A COMPARISON OF 1 THES. 4:16-17 AND REV. 4:1.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture at Rev. 4:1
With the absence of any reference to the Church after Rev. 4 and the similarities of verse one to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, it makes Rev.4:1 the best possible scripture reverence to the timing of the Rapture in the book of Revelation and a good clue to where the Church is during the tribulation.
Let me start by pointing this out. Notice the phrase that references the Church that is found in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation but not once after Rev. 4:1. (He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.) Look at what you have after Rev. 4:1. Rev. 13:9 (He who has an ear, let him hear). No reference to the Church. Notice how Jesus used the phrase before the establishment of the Church, before the day of Pentecost. See Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, Mark 4:9, 4:23, Luke 8: 8, 14:35.
MT 11: 15 He who has ears, let him hear,
MT 13: 9 He who has ears, let him hear.
There was not yet a Church when Jesus made these statements. This is good evidence that the Church is not present during the Tribulation or John would have used the same phrase ‘to the churches’ in chapter 13. If the Church is not here during the Tribulation, then it would make since not to say (He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.)
Something else to notice in the book of Revelation is he distinguishes between a Jew and a Gentile, Israel and the nations. You see believing Jews and unbelieving Jews, believing Gentiles and unbelieving Gentiles.
But of the time we are in now, the Church age Paul said:
GAL 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
With the book of Revelation distinguishing between Jew and Gentile and from the fact the Church is not mentioned at all as being here during the time of God’s judgments, it is a good indication that the Church is not present during the Tribulation. There isn’t a reference to the Church after chapter 4 until chapter 19 as the bride coming with Jesus from heaven.
Because of all this it is believed that Rev. 4:1 is a reference as to where the Rapture fits in with the timing of the events in the book of Revelation. We see that it is before the opening of the Seals, the judgments of God, thus it is evidence for a pre-trib rapture of the Church.
Rev. 4: 1After this I looked, and there before me was a door (standing open in heaven). And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "(Come up here), and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
With “come up here” this verse is considered to be the place in the book of Revelation that the Rapture takes place for from here on there’s no mention of the Church. This being where the Rapture takes place is also supported by the statement “and I will show you what must take place after this”. After what? After John was taken up to heaven but also after what he had just described, after the judgment of the Church we see in chapters 2 and 3. Jesus will show John what must take place after the Church age.
I’ve been using the NIV Bible but look also at the New King James.
Rev. 4: 1 (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.”
With the similarities of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Rev.4:1 it makes Rev. 4:1 the best possible scripture reverence to the timing of the Rapture in the book of Revelation.
Caught up –Come up here:
1 Thes. 4: 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be (caught up) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
The command to John in Rev. 4:1 to ‘come up here’ would seem to be the same as in 1 Thes. 4:17, a catching up although John himself was caught up and returned. It’s not the Greek word Harpazo but Anabainō which means to arise, to ascend up. Verse 2 makes it clear that John was taken up to heaven. Therefore, verse one of Revelation chapter 4 appears to be where the Rapture takes place in the book of Revelation. Let’s keep comparing.
Voice - Trumpet Call:
1 Thes. 4: 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,. with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God.
At the Rapture we see Jesus is coming from heaven with a Trumpet Call, with the Voice of the archangel.
Look at what John says in Rev. chapter 1. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Now look at Rev. 4 1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the (voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet) said, “Come up here”
Door open in heaven:
1 Thes. 4: 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven.
Rev. 4:1 After this I looked, and there before me was a (door standing open in heaven). And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
We see in both Rev. 4:1 and 1 Thes. 4:16 a voice like a trumpet. We see with Rev. 4:1 John being told to come up to the throne of God, up to heaven. In 1 Thes. 4: 16 we see the Church being caught up to go back to heaven with Jesus. We see in John 14: 1-3 Jesus said he would come back and take those that are in him back to heaven, back to the Fathers house. Add to it that in Revelation we see no mention of the Church until chapter 19 when the Church, the bride is seen returning from heaven with Jesus, putting all these together shows Rev. 4:1 is addressing the Rapture.
There’s no other place in the scriptures of Revelation that will match with all of what we are told in 1 Thes. 4 concerning the Rapture.
Now compare this with what the Church at Philadelphia are promised, which represents the true followers of Christ of the last days before the Rapture.
Rev. 3: 7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you (an open door) that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also (keep you from the hour of trial) that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
Again we see the mention of a door in heaven. This door is mentioned being open for a reason. Here Jesus said that he would keep the Church from the time of the hour of trial, remove the Church from it altogether. The Strong’s Greek Lexicon translation G1537 is (out of, from, by, away from). It is not keep ‘through’ as the post-trib view says.
Compare to the 10 virgins, bride maids in Mt. 25.
MT 25:1 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: `Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9" `No,' they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And (the door was shut). 11"Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!' they said. `Open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
In verse 5 with him saying that the bridegroom was a long time in coming makes this sound like what would take place with a pre-trib Rapture. If the Rapture occurs any time after the signing of the covenant treaty between the anti-Christ and Israel the most it would be is 3 ½ years or 7 years until his coming. After the covenant peace treaty agreement everyone that comes to believe on/in Jesus will know that his 2nd coming is not far away.
With Rev. 4:1 we see a door open in heaven. After the Rapture the door will be shut. Notice Mt. 25 verse 11, the unwise asked for the door to be open. After the bride has been caught up to the Fathers house, the door has been shut just like the door on Noah’s ark. Remember the Jewish wedding custom. Once the groom has received his bride they go into the bridal chamber. The door is shut and they stay together in the bridal chamber for 7 days. This is a picture of a pre-trib Rapture of the bride of Christ. The Church, the bride of Christ will be in our wedding chamber during the 7 years of the Tribulation. See the Bible Lesson, The Jewish Wedding and the Rapture.
All the evidence from the scriptures point to a pre-trib Rapture. Check out the other lessons on the Bible Lessons page.
Luke 21: 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, (all the tribulation) and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man
Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.