Question: Many are teaching that the church must be united and purified before Christ can return. Is that biblical?
Response: It is neither biblical nor logical that the small fraction of the church that is alive on earth at the time of the rapture must have attained to a status unknown by Christians who have already died in order to join them at that heavenly marriage to our Lord. Yes, the bride is made ready and robed in white linen (Revelation:19:7-8), but the bride is the entire church. If this purification is a prerequisite for being taken to heaven, then what about those who died before the rapture? Clearly, they must be “made ready” after they get to heaven. Then why wouldn’t this also apply to those Christians who are raptured? Why wouldn’t they be “made ready” in the same manner?
Surely this final cleansing can only take place at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians:5:19), when we give account to our Lord and our works are tried in fire (1 Corinthians:3:11-15). It is then that we are rewarded or suffer loss of reward, though not of salvation. There is no biblical basis for a “last-days revival” that will make Christians worthy to be raptured to heaven. We are worthy of heaven through Christ’s finished work and on that basis alone.
Moreover, the Bible speaks of the last-days church as apostate (2 Thessalonians:2:3). Christ even questions whether He will find the faith on the earth when He returns (Luke:18:8). Even the wise fall asleep while the bridegroom tarries (Matthew:25:5). This is hardly the “last-days revived church” we are being told about! Let us therefore watch and be ready for our Lord’s return at any moment.