(30 March 2011)
"Re: Kevin Heckle on Salvation"
Kevin your message was addressed to me and
I feel obligated to reply in defense of my beliefs. The following is my
attempt to provide some essential information that you need to have to
make sense out of my statements regarding the two-phase rapture.
First, we agree completely that salvation of the spirit is absolutely
by grace alone -- works of any kind play no part in the salvation of
the spirit of man. It depends only on the mercy of God. The Gospel of
John (John 20:31) says man needs to believe, and nothing else, to be
Then what is all of the fuss over works? Why would those who do not
demonstrate their love and faithfulness after spirit salvation be left
behind at the first fruits rapture/resurrection? As you stated, if
belief is all that is required why do works enter into the discussion
The teaching that any Christians might experience hardship or
persecution is resisted by many Christians because they fail to
understand the essential nature of salvation as it relates to spirit,
soul and physical body. As stated in Scriptures such as John 20:31,
Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9 salvation of the eternal spirit of man is
dependent only on belief in the heart and confession with the mouth
that God has raised Jesus from the dead. “For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)
I agree with you that the entire Church of believers will be
raptured/resurrected based on their belief in the salvation offered by
the death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We differ only
in how and when. In my belief of a two-phase rapture, supported by the
Scriptures given below, the first part, just before the Tribulation, is
called the Firstfruits rapture, while the remainder at the mid-point of
the Tribulation is called the Main Harvest rapture.
We know that man has three distinct parts: spirit, soul and body. (1
Thess. 5:23, Heb. 4:12) The doctrine of Grace relates to the salvation
of the spirit and is called justification or positional sanctification.
A believer’s works relate to spiritual growth and maturity after spirit
salvation, in what is called progressive sanctification, or salvation
of the soul (not the spirit) (James 1:21, 1 Peter 4:19, Luke 21:36).
Finally, the glorification of the body will take place at the
rapture/resurrection and related to the transformation of the body from
mortality to immortality (1Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:52-54)
The Firstfruits rapture/resurrection is a special entrance into heaven
before the trials of the Tribulation begin for those who have been
faithful and demonstrated Christian maturity during the course of their
lives. (Luke 21:36, 2 Peter 1:10-11) Clearly, Luke 21:36 is addressed
to the believers in the Church who should be watching for His return as
mentioned also in Matthew’s Gospel. (Matt. 24:42)
The Christian section of the Olivet discourse in Matthew (Matt.
24:40-42) is addressed to believers who are instructed to be in a state
of readiness for the rapture (it is not a warning to get saved, but an
exhortation to be ready—unbelievers would not have any interest in
getting ready for someone they did not believe in. The parable of the
ten virgins is about the Church (not Israel which is pictured as an
adulterous wife of God the Father in the book of Hosea (Hosea 2:2)).
The foolish virgins are Christians who are not faithful nor mature in
their walk of faith after their spiritual salvation. They will
eventually enter the Kingdom but not until after refining in the first
half of the Tribulation.
The verses above (1 Thess. 4:13-18 and 1 Cor. 15:52-54) refer to the
Main Harvest rapture where the Greek word perileipo literally means to
be left behind. Every believer will be removed from earth before the
wrath of God falls on the earth, and faithfulness is not a requirement
for the Main Harvest rapture at the Tribulation mid-point—only
spiritual salvation by way of belief in Christ’s finished work at
The Scriptures that support the Firstfruits rapture are found in the
book of Revelation. In Rev. 3:8 and Rev. 3:10 we are told about the
open door that is available to those who have Christian works in their
lives. They are to be kept from the hour of temptation which will come
upon all the world. The only way to avoid the hour of temptation upon
all the world is to leave the world and go to heaven. Of course, John
sees the fulfillment of the promise for escape in Rev. 4:1-2 when the
door is opened in heaven.
In Revelation 4 and 5, there are two groups of people, both saved and
with crowns and/or thrones. Clearly, all of the Christians have crowns.
This does not mean all Christians because the Christians that make up
the churches of Thyatira, (Jezebel and fornication and eating things
sacrificed unto idols), Sardis (unwatching and with defiled garments)
and Laodicia (lukewarm works) will go through the Tribulation (Rev.
2:22, Rev. 3:2 and Rev. 3:16).
The first half of the Tribulation is for the remaining Church not taken
in the Firstfruits rapture not a time of punishment, but a time for
refining and ripening into maturity. The Tribulation has nothing to do
with earning salvation but rather in earning rewards or crowns in the
Kingdom of heaven. They will then have the rewards needed to rule and
reign in the Kingdom (Rev. 19:8).
If any of the above has stimulated an interest in knowing more, I
recommend the book The Open Door by Lyn Mize, especially chapters 1,
The Coming Rapture, and chapter 2, The Judgment Seat of Christ.
For now, hopefully we may agree to disagree and remain friends in Christ.