Rapture timeline

The scripture verses in the book of Revelation present a timeline for when the rapture takes place during the tribulation. There are sign posts/events along the way within the chapters of the book of Revelation that mark when the rapture takes place. In regards to this timeline, it is important to always keep in mind that the three woes are linked to the last three Trumpets.

Revelation 8:13 KJVS
[13] And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

The above verse establishes a linear chronology throughout the 8th-12th chapters of Revelation based on when these three woes transpire within the narrative. We know for a fact that the two witnesses give their testimony during the first 3 1/2 years of what is commonly called the tribulation, because of what is written in the following verses.

Revelation 11:3,7-13 KJVS
[3] And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. [7] And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. [8] And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. [9] And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. [10] And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. [11] And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. [12] And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. [13] And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

These verses give us some very important details. The ministry of the two witnesses takes place before the first and second woe. The beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit, first woe (5th trumpet), kills the two witnesses. The second woe takes place when the great earthquake occurs in Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of the two witnesses. The seventh trumpet and third woe takes place shortly after the second woe.

Revelation 11:14-15 KJVS
[14] The second woe is past; and , behold, the third woe cometh quickly. [15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Apostle John writes a verse in the tenth chapter of the book of Revelation that is in harmony with Rev 11:15, and with a revelation given to Apostle Paul.

Revelation 10:7 ESV
[7] but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27. Apostle Paul was given a dispensation by God to preach the revelation of the mystery of God, which fulfilled the word of God, Col 1:25. A short word study on the word mystery as it appears in the New Testament is helpful if one is unfamiliar with this mystery. Paul writes of this mystery in the often quoted verses in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 KJVS
[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

At the seventh trumpet the members of the body will receive their glorified bodies and rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Rev 20:6. Which will be God’s glory in the kingdom to come, 1 Th 2:12. A interesting aspect of the mystery of God, mystery of Christ, is that God has to make known to a individual, what is the riches of the glory surrounding this mystery. So many bible experts do not understand this mystery because it is not given for them to know.

Colossians 1:27 KJVS
[27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The last trump/trumpet that sounds in the book of Revelation is the seventh trumpet and that is when the mystery of God is finished.

Revelation 11:15 KJVS
[15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Many try to take the 12th chapter of Revelation and place it at the beginning of the tribulation, Rev 4:1, or at the sixth seal in support of a pre tribulation rapture theory. But again, the three woe that are linked to the last three Trumpets, makes that impossible. If in fact one views the man child as the body of Christ, and the man child caught up to the throne of God, Rev 12:5, as the rapture. The third woe is when Satan is cast down to earth, Rev 12:12, following the man child being caught up to the throne of God, Rev 12:5. It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that the three woes are associated with the last three Trumpets, Rev 8:13, while reading through the scripture verses contained in the 8th-12th chapters. Many try to claim the word woe in Re 12:12 is not the third woe. It is a simple matter to use the Strong’s Concordance and see when the Greek word translated into the English word woe appears in the book of Revelation in the KJV. That Greek word appears later in the 18th chapter in several verses as the English word alas, Re 18:10.
Many also view the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary the mother of Jesus. But again, the three woes makes that impossible also since the three woes are linked to the last three trumpets. A important point regarding Rev 10:7. The mystery of God is finished or fulfilled in the days when the seventh angel sounds his horn. It is not specifically right when the seventh trumpet is sounded since the verse clearly mentions days. So both groups, the man child and the remnant of the woman’s seed mentioned in Rev 10:7, will rule with Christ for a thousand years, Rev 20:4&6. For quite some time I have been trying to place the seven seals within the timeframe of the seven trumpets. Many doctrines of man have place some of the seven seals well in the past. Linking them with historical events in the past. So I have been reading the 6th chapter of Revelation looking for clues that would help place the seals, some or all, in the same timeframe as the seven trumpets. The following verses show that the fifth seal is a little or short timespan before the saints of Rev 20:4 are martyred for not taking the mark of the beast.

Revelation 6:9-11 KJVS
[9] And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: [10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

TheStrong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word translated into the English word “little” in verse 11.
Strong’s Number
Original Word
μικρός μικρότερος
Transliterated Word
mikros mikroteros
Phonetic Spelling
mik-ros’ mik-rot’-er-os
Parts of Speech

Strong’s Definition
Apparently a primary word including the comparative (second form);
small (in size quantity number or (figuratively) dignity): – least less little small.

I have always felt that the events that take place from the 4th chapter in the book of Revelation on, were linear in regards to time and occur during or just before the seven year tribulation. The fifth, sixth and seventh seal take place shortly before the seven trumpets. There is no reason in my mind to think the previous seals take place well in the past but close in time to the fifth seal. I ran across a curious verse, Re 5:7, in the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation the other day.

Revelation 5:6-7,13 ESV
[6] And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. [7] And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. [13] And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Is the last verse literal? If so, then all who live on the earth will herald that the seals are about to be opened by proclaiming the last part of verse 13. When will the rapture take place? We have a rough idea based on verses in the gospel of Luke.

Luke 3:1-3 KJVS
[1] Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, [2] Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. [3] And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

Tiberius Caesar’s reign started in 14 AD, 15 years before the ministry of John the Baptist. Our Lord’s ministry started shortly after, which lasted for 3 1/2. Which places the crucifixion of our Lord in and around AD 33. There are two thousand year prophetic days, 2 Pe 3:8, before our Lord’s return at the start of the seventh day, which would place the start of the thousand year kingdom of God around AD 2033. I think a prophecy our Lord gave applies in regards to this matter.

Luke 11:29-32 KJVS
[29] And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. [30] For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. [31] The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. [32] The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Another account of this prophecy appears in Matthew that give a few additional facts.

Matthew 12:38-42 KJVS
[38] Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. [39] But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: [40] For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. [41] The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. [42] The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Much effort and conjecture has been spent over the years trying to place our Lord in the tomb for three full days and nights, based on these scriptures. I view this prophecy strictly in the context of our Lord giving a sign to that wicked generation. They asked for a sign and were given one. Our Lord is telling that wicked generation that they will be appearing in the white throne judgment. That they will not have a role in the millennial kingdom of God, which lasts a 1000 years. In essence they will be resurrected in three thousand years following his death. The “heart of the earth” points to Jesus Christ purifying the hearts of men 2,000 years before and during the millennial kingdom. “Heart of the earth” brings these verses to mind along with the fact that man was formed from the dust of the earth, Ge 2:7.

1 Corinthians 15:47 KJVS
[47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

The Strong’s Concordance definition of the word earthy in the above verse means dusty.

John 12:24 KJVS
[24] Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Revelation 14:15 KJVS
[15] And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Ephesians 3:17 KJVS
[17] That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

The words “ground” and “earth” are often used metaphorically in the New Testament symbolizing the heart and hearts of man and mankind. The Lord used these terms in several parables. So that only those who were given ears to hear would understand, Lk 8:10. So as to not disclose God‘s purpose in Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:7-8 KJVS
[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Enough on that. Since the rapture, gathering of the Saints unto the Lord, is in and around 3 1/2 years before 2033, Rev 10:7, that gives a rough target date of 2029 for the rapture. As a side note, there are distinctly different doctrines concerning when the rapture takes place. Different doctrines of man, designed to divide the believes in different denominations so as to often times fleece the sheep and make merchandise the body of Christ, as Apostle Peter described it.

2 Peter 2:1-3 KJVS
[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Apostle Paul calls these doctrines the wind of doctrine.

Ephesians 4:14-15 KJVS
[14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: