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DR. MACARTHUR - WHAT WILL HAPPEN
TO YOUR BLOOD AT THE RAPTURE?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, January 26, 2003


"They found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46).


Jesus was twelve years old when this event happened (ref. Luke 2:42). Mary and Joseph searched for Him, and found Him in the Temple. He was seated among the great Bible teachers of that time. One of the things Jesus did was to ask them questions. With Christ as the example, I am now going to ask a question of those who teach that the Blood of Christ no longer exists. For instance, Dr. John MacArthur has said, "The blood of Jesus could not save." He has also said, "The blood of Jesus Christ is a metonym for His death (another word, meaning the same thing)." Dr. MacArthur teaches that the Blood of Christ ran into the earth beneath the Cross and perished. He does not believe that Christ's Blood was taken to Heaven and preserved by God. Dr. MacArthur plainly says, "Those who have attacked me…teach that the physical blood of Christ was somehow preserved after the crucifixion and carried to heaven, where it is now literally applied to individual believers… Nothing in Scripture indicates that the literal blood of Christ is preserved in Heaven and applied to individual believers" (See "My Answer to Dr. MacArthur's Letter on the Blood." This quote is given on the second page of his own open letter, appended to that sermon in full. Click on "My Answer to Dr. MacArthur's Letter," September 1, 2002. The letter with this quote is at the end of the sermon.).

Now, I ask Dr. MacArthur this question: If the Blood of Jesus was not taken to Heaven, as you plainly say, then what will happen to the blood of Christians at the rapture?

This is a better question than you might think. Please turn in your Bible to I Corinthians, chapter fifteen. In verses 51 through 53 we are given an account of the coming rapture:

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed"
      (I Corinthians 15:51-52).

Now look at verses 20 and 23,

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (I Corinthians 15:20).

"But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming"
      (I Corinthians 15:23).

Christ rose from the dead. He was the "firstfruits," the first one to be raised. "Afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (I Corinthians 15:23). So, Christians will be raised from the dead, and those who are alive will be raised from the earth, following the pattern of Christ's resurrection.

Dr. MacArthur and his followers do not believe that Christ's Blood was raised. If they are right, since Christ's resurrection is the "firstfruits," then the blood of living Christians would not be raised, and taken with them to Heaven. Remember, "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (I Corinthians 15:23).

If Christ's Blood ran into the dirt and was not taken to Heaven, then what will happen to the blood of Christians at the rapture? Since Christ's resurrection is the forerunner and pattern, if His Blood was left behind, so your blood will be left behind when the rapture comes.

The Bible says,

"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air"
      (I Thessalonians 4:17).

but not their blood! No, according to Dr. MacArthur's view, your blood must be left behind - because he believes that Christ's Blood was left behind - and Christ is the "firstfruits" - so our rapture will be the same as His (ref. I Corinthians 15:23).

I ask Dr. MacArthur and His followers, If the Blood of Jesus was not taken to Heaven, what will happen to the blood of those who are raptured? Was Christ the firstfruits or wasn't He? If He was, and His Blood was left behind, what will happen to your blood at the rapture?

Does Dr. MacArthur want us to believe that the blood of every living Christian will run into the dirt and perish? Does Dr. MacArthur believe that the earth will be drenched in human blood when the rapture occurs? Does he think that our blood will fall from the sky as our bodies rise to meet the Lord in the air?

When Enoch was raptured, his blood was taken to Heaven with his body (Hebrews 11:5). We are specifically told that he did "not see death" (ibid.). This means that he had to be translated into Heaven with his blood. Otherwise he would have seen death. Enoch's rapture is a type of the rapture of "those saints who are to be translated before the apocalyptic judgments" (Scofield note on Genesis 5:22). Since Enoch and the New Testament saints are raptured with their blood, how can Christ be "the firstfruits" of the resurrection if His Blood was left behind?

These are questions which no evangelical rabbi has ever answered. Let me ask that question one more time: Since Christ was the firstfruits, if His Blood was left behind in the sand, what will happen to the blood of those who are raptured? Will the earth be drenched in a bloodbath, as their bodies ascend to meet the Lord in the air? Is that the absurd, unscriptural conclusion that Dr. MacArthur wants us to believe?

It is much more Scriptural to affirm that the whole Christian will be raptured, both the body and the blood. And it is much better to say that Jesus, the "firstfruits of them that slept," was raised into Heaven, both His Body and His Blood.

