The Rapture and The Second Coming

by Dr. John Walvoord


(This is a transcription of a live teaching given by Dr. John Walvoord
at Calvary Chapel in Vista, California)

 


I want to say how delighted I am to receive the gracious invitation from the church to minister today and on Wednesday.  And we look forward to it.  I’ve been in a number of Calvary Churches and I find them alive spiritually and also very warm and receptive to the truth and it’s always a delight to preach in a situation like that.  Now we are going to cover some things today that maybe new to some of you.  Hang on and get the best you can out of it and if you need to buy the tape and listen to it again.  But I hope that you will mature and increase you knowledge and anticipation of the wonderful things that are before a Christian.  Now obviously in one day like this or on Wednesday we can’t cover a great many subjects and that’s one of the reasons I bring my books along because they can minister for years to come if you buy them and put them in your library.  And I discount them more than the average bookstore can.  They have to make a profit and I don’t.  So I mark the books down and there are a few that are especially helpful.

There’s the Bible Knowledge Commentary written by 36 members of our faculty [Dallas Theological Seminary].  Roy Zuck and I were the editors and there’s the Old Testament with 1500 pages a New Testament with 1000 pages. And I sell them at half price.  You can’t buy them for that anywhere.  My theory is that every home should have a Bible commentary. When you read the Bible and have a question as to what it means you can look it up in the commentary and at least get a plausible explanation. So if you haven’t had it and don’t know about stop at the bookstore and see about it.  Now obviously I have limited quantities.  We sent a lot of books here but my experience in Calvary Churches is they buy them pretty fast.  So first come first served.  And my wife is at the table and other women are helping her and they will be able to serve you.  There are number of other books that are helpful.

There’s one called Every Prophecy of the Bible.  It’s a book I have written. There’s nothing like it in print.  It covers every one of the prophecies of the Bible and explains it.  And it’s, when I got through I discovered I had covered 1000 passages and the very interesting fact was that half of them have already literally been fulfilled.  One of the greatest confusions in prophecy is the theory that you can’t interpret prophecies literally.  Well you can.  In fact it is the only way.  If you come to a passage and say it doesn’t mean what it says then it is a field day as to what you are guessing it means.  And you can’t come out of any system of prophecy at all.  So that’s important.

Now we are living in a day of ignorance in prophecy.  Some churches never mention it.  And then there’s a lot of confusion in prophecy.  And the confusion comes from a failure to observe three simple rules.  First of all you have to recognize the Bible is verbally inspired and without error.  If you have a Bible that’s full of errors you can’t get a prophetic system out it because you don’t know whether it’s true or not.  I find that all the prophecies of the Bible are true and when they are fulfilled they are fulfilled to the letter.  You can expect it to be fulfilled and if it isn’t fulfilled it will be.  The second rule is that you’d have to interpret prophecy literally.  Not non-literally.  And I believe the proof of that is the fact that is the way God does things.  Hundreds of prophecies have already been literally fulfilled.  And the third rule is very simple.  Pay attention to the details.  After all, the Bible is verbally inspired.  The words are inspired.  They’re words that God has put through human hands to be sure but nevertheless it what God wanted and expresses perfectly the will of God.  And you have to have those three rules.  First the Bible is inspired and earned and second, interpreted literally and third, pay attention to the details.  And when you violate these rules that you come up with confusion.  If you observe these rules you come out with a system that is worth believing and a basis for our hope for the future.

Now I am going to do something this morning you may have a little trouble following.  They’ve asked me to contrast the Second Coming of Christ and the rapture of the church.  Well they are two distinct subjects and because some try to put them together it has brought a lot of confusion in the subject of prophecy.  Now I think it is very important at the outset to do something to do something that very few prophecy books do.  And that is set up a series a future of events in the order that they will be fulfilled.  Now when I pick up a book I don’t know the first thing I do is look at the table of contents because I want to know what it is covering and what the subjects are.  And in prophecy that is very, very important though very few prophecy teachers do it.  To get the order of events.  What’s next?  And what’s after that? And what’s after that?  And what’s the relationship of all this?  What’s the practical application?  Questions like that need to be answered.

