REVELATION 4:1 RAPTURE THEORY  


 

THE REVELATION 4:1 RAPTURE THEORY

THE CHURCH IN REVELATION

 

It is claimed by many who hold to a pretrib rapture position, that John’s removal from the earth at Revelation 4:1 represents the rapture of the church at that time, and thus prior to the 7 seals and what follows.

Furthermore, they claim that since the word, “church” does not occur in chapters 4-18 of the book, that means that it is not present because it was raptured at Revelation 4:1.

John

CONTENTS

1. The Theory explained: John Walvoord 

2. Comments by R.g. Wallace

3.    The Church and the Tribulation, by Robert H. Gundry,
   pages 77-80

4. Alan Kurschner from: http://www.prewrathrapture.com/

5. The Rev. Charles Cooper from http://
  
www.solagroup.org/index.html

6.  Marv Rosenthal from THE PREWRATH RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

 

1. THE THEORY EXPLAINED by John Walvoord on page 103 of his commentary, THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

   “The invitation for John to ‘come up hither’ is so similar to that which the church anticipates at the rapture that many have connected the two expressions. It is clear from the context that this is not an explicit reference to the rapture of the church, as John was not actually translated; in fact he was still in his natural body on the island of Patmos. He was translated into scenes of heaven only temporarily. Though there is not authority for connecting the rapture with this expression, there does seem to be a typical representation of the order of events, namely, the church age first, then the rapture, then the church in heaven. Though the rapture is mentioned in letters to two of the churches (cf. 2:25; 3:11), the rapture as a doctrine is not a part of the prophetic foreview of the book of Revelation. This is in keeping with the fact that the book as a whole is not occupied primarily with God’s program for the church. Instead the primary objective is to portray the events leading up to and climaxing in the second coming of Christ and the prophetic kingdom and the eternal state which ultimately will follow.
   From a practical standpoint, however, the rapture may be viewed as having already occurred in the scheme of God before the events of chapter 4 and following chapters of Revelation unfold. The word church, so prominent in chapters 2 and 3, does not occur again until 22:16, though the church is undoubtedly in view as the wife of the Lamb in Revelation 19:7. She is not a participant in the scenes of the tribulation which form the major content of the book of Revelation. The familiar phrase, ‘what the Spirit saith unto the churches’ found in 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22 is significantly absent in 13:9.
   It seems that the church as the Body of Christ is out of the picture, and saints who come to know the Lord in this period are described as saved Israelites or saved Gentiles, never by terms which are characteristic of the church, the Body of Christ. Saints mentioned from this point on do not lose their racial background as is commonly done in referring to the church where Jew and Gentile are one in Christ. At the beginning of chapter 4, then, the church may be considered as in heaven and not related to events which will take place on the earth in preparation for Christ’s return in power and glory.”

 

 

 

2. COMMENTS BY R.g. WALLACE:
The focus in Rev. 2-3 is on 7 local churches used to represent the experiential condition of Christianity throughout its history from 96 AD up to the return of Jesus at the Day of the Lord.

The word, “church” is not used to indicate the presence or absence of believers in Jesus during this time. Instead, “saint” is the primary word used to indicate believers.


The book does not make any direct statement about when the church is removed from the earth. Accordingly, we need to be very careful about claiming the church to be absent unless it is perfectly clear.
Without such a clear statement of removal then, we need to determine the occasion of her rapture through implication.
For example, this is what is used by the pretrib position concerning Revelation 4:1, where John is “taken” to heaven within his vision, to implicate the removal of the church from the earth. The problem with this implication is that it requires that we find significance for every other occasion when John is “transported” to and from heaven such as at verse 17:1-3. Here, John is carried “in the Spirit” into the wilderness, which is apparently back on earth. IF there is significance to John being transported into heaven “in the Spirit” at Rev. 4:1, there is equal significance to being transported into the wilderness at Rev. 17:3. What do the two have in common? It is the transfer of John to specific locations so that he can see in a geographical context, what is transpiring in the prophetic scenario. At Rev. 4:1ff, John is taken to heaven, because it is from that perspective that he can best comprehend the events that follow. And At Rev. 17:3, he is taken into the wilderness, because it is from here that he can best comprehend the EARLTHLY identification and activities of the great harlot.
Therefore, concerning the idea of an IMPLIED rapture in the book of Revelation, there is an “implication” which is less ambiguous.

