Jerusalem, in its continuing endeavor to make available interesting and
doctrinally sound articles associated with Bible Prophecy offers this very
insightful article on the subject of the Rapture by Arlen L. Chitwood of the
Lamp Broadcast Ministry. (http://www.lampbroadcast.org)
FOJ hopes that its presentation will inspire your further interest in the
wonderful study of the amazing prophetic world of the Holy Bible, and the
glorious majesty of our Coming Lord. (06-07-2006)
As Seen in the Old Testament Word Picture, Formed from the Types
By Arlen L. Chitwood
complete Old Testament word picture
pertaining to the removal of Christians at the end of the present dispensation,
commonly called "the rapture," encompasses a number of types. It begins with the
account of "Enoch" being removed from the earth preceding the Flood (Gen. 5-8)
and progresses from that point through other types such as the accounts of "Lot
and his family" (Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters) being removed from
Sodom preceding the destruction of the cities of the plain (Gen. 18, 19), "Rebekah"
being removed from Mesopotamia following the search for and procurement of the
bride for Isaac but preceding Abraham's remarriage (Gen. 24, 25), and "Ruth"
appearing on Boaz's threshing floor, followed by the redemption of the
inheritance (Ruth 3, 4). Each type presents a different facet of the matter,
showing a different part of the complete Old Testament word picture, with the
complete picture being seen only through viewing all of the types on the subject
together, comparing Scripture with Scripture in this respect.
type dealing with Enoch in Genesis chapter five, the genealogy in this
chapter moves through ten generations -- from Adam to Noah. Within this
genealogy, Enoch was the seventh from Adam, and Noah the tenth.
"Seven" and "ten" are two of several numbers used in Scripture to show
completeness, with each showing a different aspect of completeness. "Seven"
shows the completeness of that which is in view, and "ten" shows
numerical completeness. In each case, at the completion of each of the two
sets of generations -- seven generations extending to Enoch, and ten
generations extending to Noah -- Divine intervention into the affairs of man
terminal point in the first set of generations, a man was removed from the earth
alive; then, at a terminal point in the second set of generations, a man (along
with his family) passed safely through a time of destruction, with the remainder
of the world perishing during this time.
which this introductory, overall type points (the antitype) is simple and easy
to see, though this type only presents particular facets of the complete
picture. "Enoch" being removed from the earth preceding the Flood typifies
Christians being removed from the earth preceding the coming Tribulation;
and "Noah" passing safely through the Flood typifies Israel passing
safely through the coming Tribulation, with Gentile world power, in the end,
destroyed (cf. Luke 17:26, 27, 30).
seen in Gen. 5-8 form a foundational type upon which all subsequent Scripture
dealing with the subject must rest (similar to Gen. 1:1-2:3 forming a
foundational framework upon which all subsequent Scripture rests). And, in
complete accord with that established in this foundational type, the things
foreshadowed by events in the type will occur in the antitype when matters
have been brought to completion relative to both the Church and Israel.
at this time, typified by "Enoch," the seventh from Adam, will be
removed; and Israel at this time, typified by "Noah," the tenth from
Adam, will pass safely through the worldwide destruction which will follow
the Church's removal. At a future time, God will intervene in the affairs of man
once again, supernaturally bringing matters foreshadowed by events in this type
the first part of the picture presented in Scripture. Then, from here, to
complete the picture, an individual has to move to subsequent types dealing with
the subject. Each subsequent type presents a different facet of the picture and
further adds to that which, in the end, sets forth a complete word picture,
given to shed light upon and help explain the antitype.
his family were
removed prior to the destruction of the cities of the plain in Gen. 18, 19; and
in Gen. 24, Rebekah was removed following a successful search for a bride
for Isaac (a search and removal which followed Sarah's death [ch. 23] but
preceded Abraham again taking a wife [ch. 25]).
type clearly reveals Christians being removed prior to the destruction of
Gentile world power (cf. Luke 17:28-30), and the second type clearly
reveals Christians being removed prior to God's restoration of Israel (cf.
