Have you ever seen those guys that can bend over so far they can almost stick their head up their behind? That’s what we have to do to believe in a pre-trib rapture.
Pre-tribbers take scriptures that are obviously describing the rapture and claim it is not about the rapture. Then they take scriptures that make no mention of the rapture and claim it is all about the rapture. They are spreading confusion and need to stop.
One of their favorite explanations is the idea that the church is raptured in Revelation 4:1 and then never seen again until Revelation 19, which they claim proves we are all out of here before the tribulation starts. It sounds great, if only it was true. This post shows why it is false.
Pre-tribbers also make many other false claims, but this is just a blog post, not a book. So the scope of this post is limited to exposing the false teaching about Revelation 4:1 and their claim that believers are nowhere to be found after verse 4:1 until Revelation 19.
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)
This verse describes how John was shown a vision of the throne of God in heaven. Notice there is no mention of the church being caught up to heaven. There is not even any mention that John was caught up to heaven. He explains in verse 2 he saw these things “in the Spirit”. There is no mention his physical body was caught up into the sky, which is what happens in the rapture. There is a big difference between seeing things in the Spirit and being physically caught up in the air and given a new body, immortal and imperishable, which is what happens in the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).
Notice the reason why he was caught up to heaven, so he could be shown “what must take place after these things.” The purpose for his heavenly vision is clearly stated. It was all about giving John revelation of things to happen in the future. His vision continues in the verses that follow, giving us an unmistakably clear explanation of why he was shown this vision. On the other hand, the purpose for the rapture has nothing to do with being shown the future. The rapture is a rescue operation to deliver God’s people from the wrath of God, which is poured out during the great tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
So despite the facts that Revelation 4:1 makes no mention of the church being raptured and clearly explains the purpose for John’s vision is to reveal the future, which is not the purpose for the rapture, the pre-tribbers claim this is one of their foundational pillars proving the pre-trib rapture. I suppose we have to keep bending over further to see it.
Here is an actual comment posted on this blog recently by a pre-tribber attempting to explain Revelation 4:1:
The first voice John heard was that of Christ coming to gather his people. John then after that, shifts the topic to the tribulation and we do not see the Church on earth again until Revelations 19 when Christ returns to take His reign.
John said the first voice he heard was “speaking with me,” which means the voice was speaking with John, not to the angels who are the ones who gather the saints in the rapture, and not to the whole church, who would be taken in the rapture, but just to John. Since there is no mention of the church this verse cannot be about the rapture of the church. This was a revelation given to John about the future. That’s it. Claiming this is Christ coming to gather his people is, well, you know.
But wait, it gets worse, much worse. Having established this verse as their foundational proof, they then try to build on it by claiming there are no more mentions of any believers on earth anywhere in the book of Revelation after verse 4:1 until near the end of the book in chapter 19. Unfortunately, this claim is also false. I suppose as long as their foundation is pure crap why not pile more crap on top of it?
Believers are clearly mentioned in Revelation chapters 6, 7, and 14. In Revelation 6 we find multitudes of believers who have been murdered for their faith.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.” (Revelation 6:9-11)
The breaking of the fifth seal releases great persecution of believers during the 42-month tribulation period. We know this happens during the tribulation because Jesus outlined the same events that John described in Revelation 6 and even listed them in the same order. By the time we get to the fifth seal we are in the tribulation.
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. (Matthew 24:9)
When the fifth seal we see the souls of those who were slaughtered for the word of God and for their testimony. We are not told when they were killed, but we are told many more “were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.”
Question: If there are no believers on earth after Revelation 4:1 how is it possible for many believers to be killed for their faith just as these others had been killed?
Answer: It is not possible. Believers must be here on earth during the tribulation because otherwise it would be impossible for them to be killed for their faith. We are even told the method for killing many of them is beheading (Revelation 20:4). It is in the scriptures, so it is going to happen and it can only happen if the church is still here on earth.
Other scriptures support this slaughter of believers during the 42-month reign of the antichrist. Daniel tells us the antichrist will destroy the holy people (Daniel 8:24, Revelation 13:7). He will wear down the saints of the Highest One, waging war against them and overpowering them for three and a half years, until the Lord returns to defeat him, as shown in this passage:
I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21-22)
He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)
Question: If believers are not on earth during the 42-month reign of the antichrist how can he wage war against them, overpower them, and wear them down?
Answer: He can’t do it if they are already in heaven. Believers must be here during the 42-month reign of the antichrist for these prophecies to be fulfilled.
So believers are still on the earth in Revelation 6, which all by itself debunks the claims made by pre-tribbers. But there is much more evidence because believers are also found in Revelation 7. Verses 1-8 tell us about the 144,000 bond-servants of the Lord who are given a seal on their forehead to protect them from the wrath of God, which is about to be poured out.
