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Some Comments on John Shorey's Teaching on the Mid-Week (Mid-Trib) Rapture, Part 2
by Karl Kemp
6/09/2015 / Bible Studies
We continue this paper here in Part 2
RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEVEN YEARS THE SEVENTH TRUMPET WILL SOUND (Rev. 11:15):
The two witnesses (prophets) will be resurrected and raptured at that time (Rev. 11:11, 12). (Antichrist will come back from the dead in time to kill the two prophets three and one-half days before the rapture [Rev. 11:7-10; cf. 17:8]). The resurrection and rapture of the two witnesses in the middle of the seven-year period rather strongly confirms that the rapture will take place in the middle of the seven years, but Rev. 12:5 is the most important verse to show that the rapture will take place at that time. (Shorey believes that the three and one-half year ministry of the two witnesses will take place throughout the second half of the seven years and that they will be killed and rise from the dead just before the end of the seven years.)
The great earthquake (at Jerusalem) pictured in Rev. 11:13, which will take place at that time (in the middle of the seven years), undoubtedly equates with the great earthquake mentioned in Zech. 14:4 that will take place when the Lord Jesus (and the glorified raptured saints with Him) stands on the Mount of Olives shortly after the rapture. Apparently we can see the salvation (when they become Christians) of the elect, repentant, end-time remnant of Israel in Rev. 11:13 (cf., e.g., Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:26, 27; 9:27-29). We can see this saved end-time remnant of Israel (along with the Gentiles who become Christians after the rapture) in Rev. 12:6-13:18, for example). Revelation 12:17 confirms that they are Christians in that it says that they "keep the commandments of God [which Christians must do (by grace through faith)] and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
It is very significant that Rev. 12:6 shows that three and one-half years are left after the birth and rapture of the "man child" of Rev. 12:5. (The man child is a symbol for the saints who will be glorified and raptured in the middle of the seven years. See the next few paragraphs.) In Rev. 12:6-13:18 we can see why it will be very difficult for the saints to live on the earth throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week, and that there will be many martyrs (cf. Rev. 20:4), but some of these verses also demonstrate that God will be very involved with these saints and He will greatly limit what the devil and Antichrist can do against them. Otherwise those saints could be annihilated by the devil, evil angels, demons, and Antichrist in a very short period of time.
As I mentioned, I believe REVELATION 12:5 is the most important verse in the Bible to show that the resurrection and rapture will take place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. (Revelation 12:5 is discussed in significant detail in my "The Mid-Week Rapture," including three chapters that discuss three very important cross-references in the Old Testament that prophesy of this same birth into the fullness of eternal life [the resurrection and glorification of the believers] that will take place when the Lord Jesus returns. Shorey doesn't agree with any of this.) The location of this verse between the two verses that specifically mention the three and one-half years of the first half of the seven years (Rev. 11:2, 3) and the three verses that specifically mention the three and one-half years of the second half of the seven years (Rev. 12:6, 14 and 13:5), shows that the events of Rev. 12:5 will take place right in the middle of the seven years (at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet (Rev. 11:15). However, it is much more significant that Rev. 12:6 goes out of its way to demonstrate that the spectacular things spoken of in Rev. 12:5 will take place right in the middle of the seven years in that it shows that there are three and one-half years to go after the all-important birth and rapture of 12:5.
I'll quote REVELATION 12:5, "and she [true Israel, which embraces all the believers from the days of the Old Testament and all true Christians] gave birth to a male child [[(This double bracket goes on for two paragraphs.) The "male child" embraces all the believers who have ever lived up until that time (right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at which time the Lord Jesus will return and the rapture will take place). The heading that was added right before 12:5 in my NASB Bible says "The Male Child, Christ." Large numbers of Christians agree with this, but I don't believe there is any possibility that this is correct. For one primary thing, as we have discussed, this birth is going to take place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, which doesn't fit the Lord Jesus in any way. As we continue with this verse, it will become obvious that the things that are said about the male child perfectly fit the view that the male child represents the people of God who will be glorified and raptured when the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of the seven years. (For the very large number of believers who will have died before the Lord Jesus returns they will be resurrected too.)
