The Church Age And The Rapture
A Study Of Revelation 4 & 5
By Don Mills
To start with, I would say that this study is not done to be
dogmatic about all these concepts. Instead I would rather present this as
further evidence for a Pre Trib Rapture of the Church. To show that there is
plenty of Scriptural support for the Rapture of the Church coming before the
Seven year Tribulation. The Book of Revelation in chapters 4 & 5 have some
very enlightening verses in them as it concerns, the Rapture of the Church, the
Heavenly scene, and the Judgment that follows. Most Bible commentaries would
agree that chapter 3 closes out the Church age, as it is seen in history. Then
to start chapter 4, it says, “AFTER THIS (or after the Church age) I looked,
and, behold, a DOOR 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”. So after the Church age, it is (John
the Beloved) who sees what will happen after the Church is caught up!
In Rev 4:1 John the Beloved, sees a DOOR opened in Heaven. In
the Gospel of John 10:1 Jesus talks about the DOOR into the Sheepfold...then in
verse 9, Jesus says, He is the DOOR, and in verse 11, Jesus says he is the Good
Shepherd. It is interesting that it is the same Greek word for, DOOR, (yura
thura) that is used in Rev 4:1 as John used for the Door into the sheepfold in
John 10:1. John is caught up through the DOOR into the Sheepfold, and John sees
everything as a Type of the Church in Chapter 4. In John 10:3 Jesus says,...
“and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth
them out”....for the sheep know his voice. John is caught up through the
Sheepfold Door as he hears a voice of a Trumpet. This is a beautiful picture of
the Rapture of the Church as it is shown in, 1 Cor 15:51-52, 1 Thess 4:16-18 and
Heb 12:18-23, Rev 1:10-11.
The word, Church or Churches, mysteriously disappears from
the Revelation after 3:22 and is not mentioned again until Rev 22:16 and then,
it only references back to what the Angel was going to tell John in the first 3
chapters concerning “these things in the Churches”. Too many people are trying
to put the Church into all of Revelations when the fact is the Church is NOT
mentioned or seen on earth during the Seven Seals of Judgment.
John The Beloved
The Holy Spirit used the Apostle John to write the Gospel of
John, but he would later use John again to write the Book of Revelation. When
the Apostle John writes his Gospel he makes a very curious statement. To many
people this statement is overlooked and doesn't mean anything, but we know that
every jot and tittle means something in God's Word! It's found in the repeated
phrase, “The disciple whom Jesus Loved” repeated, to show it's importance, and
it's found at least 3 times in the Gospel of John. Why would he use that term
and why would the Holy Spirit include that in the text? Unless, John would later
write the Book of Revelation and he would Typify the Church, being caught up
through the Sheepfold Door and Raptured to Heaven in the Spirit! In the heart of
God, John is the Beloved! John is also known as, John the Divine, which seems to
point to Divine love as much as it points to his inspired writings. Some people
will scoff at the idea of the Apostle John being cast as a Type of Raptured
Church in Rev 4 but they have to ignore all the signs and drive right around a
mountain of evidence that shows that, that is exactly how he is portrayed.
The 24 Elders
John immediately sees the Throne in Heaven, he then describes
the appearance of him who sat upon the throne, like a Jasper and a sardine
stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an
emerald. “And round about the throne were four and twenty SEATS: and upon the
seats I saw FOUR and TWENTY ELDERS SITTING, clothed in WHITE RAIMENT; and they
had on their heads CROWNS of GOLD.” The question becomes, who are the 24 Elders?
In Rev 21:12 it says, The twelve gates had names written on them, which
represent the twelve tribes of Israel (Old Testament Saints). In verse 12 it
says that the twelve foundations had the names of the twelve Apostles of the
Lamb (New Testament Saints). Jesus tells the Apostles that they would sit on
twelve thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in Matt 19:27,28 and Luke 22:30.
The Old Testament Saints are also included when we read in Psalm 122:5, “For
there are set thrones of Judgment, the thrones of the house of David.” Jesus
addresses the Disciples, and he told them they would sit on twelve thrones
judging the 12 tribes of Israel. In Rev 20:3 right after Satan is bound for a
thousand years we see ,Thrones and Judgment was given unto them. This is the
Judgment of the Nations to set up the Millennial Kingdom upon the earth, and it
further shows that the Apostles are part of the 24 Elders.
