I have observed a trend in the Christian community, especially among pastors and teachers who are teaching on the topic of the Rapture and Eschatology and such. The teaching basically infers that if a Christian is not looking for a pre-tribulation Rapture, then they will not be Raptured. This blog poses the question stated in the title, and I should like to offer some perspective on this matter.
I first heard Pastor John Hagee (one of my teachers) make this statement in a sermon, ‘If you’re not looking for Jesus, then He’s not coming for you!’ While that sounds good in the meter of a sermon, is it true? I heard Pastor Perry Stone once say in a broadcast about three months ago that he felt the Lord impress in his spirit that people who are not looking for a pre-tribulation Rapture are not going in one. The late Jack Van Impe (another one of my teachers) also claimed that if you didn’t believe in a pre-tribulation Rapture that you were not going in it.
Just today I heard Mellissa, a beloved sister in Christ from Midnight Hour Oil, that’s her YouTube channel, quote a Pastor Maurice Skolar who said that the Lord told him that ‘if a person doesn’t believe that I am going to rescue them from the wrath to come, I have no obligation to do so.’ While all of these statements are made by men of God who are as sincere as they are real, however, the real question remains, ‘Is what they are implying really true?’ If a Christian who has placed their faith in God, but who perhaps has not fully worked out their understanding of the Rapture and the supposed timing of it in relation to the tribulation, will they be left behind for not doing so?
I know a wonderful Christian brother who is a Lutheran. He loves the Lord, but he doesn’t believe in a Rapture, his eschatology is ‘Kingdom Now.’ He’s a post-millennialist who both loves Jesus and lives for Him each day. He shared with me that the Lutheran’s probably needed to work on their eschatological position as a denomination a bit more, but we do love God and serve Him faithfully. I am thinking that there are a lot of Christian people out there who genuinely love Jesus, but who are not sure what His return for them looks like.
I posted on the Midnight Hour Oil channel the following:
Mellissa, first of all I want to say you are a dear sister in Christ, I have watched your channel for years and I can see that your heart is pure as is your love for the Lord. I love the hair style and the glasses, you look good kid. That being said I want to say that I am an older A/G Pastor who has taught Eschatology for many years at the high school and collegiate level. I am aware of this position of a Christian brother or sister in the Lord who loves the Lord, but who doesn’t fully understand the Rapture concept, that they may miss the Rapture because of their unbelief or being uninformed. I would caution you to not marginalize these precious saints who are still unsure of how the Rapture works and such. I have shared with many believers who are still on their journey of faith with regard to their understanding of the Rapture and encouraged them to just be in and maintain a right relationship with Jesus; when He comes, you’ll figure it out on the way up. What if these same precious brothers and sisters in Christ pass away while not believing in a Rapture, will they still go to heaven? Our salvation is not based on our understanding of the Rapture, rather, our faith in God through Jesus.
I can’t find any scripture where we are told that if we are not watching for the Lord’s return that He will not come for us. I read the Parable of the Ten Virgins, but the five foolish virgins had no oil, that is, they were not saved. The implication in this argument here is that it’s Christians who will miss the Rapture for not believing in it or not fully understanding what it is. It’s a strong position to take and one that I don’t believe is supported in the Bible.
Take the ordinance of water baptism by immersion for instance, if a person is not water baptized are they truly saved? The Baptists say no. I remember the thief on the cross who repented and asked Jesus to ‘remember him.’ He wasn’t able to come off of the cross and get baptized, but Jesus said that this repentant thief would be with Him in Paradise. This implies salvation based on his faith in Jesus, not water baptism. Does that mean that Christians who have not been water baptized by immersion are still not saved? Some may say yes, but I believe they are saved when they believe upon Jesus for their salvation.
My point is that unsaved people who reject a Rapture are still unsaved, but it’s not because of their understanding or lack thereof regarding the Rapture, it’s because they are not saved. One guy on the channel asked the question, ‘Why would God gather those who do not believe He is coming for them?’ If the ‘those’ he is referring to are Christian, it’s because they love the Lord, and more importantly, He loves them! If the ‘those’ he is referring to are not saved, well, we know that Jesus is only coming for His bride.
One sister posted that a person who doesn’t understand the character of God in relation to His saving them from the wrath to come can’t watch for something they don’t believe in. While I would agree they may lose a crown for that, however, they will still be Raptured because they have placed their faith in Jesus, not their understanding of the Rapture.
I would agree that there is a separation of wheat from chaff where the wheat are Christians and the chaff are not. This premise in scripture reveals the stark difference between the saved and the lost. A Christian who doesn’t believe in the Rapture doesn’t become chaff for that, they are still saved, they’re just uninformed.
If we were required to believe in something else, other than what Jesus had completed on the cross for our salvation, than we would be adding criteria to be saved. Put it another way, if a true Christian who doesn’t believe in the Rapture, for whatever reason, but who genuinely loves Jesus, somehow misses the Rapture because they didn’t believe in it, and then gets killed a minute later by being hit by a driverless car, will they go to hell? Only those who are unsaved miss the Rapture. It’s a powerful premise to say the least and one that can only cause division and pain, especially for someone who is still trying to understand the Rapture better.
I should like to offer you hope and encouragement in that if you are a Christian, that is, you bear in your life the fruits of repentance and you genuinely love Jesus, but you don’t believe in the Rapture or fully understand how it works, I believe that you are still saved. Pastor Tim Henderson says it this way, ‘Jesus plus nothing equals salvation.’ While Pastor Henderson does believe in unconditional eternal security, the point is made.
Paul reminds us that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, not of works or other beliefs. It’s God’s gift for us and something that we desperately needed and are grateful for. I hope this has helped clear this up and that if you are still unsure of the rapture of the church but you love Jesus, be intentional in your discovery of the topic by qualified sources, mainly the Bible, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His plan of redemption to you.
Blessings and Maranatha!