The Mid-Tribulation Rapture (MTR) view of the rapture of the Church (Body of Christ) holds that the Church will not be raptured, or “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) UNTIL AFTER the first half of the Tribulation begins. Without some prophetic background the average Christian will find it difficult to understand the issue. Some may even question, “What difference does it make?”
If the Rapture was an isolated event, separate from any influence to or from all other doctrines in the Bible, there would be no difference as to when the Rapture occurs or to whom it involves. But the doctrine, like all doctrines, is connected to the entire scope of Bible ecclesiastical (church) soteriological (salvation) and eschatological (last things) doctrines. An error in one corrupts all. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, in “the warp and woof” is of a vital and inseparable nature.
The root of the problem is whether or not a person believes the Bible in his hand says what it means, where it says it, and as it says it. If the Bible is just a collection of thoughts or concepts, we might as well put on a hamburger and hope for the best and forget about trying to learn anything certain about God. But if it is what it claims to be, the inspired word of God, we must study it, live by it, die by it, and be ready to spend all eternity with those results. There is no middle ground and no fence to straddle.
The creation gives a GENERAL revelation of God. This shows every man the glory and power of God. The revelation demonstrates that there is a God and that He is all-powerful so that only “a fool” says “There is no God,” and he can only determine that in his heart, for his mind tells him otherwise. (Psalms 14).
“1 THE heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalms 19:1-3)
The Bible is the SPECIAL revelation of God. Only the Bible, the written word of God, can “convert the soul” “rejoice the heart” “make wise the simple” and “enlighten the eyes. The General Revelation (creation) makes a person know this is a powerful God but looking at a bug or star will not convert the soul or impart wisdom.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
“… It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)
In order to understand the things of God, a person must believe that he has the word of God, the Bible, (Greek: biblos, book) in his hand. There must be a conviction or persuasion that God gave His word to man because He wanted man to know Him. This would mean that not only would He give it without any errors but in plain, understandable language and that He would also insure that it remained in an uncorrupted state for successive generations.
Like many others, after looking at the criticisms of the Bible, undertaking a thorough study of the languages, manuscripts, and its transmission down through the ages, I am convinced that the King James Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God in every part and whole, in the English language. My belief is based upon history of the Bible itself, the effectual work it has done in my life for 51 years, and upon the many blessings that have come to me by the grace of God. Personally, that conviction is so strong that I have trusted the word of God, the King James Bible, with the eternal welfare of my soul according to the riches of glory that are in my Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ.
This study is to provide some prophetic background, define the terms, and point out the major doctrinal inconsistencies of the MTR.
Those who teach a “Pre-wrath rapture” or Mid-Trib rapture” simply don’t follow sound interpretation. They take what they like out of the Gospels and ignore what gives their view a problem. Assuming the Body of Christ doctrine is taught by The Lord Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry, they appropriate scripture that belongs to Israel and the Millennial Kingdom and apply it to the Church, which is the Body of Christ, or to local churches during this present Age of Grace.
NONE, not one “Pre-wrath tribber” or MTR will be consistent in doctrine. He pretends that Jesus is teaching a general type of doctrine that applies to anybody, anywhere. He doesn’t know or chooses to ignore that Jesus did not come to start the Body of Christ or prepare the Church for a rapture, tribulation, or Sunday School. The Bible says that Christ “came to His own” (Israel) and that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (John1:11;Romans 5:8)
THE Apostle Paul is the messenger the Lord Jesus Christ chose to reveal the hidden mystery of the Church, the Body of Christ and the doctrines that pertain to the Body. The “rapture” of the Body of Christ was a mystery, unsearchable until Paul revealed it in 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 5, and 1 Thessalonians 4. There is absolutely no reference to a “rapture” of the Church in the Gospels.
THE “Tribulation Period” is a term that refers to a key time period of 7 years within the prophecy God gave to Daniel in Daniel 9. The prophecy is given to Daniel during the captivity of the nation of Israel and tells what is going to happen to that nation before they are finally settled in their land and blessed by God. The land and promises of national, universal blessings were made to Abraham (the father of Israel) in Genesis 12. God brought them into the land and gave them the Law of Moses for their civil and religious government but Israel ignored the Law and was judged for that disobedience.