Now what about the Second Coming of Christ?  It’s rather interesting that the public even the non-Christian public knows that Christ came once.  We celebrate that at Christmas so that’s very clear.  And they also know that he is coming again.  You see all our church creeds whether they are Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Greek Orthodox have a statement to the effect that Christ is coming again to judge the world.  And the reason they say that is because the Bible says it.  Christ said it.  He said, “I am coming again.”  And so they realize that.  And this was driven to my attention particularly during the Gulf War when the secular press, the newspapers, that weren’t Christians began to run big articles on is the Armageddon, is this the second coming, is this the end of the world, is this the final judgment?  They didn’t believe it necessarily but they wondered whether they might be wrong, you see and perhaps it would be.  Now they were wrong.  It wasn’t anything to do with the final war that the Bible speaks of in connection with the Second Coming.  And the war was in the wrong place and for the wrong purposes but nevertheless they raised that question.  And because I wrote back in 74 a book called Armageddon, Oil in the Middle East Crisis, which eventually sold a couple of million copies they asked my about it.  I got interviews with over 100 radio stations that phoned in and asked questions.  Sometimes for a short time, sometimes for two hours.  I was also mentioned on every important television broadcast.  Sometimes they had me there in person.  We went all the way to New York for CBS and sometimes CNN and there were a number of Southern Baptist churches.  They have a chain of 100 television stations and I was on for half an hour there.  There’s widespread interest in the question of whether the prophecy was going to be fulfilled in the Gulf War.  And of course the answer really was no.  It was very significant that all the nations of the world were concerned there and that’s the way it is going to be at the end time.  It anticipates the Second Coming wasn’t really the event itself.

Now I could tell you a lot of interesting stories of conversations I had.  Some fifty church editors called me and asked my opinion and they wrote up articles.  In one case I asked the man, he was the church editor for the Chicago Tribune, a big paper, “Do you understand the doctrine of the rapture?”  And he said, “Yes.”  I said, “ Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what they say about the rapture the day after?”  And he thought about that for a moment.  He didn’t comment but when he wrote his article he quoted me and several others.  And then the last sentence of the article was, “Walvoord thinks some of the media will be unsaved and be able to report the rapture.”  Well I really hadn’t said that but of course that was the implication.  No, it’s going to be very interesting.  We won’t be here to read it, but what in the world are they going to say when millions of people disappear when the rapture occurs?  Now what is the order of events?  Well this is not an easy subject because you have to put together some scriptures in various places on various subjects to get the whole picture.  And I have been studying prophecy for 60 years and I am still learning.  There is no end to it.  It’s complicated.

But one of the first things that’s going to happen according to the Bible is that the Roman Empire is going to be revived.  It is the fourth and last Empire that Daniel spoke of in Daniel 7 and Daniel 2 and it speaks of the prophecies that have already been fulfilled and practically everything that Daniel predicted was fulfilled except the last stage of the Roman Empire. And this is described in Daniel 7, 7 as ten nations banded together in sort of a United States of Europe.  A revival of the Roman Empire. And then it tells us that when that happens there’s going to be a little horn called in Daniel 7, 8 which we learn is the anti-Christ, the future world ruler.  And he is going to conquer three of these ten countries then all seven.  And the result is that he is identified as the person who is the future anti-Christ.  But it also means he is the political power, that is, the leading politician in power in the whole Middle East, Mediterranean area.  Then we turn to Daniel 9, 27 which pictures the last seven years of Israel’s program which Daniel also revealed.  And it’s going to be a covenant for seven years.  And out of this position of power as ruler of the Roman Empire revived he is going to give a peace treaty to Israel.  And for three and a half years he is going to observe it.  And then suddenly, overnight he becomes so powerful that he proclaims himself dictator over the whole world.  And at the same time he reveals his true colors, he’s an atheist, he claims to be God, he is allied with Satan and demands that everyone worship him or be put to death.  Apparently thousands of people will die.

