The Rapture is a doctrine that has provided a great deal of speculation and is often shrouded with an even greater deal of sensationalism. That the New Testament refers to a time that Christ will receive the church to Himself, termed the Rapture or Parousia, is indisputable. In the Gospel of John, Jesus denotes that “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). This text indicates that Christ had intentions of receiving the church to Himself at a future point in time.
While all orthodox Christians accept the fact that Jesus will return to receive the church, a great deal of division occurs in how Jesus will do just that. To understand the end-times, many engage the great apocalyptic book found at the end of the Bible, that book being the book of Revelation. Yet, some would hold that the book of Revelation never addresses such a Rapture event, either implicitly or explicitly. This paper will seek to demonstrate that the Rapture, otherwise called the “Parousia,” is mentioned, if even implicitly, in the book of Revelation. In order to accomplish this task, the paper will briefly examine the history of the Rapture doctrine from a premillennial perspective. Then, the paper will evaluate the five passages of Scripture that are generally held to reference the Rapture event: Revelation 3:10; 4:1-2; 12:5; 14:14-16; and 19:11-20:6. One assumption is made in this paper; that is, that the paper will approach the Rapture event from a premillennial perspective. Therefore, amillennial and postmillennial perspectives pertaining to the end-times will not be addressed except for the possible use of references that may purport such a view. In addition, this paper will make no claims to promote either the pretribulational and/or post-tribulational viewpoint. The Rapture may be understood by the pretribulationalist as a secret event, whereas the post-tribulationalist will evaluate the Rapture as the calling out of the church at the return of Christ. This paper will not promote either view, but will examine the Rapture’s presence in Revelation. By the conclusion of the paper, it will be shown that the book of Revelation provides a reference to the Rapture event, even if implicitly, and the paper will demonstrate which reference appears to be the clearest reference to the Rapture event in the book of Revelation.
History of the Rapture Doctrine
The Rapture belief “represents the translation or removal of the church to be with Christ forever.” Opponents to premillennialism, particularly dispensational varieties, often claim that the Rapture is a modern concept. Clearly, the Rapture was popularized by John Nelson Darby and Cyrus I. Scofield. Nevertheless, unbeknownst to many, the early church advocated a premillennial perspective which also included the belief in the transportation of the church to be with Christ; that is, the Rapture. From the fragments of Papias, who was a disciple of the apostle John, it is denoted that, “Amongst these he says that there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth. He moreover hands down, in his own writing, other narratives given by the previously mentioned Aristion of the Lord’s sayings, and the traditions of the presbyter John.” In the fragments of Papias, which describes the teachings of a disciple who had a direct link with the apostle John, one can clearly find a description of a literal millennial reign of Christ and that a Rapture event would precede this kingdom. Irenaeus is clearly premillennial. Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who was in turn a disciple of John, writes,
And again he says…‘God will remove men far away, and those that are left shall multiply in the earth’…For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth…and [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one.
In contrast to the claims of amillennialists and postmillennialists, it is evidenced that before Augustine, the church was unanimous in its acceptance of the Rapture and premillennial eschatology. Stitzenger supports this claim by denoting the following:
A cursory examination of the early church fathers reveals that they were predominately premillennialists or chiliasts. Clear examples in the writings of Barnabas (ca. 100-150), Papias (ca. 60-130), Justin Martyr (110-165), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (c. 185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) make this understanding impossible to challenge successfully.
While many scholars have postulated that the early church fathers held to a post-tribulational perspective as it pertains to the Rapture and the tribulation, Larry Crutchfield denotes that if it “Had it not been for the drought in sound exegesis, brought on by Alexandrian allegorism and later by Augustine, one wonders what kind of crop those seeds might have yielded—long before J. N. Darby and the nineteenth century.” Therefore, while it cannot be said that the early church was unanimous in its eschatological timeline concerning the tribulation, it can be maintained with great certainty that the church adhered to a premillennial thought coupled with an acceptance of the Rapture doctrine. It appears that prophecy was discredited by those who adopted a more allegorical interpretation of Scripture. Demy and Ice denote that “In the East, Eusebius of Caesarea…, was a strong leader in the rejection of apocalypticism.” This mentality was later adopted by Augustine and those who followed after them. Despite such a rejection of apocalypticism, belief in the Rapture did not die altogether.
