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essay: Revelation Explained

November 16, 2016

Chapter 1

1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:

We start Revelation chapter one with not a “theological” trip, but a spiritual journey into the future as we begin the study of the Book of Revelation written by John the Apostle while imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. John didn’t receive a dry, dead, theological explanation of future events. He received a powerful, dynamic, life changing prophetic revelation. He received a revelation of Christ in all His Glory, he saw into the throne room of Heaven, and he received a supernatural unveiling of God’s end time plan. It was so awesome that John actually fell down as though he were dead:

The Greek word, Apokalupsis, means to “reveal” or “unveil” that which is hidden. The term “signified” does not mean that this is a book of unknowable signs, but that God signified by the miraculous presence of the announcing angel that the message was from Him.

This Revelation is a revealing of the mysteries of Jesus Christ. God the Father gives this message to Jesus, Jesus gives it to His personal angel, the angel gives the message to John, and John writes this message to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This message is given to John to encourage the Christians.  These Christians should not be caught unaware. These things must come to pass because it is the will of the Father.

“Signified” means made known by symbol and figure.  Some might say signs which reveal God’s truth.

Angels are ministering spirits.  This particular angel was Jesus’ own personal angel who brought this message. “Jesus Christ” means the Savior, the Anointed One.

1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

To “bare record” indicates that John actually saw these things. John proclaims in his books that he is an eye witness testifying of all he saw and heard.

John could easily bear record of the Word (Jesus).  He was a daily companion of Jesus. This particular Scripture however is speaking of the things that John sees in his visions. The testimony of Jesus is salvation to all who believe.

1:3 Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.

The first of a sevenfold blessing is pronounced in Rev. 1 v.3 and expanded in the remainder of the book. As a child of God, each of these blessings are yours to claim:

A blessing is pronounced upon those who read, hear, and keep those things written in the Book of Revelation:

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The early church read the entire book of Revelation every time they met. This is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it, and those who listen to it being read.  The preacher and the congregation that heed the teachings taught here will be blessed.

“The time is at hand.” is an interesting true statement.  Even the people that read these things a thousand years ago saw this happen in sixty or seventy years, because they died. Of course, it is even more current to our generation, because the rapture of the church is imminent.

1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

John became the apostolic leader of the church at Ephesus following the death of Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (A.D. 70). The Ephesian church had established a number of daughter churches throughout the province of Asia (western Asia Minor), and John exercised pastoral and apostolic care of them. The blessing of verse 4 comes from the triune God-head: God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. Him which is a paraphrase of the name Jehovah or Yahweh (Ex 3:14): “I AM,”

The number seven means spiritually complete.  I believe this number is symbolic of all churches for all time. These seven churches were probably literal churches of that day as well as giving us a view of the churches of our day in general.  These seven Spirits take in all the Spirits of God.

There are actually many more than seven Spirits. This seven is a symbolic number meaning all. “Spirits” is capitalized so this is the Holy Spirit in all His workings. When it speaks of these Spirits ever before the throne, we see Teacher, Guide, Helper, Provider, just a few of the works of the Holy Spirit. John explains in this who Jesus is.

1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness in that He has finished His work of revealing the Father (John 17), the first begotten of the dead in that He is the firstfruits of the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6).

We see in verse 4 and 5 the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  As we said Jesus’ witness is faithful, because He is the Truth. Jesus was the very first person ever resurrected. There was someone who went to heaven before, Enoch, when he was carried away into heaven mysteriously disappearing from the earth because he pleased God. Then there was Elijah, who was carried to heaven in a whirlwind accompanied by the chariot of fire. Neither of these, however, were resurrected. They were never buried.

Lazarus rose as did several others the bible mentions, but only to die again. Christ rose to die no more as will all believers in Christ.

We read in Matthew 27: verses 52 and 53 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” “And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Notice here that these saints’ bodies were resurrected after Jesus’ resurrection. You see Jesus’ body was the first body to rise from the grave.

Notice, too, that we are spoken of as rulers in verse 5 of Revelation. During the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ here upon the earth, we Christians will rule with Him. We will not be His equal, however. This tells us that He will be ruler above us.

The love that is spoken of here, that He has for us, is “agape love”. This is love beyond our comprehension.  So much love that He willingly suffered the pain and humiliation of the cross for us. I love the song that says “when He was on the cross, I was on His mind” How true this is. He died for us individually.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

It is this precious blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We take on His righteousness.  This love that Jesus has for us is not in the past tense, but is still just as powerful today. His love is never ending.

1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The most important statement in V-6 is that Jesus is called God. The statement “God and his Father” leaves no doubt that Jesus was, is, and always will be God.  Notice, too, that it is nothing we do that makes us kings and priests.  Jesus made us kings and priests.

We will sit on thrones in heaven with Jesus.  There is no greater glory due anyone than Jesus who actually did all the work.

We see that Jesus is supreme in dominion in Philippians 2:9 -11 “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;” “And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Each Christian shares in Jesus’ priesthood.  He is the High Priest forever. So be it. Forever never ends.

In the true church, no one is called “priest” (singular) except Christ. Believers are part of a “royal Priesthood” in Christ (1 Peter 2: v.9; Rev. 5:10). The glory and dominion (authority) of Christ are emphasized throughout the book. (Romans 5: v.8; 1 John 3: v.16). Washed us: Believers have been redeemed from their sins through the blood and death of Christ. Made us kings and priests:

1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

This truth is the great hope and expectation of all true believers today and it is the theme of Revelation. The death and resurrection of Christ and the promise of His second coming are the foundation of our hope. They were a great source of strength to the Early Church and are even more so to us today as we move into the final days of time before Christ’s return. This verse reveals how Jesus will return. He will come in the same manner in which He ascended into Heaven:

The interesting thing here is Jesus is coming in the clouds just as the angels said He would in Acts. In chapter one of Acts, Jesus was caught up to heaven in the clouds and the disciples were told by the angels, that Jesus would come back the same way. Acts 1: verses 9 -11 “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;” “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Some people believe Jesus’ return will be secret, I do not.  How could every eye see Him, if He came back secretly?  Don’t you know that there will be some grieving people, when they realize who Jesus really is?  Wouldn’t you hate to be the one who spit on Him, or the one who drove the nails in His hands, or even the Scribes and Pharisees? Anyone who rejected Him will have grief beyond explanation. The grief will be so great that they will be moaning and grating their teeth.

Here John indicated in V-7, even if this is so, let it be. The terrible thing even worse than the first crucifixion for our sins is the terrible times when we, knowing better, crucify Him all over again. We must walk in our salvation.  We must not enter back into sin after we have been freed from sin by His precious blood.

1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The first words of Jesus to John personally identify him with the “I AM’ of Scripture, for He calls Himself the “Alpha and Omega.” These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The title signifies, in the language of communication, the completeness with which God revealed Himself to mankind through Christ. This is nothing less than an official affirmation by Jesus of His personal deity. No ordinary human would ever say of himself, “I am the first and last.”

We see here that God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit are all three eternal.  They each have no beginning and no end. Their Spirit is one. Their embodiments are three.

“Almighty” indicates the power of the Godhead as being unlimited and omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient.  There is no other power. This word indicates power beyond human imagination. Jesus is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. All three are the Spirit of God. They have separate personalities. This is Jesus speaking when He says “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending”. It is red in my Bible indicating Jesus’ own spoken words. This leaves no doubt who He is.

1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John identifies with the suffering believers in Rev. 1 v.9 by referring to himself as their “brother, and companion in tribulation,” then he describes the place where he received the Revelation, exiled and alone on the Isle of Patmos. Can’t you just visualize John standing there on the Lord’s Day, alone, forsaken, cold, and weary? The sound of the howling wind echoes through the Rocky Mountains. The waves crash upon the deserted jagged shoreline.

As John is speaking here, he is not a god but a person, as we are. Truly he is an anointed servant of Jesus.  He explains that believers in Jesus, then and now, will have tribulation.  Tribulation is to make believers strong. Also to see, if under stressful situations, we still believe. This new message the church is sending out that Christians do not have problems is in error. In the Old and New Testament, men and women of God have had to stand midst tribulations and trials. Even Jesus was tried forty days and nights. Problems come to all. The difference is in the way you handle the problems.

John was not trying to impress anyone of how spiritual he was.  He was alone on the isle of Patmos.  The authorities had sent John to this isle to stop him from proclaiming Jesus. But we see that God had plans for this stay, as well. God’s purpose in John being on the isle was to receive the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus. The enemy planned evil for John’s stay here, but God turned something bad into something wonderful for all time.

John was full of patience, not his own, but the patience of Jesus. John knew the bottom line about the kingdom, as well. This was not a time of despair; he found this a great time to be with Jesus with no interruptions.

Romans 5: v.3 “And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”

Acts 14: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

This isle of Patmos was a special place for what we would call hardened criminals.

It was in exile that Jacob met God at Bethel.  God helps us in our greatest need. Moses was in exile when he saw the burning bush.

Elijah heard the still quiet voice of God while he was running for safety. Daniel was also in exile when he saw the Ancient of Days.

Sometimes God must get us alone before He can reveal Himself to us.

1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

We note here that John was in the Spirit. Spirit is capitalized. This indicates that John was totally consumed by the Holy Spirit. This great voice is an awesome sound. There is no question whose voice this is. When the Lord returns and blows the silver trumpet to redeem His people from the earth, it will actually be His voice, which is like a trumpet. God’s voice frightened the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land.  They thought it thundered the voice was so great.

1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

But as John begins to worship God, something supernatural occurs. Suddenly, he hears a voice behind him as loud and clear as a trumpet declaring, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last!” Alpha and Omega is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ was describing Himself as being the eternal, complete, revelation of God and He was commanding John to write what he would see in a book to be preserved for the Church. When John turned to see the source of the mighty voice making this declaration, Jesus Christ, in all His power and glory was unveiled before his eyes. John saw into the realm of the Spirit and he was so overcome at Christ’s awesome presence that he was fearful and fell at His feet as though he were dead!

Everything that was said here is in red, this means it is all said by Jesus Himself. Here Jesus is saying to John to write down everything he sees, and put it in a book, and send it to the churches. I really believe that it was not just to these seven physical churches, but to all the churches which are all the believers in Jesus Christ. As we begin to see the problems in these churches, we can easily relate it to problems that we see in our churches today.  We can also look at the things that God is pleased with in these churches, and we will know what He finds pleasing in our church.

These churches were not physically very far from where John was on the island so he was familiar with them. There were about sixty known churches at the time this was written, so we must note that these were chosen for their peculiarities of worship.

John did not choose these, Jesus did. The purpose in sending these messages to the churches is so they can see their error and change. Take one more note that this is from Jesus the everlasting one, the A to Z.

This message, that John is to write down, is what he sees and also hears. Sometimes it is difficult for us to recognize what he is describing. You have to remember that John is describing things he has never seen. Things that would not be in existence until thousands of years after his time. You can imagine how he would describe a helicopter or a jet airplane. This vision is very similar to the parables. This, as the parables, must be spiritually discerned.

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

You understand that we cannot see a voice. This is saying, I turned to see where this voice was coming from.

This is not one candlestick with seven flutes, but rather seven separate stands. John wants us to see, not the happenings, but the one that causes it to happen. This revealing is not of historical events but revealing Jesus to us. One thing we see by the seven separate candlesticks is that there is light enough for each of these churches. They can have their own light. The gold in these stands indicates the presence of God, because the spiritual meaning of gold is purity of God. These churches’ light or knowledge is not worldly wisdom. This knowledge and light comes from God.

1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

Where two or three are gathered in the name of the Lord there He is in the midst of them.  This garment down to the foot is a priestly robe, a robe of authority.  This “Son of man” is Jesus who is in the midst of the church.  This golden girdle is saying that this is God.

Christ was wearing the robe of the High Priest. John states He was “clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” In the Old Testament, the high priests wore full length robes with a girdle made of fine linen, embroidered with needlework, secured around their waist. In this vision, Christ had on the robe of a high priest, but the girdle He wore around His chest was made of gold, which denotes the dignity of an important office and signifies His office as our Great High Priest “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7 verses 24 to 25)

The three gifts that were brought to Jesus at His birth recognized Him for who He was. The gold recognized Him as God, the frankincense recognized Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice, and the myrrh recognized Him as the groom of the bride of Christ.  John sees Jesus in a body with a robe. Jesus, our High Priest, represents us before His Father. He is not an earthly high priest but a heavenly Priest.  He appears before God to bless the Christians, to plead our case if you will.

His appearance in the churches would be as the Son of man. In other words in a body as man. The purpose of the high priest was to take the sacrificial blood into the Holy of Holies; and that is just what Jesus did, when He carried His own precious blood to the Father to abolish our sin. Not to cover them up, but to do away with them.

1:14 His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;

Christ’s hair was white like wool (Rev. 1 v.14). Christ’s white hair is symbolic of His title, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Christ is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting. When the prophet Daniel had a similar vision, he also described Him as having hair “like pure wool, “raiment” white as snow, “and eyes “as a flame of fire.” (Dan 7 v.9)

Christ’s eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev.1 v.14). This description is also found in Revelation 19 v.11-12 where Christ is pictured as a judge and Conqueror over the Antichrist and the nations of the earth who have gathered together for the Battle of Armageddon. His eyes of fire symbolize perfect discernment.

John was at the transfiguration of Jesus and had seen a glimpse of what He would be like then. We are looking here through John’s eyes as he describes what he sees. This white hair can mean several different things. One is that white hair goes with Daniel’s description of the Ancient of Days.

My own insight into this whiteness is because of the great Light. Jesus is the source of all light. We know that in heaven there is no need for the sun and moon, because of the presence of the Light which is Jesus. This much light can make anything look white. I am sure this hair is white, however.  This white is so bright that no bleach on earth could make it so bright. The light just makes it look brighter.

Jesus was seen of John as Son of man, but now John is seeing Him as the second person of the Godhead. This eternity of Jesus (now known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords) is showing in all His majesty. We have seen God throughout the Bible associated with fire. We read that God is a consuming fire. We saw Him in the burning bush, the fiery finger of God that burned the Ten Commandments in the rock, and we are told that Jesus baptizes with fire. This fire of the Holy Ghost cleanses us inside by burning out the old self making way for the new.

Eyes indicate wisdom. Jesus’ look is so full of wisdom and fire that it looks into our heart and purges out the sin with fire.  This look (with these piercing, fiery eyes) will come into a Holy Ghost filled church and will burn so brightly that this look will purge the church. Those who cannot stand to be purged will leave. The church that is left, regardless of how small, will be lined up with the will of God.

1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Christ’s feet were “like unto fine brass”. Brass, a strong, purified metal which results from intense heat, denotes the purity and power with which Christ will bring judgment upon the ungodly of the earth.

This brass indicates the great strength and steadfastness of Jesus. Brass also means judgment and Jesus is the Judge. Jesus here is standing in the midst of the churches. Judgment begins at the house of God. Jesus has overcome Satan and the demons. We know the Word says that Satan, his demons, and all who reject Jesus have been judged; and they truly will spend an eternity in hell (furnace).

The Bible says Satan is under Jesus’ feet. Here this is Jesus, upright, not defeated, overcoming the devil and his angels.

Christ’s voice was “as the sound of many waters.” The voice John first heard in his vision was described as “a great voice, as the sound of a trumpet,” loud and clear. In this verse, John describes Christ’s voice as “the sound of many waters” which is similar to the description given by the prophet in Ezekiel 43 v.2. His voice is mighty and powerful, beautiful but frightening.

1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength.

Out of Christ’s mouth proceeded “a two edged sword”. (Rev. 1 v.16) This sword represents the power and authority of Christ’s words by which the world will be judged (Rev. 19 v.15) and those aligned with Satan and the Antichrist will be defeated.

Christ’s countenance was “as the sun shineth in his strength”. The powerful light surrounding Christ was so blinding that John compared it to the powerful rays of the sun in all its strength. In 2 Thessalonians 2 v.8, Paul tells us that Christ will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His coming. Later on in the Book of Revelation (chapter 22), John tells us that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need of the sun, for the Lord God will be our light.

The right hand has to do with the blessings of God.  The right hand blessing was always the preferential blessing. These seven stars are blessed over abundantly of God because they are in the right hand of Jesus. It was a double blessing. These seven stars are the ministers of the churches. He calls them stars, because they must shine in the world. They do not produce light; they just reflect His Light to the world. Jesus said to light this light and set it on a hill where all can see. The darker the area, the more important it is to shine His Light, so that those in darkness can come to the Light.

Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible proceeded out of His mouth. The Bible is the written Word of God. God is the author.  People like Paul and John are just the penman, moved upon by the Holy Spirit to put it down for all to see. This Bible is the two-edged sword, Old and New Testament. This two-edged sword (law and grace) is the only weapon that God’s people need.

The Bible itself says, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit” Hebrews 4: v.12.  The Word separates good and evil. The cutting edge of the Word sometimes even separates families. One who believes the Word cannot go back to their old sinful lives, and this divides families and friends sometimes.

In John 1: v.1 We read. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This Word divides the Spirit from the flesh.  If you read it much, the Word will convict you of sin in your life.  It will cause you to seek God and be saved. The Word is powerful. The power of Jesus is beyond comprehension. He is the Word. His Power, through His Word, has changed the whole world. He is Power. He is the source of all power, energy, and light. There is no power greater.

1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

John was totally overwhelmed by this vision of Jesus. The manifested glory of God was like a thousand suns and moons all in one! How do you see Christ? Do you see Him as a babe in the manger? Do you see Him only as He was when He lived upon the earth 2000 years ago? Or do you see Him as He really is today, seated in power and majesty at His Father’s side? You may have heard about Jesus all your life. You may even be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but have you really received a revelation of Him, “a drawing away of the veil of darkness” to see Christ as He really is? How do you see Christ?

John had never seen Jesus like this. He was so overcome with the vision of Christ that he: “fell at his feet as dead.” When you really catch a vision of Jesus, you, too, will be totally overwhelmed, when you really understand His awesome power and majesty! God’s message to you today, is the same as it was to His Apostle John: Fear Not! The same message the angel gave to Mary at the annunciation: Fear Not!

The phrase “fear not”: is used over eighty times in the Bible and generally it is to quiet the fears of man in God’s Presence. God is also saying to you today, as He did to John: do not fear your desperate circumstances. Do not fear the future. The One who was dead but is now alive is standing right by your side! There is nothing to fear because Jesus has conquered death and hell. He has power and authority over them. He has absolute power and authority and He wants you to see Him as he really is, high and lifted up, exalted above all things in heaven and on earth.

When you face sickness, disappointments, heartaches, financial problems, and family problems do you see Christ standing beside you as the Great High Priest making intercession for you? Do you see the Mighty Conqueror of death and hell standing ready to give you the victory? Many believers are living in defeat because their vision of Christ is limited to their natural minds. God wants to take you beyond the limitations of your natural mind so that you may see Him as He is and really know Him in the fullness of His manifested power. The Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians would receive “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”. (Eph. 1 v.17) Paul was not talking about head knowledge, but a revelation deep within their spirits. Jesus Christ, in His glorified state of majesty and power, is depicted as standing in the midst of His Church:

Earlier we had seen Jesus standing in the midst of the churches (candlesticks). His appearance was: hair white as snow, eyes of fire, and feet of brass. A very awesome figure. The majesty of His person was overwhelming. We see here the effect that this presence had on John.  If we were to come face to face with Jesus, this is the effect it would have on us, as well. When anyone encounters the presence of God, you cannot stand. Kneeling is not even enough. John fell flat on his face at His feet. He was totally humbled by this presence. This awesome appearance was almost too much for John.  He appeared to be dead.

People have difficulty bowing to God in church.  Believe me, if you are before Him, there is no difficulty at all. He is God; we are just people. Do not let anyone convince you that you and I are on the level of God. It is not true.  We are now and always will be, subordinate to Him.

We see here that Jesus has compassion on John and reaches and touches John with His right hand.  Just one touch from Jesus calms the greatest fears. He reassures John when Jesus says to him, “Fear not”.  Jesus is always there comforting and encouraging Christians.

Just as Jesus said in John chapter 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled”.

Fear is not of God. Peace is what Jesus brings. We just need to trust Him. The fear we need is of God, no one or nothing else.  The fear of God could be better stated as reverence.  Here we see in red Jesus speaking of Himself, “I am the first and the last:”.

This is similar to what God told Moses when he asked God who could he say sent him. He answered, “I AM” Exodus 3:14.  Am is present tense, no beginning no end.

The earth is the only place that there is time, as we know it.  In heaven there is no separation of time by light and dark. There is only one eternal day. God is eternity. This is difficult for us to understand only because we are trapped here with a cycle of time. twenty-four hour day, seven day week, three hundred and sixty-five day year, twelve month year. Eternity cannot be understood by flesh.

1:18 I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Jesus is explaining here. He is the same one who took on the form of flesh and died on the cross for our sins.

This is interesting. We must not only believe who He is and that He saved us, but we must believe that He rose from the grave. His body is what died and rose again. Jesus, when He descended into hell, took the keys of hell away from the devil. When He arose, He did away with death. Death was the last enemy to be done away with. The devil cannot put anyone in hell. Jesus is the only one who can do that. Jesus has the key. No one can enter, or exit, without Him.

When Jesus said “I am He that liveth”, it is life forevermore. Jesus Christ, as the absolute living one, He has life in Himself, He is life, He is our source of life, and He has control of everything, in heaven, earth, and hell.

Jesus brought many souls out of hell when He preached in hell.  Jesus is Life. He controls our destiny. We choose (He controls) either heaven or hell eternally.

1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Verse19 is the key verse that unlocks the door to the entire outline of the book. It is further evidence of the threefold division of this great Revelation. John was told expressly by Christ to write, what you have seen: To write the things which were. The things he saw, all that was revealed to him through the different visions.

What is now: To write the things which are, (referring to the condition of the churches in Asia Minor at that time), and what will take place later: To write concerning the things which were to come: The events which would happen in the future as God fulfilled His end time plan. The literal translation of Rev. 4 v.1 reads “things which must be after these things” meaning that the things of Revelation chapters 4-22 must be fulfilled after the “things” revealed pertaining to the churches in Revelation chapters 2-3.

John is commissioned of Jesus to write these things down so that they will be of use to all who read it. He is also telling John not to leave anything out.

1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

A mystery is a hidden message. Not for the world, but for the church. The mystery is Jesus. In this case it is the Truth and the Word that is kept secret. Jesus is widely proclaimed, but few really have the understanding or knowing of Him.

The seven stars are the messengers (not angels because angels are never leaders in the church). These messengers are the key elders or ministers representing each of those churches.

Whoever, or whatever, they are, they spread the Light. Jesus is the source of this Light. He is holding and protecting these stars in His right hand. If these are ministers of God, they have no power in themselves. The Light that they give out comes from Him.

This is one of the reasons that I believe preachers should be moved upon by the Holy Spirit of God, and receive their message for the church through the Spirit from God. I do not believe that ministers should buy, or be sent, messages from other people to be used to give to the church. Jesus’ Spirit is in each church, if we are His. He knows the problem of each specific church on a given day, and He alone knows what message needs to be brought.

These seven candlesticks, we are told here, are the seven churches symbolic of all churches for then and now. A candlestick is not a light. It is the holder for the Light.  These candlesticks lift the Light up for all to see. That is the exact purpose of the church, to elevate the Light, Jesus. These candlesticks have to be cared for and fueled to be able to burn.

The minister and the church are difficult to separate.  We know this is speaking of the church and the ministry of the church. I believe that the stars are ministers held in Jesus’ hand.

I believe these letters were actually written to these particular churches describing conditions that were going on then. But perhaps a more important message for us to see, is the message in each of them dealing with the problems in our churches right now.

 

 

Chapter 2

2:1-3 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.”

There are many things that we must note about these verses.

First, they are in red, so this is the Lord Jesus speaking.  Literally there was just such a church sixty miles north east of the isle of Patmos. So there was a literal church of Ephesus.  Many believe that this particular church was symbolic of the apostolic age from about 30 to 100 AD – It is called the Apostolic Church. I believe after viewing it carefully, we can see some of the churches in our own day falling into just this category.  Here again, this message is sent to the ministering spirit of this church.

Second, we are reminded again here that Jesus holds these stars in His right hand. Jesus walks in the midst of this church; so we know quickly, it falls into the category of Christianity.

Notice Jesus always starts off by telling something good.  Here He commends them for their hard work, and patience. To be patient is certainly a virtue, and one that most of us do not possess. This leader of this church and the people, seem to be working for the Lord.

This spiritual leader hates evil. Note that this leader seems to do as the Scripture suggests, and tries the spirits to see whether they are of God or not. This church does not just accept everyone who says he is an apostle. They judge the message before they accept the apostle. It seems that this church is well grounded in the Word. This church (the physical church) was one of the older churches founded by Paul and nurtured by Timothy. This physical church of Ephesus was located in a busy city.

From the spiritual standpoint of churches today, we would see this church located in the midst of a very worldly surrounding but being a church holding up a standard against   the evil surroundings.  This church would be a spiritual church guided and taught through the Holy Spirit of God. This church will be found working when the Lord comes back.  They have been full of the power and presence of God. Jesus first tells them the good, then tells them of their weakness, as we see in the next verse. Even though this church has worked hard and not given up, we will see here that they have a few short-comings.

2:4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Our first love, if we are believers, is putting Jesus ahead of everything else. This church’s problems spiritually, can be seen in most of our churches today. God will not allow compromise, but on every hand we see just that.

In II Timothy 3:5: It says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Probably this church has gotten too sophisticated for healing and deliverance.  Perhaps some of the world’s music has crept in unaware.  Perhaps this church has begun to entertain more than teach. This church is more appealing to the world than to God.

As we look at all of these churches, we must examine ourselves and our church and see just what category we fall into.

Our first love, if we are believers, is putting Jesus ahead of everything else. This church’s problems, spiritually, can be seen in most of our churches today. God will not allow compromise, but on every hand we see just that.

2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

There is no substitute for undivided, fervent, undying love for Jesus Christ. Jesus warned the church at Ephesus to “repent, and do the first works; or else, I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove the candlestick, out of his place, except thou repent” He warned that if they did not repent, judgment would fall. They would no longer be a true light and witness to the world.

How many of our churches today are lifeless, dull, and mechanical? How many lack the light and witness of Christ and His power? The condition in this church, and in our churches and individual lives, did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process whereby believers left their “first” love, their passionate “bridal” love for Christ. The “first love” to which Christ called the church in Ephesus to return can be with the “bridal” love in a marriage relationship.

A new bride is so in love with her husband that he is the central focus of her life. When she takes her wedding vows, she promises to forsake all others and give herself solely to him. She eagerly anticipates his desires and lovingly tries to meet all his needs. She spends every possible moment with him. In this “bridal love” relationship, there is a special intimacy that develops between the bride and her bridegroom. She longs to know everything possible about him. She opens her heart to him, revealing her innermost secrets and desires. While they are apart from one another, she longs for him and eagerly anticipates when she will be with him once again. Because of her love, the bride puts her bridegroom first, before all else, including her own needs, desires, and ambitions.

It is this type of pure, fervent, self sacrificing “bridal love” for Christ that made the disciples willing to give themselves 100% for the cause of Christ. It was this type of love that burned up their own selfish desires, motivated them to serve Christ with single hearted devotion, and made them willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Christ. It is this type of love that we must have burning within us to enable us to fulfill the purposes of God in these final moments of time before Christ’s return. Just as Christ called the church in Ephesus to return to their first love, He is walking among us today, calling us to repent and return to our first love.

Here are seven warning signs that signal that a church or individual has left their first love.

Your works were motivated by intense love and devotion to the Lord. Compare your love for the Lord today with what it was then. Has your love grown deeper or has it lost its fervency? Are your works motivated by a passionate love for God or are you doing them merely out of a sense of duty? Ask the Lord to forgive you for leaving your first love. Begin to do your first works again. Make a new commitment to the basics of prayer, worship, and the Word. Fan the flame of the dying embers of your first love through renewed communion with the Lord. This fervent love is required of all those who belong to the Lord. Jesus called this the first and great commandment:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Mat. 22 v.37-38)

2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Notice here that Jesus, as this church, hates the sin and not the sinner. The deeds are hated, not the doer.  There seems to be no record of the Nicolaitans except for this mention here. It is possible to hate evil and still not be living a pleasing life in God’s sight. Worldliness is something we must avoid entirely.

Nicaulous and Baalam are in the same category.  Probably evil with no certain root.  The doctrine of Baalam, Nicaulous, and the Jezebel church thought that being Christians freed them from the moral law. They believed that idolatry and fleshly things would not be held against them, because they had been set free by Christ.  Some of the liberalism we see in the churches today stem from this very belief.

So many are trying to bring Jesus down to our level or to elevate us up to His level. This is a very dangerous doctrine to make ourselves into gods. That is why Lucifer was thrown out of heaven. Worldliness must not be mingled in with worship of God. We must not only not participate in this, but actually hate this practice.

2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

We all have ears, but this is speaking of that inner ear of the heart that receives the truth. Note here that Spirit is capitalized meaning God’s Spirit. This is not just any spirit, but the Holy Spirit of God.  We also see here, that He is speaking to the churches, and suddenly jumps to individuals in the church when He says, “to him that overcometh”.

We are not saved collectively but as individuals. We as individuals must decide who we will follow. We notice here also that there is something to overcome. We must overcome lustful temptations of the flesh.

All believers in Jesus will eat of the tree of life.  Jesus is the Tree of Life. Paradise is heaven, not hell, as many believe today. When Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43.  Many tried to make it fit in with Jesus’ body being in the grave.  Jesus’ Spirit went to heaven directly from the cross, as our spirit will leave our body the instant we die.

Jesus said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:” Luke 23:46.  The Spirit of Jesus went to God immediately. His Spirit rejoined His body three days later.  Forty days later Jesus’ body and Spirit were taken to heaven on a cloud.

God is a Spirit; Jesus is a Spirit who was housed in a body for His stay on earth.  We are a spirit, as well, housed in a body.  If we are a believer, our spirit will immediately go to heaven when it leaves our body. The body will rise at resurrection and rejoin our spirit. Jesus’ Spirit and the spirit of the thief on the cross were in heaven immediately. The tree of life is in heaven.  Paradise is the garden in heaven. This is a heavenly restoration of the Garden of Eden. The heavenly, being even more wonderful.

2:8-9 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;” “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan.”

100 to 313 AD – The Persecuted Church

Located about 35 miles north of Ephesus, Smyrna was a rich and beautiful commercial city in Asia Minor and was recognized by Rome as its loyal ally and a center of emperor worship. In His message to this church, the Lord again commended their good works, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty”. These believers were persecuted and often lost their means of livelihood as a result of their commitment to the Lord.

Making a public confession of their faith meant poverty, hunger, imprisonment, and sometimes death. The word “tribulation” used here paints a picture of a huge rock crushing whatever lies beneath it. The word conveys intense and constant pressure. Can you identify with that? Many of you are experiencing “intense and constant pressure”. You aren’t forgotten! Jesus sees and knows.

It is interesting to me that Jesus calls Himself differently here than at the church of Ephesus. In the Ephesus letter He says, “he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” Here at Smyrna He calls Himself, “the first and last, which was dead, and is alive”

The designation here is that this message is not from the Father or the Holy Spirit, but from God the Son, Jesus as we know Him. We see from this that God does not deal exactly the same with everyone. He deals with us at the level of our understanding.

You see in the synagogue in Jerusalem, when Jesus called them “whited walls” Matthew 23:27, clean on the outside and filthy on the inside. Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Jesus called them a generation of vipers, Matthew 23:33.

You see not all those who claim to be Christians are actually Christians. If we are not careful, we will be like these Jews. We may say we are a Christian, and the world might actually believe that we are because of our outward appearance.  Jesus looks at the heart. We read in Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Matthew 7:23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Their Christianity was a front for some selfish motive.

The repentance and salvation that really counts is what goes on in the heart. It is like having a new regenerated heart placed inside of you, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Being born again is having a brand new heart, having no desire to sin. The heart is either desperately wicked or clean in Jesus.  Some call it a change of heart. Whatever commitment is made must be made in the heart.

Jesus knows all; He was walking, and is walking amidst the churches. These eyes of fire see everything, even in our hearts.  He has nothing but good things to say about this church in Smyrna. To know them is to love them. Jesus knows how hard they have worked for the kingdom. He knows that they are rich in service to Him. They are rich in knowledge of His Word. They have diligently sought Him in His Word. They are rich in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They have been through great tribulation. Tribulation comes to make you strong. They are strong, because they have been tried and they have not failed God.

Perhaps, their poverty spoken of here indicates that they are not obsessed about having worldly wealth. They are not rich in things the world would class as wealth.  Their wealth is of spiritual things. The treasure that we should all be seeking is the treasure stored up in heaven.

If there is a church in this group that we should all want to be like, it would be this church at Smyrna.

This “synagogue of Satan” that comes against them is what we were discussing before. These are religious people with an outward appearance of belief but with no inward conviction. This literal church at Smyrna had many martyrs who stood against the evil, idolatrous people around them even unto the death.

In our day it is the same situation.  If we are in God’s army, we must be willing to stand for what is right even unto death. The Spirit and the flesh (world) will be locked in battle until the return of Jesus. The world and its system, and even the idolatrous church is opposed to true righteousness and holiness. Jesus is coming back for a church that is without spot or wrinkle.

2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

He said they would suffer. He is letting them know that He and the Father know all about their suffering. They must stay faithful unto the end, and great rewards will be theirs in heaven. Jesus warns them they will be thrown into prison.  We know from history that these believers, in the literal church of Smyrna, were thrown into prison. Many in our day are being thrown into prison for their faith.  It is becoming harder and harder to be a Christian, and even more difficult to be a minister. The church is under attack of the devil.

The meaning of Christ’s words to this church, that they would have tribulation for “ten days”, may refer to the fact that the Early Church suffered ten major persecutions under Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Severus, Maximum, Decius, Valerian, Aurelian, and Diocletian. There were also some notable persecutions in the local Smyrna Church which lasted “ten days” (One day often is reckoned as one year in biblical prophecy).

It is very easy to follow Jesus when everything is going good. The true test is, will you stay when all odds are against you? When your friends and relatives have given up, will you stand? If we are faithful and stand, there is a crown of life awaiting us. The crown of life is the one the Lord Himself prepares for us. Crown of life means; “ruling over death”.  There will be no more death, neither shall there be sorrow. “neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” “Behold, I make all things new” Revelation 21:4-5. Many shall be martyred before the return of Christ.

