Rapture timeline

The scripture verses in the book of Revelation present a linear chronological 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. There are also certain scriptures that show that the chapters are in a linear chronological progression. Many organizations who propose a pre-tribulation rapture theory make the use of what they call parenthetical chapters in the book of Revelation. This allows them to move entire chapters in order to support a pre-tribulation rapture. I have always maintained that the chapters in the book of Revelation are linear, and should be approached as such. It is important to keep in mind that the original manuscripts did not have chapters or chapter headings. At some point in history these were added by the translators. So how could you possibly have parentheticals chapters? The term parenthetical is based on a literary term called parenthesis. The following definition comes from this webpage.


Definition of Parenthesis
Parenthesis is a stylistic device that comes from the Greek word meaning “to place,” or “alongside.” Parenthesis is a qualifying or explanatory sentence, clause, or phrase that writers insert right into a paragraph or passage. However, if they leave it out, even then it does no longer grammatically have an effect on the text, which is correct without it.

As you see a parenthetical chapter would greatly exceed the above definition of parenthesis. Calling it parenthetical, with a capital P does not make it correct to use it to move entire chapters. As the title of the article suggest, this article is predominantly concerned with the rapture timeline within the book of Revelation. I will give you a little overview of the book and how one should view it. Our Lord told John to write the book in this order.

Revelation 1:19 KJVS
[19] Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

I will largely concern myself with what was to happen in the hereafter within this article.

Revelation 4:1 KJVS
[1] After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

The hereafter takes place in time after the things “which thou hast seen, and that are”, which John previously wrote about in the first 3 chapters of the book. The 4th chapter is the start of his vision that is concerned with future events. The opening scene and entire chapter take place in heaven. The 5th chapter establishes that Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah, has the right to open the seven seals of the book which he takes out of the right hand of him that sits upon the throne, Re 5:7. The 6th chapter is concerned with our Lord opening the first six seals. 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 placed 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 a short amount of time 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.

The Strong’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 just before or some or all within 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 that the previous seals take place well in the past, but close in time to the fifth seal. As a sidenote, I ran across a curious set of verses, especially Re 5:13, in the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation the other day.

Revelation 5:6-7,13 KJVS
[6] And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. [7] And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. [13] And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever 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. Is it just a coincidence that part of the same nearly identical language is spoken by the men in verse 16 in the 6th chapter..

Revelation 6:15-17 KJVS
[15] And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; [16] And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: [17] For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

I find it quite interesting that these men use this phrase that “sitting on the throne”, which mirrors what is said in Re 5:13. Moving on to the 7th chapter.

Revelation 7:1-4 KJVS
[1] And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. [2] And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, [3] Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. [4] And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

I found verse 2 and 3 particularly interesting in that the four angels were instructed not to hurt the earth the sea or the trees till the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads. Who are these four angels and do we see them later on in the book of Revelation? The rest of the chapter then proceeds to describe the 12 tribes of Israel being sealed in their foreheads with the seal of God. Then the 8th chapter starts.

Revelation 8:1-2 KJVS
[1] And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. [2] And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

The rest of the chapter describes four angels sounding their trumpets and four different catastrophes that take place on the earth, hurting the earth. Of which four were told not to do until the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads back in chapter 7, Re 7:2-3. Which to me points to a chronological progression between the 7th and the 8th chapter.

The 8th chapter ends with this verse.

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!

Re 8:13 establishes a linear chronology throughout the 8th-12th chapters of Revelation based on when these three woes transpire within the narrative.

I’m going to paste a handful of verses from the 9th chapter.

Revelation 9:1-4 KJVS
[1] And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. [2] And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. [3] And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. [4] And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

A important observation, the scorpions were instructed not to hurt those men which have the seal of God in their foreheads. These the same men who had their foreheads sealed in the 7th chapter. Are these men different than the multitude of believers who have received the Holy Spirit down through history?

Ephesians 1:13 KJVS
[13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

The only possible difference is the ones in chapter 7 received the seal of God in their foreheads. That is a question I certainly cannot answer. We are also informed in the ninth chapter that the first woe is passed. Which is associated with the 5th trumpet, Re 8:13.

Revelation 9:12 KJVS
[12] One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

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.

It is not made abundantly clear that the second woe is in fact associated with the sixth trumpet, because the sixth angel sounds the trumpet back in the 9th chapter, with the 10th chapter in between. That always puzzled me but more than likely it is due to the Bible translators assigning chapter and chapter headings in the manuscript. There are those who claim the 10th chapter is parenthetical, Which again greatly exceeds the literary term Parentheses which only involves a word or phrase. I view the 10th chapter kind of like a cut scene in a movie. Apostle John is in the midst of his vision when he personally becomes involved with it as it unfolds. He is instructed to eat the small book that contains what the voices of the seven thunders had said.

Revelation 10:9-11 KJVS
[9] And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. [10] And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. [11] And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

I don’t think is it is a coincidence that John was given that little book, containing what the seven thunders spoke, to eat in the 10th chapter and was told he must prophesy again, and that the next chapter covers the two witnesses who give their testimony in Jerusalem. I think it is more than likely that John is one of the two witnesses. Coupled with the fact that he was also known as one of the sons of thunder.

Mark 3:17 KJVS
[17] And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

Who else but one of the sons of thunder or both to disclose to the earth what the seven thunders spoke. Apostle John also 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 King James version of 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 or it.

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 woes that are linked to the last three trumpets, makes that impossible. If in fact one views the manchild as the body of Christ, and the manchild caught up to the throne of God, Rev 12:5, as the rapture. Which it is. The third woe is when Satan is cast down to earth, Rev 12:12, following the manchild 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. The proponents of the Pre-tribulation doctrine will use the following verse to support that doctrine.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 KJVS
[9] For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

It is a simple matter using the Strongs Concordance to look at the Greek word translated into the English word wrath as it appears in the book of Revelation. It first appears in two verses, Re 6:16&17. It next appears in Re 11:18.

Revelation 11:14-15,18 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. [18] And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

I have included these extra verses because it shows that the wrath of God follows the second woe which precedes the events described in the 12th chapter of Revelation. Wherein the third woe takes place.

Revelation 12:12 KJVS
[12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The next time the word wrath appears is in the 14th chapter.

Revelation 14:9-10 KJVS
[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Later on in the book, the 7 vials of wrath are poured out on mankind.

Revelation 16:1 KJVS
[1] And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Many also view the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary the mother of Jesus., and the birth of the manchild as a birth of our Lord Jesus. But again, the three woes makes that impossible since the three woes are linked to the last three trumpets. Which places Revelation 12th chapter in the future. Apostle Paul tells us who the woman is in Revelation 12:1&5.

Galatians 4:26 KJVS
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Isaiah 66:7-8 KJVS
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. [8] Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

The woman is Zion, or heavenly Jerusalem, Jerusalem above, not Mary. And the man child is the rapture of the body of Christ

A important point regarding Rev 10:7. The mystery of God is finished or fulfilled in the days when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet. 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.

When will the rapture take place? We have a fairly clear idea of when 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 latter part of 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 I 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: