The Rapture: The Corrie ten Boom Trump Card (#2)
Part 1 of our series on the Rapture ended with a quote from Hebrews 11 which we need to study more carefully before continuing with our discussion.
And 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. (Hebrews 11:36-40).
The author of Hebrews (whom I believe is Paul) speaks about the true meaning and essence of faith (Hebrews 11:1). He begins by extolling the faith of many Old Testament saints, including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sara, who, according to verse 13, “. . . all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” What are these promises? The next three verses indicate what they are:
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:14-16).
The above passage makes it abundantly clear that the promises they looked forward to by faith relate exclusively to a city which God has prepared for them. The “them” are none other than the descendants of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac (the children of the Kingdom) to whom God promised He would give them an eternal abode on earth, — first in the form a 1000 year Kingdom on earth, headed and ruled by their Messiah Jesus Christ from the throne of his father David in Jerusalem (Luke 1:30-33), and then, thereafter, in the form of a New Jerusalem that is going to descend out of heaven onto the new earth. (Revelation 21:2).
Those of you who may doubt these facts because you may have been imbued with the false doctrine called Replacement Theology, alleging that the church (Body of Christ) has replaced Israel as a nation, and all the promises God had given them are now applicable to the church, will do well to consider the following:
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion [a Gentile] answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:6-12).
Jesus made a clear distinction between the children of the Kingdom (the Jews to whom the Kingdom was promised) and the Gentiles who by faith will be granted the gargantuan privilege to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (the redeemed remnant of Israel) in the Kingdom of heaven. Who are these Gentiles? They are the ones who shall have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb (shall be saved) during the Seven-Year Tribulation and enter into the Millennium Kingdom of Christ on earth in their natural bodies.
There is enough evidence to believe that from verse 36 to 40 the author of Hebrews turns his attention to the church (Body of Christ). Many scholars believe that the passage “received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect,” alludes to the promises made to the Old Testament Jews of faith mentioned in the preceding verses that will only be established together with us (the church) in the Kingdom of God.
This scenario seems highly unlikely because verse 39 refers to a “promise” (singular) and not “promises” (plural) as in verse 13. Moreover, the “promise” (singular) is mentioned in conjunction with “a better thing (singular) for us” (in reference to the church). “Made perfect” can only refer to the resurrection of the saints who had been saved since Pentecost right up to the Rapture prior to the seven-year tribulation when they are going to receive their glorified bodies like unto that of Jesus Christ.
What could this “better thing” be? John the Baptist once said, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” (John 3:29). John the Baptist, who represents the transition from an Old to a New Testament prophet, clearly says here that he is not part of the bride.
However, he is a friend of the Bridegroom (much in the sense of a best man attending to the wishes and commands of the Bridegroom). In similar vein, the remnant of the Jews (Old Testament Jewish saints and the ones who are going to be saved during the Seven-year Tribulation) are not part of the Bride but friends of the Bridegroom. Please note carefully that the Jews are God’s wife. Therefore, the nation Israel is unlikely to be the Lamb’s bride because she has already been wed. God the Father is Israel’s husband. (Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:2) and as such a “friend” of the Lamb and not His Bride.
Please also bear this in mind while we look at the main or central idea in Hebrews 11:36-40 which is the phrase “made perfect.” The word for “made perfect” is teleioō” (τελειόω) and means “to accomplish,” “bring to an end, ”bring to a close or fulfilment by event,” “to add what is still wanting,” or “to consummate.” The latter is usually used to describe the consummation of a marriage. The Modern Greek translation of “consummation of a marriage” is “τελειώσει ένα γάμο” and when you put this and the word used in Hebrews 11:40 “τελειόω” side by side it looks pretty much the same.