Christ’s message to you today, in the midst of your pain, suffering, persecution, and testing is “Fear Not!” No matter what you are facing, sickness, disease, family problems, or even the possibility of death, do not fear because “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1 v.7)

2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

We hear again, take out the stoppers in your inner man and receive from God His truths. There is a great promise to the overcomers. The death associated with hell, will not happen to them.  They have been crowned with everlasting life.

The greatest gift that we could ever receive is the gift of eternal life with Jesus. To know we would be separated from Jesus for all of eternity would be more hell than I would care to bear. The only life worth having is with Him. I cannot say enough good about this church at Smyrna. There are only two in the seven that God has no reprimand for.  Smyrna is one of them. Under great persecution this church stands, and having even faced death, still stands. If you were to describe this church in modern English, you would just say that the pure Word of God is preached to people who will accept the Truth.

The minister feeds the flock the Word several times a week. The congregation studies the Scriptures, ever eager to learn more so they can be more and more in the will of God. They are not shaken by winds of false doctrine, for they test everything and everyone against the Scriptures. They have on the whole armor of God. They are filled with the Holy Spirit and operate in the gifts of the Spirit. They realize there is a battle going on for the souls of men, and they have enlisted in God’s army to fight evil at every hand. They are willing to give up homes, family, whatever it takes to serve God. They count the everlasting life more than the short life here. Just as many were martyred

2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

313 to 590 AD – The State Church. Here we have THE DANGER OF DOCTRINAL COMPROMISE

Located about sixty miles north of Smyrna is Pergamos, which at one time was the official Asian center for the imperial cult. It was also the center of worship for four of the most important pagan cults of the day: Zeus, Athene, Dionysos and Asklepios

Jesus, again, calls Himself by a different name. Here He is said to have “the sharp sword with the two edges” The sword with two edges is, of course, the Bible with the Old and New Testament.

They were not forgotten. Jesus recognized their faithfulness despite the satanic environment in which they lived. In the original Greek, the words, “holdest fast” means “to hold onto desperately with all of one’s power.” These Christians were holding onto their faith with everything they had and Jesus commended them for their faithfulness.

There are so many ways to view these, as I have said before.  For our study, we will attempt to use the problems of this church to tell us what not to do in our church today.

God never changes. The things He was opposed to thousands of years ago are the very things He is opposed to today. God never changes; we change.  If we are not careful, these changes will make us complacent about the sin in our life.

2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan’s seat [is]: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Jesus not only knows their works, He knows everything about them. Judgment begins at the house of God, because Jesus walks to and fro checking them out continually.

Jesus says that He knows where they dwell. He is referring to the very evil surroundings. This was an educational center. There were great libraries and places of worldly education.

This church is committing sin; compromising with the heathen around them. Many times worldly wisdom and faithfulness to God are not cohesive. The Bible says that “The carnal mind is enmity against God” Romans 8:7.

Faith is not fact. The educated mind wants to prove by facts. Faith, I say again, is not fact; Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:2: “For by it the elders obtained a good report.”

The mind and heart, even though physically a few inches apart, are miles apart in the Spirit.

Jesus knew this church in Pergamos would have a very hard time. The evil outside the church and the compromise in the church tries to draw more of these people out of the church.  Maybe they had very good intentions, but they got very bad results.  Jesus goes so far as to call this evil city, “Satan’s seat”.  We know by this that evil prevailed.

Jesus says to this church, you have My name on your church and I also am aware you have not denied Me.  Jesus even reminds them that He is aware that Antipas was martyred because of his great faith in Jesus. This Satanic influence had come against Antipas and killed him. We must realize that we must not fellowship with those of unbelief. We must witness to them, and then go home. Fellowshipping with the world brings compromise. The shame is that some of this has crept into this church as we see in V-14.

2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

But the Lord also reproved them for allowing members who practiced the “doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans” to remain within their congregation.

In his message to Pergamos, Jesus compares the conduct of some of these believers with the actions of the Israelites who compromised with the Moabites. He also condemned them for allowing the doctrine of the Nicolaitans to remain in their midst.

The word “Nicoliatane” comes from two Greek words, one meaning “to conquer” and the other meaning “the laity.” It is symbolic of the development of a priestly order which ruled over the laity in contrast to Christ’s command regarding serving one another given in Mat. 23 v.8-9: The headship of Christ had been set aside in favor of an ecclesiastical hierarchy.

2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

II Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” II Peter 2:2 “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

Although they were victorious in keeping their faith during persecution, they opened the door to spiritual destruction when they compromised with the world. Apostasy – Various Religions, Cults Compromise is blending two ideas together. The dictionary says it is “to lay open to danger.” In spiritual matters, any position of compromise opens you up to danger and corruption.

Compromise is rampant throughout the Body of Christ and the Spirit of God is calling us to allow the “sword of the Spirit”, the Word of God, to expose and remove compromise just as a surgeon removes a cancerous growth. God cannot tolerate compromise! He hates it.

Even the smallest compromise opens the doors to additional compromise, which leads to even greater compromise and eventually, spiritual death. If you have compromised in any area of your life, you must do what Jesus told believers at Pergamos:

2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Repent means to be truly sorry and turn away from evil.  Go a new direction. Walk in right standing with the Lord.  The sword that Jesus fights with is His Word.  There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God. Jesus has not given up on them.  He just wants them to change their ways.

Jesus issued a stern warning to the church at Pergamos: “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Although the majority of the church at Pergamos were not deceived and were not following the doctrine of the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans, they were guilty of indifference toward the sin within their church.

But there were some who slipped in unnoticed, and brought false teaching.  If you want to know more about all of this false teaching, just read all of chapter two of Second Peter.

2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].

As we said before, hear with our inner man. There is a battle, and we are God’s soldiers.  The Spirit and the flesh are locked in battle. When we allow the Spirit of God to control our flesh, then we are His. He is our God, and we are His people.

The stone mentioned in V-17, most think was a diamond. It was probably the stone worn by the high priest that had God’s name on it.  It was hidden from view next to the heart behind the Urim and the Thummim. The others’ stones were symbolic for the Tribes of Israel, and all 12 of them were on the breastplate of the high priest.

We have received the name of Jesus Christ if we are truly His. We are Christians. Whatever the stone is, I am happy to know that our name will be on it.

Jesus will feed us His hidden manna.  Manna fell from heaven miraculously and fed the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land in Exodus 16:14-15. This manna was symbolic of Jesus who is the Bread of Life. We will eat of the Tree of Life (Jesus) and live forever.

Whether this is spiritual or physical, I do not really care.  It will be all we need to sustain us. The original Ark of the Covenant, which the earthly Ark was patterned by, has always been in heaven, hidden to earthly eyes.

The mystery Jesus is revealing is Himself in His fullness.

We, too, like Pergamos must repent and come to Jesus with all that we are or ever hope to be. We are nothing until He fills us with Himself.

2:18-19 “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass;” “2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first”

590 to 1517 AD – The Papal Church – THE DANGER OF MORAL COMPROMISE

The city of Thyatira was a vital commerce and trade center located about 40 miles southeast of Pergamos. Jesus commended the church here at Thyatira for its good works.

Many Christians are not aware that they are worshiping idols. Some are so full of pride and self deception that their spiritual eyes are blinded from seeing the areas of their lives where they have refused to let Jesus reign as Lord. Many believers today have made moral compromises. They no longer hold high standards of integrity. If you are guilty of moral compromise, spiritual adultery, then you must do what Jesus told these believers to do: Repent and then hold fast! Hold on to your integrity. Guard your Godly standards. Don’t fall prey to moral compromise.

Speaking of idols, what could some of these be? Material possessions, various lusts, recreation, entertainment, career and selfish ambition. (dwell carefully as you think about the answer)

He said: “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first”. (Rev. 2 v.19) But once again, Jesus sees beyond this outward display of good works and exposes a stronghold of Satan right in the midst of the church. The church of Pergamos was allowing a woman who called herself a prophetess to teach others that it was all right to mix pagan religions with Christianity. She was teaching and seducing people to commit fornication and compromise morally.

The church at Thyatira, many believe, is representative of the Roman Catholic Church and the period of that churches’ prominence.  I would not belabor that point.

We are looking at the spiritual and trying to see all of the seven churches in our modern churches today. Wherever possible, not pointing fingers or calling names. We must examine ourselves before we start pointing fingers.

Jesus shows this church His penetrating eyes which can even discern the intents of the heart. With His feet of fine brass, He shows them that He truly is the final Judge.

It seems that this church here in Thyatira has great love and compassion and is a working church trying to improve the condition of the less fortunate around them.  This church is patient, which is gained by much tribulation. This is not a stiff cold church, as some of the other churches are, but is a loving caring church. It seems that the works of this church improve as they go along, because the last is more than the first. This is really a very nice statement that Jesus made about them.

2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

Throughout the Old Testament, this union of that which is holy with that which is impure is considered by God as spiritual adultery. It was an abomination in His sight!

This false teacher is referred to as “Jezebel,” which may or may not have actually been her name, but certainly refers to her spirit. It references Jezebel in the Old Testament, who was the wife of King Ahab. She was an idolatrous woman with unscrupulous methods, to perpetuate her power. Jesus warned the church of Thyatira of coming judgment to this false teacher and all those who commit spiritual adultery by moral compromise. This “Jezebel” was given time to repent, but refused. (Rev. 2 v.21)

Now, those who had been deceived by her teaching were given the choice to repent or face severe judgment. In the Church today, most believers are not tempted to worship pagan idols of wood or stone, but they do worship other idols!

This is one of the scriptures that is often used by certain denominations to say that women should not teach and preach.  If we carefully look at this, we will realize that Jezebel here is not a woman actually, but a system of evil, whether taught by men or women. Fornication is the issue here, not that there is a woman in the church. Just as the Nicolaitans were not really a particular country and Baal was a symbol of evil and not a specific place and person.

We need to look at fornication and see what it is.  Fornication is incest or adultery of either sex that are indulging in unlawful lust. Everyone would agree that any minister of God who promoted any of these sins would be a Jezebel to Jesus.

Men and women who are believers in Christ are all the Bride of Christ.  I do not believe that this Jezebel is all women who minister the Word of God, but just those who teach evil lust.

In Galatians 3:28, we read that with God there is no male and female. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The same Paul that wrote for women to be silent in church, in I Corinthians 14:34, wrote this in Galatians.

We also need to look at Acts 2:17-18. Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” Acts 2:18 “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:”

There is something we are not understanding, or else the Bible contradicts itself. We know the Bible does not contradict itself. We must look more carefully at what the Scriptures mean. The error comes in evil messages that some women or men bring. The Jezebel here could be a woman, but if she is, it is not the fact that she is a woman that is wrong, it is an evil message that is wrong. Let’s look at one more Scripture in Acts.

Acts 21:8 “And the next [day] we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.” Acts 21:9 “And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.” There are many examples just like this of Philip’s daughters.

We must all be careful about criticizing others in their ministry. Look carefully at the context it is written in, before speaking out against others.

Jezebel calls herself a prophetess.  It appears whoever this is or whatever group this represents, they are promoting feelings of the flesh not the Spirit.

Throughout the Bible we are warned not to eat things sacrificed to idols knowingly.

2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

We must carefully look at what must be repented of.  The sin here is fornication. She was not to repent of preaching, but repent of fornication. In the days that John wrote this, there were evil churches that even had harlots working in the church for the convenience of the members.

In our day the satanic churches promote sex.  Some churches teach that homosexuality and lesbianism are alternate life styles. My Bible says they are an abomination to God, Leviticus 18:22.  You can easily see spiritually this church in Thyatira in these churches. Not only did Thyatira need to repent, but modern churches who teach this abomination.

2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Here this could be both physical and spiritual adultery. The people who get involved in these sex sins are guilty, also.  It is no excuse to sin just because your minister tells you that you are not guilty. Try every message you hear by what the Bible teaches.  Do not be deceived by any false prophet, male or female.  Their repentance is of their deeds, not whether they were male or female.

2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

The word translated reins means “the inner most mind”, perhaps the subconscious mind. The heart will be judged.  The motive behind our deeds is just as important as the deed.

In the Scripture above, we see that God will not always overlook sin in the church. When His judgment falls, it will begin in the church. Punishment will be swift and so severe that other churches will look and tremble at the punishment.

The works spoken of here are the works of the heart and mind which come to maturity in actual deeds.  Good or evil actually begins in the mind and heart. Just as beautiful words cannot come from an evil heart, beautiful deeds cannot either.  What we are inside will show in what we do for God.

2:24-25 “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.” “But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come.”

What doctrine is spoken of here?  The doctrine of fleshly lust and fornication. The doctrine that says you can do what you please as long as you are baptized. Jesus wants a chaste virgin for a bride.  Jesus wants us to be holy as He is holy.  Sin must not be practiced, if we are Christians.

Jesus will forgive us of our sins if we ask Him, but we must not go back into that sin over and over.  Our heart must desire to live above sin.

Notice here, also, that even though this particular church spoken of is promoting sin, an individual can repent and be saved even in this situation. God does not judge groups. Jesus judges us one at a time. It would be a terrible burden to have no other church to go to than one that taught fornication. He tells them to hold fast to sound doctrine until He comes.

2:26-27 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.”

You see here that Jesus specifies His works are what is to be done. It also means that we should not just do a little and get self satisfied, but stay with the Lord’s work to the very end.  Just as Jesus told the parable of the good servant in Luke chapter 19, we must be a good servant and bring the fruits of our labor to Jesus.

Jesus says, the servant, in Luke, was to rule over ten cities.  In V-27 He also promises that His faithful will rule.  Remember the power is Jesus’. He gives us our power. This power is to do His will as we rule.  We are working under Jesus’ direction.  He is our leader. The “rod of iron” means the rule will be strong, unbending.

The rule will be as a shepherd leads if they follow Jesus, but if not, they shall be broken to pieces.  This rod spoken of could be a shepherd’s or a king’s.  Whichever it is, the rod of correction will be used in love. Jesus was given all power on earth, under the earth, and in heaven by the Father.

2:28 And I will give him the morning star.

Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star.  He promises to give Himself to those who will follow Him.

2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Notice again this message is not just given to this one church of Thyatira, but to churches, plural. We must take heed to the warnings. Open the ears of our heart and receive Jesus in His fullness.

 

 

Chapter 3

3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Sardis: The Danger of Spiritual Death – 1517 to1790 – The Reformed church

This church at Sardis is seen by many as the reformation church. In this study we will look at this church in the light of our modern churches.

Sardis is located 35 miles south east of Thyatira. It was the capital of Lydia and was once a portrait of strength, fertility, and wealth. Idolatry and immorality were its reputation. The church at Sardis had “a name,” a good reputation, and it appeared to be alive. But in reality, there was nothing but inward deadness. Their deadness was at least partially due to some type of defilement because the Word says there were only “a few” which had not been defiled. (Rev. 3 v.4)

These people desperately needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The mention of the “seven Spirits of God” is a reference to the sevenfold ministry of the Spirit found in Isaiah 11 v.2: “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” This church needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit in these areas. If you are spiritually dead, you need these ministries also:

If you feel spiritually dead or your church is dying corporately, then you must follow the five fold plan that the Spirit gave to the church at Sardis in Rev. 3 v.3:

  1. Be Watchful: The amplified Bible says to “Rouse yourself and keep awake.” It is time for us to wake up, become alert to the signs of the time, and be active for God as never before.
  2. Strengthen: Take hold of the things that remain and are ready to die in your life and strengthen them through prayer and the Word.
  3. Remember: Reflect back on the promises of God – what you have received and heard in times past.
  4. Hold Fast: Hold fast to your faith and God’s Word.
  5. Repent: Repent so you will be ready for the return of Christ and not caught unaware.

This church is very obvious to me.  When I was a child, I went to a certain denomination church. This particular church was seemingly very strong in the Lord. People shouted and said amen. People were prayed for who were sick. Then all of a sudden, something called the National Council of Churches was formed and my church, I had loved so dearly, changed. The National Council of Churches seeks to physically make the church one. God’s plan from the beginning has been for the churches to be one in Spirit. You cannot legislate Christianity.

In my church we no longer taught Sunday school from the Bible, but we got lessons from headquarters that we were to use.  As best I could see, they had dropped many of the Biblical teachings and went more too teaching social reform.

What had been a way of life for me for nearly all my life had changed. The shouting stopped; the church became too formal for the amen corner. The first thing I knew, I found myself in a cold formal church, not the warm caring church I had loved so well.  Church never dared run over fifteen minutes; we had to stay on schedule. Bible studies became fewer and fewer. The congregation was not even made aware of how important Bible reading and study at home was. It seemed my church, which loved all Christian people, had made a detour.

I really believe that churches like this, is what the church at Sardis is all about. They started out just great; but as time went on, they waned away.

Notice in the verse above that Jesus speaks of the seven Spirits of God. When the gifts of the Holy Spirit are denied and even spoken evil of, the true church will dry up. The power of God is in His Spirit. This is why Jesus spoke to this church thusly. The Spirit has gone. This church is still flying the flag of Christianity, but denying the power thereof.

I use this scripture in Second Timothy a lot but it perfectly describes the time we are living in and describes this church at Sardis best of all.

Many denominations would have us believe the gifts of the Spirit are not in operation today. If they are not, it is because of our lack of faith. God never changes; we change.

You see, a man without a spirit is like a horse who has lost his wind. A church without the Spirit is slowly dying.

God does not want us to systematically go to church because it is expected of us once a week.  He wants us to look forward to fellowshipping with Him. The love in our heart for Jesus should make us desire to go to church and receive everything He has for us.

3:2: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Jesus tells them here; there is still some good in this church, build upon those things. Even the good in this church is being watered down to the point, that even it is about to die. I believe the works here spoken of are not saying they are not doing works, but that their works are slanted more toward the world than toward God. This church, if I understand it, is very social minded and helps local government with their projects.

If you took a count of how many true conversions were made within the last year, you would be amazed at the shortage.  You see, what we call good works and what God calls good works are two entirely different things. God looks at the Spirit, and we have a tendency to look at the physical.

3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Here again Jesus is saying, your message at the beginning was alright, go back to that, the pure Word of God. Some new Bible translations are watering Jesus down to the point that He is not God in them.

Some Bible colleges would have their people believe that: Jesus was not born of a virgin, that the Red Sea did not part, that Jonah was not truly swallowed by a large fish, and many more things.

You see, they are reducing the miraculous workings of God and trying to analyze them with what they call scientific knowledge.  This is just another attack of Satan to destroy the beauty of Christianity. These are basic to belief in salvation through Jesus Christ. If a mere man died for your sins, you are lost. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. He was the perfect Lamb of God. He was and is LIFE. To deny that He was born of a virgin, denies that He is God the Son. You see, His Father must be God.

These false teachers say the Red Sea did not part, but was just a marshy area. If this is true, explain to me how the Egyptian soldiers were drowned.

You see, the whole thing is a conspiracy to deny the deity of Christ. This is very dangerous. If we deny Him, He will deny us before the Father, Matthew 10:33.

Of course, these false teachings include a teaching that there is no heaven and no hell. That they are just a state of mind. The Bible speaks explicitly about both and even tells us what they will be like. All of this is slightly preposterous.

We must believe the Bible in its entirety or not believe it at all. As for me, I believe it in its entirety.  Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us. I believe to deny Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, is to deny salvation through Him.”

3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

Jesus is saying here there are a few people even in this church of Sardis, or our fallen away church now that are still strong in the Lord. They believe the truth rather than a lie.

A defiled garment is one not washed in the blood of the Lamb. You see, the white that we must wear is a white robe made whiter than snow by being washed in the blood of the Lamb.  This is our robe of righteousness that we will wear in heaven.  “Righteousness” means in right standing with God.

Most of the churches now that are like this church in Sardis, do not like to preach or teach on the blood of Jesus. It was the shed blood that defeated Satan and purchased our salvation. We read in Hebrews, just how important this shed blood is. Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

You see, if we are not washed in the blood of the Lamb, then we are walking in sin. We will study in a later lesson, in chapter seven of Revelation, about the great number from all nations standing around the throne in their white robes. 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.”

To deny the power of the blood, would deny us our right to stand before the throne of God. Do not be deceived.  Believe the Word of God, the Bible. Let no one convince you that it is not true.

3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible. We must Overcome the world and its teachings to inherit eternal life.  If we do overcome, our name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, which will insure us eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

If we confess Jesus before men, He will confess us before His Father. Jesus is the Judge. We stand or fall by His command.

You see from the statement above that overcoming is not a bed of roses, but a battle. Jesus won the war. We must enlist in this army of Jesus. We must fight to the death, if necessary, for the principles He has taught us in the Bible.

Be strong; do not be led away by all these new teachings of heaven on earth before Jesus comes. The only time the earth will be like heaven is the 1000 year reign of Jesus here. Withstand the devil and he will flee from you. Be part of the elect who cannot be deceived.

3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Again we are told to hear what the Spirit said to the churches.

3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Philadelphia: The Danger of Failing to Advance – 1790 to 1900 AD – The Missionary Church

The city of Philadelphia was 25 miles south east of Sardis on an 800 foot rise. To this church, which Christ says has a little strength, the Lord comes to open an avenue of opportunity that no force in hell can shut. “Possessing the key of David” means that He has the authority to open this supernatural door. The reference to those who “say they are Jews and are not” refers to all who reject Jesus Christ. Romans. 2 v.28-29 explains what constitutes a Jew:

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Romans 2 v.28-29)

Jesus shows Himself to this church of Philadelphia in the very same way that they worship Him.

  1. He is Holy. Jesus tells us to be Holy even as He is Holy, Leviticus 11:44, I Peter 1:15. 2. He shows Himself as truth. He is the Way, The Truth, and the Life, John 14:6.

Jesus is the one that opens the door to heaven or hell for us. JESUS IS THE DOOR TO HEAVEN. He is the only one who can shut or open either door. He took the keys of hell away from the devil when Jesus went there and preached. Jesus is the final Judge for everyone’s resting place.

This church in Philadelphia and its symbolic church today, are not only well aware of who Jesus is, but they are patterning their lives after His. They are the very elect.  Full of the Word, so full that it would be terribly difficult to deceive them.

God promises these believers that He will keep them from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the world. Note that the event spoken of:

These facts make it evident that the event refers to the Great Tribulation described in Mat. 24 v.15-22. Tribulation, Purpose of  these believers at Philadelphia who have only a “little strength” have nevertheless kept God’s Word and have not denied His Name. God promises that they will become pillars in the temple of God. (Rev. 3 v.12) This church may have been small in number or in material resources, but God was going to make them strong. They are promised an open door. In Scripture, an open door refers to Christ (John 10 v.7), an opening to preach the Gospel (Acts 5 v.19-20), and the rapture of the Church (Rev. 4 v.1). Each of these may be interpreted as the “open door” promised to this church, even as each can be applied to the Church today.

In these end times, God is opening many tremendous doors of opportunity and there is always an inherent danger of failing to advance at Christ’s command. You may feel you have only a little strength, but God can make you a strong and mighty pillar in His Kingdom, a spiritual warrior who is able to walk through every door He opens. Let me ask you: What is holding you back from fulfilling God’s call for your life?

God has set before you an open door which no man can shut. All the demons in hell cannot shut it. Jesus is the way. All you must do is walk through those doors in the almighty power of God.

3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Jesus is aware of everything the churches are doing.  He has first hand knowledge, because He walks in the church.  Jesus is the door and has provided Himself for us to go through to heaven. The door that Jesus opens can only be closed by Him. Jesus cares for His own.

It is very interesting here that He says this church has a little strength. This is very true of all strong believers. In our weakness, Jesus is strong. The strength that sustains us and sees us through is His, not our own. The very good statement Jesus makes about this church is that they have kept His Word.

We, too, must be careful to guard the Word of God.  The Bible is our instruction book for living. If we change it in any way, the instructions won’t work. But, many have watered down the Word until it has been short circuited and lost power. We must not tamper with the power.  This church mentioned here might be small in size, but big in love and the Holy Spirit. Again, we see so many denying the name of Jesus. I believe here that the name they are denying is that Jesus was God. We touched on it before, but it is worth mentioning again.  Most churches today want to call Jesus: Prophet, Teacher, Healer, Man. Very few realize that He was God manifest in the flesh (God the Son). This is a very important thing, and will be mentioned more as we go.

3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

There is no difference, really, in someone who follows Satan and someone who pretends to be a Christian and is not.  Both are lost.

The “synagogue of Satan” is just a place of worship where God is not Lord. A Jewish synagogue could be of Satan if evil prevailed. A body of Christians meeting could also be a synagogue of Satan, if the true Word of God is not taught and received.

There will come a time when the Truth will prevail. The church, which does not compromise and prevails unto the end, shall reign with Christ. Jesus is just encouraging this church that has tried so hard, that there will be a day of reward. The Christians will rule over those who have rejected Jesus for 1000 years here on this earth, as we will see later on in Revelation. Jesus loves the faithful. He has His ear turned to our needs.

3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Trials, tribulations, and temptations come to all.  It seems the group here mentioned, have been tested and found to stand in their temptation. There is a time of testing, and a time of victory, or defeat. Jesus was tempted forty days and nights and came out victorious. When trials come, we can do one of two things.  We can stand against the temptation and experience victory, or we can take the easy way out and succumb to temptation and fall to defeat. If you are a Christian and if the temptation wins, then you will go through this particular temptation over and over until you stand against it and Overcome it.

It appears that this group mentioned here has stood against these temptations, so their promise from Jesus is that they will not be required to go through the great temptation. There is a time specified of God when the temptations, tribulations, and trials will be so great that it will be next to impossible to stand. An hour with God can be any specific time. God’s time and our time is not the same. This hour mentioned here certainly does not mean sixty minutes, but a period of time. ( The Tribulation ) There will be seven years of tribulation at the end of the Gentile age. The last three and a half years of this will actually be the wrath of God.  God has promised the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ that we will be saved from the wrath to come.

I believe this is the case here.  Temptation here, I believe, is the same as tribulation.  Revelation 7:9 and 7:13-14 tells of the Christians who are saved from the unbearable temptation at the end of three and a half years of tribulation.

Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

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.”

You see, these are believers in Jesus the Christ (the saved) who have been brought out (saved in) of great tribulation.

Matthew 24:21-22 describes the severity of this great tribulation. Matthew 24:21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

This is the hour of temptation, I believe, this Scripture in Revelation 3:10 is speaking of. The believers in Jesus will be taken out just before this begins.

3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

This statement in V-11 is just verifying what we said above, that there is a test time for the believers. We will be required to stand; and when we do, then we will be raptured and saved from the horrors.

3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.

Again we see here that there is something that we must overcome. A person many times is spoken of as a pillar of the community, or a pillar of the church, which just means, that they are strong and are holding up the church. These people would be like founding fathers, high in principles. They would be the ones who would see to it that the church stays on solid ground.

This writing of the name of God just means that we are sealed into His kingdom.

If we were to read very much about this city, we would find that sometimes it is spoken of as a bride.  The believers in Jesus are the bride of Christ.  This name of the city being on the believers just indicates that we are the bride of Christ.

This new name of Jesus that is written upon us is showing that we are Jesus’ possession. We are His; we have been bought and paid for with His blood.

When it says we shall no more go out, it means that our eternal home is here with Jesus.

Verse 12 is saying that we, the believers, have put our trust and faith in Jesus and endured hardship.  We then have an eternity of nothing but pure joy in this New Jerusalem with Jesus.  Once we have passed from death into life through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are sealed by Jesus Himself. We belong to Him.  No one can snatch us back away from Him.  Jesus has the keys. Look to Him and no other. He is salvation.

3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Once again we are told to hear what the Spirit said to the churches by Jesus Himself who spoke these words as all of these messages to these churches are printed in red. He reminds us once again here to open the ears of our understanding to His teachings.

3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

The Danger of Luke Warmness – 1900 AD – Current – The Apostate Church

Traveling 45 miles southeast from Philadelphia, one would arrive at the fortified city of Laodicea where several major roads converge. Medicine, production of eye ointment, wool distribution, manufacturing, and banking brought fame to this city. It is interesting to note how Christ related His message to these qualities of the city in verses 17-18. The people of Laodicea felt they needed nothing. They boasted of their riches, yet they were spiritually poor. Although they were famous for their eye salve, they were spiritually blind. They were known for their fine wool, but they were spiritually naked. How do you know if you are lukewarm? Ask yourself these questions:

The people at Laodicea were spiritually lukewarm and Christ said their condition must be remedied. He commanded them to do three things which we also must do if we want to eradicate our lukewarmness:

  1. Buy of me Gold, Tried in the Fire – Gold is refined by the fire. Let the Word of God refine you spiritually and burn away the luke warmness in your life:

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.    (Psalms 12 v.6)

  1. Buy of me White Raiment – Allow God to change you by making a renewed commitment to righteous living:

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Esp. 4 v.24)

  1. Anoint your Eyes so You Can See – Receive the powerful revelation of God through Jesus Christ which will open your blinded eyes and effect true change in your life:

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4 v.6)

The book of Colossians, as well as this message here, was to the Laodiceans. We see in Colossians 4:13 and 16.  They were a very prominent area. It seems that Paul as well as Jesus (in the book of Revelation) warned them about their lack of zeal in their church.

In V-14 above Jesus is called “Amen”.  This is a very unusual name for Him. I believe that it means when He has said something, it is final. There is no room for discussion. His statements are absolute.

Jesus is spoken of as “faithful”.  He is worthy of our faith in Him.

Jesus is Truth. His witness is true because He Himself experienced it. It does not waver. It is fact.  He created everything in the earth as we know it. We can easily see from John that Jesus created everything. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:2 “The same was in the beginning with God.” John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Jesus is the Creator of all things.

3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

The Laodicean church was self-satisfied.  They went through the formality of church. They felt if they attended church one or two hours a week, they had done their duty toward God. Self-satisfied worship is even worse than not being saved at all.  If we are not saved, at least we realize it.  Someone could possibly lead us to God.

In the church at Laodicea, and in our apostate churches today, they felt no need for more than they had.  They were not even aware that salvation was not already theirs.

Jesus had told the scribes and Pharisees that the publicans and harlots were more likely to inherit heaven, Matthew 21:31. Those who believe they do not need a physician may die of some dread disease before they even discover they have it.  Those who know they have a bad disease can begin to try to get rid of it.

When someone has been introduced to Jesus and begins to take Him for granted, it is very sad. This is what I see in this church at Laodicea and in our formal churches of today.

Second Peter 2:21 is a scripture we need to take heed of. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”

A little knowledge is not good. We must be on fire for God to please a holy God. Jesus must be Lord of our life.  He will accept no less.

3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Who wants lukewarm coffee or tea?  No one. Jesus is saying, If you do not stop being lackadaisical in your worship, I will spew you out. This is a strong warning that Jesus is displeased. Jesus does not want just hearers of the Word, but doers.  Don’t be a pew warmer, get involved.

3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Wealth can sometimes give us a false sense of security.  It is very difficult for a very wealthy person to be humble and realize a need for God. It is not impossible, just difficult. Some large churches can meet a fantastically large budget because of the people of great wealth who attend. I find that it is much harder to tithe on an income of 500,000.00 per year than it is on 5,000.00 per year.  The person giving is not realizing that all he has belongs to God. He just looks at the large “gift” and says that is enough.

God blesses a cheerful giver, not a reluctant giver.  God promises over and over to meet our needs.  This church and its people have no physical need. They think they can pay their way out of anything. It is for sure that we came into the world naked, and that is the way we will leave. We will leave all the big cars, big houses, and diamond rings behind.  God will not be impressed by how much earthly wealth you have acquired. He owns everything. Your little bit in comparison will not impress Him, even if you count it in the billions.

We all face Jesus with nothing but our faith and works done for Him to testify of us. There is no treasure that will count then, but the treasure that we have stored up in heaven.

This church and these wealthy people really should be pitied by us. Their self-satisfied attitude keeps them from growing in the Lord. A Christian never stands still; if we are not growing, then we are falling away. This church is blind to the reality of their condition. They are blind to the needs of others.  Unless you have felt need yourself, you cannot relate to it.

3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

“gold tried in the fire” means pure gold.  Jesus is speaking of being rich in the sight of God.  We need to be rich in good works laying up our treasures in heaven “where moth nor rust doth not corrupt.  ..”, Matthew 6:19-20.

The only riches worth having are the ones that we can collect on in heaven.

White raiment garments are only available if we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. Christians who are dressed in white robes standing around the throne of God are wearing garments Jesus has purchased with His own precious blood. We do not have enough money to buy them. They are a free gift to all believers in Jesus. In the sight of God, we are all naked until we are clothed in this white robe.

It is a very serious mistake to trust in uncertain riches. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus to find what he must do to be saved, went away sorrowful when he found he must give away his gold, which was wealth, Matthew 19:16-24.

The young man traded all of eternity with God for momentary wealth here on earth. We are all naked before God, because He can see right through us into our heart.  Wash your eyes out where you can see clearly.

3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Jesus says here that He rebukes this church because He loves them. Proverbs 19:18 “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

Jesus tells this church to get excited about serving Jesus and repent of their lukewarmness. When Jesus returns, we must be found working. Work for the night is coming when man’s work is done.

Just as a fruit tree produces much more fruit after it is pruned, Jesus here is pruning the church so it will produce much fruit. Tribulation comes to make us strong.  Perhaps this church would be stronger if it faced a little tribulation.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

In the closing appeal of these messages to the churches, Jesus issues a final call as we see in the next scripture.

3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Here we see a terrible scene.  Jesus is outside trying to get in. Jesus will knock for a while, but there will come a time, if we do not allow Him to come in, that He will stop knocking.  Jesus wants to come and live inside of each of us. We need to allow Jesus to live through us.

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Our flesh is nothing. It will soon pass.  The Spirit which dwells in us is the important thing; it is eternal.

In V-20 Jesus says “will sup with him”.  He is speaking of His fellowshipping with us. He loved us so much that He died for each of us. He wants to be our friend.

3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. If we live pleasing to Him, we shall be seated on thrones with Jesus.

Luke 22:29-30 “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;” Luke 22:30 “That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Jesus’ plan for all of us, is that we will be seated with Him in heavenly places. Jesus overcame the world when He submitted His will to the Father’s will. He overcame sin and death on the cross. We will be an overcomer when we submit our will to His.

“Not my will but thine O Lord” should be the cry of every believer in Christ.