It is very significant that Isa. 66:7 prophesies of this same birth into the full glory of eternal life of the same boy/man child. And Isa. 66:8 goes on to prophesy that the end-time remnant of Israel will also participate in this birth into the full glory of eternal life after a time of substantial travail, which perfectly corresponds with the travail that they will experience throughout the second half of the seven years. Isaiah 66:1-8 is the topic of chapter 16 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Micah 5:3 prophesies of this same birth and the subsequent salvation of the end-time remnant of Israel. (Micah 4:9-5:6 are discussed in chapter 17 of "The Mid-Week Rapture.") And Psalm 2:7 includes this same birth into the full glory of eternal life. Psalm 2 is discussed verse-by-verse in chapter 18 of "The Mid-Week Rapture."]], who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron [[These words fit the Lord Jesus, but it is very significant that the Lord Jesus applied these words (in Rev. 2:26, 27) to the overcomers (the believers) who will be reigning with Him from the time we are glorified. And that reference is all the more important in that those words were taken from Psalm 2:9.]]; and her child was taken up to God and to His throne [[It is also quite significant that the Greek verb ("harpazo") translated "was taken up" here was used in 1 Thess. 4:17, translated "we will be caught up"; most would agree that 1 Thess. 4:17 is the most important verse in the New Testament that speaks of the rapture, the catching up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Revelation 12:5 is the most important verse to show WHEN the rapture will take place. From the time we are caught up to the throne of God we will be reigning with the Lord Jesus, throughout the second half of the seven years, when He is judging the world; then throughout the millennial kingdom; and then forever (cf. Rev. 22:5).]].
I have already mentioned that Revelation chapters 11-13 also enable us to see that the devil and his angels will be cast down right in the middle of the seven years (Rev. 12:4, 7-17) and that Antichrist will begin his super-evil reign right in the middle of the seven years (Rev. 13:1-7).
WHERE DOES SHOREY SEE THE RAPTURE IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION? He rightly (from my point of view) sees the glorified raptured saints in Rev. 7:9, "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands." This is right after the sun is darkened and the moon becomes like blood and the stars fall to the earth that are mentioned at the sixth seal (Rev. 6:11, 12), which corresponds with Matt. 24:29 (cf. Joel 2:31). And Rev. 6:14-17 go on to prophesy of things that will come to pass when the Lord Jesus returns and the Day of Judgment comes, especially see 6:17 ("for the great day of their wrath [God the Father and the Lamb of God (God the Son)] has come, and who is able to stand"). Shorey also sees the rapture taking place in Rev. 14:14-16. I believe Rev. 14:14-16 prophesy of the Lord's judging and destroying Babylon the great harlot (cf. Rev. 14:8; 16:17-19:3) and Rev. 14:17-20 prophesy of His judging and destroying Antichrist and those He gathers to Armageddon.
As I mentioned Shorey cannot allow the seventh and last trumpet of Rev. 11:15 to be the trumpet of the return of the Lord Jesus and the rapture because he believes the seven trumpets all sound after the rapture. His primary reason for this viewpoint is that the sounding of the trumpets are mentioned after Rev. 6:12-17 and 7:9-17 (where he, rightly I believe, sees the raptured saints in heaven). It is true that chapters 8 and 9, where we read of the sounding of the first six trumpets, and the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet in Rev. 11:15, are mentioned in the book of Revelation AFTER we see the raptured glorified saints in Rev. 7:9 (and after we see other things like the sun being darkened, the moon being becoming like blood, and the stars falling at the sixth seal [Rev. 6:12, 13]).
It is very significant, however, that the things we read about in Rev. 6:12-17 and 7:9-17 are reported BEFORE the all-important scroll that the Lord Jesus took from God the Father in Revelation chapter 5 is opened (in Rev. 8:1). Once the scroll is opened we begin to be given super-important detailed revelation of things we had not been given in the Bible before that time, including super-important information about things that will take place BEFORE the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place. (I'll comment briefly on the seven seals of Revelation chapter 6 as we continue. We are not given much new revelation with the seals.) THE FIRST THING WE LEARN ABOUT AFTER THE SCROLL IS OPENED IS THE SEVEN TRUMPETS THAT WILL ANNOUNCE THE RETURN OF THE LORD JESUS, THE RAPTURE, AND THE DAY OF JUDGMENT! The seven trumpets is new, super-important revelation. We Christians have to be especially interested in the things that are going to take place in the days while we are still here (during the first half of the seven-year period; things like the super-important three and one-half year ministry of the two witnesses [prophets] and the things that will take place with the sounding of the trumpets) and especially the super-important information that the Lord will return and the rapture will take place right in the middle of the seven years, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet.
So, we are given a brief preliminary look at the arrival of the Day of Judgment in Rev. 6:12-17 and a preliminary look at the raptured glorified saints in Rev. 7:9-17 BEFORE the scroll is opened; then the scroll is opened and from that point on we are given a tremendous amount of new super-important revelation. After the scroll is opened we back up in time to about the time of the beginning of the seven years and we learn of the things that will come to pass during the sounding of the first six trumpets and then that the Lord Jesus will return at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet in the middle of the seven years.
After the scroll is opened we learn many details of things that will come to pass during the first half of the seven years, including the super-important ministry of the two witnesses (prophets); the fact that Antichrist will be killed and come back from the dead and kill the two prophets three and one-half days before they come back to life before the watching world and the rapture; and it is confirmed that the temple will be functioning in Jerusalem during at least part of the first three and one-half years. It is also revealed that the devil (with his angels) will be cast down to the earth when the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of the seven years and that at that time the devil will give Antichrist "his power and his throne and great authority" and Antichrist will begin his super-evil three and one-half year reign.
We also learn of the false prophet, the image of the beast, and the mark of the beast; and we learn of God's judgment and removal of Babylon the great harlot that is a major feature in His end-time judgment of the world. God spends a lot of space on this topic (Rev. 14:8, 14-16; 16:17-19:3). I believe Babylon is a symbol for the world; it is the devil's city; it embraces all the things the devil uses to seduce people from God, including all false religions, very much including apostate Christianity, and false philosophies, and all of the others things that people live for instead of God. We learn of the seven bowls of wrath, including the gathering of Antichrist and the false prophet and those who follow them to Armageddon under the sixth bowl and the destruction of those gathered to Armageddon under the seventh bowl. We learn of the millennial kingdom and of the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennium. And we learn a lot about God's new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem, where we, the saints (all the members of God's true Israel) will reign forever and ever.
It is perfectly natural that Revelation chapters 8 and 9 would be located in the book of Revelation AFTER the brief preliminary look at the arrival of the Day of Judgment in Rev. 6:12-17 and the rapture in 7:9-17, even though Revelation chapters 8 and 9 prophesy of things that will come to pass BEFORE the Lord returns and the rapture takes place. The seven trumpets, which are very important, announce His coming, the rapture, and the official beginning of the Day of Judgment. And they will powerfully serve to warn mankind that His return is imminent. The two witnesses may announce all the trumpets before they sound, like Moses announced the ten plagues before they came to pass. This will make the impact of the trumpets all the more powerful, and they will come to pass, and in sequence, as prophesied in the book of Revelation.
THE SEVEN SEALS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION. Shorey believes the rider on the white horse at the first seal is Antichrist. (On a chart [on his page 134] he locates the opening of the first seal a short while before the seven years begin, and he locates the opening of the second seal at the beginning of the seven years, with the next four seals following in the first half of the seven years.) I have always agreed with the large number of Christians who believe the rider represents the Lord Jesus and/or the gospel of the kingdom going forth throughout this age (or the equivalent) conquering the hearts of all who will submit to God, His Son, and His gospel. These two views are quite different aren't they? This is important!
Matthew 24:14 is an important cross-reference for the rider on the white horse: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew chapters 24 and 25 are discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site: Google to Karl Kemp Teaching.) And I believe that the second seal (warfare) and third seal (famine) correspond with what Jesus prophesied in Matt. 24:6, 7. In our day many end-time teachers agree with Shorey regarding the rider on the white horse; however, according to Henry Alford ("New Testament for English Readers," Vol. 4 [Baker, 1983 reprint], page 1831), who was a scholar well acquainted with early Christian writings, nobody interpreted it to refer to Antichrist before AD1500. Even if Alford missed a writer or two, this is important information! I'll say more on the rider on the first horse as we continue.
