1 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. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:1-11 (KJV)
This is the “things which must be hereafter.” Surprisingly, preterists ignore this verse – well, and many other which don’t fit their preconcieved notions. I pretty much guarantee that for many of them, their beliefs will be right. They won’t experience the Rapture, because I believe most preterists deny the Bible to such a great extent, I have to seriously question their salvation.
How do we know that this chapter starts the future verses? What’s the first two words of chapter 4? “After this…” And what does the loud voice proclaim? “I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
John Macarthur teaches that this verse is not the Rapture. I don’t know when he places the Rapture, but (and here’s the sentence that will infuriate many Macaruthurites…) MacArthur is wrong. Very wrong. This verse IS the Rapture. John is raptured into heaven, is he not? The voice says “come up hither” and a door is opened in heaven. And John is Raptured. He remains in heaven until the Second coming. Wow, just like the Christians!!! Can I dare say this means John is the type of the Christian believer?
John begins describing what he sees in heaven, which is so alien to him, that his words almost leave you confused. “Huh?
Who are the twenty four elders? They are representatives of the new priesthood. The old priesthood was Levitical, under the Law. There were 24 courses of Levitical priests, according to Tim Laheye, and that fits with this. Whether these twentty four were permanently appointed, or whether believers in heaven take turns, we don’t know. I think it’s the latter, but at this time… we just don’t know.
Theres a lot in this chapter, but it shows this, that there are things we do not and cannot at this time understand. We’re going to learn a LOT when we get to heaven, because I just about guarantee there’s something to all the symbols we see in this chapter. And I about guarantee everything is deliberate.
This chapter ties us to the Rapture, so how does the Rapture work? I’m not going to give you scientific principles, because I just about guarantee that if the Lord is not suspending physical laws to make the rapture happen, then it’s something we don’t know about. I’m sure some of the scientists who’ve found Christ and are in heaven have figured out amazing things by now. But nobody on earth will understand it at this time.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV)
That’s the “come up hither” part. There’s some debate about – how long between the time we hear the call, the dead rise first, and we who are alive and remain should join them in the air?
My seminary actually suggests that it;s very possible that it’s a period of time, a few minutes, maybe as much as a couple hours! After all, they point out, why a 1/100 second delay between the dead in Christ rising, and then we who are alive? That’s such a fantastically small amount of time, it’s almost meaningless.
I can’t argue with their logic. We may have just enough time to bang on someone’s door, hand them a letter and a Bible and a quick, “don’t have time, I’m about to be caught up into heaven, this is your LAST CHANCE to get saved before the Rapture!!!” Swoooop!!!!
Or they might be wrong, and it’s a .oo1 second interval between them. Any way you slice it, you should have letters written, and survival guides printed out. And maybe all this prepping madness that Christians are doing is a divine command… but not for us. For those that will get saved immediately after the Rapture, and will be scrounging as quickly as possible to gather weapons, food, water. and survival items.
Be ready. It might not help you, but it could be the difference between death and life for someone else.