The Christ in Prophecy Journal

No Rapture In Revelation?


Why isn’t the Rapture specifically mentioned in Revelation?

The book of Revelation implies a Pre-Tribulation Rapture without specifically mentioning the event. In chapter 4 verse 1, John sees a door open in the heavens and he is raptured to Heaven in what appears to be a symbolic type of the Rapture of the Church. In Revelation 19:11, John sees the heavens opened again, and Jesus descends on a white horse, with the Church accompanying Him (Revelation 19:14). Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation focus on the Church, but there is no more mention of the Church until the end of the book (Revelation 22:16). From chapter 4 through chapter 21, there is only mention of “saints,” which would be those who accept the Gospel during the Tribulation.

The Bible never specifically defines the timing of the Rapture by tying it to any other event like the re-establishment of Israel or the rebuilding of the Temple. Even its proximity to the Tribulation is inferred rather than definitely stated. That’s because the Rapture is an imminent event that could occur at any moment.

There are strong scriptural inferences that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation begins. A couple of those are found in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse as recorded in Luke 21. Jesus stated that when the end time signs “begin to take place,” we are to look up, for our redemption will be drawing near (Luke 21:28). Note that the redemption will come not at the end of the signs, but as they begin to take place. Jesus then added that believers should pray earnestly that they might “escape” the Great Tribulation that is coming upon “all those who dwell on the face of the earth” (Luke 21:36).

In this regard, Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 that believers are waiting for “His Son from heaven… that is, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.” And Jesus told John to write to the church at Philadelphia, representative of faithful Christians, that “because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

37 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Perhaps someone could explain something to me. Dr. Reagan says: Jesus then added that believers should pray earnestly that they might "escape" the Great Tribulation that is coming upon "all those who dwell on the face of the earth" (Luke 21:36).

    I always thought this was directed at the Tribulation Saints and not to the Church. I say that because if you apply it to present-day believers (i.e., the Church) it appears to say that we *may or may not* escape the tribulation (based on our prayers).

    Thank you in advance for your insights.

  • I'd like to know the answer to that as well Laura. I wonder if the fact that some believers do not believe in the rapture prior to the tribulation, and some do, has anything to do with it? Because obviously those of us that believe in it, are certainly praying for the soon return of our Lord to deliver us.
    Probably not, but just thinking out loud.


  • More "out loud" thoughts:
    Junbuggg, if what you're saying is true, then the partial rapture theory would have to be correct. But based on God's character (and my very limited knowledge of that character), I would have to reject the partial rapture theory because it is based on human effort rather than God's promises and power.

    Egocentric man (myself included) has a tendency to try to make Christianity all about man, but it's not; it's all about God! To me, the partial rapture theory falls into this same egocentric category because it makes the rapture conditional based on whether man "says the right prayer."

    To me, this is just like man saying that it's up to him to keep himself saved, work out his salvation, and to live a holy life. All of these are focused on one thing–man's efforts to achieve righteousness (which is filthy rags in God's sight). If there's one thing I'm learning these days, it's this: it's not about me; it's about God and what He has done and is doing!

    So, how do you explain this verse without contradicting the character of God as well as the truths that are the inheritance of the every born-again believer?

  • I'm not Nathan or Dr. Reagan, but I think what Jesus is saying in this verse is that, taken in context, there will be tough times coming to earth before the Tribulation. Paul echoes this in 2 Timothy 3.

    The New Revised Standard Version reads: “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:35-36

    I think what Jesus is doing is telling the pre-trib church that we don't know the day or hour of His return, so don't throw away your salvation by focusing on this life (which many of us, myself included, do on a regular basis) and the garbage it offers. He's telling us to pray through life's problems (the race Paul spoke of) so we can stand before the Bema seat and receive our reward(s).

    I could be wrong, but that's my take on it. I'd still like to know what Nathan and Dr. Reagan think.

  • Thunder ~ I think that is probably correct, and only makes sense, when you look at the big picture.

    How ya doing this evenin'??


  • hello everyone, i'm gonna play devils advocate for a minute. keep in mind i dont believe this but a friend used this argument and i need to counter it so feel free to correct the errors: i thess 4 begins with where are the dead "i dont want you to be ignorant about those who fallen asleep" when it says we shall not preceed them it means they are already there. that is what is meant by the dead in christ shall rise 1st. when it says we will be caught up with them in the clouds the word clouds is the same as "cloud of witnesses" meaning multitudes. then when it says meet the lord in the air the greek word for air is referring to are spiritual bodies. then in 2nd thess, same people same subject, paul is relating our gathering together with him as the day of the lord which will not occur till the false messiah appears thus disproving a pre-trib rapture.

  • Hello Hartdawg! How ya doing tonight?