Question: Why would they need the seal on their forehead to protect them from the wrath of God if they are not on earth during the outpouring of the wrath of God?
Answer: They are on earth during the outpouring of the wrath of God.
When the fifth trumpet is sounded, locusts are commanded to harm everyone who does not have the seal of God on their forehead.
Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. (Revelation 9:3-5)
The 144,000 present a real problem for the pre-tribbers, which is why many of them claim these people are not even Christians, but Jews. It is true their heritage is Jewish, but it is also true they are believers in Jesus as their Messiah, and not only believers, but bond-servants who are given great honor not given to any other believers.
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty- four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:1-5)
Next we find a great multitude which was so great in number that no one could count them. They came from every nation and tribe and people and tongue. We see them standing before the throne of God in heaven in Revelation 7:9-17. That makes the pre-tribbers very happy because the multitude is already in heaven. However, there is a very big problem here because the elder explains to John where these people came from and the things they endured.
And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:14-17)
Question: How could this great multitude come out of the great tribulation if they were already raptured back in Revelation 4:1?
Answer: They were not raptured in Revelation 4:1. They are still on the earth during the 42-month tribulation and during the first part of the great tribulation. It is impossible to come out of something without first being in it. See my previous post: Twelve Differences Between the Tribulation and Great Tribulation.
The elder’s statement to John also reveals these people endured hunger, thirst, exposure to heat (which would be the case for homeless refugees), and shedding of tears. If they were raptured before the tribulation they would not have endured these things, but since they did endure these things we know they were still here on earth during the tribulation. They were raptured out of the great tribulation, just prior to the outpouring of the wrath of God, just in time to fulfill God’s promise to deliver his people from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
So they could not have been raptured way back in Revelation 4:1 because that would contradict what the elder told John. They are raptured after the tribulation, just like Jesus said:
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
Amazingly, his statement that it happens AFTER the tribulation fits perfectly with what Daniel saw with the antichrist waging war against the saints for three and a half years. It also fits perfectly with what John saw with the saints killed for their faith after the fifth seal is broken then raptured after the seventh seal is broken.
Now we can move on to the next mention of believers on earth after the start of the tribulation, which is found in Revelation 14.
Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” (Revelation 14:12-13)
We know these people are believers because we are told the following five facts about them.
- The keep the commandments
- They keep their faith
- They are blessed
- They will die in the Lord from after that point
- They will rest from their labors
So the good news is these people are going to heaven when they die. The bad news is they will suffer greatly and many of them will ultimately be killed because they missed the rapture altogether. We know they will not be raptured at the end either because we are told they are going to die in the Lord. People taken in the rapture do not die, but are transformed from mortality to immortality in an instant. So this provides yet another mention of believers on earth during the tribulation and great tribulation and proves there will not be a second rapture at the end of the great tribulation.
The pre-tribbers teach there is one rapture before the tribulation and another one at the end, which means the Lord would have to return two more times, not once. There would have to be a second and a third coming, not just a second coming. There are no scriptures to support any of that, but there are lots of scriptures proving it is false. The only way to see the second rapture and third coming is to bend way over and, you know what.
This is not written to start a debate or to make entertainment, but to expose a dangerous lie that I believe could cause many to spend eternity in hell.
I hate seeing nice people go out of their way to get cleaned up and dressed up just so they can go get messed up listening to some pre-trib teacher. I personally have friends who are hoping for the rapture to deliver them from the trouble, which is now coming upon the world, because they have been taught the lie of the pre-trib rapture. The reality is trouble is coming and they will still be here because according to the Bible there are many things that must happen before the rapture, including major events that take many years to unfold. See my previous post, Ten Things that Must Happen Before the Rapture.
When trouble comes and these misguided saints find themselves still here their faith will come under attack as they realize they have believed a lie. Then they will be forced to sort out whether or not they can still believe anything from the Bible. Even in the best of times that would be very hard, but during a time of crisis it could be more than their faith can handle.
A great falling away from the faith is coming, and I believe this false doctrine will be to blame for many souls spending eternity in hell (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 1 Timothy 4:1-3), but we don’t have to be part of it. We still have a window of opportunity, a little time left, to study the scriptures and to diligently seek the Lord so when trouble comes we will be well prepared.
Our faith is our most valuable possession because it is our ticket to eternal life, so we should give it the attention it deserves by studying these things for ourselves rather than just relying on someone else to explain it.
In conclusion, the rapture is not nearly as complicated as pre-tribbers make it out to be. The Lord gave it to us simple, not complicated, because he wants us to know these things. Scriptures that describe the rapture really are talking about the rapture! Scriptures that don’t even mention the rapture are not talking about the rapture! Scriptures we don’t understand only require a little extra digging because other scriptures explain them. It’s not complicated!
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Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.