Important Information About
Who Goes at the Rapture
(Part 3)

Rock of Offence Special Commentary

We Which Are Alive And Remain
Will Be Caught Up






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This is Part 3 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the link below to access
the next section.

Part 1 ---- Part 2

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Exposing the Disinformation
Campaign Against the Rapture
of the Church


When you hear various church leaders (and their followers) say, “There is no such thing as the rapture” or ... “the Church must go through the tribulation” (a doctrine known as post-tribulationalism) or ... “the rapture is a modern-day myth invented by Rev. John Darby in 1830" ... you are hearing different aspects of this popular propaganda campaign from our enemy. John Darby was a member of the Brethren movement which followed a literal interpretation of Scripture. In addition to many other Bible topics, Darby taught a pre-tribulational rapture message. However, he was only repeating what Saint Paul taught in his epistles to the Church. Darby didn’t ‘invent the doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture’ as the critics claim - but he did popularize it. He did what all good Bible teachers should do - and aligned his ministry and message with what the New Testament said about the subject. However, emotional disagreements will always surface, as they do today, when the way the rapture is described in the New Testament Epistles of Paul begins to expose the falsehood behind certain widely-accepted church teachings. This is why some attempt to discredit Paul’s writings about the rapture, along with anyone who agrees with him. It's their way of protecting the many religious traditions, institutions and denominations - which are built on a misapplication (or out-of-context use) of Scripture. The efforts of these ‘modern-day Pharisees’ are designed to discredit, not only a major Biblical truth, but also those who teach it. Since the subject of the rapture is directly tied to Christ’s salvation and His return at the end of the age, we feel it is necessary to expose this popular disinformation campaign that sends inexperienced believers astray in their faith.


Fear and Doubt Leads Many
Astray Without Their
Knowledge


As signs and events related to the 'end-times' increase in intensity - we begin to see more and more articles and commentaries with titles such as; “Are You Ready for the Rapture?” Most of these writers and commentators love God and have good intentions. Yet, good intentions never equates to Biblical truth. Anyone who has studied what the Scriptures say about the horrors of the Tribulation period is motivated to warn others about the danger. Yet, the advice they offer about how to "get ready for the rapture" actually leads many astray from true faith in Christ. Concerning this period of time Jesus said ;

"For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be." (Mark 13:19)


After the crucifixion of Christ, the Apostle Paul makes the following statement about this future tribulation period, which the Bible also refers to as God’s wrath (or judgment) ... which is His response to the world’s rejection of His Son's salvation.

"For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus Who delivers (or rescuses) us from the wrath to come." (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)



The Danger of Bible-Believers
Who 'Believe the Bible Wrong


Since God has prepared a rescue or “way of escape” for all His true believing people, it would be a disaster to suddenly discover that you’re disqualified when that glorious day arrives. Unfortunately, there are some who use the intense fear associated with being “left behind” as a way to coerce listeners to agree with their particular religious dogma - which is always said to represent the truth of Scripture. But, God warns that there is both a right and a wrong way to interpret and believe the Bible. The wrong way (which is never said to be wrong) takes well-meaning Christians dangerously astray in their faith. When anyone claims to be a “Bible believer” it does not necessarily mean they 'believe the Bible the right way'. When a professing Christian has doubts as to whether God accepts them enough to be included in the rapture ... they will try almost anything to relieve the mental torment. The institutional Christian Church is filled with those who think this way because they were taught to ignore the context of Scripture, which results in “believing the Bible wrong”.

In our commentaries, an effort is made to describe (to the point of being redundant) an aberrant theology that uses out-of-context Scripture as its defense. The doctrine is found on both the Catholic and Protestant sides of the institutional church. Among Protestant groups it commonly appears under the generic label of “Christian fundamentalism”. Additional comments are provided HERE.