Now because he is persecuting the Jew and the Christians especially God is going to pour out the terrible judgments.  We’ll be talking about that tonight in the book of Revelation.  That’s going to decimate the world and bring it to its knees as it were before the Second Coming of Christ.  And so that is going to be the ultimate result.  Now obviously the Second Coming of Christ is not something that could occur right away.  You put together all I have said, the anti-Christ is going to be revealed more than seven years before the Second Coming.  And the rapture has to occur before the anti-Christ is revealed.  There are people who dispute that but I think that is the argument of Second Thessalonians, 2 that they’re not in the end time trouble because the anti-Christ is one of the first persons to be identified with that period when it happens.  And so we have this tremendous sequence of events.  Now the great tribulation that we’re going to be talking about tonight ends in a great world war.  And then the Second Coming of Christ occurs.  Following that of course Christ reigns on earth for 1000 years, his millennial kingdom.  When that finishes the heaven and earth we know now flees away and a new heaven and a new earth are created.  And in the new earth will be the new city Jerusalem and this begins what we call eternity.  So it is a well ordered series of events beginning with the anti-Christ revealed, conquering Roman Empire, then his seven-year covenant.  Then the covenant is broken in the middle of the seven years.  Then the great tribulation, the time of trouble, the Second Coming of Christ, the millennial kingdom.  And then the eternal state with our present world destroyed.  Now all of these are tremendous events.  One of the questions we’re facing in our modern world is “What’s going to happen January 1, 2000?”  And there are those who predict that Christ will come.  Obviously that’s not the case.  The Second Coming of Christ is at least more than seven years away.  And of course it is less than a year now till January first.  So the Second Coming of Christ is not going to occur.  In fact the Bible doesn’t talk about it at all.  And I think possibly there is more hysteria about the thing than the problems that will arise deserve.  Anyway we’ll have to wait and see.  But it is not mentioned in prophecy at all.  It seems strange that if it was a major event it wouldn’t have some place in the prophetic word.  Now in contrast to all this we have the doctrine of the rapture of the church.  And this is a doctrine that’s not found in the Old Testament.  Christ never mentioned it in the four Gospels until John 14, the night before his Crucifixion.  There are some that try to put it in there but there’s not any evidence at all that the disciples knew anything about it.  And there’s no way of understanding what their position was.  In fact they were following Christ under the mistaken notion that he were going to fulfill the deliverance from Rome that would come in his Second Coming.  And of course they ignored the fact he had to suffer and die first.  And they didn’t understand that.  And I don’t think they ever understood that until they saw Christ ascend into heaven and realized his sufferings were past and his glorious reign was future.  So they were all mixed up and Christ didn’t straighten them out strange to say, he let them go on.  Now what is the rapture of the church?  Well Christ announced in John 14, that he was going to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us.  And that he was going to come again and receive us unto himself that where he is in heaven that we can be also.  In other words he is announcing something that had never been announced before.  That the day would come when not only the dead would be raised, who are Christians, but also the living would be instantly changed and caught up to heaven.  That’s a new doctrine.  Now Christ didn’t bother to explain to the disciples, they were in no shape to understand this doctrine along with the wrong conception they had about the Second Coming.  It wasn’t until later when Paul was saved, remarkably on the road to Damascus that he was later given some special revelation on this.  And so whenever he preached on his missionary journeys, as he did in Thessalonica for instance, he would announce first that Christ died for our sins and rose again and he provided salvation for all that would believe.  Then he would go on to his second message that Christ was coming to take his church out of the world.  Now this is portrayed for us in detail in First Thessalonians 4, where Timothy had gone back to Thessalonica to see how they were getting along and they had some questions about some of their loved ones who had died.  And they wondered when the Lord came for those who were living that what would happen to those who died and Timothy couldn’t answer the question.  While Paul, in the process of explaining this writes the famous section, First Thessalonians 4, 13 to 18 which tells us in detail exactly what the second, what the rapture is.  And it is of course a totally different event that the Second Coming.  Now perhaps we should read the Second Coming in Revelation first to get the contrast of it.  Revelation the Second Coming in Revelation 19 beginning at verse 11 he describes the Second Coming of Christ in graphic terms.  And John writes I saw heaven open and behold a white horse that is the symbol of victory and he who sat on him was called faithful and true and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire.  On his head were many crowns.  And he had a name written that no one knew except himself.  He was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood.  His name is called the word of God.  And the armies of heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean followed him on white horses.  And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword that with it he should strike the nations.  And he himself will rule with a rod of iron.  