Revelation – Bible Study

Alexandria Baptist Church - Sunday School and Bible Study of the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:1 This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation

Revelation 1 (NASB)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Message to the Seven Churches

In this study, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation is used because it seems to be the most accurate translation.  Unless otherwise specified, the scriptural references listed in this study are NASB.

One-fifth of the Bible addressed the future before the events took place.  Christ’s return to earth is recorded 318 times in the New Testament.  The book of Revelation is difficult to interpret because some of the book is written in symbolism and because John is writing about future events that he himself doesn’t understand.  People have trouble understanding Revelation because it requires understanding that only the Holy Spirit can give them.  1 Corinthians 2:14 says “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (NLT)”  One BIG difference between John’s prophecy in Revelation and Daniel’s prophecy in the book bearing his name is that Revelation reveals and Daniel closed up or sealed up the prophecy.  Revelation 22:10 says “And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”  Daniel 12:4 says “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.”  There are 500 references in the Revelation to the OT.   Of the 404 verses in Revelation, 278 verses make some reference to the Old Testament.

1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,

The real word of Revelation is “Apocalypse”.  The Apocalypse conjures up pictures of the end of the world, human annihilation and complete destruction of the world.  Apocalypse can also give a majestic sense of God’s unveiling of Himself to us.   What images does that conjure up in your mind?  Revelation really translates as “the unveiling or uncovering”.  So the opening five words of Revelation tell us the book is concerned not with the coming disasters but will show the true greatness of Jesus who is the Christ.  The Greek words for “shortly” in verse one are ‘en tachei’, and it means “suddenly or quickly coming to pass” like Tacos – tachometer (RPMs).  The words, “shortly take place’ in verse one means it will happen “all at once,” in the blink of an eye, and “the time is near” in verse three means that it will take place in the near future.

John ended up on the Island of Patmos because he was exiled there by Nero after surviving being boiled in oil.  In John 21:20-23, when asked about John’s future demise, He replied: “what is that to you?”  These verses in John 21 do not say John will be alive (on earth) forever.  Only that Peter and others should not be concerned about death, our time is under God’s control.  In the sixteenth century, John Foxe wrote about Nero’s treatment of John and how Domitian exiled John to the island of Patmos.  John referred to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” and who is now receiving the Revelation.

1:2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 

John testifies to this Revelation.  Scripture backs that up in John 19:35, John 1:32 and John 21:24.  God includes the book of Revelation in His Word because He always reveals what He will do before He does it.  As it says in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.”  He would do that so men will not be able to say, “You caught us by surprise. No fair!” Romans 1:20 confirms this, it says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”  The Greek word for servant is doúlos (Strong’s #1401) and means “someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own”.

1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

 It says outright that if we read it and keep the things in it, we will be blessed.  Some denominations teach that we are not supposed to be able to understand the book of Revelation.  Some pastors find it acceptable to preach on the first 3 chapters of Revelation but do not touch the last 19 chapters.  Verse 3 contradicts that false teaching, this verse says we will be blessed if we heed what the book says.  This verse is one of the beatitudes of Revelation which are found in Revelation 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 22:7, 22:14.  These beatitudes promise blessings which contradict the false teachings.  Only one of the 10 commandments comes with a promised blessing.  Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”  If we believe the 10 commandments, it becomes ridiculous not to believe Revelation.

Verse three speaks to the Rabbi, now also Pastors, who read (“He who reads”) and to the congregation (“Those who hear”).  BUT you receive the blessing by keeping the things written in the book.  The Greek word for keep is ‘téreó’ which means “to watch over and guard”.  Contrary to popular belief, Revelation is meant to be a comfort to Christ’s followers.  When you truly understand it, it will bring peace to your hearts.  For those that believe that the Rapture is going to occur before the Tribulation or even early in the Tribulation, the horrible things described in the second half of the Tribulation won’t impact them.  They will be in Heaven during these terrible times.

1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Asia here is not China, India or Vietnam, it is Turkey.  The difference between Paul’s letters to the  Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, etc. and John’s letter is that Paul wrote individual letters to individual churches.  John wrote one letter to be read by all of the churches.  The title, “Him who is and was and is to come” is God the Father.  We know this because The Holy Spirit and Jesus are mentioned separately in these same verses.  We know that the seven spirits refer to the Holy Spirit because Isaiah gives us the seven attributes of the Holy Spirit.  Isaiah 11:2 says “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”  The number seven represents completeness or finished in Scripture.  Genesis 2:2-3 says “By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”  Jesus is described as “the faithful witness.”   The word “witness” means martyr.  It is taught that the Bible never mentions the Trinity. However, these two verses give us the Trinity.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”   The NASB translation of Revelation 1:5 says “loves us” and some say “loved us” but loved us is correct.  It is similar to what we read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world”.  He DOES love us still but this points to the moment salvation was granted to all who believe.  The continuation of the verse confirms our teaching.  The order is loved us and washed us and not loves us and washes us.  Notice the order: first loved, then washed. It wasn’t that God washed us out of some sense of duty and then loved us because we are then clean. He loved us while we were dirty, but then He washed us.

It is important that we are made both Kings and Priests.  In the past, you could only be one or the other.  We are now declared to be both.  See 2 Chronicles 26:16-23.  King Uzziah became so arrogant that he went into the Temple and burned incense to God.  Only priests were allowed to burn incense to God in the Temple.  God punished him with a disease for the rest of his life.  Being made kings shows that we are royalty to God. That is how valuable we are!  As Priests, we are God’s special servants.  We represent God to man and man to God.  We offer a sacrifice unto Him.   We can give to God sacrifices of praise.  Hebrews 13:15 says “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”  The high priests have access to God that no one else on earth had.  (Think about the Tabernacle.)  This privilege is now granted to all believers.  Mathew 27:50-51 tells us that when Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  We are called priests.  See also Romans 5:1-2.  This is significant because we are now joint heirs with Christ in the realm of heaven.  (See Hebrews 4:14 and Romans 8:17.)  The final word in these verses is ‘amen’ which simply means, “yes.”  It is an affirmation of the statement.  We say ‘amen’ at the end of a prayer because we want God to know that we agree with what was said in the prayer.

1:7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

The word ‘Behold’ means to watch.  Matthew 24:42 (NIV) says “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Verse 7 is a fulfillment of prophecy.  (See Acts 1:9-11.)  He went up to heaven in a cloud and will return the same way.  God appeared to the Israelites in times past in a cloud or as a cloud.  See Exodus 13:21-22, Exodus 16:10, Exodus 19:9, Exodus 24:15-18 and Daniel 7:13-14.  Jesus describes His own return as coming in a cloud.  (See Matthew 26:64.) The phrase “Every eye will see Him” is important to believers because it tells us not to be fooled.  EVERY person will know when He returns.  (See Matthew 24:26-27).  The phrase “Even those who pierced Him” refers to the Jews.  Zechariah 12:10 says “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”  Verse seven is not referring to an ‘angry’ Jesus.  By this time the Jews will have accepted Jesus as their Lord.  (See Matthew 23:29 and Romans 11:25-26.)  The phrase “all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him” fulfills the prophecy from Matthew 24:30.  It says “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”  I hope you are seeing how the whole Bible fits together.

1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The “Alpha and the Omega” refer to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  We know that this is Jesus and not God the Father because this verse speaks of Jesus’ return to earth.  (See Revelation 22:12-13)  Revelation 22:13 differs from Revelation 1:8 in that the words the phrase ‘the first and the last” are added.  It says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Jesus is speaking of the beginning and the end of the Law, not of God, who is eternal.  The phrase “Who was and is and is to come” reflects His eternal nature.  (See Micah 5:2, Hebrews 13:8 and Psalm 90:2.)  The word “Almighty” comes from the Greek word ‘pantokrater’, which literally means “the one who has his hand on everything.”

The Patmos Vision

1:9 I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 

John was sent to the island of Patmos and it was credited to Emperor Domitian.  Patmos is believed to be comparable to Alcatraz.  It is most like Alcatraz in that it was a small, rocky and barren island used to keep criminals were they could serve out their prison terms.  Both Alcatraz and Patmos were islands surrounded by water to limit the chance for escape.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

As verse 10 begins it says that John was “In the Spirit.”  Are there times when you feel especially close to God?  At this point, John goes way beyond that feeling.  Not only is he close to God in the Holy Spirit but he is an open vessel awaiting God’s revelation.  “John was carried beyond normal sense into a state where God could reveal supernaturally the contents of this book.” (Walvoord)  The idea isn’t simply that John was walking in the Spirit, but that he received this unique revelation from the Holy Spirit.  John was also in the Spirit in the following verses:  Revelation 4:2, 17:3 and 21:10.

“The Lord’s Day” and “The Day of the Lord” are not the same.  “The Lord’s Day” for most Christians is Sunday.  It is the day set aside for worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for what He has done for us and for who He is in our lives.  “The Day of the Lord” is often referred to as a day in the future where the Lord will perform His final judgment.  Joel referred to it as the “terrible day of the Lord” in Joel 2:31, “The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of the Lord arrives.” (NLT)

According to the following verses, tell us who gives the Revelation to John.

Isaiah 41:4         Jesus, “It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last, I alone am he.” (NLT)

Isaiah 44:6         Jesus, “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.”

Isaiah 48:12       Jesus, “I alone am God, the First and the Last.”

John was told to write down what he saw and send it to the seven churches but Daniel was told to seal up the prophecy that he saw.  Daniel 12:4 says “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.”   According to Daniel, the phrase “to increase knowledge” points to people going here and there to increase their knowledge of Daniel’s prophecy.  Walvoord notes, “Whether or not physical wandering and travel is involved, the implication is that attempts to understand the truth will require considerable effort.”  Paul wrote to 7 churches:  Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Colossae, Philippi, and Thessalonica.

1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 

 The first thing John sees when he turns around are the seven lampstands.  These lampstands were freestanding.  They are symbolic of the Menorah (Golden Lampstand) that gave light to the Tabernacle.  Exodus 25:31-37 gives a detailed description of the Menorah.  In Daniel 7:13, Daniel saw Jesus as the Son of Man in a vision.  Daniel 7:13 tells us “I (Daniel) kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.”  The Ancient of Days is a title given to God in the Bible.  The golden band/sash around the chest signifies that Jesus is our High Priest.  Exodus 39:3 describes how this sash was made.  While the threads for the priest were other colors mixed with gold, Jesus’ band being all gold shows that He is above all other priests.  This is not the first time John has seen Jesus in His heavenly glory.  He also saw Jesus like this during the Transfiguration.  (See Matthew 17:1-2, Mark 9:2-3 and Luke 9:28-29.)  All of these references describe it as Luke 9:28-29 does, “As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed,3 and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them.”

1:14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

 This is not the first description of this kind in the Bible.  Daniel 7:9 describes another one, “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat;  His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.  His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.” Note the similarities.  The description that “His eyes were like a flame of fire” shows judgment.  Jesus will soon show John the final judgment that will come upon the whole world.  The fact that His feet were made of brass is significant because brass is used to build the brazen altar used for sacrifice and it shows that Jesus is our sacrifice.  (See Exodus 27:2-6, NOTE – Only the KJV has this correct.)  The phrase “His voice was like the sound of many waters” shows power.  Psalm 29:3-4 tell us so, “3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;  The God of glory thunders, the Lord is over many waters.  4 The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is majestic.”   The sword in Jesus mouth is the “Word of God”.  Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

1:17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 19 Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

No one is going to tell Jesus just how it is or how it should be.  This is the disciple whom Jesus loved.  He is the one who spent three years with Jesus and His closest friend.  Jesus also entrusted the care of His mother to John.  He is absolutely terrified in these verses.  Jesus responds to John with compassion.  Satan is not the “Lord of hell or hades” because Jesus holds the keys.

Jesus tells John to write down what he was seeing or being told in the book of Revelation 16 times.  The seven stars are Pastors.  The word is ‘angeloi’ or plural ‘angelos’ and means head elder or Pastor.  The letters in the following chapters are written to the angels of the seven churches but angels can’t be charged with wrongdoing and then be allowed to repent.  We translate the word incorrectly.  These ‘angelos’ are in Jesus’ right hand.  This shows that they are kept and protected by Jesus.

Revelation 2  (NASB)

The seven letters of Revelation 2 and 3 all have six things in common.  First, the letters are specific to each congregation.  The one speaking identifies Himself (capital “H” in Himself refers to God or Jesus).  The “I know” contents give the condition of the church.  Each church gets a command from Jesus.  They also receive a praise or condemnation for what they are doing right or wrong.  Each church has a correction and a promised reward.  John is writing about and how the things are within the churches.  It differs from chapter 1 because John is writing about the things which you have already seen.  Revelation 1:19 says “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”

Message to Ephesus

2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:  The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:”

Paul ministered in Ephesus for 3 years.  Acts 20:31 tells us, ”Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”    According to VERY strong and consistent church historical traditions, three prominent biblical persons pastored the church at Ephesus.  These included John (himself), Timothy and Onesimos (the runaway slave in the book Philemon).  The temple to the goddess, Diana was in Ephesus.  She was worshipped for immoral sex.  This temple was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.  Jesus identifies Himself as the “one who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands”.  The phrase “Walks in the midst” means that He is not sitting on his hands.  He sees and knows everything that is going on.

2:2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 

The letter begins with praise.  There are four things that Jesus praises about this church which include works, labor, patience, hate and evil.  The word “patience” translates as steadfast endurance.  You can find a description of the evil that Jesus is talking about here in Acts 20:29-31, which say “29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”  False teaching is the evil described here in Revelation 2:2.

“If a man be clever; he may preach the vilest lie that was ever vomited from the mouth of hell, and it will go down with some.” (Spurgeon)

By all outward appearances, the church at Ephesus did three things right.  They were known for working hard, they had great outreach, and they protected the integrity of the gospel.  Jesus expects us to do what is right and will not tolerate what we do that is wrong.

2:But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 

“Nevertheless” or “but” is used to mean “despite all that”.  All the good in the Ephesian church did not cancel out the bad Jesus is about to describe.  They had gotten so far from Jesus because they left Him and it was not that they had lost sight of Him.  This seems like a small difference but it is important to teach us that without love we have nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).   Who we are in Jesus is more important than what we DO for Jesus.  He doesn’t need us to accomplish His goals.  He allows us to join Him as He carries out the plan.

2:5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

The first step in getting right with God is to remember who He is and what He has done for you.  Luke 15:17 uses the Prodigal Son to teach us this fact.  It says “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!”  The second step is to repent.  Luke 15:18 says “18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight!”  Repent means to change your direction and to go a different way.  This definition differs from the Webster Dictionary’s and the world’s belief.  Webster’s defines “repent” as “to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin”.  Real repentance is an action, not a feeling.  You get back to your first love by spending time in His Word, prayer, gathering together with other Christians and telling others about Jesus.

The warning to the Ephesian church is to straighten up or He will remove your lampstand.  This means that Jesus will remove His presence from that church.  The Ephesians listened.  Historian Ignatius wrote a few decades later of the great love of the church at Ephesus and of how they were full of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus does not leave them feeling down.  He praises them for hating the Nicolaitans.  No one actually knows who the Nicolaitans were.  There are two schools of thought.  The first is that they were followers of Nicolas of Antioch.  The second school of thought was that they were a combination of two Greek words – nikao (to conquer) and laos (people).  They were, at any rate, false teachers.

“He who has an ear” means “listen everyone”.  This letter was written to the churches describing the Ephesians.  It was written so that other churches could learn from what Jesus said to the church at Ephesus.  It is believed that they need to overcome their cold hearts.  The phrase “eat from the tree of life” means eternal life.  The phrase “paradise of God” means the place where God lives.

Message to Smyrna

2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:  The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:”

Smyrna was 35 miles from Ephesus and it would have taken Paul around 10 hours to walk there.  Smyrna had a population of 500,000 people and lies in modern day Turkey.  Smyrna receives no condemnation from Jesus.  Only two churches hear only good things about themselves from Jesus, Smyrna and Philadelphia.  The main deity worshiped in Smyrna at this time was Roman Emperor Domitian.   He was the first to demand to be called “God the Lord”.  He was the first to declare that all the decedents of David or the Jews were to be put to death.  Nero tried to kill John by boiling him in oil and Domitian exiled John to Patmos.  Domitian probably didn’t persecute Christians because of Christ, but because they wouldn’t worship him.  Jesus describes Himself as the First and the Last.  Isaiah used these exact words to describe the coming Christ, Isaiah 41:4, 44:6 and 48:12. Jesus also identified Himself as the one “Who was dead and came to life.”  The people in Smyrna would have understood the meaning of that introduction because Smyrna means myrrh and was used to embalm bodies.

2:9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 

The first three things Jesus notices about this church are their works, tribulation, and poverty.  He was aware of their hardships and their faithfulness.  The word “poverty” means abject poverty, the poorest of the poor.   Their poverty contrasts with the things around them in that they lived in a very wealthy city.  Jesus says that they are rich because they are spiritually rich. Their rewards are being stored up where thieves cannot steal and moths can’t destroy them.  As you will see later the church at Laodicea thinks they are rich but are actually poor.  Revelation 3:17 says “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”  The pastor here was Polycarp.  He died by knifing.

Jesus told the Jews that they belonged to the synagogue of Satan and that they were not real Jews. The Jews had allowed the early Christians to meet in their synagogues.  But when persecution came and they saw that Jesus didn’t come to save them, they turned on the Christians and kicked them out.  The short answer is they were not true converts.

2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 

The phrase “Do not fear” means stop being afraid.  The enemy here is not the Romans or the Jews but is Satan or the Devil.  They were thrown into prison to await execution, not for rehabilitation or punishment.  In Smyrna, if you were a Christian, you were an outlaw.  Some say the 10 days means 10 years as Daniel wrote the days were years.  Some say the 10 days are for 10 emperors under whom Christians would be persecuted.  Some say the 10 days refers to a short amount of time.  The word day preceded by a number, in this case, 10 tell us that it is a 24 hour period.  This probably refers to ten actual days.  (Remember our sermon on creation.)

The purpose of the coming persecution was to test them.  The word “test” here means proven to the unbelievers around them.  The word for crown here is ‘stephanos’ and it is different from what a King wears, it is a trophy given to a winning athlete.  It also was the crown worn at marriages and is a picture here of Jesus and His bride.

2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Those with ears to hear are everyone.  This phrase is used here to tell everyone to “Listen up. Pay attention here.”  The second death is the lake of fire. (see Revelation 20:14 and Revelation 21:8)  The second death was a Rabbinic expression that meant “total extinction” of the utterly wicked.

 

Message to Pergamos (Pergamum) 

Pergamos was the capital of Roman Government in Asia.  It had a library consisting of over 200,000 books.  Today Pergamos is called the Middle East.  It had temples to 3 Roman emperors, as well as to Zeus.  Pergamos had been the Asian capital for 4 years.  In Pergamos was the great statue to the god, Asclepius.  This god was usually shown holding a serpent on a pole.  We see this symbol in America every day in Medical institutions.

2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:  The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:

Jesus describes Himself as the “one who has a sharp two-edged sword”.  The sword is used for piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  This sword is the Word of God (see – Isaiah 49:2).  There isn’t any question that it could be anything else.  Ephesians 6:17 says “Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. NLT

2:13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

The word “dwell” means to set up permanent residence.  Satan has taken up permanent residence here, even making his throne here.  Spiritually, this was the worst of the seven cities.  We know this because Jesus Himself calls it Satan’s throne.  The phrase “Hold fast to My name” means hold fast to the word of my truth.  He is known for His truth just as a man by his name.

It is such a high honor for Jesus to refer to Antipas as “My faithful witness because it is how Jesus referred to Himself.  Revelation 1:5 says, “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood-“   Antipas means “Against All”.  Apart from this Biblical verse, nothing is known about Antipas.  He received such high praise from Christ because it shows that even though the world had and has no idea who he was, Jesus knows.  No one is anonymous.  Some versions say “Faithful Martyr.”  The Greek word ‘martus’ means martyr or witness.

2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 

The people in this church lived in extremely difficult circumstances yet did not deny the name of Christ.  But the good things did not give them an excuse for the other things.  Balaam was a prophet.  He was wicked and a diviner.  Balaam accomplished all those things against the Israelites because his curses kept blessing Israel but he came up with a wicked scheme.  (The story is in Numbers chapters 22-24 and 31)  The Nicolaitans were idolators, sexually immoral.  They were people conquerers who apparently had their own doctrines.  Pergamos tolerated the Nicolaitans but the first church in Ephesus hated them (Very important).  Those who are tolerating those who follow the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans are condemned in these two verses.  As in our David sermon the past few weeks, they did not LOSE their salvation.  (See 1 Corinthians 5:1-5).  Compromise is another word for “tolerate”.    Compromise means the acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable.

2:16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 

In order to get right with Jesus, the word He uses is “Repent”.  If they don’t repent, they will be quickly judged by Him. Revelation 2:12 says “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of the One who has the sharp, double-edged sword.” Jesus will strike His own people because judgment begins in the Church.  We are held to a higher standard as a light to the heathens.  1 Peter 4:17 says “For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?”

2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

The hidden manna is Christ Himself.  John 6:41 says “Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”  No one knows for certain the identity of the white stone.  A couple of plausible theories are: First, in the courts of the day, a black stone meant that the judge had ruled guilty and a white stone meant that the judge had ruled innocent.     Another theory is it was also common at the time for Pagans to wear amulets with the name of the god they served written on them, which certainly seems to fit here.

Message to Thyatira

2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:

Though Thyatira was the smallest of the seven cities, the letter to Thyatira was the longest of the seven letters.  They suffered no political or religious persecution.  The noted historian Pliny describes Thyatira as an unimportant city.  Thyatira had more trade guilds than any other Roman city.  A famous woman of the Bible lived here.  She became a friend to Paul and helped financially support his ministry.  Her name was Lydia.  She made her money selling purple dye that Thyatira was the only place in the world it was available.

Note, the Son of God is talking here.  The phrase “Eyes like a Flame of fire” means penetrating judgment, not happy and He sees everything.  (Revelation 1:14)  The strongest known metal in the world at this time was brass.  Using brass to describe Jesus’ feet says that Jesus is pure and steadfast or unmovable.  A passage in Deuteronomy shows that God put a solid ceiling over the Israelites so that their prayers would not be heard.  Deuteronomy 28:23 says “The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron.”  Bronze and brass were considered equal, both are alloys of copper.

