Commentary By: Gordon King
There has been much heated debate among believers about when the rapture of the church will take place. I am not here to argue about it, but to tell you why I truly believe that the rapture of the church will take place before the beginning of the Tribulation period as taken from scripture.
First of all we must see how God has dealt with believers in the past, God does not change nor does His ways.
God took the righteous out of Sodom before He destroyed it, He took Noah and his family off of the face of the earth before He destroyed it, and I believe that He will remove all believers in Jesus Christ off of the face of the earth before His wrath. The Tribulation period is the wrath of God, not only the last half, the whole thing!
The first three chapters of the book of Revelation speak about Jesus Christ, about what He was revealing to the apostle John, and to the seven churches, after that we do not read about the church again until chapter 19.
“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.”
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.“
John heard a voice like a trumpet speaking to him, scripture tells us that God’s voice is like a trumpet.
“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:“
I believe that it was Jesus Christ speaking to John, and I also believe that it was a picture of the rapture of the church before the Tribulation period is about to begin. Jesus said to John come up here and immediately he was in the Spirit. The rapture of the church will take place exactly this way, with the trump of God, and immediately we will be transformed and on our way to heaven!
Jesus also told John in verse 1 of chapter four:
“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
What did He mean by “after this”? I believe that Jesus was referring to the church age, that is what He spoke about in the preceding chapters.
In chapter 5 of the book of Revelation it speaks about Jesus being the only one worthy to open the scroll with seven seals, it also speaks of four living creatures and twenty-four elders being present and singing a new song:
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
I believe that these verses are speaking about believers being fully redeemed and in heaven. Jesus has made us kings and priests to God, this is also referred in chapter 1.
“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
I don’t really understand why so many believers think that only the last half of the Tribulation period is God’s wrath upon the world? Right after John was taken up in the Spirit Jesus opens the seals of the scroll and terrible things happen upon the earth!
In fact, the first seal tells of a rider on a white horse, this does not represent Christ, but the Antichrist!
“And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.“
This rider was given a crown, he was made king or ruler, he went out to conquer just as the Antichrist will. This is the beginning of the Tribulation period, the opening of the first seal! This cannot happen until He who now restrains is taken out of the way.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-7
“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”
I believe with all of my heart that He who now restrains is the Holy Spirit filled church! What on earth is keeping evil and wickedness from completely destroying the world? What is keeping evil in check at this very time? It certainly isn’t the world or those of the world! It’s not one angel, for one angel could not fight off all of the demonic spirits upon the world. No, it could only be the Holy Spirit of God, and if the Holy Spirit is removed then the church must be also! Think about it, if the Antichrist were to appear then the church would announce to the world that He is the Antichrist! They would do what is in their power to restrain him. It is only until the church is removed from the world that the Antichrist will have unrestrained ability to perform his evil agenda!
The opening of the second seal reveals a rider on a fiery red horse.
“When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.”
This horseman will take peace from the earth, he will kill and murder people with a great sword. It represents war, killing, and murder on a grand scale!
The opening of the third seal reveals a rider on a black horse.
‘When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”’
This rider cause scarcity of food upon the earth, a great increase in food prices. Simple grains will cost as much as a day’s labor! There will be starvation on a grand scale over the earth.
The opening of the fourth seal reveals a rider on a pale horse.
“When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.”
This horse represents Death and Hades, and the rider is given power to kill over a fourth of the earth! This doesn’t sound very pleasant to me!
The opening of the fifth seal reveals the souls of those martyred for Christ crying out to God.
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”
The opening of the sixth seal reveals cosmic disturbances.
‘I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves 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 who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” ‘
This seal represents great natural disasters upon the earth, it also speaks of the stars of heaven falling to earth which I believe means comets and asteroids. The mountains are moved out of their place, so there must be very great earthquakes and asteroids destroying the earth if mountains are moved out of their place! Men hid themselves in caves and rocks to hide from God because the great day of His wrath has come! So for anyone to believe that the wrath of God is only during the last half of the Tribulation period think again!
The seventh seal reveals silence in heaven and the prayers of the saints, a prelude to the seven trumpet judgments.
“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
This is only the beginning of the Tribulation period, the beginning of God’s wrath upon the world, it gets much worse. This doesn’t sound like a good time to be around, and as far as I am concerned this will be a very horrific time on earth!
Revelation 7:9-17 speaks about a great multitude in heaven standing before the Lamb.
‘After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” ‘
Many believers will take these verses to mean the rapture of the church, but I beg to differ! I believe that these are saints taken out of the great tribulation, those who died in their faith. Remember that there will be widespread killing and murder taking place on earth at that time, especially for those professing Christ as their Savior. Take note that verse nine says “after these things”, after what things is John speaking about? Well we merely have to look back at the previous verses to find out. Verses one through eight tell us about the one hundred and forty-four thousand Jews from all the tribes of Israel who were sealed. They were sealed by God for God, they are to be witnesses for the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are Messianic Jews! They are to go out and evangelize the nations, therefore we have many people who have come to Christ during the first half of the Tribulation period, many who have been martyred for their faith.
After this John speaks about the seven trumpet judgments, then several chapters which are not necessarily in chronological order but are descriptions of things and things to come, the Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, the bowl judgments.
The New Testament also tells us that we as believers are not destined for God’s wrath but for salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
The apostle Paul tells us that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night and when they say “Peace and safety” sudden destruction comes upon them and they shall not escape.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.“
Just who is the apostle Paul speaking about when he says “they”? He is speaking of unbelievers, the unbelievers shall not escape God’s wrath, but we as believers will!
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
After telling us these things he then tells us to comfort each other, how could it possibly be a comfort if we know that we will be in the Tribulation period?! It wouldn’t be and we wouldn’t be able to comfort one another!
In the preceding verses of scripture the apostle Paul once again tells us to comfort each other, and he is speaking about the rapture of the church! He tells us about the rapture just before telling us about Jesus coming as a thief in the night and the sudden destruction coming upon unbelievers.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Once again Paul is telling us to comfort one another with these words. The rapture of the church is our escape from the things to come, from God’s wrath upon the world! Keeping us from the wrath of God is not placing us in a bubble, it’s not hiding us underground, it’s the rapture of the church!
1 Thessalonians 1:10
“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
″Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
I have also have had believers tell me that we will be raptured during the trumpet judgments because 1 Thessalonians speaks of a trumpet. Well my friends, God’s voice is also mentioned as a trumpet, we must not confuse the two! This is not any ordinary trumpet, but the actual voice of God Almighty, it is the trumpet of God! Exodus 19 also speaks of the trumpet of God.
This has been a rather long post, these are some of the reasons I believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture of the church. Think about it, study scripture, meditate upon it.
God bless my friends! Maranatha!