By Tom Gaston, addressing the false teaching of a partial Rapture :
You stated in one of your articles at fivedoves that some Christians are going to be left behind at the time of the Rapture. This is unscriptural, and therefore according to Scripture ( Titus 1:9 and other passages ) I must take a stand against such teaching which is in contradiction to God’s word.
I hope and pray that what I have written below will be helpful to you, and that it will give you more accurate insight and a better understanding as to “why” there is no such thing as a “partial rapture” of the Church which is just a “theory” promoted by those who want to believe it, and who believe that a true christian can lose their salvation. Those who teach such a doctrine obviously want to “get to heaven” based upon their “good works and good behavior.” The resurrection / rapture event is simply God “ending the age of grace” so He can restart and finish His prophetic program for national Israel ( 70th week of Daniel ) which is for the purpose of bringing national Israel to national repentance and redemption. This partial rapture theory teaching goes totally against the clear sound teaching of the Apostle Paul in His epistles to the Church, and it is very destructive and damaging to the body of Christ and to God’s word. Therefore I must address this subject in short here.
When the Rapture of the Church happens, then there won’t be ONE CHRISTIAN left behind….NOT ONE! Every believer who is “sealed forever” by the Holy Spirit from the moment they received Christ according to Scripture will be accounted for when Christ appears ( Eph. 1:13 – 14, 4:30 ). And Jesus Himself in John 14:16,17confirms that the Holy Spirit will remain with us forever ( Go read it ). There is NO Scripture passage anywhere in the New Testament epistles to the Church which teaches that the Holy Spirit ever leaves the believer. Nowhere! And if there was such an important and serious doctrine which existed in the “mind of God”, and therefore in the “mind of the Apostle Paul” who wrote 13 epistles under the inspiration of the Holy spirit, then surely God would have given warning to His Church and would have inspired the Apostle Paul to write about this serious doctrine in one or several of His epistles. But no, not one word on this subject, Total silence!
The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Church of Ephesus teaches that every member of the body of Christ is sealed up to the very “day of redemption” which is the resurrection – Rapture and physical glorification of the Church saints ( Eph. 4:30 ). Christ cannot come UNTIL the Church is fully “completed.” Those who are teaching that some Christians will be left behind at the Rapture are showing their “ignorance” of Scripture. And they are doing a terrible disservice and terrible injustice to the word of God by perverting it as they are bringing into question “the word of God” and inviting and introducing the thought that God’s word contradictsitself.
The Rapture is NOT a privilege which is “earned” by a small few based upon the believers “performance”, but it is based upon the believers “eternal position” in Christ which is guaranteed alone by the perfect and completed redemptive work of Christ on the cross which they have trusted in for salvation. The qualification for the believer to be a participant in theRapture event has nothing to do whatsoever with their “works.” Our “works” as believers do NOT andCANNOT qualify anyone for heaven, and neither can it qualify other believers in the past who have already died “in Christ.” The believer has already received the foregiveness for all of their sins past, present, and future and therefore the believer has received the “righteousness of God” through faith in Christ Jesus ( 1Cor. 1:30,31; 2Cor. 5:21).
Now if the “righteousness of God” and the “permanent sealing of the Holy Spirit” which every believer has already received at the moment of their salvation in Christ is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to qualify them to be able to participate in the resurrection /rapture event when it takes place, then how foolish and absurd it is for any believer in Christ to assumeand believe that their “good works and good behavior” is somehow “greater” than the “righteousness of God” which they already possess, and of which they believe therefore that “their good works” is what is going to “qualify them” to be raptured and taken to heaven when Christ appears. If this is the case ( which it is not ), then forget the righteousness of God as it is not good enough to qualify any believer for heaven, or as a matter of fact any unbeliever for heaven, and therefore we christians ( and the unsaved ) as well don’t need God’s righteousness to get to heaven, do we! Instead, all one needs to do to qualify for heaven is just practice their religion and engagein performing “good works” and then their all set! And if this was the case ( which it is not ), then anyone could simply get to heaven without having received the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus, but by simply performing “good deeds.” Total nonsense! And most importantly what kind of “statement” would God be making about Himself and “His own righteousness” which He has imputed and given to every believer at that very moment when they trusted in Christ for their salvation if they had to “earn the right” to go to heaven based upon their good works! This goes directly against what God’s word already teaches ( Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-7 ).
