THE RAPTURE of Christians and Overcomers

Extracts and comments from Revelation Chapter 8

 

V.1  And when He opened the 7th seal, there came to be silence in the Heaven about half an hour.  

The first 6 seals were opened in quick succession with brief descriptions.  The descriptions fit what our Lord said to His disciples in Matt. 24, and parallel passages.  In v.8 of Matt. 24 the Lord shows that the various calamities must happen as a prelude, and in v.9 that world-wide Jewry would be persecuted.  This of course has happened many times, but never so badly as the second world war of 1939-1945, which was an accelerating impetus (together with the 1st world war, which forced Turkey to relinquish Palestine in war reparation), to the formation of the present state of Israel, and clearly is significant.  In the 39-45 war, the "Final Solution", was proposed by Hitler to exterminate all Jews, which had he won would have been a world-wide effort.  As it is, he killed more than 6 million in Europe.  There is however worse to come.  In Rev. 6:4, "the peace is taken from the Earth", which in the case of Israel had been established by agreement with the State of Israel and the Antichrist previously, (Dan. 9:27); but in the case of other Nations, will also probably be with the help of Antichrist.  Many of the world's Christendom leaders have been, and are, teaching that it is the Christian's duty to work for peace in the world so that the world will be a fitting place for Christ to return to.  "This is known as the Ecumenical Movement"!  See: The Ecumenical Movement and the Bible: 

This of course ignores what Scripture says will be the case, but this teaching will make Antichrist totally acceptable to the gullible, as he will agree with and endorse and enable such teaching. 

Since the mid A.D. 1800s knowledge has accelerated, technology increased, with the consequent huge expansion of war, travel, communication etc., (Dan. 12:4).  This expansion coincides with an event in 1858 of the publication of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species", which led to conflict between theologians and Scientists, called "The great debate".  In the event the Scientists won that debate, and the power (albeit corrupted) of the church declined.  Although there have been attempts to renew Bible teaching through various groupings, the influences of alternative activities and interests holds sway in the present day, and what Bible teaching there is, is corrupted and inaccurate in the main.  The exhortations of the Apostle Paul "to know and work at Scripture", (paraphrased),  in the present time is not accepted.  Rather, the case now is that of 2Tim. 3:1-5, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come".  These verses from 1 to 5 certainly describe very accurately the present day developing conditions on Earth. 

The foregoing is laid out in support of the timing possibility of special events which must yet take place.  Since the Lord's death on the Calvary cross, and at the moment in time that He gave up voluntarily His spirit of life to the Father (Matt. 27:50) and the Veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom, a special condition has prevailed on Earth. 

The ripping of the Veil, which barred the way into the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple, as configured in the O.T. signified that access to the presence of Jehovah was no longer barred, and that Christ's death as substitute sacrifice was acceptable to the Father for men and women of right heart (good will) and at that moment, the Jew first.  This means (and the condition is still in place) that as the Apostle Paul and others describe, "faith (Trust) in Christ's sacrifice and in Him only is all that is required for Salvation (to be made whole before God)", (paraphrased).  As well as this gift of Salvation, this grouping of people have a special destination and purpose, which will start with a special event, called the "Translation", or "Rapture", (1Cor. 15:51).  This taking away from Earth has to take place prior to the "Wrath of God on Earth", (1Thess. 1:10) (1Thess. 5:9) and (Joel 2 & 3) to be visited on rebellious mankind, and possibly partly simultaneously with that wrath will be the worst tribulation visited on the Jews by the "Prince of this world", that has yet ever taken place, (Matt. 24:21-22).  

The Body of the Lord was forming prior to and post Acts 28:28, but those before Acts 28 are destined for an inheritance relative to Abraham, as that was active up to Acts 28:28.  Those post Acts 28:28 have an inheritance in Heaven, and are probably in special service to God/Christ in Millennial.  There is the possibility that the Rapture of all Christians is at the same time, even though the Cor. and Thess. references are directed at the pre. Acts 28:28 Body.  This possibility would seem to apply, if the Christians are alive when the false Messiah is active in Israel, and assuming that the above references apply to both.  (See footnote). 

Charles Welch is of the opinion that the above references apply to raptured  "Overcomers", and if that is the case the following may apply, taken from revelationsmessage chp. 12:3b.  Rev Chapter 12

The "silence"; in Heaven, augers a prelude, an anticipation, prior to special and/ or main events.  The fact that half an hour is mentioned must have a meaning.  The Interlinear no. 2256 confirms the text.  Part of the root 2255 gives the idea of "partition", with the possible idea of a time space before the next and culminating events of the Wrath of Jehovah God! 

The descriptions of what are released in the following verses and Chapters of Revelation, are indeed terrible.  The release of the 7th seal is also the last one for the Lamb of God.  The Lamb is also Christ Jesus, and when He has released the 7th seal, He is free to continue the plan of Jehovah God.  It is determined in the plan of God that Christ will descend from the right hand of the Father, "when His enemies are made His footstool", (paraphrased), (Matt. 22:44), (Mk. 12:36), (Lk. 20:43), (Acts 2:34-35), (Heb. 1:13), (Heb. 10:13), and (Psm. 110:1). 