3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

This is the last time that Jesus Himself will speak to the churches. Each church has its own individualism. Did you see yourself or your church in any of them?

Once again, at the end of this message, Jesus tells them to hear and understand; because this message, as all the others, came from the Spirit.

Because Christ loves us, He rebukes us. Because He cares for us, He warns us of specific dangers in these closing days of time.

The Danger of Diminishing Love (Represented by the church at Ephesus)

The Danger of Fearing, Suffering (Represented by the church at Smyrna)

The Danger of Doctrinal Compromise (Represented by the church at Pergamos)

The Danger of Moral Compromise (Represented by the church at Thyatira)

The Danger of Spiritual Death (Represented by the church at Sardis)

The Danger of Failing to Advance (Represented by the church at Philadelphia)

The Danger of Luke Warmness (Represented by the church at Laodicea)

In these closing passages we see a picture of:

The standing Christ, symbolizing His readiness to enter our individual lives and corporate church fellowships to correct every deficiency.

The knocking Christ, who seeks us unceasingly, He keeps on knocking.

The pleading Christ, continually speaking to us, wooing us to a more intimate relationship with Him.

The penetrating Christ, who as we open the door of our lives to Him enters in.

The companion Christ, enjoying sweet fellowship and communion with us, preparing and equipping us for His soon return.

Here are Nine Promises to Overcomers – Jesus is not returning for a weak, anemic, defeated Church. He is returning for a mighty powerful Church composed of men and women who have learned to overcome. In each of His messages to the seven churches, Jesus gave a specific promise to those who overcome.

  1. Overcomers Will Eat of the Tree of Life. – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2 v.7). Those who Overcome will inherit eternal life. They will live forever!
  2. Overcomers Will Not be Hurt by the Second Death. – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Rev. 2 v.11) Those who Overcome have their names written in the Book of Life and are part of the first resurrection. The “second death” is identified in Rev. 20 v.14 as the lake of fire. The second death has no power over the righteous who are part of the first resurrection: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20 v.6)
  3. Overcomers Will Eat of the Hidden Manna. – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” (Rev. 2 v17) The “hidden manna” refers to Christ because He is the Bread of Life. (John 6 v.33-35) Jesus, in all His fullness, will be manifested to those who Overcome and they will partake of all that He is and has!
  4. Those Who Overcome Will be Given a New Name. – “I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name”. (Rev. 3 v.12) To “write the name upon something” is a common Hebrew expression used to indicate taking absolute possession of something. Christ will write His Name upon the foreheads of those who overcome, forever identifying them as His own possession.
  5. Overcomers Will Be Given Power Over the Nations. – “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” (Rev. 2 v.26) Overcomers will reign with Christ and sit in judgment over the nations. (Rev. 20 v.4)
  6. Overcomers Will Be Clothed in White Garments. – “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels”. (Rev. 3 v.5) The white garments that Overcomers will wear represents the righteousness of the saints: “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” (Rev. 19 v.8) John saw the redeemed standing before the throne of God, clothed in white robes with palms in their hands. (Rev. 7 v.9)
  7. Overcomers Will Be a Pillar in the Temple in the New Jerusalem. – “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Rev. 3 v.12) A pillar is permanent, so Christ’s promise to those who Overcome means He will give them a permanent place in the New Jerusalem. Absolutely nothing will be able to remove them from their place in heavenly Jerusalem!
  8. Overcomers Will Sit With Christ on His Throne. – “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3 v.21) Those who Overcome will sit with Christ on His throne and reign with Him forever!
  9. Overcomers Will Inherit All Things. – “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son”. (Rev. 21 v.7) This promise is the summation of all the blessings God can bestow. Like a son taking possession of his inheritance, those who Overcome will take possession of all their Heavenly Father has prepared for them.

Your Are Called to Overcome. – Beloved, these promises do not belong to half hearted, uncommitted, compromising, fearful, unfaithful believers, but to those who overcome! The word “overcome” in these verses is translated from the Greek work, “nikao,” which means “to conquer.” When Christ calls us to overcome, He is calling us to conquer by locating our enemy, engaging him in combat, and defeating him! We are called to Overcome and CONQUER the flesh!

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lust of men, but to the will of God? (1 Peter 4 v.1-2)

We are called to Overcome and Conquer the world! Jesus said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have Overcome the world.”

We are called to Overcome and Conquer sin! “For sin shall not have dominion over you: (Romans 6 v.14)

We are called to Overcome and Conquer Satan! “Ye are of God, little children, and have Overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4 v.4)

Christ has overcome, and by His Spirit living within us, we are able to do the same: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5 v. 4-5).

You do not Overcome because of who you are. It is not because of any merit of your own, your good works, your strength, or anything else you possess. You are able to Overcome the flesh, the world, sin, Satan and his evil principalities because of Jesus Christ who lives within you! In the Spirit, John glimpsed the great victory that belongs to God’s people and declared, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12 v.11)

Beloved, you are an overcomer and more than a conqueror through Him who loved you. (Romans 8 v.36) Your victory is sealed with the assurance of the blood of Jesus Christ!

Our Yea and Amen – The last great anointing that will fall on this earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ is the prayer anointing. In Rev. 3 v.14, there is an often neglected, yet beautiful picture of Jesus’ role as your prayer partner.

Jesus declares, “These things saith the Amen” meaning He is the “Amen”. The Hebrew rendering of Isaiah 65 v.16 also calls God “the God of Amen.” What does this mean? The original meaning of the verb “to amen” is used to affirm that someone is reliable, trustworthy, and truthful. It is used in the Old Testament in two ways:

When Scripture declares that Jesus is the “Amen,” it means that He is the divine “Yes” to the prayers of God’s people whenever they are made in accord with God’s will:

“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us”. (2 Cor. 1 v.20)

Picture this: Jesus is seated at the Father’s side. As you enter the throne room in prayer to intercede according to the will of God aided by the Spirit indwelling you, Jesus joins His almighty intercession with yours, then He turns to the Father and seals it with His “Yes and Amen!” The “Amen”, so be it, is uttered to the Father through Christ as we claim God’s promises in prayer!

To close this chapter I want to you to read Rev. 1 verse 3 again:

Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.

Chapters 2 and 3 are 2 of the most important chapters in the Book of Revelation in my mind. I recommend you re-read these and study them, then compare them to your church. Not all churches are alike and much false teaching or teaching about worldly interests instead of the gospel message is being taught today in many assemblies.

 

 

Chapter 4

4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

What do you think is being talked about in this first verse? (Some believe this is depicting the Rapture)

The door signifies entrance by way of revelation into heaven. The command “Come up hither probably does not refer specifically to the Rapture, but rather to the change in scene for John who is to receive revelation about future events. This begins the final section of the book describing the events that follow the church age.

Matthew 24:31 – And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. All the elect are gathered and assembled before Christ. This is the culmination of world history, ushering in the millennial reign of Christ.

This will be the trumpet of assembly (the silver trumpet of redemption) “four” means the entire world. We’ve all heard the saying: “from the four corners of the earth I’m sure. This assembly will not be just Americans, but the true believers from every country of the world. These “angels” are ministering spirits who carry out these orders of their Lord and Master. The “He” here is Jesus (Messiah), but now He is Lord of lords and King of kings.

This “sound of a Trumpet” could be a literal trumpet blowing, or it could be the voice of our Lord sounding like a trumpet. This is the last chronological mention of silver in the Bible. There will be no silver in heaven. “Silver” means redemption, and there is no silver there; because we have already been redeemed. There is only gold in heaven. In the Holy of Holies, there was only gold, because in the presence of God, there was only gold. This gathering together of His elect is what is commonly referred to as the rapture of the church. His church has no denomination. It is “all” who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17 “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 together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. To really understand read all of this account. I have chosen just two verses from the account for here. This will happen so quickly that you would not even have time to blink your eye.

The “I” in verse 1 is of course John who is writing this. Jesus has been speaking in the previous chapter directly.  Now we hear from John about the things he saw. This is after Jesus finishes His messages to the seven churches.

We will see the number “seven” throughout Revelation.  Seven means “spiritually complete”.  Perhaps in this number, God is saying, this is it. There is nothing else to read.  If you can’t get the message in Revelation, you cannot receive it.

John takes a look toward heaven and is startled “behold”. The door of heaven is open.  Jesus is the door to heaven. The door of heaven is not closed to the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus opened the way to the very throne of God, when the temple curtain was torn from the top to the bottom (opening the way to the holy of holies), when He died on the cross, Matthew 27:51.

The word “looked” is important also.  We must seek before we can find. Jesus is coming back for those who are looking for Him.

Notice, this door was “opened” in the past tense.  It is not going to be opened. Jesus opened it for us.  It is now open to believers. Heaven is presently the dwelling place of God.  It will also be our eternal home.

There are several other instances in the Bible where the door of heaven was opened. Many prophets, also, have seen a vision of the heavenly.

Ezekiel speaks of his look into heaven. Daniel had a glimpse into heaven. When Stephen was stoned to death, he saw into heaven.

When Stephen looked into heaven, he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Most times Jesus is seated at the right hand because His work is completed, but I believe that He was standing to receive His faithful servant, Stephen, home.

This door has never been closed to the true believers.

The first voice that John hears in V-1 is either the voice of Jesus Himself, or the voice of Jesus’ own personal messenger.  It makes no difference; the message itself is from Jesus. When the Lord calls us to meet Him in the air, when the church is caught away, we will hear the trumpet; the silver trumpet of redemption.

In Both Matthew 24:31 and I Thessalonians 4:16 I read at first the voice and the trumpet seem to be interchangeable. The voice of Jesus and His personal angel are a little confusing, as well. Either way the message is from Jesus.  This trumpet was talking with John.

The voice that John heard was like a trumpet.  This is a powerful voice; it gives a true sound. This voice is talking to us, as well as John.

The voice said, “come up hither” to John, but is always saying to us, “come up hither”. Get your mind off the things of this world and look heavenward. The call of Jesus has always been “come”. In this specific sentence, He tells John “come up hither”, then adds why.

Jesus, the voice, says, “I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”  John will be shown a look into the future.  John could have had a vision of this, or he could have been transported into heaven for a moment in time to see all of this.  We do know that viewing something from the earth makes us see just the here and now. From a heavenly point, we can see yesterday and tomorrow.

Notice that these things of the hereafter must be. Why must they be? Because God ordered it from the beginning of the world and God never changes. We must change to fit His plan, not the other way around.

John is not told a specific time in the hereafter, only that it will be later than the present time he is in.

John is now seeing into the future, after the believers in Christ are raptured into heaven, in this particular scene.

4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne.

John was already in the Spirit we know from a previous lesson, but this means a deeper experience in the Spirit. A double dose of the Spirit, you might say.

John was changed or transported, instantly. This throne, as we said before, has been seen by many in the Bible. The word “one”  does not literally mean “one” but, I believe it means the unity of the trinity.

The word “sat” is indicative that the work is complete.

A throne shows rulership and power.  Notice that the “throne” was “set in heaven”; set is past tense.  This throne is occupied even now in heaven, where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.

4:3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

The “jasper and sardine stone” were the most precious of all stones. The beauty of God was so dazzling that John could not describe Him. The jasper was the last and the sardine the first stone in the breastplate worn by the high priest, Exodus 28:17-20. These stones are in the foundation of the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:19-20.

The diamond and ruby are meant by these stone.  These stones are known for their clearness and brightness.

There was a diamond between the breastplate and the heart of the high priest. The name engraved on this stone, I believe, is the unspeakable name of God Almighty.  The diamond stone next to the heart stood for purity and mercy.

The emerald is another precious stone, green in color.  Green means “earthly or of the earth”.  The emerald was also part of the breastplate, and of the foundation of New Jerusalem.

The value of these three different stones is greater than other stones. These are classified as precious stones and are very expensive.

This rainbow is green (earthly) to show the covenant between God and man. The first rainbow mentioned was a sign of a promise from God to man. God would never again destroy the earth by water.  Sometimes it is called a bow, and sometimes a rainbow.  The rainbow encircles the throne as a constant reminder to God and man of the covenant. This is a beautiful sight to behold.

4:4 And round about the throne [were] four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

The twenty-four seats were actually thrones.  Miniature thrones in authority, subordinate to God, but nevertheless they surround the throne of God.

The twenty-four elders who represent the redeemed in heaven acknowledge that humans were created by God for His good pleasure. Their response of praise recognizes the sovereignty of God over our lives.

One of the most controversial questions raised by this vision of the throne of God is the identity of the 24 elders.

In Rev. 5 v.9 the Scriptures tells us the four and twenty elders sung a new song. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed “us” to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Notice “and hast redeemed us” thus revealing their human nature. These 24 elders are redeemed men. Once their human nature was confirmed, it became obvious that the Rapture was pictured by Rev. 4 v.1 as occurring before the Tribulation. Rapture For this scene, which is of the throne of God in heaven just before the 7 year Tribulation as defined in chapters 6-19, pictures twenty four men or “elders” in the presence of God.

Twelve is a spiritual number which has to do with representation. The number twenty-four, I believe, could be two twelve’s.

The twelve prophets represent the believers of the Old Testament. The twelve disciples represent all believers from the New Testament.

There are many other schools of thought on the twenty-four.

John, “the faithful witness” observes these events immediately after the church age has been concluded and just prior to the beginning of the Tribulation. These men, whether 12 who represent Israel and 12 who represent the church, or 24 outstanding Christian leaders in all church history, makes no difference, they all are redeemed men! They are redeemed saints who are in heaven just before the revelation of the Tribulation that follows. Like John, they are part of the pre-tribulation rapture in their glorified bodies worshiping all three members of the Trinity. This scene in heaven does not occur in the middle of the Tribulation or at its end, but before it begins.

These Old Testament believers were looking forward to Messiah and were preached to, when Jesus preached in hell and brought captivity captive out with Him.

Notice all twenty-four were dressed in white robes. White robes are worn by believers in Jesus, who have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus and are made white as snow.  All through the Old Testament people like David were looking for the Savior. They believed, even though they were looking forward instead of backward to Him.

There are over thirty-seven Old Testament scriptures which mention the coming of Jesus Christ. These were fulfilled, every one.  It is not absurd to speak of Old Testament believers.

These crowns that they had on their heads were gold.  This showed that they had nothing to do with these crowns being put on their heads. Gold means the purity of God.  God placed these crowns on their head. The grace of God placed these crowns on their head. They did nothing to earn them. It was a free gift from God for believing. Crowns show rulership, and we believers are promised that we will reign with Jesus.

4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

The “lightnings and thunderings” showed the majesty and awesomeness of God. Lightning, earthquakes, and thunderings throughout the Bible have been an outward proclamation of God. Even at the foot of Mount Sinai the people were afraid of God, because of just such manifestations.

The “seven lamps” are a symbolic number covering all the workings of the Spirit of God.

The seven spirits of God refers to the seven eyes of the Lord or characteristics of God. (Zech. 4:10 and Isaiah 11:2) “the seven Spirits” mean the entirety of the power of the Spirit is manifest there at the throne and emanates out to the twenty-four or all Christendom. Fire throughout the Bible has been symbolic of God, as in the burning bush, Exodus 3:2. In Hebrews 12:28-29, we are told to serve God with reverence and Godly fear, because God is a consuming fire.

We do not completely understand God, but we must accept and trust God. This Spirit of God which is burning is to illuminate the minds and Spirits of all who will accept it.  Jesus is the Light. Somehow, all three are present in these lamps (Spirit) that illuminate.

4:6 And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

This “sea of glass” reminds us very much of the laver in the tabernacle in the wilderness. Just as this symbolized baptism in the temple, this, too, could symbolize the need for baptism on the way to the throne.

All around the throne were the four beasts.  Probably a little better translation would have been living ones. The number “four” shows the universality of these beasts or living beings.  In Isaiah 6:2-13 and in Ezekiel 1:5-28, these living beings are also called “seraphim” and “cherabim”. These beasts, or living beings, surrounding the throne are full of eyes which means their wisdom was overwhelming.

The 4 Beasts or living Creatures are probably angels who guard the throne of God.  The eyes symbolize wisdom, and the wings depict movement.  They worship God as did the seraphim in Isaiah’s vision.  (Isaiah 6 v.1-3) The lion represents strength, (Psalms 103 v.20) The calf service, (Heb.1 v.14) The face of a man intelligence, (Luke 2 v.52) and the eagle swiftness. (Dan 9 v.21) The angelic vision has a strong allusion to Ezekiel 1 v.4-14.

The eyes denote wisdom or intelligence.  These beings looking “before and behind” means they look back into times past and, also, look forward into things to come. These living ones, or living beings, also denote the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Those books truly are full of wisdom. Matthew does look back at the history of Jesus, and chapter 24 looks ahead to the end times.

4:7 And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle.

The four living beings show the four gospels: MatthewJesus is shown as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The genealogy of Jesus is in Matthew, showing that Jesus truly was the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Even though the four gospels tell the same story in essence, they also show four different personalities.  You can easily see why these beasts, living beings, are symbolically the four gospels.

4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Holy, holy, holy. This is the cry of these heavenly creatures who know God as He really is. It has been suggested that each “holy” is directed to one of the members of the Trinity. Then these creatures remind us of the One who “is to come.” The return of Christ is guaranteed in the words of these heavenly hosts. In Acts 1:9-11 angelic beings describe how Christ will literally return “in like manner as ye have seen him go”. Here these angels in heaven reaffirm that promise.

The six wings spoken of in Isaiah 6 seem to show humility, obedience, and reverence to God. The number six makes me believe, also, that these wings show work and activity (six day work). It seems here that one of their tasks was to proclaim the holiness of God. I really believe the three “holy” and “Lord God Almighty” indicate Father, Word, Holy Ghost.

The “which was, and is, and is to come” just furthers that thought and shows us the eternity of this three in one.  We do know from First John 5:7 that there are three in heaven.  “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

This “when the beasts give glory and honour and thanks” is a never ending thing. The four gospels have proclaimed this in the past, are proclaiming it now, and will proclaim it for all of eternity.

“The giving of “honour” goes on and on and on. The giving of “thanks” is to the Spirit of God, the Trinity.

The song of the living beings is giving praises not just then, not just now, but continuously. We see by this honor given it should be all glory and all honor, etc. The eternity of God is so difficult for us to understand because our minds are programmed to a life of just under one hundred years here on the earth.

4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

At the presence of God it is a normal thing to fall down prostrate at His feet. The “four and twenty elders fall down before” shows their great humility at the presence of God. A deep respect and honor should be given God.

“him that sat on the throne” is very interesting. God the Father is on the central throne, but immediately on His right hand sits God the Son, Jesus. The “throne” encompasses both the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The word “worship” has been misunderstood by so many.  We sing about it in our songs and use it in our prayers.  Do we truly know how to worship? Our churches call Sunday services, worship, but again, very little true worship goes on. The word that was translated “worship” here means “absolute reverence to God, to adore Him”. One of the meanings of the word means to “kiss”, like a dog licking his master’s hand. Absolute humility and adoration of God is what it really means. Do we go to church to humbly worship and adore our God? A deep respect and honor should be given God.

Why do they “cast their crowns before the throne”?  These crowns are the victorious crowns that Jesus has placed on their head. They, or we, have done nothing to earn the crown. These crowns belong to Jesus, not us. He won the victory.  He placed them on our head. Everyone benefits from the victory, but Jesus won it. This is another act of humility on their part. When they throw the crowns at Jesus’ feet, they are telling Him that they are His because He won them.

4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We see here the worthiness of God and why He should be praised. It is, in our society, the popular thing to worship the created rather than the Creator. We are warned about this over and over throughout the Bible. Not only in terms of getting our priorities mixed up and thinking too much of money, jewels, family, homes, automobiles, and recreation (which can certainly become a God to us), but many are actually worshipping the sun, moon, stars, and rivers.  In far too many Christian homes today we see totem poles, Buddah’s and all sorts of horoscope paraphernalia.

God is a jealous God. He will not allow the believer to mess around with false gods.  How could we compare the Creator of it all to His creations?  We must recognize God to be supreme to all others in every way.  Before the world existed, He spoke, and it became. The power of his Word created all that we know.

I believe it is good to understand why He did not just leave well enough alone, and live as He was, and not bother with all of this.  We have been such a problem and heartache to Him. The earth and all that’s on it, was created for God’s pleasure. He created us so that He could fellowship with us. We are to Jesus like our children are to us. They are great joy, but at the very same time, they can bring us hurt. The joy far outweighs the hurt.  Perhaps that is the way it is with God dealing with us. The joy outweighs the sorrow. We see here that the whole universe was created for God.

 

 

Chapter 5

5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

We are not told specifically anywhere what this book contains. This is one of the mysteries that will remain until we are in heaven with Him and ask Him face to face.  We know that the Right Hand of God is Jesus Christ, so whatever this book is, (actually the book is a scroll that is rolled up and sealed) Jesus is holding it. This book that is filled to overflowing and has something even on the back could mean the fullness of time.  Perhaps on the reverse side would be “it is finished” or “the end”.

“sealed with seven seals” just means that it is closed in completeness. These seals could be opened one at a time or all at once. They perhaps, if opened one at a time, could reveal a portion each time a seal is removed.

5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

I believe the reason a “strong angel” is mentioned here is to show that all the earthly and heavenly strength, aside from God’s, can not open this book or these seals.

The “loud voice” is as if the angel is calling out to see who will come forth to open the book.

5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

There are some things that man cannot do.  This one statement here shows that Jesus was, and is, no mere man.  This says regardless of where he is located, man does not possess the power to open this book. There are some things, like judgment, that are reserved for Jesus to do.

The seven-sealed scroll is thought to be the title deed to the earth. In Practical terms, it seems God the Father holds this title deed, awaiting the return of His Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. This powerful scene in heaven indicates that only Christ, who died to redeem mankind back to God, is qualified to open the seals of this scroll and claim His kingdom over all the earth.

Only one with the proper authority could open the book by loosing or removing its seals (Isaiah 29 v.11).

The question is, “Who has the right to judge the world?” – That is to reveal what is hidden in the scroll and to execute what is written. No man, literally, “No one” could be found among mankind or angels who had the authority to remove the “seals” and read the scroll.

5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

John began to cry because it seemed that there was no one to open this book. In fact, these unworthy men were even kept from looking at the book.

5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Remember the twenty-four elders were representatives of the church. It really doesn’t matter which one of the twenty-four this is.

“The Lion of the tribe of Judah. (Juda) ” the names of our Lord are never given by accident, but all convey a part of His nature. Since the lion is the king of beasts and since Judah is the ruling tribe of Israel, this indicates that Christ is to come as King to reign over human affairs.

The “Lion of the tribe of Juda” is Jesus, of course. In Matthew, we are shown Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Juda. It is interesting to note that even though Jesus is descended from David in the flesh, He is also David’s God.

“The Root of David.”  This, of course, refers to Jesus’ incarnation on His first birth with His roots in the family of David.

This “hath prevailed” just indicates that Jesus won the battle. He came against Satan and Jesus won. He won in a way that no one expected when He died on the cross. Jesus is the only one worthy to open the book. He was victorious over sin and Satan. He alone lived upon this earth free from sin. He is worthy.  Probably these seals would be removed one at a time.

5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

This is John looking at the very same scene with more being revealed to him as he looks. It is almost as if he is astonished when he says “lo”.

Here we see Him at the throne, and very near are the twenty-four representatives of all Christendom.  This is an unusual thing here, for Jesus is the Right Hand of God. This book is actually held by Him, and yet, we see Him go to take the book and open it. As in dreams, many symbolisms are present here.

Where would the Lamb, Jesus, be but in the midst?  We saw in a previous lesson how He was in the midst of the church.  Here we see Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice.  Everything that He is surrounded by is significant to His church.  Jesus is the central figure in all of this.

We know also that Jesus is definitely in the midst of the four gospels. He is the central theme of all four books.

Many times, thoughts come to us (as we are viewing something) that are not something we see with the eye.  Here we see John realizing the death of the Lamb, as well as Him resurrected.

“A lamb, looking as if it had been slain.” When Christ completed the work of redemption, He earned the title deed to the earth; as by Adam came sin, so by Christ came redemption. It is a beautiful picture that we see here! Even though the angel refers to our Lord in His glory as a Lion, indicating His power and might, John sees Him as a sacrificial Lamb, for John sees Him through eyes of faith. Those who reject Christ will see Him as a Lion when He comes to judge and to reign over them. Those who believe in Him will see Him as their sacrificial Lamb.

The “seven horns” indicate that all power belongs to Him indicating that the Lamb is not weak. A horn as Scripture indicates its power (see Zech. 1 v.18). When Christ came the first time, as a Lamb, though He displayed certain powers, He did not manifest all of His power. When He comes the next time, as a Lion, at His Glorious Appearing, it will be in the manifestation of His omnipotence, His all consuming power.

In Matthew 28:18, we see this verified. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” This statement is printed in red which means Jesus Himself spoke these words. This was spoken after His resurrection.

The “seven eyes” just means that He possesses all wisdom and understanding. “Seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” These eyes speak of the judgment of our Lord, including the seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit that rests on Him without measure (Isaiah 11 v.2; John 3 v.34).

When our Lord comes, He will know all that human beings have ever thought or done. Every deed will be brought into judgment. Note that seven is God’s number of perfection; therefore when Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, comes to judge the world at the end of the Tribulation, it will be as the perfect judge, who has all power and who knows all about humankind. It should also be borne in mind that He was the sacrificial Lamb, but people rejected him.

The Seven Spirits of God – The seven Spirits do not mean seven different Spirits, but the seven characteristics of the one Holy Spirit. It should be borne in mind, that these characteristics are not limited to His role in heaven, His role during the Tribulation, or His role during the Church Age, but are an eternal part of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, in addition to the fruit of the Spirit found in Gal. 5 v.22, we should expect to manifest these characteristics:

1. The Spirit of the Lord

2. The Spirit of wisdom

3. The Spirit of understanding

4. The Spirit of counsel

5. The Spirit of power

6. The Spirit of Knowledge

7. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord

The “seven spirits of God” just means that all the Spirits of God dwell in Him. He has all the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Him.

These seven Spirits of God sent forth into the earth are the spiritual gifts to help the Christians mentioned in I Corinthians chapter 12. It begins, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” Then it goes on and lists the gifts that will be of help to us Christians.

1.  Word of Wisdom

2.  Knowledge

3.  Faith

4.  Healing

5.  Miracles

6.  Prophecy

7.  Discernment

8.  Tongues

9.  Interpretations

There are far more than seven.  Seven is just a spiritual number meaning the completeness, or fullness of the Spirit.  If you wanted to, you could name a hundred more, such as charity, patience, etc.

5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

As I said before, this is Jesus, the Lamb, taking the book from His own self, because He is the Right Hand of God.

5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

All of Christendom will bow before the Lamb.  We read that every knee will bow and every tongue confess to God, Romans 14:11.

It is a real comfort to know that every prayer that we ever prayed is stored in heaven

5:9-10 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

This beautiful new song, proclaiming how worthy Jesus is to receive our adoration, will be a magnificent sound.  All voices will be in accord. This song praising Jesus for redeeming us from sin and death will be accompanied by the beautiful music of the harp in the verse before.

The shed blood of Jesus was, and is, the redeeming factor.  I love the fact that nationality, or color, or sex, or any other separation that man has will not be a factor here.  Salvation is for everyone who will accept it. Jesus died for each one of us whether we are Americans, Indians, Africans, Chinese, Russian or otherwise. It is our choice whether to accept, or reject, the gift of salvation. No other barrier exists.

In V-10, speaking of “kings and priests” could be rendered kingdoms and priests in that kingdom.  We will see later on in Revelation that Christians will reign with Jesus 1000 years on the earth as subordinates to Jesus.  Just as there were priests with a high priest over them, our ruling will be under His rule.

We shall reign on the earth. A similar promise is given to that “multitude, which no man could number (Rev. 7:9) when resurrected after the Tribulation (Rev. 20:4). Together the Christians, who were saved before the Tribulation, along with the saints saved out of the Tribulation will “rule and reign” during Christ’s one thousand-year kingdom.

5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

This number is not a literal number and would not be to our advantage to figure out. It just means a number too large to count. This is a very large company of ministering spirits, angels.  The voice had to be loud to be such a multitude. Angels

10,000 x 10,000 = 100 Million + 1000’s and 1000’s.

5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

The interesting thing here is that this huge gathering was all saying the same thing. It was total adoration and recognition of Jesus of who and what He was. Not that they could give Jesus anything, but they realized that it was correct for Him to possess all things.

5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Jesus created everything and everyone.  This just means that trees, animals, fish, fowl, and all living beings, such as animals and people, all cried out blessings to God.

The “him that sitteth upon the throne” could be God the Father and God the Son. Probably the Elohim God, because of the separation of the blessing afterward unto the Lamb. This praise was not for a limited time, but was to reach into all of eternity. The word “sitteth” means continuous sitting.

5:14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

These representatives of the Christians are saying, so be it (amen). Our worship of Him will never cease. Even in heaven, we will be praising and worshipping Him.

In closing chapter 5 we saw three outbursts of praise and worship are directed toward Christ and the Father.

(1) The beasts and the elders praise the Lamb for having redeemed them through His blood (v.8,9) and for giving them authority (in the future) to reign on the earth (v.10);

(2) Myriads of angels also praise the Lamb for His glory and wisdom (v.11, 12); and

(3) Every area of creation worships both the Father and the Lamb (v.13,14). The prayers of saints (v.8) may be prayers for the fulfillment of the messianic kingdom (6:9, 10; 8:3).

 

 

Chapter 6

6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

The Lamb here is Jesus Christ, the only one worthy to open the seals. This noise as thunder indicates God revealing something to His people. Many times throughout the Bible, God’s voice has been mistaken for thunder. Here one of the four beasts, or four living beings, says “Come and see”. Of course, all of the four gospels say “Come and see”. We are invited to look into the heavenly stage and see things never told upon the earth until now. We will see in the opening of this first seal, the triumph of Christ and His church.

This part begins what is called “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. The four horsemen present the picture of man’s inhumanity to man. They seem to be a divine prediction of the affairs of humankind that will cause much human suffering. This is not new, for those in control of the affairs of this world have a history of causing their fellow human beings much suffering, with false hopes of peace followed by wars, famines, and death.

One of the worst horrors of the Tribulation is the many plagues that will strike the world’s people, particularly those who reject the Savior and refuse to have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The judgments are started with the 7 seals.

The seals represent the beginning of Christ’s judgment of unbelievers on the earth during the Tribulation period. There is a close similarity between these judgments and the events predicted by Christ in Matthew 24:4-31. The purpose of the Tribulation period is to punish unbelievers for their sin and rejection of Christ and to bring the remnant to faith in Christ.

6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

The First Seal: A White Horse (The first of the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse is white). The rider has a bow but no arrows, indicating that although he is militarily strong, in the beginning he does his conquering by diplomacy. Since he wears a crown, we know he is successful in his efforts. And who is the rider on the white horse? There can be no doubt that it is the Antichrist, who through deceit and clever maneuvering will bring a false peace to the world. ( Antichrist ) But that peace will not last.

6:3-4 “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.” “And there went out another horse [that was] red: and [power] was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”

The Second Seal: John writes of the 2nd horseman, “It was granted to the one who sat on the red horse to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.”

John is encouraged to “Come and see”.  We, too, may get a glimpse through the eyes and the pen of John. This red horse means war. This war could be twofold in nature. There is a constant attack of the devil and his demons on Christians, but I believe this goes much further than this. This red horse (in my opinion) indicates a large war.

This red horse also means the martyrs who died holding up the name of Jesus. Blood ran freely all throughout the Bible. Believers in some parts of the world are even being made martyrs now. War is on every side. In Israel and Lebanon these days there are many killed every day. Ireland has what they call a holy war going on. Even these are not the extent of what I believe this Scripture means. I really believe this red horse has to do with a global war of great magnitude. The Spirits of war.

We believe this seal represents a great conflagration we might call World War III. When Daniel’s “three kings” oppose the Antichrist, he will respond in deadly fashion, swiftly crushing his enemies and bringing death to earth on a massive scale never before known. Only since the advent of the atomic age has it been possible to bring this kind of unimaginable, swift destruction to bear on widely scattered portions of the globe.

His purpose is to cause “mankind to slaughter one another” The Greek word that is used, and also the verb, means “to butcher, slaughter or massacre someone”. This contains a purpose clause which reveals that peace is taken from the earth for the very purpose that mankind should butcher each other. And in the remainder of the Revelation’s Seals, Trumpets and Golden Bowl Judgments, mankind does this to himself with ruthless skill.

We read in Zechariah about these four horses, and we can easily see what it is because the Bible tells us. Zechariah 6:1 “And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains [were] mountains of brass.”

“Brass” means judgment. The number “four” means that this is a universal message. Zechariah 6:2: “In the first chariot [were] red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;” Zechariah 6:3 “And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grizzled and bay horses.”

This is a vision of the same horses that we are reading about in Revelation. To understand the entire message, you need to read chapter 1 and chapter 6 of Zechariah. Zechariah 6:4 “Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What [are] these, my lord?”

When Zechariah asked the angel what this meant, this is the answer he got. Zechariah 6:5 “And the angel answered and said unto me, these [are] the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.”

We see again the spirit of war in this red horse.

6:5-6 “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.” “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine”.

The Third Seal: A Black Horse – Rampant inflation – a common aftermath of war – Famine is suggested by John’s words, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

Since in biblical days a denarius was a common wage for a day’s work, and a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley are basically subsistence diets, John is indicating that a man will have to work all day just to get enough food to eat, with nothing left over for his family or the elderly.

In the parable of the vineyard, Matthew 20:2, a day’s work was a penny. This “penny”, in the verse above, means a full day’s pay. I believe this means that a loaf of bread will be so inflated in price, because of scarcity of food, that it will take a whole day’s wages of a man to buy one loaf.

We surely know that it is a “measure”, which is a very small amount. Barley seems to be a third the cost, so perhaps a meager meal of barley for three could cost a whole day’s wages.

The famine will be so great, that food will be weighed by the ounce and dispensed carefully. This famine will probably be as bad as the famine that was in Egypt in Joseph’s time. Probably drought will trigger crop failures in many places. Only the very rich will be able to buy food.  Personally, I believe, God will instruct Christians, who are totally sold out to Him. They will know when to plant and exactly what to do, as Joseph was told, of God, what to do.

