Revelation 4:1 has been used by those who believe in a catching up to heaven seven years before Jesus comes to earth. Let's look at it.
"After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."
Question: Isn't John's "rapture" here meant to indicate that the church is lifted out of the world before any talk of tribulation in the book? Is it not true that the church is not mentioned again after this?
Oh the strange work that popular 'theologians' have done with this verse. In this simple passage, John is addressed by Jesus, and told to come up to heaven for further revelations. Incredible to me is the notion that here, Jesus is actually calling His entire Church to Heaven! The statement is made by believers in this interpretation, pre-tribulation rapturists all, that , from this point on, the Church is 'absent' in the book of Revelation! And when it is pointed out in several places that believers are indeed on earth, the response is made that these believers are really not the 'Church' , but 'tribulation' saints, whatever that means. A conclusion is made, and facts to the contrary are explained away. This is not good exegesis, to say the least!
For those who desire to look at it, the evidence for the Church being in the book of Revelation after chapter 4 is strong:
1. Definition. First, we assume that by 'Church' we mean the 'saints', or as in Daniel, 'holy ones', a term used over 40 times by New testament writers to refer to the Body of Christ, the people of God. We also assume we are talking about a people who have been promised by Jesus, Paul, and Peter a life of persecution often ending in martyrdom .
2. Passages in Revelation that don't say 'Church' but are Church: 5:8, The worshipers in Heaven pour out before God prayers from the saints. 6:10-11, martyrs are here received to God and told that their fellow- martyrs will soon join them. They have been slain for the Word of God and their testimony. 7: 13 ff, the same believers referred to in chapter 6 are now standing before the Throne, having come out of the Great Tribulation by means of martyrdom. 8:4, The prayers of the saints are now seen as incense. 12:11, The same saints as in 6 and 7 are seen in a flashback in the context of the Beast who persecuted them. 12:17, Those who keep the commandments of God, as brother John loved to talk about in his writings (John 12:49-50, 13:34, 14:15,21,31, 15:1-12, I John 2:3-8, 3:22-24, 4:21, 5:3-6, II John 4-6) and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, are distinguished here from the persecuted Israelites who are in the process of being hidden and sealed, and therefore unreachable by antichrist. He now vents his fury on the only 'saints' left, the Church. 13:7, As in Daniel 7, the man of sin is seen here being given the authority to conquer the saints. He overcomes their body, and they overcome him by going straight to Jesus. 14:6, The everlasting Gospel is being preached all over the world. I wonder who does this job? A company of angels? The 144,000? Why not the same group that has always preached it? 14:13, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. To die in the Lord is to be a member of Christ. Members of Christ are the Church. 15:1-4, Singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, those who died in the Lord, those who seemingly were conquered by antichrist, now are around the Throne. 16:15, In the worst of the worst hours comes a message from Heaven: I am coming. Keep your garments clean! Who is He talking to, if not the Church? 18:4, Also in the midst of devastation, God's people are called out, but not up, FIRST. Who are they? The Church!"
Schwertley adds these powerful words: "The argument from silence consistently applied would not prove the rapture of the saints but the annihilation of the saints, for not only is the word church (ekklesia) not used of the saints on earth in chapters 4 through 18, it also is never used of the saints in heaven. Does this mean that all the saints have vacated heaven...? The word church does not even occur in the book of Revelation until Revelation 22:16. Does this mean the church is not involved in the second coming, the resurrection or white throne judgment?...An argument that proves too much is worthless."
Further, he states that this argument [from silence] could also be used to prove many dangerous and heretical doctrines. "In the book of Esther the words for God and Jehovah do not occur even once. Does this fact mean that God does not exist...?"
As with most pre-trib assertions, a little logic, a lot of Scripture, and the notions dissolve in the heat of God's light. Yes, the church is all over the book of Revelation because they never left in 4:1! John made a solo trip at the express invitation of Jesus. And that's all that happened.
http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together!
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.