The Mid-Week Rapture #16
by Karl Kemp 11/15/2011 / Bible Studies
Holy Father, we want to understand your Word and to live in line with your Word. We want to be fully ready to stand before You at the end of this age. We thank you! In Jesus mighty, holy, name! Amen!
I'll always quote from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless I mention otherwise. Sometimes I'll make comments in the middle of quotations in brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious.
We didn't quite finish Daniel chapter 12 in the last broadcast. I'll read verse 12, and we'll further discuss this verse, "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!" What is the purpose of the extra forty-five days? (1,335 minus 1,290 equals 45.) These extra forty-five days will undoubtedly start at the end of Daniel's 70th week. God will apparently use these forty-five days to prepare the earth for the millennial kingdom. He will exalt and glorify the Christians who just went through the very difficult days of the second half of Daniel's 70th week, including resurrecting the martyrs (see Isa. 66:8; Rev. 15:2; 20:4). God will deal with the end-time remnant of the nations, who will be left alive to enter the millennial kingdom (see Dan. 7:12; Zech. 14:16-21; Rev. 15:4; and 20:3). He will cast the devil into the abyss, where he will be kept until the end of the millennium; then he will be loosed for a short season, before he is cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation chapter 20). (The evil angels and demons will surely be restrained along with the devil.) Revelation 20:3 mentions that the devil will not be able to deceive "the nations" until the thousand years are completed. That remnant of the nations, and their offspring, who do not rebel will end up having a place in God's eternal kingdom (see Revelation chapters 21, 22). Also, apparently that extra forty-five days will be used for extensive clean up after God destroys the multitudes gathered to Armageddon, etc. And there will be an extensive transformation and glorification of the earth at that time (see, for example, Isa. 11:6-9; 65:25; Zech. 14:8-21).
I'll read verse 13, the last verse of Daniel chapter 12, "But as for you [speaking to Daniel the prophet], go your way to the end [In the margin, the New American Standard Bible says that "the end" refers to the end of Daniel's life. I believe this is the idea.]; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age." Daniel would "enter into rest" after he finished his work in this life. Then, when the time comes for the resurrection of the righteous dead (see verse 2), Daniel will "rise again"; that is, he will be resurrected. Even now Daniel is in the presence of God in spirit, unless perhaps he is one of those select saints who have already been resurrected (see Matt. 27:50-53).
Let's look at Matt. 27:50-53. These verses are quite interesting and quite important. "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. [[That Friday afternoon looked so negative, but Sunday morning was coming, and actually, Jesus was conquering sin, Satan, and death (both spiritual death and physical death) in His atoning death, and He was earning the right to save (with a very full salvation) all those who will repent and submit to the gospel in faith. This salvation includes forgiveness, the new birth, and power over sin for the present age, and glorification and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever in the age to come.]] (51) And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom [[This spectacular event took place at the time Jesus died on the cross. In some supernatural way (perhaps through the agency of a mighty angel of God), this veil (which would have been quite high and quite thick) was torn in two from the top to the bottom. This tearing of the veil that separated the holy place in the temple from the most holy place demonstrated that the way into the presence of God had now been opened through the all-important, totally effective atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.]]; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. (52) The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised [[Although the tombs were apparently opened at that time (at the time Jesus died), it is important to see that these select saints were not raised from the dead until after the Lord Jesus Christ was raised. He was the first man (though He was a whole lot more than just a man; He was the God-man; He was deity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit) to leave death behind and be born into the fullness of eternal life (see Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). The next verse confirms that these select saints did not come out of their tombs until after His resurrection. I assume that that select group of saints were resurrected never to die again.]] and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many." I'm quite sure that they did some effective witnessing in Jerusalem in behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ and new-covenant salvation.
That completes our study of Daniel chapter 12. Now we'll turn to Revelation chapter 4 through chapter 10. This verse-by-verse study will build on my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10, which is located on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). Sometimes I'll quote from the paper, but quite often I'll modify and abbreviate what is written in the paper for these articles.
I'll read Rev. 4:1. "After these things, I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.' " The first voice that the apostle John heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with him, refers back to Rev. 1:10, where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself apparently spoke (see Rev. 1:12-20), so He apparently speaks here too. If it wasn't the voice of Christ it undoubtedly was the voice of His angel; His angel is mentioned in Rev. 1:1 and other verses of the book of Revelation.
John was invited to come up to heaven to receive the rest of the revelation that would become the book of Revelation. He was taken to heaven, to the very throne room of God, but he didn't remain at that location throughout the rest of the revelation. In Rev. 17:3, for example, he was carried away in the Spirit to a wilderness to receive part of the revelation.
