I will be sharing material here from Dr. J. Dwight Penecosts book called "Things To Come." It is an extensive and exhaustive book of many many years of study by Dr. Pentecost who covers many subjects in Eschatology. He is up in his 90's now, but he has contributed and given to the Christian community priceless knowledge and insight into the study of the prophetic Scriptures and he is a superb, trustworthy, and very articulate examiner of God's Holy word.
Here below Dr. Pentecost covers the subject of "The Partial Rapture Theory." He will be pointing out an number of important doctrinal points which the "Partial Rapturist" must DENY in order to hold to their unscriptural view.
Dr. Dwight Pentecost "The Partial Rapture Theory" / Pages 158 - 163
The first theory associated with the translation of the church is not concerned with the time of the translation in relationship to the tribulation period, but rather with the subjects to be translated. It is contended that "not all" beleivers will be taken at the translation of the church, but rather ONLY those who are "watching" and "waiting" for that event, who have reached some degree of "spiritual attainment" that makes them worthy to be included. This view has been held by such men as R. Govett, G. H. Lang, D.M. Panton, G.H. Pember, J.A. Seiss, and Austin Sparks to mention but a few. The view is stated by Waugh, who says:
But there are not a few - some of them deep and prayerful students of Scritpure - who believe that only a prepared and expectant section of believers will be then translated. They believe that a clear inference from Luke 21:36 is that those Christians who do NOT "watch" will NOT be accounted worthy "To stand before the Son of Man." They gather from such passages as Phil. 3:20, Titus 2:13, 2Tim. 4:8, Hebrews 9:28, that those only will be taken who "wait" "look for," and "Have loved His apppearing."
A. The doctrinal difficulties of the partial rapture theory. The partial rapture position rests on certain "misunderstanding" of the "doctrines" of the word.
1. The partial rapturist position is based on a misunderstanding of the "value of the death of Christ" as it frees the sinner from condemnation ( all ) and renders him acceptable to God. This doctrine is bound up in three New Testament words; propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption. In regard to propitiation ( Scholar ) Chafer writes:
Quote:.........."Christ by having His own blood sprinkled, as it were, over His body at Golgotha, becomes the Mercy Seat in reality. He is the Propitiator and has made propitiation by so answering the just demands of God's holiness against sin that heaven is rendered propitious. This fact of propitiation existing is to be believed.............
Propitiation is the Godward side of the work of Christ on the cross. The death of Christ for the sin of the world changed the whole position of mankind in its relation to God, for He recognizes what Christ did in behalf of the world whether man enters into it or not. God is never said to be reconciled, but His attitude toward the world is altered when the world's relation to Him becomes radically changed through the death of Christ" ( End quote ).
In regard to "reconciliation" the same author Chafer says:
on means that someone or something is thoroughly changed and adjusted to something which is a standard, as a watch may be adjusted to a chronometer. . . . By the death of Christ on its behalf, the whole world is thoroughly changed in its relation to God . . . . The world is so altered in its position respecting the holy judgments of God through the cross of Christ that God is NOT now imputing their sin unto them. The world is thus rendered savable.
.......Since the position of the world before God is completely changed through the death of Christ, God's own attitude toward man cannot any longer be the same. He is prepared to deal with souls now in the light of what Christ has accomplished. . . . God. . . . believes completely in the thing which Christ has done and accepts it, so as to continue being just although able thereby to justify any sinner who accepts the Savior as his reconciliation" ( End quote ).
Concerning redemption, Chafer also writes:
Quote:............"Redemption is an act of God by which He Himself pays as a ransom the price of human sin which the outraged holiness and government of God requires. Redemption undertakes the solution of the problem of sin, as reconciliation undertakes the solution of the problem of the sinner, and propitiation undertakes the problem of an offended God. . . . The redemption provided for and offered to the sinner is a redemption from sin. . . . Divine redemption is by blood - the ransom price - and by power" ( End quote).
The result of this threefold work is a perfect salvation, by which the sinner is justified, made acceptable to God, placed in Christ positionally, to be received by God as though he were the Son Himself. The individual who has this perfect standing of Christ can NEVER be less than completely acceptable to God.
The partial rapturist, who insists that ONLY those who are "waiting" and "watching" will be translated, minimizes the perfect standing of the child of God in Christ and presents him before the Father in his own experimental righteousness. The sinner, then, must be LESS than justified, LESS than perfect in Christ.
2. The partial rapturist must DENY the New Testament teaching on the "unity" of the "Body of Christ." According to 1Corinthians 12:12-13, ALL believers are united to the body ( the one body Eph. 4:4 - my Emphasis T.G.) of which Christ is the Head ( Eph. 5:30 ). This baptizing experience is true of EVERY regenerated individual.
