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Your Questions Answered

Q. Will the Rapture really include all Christians living at that time? How about those who are not looking for a pre-Tribulation Rapture, or those who just got saved prior to the event?

A. Many scriptures point to the fact that those who follow Christ will be expectantly looking for His return. In fact, we know of no evangelical Christian denomination that does not teach the literal Second Coming of Christ. What they differ on is what form that literal return will take. Will there be a Rapture? If so, when will it occur in relationship to the Tribulation? Or will there just be one general Second Coming at the conclusion of the Tribulation, and that is it?

We believe any true born-again believer will look forward to the Lord’s return. If we did not, what eternal purpose would there be in being saved? As the Apostle Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ,we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

We are firmly committed to the doctrine of a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. But we do believe it includes all true born-again members of the Body of Christ. Paul said “we shall ALL be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51, [emphasis added]). Neither this nor the other most noteworthy Rapture passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, make any mention of “if you believe in it,” this will happen.

By way of analogy, if I drop something, I believe it will hit the floor. But even if I did not believe that, it would not prevent that object from falling to the ground. The law of gravity is not dependent upon one’s belief in it. It operates regardless. We believe the same holds true for the pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Would a brand new Christian, who just accepted the Lord, go in the Rapture if it occurred momentarily thereafter. We believe they would. The Bible places no more restriction on participation in the Rapture than it does for salvation. Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior is sufficient in both cases. Jesus told the dying thief he would be in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:43). If a person is a true, born-again child of God, he or she will be looking for Christ’s return. This is true even if they have just accepted Christ, because in making such a decision, they will know why they had to do so—to prepare for His return. Thus, we believe that they will participate in the Rapture.

Similarly, think of a “deathbed conversion,” where a person professes Christ moments before death. Remembering that the Raptue will occur simultaneously with the Resurrection of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), would we say that such a person would not rise? We think not. He or she will arise just like the rest of the righteous dead.

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