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Summary: THE NEXT GREAT EVENT ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR IS THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. THOSE LEFT BEHIND FACE THE TRIBULATION PERIOD. THIS IS A SEVEN YEAR PERIOD OF TIME, BROKEN INTO TWO THREE AND A HALF YEAR PERIODS OF TIME THAT DANIEL SPEAKS ABOUT.

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YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A TRIBULATION

DANIEL 9:20-27

SEVERAL DECADES AGO, AROUND CHRISTMAS, A NOW FAMOUS ARTICLE WAS PRINTED IN A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER IN THE UNITED STATES ENTITLED “YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS.” THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE TRIED TO ANSWER THE QUESTION AS TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE EXISTENCE OF SANTA CLAUS.

IT IS NOT MY INTENTION TO ENTER THAT DEBATE TODAY CONCERNING SANTA CLAUS. IT IS MY INTENTION TO ENTER INTO THIS DEBATE THOUGH CONCERNING WHAT WE CALL THE TRIBULATION.

LET ME BEGIN WITH A SIMPLE QUESTION. HOW MANY OF YOU HERE TODAY BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE IS TOTALLY INSPIRED BY GOD AND THAT THE WORD OF GOD IS INERRANT, THAT IS WITHOUT MISTAKES?

IF YOU DO, THEN YOU MUST BELIEVE THE MESSAGES THAT I HAVE PRESENTED CONCERNING, SIN, DEATH, THE RESURRECTION, AND THE RAPTURE. YOU HAVE NO CHOICE IF YOU BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS TRUE BUT TO BELIEVE THAT THERE WILL COME A TIME OF JUDGMENT FOR US ALL. YOU MUST ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE PLACE WHERE BELIEVERS GO, AND ONLY BELIEVERS WHO HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR IS HEAVEN, AND THAT HELL IS THE ABIDING PLACE FOR ETERNITY OF ALL NON-BELIEVERS AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT ACCEPTED JESUS AS LORD AND SAVIOR.

TODAY I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ANOTHER IMPORTANT TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE. THIS TRUTH IS SO PROFOUND THAT WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING IN GREAT DETAIL IN BIBLE STUDY FOR MORE THAN A YEAR AND A HALF. THAT’S RIGHT, WE’VE JUST SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF THIS AREA OF SCRIPTURE. I WILL PROMISE YOU THAT WE WILL NOT GO SO IN DEPTH TODAY.

THE NEXT GREAT EVENT ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR IS THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. THERE IS NOTHING THAT NEEDS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED, NO PROPHECY FULFILLED, IN ORDER FOR THE RAPTURE TO OCCUR. WHEN THE RAPTURE OCCURS ALL BORN-AGAIN BELIEVERS, LIVING OR DEAD, WILL BE CHANGED TO LIVE WITH CHRIST FOR ETERNITY.

THIS HOWEVER, IS ONLY FOR BORN-AGAIN BELIEVERS. THERE WILL BE SOME LIVING WHO WILL NOT BE TAKEN AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE. CONSIDER WHAT OUR RESPONSIVE READING IN MATTHEW STATES:

MATTHEW 24: 36-42: “36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE RAPTURE TO THOSE WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND? DO WE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM?

WE CAN ONLY SPEAK IN GENERAL TERMS, BUT ONE FACT WE CAN BE CERTAIN OF IS THAT ANYONE WHO HAS NOT MADE A DECISION FOR JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR WILL, WITHOUT A DOUBT, BE LEFT BEHIND AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE. THESE PEOPLE CCOULD BE YOUNG OR OLD, ANYWHERE FROM TEENAGERS TO THOSE WELL ADVANCED IN YEARS. MALE OR FEMALE GENDER MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. RELATIONSHIPS MAKE NO DIFFERENCE. A MOTHER OR FATHER COULD BE RAPTURED, BUT A SON OR DAUGHTER LEFT BEHIND. THERE WILL BE NO CHILDREN LEFT AFTER THE RAPTURE, NOR WILL THERE BE THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE SIN NATURE.


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