If the rapture includes ONLY a portion of those redeemed, then the body, of which Christ is the head, will be a dismembered and disfigured body when it is taken to Him. The building, of which He is the chief cornerstone, will be incomplete. The priesthood, of which He is the High Priest, will be without a portion of its complement. The "bride", in relation to whom He is the Bridegroom, will be disfigured. The New creation, of which He is the Head, will be incomplete. Such is impossible to imagine.
3. The partial rapturist must DENY the completness ( in Christ ) of the resurrection of the believers at the translation. Since not all the living saints could be raptured, logically, NOT all the dead in Christ could be resurrected, inasmuch as many of them died in spiritual immaturity. But since Paul teaches that "we shall ALL be changed," and that ALL those that "sleep in Jesus" will God bring with Him ( 1Cor. 15:51-52; 1Thess. 4:14 ), it is impossible to admit a partial resurrection.
4. The partial Rapturist confuses the Scriptural teaching on rewards. The rewards are gratuitously given by God as the recompense for faithful service. The New Testament is very clear in its teaching about rewards ( Rev. 2:10; James 1:12; 1Thess. 2:19; Phil. 4:1; 1Cor. 9:25; 1Peter 5:4; 2Tim. 4:8 ).
Nowhere in its teaching about "rewards" is the Rapture included as the "reward for watching." Such a teaching would make rewards a legal obligation on the part of God, rather than a gracious gift.
5. The partial rapturist confuses the distinction between "law" and "grace." If his view is correct, the believer's position before God, eternally, would depend on his works, for what he did and what attitudes he developed would then be the "basis" of his acceptance. It scarely needs be said that acceptance by God will be solely on the basis of the individual's position in Christ, and not his own preparation of himself for the translation ( Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-7).
6. The partial rapturist must DENY the distinction between "Israel" and the "Church." It will be observed in the discussion of problem passages to follow that he uses ( the partial rapturist) Scriptures that are applicable to God's program for Israel and applies them to the Church.
7. The partial rapturist must place a portion of the believing church in the tribulation period. This is impossible! One of the purposes of the tribulation period is to judge the world in preparation for the kingdom to follow. The church needs NOT such a purging judgment unless the "death of Christ" be ineffective. From these considerations then, it is believed that the partial rapture position is untenable.
B. problem passages. There are certain passages which the partial rapturist uses to support his position, which, at first glance, seem to support this view.
1. Luke 21:36.............."Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
It will be observed that the primary reference in this chapter is to the nation of Israel, who is already in the tribulation period ( in the context ), and therefore this is NOT applicable to the church. The "things" to be escaped are the judgments associated with "that day" ( vs. 34 ), that is, the "Day of the Lord." Watchfulness is enjoined upon the church ( 1Thess. 5:6; Titus 2:13 ) apart from being found "worthy" to participate in the translation.
2. Matthew 24:41-42, "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Again, this passage is in that discourse in which the Lord outlines His program for Israel, who is already in the tribulation period ( in the context ). The one taken is taken to judgment and the one left is left for the millennial blessing. Such is NOT the prospect for the church.
3. Hebrews 9:28, "......unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." The phrase "unto them that look for him" is used here as synonymous with "believers" or "the church" since this attitude constitutes the normal attitude of God's redeemed. Believers are those that "look for the Saviour" ( Phil. 3:20 ) or anticipate the "blessed hope" ( Titus 2:13 ).
These who look for him are NOT contrasted with those who do NOT look for him in this passage. It simply teaches that as he appeared ONCE to put away sin (vs. 26 ) and now appears in heaven for us ( vs. 24 ), to that same group He will again appear (vs. 28 ) to complete the work of redemption. The inference is that the same group to whom He appeared, and for whom He now appears, will be the one to whom He will appear ( to those who are "in Christ" ).
4. Philippians 3:11, ......"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." Some hold that Paul was in doubt about his own rapture. The context does NOT support this view. Verse 11 looks BACK to verse 8 whwere Paul reveals that, because of the superior value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, he gave up all in which he had trusted that he "might win Christ," and, having found Christ, "attain unto the resurrection of the dead." The resurrection, thus, is seen to be the result of "winning Christ," NOT the result of preparing himself for the translation. He has revealed the innermost secret of His service, a complete devotion to Christ since He met Him on the Damascus road.
5. 1Corinthians 15:23,......."every man in his own order." This is made by the partial rapturist to teach a division in the ranks of the believer in the resurrection of the church. However, it must be noted, Paul is NOT giving instruction on the order of the resurrection for the church, but rather the divisions or "marching bands" within the whole resurrection program, which will include not only church saints, but also Old Testament saints and tribulation saints as well.
6. 2Timothy 4:8, ".......unto all them also that love his appearing." This is used by the adherents of this position to show that the rapture must be a "partial" one. However, it is to be noticed that the subject of translation is NOT in view in this passage, but rather the question of reward. The second advent was intended by God to be a purifying hope ( 1John3:3 ). Because of such purifying a new life is produced because of the expectancy of the Lord's return. Therefore those that truly "Love his appearing" will experience a new kind of life which will bring a reward.
