The unexpected debate: Part 1


Last week it was impressed upon me to speak of the Rapture. Upon release of this article I encountered a debate I did not expect to encounter. The core of the debate? When is the Rapture per the Bible?
Is there a pre-tribulation Rapture, a mid-tribulation Rapture, a pre-wrath Rapture or a post-tribulation Rapture?
What is the saddest point about this rupture in understanding of the Bible is that people would actually wish to silence someone with a differing point of view about when this is to occur. That topic has already been addressed in a previous article. So there is no need to rehash that sad point once again. It is still something that should not transpire none the less.
Being able to understand when the Rapture is to befall is something that should not be questioned or even allowed to have doubt creep into, but by not knowing for sure when allows this to take place. What is the most important thing to note is that a no time within the book of Revelation is there any mention of what can be characterized as a Rapture. Does this mean there is not one? No. For within Revelation there are resurrections that do take place, but do they meet the criteria of a “Rapture?” Personally I do not see it.
The First three Chapters of the book of Revelation deal with John being visited about Patmos by the Glorified Jesus Christ. Here Christ instructs John to write the seven letter to the seven churches. At the beginning of chapter 4 of Revelation John is called up to heaven to witness the events that are to transpire before the beginning of the Tribulation.
Here is one element that needs to be looked at. John finishes the letters and then, being a Christian himself, or more accurately a Messianic Jew, finds himself in heaven after addressing the earthly church. This in itself could be seen as a reflection of the Rapture since it was not a true Rapture since John did not die at this time. He was merely taken into heaven to witness the events that are written within the last book of the Bible. I wish to quote from the book “Revelation” by John F. Walvoord, which is part of the John Walvoord Prophrcy Commentaries:
“The invitation to John to “come up here” is similar to that which the church anticipates at the rapture that many have connected the two expressions. It is clear from the context that this is not an explicit reference to the rapture of the church as John was not actually translated; in fact, he was still in his natural body on the island of Patmos. He was translated into scenes of heaven only temporarily. Though there is no authority for connecting the rapture with this expression, this sequence does seem to typify the order of events: that is, the church age first, then the rapture, then the church in heaven.
“Though the rapture is mentioned in letters to two of the churches (Revelation 2:25; 3:11), the rapture as a doctrine is not a part of the prophetic foreview of the book of Revelation. This is keeping with the fact that the book as a whole is not occupied primarily with God’s program for the church. Instead, the primary objective is to portray the events leading up to and climaxing in the second coming of Christ and the prophetic kingdom and the eternal state that ultimately will follow.”
The primary focus of the book of Revelation is the seconding coming of Christ. Placing the focus on Jesus and it should be. Any that place it more upon the church is not glorifying Jesus Christ and His Father are making it about themselves and so are being self-centered and self-serving not God serving. I will continue with the next paragraph form the already mentioned book:
“From a practical standpoint, however, the rapture may be viewed as having already occurred before the events of chapter 4 and following chapters of Revelation unfold. The word “church,” so prominent in chapters 2 and 3, does not occur again until 22:16, though the church is undoubtedly in view as the wife of the Lamb in Revelation 19:7. She is not a participant in the scenes of the tribulation that form the major content of Revelation.”
So when you take just the mere fact of the mention of the “church” does not occur in any form after the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation until 22:16 is significant.
How can something that is so important to the Glorified Christ that he spends time to have letters written unto them and then after that it becomes trivial? Because they are out of the picture, a non-factor. This points toward a pre-Tribulation rapture.

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