The words "what must take place after these things" here undoubtedly equal "the things which will take place after these things" of Rev. 1:19. I'll read Rev. 1:19, where John was told, "Write these things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things." The "things which are" of Rev. 1:19 have been completed now that the messages to the seven churches have been delivered in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Revelation chapters 4 and 5 don't prophesy regarding "the things which will take place after these things" hardly at all, but they set the stage for the detailed revelation regarding those future things. The time setting for the glorious scene pictured in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is early, apparently right after the resurrection and glorification of the Lamb of God, after He had overcome so as to earn the right to bring to pass the things prophesied in the book of Revelation. This includes His saving all the elect and taking them to the eternal glory of God's new heaven and new earth with its New Jerusalem, and His removing Satan and all who continue to follow him in his rebellion.
Most of the things prophesied in the book of Revelation will not come to pass until the end of this age. Many of those things will come to pass during Daniel's 70th week. Most of the detailed revelation regarding the future is apparently contained in the scroll that the Lord Jesus Christ takes from the hand of God the Father in Revelation chapter 5. (He was the only One found worthy to take the scroll, to break the seven seals and open the scroll, and to bring these things to pass.) We don't receive much in the way of new revelation until He breaks the seventh and last seal at Rev. 8:1. The first six seals are broken in Revelation chapter 6.
Many who believe that the rapture will take place before Daniel's 70th week begins (the pre-week-rapture viewpoint) teach that the rapture takes place here in Rev. 4:1. It has always seemed obvious to me that that John's being called up to heaven to receive further revelation does not refer to the rapture. The fact that this verse is the best they can do to find the rapture in the book of Revelation tends to demonstrate the weakness of that viewpoint. On the other hand, as we have discussed in some detail in these articles (and as we will further discuss in a few minutes), it is easy to find the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the resurrection, glorification, and rapture of the saints in the book of Revelation if you are open to the viewpoint that these things will come to pass in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation. Those who believe the rapture will take place at the end of Daniel's 70th week (the end-of-the-week rapture viewpoint) also have trouble finding the rapture in the book of Revelation. They typically find the rapture in Rev. 19:11-16, but I don't see the rapture in those verses. Rather, the glorified, raptured saints are already with the Lord Jesus Christ in those verses. We will discuss Revelation chapter 19 later in these broadcasts.
I'm not saying these things to be argumentative, or to insult my brothers and sisters in Christ, not at all. I'm thankful I can say that I have a lot of respect for those teaching the pre-week rapture viewpoint and for those teaching the end-of-the-week rapture viewpoint, and I have learned from those holding both viewpoints. I also have a lot of respect for those holding other viewpoints. But all these viewpoints cannot be right regarding when the rapture will take place. All Christians must be humble before God and seek Him for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. One primary reason so many Christians have a hard time seeking God for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches on this topic (and other topics) is that so many are so sure that they have the balanced truth already, and they have closed their minds.
All end-time viewpoints have what can be considered weak points. I suppose that the primary charge that can be brought against the mid-week rapture viewpoint I am teaching is that it leans so heavily on the book of Revelation. However, I don't really consider this to be a weakness. The book of Revelation is God's last word on Bible prophecy, and it isn't surprising to me that we are so dependent on the book of Revelation to understand many details regarding God's plans for the end of this age. There are many, very important, end-time details that we wouldn't know without the book of Revelation. For example, we wouldn't know about the seven trumpets or the seven bowls of wrath; we wouldn't know about the spectacular ministry, death, resurrection, and rapture of the two witnesses (and it is significant that they will be resurrected and raptured right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week); we wouldn't know that the devil and his angels will be cast down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week and that the devil will give Antichrist his power and his throne and great authority at that time, and we wouldn't know many other important details regarding Antichrist (including the fact that he will come back from the dead, that he will be supported by the powerful ministry of the false prophet, and regarding the image of the beast that even speaks, and the mark of the beast and the number 666); we wouldn't know that the gospel will still be proclaimed after the rapture and that many, including the end-time remnant of Israel, will be converted after the rapture; we wouldn't know about Babylon the great harlot and God's judgment of her (this topic is so important that God devoted some three chapters of the book of Revelation to it); and we wouldn't know about the millennial kingdom and God's salvation plans for the nations, or about His new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem. A few of the things just listed could be known to some extent before the book of Revelation was given, but the book of Revelation supplies the details. The book of Revelation is a very special book of the Bible.
