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FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD IN PAIN
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5.5  Will the Rapture Come Before the Tribulation?


"...we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."
1 Thessalonians 4:17


Seven elements are presented in scripture about the rapture. There is only one passage in the book of Revelation which is consistent with all seven elements. That passage shows that the rapture comes after the great tribulation.


Do you want to understand? Now is the time to pray for understanding. James 4:2 says "You don't have because you don't ask." So, whether you are a seminary professor or new Christian, I prayerfully admonish you to pray now. If you will not pray for understanding, trusting God to grant understanding, you should not expect to understand (James 1:5-7).



(pause for prayer)



"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel2 and with the trumpet1 call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds4 to meet the Lord in the air3. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17


So, we see four elements of rapture prophecy in this passage:

1) Trumpet
2) Archangel speaks
3) Jesus is in the clouds
4) Ascent of saints to Jesus in the clouds


At the resurrection, the trumpet will sound, the archangel will speak, Jesus will descend to the clouds and the living will ascend with the resurrected dead to meet Jesus "in the clouds". 


Another passage tells us that the resurrection occurs at the last trumpet:

"Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52


Matthew 13:24-43 tells us that the resurrection (harvest) occurs at the end of the age:
"The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels" 
Matthew 13:39


Another passage tells us that Jesus doesn't know when the end of the age will come. Only the Father knows:

Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Matthew 24:35-36

Other passages tell us that the resurrection occurs on the last day:

"This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day"
(John 6:40) 


See also John 6:39, 44, 54 and 11:24 for other passages where Jesus repeatedly says that the resurrection comes on "the last day". Well, the rapture and the resurrection are the same event (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 above). So, the rapture and the resurrection occur on THE LAST DAY! 


I can not see how the tribulation can occur after the rapture, because the rapture occurs on "the last day". But, more on that later.


I have combined all of the above scriptures to organize the rapture prophecies into seven elements.



Seven Elements of Rapture Prophecy

  • Last trumpet
  • Jesus in the clouds
  • Ascent of saints to Jesus in the clouds
  • End of the age
  • Voice of the archangel
  • Only the Father knows the day
  • The last day


These are the seven elements of the rapture prophecies that I see. In recent times, many have taught that the rapture comes before the great tribulation which was foretold in the book of Revelation. But is that what the scriptures teach? To answer that question, we must answer two questions: 

1) Is there is a passage in the book of Revelation which is consistent with of all seven elements of the rapture prophecy? 

2) If Yes, does the rapture fulfillment passage occur before or after the tribulation?


The answer to the first question is yes. As to the second question, the rapture occurs after the tribulation. It is simple to see once you understand where the rapture occurs in the book of Revelation. Please prayerfully read on and you will see.



Revelation 14:14-16 is Consistent with All Seven Prophesies

Now is the time to pray. Keep praying as you read. Where ever you are, I have prayed that you will come into the intimate presence of your Lord right now... Please ask Him to open your ears to hear. Ask Him to open your eyes to see.



(Pause for Prayer)



(Pause for Prayer)



Now, if you have done as I asked, please continue in a state of prayer and prayerfully read on.

  • 14 I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:14-16).


Please ask God to grant understanding as I show how this passage is consistent with all of the seven elements of the rapture prophecy... 1) Last trumpet, 2) Jesus in the clouds, 3) Ascent of saints to Jesus in the clouds, 4) End of the age, 5) Voice of the archangel, 6) Only the Father knows the day and 7) The last day.


The first six elements of the rapture prophecies are present in this one passage, Revelation 14:14-16:

  • Revelation 14:14-16 occurs in the last trumpet in the book of Revelation. That is the first element. 
  • Jesus is the Son of Man. And therefore, it is Jesus who in sitting on the cloud. That meets the second element of the prophesy, Jesus in the clouds
  • Jesus swings his sickle to harvest the earth while he sits on the cloud. That is the third element... His gathering of the saints to Himself, Ascent of saints to Jesus in the clouds
  • . The harvest is ripe and "is reaped". That is the forth element... the end of the age (Matthew 13:39).
  • The angel told Jesus in a loud voice that, "the hour to reap has come". That is consistent with the fifth element... the voice of the archangel. It is also consistent with the sixth element... Only the Father knows the day. Since Jesus doesn't know the day, either the Father must personally tell the Son when to reap, or the Father must send the message to Jesus through another. The message came to Jesus through an angel.


