Over the next few weeks we will continue to share with you the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Revelation. Some of the members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will now address:
#5. Can the Rapture of the Church be found anywhere in the book of Revelation? And if so, where?
Al Gist, Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries
The Rapture is found in an indirect way in Revelation 4:1. The Bible there says that the windows of Heaven are opened up and John hears a voice saying, "Come up hither." Next we find John in the very Throne Room of God in Heaven. I think that's a picture of the Rapture of the Church — the snatching away, the sudden calling up of God's people to Heaven to be with the Lord. So, in that sense, I would say the Rapture is mentioned. Although, I wouldn't say that it's a major topic of Revelation, but it certainly is mentioned in an indirect way.
August Rosado, Today in Bible Prophecy Ministries
Some would use Revelation 4:1 to teach about the Rapture of the Church. But, I see it as John being translated from Earth to Heaven where he is seeing this heavenly scene. What he is seeing are the events of Revelation chapters 4 and 5. He sees the four and twenty elders around the throne. I believe that is the raptured Church. And so, I do believe that Revelation 4:1 is a Rapture per-say, but not directly referring to the Rapture of the Church. It is just John being transported from Earth to Heaven to see the events that will happen in the not too distant future.
You can use what John sees though Revelation 4:1 to prove a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, because we have the four and twenty elders around the throne who are the raptured Church. Then we have chapters 6-19 which deal with Daniel's Seventieth Week of prophecy which is the Tribulation period. Then we have Revelation 19 where Jesus is coming back with His Church, especially verse 14, and the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses clothed in fine linen white and clean. I'm convinced that verse 14 is referring to us. That's our cue! We are coming back with Jesus at His Second Coming.
So, Revelation 4:1 is a Rapture per-say, but it's more or less John being transferred from Earth to Heaven.
Daymond Duck, Prophecy Plus Ministries
Some people place the Rapture of the Church when the Seventh Angel blows the Seventh Trumpet. Others place the Rapture of the Church when the Two Witnesses ascend up into Heaven. Still others like me place it in Revelation 4:1-2.
We can go to Revelation 4:1-2 and see that John heard this voice in Heaven, he saw a door open, and he heard this voice in Heaven which sounded like a trumpet. The voice says, "Come up hither." John was caught up into Heaven. I believe his body was changed. He was in the spirit. He finds himself suddenly before the throne of God. That's a pretty good picture of what is going to happen at the Rapture of the Church.
I disagree with those who say the Rapture happens when the Seventh Angel blows the Seventh Trumpet for several reasons. I want to just quickly give three reasons. Firstly, the rapture of the Church is about catching believers up into Heaven. The Seventh Trumpet is about the judgment of unbelievers on earth. Secondly, another reason would be the Rapture of the Church is about grace. It is about an undeserving Church being caught up into Heaven. But, the Seventh Trumpet is about wrath. It's about the judgment falling on unbelievers on earth. And thirdly, another reason is that God says, "Comfort one another with these word." Well, we find that the Seventh Trumpet makes people on earth angry.
Concerning the Two Witnesses, we see that they ascend up into Heaven before the Seventh Trumpet. Their ascension really doesn't look like it occurs in a moment and in a twinkling of an eye like the Rapture of the Church. They stand up on their feet, they walk around, and the whole world sees them as they ascend up into Heaven.
Mark Hitchcock, Faith Bible Church
I don't think the Rapture is found specifically in the book of Revelation. A lot of people will look at passages like Revelation 4:1 where it talks about a trumpet and John is caught up to Heaven. That is John being caught up to Heaven I don't really think is a picture of the Rapture.
Now, in Revelation 3:10, there is a statement about God's people the Church. It is written to the Church of Philadelphia, but I think the letter to those Seven Churches are to all believers, because he says to each one he says, "Hear what the Spirit says to the Churches." So, it is for all of God's people. Revelation 3:10 does say there that God is going to keep us from the hour of testing that is coming upon the whole earth to test those who dwell on the earth. There is a beautiful picture! He doesn't just say, "I'm going to keep you from the testing," but he says, "I'm going to keep you from the time of the testing." The only way I know to be kept from the time of the test is to not be there. So, I think Revelation 3:10 is a statement that certainly implies at least strongly the idea of a Pre-Trib Rapture.
Another place where I think we could see the idea of the Pre-Trib Rapture in Revelation is where we have the word ecclesia or Church mentioned twenty times in the book of Revelation. We have it 19 times in chapters 1-3 and then all of a sudden no mention of the Church. The next time the Church is mentioned, the word ecclesia is used is Revelation 22:16.
By these kinds of statements we can see the idea of a Pre-Trib Rapture in Revelation, although it's never just clearly spelled out or stated. There are a lot of these clues in there, therefore I think we can indicate that Christ is going to come and take the Church out before the Tribulation begins.
In the next part of this series on reading and understanding Revelation, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will continue to answer the fifth question, "Can the Rapture of the Church be found in the book of Revelation?"