By Pastor F. M. Riley
December 28, 2013
“My son, if thou wilt receive My words, and hide My commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
Throughout my nearly 60 years in the Lord’s ministry I have repeatedly and consistently emphasized in all of my teaching, preaching, and Bible studies the need for God’s people to carefully study the Word, receive it at face value for what it actually and literally says and teaches, and “rightly divide the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15. Many things are involved in such study, such as the actual statements made, the wording of those statements, the literal meaning of the words, the past, present, or future tenses set forth in the statements, the immediate context in which the statements are made, and the larger context in which the book or chapter itself is placed, who was speaking and their position, and to whom they were speaking and their position, the subject matter, and the genders and tenses in the Hebrew and Greek texts from which the English Bible was translated, etc. Sadly, many simply do not make the effort to engage in such intense study of the inspired Word of God, and it shows in the churches and the ranks of Christianity today.
In spite of such intense study, we believers may still overlook or miss something. God’s Word is inexhaustible. This is why one may read a passage and receive a truth from it, then later read the same passage again and receive other or different truths from it. What a wonderful living book of holy instruction is God’s precious Word, John 6:63. Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
This study will emphasize a truth that is glaringly obvious, yet I [and perhaps others] just totally overlooked it. I do not speak for anyone other than myself here. Perhaps in my intense longing for the coming of the Lord to take His New Covenant people “home” to glory, my longing for His coming caused me to overlook this simple truth so glaringly set forth in the Scriptures. Regardless of the reason for it, I am grateful that the Spirit of the Lord called it to my attention. Now I want to share it with our readers, and hopefully it will encourage those true believers who have been so diligently “watching,” to continue to faithfully “watch” and “love His appearing,” Titus 2:11-15.
The layout of the Book of Revelation
In Revelation 1:19, the Lord God explicitly told John to “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”
In this inspired Scripture the Lord God Himself divided the Book of Revelation into three divisions; past, present, and future. It is the ignoring of these three inspired divisions that cause so many who fancy themselves to be “prophecy teachers” to make such a mess out of their “interpretations” of the book of Revelation. One cannot totally ignore these divisions set in place by the Lord God Himself and ever expect to “rightly divide” this final book of prophecy [Revelation 1:3]. It cannot be done!
It is glaringly obvious that in the first chapter of Revelation, John wrote about those things which
he had personally been an eye witness to; “the things which thou hast seen.”
It is just as obvious that in chapters two and three of Revelation, John wrote about “the things which are;” the church age which had begun at that time and which continues right to this present day and hour.
Then beginning in chapter four of Revelation, John wrote about “the things which shall be hereafter;” that is, the things which come “after” the church age has been concluded. This begins in chapter four and continues right on through chapter twenty-two. And this introduces the problem…..
The overlooked “After”
I, and many other serious students of Bible prophecy, have always taught a Pre-tribulation resurrection and rapture for New Covenant believers. No apology is made to anyone for having done so. I have personally written several Bible studies setting forth Scriptural proof of the Pre-tribulation rapture, and not a one of these “rapture deniers” has ever even attempted to take the Scriptures and refute my studies. Not one! Even as I write this study today, I continue to believe and teach that the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers will precede the terrible judgments poured out upon humanity during the swiftly approaching seven year Tribulation period.
Dear readers, the Lord’s true churches are the espoused “bride of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Acts 20:28. The Lord’s true church is set forth in the Parable of the Kingdom as “the pearl of great price,” Matthew 13:45-46. As I pointed out in my study, You cannot Burn a Pearl,” there is no way that the Lord’s church can come under the judgments to be poured out upon Christ rejecting humanity during the Tribulation. These judgments would totally destroy the Lord’s church, and there is no way that the Lord God is going to allow that to happen! PERIOD!
It is then highly significant, and should never have been overlooked or ignored, that in the Book of Revelation the “church age” ends with Revelation 3:22. However, there is not a word said in the final letter to the church at Laodicea about the resurrection and rapture occurring. Check it out yourself!
However, immediately following the end of the letter to the church at Laodicea, the very next Scripture in God’s Word begins with “After this,” or as it is actually worded in the Greek text, “After these things….” After what things? The things that occurred during the church age; particularly during the Laodicean church period. So what does John actually say happens “after these things?”