The one "like a son of man" is a prophetic phrase which refers to Christ (Revelation 1:12-18 for example). So, we see Christ, on a cloud, harvesting the earth. His being on a cloud fits the rapture, since the rapture prophecies say that God's children meet Him "in the clouds" and "in the air".  Click here to see that Revelation 14:14-16 occurs within the seventh and last trumpet, which is presented in Revelation 11:15-14:20. 


The Seventh Element: The Last Day

You just saw how Revelation 14:14-16 includes the first six elements of the rapture prophecies. The seventh element is that the resurrection (and the rapture) occur on "the last day". Well, Revelation 14:14-16 is followed by Armageddon (Revelation 14:17-20) and the millennial kingdom. In my understanding, Everyone who is not raptured in 14:14-16 will be killed in 14:17-20 and 19:17-21... So, to my understanding, the rapture in 14:17-20 is "the last day". While I don't have an express statement of scripture to that effect, I do have express statements of scripture which reveal how the book of Revelation is organized, which you may read by clicking here.  According to that organizational structure, the seventh trumpet and seventh bowl revelations of Armageddon occur together and are presented in 14:17-20 and 19:17-21, respectively. The rapture (14:14-16) is followed by Armageddon (14:17-20, 19:17-21), the millennial kingdom (20:1-9), the judgement (20:10-15) and then the eternal state of the new Jerusalem (21:1-22:5). As I wrote before, it appears that Everyone who is not raptured in 14:14-16 will be killed in 14:17-20 and 19:17-21... the last day. The seventh trumpet and seventh bowl revelations of Armageddon are presented in 14:17-20 and 19:17-21, respectively. To see why 14:17-20 and 19:17-21 both address the same period of time, click here to read the subchapter titled, "Chronology and Organizational Structure in the Book of Revelation".



What is the Last Day? 

  • "This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day(John 6:40)
  • "He who rejects me, and doesn't receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).

From those two scriptures we can see that the rapture and a judgement occur on "the last day". The phrase "last day" is used six times in the gospel of John. It represents a major event in history. Five times its use is similar to that in John 6:40 above, a resurrection to life for Christians (John 6:39,44,54 and 11:24). The sixth time is John 12:48, shown above. John 12:48 is a resurrection to judgement. John 5:28-29 tells us that their is a resurrection to life for some and a resurrection to judgement for others. So, there is a resurrection to life and a judgement on "the last day". But, as you will see below, I don't believe that the resurrection to life occurs on the same day as the resurrection to judgement. The judgement on the last day is not the great white throne judgement which occurs after the resurrection to judgement. It will become clear as you prayerfully read on.



When is The Last Day?

We have no express statement of scripture that defines when it occurs, so we must be humble in our opinions. Possibility the last day is the last day of the current age before the next age, the next age being the 1000 year reign of Christ (the millennium). Possibly the last day is the last day of what Jesus called "this generation" in Matthew 24:34, as he defined that phrase in Matthew 23:29-36. Click here to see how Jesus defined "this generation" as the generation of Satan which spans thousands of years when He said "this generation will not pass away until all these things are accomplished" in Matthew 24:34. It appears that the last day is the last day of the current age AND ALSO the last day of "this generation" before the millennium (Revelation 20:1-3, 6). And perhaps the snapshot in 20:4-6 is the resurrection of all saints on "the last day" (John 6:40), saints being symbolized as "those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God", "beheaded" being symbolic of the universal persecution of the saints (2 Timothy 3:12). The resurrected saints rule during the millennium (20:6), after which, the snapshots of 20:7-10 and 20:11-15 may occur simultaneously, in the resurrection to judgement* of the sons of Satan (20:13-15), their post resurrection rebellion (20:7-9) and their entrance into the flames of their eternal destruction (20:9,10,14).


* See John 5:28-29


Hint 1: 

The resurrection of Revelation 20:4-6 is not restricted to those who were killed for their testimony because Jesus said that those who believe in Him will be raised "at the last day" (John 6:40). There is not one resurrection for martyred saints and a second resurrection for non-martyred saints, since all who believe are resurrected "at the last day". The "beheaded" saints which John saw in 20:4 must be understood figuratively, rather than literally, because the book of Revelation has explicitly instructed us to understand the book figuratively in its first sentence" "he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John" (1:1, ASV). The beast and the mark of the beast in Revelation 20:4 is figurative. That the book of Revelation communicates figuratively instead of literally is thoroughly explained in subchapter 5.6 titled, "Signs of What Must Occur Quickly: To Reveal Jesus". Click here to read the section titled "Revelation Through Signs" in that subchapter. In John 6:22-71 Jesus was speaking to a multitude (6:24). Five times he spoke to the multitude of the resurrection to life (John 6:39,40,44,54). He was speaking to His disciples, who were martyred. He was also speaking to many who were not martyred. But, to those who would be martyred and to those who would not be martyred, He said that they would be raised on "THE LAST DAY". 