The most important feature of the book of Revelation that enables us to see that the Lord Jesus Christ will return, and the resurrection, glorification, and rapture will take place right in middle of Daniel's 70th week is the fact that chapters 11-13 build on the pattern of Daniel's 70th week. Daniel prophesied of that seven-year period, and significantly, he prophesied several times regarding one-half of that seven-year period. Revelation chapters 11-13 don't mention seven years, but they mention one-half of that seven-year period five times. And, as we have discussed in some detail, the first two uses refer to the first half of Daniel's 70th week, and the next three uses refer to the second half of that seven-year period. These chapters enable us to see that the seventh and last trumpet will sound right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week and that the Lord Jesus Christ will return, and the resurrection, glorification, and rapture will take place, at that time. They also enable us to see that that the repentant, end-time, elect remnant of Israel will be converted and become Christians at that time; that the devil and his angels will be cast down to the earth at that time, and that Antichrist will begin his super-evil three and one-half year reign at that time.
The book of Revelation was given about AD 95, some thirty years after the apostle Paul died. I doubt that Paul knew many of the end-time details that were revealed in the book of Revelation. There is no indication that Paul thought in terms of Daniel's 70th week, or that he taught the mid-week rapture. Based on his writings, especially 2 Thess. 1:8-2:12, his teaching fits best with the Lord Jesus Christ returning and the rapture taking place a short while before He destroys Antichrist. It is important for me to add that what Paul taught leaves room for the mid-week rapture. (Second Thess. 2:1-12 are discussed in some detail in the last chapter of my book "The Mid-Week Rapture.")
It is important to understand that God's revelation is progressive, supplying more details as time goes on, and sometimes correcting wrong impressions. Sometimes we have to modify what we thought we knew, based on subsequent revelation. The Old Testament prophets and Israel, for example, didn't understand the very important fact that the Messiah was to come twice, with the two comings being very different, and Israel didn't know that Messiah was to be God Himself, that is, God the Son. They didn't know about, and they were very reluctant to make room for, the Person of God the Son. These things could have been known based on the Old Testament, but these things that are so clear to us now were not at all clear in Old Testament days. We must be humble and stay open to God.
Looking at the all-important book of Revelation from the point of view of the mid-week return of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can see the rapture several places. Revelation 7:9-17 don't specifically mention the rapture, but we see the just-raptured saints before the throne of God in these verses. This glorious scene of Rev. 7:9-17 comes, appropriately enough, at the very time judgment day begins. (See Rev. 6:12-17. These verses in Revelation chapter 6 give us an early look at the arrival of judgment day, before the scroll is opened.) As I mentioned we don't receive hardly any new revelation before the seventh and last seal is broken and the scroll is opened (at Rev. 8:1). The resurrection and rapture of the two witnesses in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, which is pictured in Rev. 11:11, 12, is quite relevant, because their rapture will just be part of the mid-week rapture of all the saints. (As I have mentioned, their resurrection and rapture may take place a short while before the rest of the saints, maybe a few hours, for example.) The most important verse for the mid-week rapture is Rev. 12:5, which we have discussed in some detail. Also, we can see the glorified, raptured saints with the Lord Jesus Christ during the second half of Daniel's 70th week in Rev. 13:6; 17:14; and 19:8, 14, and 19, and apparently we can see the saints on the white cloud with the Lord Jesus Christ in Rev. 14:14. Also see Rev. 12:12. All of these verses are discussed in my book or in my subsequent verse-by-verse studies of the book of Revelation that are located on the internet.
I'll read Rev. 4:1 again; then we'll go on to verses 2 and 3, "After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.' (2) Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne [[As we keep reading, it become clear that God the Father is the One sitting on the throne here (see Rev. 5:1 [with 5:2-7]; 5:13; 6:16; and 7:10). For one thing, in Revelation chapter 5 we see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, come take the scroll from the right hand of God the Father.]] (3) And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance." Revelation 21:11 helps us understand that what John saw here was the glory of God. He certainly did not see God the Father Himself in any clear way (see, for example, Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:12). The time will come, however, when we will see Him (see, for example, Matt. 5:8; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 22:4). Regarding the rainbow around the throne, see Ezek. 1:27, 28; Rev. 10:1.
Now I'll read Rev. 4:4, "Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads." The twenty-four elders are mentioned quite often in the book of Revelation. I agree with the widespread viewpoint that the twenty-four elders are high-level angelic beings. They can undoubtedly be considered part of "the council of the holy ones" mentioned in Psalm 89:7. Their "thrones" and "crowns" show that they are reigning with God, and under God. At least part of their area of responsibility has to do with the people of God's true Israel (see Rev. 5:5, 9-10; 7:13-17; 11:15-18). "White garments" are appropriate for God's angelic beings (see, for example, Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5; John 20:12; Acts 1:10; and Rev. 15:6).
