The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 10-2] (Revelation 10:1-11) Do You Know When the Rapture of the Saints Will Occur?

(Revelation 10:1-11)
 
Let us now turn our attention to the issue of when the rapture will happen. There are many passages in the Bible that are talking about the rapture. The New Testament has many passages that discuss it, and so does the Old Testament, where we can find, for instance, Elijah who ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire, and Enoch who walked with God and was taken away by Him. As can be seen, the Bible speaks of the rapture in many places. Rapture means ‘to lift up.’ It refers to God’s lifting up His people to heaven by His power.
However, what is the most puzzling of the Bible is also this question of rapture. When will God lift up His people? This question on the rapture’s time is one of the most frequently asked questions within Christianity.
Let us turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and see what God has told us through the Apostle Paul: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
In Jude 1:14, God also tells us, “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints.’” The saints, in other words, will be lifted up to the air by our God with the sounding of the archangel’s trumpet, remain in the air for a while, and then descend on earth again with our Lord. This is the biblically sound description of rapture.
The reason why we looked at the above passages beforehand is because Revelation 10 tells us when the rapture will come. As I mentioned before, the core passage of this chapter is found in verse 7, “but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” This verse is the key to answer all our questions and queries about the rapture, for it tells us when the rapture will happen.
God sends a mighty angel to John in vision, and He shows what He will do through this angel by having him act as if the Lord had come to this earth. This angel, raising his hand to heaven, “swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer.” That there should be no more delay means that there is no longer any reason to delay anymore. It means “there is no time.” That there is no time, in turn, means that on the day of the sounding of the seventh angel, the mystery of God will be fulfilled as God declared to His servants the prophets.
Of the plagues of the seven trumpets, when the last trumpet sounds, the world will enter into the plagues of the seven bowls. We must realize that by then, there will no longer be any time remaining for this world. As such, the Word of God in verse 7, that on the day of “the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets,” refers to the time of rapture. Elsewhere, Paul, too, said that the rapture would happen with the voice of an archangel and the sounding of God’s trumpet. This is what Paul had in mind, and this is the starting point for all other references of the Bible to rapture as well.
“But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” This Word tells us that the rapture of the saints will happen when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, lifting them up to the air. When the servants of God spread of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the lost souls, the Holy Spirit actually descended on the hearts of the believers who accepted the true gospel, and they actually became the children of God. It is all the same to us that the rapture, the mystery of God, will also turn into reality, lifting up the saints to the air.
After this, God will completely destroy this world by pouring on it the last plagues of the seven bowls, bring the Kingdom of God on this earth where we will reign with Christ for a thousand years, and then move us to the New Heaven and Earth where we will live forever.
After telling John about the coming rapture, God commanded him to eat the little book and prophesy again. The most important lesson that the servants of God must teach the saints living in these last days is of the event of rapture and its exact time. They should teach these lessons in biblically sound terms. They must also preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit accurately. These are what the servants of God and His saints, who are living through the end times, must do. God has thus entrusted the saints with these works, as well as revealing His mystery to them. God tells us that He will not delay, but fulfill His works without fail. When the time comes, God will fulfill everything into reality.
In chapter 11, there appear two olive trees, that is, two prophets. These two servants of God, symbolized as the two olive trees, will be killed by the Antichrist in their fight against him, but they will be raised from the dead again and be raptured in three and a half days. In other words, God shows us, on different occasions, that that the rapture will happen when the saints are martyred in this time of the Antichrist.
What we must know beforehand is that the saints will live through the Great Tribulation, remaining on this earth until the first six plagues of the seven trumpets’ plagues come to pass. And God will protect the saints from these plagues of the seven trumpets—that is, God will protect them until the sixth plague, but the Antichrist will finally kill them at the height of his tyranny as he makes his last-ditch struggle against God. The death that the saints will embrace at this time is their martyrdom. Because they will die the righteous death to defend their faith, we call this “martyrdom.” We must therefore believe that the rapture will come after this martyrdom, and also preach this faith to others.