2:19 ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.

Even though Thyatira was considered small and insignificant, Jesus still knows their works. This shows that nothing is insignificant to God.  The next four things Jesus notices about this church are love, service, faith and patience.  The church at Thyatira seems like the perfect church.  The word “service” is the same as works and means deacons and refers to ministry to others.  As we will see, this church had love but lacked discernment.  The Greek word loyal is ‘pistis’ and means “faithful”.  The term “long-suffering” is the same as patience.  This church was growing spiritually.  We know this because the phrase “More than at the first” is used in this verse.

2:20 (NIV) “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols 21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.                                     

The term “nevertheless” means “despite all of that.”  Jezebel was an evil queen and Ahab’s wife. She murdered all the prophets except the hidden ones and she persecuted Elijah.  We can find her story in 1 Kings chapters 16-21 and 2 Kings 9:30-37.  The Jezebel referred to here was not that person but she had her characteristics.  She is evil.  Calling someone Jezebel would be like us calling someone Judas or Hitler.  Jezebel tried to get Israel to combine the worship of their God with the worship of Baal.  She was not a prophetess but she claimed to be one.   They did not accept her as a prophetess.  Matthew 24:11 says that “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”  She tried to teach the members here to commit sexual sin and eat meat sacrificed to idols.

Two of the only three things that Gentiles are ordered not to do as part of the OT law were to not commit sexual sin or eat meat sacrificed to idols.  It included eating meat with blood still in it.  “My servants” are followers of Christ.  It is bad to follow Jezebel and lead others to do the same.  In Mark 9:42 we are warned: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” The Bible warns us that it would be better not to have been born.  Jezebel commits the unpardonable sin.  She refused to repent.  Matthew 12:31 warns “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.”  The church at Ephesus didn’t tolerate these evil deeds.  The church at Pergamos had ‘some’ who tolerated them.  This church allowed it.

2:22 Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24 But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. 25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 

Before Jesus tells them what they must do, He tells them what He will do.  These people committed adultery, both physically and spiritually (by honoring other gods).  We are not sure if this means an actual sickness but it may be.  1 Corinthians 11:29-30 says “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”  The word ‘bed’ means a “banqueting couch”.  So the literal translation of this statement is “I will strike her down as she sits at her forbidden feasts.”  The only thing that can stop the church members from suffering her same fate is repenting of their evil deeds.  The term ‘minds and hearts’ means “hearts and kidneys”.  Strangely enough, the Jews considered the heart and not the brain, as the seat of intellect and the kidneys the place of emotion. Jesus is saying, I know every thought and emotion.  Jesus says to hold fast, that is, be faithful until He returns.

2:26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Verse 26 shows that even surrounded by evil, He still expects us to be who we say we are, regardless of the circumstances.  Verse 27 says that Jesus will “rule with a rod of iron’,  this means that Jesus has complete power and authority.  The phrase ‘Dash them to pieces’ shows that we are on the winning team and He will destroy all who oppose you and me.  The word ‘rule’ means to shepherd.  In verse 28, Jesus is this Morning Star.  Revelation 22:16 says “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

Revelation 3 (NASB)

Message to Sardis

3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:  He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 

Sardis was the place where money was born.  It was devastated by an earthquake in A.D. 17.  As with all the other cities, Sardis had a huge temple to a false god, named Cybele and she was honored with all types of sexual immorality.  The people of Sardis were soft and pleasure-loving.  The phrase “He who has the seven Spirits of God” means that He has the fullness of the Holy Spirit, they are one.  Remember what we’ve learned.  The seven stars are pastors.  The phrase “I know your works” means He sees and knows everything.  The phrase “That you have a name” means they had a reputation.  Because the city was corrupt and immoral, and the church here was corrupt and immoral, everyone thought the church was great.  Jesus warns them that they are dead.  He says that they are dead because they are of no use to Jesus.  Nothing good is mentioned about this church before the condemnation.  Calling them dead showed that they weren’t losing the battle. They had already lost the battle.  Jesus doesn’t encourage the members to stand strong against persecution or false doctrine.  Since they were not doing anything for God’s Kingdom, they suffered no persecution. Satan had no reason to attack them.  One commentator said about the church at Sardis, it was “A perfect model of inoffensive Christianity” (Caird).

3:2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 

The phrase “Strengthen the things that remain” shows us that the situation wasn’t yet hopeless.  In verse 1 the church is dead.  In verse 2 they are ready to die.  This can be explained that though the church as a whole was dead, there were still a small number of devoted followers, as we shall learn.  The phrase “I have not found thy works perfect before God” (KJV) means that they were doing lots of things, having community dinners and the like, but were not accomplishing anything.  They “appeared” to be doing work for God.  Jesus uses a three-prong attack to get them to right the ship, they are to remember, hold fast and repent.  Remember that a thief comes suddenly and unannounced.  Matthew 24:44 sheds some light on this, it says “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

Winston Churchill could have been describing Sardis when he said at the outset of WW ll,  “next to cowardice and treachery, overconfidence leading to neglect and slothfulness, is the worst of wartime crimes.”

Looking back, verse 2 points us to verse 4 because it shows that not all are dead, but some remain faithful.  In Pergamos and Thyatira, there were a few bad among the good.  In Sardis, there are a few good among the bad.  Jesus added, “Who have not defiled their garments” because white was the color of triumph in the Roman culture and white is color of the robe already awaiting believers.

Charles Spurgeon – “What shall become of those who are only outwardly religious but inwardly are in the gall of bitterness? We answer, as good Calvin did once: ‘They shall walk in black, for they are unworthy.’ They shall walk in black – the blackness of God’s destruction. They shall walk in black – the blackness of hopeless despair. They shall walk in black – the blackness of incomparable anguish. They shall walk in black – the blackness of damnation. They shall walk in black forever because they were found unworthy.”

Jesus invites these few true believers described in verse 4 to walk with Him.

3:5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

This verse compared to verse 4 shows that we are correct about white garments.  It appears that every one born has their name written in the Book of Life but only those who would eventually accept Christ will keep their name written in the book.  The following verses tell us that you can have your name blotted out of the Book of Life.

Exodus 32:32          “But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”

Exodus 32:33          “The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”

Psalm 69:28            “May they be blotted out of the book of life and may they not be recorded with the righteous.”

Revelation 3:5        “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Revelation 22:19   “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

Revelation 17:8      “And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”

Revelation 13:8      “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”

Message to Philadelphia

3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:

Philadelphia means Brotherly Love.  It was the youngest of the seven cities and the smallest of the seven churches, yet it receives no condemnation.  Philadelphia was established as a missionary outpost for Hellenism.  (Study of Greek culture.)  It was established to bring culture to the Barbarian tribes stretching out from there.  Philadelphia had the most modern highway in the world and was the gateway to Europe.  Philadelphia was known for its beautiful buildings and numerous earthquakes.  It was called ‘little Athens’ because it had so many temples to the Greek gods.  Jesus is described in this verse as Holy and True.  Many skeptics say that Jesus never claimed to be God.  This single verse proves that statement false because it says that God alone is Holy.  Revelation 15:4 says “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy;
For all the nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed
.”  There are two Greek words for “true”. One means ‘not false’ but here it means ‘not fake’.  He is the real God.  The phrase “He has the Keys of David” means that He is the One prophesied about in Isaiah 22:20-23.  Isaiah 22:22 says “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.”  The statement about doors means that no one gets into heaven but by Jesus.  (John 10:9 and James 14:6) ”I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

3:8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 

Jesus says the same thing to each of the seven churches, I know your works.  He knows what goes on here at our church.  In this verse, Christ is most likely referring to their call to do missions work as the Hellenists were doing but no one is certain.  See 1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12 and Colossians 4:3.  This may also refer to our next verse, verse 9.  The term “A little strength” does not refer to weakness but points to strength.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says “9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The phrase “Have kept My word and not denied My name” means that lots of people claim Christ but deny His Word.  Examples include:  Believers are willing to say that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not true. Homosexuality is not mentioned in Scripture (See Leviticus 20:13 or 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  Believers that feel abortion is acceptable.

3:9 Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 

The ‘synagogue of Satan’ is filled with people who call themselves Jews but are not spiritually Jews.    Christians are now spiritually Jews.  God has given Gentiles the opportunity to accept Jesus as the Christ making them spiritually Jews.  Both Jews and Gentiles are called ‘the church.’  See Matthew 16:18, Acts 2:47, Acts 12:1, Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 11:18 and Ephesians 5:32.  We think when Jesus says that He will make them bow down at their feet, He means taking vengeance for the way His people were treated.  That may be true but they could be converted here.  (See 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 – Acts 9:1-6)  Whatever the method, the result is to show that no matter what they are facing, Jesus still loves them.  The hour of trial is most likely referring to the Great Tribulation because whatever it is, the entire world experiences it.

Some of the methods God might use include:

Noah                             Rise above.

Lot                                 Take out.

Rapture                       Remove entirely.

Moses                           Destroy enemies.

3 Hebrew boys         Protect in the Midst of the trial.

The phrase “Those who dwell on the earth” is used 9 times in Revelation and refers to unbelievers. (See Revelation 17:8 for example)  The word ‘persevere’ is in the past tense and points to the Rapture.

3:11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 

The phrase ‘coming quickly’ means sudden and unexpectedly.  They are to ‘hold fast’ to their reliance on God.  (Little strength)  Faithfulness to Jesus (Hold fast to My name).  Their crown is their reward.  1 Corinthians 9:25 says “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”  Pillars are a picture of strength, stability and dignified beauty.  This phrase was carefully chosen because in A.D. 17, just 80 years earlier, Philadelphia was destroyed by an earthquake.  There were still many tremors and smaller earthquakes in Philadelphia.  During these events, the residents would flee into the wilderness.  In light of that, the phrase ‘he shall go out no more’ means to these people that they will have a stable, permanent residence.

3:13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Message to Laodicea

Most Bible scholars believe this church is us (the church of today).  An earthquake devastated Laodicean only about 6 years earlier.  Laodicea refused any help from Rome in rebuilding their city because the people there were very wealthy.  It was a noted commercial center and its goods were exported around the world.  It had a very large Jewish population.  It had a world-renowned Medical school.  It also had a large statue to Asclepius, the god of healing.  Their main problem was a lack of water supply.  The lack of water was so important concerning the city and the church because it led to appeasement or compromise so that no one would attack them.  Their water came from 6 miles away and it arrived lukewarm.  Uh Oh!!

3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

The speaker identifies Himself as the Amen, The Faithful and True Witness and the beginning of the creation of God.  The “Amen” means the Christ (our Amen).   2 Corinthians 1:20 says “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen(which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory”. (NLT says it best.)  The phrase “The faithful and true Witness” means:

Deuteronomy 32:4         “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

1 Thessalonians 5:24     “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”

The “Beginning of the creation of God” means that Jesus is NOT a created being.  The word here means first in prominence, not first in the sequence. He was the first source and origin of all things.  John 1:1-3 shows that God the Father and God the Word, Jesus, are one and the same.

3:15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 

The people of Laodicea would immediately understand what Jesus was saying when He called them ‘lukewarm’ because of their water situation.  The term “lukewarm’ shows indifference and compromise.  The saved are the hot and the cold want nothing to do with Christ.  The Lukewarm are people who think they are good enough or know enough to get to heaven without actually accepting Christ.  Jesus would rather that they were cold and lost than lukewarm because the cold will listen to the Gospel.

“Satan prizes a lukewarm religionist far above a cold-hearted sinner. The lukewarm Christian has enough of Jesus to satisfy a craving for religion, but not enough for eternal life.”  David Guzik

Have you ever wanted to take a lukewarm bath or shower?  Drink a nice cup of lukewarm tea?  “Lukewarmness” points to uselessness.  An example of someone from Scripture who was cold would be the thief on the cross.  An example of someone in Scripture who was hot would be the disciples, (Paul, John, Peter…).  An example from the Bible of someone who was lukewarm was Judas.

“Deep down, there is no one more miserable than the lukewarm person. They have too much of the world to be happy in Jesus, but too much of Jesus to be happy in the world.” David Guzik

“O my brethren and sisters, have you ever really thought what an insult it is to God when we come before him with lukewarm prayers? There stands the heavenly mercy-seat; the road to it is sprinkled with the precious blood of Jesus.”  Charles Spurgeon

Laodicea was a democratic church where everything was decided by popular opinion.  According to the KJV, in the letters to the Laodiceans, Jesus addressed this church differently from all the others.  Only the KJV makes this distinction.  He called the church in Ephesus or the church in Sardis but here He called them the church of the Laodiceans.  They did not belong to Christ.  Jesus promises at the end to all who are lukewarm, He will vomit them out of His mouth.  This statement is literal.  In Matthew 7:23, Jesus says “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  These lukewarm people actually believe that they are saved but they are NOT.  In Matthew 7:22, Jesus says “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,  

The church here differs from the ideal attitude in Matthew 5:3 because they brag about how rich they are but Jesus says you are blessed when you consider yourself to be poor.  Matthew 5:3 says “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  The Laodicean’s trusted in physical things and wealth instead of God.

“The cause of Christ has been hurt more by Sunday-morning bench-warmers who pretend to love Christ, who call Him Lord but do not His commands, than by all the publicans and sinners.” (Havner)

The church was spiritually poor.  They were just blind to that fact. We know this because Jesus spelled it out for them.  The three big contrasts between their beliefs and their reality were:

  1. Between what they think they are and what they really are.
  2. Between what they see and what Jesus sees.
  3. Between the wealth and affluence of their city and their own spiritual bankruptcy.

The most important words in this verse are “You Are…”   The church in Smyrna thought they were Poor but were really Rich. This church thinks they are Rich but they are really Poor.

“The Laodiceans are typical of the modern world, which revels in that which the natural eye can see but is untouched by the gospel and does not see beyond the veil of the material to the unseen and real eternal spiritual riches.” (Walvoord) 

3:18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 

Jesus articulates verse 18 the way He does because these people understood commerce.  Buy!  Jesus instructs them to buy white garments because they were naked (Spiritually) and white garments represent salvation.  Based on the fact that they were spiritually naked, these people are not saved.  He told them to buy salve for their eyes because they were Spiritually Blind.  Jesus is not referring to actual Gold, Clothing, and eye salve here.  Their problem was Spiritual and not physical.  They need to buy these things from Jesus since He is the only one who possesses these things to give to them.  No amount of good works will ever earn them eternal life.  Jesus loves these lost people.  He said, “As many as I love…”  Jesus’ rebuke here is related to a Pastor’s calling in 2 Timothy 4:2 in that a Pastor is called to rebuke people even if it means they will hate him and turn against him.

“When you and I shall be stretched upon our dying beds,Then will our cold sermons, like sheeted ghosts, march before our eyes in dread array.” Charles Spurgeon

Jesus did not force salvation upon them. He knocked and waited to be asked in.  Jesus wants to come in and dine with us means He wants to have a deep, personal relationship with us.  The word for dine here is ‘deipnon’ and means “a long, leisurely meal”.  Jesus wants to have fellowship.  We must repent to open the door.  The first thing that has to happen is they must hear His voice.  The invitation given to the church is to individuals.  It says “If anyone…”

3:21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 

This verse tells us that the road to Jesus is not an easy one but He made it and we will too.  This verse differs from Mark 10:37 and Mark 10:40.  In Mark, Jesus is still in His human state and does not know who will sit where.  Now having returned to His glorified self, He shows that He and the Father are indeed one.  These verses in Mark refer to the question of whether James and John will sit to Jesus’ right or left.  Mark 10:40 says “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.

3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

This is a familiar verse.  Note that the last word is churches, not just the church.  This refers to the 7 churches of Revelation and to us, but it is especially important for us today.  We have learned that Jesus is doing the talking through His introduction to each church.  But each letter ends with the Holy Spirit doing the talking.  See Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:29,

Revelation 3:6, Revelation 3:13 and Revelation 3:22.  This proves beyond any doubt that the Trinity is real.

The Seven Churches Compared

These churches were representative of all churches this is the reason God wrote to only 7 churches while there were others, like Colossae (Colossians). 1 Corinthians 14:33 says “for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”  Paul wrote letters to 7 churches.  The number 7 is mentioned 490 times in the Bible.  It is taught, but NOT Biblically stated, that 7 is the number of completion and/or perfection in the Bible.  Check out the examples below:

  1. How many days in the Creation week? 7
  2. The Gospel of John contains how many “I Am” statements by Jesus? 7
  3. How many times will Israel be punished? Leviticus 26:18 7 times over
  4. How many woes, or punishments, does Jesus announce upon the unsaved in Matthew 23? 7
  5. How many parables are there in Matthew chapter 13? 7
  6. How many seals are there in Revelation? (8:1)   7
  7. How many angels stand before God? (Revelation 8:2) 7
  8. How many trumpets sound? (Revelation 8:2) 7
  9. How many of each clean animal did Noah take on the Ark? (Genesis 7:2) 7 pairs
  10. How many days did Israel march around Jericho? (Joshua 6:3-4) 7
  11. How many times did they blow their trumpets? 7
  12. How many things does the Lord detest? (Proverbs 6:16) 7 detestable things
  13. How many stems on a menorah? 7

Joseph Seiss describes the churches in 1900:

Ephesus           Apostolic Age – Before A.D. 100

Smyrna            Age of Persecution – 100 to 313 a.d.

Pergamos        Age of Worldliness – 1313-589

Thyatira          Age of Papacy – 590 to 1517

Sardis               Reformation Age – 1517 to 1730

Philadelphia  Missionary Age – 1730 to 1900

Laodicea          Age of Apostasy –  1900 to ?

 

Clarence Larkin describes the 7 churches in 1918:

Ephesian             70 to 170 A.D. – “The backslidden church.”

Smyrna                170 to 312 – “The persecuted church.”

Pergamite           312 to 606 – “The licentious church.” (Promiscuous)

Thyatiran            606 to 1520 – “A lax church.” (Relaxed. Not on guard)

Sardian                1520 to 1750 – “A dead church.”

Philadelphian    1750 to 1900 – “A favored church.”

Laodicean           1900 to the end – “A lukewarm church.”

 

Revelation 4  (NASB)

Scene in Heaven

Chapter 1 gave us “The things that were”.  Chapters 2-3 gave us “The things that are.”  And Chapters 4-22 will cover “The things which must shortly take place.”  The phrase ‘meta tauta’ appears twice in the first verse of Chapter 4 and means “after this or after these things”.  In the following verses the authors saw heaven in a vision from God.  In Isaiah 6:1, Isaiah saw heaven, in Ezekiel 1:1, so did Ezekiel and in Daniel 7:9, Daniel also saw heaven.  In Revelation, John uses a lot of symbolism.  Some things that are not symbolic in the rest of the Bible include: Jesus’ return, evil defeated, Lake of fire and . . .

“We ought to be equally content with that which is not revealed, as with that which is revealed.  If God wills us not to know, we ought to be satisfied with not knowing.  Depend on it, he has told us all about heaven that is necessary to bring us there; and if he had revealed more, it would have served rather for the gratification of our curiosity than for the increase of our grace.” (Spurgeon)

Chapters 4-19 of Revelation describe the Great Tribulation.  Revelation 4 also shows us the source of judgment.  Judgment occurs at God’s throne in heaven.

4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 

The phrase “After these things” refers to a time after the warnings to the church.  The phrase “a voice like a trumpet” is significant because this is how Israel summoned the people when it was time to move during the Exodus.  Many skeptics, pastors, and theologians teach us that verses 4-19 have already been fulfilled in the Old Testament.  We know they are wrong because Jesus is revealing things that will take place AFTER these things have occurred.  Specifically, this includes the time of the Gentiles.  Romans 11:25 also teaches us that there will be a Rapture.  The verse in Romans says “ I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;”  This verse in Romans also teaches us that God has NOT replaced Israel with the Church.  It is only a “partial hardening” of the hearts of the Jews.  John is called up to heaven by a trumpet.  We will be raptured with the call of a trumpet.   1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us so, “16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”  The church does not appear in chapters 4-19, which will deal with judgment on earth.

4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 

The phrase “in the Spirit” in Revelation 1:10 meant that John had received the Spirit of prophecy and was under its influence when he saw the first vision. This phrase “Immediately I was in the Spirit” points to an interlude in the vision.  He received the vision where Christ gave him the letters to the churches when he was summoned to heaven in Revelation 1:10.  Here at the beginning of Chapter 4, he is once again summoned to heaven which suggests there was a break in the vision.  He was still physically in Patmos but the visions that he is seeing are as real to him as if he were in heaven.  John was NOT actually physically in heaven.  John 3:13 tells us that “ No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.”  The first thing that John notices in his vision is the Throne.  He must have noticed it because it must have been beyond impressive.  Only the real ruler could possibly sit on this throne.

4:3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 

When John gets around to the One on the throne, this is the Father and not Jesus.  Psalm 47:8 tells us “God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.”  Likewise, Psalm 113:5 says “Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high.”  We can know for certain from Revelation 5:13.  This verse clearly shows that the One on the Throne is separate from the Lamb, Jesus.  It says “And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”  The shape or form is not given to the One on the throne and it does line up with Scripture.  Exodus 33:20 says “But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”  The two stones used to describe God are Sardis and Jasper.  They allude to or point to the first and last stones on the breastplate of the High Priest as described in Exodus 39:10 and 13 (KJV).  Other translations may say carnelian or ruby. Both are names for sardis.  The KJV translation says “10 And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row. . . .13 And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings.”  Theologian John Trapp (1601-1669) said about the rainbow: “Which is signum gratiae et foederis, a sign of grace and the covenant of mercy, which is always fresh and green about Christ’s throne of grace.”

4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.

The next thing John sees are 24 thrones.  And then he sees the 24 elders, they aren’t blind robots but all-seeing intelligent beings.  The 24 Elders may represent the 24 priestly divisions of Israel.  (See 1 Chronicles 24.)  They are clothed in white robes.  We are unsure whether these are people or angels.  Revelation 7:9 says After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;”   The following verses do not clarify it either because both angels and humans are shown wearing white robes.

Mark 16:5           “Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.

