Important Information About
Who Goes at the Rapture
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
This is Part 2 of a three-part Bible study.
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A Dismembered Body of Christ
Partial rapture theology dominates most churches that teach end-time Bible prophecy. Many popular evangelists teach it as Bible truth. It's directly tied to a modified Old Testament 'merit-based' (conditional) salvation that the Apostle Paul referred to as "a different gospel" ... and condemned in his epistles using offensive terminology. He warned that it was a false system of faith that God does not honor. While the few churches and ministries that teach Bible prophecy are to be commended for their efforts, the way many treat the blessing of the rapture (also called "the believer's blessed hope" - Titus 2:13-14) is misleading and spiritually toxic. In the New Testament, the rapture represents the future fulfillment of the believer's salvation. As a result, the rapture is a 'salvation-related event' for Christ's entire blood-bought (Redeemed) Church. However, many churches and denominations that teach Bible prophecy like to strip the rapture from its place in Christ's salvation (also called God's unmerited gift to the believer - Romans 10:8-13, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9 Romans 4:4-8, Romans 3:24-26 and Titus 3:4-7) ... and subtly transplants it into some optional format or context where it can be redefined - or completely ignored. A vast majority choose to redefine the rapture as a major end-time event reserved for only the most obedient and devoted Christians.
This common teaching carries horrific
spiritual consequences. It perverts the
fulfillment of Christ's salvation at the
rapture - into a works and merit-based
religion that the New Testament labels
Partial rapture theology is found under countless names and labels designed to hide its real characteristics. Bridal rapture theology is only a more recent variant of this error. The following is another variation of the same error with a different label - but contains the same or similar toxic roots :
Some evangelists and prophecy teachers claim that the rapture is only for what they call, “the overcoming remnant Church”. They define this group - not as the whole Church that consists of all believers - but as a special high-performance sub-group that are few in number (hence the word 'remnant'). Similar to the bridal rapture error, these preachers insist that this 'remnant church' does not include all true believers. It excludes those who are living in or struggling with some kind of sin which disqualifies them from being an ‘over-comer’. The Christians who are said to be included in this 'overcoming remnant church' - as it is called - are those who achieve some high level of sinless living (often called 'sinless perfection') and are allowed to participate in the rapture as, 'a special reward for this achievement'. The key word here is ‘achieve’, which means it’s a false religious faith based on personal effort and not on Christ’s sacrifice (as the Lamb of God) that permanently takes away their sin. Paul condemns this kind of faith and calls it; ‘walking according to the flesh’, where salvation is believed to be (either totally or partly) dependent upon our efforts to live sinlessly. Contrary to popular church teaching ... this misplaced faith does not represent a total dependence upon on Christ’s finished work - as the New Testament demands. (Romans 8:2-4). Many are taught that trying to live sinlessly by their own efforts and determination (or what Paul calls ‘walking in the flesh) - allows them to enter a separate and privileged class that exists above all other nominal believers who might be ‘less devoted’ and fail to decisively overcome sin. As a result, they insist that only this 'overcoming remnant church' is "caught up" to meet Christ in the air at the rapture ... while all other true believers who struggle with sin and do not perfectly practice 'Christ-like character' (which includes most everyone) are punished by being ‘left behind’ for more purification during the Tribulation taking place on earth.
Note: See the special insert entitled;
"Who is The Bride of Christ?"
for more insight. (included later in
It's important for the reader to
understand - that when we say
“all truly saved Christian believers
will go in the rapture”, this does
not necessarily include those who
simply "professes to be Christian”.
The modern-day Christian Church is
filled with false believers who are
'Christian in name only'. As a
result, there is a big difference
between these two groups.
According to Christ's New Covenant program that started after the cross, an “authentically saved Christian” is one who receives God’s gift of eternal life obtained only through His unmerited and undeserved favor (also called Grace) as outlined in Romans 10:8-13, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9 Romans 4:4-8, Romans 3:24-26 and Titus 3:4-7. A vast majority of religious people refer to themselves as being 'Christian', yet refuse to accept eternal life as the free, unconditional and unmerited gift of God fully purchased by the blood of Christ on their behalf. They attempt to obtain eternal life (salvation) the Old Testament way through good works, attempting to achieve righteousness through their own efforts, striving to keep Old Testament Law ... and church affiliation.
These well-intentioned and highly
committed people are zealous for
Christ and His teachings.
However, they are part of a stealth group that the Apostle Paul calls “false brethren, false apostles of Christ and false ministers of righteousness" ... who fellowship among us. They openly carry Bibles, attend church services, pray, evangelize, participate in praise and worship, give to the poor – and generally act in a way you would expect Christians to act. Some are also highly educated and respected church leaders. Yet - according to the New Testament, it is possible that God will not allow many in this group to participate in the rapture with the rest of the Church.
