under a special agreement with
Winners Series 1
under a special agreement with
Lesson 1: Left Behind!
"Man, it was the weirdest thing you ever saw. We were all in the gym watching a basketball game. It had gone into overtime, and everybody was yelling their heads off. Just as the referee started to throw the ball up—ZAP—our center disappeared! He was gone! Players from both teams had simply vanished. Everybody in the stands began screaming. People were missing there too."
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"I was driving home in heavy traffic when some cars began going into all directions. They crashed into poles, buildings, and other cars. You won't believe this, but they didn't have any drivers!"
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"You want to know what I think? I think we've been invaded from outer space. It's some kind of death ray. I've never been so scared in my life!"
Dear Friend, as amazing as it sounds, something like this is going to happen some day. Millions of Christians, all over the world, will suddenly disappear. It will be the greatest mystery of all time.
The news media will go ballistic. News reporters will be hysterical. Computer networks and phone lines will be hopelessly jammed with millions of calls from frantic people.
All of this will take place so quickly that the world will not know what has happened. Unsaved husbands and wives will wake up to discover that their Christian mates are gone. Parents will be frantically trying to locate missing children. Teenagers will be running down school halls desperately trying to find friends who have disappeared.
What in the world are we talking about? We are talking about an event called "the Rapture," which is clearly predicted in the Bible. The word "rapture" means "to snatch away" or "to take away." This is exactly what will happen when Jesus Christ comes to take His believers out of this world, to be with Him forever. The Bible says,
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ [believers who have died] shall rise first:
"Then we [believers] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
This will be a worldwide event which will take place without any warning. It could happen today! There are no unfulfilled prophecies which must take place before Christ comes. The Bible says that the Rapture will take place "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." Every person in the world who has been born again into the family of God will be instantly changed and caught up to meet Christ in the air.
No matter where they are or what they are doing, every child of God will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Airplanes whose pilots are believers will suddenly be left pilotless. Countless wrecks will occur on the highways. It is hard to imagine all the disastrous scenarios which will take place when Christ comes for His believers. There will be pandemonium throughout the world!
Actually, the Bible tells us that Christ's Second Coming will be in two parts. The first part is the Rapture when He comes FOR His believers. The second part will occur seven years later, when Christ returns WITH His believers, to rule and reign on this earth for a thousand years.
What will happen to those left behind? When Christ takes every Christian out of the world, what will the world be like then? The world will be more wicked than ever. Law enforcement people will be unable to control the situation. People will blaspheme God. They will steal, kill, rape and do whatever they want to do. Those who love wickedness will be glad that the Christians are out of the way.
The Antichrist appears.
About the time when the Christians are taken up to be with the Lord, an extraordinary man will appear on the earth. He will be brilliant, charming, and eloquent, with made-for-television good looks and charisma. People will not realize that he is an evil man.
The Bible calls this man "the Anti-christ." The word "anti" means "against." He is against God and against Christ. He is energized and controlled by Satan. What will the Antichrist do? He will deceive the world into serving him and worshipping him.
Through his lies and his miraculous powers, the Antichrist will gain control of the world. He will reign for seven years. The first half of the Antichrist's reign will be a time of prosperity in the world. But the last three and a half years of the Antichrist's reign will be the most terrible time that the world has ever seen. The Bible calls it "the Great Tribulation." (See Matthew 24:21-22.)
What will happen during the Great Tribulation?
We are living in an age when God is holding back His wrath and His judgments against sin, but this will change following the Rapture. During the Great Tribulation, especially the last three and a half years, God will be pouring out His wrath on all wickedness and unrighteousness.
Peace will be taken from the earth. Wars will break out everywhere. There will be terrible famines, earthquakes, and natural disasters. There will be disturbances in the heavens. At times the sun will be blotted out. Stars will fall to the earth. (See Revelation, chapters 6 and 8.)
Trees and all green grass will be burned up. The waters in all the seas will become as the blood of a dead man. Likewise, all rivers and fountains of fresh water will be turned into blood. (See Revelation, chapter 16.)
The sun will be given power to scorch men with great heat. Demonic creatures, like scorpions, will be released from the bottomless pit. They will sting people causing torment for five months. The pain will be so unbearable that people will seek death but will not find it. Will people repent of their sins and turn to God? No, they will not. They will curse God.
We cannot imagine the horrors of the Great Tribulation. During this time, one half of the population of the earth will be killed! Worst of all, death is followed by hell. All wicked, unbelieving people will be forever separated from God in the lake of fire.
When will Christ come?
No one knows when Christ will come to take His believers out of the world. But Jesus did tell us what it would be like in the last days, just before His coming. He said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man" (Luke 17:26 ).
What was it like in "the days of Noah"? It was a time of great wickedness. The Bible says, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). The Bible says that the earth was "filled with violence."
