The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Certain Scriptures Part IV: The Time of the Rapture in the Revelation -- By: William K. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 115:459 (Jul 1958)
Article: The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Certain Scriptures Part IV: The Time of the Rapture in the Revelation
Author: William K. Harrison


The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Certain Scriptures
Part IV:
The Time of the Rapture in the Revelation

William K. Harrison

The Time of the Rapture in the Revelation

Relevance of the study. Even before studying the book of Revelation, it would appear reasonable to assume that it would give us at least a basis for a sound inference as to the time of the rapture of the church. The book is a prophecy and clearly points to the Second Coming of Christ. The title is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” After a short opening statement showing that its message is from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it points to the reader to the future Advent of Christ (1:7). The rest of the first nineteen chapters carry the reader finally to the description of that Advent (19:11–21). Although the message was addressed to seven specific churches in the Roman province of Asia it is obviously intended for all churches and for all true Christians (1:3; 22:6–7, 9–19 ).

A salient characteristic of the book is that its prophetic message is shown by signs (1:1) of which a great number are used. It would be a mistake however to assume that all of its statements are signs or symbols. The book contains many declarative affirmations in plain language and these together with the use of those same symbols in the Old Testament allow us to seek and grasp some real meaning in the book. An example of this combination of the symbol and the literal is seen in 1:20. Here the symbols are the seven stars and the seven candlesticks. Their meaning is stated by the angels of the seven churches and the seven churches respectively. Therefore, in seeking information about the rapture in the Revelation we must recognize that if mentioned it could be in the form of a declarative statement, a symbol, or a combination of both.

Have we a right to expect a mention of the rapture in the book of Revelation? We know from

1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Philippians 3:20–21 that the hope and expectation of the New Testament church is its union with the Lord. For still living (in the body) believers this union results from the rapture at the Lord’s still future coming. It is difficult to minimize this doctrine of the rapture as far as today’s believers are conce...

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