The Rapture—Is It Real? - John 14:1-6 - Skip Heitzig
There is no God. I mean, look at what's going on in the world.
I am my own God.
God, Allah, Buddha, whatever.
He's just waiting to destroy us all.
There's like hundreds of gods.
It's just like that bumper sticker says--
I am my own god.
--dog is my co-pilot.
There is no God.
There is one true God. He's all knowing, all powerful, and he loves you.
Would you turn in your Bibles this morning to the book of John, Chapter 14. Gospel of John, Chapter 14, as well as a marker-- because we're going to get there-- in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. So two places. John Chapter 14 and 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4.
When I came to Jesus Christ, I was about 18 years of age. And I remember that there were bumper stickers that people were putting on their cars at that time that said, Jesus is coming soon. And then I noticed bumper stickers that said Jesus is coming. Are you ready? And then I saw one that said Jesus is coming, look busy. And I even remember something to the effect of, Jesus is coming, and boy, is he ticked off.
But all of those bumper stickers had a message, no matter how they were formed. And that is the promise that Jesus Christ is coming. And I want to talk to you about that today from God's word, specifically, Jesus coming for his church, something we call the rapture of the church.
And I'll be honest with you, the first time somebody told me about a rapture, I stopped them and I said, what? Explain this to me. And they said, well, yeah, Jesus is going to come back for his church, we're going to be taken up into the air. And I had never heard that concept before, being raised in the tradition I was raised in. I'd never heard that. And I told him, I said, you gotta be kidding, right? You don't actually believe that's going to happen.
He said, well, the Bible says it's going to happen. I said, nah, that's probably a misreading of it. So he gave me all the texts. And I went home and I read 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4, 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, John Chapter 14 and others. And I remember thinking, he's absolutely right. That's exactly what the Bible predicts will happen. As outlandish as it sounded to a young convert at the time, I quickly realized the Bible indeed predicts this event.
But I didn't understand how that event was going to work, or I didn't understand how it would motivate a person. And I even remember having some friends who got so geeked about the coming of the Lord they became irresponsible in their present day life. So they were thinking like, I'm just going to bail out of school, or I'm going to charge things up on my credit card. Jesus is coming anyway. I'll never have to pay them back. And all sorts of irresponsible behaviors.
And I even found myself praying for the Lord's soon return at very opportune times for me personally. So like just before a final exam, even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. Or when there were lights flashing in my rearview mirror and I was being pulled over by a law enforcement officer, and I remember thinking, Lord, this would be a great time for you to show up, right now. In fact, I think it would make a real impact on the officer trying to give me this ticket.
One time, it was in the summer, I had been a believer a few months, I had come to believe in this doctrine that I am presenting to you here today and the Bible clearly presents. And I remember going to a home Bible study one evening. I knocked on the door. There was no answer. Knocked on the door again, no answer. The door was ajar enough that I just sort of imposed myself, because I knew these people. I opened the door. I walked into the living room. And there on the living room floor were scattered Bibles of people by chairs and by pillows. And there were like a jacket and notebooks. And it was obviously people had been in that room.
And I looked and all I saw was that and no people. And of course, I panicked. My immediate thought is, the Lord has come back for his church and I wasn't ready. I wasn't taken. I freaked out. And I start hyperventilating and panting and walking through the house and calling out names. And finally, I get into the back of the house, where the kitchen is, and in comes the group of people from the backyard through the kitchen into the living room, saying, hey, Skip, what's up? And I thought they were playing a joke on me. And they said, no, there was just a low flying airplane in the backyard and we were all watching it do stunts. But I gotta tell you, I will never forget the feeling of thinking I was left behind.
Speaking of low flying airplanes, in that era, there was a vanguard Christian musician by the name of Larry Norman who wrote a song about this event, about the rapture. And he gave it an interesting title. He called it UFO. And the words are, "He's an unidentified flying object; you will see Him in the air. He's an unidentified flying object; you will drop your hands and stare. You will be afraid to tell your neighbors; they will think that it's not true. But when they open up the morning papers, they will know they've seen Him too.
