Last year, we studied Revelation in Community Bible Study. I’d never studied the book of Revelation before, so I found it very interesting, and I learned a lot of things that I had never learned just in reading the book.
Recently, one of the Wednesday night classes at our church has been a study of the book of Revelation, and I find that I’ve learned even more, so I wanted to take a few minutes and write a little note about something that I’ve seen this semester that I hadn’t seen before.
When I was studying this book in CBS last year, we didn’t study the rapture in depth because Community Bible Study is a non-denominational Bible study organization, and we tend not to study things that divide us as Christians. Instead, we look to God’s word and focus on the ideas that we can use to build each other up and to draw closer to God.
Having said that, I come from a denomination that teaches a pre-tribulation rapture. Although, I’ve been taught the reasons why and the scriptures that point to a pre-tribulation rapture my entire life, I’m not really sure I’ve ever seen these pictures in the scripture before studying in this class.
This is concerning Revelation 4:1 which says,
After this I looked, and behold, a door was 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.
When teaching on this verse, my teacher mentioned a passage that I have been studying in preparation for teaching in CBS this year. That passage is Matthew 24:37-39. This passage says:
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
So, in this passage, Jesus compares the days of Noah to the coming of the Lord. Here are some of the ways that they are similar in word pictures:
- There was prophetic teaching–We could say that in the timeline of prophecy that corresponds to the church.
- There was a deliverance/rescue of believers in the ark–A picture of the rapture
- There was judgment of unbelievers–the tribulation
Another picture that my teacher mentioned was in Joshua chapter 6. Jericho is not destroyed until Rahab is delivered from the city. I don’t think this is clear in the text, but it does make commonsense that they would take her and her family from the city before they burned it down.
Despite this, I can still see that she actually had to weather the walls tumbling down with the protection of the cord before she was delivered, just as Noah went through the flood, only he was safely in the ark. So, I’m not sure that they would provide clear evidence of a picture in one way or another. I do like the imagery though. Either they were “removed” from judgment or protected from judgment in a beautiful way.
I think a clearer picture of the rapture is the example that my teacher gave from Genesis 19. Lot and his family were delivered from Sodom before the city is destroyed. That is a much clearer picture of deliverance before judgment.
At any rate, I thought that these were interesting references, and I’ve been thinking about them as I’ve thought about the rapture. I admit that I’m still thinking through them.