A Voice in the
As people visit the VW website, they write in to subscribe or often, simply, to express appreciation for the site being there; and they may express their own sense of "urgency" regarding the return of Christ, and their diligence to make sure "Christians are ready" for the Rapture. For a while I thought that was a "strange" twist of words until recently somebody sent a rather lengthy treatise on the "Ten Virgins." And then I realized what this is all about.
Folks, what we have is an insidious error. Even more so than "pre- wrath", "post-trib", "a-millennial", etc. views. While I've only just recently seen it, a friend tells me that it has been around since, at least, Watchman Nee.
In a nutshell: this "new" twist by the aberrant-rapture views is that the Lord is coming for those Christians "who are prepared." That the "Christians" who "aren't prepared" won't get to participate in the "pre- trib" rapture. And, they're taking this from the "10 virgins" parable. The 5 were prepared, and the other 5 weren't. But since they were all "virgins" they are all "Christians." And their teaching is that the "unprepared" will get in "later" once they've been through the purifying of the Tribulation.
What makes this so "dangerous" is that it is setting up the deception for after the Rapture has taken place...for those left behind to think that they are "Christians" anyway...but just...weren't prepared...so now, they've gotta "work hard" to get prepared for the second coming. Oh, the cleverness of the deceiver!! If they are already "Christians" they don't need to repent (Acts2:38) and be born again.(Jn3:3) Whereas, at least for those of the other viewpoints who were not Believers, when the Lord comes for the Church before the Tribulation, can realize that they were "wrong" and can hopefully still be of a soft heart to humble themselves before God and "call upon the name of the Lord" and be saved. (Joel2:32)
First of all, let's consider a couple of major flaws to this viewpoint, and then, let us be reminded of what it takes to be "ready" for Jesus to "receive us to" Himself.(Jn14:3)
If only a Christian who is "ready" will be received by Jesus, WHAT EXACTLY is the criteria constituting "readiness?" At what point is a Christian NOT ready; then, where along the "scale" of relative preparation has the person BECOME ready? You will notice I am not referencing these questions with Scripture. There is none. Scripture plainly teaches a person is either saved, or lost.
And then, the primary MOST DANGEROUS part of this view is that they can "work hard" to become purified, and then get in to the "Wedding Feast" LATER. But if we look at Mt25:10-12 we see that the "door was shut." When the five "foolish" ones came "later" and are calling out, "Lord, Lord, open to us!" He says "Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you." It should be obvious that these words are not to the same people He said, "I will prepare a place for you...I will come and receive you to Myself" ...calling these to whom He is saying these wonderful things, His "friends." (Jn14:2-3,15:14-15) Those who seek to come "later" will have "delusion" because they "did not believe"(2Ths2:11-12)
A couple years ago we spoke regarding the "5 Wise - 5 Foolish" ...and we noted that the 5 wise had "oil" with them. Oil, symbolizing the "Holy Spirit." We know that the Holy Spirit is a defining property of a Christian.(Rom8:9) If a person does not have the Holy Spirit, "he is not His." Thus, the "5 foolish" (with no oil) were NOT Believers. But for everything, they "looked like" Believers. They "appeared" to be virgins. They were attired like virgins. They were located and could be seen along-side the real virgins. They were even participating in a "Jewish" wedding ritual. Paul writes, "But with most of [Israel] (who had gone through all the rituals) God was not well pleased."(1Cor10:5) As Jesus spoke about the "tares" the enemy sowed amongst the wheat. (Mt13:24-30) As we have often discussed, it is often impossible to distinguish between the desired produce and the weeds. Oats and wild oats looks essentially identical. Potatoes and some forms of thistle look very similar.
Those that these people are talking about are not only "unprepared Christians." They are NOT Christians. The Master "does not know" them.
So, what is the situation with those being "received unto" Jesus at His appearing? (Tit2:13) John writes, "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. (1Jn2:28) A person who "abides in" Christ, is one who is "..in Christ, old things have passed away, all things have become new."(2Cor5:17) He has been "born again" of the "Spirit".(Jn3:3,8)
So, what about the "state of readiness" of the Believer? Will those who have been Christians a "long time" be sure of being raptured, but those just recently saved...left behind? What if a person wasn't working "hard enough" for the Lord? Does that make a difference?
Our state of "readiness" is something the Lord does to/for us. It is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." (Ti3:5) When the "landowner" paid out the wages to his workers (Mt20:1-16) everyone received, precisely, a denarius. The ones who had worked all day through the heat, as well as those who had just been hired, gotten to the vineyard and only just were filling out their W4's and hadn't actually done any work yet. Some complained, thinking there ought to be a difference, and the landowner said, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?"(vs15) As we remember that salvation is a "gift of God, not of works"(Eph2:8-9) God's gift is to "all who call upon Him"(Rom10:12) because it is "the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ TO ALL and ON ALL who believe. For there is NO DIFFERENCE."(Rom3:22)
So, what about the Christian who has squandered away his life in Christ? Lived a carnal life and wasted the precious time he could have been of service to his Lord? Upon repenting the "prodigal" was received back with open arms and feasting.(Lk15) And Paul speaks to this subject directly with relationship to the "building" we do on the foundation of Jesus Christ.(1Cor3:10-15) There are some whose lives are so characterized by futility, immaturity, and rebellion that their works will all be "burned up" when tested.(vs13) But you notice he says, "if anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but HE himself WILL BE SAVED, yet so as through fire."(vs15)
The Christian's salvation (and rapture) are not based on works, but on God's grace. The ONLY way to be "prepared" for the rapture, is to be a born-again Christian. Just as we cannot work to become a Christian, we also cannot work to participate in the Rapture. That, too, is God's gift. Jesus' promise.