John 20:12          “and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying”

Acts 1:10             “And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.”

At the end of this verse says that the 24 Elders are also wearing crowns.  This tells us positively that the elders are humans/people because the following verses tell us that only humans are given crowns.  (See 1 Corinthians 9:25, 2 Timothy 4:8 and 1 Peter 5:4).

The Throne and Worship of the Creator

4:5 Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; 

This verse confirms that it is God seated on the throne because it is the same way God spoke to Moses and all of Israel.  (See  Exodus 19:16-19 and Exodus 20:18.)   The seven lamps of fire represent the Holy Spirit.  Isaiah 11:2 gives the seven spirits of God which are the Holy Spirit.  “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”  The Holy Spirit is described as tongues of fire in Acts 2:3.

4:6 and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.

The sea of glass most likely represents the Bronze Laver in the inner tabernacle.  The priest would wash in a laver (pool of water) before going before the Ark of the Covenant.  It is like the cleansing power of God.  Ephesians 5:26 says “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word”.  Some versions say it is a sea of glass and some that it just appears that way.  What do you think and why? (No right or wrong answers because no one knows for sure).  Exodus 24:10 calls it a pavement made of sapphire. It could be the same type of vision.

The 4 living beings were cherubims.  (See Ezekiel 10:20-22.)  The Hebrew word “keruvim” is used here and it means “like a young child”.  Not to be fooled by their appearance, their role is to guard the garden entrance they also cover the Holy of Holies.  Genesis 3:24 says “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”  (See also Exodus 25:18-20.)  Satan was one of these creatures.  Ezekiel 28 is referring to Satan and verse 14 of Ezekiel says “You were the anointed cherub who guards/covers and I placed you there.”  The Ark needed to be covered with cherubims and it confirms that John is seeing the throne because God’s throne is set up the same way in Heaven.  Exodus 25:8-9 says “8 Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.9 According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”  Some versions say “creatures” and some say “beasts.” Both are incorrect.  The word used is ‘zoon’ and means “living ones”.  It differs from the word ‘therion’ which does translate as “wild creatures or beasts”.  ‘Therion’ is used in Revelation 13 to describe the beast coming out of the sea.  It is uncertain what the phrase ‘Full of eyes’ shows.  Some say it is the 4 gospels but some believe that they show God’s Omniscience (all-knowing) and omnipotence (unlimited power).

4:7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.

It is not known what the four living ones represent.  Some believe they are a special, exalted order of angelic being or cherubim.  Some say they are the sons of Levi or the four Gospels.  The figure below and the subsequent table have been used by theologians to try to explain the descriptions of the four creatures using the Gospels and the Order of Encampment.  The heads of the creatures have been assigned to the directions of the Order of Encampment or to each of the Gospels.  This shows the lengths that men will go to understand the symbolism found in Revelation.

Gospel
Primary Audience
Portrait of Jesus
Key Verses
Face
Camp of Israel
Matthew
Jews
King Messiah
Mat. 1:1; 16:16; 20:28
Lion (Gen. 49:9; Rev. 5:5+)
Judah (East)
Mark
Romans
Lowly Servant
Mark 1:8; 8:27; 10:45; 15:34
Ox
Ephraim (West)
Luke
Hellenists
Son of Man
Luke 19:10
Man (Dan. 7:13+)
Reuben (South)
John
Greek World
Son of God (Ps. 2:7; Pr. 30:4)
John 20:31
Eagle (Gen. 49:16)
Dan (North)

4:8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almightywho was and who is and who is to come.”

This verse is one of the few places in the New Testament where the same word is repeated three times in successions.  This is very significant.  The ceaseless behavior of the 4 living creatures shows that there is no fatigue in Heaven.  They never need to rest.  The phrase “Who was, Who is, and Who is to come” shows us that God had no creator.  He has no beginning and no end.  He is the Alpha and the Omega and everything in between.  Think hard.  What does the phrase “and is to come” tell us about the cosmic battle of spiritual warfare?  It tells us that Satan loses and he is trying to take as many as possible with him.

4:9 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

The 24 elders are humans and not angels because in the nowhere in the Scriptures are we are told that angels have crowns.   There are five different types of crowns mentioned in Scripture as rewards for believers.  The five crowns and what they are rewards for. . .

1 Corinthians 9:25          Imperishable crown for being faithful under trials, don’t give up.

1 Thessalonians 2:19     Crown of joy or rejoicing.  Those who have led others to Christ.

Philippians 4:4                 Crown of joy or rejoicing.  Those who have led others to Christ.

2 Timothy 4:8                   Crown of righteousness.  Given by Christ Himself to believers.

1 Peter 5:4                          Crown of Glory.  Allowing the glory of God to shine through us. Usually refers to Deacons, Elders, Pastors, Sunday School teachers. (Those who help others grow in their walk with Christ.

Revelation 2:10                Crown of Life. Eternal life.

1 John 2:25

Isaiah 42:8 says “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”  Isaiah 48:11 says “And My glory I will not give to another.”  Romans 8:18 says the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  These verses are related because they talk about God’s glory.

We give our crowns back to God in praise.  We do not deserve the crowns.  He alone is worthy of these gifts.  Without Him, we are nothing and would have nothing of lasting value.  See Revelation 4:11.  According to this same verse in the King James version, we were created for God’s pleasure, and we should live triumphantly because God delights in us just the way we are, flaws and in light of this.  Revelation 4:11 – KJV – “Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

 

Revelation 5  (NASB)

The Book with Seven Seals

5:11 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.

The scroll and the Lamb become the focus of chapter 5.  The scroll is at the right hand of God.  The right hand of God indicates all power and authority.  It was not common to write on both sides of a scroll.  If the scroll described here is similar to the ones written at the time of Revelation, it would be 15 feet long.  The Romans affixed 7 seals on their Roman last will and testament.  This could indicate that these are God’s final words on the matter.  A scroll had 7 strings sealed with wax seals.  The seals had to be opened in a particular order.  Each of the seven seals represented a witness.  What do you think is written on the scroll?  (No one knows for sure so there are no wrong answers, as long as they don’t violate known Scripture.) Some believe the names of the saved or future events or God’s plans are written on the scrolls.  Ezekiel 2:9-10 says “Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe.”  (Great Tribulation)  The content of the scroll is not emphasized here.  The one holding the scroll and the seals is emphasized here.

5: And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 

Gabriel is this strong angel.  Gabriel issues a challenge asking Who is worthy to open the book.  At this point, no one steps forward.   Of course, this was a rhetorical question.  Not only can no one open the scroll, no one can even open, look or read it.  John weeps because nobody is good enough.  But there is one. . .

5:5 and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 

One of the 24 elders comforts John.  This elder was a person and not an angel. (Remember from chapter 4.)  Jesus is first described as the Lion.  The title, “the Lion” comes from the Lion of Judah prophesied by Hosea in Hosea 11:10.  It says, “They will walk after the Lord, He will roar like a lion.”  (See also Genesis 49:9-10 and Isaiah 31:4.)   The phrase “The root of David” comes from the tribe of Judah.  After seeing Jesus as a lion, John immediately sees Him as the Lamb.  The lamb is slain, yet shown standing and alive.  This is important to understand because it is in reference to the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus.  Even though the Lamb still bears the marks of His death, he is not shown as a pitiful figure, but as a figure of absolute authority.  Throughout Scripture, Eyes represent knowledge (Zechariah 4:10 and 3:9) while horns represent power.  The Lamb takes the scroll which indicates that all power was given to Jesus.  In Matthew 28:18, “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

5:8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they *sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

Angels Exalt the Lamb

Immediately as the authority is passed from the Father to the Son, the Four living creatures and the 24 elders all fall down and praise Jesus.  (Rev 4:4 and Rev 4:8)  Each of them has a harp and golden bowls.  They present the golden bowls to the Lamb.  The bowls contain our prayers (of the saints).  Believers are commonly referred to as saints.  This is important.  The elders and four living creatures are not praying for the saints because we are already with God in Heaven.  The prayers mixed with incense show that the prayers are sweet to God.  Psalm 141:2a says May my prayer be counted as incense before You”.   God only keeps the prayers of the saints.  Next, they sing a new song.  It is a new song but they all know the words.

In chapter 4, Revelation’s emphasis was on the throne.  Here it is on the Lamb, He is the only one to redeem us to the Father.

The phrase “You were slain” shows the price of redemption.

The phrase “Have redeemed us” shows the path or destination of redemption.

The phrase ‘To God” shows the work of redemption.

The phrase “By your blood shows the cost of redemption.

The phrase “every tribe . . .” shows the scope of redemption.

The phrase “Have made us kings and priests” shows the value of redemption.

The phrase “Shall reign on the earth” shows the result of redemption.

5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

This is not the same group and the same song as in verses 9-10.  We know this because His blood redeems only believers and angels do not need saving.   We know that angels don’t need saving because of what it says in 1 Peter 1:12.  “They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you.  And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.  It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.(NLT)  There are too many angels to count in these verses.  This shows the power of God because He has power over all the angels and one angel has killed 185,000 men. Isaiah 37:36 – NLT says, “That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers.”  Matthew 26:53 – NASB – “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”   There are 6,000 angels in 12 legions (Remember what one angel did).

5:13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

John wrote “Every creature . . .”  and he means everything created as in Genesis 1:1.  (see Numbers 22:26-32.) – Psalm 148 lists everything that should praise God including the heavens, in all heights, all His angels, all His hosts, sun and moon, all stars of light, highest heavens . . . the list goes on and on.  This Psalm means to verbally praise God or to cause people to praise God in the beauty of their existence.  Verse 13 shows that there is no place that you can get away from God.  Romans 1:25 says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

 

This chapter ends with an amazing worship of God.  In verse 14, the word “worship” translates as ‘prosekynēsan’.  God will be God for all eternity.

Revelation 6  (NASB)

The First Seal—Rider on White Horse

6:1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

Remember, a scroll was usually sealed with 7 seals with seven witnesses.  The seals on the last scroll had to be opened in sequence.  The Lamb, Jesus opens the seal.  This appears to be a separate vision.  The order to “Come and see?” is given by one of the four living creatures.  The scene immediately changes from heaven to earth.  The Antichrist is riding on this White Horse and he brings a bow but no arrows.   In Revelation 19:11-16 the one riding the white horse will be Jesus and He brings peace.  In Matthew 24:4-5, the Antichrist and False prophet will be trying to mislead us.  We know because he comes to bring war, famine and strife.  Jesus comes bringing peace.

If we see the Tribulation period as being 7 years, and the Great Tribulation as being the last 3 ½ years, this rider will come at the halfway point or midpoint.  Daniel 9:27 tells us when the treaty is broken at the halfway point.  1 Thessalonians 5:3 says that it will happen “While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  From the verse in Daniel 9:27, this treaty is not made with Israel but with many nations.

The Second Seal—War

6:3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

This rider brings wars, rumors of war, famine and earthquakes.  Matthew 24:6-7 tells us so, “6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.”  This is accomplished because God’s peace is removed from the earth.  The rider of the red horse was given a sword but he doesn’t have to do anything.  God is still in control.   The rider does not have to do any provoking of the men.  The second living creature is doing the talking in these verses.

The Third Seal—Famine

6:5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

This rider brings famine (See Matthew 24:7 above).  The rider carries scales.  They are to carefully weigh and measure food during the great famine.  Wheat has three times the value of barley.  These prices were about 12 times higher than normal.  The oil and the wine were not to be harmed because they were luxuries or because they are used in the temple.

The Fourth Seal—Death

6:7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The fourth living creature is doing the talking here. This rider brings death and Hades.  This is important because Hades contains the Antichrist followers.  There are no believers left in Hades.  Christ had set them free in 3 days after the crucifixion.  Jesus says this time period (Great Tribulation) is the worst it has ever been or will ever be.  Matthew 24:21 says “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”   God is in control and puts a limit of one-quarter of the population of the world can be killed.  The Greek word for “pale” is ‘chlōros’ and it means decomposing corpse.  The “Wild Beasts” may mean animals like bears and lions.  The Greek word is ‘thēriōn’.  It is used 37 times in Revelation and refers to the Antichrist and his demons.  We know the church is gone at this point because the peace has been taken from the world.  The one who restrains evil is already gone.  2 Thessalonians 2:7 tells us “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”  The one who restrains evil is Jesus, Holy Spirit, the Church, Michael ??  We don’t know.  DanieI12:1 says that Michael is the guardian angel of Israel.  He represents them in Spiritual war.  According to Daniel, all nations have guardian angels.

The church is gone, it is confirmed by Revelation 3:10.  It says Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

The Fifth Seal—Martyrs

6:9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

The scene changes from earth to heaven with the opening of the 5th seal.  These souls are probably not the people killed during the Tribulation.  This is the very beginning of the Tribulation.  These people cry out for revenge.  They are asking God to avenge their deaths.  We should not “seek” vengeance.  Romans 12:19 tells us to leave it to God.  From the same verse in Romans, we can be assured that God will get vengeance for you.  Genesis 4:10 tells us that our blood will cry out for vengeance, we don’t have to ask for it.  There will be saved people during the Tribulation.  Anyone who has heard the Gospel before the Rapture will NOT be saved during the Tribulation.  2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 tells us that if you have heard the Gospel message before the Rapture, then you will be confused and unable to understand the salvation plan. 

The Sixth Seal—Terror

12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

This “Great day of His wrath” is an unspecified amount of time.  We find that in the Bible that if the word “day” has a number associated with it then it is a 24 hour period.  In this verse, the number is missing so it is an unspecified amount of time.  Read the following verses, they are all associated with a number.

Genesis 1:5                “one day” – 24 hours

Genesis 1:8                “a second day” – 24 hours

Genesis 1:13              “a third day” – 24 hours

Genesis 1:19              “a fourth day” – 24 hours

Genesis 1:23              “a fifth day” – 24 hours

Genesis 1:31              “a sixth day” – 24 hours

Genesis 2:2                “a seventh day” – 24 hours

The following verses are talking about a 24 hour day or an undetermined amount of time.

Haggai 1:1                  “on the first day” – 24 hours

Zechariah 7:1            “on the fourth day” – 24 hours

Malachi 4:5                No number – unspecified amount of time

Matthew 11:24         No number – unspecified amount of time

Matthew 16:21         “third day” – 24 hours

Matthew 27:64         “third day” – 24 hours

The major difference between the troubles on the earth between the first four seals and the 6th seal is that God does not send anyone else.  Remember with each of the first four seals, God sent a rider.  This is God’s first direct intervention with the affairs of man.

The first calamity is an earthquake.  This is the period spoken of by Jesus in Matthew chapter 24.   Before any of these things happens, many will come claiming to be the Christ.  Matthew 24:4-5 says “And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.“   Zephaniah 1:15-16 is also describing these events.  It says:

A day of wrath is that day,
A day of trouble and distress,
A day of destruction and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of trumpet and battle cry
Against the fortified cities
And the high corner towers.”

 These events are also recorded in Joel 2:10-11.  These things happen all at the same instant, immediately.  Matthew 24:29 says “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”  These are actual events.  The people on earth in these days hid from God instead of praying to Him.  Just as Adam and Eve did after they sinned.  The stars falling from the sky is a literal event.  Isaiah 34:4 says:

“And all the host of heaven will wear away,
And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll;
All their hosts will also wither away
As a leaf withers from the vine,
Or as one withers from the fig tree.”

The following verses all tell us that believers can stand.  Romans 5:1-2, 1 Corinthians 15:1 and 1 Peter 5:12.

The best thing about the coming events is that the church has been raptured.  These events as well as those to come, will not impact believers.  IT WILL GET WORSE!!!

 

Revelation 7 (NASB)

An Interlude

7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”

The four corners of the earth, or four winds in some versions, is believed by most to represent all four directions.  In Scripture, wind shows God’s power because wind is God’s power.   See Hosea 13:15, Exodus 14:21 and Genesis 8:1. Psalm 78:26 says “He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His power He directed the south wind.”  The four angels in verse 1 are holding back God’s final judgment.  Before we get to the next angel, we must answer this. Where is the church?  The Rapture has occurred and we are with Jesus in Heaven.  Every day sunrise happens every morning.  This new angel arising in the east symbolizes God’s mercy and love.  Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.  23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

This new angel has a seal of the living God.  A 5th angel appears to be “calling the shots’ here.  The first thing this new angel does is tell other four angels to stop.  Why?  If the winds are stopped no more people could be saved.  There is a chance for the 144,000 to be saved.   Revelation 14:1- (Remember the church is gone.)  This event is similar to Ezekiel 9:1-4, and they are describing the same events.  In the following verses who was “Sealed”.

John 6:27                                           Jesus

2 Corinthians 1:21-22                   believers

Ephesians 1:13                                 believers

Ephesians 4:30                                 believers

That seal absolutely guarantees that every believer cannot lose salvation.

The 144,000

And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

There are 144,000 people sealed.   These people are Jews.  From each of the 12 tribes of Israel, there are 12,000.  The tribe of Dan is not mentioned in Revelation. Many scholars believe it is because the Antichrist will come from that tribe. (Many, however, don’t believe that is the reason). A case can be made from Scripture that the tribe of Dan had no respect for the God of their ancestors.  See Daniel 11:37, Jeremiah 8:16, Genesis 49:17 and Judges 18:30 says “The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; “

Jeremiah 8:16 and 17 say “From Dan is heard the snorting of his horses; at the sound of the neighing of his stallions the whole land quakes; . . . For behold, I am sending serpents against you, Adders, for which there is no charm, And they will bite you,” declares the Lord.”

Jesus will return to the Mt. of Olives when He comes back to earth. (see Zechariah 14:4.)  These 144,000 cannot be killed during the Tribulation, God’s mark is on their foreheads. Revelation 14:1  says “Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”   The word “Israel” is used 65 times in the New Testament.  The word “Israel” has never represented anyone other than the actual Jews.

A Multitude from the Tribulation

7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Next, John sees masses of people too many to count, more than the grains of sand.  The significance of these people is that they are from everywhere, not just Jews.  It tells us that there will be Gentiles in Heaven.  These people are standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They are clothed in white robes.  The white robes signify priestly service and righteousness.  (Revelation 1:6 and

Revelation 19:8).  The last time people waved palm branches, they were yelling Hosanna or Save us now. John 12:12-16.   This shows us He was doing what the people wanted.  Savior to come.  Salvation.

7: 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Everyone in Heaven is now singing praises to God.  (7:4, 7:9, 7:11)  This will include us.  Read Matthew 24:30-31.  “30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”  All people on the earth mourn.  All of the saved people are already in heaven.  This can be explained because of the Rapture.

 A few thoughts about the Rapture.

Most Bible skeptics and rapture deniers teach that the “theory” was invented by a man named John Darby in 1830 and that it was never taught prior to 1830.  There are two problems with that reasoning.  First, many prominent early church leaders taught the Rapture, including Irenaeus, an understudy of Polycarp, an understudy of the writer of Revelation, the Apostle John, an understudy of Jesus.

Another is Cypriot, who lived within 120 years of John the Apostle. He was a Bible apologist, one who defends correct Bible teachings, and was martyred for his teachings on the Rapture.

There are many dozens of others, but the point is that the Rapture “theory” was not invented in 1830.  Point number two comes from Daniel 12:4. NASB – “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.”

So even if the teaching didn’t start until 1830, it is a moot point because God himself said that there would be things in the Bible we wouldn’t understand until the end times.

7:13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

One of the elders asked John who these people were.  John had him answer his own question.  They were martyred during the Tribulation.  People will be saved during the Tribulation.  For the people who never had a chance, i.e. babies and mentally challenged.  We know this because it says so.  The significance of these particular people (who were saved during the Tribulation) is that there are still people on the earth who haven’t heard the Gospel.  They will learn of Jesus from an angel that proclaims it.  Revelation 14:6 says “6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people”.

They get saved just like we did, by the blood.  (Read Acts 20:28, Hebrews 9:22, Romans 3:25, Romans 5:9 and Ephesians 1:7 (“Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”)

 7:15 For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16 They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

When you die in Christ, we will be in God’s presence in an instant.  2 Corinthians 5:8 says “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”  The phrase “serve him day and night’ tells us that we won’t be tired, serving 24/7.  These verses give an indication of how these saints suffered during the tribulation with hunger, thirst, torment by the Sun, crying . . .  In order to “wipe away every tear”, heaven must have no sadness, no memory of any bad, only good in heaven, we will not see our family that are not saved.

 

Revelation 8  (NASB)

The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets

8:1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 

Why do you think there is a half hour of silence?  Could it be there to add “Anticipation”, a dramatic pause, it could be God getting ready for judgment.  The Scroll is about to be fully open.

8:2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

The Greek word for trumpet is ‘salpinx’.  It is never used in Scriptures as a musical instrument.  This word for trumpet is used in the Bible as a call to arms or battle cry.  But not just any action:

Joel 2:1                 The Lord is coming

Exodus 19:19       God spoke

Leviticus 25:9     Day of atonement

Isaiah 27:13        Day of atonement

God is getting ready to do something every time the trumpet sounds.

8:3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.

The following verses explain who offered the prayers and the incense in the Tabernacle on behalf of the Israelites:

1 Samuel 2:28                   Priest

1 Chronicle 6:49              Aaron – high priest

Luke 1:8-9                          Priest

Jesus is now our high priest.  Based on those teachings, Jesus most likely is the angel offering the bowl with the incense to God.

Is Jesus ever called an angel elsewhere in Scripture?

Genesis 16:7 and 10.   “the angel of the Lord said to her (Sarai), “I will greatly                    multiply your descendants”  Only Jesus could make the promise

Exodus 3:2            “The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush”

Judges 2:1             “The angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt . . .” 

Isaiah 37:36          “Angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians . . . they were dead.”

In each of these verses Jesus is described as the angel of the Lord.  The bowl contains two things:  incense and the prayers of the saints.  The incense is a sweet aroma to God.  The incense is sacrificial burnt offering (see Leviticus 1:12-13).   We know that this is the blood of Christ being offered because of the sweet smell for those who are saved.  2 Corinthians 2:15 says “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”.   The prayers of the saints also come before God.  Jesus, the angel, adds fire to the golden censer.  And then He hurled it to the earth which further confirms this is Christ and not just an ordinary angel.   This shows us an extremely important thing, it shows us that there are many prayers and they are valuable to God because they are all heard and all saved by God.  The way we as God’s children have been mistreated brings God’s wrath on nonbelievers.

Read Proverbs 25:21-22, and Luke 6:28 says “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  We are told to bless our enemies by showing kindness and we are to pray for them.  This gives them an opportunity to see Christ working through us.  If they don’t, God promises to avenge us.  Romans12:19 says “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”

The high priest. The bowls of incense (Christ’s blood).  Your prayers.  Unanswered prayer.  Loving your enemies.  God’s wrath.

Is it making sense now?

When our prayers come back to earth, the beginning of the judgment of God comes with them.

There are 7 angels.

There are 7 Bowls.

There are 7 trumpets which will signal judgments.

The number seven (7) is mentioned 463 times in Scripture.

The following verses tell us what accompanies the last bowl being thrown to earth.  Revelation 8:5 says “there followed (1) peals of thunder and sounds and (2) flashes of lightning and (3) an earthquake”  See Revelation 8:5, Revelation 11:19 and Revelation 16:18.  These three things cause in men to have fear.

8:7 The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Three things fell from the sky in this verse, hail, fire and blood.  Hail and fire fell from the sky during the 7th plague against Egypt.  (See Exodus 9:23)  The result of this first trumpet punishment is a third of the trees and all of the grass are wiped out.  The result will be food shortages, chaos and disease.  In the Egyptian plague, the result was all vegetation was struck down and it included breaking branches.  (See Exodus 9:25.)  Exodus and Revelation appear to be to have the same result because a fraction of the world was affected.  All of Egypt was affected by the Exodus plagues but here 1/3 of the world was affected.

8:8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

This “great mountain” is something like an actual mountain or maybe a volcano.   It could be a big mass of fire.  The Sea became blood.  Only one-third of the seas turn to blood.  One-third of living sea creatures died.  One-third of the ships on the seas were destroyed.  God’s first plague against Egypt the water turned to blood.  (See Exodus 7:17.)  The result of the first plague in Egypt was that the fish died, the water was too foul to drink.  Besides the rivers and lakes, the Mediterranean Sea may have turned to blood.  (See Exodus 7:21)  A lot of scientists and even pastors try to explain away this plague as being red algae.  We know they are absolutely wrong because it says all water, even the water in buckets, pitchers, etc. were turned to blood.  (See Exodus 7:19.)

8:10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

In these verses we see another fiery object thrown to Earth.  This time it seems to affect all of the water on the Earth.  In each judgment, one-third of the target gets destroyed.  “Wormwood” is a bitter desert plant that resembles sagebrush.  The word wormwood appears several times in the Old Testament, it is related to bitterness and a feeling of grief.

8:12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”

All light will be reduced by one-third.  Two ways the darkening might happen are the Sun is one-third dimmer or the Sun is visible only one-third of the time.  While no one is certain, the Sun being one-third dimmer makes the most sense.  Things about to go from bad to worse and we

Know because three words are used in sequence.  Woe, woe, woe!  These judgments all are directed against things that we take for granted, all elements of the Earth, Creation, water and plants.  These verses once again verify that there will be a Rapture.  Romans 1:25 helps to confirm that because Creation is being worshipped instead of the Creator.  Romans 1:25 tells us “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

Revelation 9 (NASB)

The Fifth Trumpet—the Bottomless Pit

9:1 Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.

The word fallen here is past tense. It has already happened.  In the previous verses, the use of the word star was literal. (6:12-17 and 8:12).  Here we know it is a created being by the use of the word ‘him.’   This star is Satan.    We know that it could be Satan there are different names for Satan.  (See Luke 10:18 and Revelation 9:11.)  Revelation 8:12 says “They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.”

Some of the arguments that this is not Satan include God would not give the key to Satan.  Satan is never the master of anything.  This bottomless pit is Hell or Hades or Abyss.  We know this is not the Lake of fire described in Revelation 20:10 because this is not the final place.  The lake of fire in Revelation 20:10 is the final place for Satan.  The Greek word for ‘bottomless pit’ is ‘abyssos’ and it translates as ‘abyss’ and means great depth or underworld.  Where is this pit?

Romans 10:7.                    Down

Ephesians4:8-11             Descended before ascending

Matthew 12:40                 Heart of the earth

Isaiah 14:9                         Sheol beneath – Hell or Hades

Proverbs 15:24.               The grave is down. (Not NLT)

Most convincing evidence – Numbers 16:30-33. (NASB Best)  This text describes when the earth opened up and swallowed the people who opposed Moses (in the Hebrew nation).  They were sent down to Sheol.

Numbers 16:30 “But if the Lord brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the Lord.”

31 As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.” 

Revelation 5:3 uses the terms “in heaven or on the earth or under the earth”

9:2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to 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. And 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. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.

Remember that John is describing something no one has ever seen before.  Satan as a red being with horns and demonic interpretations didn’t exist yet.  So these locusts are demons and the leader is Apollyon (Satan).  Revelation 9:11 says “They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.”  Satan is in control here and there are four clues that prove it.  (1) Power was given to them.  (2) They cannot attack the trees or grass.  (3)  They can’t touch those with the seal of God.  (4)  For a 5 month time limit, they cannot kill people.  The word ‘power’ is ‘exousia’ and means permission.  This will be a period of unimaginable torment.   Humans will try to kill themselves but they cannot.  It says they will seek death but they will not succeed.

9:7 The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. 

John consistently uses the word “like” which tells us that he was seeing things that he could explain so he used what he knew and added like.  The fact that they have both human and animal characteristics is meant to instill fear.   We can draw the conclusions that these creatures were fierce, brutal and unstoppable.

9:11 They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.

This verse proves that these are demonic forces and NOT literal locusts because they have a king who is Satan.  Proverbs 30:27 says “The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks.”   This king is Satan.  We cannot be sure because it differs by Biblical scholar but it is Satan or a demonic being.  The words ‘Abaddon’ and ‘Apollyon’ both translate as “Destroyer”.

9:12 The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.

Verse 12 tells us in modern language that the worst is yet to come.

The Sixth Trumpet—Army from the East

9:13 Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 

In the Old Testament, the golden altar was the altar of incense and represented the prayers of God’s people.  Two things are extremely important about the horns of the altar.  First Exodus 29:37 tells us that they are holy.  Exodus 29:42 tells us that God’s presence is on the altar.  He came down to talk to His people.  When God removed His presence from Israel, He cut off the horns and they fell to the ground and the altars were destroyed.  Amos 3:14 says “On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.”  Blood was applied to the horns of the altar.  It was a sweet aroma to God.  See the following verses in Leviticus.  (See Leviticus 4:18, Leviticus 4:25, Leviticus 4:30 and Leviticus 4:34.)  The blood was to purify the altar and to make atonement for sin.  (See Leviticus 8:15.)  Jesus referred to as the horn of salvation in Luke 1:67-69.  “ And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:  68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant.”

9:14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. 

These are evil angels.  Jude 6 says “ And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”  These “angels” do not free themselves because free will was taken away from them.  God “prepared” these demons to kill.  Just like in Jonah 1:17 says “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (KJV)

The demons described earlier as locusts killed 1/4 of mankind.  These demons will kill 1/3 of the remaining people.  By the end of this trumpet, 50% of mankind will be dead.

9:16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.

There are 200 million riders there.  To put this in scale, all the militaries combined involved in WWII was less than 50 million soldiers.  Bible scholars believe that they are an army of demons.  The riders are not described here but the riders’ armor and horses are.  Fire, smoke and sulfur proceed out of their mouths and their horses’ tails are like serpents shows that these are demons and not humans.

9:20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

Even now, with half of all humans dead, these people will not turn to God.  These verses show that man will always break the second commandment (idolatry).  Exodus 20:5 says “You shall have no other gods before Me.”   They worship graven images.

Revelation 10  (NASB)

The Angel and the Little Book

10:1 I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire;

After the sixth seal, there was a pause.  After the sixth trumpet ended chapter 9, there is also a pause.  The pause occurs to show God is giving people a chance to choose Jesus.  John first describes seeing another mighty angel. He is described as “another mighty angel, clothed with a cloud;  and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire”  This is not Jesus.  Revelation 1:15-16 describes Jesus differently, “His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”  Besides “mighty’ John used the word “another” to describe this angel.  The original Greek word is ‘allos’ which means “another of the same kind”.  We can know that this is not Jesus because he did not bow down and worship Him.  Revelation 1:17 say “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.”  We can know from just this one verse that this is not Jesus because he came down from heaven to earth.  Jesus is going to meet us in a cloud first.  This is the Rapture.   On this angel’s head is a rainbow.  In Genesis 9:13-15 tells us the rainbow symbolizes a covenant that God will never destroy life with a flood again.

10: and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.

The “little book” here and the scroll in Revelation chapter 4 are alike in that the Scriptures do not tell us what is written on it.  The fact that the angel stands on both land and sea shows that it is not Jesus and that they have complete authority.  The seven thunders are most likely the voice of God.  Job 37:2-5 says several times that “God thunders with His voice wondrously.”  In Psalm 29:3-9, the voice of God is mentioned seven times.

10:4 When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, 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.” 

God tells John something and then tells him not to write it down.  God is in control and this is not the proper time.  God is the only one who needs to know.  Maybe it is more than we can take.

10:5 Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.

Verse 5 and 6 further confirm that the angel is not Jesus in that “the angel swore by Him who lives forever and ever.  If this was Jesus then He would be swearing by Himself.   The “mystery” means that the truth is revealed with no more delay.  We could already know this mystery because it was already announced to the prophets but the people refused to listen.

10:8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they *said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”

We know that this is the same voice that spoke to John in Revelation 4:1 because it was the second time that John heard from God, “I heard again speaking with”.  The following verses tell us about times when God told others to ‘eat” His Word, it tasted like:

Jeremiah 15:16                 Good

Ezekiel 3:1-3                     Sweet as honey

Psalm 34:8                         Nothing wrong with God’s word

It was “sweet” to his mouth but “bitter” in his stomach because it is Good News also God’s word reveals judgment.  God tells John he must prophecy “again because the Jews rejected Jesus the first time.  Verse 11 tells us that God does not give up.  He still offers grace and salvation up to the very end.

Revelation 11 (NASB)

Most Bible scholars believe that the 11th chapter of Revelation is the most difficult chapter of any book in the Bible to understand.

The Two Witnesses

11:1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 

The measuring of the temple shows God knows every inch of it.  Nothing is hidden from Him.  This is probably the third and final Temple in Jerusalem that we are talking about.  Daniel 12:11 says “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.”  Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 also refer to the third Temple.  2 Thessalonians 2:4 says that the Antichrist “will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.”

11:2 Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. 

The phrase “don’t measure the outer court” is significant because the outer court is where those who do not belong to God are.   Three and a half years is equal to 42 months and 1260 days.  We are talking about the second half or last 3 ½ years of Tribulation.

11:3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.

The two witnesses will witness for 3 ½ years.  We are not sure if this is the same 3 ½ years as verse 2.  Revelation 11:7 tells us that they die and Revelation 11:10 tells us what happens after they die.  It says “All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them.”  The two witnesses get their power from God because they belong to God.  The exact identity of the two witnesses is not known.  Matthew 17:3 says they are Moses and Elijah.  2 Kings 2:11, Genesis 5:23 and Hebrews 11:5 name Elijah and Enoch.  Zechariah 4:11-14 say that they are Joshua and Zerubbabel.  Based on Hebrews 9:27, the most likely pair are Enoch and Elijah but we still don’t know.  Hebrews 9:27 says “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”  Elijah called down fire on them and the fire came out of their mouths.  2 Kings 1:12 says “Elijah replied to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.”  The phrase “shut up heaven” means no rain.  According to James 5:17-18, Elijah shut up the heavens for 3 ½ years.  All of the nouns used to describe these two witnesses are masculine and show that they are males.

11:7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

Their testimony lasted until they finish their testimony.  3 ½ years is not the answer in these verses.  The beast / Satan kills them.  This is the first of 38 references to the beast in the book of Revelation.  The Greek word for “witnesses” is actually ‘martyria’ and it means martyr.  Verse 7 reveals an important concept that you are not done on earth until the moment God is done with you.  Being a witness is something we are but giving testimony is something we do.  Half of the Bible scholars believe “the great city” is Jerusalem and the remaining scholars believe that it is Rome.  When the two witnesses are finally killed, the people are happy, there is a celebration.  They celebrate because the witnesses have told them the truth and they didn’t want to hear it.

11:11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

They leave them lying in the street for 3 ½ days.  This is significant in Jewish culture because it was an insult to them to not be buried on the same day that they died.  God turns Satan’s mockery into absolute fear when God brings them back to their feet.  The celebration comes to an abrupt end because of this great fear.  Everyone hears God “call them back to heaven.”  Their enemies see them ascend into heaven.  Next, there is an earthquake.  It is not known whether people repent and turn to God after this happened.

The Seventh Trumpet—Christ’s Reign Foreseen

11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,

“We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.18 And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

19 And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

The seventh trumpet sounds after the two witnesses are taken to heaven.  Jesus does not return to set up His millennial (1000 year) reign yet.  Satan still rules on earth.  The phrase “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ” means it is a done deal.  It is going to happen, you can count on it.  The 24 elders worship God again.  They are giving thanks while Satan still rules on Earth because they know what is going to happen.  The people are angry because they don’t want God to be king.  Luke 19:14 says that “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’  The first thing John sees when the temple is opened is the Ark of the Covenant.  The chapter ends with flashes of lightning, peals of thunder and an earthquake and hailstorm.

 

Revelation 12 (NASB)

The Woman, Israel

12:1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;2 and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

John will record 7 signs that he tells us about.  This sign he calls a great sign.  In Greek, this is a ‘mega semeion’ which means “A symbol that points beyond the actual sign”.  This sign points to real events.  Though the Catholic church teaches that the woman is Mary, the rest of Scripture clearly shows that the woman is Israel.  For example, Isaiah 9:6 is the prophecy of the birth of the Messiah and says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;  And the government will rest on His shoulders;  And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

The woman is persecuted in verse 12:13.  Scripture does not show Mary being sent back to earth to be persecuted and she was not persecuted while on Earth.  So the woman is clearly Israel.  If the mother is Israel, then the child must be Jesus. (See Revelation 12:5 below).

The Red Dragon, Satan

12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

The dragon is Satan, the devil, Beelzebub. . .   see Revelation 12:9. Most scholars think this refers to the kingdoms in Daniel 7:7-8 and that the little horn from that vision represents the Roman Empire.  The phrase “a third of the stars” refers to the angels that follow Satan.  See Revelation 12:9.  So far, these events are future.  Verse 4 is history because it refers to the past.  Matthew 2:16 tells us about Herod slaughtering the babies.  It says “Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.”

The Male Child, Christ

12:5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Verse 5 shows that the child can not be the church as some suggest. The church will not rule with a rod of iron. This can only refer to the Christ.  Verse 5 gives us the span of Christ’s ministry.  The word “caught up” is ‘harpazo’.  The same word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and refers to the Rapture of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 says “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”  The same phrase is used in 2 Corinthians 12:2 and 4.  Paul is “caught up” to heaven/paradise.  The Greek word ‘harpazo’ is translated as “snatched” in Acts 8:39 but still means “caught up”. (NLT or NASB use the correct translation of the word).  This child is caught up to the throne of God.

Verse 6 takes place 1260 days or 3 ½ years after verse 5.  Once again, Mary was never shown to flee into the wilderness so this obviously refers to Israel.  This is the last part of the 7 year period we call the Tribulation.  The entire history of the church is absent from this vision.

The Angel, Michael

12:7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 

Besides being the archangel, Michael is called a “prince” in Daniel 10:13 and a protector of Israel in Daniel 10:20-21.  Can we be certain?  Yes, Daniel 12:1 clearly states that Michael is the “Great Protector”.  This event in Revelation is a future prophecy.  This massive battle takes place in Heaven.  This event takes place midway through the seven year Tribulation period.  Daniel 12:1 says “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”

Satan is still allowed into heaven today.  Job 1:6-7 says that when asked by God where he had come from, Satan replied: “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 

Satan and his followers lose this cosmic battle.  Some argue that we can’t know if this is the same serpent that deceived Adam and Eve.  We can be sure of this because the Bible tells us.  Ezekiel 28:13 refers to Satan and Revelation 20:2 calls him the ancient serpent, 2 Corinthians 11:3 call shim the deceiver.  He is called both Satan and the Devil.  Satan means “adversary” and Devil means “accuser”.  Demon means “slanderer”.

Jesus is describing this event.  He said “I saw Satan fall . . .” in Luke 10:18.  In Ezekiel 28:14-16 Jesus is called the “son of man”.  This verse shows the hierarchy that exists in the spirit world.   Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Satan and Christ are not equal.  Satan was created by God and Jesus was not created.  John 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Jesus is the Word.

12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,

“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. 12 For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

The voice here is human.  The “loud voice” heard by John shows that there were a great number people in it.  They refer to Satan as the “accuser of our brethren”.  Satan never accuses God.  He knows his time is short.  The following verses tell us what happens to the saved person as Satan accuses us before God.  Hebrews 7:25 and 1 John 2:1 says Jesus stands in for us as our intercessor.  The first thing that defeats Satan is the blood of Jesus (see Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14 and Hebrews 9:14).  Ephesians 1:7 (NLT) says, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”

“First, you are to regard Satan this day as being already literally and truly overcome through the death of the Lord Jesus.  Satan is already a vanquished enemy. By faith grasp your Lord’s victory as your own, since he triumphed in your nature and on your behalf … Come, my soul, thou hast conquered Satan by thy Lord’s victory. Wilt thou not be brave enough to fight a vanquished foe, and trample down the enemy whom thy Lord has already thrust down? Thou needest not be afraid, but say, ‘Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. III (Spurgeon)

The second thing that defeats Satan is the testimony of believers.  Their testimony is that Jesus died and rose again.  The phrase “they did not love their lives even unto death” means that they fear God.   Matthew 10:28 says “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”   The scene in heaven is opposite of the scene on earth.  In heaven, there is a celebration but on Earth, there is no joy.  Satan is so enraged because he knows his time is short.  He only has 3 ½ years.  He has to destroy the Jewish nation to stop God.  He knows it is an impossible task.

12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

The male child is Jesus.  We know that the woman isn’t the church and Israel because Revelation 12:17 tells us that the church is her offspring and the Woman is all believers (Israel).   We know that the rest of her offspring refers to the church and that non-Jews will be saved from the following verses:

Genesis 22:18.        Refers to all believers

Genesis 26:4            Says all nations

Romans 1:16           Everyone who believers

Acts 28:28                Says Gentiles

Titus 2:11                 Says all people

Revelation 7:9        All nations, all tribes, all tongues and a multitude.

The book of Romans tells us that salvation was offered to the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous.  If the Jews get jealous, then maybe they will turn back to God.  Romans 11:11 says “They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.”

So if the woman is Israel.  The dragon hates Jesus and Israel.  Satan, the dragon is determined to destroy Israel because everything has to be in place to fulfill Scripture.  (See Matthew 23:39.)  If they destroy Israel and everything else then Jesus cannot fulfill Scripture.  Verse 14 refers back to the Exodus from Egypt in that God bore them on eagles wings.  (See Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 32:11-12.  The following verses explain how God may provide for His people.

  1. 1 Kings 17:2-6 Sent ravens with food and brook with water for Elijah
  2. Exodus 16:12-15 Quail and manna for the Hebrew nation
  3. Exodus 15:22-25 Water for the Hebrew nation
  4. Exodus 23:20 An angel for protection
  5. John 18:6 Scared out of mind – a chance for salvation

Times, time, and half a time is 3 ½ years (Satan has free reign).  See Daniel 12:7 and Daniel 7:25.

This flood was prophesied in Daniel 9:26 and Isaiah 59:19.  Isaiah 59:19 says “In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord;  in the east, they will glorify him.  For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the Lord.”

The woman is Israel and believers are her children or offspring.  So Chapter 12 ends with Satan angry with Israel and all believers.

 

 

 

 

Revelation 13  (NASB)

The Beast from the Sea

13:1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.  Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 

Some versions start this chapter out by saying, “I stood … ” but the correct translation is ”He stood”.  This beast is not Satan.  Revelation 12:3 and 9 describe Satan as a dragon. This beast is not called Satan.  The sand of the shore may represent Gentile nations or the Mediterranean Sea.  In the word “antichrist”, “anti” means “against” and not the “opposite of” Christ.  The Antichrist has other names.   Daniel 7:8 calls him Little Horn.  Daniel 8:23 calls him fierce king.  In Daniel 9:26, the Antichrist is the ruler or prince to come.  John 5:43 says he is the one who comes in his own name.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 refers to him as the man of lawlessness and the son of destruction.  The seven diadems on the dragon’s head in Revelation 12:3 represent Satan’s strength and power.  The ten crowns on the beasts head represent a confederation of ten nations.  The beast represents a man.  We know that the beast is a man because a personal pronoun is used, “his” and not “they”.  (See 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:24 -25 and Revelation 13:1.)

13:2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

From this verse, we again can know that this beast is not Satan because he receives his power from the dragon which is Satan.  This beast comes out of the abyss.  Revelation 11:7 tells us “When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.”  Revelation 17:8 calls it the abyss or the pit or darkness.

13:3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

The beast does not have a mortal wound.  Only one of the ten horns is mortally wounded.  The phrase “as if” is used in Revelation 5:6 and it is used to describe the Jews.  This verse says “  This beast received a mortal wound so that the entire world would believe that he has the same power as Jesus (resurrection)  2 Thessalonians 2:9 tells us . that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders”.  Most theologians think this beast represents the ”revived Roman empire”.  Rome was never defeated totally it merely fell apart.  This man will most likely be the head of the revived Roman Empire.

13:4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”

It is stated for the second time that the beast gets his power from the dragon or Satan.  Now the people don’t just worship the beast, they also worship the dragon which is Satan.  These people worship them because they refuse God and accept the mark of the beast.  2 Thessalonians 2:10 says “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”  This verse completes Satan’s plan in Isaiah 14:14, ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’  The people worship the beast based on his perceived power.  Since his power comes from Satan it is nothing like the power of Jesus.

13: 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

God allowed the beast to speak but He gave him a limited time of 42 months or 3.5 years to speak. (Daniel 4:25 and 32).  This is end times prophecy. (Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 11:36)  The beast is allowed to rule for 3 ½ years.

13:7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 

The events in chapter 13 take place during the second half of the Tribulation.  Revelation 7:3 says “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”  Revelation 11:3 tells us that “ And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”   Both of these events happen in the second half of the Tribulation during the interlude.

We can prove that the Rapture will occur based on Matthew 16:18 and Revelation 7.  The verse in Matthew tells us that God’s church will not be overpowered by Satan.  Revelation 7 tells us that there is a multitude of believers from every nation in Heaven clothed in white robes.  The 144,000 Jews will evangelize unbelievers during the Tribulation.  Believers lose their lives but not their salvation.  If your name is written in the Book of Life, you will not give in to Satan during the Tribulation.  Names can be blotted from the book.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:4, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”  Matthew 25:34 says that Jesus will speak to believers to” inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  These verses indicate that the names are written in the Book of Life from creation.  The failure of Adam and Eve was not a surprise to God.  He has known everything from the beginning of time (1 Peter 1:20).  The names can be taken out of the Book of Life.  In Exodus 32:31-33, Moses asked that his name be blotted out of the Book of Life.  Verse 33 says “The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”  Revelation 22:19 says that “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”   Revelation 3:5 says that if we overcome our name will not be erased from the Book of Life.  It appears that our names are there and if we deny Christ our names are removed.

13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.

“He who has an ear, let him hear” is repeated 16 times in the New Testament.  In all previous times, it is said, it is followed by the words “What the Spirit says to the churches.  This tells us that ­the churches are gone.  Rapture has occurred and we are up in heaven.  These verses uphold capital punishment (die by the sword), as opposed to liberal ideology.  People will be saved during the Tribulation period.  This verse confirms it, “Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”

The Beast from the Earth

13:11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 

This is not the same beast from Revelation 13:1.  The horns are different.  This beast has two horns like a lamb.  The beast in Revelation 13:1 had “ten horns and seven heads”.  Some say this beast is an institution or form of government.  The word “another” here is ‘allos’ and means another of the same kind.  Revelation 19:20 says “these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire”.  One beast comes from the sea and the other from the earth.  This beast is the false prophet who is subordinate to the first beast who is under Satan.  The order is Satan >  Antichrist > fake prophet.  This false prophet will speak like Satan.  Our enemies will be nice to your face but will stab you in the back.

13:12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 

This first beast simply blasphemes God.  This False Prophet will encourage people to follow the beast and makes statues of his image.  The specific miracle that this beast performs is described in verse 13.  Verse 13 says “he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.”  This could be literal or merely a deception.  This specific miracle was listed because it is the same one performed by Elijah (1 Kings 18:36-38) and the two prophets (Revelation 11:5).  Miracles do not prove God’s acceptance or power.  We are warned that God can use this power to test us.  (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)  The end of these deceivers will be when Jesus tells them ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’.  They will be driven out of Jesus’ presence.  (Matthew 7:23)   In Matthew 24:24, Jesus warned of this very thing.  It says “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”  In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, Paul also warned of it, Paul wrote “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.”  The marks of a Christian are not signs and wonders but are instead truth and love. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).  The phrase “Those who dwell on the earth” refer to unbelievers.  (Revelation 17:8)

This beast will perform signs and wonders like never before.  Jesus warns about this in Mark 13:22.  The phrase “to deceive, if possible, even the elect” means true believers cannot be deceived.  (1 John 2:19 and 26 and John 10:-27-28).  Deceiving the world will be a part of Satan’s deception and God’s judgment.  God will confuse those who heard His Word and denied Him.  Even King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon set up an image of himself and demanded that it be worshiped in Daniel’s day.  (Daniel 3:2)  The elect were not deceived. (Daniel 3:16-18).

13:16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 

Verse 17 tells us that people must take the “mark” (666) of the beast to exchange money or buy and sell things.  The word “mark” is ‘charagma’ and is the same word as ‘tato’ (carvings) branding.  It is the same word used to imprint Roman coins.  The elect won’t receive the mark because they have already received the mark or seal of Christ.  Refusing to accept the mark of the beast results in death during the Tribulation.  Hebrew and Greek writers ascribed numbers to letters.  For example – A=1, B=2, C=3 . . .

13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.

There are at least two possible meanings of the number 666.  You have 6 letters in Roman numerals that when added together equals 666.  Also, it may represent the Unholy Trinity.  This verse does show that the beast will be a man and not a form of government or religion.

Chapter 13 ends with things going well for Satan, Antichrist and the False prophet.  People are still refusing to bow down and accept Jesus as the Christ.

Revelation 14  (NASB)

The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion

14:1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 

As Revelation 14 begins we are back on earth.  The 144,000 are the Jews from Revelation 7:4.  Revelation 7:4 says “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.”  We have reached the halfway point or the last 3.5 years.  This 144,000 Jews is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi 3:17 which says “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”  The 144,000 Jews are standing with the Lamb, Jesus.  This depicts the Jews being preserved through trials just as Paul describes in 2 Timothy 4:6-8.  These 144,000 Jews were saved from destruction just as Lot, Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), Azariah (Abednego), Isaac, David, Noah, Jonah, Paul, Rahab, the Nation of Israel from the plagues, etc.

Verse 1 fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah 23:23, Joel 2:32, Obadiah 1:17 and Micah 4:7 because Jesus will be standing on Mt. Zion.  Mt. Zion is a mountain/hill just outside a wall of Jerusalem.  1 Corinthians 1:14-15 says “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.”  These verses are similar to Revelation 14:1 because there is only one name that you can be claimed by, the name of Jesus.  The voice in verse 2 is that of God/Jesus.  In Revelation 1:15 and 4:5 as well as Ezekiel 43:2 refer to His voice as being like many waters.  We see harpists like we saw in Revelation 5:8 which were the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders.

Read these verses again, they teach us that praise and prayer are taking place on earth but this praise and prayer is heard in front of the Throne of God.  Only these 144,000, out of the millions of redeemed souls, learn this song.  Henry Morris says that this is because they are the most persecuted people of all time.

14:4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

The word for virgin is ‘parthenos’ and can refer to males or females but in this verse, it refers only to males that have not defiled themselves with women.  These 144,000 are Jews but also they are believers.  They are praised for remaining virgins because the only follow the Lamb.  That they are the “firstfruits” shows that they will be first to be saved after the Rapture.  If they are the first to be saved, the Rapture had to have already taken place.

Zephaniah 3:13 says “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong And tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue Be found in their mouths; For they will feed and lie down With no one to make them tremble.”  This prophecy is fulfilled verse 14:5 says “No lie was found in their mouth”.   This verse compares with our Christian calling because we are to speak the truth without shame.  See Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 4:24-25, 2 Timothy 2:15 and 2 Corinthians 4:2.  Verse 5 also says “they are blameless”. Blameless does not mean sinless. See 1 Kings 8:46, Job 14:15-16, Psalm 143:2, Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:30 and 1 John 1:8 and 10.

Vision of the Angel with the Gospel

14:6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”

Angels appear in every chapter of Revelation from 4 through 14.  The phrase “midst of heaven” or “midheaven” is the Greek word ‘mesouranema’ and refers to the point in the sky where the sun reaches its apex or highest point.  Satan and his demons no longer have access to heaven.  See the Good news of Jesus Christ/salvation.   It is another period of Grace.  God does not want anyone to perish.  The outcome of all these chance and all of this preaching was that still all of the people did not repent.   Revelation 9:20-21 says that they refused to repent.  Revelation 16:9 and 11 say that they blasphemed or cursed God.   The Gospel is the Good News.  See Matthew 4:23 (Gospel of the Kingdom), Mark 1:1 (Good News of Jesus), Mark 1:14 (Good News of God), Acts 20:24 (Good News of God’s grace and love), 2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV or NASB – Gospel of the Glory of Christ), Ephesians 1:13 (Gospel of your Salvation), Ephesians 6:15 (Gospel of peace), 1 Timothy 1:11 (NASB – Glorious Gospel) and Revelation 14:6 (Everlasting Gospel).  The “Everlasting Gospel” is forgiveness of sin to everlasting life. When the verse says “give glory to God”, everyone will do it by love or force (Philippians 2:9-11 – “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth”).

The whole world will hear this angel’s message.  To everyone or to all who dwell on Earth refers to Non-believers (see Revelation 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 13:12, 13:14, 17:2 and 17:8).  Matthew 24:14 says “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  The Matthew 24:14 prophecy is fulfilled by Revelation 14:6.  The phrase “The hour of His judgment has come,” means that this is it, this is the final chance to chose Christ.  Up to this point, the word wrath has been used.  This is the first time the word judgment is used in Revelation.

14:8 And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”

This angel has no good news, only bad news.  This shows that the message of the first angel was mostly ignored or rejected.  Babylon here can refer to 3 things, political system, religious system or a literal city.  Babylon is south of Bagdad, Iraq on a current map.  Because of the beast’s apparent unlimited power, this will be completely inconceivable to the inhabitants of the Earth.  Babylon was established by Nimrod and is where the Tower of Babel was built.  The word “passion” in Greek is “thumos” and means strong lust and desires.  The adultery here though is spiritual.  It is idolatry.

Doom for Worshipers of the Beast

14:9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 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 holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 

This makes three different angels in the past four verses.  The people who receive the mark of the beast will do it fully knowing what they are doing.  The deceived followers will be surprised that they chose the wrong path or leader.  To drink the cup of the wine means to receive God’s full wrath.  We learn that the wrath will be poured out on nonbelievers.  Job 21:20 says they will see their destruction.   Psalm 75:8 says they will be forced to drink and get drunk.  Isaiah 51:17 says they will drink until they are drunk.  Isaiah 51:22 says the saved will not drink.  Jeremiah 25:15 says the unsaved will be forced to drink.  We learn that this cup of wrath means that there is no mercy or compassion.  The vengeance of God is complete showing no quarter.  Romans 12:19 says “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but [a]leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”  The word “Tormented” is a present tense verb and means a ceaseless infliction of unbearable pain.  Jesus tried to avoid taking this cup but took it anyway in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:39)  Those sent to this place are alive.  See Revelation 19:20  The word “death” in Revelation 21:8 means spiritual separation from God.  This doesn’t mean that they out of God’s presence.  We are never out of God’s presence.  See Psalm 139:7-8.  They are aware of where they are and what is happening.

14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 

This place is never ending punishment.  The following verses all say that it is permanent, Isaiah 66:24, Daniel 12:2, Matthew 3:12 (NLT best), 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Matthew 18:8, Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:43 and Mark 9:48.  The phrase “forever and ever” translates as the ages of ages.

14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

The one description of what Heaven will be like in these verses is a place of rest.  We “earn” that eternal rest through perseverance under trial and James 1:12 says “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  Luke 8:17 says “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”  This tells us that God will help us to know our unseen because He knows all and sees all.  We can know that Heaven and Hell are alike in that they are both everlasting/eternal. (See John 3:16, 36, John 5:25 and 1 John 2:25) Sayings like “blessed are those who die in the Lord” and “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His loved ones”, tell that we are blessed and precious because we are finally home.   The ones who die in the Lord are all the saved.  The Holy Spirit affirms these verses and puts an exclamation point on them.  Verse 14:13 shows us that it is a voice, the Trinity is one.

The Reapers

14:14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came the first time to seek and to save.  Jesus comes a second time to judge the living and the dead.  (2 Timothy 4:1)  Jesus described this time in Revelation chapter 14 as a calamity with anguish and a shortened time.  He called it a Great Tribulation.  If He didn’t shorten it, the Earth would be destroyed.  The first person in the New Testament to describe this time in Revelation 14 was John the Baptist.  (See Matthew 3:7)  This wrath is directed against the unrepentant or unbelievers.  Remember the golden bowl.  The prayers of the saints came before God.  ½ hour of silence.  Then God’s wrath was thrown to Earth.  God brings His wrath to Earth here instead of simply wiping everyone out because of the way the world has treated His people (believers) (See 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7).  Peter describes Revelation 14 in 2 Peter 3:7 as God stores up fire for this day.  He will be judging with fire.  Prophet Joel uses similar words to describe these very events in Joel 3:12-13.  He says “Let the nations be aroused and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.  13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.  Come, tread, for the winepress is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.”   He uses the words winepress, sickle and harvest.  The valley of Jehoshaphat is the Jezreel Valley or Megiddo.

Early in His ministry, Jesus gave details, using the same imagery as shown here, about Revelation 14:14-20 using the parable of the weeds and tares in Matthew 13:39-43.  These three verses, 14-16 give three points, the reaper, the ripeness and reaping.  The first thing that catches John’s attention here and Daniel’s in Daniel 7:13 was that He was sitting on a cloud.  John describes this as the Son of Man.  We know this was Jesus because numerous other times in the Bible Jesus describes Himself as the Son of Man.  See Matthew 9:6, 24:27, 24:30, Mark 8:31, 9:9, Luke 6:22, 7:34, 9:22, 12:8, John 5:27, 6:62 and 8:28.  Jesus is referring to Himself as the Son of Man.  This is the last time Scripture refers thus to Christ.  If we contrast the first time this phrase is used in Matthew 8:20 with the last time it is used here in Revelation 14:14-16 we see that in Matthew He owns nothing but in Revelation, He has everything.

This crown is not the ‘diadema’ crown, worn by kings, but rather the ‘stephanos’ crown wornby conquerors.  It is the crown of triumph.   The same Greek word is used in the following verses. Believers will wear this crown.  See 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 2 Timothy 4:8, 1 Corinthians 9:25, James 1:12 and 1 Peter 5:4.  At this juncture, Jesus is not coming as the savior but as the triumphant conqueror.   This is now the 4th angel mentioned in chapter 14.  This angel is different from the first three angels proclaim (verses 6,8,9) but this one sends judgment.  These verses in Revelation 14 are the fulfillment of prophecy in John 5 and Acts because they say that Jesus is given authority to judge.  See John 5:22, 27, Acts 10:42 and Acts 17:31.  The verb “ripe” actually translates as withered, dried up or rotten and shows that it has passed the point of value or usefulness.  Chapter 14 of Revelation is the same as chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. (Genesis 1 :27 and 2:7 / Revelation chapter 14 and Revelation 16:1) Think about this. . .

14:17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 

This verse gives us the 5th angel in chapter 14 showing the angel working hand in hand to carry out God’s judgment.  This angel comes from the temple.  We find out what angels do in Revelation.  In Revelation 16:1, they announce the bowl judgments.  In Revelation 19:17, they call the birds for the battle of Armageddon.  In Revelation 20:1-3, they bound Satan and threw him in the pit.   Also in the Bible, in Matthew 13:39, angels harvest, in Matthew 13:49, they separate the wicked from the righteous and in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, angels return with Jesus at His 2nd Coming.

14:18 Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” 

This is now the 6th angel.  This angel comes from the Altar. This angel is sent in response to the Martyrs.   The altar is in the presence of God.  We are introduced to this angel in Revelation 8:5.  He appears to be in charge of fire.  He appears to be in charge of the incense which is the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-4).  Revelation 5:8 says that the elders had the bowls filled with the prayers and the incense. But they are not in charge of them.  This angel is because the elders gave the bowls to this angel.  (see Revelation 8:3)  These prayers come up to God two times a day.  So does God only hear our prayers in the morning and the evening?  He hears all of our prayers, regardless of when we pray.  See Matthew 27:51.  When Jesus died the veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in two which gives us full access to God anytime.   The previous word for ripe as we learned last week meant rotten, good for nothing. The word for ripe here, however, is ‘akmazo’ and means at their prime.  This angel brings about the conclusion of the ability to accept Christ.  See verse 4:9-11.  Time has run out.  We see angels are with Jesus as judgment is being carried out.  This verse was the inspiration for one of our greatest patriotic songs, “the Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  The clusters of grapes are nonbelievers.  The clusters of grapes are stuck in the winepress of God’s wrath.  In the following verses, the vine is Israel/Jesus.  Psalm 80:8, 14-15, Isaiah 5:7, Jeremiah 2:21 and Hosea 10:1.  John 15:4-5 says that the vine is Jesus and that believers have been grafted into the vine of Israel.  Believers and church attenders look the same but they will be separated at this the final harvest here in Revelation.

14:19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles for a distance of two hundred miles.

These verses are a preview of Revelation chapter 19.  The angel cuts the grapes from the vine, but

God takes their lives.  Blood is the grape juice being squeezed out.  Read Isaiah 63:1-6.  Jesus is the “I” speaking of in these verses.  The following verses are describing Armageddon, Joel 13:13-14 and Revelation 16:16.  This battle takes place outside Jerusalem, we know this because verse 20 says it is “outside the city”.   Megiddo is about 60 miles North of Jerusalem and was called a perfect place for a war.  He said that all of the armies of the world would fit in this valley.  Armageddon will not be a battle but rather a slaughter.  The battlefield is 200 miles long.  The blood will be literally up to a horses bridle. (4 feet deep). It will not merely just splash to that height.

Revelation 15 (NASB)

A Scene of Heaven

15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.

Chapter 14 ended with the battle of Armageddon. There are still 8 chapters left.  This shows that the book is not in chronological order.    The 7 angels inflict the 7 plagues in Leviticus 26:21 which says “If  then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins.”(NASB)  The following verses tell us about this time of wrath and judgment being poured out.

Psalm 96:13      The judgment and wrath are righteous and perfect.

Psalm 98:9         Equity and fair

Joel 3:2                He has His payback

Acts 17:31          It is given with justice.

2 Timothy 4:1   Father and son will take responsibility

God does NOT overlook evil in our world until the day of wrath, He expresses it every day.  Psalm 7:11 says “God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.”  Isaiah describes the end of the world in Isaiah 13:6-9 as terrible and terrifying.

Wail, for the day of the Lord is near!
It will come as destruction from [
a]the Almighty.
Therefore all hands will fall limp,
And every man’s heart will melt.
They will be terrified,
Pains and anguish will take hold of 
them;
They will writhe like a woman in labor,
They will look at one another in astonishment,
Their faces aflame.
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
To make the land a desolation;
And He will exterminate its sinners from it.

Ezekiel describes the same days as a time of doom and despair in Ezekiel 30:3.

“For the day is near, Even the day of the Lord is near;
It will be a day of clouds, A time of doom for the nations.

Zephaniah described it as sudden without warning in Zephaniah 1:14-15)  Revelation 6:16 says “and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;”

Job describes it “For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity” in Job 21:30 (NASB.)  The NIV, NLT, ESV, HCSB, ISV, and almost all other versions are WAY off on this, in fact, they state the exact opposite of the writing.  The word wrath in Greek is ‘thimos’ and means a volatile passionate anger.   The word is used only 11 times in the entire Bible and 10 of them are in Revelation.  The word “complete” in Greek is ‘etteste’ and means come to an end or complete.  God’s wrath is coming. But right up until the final day, He is trying to win believers.  God is NOT an unfair tyrant in His wrath.  In Deuteronomy 32:4 it says “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”  The word for “plagues” is “plege” and means to wound or strike with blows.  Knowing that these 7 last plagues are not plagues as we know them but rather they are powerful deadly plagues.

15:2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.

Ezekiel said that this “sea of glass” was like crystal in Ezekiel 1:22.  It says “Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like the awesome gleam of crystal, spread out over their heads.”  John’s vision differs in that he described it as glass mixed with fire.  Moses described as sapphire in Exodus 24:10.

In the following verses, the fire represents different things.

Hebrews 10:27                 Absolute and final judgment

Numbers 11:1                   God’s anger or wrath

Numbers 16:35                God knows who is guilty and innocent

Deuteronomy 9:3            God will destroy them

Psalm 50:3                         God’s enemy will be destroyed

Psalm 97:3                         No one escapes, God consumes His foes.

Isaiah 66:15                       God’s rebuke

2 Peter 3:7                          God knows the set day

Man will NOT destroy the planet through nuclear bombs, global warming or anything else.  It is all part of God’s plan.  “Those who had victory over the beast” were those who believed after the Rapture.  These saints did NOT live through the Tribulation.  The only others ever shown with harps were given in Revelation 5:8.  It says “the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.  Each one had a harp”.  It means that they were special to God.

“The appearance of the tribulation saints makes the point that God sends His wrath as an act of vengeance on those who mistreat His people.” John MacArthur

How many times have we seen this so far that God’s wrath is punishment against those who oppose God’s people?

 15:3 And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For all the nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed.”

The song being sung is one song.  It shows the joining of the new to the old.  The song describes God’s works as great and marvelous.  (Psalm 139:14)  God’s ways are described as true and just in Daniel 4:37, Deuteronomy 32:4 and Hosea 14:9.  The following verses describe God’s worthiness as god alone is Holy and worthy of our praise. 1 Samuel 2:2, Psalm 22:3, Psalm 99: 5 and 9, Psalm 111:9, Isaiah 6:3 and Isaiah 57.  Romans 14:11 describes God’s prominence as above all we will praise Him.  Psalm 86:9 says that every person and every nation will praise God.

15:5 After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, 6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. 

This is the 9th time that John uses the phrase “After these things”.  The first thing that John notices in this new vision is the temple of the tabernacle of testimony was open.  The purpose of the tabernacle was for God to dwell in it.  (Exodus 25:8-9 – “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.”)  It was designed by God.  The word for ‘temple’ in Greek is “naos” and it means Holy of Holies.  This was not the first time that John saw the tabernacle.  He saw the Ark of the Covenant inside the tabernacle in Revelation 11:19.  It says “Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple.”   Only two versions, the NIV and the NLT call it the Ark of the Covenant.  Almost every other version calls it the Tabernacle of the testimony or the Ark of testimony.  See Exodus 25:22, Numbers 1:50, Number 1:53 and Acts 7:44.  The important difference in these names is that testimony refers to one party.  A covenant requires at least two people.

Next, John saw seven angels.  The 7 angels were bringing seven plagues of God.  These angels came from the throne of God.  It is not likely or unsure whether these angels are the ones described in Matthew 13:41-42 and Matthew 13:49-50 (“49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”).  If we look at the verses in Matthew we can see that these angels gather the wicked and throw them into the furnace of fire.  This does not happen until God’s final judgment.  MacArthur, Swindoll, Pastor Brian .  .  .  are not the authority.  God is.  We learn from Revelation 20:7 and 10-15 that Satan is released and after Satan is released there is an order and humans are thrown into the fire last.  Clothed in white represents purity and righteousness.  Revelation 19:8 says “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean;  for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

15:7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

One of the 4 living creatures gave the bowls to the seven angels.  According to MacArthur, these entities are cherubims.  You can read further in 1 Samuel 4:4, 2 Samuel 6:2, 2 Samuel 22:11, Psalm 80:1, Psalm 99:1 and Isaiah 37:16.  Isaiah 37:16 says “O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”  God is enthroned around the Ark of the Covenant in these verses.  Genesis 3:24 says “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”  These cherubim are not cute, chubby baby angels.  They are powerful angels.  This scene is similar to the scene in Revelation 8:3-5 in that the temple is filled with smoke.  The smoke is the glory of God.  See Exodus 40:34-35.  No one could enter into God’s presence here in the final verse of Chapter 15 as well as in the Exodus 40 verses.

Revelation 16 (NASB) 

Six Bowls of Wrath

16:1 “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

John ‘heard’ the commands because smoke actually covered God during the pouring out of God’s wrath.  Revelation 15:8 says “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.”

“Righteous wrath is no less noble than love, since both coexist with God.”  John MacArthur

“A god who is all love, all grace, all mercy and no sovereignty, no justice, no holiness and no wrath is not a god but an idol.”

This is a hard thing for unbelievers and even some who claim to know Christ to accept.  But . . .  

The Bible is a book of both hope and judgment.  God cannot reward unless He also punishes.  God will destroy all unbelievers with fire (Matthew 3:12).  The unsaved are under God’s wrath forever and ever (John 3:36).  Colossians 3:6 (Not the NLT) says the day of God’s wrath is coming.  All unbelievers will be punished with unquenchable fire (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).  Hebrews 10:30-31 says that He will judge and punish unbelievers.

There is nothing said about love and forgiveness for unbelievers in any of those verses.   These verses do not refer to people today, so unbelievers still have a chance.   Verses 16-19 are NOT in chronological order.  The events of Chapter 16 follow Chapters 17 and 18 and end with the beginning of Chapter 19.  As all of these coming wraths are poorer out, the people on Earth realize who the wrath was coming from (Revelation 6:15-17).  Even with all the wrath of God being poured out, they will NOT turn to God (Revelation 9:20-21).  After the seven bowl judgments there will be NO more judgments.  There are three sets of plagues listed in Scripture.  They differ in the number of people they were directed.  The Exodus Plagues were directed at one nation, Egypt.  The trumpet judgments in Revelation 8:7-12, were directed against one-third of the Earth.  The Bowl Judgments in Revelation 16:1 will be directed against all the Earth.  These judgments culminate the woes of Revelation 11:14, which describe the Seal judgments, the Trumpet judgments and the Bowl judgments.

16:2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

The terms “loathsome and malignant” are ‘kakos’ and ‘poneros’, both are Greek words that translate as evil.  Sore is the Greek word ‘helkos’ and means “ulcers”.  The same word is used in the following verses.  In Exodus 9:9-11 the word is translated to “painful boils”.  In Deuteronomy 28:27 and 35, the boils are described as “tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured”.  In Job 2:7 they are described as “painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.”  These judgments will come upon all who don’t believe and fear God instead of the beast.  This plague is different than the one described in Zechariah 14:12 in that their flesh will rot and so will their eyes in their sockets and tongues in their mouths.  According to the same verse, it is not directed just against those who oppose God but those who oppose Israel.

16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.

This plague will completely destroy 70% of the Earth.  100% of the creatures in the sea will die.  The sea is not smooth running blood as we view it but is dark thick coagulating.  In comparing Genesis 1:21 to Revelation 16:3, God creates in Genesis and He destroys the world in Revelation.

“The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.”  A.W. Tozer

16:4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. 

This plague differs from the one in Revelation 8:10-11 (Trumpet judgment, 1/3 of the water) in that this plague is for all water on the Earth.  Since humans can’t live long without drinking water, the plague must occur immediately (within days) before Christ returns.  The period is Wrath because that is what God is pouring out on the Earth.  The time for mercy and forgiveness no longer exists.  People will wonder how a God of love, mercy and grace can do something so horrible.

16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6 for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.”7 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

As if knowing their thoughts, the Angel with authority over water answers them.  This angel defends God.  This fitting judgment is sent by God (Note:  Again why God sends His wrath) because they shed the blood of God’s people.  It is because of HOW believers were treated.  Today we should not be so eager to retaliate when we are wronged. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”  (Deuteronomy 32:35).

“Although His wrath is terrifying and deadly, it is a just, deserved and appropriate response to sinner’s rejection of Him.”  John MacArthur

The number of Christians murdered during this time are uncountable. (Revelation 7:9, 14)  God has given them blood to drink as payback because they enjoyed killing God’s people. (Revelation 17:6)

“They refused the Living Water and now they have death to drink.”  Pastor David Guzik

The angel says that God is just or righteous.  A voice from the Altar says that God’s JUDGMENTS are righteous.  The NASB translation says that the Altar is speaking.  It could be an angel or the Altar personified.  The most chilling words in these verses and perhaps the entire Bible are “They deserve it.”  God is just but at this time we are living under Grace, we get what we don’t deserve, it is awful to think that there will be a time when people will get what they do deserve.  Many people think of our God as a soft and sweet god, but He is JUST.  We should have confidence in God because several times in the Bible God says to be patient, I will repay.  (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30)  There are numerous verses that describe God’s wrath, justice and judgments.

Genesis 18:25         “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”  Abraham begs for Sodom.

Psalm 19:9               True and righteous

Psalm 119:75          Fair and righteous

Romans 2:5              Fair and righteous

Revelation 19:1-2 True and Just

The word righteous means morally right and justifiable.  Paul teaches in Romans that man can never attain righteousness through what he does.  Man is credited righteousness by God through faith.  Romans 4:5 says “to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”

16:8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

In this bowl judgment, the angel’s bowl is poured out on the sun.  A lot of commentators say this describes nuclear war.  This verse literally says “the sun”.  There is no mention of nuclear war or any other explanation.  Another consequence of this heat will be the hottest debate of today’s news, Global warming.  The ice will melt.

Consider what is going on here on Earth and apply it to this quote . . .

“For the save, life on this Earth is as bad as it gets.  For the unsaved, life on this Earth is as good as it gets.”  Neither grace nor wrath would move these people to repent.  They DO know where these plagues are coming from God.  Verse 9 says “they blasphemed the name of God.”

“The failure of men to respond with repentance shows that knowledge or experience of judgment will not change man’s sinful condition.  Those who are not won by grace will never be won.”  Pastor Guzik

“The wishful thinking of some that men would repent if they only knew the power and righteous judgment of God is shattered by frequent mention in this chapter of the hardness of the human heart in the face of the most stringent and evident divine discipline.”  Walvoord

16:10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.

The fifth bowl is poured out, literally and figuratively on the throne of the Beast.  The darkness is Absolute, Exodus 10:21-22.  The following verses describe darkness:

Joel 2:2-3                    Day turned to night, An Army of Locusts

Joel 3:14-15               Total darkness – Armageddon

Zephaniah 1:15        Wrath, gloom and day to darkness

Mark 13:24                Literal darkness

Acts 2:20                     Daytime to darkness

Isaiah 13:10               No light from the sky.

Jesus describes Hell in Matthew 25:30 as being Absolute darkness.  The darkness described in verse 10 is a preview of their future.  It says they gnawed their tongues, gnawed means they kept on chewing.  We picture Armageddon as being a long drawn out battle but according to these verses, it might be over as quickly as it begins.  This battle will be pit the world’s armies against Jesus.  Jesus will destroy them in an instant.

16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

These verses describe Armageddon – the last battle on Earth.  This bowl is poured out to do nothing more than prepare for what comes next.  How is the river referred to elsewhere in the Bible?  Genesis 15:18 describes it as the Great River as does Deuteronomy 1:7 and Joshua 1:4.  This terminology is used because it is the protective river of Israel, wide, deep and long.  It flows from Mt. Ararat, 1800 miles to the Persian Gulf.  It is between 300 and 1200 yards wide.  It needs to be dried up so that the armies from the east can cross it.  If you think of the previous bowl judgment where the ice caps will be melted and flooding has occurred, these armies could not march across the flooded river.  This is not an act of kindness from God but is done to bring the kingdoms of the world to destruction.  Satan’s purpose in this final battle is not to obtain world political power but to combat the armies of Heaven.  The place of the battle has three names in Scripture, Armageddon, Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley.  Megiddo was actually a small town on the edge of the Jezreel Valley.  It led into the most important pass to the valley.  Pharaoh Thutmose III said that capturing that small town was equivalent to capturing 1000 other cities.  The parting of the Red Sea during the Exodus is like the drying up of the Euphrates River in that God’s enemies are lead to their doom.

Armageddon

16:13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs;

The dragon is Satan.  The beast is the Antichrist.  The false prophet is the False prophet – 2nd.  The things that came out of their mouths were not actual frogs.  They looked may or may not have looked like frogs.  John saw them as frogs because they were unclean and frogs are unclean. (Leviticus 11:10 and 41).  Knowing that Revelation 16:13 describes them as unclean spirits like frogs.  This is probably a fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Mark 13:22, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (NIV) 

16:14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 

These three creatures are clearly described as demons.  All armies of the world will fight this battle, not just the armies from the East.  This is NOT a battle pitting nation against nation, it is the world against God.  This battle will not include Arabs (Muslims) battling against God.  Obadiah 1:18 says

Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame;
Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him.
There will be no survivors from Esau.
The Lord has spoken.”

The descendants of Esau are the Arab nations.  They will be destroyed by Gog and Magog.  (Ezekiel 38:1-4)  We know that God wins the battle because John says that “the Great day of God has come.”   God’s wrath is because of the treatment of God’s people.  God’s punishment is the exclusion from heaven and eternity in fire.  This battle was fought because of what the world did to Jerusalem.  (Joel 3:2)  What is God’s response as Satan gathers these armies, He laughs!

16:15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 

The phrase “I am coming like a thief” means that He will come fast and unexpectedly.  When a thief breaks into your home, it is without warning.  The phrasing in this verse to not go naked and ashamed refers to being ready or you will be embarrassed and ashamed.

16:16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

The NASB is the only version to get this correct.  It is actually Har-Magedon, which translates as Mt. Megiddo.  There were 200 battles fought there.  This is where Gideon with the three hundred men that lapped water like dogs defeated the Midianites in Judges 7.  According to Zechariah 14:1-4, this battle will only last one day.  This battle will be explained in detail in Revelation 19:11-21.

Seventh Bowl of Wrath

16:17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”

This final bowl, the final judgment, is poured out on the air.  It is poured out on the air because that is Satan’s domain.  Ephesians 2:2 says “in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”  This is God’s final act.  He has poured His wrath out against:

Revelation 16:2                                earth

Revelation 16:3                                sea (salt water)

Revelation 16:4                                rivers (fresh water)

Revelation 16:8                                sun

Revelation 16:17                              air

This shows that they will not be able to escape from the wrath of God.  God, the Father, is doing the talking.

John 19:30 says “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”  This is Jesus speaking here, “It is finished!”  In Greek, ‘tetelastai’ means it is finished or paid in full.  Sin is paid for.  God says sin is gone.  It is done in Greek is ‘Gegonen’, “it has come to be”.   They are the same because they are the ending.

16:18 And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 

This verse is the fulfillment of a rarely recognized prophecy.  This fits with Hebrews 12:26-27 in that it is the earthquake to end all earthquakes.  An earthquake like this has NEVER happened before.

This bowl, Revelation 16:18, is like the last seal judgment (Revelation 8:5) and the last trumpet judgment (Revelation 11:19) in that there will be lightening, thunder and an earthquake.  The prophecies about God’s final judgment upon sin state that it will shake the heavens and the earth.  (Isaiah 24:19-20 and Haggai 2:6-7)

16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 

This great city is not Babylon but it is Jerusalem.  Revelation 11:7-8 NLT says  “7 When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit[a] will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. 8And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified.”

We don’t know if “Babylon the great” is a city or an area.  All of the cities are destroyed.  The “wine of the fury (or fierceness)” is ‘thymos’ and translates as an outburst of anger.  The word of His wrath is “ogre” which translates as a standing state of anger.  The phrase “Thymos Ogre” then show the strongest pouring out of God’s judgment.

16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 

This verse is also a fulfilled prophecy.  Isaiah 40:4 says “Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills.  Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.”    According to Henry Morris, one of history’s greatest experts on Genesis, this will result in “Jerusalem alone, of all the great cities of the earth, is thus to be spared destruction by the earthquake at the end of the tribulation. It is the one eternal city, and will survive as long as the earth endures in its present form, finally being replaced as the new Jerusalem, in the new earth.”

16:21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, *came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague *was extremely severe.

God has used hailstorms/hailstones as a judgment in Old Testament time, see Exodus 9:24, Joshua 10:11, Isaiah 28:2 and Ezekiel 38:22.  Ezekiel 38:22 says “I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur!”  The NASB says that the hailstones will weigh about one hundred pounds each, the NLT says 75 pounds and the KJV says “The weight of a talent each.  The largest hailstone ever recorded was about the 8 inches in diameter and weighed about 2 pounds.  In light of what has come before, these hailstones are even more deadly and frightful because there is no place to hide.  In all of these accounts of God using hail as judgment, they were used against God’s enemies.  People responded by cursing God.  We can make sure that we escape this coming wrath by making sure that we belong to Christ.  Romans 8:1 and Hebrews 4:7.  Hebrews 4:7 says “God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

 

Revelation 17

Doom of Babylon  (NASB)

17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 

The “great prostitute” is Babylon.  Babylon is mentioned 287 times in Scripture, 2nd only to Jerusalem.  Which came first?  Babylon or Christianity?  There are records of Babylon back to 2300 BC.  The exile of Judea dates back to almost 600 BC.  Babylon was established by the wife of Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah.  Her name was Semiramis and she was the wife of Nimrod, the high priestess of idol worship.  Nimrod established the most evil and feared city of the ancient world, Nineveh.  The Ninevites were known for there brutality, including beheadings.  They were so brutal that when God sent Jonah to speak to them, he headed the opposite direction.  Nimrod was the architect of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 10:10).  Nimrod and Semiramis had a son name Tammuz.  The Canaanite name of Tammuz was Baal.  Canaanite lore taught that Tammuz was born of a virgin.  Tammuz was killed by wild beasts and came back to life.  NOTE:  Although this story pre-dates Jesus and Christianity, it does not prep-date the Hebrew writings about the coming Messiah and the virgin birth.  Tammuz is mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14.  We can know from the verse that the downfall of Babylon is a done deal.  They cannot escape it.

The many waters that the “great prostitute” sits upon are the nations of the world.  Revelation 17:15 says “And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.”  The phrase “The inhabitants of the earth were made drunk” means that they behave without restraint.  Sin has control of them.  That the city is a “harlot” or “prostitute” shows spiritual adultery or idolatry or worship of false gods.   Other cities that are called prostitutes and whores include Nineveh (Nahum 3:1 and 4), Tyre (Isaiah 23:15-17) and Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:21).  The use of the words adultery and prostitute speak of spiritual things.  But “acts of immorality” comes from one Greek word, ‘porneuo’, and means sexual sin.

17:3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 

The angel carried John away.  “Into the wilderness” is the Greek word emerges and describes a deserted desolate wasteland.  The scarlet beast is the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1).  The first world unifying thing will be world religion.  The phrase “full of blasphemous names” means that he will speak against God like no has or ever will (Daniel 11:36 says “The king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god, even blaspheming the God of gods. He will succeed, but only until the time of wrath is completed. For what has been determined will surely take place.)  The color scarlet shows luxury (2 Samuel 1:24) and sin (Isaiah 1:18).  The seven heads and ten horns will be discussed in verses 9-10.

17:4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. 

Another blasphemy.  They mocked Him immediately after putting a purple robe on Jesus.  (Mark 15:17-20)  Her gold cup is full of abominations (abominations are anything that causes disgust or hate).  God’s gold cup mentioned in Revelation 8:3-4 contains the prayers of the saints.  Roman prostitutes wore headbands with their name on it.  Here, we see that despite her outward glamour she is nothing but a cheap prostitute.  The woman in Revelation 12:1-12 represents Israel.  Here the woman represents Babylon and idol worship and false religion.  Mystery Babylon is not indicative of a physical place, but rather spiritual worldwide resistance to God.  Today the way is being prepared for this with the statement, “We all worship the same God.”  Just as a reminder, Ishmael, the son of Abraham would have taught to worship the same God but when Mohammed started his religion (Islam) he chose his father’s god, which was one of the numerous moon gods.  The word “Harlot” symbolizes idolatry.  See Judges 2:17, Judges 8:27, Judges 8:33, 1 Chronicles 5:25, 2 Chronicles 21:11, Jeremiah 3:6, 8-9 and Ezekiel 16:30-31.  The phrase “Drunk with the blood of the saints” shows a murderous lust for violence.  When John is referring to “the saints”, he is referring to every believer that has been murdered for their testimonies.  These saints were persecuted throughout history by false Christians.

In the days when the Roman Catholic Queen Mary ruled England (known as Blood Mary, some 288 Christians were burnt at the stake for their stand for Christian truth between 1555 and 1558.  The first of these martyrs was a man named John Rogers, who as he stood chained to a stake, and as the fire rose around him, up to his legs and shoulders, he rubbed his hands in the flames as if he were washing his hands in cold water.  Then he lifted his hands to the heavens and held them high until he was completely consumed by fire.  Rogers went to the stake with such calm and dignity that the French Ambassador wrote that he went to his death “as if he was walking to his wedding.”  His courage was so evident that the huge crowd burst into applause when they saw him walking to the stake.

17:7 And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.

After all that John has seen, here he marvels at the vision before him.  He understood that the woman represents One World religion and the beast is the Antichrist.   His amazement was at how this is all going to fit together.  Even though the angel says he will tell John the mystery of the woman and the beast, he concentrates on the beast.  A mystery that Paul wrote about in Colossians 1:25-27 described as the “the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations which is the mystery between Christ and His Church.  This is a mystery of godliness which is the opposite of this mystery of inequity from this woman.  Throughout Revelation there are similar contrasts such as the difference between the godly trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost versus the evil trinity, Satan (the Dragon), the Antichrist (the Beast) and the False Prophet.

17:8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

The beast that you saw is the satanic, the last of the most powerful country ever.  People will come to faith in Christ during this last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation.  We know this because of the phrase “whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world”.  The Antichrist’s death will be a fake, nothing but smoke and mirrors.  Up until this time, the beast and the false prophet, world religious system, will have ruled together.  But now, the Beast will rule alone.  He demands complete subjugation or submission by all.  Verse 8 is NOT in chronological order.  We know this because the beast will have final destruction in Revelation 19.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 says “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”  This “Man of Lawlessness” is the Antichrist.  Apostasy is the abandonment of religious beliefs or the turning away from God. 

17:9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,

As hard as it is to believe, the phrase “This calls for a mind of wisdom” means that the Revelation is going to get even more difficult now.  John MacArthur said “Perhaps only those alive at the time will fully comprehend it.”  Verse 9b talks about “seven mountains on which the woman sits”.  The seven mountains are the 7 kings or kingdoms.  (This is important because some versions incorrectly use the word “hills” in place of mountains.  Based on the incorrect translation, some scholars then incorrectly say what the seven mountains are.   Rome was built upon seven hills.  Those who teach that the 7 hills represent Rome believe that Revelation has already been fulfilled and that the woman is the Roman Catholic Church.  Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, John Wesley, Thomas Cranmer and Charles Spurgeon all believed that the Antichrist would be a pope.

The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

“The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.”

The angel’s call for discernment and wisdom nullifies the seven heads as being Rome because John would have realized it.  This speculation is useless because the 7 mountains are identified as 7 kings.

17:10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 

Five kingdoms have fallen.  They most likely are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece.  Except for the addition of Assyria and Egypt, these kingdoms are the same as those seen in the interpretation of King Nebachadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2.  Egypt is one because Israel came from the exodus of the Hebrew nation.  Assyria took Israel (the northern tribes) into captivity.  The one that is, “at the time” that the visions is given is Rome.  The one to come is the Antichrist’s One World Empire.  China, Russia, the United States, etc. are not included on the list because none of them sought to control based on religion.  The phrase “he (the 7th ruler) must remain a little while” means that he will rule for a short time.

17:11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 

Who then is this 8th ruler?  It is the beast / Antichrist.  The 7th and 8th rulers are both the Antichrist.  This happens because the Antichrist dies and comes back to life.  This is faked and accomplished with smoke and mirrors.  The destruction of the Antichrist is fulfilled in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10.

 17:12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 

These ten horns are ten kings which have not appeared.  Many people believe this is the revised Roman Empire.  These kingdoms are most likely the ten toes in Daniel’s description of world empires (Daniel 2:41-43).  We can be fairly certain based on Daniel 2:44.  “44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”  The ten toes were destroyed by one final kingdom that will last forever.

 

“The EEC (European Union) started in 1957, when six European nations met to talk about combining their nuclear, coal and economic resources.  They met together in Rome, and signed the Treaty of Rome – the beginnings of the present EEC.  In the spiritual dynamic of things, it’s no accident that on the back of the Eurodollar coin is a woman riding a multi-headed beast.”  David Guzik

 

 

 

17:13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.

14 These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

15 And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 

 

These kings, whoever they are, have on purpose, which is to give their power to the beast to overcome the Lamb.  Three powerful demons from Satan, Antichrist and the False Prophet will lead these kings. (Revelation 16:13-16).  Jesus will win the cosmic battle.  Jesus will return to fight this final battle in Revelation 19:11  “11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.”  Who comes with Jesus?  All the saints (believers) will join Jesus but they won’t have to fight.  So where do these saints have to be before this point?  In Heaven, of course!  This can only be true if they were previously raptured.  The waters upon which the harlot sits is the nations of the world.  This tells us that the woman at the beginning of this chapter that people will move to one religion.