Do you think I have gone too far. Do you think I have asked Dr. MacArthur too difficult a question? Remember that I am not the one who brought up this subject. For two thousand years Christians believed that Jesus' Body and Blood were both taken to Heaven. In our book, Preaching to a Dying Nation, Dr. Cagan gives fifteen major Christians, across two thousand years, who believed that Christ's Blood was taken to Heaven (ibid., pp. 175-181). These fifteen Christians include Chrysostom in the 5th century, John Calvin in the 16th century, Matthew Henry and Isaac Watts in the 18th century, C. H. Spurgeon and the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary in the 19th century, and J. Vernon McGee and the Scofield Study Bible in the 20th century. This is a great cloud of witnesses, indeed.

I did not bring up the question. It was Dr. MacArthur who said,

There is no saving in that blood itself! We cannot say that the very blood of Jesus is what atones for sin. So we don't want to become preoccupied with fantasizing about some mystical blood floating around somewhere (ibid., p. 181).

No, I don't think my question goes too far: If the Blood of Jesus was left behind to disappear in the sand, what will happen to the blood of those who are raptured?

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (I Corinthians 15:20).

"Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (I Corinthians 15:23).

The Greek word for "firstfruits" is "aparche." It means "firstlings or firstfruits" (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, volume IV, p. 190). "Christ's resurrection is an earnest or prototype of resurrections to come" (Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible, note on I Corinthians 15:20). Colossians 1:18 calls Jesus, "the firstborn from the dead." The word "aparche" in I Corinthians 15:20,23 means "the first installment of the crop which foreshadows and pledges the ultimate offering of the whole" (Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan, 1980, p. 441). If Jesus' resurrection was the "first installment" and His Blood was left behind, what will happen to the blood of those who are raptured in the "second installment"?

One man said to me that the blood of Christians could not be raptured because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 15:50). But he evidently had not studied these verses recently, because the passage deals with the changing of our flesh and blood in the next three verses! Our flesh and blood will be "raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (I Corinthians 15:52). Dr. John R. Rice gave this wise comment:

It is true that verse 50 says, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," but that does not mean that our bodies will not have blood. If that means we could not have blood in our heavenly bodies, it would mean that we could not have flesh either, and that is obviously wrong …What changes will there be in these bodies of flesh and bones? I do not know. Whatever the taint of sin is, and whatever are the marks of sin, will be redeemed and changed and made right (Dr. John R. Rice, The Church of God at Corinth, Sword of the Lord, 1973, pp. 152-153).

This is a reverent and spiritual answer by Dr. Rice. It seems quite evident that the blood of true Christians will remain within them, and be raptured, in their resurrected bodies. Their blood will not be left behind, according to Dr. Rice.

Someone else may point out that the blood of Christians may be taken up in their bodies at the rapture, but Christ's Blood was not in His Body when He ascended. They may quote I John 3:2,

"We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him"
      (I John 3:2).

Yes, we shall be like Him. But we must be careful not to stretch this into an unnatural meaning. Some have said "we shall be like him" means that we will all be men, because He was a man. This is wrong, an overemphasis leading to a false, cult-like conclusion. Others quote Philippians 3:20-21,

"We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20-21).

They then draw the false conclusion that every resurrected Christian will have nail prints in his hands and feet, and a sword-wound in his side. But this is not what I John 3:2 and Philippians 3:21 mean. These verses do not mean we will all be men, or that we will all have the wounds of Christ. No, those verses simply mean that we will be resurrected the same way Jesus was. As Charles Wesley put it:

Made like Him, like Him we rise; Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
     ("Christ the Lord is Risen Today" by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

The point is this: Christ and His Blood were taken up, as our body and blood will be taken up. Our blood will be in our bodies. Christ's Blood was taken up separately. To say that Christ's Blood was left behind violates the resurrection of the whole physical person of Christ.

Psalm 16:10 says,

"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10).

Peter quotes this verse in the Book of Acts as a reference to Christ's resurrection,

"Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Acts 2:27).

Now, either this was completely fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, or it was only partly fulfilled. Dr. MacArthur's view leads naturally to it being only partly fulfilled - only a part of Christ did not "see corruption." His Body did not "see corruption," but His Blood did "see corruption." Remember that Dr. MacArthur said, "Nothing in Scripture indicates that the literal blood of Christ is preserved in heaven" (op. cit.). Thus, Dr. MacArthur's teaching leads to the conclusion that Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27 were only partly fulfilled - that the Body of Christ was resurrected, but the Blood of Christ ran into the dirt and saw corruption. The belief that part of Christ became corrupted is not acceptable to those who take the words of Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27 seriously. God did not allow any part of His "Holy One to see corruption"! The incorruptibility of the Blood of Christ is also taught in I Peter 1:18-19, although Dr. MacArthur denies this.

