by Ken Cayce

© Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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Revelation Explained

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Book of Revelation Explained

Title: Unlike most books of the Bible, Revelation contains its own title: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:1). "Revelation" (Greek Apokalupsis) means "an uncovering", "an unveiling", or "a disclosure". In the New Testament, this word describes the unveiling of spiritual truth (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 1:17; 3:3), the revealing of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19), Christ's incarnation (Luke 2:32), and His glorious appearing at His second coming (2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7). In all its uses, "revelation" refers to something or someone, once hidden, becoming visible. What this book reveals or unveils is Jesus Christ in glory. Truths about Him and His final victory, that the rest of Scripture merely allude to, become clearly visible through revelation about Jesus Christ (See Historical and Theological Themes). This revelation was given to Him by God the Father, and it was communicated to the Apostle John by an angel (1:1).

Author - Date: Four times the author identifies himself as John (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). Early tradition unanimously identified him as John the apostle, author of the fourth gospel and three epistles. For example, important second century witnesses to the Apostle John's authorship include Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. Many of the book's original readers were still alive during the lifetimes of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, both of who held to apostolic authorship.

There are differences in style between Revelation and John's other writings, but they are insignificant and do not preclude one man from writing both. In fact, there are some striking parallels between Revelation and John's other works. Only John's gospel and Revelation refer to Jesus Christ as the Word (19:13; John 1:1). Revelation (1:7), and John's gospel (19:37), translate (Zech. 12:10), differently from the Septuagint, but in agreement with each other. Only Revelation and the Gospel of John describe Jesus as the Lamb (5:6, 8; John 1:29); both describe Jesus as a witness (compare 1:5; John 5:31-32).

Revelation was written in the last decade of the first century (ca. A.D. 95-96), near the end of Emperor Domitian's reign (A.D. 81-96). Although some date it during Nero's reign (A.D. 54-68), their arguments are unconvincing and conflict with the view of the early church. Writing in the second century, Irenaeus declared that Revelation had been written toward the end of Domitian's reign. Later writers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Victorinus (who wrote one of the earliest commentaries on Revelation), Eusebius, and Jerome affirm the Domitian date.

The Spiritual decline of the 7 churches (chapters 2 and 3), also argues for the later date. Those churches were strong and spiritually healthy in the mid-60s, when Paul last ministered in Asia Minor. The brief time between Paul's ministry there and the end of Nero's reign was too short for such a decline to have occurred. The longer time gap also explains the rise of the heretical sect known as the Nicolaitans (2:6, 15), who are not mentioned in Paul's letters, not even to one or more of these same churches (Ephesians). Finally, dating Revelation during Nero's reign does not allow time for John's ministry in Asia Minor to reach the point at which the authorities would have felt the need to exile him.

Background - Setting: Revelation begins with John, the last surviving apostle and an old man, in exile on the small, barren Island of Patmos, located in the Aegean Sea southwest of Ephesus. The Roman authorities had banished him there because of his faithful preaching of the gospel (1:9). While on Patmos, John received a series of visions that laid out the future history of the world.

John reports that he saw his visions and was told to write them down while he was on the island of Patmos (1:9, 11; 19:9; 22:9-10, 18-19). Patmos is about 60 miles from Ephesus.

John was told to write down what he saw in a book and to send it to seven churches in the province of Asia (western Asia Minor): Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea (1:11). The original recipients of Revelation were the believers in these seven churches. Tradition reports that the apostle John exercised spiritual oversight over these churches while he resided at Ephesus during the final decades of the first century. The order of the listing of the seven churches forms a semicircle beginning in the west at Ephesus, then extending northward to Pergamos, and subsequently southeastward to Laodicea. Revelation was probably sent initially as a circular letter beginning at Ephesus and thence throughout the province.

When he was arrested, John was in Ephesus, ministering to the church there and in the surrounding cities. Seeking to strengthen those congregations, he could no longer minister to them in person and, following the divine command (1:11), John addressed Revelation to them (1:4). The churches had begun to feel the effects of persecution; at least one man, probably a pastor, had already been martyred (2:13), and John himself had been exiled. But the storm of persecution was about to break in full fury upon the 7 churches so dear to the apostle's heart (2:10). To those churches, Revelation provided a message of hope: God is in sovereign control of all the events of human history, and though evil often seems pervasive and wicked men all powerful, their ultimate doom is certain. Christ will come in glory to judge and rule.

"Theme - Purpose": The theme of Revelation is the revelation of the person and the prophetic program of Jesus Christ. Many purposes can be detected in the book.

First, it was written to encourage believers to endure persecution and to persevere through suffering, knowing that the victory of Christ over the world and the Devil is guaranteed and certain.

Second, the book was written to show how all of prophecy focuses on Jesus Christ, His person and His program for the world.

Third, the book seeks to unite all the various lines of biblical prophecy (both Old and New Testaments), and to show how they converge upon the second coming of Christ to rule the earth in His messianic kingdom.

Fourth, the book seeks to correct some moral and doctrinal problems that existed (and still exist), in the churches, and to instruct Christians in such things as salvation, prophecy, the person of Christ, and Christian living.

And finally, the book may be an attack of the paganism and emperor worship of the Roman Empire, particularly against the emperor Domitian and his persecution of Christians. (There are many possible veiled references to the anti-Christian nature and activities of Rome in the book).

Historical - Theological themes: Since it is primarily prophetic, Revelation contains little historical material, other than that (in chapters 1-3). The 7 churches to who the letters were addressed were existing churches in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Apparently, they were singled out because John had ministered in them.

Revelation is first and foremost a revelation about Jesus Christ (1:1). The book depicts Him as the risen, glorified Son of God ministering among the churches (1:10ff).

As "The faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth" (1:5);

As "the Alpha and the Omega" (1:8);

As the one "who is and who was and who is the come, the Almighty" (1:8);

As a son of man (1:13):

As the one who was dead, but now is alive forevermore (1:18);

As the Son of God (2:18);

As the one who is holy and true (3:7);

As "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God" (3:14);

As the Lion of the tribe of Judah (5:5);

As the Lamb in heaven, with authority to open the title deed to the earth (6:1ff);

As the Lamb on the throne (7:17);

As the Messiah who will reign forever (11:15);

As the Word of God (19:13);

As the majestic King of kings and Lord of lords, returning in glorious splendor to conquer His foes (19:11ff); and

As "the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star" (22:16).

Many other rich theological themes find expression in Revelation. The church is warned about sin and exhorted to holiness. John's vivid pictures of worship in heaven both exhort and instruct believers. In few other books of the Bible is the ministry of angels so prominent. Revelation's primary theological contribution is to eschatology, i.e., the doctrine of last things. In it we learn about:

The final political setup of the world;

The last battle of human history;

The career and ultimate defeat of Antichrist;

Christ's 1000 year earthly kingdom;

The glories of heaven and the eternal state; and

The final state of the wicked and the righteous.

Finally, only Daniel rivals this book in declaring that God providentially rules over the kingdoms of men and will accomplish His sovereign purposes regardless of human or demonic opposition.

Interpretive Challenges: No other New Testament book poses more serious and difficult interpretive challenges than Revelation. The book's vivid imagery and striking symbolism have produced 4 main interpretive approaches:

"The preterist approach": Interprets Revelation as a description of first century events in the Roman Empire (see author - date). This view conflicts with the book's own often repeated claim to be prophecy (1:3; 22:7, 10, 18, 19). It is impossible to see all the events in Revelation as already fulfilled. The second coming of Christ, for example, obviously did not take place in the first century.

The historicist approach": Views Revelation as a panoramic view of church history from apostolic times to the present, seeing in the symbolism such events as the barbarian invasions of Rome, the rise of the Roman Catholic Church (as well as various individual popes), the emergence of Islam, and the French Revolution. This interpretive method robs Revelation of any meaning for those to whom it was written. It also ignores the time limitations the book itself places on the unfolding events (compare 11:2; 12:6, 14; 13:5). Historicism has produced many different, and often conflicting, interpretations of the actual historical events contained in Revelation.

"The idealist approach": Interprets Revelation as a timeless depiction of the cosmic struggle between the forces of good and evil. In this view, the book contains neither historical allusions nor predictive prophecy. This view also ignores Revelations' prophetic character and, if carried to its logical conclusion, severs the book from any connection with actual historical events. Revelation then becomes merely a collection of stories designed to teach spiritual truth.

"The futurist approach": Insists that the events of (chapters 6-22), are yet future, and that those chapters literally and symbolically depict actual people and events yet to appear on the world scene. It described the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus Christ (chapters 6-19), the Millennium and final judgment (chapter 20), and the eternal state (chapters 21 and 22). Only this view does justice to Revelation's claim to be prophecy and interprets the book by the same grammatical-historical method as (chapters 1-3), and the rest of Scripture.


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Chapter Selection


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Revelation 1 Revelation 9 Revelation 17
Revelation 2 Revelation 10 Revelation 18
Revelation 3 Revelation 11 Revelation 19
Revelation 4 Revelation 12 Revelation 20
Revelation 5 Revelation 13 Revelation 21
Revelation 6 Revelation 14 Revelation 22
Revelation 7 Revelation 15  
Revelation 8 Revelation 16  

Revelation 1

Revelation Chapter 1

Before we go into the first chapter and verse of Revelation chapter 1, I would like to acquaint you with the penman, John the Apostle.