This is run-away inflation to its worst possible conclusion. In many parts of the world inflation is already to that terrible extreme. I just read in some parts of Africa where the inflation rate is over 1200%.

When inflation is coupled with famine, we see a situation more horrible than we care to imagine.  We must stay closely in tune with God. If He tells us to dig a very deep well, we must do that. If He tells us to plant a garden, we must do that.  It is going to be very important to be able to take daily instruction from God.  Not to question, just do it.  I believe God is even now setting up places of refuge for Christians.

On the other hand, the call to not “harm the oil and the wine,” are symbols of wealth, indicates that the rich will do just fine. Or it could mean something referring with Spirit-filled Christians.  Oil and wine are symbolic of the Holy Spirit of God. That His Hand will be on the Tribulation Saints protecting them during the tribulation.

I cannot stress enough, that this famine may not be just physical but spiritual, as well. During this time, I believe, that many churches will teach false doctrines. Even now there is a terrible famine of truth in the church. Never before have so many denied: the virgin birth of Christ, the Red Sea parted, Jonah being swallowed by the large fish, God as Father. Jesus is God with us, “Emmanuel”,

Many churches are ordaining homosexuals to preach. Secular Humanism makes man a god.

How much more famine of the Spirit can we take?  Truly there will be a physical famine, as well.  Stay tuned to the voice of God.  He will see you through it all.

The third horseman of the Apocalypse, who rides out early in the Tribulation, will take a heavy toll in deaths and sickness. The black horse he rides is an obvious symbol of famine and disease, which often follow war.

This could be a message of hard times for all of mankind. “black” symbolizes:

Christian Saints will be saved IN the famine and not FROM the famine. Noah was saved IN the flood, not FROM the flood.  God can rain manna from heaven if necessary. I believe God will set up places of refuge where believers can run, so they can have physical and spiritual food.

God will not forsake the righteous.

6:7-8 “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.” “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

The Fourth Seal – A Pale Horse – This horse represents death.

John says the rider who sat on this horse “was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” One quarter of the earth’s population, well over a billion people, will die as a result of WWIII.

I believe that this has to do with wars, such as the one in Israel now, famine and drought worldwide, and death from hundreds of other things. An example is the plant in Russia, Chernobyl, which exploded. “Chernobyl” means wormwood. The Bible says a third of water will become wormwood, Rev.  8:11. I really believe this happens later in the scenario.

That Hades follows Death shows that those slain are unbelievers, for upon death believers do not go to Hades but straight to the Savior’s side.

This “pale” here, means a sickly color, a sickly green color, as if sick to the death.  “Death, and Hell” are grouped, meaning a termination of earthly dwelling.  Death is inevitable for every one of us. Death of the body, that is.  Hell does await some, but heaven awaits Christians. Hell is sometimes a word used for the grave. In that particular instance, Hell would follow death, because our bodies lie in the grave until resurrection day. Death and real hell is reserved for the lost.

I really believe this is a time in the end that is spoken of as a time when men’s hearts will fail them for fear of things that are coming upon the earth, Luke 21:26.  We have the capability to knock the earth off of its axis with the nuclear bombs. Fear is rampant, not only here in the U.S., but around the world. All it would take is for one crazy man to push the wrong button and total destruction would occur.

6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

When the 5th seal is broken, John sees “under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.”

Shortly after the beginning of the Tribulation there will be a great “soul harvest” in which millions will come to faith in Christ, Many as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 witnesses described in Rev. 7.

Most of these Tribulation saints will be killed by the forces of Antichrist. These martyred souls will cry out for God to avenge their deaths, but they will be told to “rest a little while longer,” until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

Imagine! Despite the desperate evil of the Antichrist, despite the horrors of war and famine and pestilence and death, God is still so much in control of earthly events that even the number of believing martyrs has been fixed by divine decree.

God, as the apostle Paul reminds us: “It is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1, v.6-8)

So many churches have forgotten that persecution comes to the true believer. Many teach that if you are not living prosperously, both physically and spiritually, that you are not in right standing. That’s certainly just not so, quite the opposite is true.

We must be crucified with Christ. We must get our flesh under subjection.

In Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The Christian has tribulation which makes him strong. We are no better than our Master. If He suffered, we will suffer. The difference in our suffering and His, is that our suffering is generally not unto the death.

6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

John did not see these souls with his physical eye, but saw them in the Spirit. These souls were waiting for the Judge of all the earth to interrupt the evil of the devil and his persecution of the saints who remained there. Their cry was the same, in a sense, as the Christians who say, come quickly Lord Jesus.

This is not a reprimand of the Lord, but just a pleading for it to all be over. These souls are not looking for vengeance, but are just crying out for the Lord to end all of it and set up His kingdom. Who better can sympathize with our generation of martyrs than the martyrs of the past? Some of the martyrs of today are not physically killed, but are persecuted by their peers.

6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.

These are the ones who were martyred during the tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” White robes are the uniform issued to all believers in the Lord Jesus.

When the fullness of time comes, the time that God has chosen, Jesus will appear in the clouds and blow the silver trumpet of redemption. He will gather all believers with Him in heaven. He will not come one hour early or late. He will be on time.  It will be at the specific time He chose from the foundation of the earth.

These martyrs are our fellow servants.  They arrived in heaven the same way we will, through their faith unto the death. The white in these “white robes” shows that these have been victorious over the problems in this earth.

6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

The Great Earthquake – The first four seals described judgments largely inflicted by man; the sixth seal describes a judgment clearly supernatural in origin. John tells of an earthquake so massive that “every mountain and island was moved out of its place.”

Perhaps John is referring to enormous volcanic activity, for he says “the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.” Particulate matter scattered in the atmosphere after a volcanic eruption has often turned the sky black and made the moon seem to turn red.

The sixth seal brings natural disasters of various kinds (Matt. 24:7, 29). The earth and the heavenly bodies will go into convulsions. Joel 2:30, 31 predicts many of these judgments in nature as signs of the day of the Lord.

This terrible earthquake is told about in Isaiah 2:19, “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”

In Ezekial 32:7-8, we read about the darkness of the sun, moon, and stars. In Matthew 24:29, we read of this same thing in the heavens.  “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”

6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

The fig tree (physical Israel) rejected Jesus and His Holy Spirit. In Acts chapter 2, we read of the sound as of the rushing mighty wind that came and filled them with the Holy Ghost.  This mighty wind is of God. Many times when we read of the mighty wind it is a sign of the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit can be beautiful, as we read in Acts 2, or frightening to those who do not believe.

The Old Testament and the New Testament agree that there will be a time when the heavens will be shaken. Isaiah chapters 7, 13, 17, Matthew 24 and at least a dozen more chapters in the Old and New Testaments agree that there will be a day, just as this one spoken of that John saw, when the heavens will be shaken.

We read, also, of the spiritual shaking that will take place.  We read that there shall be a great falling away in the church right before this occurs. II Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”

As you can see, believers will be tried and many will fall away. In Luke chapter 21, we read how many will be betrayed by those of their own household.

Luke 21:25-26, we read again of the commotion in heaven.  “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:26 “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” You can easily see that this is prophesied, not just of John, but by dozens of pens throughout the Bible.

6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

This earthquake will be so strong that mountains will flatten out and islands will disappear. An earthquake of this magnitude would immediately put up a screen of smoke that nothing in the heavens would be visible. We read in Isaiah 34:4, a similar Scripture as above.

“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine and as a falling [fig] from the fig tree.” Whatever this is, it is of great magnitude.

I remind you again, that Revelation is not written in chronological order. The happenings in the verses above are long after the believers are in heaven. We, Christians, should not fear things we see happening that is in fulfillment of these passages. We should look up and rejoice at the beginning of any of these things, because our redemption draweth nigh, Luke 21:28.

6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

This really is the time when even silver and gold will not be able to save people from the Wrath of God.

Hiding in “dens and in the rocks” will be of no use because these openings will close up from the earthquake.  Men will seek death, but death will not come, Rev. 9:6.

6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

The people of earth will clearly recognize these phenomena as coming from the hand of God, for they are said to cry out to the mountains where they take cover, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!

Suddenly they realize who Jesus is, but it is too late.  They have rejected Him

Now that it is too late, they realize their terrible mistake of rejecting Jesus as their perfect Lamb sacrifice. They would rather die right now, than face Him and be told of their eternity in hell that awaits them. They now even realize that Jesus sits on the throne. What a terrible awakening.

This that John sees is very much like a dream, in that the things he sees are not particularly in consecutive order.

6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

The answer to that is “no one”.  The thing we must do is make sure that we are not left here to face all of these horrors. The way to assure that is by selling out to Jesus NOW.  Make Him Lord of your life NOW before it is too late.

As a result of these first six seal judgments, many unbelievers will want to die and to hide from God, but will be unable to. The great day of his wrath is the day of the Lord, the predicted time of God’s judgment of the earth and its inhabitants ( Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31).

The day of wrath is contrasted to the present “day of grace.” Is come means God’s day of judgment “is here”, it has finally arrived, having begun with the first six seals.

The “great day” spoken of in V-17, begins three and a half years of the worst things you could ever imagine. The last day has to be the last judgment. DOOM for the unbelievers.

Remember, Revelation is written to the church, the Christians. It encourages us to look forward to heaven.  It, also, tells us the terrible things we will be saved from when the Wrath descends on this earth.

And it leads true Christians to witness to their friends and family while there is still time. Knowing what is coming, we certainly don’t want to leave anyone behind.

 

 

Chapter 7

7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

This “after” is after the happenings of the first six seals. These angels (ministering spirits) were to do something to the whole earth (four corners of the earth).  These angels were waiting for orders from God. Their job at this moment was to control these four winds until God said release them.  The wrath is held back until those who must be sealed are sealed.

The seal shows ownership and security, as a king’s signet ring was used to authenticate and protect official documents. The 144,000 are all Israelites from the 12 tribes (12 times 12,000). This number may be taken literally, or figuratively of a national conversion. All 12 tribes (Isaiah 11:11-13; Ezek. 37:15-28). There are no “lost tribes.” In the list of tribes, Joseph stands for Ephraim, and Dan is missing, possibly because it was the first tribe to go into idolatry and apostasy (Judges 18). The 144,000 will apparently be converted and commissioned to be a light to the Gentiles during the Tribulation.

Rev. 7 v.1-4  Suggest that before the world is plunged into the plagues and disasters ushered in by the sixth seal judgment at the end of the first quarter of the Tribulation, God will raise up an army of 144,000 Jewish evangelists to spread across the globe and bring in a soul harvest of unimaginable proportions. Each of these “servants” of God will receive a “SEAL” on his forehead. While we don’t know exactly what this seal will be, the text seems to suggest it will be visible. (At least to Christians) Whatever the seal is, it affords these 144,000 Jewish witnesses “of all the tribes of the children of Israel” some kind of supernatural protection, at least until the great soul harvest of Rev. 7 v.9 can be accomplished

7:2-3 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,” “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”

This angel sent from God was probably an archangel, or maybe even Jesus, Himself. This angel is entrusted with the job of taking a signet and putting God’s mark upon the group that God will protect in the midst of the wrath of God. Even though this group will be on the earth during this terrible wrath that shall fall on the inhabitants of the earth, they will be protected, for they are sealed with God’s name on their forehead in full view.

This angel comes from the east.  This is the same location from which the light comes. This angel has authority over these four angels.

The “sea” here could be a literal sea or as in other places it means large groups of people.

God has said over and over throughout the Bible that there has been a remnant of Jews who have not bowed their knee to false gods. At one point in the Old Testament, He said that the number then was 7000. We read in the 11th chapter of Romans that God told Elijah that there were 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal.  Romans 11:4, “But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” You see, God has always had a remnant of physical Israel.

7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

“You Shall Seek Me and Find Me When You Search For Me with All Your Heart” – This is a promise from God Almighty (Deut. 4 v.29) – God has never been without a witness of His salvation on this earth. Since all believers from this present age will have been suddenly and miraculously removed by the event known as the Rapture, new witnesses must be raised up immediately.

Imagine what would happen if, suddenly, in the midst of some very trying times on earth, 144,000 Israelites instantly and miraculously became devout believers in Jesus as their promised Messiah and Savior. This will occur much the same as Saul of Tarsus (Paul) was miraculously brought to faith on the road to Damascus. I don’t know what will cause the conversion, other than the power of the Holy Spirit.

But in multiple miraculous incidences, 144,000 Jews will be brought to faith in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, and will become powerful evangelists. Picture 144,000 Hebrew Billy Grahams running around the world and bringing this miraculous saving truth to a troubled and confused populace. That’s just what’s going to happen.

God’s Special Protection for the 144,000 – Since these servants will be marked men on earth, working directly counter to the interests of the global leader, they will be “marked” men in more than one sense of the word. They will be under constant attack by the Antichrist’s forces as well as the demonic powers unleashed upon the earth. At various times they will suffer from hunger, exposure, ridicule, torture and imprisonment. But they all will be miraculously preserved to continue their witness throughout the tribulation period.

At the very end, the 144,000 witnesses will stand triumphantly on Mount Zion with Jesus. Jesus refers to them as “these brothers of mine”. (Mat. 25 v.31-46) The way a person treats these evangelists during the Tribulation will reflect whether he is a believer in their message or not. Keep in mind, it will be extremely perilous to aid and abet them. They will no doubt be on the Antichrist’s “most wanted list”. But the lesson is that God’s man or woman is indestructible until God is finished with him here on earth.

Just the fact that there is a specific number given tells you that these are not the believers. The believers cannot be numbered for multitude. The Christians are not from the tribes of Israel necessarily. Many of them have no Jewish blood whatsoever. In Galatians chapter 3, we read that believers in Christ are Abraham’s descendents because of faith, not blood.

In verse 8 of chapter 3 of Galatians the believers are called heathen, which people of physical Israel are never called. Abraham is not the father of believers because of blood line, but because they (the same as Abraham) are saved by faith. Galatians 3:7-8, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:8

“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed.” You see, the tribes we are about to see listed are all of the nation of Israel. The only way this makes any sense is that this 144,000 is the remnant of physical Israel that God has always had.

7:5-8 “Of the tribe of Juda [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand.” “Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand.” “Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand.” “Of the tribe of Zabulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand”.

Some scholars argue that the 144,000 evangelists aren’t necessarily Jews? But a reading of Rev. 7 verses 4 – 8 tells us they are wrong. Those verses go on to identify the “tribes” each of the 12,000 comes from. Most Jews alive today do not know which tribe they come from. But God does! And He purposely selects 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. You may notice when you read Rev. 7 v.4-8 that 2 tribes are missing and 2 others have been substituted in their places. Why?

Some scholars believe the tribe of Dan is missing because the Jewish Antichrist, known as the False Prophet, will be a descendant. This certainly seems to be the meaning of an ancient prophecy that Jacob gave about the tribes of Israel in the last days: “Dan will be a serpent in the way, a venomous viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward”. (Gen. 49 v.17) We can expect the Holy Spirit to move on the hearts of people at the beginning of the Tribulation and culminate with the second coming of Christ.

Later in Revelation 14 we’ll discover another 144,000. See if you think that they are the same or different.

From this list of 12 names both Dan (who we just discussed and Ephraim are omitted. Dan was omitted because of the evil in his life.  On the other hand, Levi, Joseph, and Manasseh help to make up the twelve.  Levi was not listed before, because he received no land. He was priestly. God chooses whom He will.

7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

These are obviously the believers in Jesus Christ (Lamb) who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and raptured into heaven.

One comforting truth gleaned from Revelation is that although Antichrist will have power over all peoples and languages, he will not deceive every individual. Verse 9 makes it clear that the preaching of the gospel by the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will reach a multitude that no one can number, from every language, tribe, and people. Therefore, even Satan’s control will not keep people from receiving Christ individually.

This is in accord with the way it has been all during the Christian dispensation. Nations and peoples have rejected Christ, but individuals have received Him. According to John 1 v.10-11, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” But the text continues: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (v.12)

7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

We cannot take credit for our salvation.  Our salvation is a free gift through grace. Jesus deserves all the credit.  He purchased our salvation with His precious blood. We must praise and worship Jesus for He alone deserves all the credit.  Of course, the triune God (Elohim) sits on the throne.

7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

This is another view of the throne area.  Of course, Elohim God is on the center throne. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father. The four living beings are very near the throne. The twenty-four elders, representative of all Christendom, are very near, as well. The angels encircle the throne.  All fall before the throne of God in total adoration and worship.

7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

The “Amen” is saying, “so be it”, to the praise and worship of Almighty God. This blessing here is seven fold.  Spiritually complete blessings are spoken here in this heavenly setting.

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

This elder is certainly representative of the church.  He must already know who these are. He probably asks this question to teach those who do not understand who these are.

Those which were “arrayed in white robes” cannot be the same people as those sealed in their forehead.  Those sealed in their forehead would have no reason to be sealed, if they would be immediately transported to heaven. There are no winds of terror in heaven. There would be no purpose in putting the mark on them for heaven. This is certainly another group. They have been taken out of the great tribulation on the earth. The seven years are broken up into two 3 1/2 year periods. The first 3 1/2 years are called tribulation, and the last 3 1/2 years are known as the Great Tribulation.

Christians will know tribulation, but will be saved from the wrath to come. I Thessalonians 1:10 “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

I believe this rapture, or catching away of the Church, occurs before these seven years.  We read in Daniel 12:1-4 “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.” “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”  “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

You see there is no question that this we read in Daniel is the same time as what we have been reading in Revelation. In Daniel 12:9, “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”

Here is why some people believe that the rapture will take place at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. If we read the rest of chapter 12, verse 12 says: Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. (1335) This time I believe is at the end of the time of the Great Tribulation, when the earth is renewed and the sheep and the goats are separated. Meaning after the last 42 months, (thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. – 1335 days) an additional time (75 days) is added for this process.

During that period of time the Julian calendar was used (only 30 days per month) so the 1260 days is correct.

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.

You see, he definitely already knew who they were. This was just emphasizing a lesson to be learned. This white is such a bright white that, I believe, it even glistens as the Shekinah Glory of God.  Here again, white stands for righteousness. We are righteous because we have taken on Jesus’ righteousness. Notice also, that they were not saved from tribulation, but in it.

Don’t forget, every one of those new believers will have been left behind after the Rapture precisely because he or she had rejected God’s offer of salvation up to that point.

The white robes portray a standing of righteousness, and the multitude praises God especially for their salvation. Note the sevenfold praise of verse 12.

The redeemed Gentiles of this vision are either saints who will be martyred during the tribulation, or believers who will survive the Tribulation and enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, or both. The temple may be either the earthly, millennial temple, or the throne and presence of God in heaven. Earthly sorrows will be over (21:3, 4). Christ will give them spiritual sustenance. There will be absolutely no crying or sorrow in the presence of God, for He will have wiped away all tears from their eyes.

7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

We, Christians, are before the throne because we decided to follow Jesus, to accept His salvation, to be washed in His blood, and to believe in the resurrection. We are to be His servants and to dwell with Him forever. It speaks of “day and night” here, but there is no night in heaven with Jesus. We are in the presence of the Light, and there is just one eternal day with Him.

We read in Ephesians 5:27 “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Revelation 21-3 speaks of this very thing, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.” How much more wonderful could it be?

7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

If we read in Isaiah 49:10 we will read, “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.”

Both of these remind us of the 23rd Psalm.  Jesus is the Shepherd. He sees to the needs of His flock.

Jesus is the Light, and there will be no need for the sun or the moon. There will be a presence of Light.

7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

This is surely heaven where there is eternal peace and joy.  Here again, we see Jesus as the Shepherd of His sheep, providing for all our needs, and making us blissfully happy. We have tears on earth but not in heaven.

 

 

Chapter 8

8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

The Seventh Seal – “When he opened the 7th seal, there was silence in heaven for about one half hour”.

That doesn’t sound to bad does it? But …

The significance of this silence is twofold: (1) It is entirely opposite the usual sound pattern of heaven, and (2) it is the result of the revelation by Jesus Christ to the angelic hosts concerning what is about to fall on the earth. The opening of the seventh seal introduces the 7 trumpet judgments, which are all judgments of God sent on the earth. In these judgments, God is exclusively the sender and people are exclusively receivers. These judgments are so terrible that the angels stand breathless in wonder.

Do you think those who reject Jesus Christ so easily today would remain “silent” if they knew the horrible doom of judgment that is coming upon this earth and upon them because they are rejecting God’s Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ?

In the prior verses of Revelation heaven is seen to be a joyous and worshipful place, with choruses singing, Trumpets blaring, celestial beings crying out, but suddenly there comes this ominous silence.

As horrible as the seal judgments were, the trumpet judgments will be worse.

8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

Whether this seven is literal, or not, doesn’t matter (in this instance I believe they are literal).  These “angels” are prepared to carry out God’s orders. These “seven trumpets” were to sound the alarm.  Trumpets are loud and send out a clear note. There will be no question of the message. The trumpet throughout the Bible is used for two specific purposes:

1: To assemble the people for worship.

2: To assemble the people for war. At any rate, this is to alarm and prepare.

This encourages the Christians and means judgment to the apostate and worldly. The Wrath of God is here.

As the seventh seal is broken, the seven angels receive trumpets. Tim LaHaye, (a Baptist preacher with over 40 years experience and the author of the Left Behind Series of Books) thinks the 7 seals take place in the first quarter (21 months) and the seventh seal begins the 7 trumpet judgments which begin the next 21 months or 2nd quarter of the Tribulation. “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets”

The opening of the seventh seal does not cause the seven angels to stand before God. Apparently they are always there, awaiting a special assignment from their Creator. The opening of the seal results in each one being given a trumpet that will be blown in proper sequence, introducing a future form of judgment.

In the first period of the Tribulation the earth has known the wrath of the Antichrist; now it will begin to feel the wrath of God Almighty.

8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Verse 3 tells us this mighty angel stands before the heavenly golden altar of incense, which is before the Throne of the Almighty God. The prayers of all the believers are mingled with heavenly incense and offered up to God. These prayers contain the martyrs’ and the suffering saints’ cries for relief and justice. The answer to these prayers is the Seven Trumpets and Seven Golden Vials.

We must realize that the tabernacle in the wilderness (with its Holy place and most Holy Place) was a miniature of the arrangement in heaven. The altar constructed by Moses for Israel’s Tabernacle was copied from this one.

When Jesus died on the cross, His blood had to be carried to the mercy seat in heaven, just as the lamb in the temple had its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in the most Holy place.

The very throne of God is the most holy place in heaven.  Jesus is our High Priest forever, who intercedes for us at the throne of God.

This vessel had to be made of gold to be in the close proximity of God. Just as everything in the most Holy place in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness had to be pure gold, or pure gold overlay.

Some of the writers believe the word “censer” here should be frankincense. That is not a terribly important point.  The “incense”, in V-3, probably does indicate frankincense.

Notice that the prayers of the saints with their offering is upon the golden altar at the throne of God.  Sometimes we feel our prayers go nowhere, but here we see them at the throne of God.

The golden altar, as well, was in the very presence of God and thus had to be made of gold.

We were not praying to the angel. The angel’s only job was to transport them and keep them safe until they were received. We must never pray to an angel. In fact, we do not even pray to Jesus. We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus.

The important thing, to see here, is that our prayers go to the throne of God, to the most Holy place.

8:4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

The Bible speaks of this as a sweet smelling savour, Ezra 6:10. The “angel” was the messenger who carried the prayers.

8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

The thunderclaps, lightnings, and earthquake are the result of the fire from the altar, indicating that the action of heaven initiates a responsive action on earth. As the prayers for the saints for vengeance are taken from the altar, there are frightening sounds, flashes of light, and an earthquake on the earth, introducing the fact that the seven angels are about to sound their trumpets.

Fire from the altar of burnt offering means that God accepted the prayers of the saints. This “fire taken from the altar and cast to the earth” is the fury of God. Our God is a consuming fire. God is angered, and He has decided it is time to punish those on the earth who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Just as God finally destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah when they would not repent, there is a time when the fire of God will descend upon this earth in punishment.

Throughout the Bible, all of these natural disasters mentioned in V-5: “thunderings, lightnings, earthquake” are God dealing with mankind. This is no different, and I believe these are literal. A terrible storm takes place above ground and a terrible shaking beneath takes place, as well. The Wrath of God has begun.

Are the Trumpet Judgments Literal Judgments – The best way to decide if the trumpet judgments are literal or symbolic is to study them in connection with the plagues of Egypt, as found in Exodus 7-11. Five of the plagues of Egypt are repeated in the book of Revelation. No one suggests that what happened in Egypt was not literal in its form of judgment on the rebellious Egyptians; thus, we can conclude that the same thing applies during the Tribulation period and that the trumpet judgments introduce physical judgment on the earth. The only exceptions are those trumpets that introduce events beyond human understanding, and even they affect human beings physically.

8:6-7 “And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”

The First Trumpet: Hail, Fire and Blood – Ice and fire rain from the sky, burning up a third of all the earth’s trees and all of its grass. This is an ecological disaster without parallel to this point in the history of mankind; its results are incalculable. To make matters even worse, John also adds that “blood” arrives with the hail and fire, as the prophet Joel had predicted: “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke” (Joel 2 v.30) And this is only the first trumpet!

We read here, as in V-2, of the seven angels that had been waiting orders to move. They now are released and told to do these things. Some religions will tell you that God never punishes, but this is not true.  This is punishment from God.  The devil is not doing this. It is done on orders from God.  Another place where this strange phenomenon of fire and hail mixed together falling is in Exodus 9:24 “So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.”  Both were punishments from God. The difference is that this one in Exodus was localized. The one in Revelation is more wide spread.  One thing very important to remember is that the wrath of God falls on them of unbelief.

Ezekiel 38:22 “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.”

It is the same God in Ezekiel that we see in Revelation.

We see in all of this and the next few trumpets, probably, reveal God’s judgment which may be of nature in the form of catastrophic forms of nature or may be in the form of His allowing humans to unleash atomic or nuclear weapons of war. The first trumpet is so bad that it kills 1/3 of all vegetation.

8:8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

Two Author’s views will be given for explanations as to the Trumpet Judgments. Read both then you decide which you believe.

The Second Trumpet: A Mountain of Fire – As in Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19) Tim LaHaye sees this as literally happening.

When the Second trumpet is blown, John sees “something like a great mountain burning with fire” – Tim Lahaye thinks it is  likely an enormous meteorite crashing through the atmosphere – “thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.” As a result, a third of everything living in the sea dies, and a third of the ships on the sea are destroyed.

Already the WHO (World Health Organization) states “nearly half of the world’s people are affected by diseases related to insufficient and contaminated water,” which is why they are trying to improve the water supplies of the world. Think of the plagues that will be spread when the water supply turns bitter, then to blood in the “great and terrible Day of the Lord.”

According to Hal Lindsey (The author of the book “The Late Great Planet Earth”) he thinks this will be a nuclear holocaust. He states that in a nuclear detonation, humidity in the air is instantly compressed into water and driven straight up into the freezing temperatures of the upper stratosphere. It then is instantly frozen and falls back to earth as giant chunks of ice. This he states would account for the fire, blood and ice, and that with enough of the various third world countries who now have nuclear capabilities makes this certainly a possibility.

Consider the super polluted air with radiation and now with 1/3 of all vegetation gone, the lack of oxygen they provide. An even greater tragedy is all the green grains are burned up. With famine already raging in many parts of the world and scarcity of food everywhere else, this will seal the doom of millions. Perhaps the lucky ones will be those who die in the explosions.

8:9-11 “And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;” “And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

The Third Trumpet – A Star Called Wormwood – Tim Lahaye states that when the third angel blows his trumpet, another meteorite crashes to earth, “burning like a torch.” It does not fall on the sea but on a third of the earth’s rivers and springs, turning them “bitter” and poisonous. As a result of this plague, “many men” die.

“Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.” (Zech. 14 v.12)

This to Hal Lindsey means nuclear explosions. Hal states that perhaps the most terrifying revelation is that mankind and his own inventions cause most of the global holocaust.

His view on this is a bit different. Most of Revelation judgments he sees as being created by man and is nuclear. In the second Trumpet the verse specifies “something like a great mountain burning with fire.” He sees this to be either an enormous meteor or, more likely, a number of H-bombs. A hydrogen or thermonuclear bomb exploded under the ocean looks like a huge flaming mountain erupting out of the sea. In addition to destroying one third of all marine vessels, the “flaming mountain” will wipe out one third of all marine life, turning the sea crimson with the blood of the dead.

Why would such a weapon be fired into the ocean? Simple he says. Today, naval power, especially super nuclear submarines with ICBM launch capability, is seen as the future of warfare. Russia and the US both have over 100 nuclear powered submarines each capable of firing ICBM missiles with multiple thermonuclear warheads. The Russian Typhoon class nuclear subs are the largest, fastest, stealthiest, deepest diving and deadliest in the world. Each one carries as standard ordinance 20 ICBMs with 10 warheads each. That’s 200 warheads that can turn 200 large cities into vast devastated cemeteries. These can be launched from under water and hit 95% of our major population centers in less than 8 minutes from launch.

God has endowed man with great inventive capability, but instead of using it for good; he often uses it to destroy his planet and himself.

Man’s most basic problem has never been a lack of intelligence or education, but a nature that is fallen and morally corrupted. Unless man experiences a new birth, in which he receives a miraculous birth of a new spiritual nature through which God communicates with him, he is doomed to the destructive influence of his fallen nature. The Third Trumpet is again nuclear. He makes reference to Chernobyl as to how water can be polluted by a single nuclear incident.

All of this is speaking of terrible things associated with such an upheaval in the earth that it is beyond our comprehension.  I believe these Scriptures could have both a literal and a spiritual meaning attached to them. From the spiritual standpoint: In recent times we have seen heavenly stars (famous ministers) falling.

One really interesting thing from the physical standpoint: Chernobyl means wormwood.

This accident that occurred in Russia affected mostly communist countries (those who deny God).  This had a terrible immediate effect of fallout in many of the neighboring countries. Meat was not edible and milk from animals could not be drunk.  Literally thousands of people were filled with cancer causing fallout.

Many years from now they will still be seeing the results from this terrible accident. In some places the radiation was 1000’s of times the normal amount. “Wormwood” means bad water, and I guess if you checked the water now on this planet now, you probably would find that a large percentage of it is bad.

8:12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

The Fourth Trumpet – Darkness Descends – All life on this earth depends on the sun: If it were to explode, the earth would incinerate; if it were to go cold, the earth would freeze solid. Neither of those extremes is in view with the 4th trumpet judgment, but in some way God does reduce by a third the amount of radiant energy reaching earth from the sun and all other celestial bodies. John writes, “A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened; a third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”

Tim LaHaye states that God who created light in the first place is able to diminish it to one third. Actually, day and night will seem to be reversed, for there will be sixteen hours of darkness and eight hours of daylight. This naturally reminds us of the plague sent on Pharaoh as described in Exodus 10 v.21. “Darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” And it gives detail to our Lord’s prediction, “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21 v.25-26)

8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

The last three trumpets will be especially severe, as announced by the threefold repetition of Woe, woe, woe. They will be directed toward the inhibitors of the earth, that is, the unbelievers still alive on earth. Both the oldest and the majority of Greek manuscripts read “eagle” instead of angel in the first part of the verse.

Thank God Christians will be spared the Wrath. It seems from the statement in verse 6, the things which have already happened are probably during tribulation.  From the “woes”, the wrath is about to come.

Even the problems we have already heard about are terrible, but they get even worse. Here again, notice the mid-time separation of this, four angels have sounded, and three more are about to sound.

 

 

Chapter 9

9:1 “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.”

We know that Jesus Christ holds the key to the bottomless pit. He took the key away from Satan when He (Jesus) went there, preached, and brought captivity captive out with Him, Ephesians 4:8

The Fifth Trumpet – The expulsion of Satan from heaven. The identification of Satan in this passage is not hard to make. Isaiah foresaw this development in exactly the same manner described by John. “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!” (Isaiah 14 v.12)

Many people mistakenly believe that throughout human history, Satan has already been banished from heaven, or that he reigns in some kind of kingdom in hell. That isn’t true. Satan has always had access to the Throne of God, where he serves as the principle accuser of the saints of God. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord,
and Satan also came among them.” (Job 1 v.6)

Satan’s entry into God’s presence changes here. Now he is kicked out of heaven, and he is furious. Note also that he carries with him the key to the bottomless pit. (Rev. 9 v.1) He didn’t have it before; it was given him by the One who holds the keys to heaven, hell and to death.

9:2 “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.”

Jesus gave Satan the keys so that he could be released to carry out this punishment. Just as Satan had to have permission of God to afflict Job, Satan brings all of these terrible things on the earth and his people by permission of God.

The physical smoke that comes up surely will obscure the sun and diminish the light. In the spiritual, it will diminish the Light, as
well.

The abyss is the home of Satan and the demons. When Satan opens the abyss, here come the demons in force to deceive and destroy. They have such a vicious nature that God had to bind them to keep the human race from being annihilated before the appointed time, but now the restrains are off.

“And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

The appearance of these locusts is both frightening and repulsive (v.7-10), and they do not act in an unorganized way; in fact, John says, “They had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (v.11) Both names mean “Destroyer”. This seems to be one of the plagues that God sends on the followers of Antichrist to hinder them from proselytizing among the uncommitted of the world. It may also give Tribulation saints some time to prepare themselves for the horrors of the soon to come Great Tribulation.

If any religious activity is still going on at this time, there will be a flood of false doctrine and defaming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be a kind of religion of the flesh, (anything goes religion). It sounds very much like what is going on today in most churches.

9:3 “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”

The description of the locusts indicates that they are demons who are given physical forms in order to manifest their destruction and torment. Horses show their warlike character. Their crowns depict them as conquerors. Human faces show intelligence. Their feminine hair perhaps makes them seductive and attractive. The teeth of lions shows them to be destructive and hurtful. Breastplates of iron make them indestructible. Wings symbolize swiftness. The stings in their tails give them the power to hurt. Fortunately for mankind, their period of torment is limited to five months. But the next judgment is even worse.

Notice, these have to be demons as they had no power in and of themselves. It was given unto them.

9:4 “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”

This is an attack on the person, which makes us take another look at it spiritually. They have orders not to hurt the vegetation or the 144,000 who have been sealed in their foreheads. Real locusts would eat every green thing that they could find, and they do. Looking at this from the spiritual standpoint, these locusts are demon spirits turned loose upon this earth. The devil, or his demons, cannot really hurt anyone covered in the blood of Jesus.

They were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.” (Rev. 9 v.3-5) God’s instructions are in essence, “You may torment those who have the Antichrist’s mark, but you may not kill them.” Also, “you may not touch those who belong to Me.” Satan’s power is under strict control over those sealed by God – both now and in the Tribulation. Though this will be a period of great anguish, it is really the grace of GOD at work. I’m sure that the LORD is seeking to make mankind think because of this terrible torment and to decide to come to Him.

9:5 “And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment [was] as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.”

Here again, whether this is physical pain and torment from fallout causing sores and torture, or whether this is spiritual and terrible suffering, it is brought on by constant attack from the devil for five months. It is terrible. As at Hiroshima, those who survived the bomb, wished they were dead. Great sores, deformities and torment beyond our comprehension took place. In many cases it took five months to die. A terrible burn would have the pain of a scorpion’s sting.

At this point, let’s look at something we’ve studied before. Remember the 144,000 where the four angels held back the winds until they had been sealed in chapter 7 verse 1?

Not only were the 144,000 sealed but also those who turned to Christ during the Tribulation. Those are the Tribulation Saints and they too were sealed by God just as all true Christians of today have God’s seal on them.

9:6 “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”

Death would be a welcome relief to all this suffering. These forces of evil turned loose (unrestrained) upon the earth, whether physical or spiritual, will be so terrible that men will beg to die but will be unable to during this punishment.

This was the first of the three Woes!

9:7-8 “And the shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads [were] as it were crowns like gold, and their faces [were] as the faces of men.” “And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions.”

Here John describes the locusts (demons) as he gives a detailed description of their appearance in his vision. They are described as locusts as they will bring massive and devastating judgment from God.

This demon host will be virtually unstoppable and man will have no weapon that can harm them or cure for the terrible torment they will inflict.

Their faces of men indicate they are intelligent and rational beings, not insects. Having hair as being like the hair of women emphasizes their seductiveness. Perhaps to lure unsuspecting unbelievers to come close to them before striking them.

Having teeth like the teeth of lions means they will be more fierce, powerful and deadly than lions.

9:9 “And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings [was] as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.”

Breastplates of iron symbolizes their invulnerability.

In short, they will be impossible to resist or to destroy. There will be no escaping their worldwide onslaught as there will be nowhere to run or hide from them.

In a metaphor drawn from a battlefield, John compares the sound of their wings to a moving army, noting that it was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. The sound alone will be enough to put fear into the hearts of the unbelievers.

9:10 “And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months.”

As these demons are compared to scorpions, it is clear that their mission is to hurt men. The very nature of this full scale demonic torment that drives men to seek death and not find it, or to pursue death and not catch it, is not described.

There are references in the bible where demons possessed people such as found in Matthew 8 v.28, Matthew 4 v.23-24, Matthew 8 v.6 and Mark 9 v.20-22.

These demons are given the power to torment unbelievers for 5 full months with no relief for the tormented. This stresses God’s sovereign power over the timing of their assault. Eventually God will return them to the abyss with their evil master, then send them to the lake of fire. (Chapter 20)

9:11 “And they had a king over them, [which is] the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue [is] Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath [his] name Apollyon.”

You can call him any name you care to. This is Satan. Lucifer was one of the angels close to God in heaven. He was a very beautiful angel before his fall. All of the demons were angels in heaven until 1/3 of the angels followed Lucifer and became demons.

Angels, as we have said before, are ministering spirits. These fallen angels (demons) are ministering pain and suffering. Their mission is to destroy. Their leader, Lucifer, is the epitome of evil. He has been their king since they were cast out of heaven by God. Their abode, when they are not on a mission of destruction, is in the abyss. This is where they were loosed from in V-2. They are continuously causing war, both spiritual and literal. Their mission is to destroy any way they can.

This “king” in V-11 is the star we saw in V-1, which was thrown out of heaven and has hell for an abode. Just as he lead these angels out of heaven, he leads them in this mission of destruction. Satan, even though fallen, must do every thing the Lord commands him.

Remember all of this happens because God’s wrath is kindled. God alone can stop Satan. This time God does not want to stop him. God allows, and even orders, this to happen. Satan, Apollyon, Abaddon, Lucifer, the devil, or whatever you care to call him, is still obedient to God. He, as we, or any other being, or angel, are created and subject to the desires of the Creator. God alone could stop this destruction. “Apollyon” and “Abaddon” mean destruction.

Jesus had and has many names. Satan is a counterfeiter, so he has many names, as well. People throughout history have tried to put names of modern conquerors to these, but I do not believe that is intended here.

9:12 “One woe is past; [and], behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”

As if this is not terrible enough that we have been hearing about, there are two more woes. The open warfare on the streets of Lebanon and Israel remind us very much of the things we read about in the last lesson. A mother in that area of the world has no idea when her family leaves the house whether they will return alive or not.

The descendents of Ishmael and Isaac (the flesh and the spirit) are still in mortal combat after all the 1000’s of years that have passed. Just as there is a spiritual battle of the flesh and the spirit that we must face each day, there is a physical battle in Israel between the Arab and the Jew. Ishmael was told that his descendents would live around the Jews and would be fighting continuously.

The Bible is true. A woe is a terrible calamity.

9:13-14 “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,” “Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.”

The number six indicates man or mankind. “Horns” mean power and strength. The number four means worldwide. This “golden altar” is where God is. God is never associated with other metals.

The Sixth Trumpet – The Four Angels Released – At the blowing of the 6th trumpet, the 2nd woe is released: the release of “the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (v.14). The angels apparently lead an army of 200 million “horsemen” (demons) who kill a third of mankind through the plagues of fire and smoke and brimstone.

God views the Euphrates River as the dividing line between East and West. In fact, the old Roman Empire also saw it that way. Everything east of the Euphrates was called the Far East or Asia. The region just to the west of the great river was known as the Near East or Asia Minor.

9:15 “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.”

When these angels are loosed, they immediately inspire the great population centers of Asia to launch an attack on the Western and Middle Eastern strongholds. These demons are effective, because they cause one and a half billion people, a third of the remaining population, to be killed in short order.

The Apostle John wrote, “And the four angels, who had been prepared for the Hour and Day and Month and Year, are released, so that they might kill a third of mankind. And the number of the armies of the horsemen (demons) was 200 million; I heard the number of them.”

9:16 “And the number of the army of the horsemen [were] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.”

Now in addition to the demons who have roamed the earth throughout history, spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6 v.12) recently cast to earth (9 v.1 and 12 v.4) and the numerous demons recently released from the abyss at the sounding of the 5th trumpet, comes a new demonic army that is two hundred million strong.

Some have suggested that the 200 million will come from the Chinese who can currently field an army of that size. However it is very doubtful this could be a human army due to the inability to equip, feed, transport, not to mention the water it would take to support that size contingent. Those things taken into consideration strongly suggest this will be a supernatural rather than a human force, especially as the four angels (demons) are commanding this force.

When you combine this 3rd with the quarter of humanity killed in the seal judgments, by this point in the Tribulation half of the world’s population (after the rapture) already has been destroyed. Tim LaHaye makes reference to the Chinese army which can raise a 200 million man army now. That has prompted some interpreters to suggest the 200 million would come with the kings of the east to do battle with Christ at the consummation of the end of this age, known as the Battle of Armageddon. While there is no question that the armies of the Orient coming to that battle at the very end of the Tribulation will be enormous, due to the incredible population of those countries, they definitely are not the Rev. 9 v.16 army. Consider the following reasons:

Tim LaHaye states that the 200 million are not to be taken as humans. They are a literal unnatural, demon like evil spirits that come out of the abyss, advancing under the leadership of the four bound angels. Only the unrepentant will be killed by this judgment.

For these and other reasons not mentioned, it is not realistic to assume that the armies of 16 v.12 are synonymous with those of 9 v.16. The 200 million horsemen who come on the scene will obviously be supernatural, creatures that are so awesome to look on that they actually frighten some people to death. And their sting “is in their mouth and their tails”, and with them they kill one third of the world’s population of those who reject Christ and commit themselves to Antichrist.

9:17 “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses [were] as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.”

Horses have been often associated with warfare in scripture. It is clear these are not actual horses judging the heads were as the heads of lions.

Many have tried to associate the meaning of this scripture with weapons of war, but this can’t be. John would have no problem with associating a lion’s head with what these appeared to look like.

John saw three ways the demon horses killed their victims and all ways depict the violent and devastating fury of hell. They incinerated them with fire, then asphyxiated with smoke and brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.

9:18 “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.”

The end result of this demonic 200 million was that a third of the remaining mankind would be killed. Note that a quarter of mankind was killed during the seal judgments, leaving three quarters of the remaining population. As one third is now killed, 50% of mankind now has been killed. (one third of 75 that was remaining is 25%)

The death of one third of the earth’s remaining inhabitants will be the most catastrophic disaster to strike the earth since the flood during the days on Noah.

9:19 “For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails [were] like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.”

Not only were these demonic horses able to kill with their mouths, but also death was in their tails. Their tails are like deadly poisonous serpents. The horses tails were not actual serpents as the horses were not actual horses.

But these images are describing the supernatural deadliness of this demon force in terms that one would normally understand in the natural world.

Unlike the demonic scorpion stings of the 5th trumpet judgment, the bites of these demonic creatures will be fatal.

9:20 “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:”

It is so unimaginable that after many years of suffering and death by this time from the horrible judgments of God, combined with the 144,000, the two witnesses, an angel who gives the Word of God to humans, not to mention the countless number of Tribulation Saints, that the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plaques, did not repent.

These “men” are not just males, but all of mankind. Women will have to answer for their own actions, as well as the men. What in the world has to happen before they will repent? All of these things worshipped in verse 20 describes our day. These are things of the world. Trying to out do the neighbors with: a bigger house – “wood or stone”, finer jewelry – “gold and silver”, expensive ornaments -“brass” and worship of the devil – “worship devils”

All of these things listed are inanimate objects and have no power to accomplish anything.

Anything or anyone who does not elevate Jesus Christ to deity is in error and worshipping the devil. Jesus said Himself that “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30.

We are either on the side of Jesus or the devil. There is no middle ground. We are not to worship God’s creations. We are to worship the Creator.

9:21 “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”

At that future point in history, idolatry, mysticism, spiritism, satanism and all forms of false religion will become the norm as demons lead people into more wicked and vicious behaviors. Violent crimes like murder will be absolutely rampant. Without any sense of morality, the evil, unrepentant people will imitate the demon horde’s murderous blood lust. Of course, believers in God will doubtlessly be their prime targets.

Once again, people will refuse to repent of their sins as the world of unrepentant people compete for the scarce supplies of food, clothing, water, shelter and medicines.

Under the influence of the massive demon forces that has been unleashed upon the world, false religion, murder, sexual perversion and crime will be unparalleled in human history.

The Big Four Sins – Rev. 9 v.21 lists the four most prominent sins of the Tribulation period. The significance of these sins is great in light of present trends in the world. It’s no coincidence that the four major sins listed here are today four of the most serious problems facing law enforcement.

(1) The first of these characteristic sins is murder. For whatever reason, societal permissiveness, lack of punishment or lack of faith, there has been an alarming increase in murder throughout the US and the world. One factor is the rejection of absolute standards of right and wrong. When a judge who posts the Ten Commandments in his courtroom is sued, you know society has its priorities upside down. Anyone who was awake in the latter part of the 20th century could see the violence around us. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this point.

The murder of unborn children in our day is a stench in God’s nostrils. Women and men should repent of these murders. Murder with a deadly weapon is not always with a gun or a knife. One of the most useless murders in our day is drunk drivers killing people with their automobiles. Some are drunk on alcohol and some on drugs. All of these are useless killings that do not accomplish anything.

President Clinton vetoed a bill, passed with bi-partisan support in both the house and the senate, that would have prohibited partial birth abortions.

(2) The second prominent sin of the Tribulation era will be drug related occult activities. The word sorceries is used in Rev. 9 v.21. It comes from the Greek word meaning pharmacy, and refers here to the practice of the occult tied to the use of drugs.

Drug use in the 1990’s doubled from the 1960’s and early 70’s. In 1997 more than 11% claimed to use drugs every month. According to a study by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York, today’s daughters are 15 times more likely than their baby boom mothers to have begun illegal drug use by age 15.

Another category of skyrocketing use is in so called designer drugs, such as methamphetamine. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. stated when Bill Clinton was president that “I have never, never, never seen a president who cares less about this issue.”

There is a strong link between drug use and demon possession. As far back as 1971, the International Journal of Social Psychiatry dealt with the reality of demon possession and how to diagnose it.

There is a need to ascertain if there is any involvement in drug addiction, as it is common that addicts, especially with heroin and alcohol, become involved with black magic and vice versa. Some have been known in some cases to have been very religious people who defaulted, and thus left themselves open to some power other than God to control their lives.

Sorceries can also be anything associated with the occult: palm reading, horoscope, etc. So many people in our society today are playing around with mind control, transcendental meditation, and other false religions. All of this type of activity is to undermine our belief in God.

(3) The third prominent sin of the Tribulation will be rampant immorality. “Porneia,” the Greek word used in this verse, refers to all kinds of sexual activity outside of marriage. Apparently, there will be a complete breakdown in the institution of marriage. Well, folks, as anyone can plainly see, we’re almost there!

More than 70,000 women are sexually assaulted every year in the US. (1 every 45 seconds) It is the most rapidly growing violent crime in the country.

Domestic violence is more widespread than ever. Each year between 2 and 4 million women are battered; 1,500 women are murdered by their intimate partners; 1.8 million elderly are victims of maltreatment; 1.7 million child abuse reports are filed. Fornication covers living with someone before you are married. Fornication covers being married and dating someone else. Fornication covers all homosexual and lesbian acts.

The US Supreme court rules as unconstitutional Colorado’s Amendment 2 to the state constitution, a simple and popular attempt to prohibit local governments from turning homosexuals and other sexual deviates into the latest protected political class. By the court’s reasoning, as dissenting Justice Antonio Scalia pointed out, any state that bans Polygamy is also in trouble.

It’s actually a matter of debate in the House of Representatives and US Senate, whether men should be allowed to marry men and women marry women. (1997)

(4) The fourth characteristic of the Tribulation will be thievery of all kinds. Crime in all of its manifestations is on the upsurge today. The experts say a youth crime crisis is right around the corner. At the current growth rate, there will be nearly one half million more adolescent boys in the year 2010 than there are today. That trend would mean there will be 30,000 more chronic juvenile delinquents on the streets in 15 years. (from 1997) Though representing only 7% of all male teens, these chronic offenders commit 70% of all serious crime in their age group.

When a nation, founded as one nation under God, gives up its sovereignty under God in favor of “interdependence” on the world, you can see where the future lies. To be a friend of this future system in the sense of compromising God’s viewpoint of life and letting the world squeeze you into its mold is to commit adultery, spiritually speaking. Remember, also, that in a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ, believers are viewed as being the “Bride” of Christ (2 Cor. 11 v.2) That’s another reason that playing around with false religion is viewed throughout the Bible as spiritual adultery.

For the last 30 years, America has been engulfed in a culture war that threatens the nation’s very foundation, its very survival. God’s word tells us in Luke 12 v.48 that “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

In the history of the world has any nation been more blessed than the US? Yet there is always a cost to immorality. And today we are beginning to pay it. In the past 30 years there has been a 560% increase in violent crime. Illegitimate births have increased 419%. Divorce rates have tripled. The number of children living in single parent homes has tripled. The teen suicide rate has increased 200%. Student Achievement Tests have plummeted 80 points.

It should not surprise us that Billy Graham said years ago that if God didn’t judge America soon, he would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. But it’s not just the US. The entire world is in a headlong plunge into the morality of Sodom and Gomorrah and unfortunately into the same judgment.

Chapter 10

10:1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:

At no other time does Christ appear as an angel or created being after His resurrection. This angel is most likely Michael, Gabriel, or an angel equal to them who swears an oath by Jesus Christ, indicating something significant is about to happen. Angels play a prominent role in the Apocalypse, being mentioned sixty-six times.

The cloud, the rainbow, the sun, and the pillars of fire may refer to deity, but a parallel may also be drawn with the angel Gabriel.

10:2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth,

The “Little Book” that was seen in heaven in verse 2 has a similar mission as that given to Ezekiel 3 v.1-3 and Jeremiah 15 v.16. The prophetic Word, which is what the “Little Book” is, contains the “sweet” message of God’s wonderful plan for mankind including the coming of Christ, the Millennium Kingdom, and Heaven, but it also contains the Judgment of God on sinners who do not repent and come to Him, and their ultimate consignment to hell.

Just the fact that it is opened tells us that it is to be revealed to those who will consume it. As believers, we are told to eat this book, just as John was told to eat it. This “little book”, I believe, is the Word of God, the Bible.

The Bible (Word) is alive.  When we eat the Bible it gives us the strength to live victorious lives before Him. Jesus is in dominion over everything. He is our source of power. Studying the Bible is more important to our life than our daily bread.  Praise God, the Bible is of no private interpretation. God the Holy Spirit will teach each of us what the Bible is saying to us.

The planting of the feet on the sea and the earth (dry land) shows Christ’s authority over the earth in its entirety, and the appropriation of His promised inheritance as Messiah.

10:3-4 “And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” “And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not”.

It seems that John was attempting to write down everything as he saw it. This little book is not for the world to see. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. Only the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are supposed to understand what is in the Book, and then only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Bible study. This message then from these voices is not for the world in general. Jesus, or God the Father, stops John from revealing these things by telling him not to write this down.

Thundering voices must come either from God or something very near Him. The voices that sound like seven thunders are a unique feature in the book of Revelation. John is prepared to write down what these thunder like voices say when he hears another voice telling him to “seal up and not write down what he heard”.

This is the only proclamation in the entire book of Revelation that is sealed up. As for the seventh angel, the mystery of God should be finished I believe when the 7th coming bowl judgment trumpet is sounded, is what is being referred to here.

Both Daniel and John were instructed to seal up much of what they saw, reserving the interpretation for the generation to whom it would be obvious: “I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken, and do not write them.” And then,  “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”

It should be apparent to even the most casual of readers that this is the generation in which knowledge has increased to the level necessary to understand the differences between symbols and substance. This is the generation in which many will experience John’s eyewitness testimony, to their everlasting regret! This is the Generation of End Times.

10:5-6 “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,” “And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:”

Lifting the hand signifies taking an oath (Gen. 14:22, 23; Dan 12:7). The announcement of the angel is that there will be no more delay in the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ. This presumes a present delay or postponement of the promised kingdom (between Christ’s two advents). With the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15), the present mystery form of the kingdom will be over (Rom. 11:25) and what God promised to the prophets (Isaiah 11; Jer. 31; Ezek 36, 37; Dan 7; Zech. 14; Matt 6:10) will finally be completed. Christ’s Coming Kingdom

Time no longer. This literally means “delay no longer” and indicates that the time of the end is rapidly approaching. From the sounding of the seventh angel’s trumpet, the world will move relentlessly toward the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Bible, culminating in the coming of Christ to the earth.

10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

This is when Jesus reveals Himself to the Christians in heaven. The Bible says that when we get to heaven, we will recognize Him, because we will be like Him. I John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

You see this is a mystery to us now.  When it is revealed, it will be so simple that we will think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It is not for us to know this right now.

This seventh trumpet means this is the final judgment. Throughout the New Testament, God spoke in parables so the world would not understand.  Just those to whom Jesus would reveal Himself would understand.

10:8-9 “And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.” “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.”

This is the third reference to the location of the angel who stands on the sea and earth. (Verses 2, 5 and 8) This emphasizes strongly the unusual authority he has over the earth.

John is told to eat the little book, and when he does, it becomes sweet in his mouth (Ps. 119:103; Jeremiah 15:16) but bitter in his belly. The act of eating represents the understanding and appropriation of prophetic revelation. The message is “sweet” because at last the kingdoms promises are about to be fulfilled. It is bitter because it can only be accomplished through more judgment and tribulation.

In Ezekiel chapters 2 & 3, we see that physical Israel refused the New Testament and its teaching of Jesus. This sweetness is the beautiful message received, but the bitterness is the disappointment when they refuse the message. This bitterness is the terrible judgment, as well.

10:10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

The act of eating the book (scroll) symbolizes the absorbing and assimilating God’s Holy Word. The Bible

When John consumed the book, the words that were written were sweet as honey. (very pleasing)

But for those who would be tormented in hell for the rest of eternity which was about to happen, John then tasted the bitterness as He knew God was about to take back the earth which was rightfully His, and be exalted, honored and glorified as He deserved. John realized the terrible punishment that was about to be given to unrepentant unbelievers and that caused the sweet taste to turn to bitterness.

10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

This verse is a key to the chronology of the Book of Revelation. John is told to prophesy again concerning many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. The seal and trumpet judgments have brought the chronology close to the end of the Tribulation period and to the return of Christ to the earth (Rev. 11-15).

Now John must prophesy through the period a second time, concentrating this time on the major personages and movements of the tribulation (e.g., Satan, the beasts, the harlot or Babylonian system). This duplicated prophecy begins in chapter 12 and culminates in the vial (bowl) judgments, the destruction of the beast, and the return of Christ 

 

 

Chapter 11

11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

This angel is telling John to take a measurement of the temple and the people. We read in Ezekiel 40:5, that this reed is nine feet long (six cubits). This seems to be a similar message in Ezekiel to the one here in Revelation.

The terrible thing in all of this is that among the outer court (the unsaved) are many nominal Christians, who believe that they will be saved. This seems to be just asked of John to make him aware of the multitude of true believers who will be in the very presence of God.  It is, also, to remind him of those so-called Christians that have brought compromise and pleasing of the flesh into God’s church.

The outer court for the Gentiles means just this, the believer who is a Christian in name only, not in deed. The faithless portion of the church that we read about in 2nd Timothy 3 verse 5 “has a form of godliness but denies the power”.  This outer court is not the place for believers to be.

This statement about the “temple and them that worship therein” is speaking of the true believer’s who collectively make up the temple (body of Christ).

11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months.

I would like to say again here that the Bible (and especially Revelation) must be understood by its signs and symbols through the spirit, and cannot be understood literally. As any dream or vision has to be interpreted, so does Revelation.

The outer court represents the control of Jerusalem and Israel by Gentiles during the last half of the Tribulation period. In other words it is too worldly for God. He is saying (throw them out) they are not part of the elect. They are not part of the body of Christ.  The inner court makes up the body of believers.

We see here in this forty-two months that the holy city is trodden down; that the believers in Jesus “holy city” will go through 3-1/2 years of trials and tribulations. All through Revelation, the “holy city” is symbolic of the body of believers.

The holy city is the earthly Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24; Zech. 13:8, 9; 14:2). The forty and two months show that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control for three-and-a-half years, probably the last half of the seven-year Tribulation period (Dan. 9:24-27, where the period of the Tribulation is seen as the Seventieth Week, or seven year period in God’s postexilic program for Israel. Tribulation

Next “A Powerful Proclamation to the World” – Christ is certainly not saying that this gospel must be preached to every person. Millions have already died without hearing it. Rather it must be proclaimed in; “in all the world for a witness to all nations.” That phrase sounds as though the day is coming when not only individuals but all the nations of the world will be powerfully confronted by the gospel and the consequences of rejecting it. John seems to have been shown such a time in his vision in (Rev. 11 v.3-6).

11:3-6 “And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will”.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have awesome power and impact, together with the 144,000 witnesses, in producing the enormous soul harvest of the first forty two months of the Tribulation described in Rev. 7. They will provide the millions of Jews in the Holy Land a theological and spiritual bridge to the Christian gospel. Many of the souls harvested at that time will be the sons and daughters of Abraham.

What a dynamic and compelling message from God these two amazing witnesses will bring to “all nations!” No one can write them off as crazies, for they display incredible supernatural powers and defy the Antichrist and his underlings to stop them. No doubt they will be seen daily on international television in every corner of the earth as they warn mankind of God’s coming judgment.

The world police and even the military will be powerless to silence them. Anyone who attempts to stop them from preaching is instantly destroyed. Even Antichrist’s satanic powers are no match for these two fearless and God empowered preachers of truth. There can be no doubt that these two witnesses will have the attention of the entire world! Their message will be a declaration to all the nations on this earth to repent and to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the world’s rightful ruler.

The 3-1/2 years of their compelling preaching would seem to coincide with the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. Many will believe the gospel they proclaim and will thereafter refuse to worship the Antichrist or to take his mark, and will be martyred for their faith.

Who Are They -Some try to identify one of the witnesses with Enoch (because he never died, Gen. 5 v.24) and the other with either Elijah (who also never died, (2 Kings 2 v.11-12) or Moses. For three reasons Tim LaHaye is inclined to think they are Moses and Elijah.

Elijah is famous for calling down fire from heaven. The most famous instance occurs in 1 Kings 18 v.36-38) in the account of the contest between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. The Lord sent fire on Elijah’s altar on Mt. Carmel in response to his simple prayer: “Lord God of  Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your Word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”

Elijah is connected to divinely caused drought as well as to judgments of fire. In fact, the very first time he is mentioned in the Scriptures he is heard saying to wicked King Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” (1 Kings 17 v.1) And there wasn’t; God honored the prophet’s word.

Moses, of course, is intimately connected with the ten plagues that struck Egypt just before the Exodus (Exodus 7-12) In the very first plague God turned the waters of Egypt into blood – including the Nile, all streams, rivers, ponds, pools, and even the water in buckets of wood and stone. The water turned to blood, killed the land’s fish and caused the water to stink, and conditions did not return to normal for a week.

How fitting that Moses and Elijah would return to Jerusalem to commence these last 7 years of the Tribulation to “witness, testify and prophesy.”

11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

“The beast that comes up from the Abyss” refers to the beast described in Rev. 13 v.1 to 7″ and is an expression used here for the first time. The fact that he will come up out of the Abyss is a reference to the death and resurrection of the Antichrist. However let me interject something here. Satan actually indwelled two people in the bible. Who can tell me who they were? If you said Judas and the Antichrist you are correct. Antichrist

The Antichrist will die and be resurrected. Rev. 17 v.8 states that “the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” In other words, the Antichrist will die in the middle of the Tribulation. Since Satan will be cast out of heaven, aware that his time is short, he will indwell the Antichrist and duplicate the resurrection. From that point on, indwelled by Satan himself, Antichrist will have power to perform “counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2 v.9-12) and can potentially deceive “those who are perishing.” Satan

The beast or Antichrist, the man of sin, will hate the two witnesses, make war against them, and kill them. However, note that he will have no power over them until “they have finished their testimony.” In other words, they will be “immortal until their work is done”, which can be said of all God’s servants who walk in obedience to His will.

The completely degenerate and inhuman characteristics of people living during the Tribulation period is seen in Rev. 11 v.8, which informs us that the bodies of the two witnesses will be left open in the streets of Jerusalem.

The Holy City will be so degenerate spiritually that she will be called Sodom and Egypt – Sodom being a symbol of immorality and Egypt a symbol of materialism. The lives of the people going back to occupy the Holy Land today are anything but Holy. They seldom even attend synagogues on the Sabbath.

11:8-10 “And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth”.

And then the unsaved people of the world that hate the witnesses so much will comment an incredibly evil deed. They refuse them a decent burial, leaving their dead bodies to decay in the streets of Jerusalem. They even make a Christmas like celebration out of their murders by sending and receiving gifts “in honor” of the occasion. Then an even more incredible thing happens. John prophesies that “those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days” (Rev. 11 v.9). How could the whole world see their dead bodies? Not many years ago it was impossible to fulfill that prophecy, but today it could happen at any moment. We are the first generation ever to have that televising capability through Satellite transmission technology!

The most supernatural event of those times will be televised instantly around the world – “to the people, tribes, tongues, and nations.” Among other things, this will be a loving gesture by God Almighty, not only to resurrect and take to heaven His two prophets, but also to make known His existence and power around the world. We have no doubt that millions of souls to whom the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will be speaking and whom the Holy Spirit will be convicting will see this demonstration of the divine and respond to the Savior.

God is a loving Father who is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3 v.9). That “all” means those left behind after the Rapture as well as those who have the privilege of responding in faith before it occurs. And the two witnesses are a big part of God’s means in the first half of the Tribulation to see that many men and women do, in fact, repent and enter into eternal life.

These are the same people who “rejoice,” “make merry,” and “send gifts to one another” over the murders of God’s two witnesses at the midpoint of the Tribulation (Rev. 11 v.10); the same people who “blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory” (Rev. 16 v.9); the same people who “blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds:” (Rev. 16 v.11) the same people who “blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail” (Rev. 16 v.21); and the same people whose “sins have reached to heaven”, who are guilty of “the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth”. (Rev. 18 v.5, 24)

11:11-12 “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

The Witnesses Resurrected – But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud.

As our Lord was crucified, buried, and in three days rose from the dead, these men, after being slain and exposed to the eyes of the world, will hear the voice of God resurrecting them. A cloud will receive them out of sight in the face of their enemies. It is no wonder that “terror struck those who saw them.” The resurrection of these men will be the final confirmation that they were men of God, another illustration that God does not forget His own.

11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

God loses no time dealing with those who have rejected the Lord or even those who have said, I will straighten up later. There is no later. It is now. We see here that one tenth of the people lose their life in this earthquake.

11:14-15 “The second woe is past; [and], behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever”.

The Seventh Trumpet – Loud Voices in Heaven – The 3rd “woe,”. The blowing of the 7th trumpet is like the breaking of the 7th seal in that it introduces the next series of divine judgments. The 7th trumpet is not in itself a judgment but rather shows all heaven rejoicing at the soon to be consummated victory of Christ over the Antichrist. John records that “loud voices” in heaven shouted, “The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (v.15) Great rejoicing and loud worship fill heaven, and on earth many lightning’s, noise, thundering, hail, and an earthquake announce the approaching end.

The seventh trumpet results in the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ. The seven vials or bowls (16:1) are probably contained in the judgment of the seventh trumpet. They will occur in a very brief period of time at the end of the Great Tribulation.

The second coming of Christ, while a great blessing for believers, will be God’s most severe judgment of the earth. The kingdoms of this world will be completely overthrown by the coming kingdom of earth. The kingdoms of this world will be completely overthrown by the coming kingdom of Christ (19:11-21; Dan 2:34,35,44), who will reign for ever and ever (Dan 7: verses 13, 14 and 27).

11:16-17 “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,” “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

These you remember, represented all of the believers. They have something to praise about, seeing that they were spared the wrath of God. It was the time to fall on their faces in total adoration to God.

God is worshiped by the elders because what He promised is now accomplished. Their gratitude is for the establishment of the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24). ( Kingdom ) The Gentile nations will be subjugated (Ps 2:1, 2). The wrath of God will take vengeance on His enemies (Ps 2:5; 2 Thess. 1:7,8). The dead of all ages will be judged at the future Great White Throne Judgement (Rev. 20:11-15). ( Great White Throne Judgment ) Old Testament and Tribulation saints who have died will be raised and rewarded (Is. 26:19, 20; Dan 12:2; Matt. 25). Those who have tried to destroy the earth will themselves be destroyed by God (Rev. 19:20,21). The ark of his testament (covenant) is a symbol of the presence of God and of His faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant promises.

God meant this earth to be a rich source of blessing to mankind, but Satan, the Antichrist, and thousands of their false prophets have led mankind to rebel against God, causing this earth to be a place of great suffering. The elders in heaven rejoice because the time of God’s judgment and rectification of all things is only three and one-half years away.

We see here that Jesus took power. The establishing of His kingdom brings final victory to the Christian. The thanks really go to Jesus here; the believers have not established the kingdom, Jesus did. All we can do is to praise him for establishing the Kingdom. It was not done through our power and might, but by His (Lord-Supreme Authority, Divinity, Almighty-Omnipotent). You see from this, He is all of it. His power is beyond reproach. His reign is forever and ever. He has no beginning and no end. He alone is worthy of our praise.

11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

The nations, (worldly people} had a hay-day persecuting the believers. They were angry and very unfavorable to those with faith. Now the tables are turned. These very ones, whom they persecuted, will rule over them. Here we see punishment for those who did not accept the gift of salvation and great rewards given to those who did accept and live for Jesus. These, who will be destroyed, are actually the cause of the earth being destroyed. The wrath of God not only destroyed them, but damaged the earth as well.

11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

We see here the dwelling of God in all its awesomeness. There was an ark of the covenant in the tabernacle in the wilderness. There is much speculation about where that earthly ark is today. Some believe that it is underneath the city of Jerusalem; some believe it is in Rome.  The strange thing is that it is unimportant where it is.

When the children of Israel traveled to the promised land, It was a visible reassurance that God was with them and would keep His covenant with them.

The one that is really important to believers, we see here at the throne of God. We are reassured that God’s covenant with us will never fail. We see God’s power and might in all these manifestations such as these earthquakes. We must remember continually, that Revelation is not in chronological order. God does not tell us just exactly when each thing happens. We just know they will happen. All of these earthquakes etc., just show God’s dealing with man.

 

 

Chapter 12

12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

The woman represents Israel, and her child is Christ; the Messiah (12:5; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 66:7.8; Micah 5:2; Romans. 9:4,5)

The woman is not the church, since the church did not bring forth Christ, But rather He brought forth the church.

The sun reflects redeemed Israel’s unique glory, brilliance and dignity because of her exulted status and shows her as God’s chosen nation.

The moon under her feet alludes to God’s promise of dominion, and the crown of twelve stars pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. Go to Genesis 37 verses 9 – 11 and read about the dream Joseph had about the sun, moon and 11 stars which were bowing down to Joseph. (who was the 12th)

In this look toward heaven by John, we are taken to a different aspect of the battle that has gone on through all ages between Jesus and Satan. If Jesus is in warfare with Satan, then His people are in battle as well.

12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

Women, who have had children, know that there is pain involved in birth. This Scripture is spiritually speaking of the birth of Jesus and of Christianity.

The birth pains refer to the period before the birth of Christ when Israel was waiting for redemption by the Messiah (Rom. 8:22, 23).

12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

We see here this “red dragon”.  This is the devil, and he is shown red all over to show his murderous and destructive personality. This is the only place in the New Testament that dragon is used. Here it is not a literal “dragon”, but a figure of Satan. (Satan)

These seven are heads of evil governments. This world power, through these earthly kingdoms, comes from Satan himself. The seven crowned heads mean universal rule, and the ten horns mean world power to the utmost.