So, in my one resurrection to life.


I cannot over emphasize: 

We must not take as literal what God has said is figurative. For a full explanation, click here and read the section titled, "Revelation Through Signs". We should beware of taking the words "beheaded", "beast" and "mark of the beast" as literal. To cut off ones head is a well known figure of speech which most any one reading this page has used many times... with no intention of communicating a literal beheading. The word "beast" is also a well known figure of speech.


Hint 2

In Revelation 19:17-21, I believe that "all men" on the planet are killed in judgement (19:18) because only unbelievers remain on the earth at that time (after the rapture). Only those who missed the rapture are remaining on the earth. The millennial kingdom then occurs (20:1-7), after which Satan gathers the nations to attack the saints, "the beloved city" (20:7-9). Well, where did these unbelievers come from? All unbelievers in the world were killed in 19:18. Resurrected saints do not marry (Matthew 22:30), and presumably, do not have children. So, if all unbelievers are killed in 19:18 and the resurrected and raptured saints don't have children (Matthew 22:30), then where do the unbelievers come from to attack the saints in "the beloved city"? One answer: Revelation 20:13 presents another resurrection, a resurrection of the dead, a post millennium resurrection, which I believe are the spiritually dead, which can not include Christians since Christians were all resurrected on "the last day". Then the spiritually dead attack the saints (20:7-9), and fire from heaven devours them (20:9) in what appears to be a "lake of fire" (20:14-15). 


Wheat and Tares

This explanation is consistent with the prophecy of the harvest in the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30. In this prophecy, the tares, translated as weeds or darnel in some versions, represent unbelievers at the rapture. Matthew 13:30 states "First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn." So, while the saints are meeting with Christ in the clouds (the rapture in Revelation 14:14-16), those who were not raptured (tares) are killed in Armageddon (Revelation 19:18). Death at Armageddon represents "bind them in bundles". In this perspective, the tares are gathered first. They remain bound in bundles through the millennium (Revelation 20:1-7) until the resurrection of the unbelievers (Revelation 20:13), when they attack the saints, "the beloved city" (Revelation 20:7-9). In other words, while the saints are in the clouds with Christ, the tares are taken from the earth and bundled for future judgement. Then, secondly, the saints (wheat) are placed in God's barn (ruling during the millennium (Revelation 20:4-6). 


Matthew 24:36-47

My explanation is also consistent with the Jesus' description of end times in Matthew 24:36-47. People will be in the field, at the mill, at weddings, and eating and drinking when Christ comes. The saints in rapture (in resurrection) will rise  into the clouds to meet Christ. From the clouds they will watch as Christ removes the wicked from the earth. Then the saints will return to the earth to rule for 1000 years while the  wicked wait for their resurrection to the judgement of the spiritually dead.


Reconciliation

As you can see, many passages about the rapture must be reconciled. As I have reconciled them above, it appears that the resurrection of the righteous occurs before the resurrection of the wicked, but the wicked are removed from the earth first, as they are murdering Christians (Revelation chapters 13-14).


Does the Last Day Occur Before or After the Tribulation?

John 6:40, "I will raise him up at the last day", appears sufficient to prove that the rapture does not occur at the beginning or middle of the great tribulation, because the rapture occurs on THE LAST DAY. 


How for example, can pre-tribulation rapture theory be correct? It places the rapture BEFORE a seven year tribulation wherein Christians are massacred by 666, and that massacre is FOLLOWED BY Armageddon. Rapture, seven horrible years of tribulation, then Armageddon. But the scriptures say that the rapture occurred on "the last day". So, Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory has a seven year tribulation and Armageddon occurring AFTER the last day... So, even though nearly everyone I worship with believes in Pre-Tribulation Rapture, I can not accept its contradictions with scripture. 



Quick Recap

The rapture is when God's children ascend into the clouds, to meet Christ in the air at the last trumpet, on the last day as prophesied in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and John 6:40. 1 Thessalonians 4:15 makes it clear that this is the second "coming". The fulfillment of the prophesy of the rapture is clearly presented in Revelation 14:14-16, which occurs in the seventh and final trumpet in the book of Revelation.  