7. 1Thessalonians 1:10, "And to wait for his son from heaven . . . which delieverd us from the wrath to come," and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 together with 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 are used by the partial rapturist to teach that the church that was unprepared for the rapture will meet the Lord in the clouds on His way to the earth at the second advent. Such a view coincides with the interpretation of the posttribulationist and will be shown to be contrary to the teaching of Scripture. An examination of the Scriptures used by the partial rapturists to support their position shows that their interpretation is NOT consistent with true exegesis. Since this view is out of harmony with true doctrine and true exegesis, It must be rejected!
( End quote).
You can see clearly that the whole "partial rapture theory" is therefore based upon "works" or a "merit" system which must be rejected since it so destructive to the work of Christ. Those who hold to this view do NOT separate "Israel" and her program from the "Church" and her program. This is obvious as they take Scripture texts "out of context" in the gospels which pertain to Israel and try and apply them to the Church.
No wonder there is so much confusion today in Christain circles concerning the subject of the resurrection program. If one does NOT separate Israel and her program from the Church and her program, then these people will be totally confused throughout all of Scripture. They will simply always have trouble "rightly dividing" God's word.
The resurrection and the Rapture are one and the same event. The only difference is that one group of saints are already dead "in Christ", and are coming with Christ ( 1Thess. 4:14 ). And another group happens to be alive "in Christ" when He appears ( 1 Thess. 4:17). The "Dead in Christ" and the "living In Christ" will both be caught up together at the time of Christ's appearing. Both groups possess the Holy Spirit who has sealed them ( 2Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13, 4:30 ), and who has placed them and baptized them into the "one body" of Christ ( 1Cor. 13:13; Eph. 4:4 ). Therefore It is the Holy Spirit ( and not the believers works ) which is going to transform ALL believers natural bodies into a glorified body. This is not my word, but the apostle Pauls in Rom. 8:9-11.
The body of Christ can NEVER be dismembered, since such an event would be so catastrophic, destructive, and contradictive to already inspired Scripture. It would disrupt all major doctrines of justification, redemption, propitiation, reconciliation...etc. For such a doctrine to exist ( which it doesn't) would mean that the epistles would virtually have to be rewritten all over again in order to harmonize with one another! It is amazing to me how many christians who are suppose to possess God's Holy Spirit have been deceived and led down the road of doctrinal error on this subject. The Holy Spirit according to Scripture is suppose to be the believers teacher ( John 16:13-15).
It therefore can only be said truthfully that such a doctrine of a "partial Rapture" teaching is based on "merit / works" and not based on the complete finished work of Christ alone. The Holy Spirit is NOT the author of such teaching, nor has He taught such a destructive doctrine to any member of the body of Christ. This teaching is therefore coming out of them minds of those who do not understand their "secure position" in Christ and who also do not understand certain passages in Scripture in their proper context.
Those who supposedly possess Christ and who adhere and attach themselves to this false teaching of a partial Rapture did NOT get this false teaching from the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit would NEVER discredit the work of Christ and take upon Himself to "rebuild" the justification of man according to the Law ( works ) once again. To do so would make the Holy Spirit a "transgressor." Such a thing could never be!
Listen to what the apostle Paul states to those who want to be justified by the Law.
Gal. 2:16-21..........."Neverthless knowing that a man is NOT justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and NOT by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall NO flesh be justified.
...........but if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we oursleves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister to sin? May it NEVER BE! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove my self to be a trangressor............For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might lived to God............
.........I have been crucified with Christ; and it is NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.............I do NOT nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
The partial Rapturist does not understand that their "good christian conduct" is NOT what is going to "qualify" them to be a participant in the resurrection / Rapture of the Church. They are trying to mixing "law" with "grace." They don't understand nor accept the the fact that the believer "in Christ" is eternally secure. Paul has already addressed this subject in Scripture.
I don't know how these people who believe in a "partial Rapture" can keep their sanity! I would go absolutely nuts trying to "keep myself " in Christ and in a state of "perfect acceptance" before God based on my conduct, character, and motive. That's a tall order that NO Christian is capable of doing, since every believer still sins and lives in this body of flesh. These people need to rest in the Lord and rest in the assurance of Christ who has already saved them, and who keeps them by His death, burial, and resurrection ( read 1 Peter 1:3-5).
"Having cancelled out the certificate of "debt" consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross." ( Col. 2:14).
Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Hebrews 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 10:10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:12, 14 For He, having offerend one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God...............( 14). For by one offering He has perfected for ALL TIME those who are sanctified.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
Colossians 2:11-14......And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;........having been buried with Him in baptism ( Spirit baptism 1Cor. 12:13 ), in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead..........When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
In Christ, Tom Gaston
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