In the past two blogs, I've focused on a provocative and exciting event known in common vernacular as "the Rapture of the Church." The emphasis, at the moment, is URGENT.
Why do I say URGENT?
BECAUSE in today's world--with SIGNS all around pointing to an emerging One World Government, of coming end time wars (Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38-39), with earthquakes, turmoil, violence and other upheavals--ALL INDICATING the approach of "the Tribulation"--the VERY NEXT PROPHETIC EVENT (to be fulfilled) is THE RAPTURE!
Always--the Rapture is IMMINENT! This means that it can occur at ANY INSTANT, suddenly, and WITHOUT any further warnings. This is WHY when considering the Rapture, the KEY admonition is to BE READY. For in "such an hour as you THINK NOT, the Lord will come"--to call His Church up to Himself in the air, transferring us TO our PROMISED MANSIONS in His Father's house (in heaven).
I'll begin today's topic by saying that the book of Revelation is written in three SPECIAL sections, as recorded in chapter 1, verse 19.
First, Jesus instructed John to write "the things which you HAVE seen--PAST TENSE--the astounding vision of the risen and glorified Lord in Revelation chapter 1.
Second, John was directed "to write the things which ARE--PRESENT TENSE--those things which exist in the NOW--the prophecy of the SEVEN CHURCHES--given in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
Third, John was told to write "the things which shall be hereafter"--FUTURE THINGS--events which have NOT YET happened--which covers the remainder of Revelation from chapters 4 through 22.
In today's installment, I'll show what will happen in the very NEAR FUTURE--showing you the FIRST of those "things which shall be hereafter." To see this, we'll JUMP PAST Revelation chapters 2 and 3--the things which are PRESENT RIGHT NOW (which are those SEVEN characteristics of the CHURCH on the EARTH).
Let's turn our attention to Revelation 4:1-2.
"AFTER THIS I looked, and behold, a DOOR was OPENED in HEAVEN: and the FIRST VOICE which I heard was as it were of a TRUMPET talking with me, which said, COME UP HITHER, and I will show you things which MUST BE HEREAFTER. And IMMEDIATELY I was IN THE SPIRIT: and, behold, a throne was set in HEAVEN, and One sat on the throne."
John HEARD the VOICE of Jesus, which SOUNDED to him like a TRUMPET.
(A brief testimony: I KNOW this SOUND--because in the early months of 1973, I experienced an awesome word from the Lord. I actually HEARD Him "in the Spirit," when the AUDIBLE voice of Jesus spoke to me. I'd been thinking of the Antichrist and mass persecutions and HAD DECIDED that when things got that bad, I'd DIE for Jesus. To comfort me and offer the truth, Jesus gave me a promise, saying very clearly--"you will be translated."--which is to be taken from earth to heaven without passing through death. I'd be Raptured. I'd BE ALIVE at the time of His appearing to SNATCH His Church from off the earth! As the Lord said those FOUR words to me, His voice sounded TINNY and METALLIC, as if spoken from a long-distance through a megaphone. Think of a "megaphone-voice"--it RESEMBLES a TRUMPET VOICE. Yet another similarity is this: when a trumpet player uses a mute-piece in his horn and actually coaxes the musical instrument to talk. That is a TRUMPET VOICE.)
I can offer scriptures to verify this also: the TRUMP OF GOD comes WITH the VOICE of the Lord. Exodus 19:16. Exodus 19:19. 1Thess. 4:16. Two places where the TRUMP OF GOD is heard--at Mt. Sinai and in the Rapture of the Church.
Anyhow, when the Apostle John heard the TRUMPET VOICE of Jesus in Revelation 4, the words were "Come up hither." In our modern English, this is the same as saying "Come up here." John was called OUT OF THE EARTH and proceeded UPWARDS into HEAVEN. This is the VERY SAME mode OF ACTION--being CAUGHT UP, SNATCHED UP, TRANSLATED, REMOVED FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN--without going through death. The very SAME ACTION as the RAPTURE!
WHEN did the ACTION of a RAPTURE happen to John?
Get ready for this! It's astounding!
John was called UP HERE, "AFTER THIS"--as it's worded in Revelation 4:1.