At the top of this page I raised two questions:

1) Is there is a passage in the book of Revelation which symbolizes the fulfillment of all seven elements of the rapture prophecy. 

2) If Yes, does the rapture fulfillment passage occur before or after the tribulation?


Well, I believe that I have shown that the answer to the first question is yes. There is a passage in the book of Revelation which is consistent with all seven elements of the rapture prophecy. That passage is Revelation 14:14-16. 


Now we will answer the second question:  Does the rapture fulfillment passage occur before or after the tribulation?



Does Revelation 14:14-16 Occur Before or After the Tribulation?

It occurs after the tribulation. The beast is killing Christians in Revelation 13:7,10,15 and 17. Then the beast is identified by the number 666 in 13:18.  Saints are still being killed for their testimony in 14:12-13. The rapture occurs in 14:14-16 and Armageddon in 14:17-20. We will see all of this in greater detail farther down the page.


So, we have answered both questions. There is a passage in the book of Revelation which clearly identifies the rapture. And the timing of the rapture is after the tribulation.



Dig Deeper

If you wish to dig deeper into the details... to see more proof of what I have presented, then please prayerfully read on. First, we will prayerfully digest Revelation 14:14-16. Then we will do the same with 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.  Please prayerfully read on...



Cloud, Cloud, Cloud, Cloud

  • "14 I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:14-16).


Did you notice how many times God put the word "cloud" into this passage?  One time is all that was necessary to describe the scene. But the word "cloud" was used four times in Revelation 14:14-16. That is significant because prophesies state the Jesus will come with the clouds in His second coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52). It is also significant because the book of Revelation tells how Jesus will come in one of the very first sentences of the book:

  • "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7).  


Since God used the word "cloud" four times in Revelation 14:14-16, do you think that God wanted to make sure that we noticed the word "cloud"? Seems pretty obvious that He did. This clear evidence that God wanted us to know that 14:14-16 is the rapture and the coming of Christ. The same prophetic language about coming in the clouds is used to describe the coming of Jesus to rule the earth in Daniel 7:13-14. Daniel 7:27 reveals that dominion of the earth will be granted to the saints.


As I said, God used the word "cloud" four times in Revelation 14:14-16. And "cloud" was also used in 1:7 above in reference to His coming. The word "cloud" is only used two other times in the book of Revelation. In 10:1 an angel came down out of heaven clothed with a cloud. In 11:12 the two witnesses who were dead and resurrected went up into heaven in a cloud. Both uses of the word "cloud" had to do with someone coming coming down from or going up into heaven. That is what happens in the rapture. Christ comes down from heaven and Christians go up to heaven. This is more evidence that 14:14-16 is the rapture.


To summarize the seven uses of the word "cloud" in the book of Revelation... Two relate to going up into or down from heaven. Revelation 1:7 says that Christ will come "with the clouds". The four remaining uses of the word "cloud" are focused, in overt repetition, in Revelation 14:14-16 when Christ comes in the cloud "for the harvest of the earth". No other passage in all of scripture fits the prophesies of the coming of Christ and the rapture. Revelation 14:14-16 is the rapture and the coming of Christ.


That is really enough evidence that Revelation 14:11-16 is the rapture. But for the doubters, lets take a deeper look.



A Short Simple Read Identifies the Rapture

First please prayerfully read Revelation 13:1-18. Observe that the beast is represented by the number 666 (13:18) and kills Christians (13:7,10,15,17). If you will then read Revelation 13:18 through 14:20 and observe my general commentary as you read below, the rapture will be obvious.


Please begin reading at 13:18.

In 13:18 you see the beast (666), the Christian killer. Then you see 144,000 Jews converted to Christ in 14:1-5 (the 144,000 having been identified as Jews in 7:1-8), the Gospel preached (14:6-7), unbelievers warned (14:8-11), saints persevering and dying for their testimony (14:12-13), followed by the rapture (14:14-16) and Armageddon (14:17-20), with lots of blood (14:20). 


Note: Just in case you read ahead into chapter 15: 

The bowl judgement presentation begins with 15:1. The seven bowls don't occur after the seventh trumpet which we just read from but occur with each of the trumpets as pairs, as explained in "Chronology and Organizational Structure in the Book of Revelation". Click here to read. After you understand the organizational structure of Revelation, you will see that the millennial kingdom occurs in the seventh bowl, with the seventh trumpet, and after the Armageddon of Revelation 14:17-20.



