Originally Posted by C. Knapp

Does Scripture Teach a Partial Rapture?

By C. Knapp

Diverse and strange doctrines more and more abound in these days. It seems that Satan in matchless cunning, has taken special pains to link many of these to the truth of the second coming of Christ, either to bring that precious doctrine into disrepute, or to mystify and confuse honest souls, to rob them of the comfort and blessing which God intends we should derive from the "looking for that blessed hope."

One of these strange doctrines is that only a part of the Church will be caught up at the coming of Christ, and the rest left behind to pass through "the great tribulation." It is called the "Partial Rapture."

That this teaching is both unscriptural and pernicious we shall show from Scripture; for the word of God is so clear and concise on the subject that any attentive reader should know just who will be caught up when the assembling shout is heard.
Technically, that is not correct. Under Partial Rapture after the first rapture takes place and the Tribulation ensues, the general rapture and resurrection will not take place at the end of the 7 year Tribulation, but before the 7th trumpet. The 7th trumpet contains the 7 bowls of wrath. Christians are not appointed unto wrath. The only reason this is strange to you is because the flesh has crept in, not reading plain verses such as Matt. 24.40-42, Luke 21.36 and Rev. 3.10 as conditional statements. The Great Tribulation is itself 42 months and contains 3 trumpets. The first trumpet is 5 months, the 2nd trumpet is 13 months, and the 7th trumpet is 42 months. The general rapture and resurrection according to completion is just before the 24 months of the 7th trumpet.

it is not correct to say you know who will be raptured at the first rapture. For example, I am a Christian, but I willingly accept the fact that if I am not ready to be received at the first rapture then I shall pass through the Tribulation to either be martyred-raptured 3.5 days after I go to rest-or wait to be raptured and/or resurrected at the start of the last trumpet (1 Thess. 4.14-18, Rev. 11.15, 15.2-4). This is the proper attitude to take. If you assume too much then you will falsely accuse Christians. For example, if you believe in pretrib rapture onlyism, yet are not included in the first rapture, you will accuse the brethren day and night (Rev. 12.10). The same would be for posttrib onlyists also. This is the problem of overassuming as it leads to acting like the great accuser.

Let us turn to a few scriptures showing beyond doubt for whom Christ is coming. "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14: 3). Has our Lord in view a special class among believers here? Did He say, Some of you — those who shall be on the lookout for Me? Those of you who shall be in a suitable condition of soul? Or, those who have attained to a certain degree of knowledge or holiness? No, He includes them all, "you," "ye," with no added condition; and what He said to them He says to us all. (See Mark 13: 37.)
Distinguish between His coming over the 7 years as opposed to one moment in time. First Jesus meets His overcomers who are alive at the first rapture "before the throne" (Rev. 7.9) in 3rd heaven. Then He comes on the clouds then through the clouds and finally meets the saints in the air at the start of the last trumpet. Then from there He returns with 10,000 of His overcomer believers (Jude 14,15) 24 months after that. The mansion with many rooms ultimately points to eternity future in the New City that commences after the millennial kingdom.

Take again that well-known passage, 1 Thess. 4: 13-18: the pronoun "we" there is found five times; and four times out of the five it undoubtedly means all the Thessalonian saints, as well as the apostle, with Sylvanus and Timotheus his companions. The one exception is: "This we say unto you by the word of the Lord," etc. (ver. 15), which means, of course, Paul and his companions. The others are as follows: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
There are two key words in this passage: those who are "alive" and "left". Watchman Nee explains better than anyone,

Some argue that according to I Thessalonians 4.15, the living “shall in no wise precede them who are fallen asleep” -The dead are resurrected at the seventh trumpet; and so timewise, rapture occurs after [or near the end of] the Tribulation. Now if there is a first rapture, it will have to take place before the resurrection of the dead. But since this verse distinctly says “shall in no wise,” how then can rapture take place twice? Let me say in reply that it is most precious and significant to find in both verse 15 and verse 17 the qualifying clauses “we that are alive, that are left” - Now to be alive is obviously to be left on earth; why, then, is there this apparent unnecessary repetition? Because it implies that there are people who though alive yet have already gone ahead (that is, raptured) and therefore are no longer left on earth. Would Paul enlist himself among this class of people who are alive and are left? Not at all. He uses the word “we” only because he is speaking at that moment of writing, and the proof of this is that since Paul no longer lives today, he cannot be numbered among those who are left on earth.... One group of believers will be raptured before the Tribulation while another group of believers will go through the Tribulation and be raptured afterwards [at the start of the 7th trumpet].

So it reads: "If we believe"; "we which are alive and remain" (twice repeated); "so shall we ever be with the Lord." Is "we" a special class here — some particularly holy ones among the Thessalonian believers, those reckoned "overcomers" only, the most devoted from among them? Or does it mean all the Thessalonians? All of them, most assuredly — everyone is included in the "if we believe," etc., all who believed in the death and resurrection of Christ for their sins and justification.

And have the terms been changed since? Has a divine decree gone forth that faith in Christ is no more the only ground and condition of acceptance — that something more is required for fitness for His presence, or another title to glory than His precious blood, shed upon the cross?
Again, Watchman Nee writes,

Others object that rapture is part of redemption, that since redemption is according to grace, rapture cannot be based on the concept of worthiness. In reply, it needs to be pointed out that while the act of changing (see 1 Cor. 15.51-52) is indeed according to grace, the act of being taken (rapture) is according to works.

Look at 1 Thessalonians 2: 19, 20: "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy." "Ye"; to whom does he refer — a class among believers, those of special merit, of peculiar holiness or extraordinary devotedness? or does the apostle mean all to whom the epistle is addressed, "the church of the Thessalonians"? There can be but one answer: he means them all, every one who by God's grace had "turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven."
Again, this coming of the Lord is across the 7 year period of Daniel's final seven. His parousia extends from the first rapture to the throne according to readiness, then on the clouds, then through the clouds, then meeting the saints in the air, then returning with some believers (overcomers), to reigning with them over the nations 1000 years; afterwards is the New City and New Earth.

And were all these Thessalonian saints serving the living and true God with equal or adequate devotedness and zeal? We have but to read the second epistle addressed to the same company, and written but a few weeks after the first, and see that some were "disorderly, working not at all, busy bodies" (2 Thess. 3 : 11). Is there any hint or threat (open or veiled) that some of these might be left behind at the rapture? Not the slightest. And surely this would be the place to indicate a segregation of believers if something in them were to prevent a part of them from being "caught up" at the coming of the Lord. But the apostle hints at nothing of the kind, for he knows, as he elsewhere taught, that at Christ's coming all His own shall be "caught up together," and that grace, the grace that saved, is the ground of it, and the blood that atones for sin is the only and all-sufficient title to share in that glorious event for which he encouraged all believers everywhere to look.
I don't think you can insist that the partial rapture be discussed all the time. Paul, Mark, Matthew and Luke talk about partial rapture enough in other instances to warrant your consideration. You can't use the argument from silence for a particular paragraph or chapter when the subject is adequately covered elsewhere. Allow them to talk about second coming of Jesus without demanding God also having to talk about the partial rapture in the same setting.

Again, look at 1 Cor. 15: 51, 52, where we have three times the first personal pronoun "we." "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." To whom do these "we" refer — to some, or to all of them? To all, unquestionably. And if a Christian's conduct could affect his title to have part in; the rapture, this would be the most suitable occasion to teach it; for these Corinthians, as the apostle says elsewhere, were indeed carnal; schismatic; glorying in men; were exalting human wisdom, yet babes in Christ; going to law one with another. Yea, "Ye do wrong, and defraud," he says, "and that your brethren." Some of them misconducted themselves at the Lord's supper, eating and drinking of the eucharist unworthily, and bringing upon themselves the just chastisement of the Lord. Yet in no wise did the apostle suggest that any really converted person among them might miss being taken at the rapture. No, without any qualification he says, "We (the living) shall be changed."
Watchman Nee provided the most satisfying response,

Since in 1 Cor. 15:50-52 (“We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed”) “all” is the word used, surely this signifies the whole body. Yes, the “all” here does indeed refer to the entire body, but it does not have reference to the same time. For example, we all will die, but certainly not all of us will do so in one day.

And another thing: What gives the saint fallen asleep in Jesus title to have part in the first resurrection? Is it his conduct while living on earth, or was it through grace? Through grace alone, most certainly. And is it not just the same with those who shall be changed as with the dead who shall be raised incorruptible? Were not some of them very deficient in their conduct while upon earth? Yet they shall not be left in their graves at the "resurrection of life" any more than the living believer be left behind at "the coming of the Lord. The two events, "the resurrection of the just" and the translation of the saints, occur at the some moment, and the title to either rests on the same basis — on "the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanseth us from all sin."
You're using the term "first resurrection" improperly. First resurrection does not indicate the resurrection of all the saints, but to the "best" resurrection. In Rev. 20 we are shown who is in the first resurrection-those in Rev. 20.4 which not all believers fit into those three categories. The first resurrection, therefore, will reign as kings and priests. Non-overcomers will lose this reward. Do not confuse the first rapture with the first resurrection either. While those in the first rapture are certainly included in the first resurrection, not everyone in the first resurrection are included in the first rapture, since not everyone in the first resurrection is alive at the time of the first rapture. First resurrection requires God's saving grace, but it also requires the believer not remain a carnal Christian. All Christians shall be resurrected and/or raptured, but not all Christians are included in the first resurrection reward of reigning with Christ during the 1000 years. This is accountability for believers.