Rom. 11:25, 26).
students of the Word, going no farther than this in the types, working from an
incomplete word picture, have concluded that the Church is destined to pass
through most or all of the Tribulation. They look upon the future destruction
depicted by the Flood and the destruction of the cities of the plain as
foreshadowing a destruction occurring at or near the end of the Tribulation.
And, understanding matters in this respect, they look upon Enoch's removal
preceding the Flood and Lot and his family's removal preceding the destruction
of the cities of the plain as typifying Christians being removed at or near the
end of the Tribulation, preceding a destruction occurring at this time. Then,
the antitype of Rebekah's removal preceding God's restoration of Israel in Gen.
24, 25 would be understood in a similar sense, for God will not actually restore
Israel until the Tribulation has run its course.
when the typology from the Book of Ruth is added to the word picture, showing
Ruth appearing on Boaz's threshing floor prior to the redemption of the
inheritance, viewing this type in the light of the antitype (I Thess.
4:13-5:10; Rev. 1:10ff), additional light is cast upon particularly the
timing of events shown by the previous types. And this additional light, a
vital and necessary part of the complete word picture, will show, beyond
question, that any interpretative ideology which uses the previous types to
teach that the Church will go through any part of the Tribulation is erroneous.
in the Book of Ruth and the antitype in the Book of Revelation clearly show
exactly the same chronology -- the Church appearing on Christ's threshing
floor (at His judgment seat) prior to the redemption of the inheritance (a
redemption which, in the Book of Revelation, can only have to do with all of the
judgments occurring throughout the seven-year Tribulation, not with just those
occurring at or near the end).
should go without saying that harmony must exist in the chronology of
events seen in the types in the Books of Genesis and Ruth. The chronology of
events seen in these types must be in complete agreement with one another, along
with that seen in the antitype in the New Testament -- an agreement which
will show the Church being removed preceding any part of the Tribulation,
necessitating the whole of the Tribulation being in view through the destruction
depicted by events during both Noah's and Lot's day. In this respect, Enoch's
and Lot's removal, preceding respective destructions during their day,
foreshadows the removal of Christians preceding the coming Tribulation.
with the preceding, viewing matters from the standpoint of the complete word
picture, along with the antitype, this removal must be seen as one which
will include all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike (e.g.,
not only those having walked with God, as Enoch, but also those having
involved themselves in the affairs of the world, as Lot).
must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one
may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether
it be good or bad.
therefore the terror of the Lord [Where? Note the context. This terror occurs
at the judgment seat (cf. Heb. 10:30, 31)], we persuade men..." (II
Cor. 5:10, 11a).
division of Christians relative to matters surrounding faithfulness or
unfaithfulness, according to Scripture, occurs at the judgment seat
following the removal of Christians from the earth, not by a supposed
selective resurrection and/or rapture (a companion erroneous teaching pertaining
to Christians going through the Tribulation [not all Christians in this case,
but many]). And it is plain from the chronology of events set forth in the type
in the Book of Ruth and in the antitype in the Book of Revelation (the same
chronology is seen in both) that events surrounding the judgment seat must occur
at the end of the present dispensation, preceding the Tribulation.
complete word picture on the one hand and that which the word picture
foreshadows on the other hand is the way in which God has structured His Word;
and through this structure, God has revealed all the numerous things which He
would have man know about His plans and purposes.
Accordingly, to arrive at a proper understanding of the things which have been
revealed, man must study the word after the fashion in which it has been
structured. He must set the complete word picture from the Old Testament
alongside the antitype in the New Testament and run all the checks and balances,
comparing Scripture with Scripture, in order to find out what the Scriptures
themselves teach. That which man may have to say about anything within the whole
of the matter -- either about the things which God has revealed or the way in
which He has revealed them -- is of no moment. Only that which Scripture
has to say is of any moment whatsoever, and that which Scripture has to say is
of infinite moment.
As Seen in the New Testament Antitype in I Thessalonians 4, 5
In I Thess.
