Gray-Haired Perspective

The Church in Revelation


Where is the church in Revelation? The church is mentioned 19 times in the first three chapters. But where is the church from chapters 4 through 19?

A pre-trib argument says that since the church is conspicuously missing on earth, she must be in heaven. But the post-trib argument counters that the church is conspicuously missing in heaven, and we do read about saints on earth. So both argue from silence.

Well, let's just back up a minute and look at this from a different perspective. How would we expect the church to be mentioned?

The word "church" is used in two ways. The church at large, the body of Christ, the universal church, consisting of true believers across denominational boundaries, that's the first usage. The second usage is the local church. In the New Testament "church" much more often refers to the local church rather than to the universal church. More particularly, in Revelation, the word "church" always refers to the local church. For example, there's the church at Ephesus, the church at Smyrna, and so on, seven local churches in all.

To repeat the question, how would we expect the church to be mentioned in Revelation 4 onward? If on earth, we would expect local churches, right? According to prior usage, that would be the expectation, wouldn't you say?

But if in heaven, what would we expect? Would we expect local churches in heaven? Maybe not the church of Ephesus, but maybe the First Church of Hallelujah Street. Or maybe the Community Church on the corner of Praise and Amen Avenues. Is that what we would expect to see in heaven?

No, in heaven we would expect, not local churches, but the universal church. The universal church also goes by the name wife of the Lamb. And that's exactly what we see in Revelation 19:7, before the Lord descends from heaven.