GOD tells Daniel that 70 weeks of years out of the blessings was their judgment for the nation’s disobedience. The “70 X 7” was due to Israel’s failure to observe 70 of the land sabbaths. The “promised land” was holy and given in trust to Israel by God–the land sabbath was more binding than even the sabbath days! Therefore, 490 years (seventy sevens of years) had to be finished outside the blessings of God as punishment for their repetitious, deliberate, sins and iniquity.
THE period of 70 X 7 began with the decree to allow the Jews to “restore and to build Jerusalem” by Artaxerxes I in 457 B.C.asrecorded in the prophecy (Daniel 9:25-26.). There were three specific time marks and four historical events given so that the 70 weeks of years (490 years) are fully covered:
Command to build until finished: 7 x 7 or 49 years.
From the finished city “unto the Messiah the Prince”-62 X 7 or 434 years.
THE prophecy said from the command to “build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks..” That is a total of 69 weeks, but there remains 1 week of years, seven years, in order to complete the judgment. What happens? “AFTER three score and two weeks (plus the initial seven weeks) shall Messiah be cut off..” (Daniel 9:26)
THE time record stops with “Messiah the Prince..” (Jesus) Does it stop with His virgin birth? Does it stop with His baptism? The answer is not given in a direct Bible verse but by careful calculation of the Jewish calendar, the date is ascertained to be 1st Nisan, this corresponds to the entry by Jesus into Jerusalem riding on a colt (emblematic of a King’s entry). The record is in Luke. It is noteworthy that this is just before the crucifixion of Christ and the last opportunity Israel has to receive Him as King.
“35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:35-44)
THIS date of 1st Nisan (commonly called “Palm Sunday”) is exactly 69 weeks of years from the command to build Jerusalem. Therefore, the date or event not given in Daniel 9 is ascertained. But there remain other events during the period between Messiah the Prince where the prophetic clock is stopped. If indeed, this “time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44) is accurate, it is an amazing and exact fulfillment.
THE prophecy continued with the next event: “AFTER (the completed building: 7 weeks) threescore and two weeks (62 + 7= 69 weeks) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…” (Daniel 9:26). The words “cut off” carry an implication of a violent, un-natural death. And, “but not for himself” indicates that it was not due to some fault of His own. This, of course, refers to the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross.
ANOTHER “timeless” event is given that occurs AFTER MESSIAH COMES- AFTER HE IS CUT OFF- and it is very important to the prophecy to get it right.
“The people of the prince that shall come…” We learn that there is another kind of “prince” in the prophecy. He has a “people” that do his bidding and they will “destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (temple).”(Daniel 9:26). Notice: this “prince” has not yet come–on earth, it is “his people” that are in existence and they destroy Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple. This is a historical fact: the Roman armies sacked and burnt the city and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. We do note that Rome’s army, although commanded by Gentile Roman leaders, was composed of a high percentage of the peoples conquered by Rome–mainly followers of Islam. (The small land of Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries today.)
The answer to “c” question is found by following the antecedent “prince that shall come”. The “…prince that shall come…he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week..” This “prince” makes “the covenant” a specific type that involves “sacrifice and oblation”. This “prince” is mentioned in other Bible passages as sitting in a future rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, proclaiming that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2). This is the “antichrist” the devil’s imitation of Christ who will deceive the entire world. (Revelation 13).
The answer to “d” question is also found in Daniel 9:27: The antichrist breaks the covenant in the middle of the seventieth week (at the 31/2 year mark) and persecutes the nation of Israel as he continues his reign of terror. At the same time God begins to pour out His wrath upon Israel, in particular, and the world who (for the main part) has followed the antichrist.
At the end of the seven years, the final week of Daniel’s prophecy, The Lord Jesus Christ returns in Glory, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS to establish His Kingdom and give the faithful remnant of the nation of Israel the land long promised and fulfill His covenants, the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants.
We have not given the hundreds of scriptures that pertain to this prophecy but have simplified the doctrines as much as possible to give an overall view in relation to the 70 weeks, or 490 years, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, the crux of eschatology, the doctrine of things to come.
THE entire of Daniel 9 is below for reference. You will have noticed that the KEY Bible group, essential to a supposed Mid-tribulation rapture, is missing from the whole discussion. This is because the Body of Christ, the Church, where “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) AND HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE TRIBULATION PERIOD.
