Missing Christians (Partial Rapture) By Ray Brubaker
Morris Cerullo, in a article appearing in DEEPER LIFE magazine, relates a
speaking engagement he had at a meeting of the Full Gospel Businessmen's
When he arrived, he heard a man giving this testimony: "Last night I had a vision of the rapture. I saw the rapture take place and 70% of the 'so-called church' was left behind."
Testifies Gerullo: "Now I couldn't believe that. I was shook. He bothered me so much I could hardly talk that night. And, when I can't talk, then I'm really bothered. I sputtered and stammered and couldn't wait until I got home to my room. I went right down on my face before God and said, "Lord, did you hear what that man said? He's a responsible man. He owns a million-dollar business. For a man to make a statement like that, he's either got to be irresponsible or you have actually spoken to him."
"Lord, I want to know," prayed Cerullo. God spoke to his heart through the Word: "Is it not written that not everybody that cries 'Lord, Lord' will be received by Jesus when He comes?" He said: "Son, why do you err, not knowing my Scripture?"
One day the Lord spoke in a parable, saying: "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them; But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps."
We all know the story how all of the virgins slumbered and slept while waiting for the bridegroom. Finally, there came a lamp-trimming time as the hour of the returning bridegroom drew nearer.
"And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in to the marriage: and the door was shut."
In our broadcast we seek to emphasize this scriptural aspect of readiness. Remember, "they that were ready" went into the marriage.
As A.A. Ronshausen, writing in the CONVENTION HERALD, observes: "Half were ready and went in, eligible for rapture. Half were not ready and faced a shut door."
Dr. William F. Beirnes, writing in the MIDNIGHT CRY, says: "The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is a tragic illustration of the fact that many will not be ready when the Bridegroom comes in the air.' Indeed, how sad.
Norman B. Jerome, writing in the GOSPEL HERALD, refers to this parable as "one of the most powerful passages of the New Testament to urge the readers to be ready for the return of the Bridegroom from glory for His bride, the church."
Sarah Foulkes Moore of HERALD OF HIS COMING, writes: "Is it not solemn to contemplate that out of the ten expecting His coming, only five were ready..."
Mervin Chaplin, in a magazine article, notes that the question is not "Is Jesus coming back?" but "Will I be ready for His return?" ARE YOU READY?
Lehman Strauss says: "It is sad, but true, that all saints will not be ready to meet Christ when He comes for His Church."
In Rev. 19:7 we read: "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
Asks Strauss: "Why is it stated that she has made herself ready? Is not salvation entirely of grace apart from works?"
We proceed to read concerning the Lamb's wife: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (v.8)
Strauss again points out that the "fine linen" mentioned here represents the "righteous deeds" in contrast to the imputed righteousness received at conversion.
Beloved, may we see the importance of being ready when Jesus comes. How sad to miss the rapture! And yet, the evidence of Scripture is that at a point and time in the future there will be a mass exodus from this earth of Saints being raptured to Heaven. But the sad fact is, my friends, that half of those who expected to be included in the heavenly entourage of saints missed the event.
The late Dr. M. R. Dellaart warned: "The Bible speaks of those who will be ashamed at His appearing." This warning, incidentally, is found in I John 2:28 where we read, "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming."
What does it mean to "abide" in Christ? John goes on to explain, "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not." (I John 3:6a) To be ashamed at Christ's coming is to literally shrink back--unprepared for this all-glorious event. Stressed the late Dr. DeHaan, "Let me seriously warn you that God wants His people clean. The Lord Jesus will not tolerate a defiled bride .... God help us to examine ourselves and make ourselves ready now."
Fred J. Meldau, in CHRISTIAN VICTORY magazine, says of the foolish virgins that they were "waiting" but not "watching." He goes on to mention that "Too many today believe that the Lord is coming but they are not "watching;" that is, 'watching for Him,' seeking His will in their daily lives, and looking to Him for daily strength."
Billy Graham has noted: "There is a shallowness, a surface-like quality to much of our Christianity today in America that cannot possibly delight the heart of God." He notes concerning these ten virgins: "Outwardly they were identical. They were the same to the eye but not in the heart." ..... "Five of them had an inward supply of oil and five of them did not." He goes on to say, "There are thousands of professing Christians whose relationship to Christ is all external. They serve Christ with their lips but their hearts are far from him."
May we heed this message today and make such necessary preparation as to be ready when our Lord appears.
In I Cor. 15:23, we read of those for whom our Lord is coming. The verse says: "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
Let me ask this question, Are you Christ's? Do you belong to Him? Do you give evidence that you belong to Him by the things you do, by the life you live?
In Galatians 5:24, we read: "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Did you hear it?
We say we are Christ's--that we belong to Him. But have we evidenced this fact by dying to the lusts, the affections and appetites that defile the body and degrade the soul?
Again Billy Graham warns: "Unless you are emptied of self and filled with the Spirit, I fear for you when the coming world crisis begins."
I must admit there is something I admire about today's youth. Many place little value upon materialism. Whereas, we must have the latest of everything, many of these young people are satisfied to live apart from luxury. Yes, we may find fault with many of their crude ways of living, their blue denim clothing with shirttail hanging out, but as Pharisees who look on to criticize and point the finger of accusation, we are more guilty than they.
