The Study of Last Things
by James T. Bartsch
Learning about the Future to Live Better Today
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:22)
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches...." (Rev. 22:16)
Will Church-Age Christians Have to Endure the Tribulation?
Part 3: (Rev. 3:22; 22:16)
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 second reason why the Church will not be forced to go through the Tribulation. In this article, I will give you my third reason.
Third Reason. The absence of the noun ekklesia (1577) during the Tribulation chapters of Revelation. (Rev. 3:22; 22:16)
The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia (1577). One would think that, if the Church were raptured at Christ’s Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-21) after the Tribulation, we would find the word repeatedly during the Tribulation (Rev. 6-18). Interestingly enough, we don’t find it a single time in those chapters! Thus, it seems a Post-Tribulation Rapture is highly improbable.
One would also think that, if the Church were Raptured somewhere in the middle of the Tribulation, we would find the word “church” (ekklesia) prior to that event (in Rev. 6-18). That would be consistent with a Mid-Tribulation Rapture. Once again, we do not find ekklesia anywhere in Revelation 6-18.
Here is what we do find: (1) Ekklesia appears 4 times in 3 verses in chapter 1 – (Rev. 1:4, 11, 20). (2) Ekklesia appears 9 times in 9 verses in chapter 2 – (Rev. 2:1, 7, 8, 11, 12, 17, 18, 23, 29). (3) Ekklesia appears 6 times in 6 verses in chapter 3 – (Rev. 3:1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 22). (4) Thereafter, the word ekklesia does not appear again in the entire book until a summary statement in Rev. 22:16, which reads, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Conclusion: My conclusion is that the word ekklesia, church (1577), appears during the Church Age in Rev. 1-3. But since the Church is raptured up to heaven at the beginning of chapter 4, the word does not appear again about events on the earth until the summary at the end of the book. So the use of the Greek word for church, ekklesia, in the Book of Revelation, is consistent with a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.)
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Posted March 21, 2021