In 4:1 John records that he beheld “a door having been opened in Heaven” [compare 3:7-8] and the Lord speaking to him with the voice of “a trumpet” [compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52], commanding him to “Come up hither.” That this is a vivid type of the rapture of God’s people should be glaringly obvious to any true believer.
Folks, carefully notice that the placement of this event in the inspired Scripture is “after” the church age has ended, but BEFORE the Seal Judgments of the Tribulation begin to be opened and poured out upon the earth. In other words, it appears to be the very first thing to occur immediately following the end of the church age. Therefore it would still qualify as a Pre-tribulation rapture! Glory to God!
A Transition Period
This rapture event apparently occurs in a brief transition period, which takes mankind from the previous church age to the Tribulation judgments poured out upon Christ rejecting humanity when the Seals begin to be opened in Revelation 6.
Why haven’t I, and possibly others of God’s people, seen this truth before? It is glaringly obvious once our attention has been called to this overlooked “after.” You tell me and we will both know! Folks, like it or not, we are all still humans with a fallen “sin nature.” Only by the grace of God is any of His truth revealed to us, 1 Corinthians 2:14; John 16:12-15. Regardless of how much we apply ourselves, there are truths we overlook or miss in God’s Word, unless the Lord God grants us the grace to see them. This truth is so plain that it literally glares forth from the pages of God’s Word, yet how many of us have overlooked this “after” in our pursuit of establishing the Pre-tribulation rapture, rather than determining the time appointed for the rapture to occur in the Lord God’s layout of the
Book of Revelation?
Folks, this overlooked “after” is an important point in “rightly dividing the truth” of Bible prophecy. Every reader has my sincere apology for my having overlooked it all these years. I am deeply grateful and thankful to my precious Lord for bringing it to my attention at this specific time.
When the Lord God brought this overlooked “after” to my attention, at first I was flabbergasted. I recently wrote and posted a study, Looking at the Past, to Discern the Future, in which I pointed out that every prophecy given in the Psalms had come to pass in the exact year indicated by the number of the Psalm. This being the case, then the prophecy of a resurrection and rapture in Psalm 113:7-8 should take place before the end of 2013, this present year correlating with Psalm 113.
However, John’s vision clearly indicates that it is “after” the church age has ended that he saw the “door having been opened in heaven,” and the Lord commanding him to “Come up hither;” an obvious and very vivid type of the rapture of New Covenant believers. So how do we reconcile the rapture occurring “after” the church age and still fulfilling the prophecy of the resurrection and rapture in Psalm 113:7-8?
Praise the Lord God! “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord,” Psalm 150:6.
At the very time I was contemplating this, I received a report from a brother in Christ pointing out that a number of “Christian sects” in Europe and Asia never accepted the Gregorian Calendar used by most of the political nations of the world today. These “Christian sects” [Russian Orthodox; Greek Orthodox; and others] continue to use the Julian Calendar in their reckoning of dates and years right to this present day. Why is this important?
Because, according to the Julian calendar, 2013 will not end until midnight January 13th-14th. By the way, what Calendar was in use when John wrote the Book of Revelation? The Julian calendar was authorized by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. and continued in use in the Roman Empire and beyond until 730 A.D. Glory to God! So obviously it was the Julian Calendar that was in use when John was inspired of the Lord to write the Book of Revelation. Take your encyclopedia and check these facts out for yourself. Since John was using the Julian Calendar when he wrote the prophecies of Revelation, then there is no good reason for us living today to reject using it in the fulfillment of these prophecies. 2013 will not be over on the Julian Calendar until midnight January 13th-14th.
At some day or night up until then our Lord will come to resurrect and rapture His New Covenant believers to glory, and it will still be in perfect harmony with the resurrection and rapture occurring in 2013, as clearly predicted in Psalm 113:7-8. And it will still be a Pre-tribulation rapture occurring before the opening of the Seal judgments which begin the Tribulation judgments of the wicked left upon the earth. Oh, glory to God! Praise the Lord! Glory hallelujah!
Look up dear readers! Our Lord’s coming for His precious church bride is right at the door!
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” Revelation 22:20.
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written. For the edification and encouragement of God’s people, please do!
From my heart I thank every dear reader and brother and sister in Christ who has made this ministry possible this present year [and in past years] by your kind and generous support. Thank you so very much, and to God be the glory.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or send your emails to me at:
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