This particular type of doctrinal error was introduced in the first century and condemned by the leading apostles in Acts chapter 15 ... so its been around for almost 2000 years. It uses the fear-based principles of the Old Testament Mosaic Law (which includes the Ten Commandments) as a way to coerce followers to obey the leadership of a church - or face the possibility of an eternity in hell. Under this program of the law - which operated and governed before the cross - an individual had to obey a strict code of conduct to gain God’s acceptance and salvation. In Hebrews chapter 8, this program is referred to as “the first covenant”. Yet, in the same chapter, a New Covenant established by Jesus Christ at the cross is referred to as “the second covenant” ... which now makes the first covenant obsolete (See Hebrews 8:6-13). This means that the cross of Christ changed all the previous requirements to obtain God’s acceptance and salvation. Contrary to popular church teachings, Christ’s New Covenant is not an extension or continuation of the previous ‘first covenant’ program of the Law that governed the Old Testament. The New Testament reveals that the cross of Christ fulfills ... and then annuls (or invalidates) the previous (or first) covenant (see Hebrews 7:11-22). As a result, the old program is replaced (not continued) with the New Covenant Grace-based program (or second covenant) - that depends only on a person’s faith in Jesus Christ apart from personal works or merit. (see Romans 4:4-8)

"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the Law of Commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:11-22)


"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of the requirements that was against us (Old Testament Law), which was contrary to us. And He (Jesus) has taken it (the Law) out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13-14)

"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)

"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, "a New Covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)




An Important Clarification: When we speak about Christ's New Covenant (or what the Bible calls 'the second covenant') replacing the first covenant of “Old Testament Law” - readers should never think that we are supporting the error of Replacement theology, which involves an entirely different subject. In this study, we use the word ‘replace or replacing’ to make an important point. What Jesus referred to as “The New Covenant” (Luke 22:20) is never to be treated as a continuation or extension of Old Testament Law (the first covenant) ... which Scripture now declares to be annulled, abolished and ‘nailed to the cross’ at the Crucifixion (See Ephesians 2:11-22 and Colossians 2:13-14). If the Law is abolished (or ‘annulled’ as revealed in Hebrews chapter 7:11-22) - then it must be ‘taken out of the way’ (as stated in Colossians 2:13-14) and replaced with something else. In this situation ... it is replaced with Christ’s New Covenant, which is also called "the new and living way of Christ" (Hebrews 10:19-23). What God has done through His Son is actually very easy to understand. The confusion that continues to surround this subject comes from prominent church leaders and theologians spreading disinformation (or out-of-context Bible teaching) – in an effort to protect unbiblical, yet cherished doctrines and traditions.




Additional information is available
concerning this important New
Testament truth at the following
link:


Heaven's Royal Proclamation



Identifying the Counterfeit


We see an expression of this dangerous form of counterfeit Christian teaching and wrong Bible believing when any minister, church or denomination exploits a person’s fear of losing salvation (or being left behind at the rapture) as a way to gain their obedience. Why? Under the Old Testament program, salvation and the acceptance (or favor) of God depended on an individual’s obedience to the Law’s commandments. However, the cross of Christ radically changed (abolished and made obsolete) this previous requirement. Under the New Covenant, God uses the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to replace the believer’s imperfect obedience, merit and behavior (Romans 3:24-26, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 5:15-21). As a result, God now considers (or reckons) the Christian to be totally acceptable to Him only on the basis of faith because ...


After the cross, God's salvation
is established on the perfection
of His Son, Jesus Christ - and
not on the imperfect obedience
and behavior of the believer.



God’s acceptance and favor no longer depends upon the works or obedience of the believer – since He now considers that person “crucified with Christ and dead” (Galatians 2:19-21 and Colossians 3:3). All of Christ’s character attributes and possessions (which include eternal life and our worthiness to be in the rapture) are now “imputed” or superimposed, by God, onto the life of the undeserving believer. The Bible calls it Grace, or the unmerited favor of God. This is why eternal life is called “the gift of God” after the cross. Before the cross God did not give eternal life as a gift because the crucifixion of Christ, which initiated the New Covenant, had not yet occurred.

Jesus, speaking before His crucifixion clearly reveals this truth. A young man came to Him asking how to receive eternal life. The following Scripture tells the story:

"Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He (Jesus) said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”" (Matthew 19:16-17)

Important Note: When the young man asked Jesus which commandments to keep in order to receive eternal life, He quoted from the Ten Commandments of the Law in Matthew 19 verses 18 through 22.