The 24 Elders also represent the First Resurrection or
(Harvest) as it took place back in Rev 4&5. The 24 Elders in Revelation are
always seen in Heaven until the Judgment of the Nations in Rev 20:4! I must take
a momentary side trail here because we are talking about the First Resurrection
and it mentions it in Rev 20:4-6, the Tribulation Saints as having a part or
Share in the First Resurrection. This is a beautiful picture of the Feast of
Tabernacles or (Temporary Shelter) for 7 Days or ONE WEEK as seen in Deut
16:13-14 and Lev 19:9, and it shows the Gleanings at the END of the Harvest! It
tells us that the First Resurrection or Harvest isn't over completely until the
Gleanings of the Tribulation Saints are brought in after (one Week), those who
received not the mark (Tribulation Saints). The Tabernacles Feast of Booths
(http://www.goodnewsmedia.com/bible.studies.htm/sg14.htm). It was a pageantry of
White Robed priests! The children of Israel would rejoice and sing songs and
especially the Hallel Psalms 113 to 118, and the Messianic words of Psalms
118:25,26. “We beseech Thee, O LORD, save now! We beseech Thee, O LORD, make us
now to prosper. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the LORD”. On the 7th
Day, called “Hoshana Rabbah” which means “The Great Salvation,” the priests
circled the alter seven times. They would chant the Hallel Psalm: “We beseech
Thee, O LORD, save now.” This is a striking picture as it relates to the
Tribulation Saints who are martyred in Rev 6:10 where they cry, How long O Lord!
The Hallel Psalms in 116:15 includes this, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is
the death of his saints.” Wow, another picture of the Tribulation Saints! The
Church is already in Heaven and these souls of the martyrs have to wait 7 years,
they are the Gleanings of the Harvest! “But the rest of the dead lived not again
until the thousand years were finished.”, Rev 20:5-6.
Jesus didn't mention to the Disciples the other 12 elders
because they will represent the Old Testament Saints, and by mentioning the 12
Disciples he shows that the two groups are not the same, but they are all seen
in Heaven in Rev 4. It becomes clear that these Elders in Rev 4 are not just
SITTING ON THRONES but they have RECIEVED CROWNS! This shows that the Church has
been caught up to Heaven and we have received our rewards! We know that we will
all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive our rewards, 2Cor 5:10.
The Apostles will stand before the judgment seat of Christ right along with the
rest of the Church. The 24 Elders in heaven are a picture of the FIRST
RESURRECTION, with the Old Testament Saints and the Church represented. The
Tribulation Saints with their Temporary Shelter of 7 days or (One Week), to
follow at the end of the Tribulation in Rev 20:4-5! But here in Rev 4 we will
all fall down and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth and CAST OUR CROWNS
before the throne!
There isn't another explanation of who these 24 Elders are,
other than the Saints of the Old Testament, and the Church of the New Testament,
with the Apostles named as sitting on 12 Thrones. There are no creatures in the
Bible that have Crowns, (like the Church), which are given thrones to sit on
(other than the Apostles) that we see here. They are included with the other
Elders who represent the Resurrected Saints of the Old Testament! Without us
they would not be made perfect, Heb 11:39-40.
The 24 elders are further identified in Rev 5:8-10, it says,
And when he had taken the Book, .....the four and twenty elders fell down before
the Lamb, having every one of them HARPS, and GOLDEN VIALS full of odours, which
are the prayers of saints. “And THEY sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to
take the Book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast
REDEEMED US to God by THY BLOOD out of EVERY KINDRED, and TONGUE, and PEOPLE,
and NATION. And hast made us unto our God KINGS and PRIESTS: and we shall reign
on the earth.” This is a clear picture of the Church in Heaven, for there can be
no other group redeemed from mankind by his blood from every people and tongue.
This is also a repeated phrase from Rev 1:5-6, which is clearly the Church, as
John was addressing the Church! They repeat the same phrase again in Rev 5:9-10
as they do in Rev 1:5-6, but NOW they are in Heaven and this is all before the
Lamb even opens the Book to start Rev 6!
The Lamb Stands To Take The Book
Rev 5, John wept, when he realized that no one was worthy to
open the book, to read it or even look upon it. Rev 5:5 says, And one of the
elders saith unto me, weep not: the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of
David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne...STOOD A LAMB..! Things in
Heaven and earth have changed, the Rapture has happened and the picture in
Heaven has changed because JUDGMENT is about to start! In the Book of Hebrews
4:16 it says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the THRONE OF GRACE, that we may
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. What we are seeing here is
the end of the time of Grace, the Dispensation of Grace has ENDED, and the Lamb
has Stood Up! No one can come unto the Throne of Grace any longer because (the
Lamb has stood up to Judge the earth), the Church age is over! Isaiah 3:13 says,
The LORD Standeth Up to plead, and STANDETH TO JUDGE THE PEOPLE. In Rev 5:7 The
Lamb comes and takes the Book out of the right hand of him who sat on the
throne. He has NOW received Authority from the Father to Judge the earth!
