Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Forum on the Book of Revelation: Finding the Rapture

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Where is the Rapture in the book of Revelation?

To answer that question, Dr. David Reagan and I on our television program Christ in Prophecy put together a panel of Bible prophecy experts. We invited Gary Fisher of the Bible prophecy ministry Lion of Judah Ministries from Franklin, Tennessee and Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries which focuses on evangelizing the continent of Africa.

Prophecy Forum

Finding the Rapture

Gary Fisher: Revelation 3:10 I believe is the strongest reference. It reads, "Because thou has kept the word of my perseverance, I will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour that is about to come upon the whole world to try them who dwell on the earth."

Dr. Reagan: That was Jesus speaking to the Church of Philadelphia, wasn't it?

Gary Fisher: Yes, in Revelation 3:10.

Dennis Pollock: In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about coming like a thief. We are to watch and keep our garments on so that we don't walk naked, so to speak. At the end He says, "I'm coming quickly." Clearly that is a charge to the Church to be ready at any time, for He could come at any moment. So, there are hints to the Rapture, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen within the chronological order of the Tribulation.

Dr. Reagan: Sometimes people point to Revelation 4 and claim that when John was taken up to Heaven — raptured up to Heaven — that this was a type of the Rapture of the Church. Others say they don't really believe that. What do you all think about that?

Nathan Jones: I think the biggest example of the Rapture in Revelation comes from an absence or lack of the Church being there. Look at how from chapters 5-19 it's all about earth, it's all about Israel, it's all about Gentiles being destroyed, and it's about the Antichrist, but the Church isn't mentioned one time. Then we get to chapter 19, and all of sudden the Church is found already there in Heaven.

Dr. Reagan: So, the focus of the first three chapters is on the Church, then suddenly no mention of the Church until the end of Revelation. Sure, the chapters mention Saints, but is that the Church?

Dennis Pollock: Clearly there are believers throughout the Tribulation, but that doesn't mean they're the original batch. The original batch — the Church consisting of all believers in Christ from Pentecost to the Rapture — have been snatched from this earth up to Heaven. You've got a new batch of believers in the Tribulation. We'll call them Tribulation Saints.

Ordering the Book

Dr. Reagan: Is the book of Revelation in chronological order?

Gary Fisher: I think it is. Revelation 1:19, "Write therefore the things which you have seen, the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things." Things which were seen, which are, and things which shall take place after these things.

Dr. Reagan: I would say that in general overall Revelation is in chronological order, but I think that in the book of Revelation there are both flash backs and flash forwards.

Dennis Pollock: My answer would be both yes and no. In general, yes, but there are parenthesis where you have God inserting a whole new concept. You have the parenthesis in Revelation 13 where He talks about the Beast and how he gets his start and who his False Prophet is. The Antichrist shows up a long time before Revelation 13, but God just takes one vision there.

Really, what we seem to be getting in Revelation are a series of visions that John had and where he's writing them down. Most of them are in order, but there are some where God is just saying, "Let's look specifically at the Beast." We have some other examples as well of this parenthesis where God just inserts a particular thought.

Dr. Reagan: There is almost a rhythm. The Lord will talk about these judgments that are coming upon the earth. They build and they build and the terror becomes increasing, and then all of sudden, it just cuts off to where there's a parenthesis where He encourages the reader to look forward to the end. We are going to win in the end. The saints are going to come out victorious! Then Jesus will pick up the narrative again and start talking about another tribulation judgment.

Sometimes there is a look backwards as well. For example, in Revelation 13 John looks back to the birth of Jesus and starts talking about that, along with a woman and her child and the dragon and all of those images.

We are used to flashbacks in modern fiction writing. What we are not used to are flash forwards, because God knows what is going to happen in the future. He can flash forward and talk about future events. That's where people often don't understand what's going on in the book of Revelation.

Nathan Jones: Revelation can be terrifying. Obviously we are talking about the earth's population being decimated, the economy being decimated, and the ecology being decimated. It's terrifying to behold.

It reminds me of when I was a kid and I'd see horror movies. I hated horror movies because I would be up all night for weeks. So, during the movie I would run out to get popcorn periodically to regain my courage. We needed to take a break from all that horror, and Revelation does just that. We need to take a break from the drama. We need to sit down and have Jesus come in and say, "Oh wait, don't worry about how bad it will get, for this is how it's really going to end. I'm going to win, so don't worry. Stick it out, for in the end it's not going to be bad but victorious. We need those reminders of Christ's victory throughout Revelation.

In the fourth segment of our forum on the book of Revelation, we'll ask our Bible prophecy experts to identify the 144,000 and the Two Witnesses.


Anita said...

Rev. 6:16-17 announce the day of God's wrath has come. Rev. 7:9-17 speaks of the rapture which has just occured. Rev. 6:9-10, the 5th seal, these are asking how long? They are told to wait, and are given robes but they are not yet wearing them. The rapture happens between the 6th & 7th seal. But people don't like what Jesus says here or in Matt. 24 which says what Rev. 6&7 says. They go hand in hand. So we invent our own rapture called pre-trib with no scripture backing and write enough books and talk about it enough that people believe it instead of Jesus and what He says in His Word. The bible speaks extensively on the 1st & 2nd coming. Also on the rapture. People just refuse what The Word has said about it. 2Thess. says plainly in 2:3 first the falling away then the man of lawlessnes is revealed, could not be plainer. But people twist the plain meaning or refuse to see what is there because they like there idea better. The god of this world has blinded their eyes and also they love not the knowledge of the truth. They do exactly what Jesus says they do, did their own cisterns that hold no water, no scriptural backing. They have to read into a text what it does not say. Anita

Bobby said...

