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Rev 4:1  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 shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Good morning! Today’s post is a bit long and I pray that you will bear with me and read/study it in its entirety. The Book of Revelation used to be a difficult book for me. But as I read and studied it, I learned to interpret it correctly. The Lord promised a blessing to those who read, hear and keep the words written in it. It is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing if you read it! Therefore, let’s dive in this morning and get blessed! 

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Many years ago in my research, I learned that whatever image the Apostle John saw, if it seemed like it was something out of Star Trek and not believable, it should be interpreted symbolically. A good example of this is:

Rev 9:7  And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

This is definitely a good example, isn’t it? But when other verses seemed to be realistic to me, I should interpret it as literal. A good example of this is:

Rev 8:10-11  And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;  (11)  And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

The star could mean a comet or an asteroid. It is likely that Wormwood will be discovered by NASA at some point in the near future. Or it could be the result of a comet or asteroid’s impact of polluting water at its impact. The word wormwood is defined by Noah Webster as:

WORMWOOD, n. [G.] A plant, the artemisia. It has a bitter nauseous taste;

So we can interpret the verses above literally. A comet will fall to earth and destroy a third part of the rivers and fountains of waters (fresh water) and make the waters bitter and undrinkable. So now we know what to take literally and what to take symbolically.

Let’s get back on track now and discuss the Pre-Tribulation Rapture as it relates to Revelation. If we are to believe the mid or post tribulation viewpoint, then the Church would have a lot of warning and instruction. The Apostle John would have instructions for the Church specifically. How then does one explain that the church is never mentioned after chapter three??? This is key here! The word “church” is mentioned seven times in chapter two and the word “churches” is mentioned 11 times in chapters one through three. That’s a total of 18 times that “church(es)” appears in just three chapters! The word “church or churches” is not mentioned again until the last chapter, Chapter 22, in verse 16!

Rev 22:16  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

It is also interesting to note that in Revelation 3:22 (the last verse in this chapter) is the last use of the word churches. Immediately after in Revelation 4:1, “a door is opened in heaven” and Jesus says “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” When the Bible was first written, there were no chapters and verses. The assigning of chapters and verses was finished in the year 1551. How exciting is thatRevelation 3:22 and Revelation 4:1 were originally one verse apart. One is referring to the churches and the very next verse speaks of a door opening. Following Rev. 4:1, there is no other mention of the church. It means a lot more when you look at it like that, doesn’t it?

Rev 3:22  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev 4:1  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 shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Jesus is not coming to earth in Rev. 4:1. However, John is brought up to where Jesus is located. Secondly, Jesus says He will show John what must be hereafter. None of the judgments have begun yet at this point. The rest of chapter 4 and chapter 5 discuss Heaven and events going on there. One of these events is chapter 4:4.

Rev 4:4  And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

Believers earn crowns for their works for the Lord after their salvation and the way they conduct themselves on earth. They receive these crowns in Heaven and cast them at Christ’s feet.

Rev 4:10-11  The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,  (11)  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

So the Pre-Tribulation viewpoint fits in perfectly: the Church goes up to where Jesus is (as the Apostle John goes to Jesus) and the judgments begin after the Church goes up.

Just as Noah was kept by the ark, the Lord Jesus is our Ark. We are safe with Him in Heaven; safe from judgment that is to come upon the whole earth.

Heb 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Just as Noah lived by faith and remained faithful while building the ark, he was protected from the judgment of the flood which would come to the entire earth. Just as Noah returned from the waters onto the mountains of Ararat and a new earth was his home, so will we return with Christ to live on a revitalized earth and Christ will reign in Jerusalem.

No man knows the hour that Jesus will take us up in the Rapture; but we can know the season of His return for us. Just as Noah didn’t know when the rains would come, neither will we know when Jesus will take us away. This is the ONLY version of the Rapture that makes sense. The mid-tribulation viewpoint has its exact days (1260) and the post-tribulation as well. But Pre-Tribulation is imminent and can happen at any time. Once God shuts the door (of our Ark), that’s it!

Luk 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Mat 24:36-42  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  (37)  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (38)  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  (39)  And knew not until the flood cameand took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (40)  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  (41)  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  (42)  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

It is worth repeating: after Revelation 4:1, the church is no longer mentioned (until Rev. 22:16). That is because we have been raptured and are already with Christ. At the beginning of the Tribulation (which occurs when the Antichrist comes to power), God’s focus goes back to Israel’s judgment. After Revelation 4:1, the Old Testament’s prophecies about the time of Jacob’s Troubles come into play. “Come up hither,” is a beautiful depiction of the rapture of the Church. It is prefaced by the wonderful teaching of the Church age in chapters one through three. After the shout to “come up hither,” the Church is not mentioned during the judgments. If the Church were to go through the Tribulation, it would be mentioned. But the focus from that point on is now on Israel. As Daniel prophesied in chapter 9 about the 70 weeks, we see that sixty-nine weeks passed before Christ’s ascension. After that point, the church age began, and there was a pause placed on the focus around Israel. The focus was then placed on the church. This focus ends with the Rapture of the church. Once the antichrist makes himself known (Daniel 9:27) by signing a peace treaty with Israel, Daniel’s 70th week begins (seven years) the Tribulation. Jeremiah calls it “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”

Jer 30:3-7  For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.  (4)  And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.  (5)  For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.  (6)  Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?  (7)  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

Believers need to realize that there are two groups of people that God especially loves! He loves the whole world but the faithful are close to His heart; He loves Israel and God loves Christians. God dealt with Israel throughout the Old Testament. Because they would not obey nor would they lead others to Him, God opened the door to all mankind to accept salvation. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us all from our sins; this includes non-Jews, the Gentiles. It’s as though God in His mercy took a “break” from dealing with Israel, to open the door to the Gentile, and put Israel’s judgment on hold. This is not to say that Gentiles didn’t come to faith in the Old Testament. They most certainly did! Examples are Rahab and Ruth. Both were in Christ’s lineage!! However, it was their responsibility to share their faith but they kept God to themselves.

The Church Age began with Christ and the Age of Law was put on pause (this ended Daniel’s 69th week). The Rapture of the church takes us out of the picture and God returns His focus to Israel. The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist makes a pact with Israel. Half-way through the seven years, he will break that pact.

Dan 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

I know today’s post is a lot to absorb but it sure packs a wallop! Does this excite you, reader? It surely does me! But to the one who is not saved, it is a different story. Friend, it is no coincidence that God has placed you here for such a time as this so that you may be saved. Please click here and the link will open up in a separate tab to You Can Be Born Again and Know It!