RAPTURE A REWARD
By J. BUCHLER
On the most important question the children of God are divided into at least three parties holding contradictory views, causing great confusion.
1. - One Party holds that the Rapture is entirely a matter of grace; therefore, the new birth carries with it the certainty that all truly born again children of God will be raptured apart altogether from their spiritual condition or walk. We will call them the All Rapture Party.
2. - The Second Party holds that the Rapture is to take place after the great tribulation. We will call them the Post-Tribulation Party.
3. - The Third Party holds that participation in the Rapture is a special prize to be awarded to saints who, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, are blameless in holiness, or to put it in more simple language, it is a prize to be awarded to certain overcomers. We will call them the Selective Rapture Party.
The writer, before he was born again, had serious doubts as to whether the Bible was really the revelation of the Creator of Heaven and earth, or simply a human invention, and one of many such religious inventions. So he approached the subject in this way:- Supposing I accept Christ and become a Christian and in the end it turns out that I followed a myth, what is the position? I concluded that if I did, I would at least have lived a healthy, clean and transparent life and followed all that was good, noble and honourable and have been a blessing to others. On the other hand, supposing I were to refuse to become a Christian and in the end I discovered the Bible to be true, what would the position then be? I would have had the enjoyment of the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb. 11: 25) - though even this is questionable, for to indulge in selfishness in the end destroys the very capacity for enjoyment - and then? - Suffering, remorse, darkness, despair and eternal loss. This method of reasoning induced me to put the Bible to a practical test and led me to a satisfying and happy knowledge of God and Christ, which is eternal life (John 17: 3).
Let us now use this method in considering the teaching of each party in turn and inquire what the position would be if its views in the end prove to be wrong.
1. - Suppose the All Rapture Party's views are wrong and only those who are blameless in holiness are raptured, what has been the effect of this teaching - that everyone born again is safe for the rapture? It has lulled its followers into a false security resulting in their losing the prize; they are plunged into darkness and despair, and have in this condition to face the great tribulation, while their teachers will have to meet the reproaches and reprobation of their deceived followers.
2. - Supposing the views of the Post Tribulation Party are wrong, what is the position? First of all, they have not looked for the coming of the Lord, but for the great tribulation - for they were told that the Rapture was only to take place after the tribulation is past - therefore, if they are wrong, and He comes before that event, the coming of Christ will be to them entirely unexpected, and will overtake them by surprise - like a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5: 2) - unawares (Luke 21 : 34). Having made the successful passing through the Great Tribulation a preparation and condition for the Rapture instead of making blamelessness in holiness the condition, they will be utterly unprepared, and in this awful condition they will have to face the Great Tribulation!
3. - Let us now inquire as to what the position would be if the views of the Selective Rapture Party are wrong. This party has taught that only those who are blameless in holiness will be raptured. Well, suppose they are wrong, what damage have its followers suffered? None at all! For, apart altogether from the question of the Rapture, God says: "Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1: 16), and "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4: 3), and "Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12: 14).
So if this Selective Rapture Party be wrong in having taught that blamelessness in holiness is the condition for participation in the Rapture, it has, after all, only taught what God has commanded, and its followers have received no hurt whatsoever, only blessing. Further, supposing this third party's views be wrong, what harm could their teaching making blamelessness in holiness a condition of rapture - have done the followers of the All Rapture Party? Supposing they are right (the first party), and in the end every Christian is unconditionally raptured - none whatever, seeing that such teaching uses the hope of participation in the Rapture as the most powerful incentive to a holy life; it would therefore only have helped them to make their calling and election sure and preserved them from failing (2 Pet. 1: 10), increased their reward and helped them to a higher place in heaven.
And what effect would their teaching have had on the followers of the Post Tribulation Party, supposing they - the Post Tribulation Party are right? "Blamelessness in holiness" will prove to have been the very best preparation possible to pass triumphantly through the Great Tribulation. So they too would have received no hurt but help and blessing.
But supposing now the Selective Rapture Party's teaching is Scriptural and participation in the Rapture is the prize to be awarded to the overcomers who are blameless in holiness? Then the first two parties have suffered irrecoverable and incalculable loss. The thoughtful reader will see that the teaching of the Selective Rapture Party is absolutely safe from every conceivable point of view, seeing that holiness - as already pointed out - is in any case binding, apart altogether from the question of the Rapture.
let us, with Paul, remember the issue. The
great President of our athletics, who has decreed them, sits on high, waiting;
and He holds the victor's laurel, the unimaginable prize. "Forgetting the
things which are behind, I press on toward the goal unto the prize."
And what is the prize? Paul has just stated;-
"If by any means I may attain unto the
out-resurrection from among the dead." We can so master the present as to create a
future of boundless glory. And what is
the summary? "Let us therefore, as many as be
perfect" - full grown, fully developed - "be thus minded." The golden eternity that is before all the
redeemed is also a
- The Midnight Cry.
To take such promises of reward and glory as are given to special labour and make them the portion of all believers, however unfaithful to the Lord, is to destroy the power of the promised recompense. God knows our need of the hope of the reward or He would not have said so much about it in His Word. And Satan knows its practical power when fully realised, and has therefore struggled to blind the eyes of the children of God to this doctrine altogether; either mixing it up with salvation or filling the mind with mock humility that counts it presumption to strive for the offered crown. The fact that our strivings being all so mixed with sin shall be lost amidst the honours that shall grace the saints in that day of glory.
- The Prophet Digest.