No wonder our Lord could say to the chief priests going through the ritual of the temple that "the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." "How can that be?" you might ask.
The fact is that when many have tried sex and suds (liquor) and sin and have found that it brings only heartache and headache, they are oftentimes ready for the only remedy that brings peace and comfort, and that is in knowing of the love of Jesus Christ Who was willing to die on the cross for our sins. So our Lord asks us to die to sin in order that we may live a full life for Him.
Have you crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts? Remember, the Apostle Paul says: "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
The word "affections" used here is a Greek word meaning one's inner disposition. Our affections must needs be crucified. We cannot excuse our meanness, our selfishness, our carnality as traits of the old nature but must rather reckon it as dead and buried.
Then the word for "lust" here is the "outward expression of a desire or evil craving."
How much lust there is in the world today. Many who say they are in love are really victims of lust with evil passions taking over in their minds. If the situation presented itself, they would commit acts they know to be wrong because they have allowed their mind to dwell upon their evil cravings.
This is why we need the Holy Spirit--to give victory over our lower nature and to give preeminence to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. No wonder we are commanded to "be filled with the Spirit" which simply means to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Concerning the five wise virgins, they had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Instead of only making a profession, calling themselves Christians, belonging to a church, being baptized and all the rest, they also knew of a time when they died to the affections and lusts of life and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
No wonder the Scripture exhorts us to "follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14) Again we read: "For God hath not called us to uncleanness but unto holiness." (I Thess. 4:7)
In a day of sensuality when every form of fleshly stimulation is seen--on billboards, on television, and even parading on our streets--how necessary to have the Holy Spirit abiding in His fullness.
Jude reminds us of those in the last times who are seen walking after their own ungodly lusts, sensual, having not the Spirit! (v. 18-19)
Did you hear it? This represents the foolish virgins without oil in their vessels, their lamps going out!
Hear me, my friend. Now is the time to have your need met. As in the world around us there is an oil crisis, so in the spiritual realm there is this lack of oil--symbol of God's Holy Spirit.
Yet, these are the days of outpouring and God stands ready now to give you the best of Heaven's wealth in the outpouring of His Spirit.
But don't think for a moment that you can receive in your sinful, carnal state. God doesn't cast pearls before swine. You must humble yourself, admit your sinfulness, acknowledge your wretchedness, and accept Christ as both Saviour and Lord to live for Him, come what may!
A wedding is in preparation! The table is prepared with the best of everything. The bridal party is being formed. By coming out from the crowd and identifying yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, you can be a part of that royal celebration.
The Bridegroom is coming. He is coming for a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing--a bride that is holy and pure.
With our hearts washed in the blood of Christ and our bodies temples of the indwelling Spirit of God, we can be in that wedding party.
Remember, concerning the wise virgins, it is said: "They that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."
Be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.
Who Will Go When The Lord Comes?
By Ray Brubaker
The CALGARY PRESS reported that the show depicting the second coming of Christ, complete with worldwide catastrophes, resulted in hundreds of calls from frightened TV viewers.
The program was portrayed as originating from a New York television station's newsroom and reported such catastrophes as earthquakes, tidal waves and many other similar disasters.
Well, some day the return of our Lord will be a reality. It would almost be better never to have been born than to miss the event. Yet, if we understand the Scriptures correctly, there will be many who looked for our Lord's coming who will miss the event we call the "rapture."
As Basil Mowell writes: "Some believe that all who profess to be Christians will be taken. But our Lord's parable of the wise and foolish virgins who all went out to meet the bridegroom contradicts such an opinion." (PROPHETIC WITNESS)
A booklet entitled, MILLIONS MISSING, relates what many believe will happen. We're told: "The sudden removal of millions from the earth will bring about a mysterious world crisis; confusion, chaos, and panic such as this world has never known will engulf the whole earth! Scores of driverless cars will rush pell-mell down the highways piling up in horrible wrecks. Big trucks carrying tens of thousands of gallons of explosive gasoline and chemicals will wreck and cause fires and explosions that cannot be described in words. Buses and trains loaded with passengers will pile up--wrecked. Many giant airliners will plunge to the ground when the born-again pilots are removed from the controls! Death, misery, and confusion will be everywhere ! '
Our Lord declared concerning His coming: "The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it." (Luke 17:22)
Could it be that many who expect to be raptured will miss it? What saith the Scriptures?
The Apostle Paul speaks of our Lord's return in two aspects--His appearing and His kingdom. In 2 Tim. 4:1, we're reminded that when the Lord comes He will "judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." That is, our Lord is seen coming for His own who are ready in an event we call the "rapture" when He "appears" and quickly snatches away His own. This is when many expect all manner of catastrophes to happen as the saints are caught away to be with the Lord. Then upon this earth comes great tribulation, the wrath of God upon the sinner, after which our Lord is seen returning to this earth to establish His kingdom.
All we can say is, don't miss the day when Christ appears! It will be hell on earth to be left behind to go through that awful tribulation that is coming. On television, the story of Charles Manson was shown, called "Helter Skelter." Many Christians protested the showing of the film because Charles called himself "Jesus Christ" and led his hippie followers to enact cruel, bloody murders such as the killing of Hollywood actress, Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time. When asked what the word "Helter Skelter" meant, Manson related there is coming a time when the whole world will be at war with unrestrained violence, bloodshed, and mass killings such as they were doing.
