The Seven Churches and the Sea of Glass: Proof of Rapture

I never get angry with people who disagree with me on the Rapture. When I talk to people about this, I come from a place of love in the Lord Jesus. Anyone who does get angry is not following the Lord. That said, I’ll try to sum it up in as few words as I can why I believe in the Rapture. It’s not a matter of “escape,” as I don’t even know if I’ll live long enough to see the event itself. I could be topped off tomorrow. Who knows? Only God. In the meantime, I don’t mind a good debate.
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For the record, just so you know the position I come from when I talk about these things, I differ with many Pre-Tribulation believers in several ways:
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1. Based on everything I’ve read, which is the Bible first, all else second or third, it is clear to me that according to the first two chapters of the Book of Revelations that Jesus Christ is telling all 7 churches that most of them need to Repent and Overcome.  These 7 churches are a metaphor describing the seven major factions of the body of Christ in the last days. So, in order to “qualify” for the rapture, one must repent _and_ overcome the world/flesh.
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These are:
Ephesus.
Smyrna.
Pergamon.
Thyatira.
Sardis.
Philadelphia (modern Alaşehir)
Laodicea.
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2. The Rapture will not be neat & tidy like most people think, and that the “Left Behind” movies depict. Based on the events laid out in multiple prophecies, not just Revelation, people will not just go “poof” and leave behind a pile of folded clothes. It will be an event will rock the world, not just because millions are suddenly gone, but because of the foretold destruction described in Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Psalm 83 and Matthew 24, among others.
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3. The 7 Churches are told in Rev. Ch’s 1 and 2 that not all people among them will be spared. Only a few are worthy. Don’t believe me? Read those chapters again. Look at the words closely.  Especially when it comes to Laodicaea.
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4. In Revelation Chapter 4:1, the 7 lamps are in front of the Lord in the throne room. These are the 7 spirits / 7 churches mentioned in Rev. Chapter 1. The church – body of Christ – is never mentioned again in Revelations after this point. Why? They’re not on earth anymore, so the events to follow don’t apply to them.
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5. The “raptured” believers are what I refer to as “Group 1.” The “Day of the Lord” mentioned in Thessalonians 5 applies to “Group 2” and beyond. I’d post all those scriptures,  it would take too long.  The rest are outlined in what follows.
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The Rapture and The Return are two separate events.
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Rapture – (Ref: 1Thess 4:13-18) Christ descends from the heavens with a shout, a trumpet sound, the voice of an archangel believers are changed in the twinkling of an eye (glorified bodies) then caught up to _Meet the Lord in the AIR_.
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**Air – defined as up above, in the sky, or as some theorize, entering the dimension that exists around us in the realms unseen.
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Event # 1 – Christ returns in the air, does not come down to the earth – yet.
(1 Thessalonians 4:17)
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**The Rapture brings comfort
(1 Thessalonians 4:18).
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**The Rapture concerns the church – “In Christ”
(1 Thessalonians 4:14,16).
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**The Rapture changes the bodies of believers
(1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
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Event # 2 – Second Coming of Christ
This is about God’s chosen people, the Jews who still remain after the rapture – not the Body of Christ which Repented and Overcame the world. Look for any reference to the Church or Body of Christ after Rev 4.1 – it’s not there. Why is it no longer mentioned? Because the Body is no longer on the earth – it’s with God (and Lord Jesus) in paradise, as promised.
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Rev Ch.1 – Johns sees 7 golden lampstands (or candlesticks / oil lamps, depending on which version you read – Hebraic, Aramaic, KJV etc) are the 7 churches.
They are also shown standing there in the throne room of God in Rev. Ch 4.1. Christ states in Rev. Ch’s 1-3 which ones among each church will be delivered, and the requirement of Repentance and Overcoming is mentioned in all but the Church of Philadelphia.
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Philadelphia have all repented but many still have to Overcome the flesh/world, which is why Jesus says:
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“10Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Rev 3:10-12)
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There is a metaphorical aspect to the Bible and particularly the Book of Revelations. This does matter. Even Jesus used metaphor, simile and hyperbole in His parables. He did so in order that those who seek Him would meditate on it and the answers come to them via the Holy Spirit.
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Be a Berean. Look at the meaning of each and every word, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
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“10As soon as night had fallen, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true.”
– Acts 17:10-11
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Three important points:
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*The first part of Revelations where the 7 churches are addressed & rebuked is where they are told to Repent and Overcome.
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**Many will also go to the Lord via natural death, having rest/sleep during the days of the “birth pains” (which are imminent, happening ANY DAY NOW = wars and rumor of wars, etc). They will rise first. Those “that remain” – the Remnant / the Overcomers – will follow.
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***By the time the Trib begins, those believers who have Overcome and Repented in each of these churches are all gone. There are church members who won’t be there because they did NOT Overcome nor Repent. You have to do both. Jesus preached Repentance and Overcoming in all 4 gospels. He said these things for a reason.
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Just because people say they believe in Jesus isn’t good enough. You prove your real motives by Repentance (which the Lord sees and _knows_ about us, since He can see into our hearts) and overcoming the flesh. This means stopping your sin as much as humanly possible – and it is impossible to be completely pure while still in the flesh —  “No man is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). In order to be “pure,” you have to leave the flesh behind. Your flesh cannot go with you to the place where God resides.
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So what is Rapture?
