Hi John -
Love the website -for posting - my slightly out-of-the-box theory of tribulation:
Welcome to the Doves, Muriel!
Most prophecy books I have read state there will be one rapture. I seem to remember Ray Brubaker of God’s News Behind the News preached a rapture of only those who are ready. I watched a Mike Hoggard sermon recently where he reviewed prophecy with fresh eyes and heart, putting away preconceived ideas. That got me thinking outside the box also.
Why I think there might be more than one rapture:
Jesus’ letters to the churches; He comes for watchers/overcomers at the first rapture.
See Luke 21:34-36 about the importance of watching.
Rapture of those who are saved and ready: Rev 4:1 (mostly Philadelphia, with some from Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea)
Martyrdom of believers (seal #5), who are then given white robes
(Sounds like Laodicea, because they were naked)
Rapture of those who had to wash their garments:
(Sounds like Sardis, because they had defiled garments)
Note that in the letter to Thyatira, Jesus seems to only hold out hope to the few who are already saved.
I'm beginning to think one of the purposes of the seals, which are opened by Jesus as opposed to the trumpets and bowls, which the angels handle, is to purify His bride.
I think after the rapture of the watchers in Rev 4:1, the preparation for the 70th week will go into high gear. The rapture of the wearers of the washed robes ends the Church age. The 70th week will start after the washed robers are raptured and the 144,000 are sealed. The 144,000 will convert the tribulation saints, who will face the wrath of the Antichrist.
Many years ago I read a book where the author mentioned that since Jesus said the days would be shortened, and the day count could not be shortened, the trumpet judgements (see the ones about the night and the day), the days themselves would be shortened by one third.
I have a possible time line: (of course I do not know the dates/years; this is just speculation)
Rapture of the prepared
Sealing of the 144,000
Rapture of the washed robers - end of church age
seven year treaty signed
7 trumpet judgements; 4th shorten days by 1/3 - 1260 days
great period of evangelization during the trumpet judgements, courtesy of the 144,000
temple is built during this period, Daniel 8:13-14, 26 (2300 days between resumption of sacrifices and cleansing by Jesus during the millennium)
Midpoint events - Antichrist sits on the throne in the temple; 144,000 raptured; there might be a gap in the middle of the 70th week.
The bride is declared ready in Rev 19:7-8 after the bowl judgements. So I'm thinking the martyrs from seal #5 and the washed robers could be part of the bride of Christ.