 

17:16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

 

Once again we are going back in time.  These verses probably occur at the midway point of the Tribulation period.  The kings and the Antichrist HATE the prostitute, the woman because he wants total worship.  “This has always been the goal of tyrants – and most politicians – to use religion for their purposes, then discard it.” – Guzik.

God is in control this entire time, pulling the puppet strings as it were.  We know this because in verse 17, it says “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose.”  These people can no longer think for themselves.  They cannot be saved.  We know because of verse 17 again, God is in control.

 

The Great City in verse 18 is Babylon.  But who did we previously learn the great city was?  Jerusalem.  It is possible that the two places can be the same place.

Isaiah 1:20-21 “But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword.”  Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.  21 How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers.

 

Revelation 21:2 “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”  For there to be a New Jerusalem, the old Jerusalem must be destroyed.  So the Harlot riding on the beast is NOT Jerusalem.

Revelation 18 (NASB)

Babylon Is Fallen

18:1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”

 There are differing opinions about whether the Babylons in chapters 17 and 18 are the same.  Religious Babylon in chapter 17 is destroyed midway through the Tribulation.  Commercial Babylon is destroyed at the end of the Tribulation, immediately before Christ returns.  Revelation 14:8 seems to show the fall of religious Babylon while the following verses in Revelation tell of those who will, AFTER that point they take the mark of the Beast.  When Jesus referred to “the world” in John 15:19, He was referring to the commercial system, all aspects of the world.

This is an angel radiating God’s glory.  The Greek word ‘allos’ is another angel and the word ‘heteros’ refers to another angel of a different kind.  ‘Allos’ is used here in Revelation 18:1.  Two things show that this angel came immediately from God’s presence.  First, he came with “great authority” and secondly he illumined the earth with his glory.  The fact that the angel was being seen in great radiance shows that the angel glowed because the angel in Rev. 16:10 brought darkness to the earth.  The demons and unclean spirits and hateful bird inhabits Babylon.  If this is a literal city, the demons can NOT leave it.  Verse 2 calls this a prison for them.   The word ‘fornication refers to idol worship specifically the Antichrist.

18:4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

The phrase “come out of her, my people” shows that God is giving them another chance.  There are actual believers here.  In the Old Testament, Lot was living in the same situation and had to be removed before God’s destruction destroyed his home (see Genesis 19:12-13).  In the following verses, God tells His people to:

Isaiah 52:11                       Depart from Babylon

Jeremiah 50:8                   Flee from Babylon

Jeremiah 51:6                   Flee from Babylon

Jeremiah 51:45 (NLT)   Flee from Babylon

2 Corinthians 6:14          Believers shouldn’t stay with nonbelievers

Ephesians 5:11                 Have not fellowship with demons.

Believers are told to flee to save themselves / so they don’t partake of the sins of the city.

NOTE:  Swindoll believes these events occur before chapter 14.  Verse 5 and Hebrews 8:12 say that God will forgive believers but nonbelievers are to be held accountable.

18:6 Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ 8 For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.

The word “render” is ‘apodidomi’ and means to deliver, to sell or to pay off.  The angel is no longer speaking directly to John but to God.  The angel is asking God to carry out the OT principal of ‘lex talioni’ which means ‘an eye for an eye, retaliation’. (see Exodus 21:23-24)  Jeremiah called for God to destroy Babylon in Jeremiah 50:14, 29.  The angel then asks God to pay back double (mix twice as much for her).  Jeremiah asks God to pay Babylon back two times in Jeremiah 17:18.  The phrase “her plagues will come in a day” and ”she will be utterly destroyed with fire” means never will Babylon be rebuilt and it will be quickly, suddenly in a 24 hour day.  The real reason that Babylon was and is to be destroyed is her pride.  All of these verses say that it is pride, Proverbs 29:23, Luke 1:51, Luke 14:11 and Proverbs 16:18.  The word for “torment” in verse 8 (Most except the NIV) is ‘basanismos’ and it means torment or torture.  The destruction will happen in one day.  In Daniel 5:30-31, Babylon is destroyed in a day.  The verses in Daniel tell us that very night Babylon was destroyed.

Lament for Babylon

18:9 “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

The kings will not grieve because their sin but because their source of their sin, the great playground has been destroyed.  The Kings of the earth refers to two groups of people.  These are the 10 kings and all other leaders.  The kings watch from a distance because they fear the torment and the heat will be too intense.  The fact that the kings of the earth watch her, most probably via TV or computer, shows that Babylon here is an actual city.

18:11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more— 12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, 13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. 14 The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. 15 The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’

The mourning over Babylon’s fall is rooted in self interest. The first group of mourners were the political leaders.  This second group is made up of merchants and businessmen.  The list, depending on the translation used, lists 28 specific items that Babylon was famous.  They mourn over luxuries not necessities.  The fact that the people will find these things no more is a double negative and it means that they will never exist again.  This wording also points to Hell as a place of unfulfilled desire.  Note that among possessions you could buy and own in Babylon were slaves or souls of men. This points to prostitution and shows that people are just another form of merchandise (of little value).  The outcome of those who made their living from Babylon and took the beast’s mark are described in the following verses:

Matthew 8:12                   Cast into the pit

Matthew 13:41-42          Nonbelievers gathered by angels and thrown into the pit.

Matthew 13:49-50          Angels will separate the nonbelievers

The weeping that begins here will last forever according to the following verses.  Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 66:24, Matthew 18:8 (meant for Satan and his angels), Matthew 25:41, 46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 (separation from God), Jude 7 and Jude 13.

The definition of Eternal is lasting or existing forever.

These merchants are the embodiment of Mark 8:36 in that they had it all but still went to Hell.  Kelso (Ashton Kucher) on “That 70’s show” said, “Who cares.  Your soul is like your appendix.  You never need it!”

The third group that lamented over the fall of Babylon was everybody else / the people who deliver the goods.  According to the following verses, the threw dust on their heads because they were in deep mourning.  Joshua 7:6. 1 Samuel 4:11-12, 2 Samuel 1:1-2, 2 Samjuel 15:32. Job 2:11-12, Lamentations 2:7 and 10 and Ezekiel 27:27-30.  They cry out “Woe! Woe!” which is a sign of pain and grief but not repentance.

18:20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”

The angel now turns his attention to apostles and prophets.  This is not US.  This tells us they are in Heaven.  They rejoice and we should rejoice because God’s judgment has come against their enemies (Babylon).  Heaven rejoices not over damnation of their enemies but rather because of the triumph of righteousness.

Jimmy Connors when asked why he likes to win so much . . .  “I don’t like to win.  I hate to lose.  (He didn’t rejoice over the downfall of his foes but rather over the final outcome produced by doing the right thing. – in this case – practice, practice, practice)

18:21 Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.

This verse fulfills the prophecy given in Jeremiah 51:61-64 because it says a millstone is thrown into the Euphrates River.  God says “Do Not mislead New Believers” to those who would mislead someone away from His Word.  (It is wrong to say “It’s OK to live that lifestyle.  God is all love and would never send anyone to Hell.”)  Mark 9:42 says “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck.”  This verse shows that one day the world system will fall.  God will make it all right.

18:22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.”

 The Greek word for sorcery is ‘pharmacy’ and it means to prepare drugs.  The phrase “no more sound of the mill” means there will be no food preparation will be going on.  The phrase “no more voices of the bride and bridegroom” means no more love on the earth.  The phrase “The light of a lamp shall not be found in you anymore” means there will be no more opportunity to be saved.  Once again, the real reason for God’s wrath and judgment closes this chapter.  It is God’s vengeance for how His people were treated.

Revelation 19 (NASB)

The Fourfold Hallelujah

 19:1 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; “

 The phrase “After these things” is repeated several times in Revelation and means after he had seen the previous things, and after he had been directed to record in the previous chapters.   This vision takes place after the destruction of Babylon and before Christ’s return.  As the sound of lamentation over Babylon fade, the sound of Hallelujahs ring out in heaven.

David Guzik says this great chorus is comprised of the martyred saints from the Great Tribulation period.

John MacArthur says they are angels.

Chuck Swindoll says they are the saints of God and no specific group is mentioned by him.

The word “Hallelujah” appears four times in the New Testament, all in the book of Revelation.  The word “Hallelujah” comes from two Greek words, halal and Yah, and means “Praise be to God”.  The Hebrew form of the word appears in Psalms and reads “Bless the Lord oh my soul, Hallelujah.”  The word “Salvation” in the phrase “Salvation and glory and power belong to our Lord” means the final act of our glorification.

19:2 because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.” 

This is the fulfillment of prophecy, except for Christ’s return.  It comes from Jeremiah 23:5.  Bible skeptics claim that the Bible is wrong because of Matthew 2:23.  They say no such prophecy existed.  They are wrong. Jeremiah 23:5 says “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.”  This translation is the NASB but any translation except the NLT is correct.  The word used here that means “Nazareth” is “Branch”.  It gets its root in Isaiah 11:1 which says “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”  They are the same Greek word ‘nzr’.  This is also the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:42-43.  God brings judgment according to these verses because of how His servants were treated.

According to 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, God brings His wrath to the earth because He is just and how the world treated His people.  These verses tell us “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”  According to Revelation 18:20, God’s wrath comes on behalf of His people.  It says, “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”  Psalm 58:10-11 tells us that God will judge the earth because of the way His people were treated.  Psalm 58:10-11 says “10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;  He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.  11 And men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;  Surely there is a God who judges on earth!”  According to Psalm 79:10, God will bring judgment to the earth because of how His people were treated.  This verse says “Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”  Let there be known among the nations in our sight, vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been shed.”  In Jeremiah 51:36 God made a promise to the prophet on account of how His people treated Jeremiah.  Joel 3:20-21 tells us that God brings His wrath to the earth for vengeance for His people.  1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 says that God sends His wrath because of the way His people were treated.

19:3 And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” 

The phrase “That her smoke rises up forever” shows her fate is sealed with the Final Judgment.  God describes the destruction of Edom which will be destroyed and will burn forever and ever.  Edom was a prideful people group located between Israel and Jordan.  See Isaiah 34:10.  Revelation 14:11 describes the punishment of those in hell as being forever and ever.  The destruction of the most powerful empire in earth’s history will mark Satan’s reign and the end of man’s reign over the earth.

19:4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

We know the voice from the throne is most likely an angel and not God Himself because the being says “Our God” in Verse 5.  The phrase “Almighty” is used 9 times in Revelation.

Marriage of the Lamb

19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

19:9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The Lamb is Jesus.  The bride is the Church.  The Church is described in the following verses as a virgin or a virgin without a fault, perfect.  See 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5:27.  The church is not actually holy, blameless, sinless, spotless but God “granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.”  Revelation 19:8 – ESV and KJV best versions.  The Greek word for “clean” is ‘katharos’ and it means “pure, loyal and faithful”.  The Greek word for “bright” is ‘lampros’ and it means “radiant whiteness and it depicts glorification”.  Jesus describes Himself as the bridegroom and He leaves them in the following verses:  Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19-20 and Mark 5:34-35.  Joseph and Mary are engaged or betrothed in Luke 1:27.  As soon as Gabriel leaves Mary in Luke 1:39, she leaves and goes to Elizabeth’s house.  Joseph is at his father’s house in Nazareth adding on a room.  Mary is away from Joseph for 3 months. See Luke 1:56.  Mary returns to her home (her parent’s home).  The bridegroom is Jesus.  The bride is the Church.  Jesus goes to heaven to prepare a place for us or add a room on at “Dad’s” house in John 14:2.  He promises to return to take us to His home.

These verses are an explanation of the Rapture.  The Church is wearing the white, pure, clean linen in verse Revelation 19:8.  The army returning from heaven is described as wearing white and pure linen.  Revelation 19:14.  If we are coming back with Jesus, that means we must already be in heaven.  If we are the bride, we don’t need an invitation to our own wedding, so the “Invited guests”  must be a different group.  It is possible that they are Old Testament believers.  This is an angel talking, we know this is an angel talking and not Jesus because the angel tells John not worship him.

The Coming of Christ

19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 

Jesus returns to the Mt. of Olives.  See Zechariah 14:3-4.  Zechariah 14:4 speaks of Christ’s second coming.  It says “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.”  1 Thessalonians 4:17 says “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”  Jesus’ feet never touch the earth.  The verse in 1 Thessalonians 4 obviously gives credibility to the Rapture.  The prophecy in Romans 11:26 is fulfilled here because it says all of the Jews will be saved.  We know we have the timing correct because in Matthew 23:39 Jesus says “you will not see me again until they Israel acknowledge me as Lord.  ‘Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai’ which means “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”  (Psalm 118:26)

These verses fulfill another prophecy, Genesis 49:10 because the scepter is a symbol of authority or reign.  This time it passes from Satan to Jesus and He will reign.  Genesis 49:10 says “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”  Another prophecy, Psalm 2:6-9, is fulfilled here in that God has passed the scepter to Jesus.  All human kingdoms have ceased to exist.  He will rule with a rod of iron.  We learn that Jerusalem belongs to God alone and will not be ruled by anyone else.  Zechariah 12:3 and 9 tell us about the final days regarding Jerusalem.  According to 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9, Lord Jesus will come with His mighty angels and in flaming fire.  He will bringing judgment because of the way His people were treated or persecuted.  If we compare Matthew 24:30 to 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we find that they are two different events.  Matthew 24:30 tells us about the Rapture and there will be no more mourning but 1 Thessalonians 4:17 describes the second coming of Christ and there will be mourning.  1 Thessalonians 4:17 when compared with Matthew 24:31 confirms a Rapture because we will all go up.  At the time of Christ’s second coming, all hope will be gone.  The nonbelievers’ fate is sealed.  Jesus’ second coming tells us that during the temptation of Jesus by Satan recorded in Luke 4:5-6, Satan is trying to give Jesus what He already owned.

“Why permit the church to suffer immensely, most believers to be killed, and spare but a few for the rapture, which has no apparent purpose, immediately before the tribulation period ends? ”  John MacArthur

“The 19th chapter of Revelation describing Christ returning to earth never speaks of a translation (Rapture) of living saints nor of a resurrection of dead believers.”  John MacArthur

This takes place before the Tribulation and the return of Christ.  See Matthew 24:27-30.

These saints, already in heaven, will return with Him after God has summed them from the 4 corners of heaven.  See Revelation 19:14.  John again sees heaven.  Revelation 4:1 says that John was let in.  Revelation 19:11 says that John was let out.  In Revelation 19:11, Jesus comes to Jerusalem riding a white horse as a conquering king.  In John 12:15, Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey colt which is symbolic of the lowest of the lows.  The phrase “faithful and true” shows us He keeps His promises.  He faithfully judges nonbelievers as promised.  The people of earth rejected Jesus the first time He came.  Here, they still reject Him.  But this time He comes to judge them.  This time of the judgment is already on God’s calendar.  See Acts 17:31.  The phrase “His eyes are a flame of fire” means nothing is hidden from God.  He sees all.  Hebrews 4:13 says “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

“Those eyes that had reflected tenderness and joy when they looked upon children.  That held compassion when He looked upon hurting people.  That reflected forgiveness as He restored Peter.  Thad wept over unrepentant Jerusalem.  John now sees them flashing with the fire of judgment.”  John MacArthur

This isn’t the first time John sees Jesus with eyes blazing with fire.  Revelation 1:14 tells us “His eyes were like blazing fire”.  He sees the works of the churches.  It says that “on His head were MANY crowns (or diadems).  2 Samuel 12:30 says “Then he took the crown of their king from his head; and its weight was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head.  And he brought out the spoil of the city in great amounts.”  Jesus will have every crown of every kingdom because the victor takes the crown of the defeated kings.  Imagine a crown that weighs a talent was given to King David.  A talent weighs 80 to 100 pounds.  We cannot know this special name and speculation is pointless.  Jesus has numerous names.  In John 1:1, Jesus is plainly the Word of God. The robe of Jesus is dipped in blood before He reaches the battle because this is the last battle and it is covered by the blood of the saints.

19:14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

The following verses tell us who comprises the “armies of heaven”.

Revelation 17:14             Believers, the saints, us

Jude 1:14-15                      Believers, the saints, us

Daniel 12:1-2                    Old Testament Saints, and it could include angels

Matthew 25:31                 Armies of Heaven, angels

We won’t need any weapons, so the armies of heaven members don’t need to carry any.

19:15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

The sword in Jesus’ mouth is the written Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus will say it and the Holy Spirit will show that it is true.  Ephesians 6:17 tells us that “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  This sword is different from the sword in Revelation 1:16 and 1:20.  In Chapter 1, the sword is for the protection of believers but the sword in Chapter 19 will be used to destroy the enemies of God.  Jesus will strike all of His enemies down by Himself.  This final judgment is described in Isaiah 66:15-16.  It says “For behold, the Lord will come in fire and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, and those slain by the Lord will be many.

The phrase “treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God” shows that the winepress is overflowing.  Joel 3:13-14 tells us that “13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.  Come, tread, for the winepress is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.  14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!  For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”  Moses describes Jesus as just, incorruptible with partiality.  Deuteronomy 10:17 says “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.”  Paul describes Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  1 Timothy 6:15 (NLT) says “For, At just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”

 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 

 Since Revelation 16:10 tells us that the kingdom of the beast “became darkened”, Verse 17 tells us that either the darkening had been lifted and the Sun is shining or John could have risen above the clouds as an airplane does.  The airplane gets above the clouds and it is a sunny day with the clouds below the plane.  If we compare this to Matthew 24:29 we see that in Matthew the earth is darkened.  So either we are correct about John being above the clouds or we are plunged into darkness again.  Matthew 24:29 tells us “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”  Many that write commentaries about this verse say that the angel must be shining brighter than the Sun but it is possible that the angel is silhouetted in front of the Sun.  The birds are in “midheaven” above the clouds when the angel calls to them.  (NASB is best, but all are OK.)  Preparation of the scavengers for Armageddon is taking place here.  If God is gathering the birds to eat the flesh of the dead at the Battle of Armageddon, then we can know that God knows that He will be victorious.  Those that follow the beast will be annihilated and to God, “It is a done deal!”  Luke 17:36-37 says “36 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.” 37 And answering they *said to Him,“Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”  People who deny a rapture say that Luke 17:36 is opposite of what we think.  They say that the verse shows that the nonbelievers will be removed and the believers left behind.  Verse 37 correlates with Revelation 19:17 because it says that the eagles or vultures will be eating the nonbelievers.  The one left is a believer.

18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

The word flesh is used 5 times in this verse, use NASB, ESV, HCSB, but the KJV has the best use of language.  Why do think it is used so many times?  The battle between flesh and spirit is coming to an end.  Galatians 5:17 says “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”  The different groups are listed as opposed to just “all flesh” because it shows that God shows no partiality.  God doesn’t favor the rich or pity the poor.  All people will be treated the same.  Romans 2:11 says “For there is no partiality with God.”  See Acts 10:34 also.  All of the following verses point to Revelation 19:18.   Isaiah 18:6 says, “They will be left together for mountain birds of prey,
And for the beasts of the earth;  And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them, And all the beasts of the earth will spend harvest time on them.
”  Read also Jeremiah 7:33 and Ezekiel 39:17-20.  Even after the birds have gorged themselves, it will take 7 months to bury the remaining bodies.  Ezekiel 39:12 tell us so, For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land.”

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

The beast is the Antichrist.  The rider is Jesus.  The kings of the earth are the 10 kings put into power by the Antichrist.  The army of the rider is made up of believers.

Doom of the Beast and False Prophet

20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 

 We see that in verse 19, preparations are being made for the battle of Armageddon but in verse 20 the battle is over and the beast and false prophet are thrown alive into the lake of fire.  This tells us there is not going to be a real battle at all.  The battle of Armageddon is over as quickly as it starts.  It is over in the blink of an eye.  No fighting actually takes place.  Zechariah 14:5 tells us “You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.”  The enemies of God do their best to escape. 

 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

 The Antichrist and the false prophet are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire.  Satan was not cast into the lake of fire.  Satan will join them after Jesus’ millennium (1000 year) reign.  Satan is released and then throw into the Lake of Fire.  Revelation 20:7 and 20:10 say “7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, . . . 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”  All nonbelievers still on earth who sided with the Antichrist will be killed and they are eaten by the birds.  They become “BIRD FOOD”.

Revelation 20 (NASB)

Satan Bound

Note – We are not talking about the Rapture in these verses, but about the millennial reign of Christ.

In Jeremiah 23:5-6, one of God’s great names is given.  It pertains to the thousand year reign of Christ. The name is Jehovah Tsidkenu and means the Lord is our Righteousness.  Walvoord calls Revelation 20:1-6, “the most argued verses in the Bible.”

There are three views of these verses.  The literal premillennial view that believes that the millennium is a literal 1000 years and at the end of the 1000 years will be the final resurrection and judgment.  The amillennial view believes that the 1000 years is the time between Christ’s first and second coming.  The post-millennial view believes that Christ will come back after 1000 years when the Church fixes everything.  The most obvious reason that amillennialism is wrong is that it has now been more than 2000 years since Christ came the first time.  The most obvious reason that the post-millennial view is wrong is that it assumes that man will make the world better or fix all the problems of the world.

John MacArthur – “There is no evidence in this passage at all that would cause us to question that from 19:1-21:8 a strict chronological order is observed.  Chapters 19-20 form a single unit and form one continuous prophetic strain.”

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.

The first thing that happens as Christ sets up His thousand year reign is the removal of the influence of Satan.  The following verses describe Satan as:

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:4 “the God of this world”
  2. Ephesians 2:2 “power or prince of the air”

The phrase “Then I saw” in the Greek is ‘kai eidon’ which indicates chronological progression.  That phrase most likely points to a premillennial view.  An angel binds Satan and this shows that Satan is a created being and is below Christ and God.  This angel has the key to the bottomless pit.  This is the same angel described in Revelation 9:1 as the star.  In Luke 8:31, the bottomless pit is called the abyss.  The verse in Luke tells us that this bottomless pit is a very bad place because the demons would rather go into the pigs and die than to go to the bottomless pit.  According to Romans 10:7, this bottomless pit is located down (“who will go down to the place of the dead?)”  This angel’s name is not given.  Daniel 12:1 tells us that this angel may be Michael.  The word ‘abussos’ or abyss, is used 7 times in Revelation and always refers to a temporary place of torment.