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Millions of souls being lifted up all at once. Not in the flesh, but in spirit. How can that happen? Several ways, but I’d say sudden destruction that comes in the form of a third world war is a likely bet. An author friend of mine once described it as “the day of a million suns.”
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Being “taken up” in the spirit permanently is sudden death of the flesh. Real death. Not just the metaphorical/spiritual term “dying to the flesh.” Imagine millions going at once.
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Do you see what John the Revelator is describing here?
Rapture is a single event. It is quick and sudden. In the twinkling of an eye.
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If people are not honest and truthful about their repentance and efforts to overcome the world/flesh, they won’t be taken up. They are considered unworthy of “escape” from the hour of temptation. Those that are not taken up will be going through the Trib. At that point, they have to suffer on and survive, rejecting the mark of the beast and all the other elements in the hour of temptation to come. Those are the Tribulation Saints and most will be martyred. Some do make it to the end, when Jesus actually physically returns to the earth (not ‘in the air,’ but to the earth):
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“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” – Matthew 24:27 KJV
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Paul tells us that not all of us will “sleep” at the time we are “changed.”
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Revelation is a 3-act unfolding of events. Past, Present and Future events. It concerns three groups of people to be saved. Group #4 is everyone else.
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_______________________The Three Harvests + Group #4___________________________
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Group #1The Overcomers“Barley Harvest”: those who willingly Repented and Overcame while _still_ in the flesh, BEFORE the Tribulation begins, believing in Jesus Christ without proof in seeing Tribulation prophecies unfold.
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“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” -John 20:29
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In His parables, Jesus refers to Vineyards, gardens, etc. Even the fact that He wept in the Garden of Gethsemane has a meaning to it. We are the Harvest. There are different kinds of harvests.
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What is “The Sea of Glass?”
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The Body of Christ appears in their glorified bodies in front of the throne of the Lord in Revelation Ch. 4
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“5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spiritsa of God. 6Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” – Rev. 4:5-6
The Sea of Glass is also mentioned again in Revelation 15:2. But this time the glass is “mingled with fire.”
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Why the two references?
Let’s break it down…
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Sea of Glass = purified souls.
Sea = people.
Glass, like unto crystal = clear, pure, glistening, _glorified_.
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Further examples of the “metaphor” of the word “Sea” referring to people, countries, nations are the multiple references to the beasts rising from the “sea” in Daniel. The sea is a metaphor often used in the Bible to represent “nations of the world” or “a sea of humanity.”
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Once the church Remnant is taken up, they are gone for 7 years. The 7 Seals are opened, each seal bringing different aspects of Tribulation.
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Group #2 Tribulation Saints. “Wheat Harvest.”
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“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”  – Rev. 15:2
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Ch. 7 of Revelation shows the multitude to come out of the Tribulation, the ones who have suffered. The ones who didn’t accept Jesus all the way before the real stuff began to happen, and had to have proof. They believe once these events unfold, mainly because they’ve seen the 7 seals and multiple other prophecies take place. They have no doubt – now. They knew the Word beforehand but didn’t take it seriously. But t that point, they will. They have no choice but to be “purified” by suffering through the Tribulation, hence the imagery of a sea of glass, but now mingled with fire.
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*Notice that the Antichrist isn’t even in in power until Rev. Ch. 13, well BEFORE Jesus returns and destroys him.
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Group # 3 The “Grape Harvest” – The Jewish people who come to accept Jesus Christ as Messiah.
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The Jews who still reject Jesus in the modern age will, however, still remain. The exception are the 144,000 young male Jews who have never ‘known’ a woman and are marked on their foreheads. It is this mark that the beasts that come up on the earth will ignore as they go on to torment people during the Trib. The latter part of the Trib is for the Jewish people who still have not accepted Jesus as Messiah, it does not apply to the Body of Christ. The job of the 144,000 is to evangelize and reach these remaining Jews, lead them to Jesus Christ. When the Gospel is finally heard by all of them around the world and each have a chance to make their final choice, the Two witnesses are killed, that’s when the final act begins:
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Christ returns to the earth
(Zechariah 14:4,5)
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The Second Coming brings judgment
(Revelation 19:15).
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The Second Coming concerns Israel and the nations
(Zechariah 12:2-9).
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The Return of the Lord Jesus Christ id for the Jewish people. He came to them as a Lamb the first time, but will He be as a Lion in His return. This whole thing is and has always been for the Jewish people, Israel. They are God’s first love, whom God wants as His Bride. They are why Jesus was sent the first time.
This is all for them.
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Finally this brings me to the last bunch.
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Group #4The unrepentant, those who (even after all of the above) refuse to accept Jesus. These are the ones who will live to see Wrath. They will not be here for the Millennium Kingdom.
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The message Jesus preached during His time here on earth had two main points —
1. Repent and Overcome the World.
2. Believe in Him (Jesus).
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He showed us by His example. For those who do their level best to do so (and yes, He can see their hearts and minds, knows who they are), they will escape the hour of temptation.
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You can split hairs over the word “escape” all you want, it does not change the meaning intended by God, the Lord Jesus (the Word Made Flesh) and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus told us in Matthew 24 that the last days will be as the days of Noah, and as the days of Lot.
Noah _and_ Lot were both called by God out of harm’s way before the destruction came. They were faithful, and because they lived as righteously as humanly possible, God set them aside from the indignation.
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They escaped.
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Until Later,
Jillian
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