"AFTER WHAT?" you might ask. AFTER the work and ministry of the SEVEN CHURCHES.
WHY was John called UP TO HEAVEN by the TRUMPET voice of Jesus? So he could see and witness those THINGS WHICH MUST HAPPEN HEREAFTER!
HEREAFTER points to events which MUST occur "AFTER" the work and ministry of the SEVEN CHURCHES!
Can this be REALLY TRUE? Is this what the Holy Spirit is REALLY TELLING us? Let's look at the DEFINTIONS in the ORIGINAL LANGUAGE---
"AFTER THIS" and "HEREAFTER" is a GREEK PHRASE which occurs TWO TIMES in Revelation 4:1. The Holy Spirit EMPHASISIZED it TWICE to make sure we REALLY see and understand THE TRUTH of it. The GREEK PHRASE is "META TAUTA."
The LITERAL translation of "META TAUTA" is this: "things that shall be AFTER THESE THINGS."
AFTER WHAT THINGS?
AFTER the work and ministry of the SEVEN CHUCHES! AFTER the CHURCH is COMPLETE! AFTER the CHURCH AGE is DONE! AFTER the TESTIMONY of the SEVEN CHURCHES in Revelation 2 and 3!
The ACTION of the RAPTURE happens WHEN the work and ministry of the CHURCH is COMPLETED. We see the ACTION of the Rapture BEFORE the JUDGMENT SCROLL is opened in Revelation 6. Therefore, the RAPTURE of the CHURCH (of which John's being taken to heaven is a TYPE) occurs BEFORE the EVENTS of the TRIBULATION take place on the earth. The RAPTURE is PRE-TRIBULATION according to the STRUCTURE in the book of Revelation!
It's there to see IF we have the eyes to SEE it!
How could it be ANY MORE CLEAR than that? This is the ACTUAL language which is used! The STRUCTURE is OBVIOUS.
AFTER the THE CHURCH is COMPLETE--the RAPTURE will occur. The LOCATION of the CHURCH at that point will be in HEAVEN. As the CHURCH IN HEAVEN--"after" the RAPTURE--we'll SEE Jesus take a SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 5. We'll SEE the SCROLL be OPENED in Revelation 6. The OPENING of the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL STARTS THE EVENTS of the TRIBULATION.
This CLEARLY shows HOW the CHURCH will be REMOVED from the earth--and be TAKEN UP to heaven--BEFORE the EVENTS of the TRIBULATION can even get STARTED.
The Holy Spirit emphasized it TWICE--giving this TRUTH the TESTIMONY of TWO WITNESSES, as is REQUIRED to ESTABLISH a FACT in the EYES OF GOD. (See Matthew 18:16 in which Jesus referred to a principle of God recorded in Deuteronomy 17:6--"At the mouth of TWO or three WINESSES, EVERY WORD is established.")
How can this FACT be pounded home any stronger? The CHURCH of Jesus Christ is NOT appointed to ANY PORTION of the COMING TRIBULATION. We'll indeed experience a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE!
Other scriptures ECHO this truth--which I'll SHOW in future blogs.
But FIRST, since the CHURCH is in HEAVEN in Revelation 4 and 5, HOW are we described? And in comparison, WHO are the "great multitude" which is pictured in Revelation 7? Can the "great multitude" be the CHURCH, too?
I'll answer these questions as we proceed in these blogs.
Are you EAGER to KNOW and UNDERSTAND more?
Are you THRILLED at having the TIMING of the RAPTURE made so scripturally clear?
Are you THANKFUL that the blood-bought CHURCH will NEVER experience the time of GOD'S JUDGMENT called "the Tribulation"?
We're TOTALLY FREE from ANY PUNISHMENT--because JESUS TOOK God's JUDGMENT upon sin FOR US, in our stead! We'll NOT suffer ANY WRATH from God. Jesus DIED to SAVE us FROM that. Our belief and reliance upon Jesus and asking Him to come live our hearts--HAS TRULY SET US FREE!
Have a wonderful day.
EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS! WE LONG TO SEE YOUR WONDERFUL FACE...