He himself treads the winepress with the fierceness and the wrath of God.  And on his robe and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Then there follows the battle we call the battle of Armageddon, or the battle of the great day of God Almighty.  As the armies of the world turn against the armies from heaven and Christ speaks the word and they’re instantly killed.  It’s a terrible time of judgment.  But get the point.  The Second Coming is a movement of Christ from heaven to earth.  Accompanied by the saints and angels who are going to share with him the 1000-year reign of Christ.  And that’s in total contrast to what we have in First Thessalonians 4 about the rapture.  You see the rapture is not a journey from heaven to earth but a journey from earth to heaven.  Just exactly the opposite.  And none of the things we saw in the Second Coming; judging the world, the war, a rod of iron; none of these things are mentions because that isn’t the purpose of the rapture of the church.  Instead we have this wonderful fact that he is coming again.  Now I want you to notice certain things about this passage.  Almost every failure to understand the prophetic program starts at least in part with the failure to understand First Thessalonians 4.  In fact it is amazing to me that some writers on prophecy just skip it entirely when it is one of the major events.  If you went to the doctor and he told you you had a strange situation where any day you might drop dead.  Would he get your attention?  I think he would, wouldn’t he?  And you’d, if you believed him you’d check on your will to be sure that was right and all the other things that would have to be in proper order if you died.  Because you don’t know when you’re going to die.  The expectation of a sudden change like that is certainly dramatic.  And the rapture is a totally different idea.  We’re going to heaven without dying.  But the fact that it could occur at anytime is the important thing.  And one of the things you’ll notice about the rapture; while the Second Coming has all sorts events, in fact more than seven years of events, before the Second Coming could occur.  The rapture never mentions anything between us and the rapture.  Every passage on the rapture pictures it as something that could happen today.  And that’s a totally different picture than the Second Coming.  And the fact that some people try to put it with the Second Coming shows that they don’t understand what the Bible teaches.  Now when answering their questions about this the Apostle Paul begins in verse 13, First Thessalonians 4, saying he doesn’t want us to be uninformed or ignorant about this.  God wants s us to know what his plans for our future may be.  There’s a lot of questions left unanswered but the main idea is that he is coming for us and it could be even today.  He doesn’t want us to sorrow as others who have no hope because we have a wonderful hope in Christ.  When our loved ones in Christ die we know we’ll see them again.  And that’s the wonderful hope we have in Christ and it could be soon if he comes.  Then in verse 14 he talks about the certainty of it.  He says if you believe that Christ died and rose again, of course, that is absolutely the basic gospel message.  If you don’t believe that you’re not a Christian.  But if you believe that he said then you can believe with absolute certainty in the Christ’s coming for his own.  And he puts it that even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus.  What happens when a Christian dies?  Well some of us have seen Christians die.  The doctor comes in and pronounces them dead.  The signs of life are gone.  Theologically however when a Christian dies when the soul leaves the body and we believe goes immediately to heaven.  Be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  And that’s a comfort to us because often our loved ones before they died suffered a great deal and now suddenly in death they are released and they’re rejoicing in the presence of God in heaven.  That’s the way the Bible describes their future.  So that’s the wonderful fact.  Now when the rapture occurs Christ is going to leave his throne at the right hand of the Father and bring to earth the souls of Christians who have died.  Why?  Because he is going to resurrect their bodies and the soul is going to reenter the body.  And that’s what he describes in verse 15 and following.  He says it’s by the word of the Lord.  In other words by direct communication that we as Christians that are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep.  You remember their question was will we have to wait to see them?  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout.  With the voice of the Archangel and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first to step one moment ahead of us and then after that we who are alive and remain will be caught up and that’s where you get the word rapture, caught up, or snatched up or raptured together with him.  We’ll meet the Lord in the air and then as promised in John 14 he’s going to take us to the Father’s house.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.  He says from then on we’re going to be with the Lord when he’s in heaven we’re there.  When he comes back to the millennial kingdom we’ll be in that procession that comes down to earth.  And when they all move to the new earth and the new heaven and the New Jerusalem we’re going to be in that group too.  Wherever Christ goes, we go.  And that’s the glorious future we have before us.  Now you see the rapture is a totally different doctrine.  And it’s a truth that’s wonderful.  It’s a truth that emphasized the importance of being with Christ now in fellowship and in commitment and in salvation and looking forward to having life in his presence once the rapture occurs.  And have it forever and forever.  The Christian has a glorious future ahead even if it is very dramatic and a change from what we are now in many respects.  