How Many Will Be Raptured When Jesus Comes?
By Ray Brubaker
Not only are there questions as to WHEN our Lord will
appear for His own, but also for WHOM He will be coming for. Would
He come for all believers regardless of their state of readiness?
As Oliver Boyt asks: "How can we distinguish between those
who will be translated at the Rapture, and those who will be left
behind for the tribulation?" (PROPHETIC WITNESS)
He notes in the words of Jesus, "Not everyone that saith unto
me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he
that doeth the will of my Father." (Matt. 7:21)
Other Scriptures quoted by Jesus should cause us to examine
our position as concerns the rapture question. May we not be
taken in by any teaching that is simply recognized as the "popular" belief, for there are those who would tickle our ears by
asserting all will be raptured when Jesus comes regardless of
the life they are found to be living. As some prophetic writers
assert - when Jesus comes, some will arise from the tavern and
some from the theater and we will proceed to the marriage
supper of the Lamb. Knowing nothing enters Heaven that defiles,
there are other Bible teachers who tell us the saints will stop
midway to be judged and then will continue on their journey to the
time of feasting with their Lord.
We are shocked with such interpretations of the Word, for
they do grave injustice to the Scriptures and give many a false
Rather, we believe the Word of God teaches us that there is
escape from coming events described as the Great Tribulation,
providing we are found worthy by watchfulness and prayerfulness
and conditioned upon our being children of God by faith in Jesus
And as to the time of judgment, we are convinced that when
our Lord suddenly appears at the rapture, He will judge immediately those who are ready to meet Him and ascend with Him
back to Heaven. Any future judgment and time of rewards will
await the setting up of the kingdom according to Rev. 11:18.
In seeking to answer the question - How many will be raptured when Jesus comes? - we would do well to review some of
the types from the Old Testament.
First, let's consider the children of Israel as they cross the
Red Sea and head toward the promised land. Of the two million
who wandered in the wilderness, only two made it to Ganaan -
Joshua and Galeb, The writer of the Hebrews warns us that it
was on account of sin that many died instead of achieving the
promise. We read: "With whom was he grieved forty years? Was
it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the
Again, during the days of the flood there were only seven
saved as they rode above the waters in an ark, while the majority of that antediluvian civilization died in the flood,
The Scripture does not conclude that those who died were
unbelievers but rather that they were "disobedient." We're
also told that when Jesus died, He went and preached unto the
spirits of chose who died in the flood. And the reason given was
that they "might be judged according to men in the flesh, but
live according to God in the spirit." (I Pet. 3:19; 4;6)
What about Lot who was saved out
of Sodom? Did not he and
his family escape the holocaust of fire and brimstone that destroyed the city? While he obeyed the voice of God to flee to the
mountains, his sons-in-law scoffed at him, and his wife looked
back when commanded not to do so. Thus our Lord reminds us,
"Remember Lot's wife" to indicate that it is possible to escape
the wrath of God but to suffer physical death in the process.
What about Elijah? Could he be a type of the rapture? Why
was he taken in a chariot of fire while there were at least 7,000
prophets who had not bowed the knee to Baal?
What about Enoch? Why was he selected to be taken and
others left behind? Remember it was Enoch who prophesied the
number of those who would be coming with our Lord when He is
seen returning to this earth. He prophesied, saying: "Behold
the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints..." Jude 14.
If "millions" are to be missing, why didn't Enoch write:
"Behold the Lord cometh with millions of his saints"?
We don't want anyone to have a wrong conception concerning
the rapture. We believe all can be ready for this glorious event.
On the other hand, to assure sinful saints and disobedient disciples that they, too, will be included in the rapture would be
giving a false hope for the blessed hope.
Did not our Lord remind us of the time when He will return,
saying: "I tell you in that night there shall be two in one bed;
the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two shall be grinding
together, the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two shall be
in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left." (Luke 17:
As we understand it, these were two of the same kind. From
outward observation both should have been taken. But our Lord,
who knows the heart and sees with penetrating eyes of fire, discerns only one ready while the other is left behind.
To sum up our message, we would be reminded of our Lord's
words, "Many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 20:16,
Dwight Sylvester, Jr. writes: "The called and the chosen...
there is a difference; but the distinction we make here is not
between the saved and the unsaved but among the household of
faith..." He notes: "To be chosen of God means not only to
confess Jesus as Saviour, but to allow Him to become Lord and
Master of our life."
When our Lord is seen coming from Heaven leading a procession on white horses, we read concerning these saints that
they are "called, chosen and faithful." (Rev. 17:14)
We might ask - do we qualify to be in that army?
The "called" may very well represent all who are "invited"
to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord, for that is the meaning of
the Greek word, 'kletos."
The "chosen" are those whom God has selected to represent
Him as was the Apostle Paul, described as a "chosen" vessel.
(Acts 9:15) However, in a sense all believers are a "chosen"
generation, and "chosen of God." (2 Pet. 2:4 & 9)
The "faithful" are those who are trustworthy and reliable
when given responsibility. As in the case of the servants to
whom were given talents depending on their investments, they
were praised as "good and faithful" servants.
Again we ask - when the Lord comes, will we be among the
"called, chosen and faithful" ?
Peter writes: 'Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence
to make your calling and election sure:" (2 Pet. 1:10) He
speaks of the possibility of gaining an abundant entrance into the
kingdom. He urges those recipients of the divine nature to add
to their "faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge
temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." This is the abundant life that we can select or
Paul also admonishes us to such spiritual goals as to be
found worthy of our Lord's commendation and approval. Says
Paul: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded." (Philipplans 3:14-15)
Beloved, whatever our calling, let us be at our best for
Christ. It will surely be worth His commendation of 'Well
done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of
Even now, let us establish goals and objectives, knowing we
are saved by grace but rewarded for our faithfulness. May we
watch and pray always that we may escape the things that shall
come to pass and to stand before the Son of man. And may we be
ready, for in such an hour as we think not, the Son of man