The Study of Last Things
by James T. Bartsch
Learning about the Future to Live Better Today
"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.” Revelation 4:1
Will Church-Age Christians Have to Endure the Tribulation?
Part 2: Rev.4:1
Introduction: There are conflicting opinions as to whether or not Christians of the Church Age will have to go through the Tribulation. People who believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture believe Christians will NOT have to go through the Tribulation. People who believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture believe Christians WILL have to go through the Tribulation. I am one of the former. I believe the New Testament teaches us Christians will NOT have to go through any part of the Tribulation. In the previous article we discussed the first reason why the Church will not be forced to go through the Tribulation. In this article, I will give you my second reason.
Second Reason. A Voice from Heaven Called John Up, Rev. 4:1.
Jesus Christ had instructed the Apostle John what to write to the Seven Churches (Rev. 2-3). In the outline of the Book of Revelation, the Church Age ends with the conclusion of Revelation 3. Revelation 4-5 is a Transitional Time up in Heaven prior to the Tribulation, which begins in Revelation 6:1.
In Rev. 4:1, John wrote, “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.”
I believe this is symbolic of Christ’s call to the Church to ascend to heaven to be with Him. The words, “Come up here” are anabaino (305), “Come up” and hode (5602), “here.”
These two identical words appear also in Rev. 11:12. There the two witnesses who prophesied for 1260 days had been killed by the Beast (Antichrist), and they lay unburied in Jerusalem for 3 ½ days. After the 3 ½ days had expired, the breath of life from God came into them. They heard a loud voice from heaven calling, “Come up here.” They ascended to heaven as their enemies watched. My point is that the same language which indicated a bodily ascent to heaven in Rev. 11:12 describes a virtual ascent to heaven in Rev. 4:1. Therefore, I conclude that John's ascent to heaven in Rev. 4:1 symbolizes a future bodily ascent to heaven by the entire Church prior to the start of the Tribulation, which does not begin until Rev. 6:1
In John’s case, he experienced a “virtual” trip to heaven, while the two witnesses experienced a bodily trip to heaven (Rev. 11:12). To me the call to John in John 4:1 symbolizes a bodily trip to heaven which the entire Church will make prior to the Tribulation. If John 4:1 does not indicate the Rapture of the Church, the Rapture appears nowhere in the Book of Revelation.
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.)
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Posted March 20, 2021