“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.” Revelation 4:1.
We find it most interesting that the strongest advocates of a literal interpretation of the Bible are the very ones who spiritualize it when it supports their tradition or theology. No place is this more evident than in the book of Revelation.
Their first error is to spiritualize the first three chapters when dealing with the seven churches. We are led to believe that each church represents a specific period in church history. Of course, today we are living in the Laodicea period. In order to do this, they must place the first three chapters in the dispensation of grace and run bring the church to Revelation chapter four. This is done in spite of the fact that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,” Revelation 1:10. There are those who would have us believe this means John was in a state of spiritual ecstasy on Sunday. Neither of these are true to the context of the Revelation.
The Lord’s Day is not Sunday; it is that period of judgment known as the tribulation. All references to it speak of the ominous judgment on Israel and the nations. (See Daniel and Joel). Like Ezekiel, John was caught forward by the Spirit into that coming Lord’s Day. “And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.” Ezekiel 8:3. This event best illustrates what John meant when he said he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. He was on the earth, in the Lord’s Day, when he saw the vision of the first three chapters. Then he was transported, in the vision, to heaven to see things transpiring around the throne in chapter four and five.
The rapture of the church takes place long before Revelation 1:1. Nothing in the book is about the body of Christ, the church of this dispensation. The seven churches are seven Jewish assemblies.
John is not a type of the church. His ascension is not a type of the rapture, and the seven churches are not types of seven church periods. Bullinger believes the seven churches represent seven periods of Old Testament history. So, take your pick. Regardless, there is no rapture of the church in Revelation chapter four.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.