Indeed, the Bible does forecast such a day when the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit will be lifted. If the thought were to occur in an evil man's mind to kill, he will kill. If he sees a woman coming down the street and the thought of rape comes into his mind, he will rape her there on the street.
As Dr. William F. Beirnes points out: "In this dispensation of the Holy Ghost, the devil is restrained or hindered in fulfilling all of his intentions against the Church and against individuals." However, he notes: "In the Tribulation, after the rapture of the Bride of Christ, that restraint of the Holy Spirit is to be lifted, or 'taken away.'"
Can you begin to imagine what it will be like? As Dr. Beirnes suggests: "Sin, violence, and bloodshed would be so rampant that it would soon exceed that of the Antediluvian world which God had to destroy."
And yet, the evidence is, my friends, that many who anticipated the rapture will be left behind to go through this awful period. That is why it is so very important to wake up to the realization that possibly instead of "millions missing" when Jesus comes, there will be "millions left behind" when He returns.
Think with me for a moment how it was when Jesus came the first time. All of the religious leaders had believed in the coming of the Messiah but when Jesus came it was altogether different than what they had planned. They expected our Lord to come as a king when He came as a lowly babe in a manger. Although the Bible was filled with prophecies concerning His coming, they missed the true meaning of these prophecies and crucified the Christ they were expecting.
So we can't help but wonder if our Lord's second coming will not be similar to His first coming with many missing the event. Jesus testified, saying there would be those who desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and shall not see it.
Take the parable of the Ten Virgins. All looked for the coming of the bridegroom but only half were ready when he actually came.
Perhaps you wonder what happened to the "foolish virgins." Did they not miss the marriage?
In a related passage, our Lord warns: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately." (See Luke 12:35-40) Most people don't know this passage is in the Bible but it indicates the possibility of some who will miss the wedding who are told to be ready for our Lord when He returns from the wedding.
Oh, beloved, how important to be living for Christ so that when He comes, we will be ready!
Our Lord goes on to warn: "And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." (Luke 12:39-49)
We close nearly every broadcast with this warning: "Be ye therefore ready." We hope and pray that our audience will heed this message because we know what the Scripture says about the "house being broken through" with some who are ready, and others who will be left behind.
Now, should anyone doubt that a believer would be left behind with unbelievers, just continue reading in this same chapter where Jesus speaks of the servant who says in his heart, "My lord delayeth his coming," and who begins to live carelessly.
What happens to such an one? Listen. We read, "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (cut him off), and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. '
I realize many will write to say we're teaching a partial rapture, or that we're preaching works for salvation, when all we are doing is to present the true picture of what it will be like when Jesus comes. How sad for vast multitudes who will be left behind at the rapture to go through the tribulation!
In Rev. 7:9, we read of a "great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues...clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands."
We readily recognize these people as being believers, for the "white robes" speak of the righteousness bestowed when we place faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for our sins.
However, the question is asked: "What are these which are strayed in white robes? and whence came they?"
The answer is heard, "Sir, thou knowest...These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Did you notice, concerning this great multitude which came out of great tribulation, it is said that they "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Is it not apparent that at the coming of the Lord their robes were defiled? And in the midst of persecution, suffering and martyrdom, they repented of their defilement.
Concerning the church in Sardis, we read of a "few" that "have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." (Rev. 3:4)
What would the Lord say if He were to check our robes? What if He were to look at our churches? Would He find a "few" who have not defiled their garments?
As D. M. Panton observes: "These 'few' walking in sanctity, cannot be the only regenerate souls in Sardis; for the Lord accepts the whole church as an 'ecclesia.' However, in all of the Seven Churches of Revelation there are the select 'few' to be rewarded as 'overcomers'."
As Panton sees it: "The Holy Son of God cannot present unto Himself a trifling, indifferent, unsanctified body of nominal church members. His church must be made like unto Himself, the fairest and noblest expression of redeemed humanity that only His sufferings and death could ever produce."
Says Panton: "Our Lord's outburst from heaven to catch His bride away is either a comforting opiate for disobedient disciples, or else it is one of the most rousing of all truths-- it cannot be both!"
Too long we have assumed that our readiness for rapture depends solely upon our being saved. But if this were true, then why all of the admonitions and warnings to believers to be ready for our Lord's return?
Again, to be left behind when Jesus comes wouldn't necessarily mean that we are lost, but rather that we must go through the purging fires of the tribulation, from which we would be expected to come through purified.
Peter speaks of the manifold testings believers were going through in his day, declaring: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (I Pet. 1:7)
Even Herman, believed to be an associate of the Apostle Paul, wrote of the trials of the early church as "a type of the great tribulation that is coming." He admonished believers, saying: "If ye then prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of your lives serving the Lord blamelessly." (From the Shepherd of Hermas)
Thus, our Lord has admonished us, saying: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36)
Are we watching and praying to escape the coming tribulation? Or, do we take for granted that we shall escape?
Paul relates how our Lord loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Is this our state--our position? Are we holy and without blemish?