Five emperors had come and gone by the Apostle John’s time; one ruled during his time; and the seventh represents the Antichrist to come. We will get into more on this in a later chapter about the 6 empires that have come which is most interesting.

His ten horns show Satan’s connection with the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (verses 7 and 24) and with the Beast from the sea in Chapter 13 of Rev.

12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

When John tells us that the devils’ tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to earth, he is describing the original demonic uprising against God.

Satan somehow managed to convince a third of all God’s angels to join him in his rebellion; these beings we now call “demons” or “fallen angels.” They serve Satan and play an important role in the judgments of the Tribulation.

We see here, also, the woman about to birth, and this is the birth of Jesus the Christ.

Satan used Herod to try to kill Jesus the moment He was born. That was not God’s plan, so Jesus was protected until the time of the cross. This also indicates here the birth of the church, which the devil has tried to devour every way he could.

12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.

This is speaking of Jesus Christ. Jesus was caught up unto God to set on the right hand of God at the resurrection and is setting at the right hand of God. When He returns, Jesus will rule all nations as Lord of lords and King of kings.

During Jesus’ earthly, millennium kingdom, this rule is a breaking, and shattering work of judgment.

An iron rod is one that cannot be broken and speaks of the resoluteness of Christ’s rule. He will swiftly and immediately judge all sin and put down any rebellion.

12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.

The wilderness represents anywhere outside Palestine. During the last half of the Tribulation period (1260 days is three and one half years), Israel will take refuge among the Gentile nations, where God will care for her. (Perhaps through the Gentile believers) (Tribulation)

God will frustrate Satan’s attempt to destroy Israel during the Tribulation and will hide His people just as Jesus stated in Matthew chapter 24 verses 15 – 21.

12:7-8 “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,” “And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”

The vision of war in heaven anticipates Satan’s exclusion from “heaven” and his restriction to the earth during the last half of the Tribulation. Michael the archangel is the leader of God’s holy angels (Dan 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9).

At some point of the Tribulation period, God will empower Michael and his forces to cast Satan and his forces out of access to heaven, so that Satan must thereafter confine his activities to the earthly sphere.

I believe there is an order of command in heaven as there is here on the earth.  We see here, that not only the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is being attacked here on the earth, but that there is war in heaven as well. Here we see defeat of Satan to such an extent that he is not allowed in heaven any more, not even to accuse the believers.

His defeat on the earth is complete as well. His doom was sealed when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected.

12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The evil one is given four designations: (1) Dragon pictures his monstrous character as the enemy of God; (2) Serpent connects him with the clever deception of Eve in Genesis 3; (3) Devil means “slanderer” (v. 10); (4) Satan means “Adversary” (1 Pet. 5:8). He also deceiveth the whole world (20:8).

Notice we are told here, that the serpent that tricked Eve was the devil as well. You can call him by any name you want to. If whatever you call him is evil, it is the devil or his handiwork.

Here we see that he deceiveth (is continually deceiving) the whole world. The devil runs to and fro throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour. The devil does not even bother the lost at all. He already has them. He is after the believer.

He comes to church regularly, trying to coax you away. He brings false doctrine and strife in the church. Check everyone and everything they say by the Word of God. The deceiver will come dressed in sheep’s clothing, Matt. 7:15 He plants doubt and fear wherever he goes.

The devil is the very one who brings in the “feel good” religion. Beware, he is a destroyer, he appealed to Eve’s flesh and destroyed her. The flesh is at war with the Spirit. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE FLESH.

12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

The words salvation, strength (Greek dunamis, “power”), kingdom, and power (Gr. exousia, “authority”) all refer to the coming of the millennial kingdom of Christ. Kingdom

He (the devil) is tossed out once and for all time. His day is over. The last half of the Tribulation will be a time of terrible trouble on earth (Jer. 30:7; Dan 9:27; 12:1; Zeph. 1:15; Matt 24:15-22). It will be Satan’s final attempt to prevent the return and the reign of Christ. He has only a short time to try to prevent the establishment of Christ’s kingdom so his wrath intensifies of his persecution of Israel, God’s chosen nation.

12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Victory is Theirs – Thank God that His Word does not leave the story of the Tribulation saints with their earthly demise, but loudly proclaims their ultimate victory through the blood of the Lamb. The “they” here are the Christians. When Jesus shed his blood on Calvary and became the perfect Lamb sacrifice once for all time, Satan was defeated.

You can see here the word of our testimony is when we open our mouths and declare that we believe Jesus Christ is Lord, and also believe He rose from the grave; we will be saved. We must proclaim this, even if we know it will mean our life. We are not to regard life here on this earth as very valuable. The life that is important is in heaven. This world is not the Christian’s home. We are just passing through.

12:12 Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Here we Christians are told to look up and rejoice when we see terrible things happening, because our redemption draweth nigh. The devil, even now, is in an all out push to destroy the church as it used to be fifty years ago. He realizes his time is running out, and he is working on the believers, trying to convert them to his way. His scheme is to tell us not to be a radical Christian. He is trying to make us not take God real seriously. He doesn’t mind going to most churches, because he hears very little pure Word of God and no sermons on the blood. Watering down Jesus is one of his favorite tools to destroy the church.

It will be Satan’s final attempt to prevent the return and the reign of Christ. He has only a short time to try to prevent the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. Therefore he has great wrath and intensifies his persecution of Israel, God’s chosen nation, which setting up his own counterfeit kingdom through the Beast, the false messiah.

12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child].

Satan’s persecution of Israel is apparently an attempt to exterminate God’s chosen people, thereby preventing the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and David in the messianic from persecution.

12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

The wings of a great eagle represent swift escape from persecution. The eagle in many instances in the Bible is symbolic of God. I believe, it means that God will protect us in the midst of the problems. This I believe is what the “sealing of the believers” is all about.

That phrase comes from Dan. 12 verse 11. This refers to the second half of the Tribulation which begins by the abomination of desolation. In Matt. 24 verse 15 Jesus said “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” Abomination of Desolation

During this time, God protects Israel from the Satan who may know where the Jews are hiding, but will be unable to get at them because of God’s divine protection.

12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

The flood symbolizes overwhelming evil and persecution.

This imagery symbolizes trouble in general. Satan’s forces will sweep towards the Jew’s hiding place like a great flood so as to be drown, killed or consumed by them.

12:16-17 “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

This is liken to the army of Pharaoh’s when all of his chariots were destroyed in Exodus 15. Verse 12 states: You stretched out Your right Hand, the earth swallowed them.”

This really angers Satan. He cannot get to Jesus, as we said before, so he is venting his anger on the followers of Jesus. Notice here that there is only a remnant left that has not fallen for the devils false doctrine. A remnant means a very small portion that is left.

You see here, that this small portion (remnant) of Christians are still keeping God’s commandants, and even though the opposition has been great, they still have given the testimony of Jesus Christ. These two names (Jesus, Christ) together mean The Savior, the Anointed One.

The remnant may be a reference either to (1) Jewish believers, who have refused to worship Satan and his Beast or (2) Gentile Believers, who are the seed of Abraham through Christ.

 

 

Chapter 13

13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Both Daniel and John also saw political systems and leaders that they described using the term “Beast”. John sees this beast coming up “out of the sea.” This beast is a gentile leader of a gentile system. John didn’t call it a beast because it was a Gentile. He called it a beast because It comes up out of the sea of “nations”.

In Daniel Chapter 7, the prophet records a dream that he had in which he saw the rise and fall of four gentile world empires. Each was characterized as a beast coming from the sea of nations. So the beast from the sea is the political part of the Antichrist’s system. Satan is a counterfeiter. So he has an “unholy trinity” that consists of himself (Satan), the Antichrist (the political, religious beast), and the false prophet, (the religious, political beast). Daniel’s Prophecies

The sea here represents the Gentile nations of the world, from which this beast comes. The beast is the Antichrist, the false messiah (Matt.24:5, 24: 1 John 2 v.18). He is the final Gentile world ruler, also known as the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20, 21, 24, 25) the willful king (Dan. 11:36), the coming prince (Dan 9:26), and the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3).

This “sea” means large numbers of people. One writer says unstable nations of peoples. This beast has to do with the powers of this earth opposed to Christendom.

These “heads” show dominion. We have said before that “ten” has to do with world government and “horns” show power. We know then that this has something to do with the world government and rulers of that. “Crowns” show dominion. This “blasphemy” denies the true God. It doesn’t matter who the “I” is here, but it is probably John.

It is not difficult to understand where their power comes from. “Upon his heads the name of blasphemy”. This beast has the ten horns of power. This is the personification of what Satan does with this world power. The personification of evil is when it takes over governments and the people who are heads of those governments.

13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

His resemblance to a leopard, a bear, and a lion refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This Beast includes the people and cultures of the three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself.

The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the dragon (Satan, 12:3) and to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (the Roman Empire, Dan. 7:7, 23), though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. (The horns and heads are identified in Chapter 17).

As the first scripture indicated a beast with seven heads, the other two, earlier empires was Syria and Egypt. To make the next scripture easy to understand, I will name the 6 again. They are Syria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. These are the 6 empires of the past.

We will revisit this again in Rev 17 verses 8 to 14 which begins: The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Be sure to read the next 5 verses as well in chapter 17.

Just so you know, the sixth beast is Rome. They were, and then they weren’t as they were no longer a force, but will be prominent again during the end times.

13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

I believe this means the apparent death of the Antichrist himself and the healing of the “wound” the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist.

Others tend to believe it to be the decline and apparent disappearance of the old Roman Empire, then the revival of the new Roman Empire.

This revival causes amazement throughout the world.

13:4-5 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months.”

Eventually the Beast turns this unbridled animosity toward all the people of God, as Rev. 13 v.5-7 makes clear: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. The Little Horn Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” Earlier John makes it plain that the beast’s power and authority and kingdom are given to him by Satan. (v.2). And John also tells us something revealed to no one else:

This is the beginning of the Great Tribulation which Daniel spoke about in when the sacrifice and the oblation ceases. This is called the Abomination of Desolation . Also see Matthew 24 verse 15.

He speaks blasphemy against God. The power and authority of the Beast come from Satan himself. Satan has his own false “trinity”: Satan acts as the Father, the Antichrist as the Son, and the False Prophet as the Spirit who attempts to bring glory to the Antichrist (v. 11,12).

13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

 “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty two months. It is Satan’s secret desire to have other creatures worship him. The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy because He said He was God, and He was crucified for blasphemy. But declaring that one is God is blasphemous only when untrue.

In the case of Antichrist during the Tribulation period, it will be untrue, but such supernatural powers will be given him by the devil himself that he will appear to have Godlike characteristics and thus deceive many human beings.

Thus during the first 3-1/2 years of the Tribulation the Antichrist will be merely a man endowed with demonic power, but during the last 3-1/2 years, he will actually be Satan himself, clothed with the Antichrist’s body as the antichrist is the second person to be indwelled by Satan. Judas was the first. Remember Satan is not divine. He does not have the power to create, that is, to make something out of nothing.

He can only take what God creates and manipulate it or manufacture it into something else. He can, however, indwell individuals. Even his demonic imps have that power.

13:7-8 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

The unbelievers of the world will be deceived into believing that the Beast is a god (2 Thess. 2:4 11). Only those whose names are written in the book of life will refuse to worship the Beast. The Beast will persecute the saints of God, and exercise power throughout the world. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world in the sense that Christ’s redemptive death for mankind was part of God’s plan from eternity past.

The Power of the Beast – “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” Today the world is prepared for a one world governmental philosophy. That philosophy, propagated by Satan and advocated by the intellectual, godless, atheistic leaders of world governments today, is rapidly spreading across the earth.

As already seen, humankind has just about come to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem of continuous war is a one world government.

That government will be the devil’s government, established during the Tribulation. In the midst of that time he will assume control himself and, as verse 7 tells us, will exercise power over “every tribe, people, language and nation.”

Satan’s “authority” will be all but unlimited, and almost everyone on earth will worship him. This is the very thing Satan has sought from the beginning, worship from angels and men. Of course, believers in Christ will not worship Antichrist, because they will have their names written “in the book of  life of the Lamb.”

This book of life of the Lamb contains the names of all those who have called on the Lamb of God for salvation. Book of Life of the Lamb

13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.

You see, this again, is a warning not to let this go in one ear and out the other, but to take heed to this warning. This is emphasizing a very important truth.

13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

This is just another way of saying, whatever you sow, you will reap. Those who teach false doctrine causes his neighbor to go into captivity and so will those who teach it.

In Matthew Jesus taught Peter that they that take the sword shall perish with the sword when he cut off Malchus’s ear. (i.e. don’t return evil for evil). End time believers are to depend on God and not to take matters into their own hands. This scripture is for the believers alive at that time during the Antichrist’s persecution.

God will punish those who do evil. The Beast and his followers will be overthrown and judged. Patience (Gr. hupomone) is perseverance or endurance. Those who have genuine saving faith will endure all the persecution of the Beast because they are God’s saints.

13:11-12 “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”

Verses 11-12 couples the three evil personages of the Tribulation that are the opposite counterparts of the person of God. Just as the dragon has already been anti-God and the first beast is anti-Christ, so the second beast will be anti-Spirit. His capacity in working for the worship of the Antichrist will correspond with the present ministry of the Holy Spirit. This second beast is the False Prophet. He will not seek to cause people to worship himself. He will not court his own personal prestige but will work purely for the purpose of getting others to worship the Antichrist. This evil scheme will be used by the devil and his 2 cohorts to deceive people during the Tribulation. They will victimize many individuals because they will traffic in amorality.

In these 2 verses 5 characteristics chart the role of the False Prophet.

  1. “Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth”. Many Bible teachers suggest that his coming up out of the earth indicates that he will not come up out of the sea of peoples, as the first beast does. That is, he will not be of mixed nationality; that he comes out of the earth (around Palestine) may indicate that he will be a Jew. This points to an apostate Jew who, during the first 3-1/2 years, will lead Israel to make a covenant with Antichrist and deceive them by hiding his apostasy until the middle of the Tribulation period, at which time he will serve his purpose by revealing his apostate beliefs and practices.
  2. “He had two horns like a lamb.” The Lord Jesus Christ is often referred to in the Gospels and in the book of Rev. as “the Lamb of God”. As such He has taken away the sin of the world. The False Prophet coming on the earth will look like a lamb with two horns. Lambs do not have horns, which are symbols of authority; instead, they are meek and mild animals. The Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Mat. 7 v.15) The False Prophet will come to Israel in sheep’s clothing, but God terms him “a beast”.
  3. “He spoke like a dragon” suggest that he will derive power of speech from the devil who is the dragon. This False Prophet will deceive human beings by acting like a lamb; but really he will speak the words of Satan.
  4. “He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf.” The close relationship between these two world leaders is seen in the fact that the False Prophet will be given power by the Antichrist himself. His whole purpose will be to work toward the complete dominance of the earth by the Antichrist, including a form of religion satisfactory to the Antichrist.
  5. “He made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast.” The False Prophet’s basic purpose and operation with all of this power from the Antichrist and speech from the devil will be to drive people to worship the Antichrist. When indwelt by Satan in the midst of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will be so deceived about himself that he will deem himself God and seek the worship of human beings. (2 Thess. 2 v.3-8) This form of worship will be propagated by the second beast or False Prophet. He may well be described as the high priest of the Antichrist’s religious system during the Tribulation period.

13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

The False Prophet will deceive unbelievers of the earth by means of wonders and miracles, accomplished through satanic power. He will produce the miracles of Elijah and as a false Elijah as he will lead people to worship a false messiah.

13:14-15 “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

The False Prophet will cause an image of the Antichrist to be built and will have power to “give breath to the image of the first beast”. In the midst of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist has been slain and resurrected, the False Prophet will cause people to build an image like Nebuchadnezzar’s image and will demand that it be worshiped. Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

By some mysterious means unknown in the previous history of the world, he will give life to that image. How long it will manifest life we are not told. What characteristics it will have we are not told. Possibly the only characteristic it will manifest is that it can “speak”. (v.15) This speech will be caused by the False Prophet, who in turn will get his authority from the Antichrist and the dragon, Satan himself.

He will issue an order that all who do not worship him will be killed. Rev. 20 v.4 tells us that many will be slain by the guillotine.

Everything the false prophet does is calculated to increase the power and authority of the Antichrist. That is not surprising, for he receives his own power and authority from the Antichrist.

13:16-17 “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:” “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

This is the Mark of the Beast,” one of the most often quoted and least understood end time prophecies of the Bible. The word translated “Mark” means, literally, “graven.” It conveys the sense of being “branded.” Mark of the Beast

The custom of the Hebrews, when they took a slave for life, was to mark them by driving an awl through their ear. (see Exodus 21v.6)

In John’s day, slaves were branded by their owners in a similar fashion. Accepting the mark of the Beast means you are sold into slavery, to Satan.

Without a mark, a person will be unable to engage in routine commerce. Notice here, it does not say you cannot live. It says you cannot buy or sell. DO NOT TAKE THIS MARK; Jesus will help you.

Anyone who accepts this mark during the Tribulation has already made his choice, and that choice will permanently disqualify its wearer from heaven. Remember when you get the mark you MUST swear allegiance to the Antichrist as god.

It isn’t merely economic, it is a worship system. Accepting the mark is tantamount to a rejection of Jesus. This is a permanent, irreversible rejection.

Many currently worry that they will accept the mark accidentally, such as the case with national ID cards. This is not so. To accept the mark of the beast, one will knowingly agree to renounce God and to accept this mark. Without the mark, no one will be able to buy or sell and will fear they and/or their family will die. But to accept the mark means eternal death.

“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the lamb.” (Rev. 14 v.10)

13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.

The False Prophet will use this mark as a means of forcing people to worship Antichrist. He will demand that everyone have his mark on their foreheads or on their hands in order to buy or sell. One can scarcely imagine the pressures of having to possess such a mark in order to secure the necessary food for his family.

There are many views on what the 666 stands for but no where is it given in the bible as to what it means exactly.

I was told by programmers when I was reading various chat groups before Y2K began that some computer programs begin with a starting coding of 666. That’s why there are many who today will not receive any type of computer chip implanted into them. Nor do they want any sort of a national ID which is again is something that is computer driven.

Many think that the Antichrists name (first, middle and last) each will contain 6 letters each.

I personally believe that when that time comes, those with discernment of the Word will know exactly what it means.

We do know that to accept the mark is to accept Antichrist as God and thus deny God. Only those who walk with Christ will be able to understand why taking of this mark can not be done even if it means death to their physical body.

Chapter 14
14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

The identity of this group of 144,000 subjects has for some reason eluded many outstanding Bible scholars. Most commentators have a tendency to assume that they are identical with the 144,000 described in chapter 7. 144,000 Therefore we must examine them in detail.

The Similarities of the Two Groups: Two basic reasons are usually advanced for considering the two groups similar:

  1. Both groups total 144,000, and
  2. Both groups have something written on their foreheads.

The Differences of the Two Groups: Far more important, however, are the differences between the two groups:

  1. The Revelation 7 group is specifically Jewish, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes. The Revelation 14 group comes “from the earth” or “from among men.”
  2. The Revelation 7 group is sealed with the Father’s seal. The Revelation 14 group has the name of both the Father and the Son.
  3. The scene of chapter 7 occurs on the earth. Chapter 14 takes place in heaven, but only halfway through the Tribulation. This can be explained in that the 144,000 witnesses of Revelation 7, like their converts of verse 9, are slain and under the altar by the middle of the Tribulation. Thus they are described in chapter 14 as before the throne, in their spirit or “soul” state, “away from the body and at home with the Lord”. (2 Cor. 5 v.8)
  4. The additional qualifications for being a member of this group (see verses 4 and 5), are not recorded in chapter 7. The 144,000 of chapter 7 are “servants of our God”; the 144,000 of chapter 14 are people “purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.” This indicates that their selection was not for the propagation of the gospel on the earth during the Tribulation, but for a special position at the throne of God before Him and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. Verse 4 tells us that “they follow the Lamb wherever he goes”, which may well indicate that as a select group, they have been faithful in completely abandoning their will to the will of Christ during their lifetimes.

Not Jews, But Christians – Since only two similarities and several differences exist between these two groups, we can safely conclude that they are not the same. The fact that the numbers are the same, 144,000, is not so overpowering when one bears in mind a statement by Dr. William R. Newill in his book on Revelation: “The repetition of the number 144,000, one of governmental completeness and fullness, is not necessarily conclusive proof that the two companies are one and the same.” This suggests that for God’s perfect governmental operation He has selected multiples of twelve to be His special servants in the Tribulation and another group to enjoy a relationship with Him in heaven, the difference between them being that those in chapter 14 have earned their position because of their faithfulness in doing whatever the Lord commissioned them to do.

That both have understanding on their foreheads is certainly not conclusive evidence one way or the other. The chapter 7 group is “sealed unto God”; the chapter 14 group have the name of Christ and the Father written on their foreheads. This could be a spiritual thing, exemplified by people of the stripe of the Apostle Paul, whose mind (behind the forehead) was filled with a desire to serve Jesus Christ and God the Father all the days of his life. If anyone is permitted into that group, certainly the Apostle Paul would be qualified. The differences between the two groups limit any assuming that they are the same, particularly when one bears in mind that the scene in chapter 14 is in heaven and that these are taken “from among men”, (v.4) indicating they come from all nations rather than just from among the Jews. Dr. Newell identifies the two as Israel, but he also makes the following statement:

For, although we have thus spoken of them, we cannot but leave the question open for further light. Because in all other Scripture we can recall Israel’s victors are always named as belonging to that elect nation, and the favor of God is seen as arising from that national election. Whereas, these of Revelation 14 do not have that mark, but rather seem to be from a larger circle than Israel, even “from among men”; and their peculiar distinction appears to be a reward for their utter self abnegation. As Dean Alford says, “We are perhaps more like that which the Lord intended us to be; but they are more like the Lord Himself.”

Considering the above statements carefully, I present the following possibility, not dogmatically, but with a sincere conviction that this is a more accurate interpretation than those I have come upon so far. The 144,000 found in chapter 14 are probably the most outstanding 144,000 saints of the Church from the early days of the spread of the gospel to the Rapture of the Church. For this consecrated and devoted service to our Master they will enjoy a special position before the throne of God from death until the Glorious Appearing of Christ, at which time all saints will come with Him. This position doubtless signifies that they will have great responsibility while reining with Him during the Millennial Kingdom.

14:2-3 “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps” “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”

They will sing a new song which no one can learn save the 144,000. (14 v.3) These two rewards suggest that they will enjoy a special relationship with God the Son and God the Father from the time of their death after a life of faithful, holy service until they come with Christ to the earth.

Let’s begin by looking at the qualifications of this elite group.

  1. They are redeemed from the earth by faith in Christ, “who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads”; (14 v.14b) “they had been redeemed from the earth” (14 v.3b) and “were purchased from among men”. (14 v.4c) Obviously these men were first born again by receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.
  2. They are morally pure. “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure”. (14 v.4) Much as been written about this qualification, suggesting that only unmarried men would qualify. There is no scriptural certainty to indicate that Paul was ever married, so he easily fits the pattern here, and to my knowledge we have no record of John’s having been married, though it is possible it is just not mentioned. In any case, there may well have been 144,000 in the last 1900 plus years of the Christian Church who have remained single for the Lord’s sake; having met the other qualifications, they will share in that elite position with Paul, possibly John and others.
  3. They are obedient and available, for “they follow the Lamb wherever he goes”. (14 v.4b) It is obvious that all of God’s children, in fact, all of His servants, are not completely yielded to His will. Some have known years of yieldedness and faithful service, only to go back and “walk no more with him”, whereas others have had on again off again periods of obedience. This elite group of 144,000 is unusually marked by obedience. Their attitude is epitomized by the statement of the Apostle Paul immediately after recognizing Jesus, when he said, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22 v.10)
  4. They tell the truth, for “no lie was found in their mouths”. (14 v.5) These men are characterized by a contrast to Satan. They are faithful witnesses, always telling the truth. Lying is a part of a person’s nature when one follows Satan, “the father of all lies.” One prime characteristic of obedient Christians, by contrast, is that they tell the truth.
  5. They live “blameless” lives. (14 v.5b) This does not indicate that they are perfect, for these people too had to be redeemed “from among men”; they were lost sinners and had to be born again. Nor does it mean that they live in sinless perfection since their salvation, but reasserts what the Apostle Paul meant in 1 Thess. 2 v.10 when he said, “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.” These are men who, in their desire to serve Jesus Christ and walk with Him, leaned on His power to live holy, consecrated lives. They are men who can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2 v.20)”

14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

I do not, however, insist on a literal interpretation of this expression because nowhere does the Bible teach that sexual intercourse in marriage is defiling. On the contrary, Hebrews 13 v.4 clearly announces, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral”.

Even the Apostle Paul, when encouraging consecrated young men to abide “as I am,” was doing so not for moral reasons, but that they might give themselves more completely to serving the Lord and not be encumbered with concerns for the desires and tastes of a wife. (1 Cor. 7 v.7, 25-35)

On the contrary, the Revelation text probably does not mean unmarried men, but men who are undefiled by women; that is, they have either kept the marriage contract or have never known a woman and thus in the eyes of God are considered “virgins” (in v.4 the Greek word for “pure” is parthenos, lit., “virgin”; cf. KJV). It is interesting that this passage of Scripture is the only one in the Bible referring to men as virgins. The Bible does not teach celibacy; in fact, no hint of it is found in Scripture.

The Bible everywhere advocates that Christians be holy and virtuous, undefiled by the world. Misuse of sex has always been one of humanity’s greatest problems, infidelity and immorality one of their greatest temptations. Therefore the elite group of 144,000 who qualify to stand before the throne of God in heaven are those who have kept themselves undefiled. That is, they kept their marriage vows or remained unmarried.

Verse 4 states, “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes”, perhaps indicating that in addition to being in a privileged position before the resurrection, they will always be in a special position of service for Christ after the resurrection.

“They are offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb”. (14 v.4b) This suggests that these 144,000 are the outstanding believers of the Lamb and have been given a special position, as indicated in verse 1, in standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion, before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. Among that throng of recipients in heaven of special rewards or commendations for a lifetime of faithful service or even martyrdom, there will, of course, be many familiar names. I often think of men like John Wycliffe, “the morning star of the Reformation,” Jon Huss, William Tyndale, and many others who were burned at the stake for translating the Bible into the language of the people.

It will also include those who gave or spent their lives in taking the Word of God to forgotten or lost tribes. Because our God is a just God, we can expect to see many heroes of the faith who were totally unknown during their lifetime. They may have missed rewards of this earth, but his and other passages of the Word indicate they will receive just reward in the next life, and that will last for eternity.

Admittedly states Tim LaHaye, this interpretation places me in the minority among commentators of the book of Revelation. With due respect to faithful interpreters of God who have sought the Holy Spirit for their interpretation, the above is not presently dogmatically, but prayerfully, with the desire that it be given consideration. A comparison of this interpretation with the popular view that chapters 7 and 14 refer to the same group will reveal that my view created fewer problems than the others.

14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

This verse says it plainly. They spoke truth, not watered down. They did not waver in their decision
to follow Jesus. Their face was set toward heaven and they did not look back.

14:6-7 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Verse 6 introduces the first of five angels who convey a special message concerning the middle of the end time, that is, the middle of the Tribulation period. It is astounding that an angel is commissioned to go forth preaching the everlasting gospel, for the preaching of the gospel has not been committed to angels but to human beings. This astounding state of affairs can only be an indication of the severity of the circumstances. If we keep in view the setting of this passage, we will be able to understand readily why this will be necessary. Prior to the Tribulation, the Church will have been Raptured.

The 144,000 Israelite witnesses from all over the world will be converted through the printed page left behind by the departing church. These witnesses will harvest a multitude that no one can number. (Rev. 7 v.9) This indicates that the early days of the Tribulation will experience the greatest revival in world history.

Remember when we first discussed the 144,000 in chapter seven; they first had to be sealed. Why and how did they get sealed? The same way we are sealed, by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The Everlasting Gospel – Is this a different gospel from that preached today? On the basis of the Word of God, absolutely not! This is the same gospel as we preach, the same message that was “once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)

The First Angel – This angel will warn the people to fear God instead of Antichrist, to give glory to God instead of Antichrist, and he will instruct them how to do it.

Otherwise, he would be proclaiming a message of doom instead of good news. The Greek word translated “gospel” (euangelion) literally means “good news,” and the only way we can offer people eternal good news is to show them how to receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. A message concerning the judgment of God is only a partial presentation of the gospel of Christ. The complete story of the gospel not only clarifies that all human beings are sinners, but also includes God’s remedy for sin through Christ, who “died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and was raised on the third day.”

The extent of this gospel should be noted, for it will be preached “to those who live on the earth, to every nation, tribe, language and people”.

One of the signs of the last days is quoted that the gospel is to be preached to everyone. Here is what is said about that in Matthew 24 verse 14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

This is why I don’t believe that this must be done before the rapture, but definitely before the second coming.

This seems to be God’s last offer to humankind to flee the wrath to come before they accept Antichrist. We have already seen that Antichrist and the False Prophet will mount a great campaign, after having killed the prostitute, the ecumenical Babylonian church and will seek to get everyone to worship Antichrist. This blasphemous idolatry will forfeit anyone’s claim to eternal life; thus all will be eternally lost. But as a prelude to that decision, the angel of Rev. 14 v.6 will make known the gospel to all the world so that no one can stand before God at the judgment and maintain that he or she accepted the Antichrist without due warning from God.

Again, Revelation is not written in consecutive order. I do believe there will be a voice going throughout the land proclaiming the second coming of Christ, just as there was a voice (John the Baptist) proclaiming His first arrival as Christ. The people will be warned. They will be without excuse. God will have a herald going forth proclaiming truth. Everyone will have their opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord.

14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

The Second Angel – The Fall of Religious Babylon

Bible students are well aware of the fact that Revelation refers to 2 Babylons, both termed “Babylon the Great”. Babylon the Great – Harlot Destruction is predicted for both because they will cause people to drink of the wine of the wrath of their fornication. We may understand that this fore glimpse refers to religious Babylon because it takes place in the middle of the Tribulation. The destruction of the literal city of Babylon is found in Rev. 16 v.18-19.

That the city of Babylon will be rebuilt and become the commercial center of the world is seen from such passages as Isaiah 13 and 14 and Jeremiah 50 – 51. As the city of Babylon has never been destroyed according to the Old Testament predictions; thus, we can only conclude that it will be rebuilt and become the commercial center of Antichrist’s kingdom; then it will be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation. This again points to the fact that Babylon will become the center of the world.

This “Babylon” that “is fallen” here is not a literal city. This is the world system that opposed the church and the Christians. This evil world system did all in her power to stop Christianity. This power and the one causing small and great to receive the mark could be one and the same. At any rate, it has fallen here. “Babylon” is symbolic of the world and its evil system.

This message that is brought will be final in its nature. It will be good news (gospel), but it will also be a last warning. This is a final warning to turn from the world to the Creator of it all. “The Lord is coming”, will be the cry. This message will be worldwide. Remember an angel is a ministering spirit. These will be evangelists. One more time I say this is the final warning that judgment is about to fall.

14:9-11 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand,” “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

The Third Angel – will pronounce doom on the worshipers of Antichrist during the Tribulation period. It may be, since he follows them, that this angel will come to the earth and, like the angel who preached the eternal gospel, warn human beings of the consequences of accepting the mark of the Antichrist and becoming his worshiper. Antichrist

We studied before about the mark of the beast. The number put in your forehead or right hand seals the person receiving it as belonging to the beast. Just as God the Father’s name is on the 144,000 and Jesus Christ’s name is on the Christians, these who take the mark of the beast are sealed with the devil’s number which is 666. The Mark of the Beast The antichrist system is a counterfeit of the trinity of God. It consists of the beast, antichrist, and false prophet. All are a personification of Satan himself.

The “fire and brimstone” here is the very same as that which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Just as the angels saw Sodom burn, they are a witness to this as well. The Lamb (Jesus) is the Judge who speaks judgment. It not only will be in His presence, but He will order this punishment as well.

This “smoke” that comes up rises from the bottomless pit. You see this “torment” is not just for a short time and is over. This is FOREVER just as heaven is forever for the believers. This “torment” is forever. “ascendeth” means continually ascends.

This lack of “rest day nor night” is in total contrast to the peace forever the Christians possess. This is very explicit again about who will spend this time in hell. Those who receive the mark of the beast have sealed their doom.

14:12-13 “Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Patience here is perseverance or endurance. The assurance of the judgment of God’s enemies is a basis for the perseverance of the Tribulation believers to continue following Christ. The perseverance of genuine believers in the faith and commandments of God is assumed and guaranteed.

The dead which die in the Lord from henceforth are Tribulation martyrs; they will be blessed through rest, resurrection, and reigning with Christ during the Millennium (Rev. 20:4-6). They will receive a reward for their works of obedience.

These dead in Christ rest in peace until they receive their reward. These are blessed in that they have run the race successfully and are now just waiting peacefully to receive the rewards of their labor. Rewards

14:14-16 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”

This is Christ, the Messiah. The cloud relates to Christ’s second coming. Remember when he ascended, the angels told those watching that he would return the same way as he left? He disappeared into a white cloud.

The crown pictures Him as the ruler of the earth, and the sickle symbolizes judgment as an instrument of the harvest. The time has come to finish the judgment of the earth. The second coming of Christ includes more judgment.

To reap and harvest the earth is to judge and punish its people. And so the earth was reaped.

The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia or about 184 miles.

The last 3 verses above show that the time is right and the Judge of all the earth is to harvest the both good and the bad. This will be the judgment of the Goats and Sheep.

14:17-20 “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.” “And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.” “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs”

Where verses 14 to16 picture Christ’s judgment as a grain harvest, verses 17 to 20 symbolize the wrath of God as a grape harvest with the treading of the grape clusters in an immense winepress.

Again the sickle depicts judgment. The clusters of the vine of the earth represent the unbelievers of the earth, those who have followed and worshipped the Beast

“Her grapes are fully ripe” or “at the prime”, in that the time for God’s judgment of the earth is now! The great winepress of the wrath of God pictures the violence and intensity of God’s coming judgment on the earth. The city is probably Jerusalem, and if so, the greatest intensity of the judgment may be centered in Palestine. Perhaps the reference is to the coming Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16: verses 14 -16). Armageddon

The blood may be either the red juice of the grapes or literal human blood resulting from the final battle. The amount of “blood” that results from the winepress emphasizes the severity of the judgment. A thousand and six hundred furlong are approximately 184 miles, the full length of Palestine. The average height of a horse’s bridle is about four to five feet. The winepress may be an anticipation of the vial or bowl judgments of chapter 16.

