plain teaching of Scripture. Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse
(Matthew 24:3-31), outlines the sequence of events in the last
days relative to the church. Verses 3-14 parallel Revelation chapter
6 and depict those events from the beginning of the 70th week
to the rapture. Then, in verses 15-28, He focuses on the middle
time period of that future week (the final 7 years) and emphasizes
two key events: (a) a time of great persecution, and (b) the "cut[ting]
short" of "those days" of persecution for "the
sake of the elect". Finally, in verses 29-31, He highlights
what it is that will "cut short" that persecution, the
rescue of the elect (the rapture).
this same teaching in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians 2:1-12:
(a) the apostasy comes first, (b) the revealing of the man of
lawlessness, (c) the "challenge" to all who will not
bow down to him and worship him "as being God", and
(d) the coming of the Lord to "gather together" believers
6-8, we have the same sequence repeated: (a) the 70th week begins,
(b) the pressure builds [seals 1-3], (c) the midpoint [seals 4-5]
and apex of the persecution (against the "saints") arrives,
(d) the "cut[ting] short" of that persecution with the
same cosmic announcement [seal 6] as Jesus spoke of in Matthew
24:29-31 followed by the rapture of the saints (Revelation 7:9ff).
There is absolutely no teaching either by hint or by direct instruction
that the church will not be present during the 70th week of Daniel.
recipients of the book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:1 we
read: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him
to show to His bond-servants,..." In Revelation 22:6, we
read: "the Lord,... God... sent His angel to show to His
bond-servants..." Eight times in the book of Revelation,
we encounter the reference "bond-servant". This special
term is applicable in the New Testament to the apostle John, Paul,
and Timothy. It is a word that has reference to all true believers
as opposed to "tares", "darnel", or look-alikes.
What does this mean? By writing the book of Revelation to the
bond-servants, Jesus is clearly focusing not on the church in
general, but faithful servants. They are to know what will transpire
during that climactic era of history. Why? Perhaps to avoid unnecessary
exposure to the evil empire of Antichrist. Perhaps to be able
to assist struggling believers who did not prepare themselves
when they should have. Perhaps to be able to effectively serve
the Lord in some capacity with strength during those challenging
days. Only God fully knows.
made to understand that the church in general will, for the most
part, be a compromising body at the time of the end. When Jesus
addresses the seven churches in Revelation, His primary appeal
is a call to repentance. Each of those churches is in one or more
compromising situations and needs to change their spiritual condition
if they are to be overcomers. The clear desire of Christ is that
the individuals in each of those churches be victorious rather
than suffer the consequences. It's the church in general that
will not know what is happening when the end-time events unfold
and in chapter 6:7-11 and chapters 12 and 13, we see that they
pay a high price for their unpreparedness.
use of "saint"(s) in the New Testament. The New
Testament uses the term "saint" some 59 times. Virtually
every reference clearly indicates it means a true believer in
Christ. Link that with the conspicuous absence of any reference
in the major eschatological works of the Bible that supposedly
teach some sort of "revival" during the 70th week of
Daniel. The fact is, the repeated reference of mankind in Revelation
during this time is that they "did not repent" (cf.
Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9,11). When the persecution begins at the midpoint,
that experience won't be the most conducive means of seeing people
come to Christ in great numbers. Who then are these saints? Are
they believers who come to Christ after the beginning of the 70th
week? Yes and no. Certainly it must be acknowledged that there
will be some who come to Christ once the 70th week begins. But
are those potentially trickling numbers worthy of a worldwide
vendetta by Antichrist? Hardly! No, there must be a significant
enough body of "saints" still present when Antichrist
reveals himself to warrant his widespread wrath. The great multitude
in Revelation 7 speaks to that clear reality.
misrepresentation of John being the church. It is said that
the church is not present during the events of Revelation because
in chapter 4:1, John is called to "come up here". John
is said to be a picture of the church, and therefore it (the church)
is in heaven during the days of the 70th week of Daniel. But is
that a valid inference? Nowhere in all of the New Testament is
there warrant to apply the understanding that John represents
the church in Rev. 4:1. The context clearly implies that "John"
refers to... John, and no one else. He is simply given a heavenly
perspective of what is going on behind the visible world and what
will take place during the last days. Nothing else. To say otherwise
is to grasp at straws to try to support a hollow argument.
argument from silence. It is maintained that since the word
"church" isn't used again from 3:22 until 22:6, she
is absent from the events unfolding during that time period. That's
an argument from silence. If we apply that same argument to the
gospel of John, we have to conclude that the gospel of John isn't
for the church because the word church isn't even mentioned in
all of its chapters. Can that be true?