Again, may we be reminded of the necessity of having on the white robes of Christ's righteousness and of having them kept clean. Our Lord admonishes, "Behold, I come as a thief, Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." (Rev. 16:15)
Notice, too, that when our Lord appears from Heaven on a white horse, we read: "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
How we need to see the importance of having on garments that are clean and white in order to be ready for our Lord's coming.
Of this we can be certain. If we want to be included in this entourage of saints to be caught upward when Christ comes, we can be ready. Concerning the marriage of the Lamb, we read, "His wife hath made herself ready."
A wedding is about to take place. If you are not aware of it, or are not preparing for it, the chances are that you are not ready and will be left behind when Jesus comes.
Concerning the Lamb's wife, we read, "And to her was granted that she should be strayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
Did you hear it? Are you looking for Christ's coming? Is our Lord's return a "blessed hope"? If so, you will want to make preparation to be ready for this glorious event.
As John declares: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
How do we purify ourselves? Peter replies: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit." (I Pet. 1:22)
So, dear one, come to Christ today. Repent of all your sins to trust the Saviour Who died for your sins. Then pray for the Holy Spirit's direction daily. Read the Word and fall in love with Him Who is the Living Word.
Indeed, be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."
For Whom Is Christ Coming
By Ray Brubaker
"Do you believe in the Second Coming?" he inquired. When they turned to answer him, he had vanished, leaving his seat belt fastened. Upon arriving at the end of the Thruway, drivers related to the toll collector their story which he had already heard a dozen times before.
Dr. Lydia M. Fish of Buffalo State College has a collection of some sixty such reports.
Could these accounts be true? In Hebrews 13:2 we read, "Be careful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Anyway, the case of the vanishing hitchhiker will serve to remind us of a day coming when many will disappear from off the earth.
Ian Macpherson writes in a prophetic magazine of an airline in the United States that positively refuses to permit two Christian pilots to be jointly responsible for the flight of any of their aircraft. Why?
Well, the reason is that they take seriously the biblical teaching of Christ's Second Coming to rapture the true church. At Christ's coming those who are truly His will suddenly disappear and, if this were to take place when a plane was in the air with two Christian pilots at the controls, disaster could result.
Perhaps you've read tracts on the subject or have seen the Rapture Journal with the headline, "Multitudes Missing," relating the disappearance of millions of people from off the earth--showing express trains traveling at high speed and suddenly left driverless; of storm-buffeted ships on the high seas without helmsmen; of airborne passenger-laden planes plunging to their destruction as Christian pilots are raptured. Is this fact or fiction?
Will the number of missing persons make a tremendous impact upon the world, or will it all happen without headlines? It is reported that some newspapers have the headlines already made up, with the complete story from the Bible as to the meaning of the event we call "the rapture," to use when it OCCURS.
We read of one Bible teacher who expects that UFOs will be blamed for the disappearance of people from off the earth. He sees the antichrist rejoicing in the fact that all of the religious zealots are gone, for they would surely seek to hinder his program of a united world political-religious system.
Today we would like to ask the question, "For whom is Christ coming?"
We fear lest many have the mistaken idea that our Lord will return for all believers regardless of their state or condition. Sarah Foulkes Moore, in HERALD OF HIS COMING, points out that our Lord gave exhortations to uninterrupted watchfulness. She notes: "He gave His disciples no reason to believe that their readiness for the Rapture rested on any experience of salvation they may have had. He made it pointed and plain that their conduct at the moment of the Rapture meant the winning of the prize." And she warns: "All teaching, all preaching, all activity, religious, secular or otherwise, that today ignores the Lord's solemn warning to His own to "watch and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy" dissipates watchfulness and makes for sloth and carelessness."
For whom is Christ coming? Will He take all of the babies when He comes ?
One Bible expositor says: "Yes." He replies: "I believe that little children who have not reached a time of accountability will be caught up in the rapture." Another claims that all children under seven will be raptured and pictures a woman of the world screaming because her child is missing. On the other hand, a well-known prophetic writer was sent this question: "Will children who are dedicated to Christ before the Rapture, even if both of the parents are not born again, be caught up with the Lord at that time?"
His answer: "No, they will not!" He further contends, "The Rapture is a special blessing for born again people." He goes on to explain: "The only way children under the age of accountability will be caught up in the Rapture, is if one or the other or both of the parents is a born again believer."
His reasoning is based on I Cor. 7:14 which states: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy."
So the possibility does exist that if one or both of the parents are born-again Christians it would have its effect upon the children who are under the age of accountability. According to this interpretation, babies of believers who are raptured will also be gone when Jesus comes.
Who, then, will be raptured when Jesus comes?
The Rev. Basil G. Mowell, writing in the PROPHETIC WITNESS says: "Some believe that all who profess to be Christians will be taken. But our Lord's parable of the wise and foolish virgins who all went out to meet the bride- groom contradicts such an opinion."
Continues Rev. Mowell, "Religion and church-going may mean Christian profession, but if we do not possess the oil of God's Holy Spirit, we shall not he taken to the marriage feast when our Lord comes, hut will surely he left behind to face the day of God's wrath on the nations of the world."
Mowell goes on to explain from the Scriptures who will he taken when our Lord appears in the air.