"On" the Earth to Christ: "Into" the Earth for Wrath

Please prayerfully read Revelation 14:14-20 again.


In Revelation 14:14-16 and Revelation 14:17-20 we see two individuals, each having a sickle. The first is the Son of Man in 14-16, Jesus on a cloud, who swung His sickle "on" (Greek word epi) the earth and the result was a "harvest". The second individual is an angel in 17-20, who swung his sickle "into" (Greek word eis) the earth and the result was God's wrath, with lots of blood. 


The harvest of Christ (14:14-16) is good fruit, the children of God. We know this because it is called a "harvest". The result of the angel's reaping (14:17-20) is also clear. In 14:19 the angel swung his sickle and threw them into the "great winepress of the wrath of God" . This phrase was already defined just ten verses earlier:

  • "... If anyone worships the beast... he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God... He will be tormented in fire and sulfur... forever and ever..." (Revelation 14:9-11


Revelation 19:15 uses the similar "winepress of the wrath of God" language in the seventh bowl when Christ defeats those who assemble an army against God (19:11-21). So, it is obvious that Christ reaps the children of God, but the angel reaps the children of Satan. 


Let me Review:

In Revelation 14:14-16 and Revelation 14:17-20 we see two individuals, each having a sickle. The first is the Son of Man, Jesus on a cloud, who swung His sickle "on" (Greek word epi) the earth and the result was a "harvest" (v 15). The second individual is an angel, who swung his sickle "into" (Greek word eis) the earth and the result was God's wrath, with lots of blood. 



Reap from a Sitting Position?

We have talked about what was obvious about the passage. What may not be obvious about the harvest of Christ and the reaping of the angel is the difference in where each swung their sickle. The holy words of scripture did not use the same word. Christ swung His sickle "on" the earth. The angel swung his sickle "into" the earth. Even though your translation may be different from mine, they are all translating the Greek words epi and eis. A difference was communicated by the Holy Spirit. God used epi when Christ swung a sickle to harvest God's children.  But He used the word eis when the angel swung his sickle to reap Satan's children. 


Epi from a Greek dictionary means on, to, against.


Eis from a Greek dictionary means into, in, among.


The most likely meaning is shown first above: "on" for epi and "into" for eis. Look at the range of meanings for the two words and observe the difference. Epi is on the perimeter. Eis is within.


Please try to visualize:

Imagine that you are standing next to Jesus, who is sitting on a cloud. You are both looking down at the earth. Then picture Jesus, who while remaining seated on a cloud, swings a sickle to harvest a group of people who were on a house. Then picture the angel, immediately thereafter, swinging his sickle from a standing position to reap people who were inside the house. Doesn't that look like the people whom Jesus harvested were rising "to meet Him in the air", just like the prophesy of the rapture from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  Jesus didn't even stand up. He does harvest the earth while sitting down on a cloud, as if the people are already near the cloud, at the same elevation as Christ as He is seated on the cloud. 


One can't swing down while sitting. Any farmer knows this. One can only swing out. He just reaches out with His sickle and pulls them to Himself. So, the use of the word "epi" as Christ swings His sickle "on" the earth is additional evidence that the harvest of Christ from the cloud is the rapture.


But the reaping of the angel unto eternal fire is different. He swings his sickle "into" the earth. This communicates a downward, deeper thrust than we observed when Christ harvested the earth. This is because those who don't know God were not raptured. Therefore, they were not up in the cloud with Jesus. They are still on the earth.



Only One Possibility!

The harvest of Christ in Revelation 14:14-16 does not fit the judgement of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46. Revelation14:14-16 also does not fit the Great White Throne judgement from Revelation 20:11-15. In both of those judgements, the judge is sitting on a throne (Matthew 25:31, Revelation 20:11). Revelation 14:14-16 has Jesus SITTING ON A CLOUD... just like the rapture prophesy "caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). If the harvest of Christ in Revelation 14:14-16 is not the judgement of the sheep and goats from Matthew 25... and if it is not the Great White Throne Judgement from Revelation 20, then what else can it be besides the rapture? There really are no other options. The harvest of Christ in 14:14-16 is the rapture!  


And it is clear that the rapture occurs after the beast has been killing the saints in the great tribulation. Just read Revelation 13:15 - 14:20 and you will see. But, if you have been taught that the rapture comes before the tribulation, ask your teacher this question: Where does the Bible say that? 