I believe that God Himself is the author of the Bible. That includes the book of Revelation as all writing in the bible was inspired (by the Holy Spirit of God), but the penman was the apostle John. (See " About the Bible " and also " History of the bible's English Origin ").

John was the beloved of Jesus. He and James were the sons of Zebedee, the sons of thunder. John was one of the younger of the disciples. He loved Jesus so much that John was known as the disciple of love. He would lay his head on Jesus' chest. He adored Jesus. It seems that Jesus felt the very same way about John. It was John that Jesus entrusted his mother to. Whenever three disciples went aside with Jesus, as they did at the transfiguration, John was one of them.

John was there at the Garden of Gethsemane, waiting while Jesus prayed. John loved Jesus so much, that he was never very far from Jesus. It seemed that this great love that John had for Jesus helped him to understand the person of Jesus more than any other disciple.

In this book of John, it shows Jesus as God manifest in the flesh. The first few scriptures say:

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:2 "The same was in the beginning with God."

John 1:3 "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

Now look at verse 14.

John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

This gives no doubt that it was Jesus who made everything including the earth, heavens, sun, moon, oceans and He created man as seen in the first 3 scriptures of the Gospel of John. But verse 14 tells us that the Word (Jesus), was made flesh and dwelt among us as the true Son of God.

The four gospels show Jesus as a Lion, Calf, Man, and Eagle. The Eagle is symbolic of God. This is the message that John brought in his gospel, that Jesus was in fact God who took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us.

The apostle John knew Jesus better than any of the other disciples. He even knew Him better than Paul knew Him. There was something very special about John's relationship with Jesus. John's mother knew of this closeness and even asked Jesus for James and John to sit on His right and left hand in His kingdom. Jesus answered her and said that these positions were not His to give. John was the only disciple present at Jesus' crucifixion (that the Bible mentions).

John penned several books in the Bible besides Revelation. The Gospel of John, and First, Second, and Third John are written by him, as well.

Second John is even a mystery today. So much discussion surrounds this little book, because no one knows for sure who it was addressed to.

(1) Was it a woman that John knew from his age?

(2) Was it all women in general?

(3) Was it Christian ladies of all ages?

(4) Was it written to the church?

(5) Was it written for our day to some woman prophetically?

Only John and God know.

So many people are carried away with Paul's writings (and they are wonderful), but my favorite penman is John. John knew Jesus personally. He walked and talked with Jesus as He ministered here on the earth. John saw the miracles. He was there when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount. He had first-hand knowledge.

Paul had a brief encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, but his other knowledge was by revelation. He was carried into heaven for a brief encounter as well, but most of his knowledge of Jesus came when he was three years in the wilderness studying and communing with God in prayer. Paul's writings are not to be diminished in any way, but John's writings seem to understand the purpose of Jesus' ministry more than anyone. He knew Jesus' mission. John understood that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; that Jesus' blood would be sufficient to destroy death and sin. John knew that Jesus was God the Word.

The Lord, in his three years of ministry here on the earth, seemed to be with Peter, James, and John even more than with any of the other disciples. The thing that really stands out is that John was so bold for Jesus that he was banished to the Isle of Patmos.

John was so devoted, that even though there was no other one there, he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day.

Many writers think that John had been fasting for seven days when he received the information for Revelation. There is really no mention of this in the Bible, however.

Just the name of the manuscript gets me excited. The "Revelation of John the Divine" and "The Revelation of Jesus Christ our Lord".

Given by John the Divine are just two names that this book took on in various Bibles.

John was not just an ordinary man that walked the earth. He was one who had touched and felt physically and even emotionally, the Lord Jesus.

One of the unusual things about the book of Revelation is that it is the only book in the Bible that contains a promise to everyone that reads it, and all that hear it will be abundantly blessed. The early church read the book of Revelation in its entirety every time they met. There is a curse spoken at the end of Revelation to anyone who tampers with the contents of the Bible.

Some of the Scriptures in this book were for John's time. Most of the Scriptures in this book were for future events, especially the end of the Gentile age, the end of the world, and the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth, then all of eternity in heaven. You will notice that the number seven, which means spiritually complete, is all through Revelation.

We will also see in Revelation a restoration to man of the blessings of the Garden of Eden in heaven. We will see again the tree of life and the water present. We will see access to the tree of life, which was lost in Genesis, restored in Revelation. The book itself says that it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The chain of information came from the Father God to Jesus, then to Jesus' angel, then to John, and John was to write it down, and give it to Jesus' servants.

This book was probably penned around 96 A.D. There is no proof of an absolute date.

We must remember, and I stress again, that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, off the western coast of Asia Minor, because of his boldness in speaking of Jesus Christ. He loved Jesus more than he feared punishment from the authorities.

Alone, with no other believers to share with, John had been left out there to die. The authorities assumed that there was nothing he could do out there to promote this Jesus. How wrong they were. He wrote the book of Revelation which would witness for him until the Lord returns. His witness is even stronger today than when he walked upon the earth. We must look at and understand the symbols we see to truly understand this book. Revelation is easily understood if the Holy Spirit of God reveals to us the symbols within.

Revelation is not a horror story as many believe. To the Christian there are wonderful promises of a fantastic future. It is only a horror for those who have decided for all of eternity to refuse the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers to whosoever will. In many of the books, it is undetermined who says some of the things (Hebrews for example), but in Revelation it is Jesus speaking and He is the Truth. Jesus not only knows the end from the beginning, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. There is nothing before Him and nothing after Him.

Many people believe that the things in Revelation have already happened. Many others believe that the things in Revelation are not even real, that they are a vision and we are not supposed to take it literally. There are others (and I am one of them), that believe it is current, happening now, and in the very near future. I really will not argue with anyone about any of this. All I can relate is what it means to me, and that is what I will attempt to do in this study with the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God.

In Revelation, it appears to me, that our Lord is pulling the curtain aside and allowing us to see what He really is and what He expects from us. Many people call this the Apocalypse which means the revealing.

Revelation is written in symbols so that people cannot understand with their mind but must have faith. So many things in the Bible are veiled to the nonbeliever. So many people look at the Bible literally, but to truly understand, we must understand it through the Spirit. The veil in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom when Jesus died on the cross. This signifies that Jesus has opened the way to the Father for us. God the Father is no longer unreachable.

Jesus opened the way to Him for us. Now we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. We need no other go between. The Holy Spirit of God reveals the Scriptures to the believer. He is our Teacher and Guide.

There are so many ways to study the scriptures such as types and shadows. This looks at the Holy City as a type of the Lamb's wife. We will look at these scriptures a dozen different ways. I believe in this study God will reveal Himself to us.

Jesus in the Scriptures calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, as in Genesis and Revelation (the first and the last). He was promised in Genesis and the fulfillment takes place in Revelation. We will see throughout this study as we will throughout the entire Bible that for every blessing God promises, there is a warning of curses, if we do not follow the Lord.

We will touch on the 144,000 which some denominations base their entire belief upon ( see article "144,000 "). This 144,000 are physical Israel, in my opinion, and we will see also the large number of people around the throne in heaven when this 144,000 are here upon the earth. Those in heaven are the believers (beyond number), who have on white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. Revelation, as well as the whole Bible, is of no private interpretation. Revelation is not a horror story for the Christians. Revelation tells us of the wonderful provisions made for the believers. We read about the tree of life, and the river of water which flows from the throne of God (see Article " Tree of Life - River of Water of Life ").

What was shown to John in this vision is shown to all believers by John's written account. John makes us realize that not only did John speak the message God gave him, but actually describes God's very nature in Revelation. There is no question in my mind that this John is the very same who walked with Jesus.

"Revelation" means the unveiling of Divine mysteries.

Christ is both the Mystery and the Revealer of the mystery. The Revealer is God the Son.

Read the following scriptures from the pen of John to better understand how well John knew Jesus. John was the only penman who called Jesus "The Word" and "The Lamb". The name "Word is (in John 1:1), and we see Jesus as "The Lamb of God" (in John 1:29, 1:36), and as "the Lamb" (in Rev. 7:17, 14:10, 15:3, 19:9, 21:22, 21:23, and 22:1). Also (in Revelation 5:6), there is a reference to "a Lamb", referring to Christ.

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

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ": The revelation is both from Christ and about Christ. Since Christ is the revelation of God Himself (John 1:18), God gave the revelation to Christ to be shown to "John" by means of an angel (messenger; see " Angels"). The word "revelation" (Greek Apokalypsis), refers to an unveiling or exposure of God's program for the world through Christ. The prophecies of the book will occur "shortly" in the sense that the day of the Lord (the end of the age), may begin at any time (following the Rapture). The statement must be understood in accordance with God's perspective on time (compare 2 Peter 3:4, 8). The word "signified" (Greek esemanen), refers to the conveyance of truth by means of signs and symbols, and refers to the vision described throughout the book. Symbols must be interpreted either from something in the context or from other Scriptures.

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

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

When "Apokalypsis" refers to a person, it means that person becomes clearly visible (see John 1:14). This Revelation is a revealing of the mysteries of Jesus Christ. God the Father gives this message to Jesus, Jesus gives it to His personal angel, the angel gives the message to John, and John writes this message to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This message is given to John to encourage the Christians. These Christians should not be caught unaware. These things must come to pass because it is the will of the Father.

"God gave unto him": As a reward for Christ's perfect submission and atonement, the Father now presented to Him the great record of His future glory (compare Phil. 2:5-11). Readers eavesdrop on the gift of this book, from the Father to His Son.