Matthew 10:16-23 indicates that believers in Jesus (the church) will be present on the earth from 30 AD until Jesus returns to “deliver” them at His coming. During this time period and especially right up to the very end, there will be intensive persecution upon these believers and many will be killed. But whichever ones are still alive at His return, these will be physically rescued from the persecution or affliction they are undergoing.
This is the very same thing that Paul taught at 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7.
“For it is only just for God to repay with affliction, those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”
This anticipates the possibility of these believers being alive at the Day of the Lord return of Jesus “in power and great glory” at which time He will send forth His angels and gather His elect from the world (Mat. 24:29-31).
It is therefore, perfectly clear that the rapture occurs in connection with the visible and glorious return of Jesus as it is described both at Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 6:12-17.
Accordingly, the most logical place to put an “implied” rapture in the book of the Revelation is in connection with the 6th seal at Rev. 6:12 and not at Rev. 4:1.
And this of course, is exactly what we see at chapter seven. For if the rapture occurs at the time that The Son of Man appears in the clouds when the world sees Him and mourns and cries in anticipation of the wrath of God which is coming upon them (Rev. 6:15-17; Mat. 24:30), then the next thing we should see is -
 
1. The condition of the earth afterward.
2. And the raptured church in heaven.
Chapter 7 gives us this very description.
In verses 1-8, we see upon the earth, a group of new converts who accept Jesus as the Messiah and become “bond-servants” of God.
And in verses 9-17, we see a group of resurrected saints in heaven, having been delivered out from the great tribulation.
The next event should therefore be the pouring out of God’s wrath on those unbelievers still on the earth. And that is exactly what John sees for us as the 7th seal introduces the trumpets and bowls of God’s wrath.

Notice that in the administration of the trumpet judgments at Revelation 8 and 9, there is no mention of the church or saints period. This is because the focus of these judgments is on the kingdom of the beast and the unbelievers of the world.

In chapters 11-13, which is a review of what transpires during the time of affliction through the oppressive reign of the beast prior to the 6th seal return of Jesus and the rapture of the church, we are shown several times that the beast administrates his wrath on the saints of God (Rev. 11:7; 12:17; 13:7). And most dramatically, at Rev. 12:17, upon “those who hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
This correlates with Matthew 10:22-23; 24:9-21; 2 Thes. 1:6-10 and Rev. 6:9-11.
Following this, Revelation 14 gives an overview of events from the conversion of the 144,000 bond-servants after the rapture, up to the final battle at Armageddon.
Chapters 15-16 then picks up chronologically from the seventh trumpet and outlines the final 7 bowls of God’s wrath which again brings us to the final battle at Armageddon.
Chapters 17-18 also “back up” and review the history of Babylonian religion from Old Testament times up to her final collapse prior to the battle of Armageddon. Within this context, one would expect to find the saints as objects of persecution by this religious monstrosity, which is what we see at Rev. 17:6 and
18:24. Here, the term, “saints” probably refers to Old Testament believers and the witnesses of Jesus to the church. At verse 18:24, “prophets and saints” refers to the Old Testament believers (as in Babylonian evil’s influence in Israel, summarized at Mat. 23:29-36) and “all who have been slain on the earth” would refer to believers both before and after the rapture.
Chapter 19 shows us both the preparation for Jesus’ descent to the earth and the actual descent to fight at Armageddon. Part of that preparation is the evaluation of the believer’s works at the justice seat of Christ. The result of this evaluation is that the “bride” of the Lamb stands before Him, purified from all human works and clothed in white garments, which constitute the sum-total of the righteous production of the saints who were claimed by Jesus at the rapture.
But the word, “church” does not occur in connection with this preparation. If one claims that since “church” does not occur between Revelation 4 and 19, and therefore she is not present on the earth, perhaps they should make the same claim that she is not present here in connection with the bride of the lamb. Furthermore, in chapter 21, the “church” is not mentioned but certainly represented by terms such as, “he who overcomes (v.7)” and the “bride adorned for her husband (v. 2)” and “the 12 apostles of the Lamb (v.14).”
It has been suggested that the reason for the absence of the term, “church” throughout these chapters is because the issue is not the “organized” church of today which is infiltrated and saturated with pseudo-believers such as described at Matthew 7:21-23, but genuine trust in Christ as savior, which is not limited to denominational ties and organizational parameters. A lot can be said in support of this idea and yet, the message still goes out “for the churches,” “let the one who wants, take the water of life (salvation reality) without cost (by grace through faith).” Revelation 22:16-17.