If anyone actually shows you a scripture which says that the rapture comes before the tribulation, please go to the discussion page and let me know. Please send me the reference. But before you send it to me, check to see if the reference is consistent with the seven elements of the rapture prophecies

  • Last trumpet
  • Jesus in the clouds
  • Ascent of saints to Jesus in the clouds
  • End of the age
  • Voice of the archangel
  • Only the Father knows the day
  • The last day

I am confident that there is no scripture that is consistent with those seven elements which will indicate a pre-tribulation rapture.


But for those of you who would like more evidence, please prayerfully read on...




Will Christians Go Through the Tribulation?

You may have heard some say that the church is not mentioned in the book of Revelation after chapter 3 and therefore Christians do not go through the tribulation because the tribulation is presented after chapter 3. You may also have heard that Christians do not incur the wrath of God and therefore Christians will not be present during the great tribulation. 


I suggest that you prayerfully read the book of Revelation. Unless God reveals its contents directly to your mind, you will not know what is in the book unless you read it. And if you read the book, it will be readily apparent that Christians will be present during the tribulation, will not suffer the wrath of God, but will suffer the wrath of Satan, the beast and their followers. In the very last verse of Revelation 12, those who testify of Jesus are being persecuted: 

  • "The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep God's commandments and hold Jesus' testimony." (Revelation 12:17). 


It is clear that those who testify of Jesus and keep God's commandments are attacked. 


Then the very next verse, 13:1, introduces us to the beast, 666. His identification by the number 666 is not revealed until 13:18. But, Revelation 13:7 tells us what the beast does: 

  • "and it was given to him (the beast) to make war with the saints and to overcome them" (Revelation 13:7). 


There is more: 

  • "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is to go into captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, he must be killed. Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints" (Revelation 13:8-10).


Verse eight tells us that those whose names were not written in the book of life will worship the beast. Verse 10 speaks of the perseverance (endurance) of the Saints. That's because the Saints are present when the beast is persecuting the Saints. How can the beast persecute the Saints if the Saints are not present? Revelation 13:15 tells us that those who refuse to worship the beast will be killed. The Second beast from Revelation 13:11 will: "cause as many as wouldn't worship the Image of the beast to be killed" (Revelation 13:15). So, the Saints, who were specifically mentioned in 13:10 are being killed for refusal to worship the image of the beast in 13:15. But there is much more: 

  • "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on" (Revelation 14:13).


So it is abundantly and obviously clear, that the saints are present on the earth in Revelation 14:13. Then, the next few verses, Revelation 14:14-20, show that the saints are raptured in Revelation 14:14-16... and those who were left behind on the earth are reaped in 14:17-20 and thrown into the "great wine press of the wrath of God" (14:19). Let's look at those passages again. 

  • "14 I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:14-16).


In these three verses, the Saints are taken up to Christ. And it's a good thing… Because those who remained on the earth after the harvest by the Son of Man in  14–16, are the subject of the reaping by an angel in verses 17-20, and are thrown into the wine press of the wrath of God. 

  • "17 Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. 18 Another angel came out from the altar, he who has power over fire, and he called with a great voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Send your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for the earth's grapes are fully ripe!" 19 The angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 The wine press was trodden outside of the city, and blood came out of the wine press, even to the bridles of the horses, as far as one thousand six hundred stadia*" (Revelation 14:17–20). 


* 296 kilometers or 184 miles


So, we see that these two claims about the book of Revelation are NOT TRUE:


CLAIM 1

The church is not mentioned in the book of Revelation after chapter 3 and therefore Christians do not go through the tribulation which is presented after chapter 3. This claim is untrue!


CLAIM 2

Christians do not incur the wrath of God and therefore Christians will not be present during the great tribulation. The second half of this sentence is untrue


From the scriptural evidence above, saints are mentioned many times after chapter 3. They are enduring the wrath of the beast, so the church is in fact mentioned repeatedly as being in the tribulation. Saints (Christians) are removed (raptured) before the wrath of God in Revelation 14:14-16. So, it is true that saints do not incur the wrath of God because they are raptured in Revelation 14:14-16, before the wrath of God in Revelation 14:17-20.  But the scriptures above clearly show that this rapture occurs after being starved and killed by the beast.


So, it is clear that the rapture occurs after the beast has been killing the saints in the great tribulation. But, if you have been taught that the rapture comes before the tribulation, ask your teacher this question: Where does the Bible say that? 


Say "What verse in the Bible says that we will not go through the tribulation"?

I have asked experts who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture and no one has ever provided me a scripture that comes remotely close to proving their position.