"Soon": This word (compare 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:12; 2 Tim. 4:9), underscores the imminence of Christ's return.

Angels are ministering spirits. This angel was Jesus' own personal angel who brought this message. "Jesus" means "Savior", "Christ" means the "Anointed One".

Verses 2-3: "Bare record": John was a witness of what he wrote. He "saw" the revelation and wrote what he saw. The blessing (of verse 3), has a threefold condition:

(1) Read the book;

(2) "Hear" (understand) it; and

(3) "Keep" (obey) it.

The essential nature of "prophecy was the communication of new truth (divine revelation). God has given it to be obeyed, not simply to be discussed and debated. "The time is at hand" in the sense that nothing else now has to occur before the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation Period.

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

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

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

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

This is the only biblical book that comes with a blessing for the one who listens to it being read and explained and then responds in obedience. "Blessed" is also the first of 7 scriptures in the book (verse 3, 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14).

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

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

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

"The time is at hand." This is an interesting true statement. "Time" refers to epochs, eras, or seasons. The next great epoch of God's redemptive history is imminent. But although Christ's coming is the next event, it may be delayed so long that people begin to question whether He will ever come (compare Matt. 24:36-39; 2 Peter 3:3-4).

Even the people that read these things a thousand years ago, thought they would see this happen within sixty or seventy years, but they died before these things came to pass. Of course, it is even more current to our generation, because the rapture of the church is imminent.

Verses 4-6: "John" became the apostolic leader of the church at Ephesus following the death of Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (A.D. 70). The Ephesian church had established a number of daughter churches throughout the province of "Asia" (western Asia Minor), and John exercised pastoral and apostolic care of them. The blessing (of verse 3), comes from the triune Godhead: God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. "Him which is" is a paraphrase of the name Jehovah or Yahweh (Exodus 3:14): "I AM".

The description of the Father shows eternal existence in the past ("was"), present ("is"), and future ("is to come"). "The seven Spirits" is apparently a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit (compare Isa. 11:2; Zech. 3:9; 4:10, see notes under verse 4 below). "Jesus Christ" is the "faithful witness" in that He has finished His work of revealing the Father (compare John chapter 17). The "first begotten of the dead" in that He is the firstfruits of the first resurrection (compare 20:6). And the "prince of the kings of the earth" as the future worldwide Ruler of the millennial kingdom (compare 19:16).

Three works of Christ for believers are then listed. "Loved us: Christ showed His supreme love for mankind in dying for them (compare Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16). "Washed us": Believers have been redeemed for their sins through the blood and death of Christ. "Made us kings and priests": In the true church, no one is called "priest" (singular), except Christ. Believers are part of a "royal priesthood" in Christ (compare 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 5:10). The "glory and dominion" (authority), of Christ are emphasized throughout the book.

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

"Seven churches which are in Asia": Asia Minor, equivalent to modern Turkey, was composed of 7 postal districts. At the center of those districts were 7 key cities which served as central points for the dissemination of information. It is to the churches in those cities that John writes.

"From him which is, and which was, and which is to come": God's eternal presence is not limited by time. He has always been present and will come in the future.

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

"The seven Spirits": There are two possible meanings:

(1) A reference to Isaiah's prophecy concerning the 7-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2); or

(2) More likely, it is a reference to the lampstand with 7 lamps (a menorah, in Zechariah chapter 4). Also, a description of the Holy Spirit (see notes on 4:5, 5:6, Zech. 4:1-10).

In either case, 7 is the number of completeness, so John is identifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

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

"First begotten": Of all who have been or will be raised from the dead, He is the preeminent one, the only one who is the rightful heir (compare 3:14; Psalm 89:27; Col. 1:15).

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

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

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

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

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

Notice too, that we are spoken of as rulers (in verse 6; Rev. 5:10), of Revelation. During the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ here upon the earth, we Christians will rule with Him. We will not be His equal however. This tells us that He will be ruler above us.

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

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

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

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

All who believe live in the sphere of God's rule, a kingdom entered by faith in Jesus Christ. And as priests, believers have the right to enter God's presence.

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

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

We see that Jesus is supreme in dominion (in Philippians);

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

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

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

Verses 7-8: Four aspects of Christ's return are mentioned, each of which alludes to another passage of Scripture. He will come with the "clouds" (Dan. 7:13), in the sky. "Every" person will "see him" (Matt. 24:30). Those who "pierced him" (Zech. 12:10), that is, those who rejected Him and wanted Him to die will repent and mourn ("wail"), over Him (Zech. 12:10-11). This refers to Christ's return to the earth to establish His kingdom (Second Coming), not to the Rapture. "Alpha and Omega", the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, refer here to God's eternality and sovereignty, and possibly to the fullness of God's self-revelation.

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

"He cometh with clouds": This echoes the promise of Daniel: The Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13), not ordinary clouds but clouds of glory. In the Old Testament, God often manifested Himself in an energized, blazing light, called the Shekinah or glory cloud. No one could see it fully and live (Exodus 33:20), so it had to be veiled. But when Christ returns, the glory will be completely visible (compare Matt. 24:29-30; 25:31; see notes on 6:12-17).

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

The interesting thing here is Jesus is coming in the clouds just as the angels said He would. In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus was caught up to heaven in the clouds and the disciples were told by the angels, that Jesus would come back the same way.

Acts 1:9-11 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;" "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Some people believe Jesus' return will be secret, I do not. How could every eye see Him, if He came back secretly? Don't you know that there will be some grieving people, when they realize who Jesus really is?

"They [also] which pierced him": Not a reference to the 4 Roman soldiers usually involved in crucifixion, but to the Jews who were actually responsible for Christ's death (Acts: 2:22-23; 3:14-15). Zechariah identified the ones who pierced Him as "the house of David" and "the inhabitants of Jerusalem" and prophesied that they will weep tears of genuine repentance because of what they did to their Messiah (Zech. 12:10).

Wouldn't you hate to be the one who spit on Him, or the one who drove the nails in His hands, or even the Scribes and Pharisees? Anyone who rejected Him will have grief beyond explanation. The grief will be so great that they will be moaning and grating their teeth.

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

"All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him": The mourning of the rest of the earth's inhabitants is not that which accompanies genuine repentance (compare 9:21). It is the result of guilt for sin and fear of punishment (6:16; compare Gen. 3:8-10).

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

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

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

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

Revelation Chapter 1 Questions

  1. This is the Revelation of whom?
  2. Who gave it to Jesus?
  3. Who did Jesus give it to?
  4. What is this revelation?
  5. Why was this message given to John?
  6. Why must these things come to pass?
  7. What does "signified" mean?
  8. Who was this angel?
  9. What does Jesus Christ mean?
  10. What does "bear record" indicate?
  11. What is the testimony of Jesus?
  12. Who will be blessed by reading or hearing Revelation?
  13. How often did the early church read Revelation?
  14. Who did John address this to in verse 4?
  15. What two blessings did he speak on them?
  16. Who were these blessings from?
  17. Why was the number seven used for the churches?
  18. What does the seven Spirits mean?
  19. Name four operations of these seven Spirits.
  20. Who was the first person resurrected?
  21. Who mysteriously vanished from the earth, because he pleased God?
  22. Who was accompanied to heaven by a chariot of fire?
  23. When the saints were resurrected, who showed themselves in Jerusalem
  24. During what period, will the saints reign with Jesus on earth?
  25. What kind of love is Jesus' love?
  26. When Jesus was on the cross, according to the song, who was on His mind? Is that true?
  27. He made us kings and priests to whom?
  28. What is the most important statement in verse 6?
  29. Who will bow to Jesus?
  30. What will every tongue confess?
  31. How long is forever?
  32. How will Jesus come back?
  33. Who will see Him?
  34. In Acts 1, what do the angels tell the men of Galilee?
  35. What is worse than the first crucifixion of Jesus?
  36. What does "Almighty" indicate?
  37. Write a few words on what you learned in this lesson.

Revelation Chapter 1 Continued

Verses 9-18: This vision of Christ is equaled in grandeur only by the vision of His final return as King of kings and Lord of lords (19:11-16).

Verses 9-11: "John" was exiled to the island of "Patmos" for preaching the "word of God" and testifying as a witness of "Jesus Christ". Patmos is located about 60 miles from Ephesus and about 35 miles off the coast of Asia Minor. "Tribulation" refers to present afflictions, not to the future Tribulation period. Believers live in a present form of God's "kingdom" (the church), though not yet in the promised messianic kingdom. "Patience" is perseverance or endurance (Greek hupomone). True believers in Christ will persevere through all their present afflictions, with John as their example.

"In the Spirit": John was in a state of receiving prophetic revelation from God. "The Lord's day" refers to Sunday, the first day of the week, as the new day of worship for Christians. "Alpha and Omega": The description that was applied to God the "Almighty" (in verse 8), is here applied to Christ, showing that Christ is God, "the first and the last" (compare verse 17; 22:13). The "seven churches" introduced here are described further (in chapters 2 and 3). "Ephesus" was the largest and most important city in the province of "Asia".

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

"In tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience": Four characteristics that John and his believing readers share:

(1) Persecution for their faith;

(2) Membership in the redeemed community over which Christ serves as Lord and King;

(3) Eager anticipation of the glory of His coming millennial reign on earth; and

(4) Endurance and perseverance in spite of difficult times.

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

"Isle that is called Patmos": Located in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), and part of a group of about 50 islands. Patmos is a barren, rocky, crescent-shaped island that is about 10 miles long and less than 6 miles at its widest point. It served as a Roman penal colony. According to early Christian historian, Eusebius, the emperor Nerva (A.D. 96-98), released John from Patmos.

