John Tng (19 Apr 2008)
"Only two saved? Surely not!"

Dear Doves,

The fellowship has been great on this board. I want to thank all for your participation and contribution. Even though I am silent most of the time I am watching intently together with all doves. I certainly appreciate all the encouraging posts. THANKS!

Will all true Christians be raptured? This question is potentially divisive. I sure hope the discussion on such a topic will not divide the doves despite the fact there are disagreements. Let us engage each other respectfully keeping in mind we see through a glass darkly.

Dark glass aside, one has to stick to a position. I have stated my position before on this issue. Whether you agree with me or not, that's OK since it's just my opinion. I am not suggesting we should earn our salvation, a point often brought up amidst confusion. It seems to me REWARD is recognized by the two debating groups. One group regards the Rapture as a reward for watching, while the other regards other "tangibles" as reward for watching. The latter group believes all Christians will be raptured including the sleeping ones. This group believes those who are found watching shall be rewarded as promised in the Word while those not watching shall suffer loss, i.e. no reward but still raptured.

Both groups recognize the merit in watching. (Amen?)
Believers suffer loss for failing to watch one way or another.

The KEY to resolution in my opinion is to ask this question:
Is the Rapture part of a total package of salvation?
Is the Rapture a default option of salvation?
Is the Rapture automatic for all saved believers?

Can we find in Scripture an example that may provide answer to the question above?

I believe we can.

The Exodus is the greatest miracle the Israelites experienced as a people. A lot of spiritual lessons may be drawn from it. Paul himself applied it in 1 Corinthians 10. We know out of the entire generation that came out of Egypt only Caleb and Joshua made it to the Promised Land. What is the spiritual lesson we can learn from this? Surely this does not lead us to understand only 2 persons out of Egypt are saved! Moses is certainly saved in Heaven right now even though he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Certain Israelites that came out of Egypt are definitely in hell right now -- e.g. Korah and company, who went down into the pit alive (Num 16:32-33 & Jude 11). What about the rest of the thousands of people?

Surely there are more people saved than just Caleb and Joshua, despite the sins committed by the people in the wilderness. These people came out of Egypt by a GREAT DELIVERANCE orchestrated by God Himself. God Himself led the people out, pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Surely He did not lead the people out to perish in the wilderness! Surely among the thousands who were CALLED OUT, there were more saved than just Caleb and Joshua.

Paul implied they were saved.

1 Corinthians 10
1  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that ALL our fathers were under the cloud, and ALL passed through the sea;
2  And were ALL baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3  And did ALL eat the same spiritual meat;
4  And did ALL drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

These are the redeemed ones of Israel. Notice the parallel elements of sacraments given to the Church are present in the passage above: baptism and communion. The passing through the Red Sea parallels the regeneration, the translation from the kingdom of darkness into light. ALL the people demonstrated faith. This fact is confirmed by the author of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:29
By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
The Holy Spirit singles out this generation in this verse as an example of faith. They started off so well. But alas! What is the Holy Spirit's indictment of this generation in the Torah at the end of the wandering in the wilderness?
Deu 1
35  Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,
36  Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.
37  Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
38  But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
39  Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
40  But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
I am not convinced this evil generation will end up in hell (except Korah and company and maybe others) despite further indictment by Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Continuing the 1 Cor 10 passage:
1 Corinthians 10
5  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he FALL.
Not a pretty sight. These ones went through the "conversion" process what with the symbols of baptism, communion, passing through the Red Sea and all. Despite this "conversion", they behaved just like the carnal Corinthians. (1 Cor 5:1  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.)

They were as carnal as the carnal Corinthians and we know the Corinthians are believers alright. Paul would not have judged some of them if they were not believers. In fact Paul handed some of them to Satan to teach them a lesson for bringing shame to the Body of Christ.

1 Cor 5
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

This believer was the same one who took his father's wife a few verses back in verse 1 and Scripture records that he was even more depraved than the Gentiles among them at the time. Yet verse 5 says all is not lost for him and intimates intense suffering of the flesh to the point of destruction for this believer.

The Exodus example clearly shows there are two crossings and there is a HUGE difference between the two. The crossing of the Red Sea typifies salvation while the crossing of Jordan typifies the Rapture. While both crossings are results of faith in God, the second crossing requires a greater faith and total dedication to the Lord. (...because he hath wholly followed the LORD. Deu 1:36)

The first crossing is en masse (many) while the second crossing depends on the heart of the individual (few). For many are called but few are chosen. Those who took part in the first crossing were not automatically qualified to take part in the second crossing. While God honored His Word in delivering the Israelites out of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand, yet only two heroes of faith earned their right (Parallel: Rapture is earned, salvation is not.) to enter into the Promised Land. Did God reject the entire evil generation save Caleb and Joshua? Unthinkable and emphatically no. Although many Israelites FELL (1 Cor 10:5, 12) in the desert, it doesn't mean they lost their salvation. MANY Corinthians DIED (FELL) as a result of contempt for the Body of Christ (1 Cor 11:30). They were judged by the Lord, but they were not condemned with the world, i.e. they did not lose their salvation (1 Cor 11:32).

Therefore, brethren, in view of this high calling, let us emulate the example of Caleb and Joshua who had wholly followed the Lord and served Him unswervingly. Let us run that we may obtain the prize (1 Cor 9:24).

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil 3:14