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.”
“After this I looked,”
This is after the seven churches, after the church age.
How many people do you hear say on the internet ‘after the tribulation is the rapture’? No, look at this, after the church age, there’s a rapture. That means it’s pre-tribulation. Pre-tribulation means before the tribulation there is a rapture.
“and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:”
After John experiences the whole church age, he sees a door opened up in heaven in this pre-tribulation rapture.
Why is there an open door? Because you Laodiceans kept the door closed all that time. If you’re saved in Jesus Christ, God is going to force that door open one day and say ‘Come up hither’. It doesn’t matter if you say ‘No, I want to stay in the world a little longer. I want to enjoy my life’ but you’ve closed the door on Jesus long enough. Jesus is about to open the door and He’s going to put His foot on, kick in and say ‘Come up hither. You’re coming home with me’.
“and the first voice”
Why does he say ‘first voice’? Because there are going to be different voices later on throughout the book of Revelation. This is the start. What begins the end time era is that you’re going to hear this first voice right here.
“which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;”
Notice that it’s not a trumpet instrument itself. It’s a trumpet voice. What’s a sound that a trumpet makes? It’s trump.
You’re going to see trumpets in the tribulation, and it’s going to be sounded by an angel. In verse 1, it’s the trump of God.
Angels take the trumpets and sound it off. God is going to use His trumpet voice and speak to them. That’s the distinction between the trumpets in the tribulation and right here at the pre-tribulation.
We know here that it’s not a trumpet instrument. This is a trumpet voice here.
“which said, Come up hither,”
The trumpet voice is going to speak, Come up hither. What does ‘Come up hither’ mean? This means a rapture. This is your evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture.
‘What do you mean? I don’t see a pre-tribulation rapture here’.
You’re not paying attention. One, if you continue reading, you’re going to notice that John goes up to heaven. But a second one is in Revelation 11.
Revelation 11:12 “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”
These particular individuals got raptured up to heaven. The verse doesn’t have to say rapture, it said ‘ascended up to heaven’. That is your rapture there, they went up to heaven. If that’s not a rapture then what do you want to call it?
“and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
God’s going to show John what’s going to happen in the future in the tribulation.
Revelation 4:2 “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
“And immediately I was in the spirit:”
This rapture is an immediate transaction. This is why we believe that the pre-tribulation rapture for Christians will be immediate. When God speaks out, it’s not like there’s some transition of time where you go through some kind of transformation. No, when God says ‘Come up hither’, He means what He means. Up we go.
So, immediately John himself was transformed into a spiritual state.
“and, behold, a throne was set in heaven,”
John sees a throne up in heaven.
“and one sat on the throne.”
He sees someone sitting on the throne up in heaven.
Let’s cover the critic’s argument now. There’s a group called post-tribulation. Post-tribulation means after the tribulation. These people do not believe in a rapture, they believe the church will go through the tribulation.
But the church does not go through the tribulation, the church goes up before the tribulation. Evidence was Revelation 4:1-2. There’s a rapture before the tribulation is unleashed. John says after he looked at the church age, he experienced the church going up.
Post-tribulation people either do not believe in a rapture or they do believe in a rapture but that it will be sometime in the middle or after the tribulation. The point with post-tribulation is that the church will go through the tribulation either way.
Why we are pre-tribulation is because we do not believe the church has any part in the tribulation, we go before the tribulation starts off.
The critic’s argument is that verse 1 and 2 is talking about just John, it’s not talking about the church. That’s how they will argue.
That’s pretty fair but here’s the thing, how do you not know that John is experiencing the rapture of the church? Why would that make sense? Because in chapters 2 and 3, John is experiencing the churches there. John is in a world where he’s experiencing with the church, so we have to open up the possibility that John is experiencing the rapture with the church.
Secondly, scripture with scripture. Here we saw a door opened in heaven, a trumpet voice and then immediately you go up and you’re in the spirit. Let’s look at the Christian rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Rapture is a Latin word, from ‘raptor’, it means to snatch, caught. The verse says caught up together. There you go, there’s rapture. Notice right here that there is a rapture but how do we know this is before the tribulation?
So far we know that Revelation 4:1-2 is about John, right? Let’s see about the Christian church here.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
Didn’t John experience a trump sound? He also hears a voice here, a shout from God. So we see right here there is no doubt John is sharing that same experience when Christians are experiencing the rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4.
1 Corinthians 15:44 “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
We’re going to resurrect into a spiritual body. Remember, John was in the spirit immediately. Notice that we’re transformed spiritually, but how quickly?
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.”
How fast? In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. That’s what John experienced right there. If you want more proof, it says right here ‘at the last trump’ it’s a sound a trumpet makes. ‘for the trumpet shall sound’: indicates it’s a trumpet voice of God, not just an ordinary trumpet instrument. There’s a transformation here, there’s no doubt that’s what John is experiencing.
Look back at Revelation 4:1, there’s a door up in heaven where we can hear the voice and enter.
John 10:1-3 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”
We know that the shepherd is Jesus, so Jesus has the right to go in and out of this door where God is up in heaven.
In verse 3, the porter opens that door, so Jesus can come in because He has access. It’s very interesting when you study the word ‘porter’ in the Bible, you’re going to find out that it has to do with some kind of rapture calling and people entering God’s kingdom. So there’s no doubt that this is something like a rapture.
The sheep is us.
Remember His voice, the trumpet talking. You’re getting out of this earth so that you can enter God’s throne up in heaven. When He calls you, He calls you by name. We know that He’s going to say ‘Come up hither’ but here’s something important to understand, He’s going to address your name. Why is that? Think about all the previous resurrections in the Bible.
When Jesus Christ resurrected Jairus’s daughter, He didn’t say ‘Rise’. If He said ‘Rise’ then all the dead would be resurrected. He said ‘Tabitha’, He was addressing that girl saying arise. Think about when Jesus resurrected Lazarus, He didn’t say come forth. Then all the tombs would be the night of the dead. Jesus said ‘Lazarus’, He called his name and ‘come forth’. That’s why there’s no doubt when He resurrects you and gets you up in heaven, He’s going to add your name.
John 12:28-29 “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.”
Remember in John 10, the sheep know His voice and hear His voice. But those who are not His sheep, the other people, the strangers that Jesus warned at John 10, do not’t recognize the voice of the shepherd.
To them, they’re going to think this is some kind of alien language that’s speaking or some outer space people. They’re going to use their technology and start to translate and find out what’s going on. That’s why they will come up with the argument that “aliens stole all these people at the rapture.”