Many people have been greatly confused about whether the rapture will happen before or after the Great Tribulation. People in the old days used to think that Christ will return after the Tribulation, and that the saints will be lifted up with this second coming of Jesus. But nowadays, most Christians believe that the rapture will come before the Great Tribulation. They think that they will have nothing to do with the plagues of the seven trumpets or of the seven bowls, and that they will be lifted up when they are going about their everyday, normal, and fine lives. But we must not be deceived by this false teaching. These people are hugely mistaken in their knowledge and understanding of the time of rapture; as the end times get nearer and nearer, their piety will slacken and their faith will disappear.
When I tell you that the rapture will come in the middle of the Great Tribulation, I am not saying this to make you become even more pious. I just want you to have clear understanding on the time of the rapture and flee from the false teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture, for in verse 7 God tells us in detail: “in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” When the plagues of the seven bowls are poured, unlike the preceding plagues of the seven trumpets, they will be poured one after another continuously. We, the saints, must realize this.
Revelation 16:1-2 tells us, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.’ So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” The pouring of the remaining bowls in a row then follows this first plague, as if the plagues are in an auto-pilot mode, with the seven angels emptying their bowls one after another, with no sounding of trumpets nor anything else. By pouring the seven bowls in a row, in other words, God will completely destroy this world. Why? Because everything will end with the pouring of the plagues of the seven bowls, which, together, are all included in the plague of the seventh trumpet.
When the plagues of the seven trumpets are brought, there are at least some pauses between one plague and the next, but with the plagues of the seven bowls, there is no such a pause. Because these plagues of the seven bowls are reserved for the final moment, after the plagues of the seven trumpets are brought in their order, when the last trumpet finally sounds, the world shifts onto a whole new level where everything will end.
This is why Revelation 11:15-18 record: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.’”
It is said here that when the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, loud voices were heard, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” But there is no mention of a plague. Why? Because immediately following the sounding of the seventh trumpet was not the seventh plague, but the rapture. God will resurrect and lift up the saints, both those still living on the earth and those who are already asleep, and when their rapture is over, He will pour the plagues of the seven bowls and completely destroy the world.
If we want to find out when exactly our rapture will happen, we only have to look at the Word of God found in Revelation 10:7. The mystery of God will most certainly be finished at this time, as He declared to His servants the prophets. The mystery of God here refers to the rapture—not of anyone, but of the saints.
Here, I present another passage for your clear understanding and correct faith. Again, the Bible says, “Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).” Doesn’t the Bible clearly say that the resurrection of the saints will occur at the last trumpet? When the trumpet sounds, the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible, and we also shall be changed in a moment to be raptured.
The angel that appears in chapter 10 is a mighty angel sent by God, different from the other angels who sound the first six trumpets. When we look at what this mighty angel does, he appears so much like God that we might even mistake him for God: “And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.”
We might mistake this angel for God, in other words, because this mighty angel executes all the things that Jesus Christ is to do, on His behalf. This tells us that God will do all these things through this mighty angel. It tells us that this angel, setting his foot on the sea and the land, will destroy them both, and that when the thunders come, he will complete everything that God has planned in Jesus Christ since the very beginning of the creation of the universe and the mankind.
Of the plagues of the seven trumpets, we the saints will live through and experience the first six plagues, and we will continue to preach the gospel until then. God told John to take and eat the little book and to prophesy again, but this Word is also directed at you and me—that is, until the final day, we must continue in our faith and live on. As our rapture will come true when the seventh trumpet sounds, we must recognize this truth of our rapture, hold fast to it in faith, and hear the Word and preach the gospel until this day comes.
Up until the seventh trumpet sounds, the Antichrist will be active amidst this plague, the saints will be martyred with it, and they will be raptured shortly thereafter. As such, even in this time, when the faith of many believers in Jesus is shaken to its core and losing its vitality, you and I must still live by faith. We must believe, in other words, that our rapture will come exactly after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and live our lives by this faith.
We will soon see the plagues of the seven trumpets with our own eyes. We will see and count these plagues, from the very first to the sixth, with our own eyes. After this, when we the saints intuitively feel that the time for our martyrdom has come, we will in fact be martyred accordingly. This is neither a fairy tale nor a science-fiction. Nor is it something that you can believe or not at your own whims. This is what will actually happen to you and me.