He will come back like He promised, with the price already paid. He will gather up his followers and take them all away. He's an unidentified flying object; He will sweep down from the sky. He's an unidentified flying object. Some will sleep but will not die."
I loved that song when it came out. Probably most of you here don't remember that but. It made a great impact on me and kind of placed me in that awareness that the Lord could come back at any time. Jesus said he was coming back. We're going to read that again in John Chapter 14.
Remember in 1984, Terminator 1? Some of you remember Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous line in the police station, I'll be back. Jesus said it first. He said it to his disciples the night he was having the Last Supper with them in that upper room. Let me show you the words. John Chapter 14, verse 1. Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.
You believe in God? I also am God. Believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions. Better translation, more literal translation, rooms, rooms, abiding places. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am, there you may be also.
And where I go, you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to him, Lord, we don't know where you're going and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Now to understand the rapture as presented in John 14, it helps to have a little bit of background in the Jewish wedding tradition, because it's based on that. When a young man in Judaism came of age to get married, he would go to the bride's house and enter into a formal engagement, a betrothal. He may have had that wedding arranged since he was a child, but about a year before the wedding he's going to enter into an engagement, a betrothal.
After that, he goes back home to his father's house and begins to build a room onto it, where he and his bride will live after the wedding. When the time for the marriage has come, he goes to his father, asks permission to go get his bride. And then he goes from his father's house to the bride's house unannounced. Makes no announcement. She has to be ready in advance. She has to be ready at all times, along with the wedding party.
And when the groom is in the neighborhood near the house, somebody blows a trumpet, a shofar, announcing that an event is taking place. Then, when he gets to the bride's house, the groom lets out a shout introducing himself, that he has come to get his bride, at which point she follows him back to his father's house where they have the wedding, and then the wedding feast that lasts about typically seven days. That's the Jewish wedding.
Now Jesus is here at a meal in an upper room in Jerusalem with his disciples. It is the last night he spends with them before his passion, the cross. His public ministry is over. The nation has rejected him. The cross lies directly in front of him. And so he turns his attention, his words, his instruction, and his comfort to his most intimate friends, his followers, the apostles.
What I want to show you in the verses that I just read, and other verses, are four aspects of Jesus coming for his church, four aspects. The first aspect is the comfort of his coming. The comfort of his coming. He begins by saying, let not your heart be troubled. There's only one reason somebody says that. And that would be because his audience is troubled. And they were troubled. Anxiety was filling the hearts of the Apostles moment by moment during that meal because Jesus has made some announcements.
So let's look at it. Go back, if you don't mind, just to a few verses, to get the flavor of this, back into the previous chapter, Chapter 13, verse 33. Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I have said to the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come, so I say to you.
Well, that's quite an announcement. They didn't expect that. Oh, by the way, boys, I'm leaving. I, your Messiah, who has come, am leaving soon. And you can't follow me.
Go down to verse 36. Simon Peter said, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered him, where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward. Well, that's sort of enigmatic. So Peter said to him, Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for Your sake. You can feel the trouble going on in Peter's heart.
And then by the time we get to Chapter 16, in verse 6 Jesus says, because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. That is what is going on emotionally in the minds and hearts of the disciples during this event, during the supper. They're being filled with anxiety, filled with trouble. Jesus has announced that he is going to leave.
And so he comforts them. He gives them a promise. I'm going to leave but I'm going to come back, and I'm going to get you. Now look at, again, that command in verse 1, let not your heart be troubled. It is a command. It's an imperative. And the way it is written in the Greek language, it is a present passive imperative, which simply means he is giving a command for them to stop an action that is already going on. It's already going on. It already has begun. The anxiety has begun. And Jesus says, stop it. Stop it. Literally, it's let not your heart continue to be agitated. Stop being stressed. Stop freaking out.
Now the fact that it is a command shows me that we have the power to control emotion. This kind of emotion can be controlled. The fact that Jesus says stop it, I'm giving you a command to do it. Whenever Jesus gives a command, he gives with the command the capability to obey the command. He wouldn't give you a command that's impossible. So he gives them a command. With the command is the capability to keep the command. You have the power to stop freaking out.
Why do I say that to you? Because the world is freaking out. And as a Christian, you have the power to not allow your mind, not allow your heart to be overwhelmed. Let not your heart be troubled. Let that be Jesus' word to you. Let not your heart be troubled. Stop freaking out.
2 Corinthians Chapter 10, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Romans Chapter 12, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 1 Peter Chapter 1, gird up the loins of your mind. That's an old fashioned way of saying, think clearly and be self controlled, exercise self-control. Stop going in that direction mentally.
Now what that tells me is this, the key to peace is to replace anxiety in the present with the certainty of the future. I'm going to say it again. The key to peace is to replace the anxiety we feel, experience in the present with the certainty of the future. You go, certainty of the future? The future is uncertain. That's why we freak out because we don't know what's going to happen. We face an uncertain future.
Yes, you do partially. Of course, you don't know what's going to happen day to day. Nobody does. You don't know who's going to live, who's going to die, what might happen catastrophically around the world. Nobody knows that. But there are certain things you do know and those things you do know ought to bring you comfort and settle your heart.
It's the same thing that Paul said to the Thessalonians. They were all so freaking out because Paul had told them Jesus is coming back. And the problem is, they were being persecuted by the world. The persecution was getting worse. And to make matters much worse, you say Jesus is coming back, but a lot of my relatives and friends have died, so they're going to miss the event of his coming.
So Paul writes words of comfort in 1 Thessalonians 4. He says, no, the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the air to meet the Lord and so shall we ever be with Him. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.
How would that give them comfort? The comfort is, you are one day going to see the Lord. And when you see the Lord, you're going to see the Lord with your loved ones. They are also going to see the Lord. So there is comfort in these promises.
Folks, every tomorrow has two handles, the handle of fear and the handle of faith. It's your choice which one you're going to grab. You're going to wake up tomorrow and you're going to grab the handle of fear. Most people grab that handle. Freak out, freak out, freak out. Or are you're going to grab the handle of faith? If you grab the handle of fear, you're going to freak out. If you grab the handle of faith, you're going to chill out. Because you realize God is in control of the future, and he has made me pretty incredible promises that are certain. So there's the words of Jesus, let not your hearts be troubled.
Now to comfort them specifically, you'll notice in verse 2 he points their thoughts toward heaven. In verse 2 he says, in My Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Think about that for just a moment. Think about heaven, how he describes it. First of all, heaven is a real place. Whenever Jesus spoke about heaven, he always spoke about heaven as being a real place. You know why he did that? Because heaven is a real place. That's why. To Jesus, it's real. He knew what it was like. He had been there in his existence previously. He was going back there. So he spoke about heaven as a real place.
But here, notice something else, he speaks about heaven as a relational place. He doesn't refer to it by the word heaven. He does in other places. But here he calls it, my father's house. That's relationship. In my father's house there are many mansions, many rooms. He did that to comfort them. Because when you get to heaven, there's going to be the Father. You'll see him. There's going to be Jesus, your Savior. And there's going to be all those who have followed Christ that are your friends and relatives who died or slept before you. There will be that reunion.
So then heaven is sort of like home. Your home is precious not because of what you have there but whom you have there. Heaven is precious because of whom is there. So it's a real place. It's a relational place.
A third thing to notice in what Jesus comforts his disciples with is that heaven is a diverse place. In my father's house there are many mansions. And I've told you, should be translated to rooms. Mansions is sort of an unfortunate translation. Because when Americans hear the term mansions, they're thinking of like Texas oil ranches. You know, you got like 20 acres and then the mansion, the castle, and then you got a whole bunch of land, and then your castle. And you got all this stuff going on.
It's better to think of it in terms of the Jewish wedding, where the groom goes back and adds a room on, so there's always room for more. You just keep adding. And it's especially fun to think of it this way. Because when we get to Revelation 21, the new heavens and the new earth, there's a city that comes out of heaven toward the earth called New Jerusalem. And the measurements happen to be given in Revelation 21.
John sees an angel measure the New Jerusalem. And he says, you know, first of all, he says, I notice it's this odd shape. It's a cube. It's the same depth and height and width. And he measures it. 12,000 furlongs on all sides. That's 1,380 miles. So a 1,400 mile cube descending out of heaven to the earth, roughly the size of the moon, roughly 2,250,000 square miles.
And those that have studied that said the New Jerusalem, this city, could easily accommodate 20 billion people. And that's assuming that only 25% of the city is used for dwelling places and the other 75% used for streets, parks, public buildings, et cetera. 20 billion people. And that each person could have a cubicle block of 75 acres on each face to themselves.
Now we don't know exactly what that's going to be like. That's just an idea. That's an estimation. But I like the idea, in my father's house there are many rooms. I don't know about you, but when I get to heaven, I'm going to snoop around. I'm going to be knocking on doors. I'm going to see what your room is like. And I'm not going to be sitting on a cloud playing a harp. I'm going to be very busy just exploring the digs. It's going to be a diverse place.
And then something else that is in this little comforting promise of Jesus, as he directs their thoughts toward heaven, he tells them heaven will be a personalized place. Because notice that he says, I go and prepare a place. What are the next two words? For you. Remember what occupation Jesus had when he was raised by Joseph in Nazareth? He was a carpenter. Now he's a custom builder. Now he's making things custom built for you.
It took God six days to create the heavens and the earth. He spoke them into existence. He's been working on your place for 2,000 years. What do you think that looks like? Don't know, but it sounds like it's going to be awesome. He's making it just for you. As one little girl said to her father, if heaven looks this good on the wrong side, what does it look like on the right side? Well, I don't know, but it's going to be something for you. And all of this was to comfort them, the comfort of this coming. Let not your heart be troubled. And he directs their thoughts toward the future.
Let's consider a second aspect. And that is the chronology of his coming. Now back in verse 2 and verse 3, in My Father's house are many mansions, rooms, abiding places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself-- notice the wording-- that where I am, there you may be also. In other words, I am coming back at some point to get you and take you to where I am.
This, most New Testament scholars believe that this is a reference of Christ to the coming for his church, the taking of his saints at the rapture. This is not the second coming. This is not the second coming. At the second coming, Revelation chapter 19, Jesus comes from heaven all the way to the earth. Jesus wouldn't have said this then. He would have said, at some point, I'm coming and I'm going to be where you are. He says, I'm going to take you where I am. He's going to come back and take us somewhere. So this is not the second coming. This is something different.
Now these disciples didn't understand all of this. They didn't understand the nuance of the rapture and the second coming. When Jesus gave this message, he's not giving them a lesson in eschatology, and they're in no condition to receive it. They don't quite understand it all. I get that. And he doesn't explain to them. But they will understand it. And here's how I know. Because they're going to write about it later on. They're going to get the full revelation later on.
But let's just pause for a moment and consider the chronology, the timing. Because now we have the benefit of the entire New Testament and now we understand, by looking at all of the passages, that the coming of Christ in the future has two stages. Stage one, he comes in the air to take his church with him to be where he is. And then at some point, he comes with his church to the earth to set up his kingdom, second coming.
Now I want you to turn to 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4, the words of Paul the apostle that I said pre-mark. 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. This is the classic passage on this event. 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 13. But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep. It seems every time Paul says, I don't want you to be ignorant, it's a doctrine upon which the church is majorly ignorant.
I don't want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. Keep in mind, they thought, OK, you told us Jesus is coming, our loved ones have died, they're going to miss out on this event. So Paul corrects it.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord. Here's the special revelation I got from God. That we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep, those who have died. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. That is the rapture of the church.
Now some of you are thinking, I didn't read the word rapture in that passage. The word rapture isn't in the New Testament. The word rapture isn't in the Bible. Well, it depends which version of the Bible you're reading. Yeah, if you're reading an English translation, it doesn't have the word rapture. If you were reading a Latin translation of the Bible, the word rapture is plainly there in this passage. The word rapturo. It's a Latin word from whence we in English get the word rapture. So the idea of the rapture and the word in Latin is certainly there.