4:16, 17, the Lord Himself is seen descending from heaven, though not coming all
the way to the earth. Christ, after descending to a place above the earth, will
"shout [lit., 'issue a command']." The voice of the archangel (Michael)
will then sound, a trumpet will be blown, and "the dead in Christ" from
throughout the dispensation will come forth.
from Christ's command, "the dead in Christ" will be raised. Christ, who is "the
resurrection, and the life" (John 11:25) -- must be present to give the command
in order for the dead to be raised (cf. John 5:28, 29; 11:25, 43). Then,
living believers, those Christians alive at the end of the present dispensation,
will be caught up together with resurrected believers to meet the Lord in the
end of the past dispensation, God interrupted His dealings with Israel seven
years short of completion, set Israel aside, and called an entirely new
nation into existence. This new nation is not Jewish; nor is this new
nation Gentile. Rather, this new nation is comprised of believing Jews and
believing Gentiles, who have become new creations "in Christ" (II Cor.
5:17); and these new creations "in Christ" form one new man (Eph.
present dispensation, God is dealing with this new man, not with Israel.
And this new man, referred to as a nation (cf. Matt. 21:43;
I Peter 2:9, 10) is exactly as Scripture describes. It is a nation completely
separate from all other nations on earth, separate from either Israel or the
Gentile nations (Gal. 3:26-29). And God has set aside an entire dispensation in
which He will deal solely with this new man.
preceding respect, there is absolutely no place in Christendom for
distinctions to be made between saved Jews and saved Gentiles. Both are new
creations "in Christ," part of the one new man, wherein distinctions
between those comprising this new man cannot exist [Gal. 3:26-29; Eph.
Christendom today, completely contrary to Scripture, certain individuals from
both groups [from saved Jews, and from saved Gentiles] attempt to form
distinctions between the two groups. For example, there are congregations of
saved Jews calling themselves "Messianic Jews" or "completed Jews" [both
misnomers], distinguishing themselves from saved Gentiles. And there are groups
comprised of saved Gentiles who look askance at saved Jews, somewhat forcing
saved Jews to meet together in separate places, often referred to as "Messianic
congregations," distinguishing themselves from saved Gentiles. All of this, by
saved Jews or by saved Gentiles, forms no more than vain attempts to build up a
middle wall which has been broken down by Christ Himself [Eph. 2:14].
well, there is absolutely no place in Christendom for the new creation
"in Christ" to go back to the old creation in Jacob [cf. Isa. 43:1, 7; II
Cor 5:17] and attempt to bring things from this old creation over into the new [cf.
Matt. 9:16, 17]. God has set Israel aside for a dispensation; and He is, today,
dealing with the one new man "in Christ," not with Israel. And for the
one new man to go back to Israel [a nation set aside] and bring things
having to do with this nation over into things having to do with the one new
man [the Law, forms, ceremonies, etc.] is not only completely out of place
but it serves to break down distinctions which God established between the two
creations, adding to an already existing confusion.)
Spirit of God is in the world today searching for a bride for God's Son,
with the search being conducted among those comprising the one new man.
And once the Spirit has completed this work, the one new man will be
removed, with a view to this new man being dealt with in relation to the
reason he had been called into existence. Then God will resume His dealing
with Israel (during seven unfulfilled years, completing not only Daniel's
unfulfilled Seventieth Week but Man's Day as well).
dealings with both Israel and the Church (the new nation, the
one new man "in Christ") must be kept separate and distinct from one
another. To have God dealing with either Israel during the present dispensation
or the Church once God resumes His dealings with Israel is completely foreign
to the way in which Scripture sets forth God's dispensational dealings with man.
been set aside, and God is presently dealing with a new nation; and, following
the completion of God's present dealings with this new nation, He will remove
this nation, turn back to Israel, and complete His dispensational dealings with
Israel. The whole of the matter is that simple.
new man -- comprised
of those "in Christ," all Christians -- will be removed at the end of the
dispensation. And this will be for reasons surrounding two nations -- both
the one new man and Israel. God will complete His dealings with one
nation (the one new man), in the heavens, in relation to this
nation's calling; and God will complete His dealings with the other nation (Israel),
on the earth, in relation to this nation's calling.
