How Big Is The Church?

Q. Would you be able to comment on what the “pre-determined number” of Christians would be that would coincide with the rapture happening? In other words, does this (in Romans?) mean that once this number of believers is reached that no more people will be allowed into heaven and that this number will then be the signal to rapture? Someone once mentioned the number as 144,000…which seems pretty low. Thank you.

A. Through my study of Romans 11:25, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a pre-determined number of believers that make up the Church and when this number is reached the Rapture will take place and membership in the Church will be closed. People will still be able to pray and be saved, and therefore gain entrance into “Heaven” but they won’t enjoy the special benefits that membership in the Church brings. If I’m right then the Rapture of the Church is a number specific event rather than a date specific one and is the primary reason why no one will ever know the exact time of the Rapture before it occurs.

The number 144,000 appears twice in the Book of Revelation. In chapter 7 it has to do with representatives of the 12 tribes of Israel who evangelize the world during the Tribulation. In chapter 14 it refers to a sample of the Redeemed in Heaven with Jesus. Neither of these references is meant to define the full membership of the Church. That number is unknown to mankind.

Some try to attach a very small number to the Church, saying that only the best Christians will go in the Rapture. (I notice they always include themselves.) I think that this is an attempt on their part to scare believers into obedience to God’s word, usually as they have defined it. 2 Cor 5:17 says that when we became believers we became a new creation, and verse 21 concludes that from God’s point of view, we’re as righteous as He is. I don’t see how any Christian can be better than that. All believers will go in the Rapture, because we’re saved by what we believe, not by how we behave.

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