When we all get to Heaven

 Jamma Mokhriby


There is an old gospel song that goes, "When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory!"
What makes this song such an endearing favorite of Christians over time is its basis in scriptural fact. One day every believer in Jesus Christ will be caught up from life and the grave to instantaneously join the Lord in the air before they journey onto their heavenly abode beyond the stars. This breathtaking promise from the Word of God is found in I Thessalonians 4:15-18.
How long and scenic the journey will be between the departure from the atmosphere of earth until the celestial boundaries of Heaven are reached we are not told, but we are told in the Bible Book of Revelation of one of the earliest experiences believers will have within their eternal home.
Quoting from verses 1-4 & 9-10 of Chapter 4 of the Book of Revelation and also verses 1-11 of Chapter 5 we read, "After these things I [that is John] looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads...Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"
And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, "and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
Before we proceed with our study of this passage a matter of greatest importance must be addressed.
If the Bible version you have in your possession uses any other word than the word "us" in Revelation Ch. 5:9-10, such as "they," "them," or "men" then you need to be made aware that your version is in contradiction of the collected majority of ancient Greek, Latin, and Armenium manuscripts.
Some older Bible versions even go so far as to perpetuate this inexcusable lack of scholarship by stating in their margins, without merit, that the words "they" or "them" are found in most or even the best Greek manuscripts. With a modest amount of effort these assertions can be proven false.
This subject of "us" or "them" is critical for being able to correctly identify who is being written of in these Scriptures and what is in store for this present and final generation.
When the correct word, "us" is used in such Bible versions as the King James and New King James, which is our preferred version, it becomes clear that we are being shown that the Church will in fact be in heaven before the final 7 years of tribulation begins.
The breakdown of the ancient manuscripts regarding this passage of Scripture as researched by Dr. David Hockings is as follows:
There are a total of 5,557 preserved Greek, New Testament manuscripts. Of that total, 240 contain fragments of the Book of Revelation. Of those 240 only 24 contain the verses in question. Of those 24, 23 use the word "us" and not "them," "they," or "men."
The Siniaticus, which uses the word "them," also incorporates apocryphal writings on par with the canon of Scripture within its texts and is, therefore in our opinion, an untrustworthy manuscript.
In addition, all Latin and Armenium copies have the word "us."
The much vaunted Vaticanus copy cited by so many for its age does not even contain the Book of Revelation.
The proper translation of the word "us" in Revelation 5:9-10 is unquestionably upheld by the vast majority of preserved manuscripts in spite of what is carelessly written without supporting evidence to the contrary.
With this issue resolved by the facts, we can now study Revelations Chapters 4 and 5 with soaring heights of joy and unencumbered expectancy.
In verses 1-3 of Ch. 4 the Apostle John finds himself suddenly called up to heaven where he sees an open door. A comparison of this event to what is to happen to all Christians at the Rapture of the Church as is described in I Thessalonians 4:15-18 and Rev. 3:8, follows a normal and logical train of thought and progression.
John is first told that he is going to be shown "things which must take place after this."
When we read Rev. Chapters 2 and 3 of what has just taken place prior to this announcement we find that the totality of the Church Age had just been discussed. John then is in fact being shown, while in heaven, what must take place after the Church Age ends.
Verse 4 is one of the critical verses in this study. While in heaven, after the Church Age, John sees 24 individuals who are given the title of "elders" sitting on 24 thrones. They are clothed in white robes; and they had gold crowns upon their heads.
We are now faced with the all important question of, "who exactly are these 24 elders?"
What makes these individuals so fascinating is that as we shall see in Rev. 5:9, they are representatives of a much, much larger group of very special individuals who had been redeemed by the blood of Christ from, "out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation" of the earth.
Our first clue found in Rev. 4:4 is that the 24 are called "elders."
Angels are immediately eliminated from the small choice of candidates because angels are never called elders and are not redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Israeli religious leaders are not called elders either, but are called "priests," so the Old Testament Jews are eliminated also.
Reading in Acts. 14:21-23 we find that the title of "elders" was appointed to leaders of the Church. Elders are in fact believing Christians.
But now we must ask, "does the rest of the description of the 24 elders in Rev. 4:4 harmonize with the description of the Church?"
We are told that they "sit" on "thrones."
In Revelation 3:21 Jesus tells the over comers that He will grant them to "sit" with Him on a "throne."
In I John 5:4-5 we are told it is the Church that is the over comer.
We were also told in Rev. 4:4 that the elders will be clothed in white robes and will be given gold crowns.
In Rev. 3:5 Jesus tells the overcoming Church that they will be clothed in white garments and in II Timothy 4:8 the Apostle Paul tells how he and all those of the Church who loved Christ's appearing will be given crowns. The evidence is solid that the elders represent the Church.
What needs to be investigated is, "how and when did these elders of the Church get to Heaven with their crowns?"
Don't miss this scriptural point; crowns are not given to believers until after the Church sees Jesus coming for them according to I Peter 5:4, "and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away."