“1 IN the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Allegorism is the more destructive of the two methods of Bible interpretation because it places interpretation of a word solely at the whim of the teacher. Thus, “church” doesn’t really mean “church” but can mean “kingdom” “Gentiles” “small flock” “men” or whatever word suits the mood of the interpreter at the time and wherever he wishes to do it.
Spiritualization of scripture is to force some spiritual lesson into doctrinal portions and confuse a practical lesson with doctrine. It is an over emphasis on practical application at the expense of doctrine. For example, in a zeal to find some application of church age history description, some use the seven churches of Revelation 1-3 to claim they are representative of the various periods of the Church age.
In order to do this they ignore the doctrines that are contrary to salvation by grace and spiritualize the passages so that grace and works mix together. Then, the requirements and organization of those churches are twisted to be the same as those during the Church age, the age of Grace. They even go to the Greek to show that the angels over the churches are actually pastors since the Greek word for angel can mean “messenger” and a pastor is a messenger. In this unbridled zeal, they ignore the fact that a “pastor” is not an “aggelos” and a Church age pastor is never confused with an angel in any scripture.
FACT: A Mid-tribulation Rapture of the Church which is the Body of Christ can not be found if we believe and apply what the Bible says, where it says it, and to whom it is said.
First, the Mid-Trib doctrine is appealing to many simply because they don’t believe the KJB–in English–to begin with. Second, many know nothing of Paul’s unique revelation of the Body of Christ and salvation by grace, plus nothing and minus nothing.
There are some general and evidential truths that completely destroy the Mid-Trib Rapture position:
1. The Tribulation period has nothing to do with a testing, trial, or judgment upon the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ stands as an inseparable group, spanning centuries (as we now know, almost 20 centuries after the cross) with no one group or period, from the beginning of the Body until the last member is placed. Romans 8 makes it very clear that we are inseparable from each other or from Christ. The 7 year Tribulation is the final week of the 70 weeks of years as prophesied in Daniel 9 regarding Israel’s failure to honor the land sabbaths under the Law of Moses. The Body of Christ is dead to that Law. (Romans 7:4).
2. The only judgment the Body of Christ faces in the future is the Judgment Seat of Christ.
3. The Tribulation (70th week years of Daniel 9) is an inseparable period of 7 years dealing exclusively with the nation of Israel.
4. The doctrines pronounced during the Tribulation period are contrary to those given to the Body of Christ.
5. The persons during the Tribulation period are not present to the age of the Church which is the Body of Christ.
6. The Body of Christ is expressly exempt from any wrath of God, while the Tribulation period is described as a period when the wrath of God is poured out upon the world. (Romans 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8–normal trials and troubles common to all are separated from the Tribulation period by the specific phrase “hath delivered us from the wrath to come”)
7. The Tribulation period can have no effect upon the Body of Christ in any way since we are promised “things to come” can not separate us from “the love of God” which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8).Some have tried to make the first half of the Tribulation no Tribulation at all and claim that only second half 3 1/2 years is real Tribulation. But this is nonsense due to (1) the 70th week is not separated by a “time” mark (the prophecy in Daniel has God’s time marks of years for major events of : beginning to build, time built, when Messiah comes, when covenant is made, but no such time is marked for a significant work by God of the covenant break, that work is by the antichrist and (2) the week of years stands as a complete unit. The breaking of the covenant has nothing to do with a delay, change or extension of the final seven years. (3) The first 3 1/2 years are “Tribulation” for the saints because during that time the antichrist comes into being in strong power, forging alliances and setting up his worldwide dominion. There will be great pressure upon the saints to succumb to this wicked system throughout the entire seven years.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Tribulation period DOES result in people being eternally separated from God:
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:15-17).
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. (Revelation 9:18-21)
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14:9-10)
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”(Revelation 19:20)
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
It should not be difficult to see that this judgment is based upon what a person does: works. There is no mention of salvation by grace anywhere in the period.
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
The book was “sent and signified by His angel” to His servant, John. The “angel” is an appearance of Jesus Christ on the earth just as we read of the “angel of The Lord” in the Old Testament appearing and speaking to men. The book is “signified”, in other words, there are many symbols and signs throughout the book to mark certain things and events. God defines the symbols for us and when the definition of the symbol is not given, it is to be understood as literal. Symbols, types, figures, and illustrations do nothing but describe and illustrate literal truth in a manner that enables us to readily understand and remember. A figure of speech is never given to confuse the reader but to assist him to understand. We may have to read further to find the meaning but it is always there.