 

3. Robert Gundry, who holds to the post trib rapture view, deals with the claim that the church is absent from most of Revelation.
The Church and the Tribulation, by Robert H. Gundry, pages 77-80

THE CHURCH IN REVELATION 4-18

    In Revelation 4-18 John does not mention the Church once by that name or by any other term distinctive to the believers of the present age. This, it is argued, implies the absence of the Church from the earth during the tribulation described in those chapters.
    But in Revelation 4-18 the absence of the term "church" cannot carry very much weight unless the phrase "after these things” in 1:19 and 4:1 means "after the Church age.” We have seen to the contrary that that phrase refers only to the visionary experiences of John in the first century. And to think that whatever prophetic sweep chapters two and three may contain stops short of the tribulation is to assume pretribulationism in the first place. If the Laodicean era of the Church includes Daniel's seventieth week, chapters two and three sweep the entire Church age to the posttribulational advent. The same can be true if chapters two and three simply characterize types of churches which appear throughout the age. Then in the seals there is a stepping back for further detail on the closing period of the Church age, in the trumpets another, shorter stepping back for greater detail on the latter part of the tribulation, in the bowls a very short stepping back for details concerning the divine wrath to be poured out at Armageddon, and in chapters 17-19 a full account of the fall of Babylon and of the Parousia itself.
        Although in chapters 4-18 John does not mention the Church as on earth by means of distinctive terminology, neither does he mention the Church as being in heaven or in the air by means of distinctive terminology. Yet the setting of most of these chapters and visions is in heaven. Thus, the omission of the Church as in heaven cancels out the omission of the Church as on earth. It may do even more, viz., create the presumption that the last generation of the Church is still on earth in these chapters since John has described no rapture.
        An emphasis on the universal meaning of the term "Church" does not conform to the most frequent usage in the NT. Out of 114 occurrences, only 15 to 20 refer to the Church in the universal or generic sense. To demand, therefore, that the term appear with this sense in Revelation 4-18 is demanding more than is reasonable, especially since "church" bears only the local sense in chapters 1 to 3. And we should hardly require references to particular local churches in a general description of the tribulation.
        The Church is not mentioned as such in Mark, Luke, John, 2 Timothy, Titus, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, or Jude, and not until chapter 16 of Romans. Unless we are prepared to relegate large chunks of the NT to a limbo of irrelevance to the Church, we cannot make the mention or omission of the term "church" a criterion for determining the applicability of a passage to saints of the present age. Perhaps it is forgivable to wonder whether an appearance of the term "church" in an indisputably tribulational passage would not be passed off as a reference to the congregation of
Israel. The word does carry that sense in Acts 7:38 and in the LXX. It would be easy to say that the Israelitish character of the tribulation requires such an understanding. In other words, in demanding that the term "church" appear in a tribulational passage we forget that except by context that word no more distinguishes saints of the present age than do other terms which do designate tribulational saints throughout Revelation 4-18.
    There is a dramatic style in Revelation. Once introduced onto the stage, the actors and elements which figure throughout the tribulation usually are not mentioned again. We encounter no problem, then, in that churches, once introduced in chapters two and three, do not appear as such in subsequent chapters. On the other hand, we read in the message to the church in Thyatira that overcoming believers will continue until the coming of Christ at "the end," when He will give them "authority over the nations" (
2:25, 26). The ruling of the saints over the nations will begin at the setting up of Christ's earthly kingdom after the tribulation. And in the entire book of Revelation we read description of only one return of Christ, the posttribulational. We shall later see that "the end" will come at the close of the tribulation, in accordance with the Olivet Discourse. Both that discourse and the letter to Thyatira come from the lips of Jesus. We would expect Him to be consistent in His terminology. All evidence which can be gleaned from these verses points to the holding fast of Christians throughout the tribulation to the millennial kingdom.
    Although in his description of the tribulation John uses no distinctive terminology for Christians, neither does he differentiate tribulational saints from Christians or vice versa. Coupled with the absence of a pretribulational rapture, resurrection, and Parousia in Revelation, the lack of differentiation appears to be more significant than lack of distinctive terminology for °the Church. We have to interpolate a pretribulational rapture into Revelation before we can say that tribulational saints do not belong to the Church. But there is no validity in arguing a pretribulational conclusion from a pretribulational premise.
    We need further examination of the terms which designate the saints whose presence in the tribulation all parties acknowledge. Of special interest is the reference to those who "die in the Lord" (
14:13). The term "Lord" refers to Christ, as it usually does in the NT after the gospels (see especially Acts 2:36; Phil. 2:9-11). Hence, to "die in the Lord" is equivalent to dying in Christ. Yet "the dead in Christ" shall rise at the rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:16-18). Walvoord even writes that the phrase "the dead in Christ" is a technical term for deceased members of the Church (Rapture Question, page 39). The resemblance between "the dead in Christ" and "the dead who die in the Lord" strikingly points toward the conclusion that those who "die in the Lord" during the tribulation are among the "dead in Christ" who will rise at the rapture (cf. also 1 Cor. 15:18). If so, the rapture must follow the tribulation, during which those saints "die in the Lord."
    In 6:9; 12:17; 14:12; 20:4, tribulational saints are designated as those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony, or faith, of Jesus, just as John, who said he was in Patmos "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (1:9). It would seem that John, a member of the Church, groups himself with tribulational saints. And later John is classed with his "brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus" (
19:10). The remaining appellations of tribulational saints are general terms which might be applied with equal propriety either to members of the Church or to Israelites. But in view of the address of Revelation "to the seven churches" (1:4) and in view of the glaring omission of even a short description of a pretribulational resurrection, rapture, or Parousia, we use better logic to regard tribulational saints as belonging to the Church.

