The scene now changes from earth (Patmos) to Heaven. John tells us that After This, after his Vision of Christ in the midst of the "Seven Candlesticks," and his foreview of the history of the Christian Church, as reviewed in the Messages to the Seven Churches, which carried him down to the end of the Church Age, he looked, and behold a DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN, and the same voice that spoke to him from the midst of the "Seven Golden Candlesticks," which was the voice of Christ (Rev. 1:10-13), said with the clearness and sweetness of a trumpet--
"COME UP HITHER
AND I WILL SHOW THEE THINGS WHICH MUST
And John adds
"IMMEDIATELY I WAS IN THE SPIRIT:
and, behold, a Throne was set in Heaven, and ONE sat on the Throne."
The experience of John was similar to that of Paul, who was caught up into Paradise. Whether in the body or out of the body they are uncertain, at least Paul was. 2. Cor. 12:2-4. The difference between them however was, that, while Paul heard words that he was forbidden to speak, John was told to "WRITE IN A BOOK" the things he saw and heard, and send them to the Seven Churches in Asia.
In this "Rapture" of John we have a type of the
RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH,
and it is at this place in the Book that the "RAPTURE" of the Church takes place.
After the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:13-28), and Jesus had said that upon the rock of that confession He would build His Church, He said to His Disciples'--"Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man COMING IN HIS KINGDOM." And then we read in the next chapter (and there should be no chapter division), "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was TRANSFIGURED BEFORE THEM." Matt. 17:1-9. Now this "Transfiguration Scene" is a type of the Second Coming of Christ, Moses being a type of the "Resurrected Saints," and Elijah of the "Translated Saints."
As the promise of Christ to His Disciples that some of them should not "taste of death" until they saw in vision a rehearsal of the manner of His Second Coming, was fulfilled in the "Transfiguration Scene," so the statement made to Peter as to John, "If I will that he TARRY TILL I COME" (John 21:20-23), finds its fulfilment in John's being caught up in vision and beholding before his death, what he would have witnessed and experienced if his life had been prolonged until Jesus came back. Thus John was permitted to live, until, in vision, he saw the Return of the Lord.
The "Rapture" of the Church is described in 1. Thess. 4:16-17. "For the Lord HIMSELF shall descend from Heaven with a SHOUT, with the VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, and with the TRUMP OF GOD; and the DEAD IN CHRIST shall rise first: then we WHICH ARE ALIVE and REMAIN shall be CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM in the clouds, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Note how John's taking up corresponds with this. He was summoned by the "VOICE OF CHRIST," and it will be the "SHOUT of Christ" that shall summon the saints at the Rapture. It was with a "LOUD VOICE" that Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb. John 11:43. And as it was a Trumpet Like Voice that summoned John, so it will be a TRUMPET CALL that will summon the Saints at the Rapture.
As confirmatory proof that the Church is "caught out" at this time and place, we have in the description of the Throne, the statement that the Holy Spirit in the Seven-fold plentitude of His power, is BACK IN HEAVEN. In none of the Epistles is the Holy Spirit invoked along with the Father and the Son, except in 2. Cor. 13:14,
because He is viewed as abiding on the earth with the Church, convicting of sin, comforting believers, and gathering out the elect, but here He is no longer on the earth but back in Heaven, and before the Throne. This is the strongest kind of evidence that the Church at this time has been "caught out" and is no longer on the earth, for when the Holy Spirit goes back to Heaven He will take the Church WITH HIM. And the presence of the Holy Spirit in Heaven is conclusive evidence that the events that follow are to take place after the Church has been caught out, and therefore the Church is not to pass through the Tribulation.