But notice the word caught up. We will be caught up. That's the Greek word, harpazo. Harpazo. It is a word used 13 times in the New Testament. Harpazo. It's translated a variety of ways. Four times it is translated, to catch up. Three times it is translated, to take something by force. It is translated catch away twice. It is translated to pluck two times. It is translated once to catch, and another once it is translated to pull. So you get the general idea. You're going to take something away. You're going to snatch it quickly.
I have a translation I brought with me called the Kenneth Wuest translation. This is a Greek scholar who wrote several volumes. And this is his New Testament translation. What he does, he takes every single Greek word and sentence, adds the richest and the nuance of the English translation and makes it as full as he can so that you would understand the tenses, et cetera.
So this is how he translates this verse in 1 Thessalonians 4. We shall be snatched away forcibly in masses of saints having the appearance of clouds for a welcome meeting with the Lord in the lower atmosphere. That's pretty plain. That's pretty detailed.
Even a casual study will show that there is a vast difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. Let me run down a few of those to you.
The rapture is when Jesus comes for his church. The second coming is when Jesus comes with his church. At the rapture, Jesus comes in the air and we meet him in the air, and we will ever be with him, 1 Thessalonians 4. But at the second coming, Jesus comes from heaven through the air, that is, through the atmosphere, all the way to the earth again. At the rapture, he comes to claim his bride. At the second, coming he comes with his bride. Think of the Jewish wedding.
At the rapture, the focus is Jesus Christ and his church. At the second, coming the focus is Israel and the kingdom. At the rapture of the church, it is a sudden event. It is an unpredictable event. It is a signless event. As Jesus said, or as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye we shall be changed. Most people think, well, the twinkling of an eye, that's a 30th of a second. That's when your eye winks. No, it didn't say winking of an eye. The twinkling of an eye is different. Twinkling of an eye is light traveling at 186,000 miles per second bouncing off your eye. In other words, in a nanosecond, phoom, it's going to happen. We'll be with the Lord.
Jesus referred to it in Matthew 24. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect him. The second coming is different. Unlike the rapture, the rapture is unpredictable. The second coming is predictable. It will happen, I believe, seven years later, the second coming, when there's a tribulation on the earth, when there's darkness on the earth, cataclysms on the earth, half the world's population on Earth will die. That's Revelation 6 through 19.
At the rapture of the church, only believers will see him. We who are alive and remain will be caught up. At the second coming, every eye shall see him, we are told. Now we're going to consider that next week, the second coming. So that's a brief chronology of his coming.
The third aspect I want you to look at is the controversy of his coming. Notice in verse 4, Jesus says, and where I go, you know, and the way you know. Thomas said, Lord, we don't. We don't know where you're going, and how can we know the way? Understand the controversy here. The Jews, at that time, believed that the Messiah was coming. But the Jews believed the Messiah was coming once, not twice. He's coming. And when he comes, He's Going to set up the kingdom. And the apostles were Jewish apostles. They were Jewish followers of Jesus. But that is their belief system. I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. I believe that. And so because he is the Messiah, he's going to set up his kingdom. He's going to come and take over.
By the time of Jesus, Jewish people had a clearly formed eschatology already in place. Let me give you the rundown. Number one, they expected before the coming of the Messiah there will be a terrible time in the world, terrible turmoil will happen. And they believed that had already happened, because the Romans occupied the land, took away their rights, forced them to do things they didn't want to do, taxed them heavily. They were under the oppression of the Roman yoke.
Number two, after that, after the terrible time of turmoil, in the midst of that turmoil, a forerunner is going to come, an Elijah-like personality, who's going to make an announcement that he's coming. That's why people were all excited about John the Baptist when he came down to the Jordan River.
Number three, the Messiah would then appear. He would then establish his kingdom. He would defeat all of his enemies and, number four, scattered Jews from all over the world would flood into Israel. Jerusalem would then be restored to a place of dominance and there would be world peace. That was sort of a fourfold eschatology that Jews at that time believed.
