Answers to Reader Questions
Q: With everything that is in happening in the Middle East, is this it? Are we on the cusp of seeing Jesus return today?
A: It is important that we not act rashly, but continue to plan for our futures. Although the prophecies have been laid that would allow Jesus to return in our lifetimes, this does not mean that He will. We must still be prudent, planning for our families, our retirements, and sending our children to college. Jesus said, “Occupy `til I come.”
Q: I believe in the prewrath rapture, but I have a question concerning Rev. 7:13-15. "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, `Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?' And I said to him, `Sir, you know.' So he said to me, `These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' If we believe this is the Rapture of the Church, where are the others? Why do we see only those who came out of the Great Tribulation? Where are the saints who have died since Acts 2?
A: As far as I can tell, the other saints who have gone to be with the Lord are not mentioned in Revelation, most likely because this is not the purpose of the book. Revelation was written, in part, as a consolation to believers who would be undergoing the terrible persecution of the 70th Week, and the vision of "those who come out of the great tribulation" has a specific purpose — to encourage, strengthen, and give hope to those who are alive during this time.
Revelation is also a recounting of the events of the end times. All of the events described in its pages directly relate in some way to the 70th Week. Those who have died in Christ prior to the 70th Week are not part of this particular story, so to speak, and so have not been included. But it doesn't mean that they aren't there. Keep in mind, too, that those who were believers prior to the advent of Christ, who died under the Old Covenant, are not mentioned either, but we know that we will all be in heaven together.
The focus of Revelation is very narrow — the events of the 70th Week, and only those events, so the fact that we only see the raptured Church, and the martyrs of the 70th Week that follow the rapture (in Chapter 15), is what we might expect.
Q: I have a question about Rev 16:15-16: "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon." Who do you think "they" is?
A: The most reasonable interpretation is that verse 15, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches...” is a parenthetical statement directed at the reader. The scriptures strongly suggest that all salvation will occur by the conclusion of the trumpet judgments at the end of the 70th Week. By the time the bowls are poured out, there will be no one left who is able or willing to repent. Thus, the inclusion of this statement in the text at the end of the bowls does not make sense unless it is a parenthetical statement.
Such parenthetical statements occur frequently throughout the Bible, including several chapters later, in Rev. 22:7: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Jesus gives this parenthetical statement after describing the glory of the New Jerusalem after the end of the Millennium, clearly a reference back to His Second Coming more than a thousand years earlier. Likewise, the reference in Rev. 16:15 looks back to the same period — reminding readers that there is a very contemporary message here, as well as a prophetic one: preparedness. Jesus is telling us, “I'm coming quickly — don't snooze and miss this one.”