Christ is the "firstfruits of them that slept" (I Corinthians 15:20). "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's [true Christians] at his coming" (I Corinthians 15:23). So, Christians who are raptured will follow the same pattern as Christ, who was the first in the New Dispensation to do so. Since they went to Heaven with glorified bodies and glorified blood (cf. I Corinthians 15:50-53), shouldn't Christ's Blood also have been taken to Heaven by God? Is MacArthur saying that the "firstfruits" was not taken to Heaven with His Blood - but "afterward they that are Christ at His coming" (I Corinthians 15:23) were taken to Heaven at the rapture with their blood? Or is Dr. MacArthur saying that the raptured Christians will leave their blood on earth as they rise to meet the Lord? Is MacArthur saying that the blood of the ascending Christians will drench down on the earth in a bloody rain as they rise to meet the Lord in the air? Colossians 1:18 calls Jesus "the firstborn from the dead." As Rienecker puts it, Christ is "the first installment of the crop which foreshadows and pledges the ultimate offering of the whole" (Rienecker, op. cit.).

You have only two logical options in the light of I Corinthians 15:23 - either Christ was taken to Heaven with His Blood, and those that are raptured will follow Him, and be resurrected with their blood also - or Christ was not resurrected with His Blood, and those who follow Him in the rapture will also leave their blood on earth. It can't be both ways!

If MacArthur is right, and Christ's Blood did not ascend with Him to Heaven, then what will happen to the blood of Christians when they ascend at the rapture? Will it rain down from Heaven as they ascend - or will it remain in great clotted pools on the earth? I would like to see Dr. MacArthur or one of his followers answer this question, by explaining what I Corinthians 15:20 and 23 mean - if they don't mean that both Christ the forerunner, as well as those who follow Him to Heaven, both take their blood with them. Let's hear an honest-hearted answer to that question - and please don't give us double-talk, or evade the question - because it is a good one which has never yet been answered by Dr. MacArthur or his new-evangelical rabbis.

A simple and straightforward answer was given by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, in his comment on Hebrews 9:12,

I believe this verse proves that Christ took His literal blood to heaven. If that is not what the writer is talking about here, I do not know what he is saying (Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, volume V, p. 566).

There you have it in a nutshell - you either believe what Dr. McGee said "that Christ took His blood with him to heaven" - or you believe what Dr. MacArthur said, "Nothing in Scripture indicates that the literal blood of Christ is in heaven." Both men cannot be right on this point - because they hold the opposite positions. You either agree with Dr. McGee or you agree with Dr. MacArthur.

But if you agree with Dr. MacArthur, what will happen to the blood of those who are raptured? Let's hear Dr.MacArthur and his evangelical rabbis answer that question!

It seems no difficult question to the truly converted child of God. He intuitively knows that God forgives his sin "through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:25).

Sinner, have you put your faith in the Blood of Christ, now on the mercy seat in Heaven? If you do not have faith in the literal Blood of Christ you are still lost. And you will be damned forever, because only "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). Count Zinzendorf said:

Lord, I believe Thy precious blood, which at the mercy seat of God, Forever doth for sinners plead, For me, e'en for my soul was shed.
      ("Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness" by Count Zinzendorf,
         1700-1760, translated by John Wesley, 1703-1791).

Now turn to Revelation 1:5,

"Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."

I will make two comments on this:

 

1.  This shows that Jesus' Blood is not the same as your blood.  Your blood cannot wash away your sins.  His Blood can wash your sins away.  So you must have His Blood - if you want your sins washed clean.

 

2.  Do you have His Blood?  Either you do or you don't!  There is no middle ground.  If you have His Blood for sure, you are saved.  If you do not have His Blood you are damned.  Therefore, there is nothing more important for you than getting the Blood of Christ to cleanse you from sin!

YOU CAN WRITE TO DR. JOHN MACARTHUR AT
GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH,
13248 ROSCOE BOULEVARD,
SUN VALLEY, CA 91352

DR. MACARTHUR WILL THEN SEND YOU A FORM LETTER, WHICH I HAVE ANSWERED IN MY SERMON, "MY ANSWER TO DR. MACARTHUR'S LETTER."  YOU CAN CLICK IT ON HERE.


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Corinthians 15:20-23.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
     "Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness" (by Count Zinzendorf, 1700-1760,

translated by John Wesley, 1703-1791).

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