Jesus uttered these words before the
cross. However, the rules that
govern how eternal life is received
radically changed after Jesus was
crucified.



"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by Grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it (Eternal Life) is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:4-9 - also see Romans 6:23)



BEFORE THE CROSS, under Old Covenant Law, God’s acceptance and favor, which resulted in salvation was granted according to an individual's obedience, works and merit connected to the commandments of the Law.

AFTER THE CROSS, under the New Covenant of Christ, God’s acceptance and favor is granted to all believers according to Christ’s perfect righteousness and holiness (His sinlessness) - through a faith that is not based on works and merit. This special New Covenant position is known as being “in Christ” and was not available under the previous Old Testament program.


Counterfeit Christianity illegally mixes the program of Old Testament Law with Christ’s New Covenant program recorded in the New Testament. It attempts to make God’s gift of eternal life (and a person’s worthiness to participate in the rapture) dependent, once again, upon the individual’s works and merit - and not solely on faith in Christ alone - as mandated by the New Covenant.


This truth is clearly illustrated
in the following Scriptures:


“Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." (Romans 4:4-8)

"...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)



Additional information is available
at the following links:

The New Testament Believer's Position
In Christ


Imputation: The New Covenant Method God
Uses To Transfer His Spiritual
Benefits To The Believer



Does This Mean Good Works
and Christian Character
Isn't Important?


To avoid any misunderstanding, it’s certainly proper to perform good works and possess Christ-like character and behavior for the right reasons. God instructs all believers to apply these attributes to their life as Christ's representatives on earth (Romans 6:1-4, Titus 2:13-14). Yet, God also warns that making these behavioral attributes - a requirement to obtain justification and salvation (which also includes our qualifications for the rapture), is a forbidden practice after the cross.

"Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight". (Romans 3:20)

"You have become estranged (separated) from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from Grace." (Galatians 5:4)



Discerning the Difference Between
True and False Bible Believers


The modern Christian Church is divided into countless different groups. Yet, as we previously noted, all these groups can be placed into two general categories. The first is the largest and represents more than eight out of ten churches. In this study, one of the names we use to identify this group is;


The people of the Law
of sin and death


The second group is much
smaller in size;


The people of the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus



Any person or church or organization that claims to be “Christian” is in one of these two groups, but not in both. The names of these groups are taken from the following statement made by the Apostle Paul;

"For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulflled in us (or imputed to us) who do not walk according to the flesh (or trying to achieve salvation through works or religious performance) but according to the Spirit (or faith in the finished work of Christ apart from our works and personal merit)." (Romans 8:2-4 – Emphasis and Comments Added)



Today, both groups generally identify themselves as “Bible believing Christians”. However, the way each one believes the Bible is very different.


THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH GROUP ... possesses an Old Testament mentality concerning sin which is then illegally mixed into the New Testament salvation of Christ. Before the cross, all sin had to be acknowledged - and a deep repentance needed to take place before salvation could be obtained and kept. This group continues to deal with the human sin problem according to the principles of the Law of Moses given to Israel at Mount Sinai. Their teaching suggests that sin continues to rest on the shoulders of the believer and that the New Covenant, initiated by sacrificial death of Christ at the cross, is just an extension or continuation of the same Old Testament program of the Law. As a result, they leave their audience with the impression that salvation and its benefits continue to be obtained the Old Testament way ... which does not significantly change after the cross.


THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST GROUP ... possesses a New Testament (or New Covenant) mentality concerning Christ’s life and righteousness - which is now imputed (or reckoned) to us after Jesus took all our sin away at the cross. After the cross, sin no longer has the power to keep anyone from obtaining and keeping salvation as it did before the cross under Old Testament Law. The blood of Jesus Christ stripped sin of this power.