Now there are some very practical aspects to this.  First of all it raises the question, are you ready?  I go to Evangelical churches where the gospel is preached and people are lead to Christ.  Somehow the churches who don’t do that don’t invite me.  I haven’t figured that out quite but the churches that do are usually gospel churches and but you know even in the best of churches I don’t care how faithful the pastor has been so winning.  There’s always some that are still going through the motions.  They’ve got religion.  They’ve got morality.  They may be nominal Christians; that is they’re not born again but they are members of the church but they’ve never experienced that supernatural burden of life in Christ.  Being born again.  And I think when we face the truth of the rapture and realize it could occur today one of the very important questions is, are you sure of your personal salvation?  I know there are some people who think that is a little presumptive and they day Lord save us at last.  That’s not what God provides.  He saves you now.  If you believe in him he is going to save you now.  And save you for all eternity.  And I believe you can know you’re saved and spiritually alive.  Just like you can know you’re physically alive.  How do you find out?  Well pinch yourself or do something.  Hit your fingers with a hammer.  You’ll wake up to the fact that you’re alive.  It’ll give you some evidence of it.  And your spiritual life is there too.  It is a voice within.  I remember in my own case.  I was brought up in a church where we taught everybody was saved.  They didn’t think anybody was lost.  Well I joined the church at age nine and decided to be a preacher when I was 12.  And we moved to a new city and I attended a Bible class on Galatians and the teacher taught, he said, “You can’t be save by doing the best you can.”  Well I was doing the best I could.  I was reading my Bible everyday.  I was in church every time it opened.  I was praying.  I was leading a fairly decent life.  Wasn’t that enough?  And he said no.  Then he went on and explained in just a few sentences why Christ died on the cross for our sins because none ours are good enough.  And none of us serve the Lord perfectly.  And he died for our sins and when we trusted him we’re immediately born again.  I lost no time.  I accepted that at once.  I can’t understand how anybody can hear the glorious gospel about how Christ died for our sins and rose again and is offering free salvation to anyone who’ll trust him.  Why they even hesitate.  What a bargain.  What a wonderful future.  Why even hesitate about it?  And I accepted Christ.  The next day I knew something had happened.  There was something going on inside of me that wasn’t there before.  I had been born again.  But I’m afraid there are a lot like me.  I went to church for 15 years before I discovered I was lost and didn’t really enter into the wonder of salvation until that teacher woke me up to the reality of the need of accepting Christ.  Christ made it so simple.  He said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”  It’s to come to him in faith.  Trusting in him of course.  Believing he died for us on the cross but coming to him.  It’s not a question of being better or good enough or deserving enough or being remorseful enough for your sins.  That isn’t the point.  The point is do you receive what God has graciously provided in Christ when he died for you?  And of course that is the most important question there is are you saved?  Are you born again?  Now the next question of course is that after being saved why didn’t God take us immediately home to heaven?  And of course the reason is very simple.  He wants us to stay here and be witness to him.  He wants us to serve him.  And we can serve him in many ways.  We can be the example of what a Christian ought to be.  Our prayer life can reach out to others that are in need spiritually.  We can be the faithful stewards of the financial things God has given us.  Recognizing that if the rapture occurs we’re going to leave behind everything we haven’t given.  And so we need to be as generous as possible with the Lord’s work.  And we need to pray for our unsaved loved ones.  There are all sorts of things that come into fore after one is saved as the opportunities of life face him and for all eternity.  And we know that someday we’ll be judged at the judgment seat of Christ and rewarded according to what we’ve done.  Now we are not saved by works.  But we are not rewarded by not having works.  Rewards come from serving the Lord faithfully in this life.  And our works are going to be examined whether good or bad.  The good works are going to be the basis for recognition and the bad works are going to be discarded.  We’re saved by grace not by works but rewarded by how faithful our life has been.  And that’s a real challenge.  Because when the rapture occurs that ends our opportunity in this world to serve him.  There’s no more time to lead souls to Christ.  There’s no more time just to make a gift.  No more times to pray you see.  All that is now over forever and we’re in the presence of the Lord what ever our life has been up to that point.  And that’s of course the wonderful truth of the rapture of the church.  Now I assume in this church, knowing the Calvary Churches, have preached on prophecy and you’ve heard this some before.  Now to what extent are you looking forward to the Lord’s return?  I understand some people are just ignorant.  They’ve never heard about it.  I have preached in churches on prophecy and had people come up to me in middle age and say, “I have never heard this before.  Our church never talks about that.”  I had a senior citizen in Canada, a lady, when she heard me preach on prophecy say, “That’s the first sermon I’ve heard on prophecy since I was a teenager”.  Fifty years of silence.  We are raising a whole generation of Christians who simply do not know.  And of course it’s not necessarily their fault.  