During the thousand year reign of Christ, only the Beast and False prophet will be in the Lake of Fire.  There are demons already in the abyss:

  1. 1 Peter 3:19-20 “those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited                                              patiently while Noah was building his boat.
  1. Jude 1:6 “And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the                                            limits of authority God gave them but left the place where                                          they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons                                    of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.”

The angel has the authority to open the gate, as well as lock the gate behind him.  This is a prestigious angel.

20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

Four names are given for the adversary.  They are the dragon, the serpent of old, the devil and Satan.  Satan is called ”the dragon” 12 times in Revelation.  The Greek word for “devil” is ‘diablos’.  The word ‘diablos’ is translated as “slanderer” in 1 Timothy 3:11 (Not NIV).  It translated in 2 Timothy 3:3 as slanderous.  Devil is translated as slanderer in Titus 2:3.  Satan is a Hebrew word. the Greek name is ‘Satanas’.  The word “Satan” or its Greek counterpart is used 53 times in the Bible.  Devil means “slanderer” but Satan means adversary.

Satan is bound for 1000 years.  During this time he will have no influence over people.  The exact length of time is mentioned 6 times in Revelation chapter 20.  For the amillennial view or the post-millennial view to be correct, the number 1000 must be figurative opposed to literal.  Both amillennialists and post-millennialists believe that Satan is alread bound in the pit.  We should take the thousand year reign as a literal thousand years because throughout the Bible there are literal times.  This time a number is used which has always meant that it is a literal time.  In Revelation 20:3, the phrase or term “a little while or short time” is used to describe an unspecified length of time.  Revelation 20:8 uses the phrase “sand on a seashore or a nonspecific time”.

For the amillennialists and post-millennialists to be correct, the earth will need to get better and better but 2 Timothy 3:1 tells us that the last days will be difficult or terrible times.  Matthew 24:38-39 says “38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”  God will destroy all the people on the earth, just as He did in the days of Noah.  The sequence between the angel and the devil in these two verses are – the angel seized the devil, he bound him, cast him into the bottomless pit, shut him up and set a seal over the only exit.  Knowing that this is a literal time period, 2 Peter 3:8 can only be referring to the one thousand year reign of Christ.  2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 tell us that the 6 x 24 hours days “represent” the time of man’s rule on God’s timetable.  God created everything in 6 days and then rested.  If you think about it, man’s rule has lasted 6 times 1000 years and God will rest during the 1000 year reign of Christ, so Genesis 2:2 is most likely referring to the thousand year reign of Christ.

“Is this a literal transaction? Certainly, it is. The battle is literal; the taking of the Beast and the False Prophet is literal; the slaying of the kings and their armies is literal; Satan is literal, and his binding must be equally literal. It will not resolve itself into anything else.” (Theologian Joseph Seiss)

Satan is not the first fallen angel to be chained that is referred to in Jude 1:6.  The phrase “that he should deceive the nations no more” tell us that Satan has only one tactic and that is deception.

1 Peter 5:8 proves that millennialists and post-millennialists are wrong because it says he is now prowling and seeking and they say that Satan has been bound already.  1 Peter 5:8 says “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  The following verse tells us that King David will reign with Jesus during the thousand years, Jeremiah 30:9, Ezekiel 34:23-24, Ezekiel 37:21-28 and Hosea 3:5.  Most people think that “people” are basically good. The millennium will show that they are not good.

20:4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 

John then saw thrones but who was sitting on the thrones.  The verse only says “they”.  Revelation 4:4 says that it could be the twenty-four elders.  Matthew 19:28 is talking about Jesus’ disciples.  1 Corinthians 6:2-3 talks about the “saints”.  The final phrase in this sentence “judgment was given to them”, suggests that the saints as given in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 is correct.  Timothy 2:12 says “If we endure, we will also reign with Him”.  Daniel 7:18 says “the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom”.  The verses in Timothy and Daniel confirm that it is most likely the saints.  Next, John sees “the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and the word of God.”   They are the tribulation martyrs or saints.  By mentioning them before the Tribulation, they could read this and gain strength and be encouraged by it.  They suffered through a time where the Antichrist was in power.  God wants no one to be left out.  Revelation 13:7 tells us that “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” 

In their “Left Behind” series, Lahaye and Jenkins actually describe the people that refuse the mark of the beast being beheaded with guillotines.

20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

John 5:28-29 mentions two resurrections, one for the “good” and one for “evil”.  It says “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” 

‘The ‘first resurrection’ is not an event but an order of resurrection including all the righteous who are raised from the dead before the millennial kingdom begins.” (Walvoord)

Another name for the first resurrection is the Rapture.  The saints/believers will be resurrected in the first resurrection or Rapture.  The two resurrections are separated by the 1000 year reign of Christ.  The second resurrection will occur at the judgment.

We should NOT want to be part of the second resurrection because it means that we missed out on the Rapture and all that follows.  Those in the second Resurrection will face judgment and damnation.

Satan Freed, Doomed

20:7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 

It is hard to believe but the bliss that I picture occurring in the 1000 year reign of Christ is interrupted.  Satan is freed.  He will be allowed to “deceive the nations” and gather them for one last war.  He is still deluded enough to believe that he can still win.  God frees Satan, even for a little while because God wants to show how bad or depraved man really is.  Even after the 1000 year reign of Christ, there will be men that are not happy.

A great number will gather with Satan to battle for God.  The verse says, “number like sand on a seashore.”  So it will not be just a few.  Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe a battle name in the same way, Gog and Magog.  A close study of these verses clearly demonstrates they do not refer to the same people and events.  The people coming out of the 1000 year reign are different.  They were all believers or the children of believers under the rule of Jesus.  Even though He ruled with an iron rod, this will be an amazing time.  Not everyone will be happy though, enough for a war.

20:9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Just as the Battle of Armageddon, this will be a short battle.  Fire will come down from Heaven and devour them.  We have seen our God take care of things in this same way in 1 Kings 18:36-39 when Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal.

Satan is defeated and thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are.  Most depictions of Satan in Hell show him as being in control of the Lake of Fire.  We are told that he too will be tormented day and night.

Judgment at the Throne of God

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

John describes God as the one “from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.”  Those whose names are not in the Book of Life are being judged.  They end up in the Lake of Fire.  This resurrection differs from the first resurrection in that the lost are resurrected to be judged and then thrown into the Lake of Fire.  If their name is not in the Book of Life they go through the second resurrection.  Whether or not they are in the Book of Life is decided according to their deeds.

Revelation 21 (NASB)

Revelation 21 appears to be the start of a new section of the book of Revelation.  In the first 3 chapters, Jesus was Lord of the churches.  In chapters 4 through 20, Jesus was Lion over the nations.  In the final two chapters, we shall see Jesus as the Lamb of believers.  In this chapter, we move from judgment of the lost to something new, what a breath of fresh air.

The New Heaven and Earth

21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 

Many prophets in the Bible, both Old and New Testament, wrote about a new heaven and a new earth.

Isaiah 65:17-19 – Isaiah 65:19 tells us that we will NOT grieve for the old heaven and old earth because we will NOT remember (Isaiah 65:17).

Psalm 102:25-27 – We will live on the new earth forever.

2 Peter 3:12-13 – Peter says that righteousness dwells in the new heaven and on the new earth.

One obvious difference between the new earth and the old one was the new earth will have NO seas.   These were very important in the old earth.  The heaven that John is referring to here as the new heaven, is the Third Heaven which is where the throne of God is located.  This “newness” is physical and not a spiritual change.  Throughout Revelation, numerous judgments have damaged the old earth.  The seals judgment brought destruction to one fourth (¼)  of the old earth and seas.  The trumpet judgment brought destruction to one third (1/3) of the earth and seas in the Tribulation period.

“In this chapter, we see that the history of time is finished; the history of eternity is about to begin.” (Barnhouse)

21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 

In the Old Testament, God gave the specifications for the Tabernacle and the Temple.  Here in Revelation 21:2, God does not tell “man” how to build Jerusalem but this new Jerusalem is God made and given.  New Jerusalem comes directly from God or from God out of heaven.

The following verses describe the New Jerusalem:

Hebrews 12:22 –Heavenly Jerusalem

Galatians 4:26   – Jerusalem above but the NLT which says heavenly Jerusalem

Philippians 3:20 – the place of our real citizenship

Hebrews 11:10 tells us the Abraham was looking forward to a New Jerusalem the city with heavenly foundations and whose designer and builder was God.

21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 

This verse sounds like a return to the Garden of Eden after Creation but before the fall.  Instead of God in heaven and Man on the earth, we will be in the presence of God and Jesus.

21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.  The absence of these things proves what we read in Isaiah 65:17 because if we remember everything then there will be these things.

21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 If God said that He would make all things new, then it is absolutely true.  He has told John to write these things down, therefore it will happen as He said.  The Greek word for “It is done” is ‘gegonan’.  We saw it in Revelation 16:17 at the end of the bowl judgments.  On the cross Jesus said ‘tetelestai’, “It is finished.”  These words are not different.  They are the same because they are the ending.

The mystery described in Ephesians 1:9-10 is resolved.  Everything in heaven and on earth are unified under the rule of Jesus Christ.  Just as on the old earth, there is a spring that gives Living Water or Water of Life for the thirsty.  John 4:13

Verse 8 tells us who will join Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet.  It says that the ”cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars”.  This list is comparable to the list of 7 things that are an abomination to God listed by Solomon in Proverbs 6:16-19.  Solomon lists haughty eyes – the kind that looks down on others, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil(vile), a false witness who utters lies, one who spreads strife among brothers.

 

21:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

The New Jerusalem

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 

 It is good to see that this angel has more than one purpose.  John remembered this angel because this angel had poured out the seventh and final bowl in Revelation 16:17-21.  Here the angel is going to show John the Bride which is New Jerusalem.

21:11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates, twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

There must be some connection between New Jerusalem and the Church or the saints.  In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul says that the Church is the Bride and here in Revelation 21 the Bride is New Jerusalem.  One possible explanation for both being the Bride is that the saints will live forever in New Jerusalem.  Are these verses to be taken literally or figuratively?  Is New Jerusalem a place or people?  As we go through these verses consider both.

In the next few verses, the beauty of New Jerusalem is described.  There will be twelve gates with 3 in each direction which are named for the twelve tribes of Israel.  Why will we need walls at that time?  We don’t really know.  There will be no more enemies.  It shows that some may be excluded from the city.

The twelve foundations of the walls will bear the names of the twelve disciples of the Lamb.  Of all of the glorious things in New Jerusalem, this is a peculiar thing to honor them with.  Ephesians 2:19-20 tells us that we are to be members of God’s “household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone.

21:15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he mea21sured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.

John sees an angel holding a measuring rod made of gold.  One possible explanation for God telling us the size of New Jerusalem is to give us comfort in knowing there is plenty of room.

John Walvoord said “Whatever its shape, a city of large dimensions would be proper if it is to be the residence of the saved of all ages including infants who died before reaching the age of accountability.  It is not necessarily true, however, to hold that everyone will live continually within its walls throughout eternity.  The implications are that there is plenty of room for everyone and this city provides a residence for the saints of all ages.”

I can’t imagine walls that are 216 feet thick.

21:18 The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

John goes into more detail about the walls.  The description of the walls tells us that God’s resources are limitless.  Getting enough gold and precious gems to build these walls will not be a problem for our God.  The only other place in the Bible where such an assortment of gemstones was seen, is the High Priest’s Breastpiece.  (Exodus 28:15-21).

“The symbolism is not meant to give the impression of wealth and luxury, but to point to the glory and holiness of God.” (Johnson)

Numerous songwriters have written about the gates of pearl and the streets of gold.  These songs are about Heaven but the description in Revelation 21 is about New Jerusalem.  The confusion about Heaven and New Jerusalem may be because people call the place that we go after death Heaven.  Heaven may be the model for New Jerusalem.

The description of the gates is commonly misinterpreted.  They are made from a single pearl.  Previously we discussed how gold can be made clear.  If gold is rolled very thin, then it becomes clear.  Another option is that the gold is so pure that it appears to be clear.  When we think about the purification process of gold, the saints are like that gold because they both are purified by fire.  For the saints, that is trials and tribulations.

“The constant mention of transparency indicates that the city is designed to transmit the glory of God in the form of light without hindrance.” (Walvoord)

21:22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 

God and the Lamb will provide the light in New Jerusalem.  There will be no Temples in New Jerusalem.  We don’t need them because God and Jesus are there.  When the Hebrew nation was in the wilderness, every time that Moses was in the presence of God, his face or appearance was changed.  (Exodus 34:33-35)  Moses was walking in the glory of God.

The significance of kings in New Jerusalem is not known.

“How encouraging to note that not all wer­e destroyed when the nations came to do battle­ against Jerusalem and the Lord Himself. There will also be ‘kings of the earth’ who will be a part of the eternal state.” (Hocking)

21:25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

New Jerusalem will be a place of glory and honor of God and the Lamb and the gates will never close.  The mention of evil is surprising.  Just as in the battle of Gog and Magog, I have trouble understanding what is evil in the world evil at that time.  It just shows the potential for man’s ability to become evil.

The chapter ends by reminding us that only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will come into New Jerusalem.

Revelation 22  (NASB)

The River and the Tree of Life

22-1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 

In John 4, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman about the living water that will remove all thirst.  There are other references to the water of life in the New Testament.   John 4:10 “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:14 says “but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  It is the water that gives eternal life.  John 7:37-39 says 37 “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

The water is clear and is “coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb”.  As you would expect, God has provided us with pure uncontaminated water.

“Its waters are literal waters, of a nature and quality answering to that of the golden city to which they belong. Man on earth never knew such waters, as men on earth never knew such a city; but the city is a sublime reality.” (Seiss)

22-2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 

This verse speaks of the tree of life, bearing 12 kinds of fruit.  The Bible begins with the Tree of Life and here in the last chapter of the Bible is the Tree of Life again.  Genesis 2:9 tells us about the Tree of Life in the garden.  The presence of the Tree of Life is one of the similarities between the garden in Genesis and the place that John is describing in Revelation 22.

Below are things that are mentioned in Genesis and then again in the book of Revelation.

Genesis                                         Revelation

Death              (2:17) – You will surely die           21:4 – No more death

Sin             (3:6) – she took of its fruit and ate     22:3 – No more curse (sin)

Night        (1:3) the darkness he called Night     22:5 – No more night

Pain     (3:16) – I will surely multiply your pain           21:4 – No more pain

Satan                    (3:1) – Satan appears.                20:10 – Satan is thrown in the Lake of Fire

Tree of Life          (2:9) – in the garden                  22:2 – In the middle of New Jerusalem

This is how John Walvoord sees it: “The visual picture presented is that the river of life flows down through the middle of the city, and the tree is large enough to span the river, so that the river is in the midst of the street, and the tree is on both sides of the river.”

Seeing water (the river) and fruit in heaven makes you think, We will eat and drink in heaven?  Luke 24:41-43 and John 21:12-14 tell us that our resurrected Lord ate with His disciples.  When the angels visited Abraham in Genesis 18:6-8, they ate with Abraham.  We read in Revelation 19:9 of the marriage supper with Christ.  It sure sounds as though we will eat and drink in heaven.

It says that the leaves are for “healing the nations”.  “The word for ‘healing’ is therapeian, from which the English word therapeutic is derived, almost directly transliterated from the Greek. Rather than meaning ‘healing,’ it should be understood as ‘health-giving,’ as the word in its root meaning has the idea of serving or ministering.” (Walvoord)

22:3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

If we go back to the original sin or curse, we know that there will be no more sin here.  Without sin, the curse of death has been removed also.  Paul told us that “the wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23.  I am reminded of the praise song, “Soon and Very Soon”.  The lyrics include seeing God, no more crying and no more dying there.  What an amazing place this will be!   According to verse 3 of Revelation 22, we will not be celebrating constantly but we will be serving God and Jesus for what they have done for us.  Complete God-centered service, no questioning just love-filled service.

In Exodus 33:20-23, Moses is warned against looking at God’s face.  God told Moses “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”  Here in New Jerusalem, we all shall see God and we are able to look directly into His face.  Just as it was in the Beginning, before Satan, before sin entered the world.

“It is the chief blessing of heaven, the cream of heaven, the heaven of heaven, that the saints shall there see Jesus.” (Spurgeon)

We shall have “His name on our foreheads”, there will be no doubt of who we serve.  It will be written for all to see.  There will be no more night.  God will be our source of light.  When Moses would leave God’s presence he would put on a veil because the “skin of Moses’ face was shining”.  Exodus 34:34-35.  Moses’ face was reflecting the light from God.  We won’t need any artificial source of light because we will have the amazing light from God.

22:6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

The angel that is showing John around in this vision, reminds John that what he is seeing is “faithful and true”.  Even though he can’t believe his eyes, he should believe his eyes.  What he is seeing is real and will come true.  The angel is reminding John that all of these things were prophecied about and will take place soon.  The words like “soon” and “quickly” are relative terms.  We have already seen that to God a thousand years is like a day to God.

Prophecy is from God and it is to be tested by whether or not it comes true.  If it is truly from God, it will always come true.  Verse 7 tells us that if we heed or trust the words of the prophecy of this book, we will be blessed.

22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he *said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

Once again John becomes overcome by what he has seen and heard.  We know that this is an angel because he tells John to get up because the angel is a fellow servant.  The angel tells him to worship God.  Throughout the Bible, we can tell whether the angel is truly an angel or Jesus from whether the angel tells the person to get up.

“If it was wrong to worship this glorious heavenly messenger, in and through whom came forth the very voice of Jesus, how can it be right to worship and pray to the Virgin Mary, to whom is assigned no such dignity or office? The impulse and intention may be devout and good, but it is a great mistake.” (Seiss)

The Final Message

22:10 And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

In Daniel 8:26, Daniel is told to seal up the prophecy.  Since the prophecy in Revelation is relevant for today, this book isn’t sealed.  Even though we cannot predict the time, it is important for us to know what will happen.  It provides us with the understanding that God is in control, that God will punish those that have harmed His people and it gives us encouragement to “fight the good fight.”

12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Since we do not know the time and day, then we are to be prepared for His return.  He is coming quickly, it is believed that the word translated as quickly can be interpreted as “suddenly”.  We are told by Jesus in the parable of the bridegroom that the bridegroom was a long time coming.  The virgins were to keep prepared for his coming.  This parable is about Jesus’ return and should urge us to be prepared.

He will be bringing to every man according to what he had done.  Even before you get to this point, God has given the non-believer judgment and eternal damnation.  For the believer, just being in “Heaven” would be amazing but it says “according to what he had done.”  James 2:20 says “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?”  You can’t work yourself into heaven and the blessings associated with it but you still need to serve God out of love for Him.

Verse 13 gives different attributes or names of the Christ.  It shows that He is infinite. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  All ways of says that He is infinite.  John 1:1-2 says “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.”  Jesus was there in the beginning and He will be here throughout all time.  Revelation 22 is the beginning of eternity.

22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

All but the King James version say “Blessed are those who wash their robes,”, the King James version says “Blessed are those who keep my commandments”.  This is most likely nothing but a transcription error.  It the Greek, HOIPLUNONTESTASSTOLAS means “washed their robes” and HOIPOIOUNTESTASENTOLAS means “do His commandments”.  A case could be made for either word in this verse.  Washed robes could symbolize being unblemished or sinless and doing His commandments would leave you unblemished or sinless.

Inside the gates is good and outside the gates is bad.  I struggle with evil at this point in time.  How can there be evil outside the Lake of Fire?

“The verse does not intend to teach that in the eternal state all manner of wicked men will be living just outside the heavenly city. It simply describes the future with the imagery of the present. ” (Mounce)

This verse is about the world today and not some future date.  Man is going to end up in the Lake of Fire or in heaven.  Your faith today determines where you will spend your eternity.

22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

Jesus sent His angel to testify on His behalf just as a king would send a messenger on his behalf.   The messenger would have the same authority as the king.  So anything that the angel said was as true as if Jesus himself had said it.

“Christ, as the morning star, heralds the coming day in His role as the One who comes for the church in the rapture.” (Walvoord)

22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

This is an open invitation to receive salvation from Jesus. He will not exclude anyone who comes to Him.  An invitation is both an opportunity and a responsibility.  If we decline an invitation, we have only ourselves to blame.  This invitation is always available in our church.  Anytime or anywhere, all you have to do is hear the message and have a thirst to know the Christ.

“A similar invitation is extended in Isaiah 55:1. The invitation to come is an urgent command, for the day will arrive when it is too late to come. Now is the day of grace. The hour of judgment is impending.” (Walvoord)

22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

What John has written in Revelation is difficult to understand.  There are warnings about adding to the Book of Revelation, as well as the Bible.  When I think about the Book of Mormon, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Jehovah Witness) and the additional books in the Catholic Bible, I wonder how their church leaders will be judged.

22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

As a conclusion, John is not only looking forward to Jesus’ second coming, he is praying or asking for it.  He was ready for death or Christ’s return.  He has endured a lot as a result of his relationship with Jesus.   John wrote the book of Revelation near the end of his life while still in exile on the Isle of Patmos.  He was the only one of the original 12 apostles that died of old age.

This ending is similar to the endings of the letters of Paul.  In 1 Timothy 6:21, Paul writes “Grace be with you all.”

“Whatever you may miss, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be always with you. In whatsoever points you or any of us may fail, may we never come short of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Spurgeon)

The chart is too complex to display here.  Open it with the Adobe PDF button.

Chapter 17 – Religious Babylon

Chapter 18 – Commercial Babylon

Mystery Babylon

Great Babylon. Babylon the Great

Symbol: A harlot Woman

Symbol; A Great City

Identified with Rome (?)

Identified with a port city

Woman, Whore, Mother

Habitation; great

market place

Guilty of Religious Abominations

Guilty of Greed and Self-Indulgence

Destroyed by a Political Power that once supported her

Destroyed by a sudden act of God

This Bible Study was taught by Pastor Brian.

The notes are taken from commentaries by Max Lucado, Dr. David Jeremiah.

The Sunday School class was taught by Mike Croak using the same notes.

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