Due to the restraints of this paper, it is not possible to provide a thorough timeline of the history of the Rapture. However, let it suffice to say that between the early church and J. N. Darby, advocates of the Rapture include “Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373), Brother Dolcino (d. 1307), Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1637-1713), John Gill (1697-1771), and Morgan Edwards.”
Whereas belief in the Rapture preceded John Nelson Darby, it was Darby, as has been previously noted, that popularized the Rapture doctrine once more. Darby promoted dispensationalism which demands the existence of such a Rapture event. Brock Bingaman, no friend of Darby’s interpretations, denotes,
The progenitor of the prophetic mania so characteristic of dispensationalism is John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). Darby, however, was not distinctive for his emphasis on prophecy, nor even his division of salvation history into seven dispensations, but for his stress on the sudden and secret rapture of the church as a separate event from the public second coming of Christ.
Darby promoted dispensational theology. While not every believer in the Rapture is a dispensationalist, every dispensationalist believes in the Rapture. Stitzinger denotes the following concerning Darby:
Darby soon began to teach openly an Israel-church distinction and a two-stage distinction in the second coming of Christ. This included a quiet appearance of Christ to remove all true Christians from the earth…, followed by the removal of the restraining work of the Holy Spirit from the earth and the reign of the Antichrist, after which would be the public appearing of Christ in glory.
In addition, “The Scofield Reference Bible (1909) and the leading Bible institutes and graduate schools of theology such as Dallas Theological Seminary, Talbot Seminary, and Grace Theological Seminary also contributed to the popularity of the view.” As this section has demonstrated, the belief in the Rapture is not a modern innovation, but rather enjoys a long and illustrious history founded in the earliest times of the church. But perhaps the more important question is whether the Scripture merits a belief in the Rapture. One of the clearest references to the Rapture is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, particularly verses 15 through 17 which state,
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:15-17).
While the 1 Thessalonians passage advocates such a Rapture event, it must also be asked whether such an event is found in the book of Revelation. In the next section and the sections following, particular verses of interest shall be examined, beginning with Revelation 3:10.
Potentiality of a Rapture Reference in Revelation 3:10
Revelation 3:10 is found in Jesus’ address to the Church of Philadelphia. Jesus promises the Philadelphians that “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10). The promise that Christ would deliver the Philadelphians from the hour of trial does not explicitly state when the Rapture would occur, but the clear reading of the text indicates that the text at least implies that such an event would occur. Stemming from a post-tribulational viewpoint, Kendell Easley writes of Revelation 3:10,
The great interpretive challenge is whether Christ is promising to remove the believers physically out of the world before the time of testing (favored by those who expect a ‘pre-tribulation rapture’ for Christians). The more obvious meaning is that he promises to protect (‘keep’) these believers from the experience of his wrath (a post-tribulationist viewpoint). In John 17:15 Jesus had prayed, ‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them.’ This uses the same Greek verb as is in 3:10 and is likewise used to support a post-tribulationist perspective. Nowhere has he promised his people protection from the devil’s anger. A great illustration was God’s protection of the Israelites from the devastation of the plagues on the Egyptians without removing them out of Egypt.
While Easley argues for a post-tribulational viewpoint in that the Rapture would occur after the time of tribulation, Easley nevertheless demonstrates that the language used in the text merits a Rapture-like interpretation. Jeffrey Townsend argues that Revelation 3:10 merits not only a Rapture event, but also merits a pretribulational understanding. Comparing the verse with John 17:15 where Jesus states, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one,” Townsend argues that threw ek in Revelation 3:10 “is the only other occurrence of threw with ek in either biblical or classical Greek. It is significant that both verses are Johannine and in both cases Jesus speaks the words.” Townsend adds an interesting parallel between both verses in that “the disciples were in the world physically. This combined with the idea of motion in airw demands that airw ek in John 17:15a be understood as removal out from within…This is in line with the pretribulational understanding of Revelation 3:10…” Whether Revelation 3:10 argues for a pre- or post-tribulational view is beyond the scope of this paper, but that Revelation 3:10 dictates such an understanding provides a backdrop to allow one to understand the relevant role of the Rapture in the book of Revelation. Paige Patterson rightly denotes,
Eschatological promises made to the churches, such as the church at Philadelphia, many of which would never be actually experienced in their own lifetime, were, nonetheless, the cause of great comfort. The church today reads those same promises and is comforted by them. Death is conceivable for any believer prior to the beginning of events described in the Apocalypse. Nonetheless the people of God are both comforted in their sorrows and encouraged in their task by the ability to read and know that their work is not in vain and that the forces of Christ and righteousness eventually prevail over the tragic evils that have scarred the landscape of human history.