And on what does this teaching base the idea that only a part of the company of the redeemed shall go to glory at the coming of the Lord? On two things, principally: First, on a misapprehension of the gospel — failing to see that the sinner's real title to anything pertaining to heaven, or spiritual favor, rests upon grace. Second, in spiritual pride — in the vain conceit that some superior devotion to Christ secures a better claim to the "blessed hope," which less holy or spiritual fellow-Christians fail to attain.
Watchman Nee said,

There is a distinction made in the Bible between wheat and tares, some say, but no difference made between wheat and wheat; consequently, all wheat must be raptured. In reply, it should be noted that the times of ripening for wheat are not the same. Thus there are the firstfruits and the later harvest [cf. Rev. 14.1-5 with 14.14-16].

Hence, there is a failing to see that salvation is according to redemption and rapture is according to readiness. Second, there is a spiritual slothfulness that comes with being antinomian that it doesn't matter how carnal a Christian is, there is no repercussions. But we all know there are repercussions: namely, not keeping the word of His patience (Rev. 3.10), not being watchful (Matt. 24.40-42) and not being prayerful (Luke 21.36). Thus such ones will not escape the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole world. They will not be received "before the throne" (Rev. 7.9) before the trumpets of the Tribulation (8.7ff). As the Smyrna church was greatly persecuted and martyred and Christians during the Neronian persecutions, so shall Church be martyred during the Tribulation.

How can there be pride in partial rapture if nobody knows if they are included in the first rapture, but the decision is left up to God? Not knowing for sure, one is prone to work out their salvation more vigilantly. But there is vain conceit and superior devotion attached to thinking you will be raptured before the Tribulation either way, or by thinking you will be raptured at the end of the Tribulation without consequences even though you were as carnal a Christian can be. There is the additional problem of accusing the brethren day and night if a couple million souls have vanished and you were not included; naturally, by not believing in partial rapture, you will accuse the brethren day and night. Whereas a partial rapture believer will accept the conclusion he simply was not yet ready to be received at the first rapture. This takes humility.

Now as to the first, What is the ground of our entering glory at any time before or since the Cross, at death now, or at the coming of the Lord by and by? The ground is grace, redeeming grace alone. It is not, it could not be, any merit of our own, for this would cloud the gospel and contradict the written word of God. The Thessalonian converts were instructed to wait for God's Son from heaven, with never a question as to any superior claim to be among those translated at that happy moment. The youngest convert's reason for expecting Christ to come for him is the same message of God's grace that came to him as a sinner, and told him also of his Saviour's coming again — and for whom? Why, for all who receive that message, "The gospel of our salvation." Has the youngest believer any less claim than "such an one as Paul the aged?" Or any more than the Corinthian or the Thessalonians? All alike are partakers of that "heavenly calling," and shall share alike in the fulfilment of "that blessed hope." If being caught up to meet the Lord in the air depends on the believer's state of soul or conduct, it brings us back to our own merits, instead of the grace of God and the love of Christ.
Paul was not hoping he would be included in the resurrection and rapture at the last trumpet. Not at all. For he knew he was saved and this salvation could never depart from him. Surely he would be included in the rapture and resurrection. What he was hoping for was to be included in the first rapture if he overcame and the first resurrection reign. In each of the 7 churches in Rev. 2 & 3, believers are told to overcometh to receive their reward. And Rev. 3.10 gets into the first rapture according to readiness which is clearly a conditional statement. Paul is not producing a superior claim but he is a partial rapture believer, striving to be included in the first rapture and the first resurrection reign. With the hope of seeing Christ is the hope of being raptured first and not go through the time of testing. What is to test anyway in an overcomer? He is ready to ascend when parousia commences. All those who are saved partake in the heavenly calling, but sad to say, many live as though they are like non-Christians. Thus, they shall lose their reward, but will not be excluded from the blessed hope of being pillars of the New City in eternity future after the 1000 years

Being caught up to the air is the general rapture and resurrection at the last trumpet. This resurrection and rapture at the last trumpet is not based on overcoming, but on being saved, since all believers are raptured, so it is according to completion. Rather, it is the first rapture that depends upon the state of one's spirit, soul and body and conduct (see Matt. 5-7). We are a temple.

