Q. Revelation 11 is a recap of the 1st half of the tribulation but what puzzles me is verse 18. It basically says that this is the time the Lord rewards the prophets and the saints. But didn’t the church get rewarded back in revelation chapters 4 & 5? And not only that but all of verse 18 throws me off a little as far as the timing of the rapture goes. I know Rev 3:10 says God will take us out before the trib starts but I’m a little befuddled at this verse…would you mind clarifying it?
A. I think the problem originates with your opinion that Rev. 11 is a recap of the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week. Rev. 11 begins with a measurement of the soon coming Temple in Israel and the appearance of the two witnesses, which also takes place in Israel. The 7th Trumpet announces that the Lord has officially begun His reign (Rev. 11: 15), but in Heaven and not on Earth.
Rev. 11:18 signals that on Earth the Great Tribulation is about to begin. This is the time during which the Lord will defeat Satan, destroy those who have destroyed the Earth, and establish His Kingdom on Earth. It will ultimately bring judgment to those who have rebelled against God and reward for those who have followed Him. It has nothing to do with the rapture of the Church, which will have already happened.
It helps to remember that with the rapture, the Church’s attachment to Earth will have been severed forever. Our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil 3:20) and our home is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-10).