There is only one valley in Israel that fits the mile description. It is the Jordan Valley, which extends from just north of the Sea of Galilee to Eilat at the Red Sea.

This just shows the terribleness of the punishment of the still living unsaved. This could be by a tremendous war or just like Sodom and Gomorrah. It was directly from God. At any rate, it is terrible.

 

 

Chapter 15

15:1 “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.”

This chapter in the book of Revelation sets the stage for the last seven vial judgments that cover the last three and one-half years of the tribulation which are described in Revelation chapter 16. Great Tribulation

The seven angels prepare to administer the last seven Tribulation judgments of Christ: the seven vials). Vials are actually shallow bowls (these are called the bowl judgments), used for pouring libations (5:8; 1 Chronicles 28:17; Jeremiah 52:18; Zech. 9:15; 14:20). The bowls are full of the wrath of God (2 Thess. 1:7 – 9). God has the right to judge, because He is the Eternal incense that filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. Until the seven plagues are finished, no one is able to enter into the temple. The time for intercession is past; God’s judgment will now be completed.

This “seven” just means this is the end. The only good thing about these plagues is that the Christians are in heaven when this occurs. The wrath of the devil is bad, but to fall into the hands of Almighty God and have His wrath fall on unbelievers is the very worst thing that could happen.

These plagues will conclude with the wrath of God on sinful mankind for rejecting His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The last seven plagues indicate that these are in order and this finishes the 21 total plagues on mankind before the end of time.

15:2 “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”

The sea of glass was before God’s throne in Rev. 4:6. “And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”

John was seeing the same crystal platform, but now it was mixed with the fire of God’s judgment.

The victory over the beast has been won through faith in Christ and refusal to submit to the Antichrist. These are the Tribulation Martyrs who are rejoicing over the victory they have won. The harps indicate they are rejoicing and singing praise to God. These believers are rejoicing because their prayers for God’s vengeance on their persecutors are about to be answered.

Revelation 15:3 “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints.”

This “they” are the believers in Christ. The “song of Moses” and the “song of the Lamb” are the same. This is the song of redemption. God used Moses to redeem His people from bondage in Egypt. Moses had lead the people out of the land of Egypt to the Promised Land prefiguring now Jesus is leading the Saints to that promised land we call heaven.

Who purchased this for us?  Who did all the work Himself? Jesus. His works are “marvelous”. It is beyond our imagination to see a beautiful snow-capped mountain and realize that the One who created that, also loved us enough that He climbed on the cross and suffered for us. He has every right to be our King. Remember in all of this, He is not just a loving God, but a “just and true” God as well.

The exclamation, “just and true” reflects the Old Testament truth that all of God’s works are true and His ways just Dan. 4 v.37; Deut. 32 v.4; and Hosea 14 verse 9.

“Lord God Almighty” celebrates God’s omnipotence, essential to the triumphant power of the last judgments and appears frequently in Revelation. This name just tells us of His overwhelming power.

Revelation 15:4 “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

In Proverbs 9:10 we read “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.”

We are not to fear the world or its people. We are “to fear” (Reverence) God.

This “all nations shall come and worship”, is speaking of the time when Jesus will sit on a throne in Jerusalem and rule the world. There will be a yearly pilgrimage by everyone to worship. We see Jesus is the only Holy one.

Philippians 2 verses 10 -11 says  “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.”

After God’s righteous acts of judgment has been made manifested or revealed, the time of Isaiah will come: “And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.”

Revelation 15:5 “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:”

This “tabernacle” is the original tabernacle in heaven that the one on the earth was patterned by. Moses was given instruction by God how to build the earthly one.  The tabernacle was opened by Jesus, as the temple curtain which was in front of the Holy of Holies, was torn from the top to the bottom, when Jesus died on the cross.

In an earlier vision given John, God’s throne room was opened so the faithful could see in. We see here that it “was opened” (past tensed). Now the heavenly tabernacle, which the earthly tabernacle was a copy, was opened to reveal the most severe earthly judgment ever on the unrepentant.

The tabernacle was sometimes referred to as the tabernacle of the testimony, so named as it contained the testimony. The two stone tablets which God had written the ten commandments on.

Revelation 15:6 “And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.”

Seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. These are the “plagues” that will strike the earth in the last three and one-half years to punish those who have chosen to serve the Antichrist, doing his bidding to persecute the saints for their faith in Christ.

So many people in this current, new wave of believers think that all punishment comes from the devil and no bad thing comes from God. They better take another look at this Scripture right here. These “angels” are operating under God’s orders. They have just come “out of the temple” (which shows the origination). They are clothed in white (which shows they are good angels and not demons). The gold of their breasts show that they have been in the presence of God.

Revelation 15:7 “And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.”

Here, again, we see these “vials” are from God, because they are gold. These “sevens” just show the completeness of it all.

And again, we see the eternity of God in the forever and ever. They are ready to pour the wrath out on the inhabitants of the earth. God has the power to put an end to sin so that it can never exist again in His holy presence.

Revelation 15:8 “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”

As soon as the angels in verse 6 come out of the Temple, great smoke from the glory of the presence of God and His power and wrath fills the Temple so that neither angels nor human beings can go back into worship until “the seven plagues of the seven angels are completed.”

We know that in the tabernacle in the wilderness, no one could go inside. God is a consuming fire as we read in Hebrews 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.”

During this time no created human being will have access to the presence of God on His throne until the end of the Tribulation, for He will not be dealing with people in mercy, as is His usual custom. During the latter three and one half years of the Tribulation, He will deal with human beings in judgment.

This glory cloud will remain in the heavenly temple until the earth is completely purged, cleansed and prepared for the King and His kingdom that is coming. Kingdom

This “smoke” is from the Majesty of God. The children of Israel were led by God Himself. We read that a fire led them by night and a cloud by day, Exodus 13:21.  This is the very same presence we read of here. No mere man can enter this holy place. Jesus enters here for us and takes us with Him after we are covered by His (Jesus) blood.

God sees Jesus’ shed blood, instead of us, when we enter (after we are a believer); and that shed blood is what keeps us from being burned up in God the Father’s presence.

God’s anger is kindled at those on the earth who have caused such sorrow to the church and the true believers, and His fury has come in His face. These plagues, as we said before, are from God. What a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God and be judged by Him guilty and deserving of His wrath.

In Hebrews 10:30-31, we read about just how terrible it is for the sinner to fall into His hands.

Hebrews 10:30-31 “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.” “[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

 

 

Chapter 16
16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

The seven angels, each holding a bowl containing the judgments that are about to fall on the earth, seem reluctant to cast forth their bitter judgments. However, they are obedient to the voice of God when He speaks: These bowls constitute what the Lord Jesus referred to as the “great distress” (Mat. 24 v.21), or the last 42 months of the Tribulation period. Great Tribulation

Four of these seven judgments occurred literally in Egypt among the ten plagues and have never been accepted by credible Bible teachers as anything but literal. In addition, part of the 6th judgment; that of drying up the Euphrates River and producing frogs, was also literally fulfilled during the history of Israel. Frogs were generated as one of the plagues of Egypt, and both the Red Sea and Jordan River were rolled back so that God’s people could walk forth on dry ground.

Therefore, nothing new will be transpiring when God dries up the Euphrates River in order that the kings of the East may march over on dry ground.

If the plagues of Egypt were literal, and they certainly were, why should we not expect these awful judgments likewise to be literal?

16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and [upon] them which worshipped his image.

The First Bowl Judgment – Foul and Loathsome Sores – when men choose to worship Antichrist rather than Christ and demonstrate their allegiance by accepting the mark of the beast, God responds by sending on them a plague of “foul and loathsome” sores. John makes it clear that these awful sores afflict only those who worship the Antichrist and who have accepted the mark of the Beast; no Tribulation saint suffers from them.

Further confirmation that the three judgments; the seals, the trumpets, and the vials are sequential, not concurrent, (as some bible teachers suggest) is clarified in the time of this judgment.

Antichrist will not be set up as the object of worship until the middle of the Tribulation period. This judgment falls on the human race because of their worship of Antichrist, which can only occur after the middle of the Tribulation. (Revelation Chapter 13)

The recipients are the beast worshipers. The selection from among the peoples on the earth is clearly seen in this passage: Only those containing the mark of the beast and worshiping his image will be selected for those awful sores. Mark of the Beast

This indicates that God in His marvelous grace will not bring judgment on believers during this latter half of Tribulation, but will protect them as He did the Israelites during the plagues of Egypt.

This further confirms our assumption that in the previous judgments, when He slays 25 % and then another third of the world’s population that’s remaining, (making a total of 50%) He will exempt believers.

16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead [man]: and every living soul died in the sea.

The Second Bowl Judgment – Now the second angel pours out his bowl on the sea, and it turns into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea dies.

We have already seen that God will cause a third part of the sea to turn to blood during the 2nd trumpet, but this second bowl includes the entire sea. Imagine when all living creatures in the seas die. Think of the unbearable stench and the potential for disease.

This judgment may well interfere with commercial shipping and send whole populations into confusion as people grope for an adequate supply of water, not to mention destroying what is left of the fish industry.

16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

The Third Bowl Judgment -The third bowl, a sequel to the second, carries with it an interesting explanation as to why God will permit it. God will destroy the only remaining sources of water, the rivers and fountains or springs of the deep, by letting them turn to blood.

Whether this means literal blood is inconsequential, for if Christ can turn water to wine, He certainly can turn water to blood. What is significant is that it will become corrupt blood, which will breed disease and pestilence. One of the basic needs of humankind is water. Unless God provides water from another source or engineers by some process can turn this corrupted water into pure water, the world will be in a state of riot and confusion, seeking this necessity of life.

All of this describes devastation beyond what we can comprehend. The judgment of God has fallen.  Sometimes, God uses wars to bring His will about. At any rate, this no doubt does away with a good part of humanity.

16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

Notice here, this is not the people saying that God is righteous. This is the angel saying God is righteous. At no time do the people repent. The angel here is saying that this judgment that God has brought is justified. This God mentioned here is the I Am.

16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

It seems that blood in their water supply is in punishment for the blood of the saints and prophets. Throughout the ages, the world and its evil system has been opposed to God and His people. They deserve this punishment.

16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments.

As bad as these judgments are, they are deserved. As it was said before, everyone likes to think of God as love, but few remember, also, that He is the Judge of the world. Thank God His grace saved me. He is longsuffering, not willing that even one should perish. However, there is a day of reckoning when the God of the entire world will judge fairly. This seems to be that time.

16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

The Fourth Bowl Judgment – The Sun Scorches Men – Their mouths already parched from lack of water, those who are unrepentant suffer even more intense thirst when God causes the sun to “scorch” them with “great heat”. But even this does not drive the rebels to their knees in repentance. Instead, they blaspheme the name of God “who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.”

How right the angel was who said to God, “True and righteous are Your judgments”. (16 v.7) Like Pharaoh, their hearts have become hardened (Exodus 7:13, 22, 8:15, 19, 32, 9:7, 34, 35).

The environmentalists are telling us every day that we are destroying the Ozone layer above the earth.  Every time a person sprays their hair or uses an aerosol spray of any kind it does away with Ozone. The scientists tell us that this is so thin that it might just go away altogether. And if it did, people would die by the thousands from harmful rays from the sun that had not been filtered to make them safe.

You see, God put this earth together very intricately and man, in changing God’s ways, has messed up the atmosphere. An interesting thing to note in connection with this is, that it takes just a very thin coat of the shed blood of Jesus to protect us from the enemy. What a comparison.

16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

With this type of rays from the sun, they would be covered with sores. This terrible plague is vented at the beast and its followers. The worst thing they could possibly do was to curse God, and that is just what they did. They did not repent, their hearts had been hardened. They either were not aware of God’s power or just did not want to give Him the glory. Either way, they are in trouble.

This type of “heat” would burn up all crops, cause droughts, and probably even melt all of the polar ice region.

16:10-11 “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,” “And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

The Fifth Bowl Judgment – Darkness:  What’s John talking about when he refers to the judgment falling upon the throne or seat of the beast and his kingdom? It’s probably best to think of the beast’s throne as a reference to his entire kingdom since his kingdom was full of darkness. Some see this to mean the city of Babylon, but his kingdom will be worldwide.

Notice also that tremendous darkness envelops the beast’s kingdom. This same phenomenon occurred in Egypt during the plagues; the whole land was consumed in darkness so oppressive that Moses said you could actually feel it. That’s the sort of thing that will come upon the kingdom of the Antichrist at this time. This divine judgment will give a physical illustration of their spiritual darkness.

You see, the beast may have control of evil men upon the earth, but he cannot control God or nature.

This “darkness” here was not just physical darkness, which is bad enough; but this “darkness” is of the spirit, as well, bringing depression, attempted suicide, and all sorts of evil attacks on the mind.

Two things indicate that this darkness will prevail for some time on the earth: the predictions of other prophets, and the effects on human beings. This judgment, a repetition of the 9th plague of Egypt, is to be understood literally:

“Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.” (Amos 5 v.18)

“Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him” “but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness.” (Nahum 1 v.6,8)

“That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness”. (Zephaniah 1 v.15)

Christ’s own prediction was: “But in those days, following that distress, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light” (Mark 13 v.24). The effects on people, described in Rev. 16 v.10 (“Men gnawed their tongues in agony”), indicate that the relief from the heat will soon produce an exasperating, frustrating darkness. We may forecast that human ingenuity in producing electricity may solve this problem, but we must remember that the water supply produces electricity, and with the tampering of the water supply, as seen in the second and third judgments, people may be incapable of continuing to draw electrical power and illumination from the rivers and bodies of water.

These judgments are so clearly supernatural that everyone will know that they descend from the God of heaven. But instead of falling down before Him to become the recipients of His mercy, people only “cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” They not only blaspheme God, but refuse to change their ways. Let it be understood that those who reject the Lord do so not because of philosophical doubts or unexplained answers to unanswered questions, but as a result of hardness of heart and love for sin.

16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

The Sixth Bowl Judgment – Euphrates Dried Up: The sixth bowl judgment comes in 2 parts. (1) the drying up of the Euphrates River, which will be a preparation for the “battle on the great day of God Almighty;” and (2) the tremendous demon forces that will bring the rebellious armies of the world to the Valley of Megiddo for the purpose of opposing the Lord.

The Euphrates River is the eastern border of the land God gave to Abraham (Gen. 15 v.18). It is about 1800 miles long and so large that it forms a natural barrier against the armies of the world. Most people are not particularly conscious of the fact that it served as the eastern border of the Roman Empire. The sixth bowl judgment will dry up that river to make way for the “kings of the East.

It is likely that when the Euphrates River – the natural boundary between east and west is dried up,” the “kings from the east” will march a sizable army across to battle with the King of kings. That army will probably be 3 to 5 million strong. These forces will be joined in the valley of Megiddo by huge armies from all over the world, and while that valley is vast as Napoleon has said, “the most ideal, natural battlefield in the world”, even it has a limit to how many people it can hold.

This river could have dried up because of the problems caused by some of the other vials. There will be such a drought that this waterway will dry up and these armies from the east will come into Israel on dry land.

These kings from the east have befuddled Bible prophecy scholars for many years, for few scholars mentioned anything about them. That is, until the communist takeover of China after WW2. Since then it has become apparent that this largest of all countries, by population, has a prophetic role in end time events. China

China is controlled by some of the most dedicated Communists in the world. They are not “reformers” or “progressive” as our media tried to represent them a few years ago. They are a ruthless group of elite gangsters who have never wavered in their plan to use China as a military platform from which to conquer the world. The events of the next 2 decades, if indeed we have that long, will prove that point. One thing we can be certain: China is not going to go away. John the Revelator saw them as players on the world scene in the end times.

Even so, the Bible has very little to say about China. In fact, what is said includes more than just China, for the terms “kings from the east” really means “kings for the rising sun,” which would include Japan and possibly other Asian countries.

Dr. John F. Walvoord was considered perhaps the world’s foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy. He was a member of the Dallas Theological Seminary faculty. He was born in 1910 and died on December 20, 2002. He was 92 years old.

He was considered the dean of prophecy scholars when he wrote: There has been some tendency to take the expression “the kings of the east” literally, “the kings of the sunrise” as referring specifically to Japan where the rising sun is a symbol of its political power. However, it is more natural to consider the term “rising sun” as a synonym for east. The Euphrates River, one of the first rivers mentioned in the Bible, has served for centuries as the natural dividing line between East and West.

The significance of the rise of China to become a principal player among the nations of the world was not lost on Dr. John Walvoord. ( China )He saw the prophetic significance of the Chinese rise to prominence back in 1967 when he wrote:

The fact that the rise of Asia has occurred in the 20th century with so many rapid and unexpected developments is further evidence that the world is moving toward its final climax and the end of the times of the Gentiles. In Asia, as in other parts of the world, the stage is being set for the final drama in which the kings of the east will have their important part.

If he were writing on that subject today, he might be inclined to say the curtain is about to rise. We are the first generation to witness the sleeping giant of China reach the potential of fulfilling this prophecy. No one doubts that unless something drastic and unforeseen occurs soon, China will gain control of most of the countries of the East, with whom she shares many religious and cultural similarities.

It is realistic to believe that she could be led in these very days by her master, the dragon, “that old serpent, the devil,” to so rebel against God that she would actually join the armies of the world in opposition to the coming of Jesus Christ. What is needed to bring her to that point? Very little! Merely the deceiving spirit forewarned by John the Revelator. She is almost there today and could gain control of the entire Orient in 10 or 20 years.

Remember, the events of Revelation Rev 16 v.12 do not take place until 7 years after the rise of Antichrist, which follows the Rapture of the church. More than enough time to be fulfilled and just one more reason to believe Christ may return for His church in our generation.

16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

The three unclean spirits are demons who support the activities of Satan, the beast and the false prophet. By means of miracles, they will convince the eastern “kings” and all the armies and kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather in Palestine to fight against the second coming of Christ (Rev. 19 v.19). This is Satan’s final attempt to prevent Christ’s return.

These unclean spirits will no doubt perform supernatural signs as part of their deception. Undoubtedly they will work lying wonders to deceive the eastern kings, seducing them to make the difficult journey to their doom at Armageddon.

16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

To gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. This is the battle of Armageddon. Armageddon

You see, it tells you here that these are “spirits of devils”.  In other words, they are the followers of the devil. Demons are the fallen angels who followed Lucifer out of heaven. These “spirits of devils” have power to do miracles, just like the Egyptian magicians copied some of Moses’ miracles. Their power is limited, just as was the Egyptians.  When Moses threw his rod down and it became a snake, the Egyptians threw two rods down and they became snakes. The only difference was that Moses’ snake swallowed their snakes, Exodus 7:9 -12.

The Bible says that at the end, the devil will have power enough to call down fire from heaven.  His miracles will be so convincing that people will believe a lie. This is deception to the utmost. These evil spirits are so deceiving, that they convince these armies to come against Israel. They willingly come to the battle of Armageddon, believing they will win. This battle is actually the forces of evil coming against God Himself. This war has actually been going on for centuries, but here is the culmination of it all.

16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

We see here that this comes unexpectedly. The garment spoken of here is the robe of righteousness.  We must not despair of His coming and fall away into sin. We need to walk in righteousness after we receive our robe of righteousness, washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Verse 15 is an exhortation to the surviving believers to be watchful and alert (Matt 24:32-25:13), and to remain faithful and loyal to Christ during a time of intense persecution. To have garments, rather than be naked, relates to spiritual preparedness.

16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Armageddon is the place where this great battle is to be fought is in Israel. Armageddon The blood will run to the horses bridle in this valley of Megiddo during this battle. This valley is called by the name Jezreal, also. There have already been twenty battles fought at this very spot, but never a battle of this magnitude. This battle will be the twenty-first (3 x 7).  Three means God.  Seven means spiritually complete. God Himself will settle the outcome of this once and for all. This truly will be the war to end all wars. Shortly after this battle, Jesus will set up His Kingdom. Kingdom

Verse 16 identifies the place of the final battle as Armageddon, from the Hebrew Har Megiddon (the Hill of Megiddo). The hill country of Megiddo and the adjacent valley of Esdraelon have been the site of many important battles (Judge 5:15; 2 Kings 9:27; 23:29).

16:17-19 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great.” “And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”

This “great voice out of the temple” was probably God. In Genesis, when God made the earth in six days, then He said “it is finished”. When Jesus hung on the cross six hours, He said “it is finished”. I believe that is just what this “It is done” means here. I believe this is at the close of the six-1000 year days of work for the earth, just before the 1000 year Sabbath of rest. God would be the one to decide, and I believe this is Him speaking here.

The Seventh Bowl Judgment – The Wrath of God: – Then came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed.

God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. ( Babylon the Great ) Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

When the seventh angel pours out his bowl into the air a voice will be heard from the Temple of God before the throne, conveying a most welcome message: “It is done!” It is most welcome because it signifies the consummation of the Tribulation, the conclusion of the day of God’s wrath on the ungodly, the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble.

This final judgment of God will appear in the form of the world’s greatest earthquake, one that “has never occurred like it since man has been on earth.” As prophesied in Haggai chapter 2 verses 6-7 “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;” “And I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.”

In chapter 11 verse 8 we see where the witnesses were killed described as “the great city”. This is Jerusalem where it is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

The massive earth quake will split Jerusalem into 3 parts. When the Mount of Olives splits in two, it will create a chasm into which the believers can seek refuge until the awful carnage is completed. Its interesting to note that there is a fault line that runs under the Mount of Olives that moves in exactly the same direction that the Bible prophesies.

Zech. 14 verses 3 to 5 says:  “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.”

Jerusalem is being prepared for the central role it plays during the millennial kingdom. This is where New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven and rest.

In addition, “cities of the nations collapsed,” meaning that all of the cities of the world will be destroyed.

16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

In addition, every island will vanish and the mountains will not be found. This will indicate a complete renovation of the earth, which may be a fulfillment of 2 Peter 3 v.10, which predicts that the entire earth will be destroyed, and “the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” When it is done, the earth will basically flat with no seas, no islands and no mountains, preparing it for restoration to something like its pre-flood condition. New Heaven and a New Earth

16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, [every stone] about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

If this were not enough catastrophes, great hailstones, weighing about 100 pounds apiece will come down out of heaven. It is difficult for us to conceive of hailstones that large or the devastating effect they will have on the people they hit.

Dr. David L. Cooper draws attention to “what the Lord said in Job 38 v.22, 23. He has filled His armory full of hail and snow “against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war.”

Even now, these men do not repent.  Instead of repenting and asking for God’s help, they curse Him. You see, in all of these plagues, God wants them to repent and turn to Him.

 

 

Chapter 17

17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

This “whore” here is not a literal woman. In Hosea, his wife (who was a whore) was speaking of Israel. Here, this “whore” is speaking of the idolatrous church. Mystery, Babylon the Harlot

This statement “sitteth upon many waters”, speaks of large groups of people. This is not the true church. This is the apostate church.  God calls it the harlot church; the church that is not faithful to God, the church that is worldly. This church, while claiming to be Christian, finds many reasons to conform to the beast and the evil world system. This will be the one world religion which will appear after the church (Christians) have been raptured. One World Church

This, without question, is the part of the church that has compromised with the world and is no longer a chaste virgin in the sight of God. I truly believe that a large portion of the church falls into this category today.  Worldliness has crept into our churches. The sad thing is that if she would repent, God would take her back, but she will not repent.

The Bride of Christ is called a city, and that is the portion of the church which has not compromised.  The other (opposite) side of that is the harlot. It is also called a city but is evil because of compromise.  This is not only the apostate church in Rome, but the apostate in many other churches, as well. Again, the waters let us know that this apostate church is throughout the masses of people.

17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

We see here, that this universal apostasy (unfaithfulness to God) does not affect just one class of people. This unfaithfulness is from the very rich and powerful (kings) to the very poor.

The same way a drunken person naturally has no earthly idea what he is doing, this apostate group is so carried away with the world that they, too, do not realize the terribleness of what they are doing. God will judge this idolatrous church. Judgment begins at the house of God.

17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

This “wilderness” here, I believe, means the world. This “scarlet coloured beast” shows evil world power.

Since this woman sits upon this beast, it means that her power comes from this evil beast in Revelation 18 verse 2, Babylon the Great  as It supports her. This woman, it appears, has decided to trust the powers of this world over God’s power.

Seven denotes spiritually complete, ten denotes world government, and horns denote power.

You can easily see, since she is on top of this thing, she guides it, but receives her support from the beast. The word “scarlet” can be very good or very evil. In this case, it is very evil. This great evil (blasphemy) that this woman (church) has committed is spiritual adultery (the watering down or changing of the Word).

17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

The elegant clothing and jewelry of the woman show her wealth and attractiveness, but her activities are filthy and abominable to God. Her mystery name is Babylon the Great verse 5. Ancient Babylon is a type or prefigure of this future Babylon. Babylon the City The harlot will do what literal Babylon did in the past:

(1) Oppress God’s people, and

(2) Propagate a false religious system. Much of the world’s idolatry can be traced back to historical Babylon (Gen. 11:1-9), including the mother-child cult of Semiramis -Tammuz (Jer.44:16-19; Ezek. 8:9, 14), which entered other cultures as Ashtaroth – Baal, Aphrodite-Eros, Venus-Cupid, and even Madonna-Child.

Semiramis, who was both Nimrod’s wife and mother, was worshiped as the “mother of god” and a “fertility goddess” because she had to be extremely fertile to give birth to all the pagan incarnate gods that represented Nimrod.

Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

The color scheme of this one world religion as defined in Rev. 17 v.4 is most revealing: “The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet.” If you are familiar with pictures of the Vatican Council as published in national magazines, you will have observed that the bishops and cardinals wore purple and scarlet robes.

You will also see that the pope and other church leaders are “glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls.” They hold “a golden cup in their hand, filled with abominable things and the filthiness of their adulteries.” These abominable things and adulteries are the idolatry and worship of gods other than Jesus Christ. In Rome can be seen all manner of idols in the very headquarters of the Roman Church. More costly surroundings can scarcely be found than in the Vatican.

The Catholic Church is many times decorated this way, but I believe this includes all of the apostate church, Protestant and Catholic.  Perhaps this is people sitting on a church pew, but not really being the bride of Christ.  There are some in all churches, but most assuredly the church in Rome.  You can see great masses of gold, silver, and jewels.  Usually when a church building is decked out like this, it is in an area where there is abject poverty.

“purple” indicates that this was in the church, because purple means godliness. This was a false godliness.

This “golden cup” also indicates this is inside the church, because gold symbolically means the purity of God. We know this “cup” belonged to God. To me, it just means that the sins of the world have been brought into the church.

This “fornication” here spoken of, I truly believe is spiritual adultery or compromise with the world. God will tolerate most anything except the worship of someone else or something else. I truly believe this has to do with the watering down of Jesus.

17:5 And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Just as God marked the 144,000 with the name of the Father, and just as the bride of Christ is marked with the name of Christ, we see here this group marked on the forehead. This name alone makes you know how evil and worldly this church is.

This worldly part of the church, though nominally Christian, is yet more faithful to the world than to God. Notice here, that the church that pretends to be Christian and is not, does more to cause harm than those worldly people who claim to be lost. The worldly church always persecutes the faithful church. This evil in the church is an abomination to God. It is a mystery how this could happen in the church.

As the fountainhead of idolatry, Babylon the harlot is the MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH; the harlot has killed many of God’s saints and Christian martyrs throughout the ages, and will do so again during the Tribulation period.

17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

The faithless part of the church is guilty of the blood of the saints.  In Matthew 12:20 we read that Jesus says “He that is not with me is against me”. This watered down church is actually causing great problems for those who are sold out to God. We do know that Rome had a great deal to do with the death of the martyrs and even had a hand in crucifying Jesus.

Of course, the Jews (church) of that day had even more to do with the crucifixion of Jesus. However, the most blame for His death has to be placed on each of us. Sin placed Jesus on the cross. He went to the cross to crucify sin. His sacrifice stopped us from being a servant to sin.

The wonder of it all is, that with the Bible as their guide, how could these people get so far away from God and still occupy a pew? The answer is quite simple. They never read or study their Bible themselves. They allow someone else to read it and tell them what it is saying.

I truly believe that much of the problem lies at the shepherd’s feet. So many preachers are overlooking the need for the spiritual growth of their people. In the 34th chapter of Ezekiel, it says God will take the sheep away from the shepherds that do not care for them. Shepherds BEWARE! We are not to be as concerned with “our” needs as we are with the needs of “our people”.

We see from the last few scriptures above that this is probably speaking of Rome and the Catholic Church, who have brought the compromise.  Even more than that, it is speaking to individuals in all churches who have compromised themselves.

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3 verse 5. A person claiming to be a Christian on the outside, but who is not on the inside. It’s so easy to point to someone else, but in so doing we should examine ourselves as well.

17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The Vision of the Beast – Five details describing the beast are given:

  1. Blasphemous names (v.3)
  2. Had seven heads (v.3)
  3. And ten horns (v.3)
  4. The prostitute rides it (v.7)
  5. The beast was, and is not, and will come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) and go to his destruction (v.11)

The careful Bible student will immediately recognize this beast even before examining the angel’s interpretation. In the first place, it is similar to the beast of Rev. 13 and doubtless represents what all beasts used symbolically represent: either a king or a kingdom that opposes God’s will.

When John sees the great prostitute, he is “greatly astonished?” Actually, some parts of this vision should have been familiar to John, for it is obviously the same beast as that described in chapter 13.

The angel introduces his explanation with the words, “This calls for a mind with wisdom” (v.9), which indicate that only someone with the wisdom of God (found in the Word of God) can understand this vision.

17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Go to chapter 13 and re-read the first 2 verses and the descriptive comments of those two verses for an accurate description of what the beginning of verse eight’s meaning is. Revelation Chapter 13 Verse 1 – 2

This word “perdition” means ruin, loss, or damnable.

“The beast that thou sawest” – Beast

“Whose names were not written in the book of life”. The false religious system of the end times will be very convincing and popular among the unsaved, but those who have committed themselves to Christ will understand that anything idolatrous is not of God.

17:9 And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

We will see in this scripture that the city of seven hills is where this evil system has its headquarters. This is a marvel to the world who are not fully aware of the implications of the Bible it shows. Of course the bride of Christ, the Christians who have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life since the world began, are aware of all of this and why it happened.

The seven heads of the Beast represent, seven mountains, on which the woman “sitteth”. Seven Heads – Seven Mountains The city of Rome was known throughout the ancient world as a city built on seven hills or mountains. John notes that the wise mind will make the proper identification. The woman apparently represents idolatrous, anti-God civilization, centered at Rome but with worldwide influence (v.15).

The identification of the seven heads as Rome shows that the Beast will initially have his major base of operations at Rome. It is thought by many studying the end times that after the Harlot has been killed, the beast will move his headquarters to the actual city of Babylon during the last three and one half years.

17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, [and] the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

The seven heads of this beast mentioned, according to Tim LaHaye, are kings of the Roman Empire. The best definition is that they represent five kings up to the time of John; the sixth, Domitian, was the Roman king at the time of John, who then skips forward to the end time for the seventh head, which will bring the king of the revived Roman Empire. This Roman Empire was in great power; it fell, and will be revived again. Then see verse 11 as this is describing the antichrist who will be the eighth and final king who will rule the entire world (kingdom).

A rather interesting scripture regarding the Holy Spirit’s description of the beasts that represent kingdoms appears in the book of Daniel. When one thinks of world governments, they take on a beautiful shape, as did king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel. In his dream, the beast contained 4 different types of metals. Each section of that image represented one of the four coming world kingdoms which at that time were coming (Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon was already there and was the first of the four).

Two governments had already come and gone at that time which were Assyria and Egypt.

Those 4 beasts found in Daniel 2 verse 35 are explained as Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for him. The four beasts in his dream is Babylon represented by head of gold. The two arms of silver represented the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The belly and thighs of brass (or bronze) represented Greece. And the fourth kingdom described the Roman Empire as the legs or iron. When God describes the coming world kingdoms, He uses beasts to symbolize them. Human beings look favorably on government as a great help to them, whereas God looks on government as a great hindrance to them, as does anyone who has studied history and observed government’s bestial treatment of humanity.

Whether this scripture is describing kings or kings doesn’t matter as they still mean the same which makes up the beast described here. The seven kingdoms or empires throughout history that have ruled over Israel and much of the known world are:

This revived Roman Empire is represented in the book of Daniel by the 10 toes in the image of Daniel 2:41 – 44 and by the 10 horns on the fourth beast of Daniel 7:7, 20, 24, and in Revelation by the 10 horns on the first Beast (13:1; 17:3, 12, 13). It will exist as a major power only a short while, since it will then give its authority to the Beast (11-13).

17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

The beast, the final world kingdom ruled by the Antichrist, is the eighth king or kingdom. He is of the seven in that he is the culmination of all the previous, pagan, idolatrous empires and the reason many think the Antichrist will arise up out of the revised Roman Empire. But then he will go into perdition, the lake of fire.

Put another way, the beast that John saw is the Antichrist, the satanic ruler of the last and most powerful empire in human history, who will serve as Satan’s instrument to attack Israel, persecute believers, conquer the world for Satan and oppose Christ. The Beast – Eight King

Scripture portraits him as an intellectual genius Dan. 7 v.8; an outstanding orator Dan. 7 v.20; a military leader without parallel in human history Dan. 7 v.23; a shrewd calculating and manipulating politician Dan 8 v.25; 11 v.21; and the ultimate religious charlatan 2 Thess. 2 v.4; The angel briefly reviews the detailed description of him given in Rev. 13 verses 1 -10.

17:12-13 “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”

Reading in Daniel 2 v.45 the ten toes of the fourth beast (Roman Empire) were made of iron and miry clay making a brittle substance. This is speaking of the 10 kingdoms or kings which will emanate from the Roman Empire and be in existence at the time of Christ’s return. Ten Horns – Ten Kings Their worldwide power will come in association with the beast. One hour indicates a relatively short time (18:10, 17, 19).

This is speaking of the reforming of the old Roman Empire. Presently the old Roman Empire has been reformed by ten common market nations in Europe today. There are more currently, but only 10 will come to prominence during the end time. In my opinion, these “ten horns” are those ten common market nations. The headquarters for these ten nations is in Rome.