The timing of the Rapture of Christians (1Cor. 15:51), (Christ's Body) is the subject of much debate, and has been over many centuries.  Some say prior to the "70th week" of Daniel's prophecy quoting 2Thess. 2:7, which has veracity, others at the same time as the saving of the "remnant" of Jews, which is approx. at the end of the 70th week; and many other ideas abound.  However, one overriding comment repeatedly seems to give the main clue, (Rom. 5:9) which speaks of exclusion from "wrath", in fact wrath is reserved for those that "hold down", or suppress the Truth (Rom. 1:18).  The most convincing and probably conclusive is 1Thess. 1:10 and 5:9, which shows not only exclusion from wrath, but also uses the word "rescued", from the wrath to come. 

As the Holy Wrath of Jehovah against the Gentiles is described in Joel 3, and seems to be clearly subsequent to the saving of the remnant of Israel, it is possible that the Rapture of the Lord's Body (Christians true) is just prior to the saving of Israel.  It does not seem to be likely that the Lord would descend twice from the right hand of the Father, i.e. once for His Body and then again for the saving of the remnant Israel.  As we are told that the Body "meets the Lord in the air", (1Thess. 4:17), and this assumes that this refers to the Body, and not another "grouping" i.e. Rev. 7:9!  

However, it is possible that this description is applicable to the "Overcomers" of Revelation 7, especially as this teaching was prior to Acts 28:28.  The "Church of the Mystery", had not been revealed at that time, and is exclusive to Christ.  

After that wondrous event, whatever its timing, there is time alone for the Body (True Church) with the Lord, which is a refining and reward time for individual Christians, who are now in a different body or state (Rom. 14:10), (1Cor. 3:10-15) and (2Cor. 5:10), but we are then with the Lord forever (ALWAYS) (1Thess. 4:17).  The "ALWAYS", here in the Greek, has the flavour of not just time but also at His side, (or in His presence). 

The Lord must then arrive on Earth the second time (called the 2nd Advent), to rescue the remnant of His people Israel, (in their flesh), to subdue and defeat by force the nations ranged against them, to Judge the Nations, and to set up and preside in the Millennial reign.  As we are told by Paul that we (true Christ-ones) are "ever", with the Lord, it is the opinion of the writers that we arrive on Earth with Christ (1Thess. 3:13) and (Jude 14). 

There are some Groups that will not accept the Rapture as Scriptural, and make rather flimsy arguments to the contrary.  A recent comment from the USA is that the idea originated from a woman (Margaret McDonald) in the UK in 1830.  They assert that the well-known J.N. Darby was influenced by her at a Charismatic meeting, when she was in a "trance like state", and that the whole concept of the "Rapture" is from her! 

They clearly had not done their homework carefully, as Darby had come to the Rapture conclusion three years earlier in 1826/7, and in fact was confirming the conclusion of many Biblical Scholars trailing backwards to 306 AD as recent documentation confirms! 

It is easy to see why some Groups and Churches do not like the Scriptural Doctrine of the Rapture, as it conflicts with the fact of the Jewish future in Prophecy and fulfillment, and makes defunct their insistence that the Israel of Prophecy is now the Church!  Also, as usual, Satan takes much pleasure in confusing The Body of Christ, his great enemy!  This very teaching is causing great confusion and anguish in Groups where it is propagated, as many of the basic principles of Scripture study are reversed, and much wrong teaching prevails.

It is safe to say when examining Scripture re. the Rapture, that it is a firm Doctrine.  When it takes place is open to debate, and probably will not be known prior to the event, but as stated the writers are of the view that it is prior to the 70th week of Daniel's 490 years, which is given veracity by 2Thess. 2:7 & 8, and corresponds with Dan. 9:27! 

Note; 2014   The most reasonable view, in context, is that there is more than one "Rapture".  Revelation is clearly a continuation of the Old Testament, Gospels and Acts; with Acts 28:28 as the change point of "Administration", (i.e. Dispensation or Age).  The time from Acts 28:28 to Revelation's start is clearly as Paul states, "the Mystery Church", or Body of Christ.  It therefore follows that when its time is ended and its "number is made up"; it will be removed from the Earth in what is called the "Rapture", or Translation. 

The fact that Paul described this event in detail in 1Thess. 4:13-17 and 1Cor. 15:20-23, and that these writings are prior to Acts 28:28 does not detract from the facts of both events; i.e. pre-Acts 28:28 Jews and Gentiles, and post Acts 28:28 Gentiles and Jews in the pre-Revelation event. 

The grouping described in Rev. 7 are clearly extracted from the "Great Tribulation", and are primarily Jews with Gentiles also, who have "washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb", v.14.  Their kinship and experience is similar to the Acts period Jews and Gentile Christians, and the verses of Scripture pertaining to them are: Matt. 24:40-41, Luke 17:34-36, Jer. 50:4 and Isa. 10:20-24 etc. 

To summarise; the writers take the view that there are at least 2, possibly 4 "Translations".

1) Post Acts 28:28 to approx. the beginning of Revelation "Mystery Body of Christ".

2) Pre. Acts 28:28 "Body of Christ", which may or may not be simultaneous with 1), but may well be simultaneous with 3).

3) Overcomers described in Rev. 7, extracted from "the Great Tribulation", as described above; Scripture refs: Rev. 18:4, Jer. 50:4-9 and Isa. 10:20-24.

4) Post Acts 28:28 to pre. 70th week of Daniel's 490 years. 

Not to be forgotten is the remarkable and miraculous raising and ascending of the special witnesses of God/Christ; Rev. 11:12. 

 

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