But what says the Word? "They that are Christ's at His coming." Yes; they are Christ's; this is the only reason they have part in the first resurrection; and this is just why you and I, beloved fellow-believer, are going to be caught up at the same glad moment — "because we belong to Christ!" And we are His, not by any thing of ourselves, but by Christ's redemption, and that alone. Are you Christ's? Then be assured you will have part in this "blessed hope;" for, as with those who have died in Christ, so shall it be with those alive in Him — "They that are Christ's at His coming" (1 Cor. 15 : 23).
Since not all believers are included in the first resurrection, it stands to reason to be included in such is dependent on more than just saving grace. Likewise, first rapture is dependent on more than just being saved. Being saved enters you into the race. There is no need to be legalistic about the parousia over the 7 year period having to accur in an instant. The parousia of Christ spans the 7 year period. Firstly, "before the throne" (Rev. 7.9) then later at His coming (1 Cor. 15.23) in Rev. 19.11-16. Watchman Nee wrote,

Other proofs as follows:

(1) By reading Matthew 24.42 together with 1 Thessalonians 5.2, 4, it is evident that there are at least two raptures: for note that the first passage suggests rapture before the Tribulation because one must be watchful since he does not know when his Lord will come; while the second passage suggests rapture after the Tribulation because one knows when the day of the Lord shall come.
(2) The places to be raptured towards are also different. Whereas Revelation 7.15 mentions to “the throne of God” and Luke 21.36 mentions “to stand before the Son of man”, 1 Thessalonians 4.17 says that it is to “the air” – Such distinctions would thus indicate that the entire body of believers is not raptured all at one time.
(3) Mark 13 states, “But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (v.32), So that the day of the coming of Christ is unknown. But 1 Thessalonians 4 declares that “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (v.16). From this second passage we know that the appearing of Christ is after the sounding of the seventh trumpet. And hence the first passage relates to pre-tribulation rapture while the second relates to post-tribulation rapture.

As for the second reason of this error (some distinctive or superior worthiness in a believer), who or what am I to expect to have any part in the rapture, if it depended upon anything in me or in my walk? Did not our Lord teach His disciples to confess themselves "unprofitable servants" (Luke 17: 10)? And does not James tell us that "in many things we all offend" (James 3: 2)? And did not the great apostle Paul confess himself "less than the least of all saints" (Eph. 3: 8)? In view of this, who could expect anything else than to be of those "left" at Christ's coming, if it is any question of personal fitness or attainment of holiness? And more: who could tell me, or by what means might I know when I had attained to the degree of holiness, devotedness, or growth in grace (whichever it is), to warrant me to expect to have part in the rapture — if it is conditional upon something else than a simple faith in the work and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ? By what measure would the teachers of this strange doctrine mete to me or to themselves a decision in the matter? If their teaching be true as to the translation of select saints alone, we would have to cry out with the aged Samuel Johnson, in reference to justification, "Who can tell me when I have done enough!"
Looking in upon oneself by definition is not looking to Christ. Only by looking to Christ can a Christian overcometh. There is no superiority in singleness of heart on Christ but there is introverting in on oneself because you are placing your own concerns above Christ. Like all things, you can twist and misperceive the reality of a thing. If you believed you could know with certainty you are included in the first rapture then you fall short of the glory of God because the condition can not be so certain that you have attained that position. First rapture is conditional. Sure, you can be prayerful and watchful and keep the word of His patience, but in your own estimation are you really doing so? This is why the first rapture is God's decision and we just wait the verdict. This is why Paul sought after it, but could not be sure about it. Let us be consistent with Paul's practice. We can be confident of being born-again, but not so confident of meeting God's estimation of what is needed to be included in the first rapture and first resurrection. We may be approved today, but tomorrow not.

Receiving the forgiveness of sins is a one-time certainty and our power over sinfulness should be easily achievable for we who are in Christ have died with Him so we can easily put to nought the deeds of the flesh. But the matter of carrying our own cross and taking up our own cross daily is a life long affair as long as we are in these bodies of flesh and blood. So let us trust God's word there will be some in the first rapture so strive to be included. The Christian has done enough to be saved, for he or she has has repented to the cross as a helpless sinner and receive the Lord Jesus as Savior. We are saved by grace through genuine faith we can all freely obtain from God. Yet this believer is still a babe in Christ. All he can take in is milk. There is yet much to do and overcometh still. We don't just close up shop after were are saved, but we appropriate God's word in our lives to seek to overcometh to be included in the first rapture as well a the first resurrection. You wouldn't want it any other way. In fact, pride and self-exalation are the consequence of being antinomian: resting on one's laurels of being saved yet remaining a carnal Christian. That will never do.

And the teachers of this partial rapture theory, do not they expect to be "caught up" when Christ comes? If so, what does this argue? Just this, that they are self-righteous; that they consider themselves superior to other believers. If I know myself at all — my many failures, my treacherous heart, my utter unworthiness — can I claim the right to anything but that of confessing myself a sinner saved by grace?
The question was put, do I expect to be caught up at the first rapture? As repeated several times already, I have no expectations. All is in God's hands. It is my desire and goal to be included, but I could yet fall short. This takes humility to accept. I would feel superior to others if like pretrib onlyists I was included no matter what or if I was a posttrib onlyists and laid on a bed of fornication to be raptured yet without consequence. That is a failing theology. Watchman Nee said it best,

Some observers ask, is it not rather cruel to take away hope from the church? To which we must answer that in the Scriptures there is no such false hope given; and therefore it is better to alert people to this fact.

Yes, reader, you may be sure there is a subtle self-conceit underlying this teaching, which makes a privileged class among the saints, with the secret self-confidence that the teachers and followers of the doctrine are among the worthy ones, the faithful, the overcomers.
There is a subtle self-conceit underlying a misapplication of partial rapture IF one assumes they are in the first rapture and also the first resurrection. But since this is not what true partial rapture believers believe, there is no problem. Yet the problem remains for the pretrib onlyists and posttrib onlyists. You fall in this camp.

It is interesting to see how those against partial rapture form their argument such as where you sinned bearing false witness against partial rapture believers, since we do not assume we are included in the first rapture. This can give us confidence you are not on solid grounding in your accusations, accusing the saints day and night (Rev. 12.10).

Yes; that is the word they catch at, "Overcomer." Overcomers, they say, will be caught up, for to such alone is the promise made of being kept from "the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3 : 10). Granted: but who are the overcomers? Are they a special class in the Church — saints of a superior order, or "disciples indeed," in a sense in which all believers are not? Let us see.
Actually, the promise is given to all Christians to be included in the first rapture, but the condition is to "overcometh" (see Rev. 2 & 3, particularly 3.10). Why are they overcomers? Rev. 3.10 says those who are saved who also "keep the word of My patience" overcometh. It could not be any clearer. Not all Christians do this.

We turn to 1 John 5 : 4, 5 : "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" Here we have the divine description of an overcomer: it is the faith in every one that is born of God — faith in Jesus the Son of God — that overcomes the vast hostile system called "the world."
Paul says there are both spiritual Christians as well as carnal Christians. A Christian is one who overcometh, but as was said before, not all overcometh at the same time. The reason why all Christians can be included as overcomers is because none lose eternal life. We are being perfected towards sinlessness and selflessness. God does not call a Christian to overcometh if he has already overcome. That would be illogical. So we must observe the context correctly and allow for no contradictions.

And mark, it is not what some erroneously term "holiness by faith" — the claiming by faith of a "second blessing," "clean heart," "perfect love," "cleansing from inbred sin," etc., but faith in Christ — just such a faith as all true Christians possess. He that overcometh is he "that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God." So it is the "overcomer" that will go when Jesus comes, but the term applies to all believers in Christ — not to a select class among them. And so in Rev. 2 and 3, the overcomer is the true believer, as distinguished from the false. Else what could be made of the promises to such? "He shall eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2: 7). Is this to be the portion of special saints, or for all true believers? Again, "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" (Rev. 2: 11); will some Christians not be overcomers and be hurt of the second death? Just to ask the question is to answer it — No! And so with all the promises in these addresses to the seven churches ; they are not all the same, but are all beautifully suited to the condition and circumstances of each assembly addressed. All true believers shall partake of the promised blessings, for all shall in the end be overcomers, not by any superior degree of holiness or development of the life of Christ in them, but through the overcoming on the cross of Him in whom we are complete (Col. 2: 10), even as it is written, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15 : 57); and again, "We are more than conquerors through Him that loveth us" (Rom. 8 : 37). Hallelujah to His name!
If you want to think of the difference between being a carnal Christian and a spiritual Christian as a second blessing, I have no problem with that, but it would seem to me it is all the same blessing because once saved, the life in Christ builds in us; we are just at different stages in that development. The blessed hope is for us all who are saved. So there is no need to categorize a second blessing. He that overcometh is He that believes Jesus is the Son of God because the life of Christ is in Him which begins to germinate. Christians ovecometh but not at the same time in growing in that new life from being born-again to receiving rewards. Can we honestly say all Christians are prayerful, watchful and keeping the word of His patience? Rev. 2 & 3 is speaking to the Chuch, so Christians are all told to ovecometh since there are things yet to overcome, some of which are listed. The reward is given to the Christian who ovecomes. To eat of the tree of life is for all Christians. The question is only the matter of timing. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2.5). This verse precedes verse 7, and it is clearly a verse with consequences, but works can't save a person. It calls to "do the first works". We are not saved by works lest anyone should boast, so it is not referring to salvation by works. Eating of the tree of life in the New City is according to timing. Whose Lord is this if they are not saved? Surely they would not be addressed in this way if they were not saved. It wouldn't make much sense to address their Lord if they are not already saved. The Church is the body of Christ.

Christians will be hurt by the second death, not all, but certainly some. To be hurt by the second death is to have the lake of fire burn off the dross of one's false works. “He shall never see death” (John 8.51,52) is actually “he shall not forever see death” in the original, and “he shall never taste of death” is “he shall not forever taste death” in the original.“They shall never perish” (John 10.28) is “they shall not forever perish” in the original (The Englishman’s Greek New Testament with Interlinear Translation).“Shall never die” (John 11.25,26) is “shall not forever die” in the original.

An analogy if I may! Before one can enter the shower after painting a house, if they are sloppy, they need to take the paint off with gasoline. It stings the skin but the paint is removed. This is akin to the effects of the second death upon one's false works. We can say confidently most Christians will be hurt by the second death temporarily to remove their false works and will lose the reward of reigning with Chris during the 1000 years. They shall go to outer darkness. Picture a beautifully lit cabin in the forest and those in outer darkness can look upon it but are not allowed to enter. Only after the marriage feast of 1000 years can they all leave together to enter the New City. All believers since Abel will be pillars of the New City.

Now, let us see for a little what more is involved in this error at which we have been looking.It involves the error of a divided Christ. The expression, "The Christ," includes, in such passages as 1 Cor. 12: 12, not only Christ the Head, but also His body, the Church. If, at His coming, a part only of that body is taken and the other left, what becomes of the unity of this mystical body? (See 1 Cor. 12 : 25.) And again, the Church, the body, composed of all believers, is Christ's bride. Will He have a bride with members lacking — a body incomplete, in heaven — some members in glory and glorious with Him above, and others on earth suffering in the great tribulation? Is it not written, "Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it" (1 Cor. 12: 26)? How does this comport with the theory of a partial rapture? Will the members caught up at the coming suffer in heaven with their fellow-members left behind on earth?
Watchman Nee said it best,

Some people say that the rapture of the church cannot be divided because the body of Christ cannot be divided. It should be noted in reply, however, that the body is a figure of speech which signifies one life. If the body is taken literally, then there is already division today because the Lord is now in heaven, Paul has already died, we remain living on earth, and some believers are yet to be born.

I would add that it would hurt my heart that even one Christian would not overcometh and lose the reward. But praise the Lord after the 1000 years all Christians and OT Saints will have ovecometh by then. Praise the Lord! Don't forget the 5 wise virgins enter the feast and the 5 unwise virgins, of the same class, do not get to enter. As is true of the millennial rewards so is it the case for the first rapture according to readiness. God is looking for a person to abide in the works He has set for him; to walk in the revelation God has apportioned for him.

Again, if the Holy Spirit (who now dwells in the Church as the temple of God) goes with the Church at the coming of Christ, that part of the Church left on earth would be no more God's temple or dwelling-place. But Eph. 4 : 30 declares the members of Christ here on earth are by the Spirit "sealed unto (or till) the day of redemption." Does this agree with the thought of some of these sealed ones being left at His rapture — the day of redemption? The seal is the mark, the sign; put by the owner upon the purchased possession until its removal by him to its settled abiding-place; and the believer, "bought with a price," is marked and set apart for God, "sealed unto the day of redemption." But if he is left at the rapture, the day of the body's redemption, how could this scripture be fulfilled in him?
In partial rapture, we do not say as pretrib onlyists the Holy Spirit goes up. Not at all! Rather, The Holy Spirit remains on earth after the first rapture since the Church still remains on earth during the Tribulation. In fact, even after the last trumpet rapture and resurrection at the start of the 7th trumpet, there is still yet gleaning raptures during the last 24 months of the bowls of wrath. The Church is referred to in several ways through the Tribulation though the word "Church" is not specifically used.