Does this disqualification occur
because they have some kind of
sin or wrong behavior in their
life? No - it's because they
have placed their faith and
trust in "a different gospel of
works" (also called 'walking
according to the flesh'), which
is a counterfeit (or imitation)
of true faith in the real Gospel
of Christ. This is why Saint Paul
gave the following warning to the
"Examine yourselves as to whether
you are in the faith. Test
yourselves. Do you not know
yourselves, that Jesus Christ is
in you? -- unless indeed you are
(2 Corinthians 13:5)
'Different Gospel' Corrupts
Christ's Salvation - and
the Way Believers are
Treated at the Rapture
The counterfeit gospel motivates its followers to obtain salvation in a way that Christ’s New Covenant, established at the cross, declares to be forbidden and illegal. As a result, God does not honor, nor does He grant salvation according to its principles and rules; regardless of anyone’s good intentions or loving disposition. This is why the apostle Paul labels those that teach and propagate this "different gospel" as being "accursed", which suggests Divine rejection (Read Galatians 1:6-8). Paul sounds one of the most terrifying warnings in the Bible on this topic of “a different gospel”. This is why we should not make the mistake of thinking that all of this represents some "difference of opinion". It's a popular false theology that masquerades as authentic Christianity - and has plagued the Church since the first century ... meaning that believers should avoid it at all costs.
The 'catching away' or rapture of the Church represents the fulfillment and final stage of Christ's salvation for all believers on earth, both living and dead. As a result, if the gospel of our salvation is corrupted with false out-of-context Bible teaching - our understanding of the rapture also becomes distorted and corrupted. This is why we hear church leaders make so many unbiblical statements about the rapture. The 'different gospel' that Saint Paul warned about illegally reinserts the principles and judgments of Old Testament Law into the redemptive program of Christ. This practice deceives its followers into believing that God treats sin and the sinner the same way after the cross ... as He did before the cross. It essentially invalidates Christ's sacrifice that takes away our sin - and qualifies as a destructive heresy. Yet, this corrupt way of interpreting and believing the Bible is found throughout the Christian Church.
Saint Paul said it this way ...
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: For if righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain (The word "vain" means that Christ's death becomes meaningless)." (Galatians 2:20-21)
The following is a popular
rapture teaching found in
many Bible Prophecy circles:
Christians who are struggling
with sin, deficient in good
works and who lack sufficient
faithfulness - will be left
behind for additional
purification and cleansing
during the fiery trials of
However, the idea of being purified and cleansed by trials and tribulations comes from Old Testament Law which governed before the cross. Yet now, for the Christian, the shed blood of Christ is fully sufficient to provide all the purification and cleansing that God requires. No additional purification is needed. Therefore, when anyone states that some Christians will be left behind for additional purification and cleansing - you are hearing a 'different gospel' that comes from one of the many brands of counterfeit Christianity. If such a person claims that Jesus gave them this warning in a dream or vision ... we can safely conclude that the dream or vision is false.
Concerning these issues,
Saint John made the
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
God never uses the Tribulation
period as a way to provide
additional purification and
discipline for under-performing
Christians. This is because
the cross is the only source for
total purification and
cleansing from sin for everyone
who has place their faith in
Here are some Scriptural references,
which are repeated throughout our
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12 KJV)
"...Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)
"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the Grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-8)
"And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you." (Galatians 2:4-5)
"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:1-3)
"But none of these things move me; neither do I esteem my life dear to myself, if only I may finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have obtained from [which was entrusted to me by] the Lord Jesus, faithfully to attest to the good news (Gospel) of God's Grace (His unmerited favor, spiritual blessing, and mercy)." (Acts 20:24 Amplified Bible, which defines the Gospel of Grace as God's unmerited favor and mercy)
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith ..." (Galatians 3:10-12)
"You have become estranged (separated and cutoff) from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; You have fallen from Grace." (Galatians 5:4)
"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (The word 'vain' means that Christ's death becomes meaningless)." (Galatians 2:19-21)
Who Is The Bride Of Christ?
A Special Rock of Offence Commentary
Note: The following study is a repost of a separate commentary that we wanted to include in this discussion about the rapture. As a result, it may seem repetitive in some places.
Most students of the Bible understand that the rapture is a future event where Christ returns and calls His bride away from the earth. There are four major references in the New Testament concerning Christ's Bride. One well-known reference is found in the book of Revelation. Yet, Paul mentions “the Bride” three times in Romans 7:4, 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5:28-32. There are more indirect references when you include the parables Jesus taught about the wedding feast.
Paul, speaking to all believers in Christ
at Rome made the following statement:
"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you might be married to another - to Him Who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. (Romans 7:4)
Once again, in his epistle to all believers
at Corinth, Paul writes;
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Cor 11:2)
Why do we draw attention to the
fact that Paul is making these
comments about the “Bride of
Christ” to all believers and not
just to an elite few?