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

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

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

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

Acts 14:22 "Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was not a dream. John was supernaturally transported out of the material world awake, not sleeping, to an experience beyond the normal senses. The Holy Spirit empowered his senses to perceive revelation from God (compare Acts chapters 10 and 11).

"Lord's day": This phrase appears in many early Christian writings and refers to Sunday, the day of the Lord's resurrection. Some have suggested this phrase refers to "the Day of the Lord", but the context doesn't support that interpretation.

"Great voice": Throughout Revelation, a loud sound or voice indicates the solemnity of what God is about to reveal.

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

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

"Book": The Greek word refers to a scroll made of parchment formed from papyrus, a reed that grows plentifully along the Nile.

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

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

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

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

Verses 12-16: This is a description of Jesus Christ as a Judge (compare John 5:22, 27). Christ has authority over both the church and the world. The "seven candlesticks" (lampstands), are identified (in verse 20), as the seven churches mentioned (in verse 11). "The Son of man" is a messianic title from (Daniel 7:13), and was Jesus' favorite designation for Himself. The "garment" described (in verse 13), is a judge's robe. His "white" hair symbolizes justice, purity and glory. "Fire" is also a symbol of judgment. The "brass" and the "sound" of the "voice" show Christ's authority and power. The "seven stars" are identified (in verse 20), as the angels of the seven churches. The "sword" also represents Christ's judgment (compare 19:15), of the church and the world through His Word. His "countenance" or face was like the "sun" as the glory of God shone forth.

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

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

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

"Candlesticks": These were portable gold lampstands that held small oil lamps. Each lampstand represented a church (verse 20), from which the light of life shone. Throughout Scripture, 7 is the number for completeness, so these 7 lampstands are representative of all the churches.

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

"Son of man": According to the gospels, this is the title Christ used most often for Himself during His earthly ministry (81 times in the gospels). Taken from the heavenly vision (in Dan. 7:13), it is an implied claim to deity.

This garment down to the foot is a priestly robe, a robe of authority. This "Son of man" is Jesus who is in the midst of the church. This golden girdle is saying that this is God.

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

"Robe": Most occurrences of this word in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, refer to the garment of the High-Priest. The golden sash across His chest completes the picture of Christ serving in His priestly role (compare Lev. 16:1-4; Heb. 2:17). John sees Jesus in a body with a robe. Jesus, our High Priest, represents us before His Father. He is not an earthly High Priest but a heavenly Priest. He appears before God to bless the Christians, to plead our case if you will.

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

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

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

Christ's "eyes were as a flame of fire". Like two lasers, the eyes of the exalted Lord look with penetrating gaze into the depths of His church (2:18; 19:12; Heb. 2:17). This description is also found (in Revelation 19:11-12), where Christ is pictured as a judge and Conqueror over the Antichrist and the nations of the earth who have gathered together for the Battle of Armageddon. His eyes of fire symbolize perfect discernment.

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

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

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

"Eyes ... flame of fire": Like two lasers, the eyes of the exalted Lord look with penetrating gaze into the depths of His church (2:18; 19:12; Heb. 4:13).

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

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

Christ's feet were "like unto fine brass". Brass, a strong, purified metal which results from intense heat, denotes the purity and power with which Christ will bring judgment upon the ungodly of the earth. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin.

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

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

Christ's voice was "as the sound of many waters." The voice John first heard in his vision was described as "a great voice, as the sound of a trumpet," loud and clear. In this verse, John describes Christ's voice as "the sound of many waters" which is similar to the description given by the prophet (in Ezekiel 43:2). His voice is mighty and powerful, beautiful but frightening. John likened it to the crashing of the surf against the rocks of the island. It was the voice of authority.

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

"Seven stars": These are the messengers who represent the 7 churches (see note on verse 20). Christ holds them in His hand, which means that He controls the church and its leaders.

Out of Christ's mouth proceeded "a two-edged sword". This sword represents the power and authority of Christ's words by which the world will be judged (Rev. 19:15), and those aligned with Satan and the Antichrist. Those who attack His people and destroy His church.

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

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

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

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

In (John 1:1), We read; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

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

Revelation Chapter 1 Continued Questions

  1. Who did John call himself?
  2. What are we companions with him in?
  3. What two things was John on the isle of Patmos for?
  4. What does John tell us that contradicts some of the teachings of prosperity?
  5. What separates believers and nonbelievers in trials?
  6. How many days and nights was Jesus tried?
  7. Whose patience did John possess?
  8. What worketh patience?
  9. In Acts, how does it say that we enter into the kingdom of God?
  10. Name four people who had a great experience with God while they were in exile.
  11. When John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, what did he hear? Where?
  12. Is the Lord's day and the Sabbath the same?
  13. This voice like a trumpet is what?
  14. Name the seven churches.
  15. These are the physical churches, who are the spiritual?
  16. If there were about sixty known churches, why were these seven chosen to write to?
  17. Why do we not always understand exactly what John is describing?
  18. When John turned to see the voice what did he see?
  19. What must we notice about the candlesticks?
  20. Why is this important?
  21. The light for these candlesticks, comes from where?
  22. In the midst of the candlesticks, what did John see?
  23. What does the garment to the foot show us?
  24. What does the golden girdle tell us?
  25. Why does Jesus stand before God?
  26. What was the purpose of the high priest?
  27. What was Jesus' hair like?
  28. What were His eyes as?
  29. What did Daniel call Jesus that indicates white hair?
  30. What do I believe causes the whiteness?
  31. What did John the Baptist say Jesus would baptize with?
  32. What can this look of the fiery eyes of Jesus do to a church?
  33. What were His feet likened unto?
  34. What are two things this metal stands for?
  35. Where does judgement begin?
  36. What did the voice sound like?
  37. What did He have in His right hand?
  38. What do they stand for?
  39. What came out of His mouth? Why?
  40. What is this symbolic of?
  41. Why does he call them stars?
  42. Who is the Word?
  43. What is the Bible?
  44. What does two-edged mean?
  45. It is so piercing, it can even divide what?

Revelation Chapter 1 Second Continued

Verses 17-18: John's initial reaction to this vision was fear. He was overwhelmed by the glory of God as seen in Christ (compare Dan. 8:17-18; 10:8-9; Zech. 4:1). As Jesus did many times with the apostles (compare Matt. 14:27; Mark 4:40; Luke 5:10), so now He tells John to "fear not". "The first and the last" (compare verse 11, 22:13), is equivalent to the language (of verse 8), and is a title of the almighty and eternal God. As God in the Old Testament is called the "living God", so Christ is "he that liveth". He became "dead" when He humbled Himself to die on the cross (compare Phil. 2:6-8), but then rose to live "for evermore". Three tenses of Christ's existence are emphasized:

(1) His ever-abiding life;

(2) His death as God-man; and

(3) His resurrection to everlasting and authoritative life.

He has authority over death and judgment, and therefore has "the keys of hell" [Hades] and of death" (compare 20:14).

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

"Fell at his feet": A common response to seeing the awesome glory of the Lord (Gen. 17:3; Num. 16:22; Isa. 6:1-8; Ezek. 1:28; Acts 9:4).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just as Jesus said (in John chapter 14:1), "Let not your heart be troubled".

"First and the last": Jesus Christ applies this Old Testament name for Yahweh (22:13; Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12), to Himself, clearly claiming to be God. Idols will come and go. He was before them, and He will remain after them.

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

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

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

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

"Keys of hell and of death" (see note on Luke 16:23). Death and Hades are essentially synonyms, but death is the condition and Hades, equivalent to the Old Testament Sheol, the place of the dead (see note on 20:13). Christ decides who lives, who dies, and when.

Jesus is explaining here. He is the same one who took on the form of flesh and died on the cross for our sins. We read (in Romans 10), what we must do to be saved ( see article Christian - How do I become One ).

Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

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

We will read later how Jesus locks the devil up for 1000 years. Jesus is the Judge. The only ones Jesus will put in hell are the devil, the devil's angels, and those who reject Him.

When Jesus said "I am He that liveth", it is life forevermore. Jesus Christ, as the absolute living one, He has life in Himself, He is life, He is our source of life, and He has control of everything, in heaven, earth, and hell. He called Lazarus' life back into him.

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

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

Verse 19 is the key verse that unlocks the door to the entire outline of the book. It is further evidence of the threefold division of this great Revelation. John was told expressly by Christ to write, what you have seen: To write the things which were. The things he saw, all that was revealed to him through the different visions.

This verse provides a simple outline for the entire book: "the things which you have seen" refers to the vision John has just seen (chapter 1); "the things which are" denotes the letters to the churches (chapters 2-3); and "the things which will take place after these things", refers to the revelation of future history (chapters 4-22).

What is now: To write the things which are, (referring to the condition of the churches in Asia Minor at that time), and what will take place later:

To write concerning the things which shall be hereafter: The events which would happen in the future as God fulfilled His end time plan. The literal translation reads "things which must be after these things" meaning that the things of (Revelation chapters 4-22), must be fulfilled after the "things" revealed pertaining to the churches (in Revelation chapters 2-3).

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

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

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

"The angels": The word literally means "messenger". Although it can mean angel, and does throughout the book, it cannot refer to angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the 7 key elders representing each of those churches (see note on verse 16).