I Have A Paper On My Internet Site That Discusses Revelation Chapters 1-10, Verse-By-Verse. I'll quote most of what I said there on REVELATION 6:1-17, which covers the first six seals:
(Rev. 6:1) "Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals [cf. Rev. 5:1-10], and I heard one of the four living creatures [cf. Rev. 4:6-10] saying as with a voice of thunder, 'Come.' [[(This double bracket goes on for five paragraphs.) The KJV and NKJV, following a different Greek reading, have "Come and see," as if the words were spoken to John. There's widespread agreement that the Greek reading followed by the NASB (and the NIV) is the correct reading. This living creature was calling forth the rider on the first horse, the white horse, even as the other three living creatures call forth the next three riders and their horses in the following verses. The first four seals go together as a unit. We learn of the famous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (the book of Revelation) from these verses (Rev. 6:1-8).
As discussed in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," I believe the four horsemen all ride forth at the same time, throughout this entire Christians age. The primary cross-reference that convinces me of this interpretation (which is widely held) is the teaching of Jesus in the Olivet discourse (Matt. 24:3-14; Mark 13:3-13; and Luke 21:5-11). The Rider on the white horse corresponds (at least to some significant extent) with the worldwide preaching of the gospel and the advancement of the Kingdom of God before the end comes that is spoken of in Matt. 24:14. The Rider on the white horse is the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Gospel of the Kingdom (or the equivalent). This Rider has been riding forth conquering the hearts of all who will submit to the gospel. It's very good to have your heart conquered by this glorious Rider. It's clear that the Rider on the white horse in Rev. 19:11 is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the word "white" is always used in the book of Revelation (17 total uses) of the things of God, very much including victory and purity.
The warfare and famine associated with the second and third seals are part of what Jesus called "the beginning of birth pangs" in Matt. 24:8 (see Matt. 24:6-8). The time of transition beyond the beginning of birth pangs will be the abomination of desolation (see Matt. 24:9, 15; cf. 2 Thess. 2:3, 4). (The abomination of desolation centers in the fact that Antichrist will enter the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, stop the sacrifices, and demand that he be worshiped. That abominable activity will lead to great desolation.) We can apparently say that the riding forth of the second, third, and fourth horsemen will continue until they are superseded by the events associated with the sounding of the trumpets of the book of Revelation. Events clearly go beyond the limits prescribed for the fourth horseman under the sixth trumpet, where one-third of mankind is killed. The abomination of desolation will take place about the time of the sounding of the sixth trumpet, about a month (cf. Dan. 12:11) before the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place. (As I mentioned, Matthew chapter 24 is discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site.)
Many in our day, including Shorey, believe the events associated with the first four seals will only come to pass in the last days, during the first half of Daniel's 70th week. (As I mentioned, Shorey locates the first seal just before the seven years start. Mike Bickle locates the seven seals in the first part of the second half of the seven-year period.) Those Christians typically, if not always, believe that the rider on the white horse, the first horse, is Antichrist (including Shorey and Bickle). What a difference!
I'll quote a few sentences from George E. Ladd's introduction to Revelation chapter 6 ("Commentary on the Revelation of John" [Eerdmans, 1972], pages 95, 96): "The breaking of the seven seals is preliminary to the actual opening of the book [scroll] and the events of the end time. [The scroll cannot be opened (at Rev. 8:1) until aIl seven seals have been removed. I believe the seven seals have been removed and the scroll has been opened (and the contents of the all-important scroll have been revealed to us in the book of Revelation), but that most of the events spoken of in the scroll will not come to pass until the time of the end. The events associated with the fifth and sixth seals will not come to pass (or start to come to pass) until the middle of Daniel's 70th week.] It [the breaking of the seals] PICTURES THE FORCES THAT WILL BE OPERATIVE THROUGHOUT HISTORY BY WHICH THE REDEMPTIVE AND JUDICIAL PURPOSES OF GOD WILL BE FORWARDED [my emphasis]. They are not a part of the great tribulation itself, but are preparatory and preliminary to the great tribulation. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the breaking of the sixth seal clearly brings to the threshold of the end; the five seals must precede it."]] (2) I looked, and behold, a white horse [cf. Rev. 19:11], and he [or, He] who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him [[Compare Zech. 6:9-15 (Zechariah chapters 1-8 are discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site.); Rev. 14:14; and 19:12; and see under Rev. 5:6 on the authority/reigning (the authority/reigning goes with the crown) of the Lord Jesus Christ from the time of His resurrection, ascension, and glorification. (We will discuss Rev. 5:6 as we continue with this paper.) As I mentioned, I believe Christ, or the Word of the Gospel of Christ (or the equivalent), is the Rider on this horse. And as I mentioned, those who believe the events associated with the seals will only come to pass in the last days typically, if not always, understand the rider to be Antichrist. Again, what a difference!]], and he went out conquering and to conquer. [[(This double bracket goes on for four paragraphs.) I'll quote part of what Henry Alford said under this verse ("New Testament for English Readers," Vol. 4 [Baker, 1983 reprint], pages 1830, 1831): "The going forth conquering and in order to conquer can only, it seems to me, point to one interpretation. The conquering might be said of any victorious earthly power whose victories should endure for the time then present, and afterwards pass away: but the in order that he may conquer [The words in order that he may conquer are a more literal translation of the Greek than the words "to conquer" of the NASB.] can only be said of a power whose victories should last forever. Final and permanent victory then is here imported [stated]. Victory, we may safely say, on the part of that kingdom against which the gates of hell shall not prevail: whose fortunes and whose trials are the great subject of this revelation. Such is the first vision, the opening of the first seal in the mystery of the divine purposes: victory for God's church and people: the great keynote, so to speak, of all the apocalyptic harmonies. ... [Alford doesn't believe the rider is the Lord Jesus Himself. He says the rider is "only a symbol of His victorious power, the embodiment of His advancing kingdom...."] ... In all cases but the last [the fourth rider], these riders are left in the vagueness of their symbolic offices. If we attempt to specify further, as e.g., Victorinus (I had a footnote here, "Victorinus of Pettau (died about AD 304). Bishop and exegete." Quoting from Michael P. McHugh, "Encyclopedia of Early Christianity" [Garland Publishing, 1990], page 927.) 'The white horse is the word of preaching with the aid of the Holy Spirit sent forth into the world; for the Lord saith, This gospel shall be preached through all the world, for a testimony before the nations, and then shall the end come [Matt. 24:14],' - while we are sure that we are thus far right, we are but partially right: we do not cover the extent of the symbol, seeing that there are other aspects and instruments of victory of the kingdom of Christ, besides the preaching of the Word. [That is, Alford agrees with what Victorinus said, but he doesn't want to limit the meaning of the first seal to what he said.] The same might be said of any other of the partial interpretations which have been given by those who have taken this view. AND IT WAS TAKEN, WITH DIVERGENCES OF SEPARATE DETAIL, BY ALL EXPOSITORS FROM EARLIEST TIMES DOWN TO THE YEAR 1500 [my emphasis]." In other words, according to Alford, the interpretations regarding the first seal all agreed in understanding the first seal to deal with the kingdom of Christ and its expanding victory until about AD 1500. I'm confident that they were right. (In the early 1500s Luther and the pope began to call one another Antichrist.)
I decided to see if Irenaeus commented on the identity of the Rider on the white horse in Rev. 6:2. Irenaeus is a well respected Church Father (about AD115 to about 202; bishop of Lyons); he was well acquainted with Polycarp, who knew the apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation by the inspiration of God. In his "Irenaeus Against Heresies" (Book 4, Chapter 21.3), Irenaeus takes the Rider to be the Lord Jesus Christ.
I'll also quote from George E. Ladd ("Revelation of John," pages 99, 100), "The rider is not Christ himself but symbolizes the proclamation of the gospel of Christ in all the world. ... It will be preached effectively in all the world; and in spite of an evil and hostile environment characterized by human hatred, strife, and opposition, the gospel will make its way victoriously in all the world.
Here is a word of confidence, combined with a realistic note, for the church of the first century and every other age. How can any people be devoted to a cause which they believe will experience only defeat? The first generation of believers suffered, and at the hands of some of the later emperors they met determined efforts to root them out and to destroy them completely. But in spite of every form of opposition, the church effectively and victoriously established the gospel in all the Roman world until the Empire ceased its violent opposition. [There has been plenty of violent aggression by the world against God and His people since that time.] We do not look for the coming of God's Kingdom and the righting of the world's evils short of the return of Christ; but we are, as the modern bearers of the gospel of the kingdom, expectant of seeing victories won by the power of this gospel."]]
We will continue this study with Rev. 6:2 and the second seal in Part 3 of this paper.
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.
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