Dear Shan, thank you very much for the encouragement and feedback. It is much appreciated.
Dear Marilyn and Charles,
Thank you for your comments. I have a bit of an unorthodox take on when the Tribulation/70th Week occurs in the book of Revelation. (And since I am the only one that I know that holds this position, it probably means that I am wrong :) I believe that Revelation is basically in chronological order, and I think that everything that precedes Revelation 11 is pre-tribulation. Significantly, it is not until Chapters 11, 12, and 13 that we are given the specific increments of time that coincide with the increments Daniel’s Seventieth Week. (See Daniel 9:27; Daniel 7:25; and Daniel 12:7, 11). Revelation 11:3 states that the ministry of the Two Witnesses will last for 1, 260 days. Revelation 11:2 states that the holy city will be trampled by the Gentiles for 42 months. Revelation 12:6 states that Israel will be cared for 1,260 days, and Revelation 12:14 states that she will be cared for a time, times and half a time. And Revelation 13:5 states that the Beast will reign for a period of 42 months.
Since NONE of these increments of time are mentioned prior to Revelation 11, the absence can support the position that the Tribulation does not start until Chapter 11.
I personally think that the Seal Judgments are already in progress. Clearly, the Sixth Seal has not been opened yet because there has not been a worldwide earthquake; but I think an argument can be made for the opening of the previous seals. For example, before the First Seal is opened there is an unsuccessful search for the Lamb.
“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.” Revelation 5:1-3.
But why will there be an unsuccessful search for the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) when Scripture expressly tells us where He can now be located? He is at the right hand of the Father. See Acts 2:33 and 7:56; and Hebrews 10:12. And the scroll is being held in God’s right hand. So why isn’t Jesus already there to take it?
There is only one applicable time when Christ was not in heaven or on earth or under the earth – and that is during His Ascension. He even looks like He has recently been slain when He makes His initial appearance in the scene.
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.” Revelation 5:6.
I do not think that it is farfetched to believe that we are looking into the past here – at Christ’s arrival to Heaven after the crucifixion.
Furthermore, Matthew 24:4-14 outlines the signs of the end of the age in such a way that it tracks what would be happening on earth if Seals 1 through 5 were already opened. It may be possible, then, that the effects of these seals have been accelerating – like birth pains – since the Ascension of Christ.
I believe that the Sixth Seal is the time of the Rapture. (David Lowe’s Earthquake Resurrection plays a big part in this belief.) Because I do not believe that the Tribulation has started at that time, however, a Sixth Seal Rapture is still a Pre-Trib Rapture for me.
I know that the great majority believe that the Antichrist is the rider on the white horse, but I disagree. It is not until Revelation 11:7 that we see the Antichrist clearly introduced as the Beast and consistently called the Beast from that point on in Revelation. My chronological take on the book gives me the conclusion that the Beast is not revealed as the Beast until the events of Revelation 11.
Furthermore, I think that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are all spirit beings. This is because we see them hundreds of years earlier in Zechariah 1:8-11 and 6:1-8.
I realize that there are a lot of things that happen prior to Revelation 11, but I see no reason why they cannot precede the Tribulation. There is no express verse that states that the Tribulation starts with the opening of the First Seal. I can only reiterate that the increments of Daniel’s Seventieth Week do not show up until Revelation 11. I think that means something.
Marilyn, my main issue with the partial-Rapture theory is that I do not see support for it in Biblical models or patterns. For example, Noah does not swing back for any survivors before the Flood really gets going, no one else is saved from Sodom and Gomorrah once judgment starts, the 5 unprepared virgins are not granted access to the wedding after they get more oil, etc. I do believe in other resurrection events, however – like the 2 Witnesses and the 144,000 Jews. But I limit the Rapture (maybe we differ in semantics?) to the Church and I think that its membership roll is closed (i.e. the fullness of the Gentiles is reached) at that time.
Charles, ironically, my Sixth Seal Rapture matches the placement of your Pre-Wrath-Rapture. We differ, however, as to the timing of the Tribulation. (And note that it is unbelievers who are declaring it to be the day of wrath in Revelation 6:17. I am not sure if you can absolutely rely upon the statements of these unbelievers to prove your case. For me, the events of the Sixth Seal are the consequence of the energy that will be released by the simultaneous resurrection of thousands and thousands. For those still on earth, however, it will undoubtedly feel like God’s wrath.) I don’t expect to convince you of my position. It took me many years to reach it myself; but I am convinced that there is support for it. I think that we will just have to wait and see who is right. And that’s cool.
God bless you all in your studies.
– Lisa Taylor