1. Our Lord will come for those who belong to Him. In speaking of the order of the resurrection, Paul writes: "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." (I Cor. 15:23)
Thus, our Lord is coming for those who are redeemed by His precious blood and have their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Only those who have been cleansed from sin will enter Heaven.
2. He is coming for those who are looking for Him. Hebrews 9:28 reminds us: "Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
There seem to he many Christians who are not looking for our Lord to come. However, for those of us who are ready to meet our Saviour, the thought of rapture is our "blessed hope." In view of the fact of Christ's coming, we are told to comfort one another with these words." (I Thess. 4:18)
3. Jesus is coming for those who are living lives of watchfulness and perseverance. How often our Lord commanded His disciples, saying: "Watch: for you know not when the Master of the house comes .... lest coming suddenly He finds you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!" (Mark 13:35-37) Again He urges, saying: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36)
Our Lord is very insistent that this should be our attitude of watchfulness in order to be ready for His coming.
Billy Graham writes: "We do not know the exact time when Jesus Christ will come; but we are to be on the alert. You may be among the many thousands who at this moment are not ready. You have never received Christ. Your heart is not cleansed of sin. You're not ready to meet God. I beg of you to make ready now."
One young man related how when he was a boy he thought of Christ's Return as signaled by the sound of a heavenly trumpet and the voice of the archangel. At the time, he wasn't a Christian and he thought, "That will give me just enough time to pray the sinner's prayer and get saved." Later, however, he read where our Lord's coming will take place "in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye." He decided it would be too late then to get right with God, and made his decision at once for Christ.
Carl Richardson, in admonishing listeners of the "Forward in Faith" program, warns: "Don't wait until the Church disappears. Come now. Pray where you are. Make things right between you and God. Confess your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus. Welcome Him into your heart and prepare to go with the Church."
Indeed, in the words of Jesus, we would declare: "Be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour that ye think not, the Son of man cometh."
How Many Will Be Raptured When Jesus Comes?
By Ray Brubaker
Not only are there questions as to WHEN our Lord will appear for His own, but also for WHOM He will be coming for. Would He come for all believers regardless of their state of readiness?
As Oliver Boyt asks: "How can we distinguish between those who will be translated at the Rapture, and those who will be left behind for the tribulation?" (PROPHETIC WITNESS)
He notes in the words of Jesus, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father." (Matt. 7:21)
Other Scriptures quoted by Jesus should cause us to examine our position as concerns the rapture question. May we not be taken in by any teaching that is simply recognized as the "popular" belief, for there are those who would tickle our ears by asserting all will be raptured when Jesus comes regardless of the life they are found to be living. As some prophetic writers assert - when Jesus comes, some will arise from the tavern and some from the theater and we will proceed to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Knowing nothing enters Heaven that defiles, there are other Bible teachers who tell us the saints will stop midway to be judged and then will continue on their journey to the time of feasting with their Lord.
We are shocked with such interpretations of the Word, for they do grave injustice to the Scriptures and give many a false security.
Rather, we believe the Word of God teaches us that there is escape from coming events described as the Great Tribulation, providing we are found worthy by watchfulness and prayerfulness and conditioned upon our being children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
And as to the time of judgment, we are convinced that when our Lord suddenly appears at the rapture, He will judge immediately those who are ready to meet Him and ascend with Him back to Heaven. Any future judgment and time of rewards will await the setting up of the kingdom according to Rev. 11:18.
In seeking to answer the question - How many will be raptured when Jesus comes? - we would do well to review some of the types from the Old Testament.
First, let's consider the children of Israel as they cross the Red Sea and head toward the promised land. Of the two million who wandered in the wilderness, only two made it to Ganaan - Joshua and Galeb, The writer of the Hebrews warns us that it was on account of sin that many died instead of achieving the promise. We read: "With whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
Again, during the days of the flood there were only seven saved as they rode above the waters in an ark, while the majority of that antediluvian civilization died in the flood,
The Scripture does not conclude that those who died were unbelievers but rather that they were "disobedient." We're also told that when Jesus died, He went and preached unto the spirits of chose who died in the flood. And the reason given was that they "might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (I Pet. 3:19; 4;6)
What about Lot who was saved out of Sodom? Did not he and his family escape the holocaust of fire and brimstone that destroyed the city? While he obeyed the voice of God to flee to the mountains, his sons-in-law scoffed at him, and his wife looked back when commanded not to do so. Thus our Lord reminds us, "Remember Lot's wife" to indicate that it is possible to escape the wrath of God but to suffer physical death in the process.
What about Elijah? Could he be a type of the rapture? Why was he taken in a chariot of fire while there were at least 7,000 prophets who had not bowed the knee to Baal?
What about Enoch? Why was he selected to be taken and others left behind? Remember it was Enoch who prophesied the number of those who would be coming with our Lord when He is seen returning to this earth. He prophesied, saying: "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints..." Jude 14. If "millions" are to be missing, why didn't Enoch write: "Behold the Lord cometh with millions of his saints"?
We don't want anyone to have a wrong conception concerning the rapture. We believe all can be ready for this glorious event. On the other hand, to assure sinful saints and disobedient disciples that they, too, will be included in the rapture would be giving a false hope for the blessed hope.