If anyone actually shows you a scripture which says that the rapture comes before the tribulation, please go to the discussion page and let me know. Send me the reference.


For additional clear and convincing proof, from the scriptures, that Revelation 14:14–16 is the rapture, see the next section!



Lets Review and Plunge Deeper

Please prayerfully and briefly set aside what some theologians have taught and prayerfully consider what the scriptures actually say... so that you may be ready (Matthew 24:44). Some of the following will be repetitive, but this is necessary to connect all of the parts. After a short review, I will present additional proof that Revelation 14:14-16 is the rapture:

  • "13 I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them." 14 I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:13-16).


Verses 14 through 16 come immediately after verse 13 and immediately before verses 17-20. Verse 13 clearly establishes that Christians are present. Verse 13 says "Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord from now on". So, Christians are present in the harvest of verses 14-16. Immediately after the rapture of 14–16 comes the reaping of those who were not raptured. They are reaped into the wine press of God's wrath (verse 19) with blood to horses and bridles for 200 miles, (Armageddon). For further details about Armageddon and the consummation of God's wrath , see the seventh bowl, Revelation 17:1-20:15, as the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl occur as pairs. So, Christians must be raptured in verses 14-16 or else they would be reaped into the wrath of God, including Armageddon. We know that only those who take the mark of the beast will drink of this wrath of God (Revelation 14:9-10) and will be tormented forever (Revelation 14:11). This is enough proof to establish that Revelation 14:14-16 is the rapture. 


Please consider again Revelation 14:14–16. 

  • "14 I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:14-16).

Please prayerfully observe the facts presented in 14-16. The "one like a son of man" is Christ. We know that this is Christ because he clearly refers to himself in this way, as the son of man. For example: Matthew 8:20, 9:6, 10:23, 11:19, 12:8, 12:40, 13:37, etc., etc., etc. Furthermore, he is described in this way in Revelation 1:13. So the one sitting on the cloud is Christ. Note that Christ does not set foot on the earth, but remains on the cloud. This is not the second coming of judgement since he does not set foot on the earth, but remains on the cloud and reaps from the cloud. That he is on the cloud is very significant. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 reveals that, in the rapture, both the living and dead saints will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord Christ in the air. 

  • "16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God's trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).


Do you see it? Believers, both living and dead, rise up in the air, into the clouds in both 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and in Revelation 14:14-16.  From there, raptured saints watch as the angel reaps the earth into the wrath of God in Revelation 14:17-20, Armageddon. Now, please prayerfully examine Revelation 14:14-16 again to see how it fulfills 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. 

  • "14 I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:14-16).

Christ is on the cloud. He reaps. He doesn't set foot on earth. The harvest  comes to Him. But there is more. Please note that an angel tells Christ in verse 15 to reap because the time has come. Apparently the angel is giving the Father's instruction to Christ to "harvest" the earth, as only the Father knows the time (Matthew 24:36). Please note that this harvesting of the Saints, Revelation 14:14–16, is occurring within the seventh and final trumpet. 



Only in the Seventh Trumpet

To understand the book of Revelation in general and the seventh trumpet in particular, one must understand the rigid organizational structure of the book of Revelation. You may receive this understanding if you click here to open the page titled, "Chronology and Organizational Structure in the Book of Revelation". The section titled "Organizational Rhythm" from that page is particularly helpful in understanding the rapture.


Here is a brief review of that section:

The seventh trumpet begins in Revelation 11:15, with a summary of the seventh trumpet in verses 15-19, with details of the seventh trumpet being presented in 11:20-14:20. The point is, that the harvesting of the Saints, Revelation 14:14-16, occurs in the seventh and final trumpet. In other words, 14:14-16 occurs within 11:20 - 14:20, within the seventh trumpet. This is significant since 1 Corinthians 15:52 tells us that the rapture will occur in the final trumpet: 

  • "51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep (die), but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). 


This passage is a companion passage to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. In both passages you see the dead, the living, the trumpet and the rising of the living and the dead in the rapture. 


If you wonder if there may be a trumpet occurring after Revelation's seventh trumpet, consider the following: There is no eighth trumpet in the book of Revelation. But there is more... Revelation 10:7 says:

  • "but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets" (Revelation 10:7).  


The fulfillment of the revelation of the prophets about the rapture from both 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, which you read above, must occur "in the days" of the voice of the seventh angel, because "the mystery of God is finished" in those days, in the seventh trumpet. Furthermore, the rapture can not have occurred in the days of the first six trumpets, because those are not the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15:51. I have often heard someone write that the rapture may occur in this verse or that verse of the book of Revelation. But those verses were not in the seventh trumpet. So, they can not be the rapture.