The matter of being sealed until the day of redemption does not require it be in one instant with everyone else. The parousia of Christ spans the 7 years. It would seem to make more sense it would occur in an orderly fashion like we experience in a lineup. Or like how microsoft rolls out its updates over weeks and months. Patience is needed.

And yet further: will there be different classes of the people of God on earth in the tribulation — one, an earthly and Jewish remnant; the other, a portion of the Church on earth with a heavenly calling? And where is this left portion of the Church referred to in Revelation, or in any portion of the Scriptures treating of the tribulation? What is their testimony, their place, their destiny, and will they ever again be joined to the Church, "which is His body?" The earthly saints, both Jew and Gentile, we can clearly see and trace, but this detached portion of the body, this left section of the Church, we nowhere find. Why? Because they are not there; they are all in glory: the bride, the Lamb's wife, is presented there to Himself "a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" (Eph. 5: 27) — nor any subtraction, nor any member missing, we might add.
Since the Scriptures teach us the return of the saints with Jesus, there will be overcomers reigning over the nations. The nations are the unsaved or if saved, still have bodies of flesh and blood. The non-overcomers who did not return with Christ are sent to outer darkness, outside the light of reward of reigning with Christ during the 1000 years. Outer darkness is mentioned three times by name in the New Testament. I wouldn't say these non-overcomers are never talked about. I find they are addressed quite a bit since the Bible is talking about rewards lost. This encompasses their condition. What we may not find necessarily is their undertakings and goings on in the domain called Outer Darkness though we can be sure it is a place of discipline or detention.

Two scriptures are frequently referred to as supporting the belief in a partial rapture. One is the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25). Let us look at it. The whole company of the ten virgins represent the professing Church. The wise are the true believers; by the Holy Scriptures they have been made "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3 : 15). They have not only the lamp of profession, but they have oil in their vessels with their lamps. Oil, in Scripture, is the standing type of the Holy Spirit. And it is written, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His" (Rom. 8: 9). And being Christ's, the wise are ready, and when the Bridegroom comes, they go in with Him to the marriage. The foolish virgins have the profession, but not the Spirit — they are not Christ's, not true children of God; mere professors they are, unconverted ones, having lamps but no oil, no Holy Spirit. So when the Bridegroom comes, they are unprepared and shut out — left without hope. "I know you not," the Bridegroom says. Could this be said of any saint, however unsatisfactory his state? No; for it is written again, "The Lord knoweth them that are His" (2 Tim. 2: 19).
The ten virgins are never used to support partial rapture. The ten virgins refer to the first resurrection. The three main verses for partial rapture are Matt. 24.40-42, Luke 21.36, and Rev. 3.10. Not all 10 virgins have oil in their vessels. Only the 5 wise virgins do, showing they overcometh so they receive admittance into the marriage feast of the millennial reign. The unwise virgins though they have oil in their lamps (Holy Spirit), they do not have oil in their vessels since they have not filled up with the Holy Spirit to overcometh. So the unwise virgins have the Spirit in their spirit, just not the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Even when Jesus says to them "I do not know you" this is to indicate lacking intimate communion with God, because they are carnal Christians. The Lord knows they are His, but they are not following the Lord closely.

The other stock text is Heb, 9: 28: "Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Now, it is not our purpose here to go into the full meaning of this passage. A most cursory examination of the context would show that the inspired penman has before him the Old Testament figure of the Jewish high priest going into the holiest of the tabernacle, as he did once a year, to make atonement for Israel, while the expectant people waited without for his reappearance. So Christ, our great High Priest, has entered heaven itself, there "to appear in the presence of God for us." And in due time, like the earthly priest of old, He shall appear again to them "that look for Him," and they "that look for Him" are all the people of God. It does not say, nor does it mean, that He will appear only to them that intelligently wait for His coming, or to those who watchfully listen for His shout. No; for this would make the translation of a saint dependent, not upon his faith in Christ, or even on his devotedness to Him, but upon his knowledge — an idea which would deny the plain import of Scripture as a whole, and special passages in particular, as "knowledge puffeth up."
I don't know any partial rapture believers who use this text for partial rapture. Heb. 9.28 doesn't give any specific timing of the rapture(s). That Jesus will appear to us spans from the firstfruits appearance before the throne at the start of the Tribulation to meeting Him in the air before the 7th trumpet. Don't appeal to the argument from silence if you don't see specifics of partial rapture in a verse. That is a classic logical fallacy. It also wouldn't make sense for a passage to even be talking about partial rapture when it is only addressing the second coming in general. Knowledge puffeth up if it is misused. For example, using your knowledge to form an argument from silence is puffed up. Don't do that!

