IS THERE GOING TO BE A RAPTURE?
1. The popularity of the "Left Behind" series of books by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins testifies that premillennialism is alive and thriving in the religious community.
a. Its popularity:
"Q: How popular is the Left Behind Series?
"A: Very popular! The Left Behind Series has exceeded 36 million in sales, making it the best selling Christian fiction series in history. Left Behind was voted one of the top 10 books of the 20th century on barnesandnoble.com and ivillage.com. The Indwelling, book #7, and The Mark, book #8, have reached as high as #1 on The New York Times bestseller list." (http://www.leftbehind.com/faqs5_gen.html)
b. Claims to be Bible-based:
"Q: Is the Left Behind Series based on the Bible?
"A: Yes. The framework for the entire Series is based on the theology found primarily in the book of Revelation. For more information about how the Series flows out of a biblical structure." (http://www.leftbehind.com/faqs_gen.html)
c. This is our point of attack - Eph. 6:17; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Gal. 1:8-9.
2. One important teaching is the Rapture. We will define it, refute it & affirm the truth about the time of Christ's return.
I. DEFINING PREMILLENNIALISM.
1. "Offer of kingdom rejected - Kingdom withdrawn - Church age injected."
2. Rapture, tribulation, Antichrist, Armageddon, 1,000 reign, eternity.
II. DEFINING THE "RAPTURE" ACCORDING TO
A. The Beginning Of The End.
1. Sign of the "end times."
2. A time of increasing world chaos.
3. Silent, secret, invisible (Matt. 24:40-41) resurrection/changing of saints.
4. Followed by 7-10 years of tribulation.
5. Followed by Armageddon & 1,000 reign of Christ.
B. Their Proof Texts: 1 Ths. 4:15-17 (caught up, v. 17); Matt. 24:40-41 (21, 24).
III. REFUTING THE RAPTURE DOCTRINE.
A. Their Time Frame is wrong - Matt. 24:34 (37-42) . "This generation."
B. Their Place is wrong - Lk. 17:34-37 (Matt. 24:28) - Roman armies at Jerusalem.
C. Their Events are wrong - 1 Thess. 4:13-18.
1. Not silent, secret or invisible - v. 16; 1 Cor. 15:52; Matt. 24:27.
2. Not only 7 years ("always") - v. 17.
3. Not 2 returns of Christ - 2 Ths. 2:8.
-Jesus will appear in BRIGHTNESS (EPIPHANIA) at His COMING (PAROUSIA) - both at the same time in this verse!
4. Not 2 (or 3) resurrections separated by 7 years + 1,000 yr. - Jno. 5:28-29.
D. What The Bible Teaches.
IV. AFFIRMING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KINGDOM &
A. A Fundamental Misunderstanding Of The Kingdom: In Prophecy, Its Nature & Its Establishment.
1. In prophecy - Isa. 2:2-4; 11:1-10; Dan. 2:44.
(To premill, everything is pointing to fulfillment of OT prophecy (with emphasis on the kingdom and Israel).
2. Its nature - Jno. 18:36; Lk. 17:20-21.
3. Its establishment - Dan. 2:44; Mk. 1:15; 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 33, 36; Col. 1:13. (the church)
B. At His Coming The Kingdom Will Be Delivered To The Father (Heaven), Not Established On The Earth! - 1 Cor. 15:23-26.
1. v. 25 - Reigning now & until death is destroyed (Psa. 110:1).
2. Death destroyed at the resurrection! - 1 Cor. 15:52-54
3. Christ is reigning now in His kingdom at His return He will deliver the kingdom to the Father (eternal kingdom).
C. You Need To Be In The Kingdom Now! - Col. 1:13 (Acts 2:47)
1. Premillennialism is a false system of doctrine built upon error about Israel & the Messianic kingdom. It gives people false hope.
2. Do not be afraid of the future & do not doubt the truth of God's word.
3. The gospel says Christ can come at any time, & when He does it will be the end of the world, a time of judgment, a time of punishment & reward.
4. 2 Pet. 3:10-14 - Live holy lives to receive eternal life when He returns.