 

4.By Alan Kurschner, January, 2006 from: http://www.prewrathrapture.com/
 
Here we find a popular argument from silence made by pretribulationists to support their claim that the church is not present on earth during the Great Tribulation. It is asserted that the word, "church" does not appear in Chapters 4-21, therefore, it is inferred that the church is raptured just before the events of chapter 4 commence.

Furthermore, pretribbers insist that because the Apostle John is told in Revelation 4:1 to "come up here", this purports to be a picture of the rapture (despite pretribulationism's insistence on a literal interpretation of Scripture).

If one is to be consistent with this method of interpretation he must then conclude that most of the New Testament does not apply to the church. This argument uses a "concordance" type interpretation. That is, if we want to know what passages apply to the church we simply open up a concordance and finger down the page looking for usages of the word "church"; thus, they must be applicable to the church. The problem with this method is that it does not take Scripture in a normal, natural, customary sense. Hence, it is naive and completely ignores context.

Here are my points:

1. The word "church" is absent from all the classic rapture passages: 1Thess.4:13-17, 1Cor 15:50-54, and John 14:1-4. Following their logic, are we right to conclude that the "church" will not be raptured?

2. The word "church" is absent from the heavenly scenes in Revelation 4 and 5. But Heaven is the one place we would expect to find it, given this is where pretribulationism says the church will be at that time (because of their less than literal interpretation that Revelation 4:1 represents the church being caught up).

3. The word "church" is absent from the books of Mark, Luke, John, 2 Timothy, Titus, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. Does that mean those books do not pertain to the church?

4. Who are the recipients of the book of Revelation? Revelation 1:1 says, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show to His bondservants." Note it does not use the term "church." This is a very important fact about New Testament writers. They used many different phrases and descriptions to describe true believers (the true church). Here the term "bondservants" is employed.

a. Again, in Revelation 22:6 the bondservants (the faithful) are addressed. The unfaithful will not experience persecution or great tribulation; it will be the faithful or bondservants within the church who endure persecution for their faith.

b. Notice that the term "bondservant" is used eight times in Revelation to distinguish them from look-alikes in the church. The focus in Revelation is not the church in general but the faithful, true believers who are persecuted for their faith.

c. It is to the church in general, characterized by compromise, that Christ makes an appeal to repent. The bondservants, true believers, saints, elect of God and those who hold to the testimony of Christ will endure struggle and persecution and be ultimately victorious.

5. The word "saints" is used 59 times in the New Testament to refer to a true believer in Christ, a member of the true church. When pretribbers claim that the references to "saints" in Revelation suddenly refer to a special group of "tribulation saints" because of a "revival" during the 70th week of Daniel, this creates a new class of Christians apart from the church. Their assumption forces this distinction upon Scripture. Further, there is no hint of revival during the 70th week. In fact, rebellious men are hardened even more through their unbelief and apostasy.