God was grieved in His heart, and He decided to destroy this wicked human race with a great flood. But there was one man on earth who found favor with God. Noah "walked with God" (Genesis 6:9).
God told Noah about the coming flood which would cover the entire earth. In order that Noah and his family might be saved, God told Noah to build a giant ship, called an "ark."
The ark would be three stories high, with only one door and one window. It would be large enough for Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, pairs of all air-breathing creatures and the provisions they would need.
Noah and his three sons began work on the ark right away. It took them 120 years to build the ark. During this time, Noah was constantly preaching to the people, warning them of the coming catastrophe.
Finally, the ark was completed. Amazingly, pairs of all birds and animals began coming to the ark and going into it. The time for the flood had come. God told Noah and his family to get inside the ark.
But God delayed the flood another seven days. Why did God do this? He did it because He does not desire the death of sinners. It was as if God were saying, "I am giving the people seven more days before I close the door of the ark. I want them to have every chance to come in."
No doubt Noah stood in the open door with tears in his eyes and pleaded with the people to come into the ark. How many came in? NONE!
At the end of the seven days, the people saw an amazing thing happen. The huge door, probably weighing hundreds of pounds, began slowly closing, with no one touching it. God was closing the door!
Noah lived in the last days before a great catastrophe took place. The flood covered the tops of the highest mountains to a depth of over 20 feet. All who were outside of the ark perished. Jesus said, "…the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:27).
We too are living in the last days before another worldwide catastrophe—the Great Tribulation. There is only one way of escape, and that is by taking Jesus Christ as your Savior.
There was only one door into the ark, and Jesus is the only "door" by which we can be saved. The Lord Jesus said, "I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10:9).
The moment you trust Christ as your Savior, it is like going into the ark. God puts you "in Christ," and one day you will be with Him in Heaven forever.
The Greatest Thing…
Do you know what the greatest thing in the world is? It is knowing that you are a child of God and that you are ready to meet God—at any time! To know that, no matter when Christ may come, you are ready to meet Him.
When Christ takes His believers out of the world, some of those who are left behind will realize what has happened. Maybe they had friends or relatives who had told them about these end time events. But it will be too late then. Like Larry Norman's song says,
"I wish we'd all been ready!
There's no time to change your mind.
The Son has come, and you've been left behind.
How could you have been so blind?"
Dear friend, if Christ were to come tonight, would you be taken up to be with Him or would you be left behind to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation? If the prayer below says what is in your heart, you can pray this to Jesus now. He would love to hear you pray this prayer to Him right now.
Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned. I believe that You are the Son of God and that You died on the cross for my sins. Please come into my heart and forgive me of my sins. I am taking You as my Savior right now.
- Jesus Christ is coming soon to take His believers to be with Him. This coming could take place at any time. Jesus said, "Therefore be ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of Man comes" (Matthew 24:44).
- There will be no second chance. Those who are left behind will face the horrors of the Great Tribulation.
- There was only one place of safety during the great flood. That place was the ark. There is only one place of safety now—"in Christ."
"As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man." Luke 17:26
"Father, I thank You that You have warned us about the coming catastrophe. I thank You for providing a place of safety for us. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son and that He died for my sins. I am trusting Him as my Savior."
"By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house [his family]…." Hebrews 11:7
Did you know that God has His "Heroes of Faith"? In Hebrews, chapter 11, God gives us brief histories of some of His "heroes of faith."
As to the dangers and difficulties these people went through, no two were alike, but they were all alike in that they took God at His word. That is what faith is—taking God at His Word.
They had another thing in common—they loved God. They loved God more than they loved the praise of men. They accepted rejection, ridicule, suffering, and even death because they believed the promises of God.
God warned Noah that He was going to send a great flood because of the wickedness of the people of that day. God told Noah to build a giant ship.
There were at least three facts that could have caused Noah to doubt God's word:
- It had never rained on the earth before this time. Nobody knew what rain was.
- Noah was hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.
- How could he ever get pairs of all animals and birds to go into the ark?
It seemed like a foolish thing to do, but Noah believed God and he was "moved with fear." It is a good thing to be "moved with fear" when God warns you about something. Noah did something about it—he obeyed God and started building the ark.
We can only imagine the ridicule that Noah suffered. The "scientists" of that day no doubt were saying, "We have checked our records and our books of knowledge and it is impossible for water to come out of the sky."
But they were all wrong. The Bible says that "the fountains of the deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened." The rain poured continuously for forty days and nights.
The waters covered the highest mountains to a depth of over 20 feet. This explains why sea shells and other evidence of marine life have been found near the tops of some of the highest mountains in the world.
Noah was truly a hero of faith. He walked with God. He believed God, he loved God, and he obeyed God.