A growing number of end-time prophecy teachers are attempting to redefine "The Bride of Christ" as an elite group of Christians, who possess a high level of devotion to the Lord. They claim that this special "high performance" group does not include all true believers. These Bible teachers (and their followers) insist that "the Bride" represents only the most faithful and devoted members of the Church. They claim that this special group of “overcomers” (some preachers call them “the overcoming remnant church”) will be the only ones God chooses to participate in the rapture. It also means that all other authentic Christian believers, who fails to 'overcome' will be left behind for additional purification during the tribulation. As previously stated in other commentaries, this is another variation of what is often called, "the partial-rapture error" found in many Bible prophecy circles. It represents a continuing effort by legalists (those that preach a "different gospel" condemned by Saint Paul) to divide Christ's body. The popular, yet misleading theology of legalism (and its countless variants) began in the first century. In his epistles to the Church, Saint Paul attempts to expose and condemn this teaching that has led many believers astray in their faith.
There are two terms that describe 'all' true believers in Christ. The first is "The Body of Christ" ... and the second is "The Church". Scripture teaches that both terms describe the same group of people, which is all those in every place, who have trusted Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. Concerning this group, Saint Paul gives some important insight :
"And He (Jesus Christ) is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18)
"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Eph 1:22-23 KJV)
Paul announces TO THE ENTIRE CORINTHIAN CONGREGATION...
"Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Cor 12:27)
Notice that Paul is declaring all believers in Christ at Corinth to be members of the Body of Christ. He did not say that Christ's body was a special group of only the most devoted and faithful. Understanding this 'all' inclusive term (the Body of Christ) is important because Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers as being some of the most carnal under his care. Yet, these "carnal Christians" are also part of the body of Christ, despite their deficiencies. In his epistles to both the Colossians and the Ephesians (Colossians 1:18 and Ephesians 1:22-23 quoted above), Paul reveals an important fact; that "the body" (or the Body of Christ) of which Christ is the head - is also known as the Church. This means all believers who make up 'the body' is the same 'all' who exist as Christ's Church.
Paul brings these facts together in an important truth, when teaching about the relationship between a husband and his wife.
"So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: For we are members of His Body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
Pay particular attention to
the next statement.
"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: But I speak concerning Christ and the Church." (Ephesians 5:28-32)
When teaching about the relationship between a husband and a wife, Paul reveals "a mystery" about Christ and His Church. Here's another way of saying the same thing: "This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and His Bride (and future wife), the Church". At a marriage ceremony, a bride becomes a wife.
The "Bride of Christ" is not a special group (or sub-set) of devoted high-performance Christians, who are rewarded for their works and performance with the rapture ... while under-performing and works-deficient Christians (Paul uses the word 'carnal') are left behind to endure additional purification and punishment for their failures. Jesus condemns this common yet popular religious teaching that divides His body into different 'classes or sub-groups' based on their spiritual performance. Jesus Christ has "one undivided body” - not a collection of dismembered body parts ... where some leave at the rapture, while others are rejected and left behind. If you've obeyed the simple conditions of the Gospel found in Romans 10:8-13 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - then you've successfully received God's gift of eternal life, been sealed with His Holy Spirit ... and are now "freely justified by His Grace" through a faith without works (Romans 3:24-26 and Romans 4:4-8). We should remember that ‘being justified’ (often called "justification by faith") means that God now considers (or reckons) you to be perfectly sinless ... as a member of Christ’s body.
This ‘reckoning’ or imputed
righteousness is performed
so that the entire body
exists in the same sinless
state as Jesus Christ its
God imputes His Son’s sinless condition in a way that overrides our own imperfect and sinful condition. This Divine act makes us perfectly righteous and worthy. When a believer possesses Christ’s righteousness (also referred to as “the righteousness of God” in 2 Corinthians 5:21) - it’s impossible to be ‘more righteous or less righteous than Christ’. Contrary to popular church teachings, this 'imputed righteousness of Christ' covers all of the believer's sin; past, present and future. The simple act of believing on (or placing your faith in) Jesus Christ - places you in the Body of Christ, which also makes you a member of Christ's Church ... and later at the rapture; a member of the Bride of Christ.
The Church (or Body of Christ) consists of all true believers on earth. However, when believers are suddenly translated, ‘snatched away’ and taken to heaven at the rapture, they now become Christ's Bride and His wife after the marriage.
"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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Those who attempt to ensnare you by claiming that the Bride of Christ is a special group of 'elite Christians' (because of their exceptional level of faithfulness and righteous living) ... who God selects and separates from among the Church to be in the rapture--are exposing you to a spiritually toxic doctrine. It may sound reasonable to a religiously minded person, but the Bible calls it; "the way that seems right, but ends in death" (Proverbs 14:12).
[End of the "Bride of Christ" Commentary]
This is Part 2 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the link below to access
the next section.