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Preparation Details

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Preparation Phase Overview

Primary References: Revelation 1-3

Revelation’s roadmap starts with the church age, which begins shortly after Jesus’ resurrection and continues until the church’s rapture. During this time, the church preaches the gospel of Christ to the four corners of the earth and God’s new covenant (salvation by faith) replaces the old covenant (Old Testament law). Birthed out of Jesus’ sacrifice, the church works to methodically prepare the world for the Bible’s fullness of time when Jesus takes His earthly throne. By the end of the church age, nations, political alliances, governmental systems, spiritual apathy, and technologies are all in place for fulfilling tribulation prophecies.

Revelation 1:9-11 introduces the church age as John is instructed to record and send Jesus' words to 7 churches in Asia Minor:

1. Ephesus

2. Smyrna

3. Pergamos

4. Thyatira

5. Sardis

6. Philadelphia

7. Laodicea

Revelation chapters two and three feature letters written to the angels of each church. These letters give insights into the first century church’s strengths and weaknesses and a prophetic overview of the future church age. Collectively, the seven letters reveal the progressive development of the church from the church’s inception to its removal during the rapture. Each letter shows the church’s dominant characteristics during each of its seven phases of development. Just as all seven church phases existed simultaneously during the first century, it is possible to find examples of each church types in any church period. For example, today it is easy to find the persecuted church (Smyrna) even though the dominant church type is the apathetic, lukewarm church (Laodicea). The dominant church type of a church phase defines it – not the sundry different church type exceptions.

By itself, Revelation’s church age description could lead one to conclude that the church has replaced the role of Abraham’s descendents or even that God has rejected the Jews. After all, only twice in Revelation 1-3 are the Jews even mentioned and in both occasions, they persecute perfect churches. Revelation’s narrative neither mentions the nation of Israel nor gives insights into the Jews’ disposition. Fortunately, the rest of the Bible provides many clues concerning their disposition, painting a generally horrific landscape of their plights and sufferings in the millennia between Jesus’ crucifixion and Jesus’ return. More importantly, these passages explain God’s role in their pain and suffering, why Israel has fallen under His judgment, and the nation’s final disposition. This Redemption phase sees the prophecies of Israels trials and tribulations (their distress), the nation’s rebirth, the infant nation’s trials (their birth pangs), and the important reestablishment of sacrificial worship fulfilled.

The Preparation phase ends with the rapture.