The apostles were Jews. They believed that. And probably they believed they were between phases one and three. To add fuel to that eschatological fire, just a few days prior to this meal, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowds proclaimed him Messiah. Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord, son of David. There was an uproar, a furor. For the first time everybody recognized he is the Messiah.
So you've got to understand, the disciples were salivating at that point. They were going, this is it. It's showtime. So the next logical step, they thought, is he's going to establish his kingdom. So Jesus, after the donkey ride, walks into the temple and looks around and then leave. And it's like wah, wah. Oh, he didn't do anything today.
So he does it again the next day. Talks to a few people, says a few things, and he leaves. Then he invites them to this Passover meal, at which time he says, I am leaving you. This is not what they expect. This is not what they anticipate. This is why there is trouble in their hearts.
Even when Jesus dies and gets raised from the dead and he is with his disciples, in Acts Chapter 1, they come to him and say, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Are you going to now set up your kingdom? And Jesus said, you know, it's really not for you to know the times and the seasons that the Father has in his own authority. You know, lighten up.
So you've got to know that their entire theology is going to change from this night forward. In the next few days, weeks, months, years, they're going to get it and they're going to understand, OK, Jesus is coming back. And when he comes back, he's coming back for his church. And then he's coming back with his church to the world. They're going to see those two coming.
Now all of that to say this. Jesus coming was controversial. Today, Jesus coming is still controversial. I think everybody agrees that Jesus is coming, but not everybody agrees when Jesus is coming. And it's funny how we argue about that. But we do, unfortunately.
Some believe Jesus is coming in a pre-tribulation rapture, before the tribulation begins. I happen to be in that camp strongly. Others believe, no, that's wrong, he's coming in the middle of the tribulation. We call that a mid-tribulation rapture. Others say, no, he's coming at the very end, which is sort of the weirdest position, because why would he take you up only to bring you back down? It's like you're going to hit each other on the way up. That's called post tribulation rapture.
So there's all sorts of-- and there's probably another position we can throw in there called a pre-wrath position, that before he really unleashes wrath on the earth, God is going to then take us up with him. There's all sorts of different positions. It's OK to believe in them. I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. You can believe in anything you want. You're wrong. And I'm OK with you being wrong. I love you anyway. Because it's not a cardinal doctrine and will not separate fellowship. You're wrong on so many levels.
But that's OK. The fact that he is coming back and we just need to say that those are OK. What's not OK is there are some people who believe that all of this is imaginative and spiritual, that Jesus and all these events the Bible talks about in the future really aren't going to happen. They already happened. It's called preterism, P-R-E-T-E-R-I-S-M, preterism. A preterist is somebody who believes that all of the events written about in Revelation Chapters 6 through 19 already happened in 70 AD when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. It's all figurative language. It already happened. It's never going to happen again.
And there's an extreme view of preterism that says Jesus already came, spiritually. So they don't even make it physically and literally, even though the angel said to the Apostles, the same Jesus you saw go up will come back in like manner as you have seen him go. But there are those who believe he's not even coming and that all the events have already happened.
Well, that's pretty easy to prove wrong, right? Because if all the events in Revelation 6 through 19 have already happened, then there have got to be some record in history of half of the world's population being wiped out. I've not read that. Have you? I've not seen that in the first century in Jerusalem, in Israel, in any subsequent century. There would be some oral thing passed down of all the cataclysms mentioned in Revelation having happened. And there is not. But his coming is controversial.
I want to end on this. Because we're just sort of touching on all these things and not going too deep, but we have a time constraint. And that is, number four, the consequences of his coming. The consequences of his coming. Now let's look at the last two verses of this paragraph. Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you're going, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him-- I love this-- I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Now I know we like to poke fun at Thomas. We like to chide him. We like to call him the apostle with a question mark for a brain, the apostle from Missouri, the Show Me state. I won't believe till you show me. Can I just say, I like his honesty. I think he is listening to Jesus. Peter doesn't get it, because he's even said he didn't get it. Where you going? Nobody's getting it. But maybe all of the other apostles are sort of like nodding their heads when Jesus is talking, going, yeah, man, yes, right on, man. That's so heavy. That's good. That's good.