It’s the fault of their leaders.  But then if you do believe in the rapture how much does it mean to you?  You know that’s an important question.  The early church was characterized as those who loved his appearing.  They had the truth that God was coming and it was very precious to them.  Well why?  Well because they loved the Savior.  You know my wife travels with me now and but there was a time when we had our boys at home and she had to keep the stuff as it were and not go on the road sometimes for a week; Bible conferences and she would have to stay home.  But whenever I left she always asked the question, “When are you coming back?”  Somehow she was interested.  Now I’m afraid there were a lot of students who weren’t interested.  They didn’t care when I got back but she was interested.  Why?  Well it’s very simple she loved me.  Do you realize that if you’re really love the Savior and the Bible tells us we should.  We should love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength and our neighbors, ourselves.  If we really love the Lord we’re going to want to see him.  You know I can’t image anything more thrilling than seeing Christ on all his glory.  And then being transformed to be like him.  Most in nature.  A body that’s immortal.  And a body that will never grow old.  Some of us have a few problems with that.  We keep growing older you know.  If you don’t find out just stick around awhile.  You’ll find out.  They say when you get older some things don’t work and what works hurts.  Well I can testify to that and some of you can too.  No we have a body that has to be changed.  But what a wonderful thrill it’s going to be to see Christ face to face.  The same person who died on the cross for our sins. The same person who interceded for us through all these years.  And supported us in prayer and intercession in heaven.  Who cared for us, never left us nor forsook us.  It’s going to be wonderful to see him.  And I think there’s a something lacking if a person knows the doctrine of the rapture and is indifferent to it.  I can’t understand that.  Any more than I can understand that a person is indifferent to meeting his wife again you see.  That’s just part of marriage.  Because you love each other.  And so it is that as we face the future and the wonderful truth of the rapture of the church it’s a totally different doctrine than the Second Coming.  But it is something that could occur any day.  Now one of the popular views of course is, is that the rapture is going to be part of the Second Coming.  And in closing I would just like to point out how that is impossible.  You know in Revelation 20 it pictures an event that is going to occur several days after the Second Coming.  And in verses four, five and six it talks about those who are martyred, who are beheaded by the world ruler and now are going to be raised from the dead.  It says that they lived and reigned with Christ for 1000 years.  Now when does that occur?  It’s very interesting that this occurs several days after the Second Coming.  Now if there had been a resurrection of the righteous at the Second Coming they wouldn’t have been there.  They wouldn’t require this resurrection.  But they, there wasn’t any resurrection at the Second Coming.  And therefore there had to be this special thing that had to do with the saved of the tribulation period.  Then there is another passage that tackles it from another point of view.  It’s found in first, in Matthew chapter 20, in chapter 25 and it talks in verse 31 and following about the so-called judgment of the nations.  This in an event that occurs after Christ has come to earth in the Second Coming.  When he sets up his throne on earth he is going to reign for 1000 years.  And then it tells us that he gathers before him the Gentiles of the nations.  And what’s their situation?  Well the goats and the sheep are all mixed up.  The sheep represent the saved and the goats represent the lost. But they’re all mixed up in this gathering before Christ.  Now this is several days after the Second Coming.  Now if the living had been raptured and transformed you see they wouldn’t have this mix up still.  The fact is that they are all mingled proves that no rapture took place.  And so on the basis of these two passages we’ve demonstrated clearly that there is no rapture at the Second Coming.  This whole idea that the rapture is just a phase of the Second Coming is false.  It’s a totally different event.  And I believe it is separated from the Second Coming by a period of more than seven years.  If you have to put all the things that have to occur after the rapture and before the Second Coming.  No we have an imminent hope.  And I believe God intended it to be a very transforming event.  Why didn’t he tell us when he’s coming?  The reason is very simple.  He wants us to be ready all the time.  He wants us to be ready every day.  Are you?  If the Lord came today would you think your life is complete?  Is there something you have left undone that you should have done?  Well probably all of us have some things we think we could do if we stuck around a little longer.  But one of these days it’s all going suddenly to end and we are going to hear that shout from the blue and before we know it’s happened we’re on our way.  No warning.  No signs.  No evidence.  It’s going to be soon and yet in the world today there are so many evidence that seems to point to something is about to happen and I think that something is the rapture of the church.  In fact I would be very discouraged.  Our present world is not very attractive to Christians.  There is so much evil.  There is so much falsehood.  There is so much sin.  There is so much rebellion.  There is so much unbelief.  You wonder how God can put with it.  And the reason he is doing is very clear. He’s waiting for some people to get saved.  But the day is going to come when that purpose is fulfilled.  And suddenly the rapture is going to occur.  Every Christian will be gone.