Did not our Lord remind us of the time when He will return, saying: "I tell you in that night there shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two shall be grinding together, the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left." (Luke 17: 34-36)
As we understand it, these were two of the same kind. From outward observation both should have been taken. But our Lord, who knows the heart and sees with penetrating eyes of fire, discerns only one ready while the other is left behind.
To sum up our message, we would be reminded of our Lord's words, "Many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 20:16, 22: 14)
Dwight Sylvester, Jr. writes: "The called and the chosen... there is a difference; but the distinction we make here is not between the saved and the unsaved but among the household of faith..." He notes: "To be chosen of God means not only to confess Jesus as Saviour, but to allow Him to become Lord and Master of our life."
When our Lord is seen coming from Heaven leading a procession on white horses, we read concerning these saints that they are "called, chosen and faithful." (Rev. 17:14)
We might ask - do we qualify to be in that army? The "called" may very well represent all who are "invited" to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord, for that is the meaning of the Greek word, 'kletos."
The "chosen" are those whom God has selected to represent Him as was the Apostle Paul, described as a "chosen" vessel. (Acts 9:15) However, in a sense all believers are a "chosen" generation, and "chosen of God." (2 Pet. 2:4 & 9)
The "faithful" are those who are trustworthy and reliable when given responsibility. As in the case of the servants to whom were given talents depending on their investments, they were praised as "good and faithful" servants.
Again we ask - when the Lord comes, will we be among the "called, chosen and faithful" ?
Peter writes: 'Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:" (2 Pet. 1:10) He speaks of the possibility of gaining an abundant entrance into the kingdom. He urges those recipients of the divine nature to add to their "faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." This is the abundant life that we can select or reject.
Paul also admonishes us to such spiritual goals as to be found worthy of our Lord's commendation and approval. Says Paul: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded." (Philipplans 3:14-15)
Beloved, whatever our calling, let us be at our best for Christ. It will surely be worth His commendation of 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Even now, let us establish goals and objectives, knowing we are saved by grace but rewarded for our faithfulness. May we watch and pray always that we may escape the things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man. And may we be ready, for in such an hour as we think not, the Son of man cometh.
Is The Rapture the Reward of Readiness?
By Ray Brubaker
For the first time in the history of the Miss America contest the reigning title holder, Vanessa Williams, was forced to resign. Pictures she had taken before aspiring to the title were used by PENTHOUSE magazine which led to her forced resignation.
Bert Parks, who hosted the Miss America pageant for 25 years, said he was saddened by the whole episode. He noted, "Miss America ... is the greatest Cinderella story in the United States, and something came along to destroy that, it's sad!"
While not desirous of commenting on the rightness or wrongness of beauty contests, we might suggest the Scripture comes into focus where mention is made of those who "worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator." (Romans 1:25)
God is the creator. And He is to be worshipped for even the beauty evidenced in His creation, which would indicate He does all things well.
Rather, what we wish to comment on is the fact that there are standards to uphold which were not upheld and, as a result a crown was lost.
Perhaps we could have used other illustrations of Olympic sports figures, for example, who were found to have drugs in their systems who also lost their crowns.
But we wish to call attention to the Scripture that reminds us of the danger that might come to us as believers of losing our crown. Have you ever stopped to think of that?
Specifically we refer to Rev. 3:11 where we read: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast that no man take thy crown!" What possibility is there that we may lose our crown? We will not lose our salvation if we are truly born again, but we may lose our crown.
In 2 John 8 we read: "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward."
The Bible teaches that there are crowns and rewards to the faithful. And there is retribution to the unfaithful.
In the parable of the talents, those who invested their Lord's money were rewarded with the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." When we serve the Lord, and give Him our best, it will be joy when our Lord comes.
However, to the man who buried his talent we read where his lord says, "Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury." And the unfaithful servant is cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Think of it!
We think of our talents as abilities which we all possess. Some have the ability to teach, others to give special counsel, while others possess a gift of speech or musical ability. Talents here, however, refer to money. And, if this parable teaches us anything, it reminds us that when our Lord comes, depending on how we use our money, He will reward us.
It will be worth it all to stand in the presence of the Lord at His coming, knowing we gave to support the Gospel, helped the poor and the widow, and shared with our brother who was in need.
At Pentecost it was said of the early Christians that of the things they possessed they did not consider them their own but had all things common. Is that not God's norm for the carrying on of His work?
I'm afraid our standards today are quite different. We have the impression that God blesses us and wants us to have a large bank account and vast estate and that will honor Him. No, my friends. Rather, only as what we have and use it for the expansion of His kingdom will God's work prosper and we will be blessed and rewarded at our Lord's Re- turn.
On the other hand, could it be that failure to invest our talents (money) means we will be "cast into outer darkness"?
Outer darkness relates to the realm of Satan. It must be realized that when Jesus comes and raptures the saints, this world will be turned over to Satan. For a brief time his henchman, the antichrist, will rule this world. Satan once offered Jesus this right to rule the world if He would only worship him. Well, during the tribulation the world will worship a man. Satan will be cast down upon the earth. And the Bible says, "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth in that day." Did you hear it?
If you believe going through the tribulation will be a picnic, you do not have a correct understanding of the purpose of the tribulation. In Revelation it is called "the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Rev. 3:10)
It would appear that at the end of this age God allows a testing time to come to those who, for one reason or another, are not ready for the rapture. They will go through the tribulation. They will either take the mark of the beast or they will have to hold to their faith in Jesus Christ in the midst of all kinds of persecution, torture, and even death.