True, the Book of Revelation is not crystal clear as to order of some events or identification of certain characters. The reason for this is that the events are in the future and many of the doctrines are different from those we have in our Church age. But at the same time it is not a book with a hidden, mystical, uncertain message to some one but is very clear. “Blessed is he that readeth…and they that hear…and keep those things written” (1:3).
The Book of Revelation is NOT a record of Church history, it is a record of “things which must shortly come to pass” (1:1) “The time is at hand” (1:3). From the perspective of John and those he writes to, these things are near; they are not 2000 years in the future. Again, failure to believe the simple statements have bewildered students and given false teachers a heyday who use the Revelation for sensational claims.
“Where was John when he wrote the book?” “When was it written?” These are critical in understanding the timing of the events. First of all, as to the actual date of John writing the book, it is not as important as WHERE he was. No one really knows the date of writing. Some say 95 a.d. was the actual date he wrote the book. But that is all guesswork and part of the useless things you pay the salary of scholars to construct their test questions. Men spend their time learning and speculating over useless issues such as human authorship, dates of writing, etc., and ignore those that matter: the names and dates given in the books of the Bible itself. Those dates and names that are necessary God gives in the Book. When He does not give them, they are not essential.
God tells us exactly where John was, i.e., the time covered, by the book. It is a key to understanding. For one thing, get the time of writing correct and you will understand how things “that must shortly come to pass” have NOT come to pass in over two thousand years and may not for another hundred or so. It will also keep you from the habit of Greek mutilation, which is illustrated by men using the “Greek” to change words like “shortly” to make it mean “sometime” to make their interpretation fit.
Before we look at the time the Book of Revelation covers, lets get the rest of the introduction and TO WHOM the book is addressed.
4 JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you,and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
John writes to “seven churches which are in Asia” (1:4). The book is not written to two hundred thousand churches in the USA or in Europe, The book is not written to churches in all generations throughout time nor is it addressed to the church at Jerusalem in 95 a.d., or any other church in the first century. The book is addressed to seven churches which ARE in ASIA AT THE TIME he writes.
Notice the triplets in verses 1-6:
a. Persons: “Jesus Christ…servants…John” (v1)
b. Acts: “shew…sent…signified” (v1)
c. What: “records…testimony…all things” (v2)
d. Responsibility: “read…hear…keep” (v3)
A “Him which is, and which was, and which is to come, (Father)
“is” “was” “is to come” (v4)
B “and from the seven Spirits” (Holy Spirit)
“seven” (seven in One) (v4)
C “and from Jesus Christ” (Son)
“the faithful witness” “first begotten of the dead” “prince”
“loved us” “washed us” “made us” (vs5-6)
In the above verses, Three Persons are given equal attributes and essence: Father, Holy Spirit, Son. This is one of many other passages in the Bible where the Trinity is found. It is a Tri-Unity, Three in One. A Bible believer must believe in the Trinity: there is One God manifest in Three Persons. Not only that, he must accept the fact that although One of those Persons is One Spirit, He is also Seven Spirits in One Spirit. The verse does not say “seven ministries” it says “seven Spirits”! If that gives you a headache, take a prescription dosage of aspirin (800 mg) because more is on the way.
Those to whom the book is addressed are “kings and priests”. This has never been promised to the Church which is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-30; 1 Corinthians 12:12). Any verses quoted to prove the members of the Body of Christ will be mayors, governors, kings, or priests are twisted and ripped out of their contexts. What men fail to see who teach such things is that there are different churches in the Bible. One group has to do with Israel and two different churches have to do with the Body of Christ (those saved during this present age of Grace). There was a church in the wilderness under Moses (Acts 7); there was a church composed of the Lord’s disciples (Matthew 18:17); a church (Matthew 16:18) that will be built in the Kingdom; there are churches in various locations during this present age that we call “local churches” as well as the Church composed of all who are saved in the Church age which is called “the Body of Christ”. To mix the various organizations and doctrines of these is absolute confusion. Some of the worst errors in religion have been produced by ignoring the differences.
The Book of Revelation is addressed “to seven churches which are in Asia” during the period of which John writes–period. Taking someone else’s mail is a criminal offense in our postal system, to appropriate a book written to future churches in Asia and press it upon churches that are in America today is irresponsible and ignorant theology. We may learn lessons or be inspired from what others do with what God gives to them but a person who tries to build an ark today because God told Noah to build one, is nuts.