Revelation 10:7, the verse that shows the rapture most clearly from the Book of Revelation, tells us that the rapture of the saints will come with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and that the world will end with the plagues of the seven bowls. After lifting up the saints, God will bring the whole world to its demise. When all the saints are raptured, they will praise the Lord in the air. But on this earth, the plagues of the seven bowls will be poured, completely destroying the world, and when these plagues of the seven bowls end, the saints will descend on the renewed earth with the Lord. And the Millennial Kingdom, the Kingdom of Christ, will then be built on this earth.
Today’s Christians mostly support the pre-tribulation rapture, and nowadays some of them have gone as far as to advocate even amillennialism—that is, that there is no such thing as the Millennial Kingdom. Is the Millennial Kingdom not a reality then? There are many who believe so in these days. Some of them, who minister in some of the biggest churches in Korea, even declare that everything in Revelation, from the mark of 666 to the rapture, is not factual but only symbolic. As our Lord once asked, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” it surely is very hard to find true believers in these end times.
But the Lord tells us that our rapture will indeed happen as reality. When we are raptured, we will meet the Lord in the air and praise Him, be taken care of and comforted by Him, and return to this earth again with Him. Coming down to the Millennial Kingdom, we will live new lives in our resurrected and transformed bodies, in the midst of everything that is renewed, from our changed lives to the changed blessings. We will live in such glory clothed by God. You and I must live with this faith and this hope. And when the Millennial Kingdom is over, we will enter the New Heaven and Earth, and reign with Christ forever in eternal honor and glory.
When we enter the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth, all the angels will be our servants. To whom will all spiritual beings, the whole world created by God and Jesus Christ, and everything in it belong? They will all be ours. This is why the Bible says that the ones who will inherit all things are the saints. Because you and I are the saints who were born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we are the heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, to whom all things will be inherited. As such, you and I must overcome the hardships on this earth by faith, and persevere by looking at the day of our inheritance. We must also have the battling faith as the elite troops of God.
God has told us that all these things will soon be fulfilled without any delay. They will, in other words, most certainly be fulfilled shortly. Some may then wonder why God did not tell us about it in more detail. The answer to this question is that hiding the works of God is His wisdom (Proverbs 25:2, Luke 10:21).
Were God’s plan written down in detail, it would be a cause for much agitation in this world. The saints will then not be able to live until the last day. Almost all the saints will be killed by the unbelievers, and not a single saint will survive. If every detail about the end times is written in the Bible, those who are not born again by the water and the Spirit will slaughter all the born-again believers. Having hidden His purposes, God reveals them to only those who deserve, and otherwise keeps them as mysteries from the rest—this is the wisdom of God. God has revealed His plan to us and allowed us to know it, only because it is so necessary to the saints of this era.
That the born-again churches of God are now speaking of the end times in detail means that the last days are nearing us. Because the era of the Tribulation is imminent, the Word of Revelation is preached so that the saints would have the proper knowledge of the end times to persevere through and overcome this nearing Tribulation. Even the born-again, if they face the Tribulation without any knowledge, will not know what to do and be thrown into great confusion when the Tribulation actually arrives. This confusion will be even greater for those who rely only on their own individual faith.
We can imagine that many unprepared souls, in their ignorance and confusion, will start to go off on the wrong track when the end time comes. “Did God tell you something?” “Didn’t He show you a vision when you were praying?” Many will be agitated to seek visions from God, and many will claim to have seen such visions in the end times. “Didn’t God tell you something when you were praying?” If the saints remain ignorant, this will be quite a common question raised among the saints of the end times.
But God never works in such a way, for He has already commanded us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The saint, in other words, must hear only what the Holy Spirit says through the churches. Because the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing the Word of God, testifies only what is true and correct, when the plagues ringing the end of the world come, we the saints will not be caught by surprise from the following tribulations, but live by faith—for by then we would have already heard the Word of truth and carved it into our hearts in faith beforehand.
This is why John revealed to us what will happen in the future beforehand, and why the servants of God preach the truth within the bounds of this written Word. Prophesying is none other than knowing and preaching what will come from the written Word of God; claiming to have seen visions in dreams or prayers is not!
