John Ecob 

THIS CHURCH AGE began on the day of  Pentecost 50 days after Jesus rose from  the grave and will conclude with the  Rapture of the Church. 

When the Rapture occurs, believers who  have died during this Church Age and  those still living will be raised, changed,  and then caught up to Christ in heaven. 

Those who are not caught up will suffer  the fearful judgments of the seven-year  Tribulation before Christ returns to the  earth to reign as King of kings over all  nations. 

Some Christians have taught that there  will be a Partial Rapture and that not  all Christians living at that time will be  caught up to heaven. They believe  that only victorious Christians will be  changed at the Rapture and preach that  unless we are walking spotless lives  with the Lord when Christ calls His own  to heaven, we will be left behind with the  ungodly to pass through the Tribulation.  Is this Scriptural? Who does the Bible  say will be caught up at the Rapture? 

  1. Those “in Christ” will be Raptured 

The Bible states that the “dead in Christ” will be raised together with “we who are  alive and remain” that will be changed  and caught up. 

The only qualification to be a part of the  Rapture is to be “in Christ”. There is no  other requirement. We are either “in  Christ” or we are not “in Christ”. So what  does it mean to be in Christ?” 

When a sinner acknowledges his need  of salvation and turns to Christ, calling  on the Lord to save him from his sin  and its eternal consequences, the  Holy Spirit does a saving work in that  persons heart and they are made a  child of God. 

But not only are they brought into the  family of God with God as our Heavenly  Father, but the Holy Spirit places us in  the Body of Christ for 

For by one Spirit ARE WE ALL baptized into one body, whether we  be Jews or Gentiles, whether we  be bond or free; and have been all  made to drink into one Spirit. For the  body is not one member, but many.”  (1Cor.12:13-14). 

The Corinthian Church was far from  being a perfect Church. They had  many believers who were not walking  with the Lord but they were believers  and they were “in Christ” i.e. in the  Body of Christ and will be Raptured. 

  1. The Judgment Seat of Christ  Requires all Believers to be Present 

When the Church-age believers  are Raptured they stand before the  judgment seat of Christ and Paul states 

“But why dost thou judge thy brother?  or why dost thou set at nought thy 

brother? for WE SHALL ALL STAND  before the judgment seat of Christ”  (Rom.14:10). 

If ALL believers stand before the  judgment seat of Christ and those  acts of service that are deemed to be  “wood, hay and stubble” are burned  i.e. evaporate, then surely this indicates  that imperfect saints will be there. 

Furthermore, the Judgment Seat of  Christ is not a judicial judgment but  likened to a judge at the olympic games  who awards prizes for success. 

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not to  deal with our sins for those have been  fully paid for on the cross and when we  believe on Christ we are “justified freely  by his grace through the redemption  that is in Christ Jesus”. God sees us  as clothed in the righteousness of  Jesus Christ. Our failures as Christians  will impact on our fellowship with our  Heavenly Father but they can never  remove us from his family. 

The task of the judge at the Olympic  Games is to reward those who win and  not to denigrade those who do not win  however in life’s race we can all receive  a prize for faithful service (1Cor.4:5). 

“Know ye not that they which run in  a race run all, but one receiveth the  prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the  mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible  crown; but we an incorruptible. I  therefore so run, not as uncertainly;  so fight I, not as one that beateth the  air” (1Cor.9:24-26). 

No runner in the Games has been  judged for failing to be in the top three  competitors! There is no condemnation  

at the judgment seat of Christ because  our sins are not the issue. It is our  service that is the subject. We may  suffer loss of rewards but never have  to answer for our sins. Jesus bore  them all. 

  1. The Rapture is of the Bride of Christ 

The judgment seat of Christ is where  the Bride of Christ receives her  garments for the wedding. In Israel it  was the custom for the Bridegroom to  provide the wedding garment for the  Bride. The Rapture is the day the Bride  of Christ is snatched away to receive  our wedding garment and to be with  Christ our heavenly Bridegroom.  

In Revelation chapter 19:8 we have  a description of the Bride of Christ  who comes with Christ at His glorious  appearing after the Tribulation. She is  clothed in fine linen white and clean  which is “the righteousnesses of the  saints” or “the righteous acts of the  saints”. 

It is unthinkable that a bridegroom  would spend time telling his bride of  her failures. The wedding day is a day  of celebration and rejoicing. There  can be no tears or remorse for failure  on the wedding day of Christ and His  Church. 

When the Church returns with Christ  after the Tribulation she will display  all the faithful acts of service by all  the saints and martyrs, throughout the  entire Church age. Heaven is yet to  see how millions of believers lived and  died for no other reason than that they  loved Christ. 

We have read some amazing stories of  believers who have toiled long years,  suffered persecution and even died 

rather than deny their Lord and Saviour.  But there are countless numbers of  believers we have never heard about  who went to prison, suffered physical  violence and deprivation for Christ. 

others had trial of cruel mockings  and scourgings, yea, moreover of  bonds and imprisonment: They were  stoned, they were sawn asunder,  were tempted, were slain with the  sword: they wandered about in  sheepskins and goatskins; being  destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of  whom the world was not worthy:)  they wandered in deserts, and in  mountains, and in dens and caves  of the earth. And these all, having  obtained a good report through faith,  received not the promise: God having  provided some better thing for us,  that they without us should not be  made perfect” (Heb.11:36-40). 

When Christ returns with His saints all  those acts of love will be on display  to the glory and praise of Christ like  spotless white and clean garments.  There will be no remembrance of our  failures and sins for they have all been  washed away in the crimson tide of  Calvary! 

  1. The Rapture is the End of the  Church Age 

There are seven Dispensations of  time and in each dispensation God  has administered His witness on earth  differently. The age of law finished  with its last prophet, John the Baptist,  and when Israel rejected her Messiah  God turned to the Gentiles so that on  the day of Pentecost they all spoke in  “other languages”; Gentile languages. 

This Church age was not known in  ages past and God did not reveal it  until He made it known to the Apostle  Paul. It was “the mystery, which from  the beginning of the world hath been  hid in God” (Eph.3:9). And what was this  mystery? 

“That the Gentiles should be  

fellowheirs, and of the same body,  and partakers of his promise in Christ  by the gospel” (Eph.3:6). 

On the Day of Pentecost the nation of  Israel was temporarily put aside and  God turned to the Gentiles to call out  a people to the name of Christ. A new  Dispensation began and will conclude  at the Rapture after which God will  again deal with the nation of Israel.  Paul said: 

“I would not, brethren, that ye should  be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye  should be wise in your own conceits;  that blindness in part is happened  to Israel, until the fulness of the  Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel  shall be saved: as it is written, There  shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,  and shall turn away ungodliness from  Jacob: For this is my covenant unto  them, when I shall take away their  sins” (Rom.11:25-27). 

The “fulness of the Gentiles” is the  completion of the Church; the Gentile  Bride of Christ. There is another seven  years of God’s program for Israel to  run before the Kingdom of God can be  established on earth (Dan.9:24) and  the Rapture will usher in that last seven  years when Israel will again become  God’s witness on earth. 

If there was a partial Rapture and part of  the Gentile Church remained on earth  they would be in a Jewish dispensation.  The Book of Revelation chapters 4 to 

19 describes the seven-year Tribulation  and there is not one mention of the  Church in all those chapters. Only Israel  and Gentile nations are mentioned! 

The fulness of the Gentiles, not a partial  completion of the Church, must occur  before the Rapture so that Israel can  play her part in the last days. 

For these four reasons there cannot  be a partial Rapture of the Church.