Interpreting the Prophecies of the Book of Revelation

Four traditional ways of understanding Revelation 4-22 have emerged in the history of the church. In
our day, additional mixed views have been developed by combining elements from these four
traditions. Since each of the four views or approaches is held by evangelicals, they are not an issue of
orthodoxy but of interpretation.

The thousand-year kingdom reign of Christ of Revelation 20 is interpreted three ways:

1. AMILLENNIAL VIEW—there is no literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth; He reigns
spiritually over the believers who have died and are in heaven or over those living on the earth

2. PREMILLENNIAL VIEW—Christ will return and reign on the earth for one thousand years

3. POSTMILLENNIAL VIEW—Christ will return after a long period of the world becoming
better and create the New Heaven and Earth

The Premillennialists hold five views as to when the Rapture of the Church will take place:

1. PRE-TRIBULATIONISTS hold that the rapture will occur before the beginning of the Tribulation and
the apostle John typifies the Church caught up to heaven prior in Revelation 4:1. The terms “church”
and “churches” occur 19 times before 4:1, and not again until 22:16. The true Church is absent during

2. MID-TRIBULATIONISTS place the Rapture at the middle of the Tribulation; at the time, the
Antichrist breaks the covenant and sets up the Image of the Beast on the west wing of the Temple,
which is “the abomination that causes desolation” (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark

3. POST-TRIBULATIONISTS believe the church will continue on the earth throughout the Tribulation
Period and be raptured when Christ returns as described in Revelation 19:10. Hence, the church will
experience wrath.

4. PRE-WRATH VIEW position is the Rapture will take place with the breaking of the seventh seal and
blowing of the first trumpet, supposedly at the middle of second three and one-half years of the
Tribulation (Revelation 8:1-7).

5. PARTIAL RAPTURE VIEW holds that only Spirit-filled believers will be raptured by Jesus Christ
before the Tribulation Period. Carnal believers will have to go through the Tribulation.

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