The fact is, every truly converted soul is looking for Christ — not all in the same way, nor yet with equal degree of intelligence or longing. Some, through ignorance, look for Him at death; others expect to see Him coming at the end of the world; while others, again, have no fixed belief as to the occasion and time; they only know that they love Him because He first loved them, and their heart would be made glad at the sight of His glorious face. /div>
Looking for Jesus at the end of the world is not looking for Christ but a false Christ, since you would be rejecting the Jesus who returns to reign for 1000 years. When He comes, you reject Him. Similarly, there is no need to wait for death. God considers death no blessing at all. The hope is to be included in the first rapture at His second coming. Don't take away that hope. God doesn't want His children to go through the bowls of wrath, for we are not appointed unto wrath.

I remember, many years ago, hearing a devoted soul, a real "mother in Israel," tell of a dream she had concerning "the end of the world," as it had been taught her. The mighty thunders were crashing, the earth rending, stars falling, the heavens rolled back as a scroll, the fire was descending, and the graves opening, and the judgment about to sit; and she awoke in her bed exclaiming in ecstasy, "Oh, I shall see Jesus!" Was she not "looking for Him?" Yet how mixed up she was in it all. Like thousands of others of God's saints, she knew nothing at all of what is called "dispensational truth;" but like them and all who know and love the Saviour, she was looking for Him; and to them He shall appear as well as to us who by grace possess a little more knowledge of the order in which God's word has placed these different events. How mistaken, then, are they who would limit and narrow a passage of Scripture like this, and make it apply only to a small portion of the beloved and blood-bought saints of God!
Who can say if this woman was even saved if she was looking for another Christ. There are many who profess to be saved and call themselves Christians, but they worship a false Christ. Surely not everyone who says they worship Jesus in fact worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ. The reigning is for 1000 years on earth. It is mentioned 7 times in 7 verses in Rev. 20.2-7. This is not a narrow passage. You don't want to see Jesus till the end of the world? At best you have excluded yourself from the first rapture and first resurrection reign for 1000 years. At worst, you believe what you do because you worship false Christ and don't want accept Jesus who returns to earth just as He left (Zech. 14.4, Acts. 1.11, Rev. 1.7, 19.11-16).

We close our argument; not that we have said the last word on the subject; no, not by any means; for very much more might be said in refutation of this wide-spread error of a partial rapture. But enough has been said, we believe, to convince and satisfy any one willing to bow to Scripture, and it is for these that we write; for our aim has been more to help the perplexed, and guard those already instructed, than to convince the gainsayers.
Since every concern you had about partial rapture has been addressed, your best arguments have been presented, but cast down and of no avail, Christians can be confident the first rapture is according to readiness and the last trumpet rapture and resurrection is according to completion. So few people believe in partial rapture. Truly, a "little flock" (Luke 12.32). A Christian can feel special that he has a conscience to believe this truth, but give your glory to God that He has graced you with this spiritual knowledge and continue to consecrate yourself. In point of fact, partial rapture is very simple: these are conditional statements: Matt. 24.40-42, Luke 21.36, Rev. 3.10. I've never seen other eschatological views address these conditional statements adequately.

It only remains for us, in closing, to exhort the Christian reader to be found of Him in peace, watching and waiting, with lamp trimmed and burning; with loins girded, "like unto men that wait for their Lord," that both reader and writer may be "presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." "Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5: 6).
Don't be focused on your lamp only which all Christians have "first principles" (Heb. 6.1), but recognize there is also the vessel for carrying extra oil of the Holy Spirit. There are those who sleep and those who do not; there are those who are faultless on certain matters and those that are not. But both are saved and come before the Judgment Seat to be judged to make an account of what they have done to receive reward or lose reward, to reign over the nations (Rev. 2.26) or not. Let us not have a doubletongue by warning ourselves not to sleep as others do without accepting their are consequences for sleeping as others do.

Praise the Lord for this discernment! Amen.


Troy Brooks