they will certainly not miss these blessed events. In fact, they will be there...even before those who are alive at His coming.

Now I want to say this...the rapture and the second coming of Christ are two different events altogether. At the rapture Jesus Christ will not appear to man...at the second coming the Bible says every eye shall see Him.

The rapture and the second coming will be separated by approximately 7 years of time. At the rapture the saints of God will go to be with the Lord...at the second coming the saints will come back with Him.

At the rapture the world will not know that He has come until millions have disappeared...but at the second coming all will know. And I just want to remind you that it won't take long for the world to discover that millions are gone...

Because planes will come dropping out of the skies that were piloted by Christians...highways will be jammed with thousands of empty vehicles crashing out of control...patients left helpless in operating rooms left vacant by Christian doctors and nurses....and so on...

It will certainly be an event that will grip the hearts of people around the entire world. How soon will it be before this momentous occurrence takes place? No one knows...but we do know this: There is not one single Scripture in the Word of God that has to be fulfilled for the rapture to take place.

The rapture of the church could take place today...and it could happen just as unexpectedly as that unexpected firecracker. It could take place a month from now...or Jesus could tarry for years.

But from certain things we have seen...and certain things that are taking place in the world today...we know that it cannot be very long. It has to be very soon. Or does it?

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