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation Chapter 1 Second Continued Questions

  1. What did John do when he saw Him?
  2. What did it appear had happened to John?
  3. What did Jesus do to reassure him?
  4. John was totally _______________ by His presence.
  5. What overpowering message did the author receive from God?
  6. What message must we not let anyone convince us of?
  7. What did Jesus tell us not to do in John 14:1?
  8. Fear of God is actually what?
  9. What time is it in heaven now?
  10. Jesus says "I am he that liveth and was ________".
  11. Besides believing in Jesus, what must we do to be saved that we read in Romans?
  12. What two things did Jesus do in hell?
  13. How long will Jesus lock up the devil?
  14. Who will Jesus put in hell?
  15. Jesus called the life back into ________?
  16. What happened when Jesus preached in hell?
  17. Why did God want John to write this down?
  18. Who is the mystery?
  19. Who are the stars?
  20. What are the seven candlesticks?
  21. What do the stars do?
  22. Why does the author believe we should not buy messages?
  23. What is a candlestick?
  24. Write about the fears in your life that you have overcome through faith.

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Revelation 2

Revelation Chapter 2

The Messages to the Churches. When you read Revelation chapters 2 and 3, it's important to see there are four applications to the messages.

Each message was given to the seven churches as originally addressed. And these churches were in existence in Asia at the time of the revelation. Many other churches existed in Asia at the same time, but the churches selected were representative of the spiritual conditions which existed at that time.

The message can also be applied historically. According to history, the Church has passed through eras similar to that which is described in each of the seven churches.

These messages can be applied to current churches of today. These special messages were written to the specific churches in Asia, but the same strengths and weaknesses can be found in today's Body of Christ (Today's Church).

The messages can be applied to each of us on an individual basis. Look at the messages for each church during that time and ask yourself how you measure up personally today.

These messages were written by John in approximately 94 - 96 A.D., when the Church of Jesus Christ was a little over 60 years old. The church had experienced tremendous growth despite intense persecution. Under the rule of Rome, records show over 45,000 Christians were slain by crucifixion, burned to death and thrown to wild animals. In addition, corruption was springing up in the Church. When John wrote the messages to the seven churches, many believers were afraid about the unsure future. They were afraid of being strong enough to stand up to adversities that they would be facing and if they could endure the persecution.

To these early Christians Jesus gave his end time plan through these messages.

John was told to write what he saw in a book and send that book to the 7 churches in Asia. (Rev. 1:11). The entire Book of Revelation which includes the special messages to those 7 churches, was sent to those churches and a blessing was pronounced upon all who would read, hear and keep the words contained in this prophecy. Jesus wanted believers to know that He knew exactly where they were. He saw their good works, faithfulness and patience in the face of persecution. He also saw the bad which included their compromise, apostasy, indifference, and lukewarmness ( see article on Apostasy ). He wanted them to know that despite persecution from without and corruption from within, He stood in their midst as a mighty conqueror and that through Him they too could overcome.

Christ's purpose in sending those messages to the seven churches was to empower believers to overcome the enemy. His purpose was to rise up His people in victory, to make them strong. When we take the mask off, we see that today's Church in its present condition is not ready for Christ's return. That's why Christ is again walking in the midst of His people preparing His Bride for His coming. By His Spirit, He is stirring us out of our complacency. He is revealing and reproving sin, calling us to repentance, bringing us to a new, stronger position of dedication and commitment, and releasing a fresh anointing of His Spirit upon us.

As Jesus walks in our midst, He knows our individual and corporate strengths and weaknesses. His message to us today is the same as it was to the seven churches in Asia. "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

As we study the messages given to each of these churches, open your spirit to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to you. Ask God to reveal any problems that need to be dealt within your life. Yield yourself fully to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to purge anything from your life that is displeasing to Him.

Verses 2:1 - 3:22: Although these 7 churches were actual, historical churches in Asia Minor, they represent the types of churches that perennially exist throughout the church age. What Christ says to these churches is relevant in all times.

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

Verses 1-3: There are many things that we must note about these verses.

First, they are in red, so this is the Lord Jesus speaking. Literally there was just such a church sixty miles north east of the isle of Patmos. Second, we are reminded again here that Jesus holds these stars in His right hand. Jesus walks in the midst of this church; so we know quickly, it falls into the category of Christianity.

Revelation 2:1 "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks"

"Angel": The elder or pastor from the church (see note on 1:16, 20).

"Ephesus": The city of Ephesus was one of the most important commercial and religious cities in Asia Minor. The most famous temple of the goddess Artemis (Diana), was located there. It was also John's headquarters before his exile. Ephesus served as the "mother" church to the others, all of which were connected by the same Roman road.

There was a literal church of Ephesus. Many believe that this particular church was symbolic of the apostolic age from about (30 to 100 A.D.), it is called the Apostolic Church. I believe after viewing it carefully, we can see some of the churches in our own day falling into just this category. Here again, this message is sent to the ministering spirit of this church.

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

Verses 2-4: The church is commended because of its soundness of faith and its perseverance through persecution. However, its people have come under Christ's discipline for having "left" (not lost), their "first love" or former devotion to Christ.

Revelation 2:2 "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:"

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

"Them which say they are apostles": The Ephesian church exercised spiritual discernment. It knew how to evaluate men who claimed spiritual leadership by their doctrine and behavior (compare 1 Thess. 5:20-21).

Revelation 2:3 "And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted."

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

"Hast not fainted": For over 40 years, since its founding, this church had remained faithful to the Word and the Lord. Through difficulty and persecution, the members had endured, always driven by the right motive, i.e., for Christ's name and reputation.

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

"Left thy first love": To be a Christian is to love the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21, 23; 1 Cor. 16:22). But the Ephesian's passion and fervor for Christ had become cold, mechanical orthodoxy. Their doctrinal and moral purity, their undiminished zeal for the truth, and their disciplined service were no substitute for the love for Christ they had forsaken.

2 Timothy 3:5: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

Probably this church has gotten too sophisticated for healing and deliverance. Perhaps some of the world's music had crept in unaware. Perhaps this church has begun to entertain more than teach. This church is more appealing to the world than to God.

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

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

"Remove thy candlestick": God's judgment would bring an end to the Ephesian church.

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

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

God expects holiness and righteousness of His people, and even more than that, He wants our pure love for Him. If you are going to church for any other reason than to fellowship with God and to learn of His will in your life, then you must ask yourself this question: Is what I am doing pleasing to God or me?

The wonderful thing about God is that He will allow us to repent. If we repent, He will forgive us, and give us another chance. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Jesus, in the verse above, is telling the physical church at Ephesus and the spiritual church of our day, to stop all of the worldly carrying on, and get back to church, like our ancestors. The church must love and reverence God. Just as Moses was told to remove his shoes because he was on Holy Ground, we must realize that in God's presence, we too are on Holy ground.

The things of the Spirit are from God as a gift. They cannot and should not be taught. The things of the Spirit are not received, because we have figured out a way to make God give them to us. They are received by us as a gift from God, because we are humble enough to receive them. Nothing is more wonderful, than for the Spirit of God to move in His church. The gifts of the Spirit are to be sought from God, but not to be used for our purposes. God still heals. God still saves. God still raises the dead. God still delivers the oppressed. God does it; the power is His. We may be the instrument He uses, but it is not our power, it is His.

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

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

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

(1) Christ is no longer the central focus in your life;

(2) You neglect your relationship with the Lord and spend less time in prayer, worship and the Word;

(3) You allow family, friends, job and your own desires to come between you and your relationship with God;

(4) There is a loss of intimacy in your relationship with God;

(5) You are caught in a cycle of dead works;

(6) You are more tolerant of sin;

(7) You will no longer have a burning passion for the lost.

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

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." "This is the first and great commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38).

The worst thing in all the world would be to have walked closely with God, and because of compromise and worldliness lose out with God. We read in this verse, if this is the condition of you or your church, REPENT. Jesus, having said this one thing that He has against them, goes immediately back to praising them as we see in the very next verse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"To him that overcometh". According to John's own definition, to be an overcomer is to be a Christian (see notes on 1 John 5:4).

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

All believers in Jesus will eat of the tree of life. Jesus is the Tree of Life. True believers enjoy the promise of heaven (see notes on 22:2; Gen. 2:9).

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

Revelation Chapter 2 Questions

  1. Who was this message sent to?
  2. Who sent it?
  3. What three things did He commend them for?
  4. Who could this church at Ephesus not bear?
  5. What should we do to see if someone's message is true?
  6. What three different ways can we look at these churches?
  7. Jesus walking in the church tells us what?
  8. Before they accept the apostle, what does this church do?
  9. This physical church of Ephesus was founded by whom?
  10. Who had nurtured it?
  11. What does Jesus have against this church?
  12. What will God not allow?
  13. What might have been some of the problems?
  14. This church has begun to _____________ more than ___________.
  15. What must they do to make it right with God?
  16. If they do not, what will happen?
  17. What two things does God expect of his people?
  18. What does He want even more than that?
  19. Who is our advocate with the Father?
  20. Why was Moses to remove his shoes?
  21. What message can we get from that today?
  22. How do we receive Spiritual gifts from God?
  23. Can the things of the Spirit be taught?
  24. Who is the healer and the deliverer?
  25. What would be the worst thing in all the world to happen to us?
  26. What one word says what we should do if we have compromised with the world?
  27. The last thing Jesus is pleased with them for is what?
  28. What three groups believe that being a Christian exempts you from moral law?
  29. What is a very dangerous doctrine of our day?
  30. To him that overcometh, what will he receive?
  31. Where is Paradise?
  32. What does this Paradise garden restore?
  33. What do you see in the church of Ephesus that is present in your church today?

