Hi Faith-writers, I’m grateful to be back to continue to share the topic of the End-Times that must be thoroughly taught so we can have a better understanding of how to be prepared for the Lord’s return.
As we take a closer look at the Teaching Jesus brought out about the Rapture, we immediately see Powerful illustrations, True facts and Parables that explains how we are to accept, apply and prepare for the Lord’s return. So let’s begin by outlining what Jesus said about the Rapture in Matthew 24 and 25.
Jesus’ Outline of the Rapture
1. The Fig Tree—knowing the Season (An illustration) (Matthew 24:32-33 NKJV)
2. Heaven & Earth will pass away—His Words are eternal (True Fact) (Matthew 24:34-35 NKJV)
3. No one knows the day or hour of His return (True Fact) (Matthew 24:36 NKJV)
4. As the days of Noah—The comparison with the Rapture (True Fact) (Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV)
5. Jesus describes the Rapture—One taken and the other left (True Fact) (Matt. 24:40-41 NKJV)
6. Being prepared will enable us to catch a thief invading our home (An illustration) (Matthew 24:42-44 NKJV)
7. If we are prepared rewards await us (An illustration of a Faithful servant/ a truth) (Matthew 24:45-47 NKJV)
8. The evil servant—will be appointed with the hypocrites (An illustration/ a truth) (Matthew 24:48-51)
The Parables of living a Christian life while waiting for His return
1. The Parable of the Ten Virgins—teaches us that we are responsible for our own spiritual condition—not our Pastor or relying on our more spiritual loved ones (Matthew 25:1-13 NKJV)
2. The Parable of the Talents—teaches us that we are to take our natural and supernatural talent(s) and exercise or apply ourselves to gain double the skill set while serving God on earth (Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV)
3. The Parable of the Sheep’s and Goats—tell us the importance of serving others in need (in prison, the hospital and the poor) (Matthew 25:31-46 NKJV)
Christian Living while waiting for His return
The illustrations, True facts, and the Parables about the Rapture and waiting for His return in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, describes how we should make our preparations for the Lord’s return.
We cannot isolate any one illustration or Parable and build a doctrine…
We cannot assume anything further than the point Jesus made…
Each illustration, True Fact and Parable is only one part or dimension of the entire picture of serving God while we are waiting for His return. To be counted worthy to go in the Rapture when He returns. So the question remains then (Who is taken and Who is going to be left?)
One of the biggest problems with the Christian World is the misconceptions of doctrines. Over the years I heard almost every argument about every topic—the Rapture being one of those topics.
Again we have in the Christian World 4 Views of the Rapture and they are;
1. The Partial Rapture position—which believes that those who are sanctified (or living holier than other Christians) will be taken before the Tribulation and the rest of the Church will go through the judgment that’s coming on the earth. Why do they believe this?
Because they took the Parable of the 10 Virgins and built a doctrine out of that Parable and used other Scriptures out of context to support their belief. Now, let me clear the misconception up;
a. In the Bible the term Virgin is literal—Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:23 NKJV) Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9 NKJV) It’s also figurative--of a local Church in its relation to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV) It’s also metaphorically--of chaste believers (Revelations 14:4 NKJV)
b. However, when Jesus spoke about the 10 Virgins—5 knew Him (They were Born-again) the others did not know Him (They were religious) (Matthew 25:12 NKJV)
c. Allow me to go deeper—according to Scripture everyone is cleansed by the Blood of Jesus but not everyone came to the knowledge of that fact and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior (See Acts 10:15 NKJV) the whole story and explanation (Acts 10:9-28 NKJV) The story with Cornelius and the Vision he experienced and the Vision Peter experienced teaches us that God had cleansed Cornelius and the entire human race for that matter and Peter did not catch the revelation of this fact until he reached Cornelius’ house (See, Verse 28, Acts chapter 10).
d. My point is there are many Cornelius’ and Nicodemus’ who are religious but are not Born-again, they have sincere hearts they keep the 10 commandments and pray, fast and tithe. Nevertheless, we know Cornelius eventually got saved, baptized in the Holy Ghost and then water (Acts 10:1-48 NKJV). We also read that Nicodemus buried Jesus’ body (John 19:38-42 NKJV). In a religious sense, we can practice holiness, but unless we are Born-again we will not truly know Him.
The Partial Rapture Position insists that you must be super holy in order to make the Rapture. Jesus says, we must know Him personally as well as practically live out what He taught us in regards to being prepared for His return in Matthew 24 and 25.
So we cannot take the Parable of the 10 Virgins to make a distinction between Carnal Christians and Spiritual Christians, than say that Spiritual Christians are leaving and the Carnal Christians are staying for the Tribulation. A carnal Christian is a baby Christian according to the Apostle Paul (See, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NKJV).
Baby Christians are Born-again but lack disciplines that a mature Christian would display. Common Biblical sense will tell us that people will become Born-again the same day of the Rapture will take place in the near future and when the Rapture takes place while new people are Born-again does that mean they will be left behind because they are not super holy? Obviously not! Baby Christians may not know about the Topic of the Rapture or the misconceptions about the Rapture when they are immediately saved. I did not understand the Rapture until 1 ½ years after I was Born-again. So imagine a new believer being saved or Born-again then the same day or the next day the Rapture happens is Jesus going to leave them behind because they are not super holy. Nonsense! New believers will make the Rapture.