At the time of this writing there is a religious group in Kentucky trying to raise around 25 million dollars they claim it will take to reconstruct a replica of Noah’s ark. Their method of gathering gopher wood and the use of it is certainly different from Noah’s “fund raising”! Their use of this ark will also be weird: a visual to further their interpretations. All types of these “projects” are nothing more than fleshly sidetracks to get God’s people distracted from the main job of the Church today: getting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the over 200,000,000 who have never heard even His Name in our generation. Of course there are other “arks” that have been constructed around this world but the latest Kentucky version will correct all the other arks! Millions have already been raised for this “holy” work from gullible Christians.
Someone may say, “Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians, were not written to Americans either.” They quibble over the issue; the books were not only written to those churches but also for the instruction and benefit of all during the present Church Age by the apostle Paul, the apostle and teacher of the Gentiles–and he plainly says so in over fifty passages. A cursory reading of the books demonstrates this fact.
The person who writes, those who are addressed, and the period the book covers are all elements which must be carefully investigated before the doctrines in the Bible are laid upon people. Just because you find something in the Bible does not mean that it is to you and meant for you to do. Religious fakes make a lot of money on doing just that.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
This coming of The Lord Jesus Christ is seen by all men, “every eye shall see Him” (v7). Now, should any have a problem with God communicating His Second Coming to “every eye” I say you know the power of CNN but you don’t know the scriptures nor the power of God. God does not need and will not use CNN to do it, but don’t you think that if man can send “live” telecasts to be viewed all over the world in a few moments, that God can do much more in the twinkling of an eye?
This coming is not as in 1 Thessalonians 4 where only the Body of Christ sees Him. It is not Him coming to the earth in 1 Thessalonians 4 but it is the Church going to meet Him in the air. He comes “WITH clouds” of His saints (see Hebrews 11:1 for “cloud” definition) in verse 7; He comes FOR His Body in 1 Thessalonians 4. This appearance of the Lord will stop all the religious blabber and happy clappies; it all turns to “wailing” (v7). Compare spiritual things with spiritual and rightly divide the things that differ. An able Bible student does that and understands.
Who is this that comes? He is the eternal, just, righteous, holy, the One who began it all (Alpha) and the One who ends it all (Omega) the almighty God! Greek scholars who run their mouths about the “original Greek” –there’s the “ORIGINAL”, you never found Him, did you? In fact, He will find you! Two little letters in Greek, the first and last, are all you really need to keep in mind : their lesson is clear, God began everything and God will end everything and all of that in between had better line up with those two truths, or else.
John aligns himself with these brethren as their companion and so he was. He, along with Peter and James, are “ministers of the circumcision”.
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. (Galatians 2:7-9)
In his brief Acts ministry and two small letters addressed to “strangers” scattered (1 Peter 1:1), Peter confirms his apostleship to the circumcision when he never mentions the church which is “the Body of Christ”. James confirms his ministry to the circumcision when he ministers to “the twelve tribes scattered abroad” (James 1:1) and now John confirms his ministry to the circumcision when he aligns himself as a brother and companion to the seven circumcision churches in Asia (as we shall see) during the Tribulation, “the time of Jacob’s trouble” when Israel is scattered by a wild beast and are as sheep without a shepherd.
Like the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekial 3:12;8:3,ff) who was “in the Spirit” and caught into the future to write of things that have not happened yet, John was moved into the future “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” (1:10). The usual mis-treatment of “the Lord’s Day” is that it is the first day of the week and also called “Sunday”. Nothing could be further from the word of God.
Days of the week or month are never referred to as Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.,in the Bible. The pattern is always “first day” “second day” etc.,
“And very early in the morning the first day of the week…” (Mark 16:2)
“And upon the first day of the week…” (Acts 20:7)
“And the third day…” (John 4:1)
Also, the pagan week day names are not used by God: Sunday ( the Sun’s day), Monday (Moon’s day), Thursday (Thor’s day) Saturday (Saturn’s day) etc., If John refers to Sunday, it is a departure from scripture.
“The Lord’s Day” is the equivalent of the Old Testament “day of the LORD”. Technically, Hebrew could not say ” the Lord’s day ” since there are no possessive nouns in Hebrew grammar. In order to say “the Lord’s day” in Hebrew, two nouns are used: “yom Yahweh” (day Jehovah), the possessive being understood. Thus, “the day of the Lord”. The Greek does have the possessive and the KJB accurately translates into English “the day of the LORD”. So the “Lord’s day” in the NT is the same designation as the OT “day of the LORD”. When John says he was in the Spirit on “the Lord’s day” he refers to the same period as the OT prophets who prophesied that coming “great” and “terrible” day of the wrath of God?
(God does break the Hebrew grammar rule in the OT in a unique translation issue that further backs John’s usage. See our study on the Lord’s Day in our word studies at www.right-division.com).
John was moved to the “day of the LORD” or “Lord’s day” and all of the things in the Book of Revelation occur just as they are described in the Old Testament “day of the LORD”.
14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. (Zephaniah 1:14-15)
John writes from his position, where he has been moved to “the Lord’s Day”. All is in the future to us readers. There is no Church which is the Body of Christ in the book of Revelation because that Body had already been caught out at the Rapture and was with The Lord. All of the churches in Revelation are Tribulation churches.
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
Normal-literal interpretation (NLI) of the scripture (the Bible says what it says where it says it to whom it says it) is the only method that gives a sure meaning to Bible words. The result of NLI method is right division of the word of God. Words mean what they say; there is no spiritualization or allegorization of the words.
—continued next week
The old error of a tribulation rapture of the Church (the Body of Christ) has returned and some King James Bible folks are falling for it. Like other erroneous doctrines, spiritualization of the scriptures is the shaky backbone of the Mid-tribulation rapture theory.
Recently a popular TV evangelist said he knew for sure that the Church would go through the Tribulation period because the Church was in Revelation 1-2-3, and in Revelation 4, only John was raptured up to heaven. Therefore, the Church is not raptured before the Tribulation and will go through the Tribulation. Then, he went on to say that the “saints” were mentioned many places from Revelation 4 on ( He assumed that every time the word “saint” appears it refers to a church member!)
This just goes to show you how fouled up folks are on the Church and the Rapture, as well as the Book of the Revelation and the Bible in general. In an attempt to add authority to this brilliant interpretation, he reminded his hearers that he had consulted the Greek and Hebrew on his view as well as “many scholars”. He forgot or never noticed that the same churches in Revelation 1-2-3 were told again in Revelation 22 that the book was written to them. (Revelation 22:16). And, the idea that all Bible “saints” are church members is just too silly to comment on.
To bring us back to sanity, may we simply read the book and believe exactly what it says where it says it?
THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
First, the book is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” It is a detailed account of His revelation, the revealing return of Him, the things that immediately occur surrounding His Second Coming and those things which follow. It is not the “book of revelationS” as it is so often misquoted. Read it carefully and you will see it is not primarily “John’s revelation” that he gives, but that the Book of Revelation is that revelation which God the Father gave unto Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that Jesus sent it by His angel to His servant John, who was told to write. (That the book is “John’s Revelation” Is only in a secondary sense. He was the human instrument used in writing it. By inspiration, he wrote of the events, people, etc., that God the Son gave to him).
Immediately, a cry and color rises from those who can’t read. “How can this be?” You mean God gave to His Son the events that were to happen? Impossible, Jesus is God and He knows everything!” Before you fly off the handle, read this:
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
When He was manifest in the flesh, the Son of God, the Second Member of the Godhead, not only limited Himself to a physical body, He willingly limited Himself of the knowledge of certain prophetic events and the timing of them. There is a large amount of study related to the incarnation which we do not have time to cover here but suffice it to say, that in order for Him to make a legitimate offer of the Kingdom to Israel, and to be a “minister of the circumcision” (Romans 15:8) and be able to truly and infallibly preach to Israel, it was a necessary limitation. The context of that statement in Mark concerned the very things of the Book of Revelation.
On another occasion, when the disciples wanted to be seated with Him in His Kingdom, He plainly told them, “And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” (Matthew 20:23). In no way does this remove or reduce His divinity anymore than being susceptible to thirst, hunger, and even death removed His divinity. Jesus was 100% man without sin and also 100% God, “manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:15): One Person but with two natures. His divinity guaranteed His Person was sinless. His life in the flesh was above, beyond, and without sin.
—continued next week