Rapture, Ascension, and Godly Living
Rapture, ascension, and Godly living all tie together in the Bible.
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
17 May 2015
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 Kings 2:11
Rapture, ascension, and Godly living all tie together in the Bible.
Rapture is being raised into heaven by God without having to pass through death, which many Christians believe will happen to the Godly members of the church either prior to, during, or following the great tribulation before the return of Jesus.
Ascension, as it applies to Jesus, is being raised into heaven by God following resurrection from death; according to the Bible, this only happened to Jesus.
And since this is Ascension Sunday, we will discuss both Jesus’ ascension, and look at the rapture of Godly living individuals.
There are only two individuals mentioned in the Bible who have been raptured: Enoch and Elijah; so we will begin our spiritual journey today by looking at Genesis 5:21-24…
21. And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.
22. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.
“Enoch walked with God,” is another way of saying that he lived in the heavenly will of God.
23. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.
24. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Enoch was the first Godly man, whom we are told about, that God raptured into heaven, which is the only way we can explain how God took him.
Now let’s take a look at 2 Kings 2:11, which gives us a description of the rapture of Elijah.
11. And it came to pass, as they [Elijah and Elisha] still went on, and talked, that, behold, (there appeared) a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
We constantly think about the fact that most animals seem to be a lot more Godly than most human beings, for they don’t do the evil things that most humans do, for only a small percentage of humans truly live in the heavenly will of God and do no harm to His creation, which includes the animals that He lovingly created to be our companions.
So, as we go on and look at the ascension of Jesus, let’s think about how God’s plan could apply to the animals.
Could the animals experience the rapture in a similar way to that of Enoch and Elijah?
In Acts 1:1-11, we have the record of what the people saw when Jesus ascended into heaven.
1. The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach,
2. until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
3. To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Then we are told that Jesus gave the disciples instruction about what they were to do following His ascension into heaven.
4. And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;
5. for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
And as we are told in another Bible passage, the Holy Spirit did come upon them 10 days later.
With this in mind, let’s return and see what happened on the day of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
6. And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
7. He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8. but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Quite often we imagine the rapture of the animals and their rising into heaven all over the world for all the people to see in the same manner that the disciples saw Jesus rising into the clouds.
God would do this as a way of convicting the hard hearted people that God lovingly cares for all the animals whom they have horribly abused and exploited on factory farms, in slaughter houses, in laboratories, and in other ways.
Thus, the sight of the rapture of the animals would tell the worldly living people that God considers animals to be more Godly than those people are.
10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them;
11. and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
And, like those disciples, we also look forward to the day that Jesus returns and ushers in His peaceable kingdom.
But we don’t have to wait for that day to come in order to help free the animals and the rest of creation from the horrible corruption that have been inflicted upon it.
As peacemaking children of God, who live in the heavenly will of God, we can begin freeing creation from its corruption by feeling the pain and suffering of all the animals, and by refusing to eat or wear anything that comes from animals, and by being witnesses of God’s heavenly will as a testimony against the people who live in the corrupt ways of this world.
We can do this, if we want to.
Psalm 47:1-9 is a psalm of praise, but there is more…
1. O Clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
As we look around the world today, there are a lot of people who lack joy in their lives, and this is also true of the vast majority of animals.
Evil human beings have forcefully taken away their joy, and left them with only hope and prayer that God would bring about a miracle or rapture them out of their situations.
2. For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
This is true, but at the present time God seems to be letting humans and animals suffer because most people have chosen to live in the corrupt ways of this world instead of in the heavenly will of God.
3. He subdues peoples under us,
And nations under our feet.
God has done this in the past, and He may do it again in the future, but for the present time, He doesn’t seem to be doing this; He is letting us stew in the evilness of our own making.
4. He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves.
God has never lost His love for us, but most humans have not returned this love, which is evident in the fact that they are not following the peaceful teaching of Jesus or the heavenly will of God, and most people’s meals consist of tortured animal byproducts.
This leaves those who truly love the Lord and live in His heavenly will with only hope and prayer for a miracle or for God to rapture us and the animals out of this corrupt world.
5. God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.
Think of the shouts of joy that would be heard if God would rapture the animals out of this evil and corrupt world.
Perhaps then people would begin to listen.
6. Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7. For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
Think of how much more of this there would be if we had peace on earth as it is in heaven.
8. God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.
The problem is that most people don’t live like they believe this; they live and act like they are in control, particularly when it comes to our powerful government and business leaders.
9. The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham;
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is highly exalted.
We hope and pray that this will one day come to pass again.
We pray every day that it will, or that God brings about some miracles, or would rapture the animals out of their horrible suffering on factory farms, in slaughter houses, in laboratories, and in other exploitive situations.
But most importantly, we are not to sit back and wait for God to answer our prayers; we are to continue to do everything peacefully and legally in our power to free the whole of creation from its present corruption.
We are to help end the corruption and injustice in our government and industries.
We are to help end our warring madness.
We are to help end the horrible exploitation of animals, beginning with what we eat and wear, as a witness before the world around us, and by encouraging other people to do the same things.
We are to be the peacemaking children of God that Jesus called us to be.
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