Barry Amundsen (4 Feb 2012)
"Re: Nando, Gary Stearman's answer about whether all Christians will go in the rapture"

Ultimately time will answer this question for us. Nevertheless, I feel it important to give again an answer to the position given by Gary Stearman in the video posted by Nando. http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/feb2012/nando23-1.htm
 
Firstly why does Mr. Stearman react negatively to the rapture being referred to as an escape when Jesus Himself referred to it this way?
 
Luke 21:
 35.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
 36.  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
 
I sure want to escape!
 
But that aside, he then uses 1 Corinthians 15 to suggest that all the church will go at once when the rapture happens. This is the very scripture that tells us that not all go at the same time because it says that all will go in their own order or rank according to the firstfruit type in the Old Testament.
 
There were three firstfruit offerings not just one as though Christ was the complete fulfillment of that when He rose and ascended. He was the first part as well as those who came out of the graves after His resurrection and ascended with Him. They were the first handful of ripened grain or firstfruit of the harvest. The next firstfruit offering is the first two loaves of bread from that harvest and this will be the rapture that we are waiting for. But there is yet one more firstfruit offering that must come at the end and that is the gleanings in the field that were at the corners of the field and that grain which fell back to earth when the reapers were reaping. The reapers were not to harvest the corners at all nor pick up those that fell back down to earth but leave them to the stranger and poor as gleanings. This is what Paul was referring to in saying that we will all be saved but each in his own order or "togma" (rank as in marching in a parade) in the Greek.
 
1 Corinthians 15:
20.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
 21.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
 22.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
 23.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
 24.  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
 
Here is where it gets confusing because when Paul says "then cometh the end" he is not talking about the end of the age which is what Stearman suggested, (although Paul does mention that parenthetically because the end of the age is when this will occur) but his subject is these firstfruit offerings and the order that they are harvested in. So "then cometh the end" is the end or last firstfruit offering in a series of firstfruit offerings. The picture Paul is using is that of a military style parade in which each rank "togma" is strictly asigned. The first rank was Jesus but included that handful of believers whom He raised to ascend with Him when He ascended and gave gifts unto men. The second tagma or rank in the parade is the two loaves firstfruit which will be our rapture when it happens but there is still one rank left, so "then cometh the end" refers to the end of the parade or the last rank in the parade, not the end of the age, that is not his subject. The gleanings in the field which are the tribulation saints who will come out of the tribulation are saved also, but in their order just as the other two firstfruit ranks were in theirs.
 
The reason this is so important now is because anyone who is reading this right now (assuming the rapture has not yet occurred when you are reading this) if you currently are in the rank of "gleaning" you may still upgrade to that of "loaf of bread" status which is "they that are Christ's at His coming". If you are not Christ's at His coming but have remained at the corners of the field or have fallen back to the earth when the reapers were reaping (I didn't write the example or use it to describe these events so don't get mad at me for pointing out that this is simply what Paul is referring to here) then you can still become one of Christ's but do it right now. It is so much better to be one of Christ's at His coming than to wait and be a gleaning that must go into the tribulation. Gleanings are numbered to the strangers and poor as in Laodicean - I never knew you types. He didn't say I never met you but I never knew you because you didn't spend any of your time getting to know me. These types may even be in the ministry because Jesus said that they will immediately begin to appeal to Him by listing all the good works they have performed and so they thought they would be raptured but He answers back that He doesn't know them. It's not what you do it's does He know you because you have made Him top priority in you getting to know Him whom to know is life eternal not whom to have met. Lot's of people met Jesus when He was on earth but they did not follow Him or make Him priority. He is a person not a historical figure but is here now wanting to spend time with you. Will you let Him? Do I let Him in my life every day? Will you submit to His will for your life or do you want to deny that any such is even necessary? You said the sinner's prayer, that is enough? Obviously for the thief on the cross it was enough. I believe the thief on the cross was most likely in that first togma group that Jesus raised with Him and took to heaven. Paul is teaching that the resurrection/rapture will happen just as outlined in the Old Testament example of how a field was to be harvested using the firstfruit pattern because that is how we will be harvested into heaven.
 
Gary Stearman does accurately point out that once the church is removed then God goes back to dealing with Israel. But anyone who was not fully in the two loaves rapture will lose their status of being in the church and then God will deal with everyone as He did before the church was here which Jesus refers to as removing your candlestick out of his place:
 
Revelation 2:
 5.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
 
Many have argued that the church cannot be divided. That one part cannot be raptured without another part. That whatever happens to one part happens to all the parts. Can you then explain why Jesus would divide the whole church up into 7 parts and speak to them as different groups with different issues and different rewards for overcoming those issues and different consequences for not overcoming different challenges? There is the church history thing, I know but even in our day these differences are still here. I can tell you that someone who grew up in a Catholic upbringing will have a different arena of approach to Jesus than someone like me who grew up Protestant. Someone living in a country where persecution is a reality such as in a Muslim country will have a different life and way of getting to Jesus than we who grow up in the US.
 
As the letter said that Mr. Stearman read, I to wish it were true that everyone who has ever said the sinner's prayer would be for sure raptured but I do not see this in scripture but a stern warning to us to make our calling (nomination) and election sure for many are called (nominated, or enter the race) but few are chosen (win the prize).
 
If this view is wrong and we all get raptured at once you can tweak my halo when we get there and snap it against my head if you want to and I'll admit I was wrong but if this view is correct and you have not made yourself one of Christ's at His coming, at least you should know what went wrong.