Revelation Chapter 2 Continued

Revelation 2:8 "And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;"

100 to 313 A.D. - The Persecuted Church.

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

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

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

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

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

You see not all those who claim to be Christians are actually Christians. If we are not careful, we will be like these Jews. We may say we are a Christian, and the world might actually believe that we are because of our outward appearance, but Jesus looks at the heart.

Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (See Why Jesus Said That ).

Their Christianity was a front for some selfish motive.

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

(1) When Jesus speaks of His being "the first and last", He is speaking of His Eternal Spirit;

(2) When He speaks of "which was dead, and is alive", He is speaking of His body which resurrected from the grave.

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

Revelation 2:9 "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan."

"Which say they are Jews": Although they were Jews physically, they were not true Jews but spiritual pagans (compare Rom. 2:28). They allied with other pagans in putting Christians to death as they attempted to stamp out the Christian faith.

"Synagogue of Satan": With the rejection of its Messiah, Judaism becomes as much a tool of Satan as emperor worship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The meaning of Christ's words to this church, that they would have tribulation for "ten days", may refer to the fact that the Early Church suffered ten major persecutions under Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Severus, Maximum, Decius, Valerian, Aurelian, and Diocletian. There were also some notable persecutions in the local Smyrna Church which lasted "ten days". The meaning of this is that their imprisonment will be brief.

It is very easy to follow Jesus when everything is going good. The true test is, will you stay when all odds are against you? When your friends and relatives have given up, will you stand? If we are faithful and stand, there is a crown of life awaiting us. The crown of life is the one the Lord Himself prepares for us. Crown of life means; "ruling over death". There will be no more death, neither shall there be sorrow.

Revelation 21:4-5 "neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." "Behold, I make all things new".

Many shall be martyred before the return of Christ.

Christ's message to you today, in the midst of your pain, suffering, persecution, and testing is "Fear Not!" No matter what you are facing, sickness, disease, family problems, or even the possibility of death, do not fear because:

2 Tim. 1:7 "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Over and over throughout the Bible, we are instructed of Jesus not to fear. Fear is not of God. Fear is the opposite of faith. We should have faith in all things.

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."

We are the one who allows fear to come in.

God wants us to have faith enough to move a mountain (Matthew 17:20).

The church is under attack of the devil. If your church is not under attack, check why not. We must be a threat to the enemy before we are attacked. So many churches are so infiltrated by the world that Satan is not even bothering with them.

A church that is grounded on the true Word of God is a threat to Satan and is under terrible attack. What one thing that gives us courage to go on in the face of all of this is the fact that Jesus won this battle for us on the cross. We just need to hang on and receive the victory.

The devil has power on this earth. He is our enemy. It is a constant battle to overcome him. Just remember that the power to rebuke him is in the name of Jesus. Jesus is the rebuker; we are His representatives.

It is very easy to follow Jesus when everything is going good. The true test is, will you stay when all odds are against you? When your friends and relatives have given up, will you stand? If we are faithful and stand, there is a crown of life awaiting us. The crown of life is the one the Lord Himself prepares for us. Crown of life means "ruling over death". There will be no more death, neither shall there be sorrow.

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

"He that overcometh": This identifies every Christian (see note on verse 7).

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

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

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

"The second death": The first death is only physical; the second is spiritual and eternal (compare 20:14).

Revelation Chapter 2 Continued Questions

  1. What did Jesus call Himself when speaking to the angel of the church at Smyrna?
  2. This difference in the way Jesus shows Himself to each church shows us what?
  3. The statement "which was dead and is alive" shows us what?
  4. What kind of things does Jesus say about the church at Smyrna?
  5. What are they rich in toward Jesus?
  6. What advantage is tribulation to a Christian?
  7. What three things did Jesus know of them?
  8. What did Jesus call those who say they are Jews and are not?
  9. What does the "poverty" mean?
  10. Of all the seven churches, which should be a pattern for all churches to try to achieve?
  11. This literal church of Smyrna had many ___________ who stood against evil.
  12. What will be locked in battle until the Lord comes?
  13. What kind of church is Jesus coming for?
  14. Jesus told them ___________ would throw some of them in prison?
  15. What did Jesus tell them not to fear?
  16. How long would they be imprisoned?
  17. If they are faithful unto death, what shall they receive?
  18. What is the opposite of fear?
  19. Who is attacking the church?
  20. A church that is grounded in the ______ _______ ___ ______ is a threat to Satan?
  21. The thing that gives the Christian courage to go on is what?
  22. When we rebuke the devil, what must we remember?
  23. What does the Crown of life mean?
  24. What is the greatest gift that we could ever receive?
  25. Which of the seven churches did Jesus say nothing bad about?
  26. In this kind of church, what is preached?
  27. Is this church at Smyrna familiar to you? Explain.

Revelation Chapter 2 Second Continued

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

313 to 590 A.D. - The State Church. Here we have (The danger of doctrinal compromise).

Located about sixty miles north of Smyrna is Pergamos, which at one time was the official Asian center for the imperial cult. It was also the center of worship for four of the most important pagan cults of the day: Zeus, Athene, Dionysus and Asclepius. Jesus, again, calls Himself by a different name. Here He is said to have "the sharp sword with the two edges". The sword with two edges is, of course, the Bible with the Old and New Testament (see notes on 1:16).

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

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

"Where Satan's seat [is]": The headquarters of satanic opposition and a Gentile base for false religions. On the acropolis in Pergamum was a huge, throne-shaped altar to Zeus. In addition, Asclepius, the god of healing, was the god most associated with Pergamum. His snake-like form is still the medical symbol today. The famous medical school connected to his temple mingled medicine with superstition. One prescription called for the worshipper to sleep on the temple floor, allowing snakes to crawl over his body and infuse him with their healing power.

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

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

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

Faith is not fact. The educated mind wants to prove by facts. Faith, I say again, is not fact:

Hebrews 11:1-2 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." "For by it the elders obtained a good report."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The doctrine of Balaam": Balaam tried unsuccessfully to prostitute his prophetic gift and curse Israel for money offered him by Balak, king of Moab. So, he devised a plot to have Moabite women seduce Israelite men into intermarriage. The result was the blasphemous union of Israel with fornication and idolatrous feasts (for the story of Balaam, see Num. chapters 22-25).

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

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

"Things sacrificed unto idols" (see Acts 15:19-29).

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

"Hast thou also": The teaching of the Nicolaitans led to the same behavior as Balaam's schemes.

"Doctrine of the Nicolaitans" (see note on verse 6).

The "doctrine of Balaam" was very similar to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. They tore down the true meaning of the spiritual gifts.

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

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

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

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

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

"Sword of my mouth" (see note on 1:16).

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

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

But there were some who slipped in unnoticed, and brought false teaching. If you want to know more about all of this false teaching (read 2 Peter chapter 2).

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

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

The stone mentioned (in verse 17), most think was a diamond. It was probably the stone worn by the High Priest that had God's name on it. It was hidden from view next to the heart behind the Urim and the Thummim. The other stones were symbolic for the Tribes of Israel, and all 12 of them were on the breastplate of the High Priest.

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

Jesus will feed us His hidden manna. Manna fell from heaven miraculously and fed the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land (in Exodus 16:14-15). Just as Israel received manna, God promises to give the true believer the spiritual bread the unbelieving world cannot see: Jesus Christ (compare John 6:51).

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

The mystery Jesus is revealing is Himself in His fullness.

(1) He is the Tree;

(2) He is the Bread;

(3) He is the Manna;

(4) He is LIFE.

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

"White stone": When an athlete won in the games, he was often given, as part of his prize, a white stone which was an admission pass to the winner's celebration afterwards. This may picture the moment when the overcomer will receive his ticket to the eternal victory celebration in heaven.

"New name": A personal message from Christ to the ones He loves, which serves as their admission pass into eternal glory. It is so personal that only the person who receives it will know what it is.

Revelation 3:12 "The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will never again leave it. Upon him I will write the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God (the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from My God), and My new name".

Revelation Chapter 2 Second Continued Questions

(1) Where was Pergamos located?

(2) What do many scholars believe the church at Pergamos was a period of?

(3) What does Jesus call Himself when addressing this church at Pergamos?

(4) What two things did Jesus first say to this church at Pergamos?

(5) Where was Satan's seat?

(6) What two good things did Jesus say about Pergamos?

(7) Who was martyred for Jesus?

(8) What false god was the primary one worshipped in this area?

(9) Our study tries to show what in this church?

(10) When we change, what must we be careful not to do pertaining to God?

(11) When Jesus says that He knows where they dwell, what is He referring to?

(12) Besides Zeus, name some of the other false gods worshipped here in Pergamos.

(13) In Romans 8:7, the Bible says the _________ _______is enmity against God.

(14) What is faith not?

(15) What is faith in Hebrews 11:1?

(16) Physically the mind and heart are inches away from each other, but what are they in spirit?

(17) What do we know about this area, by Jesus calling it Satan's seat?

(18) Fellowshipping with the world brings what?

(19) What evil teaching had crept into the church?

(20) What two very evil things had they taught?

(21) The doctrine of Balaam was similar to whose teachings?

(22) In 2 Peter, what do we read that these false prophets shall bring in to the church?

(23) What thing does Jesus say He hates?

(24) What does Jesus tell them to do?

