Is the end times rapture partial? What is the partial rapture belief?
The partial rapture is a belief held by some people that God will only take faithful Christians at the rapture and will leave unfaithful Christians behind to endure the hardship and suffering of the Tribulation period along with unbelievers. However, it is extremely difficult to support this view from the Bible.
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Two main passages speak clearly about the rapture, or the coming of Jesus to take His believers to be with Him. The first, 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, clearly states "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (verse 51), referring in this context to Corinthian Christians. There is no distinction made for those who were not as faithful as others.
The second passage is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Again, it speaks of all believers in Christ, those who have already died by the time of the rapture and those still alive, going up to be with Jesus. Verses 16-17 note, "And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." The emphasis is on every Christian in the grave and every living Christian being raptured by Jesus. Verse 18 concludes, "Therefore encourage one another with these words." How could Paul claim these words were encouraging unless all the believers to whom the letter was written would be raptured?
Those who hold to a partial rapture view usually do so based on the parable of the virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. The partial rapture stance asserts the five virgins left behind represent unfaithful believers. However, the contrast in the parable is between the wise and unwise, the believers and the unbelievers. In verse 12 Jesus says the unwise virgins will be told, "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you." It is extremely clear that those left behind are those who do not know Christ.
Another verse used by those holding to a partial rapture view is 1 John 2:28: "And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming." Apparently there will be some Christians who are ashamed at Christ's return. Though ashamed of their behavior, this does not say these believers will be left behind. True followers of Christ will not be condemned (Romans 8:1) but will experience joy in the presence of the Lord (1 Peter 1:8-9).
The rapture can take place at any moment. Further, the rapture will be selective. Jesus will only take those who know Him to be with Him. This is why Scripture often challenges readers to choose salvation today (2 Corinthians 6:2). Whether due to the rapture or death, no person knows how long he or she will live. We are called to be saved now, living a life of forgiveness and purpose found only in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10; Acts 4:12; John 3:16).
What is going to happen in the end times?
What is the rapture and when will it occur?
When will the resurrection occur?
What is the end times tribulation?
What is the importance of the second coming of Jesus Christ?
Truth about the End Times