Who then are the ones who did not receive the promise (singular) of being made perfect and are waiting to be made perfect with us? It cannot be the deceased Old Testament Jewish saints and neither can it be the departed tribulation saints because their resurrection shall occur at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ prior to his Millennial Kingdom on earth, and because they are not part of Christ Jesus’ Bride. It follows that it can only be the saints who have died during the church age which was instituted at Pentecost and will end at the Pretribulation Rapture of both the deceased and living saints to meet their Bridegroom in the air, to —
- have their works which they had done in the body judged at the Bema Judgment Seat (1 Corinthians 3:12:15)
- Have their marriage to the Lamb finally consummated.
The Bride of Christ is one single corporate body whose marriage to the Lamb cannot be consummated until both the deceased saints and the living saints have received their glorified bodies. When is this going to happen? It will happen when she is made perfect at the Pretribulation resurrection prior to the seven-year tribulation and at the consummation of her marriage to the Lamb in heaven. Do I hear a Hallelujah? This fact alone demolishes any other interpretation of the Rapture.
Was the Alleged Lie of a Pretribulation Rapture the Reason for the Failure to Remain Faithful to Christ?
Perhaps we should ask ourselves a few questions before jumping to the conclusion that failure to remain faithful to Christ is unavoidable when told that the saints would be raptured before the tribulation. To illustrate, we first need to repeat Corrie Ten Boom’s “eminent” words against a Pretribulation Rapture.
In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint.” .
In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.
Now, the questions.
- Did the saints, who were persecuted and sawn in two fail to remain faithful to Christ Jesus (“obtain a good report through faith”) because they were told they would be raptured before they were sawn in two?
- Did the saints, who were boiled to death in boiling hot oil, fail Jesus and hastily deny Him to save their precious skins because they were told they would escape such a horrendous ordeal at the Pretribulation Rapture?
- Did the Christians who were torn apart by hungry lions in the arenas of Rome fail to remain faithful to Christ Jesus, and seconds before the lions’ fangs tore into their flesh shout, “Save me! I deny and renounce Jesus Christ. I hate Him. Please do not kill me” because they were told the supposed lie that they would be raptured before they were ravaged and killed by hungry lions?
- Did the Christians who were dumped in pitch and set alight to serve as torches in the palaces of Rome fail to remain faithful to Christ Jesus because of the atrocious lie that they would be whisked away in the twinkling of an eye at the Pretribulation Rapture to be with Christ forevermore?
- Did the Thessalonian Christians fail to remain faithful to Christ Jesus because they expected a Pretribulation Rapture to occur in their time, and yet nothing happened?
- Did the Old Testament saints who suffered tribulation and persecution cry out, “O, woe are we! False prophets told us that we would be raptured and speedily taken out of this world before we could be persecuted and suffer so much excruciating tribulations. Woe! Woe! Woe are we!
Most of these saints never even heard of a rapture, let alone a Pretribulation Rapture, and yet they remained faithful to Christ Jesus in the face of unspeakable tribulation and suffering. Oh, I see, some of Jacob Prasch’s, Joe Schimmel’s, and Scott Pruitt’s ancestors must have prepared them for tribulation and suffering by telling them — ESCAPE TRIBULATION? – WRONG! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE! HOOPLA!!!! They did not fail as did the Chinese Christians because a frail Bishop failed to prepare them for tribulation and suffering and instead said to them, “Don’t be alarmed or afraid. God will never allow you to bear the scourge of tribulation and suffering because He loves you and is going to take you out of this world at the Pretribulation Rapture before any kind of tribulation can begin. HALLELUJAH, HOOPLA!!!”
The notion that many Chinese Christians failed to remain faithful to Jesus Christ because someone taught them that they would be whisked away to safety at a Pretribulation Rapture, is despicable to say the least. If they’d been reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:10-12, they would never have called it a failure.
Now you have diligently followed [my example, that is] my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, steadfastness, persecutions, and sufferings—such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, but the Lord rescued me from them all! Indeed, all who delight in pursuing righteousness and are determined to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be hunted and persecuted [because of their faith]. 2 Timothy 3:10-12 Amplified Bible (AMP).
And Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses (“martus,” martyrs) unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Christians would have had no need to be unprepared for any shape or form of tribulation. In fact, they should not and would not have recoiled in fear or succumbed to any sentiment of failure.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23).