    I guess if that statement IS true, I better go out an do some more "stocking up". hee hee hee


  • A question for you, Son of Thunder: How can we "throw away our salvation" if Jesus is the One who is holding us (and it)?

    I understand about not giving up and finishing the race, but it appears you're implying we could lose our salvation if we don't endure until the rapture comes. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, so please jump in and straighten me out, okay? 🙂


  • Some hold to the idea that only those anxiously awaiting Jesus' return will be raptured, and base their conclusion on Luke 21:36. But, interpretation of hard scriptures has to be taken in light of other scriptures on the same topic, and overwhelmingly the Rapture is for the whole Church, and not some inner circle of believers (who supporters of this idea call the "true Church.")

    How anxious does one have to be to be part of this so-called "true Church" and therefore be truly saved? See how this position becomes a works-based salvation?

    In context with verse 34, this verse could read… "don't be the unsaved who live sinfully and in fear and who will be caught unaware, but rather be saved and know you'll escape God's wrath."

  • Laura, first off, I'm not 100% on that losing salvation thing. I just advise caution (just in case) :-).

    Secondly, I get this theory (that's what I'm calling it, 'cause I'm not sure) based on two things. 1) The parable of the prodigal son, and 2) Jesus said no one could snatch us from His hand, but He seems silent on our slipping out willingly.

    I know some say you can lose salvation and others say you can't. Personally, I don't know. It just seems to me that that might be what we're being told. Nathan's idea seems just as valid to me.

    I don't believe in a works-based salvation, but I don't believe in a "once-saved-always-saved" that lets us run willy-nilly either.

  • From my perspective Luke 21 needs to be taken in the context of who Jesus was addressing during the Olivet Discourse.

    In verses 1 thru 6, and in verses 37-38, Jesus was talking directly to those alive in front him as well as those who would hear His prophetic words from eyewitnesses, both groups of whom would experience the realtively near-term destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple 37 to 40 years hence between 67 and 70 AD.

    Then, in verse 7 the critical question about actual timing is asked of Him.

    Beginning with verse 8 Jesus switches the timelime to the distant future and the people whom He is addressing are those people alive just prior to and during Daniel's 70th Week. In this Jesus is speaking directly to the Bride of Christ in this day, to the 144,000 Jews representing "all Israel" (Romans 11) who will be saved and to the tribulation saints.

    I believe that in verses 34 thru 36 Jesus is again addressing ourselves as well as those who lives in the roughly 2,000 years before us who will be raised from their "sleep" prior to our harpazo. Jesus is telling one and all to watch ourselves over the course of our lives, to take heed of His Word, to avoid the traps of earthly life, and to pray always and earnestly for His coming for His bride.

    Please notice that in Young's Literal Translation of Luke 21:36 the verse reads "in every season" which I interpret as ALL of the seasons prior to the leaves appearing on fig tree (the re-birth of Israel) and during the season of the fig tree (Israel).

  • they also quote hebrews which says he is appearing for those who are looking for him therefore you dont believe in a pre trib rapture you're not looking so you are not going up. john haagee says that. just a load of bullhonky

  • Mornin' all, I am in a hurry out the door, but logged on real quick because I wanted to read through the posts on this. I can't remember where this verse is, and don't have the time now to look it up. Can't remember, either, the specific wording, but it says something to this effect…..some will be saved, but as one going through the fire??? Help me out here if you know the verse I am refering to.

    Anyway, think this is aluding to those going through the tribulation?

    Hartdawg, is that what Hagee really teaches?? Partial rapture of only those looking for it?? Wow. I have never really listened to him, so I don't know. I wonder if the verse I am referring to has anything to do with Hagee's theory?? Has he ever stated why he believes as he does??

    Well, gotta run for now, see ya'll later ~


  • Very interesting discussion–on many levels.

    Son of Thunder, here are some thoughts about once saved always saved. Just food for thought. And you don't have to agree with me.

    One reason I believe in salvation for keeps is because of what happens to someone who is born again. I thought for most of my life that it went something like this: 1) God calls us, 2) we accept Him by faith, and 3) our sins are forgiven and we're saved from hell.

    However, the Lord has shown me over the last 10 years or so how forgiveness of sins is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, it's not even the main event in salvation. We tend to think that what we REALLY NEED is to believe in God so that our sins are forgiven. Not so. The Bible teaches that our main problem is that we are DEAD to God. Forgiveness of sins is just the clean-up before the main event–which is Christ's life being poured into us.

