Summary: The Rapture of the Church
The Rapture in Revelation
There are several foreshadows of the rapture in the book of Revelation. To grasp the picture of the raptured church, we must understand the vision of John. We have already looked at the throne of God, but we will re-examine what is applicable here. Look at the first glimpse of Jesus’ throne found in Revelation 4:
1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
The first thing I want to examine is John’s description of Jesus on the throne. “He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance”. Now let’s go back to the Old Testament where the images of this passage are explained. Look at Exodus 28:
15 " You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it.
16 "It shall be doubled into a square: a span shall be its length, and a span shall be its width.
17 "And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row;
18 "the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond;
19 "the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;
20 "and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings.
21 "And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes.
29 "So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the LORD continually.
30 "And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.
When God established the priesthood in Israel, He commanded that a breastplate of judgment be constructed. The priest would wear this breastplate when interceding for Israel. The priest of God wore this breastplate to symbolize the coming Messiah who would be the true High Priest and bear the judgment of God’s people. Also note that the first stone on the breastplate in Exodus was a sardius and the last stone was jasper. This is the title we saw that Jesus gave Himself repeatedly throughout the book of Revelation. He is the Beginning and the End – in Him all things are fulfilled and complete. The emerald colored rainbow symbolizes hope. After the flood, God placed a rainbow in the sky to remind mankind of the promise of God. The rainbow around the throne testifies that those around the throne are under the promise and not the wrath of God. All of the symbolic religious practices of the Old Testament point to the future promises to be fulfilled in Christ.
Next look at the 24 elders on thrones around the throne of Christ. We can clearly understand this description also by looking back to the Old Testament and examining it in light of 1 Chronicles 24. The tribe of Levi was set apart as priests of Israel for service in the temple of God. Once God had established Israel under the rule of Kind David, they were no longer a wandering nation. During Israel’s wandering years, the temple of God was in tents and the Levites broke down the temple and carried the temple items until God instructed the people set up camp again. The Levites would then set up the temple and prepare it for worship. Now that Israel was established and the population had grown so that the Levites were too great in number to all serve in the temple, David selected 24 priests to serve in the temple. The twenty-four priests were representatives of all the priests. The 24 elders of the priests served and attend the needs of the people for worship.