Saturday, April 16, 2011


I am not sure that Christianity, as it exists today, is represented by all seven of the churches described in the Apostle John's Apocalypse, but I am absolutely certain that the Churches of Philadelphia and Laodicea are (Rev. 2-3). The Church of Philadelphia is described as being faithful, and promised by the Lord to be kept "from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10). Some might say that Jesus meant they would all be dead and buried prior to the Tribulation, but there is ample evidence from the Bible for another interpretation. I believe He was speaking of the Rapture of the born-again believers prior to the Tribulation or Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:24-27).

First, there is a precedent for God removing His people before dealing with rebellious people. He removed Noah and his family by lifting them up in the Ark before He brought the flood below. He had His angels remove Lot and his family, taking them up on a mountainside prior to destroying Sodom and Gomorrah below (Gen. 19). Also, there is the fact that God took up two who found favor in His sight when their "mission" was finished: Enoch (Gen. 5:24), and Elijah (2 Kgs. 2:11).

Jesus told His disciples that He would return for those who placed their faith and trust in Him. In John 14:1-6, He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." Notice Jesus said that He would receive them unto Himself. And it is clear that the "mansions" and the Father are in heaven.

The Apostle Paul wrote of believers, both the living and the dead, being "caught up together" "to meet the Lord in the air." He wrote, "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. Then we [who] are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

The Apostle John wrote, "After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter" (Rev. 4:1). This appears to be symbolic of the Church being removed prior to the Tribulation found in Revelation Ch. 6-18.

To be continued, Lord willing.

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