The Rapture and the Book of Revelation -- By: Keith H. Essex

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 13:2 (Fall 2002)
Article: The Rapture and the Book of Revelation
Author: Keith H. Essex


The Rapture and the Book of Revelation

Keith H. Essex

Assistant Professor of Bible Exposition

The relevance of the book of Revelation to the issue of the timing of the rapture is unquestioned. Assumptions common to many who participate in discussing the issue include the authorship of the book by John the apostle, the date of its writing in the last decade of the first century A.D., and the book’s prophetic nature in continuation of OT prophecies related to national Israel. Ten proposed references to the rapture in Revelation include Rev 3:10–11; 4:1–2; 4:4 and 5:9–10; 6:2; 7:9–17; 11:3–12; 11:15–19; 12:5; 14:14–16; and 20:4. An evaluation of these ten leads to Rev 3:10–11 as the only passage in Revelation to speak of the rapture. Rightly understood, that passage implicitly supports a pretribulational rapture of the church. That understanding of the passage fits well into the context of the message to the church at Philadelphia.

“As the major book of prophecy in the NT, Revelation has great pertinence to discussion of the rapture.”1 Participants in the discussion concerning the timing of the rapture would concur with this statement. Proponents of a pretribulational, midtribulational, pre-wrath, and posttribulational rapture all seek support for their positions in the book of Revelation.2 Many suggestions as to where Revelation

explicitly or implicitly refers to the rapture of the church have been forthcoming. The present article purposes to survey the proposals about where Revelation refers to the event and to ascertain which proposal best accords with the data discovered in the book.

Michael Svigel states, “One must ask where the Rapture is found in the Revelation before one asks the question of when the Rapture is said to take place, if, indeed, the timing of the event is even asserted by the context.”3 This article will first state the assumptions concerning the book ...

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