Saint John said it this
way;


"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

"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)


Saint Paul states the same
truth using slightly
different terminology;


"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law (the program of the Old Testament), but under grace (Christ's New Covenant program)." (Romans 6:14)


As a result of the cross, salvation is now initially received through a 'faith without works' and described as God's gift to us (as outlined in Romans 10:9-13, Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification begins only after the gift of salvation is securely received. Sanctification can be looked at as a personal training program where God teaches us to live according to our “new life in Christ”, which also includes learning to avoid the sin that originally sent Jesus to the cross (Romans 6:1-4). This means that the believer now deals with any sin problem in their life 'after God’s gift of salvation is received' – and never as a pre-condition to obtain or keep salvation as previously required under the Old Testament program. Lack of success (or even total failure) during this life-long sanctification process does not invalidate the gift of eternal life (salvation), which we are allowed to keep according to the promise of God’s unmerited and undeserved favor (or Grace). Otherwise, the word “gift” becomes nonsensical.

"For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]" (Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible)


Well-meaning Bible believers and teachers who embrace the Biblical theology of “the law of sin and death” reject this idea and attempt to undo and even redefine the Grace provided through the cross of Christ. As a result, demeaning labels are assigned to our “Liberty in Christ”, which is established upon the Grace of God. Some of these labels include;


  • The watered-down gospel
  • Greasy grace
  • False Grace
  • Easy believism
  • The sugar-coated gospel
  • Hyper-Grace


When you hear a preacher slip one of these demeaning labels into their sermon, it's a warning that their Bible teaching is laced with the Biblical program of “the law of sin and death”. I remember one radio evangelist, who angrily described those who believe in the Gospel of Grace (or the group we call “the people of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus”) as being members of “the grace cult” - and suggested that the entire group was “of the devil”. We mention these things to illustrate how deeply rooted “the law of sin and death” (and those who teach it) has become in various fundamental Bible teaching and evangelistic programs. This is why Paul made the following statement to the Church:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1)


Many fail to make the connection that the “yoke of bondage” Paul is warning about here comes from the misapplication and misinterpretation of Scripture. It’s a false form of “Bible believing” related to the error of the “believing Pharisees” recorded in Acts chapter 15. The doctrine of these believing Pharisees was rooted in “the law of sin and death” as described in Romans 8:2-4 ... and became the early forerunner of various (and popular) merit-based salvation doctrines that many professing Christians embrace today. Yet, this way of believing and handling the Scriptures was strongly condemned by the first century apostolic leadership of the Church.

In Romans 8:2-4, Paul said that the spiritual laws (or principles) that govern “the Spirit of life in Christ” - sets us free from the previous program of the Law of sin and death (or the Old Testament Mosaic Law). It’s a new set of laws (or principles) the Bible calls “The New Covenant” that started to govern after the cross (recorded in Saint Paul’s “Epistles to the Church”) ... and sets us free from an older set of laws that operated before the cross (also recorded in the Bible). This means that 'the first group' that insists on teaching Christian salvation according to the principles of the law of sin and death (or the previous and now obsolete 'first covenant program' according to Hebrews 8:6-13); is teaching the Bible in a way that our Heavenly Father now rejects. The reader should understand that God is not rejecting His Word in this situation. He’s rejecting (and condemning) a popular theology that teaches the Scriptures out-of-context and undivided, which is contrary to Paul’s instruction to “rightly (or correctly) divide the Word” in 2 Timothy 2:15. This divinely rejected theology (yet widely accepted within Christendom) has existed since the first century and is the foundation for all forms of “treadmill religion”, “the Galatian error” and counterfeit Christian religion discussed in many of our Bible studies. Various expressions of this theology is now firmly entrenched in many denominations found within the worldwide institutional Christian Church.

As a result, Paul sounds
this sober warning;

"For as many as are of the works of the law (or the law of sin and death) are under a 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)

"Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight". (Romans 3:20)



Both groups refer to themselves as
“Bible-believing Christians”. But,
after the cross, God only accepts the
doctrine and principles connected
with “the law of the Spirit of life
in Christ Jesus”. At the Last Supper,
Jesus referred to it as;

“The New Covenant in My Blood,”

... which makes the previous doctrine
and covenant program of the Old
Testament; obsolete.
(Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-13).