Gospel of John Parallels Revelations
There are many common phrases and precepts that flow between
the Gospel of John and the Book of The Revelation for further references see,
www.knoxseminary.org. The Gospel of John in Chapter 5 especially seems to have a
number of parallel thoughts. The chapter starts with Jesus healing the man at
the pool of Betheseda on the Sabbath and then the Jews seeking to kill Jesus.
The rest of John 5:19- to the end is Jesus telling the Jews, WHO HE IS and WHAT
WOULD HAPPEN to the Jewish Nation. With this in mind, let's look at John chapter
5 against Rev 4&5, watch how these same thoughts go between the books.
John 5:22 says, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath
committed all judgment unto the Son:”(Rev 5:6 says, The Lamb Stands Up to
Judge.) The Lamb is no longer sitting on the Throne of Grace, Heb 4:16. Notice
how this thought is paralleling between the two books.
John 5:27 says, “And hath given him authority to execute
judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” (Rev 5:7, the Lamb comes and takes
the Book out of the right hand of him who sits upon the throne showing that he
has NOW received the authority to judge!) Another clear parallel between both
books on a topic that is so monumental by it's importance!
Even the First Resurrection is mentioned in John 5:25.
“Verily, verily I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead
shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (Rev
4:1 John is caught up to heaven through the Sheepfold Door, then the scene in
Heaven with the 24 Elders throwing their Crowns before the throne, indicating
the first Resurrection.) Rev 4:1 through Rev 5 shows the Church now in Heaven
falling down before the Throne, those who have been REDEEMED to God BY THY
In John 5:19 to the end of the chapter, Jesus is putting the
Jews in their place. He then says to the JEWS in John 5:39, “Search the
scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which
testify of me”. Then, in verse 40 Jesus says something rather startling when he
says to the JEWS..........
John 5:40, “AND YE WILL NOT COME TO ME, THAT YE MIGHT HAVE
LIFE.” The importance of this statement as it Parallels Rev 5 is the fact that,
the Jews have rejected Jesus and the next thing coming is the Revelation scene
of JUDGMENT, when the Lamb Opens the First Seal to Start Rev chapter 6!
Then another remarkable statement is made by Jesus to the
JEWS in John 5:42, it says, “BUT I KNOW YOU, THAT YE HAVE NOT THE LOVE OF GOD IN
YOU.” Because of the Jews rejection of Jesus and that they have not the love of
God in them,..... Jesus tells them the consequences..... Watch how this again
parallels between the two books.....
In John 5:43, Jesus says, “I AM COME IN MY FATHER'S NAME AND
YE RECEIVE ME NOT: IF ANOTHER SHALL COME IN HIS OWN NAME, HIM YE WILL RECEIVE.”
Guess what the very next thing to happen in Revelations is? Enter, THE FOUR
HORSEMAN of the APOCALYPSE! The first one being the rider on the WHITE HORSE!
Jesus warned the Jews of the coming consequences of rejecting him. The Rider on
the White horse......he went forth conquering, and to conquer. This is the Anti
Christ who the Jews will sign the Covenant of death with, Isaiah 28:18, and he
who ....shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of
the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease......Dan 9:27.
Notice how the Church with the 24 Elders are ALREADY in Heaven before the Throne
worshiping, before the Lamb even opens the First Seal!
Rev 1:5-6 John addresses the Church and how we are washed
from our sins by his own blood! This letter was sent out to the Churches in
Asia, the present Church at that time.
Rev 1:6 John proclaims that the Church has been made Kings
and Priests! Again this is said about the existing Church at that time.
Rev 2 & 3 shows the Church AGE with the letters to all
the Churches, and to start Rev 4 John says, after this, meaning after the Church
age is over, these things will follow.
Rev 4 John the Beloved is Raptured, or Caught Up in the
Spirit to Heaven through the Door into the sheepfold. The same Greek word is
used for Door in Rev 4:1, John 10:1, 10:9 and Jesus is that Door! John the
Beloved is seen as a Type of the Church and he sees what the Church will see
throughout Revelations as it unfolds.
He sees the Throne in Heaven, Rev 4:2,4,6 Lightnings and
thunderings...sea of glass like crystal!
He sees the 24 Elders sitting on Thrones, Clothed in White
with Crowns of Gold on their heads, Rev 4:4 This is the First Resurrection. Old
and New Testament Saints before the Throne.
He sees the 24 Elders having received their rewards and
Crowns fall down and Cast their Crowns before the Throne! Rev 4:10, This means
that judgment of believers has happened!