6. It should also be noted that it is wrongly assumed that all of the events in chapter four and beyond describe God's Day-of-the-Lord wrath. But a cursory reading of these chapters reveal that not all of these events are part of the Day of the Lord but rather particular events describe the persecution of God's people. It is not the purpose of this article to describe these events, only to note that the prewrath position has demonstrated this extensively in other literature.

5. Why is the church not mentioned in Revelation 4-22?
By Rev. Charles Cooper
From:
http://www.solagroup.org/index.html

It is assumed by pretribulationists that the church is not present on earth during the events spoken of in the majority of the book of Revelation. This thinking is based primarily on the absence of the word "church" from Revelation 3:22 to Revelation 20:16. If the "church" is not mentioned, it is concluded, she must have been raptured prior to the events written about. Further, it is assumed that the invitation to the apostle John in Revelation 4:1 to "come up here" is a picture of the rapture of the church preceding the events of the 70th week.

It is important to examine these assumptions because they clearly attempt to place the rescue of the righteous (the rapture) before Daniel's 70th week and not after. If that is so, it should be clearly taught in Scripture.

For several compelling reasons, it is a false conclusion to assume that the church will be raptured before the 70th week of Daniel (and for that reason is not mentioned between chapters 4 and 20):

1. The plain teaching of Scripture. Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:3-31), outlines the sequence of events in the last days relative to the church. Verses 3-14 parallel Revelation chapter 6 and depict those events from the beginning of the 70th week to the rapture. Then, in verses 15-28, He focuses on the middle time period of that future week (the final 7 years) and emphasizes two key events: (a) a time of great persecution, and (b) the "cut[ting] short" of "those days" of persecution for "the sake of the elect". Finally, in verses 29-31, He highlights what it is that will "cut short" that persecution, the rescue of the elect (the rapture).

Paul echoes this same teaching in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians 2:1-12: (a) the apostasy comes first, (b) the revealing of the man of lawlessness, (c) the "challenge" to all who will not bow down to him and worship him "as being God", and (d) the coming of the Lord to "gather together" believers unto Himself.

In Revelation 6-8, we have the same sequence repeated: (a) the 70th week begins, (b) the pressure builds [seals 1-3], (c) the midpoint [seals 4-5] and apex of the persecution (against the "saints") arrives, (d) the "cut[ting] short" of that persecution with the same cosmic announcement [seal 6] as Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:29-31 followed by the rapture of the saints (Revelation 7:9ff). There is absolutely no teaching either by hint or by direct instruction that the church will not be present during the 70th week of Daniel.

2. The recipients of the book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:1 we read: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants,..." In Revelation 22:6, we read: "the Lord,... God... sent His angel to show to His bond-servants..." Eight times in the book of Revelation, we encounter the reference "bond-servant". This special term is applicable in the New Testament to the apostle John, Paul, and Timothy. It is a word that has reference to all true believers as opposed to "tares", "darnel", or look-alikes. What does this mean? By writing the book of Revelation to the bond-servants, Jesus is clearly focusing not on the church in general, but faithful servants. They are to know what will transpire during that climactic era of history. Why? Perhaps to avoid unnecessary exposure to the evil empire of Antichrist. Perhaps to be able to assist struggling believers who did not prepare themselves when they should have. Perhaps to be able to effectively serve the Lord in some capacity with strength during those challenging days. Only God fully knows.

We are made to understand that the church in general will, for the most part, be a compromising body at the time of the end. When Jesus addresses the seven churches in Revelation, His primary appeal is a call to repentance. Each of those churches is in one or more compromising situations and needs to change their spiritual condition if they are to be overcomers. The clear desire of Christ is that the individuals in each of those churches be victorious rather than suffer the consequences. It's the church in general that will not know what is happening when the end-time events unfold and in chapter 6:7-11 and chapters 12 and 13, we see that they pay a high price for their unpreparedness.

