Eschatology Today launched in 2001 with the intent of giving the church the knowledge of inductive Bible Study to find the literally revealed truth of Bible prophecy in Scripture. Allegorical cut and paste views intended to substantiate a favored Rapture position are all too common. Our currently published, “The Truth About the Rapture”, and regularly published front page articles on The Rapture (pre-, mid-, pos-trib, linked at the bottom of this article) are based on the the scholarly art and science of literal biblical interpretation, or hermeneutics. Where the Word of God Is Bound, So Are We, Where It’s Not, We Are Free is the basic rule of the study discipline. Hermeneutics and biblical theology were the two greatest take-aways in my Theology B.A. Based on this solid foundation, the most important point in each of these articles is, to STUDY God’s Word for yourself. The Rapture is the most sought after subject in eschatology (the study [ology] of last [eschaton] things). Our “About Us” section examines the need to stay away from the “prophecy parrot” approach to intelligently defend the Scripture’s revelation of things to come. Only the Bible contains such revelation, setting it apart from other “religious” works that are written by man, not the Holy Spirit. If you’re a pretribber, you should be able to defend your position with the whole counsel of Scripture. The same is true of the mid and posttrib positions. If you believe the trumpet in Revelation 4:1,2 is Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15:52 “last trumpet” that will bring about the mystery “change” (15:51 Gk: allaso) revealed only in Paul’s Corinthian passage of Scripture, defend it. Because of the tremendous mystery surrounding most of eschatology, it is possible that trumpet is a last trumpet which may be connected with Jehovah’s annual October Feast of Trumpets that we have no other revelation to substantiate. I doubt it, but I’ve been at this long enough to understand even with “my Last Trumpet” Rapture eschatology based on Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, and John’s Revelation 10:7 voice of the seventh angel, there could be more to the event than is revealed in text.
When the Spirit says in Revelation 10:7…in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets, I key word connect that word, Mystery (GK: Musterion), with Paul’s 1 Corinthian 15:51 Musterion. Their resurrection/rapture following 3.5 days of lying dead in the streets is another key word connection. The time frame possibly types the first half of Daniel’s 70 weeks with 3.5 years that will culminate with the Rapture and Bema Seat of judgment/rewards for the saints (Revelation 11:15-19). Once the church is gone the bowls start pouring and the Great Tribulation in Revelation 13 begins. I am hermeneutically confident in my view, basing my Midtext Pretrib position on these key word and event assessments. Nevertheless, now 28 years into the serious study of eschatology, I understand I could be wrong. The angel’s seven peals of thunder heard in Revelation 10 that John was commanded to strike from his record shows the mysterious nature of God’s last-days revelation, leaving me vulnerable to unknown revelation God chose to withhold from the church.
“Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”
1 I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire;
2 and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land;
3 and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.
4 When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”
5 Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven,
6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer,
7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.
Whatever the angel revealed, Jesus didn’t want the church to know. I remember in 1988 when a NASA scientist convinced much of the church the Rapture would take place in September, many charged up their credit cards thinking they would be raptured with no accountability to pay them back. You figure it out. When the Last Revelation Trumpet blows (you will only find a sequence of trumpets that you can identify a last trumpet with in the Book of Revelation), the Ark of the Covenant appears in heaven with lightening, thunder, and an earthquake. What’s that all about? Though the New Testament antedates its purpose, it could be a message of then entering into God’s presence. The time for judgment of the dead and the reward of God’s bondservants, prophets, and saints occurs at that time with “God’s reign”. As is true that the Book of Hebrew’s revelation is essential to understand the Old Testament Hebrew sacrifices: Paul’s Rapture/Ressurrection eschatology in Thessalonians and Corinthians are essential to understanding John’s Revelation. Yet, today, we look through a glass darkly. Then, when we will see and know Him, face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). As is true of Bible study in general, as we look to Jesus’ return and study the prophetic Scriptures, His presence empowers us to know Him better in the NOW, and opens our minds and spirits to discern His return. Squabbling over a rapture position defeats the reason for John’s revelation in Revelation 1:3: Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. Knowing that Jesus will one day return (Rev 1:7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be) should inspire a consecration in our lives. Jesus’ parable of the minas (Luke 19:11-27) promising age to come rule is a weighty revelation, and a powerful reason to be ready for His return – whenever that might be. The church has been waiting for it since Jesus was raptured off Bethany (Acts 1:6-11). It’s easy to get caught up in the weeds and arguments of a rapture position. So keep studying with us! Know what you believe, get out of the position-slamming business, and continue with all of us getting ready for His return. Maranatha!
Mark Norris, Eschatology Today Publisher, MA