Now if that happened to me, to us, this morning would you be raptured or would you still be sitting in the pew?  It’s going to be quite a shock at Evangelical church where most of the people are raptured for a few people who were left behind who were never born again.  It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen.  It’s going to be very dramatic.  But it’s going to happen.

If you are not ready, you’re not going to be raptured.  It is so important to be sure of your personal faith in Jesus Christ and your belief that you’re born again because you’ve met the conditions.  You’ve believed in Christ and have come to him for salvation.  And he has promised he that he that believeth in Him is not condemned.  Your sins are forgiven.  And you're going to be going to heaven by the grace of God along with all fellow Christians everywhere.

And so today I trust that that is your portion and that’s your fate.  And in the days ahead you’ll realize that you are living here on borrowed time.  And you have to do what I think is maximizing your time.  The reason I am preaching at an age when a lot of people would settle for a rocking chair you know.  In fact I don’t own one so I can’t settle for it.  But I believe in keeping just as busy as you can.  Witnessing for God and doing all you can every day until Jesus comes and the battle is over.  I hope that’s your desire and your passion and your love that you look forward to seeing the blessed Savior whom you love and who loves you and has cared for you through all these years and has promised to care for you through all eternity to come. 

Shall we pray?  Our Father we’re so grateful for the wonderful grace of God.  How marvelous that the infinite creator of this world should take such a personal interest in us to save us and to care us and meet our needs.  Promise us this glorious future that’s ours.  We pray, Lord, that thou will undertake for us and help us to live for him and trust in him.  If there is one person here who is still not sure we pray that this day may mark the end of the uncertainty.  That they may come to Christ and claim his promise that him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out and then enter into the joyous certainty that when Christ comes they will be included.  And so speak to our hearts according to our need today.  For we ask in Christ’s name. Amen

 

Let’s stand together.  What a blessing.  In the books of Hebrews in chapter three the writer declares, “Therefore holy brethren”, that’s who we are if we are in Christ today.  The Lord sees us as being holy.  And then he says, “Partakers of a heavenly calling”, that’s where we are going.  That’s the hope that we have to look forward to that we are going to heaven and we are going to see Jesus.  And then he says this, “Consider the apostle and high priest of your confession, Christ Jesus.”  And that really is what we are to be doing in the meantime.  Is to be considering, looking to, looking at and looking for our Lord.  Looking for his appearing.  His coming and looking to him in the word.  The writer of Hebrews also declared in the in chapter 10 of that book, he says there in verse 24, “And let us consider one another.”  In order to stir up love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as in the manner of some.  But exhorting one another and so much more as you see the day approaching.  That is what we are to be about.  Amen

If you are here today and you are not sure of your salvation.  You’re not positive and you need to be positive that if the rapture occurred today that you would be taken.  That you would go.  One of the things that I loved about listening to Dr. Walvoord was just the passion with which he speaks of this subject.  And going to see the Lord.  It’s not just a theology in his head but it is something that impacted his heart and I was greatly blessed by that.  But if it hasn’t impacted you in that way and you’re not sure I encourage you today to make sure.  Of front here are some pastors and some men and women who are available to pray with you if you would like to do that.  I encourage you to do so.  Just come up and say you know what?  I want to make sure today.  And they will lead you in a pray and they will give you a neat little book to help you grow in the Lord.

 

 

 

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