    In addition to forgiveness of sins, here are just a few of the things that happen when a person is born-again:
    1. the believer's Old Man (sin nature) dies (Rom. 6:3-6)
    2. the believer becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (II Cor. 5:17)
    3) he is made alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5, Col. 2:13); in fact, the believer's life is now the VERY LIFE of Christ (Col. 1:27, Col. 3:3-4)
    4) the believer is placed IN Christ (Rom. 6:11, Rom. 6:23) and Christ is placed IN the believer (Col. 1:27)

    So when I consider all that happens at the moment of salvation, I find that it's impossible to go back to being unsaved. After all, how can you stop being a new creation? Stop having the very LIFE of Christ in you? Stop being in Christ? It's impossible. Those things are irreversible, and, thankfully, they're not dependent on our works or faith or anything else we can do. After all, we didn't make those 4 things above happen in our lives, so how can we make them "un-happen"?

  • And one more thing: Born-again believers do not want to "run willy-nilly" after sin. Oh, we might dive into sin for awhile, but it won't last.

    This is because God has given us a new heart (Jer. 31:33, Ezek. 11:19-20, Ezek. 36:26-27, Heb. 8:10). He has written His Law on the hearts and minds of born-again believers. Therefore, we DON'T WANT TO SIN. We may get entrapped in sins sometimes and may even wallow in it for awhile, but Christians hate every minute of it. We desire to live righteously!

    Don't believe me? Consider your own life: Did you agonize over sins you committed before you came to Christ? Are you saddened by sin in your life now that you're a believer?

    This is why you don't have to worry about true believers "running willy-nilly" after sin. God has reprogrammed us, if you will, to desire righteousness!

    What an amazing God we serve!

  • Laura, I understand what you're saying and I agree.

    This is one of those subjects where I wish I were just a little smarter and had a better understanding. This is also one of those subjects I try to avoid like the Plague. I don't say "I'm right and that's that" on this one, although I know some who do. I read what I can on the subject (on both sides) and have still not formulated an opinion.

  • Apostle Paul does warn us in speaking about himself that if he fails to discipline his body & bring it into subjection he himself would become a castaway. 1C9:27. In 1C:3 he talks about the works we do in Jesus & the fire that will try the works. If they fail to measure up they will be burned but we will go into Eternity with nothing to show in our labors for HIM. To glorify HIM in our daily lives is what HE wants us to do. This is why it is so very important to "Put on the whole Armour of GOD" before we get out of bed in the morning.

  • Kenjyn,

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. If you read 1 Cor. 3:11-15 carefully, you will see that the only work that survives the fire is the work that God does. Anything that man does is wood, hay, and stubble. God ONLY honors what He does (and that includes what He does in and through us–hence, salvation survives the fire because it's God's work). After all, this is the only way it can be because if man's works were honored, MAN would get the glory and not God.

    Furthermore, Jesus could not "cast Paul away" as Paul was in Christ and Christ was in Paul. By the way, that verse in the NAS says Paul did not want to be "disqualified" from the race–so nothing about being cast away.

    But as I've said before, if you believe your salvation is dependent on works, then go right ahead and work work work! But when you finally wear yourself out with all your works, please do come back to Jesus. It is then that you will find He's been holding you securely the entire time!


  • hi laura. whether one can lose his/her salvation depends on whether their salvation has taken root (parable of the sower) one can recieve christ and become a christian then spend the rest of his life warming a pew. for him the danger of falling away is there BUT…BUT if it takes root then the danger is not there. verses like "you have been sealed" and "nothing can snatch you from my hand" show his part and other scriptures show are part

  • Dear Laura, Paul was not writing about Salvation by works. He was writing about WORKS which receives Crowns, Rewards, Losses. One who commits Adultery loses his rewards, but when one truly repents like King David they are restored to fellowship. Hebrew & Greek Scholars tell us the most trustworthy Version is KJV. Original Greek Word is also translated Rejected & Reprobate. When you read the context these are the most accurate translations as well as Castaway in our English language. Some Versions have disapproved in Heb.6:1-8 using thorns & briars in that context.

  • Hartdawg and Kenjyn,

    Shall we agree to disagree? I know that I know that I know that salvation is something that can't be lost because, praise God, it's not up to us to keep it. As Christ said, He will keep those who are His, so whether salvation "takes root" or not isn't the issue. If the person truly accepted Christ, then that person is saved. Period. And notice how we often say "is saved." That's something that is DONE to someone; not something the person DOES!

    Furthermore, saying one can lose his or her salvation contradicts many other verses in the Bible, as well as the character of God.

    As for a believer who commits adultery (or any sin), that sin was dealt with at the cross, and the person was forgiven for ALL his sins then. In fact, the whole world's sins are forgiven, but it's not until the person is born again, that this forgiveness becomes his. So, any sin you commit as a believer is ALREADY forgiven. In God's eyes, it's already dealt with (however, we must deal with making things right with others here on earth, and we often suffer the consequences of sin, of course). Therefore, rewards are not about sins–they're about the times we chose to walk by faith in Christ as opposed to walking after the flesh!

