Dear Mr. Malone:
Why does Jesus place His warning that He "will come like a thief" (which is written to the Church) in-between the two verses that are popularly known as 'the battle of Armageddon'? If we are already raptured seven years before Armageddon this seems to be a moot warning. Notice that he specifically tells His Church to be awake at that time. Since the verses from Revelation 16:12 through verse 21 are sequential, and chronological, would it be correct to say that Revelation 16:15 is also in chronological sequence? It would appear to be, but how would that fit in with a pre-tribulation rapture? Is it possible that Revelation 16:15 was injected into the passages of Armageddon by mistake?
To give readers an understanding of the topic of the rapture of the church, this event will take place when Jesus descends from heaven and Christians, both dead and alive will meet Him in the air. From that time forward, Christians will be with the Lord in heaven and will come back with Him seven + years later to rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years. This will be a supernatural event to say the least. Here is the most commonly quoted scripture reference that describes the process of the rapture:
 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have
 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (Latin word-rapturo, Greek verb-caught up) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:13-17)
I believe Jesus will rapture the church before the tribulation period begins. My reasons for this belief are well documented on my website (Question# 1177:, but I will say that when I accepted Christ as Savior it was at any cost, even if I am persecuted unto death. This type of persecution is not new, its been going on since Jesus ascended from this world and continues today in many parts of the world with many dying for their faith. So, if I'm wrong and I must endure the tribulation period, I will even if it means death, separation, imprisonment or whatever the future holds. Jesus did not die in vain nor will He forsake us in our time of trouble.
Regarding Revelation 16:15...the book of Revelation is a look into future events. As the events of that time are being described, Christ stops His description of the events and interjects a warning to the reader (Christians and non-Christians alike). It's like describing a horrible future event and right in the middle of it you pause to say, whoever is reading this book, unless you want this to happen to you, you better get your house in order and start living for the Lord now! Because when I come it will be as a thief (too late) and all who ignore this warning will have to endure this awful time period.
I hope this helped clear up any questions you may have about this verse.
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