Anita,I agree of the parallel of Matt.24 & Rev. 6&7. If the rapture happened in Rev. chap. 4, why, in John's vision of The Throne (in 4:2-5:14), did he not see the great multitude which no one could number of all nations, tribes, peoples, tongues...who were there because they trusted in The Blood of The Lamb?(7:9-15),,,unless they weren't there yet? In Matt.24:29, the word "after" also means "amid,accompanying,in, together with".

Vincenzo said...

The context of Matt 24 is the second coming. The second coming is for the Church as much as the first coming was for the Church: zero. Both comings of the Messiah to earth are for Israel. The second coming has been necessary in God's plan to fulfil all God's promises to Israel He couldn't fulfil in the first coming.

The rapture is not a coming to earth, quite clear from 1 Thes 4:16-17, where the people meet the Lord in the air, meaning He never made it all the way to earth.

In 2 Thes 2:1-5 Paul is clearly explaining the 2nd coming to the Thessalonians (who had clearly been troubled by false teachings), but then he goes on to explain what needs to happen *before* the chain of events leading to 2nd coming may start.

Summed up he says: the 2nd coming will happen after the anti-christ shows up and proclaims himself to be God (abomination of desolation in the Temple). But there is someone holding the man of lawlessness back: the Spirit of God dwelling in the Church. Until He's out of the way, the sequence leading up to the 2nd coming won't start. He will be out of the way when His temple (Church) will be removed.

And the in the final verses (13-15) he finishes off with reassuring his brothers, that they have been called to a different destiny.

Gary said...

Revelation 4:1-2 is definitely the rapture of the Gospel loving church. There is no other Scripture as plain that does not need to be twisted to fit our man-made opinions.

Don Deskins said...

The rapture is signalled by a trumpet and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 says it is the LAST TRUMPET

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

If this is true (and it is), then the rapture cannot happen before the trumpets of Revelation 8.

Debra Jones said...

Debra Jo Jones Facebook
Vincenzo I'm glad to see you rightfully are discerning the word of God 2 Thess 2:1-5 clearly shows the rapture cannot take place until the antichrist show up. If everyone will open their bible and realize that no matter how much they love their friends or their pastors if they are being told by anyone including the pope that the events God has declared will not happen as He said then they are liars, false prophets and prey for them that they repent of their false doctrines before it is to late for God did declare in Revelations 22:18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book 19 and that if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city and from the things which are written in this book.

Nathan Jones said...

Don, some people think the trumpet heard at the Rapture and the last Trumpet Judgment of the Tribulation are one and the same. They point first to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 which says the Rapture will occur at the blowing of the "last trumpet." They then point to Revelation 11:15 where the seventh and last trumpet of the trumpet judgments is blown. Since this seventh trumpet appears to be blown in the middle of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist kills the two witnesses, the argument is that this must mark the time of the Rapture.
There are several problems with this argument. In the first place, there is nothing in the Bible that identifies the seventh trumpet of the trumpet judgments in Revelation as the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15. The assumption that the two are the same is just that — an assumption. It is a shaky assumption because the trumpets of Revelation are announcing judgments that are aimed at unbelievers. They don't have any relationship to believers.
Now, there is a trumpet that the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15:32 can be identified with. It is the "trumpet of God" which 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says will be blown when the Rapture occurs. With that in mind, consider the fact that the last trumpet of the trumpet judgments in Revelation 11:15 is not identified as the trumpet of God but as the trumpet of an angel.
The second problem with the Mid-Tribulation Rapture concept is that the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11 really doesn't relate to the middle of the Tribulation at all. Its blowing triggers a flash-forward to the end of the Tribulation to the proclamation that "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
Another thing to consider is that 1 Corinthians 15 was written about 45 years before the book of Revelation. Thus, it seems logical that the reference to a "last trumpet" must refer to something in the Old Testament that the Corinthian church would have been familiar with. That would most likely have been the trumpet referred to by both Joel and Zephaniah — the trumpet that will be blown before the Day of the Lord's judgment (the Tribulation — see Joel 2:1 and Zephaniah 1:16).

Debra Jones said...

After I read the comments I had to cry a little because it blesses my heart to see believers holding fast and not being deceived. Anita yes they are adding their own ideas and adding them to the word instead of finding scriptural from the word of God that supports what they say. If it were true then they would find scripture to back up everything they have to say but they cant and Don the reurrection of the dead doesnt take place until the rapture, that doesn't happen like you said until the last trumpet sounds we can count on the bible to be our Guide The bible told us that the prophetic word of the bible would confirm to you when a prophet speaking the truth had arrived. John told us the spirit of truth would come Gods appointed prophet for this age to lead us into all truth as all would be revealed to someone by Holy spirit for the generation to see the end of these things. Debra Jo Jones Facebook