None of the believers “works” has the power nor the ability to change and transform the human body into the glorified state at the time of the Rapture. This is the job of the Holy Spirit who has permanently and forever sealed every believer in Christ. It is theHoly Spirit alone who is the One who is going toquicken the physical body of every member of the body of Christ and translate them into heaven. And the Apostle Paul gives NO OTHER instruction, nor does he mention any other additional criteria in Scripture which would suggest that a believer in Christ has to earn the right to partake in theresurrection / Rapture of the Church. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear in Rom. 8:9-11 ( go read the text ). God does NOT have “two salvation plans” ( one by “works”, and another by “grace” ).
The Apostle Paul states in 1rst Thessalonians 4:14 the following:…..”For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with HImthose who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”
Question: Did those whom Christ is bringing with Him at the time of the resurrection / Rapture in this text get to heaven by “good works”, or by “grace through faith in Christ alone” apart from works?
Answer: by grace through faith in Christ alone apart from “works” according to Scripture ( Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-7 ).
Question: Does God have “two salvation plans” for the body of Christ ? One plan which is by “grace through faith” for those who have already died in Christ before the resurrection – Rapture takes place, and then a second salvation plan for those who happen to be alive physically when Christ shows up and comes for His church?
Answer: Nope! Just one salvation plan which is by “grace through faith in Christ alone” apart from works ( Rom. 3:20 – 31 ).
Now If God has two salvation plans ( one by works and another by grace ), and believers who are “physically alive” at the time of Christ’s appearing have to “qualify” and “earn the right” to go to heaven based upon their “good works and good behavior”, then it would be better for everyone of us who are alive and who know Christ presently to already be “dead” before Jesus comes, since by being already physically dead we would then ensure and guarantee our participation in theresurrection program, as we would be listed with this group whom Jesus is bringing with him ( 1Thess. 4:14 ) at the time of the resurrection / rapture of the Church who got into heaven by “grace through faith alone in Christ” apart from their works prior to therapture event taking place. And so to be deadphysically already would be better for all of us rather than to be alive physically and miss theRapture due to the fact that our works and our “performance” as a believers just wasn’t good enough, and therefore failed to get us into heaven! How ridiculous!
God dosen’t have a “double standard salvation plan.” He doesn’t save some Christians from the past by grace through faith in Christ alone prior to His coming for the Church, and then turn around and demand that those Christians who are “alive” when He appears would have had to prove to Him that they are “worthy” to go heaven based upon their good christian conduct and Godly performance. Again, if this was the case ( and it is not ), then I would advise you to consider seriously praying for God to kill you, or if your brave enough go out into the street and step in front of a Mac truck and go home to be with the Lord BEFORE Jesus comes so you can be guaranteed that you will be participating in the God’sresurrection / rapture program and be part of the group of saints who is returning with Jesus at the time of the Rapture ( 1 Thess. 4:14 ).
Colossians 2:10……….and in Him you have beenmade complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.
Colossians 3:3- 4……For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, ( resurrection / rapture of the Church ), then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
1Corinthians 1:7,8…..”So that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also CONFIRM YOU TO THE END, BLAMELESS in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Rapture is an event in which God is simply concluding the “Church age” by removing every righteous member of the body of Christ who has been saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit, and who therefore has received “God’s righteousness” ( 1Cor. 1:30,31; 2Cor. 5:21). And since every member of the body of Christ ( whether dead or alive ) has beensealed forever by the Holy Spirit, then every member of the body of Christ qualifies for heaven. They will assuredly be a participant in the resurrection /rapture program of the Church when it takes place according to the Apostle Paul ( Rom. 8:9 -11 ).