3. The use of "saint"(s) in the New Testament. The New Testament uses the term "saint" some 59 times. Virtually every reference clearly indicates it means a true believer in Christ. Link that with the conspicuous absence of any reference in the major eschatological works of the Bible that supposedly teach some sort of "revival" during the 70th week of Daniel. The fact is, the repeated reference of mankind in Revelation during this time is that they "did not repent" (cf. Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9,11). When the persecution begins at the midpoint, that experience won't be the most conducive means of seeing people come to Christ in great numbers. Who then are these saints? Are they believers who come to Christ after the beginning of the 70th week? Yes and no. Certainly it must be acknowledged that there will be some who come to Christ once the 70th week begins. But are those potentially trickling numbers worthy of a worldwide vendetta by Antichrist? Hardly! No, there must be a significant enough body of "saints" still present when Antichrist reveals himself to warrant his widespread wrath. The great multitude in Revelation 7 speaks to that clear reality.

4. The misrepresentation of John being the church. It is said that the church is not present during the events of Revelation because in chapter 4:1, John is called to "come up here". John is said to be a picture of the church, and therefore it (the church) is in heaven during the days of the 70th week of Daniel. But is that a valid inference? Nowhere in all of the New Testament is there warrant to apply the understanding that John represents the church in Rev. 4:1. The context clearly implies that "John" refers to... John, and no one else. He is simply given a heavenly perspective of what is going on behind the visible world and what will take place during the last days. Nothing else. To say otherwise is to grasp at straws to try to support a hollow argument.

5. The argument from silence. It is maintained that since the word "church" isn't used again from 3:22 until 22:6, she is absent from the events unfolding during that time period. That's an argument from silence. If we apply that same argument to the gospel of John, we have to conclude that the gospel of John isn't for the church because the word church isn't even mentioned in all of its chapters. Can that be true?

The overwhelming evidence is that the church is indeed present during the 70th week of Daniel regardless of whether the word is used or not. What one believes must be squarely built on what the Bible clearly says, not on what we might like it to say for whatever reason. What we believe about the last days will have tremendous implications for our lives should we enter those days. Let us be Bereans, searching to see if these things are so. (Acts 17:11)

 

6. MARV ROSENTHAL answers this issue on pages 44-46 of THE PREWRATH RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.


REBUTTAL 1 In response to this argument, the following observations are made. First, for posttribulation rapturism, the conspicuous absence of the church from chapters 4 through 21 creates a significant problem. This is a seven-year period of time during which, according to the posttribulation scenario, the church is being supernaturally protected. Yet in the book of Revelation, which presents the fullest description of that seven-year period, the church is not even mentioned in that description. Posttribulationism has yet to give a satisfactory response to the dilemma which that fact creates for their position.

Second, it will be repeatedly noted that an argument that discredits posttribulation rapturism does not necessarily prove pretribulation rapturism. That obvious fact is important to remember because all too frequently it is ignored. Third, the pretribulation argument being challenged in this rebuttal not only does not create a problem for the prewrath position espoused in this book, but helps sustain it. In Revelation 1 to 3 the church is repeatedly mentioned (nineteen times). In chapter 4, John was called up to heaven (Rev. 4:1). Chapters 4 and 5 describe a heavenly scene depicting God seated upon His throne. In this heavenly scene, the church would not be expected to be in view. Chapter 6 describes the opening of the first six seals and concludes with the statement that God's wrath "is come" (I.e., is about to occur). It is precisely at this point of time, before the opening of the seventh seal and the commencement of God's wrath, that the church is raptured in chapter 7. Therefore, the fact that the church is not mentioned in chapters 8 through 21 not only is compatible with a prewrath Rapture but gives it essential support.


ARGUMENT 2 Many pretribulation rapturists argue from the apostle John's statement, "After this I looked and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice that I heard was, as it were, of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up here, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter" (Rev. 4:1). They take the command to John to "Come up here" to signify the Rapture of the church. Since this occurs in chapter 4, before the opening of the seals, trumpets, and bowls, the Rapture must be pretribulational.
REBUTIAL 2 In response to this view, the author must acknowledge that this issue was almost omitted from discussion. The argument which suggests that John's being called up to heaven represents the church and determines the timing of the Rapture is fanciful and totally without biblical justification. That kind of interpretation dishonors a literal and grammatical approach to the Scriptures. To make John's being caught up into heaven mean the church is raptured at that time is tantamount to adopting Origen's allegory method of interpretation-an approach premillennarians universally shun in other instances. Because this argument is frequently cited by zealous exponents of pretribulation rapturism, its inclusion here was deemed necessary.

 
 
 

Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index

 

 

©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever.

 

Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary

 

Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us