Why am I calling this blog series The Split Church At The Lord’s Coming? It is because at the first phase of His coming, or what many refer to as the rapture, the entire Church will not be ready, and it is the responsibility of the ministry in this dispensation to prepare the saints for the rapture.
The split church at the rapture is intimated in many scriptures. We’ve already briefly discussed Mat 24:36-45 and Mat 25:1-13 in Part 1. We’ve also made many references in Part 2 that confirm a definite distinction between those who stay and those who go. Here are two more highlighted scriptures from two witnesses, Matthew and Luke, that intimate a distinction and a split church at the rapture.
“Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Mat 24:40-42)
“I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke 17:34-36)
Not all saints are taken before the great tribulation, and not all are left. Some go and some stay. Thus, the reason Jesus preached His coming with such urgency and warning. He did not want anyone unprepared for that day. Next to salvation this may be the greatest message we could preach.
Not only did Jesus tell us of His coming, warning us to be watchful and ready, but the entire New Testament places great emphasis on the His coming also. In 260 chapters of the New Testament there are over 300 references to His coming. And if you’ll do a thorough study of it, you will also discover that in many of these references holiness and sanctification is associated with the Lord’s coming. Yet there has been a casual-ness and a great complacency about it in the body of Christ, many believing that it really doesn’t matter, and it will all pan out in the end. But soon we will see that being a part of the first-fruit company of wise virgins in the first phase of the Lord’s coming at the rapture is such a thrilling possibility, and in fact, a great prize to be won for those who have made themselves ready.
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev 19:7)
It is not only important to make a distinction between those who are taken and those who are left at the rapture, but to also distinguish between the Church age and the tribulation period. For example, during the tribulation period an angel is now preaching the gospel (Rev 14:6-7) indicating that the dispensations have changed. In the era of the Church age it is men that God calls to preach the gospel. When we preach the gospel in this era we call men to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, but we must also place great emphasis, as the New Testament does, on the coming of the Lord and preparing the saints for the first phase of this grand event. However, in the great tribulation the message of judgment predominates as men must now seal their faith with their own blood.
Those who believe only in one phase of the Lord’s coming at the end of the tribulation period, also called the Second Advent of Christ, do a disservice to the body of Christ in the preparation process. What is the incentive to prepare for His coming if it is inevitable that the entire Church will go through much suffering in the great tribulation? If this was the case, the message of Jesus and all the New Testament writers to the Church would’ve been to prepare to suffer.
Those who claim that all saints will go through the tribulation ignore the cardinal rule that Jesus laid down concerning His coming, that the rapture is imminent and could occur at any time. Don’t you think that all the saints will know when we are in the time of the great tribulation and the Antichrist is ruling? Wouldn’t it be rather obvious that we are in the tribulation period and the rule of the Antichrist when some of the saints are being martyred by the multitudes for not taking the mark of the Beast? If so, wouldn’t that alone contradict the principle of eminency that Jesus laid down concerning His coming? Just saying…
Then there are those who claim that none of the saints will go through the tribulation. They err also in their view which is not in accord with the plainest of scriptures. For example, Rev 13:7 states that it was given unto the Antichrist to make war against the saints. How could he make war against them if there were no saints on the earth during the tribulation? Some even say that these are Jews who are being saved during this time. But again we must accept the plain statements of Scripture. Rev 7:9,14 says that they are “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues…These are they which come out of the great tribulation…” Certainly there may be some saved Jews among them, but the multitudes are from other nations, tribes, peoples and tongues.
We must also destroy the misconception that the saints are taken out of this world merely to escape the trials and sufferings of the great tribulation. Millions of Christians have already been martyred throughout the centuries since the days of Christ and did not consider it as punishment. So what is the purpose of a first-fruit rapture?
Tune in to Part 4 and find out.