The believers physical body has to be made “glorified” in order to be compatible for the eternal state. These physical bodies cannot enter into heaven in their present condition as they could not survive. The believers position in Christ is that their “spirit man” has already been redeemed and has been spiritually regenerated and made alive eternally by faith in Christ. Therefore the Rapture event is only dealing with the “last phase” or “stage” of the believers redemption process which is the transformation of the “physical body” into the glorified state ( whether dead or alive ) in order to make it compatible for heaven and eternity.
The “spiritual condition” of the believers spirit manand there position before God has already been dealt with when they “by faith” recieved Christ as their Savior. Therefore the “works” of the believer has no role to play whatsoever in “qualifying” the believer to be able to particpate in the resurrection / raptureevent. The believer is already qualified for heaven because they are “in Christ” and have received His righteousness. The “works” which every believer did for Christ while upon the earth will be “examined” by the Lord at the “Bema Seat of Christ” which is the next immediate event following the Rapture of the church. The believers “sin” is not in view at that time as all of the believers “sins” were already dealt with at the cross and judged there in Christ’s body, paid for in full.
Colossians 2:13-14…..”When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh,He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out thecertificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
The “truth” which every believer has received has been impregnated in their spirit man by the Holy Spirit from the moment they called upon the name of the Lord for salvation ( Rom. 10:13 ). A believers “right standing before God in Christ” never changes, nor is it ever eradicated based upon any sin or “poor performance” on the believers part. And the reason why this is true is because the work of the cross of Christ was perfect, completed, and finished ( John 19:30 ). And if this was NOT the case, well then God the Father made a HUGE MISTAKE by letting His Son send the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost when His redemptive work was “inadequate and incomplete.” And so the fact that the Holy Spirit was indeed sent on the day of Pentdcost shows clearly that God the Father accepted the perfect and complete sacrifice of His Son on the cross in order to justify those who would trust in Him as savioronce and for all! And this is why the Holy Spirit canNEVER leave the believer. It is because the believers salvation from start to finish is all based on the work of Christ which saves us, keeps us, and therefore secures us in Him forever.
Here below is a very powerful Scripture which the majority of Christians have overlooked.
2 John 1:1,2……”The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but alsoall who know the truth, for the sake of the truthwhich abides in us and will be with usforever:
This Scripture above shows clearly that God’s truthwhich abides in every believer will remain with themforever. It NEVER leaves the believer. Therefore the true born again Christian can NEVER truly walk away from “The Truth” as it remains with them forever as they have been born of the Spirit of God who has sealed them. You cannot leave something whichnever leaves you! This is why Jesus stated inJohn 14:16, 17 that the “comforter” ( Holy Spirit ) would remain with us forever. A true believer can walk in disobedience to Christ, but God will chastise every child of His. And if we are not chastised of the Lord, then Scripture teaches that this is proof that we really don’t belong to Him and that we are truly not His children, and that unchastised person has never really been truly born again ( Heb. 12:5 – 8 ).
John 16:13….But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes,He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Every person who has trusted in Christ as savior has been baptized and placed into the “one spiritual body of Christ” ( 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4 – 6 ) and therefore remains a member of the body of Christ because they have been sealed forever by God’s Holy Spirit.
God’s wrath and Israel’s national redemption
Israel’s program of “national redemption” begins AFTER Christ has removed every member of His Church from the earth, and NOT until then ( Fullness of the Gentiles / Israel’s national redemption – Rom. 11:25.26 ). The Rapture removes God’s redeemed and “already righteous” people out of the way of His wrath, as members of the body of Christ are NOT under any “condemnation” whatsoever. Neither are they appointed unto God’s wrath according to the following Scriptures ( Rom. 5:9, 8:1; 1Thess. 1:10, 5:9 ).
God will not and cannot pour out His “wrath” on His “own righteousness” which He has given to every member of the body of Christ.” For God to do so would be completely unscriptural and acontradiction to His own word whom the Holy Spiritis the author of. Therefore God would be making Himself out to be a “liar” if He did such a thing to His already righteous members of Christ’s body. He would be violating His own word if He did such a horrific thing! How foolish to believe that God would expose His very own righteousness to His own wrath. Such a teaching is NOT found and neither taught to the Church in the New Testament epistles.Nowhere!