While the Revelation 3:10 text was primarily written for the Philadelphian church, the promise that the church would be protected from a global trial, the verse holds great potential as a reference to the Rapture in the book of Revelation. This section has evaluated Revelation 3:10, but are there other texts that better serve as a reference to the Rapture? The forthcoming section shall investigate Revelation 4:1-2.
Potentiality of a Rapture Reference in Revelation 4:1-2
Revelation 4:1-2 is a passage of Scripture that some claim addresses the Rapture. John denotes that “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2). At first glance, this text does not have the persuasion as Revelation 3:10. Nevertheless, Keith Essex explains that “Some pretribulationalists argue that Revelation 4:1-2 refers to the event of the rapture.” Paige Patterson adds that “The Latin word rapture refers to the taking away of every true believer at the time of the parousia or coming of Christ. Pretribulation premillennialists who believe that this event takes place prior to the tribulation, see in this visionary transfer of John from earth to heaven an indication of the rapture of the church.” While many pretribulationalists may hold such a view, this writer does not believe that the Revelation 4 passage warrants such a belief. It is clear that the voice of Jesus is directing John into the heavenly throne room. Nothing warrants a view that the church has been resurrected by the Rapture in this passage. Hence, the vast majority of the evidence in Revelation 4 “points to this being a statement of John’s personal experience in the first century and not the church’s future experience.” Patterson adds that “While the present commentator holds to the view that the church does not enter the tribulation period and is taken from the world prior to the outbreak of the events described in the tribulation, he does not agree with other dispensational interpreters that any evidence of that can be found in 4:1.”
As noted in this section, the evidence does not support the viewpoint that the Rapture is contained within the text of Revelation 4:1-2. The text seems to indicate John’s ecstatic visionary experience while being caught up in the Spirit of revelation. Whereas the Rapture is denoted implicitly in Revelation, the text of Revelation 4:1-2 cannot be viewed as such a reference. The forthcoming section will evaluate Revelation 12:5 and its potential in holding a reference to the Rapture event.
Potentiality of a Rapture Reference in Revelation 12:5
Revelation 12:5 is another passage of Scripture that is at times portrayed to represent the Rapture event. In a bizarre portrait, John depicts a woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). The woman is pregnant and finds herself confronted with a “great red dragon” (Revelation 12:3). This fierce dragon seeks to do the woman and her child harm. This image sets up verse 5 where John writes that the woman “gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days” (Revelation 12:5-6). At first glance, it would seem that the obvious picture is that of Mary and the birth of Christ. As Matthew documents; Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt as Herod sought to kill the male children (Matthew 2:13ff). Thus, one could imply that the symbolism applies to this Satanic attempt to destroy Jesus from the outset. However, many scholars observe something more in the text.
The woman in Revelation 12 has been traditionally identified as Mary, the child as Jesus, and the red dragon as Satan. However, some view these symbols as holding more representation than just the three. Michael Svigel believes that “it seems most probable that the woman primarily represents the true, elect, and faithful remnant of Israel of both the Old and New Testaments.” In addition, Svigel would believe that the red dragon of Revelation 12 holds extra emphasis. Svigel denotes that “Although the dragon is identified as ‘Satan,’ he is much more than merely an individual. The symbolism of the seven heads and ten horns is not intended to identify him as the beast of Revelation 13 but as the nations throughout history who were opposed to God’s people.” But, the most important symbol if a Rapture event is to be understood in this passage is found in the male child. Svigel accepts that that child is not only the person of Jesus, but is a “corporate body, the Church.” If one accepts that the woman is identifiable with Israel and Mary and the dragon is identifiable with Satan and antagonistic nations, then it would be satisfactory to accept the image of the child as representative of Christ and the church. Thus, such a correlation would make sense if double meanings are applied to the woman and dragon. Other scholars such as Leon Morris also observe a double picture in the Revelation 12:5. Concerning the text, Morris denotes that “his subject is not strictly Christ, but the church. He is showing how the incarnation gives encouragement to believers. Satan tried hard to destroy Christ. But he did not succeed.”
