The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church: A Reevaluation -- By: Michael J. Svigel

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 22:1 (Spring 2001)
Article: The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church: A Reevaluation
Author: Michael J. Svigel


The Apocalypse Of John And
The Rapture Of The Church:
A Reevaluation

Michael J. Svigel*

*Michael J. Svigel (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) begins doctoral study this Fall. He is currently employed as a legal assistant in Dallas.

I. Introduction1

A. Presuppositions

Before beginning a study of the Apocalypse of John and the Rapture of the church, a few presuppositions must be acknowledged. First, this article assumes the conservative evangelical view of the complete inerrancy of Scripture. That is, the words of the original manuscripts of both the Old and New Testaments are regarded as inspired by God and are therefore without error in all they assert. Second, this article assumes a historical-grammatical-literary hermeneutic. Such a hermeneutic acknowledges intended figures, symbols, and rhetorical devices in Scripture, but does not seek out a deeper meaning in a text that was not intended by the divine/human authors and is not obtainable through a normal exegetical method. Finally, this article approaches the interpretation of the Apocalypse of John from a premillennial and futurist perspective. However, this article does not necessarily presuppose dispensationalist distinctives.2

B. Problem And Purpose

For all of the attention given to the Rapture of the Church3 by students and teachers of eschatology, one wonders why the doctrine of the catching up of the saints described by Paul in 1 Thess 4:17 is not more clearly mentioned in John’s Apocalypse!4 This is especially problematic when Jesus says that he gave the revelation to his servants to show them “what must happen very soon” (Rev 1:1).5

Various commentators and Bible teachers have presented a number of options for the description of the Rapture in the book of Revelation.6 However, none of these have been universally satisfying, nor do any of them seem to do justice to the profundity of the doctrine of the Rapture and its Pauline association with the resurrection and ultimate expression of our salvation.7

This article will consist of two sections. First, it will examine some of the problems that have been associated with placing the Rapture of ...

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