We often hear that the church is missing on earth in the Revelation in these chapters 4-19. So is this true?

Here is what we need to consider in order to make a determination.

What do men mean concerning the church, when they tell us that it is missing from earth?

How does John who penned the Revelation at Jesus instruction use the word church in his other writings? Those writings being the Gospel named for him, and 1st, 2nd; and 3rd John.

How does John understand the church in Revelation? Does he use the word church as being a local body or as being the bride of Christ?

Finally is the bride present in a name other than church?

So why is this important? I believe that it will become obvious as we continue. So let’s look at our first question.

What do men mean concerning the church, when they tell us that it is missing? What they are telling us is that there must have been a Raptured church body, which is the bride of Christ because the bride is no longer mentioned. It is gone from earth, and therefore we see no mention of it in chapters 4-19. So, is this true? The word church is used several times in Revelation in chapter 1 vss 4,11 & 20;chapters 2&3; and in 22:16. In each and every one of these usages the text is speaking of local churches, as those listed in chapters 2&3. Never is the word church used to describe the bride. Isn’t this important? I think that you will agree as we look at our next questions.

How does John who penned the Revelation at Jesus instruction use the word church in his other writings? Actually this is extremely interesting, because John never uses the word church in his gospel, he does not use it in either 1st or 2nd John. In 3rd John there are 3 references to the local church. So John never refers to the bride of Christ as the church in his other writings. I think that that fact is very important, because it completely eliminates the argument that there is no church on earth during the Tribulation as we consider our final question.

How does John understand the church in Revelation? Does he use the word church as being a local body or as being the bride of Christ?

He in fact follows the same pattern with his use of the word church in the Revelation. In fact, if we were to only consider the word church as the one representation of the body of Christ or His bride; then there would be no church body in heaven or on earth during the Tribulation.

Finally is the bride present by a name other than church?

Of course there is the body of Christ in heaven where we see those who have come out of the Great Tribulation in their white robes. These we are told will rule with Christ, does that not make them a part of the bride?

Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (KJV)

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (KJV)

These obviously have come out of great Tribulation, so how can we say that those in Christ, who remained alive throughout the great Tribulation are not also a part of the bride.

We also see the church or bride on earth, as those who overcome him, the Antichrist, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. And then finally we hear just after Tribulation is over:

Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (KJV)

So here the bride is the wife not the church. The fact is that the Apostle Paul would possibly have called this wife of the Lamb, the church, or the bride; but John was never prone to do so.