    As for versions of the Bible and accuracy, the NAS is likewise very reliable in its translation.

    In Christ,

  • This is why I try to stay off this topic: too confusing.

    All I know is I'm saved by Messiah's blood and ONLY His blood. No set of rules or religious actions can save me and neither will my working to keep those rules.

    But, can I throw my salvation away? I don't know, but I really hope not.

    Thank God that He is merciful, 'cause I'd be finished any other way.

  • Thunder, no worries okay, too many of us here to pray for ya, if you think you might somehow throw your salvation away. 🙂

    Call on us for prayers, anytime, you feel like you need help. Hope I can count on all of you for the same, if ever in need.

    Your sister in Christ, Buggg

  • Son of Thunder, you're saved by the LIFE of Christ, too–not just His blood! His life is indeed your life, and, in fact, is the only "life" you have.

    When I began commenting about OSAS, I stated that no one need agree with me; I say the same now.

    Definitely praying for you Thunder. I'm praying that God will show you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are His for eternity. For He is merciful (He doesn't give us what we deserve) and He is gracious (He gives us what we could never deserve)! I don't know much about God, but those two things I know!


  • thunder, you shouldnt stay off certain topics just to avoid controvery. these issues force us to dig deeper and i for one thoroughly enjoy discussing, debating (but not arguing or fighting) and learning. reagan did an article on this and it would be very interesting if nathan did a blog on this matter cuz i love seeing what others have to say. laura, i can agree to disagree, the fact is that both sides are not without there questions and both sides leave me unconvinced.-

  • Kenjyn,
    I think all the Churches today, have at least one thing in common, with all of the 7 Churches in Revelation. However, I do see most of the common factors being associated with the last Church listed……Laodicea. And since you brought that up, something I want to ask you guys & gals.

    I sent Nathan an email about this a while back. Here goes…..

    When reading the 7 letters to the 7 Churches one day, something just jumped off the page at me. It had never gotten my attention before. When you read through the 7 letters (NIV), in each letter you find that, at some point, Jesus says..
    (1st. letter) "I will come to you"
    (2nd. letter) "I will give you"
    (3rd. letter) "I will soon come to you"
    (4th. letter) "until I come"
    (5th. letter)"I will come"
    (6th. letter) "I am coming soon"

    …….now, the wording of the next letter is what jumped off the page at me, compared to the wording in the other 6 letters.

    (7th. letter) "Here I am"

    I don't know how many times I have read Revelation, many for sure, but never has this jumped out at me. Since the thinking is that the 7 Churches are supposed to also be the periods of Church history, with Laodicea being the final Church period (ours), I can't help but think this wording is significant.

    What do you you?

  • Guys, thanks for all the support. That's what I love about this forum: We may not always agree, but we are family even though we have never met.

    And, hart, I don't stay away from the subject of OSAS because of controversy, but because to me it's just very confusing. I can talk about nearly every subject in the Book, but this one just throws me. I'm not sure why. But I know where I'm headed (soon, I hope), and I hope they have steak at the Wedding Supper. And I wanna meet all of you, for that matter.

    It's gonna some party.

  • And, Junbuggg, there are many who think that the 7 letters represent 7 different periods during the Church Age, with Laodicea being todays modern, health and wealth version. And I have noticed the "I'm at the door" in that letter.

    If Laodicea represents today modern church, then Jesus' return for his bride can't be too far off.

  • Just caught this older blog and I was reminded of a Google article (FAMOUS RAPTURE WATCHERS) that I recently came by which seems to tie in to Luke 21:36. The same article quotes many well-known Greek scholars on Rev. 3:10, all of whom wrote that it means "preservation through" and not "raptured away from." If this is true, then for consistency sake it seems to mean that Luke 21:36 would also have to mean escaping by being preserved on earth instead of a rapture escape. Since the church of Philadelphia in verse 12 is also told to overcome, and since there will never be anything in heaven to overcome, their escape also seems to be on earth and not a pretribulation rapture escape. Am I wrong? Bill

  • If we stay on this earth Satan can kill us all off, so there will be no one alive of the Bride of Christ to be raptured. Also according to our LORD Sodomists will have no one, nothing to stop them doing what they want to do as they did in S & G. Our LORD will never let HIS Bride go through this. I am 74 years old. Back in January this year 2009 for the first & only time in my life our Heavenly father gave me a vision of these words. Jesus Christ is Coming Soon. As soon as I read the words they disappeared. A generation is "Three score and ten years." So we do not have long to go.

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