Revelation 14:14-16 Stands Alone

There is even more proof that Revelation 14:14–16 is the rapture: There is no other passage in the book of Revelation which fulfills the prophesies of other books in the Bible regarding the rapture: Only Revelation 14:14-16 presents Christ, the son of man, on a cloud, harvesting the earth, remaining on the cloud at the blast of the last trumpet... creating the setting prophesied about the rapture so that the harvest may come to him, the ascending of the Saints into the air. If Christ were to harvest souls that were on the ground, He would be pictured as being on the ground. But since the prophesies say that the saints "will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air", Revelation 14:14-16 appropriately pictures Christ "on the cloud". The second angel (Revelation 14:17-20) is not pictured on the cloud. This second angel throws souls into the winepress of the wrath of God.


Now, it is even more clear that the rapture occurs after the tribulation. But, if you have been taught that the rapture comes before the tribulation, ask your teacher this question: Where does the Bible say that? 


If anyone actually shows you a scripture which says that the rapture comes before the tribulation, please go to the discussion page and let me know. Send me the reference.



Be Ready!

The prosperity gospel fills pews and bank accounts, but it doesn't prepare you for suffering which has been promised to God's children (2 Timothy 3:12, Philippians 1:29). Child of God, open your eyes!...Our brothers and sisters are murdered all around the world every day because they profess Christ. This has been going on for two-thousand years. Take no comfort in the teaching of some who say that no believer living today will pass through the great tribulations of the book of Revelation. Please prayerfully consider the words of Christ:


Jesus said... 

  • "44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come. 45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. 47 Most certainly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has" (Matthew 24:44-47).


It is easy to give those in your sphere "food in due season". Jesus said that it is easy, as is presented, from the scriptures in the subchapter 2.3 titled, "The Easy Yoke of Christ".


Next time you hear someone say that "we won't be here" when the beast of Revelation begins to persecute the children of God... ask these three questions:

  1. What verse says that the rapture comes before the tribulation?
  2. Besides Revelation 14:14-16, what verse in the book of Revelation contains the first three elements of the two foundational prophecies describing the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52?
  3. What verse in the book of Revelation reveals the timing of the rapture better than Revelation 14:14-16?
  4. How can the tribulation and Armageddon come after the rapture since the rapture occurs on "the last day" (John 6:40)?


I have never received a credible answer to any of those questions. 



How to Overcome:

"They overcame him because of the Lamb's blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn't love their life, even to death" (Revelation 12:11).  In other words, they overcame by making disciples...



Where Are We Now?

We may be living in the continuance of the first five seals... conquering, war, famine, death, martyrdom... until:

  • Those who are to be martyred "complete their course" (Revelation 6:11)
  • 144,000 bond servants of God are sealed (Revelation 7:1-4).


If we are living in the first five seals now, I don't contend that the fourth seal, death, is complete. In the fourth seal, one-fourth of the earth is killed by sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. I can not prove that this has or has not happened. We only know what we can verify for ourselves... and for nearly all of us, we can verify very little. I expect the word "sword" can apply to any weapon of warfare. The book of Revelation is a book of SIGNS.


The sixth seal contains:

  • 144,000 bond servants of God are sealed and then four angels bring harm to the earth, sea and trees (Revelation 7:1-4). 
  • Earthquake, black sun, blood moon, falling stars (Revelation 6:12-13). All those remaining on earth (unbelievers) understand that irreversible judgement has come to them (Revelation 6:16-17). 
  • Praise from saints of the great tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17, especially verse 14).
  • Tribulation (7:14), rapture* and realization that judgement has come (6:15-17).


*Rapture is revealed in the sixth seal since 6:15-17 reveals that all the people of the earth (every slave and free person) see the face of the Father and Son (6:16) and are afraid because the the "great day of his wrath has come" (6:16,17). All people on earth at that time react with fear at the sight of God because the only people left on the earth after the rapture are those who know they have rejected God and will accordingly will receive God's wrath. 


If you want to understand the book of Revelation and be blessed in that understanding... please click the arrow at the top right of this page to read the next subchapter titled, "Signs of What Must Occur Quickly: To Reveal Jesus".


Jesus said, 

"Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. Most certainly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has."
Matthew 24:44-47)

Have a question or want to share how this book has impacted your life?