Today’s topic will be posted in 2 parts.
To answer this controversial question, we must realize an important fact about the arrangement of the last Book in the Bible: The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Revelation begins in chronological order, but the sequence changes and repeats some of what has already been written. For example, in chapter 6, six of the seven seals reveal to us the things which must be hereafter. These seals give us a preview of what will take place in heaven and on earth. But when the seventh seal is opened in chapter 8, then the things spoken of before begin to happen.
In comparing the chronological order of the Rapture to the seven-year Tribulation, we must maintain the context while searching the Scriptures. To begin with, keeping in mind that the first 7 chapters of Revelation are kept mostly in chronological order, we see in chapters 2 and 3 that the Lord Jesus is quoted both in rebuking and in commending the seven churches. It needs to be noted that the word churches is the last word used in chapter 3 and will not appear again until the sixth to last verse in the Book. The reason for this is that the Church will not be present on earth until they return with the Lord Jesus’ Second Coming (when He has His feet on earth for the second time) at the end of the seven-year Tribulation.
After that last mention of the churches in chapter 3, the next verse, Revelation 4:1, reveals to John, the writer, that the Lord is calling him up. The word rapture comes from the Latin term rapio, which means to “snatch away” or “carry off”.
Revelation 4:1 reads as follows:
After these things [The Lord’s words He’d given to the churches] I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
This voice…like a trumpet coincides with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
This also coincides with 1 Corinthians 15:52:
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [last trumpet of the church age (the word trumpet is in the Bible over 90 times)]. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Now, keeping in mind the chronological order in the first 7 chapters of Revelation, we see after the church is raptured in 4:1, the church is in heaven praising the Lord in 5:9-11:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures [each and every believer is a living created being], and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,
We find that the antichrist will not be revealed until the Spirit indwelled Church is taken out of the way in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8a:
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work [1 John 2:18]; only He [the Holy Spirit] who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, …
Hope to see you next week when we finish this short study with part 2.
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All Scripture quoted is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.