Will there be a Rapture of the Church? and if so, why would God leave some of his elect to testify in the presence of the Antichrist.
Hello Dan. First please accept my apology for taking so long to answer, duties have kept me busy.
To answer your question of will there be a rapture of the Church the answer would be No.This answer would be based upon what the understood definition of the word "Church" is.
Example: In the Baptist Denomination, it is taught that the word "Church" other than meaning "Building of Worship"; means "The Body of Baptized Believers". However, there are many that are Baptized and Believe that will not be raptured.
These that will not be raptured are the ones who attend Church on Sunday..maybe Bible class on wed. or whatever day the meeting is, but never fully commit to the faith. To qualify as one to be raptured we must be "doers' and not just "hearers" of the Word of God;
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
So who is it that will be Raptured? Let us look at the main scripture for belief in Rapture:
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Notice vs 16 carefully, it states "the dead IN CHRIST shall rise first" the the ones who are alive. What this scripture reveals to us is that the "rapture" or more properly "gathering" will only happen to those who are IN CHRIST..Dead First and then those who are ALIVE IN CHRIST.
So who are those who are considered IN CHRIST?
2 Corinthians 5:16-18
King James Version #KJV#
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
King James Version #KJV#
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
King James Version #KJV#
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
These are just a few scriptures that identify who is "IN CHRIST". So we find that it is not the CHURCH#all inclusive# that is to be "gathered or raptured" it is only those who belong to the BODY of Christ. The True and Faithful Believers who exercise their faith and are faithful in following Christ.
Now although it is not part of your question, I invite you to research when this "gathering" or "rapture" shall take place. There are many doctrines...Pre-Trib; Post Trib; Mid Trib etc. concerning the Rapture..But the Bible is clear on when it shall take place.
As too your question of God leaving some of his "elect" to testify in the presence of the Anti-Christ, let us review some basic scripture on the issue:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
There was never a time when man was without hope of returning too right relationship with our Creator. From the time of the fall in the Garden of Eden, it has been "purposed" by God himself, that all men receive a chance to be saved. Throughout History and as we read and study our Bibles, we find that there are, and have always been those elect that have worked faithfully spreading the Word of God. So shall it be until the End of this wicked world.
In the above scripture, it tells us that until the time of the very end, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God and His Christ shall be preached until All Mankind, thereby giving all opportunity for salvation:
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
So the purpose of the Very Elect, shall be to continually preach the Gospel until the end of the appointed time. The Bible gives further evidence in the Book of Revelations as it speaks of Johns vision of the Two Olive Trees and Two Candle Sticks. It was revealed to John that these are the "TWO WITNESSES" that will stand in testimony in the face of the GOD of this Earth:
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Because of God's Loving Kindness, Tender Mercies and Love for His creation, all up until the appointed time of the end, His Faithful, His Very Elect shall stand in testimony, not considering their lives, But only doing the will of God. They will sacrifice their lives for the Word of God so that all hear the Gospel.
I hope this answers your questions. If there is something that needs to be clarified or I can be of further assistance on this matter, please do not hesitate to follow up.
God Bless and Keep You;
Rev. Darryl Murphy