How anyone can read the New Testament and come away not seeing the many instances where the pre-Tribulation Rapture is discussed, nor the warnings associated with it, is beyond me. Today, I want to briefly illustrate two more instances that point to this blessed event, yet the dire outcome for those who don’t believe in it.
In Matthew 25 Jesus brings us the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of the Talents. In these parables the pre-Trib Rapture is clearly in view.
The Parable of the Virgins has five foolish and five wise virgins. These are illustrative of ten people in the church, i.e. of Christianity as a whole. The five wise virgins have the oil of the Spirit, i.e. they are born again. The five foolish virgins are in the church but not saved. Anyone who professes to be a Christ-follower must receive the gift of the oil of the Holy Spirit living inside him to truly be a member of the Body of Christ, and one who will become a Bride of Christ.
When the bridegroom returned unexpectedly for His bride as the ancient Galilean custom required, his virgin fiancé must be ready whenever he came. That time was determined by the bridegroom’s father, so whenever he believed it was appropriate is when it happened. The Father will determine when Jesus returns. Remember, He said while on earth that He didn’t know when that would be (Mark 13:32). For this imminent, unknown time, the Bride, the true church of Jesus Christ, must be ready. She must be alert and watchful.
A believer must be filled with the Holy Spirit, i.e. a real believer and not just a church attender. Jesus will return for those who are ready. For those foolish ones who have never come to know Jesus in Spirit and in truth, they will be shut out from the wedding. Jesus doesn’t know them.
The warning to the church is that she must be occupying as Jesus has instructed or she will lose the privilege of Him snatching His Bride up to heaven. As Jesus says in Matthew 25:13:
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day or the hour.”
The Parable of the Talents gives a similar admonition but puts it in more dire language. The master goes away and gives valuable items to his servants, i.e. members of his household. The two who have invested wisely are rewarded; the one with a warped understanding of his master, who squanders what he’s been given, is punished.
When Jesus returns for His church, He will judge all who profess His Name. Some are truly His because they bear fruit, and through that, effectively prove they are saved. Others in the church will bear no fruit. They demonstrate their lack of salvation by the absence of fruit in their lives. They become poster children for James’ discourse and as he concludes in James 2:26:
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Dead faith is no faith at all. Jesus is certainly speaking in this parable about the Church Age – not the Tribulation. Thus, He’s referring to our current times and the state of the church. There will be no church, per se, during the Tribulation. This is a pre-Tribulation Rapture discussion.
Anyone in the church who says he’s a Christian, yet isn’t actually born again – the proof of which is his absence of fruit – will have taken from him what little he has. He will not be Raptured despite his having been a church member. Attendance isn’t enough. That doesn’t prove saving faith. For that person who has chosen not to seek out the Lord in all His fullness, he will receive his just reward. The Master will return in Matthew 25:30…
“And cast the worthless servant into outer darkness. In that place there will weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Such is the fate of those who refuse the love of Christ and don’t embrace all that He has for us. We, as true believers, have the task within the church to judge others (1 Corinthians 5:12). If they are found wanting, we must bring them correction through the truth. Perhaps some will be saved.