The New Covenant is also called

“the new and living way of Christ"

... established on His blood.
(Hebrews 10:19-23 - Also Read:
Matt. 26:28, Mark 14:24, 1 Cor. 11:25,
2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 9:15 and Heb. 12:24).




Will All Christians Be Included
in the Rapture?

A Right and a Wrong Way to
Respond to the Call to
“Get Ready”


After seeing the closeness of the
Lord’s return, a preacher made
the following statement to his
audience:

If you have doubts about being
included in the rapture, it
doesn’t hurt to take out some
insurance - such as;


  • Start witnessing to your friends
  • Hand out Bibles
  • Pass out Gospel Tracts
  • Be sure you’ve confessed and repented of all sin
  • Commit yourself to intense prayer and fasting
  • Help the poor and needy
  • Do good deeds and acts of kindness



Here is our response:


All of these activities are important for reasons other than getting someone ready for the rapture. Contrary to what this minister believes - taking out this kind of 'insurance' cause’s tremendous damage to a believer's faith. Why? It sends the wrong message and has absolutely nothing to do with qualifying anyone to be in the rapture. The New Testament warns that these kinds of works performed to earn God’s favor (the Bible calls it “dead works”) perverts and redefines the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ into a merit-based salvation ... or what the Apostle Paul calls; “a different gospel”. Yet, the event called “the rapture” is established on Christ’s Grace-based salvation; meaning it is not dependent on behavior, personal merit or good works.

The Apostle Paul literally shouts this
truth from the pages of Scripture.


“Now to him who works, the wages are not
counted as grace but as debt.”

“But to him who does not work (a person
who possesses no works or merit)”

“But believes on him (Jesus Christ) who
justifies the ungodly (has only faith)”

"His faith is accounted for righteousness
(or his faith allows God to credit him
with a righteousness he did not earn)"


Paul continues;

“... just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." (Romans 4:4-8)



If God imputes righteousness solely according to our faith in Christ (apart from our works and merit); then He also considers us worthy through the same “imputed righteousness by faith” to participate in the escape or rescue from judgment known as 'the rapture'. Before the cross (and as we repeat throughtout our studies), an individual’s worthiness was determined through their works and obedience connected to Old Testament Law (the law of sin and death). However, after the cross, worthiness no longer comes through personal effort and merit, but through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (the law of the spirit of life in Christ), which God now only grants by faith.

In his letter to the Philippian
Church, Paul said it this way;


"... and be found in Him (in Christ), not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith..."(Philippians 3:9)


Paul continues to share the same
truth in his letter to the
Galatian Church;


"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 (or the law of sin and death), then Christ is dead in vain (Note: The word 'vain' means that Christ's death becomes meaningless)." (Galatians 2:20-21)


In his epistle to the Romans,
Paul provides additional
revelation concerning the
“imputed righteousness of
Christ”.


“For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one (Adam), much more those who receive abundance of Grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man's offense (Adam) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through One man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so also by One man's obedience many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:17-19 - Clarifications Added)

"For He made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21 - Clarifications Added)



The countless church leaders and preachers who claim that the rapture is a reward given to a special elite group of Christians for their good works, sinless living and exceptional Christian service - are leading the Church dangerously astray.


We Which Are Alive
and Remain



"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)



When considering both the foundational truth of Christ’s Gospel from Romans 4:4-8 ... along with the instruction Paul gave to the Thessalonian believers – the popular merit-based rapture message is exposed as another example of how some church leaders and their followers interpret the Bible out-of-context. According to the New Testament, there are only two requirements necessary for those of us who are alive to be included in the rapture.


FIRST: We must believe on Jesus Christ and receive His salvation through the "new birth" (some call it being 'born again'). Paul described it this way in Romans 4:4-8; “But to him who does not work but believes on him (Jesus Christ) who justifies the ungodly his faith is accounted for righteousness”.

SECOND: We must be living on earth at the time of the rapture.


However, since the rapture of
the Church also includes
those believers who have died
and whose bodies are now in
the grave - a world-wide
resurrection must take place
first.



