Biblical Audio Commentary – Since We’ve Been Discussing the Partial Rapture – Here’s More
In recent weeks I’ve covered different aspects and possibilities about the Rapture position labeled as Partial Rapture. As I’ve said in my discussions, I don’t really like that term because it has connotations with which I don’t agree. On the other hand, as I’ve thought more about it, I believe the general idea has much merit. In this day and age where Christians take their faith much too lightly, it seems to me that God may expect more from those whom He has graciously saved. So, yes, we’re talking here about born-again believers in relation to the pre-Tribulation Rapture.
The feel-good position for most who believe in the pre-Trib Rapture is that all believers, hot, cold, or lukewarm will be taken up into the clouds when Christ returns for His church some time before the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation. I am rock solid in my belief that, in fact, Jesus will remove His beloved bride from this world prior to the beginning of Judgment upon it. What I’ve come to question is whether the five virgins without their oil pertains to unbelievers or believers. We know they aren’t welcomed into the bridal chamber in heaven, which begs the question: If this points to believers, are some born-again individuals disqualified from entering for the marriage consummation? From The Parable of the Ten Virgins, as I’ve previously discussed, perhaps that parable could pertain to the apathetic Laodicean church of today – or any of the other Revelation churches that Jesus warns to repent and they don’t. If so, some large number of Christians could be left behind under this assumption.
Again, the pre-Trib Rapture community doesn’t want to consider that as a possibility. Many arguments are made in this regard. You can read some them at this link that I also provided in a previous sources reference.
While minding my own business after having written two prior pieces on this subject, another idea concerning it came to mind. It has to do once more with that heavenly wedding.
The thinking that’s prevalent concerning the pre-Trib Rapture – with which I agree – is that believers are whisked away from earth by Jesus the Bridegroom before the beginning of the horrendous seven years of Tribulation. As the Bride, we enter into our wedding chambers with Him that He has been diligently building at His Father’s House since we were betrothed, i.e. since Jesus’ death and resurrection (John 14:1-3). In all these 2000+ years, He has been preparing this special place for us. In the way of the Galilean wedding, He will come at an unexpected hour, so we must remain clothed in our wedding dress – so to speak – and remain alert and watchful for that wondrous hour. When it comes – when Jesus calls to us: “Come up here” – we fly to Him with bells on. Then, for seven marvelous years we are secreted with Him. What incredible mysteries will He reveal to us during that time?
I’ve stated that I think there may be more regarding who in the church goes or doesn’t, that perhaps it may be related to those of us who have earned crowns during our Christian walk because we’ve been diligent in pursuing it, but here’s another angle on the so-called Partial Rapture, if it happens to be valid. Think about this: Christ’s bride has joined Him in heaven. He and she are happily ensconced together – just like the five virgins that had the oil. They were ready, and they entered into the bliss of being with their Bridegroom and Lord. But what happened with the other five? They were excluded.
Now, extend that idea to the Partial Rapture. If the believers with the oil are taken and those without oil are not, what are the odds that these apathetic believers with no oil will be subsequently brought into the bridal chamber? Doesn’t the parable say quite clearly that they were not allowed to enter? In fact, the bridegroom says he never knew them.
If this is a legitimate parallel, then there’s no way that there will be any additional Raptures after the first one. The popular Partial Rapture idea that there may be one or more additional Raptures during the Tribulation just doesn’t make sense in the context of the wedding motif. The bridal chamber has been closed after the first group of virgins; no more will be allowed in.
This means that those believers left behind in this scenario indeed enter the Tribulation and endure the hardships, persecution, suffering, and death that is integral to that horrific period. Again, I remind you of what Jesus said in Luke 12:45-48:
But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
The servant is excluded, just like the virgins were. Neither those virgins nor the unfaithful servant was ready for what came next.
If this is the case with various disobedient believers being left behind, look at what the parable describes:
Cut to pieces and put with the unfaithful. . . Receive a severe beating.
Doesn’t it seem like they will come side-by-side with unbelievers? If so, they will be among the many gathered – along with the newly saved believers – at the throne in the 5th Seal, along with the other times of martyrdom? Notice: I say martyrdom, not Rapture.
Look, I get it that this isn’t the way many in the pre-Trib school want to picture this. But perhaps they’re missing a way – or the way – to express love to others who aren’t following God as they should. Maybe I’m completely wrong. If so, all praise and glory to God for His mercy – even to disobedient believers living for the world rather than for the Kingdom. However, if this scenario is correct, and we who are living for the Lord come across those who aren’t doing so, maybe we should warn them of their potential peril. Maybe they’re fat, dumb, and happy in their just-barely-saved condition, and they think God is okay with that and will keep them from the coming wrath – if they even think about such things. But what if that isn’t the case? What if their faith needs refining? Consider the church at Smyrna how through their suffering, they received no condemnation from the Lord. Is there something to be said regarding this in relation to the end times and how tribulation grows boundless faith?
Let’s also not forget the command that Jesus in Luke 10:25-29 gave for those who wish to enter eternal life:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
There are those of us living this command today; however, there are many who are not. Doesn’t God want all Christian believers to approach Him like this? And if they’re not, maybe. . . just maybe. . . He needs to work in their lives a little more so as to grow their faith. This is not – I repeat – NOT works righteousness. This is a matter of true faith that only God knows.
Once more, I don’t have the answers to questions and issues like this that I’m floating. What I am doing is raising a warning – a red flag, if you will. God requires – no, He demands – fear and reverence. If those by His grace have been saved, yet refuse to approach Him in this manner. . . well, I just wonder if that will cause some very unpleasant results.
I have allways struggled with the 10 virgins. In the wedding the bride of Christ are all the believers and so become the body of Christ in the wedding. The 10 virgins are the friends of the bride in this story. They are not the same as the bride. Who they excactly are I dont know, but murching them with the bride does not make sence to me. Maybe they are part of believing and unbelieving jews, not mesianic jews, because they are part of the body. Maybe we can see the 10 virgins as the friends of God? Please your opinion on this issue.
gr and thanks, Jaap
The text says specifically that the virgins go meet the bridegroom. There’s no distinction of one to another so that one of them might be the actual bride whereas the others are simply friends. Because it’s a parable there probably has to be some latitude in how we interpret it; in this case there being 10 virgin brides versus just one. That’s the reason I think it deals with the church since we collectively are the Bride of Christ.
So, if this is the church, then it comes down to the nature of all the virgin brides. You probably read or listened to this Commentary from a couple weeks ago? https://garyritter.com/biblical-audio-commentary-a-taboo-consideration-of-the-ten-virgins/. In there I acknowledge that some teachers think the 5 virgins without oil aren’t really saved. I simply question that and wonder if perhaps they represent the saved part of the church that is disobedient to Christ in its walk and has basically squandered the talents/minas given it – thus for that disobedience to the Lord He requires them to be refined through fire, i.e. the Tribulation. That would certainly be tough love! On the other hand, why did they waste what God so freely gave them? Is there not a consequence for that?