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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

The Rapture (Revelation 4)

Will the Rapture really happen? If so, when will it happen and who will be raptured? Unfortunately "the Rapture" is one of the most debated topics in all of Scripture simply because churches don't take the time to study and teach what Scripture says about it.


WILL THE RAPTURE REALLY HAPPEN?


The passage above in 1 Thessalonians 4 is the best description in all of Scripture of the Rapture. It tells us with absolute certainty that the Rapture will happen. Let's look at that passage again:


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. [17] Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.


Jesus also told us that He would come back for His followers:


John 14:1-3 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. [2] In my Father's house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am there you also will be.


So, if you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, truth without any mixture of error, you would have to be absolutely convinced that the Rapture really will happen!


But you may be thinking, "you haven't proven anything because the word 'Rapture' does not appear in either of those verses or anywhere else in the Bible."


You're absolutely right. But did you also know "the Trinity," does not appear anywhere in the Bible? Yet we certainly see evidence that God exists in 3 persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit from Genesis 1 to Revelation, don't we? Likewise we see 9 different "Rapture" events from Genesis to Revelation.


"Rapture" is our English word for the Biblical event in which someone is caught up by God.


In the original Greek the word "Rapture" is "harpazo." Harpazo appears 14 times in the New Testament meaning: caught up, snatched away, or sudden departure. That means the "Rapture" is not a new concept. It is in the original manuscripts of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.


Around 400 A.D., Jerome translated the Bible from Greek to Latin. In Latin, Harpazo, was translated "Rapio" which is where we get the word Rapture. Unfortunately when the Bible was translated to English, they used the phrase "caught up" and "snatched away" instead of the word "Raptured." But when we speak of the event, it makes a lot more sense to say "the Rapture" rather than "the Caught Up" or the "Snatched Away" doesn't it?


Just for reference, here are the passages of Scripture telling of followers of God being Raptured: Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11, Ezekiel 8:3, Acts 1:9, Acts 8:39, 2 Corinthians 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Revelation 4:1, Revelation 11:12.


So, if you have repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus as the Lord God of your life, you can be assured that you will be Raptured when He returns for His followers, just as it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.


Isn't that amazing news! Why in the world aren't churches teaching and pointing to it all of the time to encourage people, to "not let your heart be troubled" but just live out each day for Jesus?


In fact, as we see the globalist efforts to usher in the Great Reset, the New World Order, we can rejoice in knowing there's going to be a Great Reset in which Jesus Himself will rule on this earth for 1,000 years, after the Rapture and after the 7-year Tribulation.


But the next question everybody has is, when.



WHEN WILL THE RAPTURE HAPPEN?


Does the Bible tell us when Jesus will come and Rapture His followers out of here? The short answer is "yes it tells us exactly when on the Biblical timeline." In fact the Old Testament and the New Testament point us to when on the Biblical timeline Jesus will rapture His followers. Revelation 4:1-2 also points to that same spot on the Biblical timeline.


First, let's note that Revelation 1:19 gives us a partial outline of that Biblical timeline:


Revelation 1:19 Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.

  • Chapter 1 - Jesus tells John to write "the things which you have seen" the visions God shows John of this current and future points on the Biblical timeline.

  • Chapter 2-3 - John writes "the things which are" which is Jesus' messages to the churches. These messages represent the entire Church Age which we are still in today.

  • Chapter 4 - John is told to write "the things which will take place after these things." Everything from Chapter 4 on is future, after the Church Age and encompass the 7-Year Tribulation followed by the 1,000-Year Reign of Jesus on this earth followed by Eternity.


Notice the first thing that happens after the church age is the Rapture, illustrated by John, a representative of the church:


Revelation 4:1-2 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."


Now I need to stop here for a minute and tell you that if this one passage was the only proof that the Rapture happens after the Church Age and before the 7-year Tribulation, it would not be enough to hang my hat on. I would need to see more evidence.


But the fact that there is more evidence throughout the Old Testament and New Testament convinces me with absolute certainty that the Rapture happens at this point indicated by Revelation 4:1-2. That is, after the Church Age and before the 7-year Tribulation begins.


So, let's look at the evidence that the Rapture of believers will happen after the Church Age and before the 7-year Tribulation begins:



1) The 7-year Tribulation is not for the followers of Jesus.


The 7-year Tribulation is a time of God's wrath being poured out on this earth to give unbelieving Jews one more chance to repent of their sins and trust in their Messiah, Jesus. Unbelieving Gentiles alive during this time will also have that opportunity. But the focus is on the Jews. We see that in 2 Old Testament passages:


Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people (the Jews) and your holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity.


Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.


Note that Jacob was renamed Israel and is a reference to the salvation of the Jews at the end of the 7-year Tribulation when they realize Jesus is their Messiah, repent, and believe in Him.



2) Jesus told us "it is finished."


According to Daniel 9:24, the unbelieving Jews still have to "finish the transgression and make atonement for iniquity" because they refused to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus. But to those who have repented of sin and trusted in Him, Jesus said, "It is finished! I took on the wrath and condemnation for your sins. I paid the penalty in full."


John 19:30 It is finished! (Tetelestai: in the Greek, meaning your sin debt has been paid in full.)


Romans 8:1 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


1 Thessalonians 1:10 Jesus, rescues us from the wrath to come.


1 Thessalonians 5:9 God has not destined us for wrath.


Romans 5:9 We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Jesus).


Revelation 3:10 I will keep you from the hour of testing.



3) If Jesus said, "it is finished," we are not under God's wrath.


We just saw several Scriptures which tell us we will not receive God's wrath and why.


But we must also realize that God's wrath is the entire 7-year Tribulation period. We already talked about Daniel 9:24 saying "70 weeks have been decreed." Of those 70 weeks, 1 week is left. A "week" is a 7-year period of time.


We also see that the entire 7-year Tribulation period is God's wrath by looking at how the first set of seal judgments are described in Revelation 6:16-17:


Revelation 6:16-17 They said to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the sight of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; [17] for the great day of Their wrath has come and who is able to stand."


If the first set of judgments at the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation is described as the wrath of God which Scripture says the followers of Jesus will not experience, then the Rapture has to happen before the 7-year Tribulation begins.



4) Followers of Jesus are to be looking for Jesus, not the Antichrist.


Titus 2:13 Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.



5) The Restrainer must be taken out of the way first.


The kick off event of the 7-year Tribulation, the first seal judgment described in Revelation 6:1-2 and Daniel 9:27 is the revealing of the Antichrist when he comes on the scene and confirms a 7-year covenant with Israel which allows them to resume sacrifice and grain offerings.


But Scripture tells us that the Antichrist "the man of lawlessness" cannot be revealed until the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way. The Holy Spirit is God and cannot be taken out of the way. But when the followers of Jesus who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them are Raptured, "the Restrainer is taken out of the way."


That means the Rapture has to happen before the 7-year Tribulation is kicked off.


2 Thessalonians 2:1-7 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him, we ask you, brothers, [2] not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. [3] Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, [4] who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. [5] Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? [6] And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains it will do so until He is taken out of the way.


Note that these Thessalonian believers thought they were already going through the 7-year Tribulation because of the hard times and persecution they were facing.


But Paul comforted them saying, the Day of the Lord (the 7-year Tribulation) can't come until the Antichrist is revealed. That's because the revealing of the Antichrist is the first seal judgment. But before he is revealed, the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit) has to be taken out of the way, which is parabolic language for the Rapture of believers.


And finally the last piece of evidence as to why the Rapture of believers has to happen after the Church Age and before the 7-year Tribulation begins:



6) The Beast goes after Israel, not the Church.


Revelation 6-19 describe the 7-year Tribulation in great detail. Nowhere in those chapters do we see any reference to the Church at all. Instead we see that the Antichrist is going after unbelieving Israel, who is referred to as "the woman who gave birth to the male child" in Revelation 12:


Revelation 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.


If we understand the cross, there is absolutely no way the followers of Jesus could go through the 7-year Tribulation of God's wrath on this earth because Jesus has already paid the debt for our sins in full. He finished the transgression, put an end to sin, and made atonement for iniquity for all who have repented of their sins and trusted in His sacrifice in their place.


So, what about you?


Have you made the decision to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus?


Have you asked Jesus to be the Lord God of your life?


If not, I pray that you would make that decision right now, while there is still time.



Dear Lord, Thank you that You loved us so much that You willingly stepped off of your throne in heaven, took on human flesh, lived a sinless life, allowed yourself to be beaten, flogged, and nailed to a cross in my place. Lord, thank you for loving me enough that You have atoned for all of my sins and washed away my iniquity and clothed me with your righteousness. Thank you for your promise that before You pour out your wrath on this world that rejects You that You will rescue your followers from that wrath that is about to come upon this whole world. Lord, thank you that even that 7-year period of your wrath will be poured out according to your desire to see people repent and submit to You as their Lord God so that they will not perish but live with You for all eternity. For we know that at some point at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries



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