How many times does God have to say something in His word before it is “true?” JUST ONE TIME! And despite the fact that God has repeated Himself over and over many times in His own word, yet still many will NOT believe nor receive His truth.
God is NOT the author of confusion ( 1Cor. 14:33 ).
God cannot lie ( Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18 )
And therefore God does not and cannot contradictHimself ( Titus 1:9 ).
Titus 1:9….holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
Christ can only come when His Church “has been fully completed.” And when He does come He can never “dismember” His own body by leaving behind any members who are all “sealed” by His Holy Spirit. For Him to do so would be a contradiction to Scripture, and He would be making a “doctrinal statement” which would go completely against the perfect and completed work of Christ on the cross. God can never do such an erroneous and perverted thing!
The Holy Spirit is the “restrainer” who is presently holding back the “man of sin” who is the antichrist ( 2 Thess. 2:7,8 ).
Question: Since the Holy Spirit is God’s “restrainer” who indwells and “seals forever” each and every member of the body of Christ, then how is God going to bring forth this “man of sin” and start thetribulation period when He has left part of the “body of Christ” on the earth who are indwelt and sealedwith His Holy Spirit, and of which the Holy Spiritwould then have to continue to restrain this man of sin on their behalf ( 2 Thess. 2:7,8 ) just like He did with the other members of the body of Christ who were taken?
Do you see the problem here with this confusing theology! God would therefore be preventing Himself from being able to bringing forth this “man of sin” and start the tribulation period by the very fact that He left behind Holy Spirit sealed members of the body of Christ whom He would have to continue to “restrain” this man of sin on their behalf. God would therefore be defeating the very purpose for why Christ was coming for His Church in the first place. This makes no sense whatsover, and it is a contradiction to Scripture which is already clear. This is just one aspect of contradiction among many others.
A partial Rapture of the body of Christ isunscriptural. And it creates huge problems doctrinally as it generates confusion and brings into question important passages of Scripture in God’s word concerning the believers spiritual position in Christ ( their “Justification” and “sanctification”…etc..etc. ) which is foundational to the Christian faith, and of which these important doctrines of Scripture give NO support whatsoever to this distorted teaching of the partial rapture theory of the Church which some are promoting today.
I could give many more examples and present many more Scriptures which would destroy this distorted and unscriptural teaching of the “partial rapture theory” of the Church. There is NO support whatsoever for such a teaching in the New Testament epistles to the Church. There is NO SINwhatsoever which can prevent or keep any member of the body of Christ from participating in theresurrection / Rapture event.
Hebrews 9:23 – 28 tells us that when Christ comes that He is coming “without reference to sin” for those who “eagerly await Him.” Christ is NOT dealing with, nor is He considering the sin in the believers life at the time of His appearing for His Church as He has already dealt with all sin at the Cross. Every believers “sins” past, present, and future has already been paid for in full. And because of this then there is no sin whatsover within the believers life which can change or alter their “position” in Christ because Christ’s sacrifical death was perfect and complete. And so when Jesus comes He is simply coming for all those who make up the body of Christ, and who are “eagerly waiting for Him.” Therefore He can never reject ( based upon the “performance” of the true believer ) those who have truly been born of His Spirit at the time of His appearing. For if He did so, then it would mean that He shouldn’t be coming for His Church to begin with, but that rather as Hebrews 9 tells us He should be returning in order todie once again for sins which were not atoned for on the cross when He came the first time. And it goes on to say in Hebrews 9 that if this was the case, then He should have been making atonement for sinssince the foundation of the world, meaning then that His supposed one time sacrifice was insufficient and incomplete the first time He came. But this is not true as the following text in Hebrews chapter 9 teaches is just the opposite.
I will close with Hebrews 9:23 – 28
….”Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, butthe heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy placemade with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now “once ” at theconsummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvationwithout reference to sin, to those whoeagerly await Him.
Therefore every believer has been permanently sealed with God’s Holy Spirit, and therefore every believer who is “alive” at the time of Christ’s appearing with be taken up into heaven.
In Christ, Tom Gaston