I'll read Rev. 4:5, "Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. [I listed some cross-references for these manifestations of God's power going forth (Exod. 19:16; Rev/ 8:5; 11:19; and 16:18).] And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God [This is a symbolic way to refer to the Holy Spirit, with the number seven symbolizing perfection (Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 5:6; and Zech. 4:10)]."
Revelation 4:6, "and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal [I listed some cross-references for this sea of glass (Exod. 24:10; Ezek. 1:22; and Rev. 15:2).] and in the center [or, in the middle of the throne] and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. [These four living creatures are mentioned quite often in the book of Revelation. The four living creatures are comparable with, but not identical with, the four living beings of Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10, who are called cherubim in Ezekiel chapter 10. The four living creatures are also comparable with, but not identical with, the seraphim of Isaiah chapter 6. (The "im" ending of the words cherubim and seraphim comes from the Hebrew and shows that these nouns are plural.) The fact that the four living creatures are "full of eyes in front and behind" makes it impossible, for one thing, for anyone to sneak up on them. Verse 8 says they "are full of eyes around and within." One function of these high-level beings is to guard access to God, and access to the life that comes from Him (see Gen. 3:24). The four living creatures do more than guard the throne and worship God; they are involved with the events that take place in the book of Revelation (Rev. 5:1-8; 15:7). The four living creatures are pictured being "around the throne"; they are inside of the twenty-four elders.
I'll read Rev. 4:7, 8, "The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf [or, ox], and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. (8) And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, 'HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.' " The cherubim of the book of Ezekiel had four wings, but the seraphim of Isaiah chapter six had six wings. The first line of what the four living creatures say in worship here in verse 8 is similar to the first line of what the seraphim said in worship in Isa. 6:3. I'll read those words, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts."
I'll read Rev. 4:9-11, "And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne [God the Father], to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 'Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.' " God receives "glory and honor and power" in the sense that these things that belong to Him by virtue of who He is and what He has done, are ascribed to Him by His worshipers.
Let's go on to Revelation chapter 5. I'll read the first verse, "I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne [God the Father] a book [or, scroll] written inside and on the back [The NIV has, "with writing on both sides."], sealed up with seven seals." Apparently the seven seals were along the edge of the scroll in a way that prevented its being opened before all seven seals had been broken. The seven seals are broken by the Lord Jesus Christ one by one (see Rev. 6:1-12; 8:1). Apparently this same scroll, or part of this same scroll, is seen again at Rev. 10:2; there the scroll had been opened. Ezekiel 2:8-3:4, with its scroll "written on the front and on the back," is an important cross-reference.
I'll read Rev. 5:2-4, "And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the book [scroll] and to break its seals?' (3) And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book [scroll] or to look into it. (4) Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book [scroll] or to look into it." Apparently John was weeping greatly because he knew something of the awesome significance of this scroll, and the need to open it. For one thing, to be worthy to take this scroll, to break its seals, and to open it, requires someone worthy (and able) to bring to pass the things written in the scroll. The Lord Jesus Christ was the only One found worthy. We can probably say that the scroll contains the contents of the book of Revelation, starting at Rev. 6:1; but, as I mentioned, there isn't much in the way of new revelation until the seventh and last seal is broken at Rev. 8:1.
I'll read Rev. 5:5. "and one of the elders [one of the twenty-four elders] said to me, 'Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book [scroll] and its seven seals.' " Using figurative language, Jesus is a lion in His authority and power. And Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, so far His physical descent was concerned. Jesus was "the Root of David" in that He was a descendant of King David. (See the BAGD Greek Lexicon on the word translated "root" here.) Although the Lord Jesus Christ was a descendant of King David in one sense, David calls Him Lord, and rightly so.
Regarding Jesus' overcoming, I'll read Rev. 3:21, where Jesus said, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." The Lord Jesus Christ overcame by perfectly completing His assignment. He lived a sinless life, which culminated in His all-important atoning death. Through His atoning death He earned the right to save us, and He defeated Satan and all who continue to follow him.
I'll read Rev. 5:9, 10, "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the book [scroll] and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." What a salvation plan! What a destiny we have in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, even reigning with Him forever and ever! We worship you and thank you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! It's time to stop for today. We'll start with Rev. 5:6 in the next article. God bless you!
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.