Svigel also supports the thesis of a double meaning found in the symbolism of Revelation 12 with a so-called parallel found in Isaiah 66:7. The parallel in Isaiah states that “Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son” (Isaiah 66:7). The parallels between the two texts are startling. It is obvious that Isaiah is referring to Israel as he later states that “Zion was in labor she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8). Svigel adds that “In the original context, God is promising Israel a miraculous restoration and renewal (Isaiah 66:10-24), as well as an ingathering of people from every nation to see the glory of the Lord (Isaiah 66:18-19). It is in this context that God makes the ‘new heavens and the new earth’ (Isaiah 66:22). So, if the symbol of the child correlates with the church as with Christ, how does this affect the identification of the Rapture in Revelation?
The Rapture could potentially be evaluated in verse 5 where John writes that “her child was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5). The terminology of the action of the child being sent towards heaven is interesting as “The word in the Greek text is harpazō, which is also used for the taking up of the saints into heaven (see 1 Thess 4:17).” However, the central key in evaluating whether the Rapture event is included in this passage surrounds the identity of the child. Essex and Patterson do not accept this passage as a reference to the Rapture. Essex argues from a post-tribulational point of view in stating that “the ‘snatching away’ of 12:5 refers to the ascension of Christ into heaven where He escaped Satan’s hostility until the time He will return to the earth to establish God’s kingdom. Thus 12:5 is not a statement of the rapture of the church.” Patterson, although a pre-tribulationalist, also does not accept the passage as referring to the Rapture as he denotes that “Here the aorist passive indicative suggests that the ascension is into heaven itself. What is presented in the text is the birth and the ascension of the Lord. If asked the question, Where is his sinless life, his death, his resurrection? all is included; but the first and the last events of the Lord’s initial advent, the bookends of his first advent, are here described.” Thus, not all pretribulationalists accept Svigel’s symbolic interpretation of the text.
The Rapture could potentially be referenced in Revelation 12:5. However, this writer is a bit skeptical. While substantial parallels exist for identifying the woman with Israel, one cannot be entirely certain that the church is identified with Christ in the symbol of the child. In addition, Revelation 12 concludes with a picture of the dragon being angered at the woman, and going off to “make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17). While it could be that Revelation 12:7-17 retells the story found in Revelation 12:1-6, one cannot be certain. Thus, it seems that too many assumptions need to be made in order to accept the Rapture in Revelation 12:5. Whereas Svigel makes a compelling case for the Rapture in the text, this writer finds the use of too many assumptions to secure the Rapture’s position in the text. Therefore, this paper suggests that it is possible that the Rapture is found in Revelation 12:5, but such a conclusion is far from certain. While this section has demonstrated that Revelation 12:5 may be anything but certain in pointing to such a Rapture event, the forthcoming section will evaluate Revelation 14:14-16 to observe if it holds any promise.
Potentiality of a Rapture Reference in Revelation 14:14-16
Revelation 14:14-16 holds great potential in describing a Rapture-like event. The text denotes that John observed a “white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand” (Revelation 14). The One sitting on the cloud would bring judgment and, it is suggested, Raptures the church in the passage. Opponents of the idea that the Rapture is found in Revelation 14 evaluate distinctions between the elect being called up to heaven along with judgment coming to the earth. Patterson denotes the following:
Some interpreters see this as a harvest of the earth’s elect, but the context of judgment both before and after the passage of the chapter suggest otherwise. The action appears to come at the end of the tribulation, and that part of earth’s population surviving the rigors of the tribulation period and continuing to follow the beast are now to be reaped and cast into judgment.