Never forget that our rapture will indeed come, and that we are the saints of God. Nor forget that you have now become a saint, who will be with Christ in the air when your rapture comes, who will come down onto the renewed earth again to live for a thousand years, and who will live forever in the New Heaven and Earth. If you hear people talking about pre-tribulation rapture or post-tribulation rapture, or claiming that there is no Millennial Kingdom at all, tell them the truth by referring to the passage that we have been discussing here. You should also refer them to 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15, and tell them that the Lord will descend with the voice of an archangel and the sounding of the last trumpet, and lift up the saints to the air to be with Him. Only when you believe in this rapture can you defend your faith.
To be raptured, there must be martyrdom by faith and the resurrection of the body. Because the rapture will come simultaneous to the resurrection, as soon as we are resurrected, we will be raptured and lifted up to the air. The rapture and the resurrection, therefore, are the same. Taking part in the first resurrection means to live with the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom. Being raptured, too, means to live with the Lord for a thousand years on this earth.
Why, then, will we be raptured? Because God will destroy everything on this earth by pouring the plagues of the seven bowls—that is, He will rapture the saints beforehand in order to deliver His children from these plagues of termination. To separate the saints from the sinners, and to show their different destinations, He will rapture the saints. As such, we must believe in all these things—in our rapture, in our resurrection, and in our martyrdom.
To some, the gospel of the water and the Spirit is revealed in detail, while to others, it remains as a completely hidden secret. Likewise, the saints’ martyrdom, resurrection, rapture, and their reign over the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth are all God’s secrets. Only to the born-again has God revealed and shown these secrets. And by making them believe in these secrets He has enabled them to live through the end times and overcome all their hardships with their hope in the rapture and the Kingdom of Heaven.
You and I must have this kind of faith. Without this kind of faith—that is, without believing that we will be raptured, that we will live in the New Heaven and Earth, that the Lord will raise us from the dead when we are slaughtered by the Antichrist, rapture us, allow us to dwell in the air, and then return us to this earth to reign with Him for a thousand years—we will not be able to persevere through the difficult and depressing life of this last era.
The saints have a beautiful dream, and no one else but our Lord can make this dream come true. Without this hope, we will live only in sadness and suffering in this depressing world.
Paul told Timothy to keep the beautiful thing that was entrusted to him. This gospel is beautiful; so are our martyrdom, resurrection and rapture; and so is living in the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth. These are all good and beautiful things. They belong only to the saints, and they are all realizable faith and hope, not illusions or imaginations. These are our hope and faith given by the Lord. With faith in all these, we must live this era hoping for the day when the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth will be brought to us.
Those who will be raptured are none other than you and I. We must live by faith, waiting for the day when we will be raptured to stand before the Lord and reign in the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth.
God tells us that the One who is to come will soon come. The plagues that will come during the first half of the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation are quite mild and short-lasting. Were the plagues to continue throughout the seven years of the Great Tribulation, how could anyone stand them? The early plagues are short, and as time gets nearer to the final end, there will be far more to see. When the plague of the seventh trumpet comes, it will reach a spectacular proportion.
When Satan tries to shake the saints’ faith, he will make examples out of a few church leaders by murdering them. Satan might say, “I’ll spare your life if you deny God!” Even if the world were to turn better, one would still think twice about Satan’s offer. Who in his right mind, then, would deny the Lord when he knows very well that the Lord would pour down the plagues of the seven bowls, and that he would go through all the sufferings brought by these plagues? The saints who know the end of the world neither deny the Lord nor betray their faith. Also, because in our hearts is the Holy Spirit, He will give us the courage.
Because all God’s plans will be quickly fulfilled in the end times, there will be no room for boredom. When the short-lasting plagues are over, there will be the resurrection, and after this will come the rapture, which will lift us up to the air. Imagine our bodies of the flesh transformed into spiritual bodies, praising the Lord. In the Kingdom of God, we can enjoy a whole different world, beautiful and elegant, the likes of which we have never experienced before on this earth. As spiritual bodies are free from the limitations of time and space, we would live in a wondrous and marvelous world where we can go anywhere we want.
I give my true thanks to God for giving us such great blessings. I thank God for revealing to us in detail, through His Word, the Great Tribulation, its plagues, our martyrdom, resurrection and rapture. And I pray that our hearts will always live by knowing this last era and believing in it.