Where in the book of Revelation is the Rapture?

 
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Question / Comment -  Where in the book of Revelation is the rapture?

Hi,

I've read a few different thoughts and positions for where the rapture should be placed in the book of Revelation. Was wondering where you would put it? 

Thanks

JPN Reply:


Hi,

yeah it is a good question. I have touched on this before but not as a specific question of itself so here goes!

Some think that we are caught up when Jesus returns at the second coming (as shown in Revelation 19:11-21). But the church, the bride of Christ is already in heaven and married by this stage (Rev 19:7-8) and follows Jesus OUT OF HEAVEN on white horses (Rev 19:14).

Others, normally in the 'pre-wrath' camp, say that the multitude that come out of the Great Tribulation in Rev 7:9-17, who are seen in Heaven, are the raptured church. But there is no mention of the Lord, no trumpet or catching up here. And this is not an instantaneous event like the rapture is. It is an ongoing picture of martyred believers arriving in Heaven having been killed in the Great Tribulation. Greek scholar A.T Robertson writes in his book Robertson's Word Pictures:

"They which come out of the great tribulation (hoi erchomenoi ek tēs thlipseōs tēs megalēs). Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. “The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation” (Charles)."

So I don't agree with either of these ideas.
 

So where is the rapture in the book of Revelation?
 

I strongly believe the rapture is shown in Revelation 4:1-2 where the catching up of John represents the future catching up of the Church. I believe this for the following reasons:

1. The structure of Revelation - It fits PERFECTLY with the Lord-given structure of Revelation. The Lord Jesus, in Rev 1:19 said
Rev 1:19 Write the things which you have seen (past), and the things which are (present), and the things which will take place after this. (future)
The things which you have seen concerns the vision of Jesus in Rev 1:12-16. The things which are (ie currently present) are the churches as described in chapters 2 and 3. Basically all prophecy experts recognize that as well as being literal churches in the days of John, they also represent the different types of churches and issues throughout Church history leading up to His return. Then John was told to write 'the things which take place after this'. After what? After the church age represented by the messages to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. So Everything from chapter 4 onwards IS FUTURE, AFTER THE CHURCH AGE. That is why Revelation 4:1 states TWICE that the things from this point on are 'AFTER THIS' (ie after the churches and church age).

2. The typology involved - If you have seen the studies on the JPN site, you will have seen that I like typology! I love all the types and pictures that God puts in His word and have spent a lot of time studying them. Based on that study, I can say that God is either purposefully trying to trick us in the picture given in Revelation 4:1-2 or He is showing us a type of the rapture! Why do I say that? Well, it is just too similar to be ignored. Look at the similarities (taken from my study on the sudden ending):


Aspect

Note

Heaven is opened

Heaven is opened only twice in the book of Revelation. Once here, to receive John, and one in Rev 19 where Jesus and the saints come out of Heaven to make war against the nations: '  Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.'  These two openings represent the rapture and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. If we want to be part of this open Heaven we need first to have opened the door of our heart to the Lord! (Rev 3:20)

The Lord is personally involved

In Revelation John sees the Lord Jesus in glory (Rev 1:12-20) and then hears the Lord telling Him to come on up! In like manner, at the Rapture, it is the Lord who personally comes for His bride 'For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first..' (1Th 4:16)

There is a trumpet sound

John heard a voice like a trumpet just as believers will hear a trumpet when the Lord returns. (1 Thes 4:16)

There is a command

John is given the command to 'Come up here'. At the rapture there will be a loud command (1 Thes 4:16) It could well be 'come up here'. Daniel was given a vision of the throne. But he remained on Earth. Isaiah and Ezekiel saw a vision of the throne and the Lord also. But none were commanded to 'come up here'. Why John? Because this is all a type of what will happen to believers at the rapture. It will not be some amazing experience while we remain here. We are going up.

Immediately taken from earth to heaven

Immediately John goes from being on the Island of Patmos to Heaven... just like that. Speaking of the Lord's coming and our change into His likeness, Paul wrote to the Corinthians that at the Lord's return we will be changed in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye - which is a reference to the amount of time it takes from seeing someone to recognizing them. One moment, like John, we will be on earth... the next we will be caught up to heaven!

The timing of this 'catching up'

As noted above - Notice that this verse twice says 'after these things'. It is repeated so we know it is important. But after what things exactly? If you know Revelation you'll know this phrase has been spoken by Jesus previously when he gave His threefold outline to the book: Rev 1:19 "Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.
1. 'the things which you have seen' is the Vision of Jesus (Rev 1:12-20)
2, 'the things that are' is the Church age (Rev 2-3)
3. 'the things that take place after this' is that which occurs after the Church age (tribulation, Messianic Kingdom, Eternal State - Rev Ch 4-22)


3. The promise of God - the Church will not see His wrath - Having the rapture at Rev 4:1-2 makes sense in terms of other promises of God to the church. We are specifically told that we will not experience God's wrath upon the earth. We are promised that the 'rescue' will occur before this time. Revelation 6-19 is all about God's wrath on an unbelieving world. So the rapture has to occur before this time. 

I'll leave you with some of these promises. Thanks for the question and I hope it helps. : )

 

Luk 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

1Th 1:9-10 They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1Th 5:5,9 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.,, God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev 3:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.