Yet, one must admit that the parables of Jesus often depict the harvest at the end of time being accompanied by the separation of the elect from the wicked. In the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus explains that “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace…Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:40-43). In another parable, Jesus states that “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33). The parallels between Jesus’ parables and Revelation 14:14-16 are startling. Easley denotes,
That the harvest of the earth is ripe is literally, “is dried up,” a perfect verb to describe grain fields fully matured. This simply means that the full number of people who are to be in heaven have responded to the gospel. “The full number of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:26). In the language already expressed in Revelation, “the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed … was completed” (6:11). All the martyrs have died for their Lord.
It would seem that Easley is correct in his assessment. However, Essex argues that “the first harvest (Rev 14:14-16) gives the general view of Christ’s judgment of the earth, while the second harvest (Rev 14:17-20) concentrates particularly on that part of humanity thrown into the great winepress of God’s wrath.” Thus, if Easley is correct, then Revelation 14:14-16 holds less validity as a Rapture event. In addition, Norman Geisler denotes that “Premillennialist scholars generally agree that the actual tribulation period is described in Revelation 6-18.” If Geisler is correct, then one may have difficulty finding widespread acceptance of the Rapture in Revelation 14:14-16. Nevertheless, the biblical expositor must not base one’s conclusions solely on consensus, rather on the biblical text.
Easley’s argument is convincing. Whether there is a secret Rapture before this event is a moot point. Thus, it is this paper’s position that Revelation 14:14-16 holds great potential in holding a reference to the Rapture. While this section has evaluated the potentiality of Revelation 14:14-16 as a reference to the Rapture, the forthcoming final section will evaluate the potential of a Rapture reference in Revelation 19:9-20:6.
Potentiality of a Rapture Reference in Revelation 19:9-20:6
Due to the length of this passage and space restrictions for this paper, let it suffice for now to quote the more fundamental portions of this passage. In Revelation 19:9, the angel speaks to John saying, “‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God’” (Revelation 19:9). John continues his revelation in stating that “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11). John continues to describe the appearance of the conquering Christ. In chapter 20, John addresses the 1,000 year reign of Christ upon the earth. If the Rapture is accepted as part of the Parousia (that is, the returning appearance of Christ), then there is no question that Revelation 19:9-20:6 addresses the Rapture. Easley notes that “The name Jesus or Christ is never used in this part of the chapter, but the identity of the rider is crystal clear.” The only difficulty with this reference is for those who adhere to a pretribulational understanding of the Rapture, as adherents of pretribulationalism hold that the church will be rescued from the tribulation. Nevertheless, if one desires to find a reference in Revelation for a Rapture event, this text would clearly suffice.
If one takes seriously the claims of the Bible, then one will accept the reality of a Rapture-like event. The Rapture is clearly identified in Revelation. Some texts in Revelation hold greater promise than do others. Revelation 4:1-2 almost certainly does not demonstrate a Rapture event as John is describing his personal experience in the Spirit. Revelation 12:5, while intriguing in its’ possibility, seems unlikely to describe a Rapture event, as various assumptions must be accepted concerning the text. While some texts fail, others succeed. For the purposes of this paper, the references in Revelation 3:10 and Revelation 19:9-20:6 seem to be the strongest of all the references evaluated in referring to a Rapture event.
That Revelation denotes a Rapture event is undeniable. Brindle denotes that “Three times in Revelation 22, Christ promised that He is coming quickly (ιδού έρχομαι ταχύ). The word ταχύς is an adjective meaning ‘quick’ or ‘swift.’” Regardless of one’s conclusions concerning eschatology, this paper has demonstrated the strong documentation concerning the Rapture in the book of Revelation from a premillennial perspective.
The previous post represents the academic work of the writer. The paper has been posted to the writer’s respected university. Thus, any attempts at plagiarism will be noted. Use the information in this post responsibly. Be sure to quote and reference the information pertained within to avoid charges of plagiarism.
Copyright. Pastor Brian Chilton. 2014.