nation possesses a heavenly calling and the latter an earthly calling;
and it is only fitting that God will complete His dealings with each in the
place to which they have been called.
preceding is the clear teaching seen in both the Old Testament types and the New
Testament antitypes. Biblical distinctions surrounding both Israel and
the Church must be maintained, and Scripture must be allowed to speak for
itself in that which has been revealed about both.
entire one new man "in Christ" (comprised of both faithful and unfaithful
Christians living throughout the dispensation) was not removed at the end of the
dispensation (as seen in I Thess. 4:13-18), Paul could not have written that
which is recorded in the verses which immediately follow (5:1-9). These verses
have to do with both faithful and unfaithful Christians, removed from Man's Day
and placed together at the same time and place in the
Day has to do with man
upon the earth throughout a 6,000-year period. It has to do with that time when
matters have been allowed to remain under Satan's control, with man having his
way and sway in the kingdom under Satan.
other hand, the Lord's Day has to do with the Lord conducting affairs in
His kingdom throughout a 7,000-year period. The Lord's Day runs concurrent with
Man's Day, though not encompassing affairs on the earth during Man's Day (when
fallen man finds himself associated with Satan's rule and reign). Only when
Man's Day ends, will the Lord's Day encompass affairs on the earth; and it will
do so for a succeeding 1,000 years (for Christ and His co-heirs will then rule
and reign over the earth, in the stead of Satan and his angels).
Abraham, following death, saw the Lord's Day (John 8:56). This was almost 4,000
years ago, in the middle of Man's Day, as it existed upon the earth. This could
be true because Abraham, following death, no longer had a connection with Man's
Day upon the earth. Rather, he then found himself removed from Man's Day and
placed in the Lord's Day.
exactly the same thing would be true relative to Christians, whether following
death during the present time or when Christians are removed from the earth at
the time of the rapture. Events surrounding the rapture show this to be the case
in no uncertain terms, with Christians removed from Man's Day and placed in the
Lord's Day (while Man's Day continues on the earth).
Christians removed from the earth at the time of the rapture will find
themselves in the Lord's Day
(I Thess. 5:1-4), though Man's Day will still have at least seven years to run
upon earth. And I Thess. 5:1ff clearly shows that the rapture (4:13-18) will
include both faithful and unfaithful Christians. Both are seen together in the
Lord's Day, with faithful Christians experiencing "salvation" and unfaithful
Christians experiencing "sudden destruction," "wrath" (vv. 3, 9). (There is a
common but fallacious interpretation of I Thess. 5:1-4 which relates these
verses to individuals left behind at the time of the rapture, to go through the
Tribulation [with the advocates of this teaching referring to the Tribulation
as "the Day of the Lord," or "the Lord's Day"].
though cannot possibly be correct, for the Lord's Day will not begin on earth
until after Man's Day has run its course. It cannot begin until the
Tribulation is over. Scripture is quite clear concerning the time when the
Lord's Day begins on earth. The Lord's Day begins on earth in connection with
judgments at the time Christ returns to the earth [not at some point in time
during the Tribulation, preceding Christ's return], and the Lord's Day will
continue as long as this present earth exists. Time in relation to the
succeeding new heavens and new earth, following the Messianic Era, is called
"the Day of God," when God will be "all in all" [Joel 2:27-32;
3:9-16; Mal. 4:5, 6; I Cor. 15:24-28; II Thess. 2:2, 3; II Peter 3:10-13].)
Man's Day ends, at the end of the Tribulation, at the end of Daniel's Seventieth
Week, can the Lord's Day replace Man's Day upon the earth. At that time, Man's
Day will end on earth, and the Lord's Day will begin on earth. This change will
occur because the Lord will then reign supreme over the earth, with the
whole of God's affairs in His kingdom being brought under the scope of time
referred to by the Lord's Day.