God uses suffering amidst persecution to perfect the faith of His children. As Peter says, "He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin." (1 Pet. 4:1)
Again Peter reminds us, "The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 1:7)
In Revelation 5:9-10 we see those who sing unto the Lord, saying "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign upon the earth."
This, we believe, represents the raptured crowd--the overcomers, the faithful, those who invested their talents and are rewarded as being rulers over cities or possessions.
Then we see a second group of those who were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony they held. We read, "White robes were given unto every one of them." Could this indicate there are those who will be left behind, possibly sons and daughters, who heard their parents say that if they did not receive the Lord, they would be left behind to go through the tribulation? If they were to believe and refuse to worship Satan, they could be saved. White robes represent the righteousness of Christ freely bestowed upon all who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some have the mistaken belief that when the Lord comes, there will be no more opportunity to be saved. However, Peter at Pentecost declares there is a day coming when the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord comes: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!" (Act 2:21)
Now this does not mean you should take a chance and put off your salvation. If you do not receive Christ now, when it is popular to be a Christian, don't take your chance and be left behind, thinking you can become a believer then.
Daniel comments on this coming tribulation. He also refers to it as a purging time. Notice what we read: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."
As it will be wise virgins that will be ready to meet the coming bridegroom, it is the wise today who know what we are saying--that many will be left behind at the rapture and will go through the tribulation because they were not ready to meet the Lord.
That's why on every broadcast we sound forth the message, "Be ye therefore ready!" That doesn't mean simply to believe on the Lord and live your own life. Rather, it means accept Christ and then live for Him. Do His will. Obey His Word. Give to His work. Be a faithful servant.
In Revelation, concerning those seen coming from heaven on white horses with our Lord Jesus Christ. it is said of them, they are "called, chosen and faithful."
Can you say you are among the "called, chosen and faithful"? Jesus said, "Many are called, but few are chosen." We are also told to make our calling and election sure and an abundant entrance will be given into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
It's not just calling ourselves Christians. The Laodiceans were Christians. But they were lukewarm Christians. And they are spued out. This doesn't mean there was no more salvation. Rather, they are told to buy gold tried in the fire, meaning there would be the purging and purifying of faith to gain the white robes, for many were never saved in the first place. It was all profession and not possession.
The Bible indicates that before the Lord comes, there will be a great revival in the earth. That revival is the result of preaching this message that many who profess to be Christians will be left behind to go through the tribulation. As the unfaithful servant was left to outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, many will be unprepared when Jesus comes and they will cry out each day, "Why didn't I live for Christ? .... Why was I left behind?"
There will be churches filled with people studying the Scriptures to discover why they were left behind. And they will find that if they live for the Lord every day amidst great persecution and do not deny their faith or surrender to Antichrist, they can be saved. However, it must be remembered in that day that you can't buy or sell unless you identify with the Antichrist world system.
So the only way you can stay alive is to have some reserve food on hand, be near a water supply, and hope not to be discovered. As Christians housed the Jews in the holocaust, there will be neighbors who will take Christians under their wings and see that they get something to eat rather than for them to starve. It's that kind of a day that is ahead.
Again we declare unto you the Word of the Lord that many will miss the rapture who thought they would make it!
Two will be in the field, one taken the other left. The Greek might indicate, "two of the same kind." They both should have gone when the Lord comes, but one is left behind and the other taken.
Our Lord warns us not to be like the servant who says in his heart, "My lord delayeth his coming," and begins to live carelessly. Said Jesus, "The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."
Here is a servant looking for his lord to come. But because he was not ready, he was "cut in sunder," or as the Greek says, "cut off," and left behind with unbelievers. Here is a believer of a sort left behind with unbelievers.
Now you hear the argument that we are the bride of Christ and when the Lord comes, He won't just rapture the head and leave behind the body.
Well, there's coming a time when that bride will be complete but not until she is without spot and blemish. God must have a pure bride. So if you are looking for the coming of the Lord, the Bible says; He that hath this hope purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
If you are living in sin, you're not ready for the rapture. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
To be continued........
While it is true that God hath not appointed us to wrath, it is also true that on account of uncleanness the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience, and we're warned, "Be not partakers with them."
Listen again to what Jesus says. Here is a parallel passage to Matt. 25 where ten virgins were all waiting for the coming bridegroom. But you know how half of them were left behind. They had gone seeking oil, and while they were gone, the bridegroom came.
Beloved, be sure you have the oil of the Holy Spirit. If you have never surrendered wholly and fully to Jesus Christ, do it now. "No man can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Ghost!" To be ready for the rapture. Jesus needs to be your Lord.
Now here in Luke 12 we read, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately."
In Matthew 25 we have ten virgins waiting to go to the wedding. Here we are told what happened apparently to those who missed the wedding. They are told now to be ready when our Lord comes back from the wedding.
Then our Lord gives the illustration which reminds us that we are a part of the household of faith. He doesn't use the symbolism of a bride here as Paul does in Ephesians. Listen to what He says:
"Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."
Now notice the two times of His coming--at the rapture and then at the revelation.
We read: "And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."