The bodies of deceased believers are resurrected in the same way Christ was 'raised from the dead' ... and according to Saint Paul, they ascend ahead of those who are alive and remain. Immediately after this resurrection, those who remain alive on earth are changed (translated) - and both groups are united and go to meet Christ in the air (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Yet, only the first requirement
listed above applies to both of
these groups - because it includes
a benefit that guarantees their
place in the rapture.



Christ’s unmerited and imputed
righteousness is described in
Romans 5:15-21 as ...

“The free gift of righteousness”

This 'free gift' is assigned to
everyone, who has placed their
faith solely in the finished work
of Christ (with no dependency
on works or merit). From God's
perspective, this settles all
questions about the believer's
'worthiness' to participate in the
rapture of the Church - and the
same rule also applies to believers
who have died and whose bodies
are in the grave.



Following the cross - and according Romans 4:4-8 - righteousness is no longer obtained through works and peronal merit. This is why the righteousness of the believer is now called “the free gift of righteousness” in Romans 5:15-21. According to 2 Corinthians 5:21, this "free gift of righteousness" is God's very own righteousness ... meaning that all believers - from the least to the greatest - now possess, as a free gift, the same level of righteousness as God Himself.


"For He made Him who knew no
sin to be sin for us, that we
might become the righteousness
of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21)



Will All Christians Be Included
in the Rapture?


The question as to whether all Christians will participate in the rapture is sometimes used by critics to sow confusion and discord. Confusion occurs when a question is vague, or based on a failure to correctly define specific terms. Generally speaking, the answer is NO, all professing Christians will not be included in the rapture ... because not everyone who claims to be a Christian satisfies the faith requirements of New Covenant salvation. Yet, all true believing Christians will participate in the rapture. The rather large and dominant group of Bible-believers, who attempt to obtain God’s salvation (and their place in the rapture) through the merit requirements of “the law of sin and death” (the Old Testament program of the Law), is one example we looked at earlier in this study.

This is why many in the modern church are “Christians in name only” and do not qualify to be included in the rapture because they possess a "counterfeit faith in Christ". Their faith is counterfeit because it is based on what Paul referred to as, “a different or perverted gospel of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Galatians 1:6-8), which God ultimately rejects. In this tragic situation, God’s rejection is part of a curse that the Paul said exists on those who preach and embrace this “different gospel” (Galatians 1:6-8). Contrary to popular church teaching - a Christian is not disqualified from the rapture because they misbehaved, didn’t do enough good works ... or somehow failed to live in a sinless condition. They are disqualified because they chose to embrace the merit-based faith of the Old Testament program, which was made obsolete by the cross of Christ (Hebrews 8:6-13).

This is why Paul gave the
following warning to all those
who call themselves 'Christian':



"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 disqualified."
(2 Corinthians 13:5)



After specific phrases and terms are correctly defined, the answer to the previous question: "Will all Christians be included in the rapture?" - now becomes YES ... for all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and received God’s gift of eternal life and the free gift of righteousness ... according to the principles of the New Covenant. Since Romans 4:4-8 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 reveals that God’s very own righteousness (or worthiness) is freely imputed to the believer as a result of their faith (apart from works and merit) – all of them, from the least to the greatest, are now considered worthy to be included in the rapture of the Church regardless of deficient behavior, a lack of spiritual performance - or their failure to live in what some choose to call; "sinless perfection".


Only those who are perfectly sinless
and righteous will be included in
the rapture. Yet, the Bible warns
that no individual or professing
Christian can achieve this level
of perfection through their own
efforts, regardless of how hard
they try. This is why only those
who have an authentic "New Covenant
faith in Christ", where God freely
imputes Christ's perfect
righteousness and sinlessness to
them apart from their personal
merit and works – will be allowed
to participate in the rapture.



Additional information is available
at the following links:

Imputation: The New Covenant Method
God Uses To Transfer His Spiritual
Benefits To Believers


The New Testament Believer's Position
In Christ


The Parable of the Ten Virgins - Clearing
Up Confusion
Commentaries By Jack Kelly of
'GracethruFaith' (PDF Format)




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This is Part 3 of a three-part Bible study.
Click on the link below to access
the next section.

Part 1 ---- Part 2

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