Not Thomas. He goes, I don't get it. I have no idea what you just said. I don't know where you're going. And if I don't know where you're going, I don't even know how to get there. And I'm really glad he piped up, because Jesus gave a real good answer to his piping up. And we have it recorded, and I'm glad we do. Verse 6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Not everyone is going to make it to the Father's house. The rapture is a selective event. It is reserved for family only, the Father's house. It's sad but true. The Bible says, God is now willing that any should perish. He didn't want anybody to perish eternally, die eternally. He's not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The sad truth is many do perish, even though that is not God's design or desire.
So not everyone's going to make it to the Father's house. Jesus says, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Now look at verse 6 and notice something about this. It's a very narrow minded statement. It's a very dogmatic statement. He does not say, I am a way, I am one of many ways. He does not say, I will show you the way. He does not say, I will teach you the way. He says, I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. No one gets to the Father except through Me.
Will you agree that that is not what most people think? What Jesus just said, most people do not agree with. Most people think if there's a heaven, pretty much everybody is going there. All you got to do to get to heaven is die. The actual truth is very few people make it to heaven. Not most, few.
Matthew Chapter 7. Jesus speaking. Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go in by it. But narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Peter said in Acts Chapter 4, nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Boy, that's narrow minded. Boy, that's dogmatic. You know why it is? Because it's true. That's the nature of truth. Truth happens to be dogmatic.
You know, I had a math teacher. She was so dogmatic. 2 plus 2 in her mind always had to equal 4. If I said, yeah, but today I sort of feel like it could be 5, you get it wrong.
Oh, you're so dogmatic. You're so narrow minded. Yeah, I can afford to be, because your answer is wrong and this happens to be right. Oh, by the way, your bank is very dogmatic. You might decide, I don't want to make the full payment, I'll just make $20 payment for my house this month. OK, they'll let you know that you are wrong in your assessment, and they'll be narrow and dogmatic going forward.
So the good news is Jesus is coming back.
The good news is Jesus is coming back. The bad news is Jesus is coming back. And depending on who you are will determine if that's good or bad news. If you come to Jesus, you'll be introduced to the Father. If you're introduced to the Father, you'll get to the Father's house. If you don't come through the Savior, you'll never know the Father. If you don't know the Father, you will never get to the Father's house. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Christian. Back to the bumper sticker, Jesus is coming, look busy. Forget that. Jesus is coming. Be busy. Right? Work while it is day, for the night is coming and when no man can work, our Lord said. Now's the time to be busy about his business and not be overwhelmed with what's going on. Yes, to be diligent, yes, to be responsible. Not to be overwhelmed, not to be fearful, not to be weighed down with trouble, because of the certainty of the future.
Father, we address you, and as we're praying to you, because even Paul thought and hoped that perhaps Jesus could come back in his lifetime. Because he said, we who are alive and remain will be caught up. And he told the church, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
We, likewise, Lord, realize that as we pray to you, you could come before we say Amen to this prayer. You could come at any moment. Father, we pray our hearts would be ready. We pray that our lives would be in tune with you. We pray that we will have trusted in Jesus in an authentic manner, that we come through Him, the way, the truth, and the life. And in coming through Jesus and believing in Jesus, trusting in Jesus, we make contact with the Father and we have the promise of the Father's house, where we so look forward.
And we say, like the Apostle John said, even so, come, Lord Jesus. I pray for anybody who is not ready, pray they would get ready, make ready today. If you're listening to this by radio or computer or you're here in the auditorium or you're outside, you're on the premises, if you realize, hey, my heart isn't right with God, then do something right now about that. Talk to him. Say something like this. Lord, I admit I'm a sinner. Forgive me. I need you. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross, shed his blood for my sins, and rose again from the grave. I turn from my sin. I turn from my past. I turn to Jesus as Savior and Lord. Fill me with your Spirit and help me to live for you. Help me. Walk with me in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.