Did you hear it?
The evidence is that the house will be broken through when Jesus comes. If ministers of the Gospel would be faithful in warning their congregations, they would not find many of their number left behind.
Today we have a cheap grace proclaimed that, regardless how you live, if you profess to be saved, you are ready for the rapture.
Hear me, beloved. This is not what the Apostle Paul preached. He declared the rapture to be a reward to which all should persevere to obtain. Now he did not use the word "rapture," but listen closely and you'll see what I mean.
First of all, let me make it clear to you that what the Bible calls the first resurrection takes place at the end of the tribulation. Strangely enough, the only ones seen resurrected are those who died during the tribulation, which would have to indicate there was a rapture before the tribulation.
In Rev. 20:4 we read where John says, "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.. ." We then read: "This is the first resurrection."
Now I want you to know that I am not looking forward to that first resurrection. The great number of saints will be in that first resurrection and not in the rapture. That is why it is called THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
On the other hand, the Apostle Paul writes in Phil. 3 of not having his own righteousness but the righteousness of Jesus Christ which is of God by faith, "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
Was the Apostle Paul questioning that he might not make the resurrection?
No. Here you must understand the Greek, for what Paul was saying was that he "might attain unto the resurrection out from among the dead."
At the time of rapture there will be a selecting out from among the dead those who will be raptured to attend the time of feasting called the marriage supper of the Lamb. That's why we are told, "Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." And we're reminded, "H is wife hath made herself ready!" If you' re looking for the rapture, you will have to get ready for it.
Notice again what Paul writes, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after.. . Christ." This is what God wants to see. He wants to see our heart attitude bent on serving Him. David was a man after God's own heart. He sinned grievously, but in his heart he repented and always wanted to live for God. So Paul says that he hasn't yet attained this goal - he hasn't arrived. But this is his bold objective. Do you see it?
Hear him as he says: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
The "high calling" is better translated "upward calling." It is a prize to be gained to be caught upward when Jesus comes--when the dead in Christ rise first, and we who are alive and remain are caught up to be with our Blessed Lord." Hallelujah.
Paul says this is a prize to which he presses. So we believe the rapture to be a reward.
Notice, he admonishes, "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Phil. 3:9-15)
Today there is a lot of confusion as to whether the church will go through the tribulation. God promises that if we have a desire to be ready for the coming of the Lord, He will not only get us ready, revealing these truths to us from His Word, but keep us ready by the power of H is indwelling Holy Spirit.
I believe if we will walk in the light of His Word and in obedience to His will, the blood of Jesus Christ covers and cleanses us and keeps us ready for His coming.
In I Thes. 5:23-24 we read, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"
That's a big assignment. That means the God who will miraculously transform your physical body into the likeness of Christ' s glorified body can preserve you now. That means money you give to the hospital can go to help reach the lost.
You say--you mean God can preserve me---spirit, soul and body?
Indeed He can and He will if you will let Him. The next verse reads: "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it!"
God, who calls you to be ready for the rapture, says He will do it He will get you ready and keep you ready. All it takes is your willingness to follow the formula that He has laid out in His Word, which we have given to you today.
And your spirit will bear witness to the truth, because this is God's revelation concerning the need of readiness for the rapture which we believe is one of the rewards at Christ's coming.
Finally, if you have a question as to who will be left behind to go through the tribulation, turn to Rev. 7.
We said there were four groups pictured here--those who are raptured who reign with Christ as kings and priests, a select company. Then there are those who die for their faith and the Word of God and are given white robes signifying they are saved during the tribulation but are martyred. Thirdly, mention is made of the 144,000 who are the sealed of Israel, the remnant that will turn to Christ their Messiah and receive the Holy Ghost with the seal of God in their foreheads.
Now, I want you to notice the fourth group. John writes, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands."
Verse 13, "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?"
In consternation he wonders, who is this great multitude which no man could number? He had seen the raptured saints, the martyred who were given white robes, and the remnant of Israel. So he inquires, who are these?
Notice the answer. We read, "And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Do you see it?
Here is a great multitude which misses the rapture. They go through the tribulation (the great one) GREEK; and amidst the purging, purifying fires they are found washing their robes. They are not given robes, as that would speak of salvation. They already had robes, but their robes were defiled, spotted, and in need of cleansing by the blood of the Lamb. In the midst of tribulation they come clean.
Beloved, hear me. Now is the time to come clean, to separate from the world, to turn from sin, to be made pure and holy.
When the Lord comes, He is coming for H is saints. The word "saint" in the Greek is the same word for a sanctified person, who is separated unto God, a holy person. That's why we're told to follow peace and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.
To sum up, let me read from G. Campbell Morgan who says: "Personally, I am convinced that not all Christian people will be taken to be with Christ on His Return, but only those who by the attitude of their lives are ready for his appearance."
Today's message is one that needs to be preached in every evangelical church in America. Too long have we been under the delusion that it doesn't matter how we live so long as we profess faith in Christ. We're cautioned lest what we do be seen as works, and reminded that works do not save us.
The truth is, we are saved by grace through faith, and not of works. But when our Lord comes, He says He will reward every man according to his works. And He doesn't see us as saved and unsaved. Rather, He divided humanity into four divisions--"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly;, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.. . And be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."