Publication Date

Fall 2003

Document Type



Biblical Studies | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Ethics in Religion | History of Religions of Eastern Origins | History of Religions of Western Origin | Other Religion | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Published in Faith & Mission 20/1 (Fall 2003) 3-18.


Research and publication on the Book of Revelation has escalated to a frenetic pace. In such a climate, in which, seemingly, every exegetical and theological nuance has been treated from virtually every conceivable angle, it would seem unlikely that any material of significance would be overlooked. However, as will be seen, careful study of two overlooked groups in the Apocalypse, to whom we will refer, shorthand, as the "earth dwellers" and the "heaven dwellers," provides considerable insight in regard to both the exegesis and biblical theology of this challenging book. Further, building from the exegetical/biblical theology conclusions, it is possible to approach a systematic theological issue that is ever vexing to many evangelicals-the location of the Rapture in Revelation-from a largely fresh perspective.

This article will proceed through all the uses of the Revelation phraseology having to do, first, with the earth dwellers, then the heaven dwellers, in sequential order. A number of conclusions in the exegetical and biblical theology areas will be stated at that point. Then, the fruit of these studies will be mined for their implications in regard to the Rapture. Before concluding, as is necessary for thorough theological reflection on such a highly debated topic, several other relevant considerations and several anticipated objections to the resulting view will be discussed.