These rulers of a ten nation federation will unite to give their political authority and military power to the beast to conquer the earth and make war against Christ (16:14; 19:19) The purpose of Satan through the Beast and fellow kings is to establish an invincible kingdom that Christ cannot overcome when He returns. But Christ is King of all kings, and will overcome the beast and his kingdom when He returns (19:11-21). Those who follow Christ are called and chosen by Him, and faithful to Him (19:7-8, 14)

At this point in his career the Beast will have total control of the world, for he will command ten “kings” who rule the nations of the earth: The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.

These are of one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast” Then the Beast’s kingdom starts to come apart. He hears rumors of insurrection, which fill him “with great fury to destroy and annihilate many,” in Daniel’s terminology (Dan. 11 v.44).

It is to fulfill prophecy. Kings and Kingdoms, good and evil, have to do exactly what God wants. Sometimes they are not even aware of why they are doing it. God puts the idea into their head, while all the time, they think it is their clever idea.

He marches to the Valley of Megiddo, where he meets other armies of the world, and there they do an amazing thing as we see in the next scripture.

17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.

These shall make war with the Lamb. Make War with the Lamb This will occur when these kings kill His faithful followers and come out to fight against Christ in the Battle of Armageddon. Armageddon Those who join with Christ to overcome them are called “chosen, and faithful,” titles used in other Scriptures to describe true believers (1 Pet. 2:9).

You see, as has been said so many times before, we Christians are in a battle. Our leader is the Lamb (Jesus Christ). We are fighting a very real enemy. The devil and his demons are our enemies. This war we are in is a war of the spirit.  We must come against the devil in hand to hand combat everyday. Our weapon is the two edged sword (Bible).

This war is fought by an army of believers who always have their weapon (Bible) at their side.  Besides having it at their side, they have its contents inside of them (their food is the Word of God). When they are in hot combat, the sword comes from their mouth.  They are willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Jesus.

The flag we Christians fly is the banner of righteousness. It is red because of the blood of our leader, it is white because of the righteousness of believers, and it is blue for our heavenly calling. This is a voluntary army. This battle is in the final hours before the return of the Lord. This army will be made up of boys, girls, men and women. God has called a vast army, as He did in Gideon’s day.

This group will be sold out completely to God.  They will be willing to give up homes, family, friends, wealth, and position in their community to work for God. They will be loyal to Jesus even to the death. They will have a peculiar uniform described in Ephesians chapter 6. This uniform will be provided to us by our Lord (Jesus). Loins girded about with truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

The big difference is that this army will have patches on their knees. This battle will be fought with much prayer (on our knees). You see this victory is the Lord’s. We must fight the good fight. Give it everything you have. The war is peaking now. God needs good Christians who will not compromise for any reason. The battle is hard, but the rewards are beyond comprehension; a home in heaven forever with Jesus and the opportunity to hear Him say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant”.

You see, we soldiers shall be kings and priests (Rev. 1 v.6; Rev 5 v.10), but He will be Lord and King over all. We are the called, chosen and faithful. Hallelujah!

17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

The Prostitute Explained – Then the angel explains to John the meaning of the water on which the woman is sitting: It is the peoples of the earth. Peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages designate all humanity in the book of Revelation. As in the saying, “sea of humanity”

Those who are followers of the evil system will be from all nations. There will be hundreds of millions lost.

17:16-17 “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”

The Coming Destruction of the Babylonian Prostitute Babylonian Harlot -The Antichrist will permit the one world (apostate) church to govern his actions during the first three and one half years of the Tribulation while he is gathering more and more power. One World Religion But in the middle of the Tribulation, when he feels he can become an autocratic ruler, he and the ten kings will throw off the prostitute because, in reality, while being dominated by her, they “hate the prostitute”.

None of the world’s political leaders have enjoyed subjugation to religious leaders, but have continued in a servile role only for expediency. When it is no longer necessary, the ten kings will “bring her to ruin and leave her naked”, meaning they will confiscate her temples, her gold, and her costly apparel. In so doing, they will unwittingly be the instruments of God in destroying this awful Babylonian system once and for all: “For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose.”

Here, we see these evil ten nations turning against the world and the world church. This power, these evil nations have been, and are being used to rule the little people. This fire speaks of war. These ten nations will do a way with this church, even though it is the apostate church.

When Will the Prostitute Religion Be Destroyed – The religious Babylon of Rev. 17, which is destroyed, comes in two parts. One occurs during the first part of the Tribulation when the governmental system of Babylon (pictured as this ugly “beast”) is gaining world control but has to permit the “prostitute” to sit on and ride the beast. We see this as meaning she exercises a degree of control over the Babylonian system by bringing the nations of the world under her idolatrous religious power.

During the first half of the Tribulation she incurs the wrath of the ten kings who see her use the authority of the Antichrist to advance her religious causes. So they plot to kill her. The reason we know this killing of the prostitute of “mystery Babylon” is done in the middle of the Tribulation is twofold:

  1. “The deadly wound” of Antichrist is healed by the indwelling of Satan himself, simulating the resurrection of Christ, in the middle of the Tribulation.
  2. From then on the world does not worship mystery Babylon but the image of the beast. The False Prophet will do away with all religion except the worship of Antichrist Satan, which he will enforce. That begins in the middle of the Tribulation, that’s described in Rev. 13. This is the time when people will have to take the mark of the beast and swear their loyalty to the beast of face death. No middle ground, either accept Jesus or accept the beast.

Since the woman who rides the beast gets her authority from the beast, the Holy Spirit uses this description to show how religious Babylon and governmental Babylon are so intertwined they are presented together. However, they are destroyed at different times. The prostitute (religious Babylon) is destroyed by “beast and the kings of the earth,” who “hate the prostitute” and kill her.

This clears the way for Antichrist to fulfill the lifetime dream of Satan to get people to worship him. She is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation. Then Babylon the governmental system will be destroyed at the end of Tribulation, when commercial Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 18).

With “Mystery Babylon the Mother of Prostitutes” out of the way, “all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world”. (Rev. 13 v.8)

Religious Babylon Destroyed – Archaeologists tell us that Babylon is the cradle of civilization. Located on the shores of the Euphrates River, the ruins of this city have revealed some of the most ancient documents of past generations. This city begun by Nimrod, who was a rebel before the Lord, authored some of the greatest evils ever to fall on humankind. Two of these evils will be destroyed during the Tribulation period, according to Rev. 17, 18.

In ancient days Satan seemed to make Babylon the capital of this evil operation. From this headquarters was started false religion, humanity’s attempt for self government in defiance of God’s will and city dwellings for commercial and social purposes contrary to God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1 v.28) These great evils, which have damned the souls of millions by substituting counterfeit solutions to natural human problems that would ordinarily lead a person to God, will all be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period.

Chapter 17 describes the judgment of God on the religious system that has enslaved the human race in superstitious darkness for centuries.

You see, all are subject to God whether they are following the beast or God. Even the devil has to do exactly what God tells him to do. Some of this has happened to fulfill God’s word.  The devil is not only subject to God, but he is subject to us, as well, through the mighty name of Jesus. We may dismiss the devil, just as Jesus did. The only difference was that Jesus used His own power, and we have no power of our own. We do it in the name of Jesus.  It is Jesus’ power.

17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Many have taken this to mean that the woman represents the capital city of Antichrist’s kingdom, but his cannot be, for Antichrist himself rules over the kings of the earth.

If then, the woman is not the Antichrist, what other possible explanation can we have for such unanimous world dominance? The only answer is the one system before which all kings, dictators, and nations have been forced to bow down throughout history, that is, the Babylonian religion of idolatry. One cannot go anywhere in the world without being confronted with some semblance of the idolatry.

No system in the world’s history has enslaved more people than this awful religion. It should not take us by surprise that this prostitute woman, the religious system, is referred to as a city. When used symbolically, a woman is always intended throughout the Scripture to signify a spiritual or religious movement. If a good woman, it is “Jehovah’s wife” or “the bride of Christ”. If an evil woman, such as “a prostitute,” it represents the evil religious system of idolatry.

Here we see again, Rome. In its heyday Rome was thought of as the capital of the world. They truly did reign over all of Europe.

We conclude, then, that chapter 17 describes the destruction of the religious system, whereas chapter 18 denotes the destruction of “Satan’s seat,” the commercial and governmental city of Babylon, marking the prelude to the consummation of the Tribulation.

No longer does the seer John have the ecclesiastical religious system in view but now turns the spotlight of God’s judgment on the commercial and governmental systems that originated there. Babylon has had the most harmful effect on mankind of all the cities of the world. For all idolatrous religion, greed-based commerce, and secular government were begun there. At the end of the Tribulation, God will destroy them all in the seventh or last vial judgment in fulfillment of the  prophecy in Isaiah 47:1 – 9 (Isaiah 21:9).

 

 

Chapter 18

18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

Then John saw another angel coming down from heaven. Whether “another angel” is one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls we are not told. But it seems doubtful, for this angel is distinctive, with such “great authority” that he lights the earth with his glory.

In the last lesson we saw that the beast, and his system, and the great whore were revealed.  Here in chapter 18, we will see the judgment that comes from God poured out on them. This “angel” in V-1 was sent from heaven.  This “power” spoken of here is power that God has endowed on this angel for the execution of this punishment. This “angel” has been in close association with the Light. We see here that this powerful Light of Jesus, even though second hand through the angel, still lightens the earth.

18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

The message of this angel who cries with a “mighty voice” is this: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” Since chapter 18 seems to describe the destruction of a literal commercial city, the governmental capital of the world during the Tribulation, we naturally ask ourselves the question, “Where is that city?” Again, Bible prophecy students are not in agreement. Some suggest the city of Rome, and some years ago suggested New York City because he felt it was the commercial center of the world. Some who believe we should take the Scriptures literally whenever possible are inclined to believe that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt.

In chapter 18 verses 10, 16, 18, 19, and 21 you find reference to this Babylon being a city. In verse 2 the angel cried mightily and said “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”. The literal interpretation would dictate that indeed this Babylon is a city.

I do not believe this is so! If you read Rev. 17 v.18 you see: “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the Kings of the earth.” In reality the “woman” was the corrupt religious system and not a city. The same applies here. Commercial Babylon is a corrupt commercial, social and political system that will be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation.

18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

Remember in chapter 16 we saw the actual destruction of commercial Babylon. At the end of this chapter I will show it  to you again so you can make sense of what is taking place.

The corruption may have had its beginnings at the city of Babylon, but believe me it has spread to every corner of the earth. It will not be until the earth is totally destroyed that this evil will be no more. Those who mourn are those who are loosing their ability to deceive the nations any longer.

Looking ahead at what it says in chapter 18 verse 23: “for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived“, so you see this is not a city but a very corrupt system that is being destroyed by God by his Judgment to prepare for the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Come out of her, my people. This is a call for God’s people to disentangle themselves from the world system. It may also be an evangelistic call to God’s elect to come to faith in Christ and come out of Satan’s kingdom. In both cases, the message is to abandon the system.

Read 2 Cor. 6 v-14-17 for a good example of this

You see, even though you are not committing sin, as such. You are committing sin by association. The Bible tells us over and over not to be unequally yoked with those of unbelief. If you do not remove yourself, you are guilty of her sin. In this verse, we read that her plagues will come to those people as well.

The righteous God of the universe has not overlooked the sins of the elite power brokers who have used commerce and government for centuries to live luxuriously at the expense of others. The commercial, social and political systems of the Antichrist will receive double judgment for their sins.

18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

Babylon’s sins will pile up like a new Tower of Babel, but unlike the ancient tower, her sins will reach as high as heaven.

Then an angel states that God has remembered her sins. He will take note of them as He did that earlier monument to man’s sinful, arrogant, prideful rebellion at Babel.

18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

This reward her simple means will recompense or repay commercial Babylon according to her works. All of those who are involved and are guilty will suffer double judgment as the cup is filled twice for her for what she has done to the Saints.

She will reap what she sowed.

18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

This is describing 3 sins she is guilty of.

(1)   “She has glorified herself” meaning she was proud.

(2)   “She lived Deliciously” meaning she pursued self gratification, and

(3)   “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” meaning she was not only proud but boastful.

That proud boast echoes that of ancient Babylon who said “I will be a queen forever” and I will not sit as a widow, nor know loss of children. Now read that boast in Isaiah 47 verses 7-8:

“And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: [so] that thou didst not lay these [things] to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.” “Therefore hear now this, [thou that art] given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I [am], and none else beside me; I shall not sit [as] a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.”

18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong [is] the Lord God who judgeth her.

But these two [things] shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, [and] for the great abundance of thine enchantments. (Isaiah 47 v.9)

This is saying that Babylon’s destruction will not be progressive. The wicked city (system) will be instantly destroyed. Daniel 5 records a similar fate that befell ancient Babylon; the city fell the very night that God wrote its doom on the wall of the king’s palace.

Babylon’s doom is certain and cannot be avoided. No one can change God’s plans or keep Him from accomplishing what He purposed to do as Nebuchadnezzar discovered above in Daniel. Or in this case his grandson.

18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

This will no doubt include the 10 kings of the earth who rule Antichrist’s kingdom under his authority as well as the rest of the world’s leaders.

The destruction of the Antichrist’s political and economic power will strike a fatal blow to his empire. The fall of Babylon will be a symbol of the fall of the entire evil world system.

And again Babylon is pictured as a harlot whose death causes her lovers to weep and lament over her.

18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

This “standing afar off”, could mean those who heeded and came out of her. It really doesn’t matter where. It may be all of these cities and many more, or it might not be a literal city at all.  I really believe this is both an evil system and many evil cities, as well, being destroyed.

The one hour simply means the judgment will happen rapidly just as verse 8 predicted.

18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

These mourners are the merchants of the earth who will weep and mourn over Babylon because no one will be able to buy their goods anymore.

Whatever economy there had been will end and so will any semblance of normalcy on this devastated planet that was already in serious trouble brought on by the divine judgments of God.

18:12-13 “The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,” “And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men”.

It appears that these are classed in several types:

  1. Personal items of jewelry
  2. Articles used for furniture
  3. Nice smelling and tasting things
  4. Food
  5. Animals
  6. Souls of men

What significance this has, I do not know; unless, it means worldly things. Most of these are things a person could do without if hard times came and you had to, even maybe the food for awhile.

This “souls of men”, is one of the more interesting. In the days of the old Roman Empire, they sold people as you would animals. Perhaps that is what is meant there.  They thought no more about selling a person than they did a pair of shoes.

It appears to me, in all of this that trade has just about ceased, period. Probably, all the plagues and wars have just about stopped everything.

18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

And the merchandise that was available before are now gone and will never ever be available again. The commercial system is completely shut down and that reality is about to be made manifest.

It will probably be a time when it will be next to impossible to even find enough to feed your family. Even if you did find enough for them to eat, it would probably take all you could possibly make just to have even bread for your family.

This is probably the time when a loaf of bread would cost a whole day’s wages.  There will be no money at all left for niceties.

Even if you have a tremendous amount of money, there will be great shortages of real items necessary to live on not to mention the things the rich consume will be entirely unavailable.

18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

Here, we see such great fear from these merchants who used to sell their merchandise at tremendous, outrageous profits. Like today when many get rich from oil by taking advantage of those who can’t afford the inflated prices. And that includes the government who adds very high taxes to every gallon of gas. When this horrible punishment comes, it will put the fear of God on those looking on. It is about time that someone begins to fear.

These merchants weep because their materialistic passions can no longer be fulfilled. The weeping that begins then will last for eternity in hell.

These greedy merchants are a classic illustration of those in all times who gain the whole world only to end up forfeiting their own souls.

18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

These items were common commodities in the ancient world and were the source of great immense financial gain. Those materialistic, unrepentant people mourn as God brings His judgment against Babylon, knowing these items will never be found again.

18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

In one Hour: The destruction will come suddenly and quickly. The world’s pagan economic system will collapse. They cast dust on their heads as a sign of mourning and sorrow (v.19; Job. 2:12; lam. 2:10; Ezek. 27:30). God hath avenged you on her: God at last judges the Babylonian system for its treatment of God’s people, particularly those who are martyred during the Tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11).

18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like unto this great city!

The people cry and are amazed as they see this destruction taking place before their eyes.

18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Casting dust on their heads is a typical ancient expression of grief. These last few scriptures state sailors, but could mean any system of transportation and delivery systems of today such as planes, trains, trucks ect. All of these services would be immediately shut down if the commercial system was destroyed including banking and computers.

Consider what would happen if there was no more electrical system available.

18:20 Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

God has taken vengeance on the ones who killed his prophets and apostles and even his blessed Son.  Finally, all of those martyred by these have been avenged.

The long awaited moment of vindication, retribution and vengeance for which the martyred tribulation believers had prayed for in chapter 6 verses 9 -10 and for which all the redeemed have hoped, that time has arrived.

These final verses picture from within the results of the collapse of the Babylonian system. The finality of its destruction is shown by the six fold repetition of the phrase “no more at all”. The stone cast into the sea depicts the violence and permanence of the destruction. The Babylonian system began in Genesis 10, and has continued uninterrupted in one form or another to the present day. But one day it will suddenly “sink,” never to return.

In verses 23b, 24, three reasons are given for the destruction of Babylon:  (1) its arrogance, (2) Its deception of the nations, and (3) its persecution and martyrdom of God’s people.

18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast [it] into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

“sea” sometimes means masses of people but I do not believe that is the meaning here. Whether this is only a real city, (rebuilt Babylon) or a sinful commercial, social and political system that corrupts the entire world which is being destroyed here, this is speaking of total destruction. More than likely both this is speaking of both as the two can be easily associated. This millstone here is similar to the one spoken of as being around a neck and thrown into the sea.

In the light of this Scripture, this is a really bad punishment. I believe this illustration is to show the finality of this judgment of God. We must remember Babylon is destroyed by God Himself, not by the devil.

18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft [he be], shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

Literally everything grinds to a halt everywhere. Babylon will be completely and so thoroughly destroyed that it will never rise again as predicted by the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah in Chapter 13 verses 19-21: “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” “It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.” “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.” Babylon Destroyed

18:23-24 “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”

Three final reasons are given for Babylon’s judgment. Notice that the merchants are mentioned as the great men of the earth. That’s why this is talking of a commercial system as well as a political system. They are not from the city of Babylon, but from all parts of the earth.

First, they use their wealth to ascent to positions of power, prominence and influence. The abuses of the proud, arrogant rich are well documented in scripture. James, Isaiah and Amos condemned the rich for their self aggrandizement and maltreatment of the poor.

Second is all the nations were deceived by her sorcery. Sorcery is from pharmakeia, the root word of the English words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceuticals”. The word is used in the New Testament to refer to magic and occult practices. (Gal. 5 v.20)

Babylon’s hold on the world will not be entirely due to her military and economic power, but also to her occult influence.

A final reason given for Babylon’s judgment is her murderous slaughter of God’s people.

Now let’s go back and read the end of chapter 16 starting with verse 17 through verse 21.

This is starting when the Angel pours our the seventh vial or bowl judgment which is the last of the 21 plaques of Revelation right before the second coming of Jesus and the battle of Armageddon.

Notice that not only Babylon fell, but also the cities of the nations as well, v.19.

Also don’t forget the earth is already reeling from the thunders and lightings not to mention the biggest earthquake the world has even know.

Then the great hail that weight about a talent each (100 pounds each). This hail is totally capable of destroying cities with no problem at all.

And verse 20 tells us that every island fled away and the mountains were no longer found. This is the worst plague of the 21 by far as it completely destroys the political, commercial system called Babylon the Great from off the earth. Not to mention that this is the end of the earth as we have known it as it now has been completely leveled and is ready for the renewal process that’s coming.

 

 

Chapter 19

19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

In the last chapter, we saw the terrible destruction of commercial and political Babylon symbolized by its capital city of Babylon. Babylon the City Now the scene totally changes to heaven. We hear the voices of the redeemed. This “great voice” here is because of the number of people speaking. It is not the magnitude of each voice. These words of praise here are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. The redeemed are the ones who are praising. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to say enough about what Jesus has purchased for us all.

The marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb “in heaven” (19:6-9) are evidence of the Church being in heaven prior to the return of Christ to earth. Christ is the Bridegroom at the marriage and his Church is the Bride. The word “church” (GR. ekklesia) appears nineteen times in Revelation 1-3, and does not appear again until Revelation 22:16, emphasizing the absence of the Church from the earth during the judgments of Rev. 4-18.

Verse one is most likely the voices of angels. The redeemed saints are not told to praise our God until verse 5. Heaven rejoices because salvation has now come for God’s people and with it the power and glory which belongs to God.

19:2 For true and righteous [are] his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

It appears that those who were redeemed were looking on from heaven and approving of the destruction of Babel, because the Messiah was bringing justice and righteousness to the world.

There is a reassuring tone here telling the Lord that He was justified in His judgment. They have long waited for the time when God’s justice would triumph. Now that time had come.

19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

This is saying that this judgment is permanent and is similar to the language that God used in Gen. 19 verse 28. This is just a statement telling us it will never be built again.

This destruction of the last, most powerful empire in history marks the end of man’s day. The rebellion that had begun in the Garden of Eden is finally ended. Never again will there be more false religions, worldly philosophy, injustice or unrighteousness.

Then entire sorry results of human depravity will finally be vanquished.

19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

These twenty-four elders, I believe, as I said before, are two groups of twelve, twelve disciples and twelve Old Testament prophets. These are actually representative of the church.

The four beasts are the cherubim as described in Rev. 4 verse 6.

Together, these two groups add their voices to the angles previously described.

19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

The speaker isn’t identified but is probably an angel and refers to God as our God. His instructions are to praise God.

The redeemed in heaven are called God’s “Bond Servants” and this is the group being addressed here to add to the other 3 mentioned groups.

The small and the great mean everyone which includes all human categories and distinctions. All redeemed are told to praise God.

19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

So vast is this group that they are without number. These are the faithful. When this great multitude begin to praise God, the volume would be so great as to sound like “mighty thunderings”.

This name used here, pertaining to our Lord, is a very strange one.  This is the only place in the Bible where the word “omnipotent” occurs. Omnipotent means almighty: having unlimited power. When you couple that with “Lord”, which means supreme in authority, and “God”, which means supreme deity; you have an overwhelming understanding of Who this is.

Then we look at “reigneth”.  This has no time element attached.  It means continually reigns.

At this point the evil world system has been completely destroyed and God’s kingdom has come into its fullness.

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.

The heavenly praise continues, this time for a call for gladness, rejoicing and giving God glory for a fifth reason, the marriage of the Lamb has come.

The marriage of the Lamb: The wife or bride of Christ is the church (Matt. 22:2-14; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph 5:25-32). And the marriage is the eternal union of the church with Christ following the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:17). The fine linen, clean and white, represents the righteousness of the church, which has now been judged and purified at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12-15: 2 Cor. 5:10). Judgment Seat of Christ

In ancient times, a marriage was the single greatest celebration and social event in the biblical world. Preparations and celebrations were much more elaborate than those of today. And they also lasted much longer.

They were in three distinct stages which first involved the betrothal or engagement. This was an arrangement by both sets of parents, was legally binding and could only be broken by divorce. Then there was a time of preparation as the groom prepared for his bride.

Second was the presentation which was a time of festivities just before the actual ceremony. Those festivities could last up to a week and sometimes even more depending on the economic or social status of the bride and groom.

Lastly was the wedding ceremony during which time the vows were exchanged.

The same imagery of a wedding picture’s the Lord’s relationship with His Church.

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.

The fine linen the bride is clothed in represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Just as I said, these robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb. This “righteousness” was not ours until we received the Lord Jesus into our lives and took on His righteousness. Our own righteousness had been as filthy rags, but Jesus replaced the filth with His righteousness. Just like, as many other places in the Bible, “her” does not mean just women, it is the bride. All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the bride of Christ, whether they are male or female.

I would like to say a few words about this “fine linen”. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, the High priest wore a very ornamented robe with a breastplate of all sorts of jewels when he represented God to the people; but when he went into the Holy of Holies, he wore pure white linen. You see, all of the fineries of the world mean nothing to God. This tells us something about our approach to God. Salvation is simple. It is not complicated, just bare all to God. He knows all there is about us already. We do not have to pretend to be something we are not. He accepts us plain and simple.

19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Those who are invited to the marriage supper are Israel, who will turn to Christ in faith during the Tribulation (Jeremiah 31 verses 31-34; Zech. 12 verse 10; 13 verse 9; and Roman 11 verses 25-27). Marriage Supper

The marriage supper of the Lamb represents the millennial kingdom of Christ, which will take place on earth following the return of Christ (20:4; Matt. 25:1-13; Luke 14:15-24). The Jewish marriage consisted of three major elements: (1) the betrothal; (2) the presentation; and (3) the marriage feast (supper) as was discussed just before.

Figuratively, with reference to the church,

  1. The betrothal takes place on earth during the church age;
  2. The presentation will take place in heaven following the Rapture (v.7); and
  3. The marriage feast will take place on earth following Christ’s return with the church.

19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

John here was so awed by all of this that he fell at this angel’s feet from verse 5 to worship him. Then the angel quickly tells John not to worship him. Only God is to be worshiped (22: v.8, 9; Acts 10: v.25, 26).

The “testimony of Jesus” is what the whole Bible is about. Without Jesus, there would be no salvation. About the Bible The Old Testament points forward to Jesus, beginning in Genesis. The New Testament is the “last will and testament” of Jesus, and to receive our inheritance, we must read the will.

If you preach on prophecy, you are bringing the testimony of Jesus.  If you understand the testimony of Jesus, then you must preach and prophesy so that others may live.  This testimony here is not Jesus giving it, but we believers who testify of the Lord. Whoever this angel is, he too, had the testimony of Jesus.

19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

In these next six verses, (11-16) we are swept up into the triumphal entourage of redeemed saints in the heavenly procession with the King of Kings. Jesus Christ comes to make war on Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the kings of the earth. He rides on a white horse and has on His head “many crowns.” When this war with Satan is over, He becomes the absolute ruler of the earth.

Notice several things about the description of our Lord’s return. First, it will be public, obvious, and not restricted to a small group. He says His coming will be like lightning that flashes from the east to the west. Everybody will see it, and there will be no hiding it. Second, He says it will occur “immediately after” the Great Tribulation. Third, His return will be accompanied by “mourning” on the part of “all the tribes of the earth” – the mourning of sadness on the part of the Jewish nation, that it so long rejected Christ as Messiah, as well as the mourning of despair on the part of the ungodly, who reject Him as King even as He appears in the sky.

Again as we saw in chapter four, a door opened in heaven. This opening of heaven is not to go in, but is the opening for Jesus and His followers to come out. The door to heaven has never been closed for the Christians to enter in. The “horse” symbolizes war, and the fact that it is “white”, symbolizes victory. White, also, symbolizes holiness and righteousness. This tells us that this war is a holy war, and Jesus is victorious.

Just the fact that “Faithful and True” are capitalized, lets us know that this figure is God the Son who has been made Lord of Lords and King of kings, Jesus is the Judge. He is always faithful to His promises and what He speaks is always true.

This white horse is not that of 6:2. Here the True Messiah returns in victorious conquest. He is Faithful to His Word and promises. He will fulfill the twofold role of judge and warrior. His judgment of the earth will be totally righteous (Rev. 16 v.5-7; 19 v.2; Psalms 96: v.13).

We are assured that His judgments are right. He has been sitting at the Right Hand of the Father in heaven, but now He is about to set up His kingdom here on the earth.

The most detailed description of the Second Coming was given by our Lord Himself in Mat. 24: For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matt. 24 v.27)   Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24 v. 29-31) Second Coming of Christ

19:12 His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

“eyes” show wisdom, and these, like “flames of fire” can see right into the soul of man.

This “fire” here speaks of purity and judgment. The crowns indicate total sovereignty and authority (contrast 12: v.3; 13: v.1). The secret name expresses the mystery and greatness of the person of Christ (2: v.17; 3: v.12; 19: v.13, and 16; Phil. 2: verses 9 -11).

There was a secret name on the stone underneath the breastplate of the high priest worn into the Holy of Holies. This was the unspeakable name of God. This name here is similar to that name. It is a name that no one knew except our Lord. In chapter 3 verse 12 of Revelation, we studied about this name the Lord will put on us.

19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

This is not representative of the blood Jesus shed on the cross, but is a picture of judgment, not redemption. This is the blood of his slaughtered enemies. This is not His first battle, but His last. He has fought for His people through out redemptive history and His “war clothes” bear those stains. The blood represents the judgment of Christ’s enemies (14: verses14-20; Isaiah 63: verses 1-6).

Over and over in these lessons, I have given the Scriptures where the word of God took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. In the book of John, the first chapter, we read about the Word of God.

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Jump down to John chapter 1 verse 14. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” We also see here, that this Word (Jesus) was, is, and always will be God the Word.

19:14 And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

This is speaking of the Battle of Armageddon.

The armies may be (1) angels (Zech. 14: v.5; Matt. 26: v.53); (2) the raptured church; or (3) all the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem: angels, the church, and spirits of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (Heb. 12: verses 22-24). They will share in Christ’s victory and glory (Roman 8: verses 18 and 19). The linen symbolizes righteousness (v.8)

Here we see the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ following, these are the called, chosen, redeemed, the bride. The whole army is on “white horses”.  They have white horses, because they have overcome the devil. They are washed in the blood of the Lamb. They have on pure white linen for the righteousness of Christ. This army has been in heaven waiting for the wrath of God, on the ungodly, to be over.

19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

The sword from His mouth depicts judgment through His spoken Word (1: v.16; 2: verses 12 and 16; Isaiah 11: v.4; 2 Thess. 2: v.8). The Bible says that it is so sharp that it can divide the soul and spirit. Hebrews 4: v.12 “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Smite the nations: Christ will destroy all unbelievers (19: v.21; Matt. 25: verses 41 and 46; 2 Thess. 1: verses 8 and 9). Rod of iron: Christ will subject all nations to Himself, and destroy all His enemies (Psalms 2: verses 8 and 9; 1 Cor. 15: verses 24 and 25). Winepress: See 14: verses 17 to 20.

Words relating to wrath and anger are found 15 times in Revelation. We see how powerful this Word is. This “rod of iron” that He is to rule with just means that His law is absolute and unwavering. He never changes.

When we see this “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath”,  This wrath of God is for three and a half years of Tribulation, then after those, another  three and a half years that is call the Great Tribulation, making a total of seven years of God’s Judgment and Wrath.

19:16 And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS: Christ has universal sovereignty. This expresses His sovereign triumph over all foes and His absolute rule in His soon to be established Kingdom. (17: v.14; Deut. 10: v.17; Dan. 2: v.47; 1 Tim. 6: v.15).

There are approximately ninety-seven names throughout the Bible that the personage that we know as Jesus is used. The name He was called at the time had to do with the circumstance at hand. Here He is coming to the earth to take over as Supreme Ruler, so He is called by the name “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”.

19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

An angel speaking in a loud voice invites all of the birds to feed on the results of the carnage which will shortly take place. This angel is declaring Christ’s victory before the battle even begins. A similar passage is found in Luke 17 v.37 stating: wherever the corpse is, there the eagles (vultures) will gather.

This “supper” that this speaks of, is right after the battle of Armageddon. Battle of Armageddon

19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great.

What this is saying is that for those lying out there dead in the valley of Megiddo, it will not matter whether you were a general or a private. The birds will not know the difference. With God, there has never been a distinction. He is not impressed with your position in life. The birds will eat them all.

This reveals the extent of the massive slaughter. To have one’s unburied body left as food for birds would be the ultimate indignity, especially for the mighty military commanders and the proud kings. The same fate awaits the God hating rebels everywhere in the world.

19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

This beast is the Antichrist, the leader of the last and greatest empire in human history. The kings of the earth are those ten kings who rule the ten sectors which the Antichrist’s worldwide empire is divided in to.

The Antichrist has gathered his armies to do battle with Jesus and His army. The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the beast, with all of its firepower, now awaits the arrival of the Rider on the white horse.

Ever since the beginning of time, the armies of God and the armies of the devil have been in mortal combat. The flesh and the Spirit have been in combat also. Isaac (Spirit) and Ishmael (flesh) are still in mortal physical combat through their descendents in Israel today. This Scripture above is speaking again of the battle of Armageddon.

19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

But before the battle can even begin, it’s over. Not only that, but those two demonically empowered leaders, Antichrist and False Prophet, are dealt a terrible blow. Those two are thrown alive into the lake of fire.

The false prophet and the beast were used of Satan to perform his evil deeds. As the two most evil, vile and blasphemous people who have ever lived, it is fitting that they should be the first two to arrive in that awful place. And they will be there by themselves for a thousand years until the devil joins them at the end of the millennium. Then at the second resurrection (the second death) they will be joined by all unbelievers for all eternity.

This is the first mention in the bible of the “lake of fire”. This is the final hell and the ultimate destination of Satan, his angels (or demons) and the unredeemed. Hell

Hell has always existed, but this is hell’s final form. Unlike Hades which was a temporary holding place, this is the final permanent place for incarceration and punishment.

We see here, the total victory over the beast and the false prophet. This shows here that the “KING OF KINGS” throws them into the “lake of fire”. This “brimstone” is sulfur. This is final victory over the earthly manifestations of Satan’s power.

19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Then all of the rest who were with the Antichrist and the false prophet will then be destroyed and the rest of those gathered to fight against Christ.

Then suddenly it will be all over. Actually there will not be any war at all as we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from the Rider who sits on the white horse. That’s the same One who spoke the heavens and the earth into existence at the very beginning. The One who spoke to a fig tree and it withered away. Who spoke to the howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves were stilled. Who spoke to a legion of demons in a man and instantly they fled.

Now by His Word, the Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet windbag from the pit is stilled. Then they’re hurled into the everlasting flames. Then another Word and all of the panic stricken armies stagger and fall down dead.

Then all the birds ate and were filled with the flesh of those who were killed.

The rest of the unredeemed throughout the world will be judged at the sheep and goat judgment which takes place at this time.

This is not just defeat, but is physical death for those who followed the beast and the false prophet. The Word of God defeated them. They actually die in the battle of Armageddon by the Words of Christ and not by an easy death as scripture tells us that the blood in that valley ran up to the horses bridles, about 4 to 5 feet deep for the entire length of the 184 mile valley.