John weeps that no one found worthy to open the Book until
one of the Elders tells him to weep not, Rev 5:5.
The Lamb Stands, and the time of Grace has ended! Jesus is no
longer sitting on the Throne of Grace Rev 5:6, Heb 4:16. This signals that
Judgment is about to start. All Judgment has been given to the Son, John
Lamb takes the Book out of the right hand of him who sits
upon the Throne. Jesus receives authority to execute Judgment. Rev 5:7 and in
John 5:27...And hath given him authority to execute Judgment.
24 Elders fall down again with Harps and Vials, these are the
believers of the First Resurrection.
Translated Saints sung a new song Rev 5:9 and proclaim that
they have been redeemed by Thy Blood from every kindred and tongue and people
and nation. This can only be the Church in Heaven as there are more than 24
countries and tongues and nations, REDEEMED BY THY BLOOD, this is what was
already mentioned by John in Rev 1:5 concerning the Churches but NOW they are in
Heaven in 5:9!
Rev 5:10 These believers also proclaim that he hast “MADE US
UNTO OUR GOD, KINGS AND PRIESTS,” as John also mentions this concerning the
Church in Rev 1:6. John shows the Church, BEFORE the fact, ON EARTH, in Rev 1:6
and then, IN HEAVEN in Rev 5:10!
John 5:40,41 Speaking to the Jews, Jesus says, And ye will
not come to me, that ye might have life. But I know you, that ye have not the
love of God in you.
Rev 5:14 The Lamb is preparing to open the First Seal because
of the Jews rejection. The resurrection Saints fall down and worshipped him that
liveth for ever and ever.
John 5:43 “If another shall come in his own name, him ye will
receive”...the consequences of their rejection....
Rev 6:1,2 The Lamb opens the First Seal and behold a White
Horse. The Anti Christ goes forth to deceive and make a Covenant with many, and
a Covenant of death with the Jews. He comes in his own name.
Summary of thoughts
John proclaims, Church Blood washed, Rev 1:5
John proclaims, Church Kings and Priests, Rev 1:6
Will be kept from Hour of temptation upon the earth, Rev
The Church Age, Rev 2&3
The Beloved Raptured, Rev 4:1
Heavenly scene 4:2
Sees Throne in Heaven, Rev 4:2
First Resurrection, Rev 4:4, ...
Gleanings (7 days later), Rev
20:4-6, Deut 16:13, Lev 19:9
Received their Crowns, Rev 4:4
Cast Their Crowns, Rev 4:10
No one worthy but the Lamb, Rev 5:3-5
Lamb Stands, Grace has ended, Rev 5:6, Heb 4:16, Is 3:13
Lamb takes Book, now has Authority, Rev 5:7, John 5:27
The Redeemed fall down having Harps and Golden Vials Rev
5:8, John 4:23-24
Church Redeemed by thy Blood, kindred, tongue, people and
nation, Rev 5:9 Fulfilling Rev 1:5
Church proclaims, made us Kings and Priests, Rev 5:10,
Fulfilling, Rev 1:6
Jews will not come to Jesus for Life, John 5:39-41
Jesus came in Fathers name, John 5:43
If another comes in his own name they will receive him, John
5:43, Rev 6:2
The Lamb opens the first Seal, Rev 6:1,
The rider on the White Horse, Rev 6:2
He will make a covenant with many for one week, Dan 9:27
These are for the most part precepts that come out of Rev
Chapters 1 to 6:2 and John 5. These are all Pre Trib concepts that we can see,
even the Gleanings at the end of the Harvest after 7 days, are strong support.
The fact that the Gospel of John is at times paralleling the same concepts and
thoughts with the Book of Revelation adds even more Biblical evidence. Jesus
said in Luke 4:18-20, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath
anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the
brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to
the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable
year of the Lord. AND HE CLOSED THE BOOK. Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2.
Jesus stopped before he read, AND THE DAY OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD.... The next
time Jesus will start JUDGMENT is when he OPENS the Book in Rev 6:1! The Church
is clearly in Heaven worshiping the Lord and watching this all unfold......
The Seven seals start the Vengeance of our God in Revelation
6 and continue to Chapter 8 with the first six Seals being completed. The
Seventh Seal has all the other Judgments in it and it is seen as going to Rev
20:4. Rev 20:4 is what Jesus was talking about when he told his Disciples that
they would sit on Thrones, Judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is the
Judgment of the Nations and the setting up of the Millennial Kingdom. “But the
rest lived not again until the Thousand years were finished. This is the First
Resurrection.” Rev 20:5.