As Seen in the New Testament Antitype in Revelation 1-4
at the time of the rapture will be removed to appear before the judgment seat of
Christ. And events of the judgment seat will occur between the removal of the
Church before the Tribulation and the return of Christ following the
Tribulation. Christ is not judging today. Rather, He is ministering as High
Priest in the heavenly sanctuary on behalf of Christians. And He will not act in
the capacity of Judge until He completes His present high priestly
ministry, which will last throughout the present dispensation.
Christians will not be judged until the present dispensation has run its
course and Christ returns for His Church. Once these things occur, the judgment
of Christians will ensue; and this judgment must be completed prior to the time
Christ returns to deal with Israel and the nations at the end of the
1:13, Christ is seen dressed in the type garments worn by both a priest
and a judge; but the position of the girdle about the breasts rather than
around the waist indicates that Christ, in this passage, is exercising a
judicial rather than a priestly role. A priest would be girded about the
waist, signifying service; but the girdle placed about the shoulders or
breasts indicates a magisterial function (cf. John 13:2-5; Rev.
the preceding, the entire scene is judicial, not priestly. Brass,
fire, and a sword are mentioned in connection with Christ's
appearance, which speak of judicial activity. And Christ's countenance is
described by the expression, "as the sun shineth in his strength," which has to
do with His glory, to be manifested during that coming day of His power (a
1,000-year period of judging those upon the earth [cf. Psa. 2:1-9; Rev.
information is given, which will help to ascertain exactly what is being
depicted by the scene at hand. The Apostle John was transported into "the
Lord's day [the Day of the Lord]" (v. 10), and the vision of Christ which he
saw depicts Christ as He will appear following the completion of His high
priestly work, anticipating His long-awaited regal work. The entire scene
in Rev. 1:13-18 is prophetic, depicting Christ as Judge
in the midst of the seven Churches at the conclusion of the present
dispensation, anticipating that coming day when He will exercise governmental
power and authority over the earth.
chronological arrangement of events opening the Book of Revelation sets forth
the fact that God will deal with the Church in judgment before He deals
with Israel and the nations after this fashion (cf. I Peter 4:17-19). The
Church will be removed from the earth and will be placed in the heavens; and the
Church will be dealt with during a period of time before the Tribulation begins
of the first five chapters of the Book of Revelation reveals that there will
have to be an interval of time between the removal of the Church and the
beginning of the Tribulation. That is, the present dispensation will run its
course, the Church will be removed, and certain events will then transpire in
heaven (while the Church is in heaven) before the Tribulation begins on earth
(which, when it begins, will fulfill seven uncompleted years of the previous
events, occurring while the Church is in heaven, preceding the beginning of the
Tribulation on earth, concern the Church coming under judgment (as
revealed in chapters one through three); and these events also concern the
relinquishment of crowns which Christians will wear during the Messianic Era
(ch. 4), along with preparations to redeem the domain over which
Christians will rule at this time (ch. 5).
marking the beginning of the Tribulation on earth is not the removal of the
Church, as is often taught, but the ratifying of a seven-year covenant between
the man of sin and Israel. The Tribulation, which will ensue following the
ratifying of this covenant, will last exactly seven years, completing the full
four hundred ninety years of Daniel's prophecy concerning Seventy
Sevens "determined" upon the Jewish people [cf. Dan.
Churches in the presence of Christ in Revelation, chapter one depict the
Church as a whole coming under judgment at the conclusion of the present
dispensation; and the fact that this judgment will occur in heaven and has to do
with issues surrounding the judgment seat of Christ becomes evident as one
studies the opening chapters of this book.
Scripture is God's number. It is a number showing completion. It
is used more specifically to show the completion of that which is in view,
and in this case, the Church is in view, with "seven Churches" showing the
complete Church (all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike).
Churches named in the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation, though
referring to seven existing Churches in the Gentile world (in Asia [1:4]) during
the first century, depict completion in relation to the Church. These
seven Churches represent Christianity as a whole, both on earth during
the present dispensation (chs. 2, 3) and in heaven at the conclusion of the
dispensation (chs. 1-4, as a whole).
one introduces the matter at hand, (judgment awaiting all Christians);
chapters two through four then form a commentary on chapter one; and chapter
five leads into that section of the book covering the Tribulation (6:1ff).
trumpet beckoning to John in Rev. 4:1 can only be synonymous with the trumpet in
Rev. 1:10. In this respect, because of the revealed events which follow in each
instance, the trumpet in these two sections is apparently the trumpet which will
be heard when the Church is removed from the earth at the end of this
dispensation, subsequently appearing in the presence of Christ to be judged, as
revealed in chapters one through three (cf. I Cor. 15:52; I Thess.
4:16-5:9). Then, a sequence of events, revealed throughout the remainder of the
book, begins to unfold.
transported into the Lord's Day, at a future time, in chapter one, was
instructed to record that which he saw and send the record to seven existing
Churches in Asia. These Churches, along with a brief description of each, are
seen on earth in chapters two and three; but the scene back in chapter one, as
well, has them in the presence of Christ in heaven, at the end of the
dispensation, about to come under judgment.
overcomer's promise is listed for each Church in chapters two and three, and in
chapter one the Churches are seen as they are about to be judged relative to
these overcomer's promises. Chapters two and three not only furnish the
background material to show why and on what basis the judgment set
forth in chapter one will occur, but these chapters actually have to do with
structure of each of the seven epistles to the seven Churches. All seven are
structured exactly the same way: 1) I know thy works, 2) judgment is then seen
to be on the basis of these works, and 3) this judgment is with a view to
showing whether the Christian has overcome or has been overcome. There is an
overcomer's promise concluding each epistle, and these overcomer's promises are
millennial in their scope of fulfillment.
will be judged on the basis of works, with a view to showing whether they have
overcome or have been overcome; and this will be with a view to their realizing
or being denied regal promises and blessing in the Messianic Era which follows.
previously seen, John's experience of being transported into the Lord's Day in
chapter one is synonymous with his being removed from the earth at the beginning
of chapter four. Thus, events about to be revealed in chapter four begin at
exactly the same place events in the previous three chapters began, with the
removal of the Church to be judged. But this judgment is not repeated in chapter
four. Rather, events surrounding the judgment seat shift to related events which
will immediately follow this judgment.
in heaven throughout chapter four provides additional details concerning the
seven Churches in the presence of Christ in chapter one. All Christians,
comprising the complete Church in the presence of Christ in that future day,
will not only see that which John saw in chapter one, experience that depicted
in chapters two and three, but also see that which John saw in chapter four
(along with, it would appear, the things which John saw in the remaining
chapters of the book as well). By way of summation, to grasp exactly what is
being taught in these opening chapters of the Book of Revelation, keep several
things in mind:
main tenor of thought throughout these chapters is "judgment," first upon
the Church and then upon Israel and the nations. The book begins with events
occurring in that future day when Christians will be judged, after being removed
from the earth; and the book then leads into the judgments of the Tribulation
which are to come upon the earth-dwellers. These things (affecting the Church,
Israel, and the nations) will come to pass at the conclusion of the present
dispensation, preceding the Messianic Era.
seven Churches are seen in Christ's presence during this time, even the
lukewarm, naked Church of Laodicea which had shut Christ on the outside (1:12,
13, 20; cf. 3:14-21). The seven Churches, denoting completeness
both upon the earth (chs. 2, 3) and in heaven (chs. 1-3), reveal that every
Christian will be removed from the earth at the termination of the present
dispensation to appear before Christ in judgment.
completely in line with any Scriptural teaching on the subject. The widespread
teaching that either all or part of the Church will remain on earth during the
Tribulation has no basis whatsoever in Scripture. The Scriptures teach,
unequivocally, that the complete Church -- all of the saved from the
entire 2,000-year dispensation, will be removed before the Tribulation begins;
and that the complete Church will, at this time, appear before the
judgment seat of Christ in heaven, a judgment which, as previously seen, will
apparently be completed before the Tribulation even begins on earth.