The Second Rapture View
2. The Pre-Tribulation Position—states that the Church (Born-again Believers) will not go through any portion of the Tribulation. (I personally believe in this view.)
a. The reason I believe in this view is because of what Jesus taught us in Matthew 24. Jesus describes the Rapture by saying; then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left (Matthew 24:40-41 NKJV)
b. The interesting thing about this comment made by Jesus was that He mentions the description of the Rapture in parallel to the Old Testament story of Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV).
c. Noah was commanded to build an Ark. (Jesus is a type of Ark).
d. Noah preached righteousness during the building of the Ark and warned the people of upcoming judgment by rain and severe flood that was coming upon the earth (Genesis 6:1-12 NKJV/ 2 Peter 2:5 NKJV)
e. The people rejected the message they just continued to party and play. The people didn’t even consider the miraculous event of seeing wild beast living in harmony and entering the Ark.
f. God supernaturally closed the Ark and then the rain started (Genesis 7:1-16 NKJV)
g. When the judgment of rain and flood were taking place on the earth Noah his family and all the animals escaped unharmed. This is a type of Rapture. They were taken and the rest of the world was left.
Why did Jesus use the Old Testament story of Noah and parallel it to the Rapture? To simply declare the distinction that Believers will be Raptured and Unbelievers will remain. The second point is to show that Believers will not remain on the earth during the Tribulation Period.
Believers and Unbelievers
The Bible is very clear about the topic of Believers and Unbelievers. A believer in the Old and New Testament is a person that came to revelation of God and His chosen people and who accepted to live a life pleasing to God by faith. The New Testament calls believers (Born-again Christians). Unbelievers are also Jews in the Old Testament—for example King Ahab and Jezebel. In the New Testament—Unbelievers were the religious order (Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and Lawyers) who rejected the Jesus as the Messiah, except for the few Pharisees who were converted like Nicodemus and Paul.
The Third Rapture View
3. The Mid-Tribulation Position—this Rapture view is that the Church will go through the first half of the Tribulation because the Tribulation period lasts 7 years so the misconception is that Christians will be Raptured up 3 ½ years in the middle of the 7 year Tribulation period. How in the Christian World they came up with this teaching? They simply failed to make a distinct in the End-time teaching between the topic of (The Rapture) and the topic of (The Resurrection).
a. To explain this mess and bring clarity, allow me to outline the doctrine of Resurrection and Rapture together. Then we can clearly see the error that Theologians made.
b. The Biblical fact is that the New Testament clearly teaches that there are 5 Resurrections.
The First Resurrection and Rapture—was Jesus and the Old Testament saints from Abraham’s bosom (Matthew 27:52-53 NKJV/ Ephesians 4:8-10 NKJV) Now, Jesus rose from the dead and so did all the Old Testament saints from Abraham up until Jesus. They all rose from the dead and walked through Jerusalem—not as zombies because they were Raptured up. But the Bible records them walking around in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:52-53 NKJV) Deep huh?
The Second Resurrection and Rapture—is Christians (us today) who are awaiting the Rapture and all those who died from the time Jesus rose from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV) What this teaching implies is that the dead in Christ will rise first from the dead and they will come on the earth and we will be transform or transfigured supernaturally in a twinkling of eye changed to be Raptured with those who died in Christ.
The Third Resurrection and Rapture—is The 2 Witnesses or Prophets (I believe it will be Enoch and Elijah) and those who became believers during the Tribulation and were Martyrs (Revelation 11:9, 11-12 NKJV) (This is where the Mid-Tribulation Rapture teachers missed it and said Born-again Christians will be Raptured up during the middle of the Tribulation period). See how easy it is to mix up Scripture and fail to rightly divide and interpret it correctly. Elijah and Enoch will come on the scene during the middle of the Tribulation period and try to get Israel to turn to God. The Beast and the False Prophet is going to come against them and kill them then 3 days later they will rise from the dead the whole world will see and know it and they will be Raptured up right before the world and the Martyrs who were killed during the first 3 ½ year Tribulation Period will go with them. What an event!
The Fourth Resurrection and Rapture--is the rest of the Martyrs from the second half of the 7 year Tribulation Period (Revelation 20:4-6 NKJV). This is where Theologians assume the 4th Rapture view—(that is, the post-tribulation position Rapture view).
The Fifth and Final Resurrection—is the Resurrection and Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV) Keep in mind that John classifies this as the First Resurrection. However, in the sequences of events of future Resurrections this is how God will manifest the remaining resurrections and Raptures in chronological Biblical order.
So to answer the question—Who is taken and who is left? Believer’s in Christ Baby or Mature Christians will be taken and Unbeliever’s will be left. Let’s just Pray that we are counted worthy to escape the drama that’s coming on the earth in Jesus’ name amen.