(25) What will Jesus fight with?

(26) Those who overcome will receive what?

(27) What is the white stone, probably?

(28) What is the mystery that Jesus is revealing to us?

(29) What church in our society today do you see in this church at Pergamos? Explain.

Revelation Chapter 2 Third Continued

Revelation 2:18 "And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass;"

590 to 1517 A.D. - The Papal Church, the danger of moral compromise.

The city of Thyatira was a vital commerce and trade center located about 40 miles southeast of Pergamos.

This church had been under Roman rule for nearly 3 centuries (ca. 190 B.C.). Since the city was situated in a long valley that sweep 40 miles to Pergamum, it had no natural defenses and had a long history of being destroyed and rebuilt. Originally populated by soldiers of Alexander the Great, it was little more than a military outpost to guard Pergamum.

This Thyatira is the same as where Lydia lived. In (Acts 16), we read:

Acts 16:14 "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul."

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

"Eyes like unto a flame of fire" (see note on 1:14).

Jesus commended the church here at Thyatira for its good works.

Jesus shows this church His penetrating "eyes", which can even discern the intents of the heart. With His feet of "fine brass", He shows them that He truly is the final Judge (compare 19:15-29; see note on verse 14).

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

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

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

We are looking at the spiritual and trying to see all of the seven churches in our modern churches today. Wherever possible, not pointing fingers or calling names. We must examine ourselves before we start pointing fingers. The worship of the sun god was very prevalent in this surrounding area; and perhaps, that is why we see Jesus offering the Morning Star to those who believe. Of course, Jesus is symbolically the Bright and Morning star (see verse 28 below).

Revelation 2:19 "I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first"

Once again, Jesus sees beyond this outward display of good works and exposes a stronghold of Satan right in the midst of the church. The church of Pergamos was allowing a woman who called herself a prophetess to teach others that it was all right to mix pagan religions with Christianity. She was teaching and seducing people to commit fornication and compromise morally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Galatians, we read that with God there is no male and female.

In Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

The same Paul that wrote for women to be silent in church (in 1 Corinthians 14:34), wrote this in Galatians.

We also need to look at (Acts 2).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Cast her into a bed": Literally "bed". Having given this woman time to repent, God was to judge her upon a bed. Since she used a luxurious bed to commit her immorality, and the reclining couch at the idol feast to eat things offered to false gods, He was to give her a bed in hell where she would lie forever.

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

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

"Her children": The church was about 40 years old as John wrote, and her teaching had produced a second generation, advocating the same debauchery.

The word translated reins means "the inner most mind", perhaps the subconscious mind. The heart will be judged. The motive behind our deeds is just as important as the deed. God has perfect, intimate knowledge of every human heart; no evil can be hidden from Him (Psalm 7:9; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12).

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

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

"According to your works": Always the basis for future judgment (20:12-13; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6). Deeds or works do not save (Eph. 2:8-9), but they do evidence salvation (James 2:14-26).

Revelation 2:24 "But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden."

"The depths of Satan": This unbelievable libertinism and license was the fruit of pre-gnostic teaching that one was free to engage and explore the sphere of Satan and participate in evil with the body without harming the spirit (see introduction to 1 John: Background and Setting).

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

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

Revelation 2:25 "But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come."

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

Revelation 2:26 "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:"

"Overcometh" (see note on verse 7).

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

Jesus says the servant (in Luke 19:17), was to rule over ten cities. He also promises that His faithful will rule. Remember the power is Jesus'. He gives us our power. This power is to do His will as we rule. We are working under Jesus' direction. He is our leader.

Revelation 2:27 "And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father."

The "rod of iron" means the rule will be strong, unbending.

Literally "shepherds them with an iron rod". During the millennial kingdom, Christ will enforce His will and protect His sheep with His iron scepter from any who would seek to harm them (compare Psalm 2:9).

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

"Shivers" means pieces.

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

Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star. He promises to give Himself to those who will follow Him. Although the morning star has already dawned in our hearts (2 Peter 19), someday we will have Him in His fullness.

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

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

Revelation Chapter 2 Third Continued Questions

  1. Who did Jesus call Himself to the church at Thyatira?
  2. What do the eyes of fire mean?
  3. What do His feet of brass indicate?
  4. In Acts, we read about a woman of Thyatira, who was she?
  5. What do many believe this church at Thyatira is symbolic for today?
  6. We must not point fingers at others, but ________ __________.
  7. What false god did most of the heathen here worship?
  8. Jesus' penetrating eyes can even discern the _______ of the _______.
  9. What five things did Jesus praise them for?
  10. What brings patience?
  11. What did Jesus have against them?
  12. What was this evil one teaching?
  13. What is fornication?
  14. Who wrote Galatians?
  15. Who wrote Corinthians?
  16. Do these two opposite teachings mean that there is an error in the Bible?
  17. Who will prophesy in the end times?
  18. What evangelist's four daughters prophesied?
  19. Where is the Scripture found?
  20. This Jezebel church was promoting what?
  21. When God gave time to repent, what happened?
  22. What was to be repented of?
  23. How should we try every message?
  24. In verse 23 what does reins mean?
  25. What is just as important as our deeds?
  26. Where does good and evil actually start?
  27. The doctrine in verse 24 is what?
  28. What does Jesus promise to the overcomers?
  29. How long should we work for Jesus?
  30. What does the rod of iron mean?
  31. Where is Jesus' power?
  32. Who is the Bright and Morning Star?
  33. Why does it say churches instead of the church at Thyatira in verse 29?
  34. What do you think God is saying to our church in this church at Thyatira?

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Revelation 3

Revelation Chapter 3

In Revelation chapter 3, we continued with the last 3 of the 7 churches

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

Sardis: The Danger of Spiritual Death. 1517 to1790 A.D., the Reformed church.

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

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

These people desperately needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The mention of the "seven Spirits of God" is a reference to the sevenfold ministry of the Spirit found in Isaiah:

Isaiah 11:2 "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord."

This church needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit in these areas. If you are spiritually dead, you need these ministries also:

(1) The Spirit of Wisdom: A lifeless dying church or individual needs to seek the wisdom of God.

(2) The Spirit of Understanding: A lifeless dying church or individual needs a true understanding of their condition so they can correct it.

(3) The Spirit of Counsel: A lifeless dying church or individual needs to heed the counsel of God.

(4) The Spirit of Might: A lifeless dying church or individual needs new strength to enter into its lifeless body.

(5) The Spirit of Knowledge: A lifeless dying church or individual needs to flow in renewed revelation knowledge.

(6) The Spirit of Fear of the Lord: A lifeless dying church or individual needs to have their fear of the Lord rekindled.

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

(1) Be Watchful: The amplified Bible says to "Rouse yourself and keep awake." It is time for us to wake up, become alert to the signs of the time, and be active for God as never before.

(2) Strengthen: Take hold of the things that remain and are ready to die in your life and strengthen them through prayer and the Word.

(3) Remember: Reflect back on the promises of God, what you have received and heard in times past.

(4) Hold Fast: Hold fast to your faith and God's Word.

(5) Repent: Repent so you will be ready for the return of Christ and not caught unaware.

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

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

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

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

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

I use this scripture in 2 Timothy a lot but it perfectly describes the time we are living in and describes this church at Sardis best of all.

(1) 2 Timothy 3:1 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."

(2) 2 Timothy 3:5 "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Come on thee as a thief": Here the reference is not to Christ's second coming (compare 16:15; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10), but to His sudden and unexpected coming to His unrepentant, dead church to inflict harm and destruction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"In white": The white garments of all the redeemed (compare 6:11; 7:9, 13; 19:8, 14), speak of holiness and purity. Such white robes are reserved for Christ (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:3), holy angels (Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5), and the glorified church (19:8, 14). In the ancient world, white robes were commonly worn at festivals and celebrations.

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

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

Most of the churches now that are like this church in Sardis, do not like to preach or teach on the blood of Jesus. It was the shed blood that defeated Satan and purchased our salvation. We read in Hebrews, just how important this shed blood is.

Hebrews 9:22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

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

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

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

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

"See article Book of life ": A divine journal records the names of all those whom God has chosen to save and who, therefore, are to possess eternal life (13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19; Dan. 12:1; Luke 10:20). Under no circumstances will He erase those names (see note on Phil. 4:3), as city officials often did of undesirable people on their rolls.

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

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

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

Be strong; do not be led away by all these new teachings of heaven on earth before Jesus comes. The only time the earth will be like heaven is the 1000 year reign of Jesus here (see Rev. chapter 20). Withstand the devil and he will flee from you. Be part of the elect who cannot be deceived.

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

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

Revelation Chapter 3 Questions

(1) What happened to the city of Sardis?

(2) What seven things does God have mentioned to Sardis?

(3) What does Jesus say he knows about this church?

(4) What do many see the church at Sardis as?

(5) What do the new Sunday school books teach?

(6) Why does Jesus speak to this specific church about the seven Spirits of God?

(7) This church is flying the flag of _____________ but denies the power.

(8) The power of God is in His _________?

(9) This church has a form of godliness but denies the _________.

(10) If the gifts of the Spirits are not in operation in our lives, it is because of what?

(11) A man without a Spirit is like a horse without what?

(12) What are these people warned to do?

(13) Why is Jesus disappointed with their work?

(14) God looks at the spiritual and we have a tendency to look at the ___________.

(15) Jesus tells them if they do not watch, He will come on them as what?

(16) What are many new Bible translations doing to Jesus?