Bingaman, Brock. “Learning from Left Behind? A Call for Coherent Accounts of Scripture.” Anglican Theological Review 91,2 (March 1, 2009): 255-272. Accessed October 31, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
Blaising, Craig A. “The Day of the Lord and the Rapture.” Bibliotheca Sacra 169,675 (July 1, 2012): 259-270. Accessed October 31, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
Brindle, Wayne A. “Biblical Evidence for the Imminence of the Rapture.” Bibliotheca Sacra 158,630 (April 1, 2001): 138-151. Accessed October 31, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials, EBSCOhost.
Clouse, R. G. “The Rapture of the Church.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd Edition. Edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
Demy, Timothy J. and Thomas D. Ice. “The Rapture and an Early Medieval Citation.” Bibliotheca Sacra 152,607 (July 1, 1995): 306-317. Accessed October 31, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials, EBSCOhost.
Easley, Kendell H. Revelation, Vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.
Essex, Keith. “The Rapture and the Book of Revelation.” Master’s Seminary Journal 13, 2 (September 1, 2002): 215-239. Accessed November 14, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
Geisler, Norman L. Systematic Theology: In One Volume. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2011.
Irenaeus of Lyons. Against Heresies. In The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885.
Morris, Leon. Revelation, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Revised Edition. Grand Rapids, Leicester: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Intervarsity Press, 1996.
Papias. “Fragments of Papias.” In The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885.
Patterson, Paige. Revelation, Vol. 39, The New American Commentary. Edited by E. Ray Clendenen. Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012.
Stitzinger, James F. “The Rapture in Twenty Centuries of Biblical Interpretation.” Master’s Seminary Journal 13,2 (September 1, 2002): 149-171. Accessed October 31, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
Svigel, Michael J. “The Apocalypse of John and the Rapture of the Church: A Reevaluation.” Trinity Journal 22, 1 (March 1, 2001): 23-74. Accessed October 31, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. “The Rapture in Revelation 3:10.” Bibliothecra Sacra 137, 547 (July 1, 1980): 252-266. Accessed December 2, 2014. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001.
 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).
 James F. Stitzinger, “The Rapture in Twenty Centuries of Biblical Interpretation,” Master’s Seminary Journal 13,2 (September 1, 2002): 152.
 Papias, Fragments of Papias , in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 154.
 Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5.35.1, in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 565.
 Stitzinger, 153.
 Larry V. Crutchfield, “The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation in the Apostolic Fathers,” in When the Trumpet Sounds, Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, eds (Eugene: Harvest House, 1995), 88, in Stitzinger, 156.
 Timothy J. Demy and Thomas D. Ice, “The Rapture and an Early Medieval Citation,” Bibliotheca Sacra 152,607 (July 1, 1995): 308.
 Stitzinger, 157-163.
 Brock Bingaman, “Learning from Left Behind? A Call for Coherent Accounts of Scripture,” Anglican Theological Review 91,2 (March 1, 2009): 260.
 Ibid., 164.
 R. G. Clouse, “The Rapture of the Church,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd Edition, Walter A. Elwell, ed (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 983.
 Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 58.
 Jeffrey L. Townsend, “The Rapture in Revelation 3:10.” Bibliothecra Sacra 137, 547 (July 1, 1980): 257.
 Townsend, 258.
 Paige Patterson, Revelation, vol. 39, The New American Commentary, E. Ray Clendenen, ed (Nashville: B&H, 2012), 132.
 Keith H. Essex, “The Rapture and the Book of Revelation,” Master’s Seminary Journal 13, 2 (September 1, 2002): 227.
 Patterson, 150.
 Essex, 227.
 Patterson, 150.
 Michael J. Svigel, “The Apocalypse of John and the Rapture of the Church: A Reevaluation,” Trinity Journal 22, 1 (March 1, 2001): 57.
 Svigel, 59.
 Leon Morris, Revelation, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids, Leicester: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Intervarsity Press, 1996), 155.
 Svigel, 61.
 Patterson, 265.
 Essex, 235.
 Patterson, 265–266.
 Patterson, 296.
 Easley, 254.
 Essex, 235.
 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology: In One Volume (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2011), 1455.
 Easley, 352.
 Wayne A. Brindle, “Biblical Evidence for the Imminence of the Rapture,” Bibliotheca Sacra 158,630 (April 1, 2001): 150.