That these 24 elders had to have seen the Lord at His coming and were then Raptured to Heaven becomes the tremendous, inescapable conclusion. This fits perfectly with the things John would see taking place after the Church Age, Raptured elders with crowns in Heaven.
Verses 9 and 10 of Revelation 4 puts emphasis upon this truth of the crowns when we are shown that the elders will cast their crowns of honor in worship before the Lord in Heaven.
The timing of the Rapture of these elders to Heaven gets narrowed down even further if not almost pinpointed by what we had read earlier in verses 1-7 of Rev. Ch. 5.
There we were shown that the elders are located in Heaven before Jesus Christ had even taken in hand the scroll that unleashes the 7 final years of tribulation upon the earth.
This decidedly affirms that the Rapture will take place a short time earlier than the start of the final 7 years and will not take place simultaneously at the very start of the tribulation or even afterwards as many believe. Some time period will have obviously passed upon the earth while the elders were given their robes and crowns.
Then we are shown an additional duration of time as the elders worship the Lord before the appearance of the scroll and for Jesus to then come forward and take it.
How much time will pass upon the earth during this interlude as it translates from Heaven's perspective we cannot say. We are told in Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8 that to God a passing of a thousand years on the earth is but like a day to Him. What may seem like seconds or minutes in Heaven may appear as months or even years upon the earth.
Revelation 5:1-7 describes for us how the elders witness the appearance of the scroll sealed with 7 seals being held in the right hand of God. No one in heaven or on earth is found worthy to open the scroll and the Apostle John openly weeps because of this circumstance.
John weeps because of what is revealed about the content of the scroll in Chapters 6-19 of Revelation.
It contains the final judgments on the earth that herald the end of Satan's dominion and the coming of the Lord and John weeps at the very thought that these glorious events may not take place.
John is then comforted and reassured by one of the elders that Jesus has prevailed in all He had set out to do upon the cross. The Lord Jesus then comes forward and takes the scroll from the hand of God His Father.
In Rev. 5:8 we find that Jesus is again worshiped by the 24 elders after He has taken the scroll.
The scroll is not opened at this time and the Tribulation Period has therefore still not begun. We know this to be a fact because Rev. 6:1-2 tells us of the moment when Christ opens the first seal in Heaven and reveals the grand appearance of the Anti-Christ upon the earth.
We read, "Now I [John] saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see,' And I looked, and behold a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer."
Two companion passages for this moment of the going forth of the Anti-Christ are found first in Daniel 9:27, when this evil ruler will demonstrate his authority by strengthening the 7 year tribulation covenant with Israel and her neighbors, and then in II Thessalonians 2:6-8 where we are told that this revealing of this man of sin cannot take place until the "
restrainer" is removed.
As we have shared in past studies the only entity that can be portrayed as both a neutral and masculine individual, as is described in II Thess. 2 of the Restrainer, is the Holy Spirit-indwelt Church body of Jesus Christ.
Concluding our study in Revelation 5:9-10 we pick up from where the 24 elders were worshiping the Lord in verse 8.
In verse nine they are singing a new song.
In perfect harmony with what we have just shared regarding the Restraining power of the Church having to be removed to Heaven before the Anti-Christ can be released in Rev. Ch. 6 to begin the countdown of the 7 year Tribulation Period, the 24 elders reveal to us in Rev. 5:9-10 that they themselves are in fact the appointed representatives of the entire Church residing in Heaven.
They count themselves among the company of all who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. They are of the Church. No longer is there even one Holy Spirit filled member of the Church left upon the earth for God to use to restrain the appearance of the Anti-Christ.
Truly when we all get to Heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory.
In Revelation 5:9 we are told of some of the heavenly words we will sing as we are lead in chorus by the elders, we quote, "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation."
Then as if to remove any possible remaining doubt that this is indeed us, the victorious Church, being seen in Heaven before the throne of God at this time, Rev. 5:10 then records, "and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
In I Peter 2:9 the Church is called "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood..." Yes, the Lord has made us kings and priests of God and by the declaration of the Word of God found in II Timothy 2:12 we shall also reign with Him.
We are told in Isaiah 14:12-14 that Heaven has a recognizable location and Revelation 21:12-21 tells us that within Heaven there are dimensions and boundaries.
Heaven is a real place and not just a state of mind as some suppose; and Heaven is being added to.
In Ch. 14:1-3 of the Gospel of John, Jesus told us that after He would leave here (almost 2,000 years ago) He would go to His Father's house where there are many mansions, and while there He was going to prepare a place for us, and that just as surely as He was going to prepare these places in Heaven for us, so would He surely come again to receive us to Himself so that we can be where He is.
In I Thessalonians 4:17-18 we are told to comfort each other with this promise of being caught away to join our Lord forever. We pray that you are comforted this day that when we all get to Heaven we'll join in heavenly song with the elders as we all sing and shout the victory.
The time remaining is extremely short in the face of an eternal decision which needs to be made. Today is the day to turn your life over to Jesus Christ and to trust in Him for the forgiveness of your sins. This very moment you can be living at peace with God and in joyful expectancy with a song in your heart that your place in Heaven is ready and waiting.