Notice that there’s a slight contradiction here at Revelation 4:1, John says:

Revelation 4:1: “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.”

Notice that it says here that this trumpet voice is known as the first voice.

1 Corinthians 15:52: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Notice that Paul writes here “in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:“. So what’s going on here? John says it’s the first, but to us, it’s the last. To the church, this is our final calling, we’re done. Throughout the church age, God has spoken to His people through vision, direct communication through prophets at the early age of the apostles and Jesus Christ. Then He transformed it into His precious word after that. The last time He’s going to call us is “Come up hither.”

But John, at Revelation 4:1, that’s the beginning for Him, that’s the first voice. Why? “I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” That’s the first of a series of the end times where God will give out several voices.

Revelation 4:2: “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”

When he was in the spirit, what time period was it? Look at Revelation 1:10:

Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”

That’s the tribulation timeline. Remember here, John is in the spirit on the Lord’s day, the tribulation, but behind him (before the tribulation), he hears that voice calling.

Isn’t prophecy amazing? When you talk about the revelation of God, and that’s no coincidence that the title of the book is Revelation. When you’re in a revelation experience, you see double applications, different timelines, everything is happening at once because you’re experiencing God’s point of view. God’s point of view is not bound by time, He is past, present and future all at once, “I am that I am.”

Here’s another interesting thing:

Revelation 4:2: “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”

Notice that John is experiencing the spirit but this spirit is no longer on the earth, he’s up in heaven. 

Revelation 3:22 :“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Revelation 1:20: “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

The seven spirits of God were speaking to the seven churches, and the Holy Spirit was down on earth. Doesn’t it make sense that in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came down upon the church and the church is down here on earth. But all of a sudden before the tribulation you’re up there in heaven. Isn’t this a pre-tribulation rapture at the first two verses of Revelation 4?

If you don’t think there’s a pre-tribulation rapture at the first two verses of Revelation 4, you weren’t reading and studying your Bible. This is more than convincing proof that there is a pre-tribulation rapture going on.

Revelation 4:3: “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”

And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone:”

The one who’s sitting on the throne was to look upon as jasper and sardine stone. So there are two different minerals that God looks like.

and there was a rainbow round about the throne,”

Not only that, there’s a rainbow around the throne of God.

in sight like unto an emerald.”

So everything looks like emerald in totality with all of that.

Revelation 4:4: “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”

Notice that there are 24 elders around the throne, sitting there down with Jesus. They got white raiment on, and they have crowns of gold on their head.

Remember Revelation 2 and 3, for example:

Revelation 3:11 :“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

The church has a crown.

Revelation 3:21: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

They’re sitting where the throne, the Father, is. These are Christians up in heaven. There is no doubt John experienced a rapture where the Christians are, and he sees the Christians up there.

If that’s not enough proof of pre-tribulation rapture, how do we know that these are the 24 elders raptured up in heaven? Look at Revelation 5:8-9.

Revelation 5:8-9 :“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”

What did the 24 elders say? That’s verse 9. Christians are saved by Jesus’s blood, but look at the number: “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” That’s not just 24, this is a lot of people washed in the blood of the Lamb. These are Christians.

Now, the interesting question then is why is there 24? The first thing is this: read the word as it says. It says ’24 elders’. What does ‘elder’ mean? Remember in Revelations 2 and 3, God was not speaking to the people, even though He was. But that’s not what it says, He was speaking to the angel of the church. Angel meant a representative of the whole church. So Jesus was speaking to everyone in the church through that representative, the angel. If He did that at chapter 2 and 3, why not chapter 4? If you read every verse in your Bible about ‘elders’, these guys are representatives of their tribes, their groups. They are ambassadors.

When you look up the word 24 in the Bible, you’re going to find out that it means representatives of their group.

Then the question is this: who are these 24 representatives of the whole Christian group here? This is only a theory, but what we believe is this. These could be referring to the two groups of people that Satan has always attacked and hated: 12 tribes of Israel (literal, physical Jews) and the 12 apostles of church. What do apostles and tribes mean? Representatives of their whole group. So you see the church and Israel here. Why? Because when Jesus Christ died on the cross, even though the Old Testament system is different from the New Testament system, ultimately the Old Testament saints finally had access to heaven by Jesus Christ’s blood. The Christian church, when we received Christ by faith through His blood, we immediately had access to heaven. That’s why both groups are counted here.

Revelation 21:10: “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,”

Notice that he prepares this New Jerusalem, but notice who the names are mentioned over here.

Revelation 21:12: “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:”

Remember Revelations 2 and 3, ‘I will give you a new name’: that applies to two groups: the church and the tribulation Jews.

So here we have the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel.

Revelation 21:14: “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Here, we have the names of the 12 apostles. That’s the church.

Remember that these 24 elders said that they’re going to reign and rule, and Revelations 2 and 3 talk about the context of overcoming. 

Overcoming for Christians is by faith, 1 John 5. For tribulation saints, it’s by keeping the commandments and faith, Revelation 14, 21, and 22.

We see right here that with these 24 elders, we have Jews and the Christian church, and we’re all the way up in heaven seeing the tribulation unfold.

The two programs that prove dispensationalism that God always used are always the Jews, the nation of Israel, and the church. Those are the two programs, undoubtedly, that you see throughout the entire Bible.