(17) Why is this dangerous?

(18) Who was Jesus? What was Jesus?

(19) When we deny the virgin birth, what are we saying?

(20) To deny Jesus as the Christ the Son of the Living God, is to do what?

(21) Was everyone lost in the Sardis church? Why not?

(22) What is a defiled garment in God's sight?

(23) What will Christians wear in heaven?

(24) What does "righteousness" mean?

(25) What has our modern churches stopped preaching on that is very important?

(26) By the law, what must almost all things be purged by?

(27) Who shall be clothed in white?

(28) If we confess Jesus here, who will He confess us to in heaven?

(29) What book do we want our name in?

(30) When is the only time there will be heaven on earth?

(31) What do you think this lesson is saying to individuals in any church (in your own words)?

Revelation Chapter 3 Continued

We will begin this study with the church at Philadelphia. Oh, to be like the church at Philadelphia. This church is sometimes thought to be the missionary church. I believe, if we carefully look at this church, we will be able to see a church in our time. The church would be strong and active in the gifts of the Spirit. They would be teaching holiness and righteousness. They would not be tolerant to compromise. They would not be any particular denomination, but rather grounded in Jesus. Taught by the Holy Spirit of God. This church would be promoting Spirit rather than bringing the world into church.

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

Philadelphia: The Danger of Failing to Advance (1790 to 1900 A.D.). The Missionary Church.

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

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

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

(1) He is Holy. Jesus tells us to "be Holy even as He is Holy" (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:15).

(2) He shows Himself as truth. He is "the Way, The Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).

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

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

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

(1) Is a definite time period - "the hour";

(2) Is a period of trial;

(3) Was future from the time of John's writing;

(4) Was to be worldwide;

(5) The promise, in Greek, was to "keep thee out of" the hour.

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

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

(1) Fear?

(2) Your finances?

(3) Your health?

(4) Your relationships with others?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This verse presents a promise that Christ will rapture genuine believers out of the world before the Tribulation period begins. The "hour of temptation" is the period of worldwide testing (Greek peirasmos), which has not yet occurred (compare Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21, 29). Christ promises to keep them "from" (Greek ek, "out of"), the period of the Tribulation. That is, they will not even enter into this period of history. The Tribulation is for the purpose of trying or judging "them that dwell upon the earth", those who are connected to the earth and its system. Believers are not even included in this term (compare Phil. 3:18-20; 1 Peter 2:11; Rev. 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 17:8).

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

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

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

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

Revelation 7:13-14 "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, what are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?" "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

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

Matthew 24 describes the severity of this great tribulation.

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

This is the hour of temptation, I believe, this Scripture (in Revelation 3:10), is speaking of. The believers in Jesus will be taken out just before the temptation becomes impossible to withstand. So many people believe the believers will not be tried; I believe they will be tried, to prove whether their belief is real or superficial. They will not be tried beyond what they can endure.

Verses 11-13: "I Come quickly": The time of the deliverance mentioned (in verse 10), is here identified with the return of Christ for His church (the Rapture; see article Rapture here ). The "temple", may relate either to the millennial kingdom or to the New Jerusalem. The genuine believer will be given a place of service and honor before God. The threefold reference to the "name", gives a guarantee of eternal security in Christ. The "name of my God", shows ownership. The "name of the city", shows heavenly citizenship. And "my new name", indicates co-heirship with Christ.

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

"I come quickly": This isn't the threatening temporal judgment described (in verse 3; 2:5, 16), nor the final judgment (of chapter 19), it is a hopeful event. Christ will return to take His church out of the hour of trail (see note on 2 Thess. 2:1).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation Chapter 3 Continued Questions

1. This church at Philadelphia is sometimes thought to be what church?

2. Besides being strong in the Word, what attributes would this church possess?

3. What two things would they teach?

4. How would they feel about compromise?

5. What four things does Jesus call Himself to the church at Philadelphia?

6. Why?

7. Who is the only one who sends us to heaven or hell, besides our own decisions?

8. What has Jesus set before them?

9. What nice things did Jesus say about the Philadelphia church?

10. What does Jesus mean when He says they have a little strength?

11. Name four things most churches call Jesus instead of God.

12. Those who say they are Jews, and are not, will be called what group?

13. What will happen to them?

14. What do Satan worshippers and pretending Christians have in common?

15. For how many years will the Christians rule over those who reject Jesus here on the earth?

16. Why will Jesus keep the Christians from the hour of temptation?

17. Why is this hour coming?

18. When temptation comes, what two things can happen?

19. What does this hour mean?

20. Who are this great multitude dressed in white who stand before the throne?21. What made them white?

22. In Matthew 24:21-22, what is described?

23. Why will we be tried?

24. "To Him that overcometh will I make a _________ in the temple of God."

25. What does this pillar mean?

26. What will Jesus write on the believers?

27. What does the writing of the name mean?

28. Who are the bride of Christ?

29. What does it mean "we shall no more go out"?

30. What ears are we to open?

31. Tell what you think is the main theme of this lesson.

Revelation Chapter 3 Second Continued

In this lesson, we will look at the church at Laodicea. This church is certainly a look at the apostate churches of our day. This is a church afraid to show its emotions. One that is a very sophisticated group really to the point of being very ineffective in winning people to the Lord.

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

Laodicea: The Danger of Luke Warmness (1900 A.D. to Current). The Apostate Church.

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

(1) Are you committed to evangelism and missions?

(2) Are you committed to living a holy life?

(3) Are you committed to your local church fellowship?

(4) Are you committed to spending time in prayer, worship and the Word?

(5) Are you committed to other believers in the Body of Christ?

(6) Are you actively supporting God's work with your finances?

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

(1) "Buy of me Gold, Tried in the Fire". Gold is refined by the fire. Let the Word of God refine you spiritually and burn away the lukewarmness in your life. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times (Psalms 12:6).

(2) "Buy of me White Raiment". Allow God to change you by making a renewed commitment to righteous living. Eph. 4:24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

(3) "Anoint your Eyes so You Can See". Receive the powerful revelation of God through Jesus Christ which will open your blinded eyes and effect true change in your life. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:6).

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

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

2 Cor. 1:20 "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us".

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

Jesus is Truth. His witness is true because He Himself experienced it. It does not waver. It is fact. He created everything in the earth as we know it. We can easily see from John that Jesus created everything.

John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "The same was in the beginning with God." "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

Jesus is the Creator of all things.

Verses 15-16: The church is likened to "lukewarm" water, or as being virtually worthless. Christ says He will "spew them out", or eject them from His company. The hot waters of nearby Hierapolis were known for their medicinal qualities, whereas Colossae was known for its cold, pure water. But Laodicea was forced to receive water by aqueduct from other areas. By the time it arrived at Laodicea it was lukewarm and provoked nausea. The "works", of the Laodicean church were as worthless as the city's lukewarm water. The description does not refer to a backslidden condition, but rather to their lack of genuine faith.

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

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

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

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

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

In 2 Peter 2 is a scripture we need to take heed of.

2 Peter 2:21 "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."

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

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

"I will spew thee out of my mouth": Just like the dirty, tepid water of Laodicea, these self-deceived hypocrites sickened Christ.

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

Verses 17-19: Laodicea was famous for its wealth, its bankers, its medical school, its popular eyesalve, and its textile industry. Christ says that spiritually the people of the church are "poor, blind", and "naked". True wealth is found only in God's grace. This church had no spiritual value ("gold"), virtue ("white raiment"), or vision ("eyesalve"). He urges the Laodiceans to "repent" of their lack of genuine faith and of spiritual understanding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Gold tried in the fire", means pure gold. Jesus is speaking of being rich in the sight of God. We need to be rich in good works laying up our treasures in heaven.

Matthew 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:"

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

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

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

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

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

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten": Both verses 18 and 20 indicate that Christ was speaking here to unbelievers. God certainly loves the unconverted (compare John 3:16). Both "reprove" and "discipline" often refer to God's convicting and punishing the unregenerate (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 14:24; 2 Tim. 2:25).

Jesus says here that He rebukes this church because He loves them.

Proverbs 19:18 "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."

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

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

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

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

Verses 20-22: In light of the spiritual condition of the Laodiceans described (in verses 17-18), the invitation (of verse 20), seems to be evangelistically addressed to individual members of an apostate church, so they might receive Christ genuinely as Savior and Lord (compare John 1:12; 10:27). To "sup" (dine), means to have fellowship (compare Luke 22:30; John 14:23), and to enjoy Christ's blessings. The promise to "sit" with Christ in His "throne", refers to reigning with Christ in His kingdom (compare Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4; 22:1; see article " Kingdom "). Verse 22 contains the last reference to the church before (chapter 22), implying that the Rapture will occur before the events of (chapters 4 to 19), and thus that the church will not be present on earth during the Great Tribulation.

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

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

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

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

(In verse 20), Jesus says "will sup with him". He is speaking of His fellowshipping with us. He loved us so much that He died for each of us. He wants to be our friend.

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

"Sit with me in my throne": A figurative expression meaning that we will share the privilege and authority that Christ enjoys as we reign with Him (1:6; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:29-30).

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

Luke 22:29-30 "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;" "That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Jesus' plan for all of us, is that we will be seated with Him in heavenly places. Jesus overcame the world when He submitted His will to the Father's will. He overcame sin and death on the cross. We will be an overcomer when we submit our will to His.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In these closing passages, we see a picture of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1) Overcomers Will Eat of the Tree of Life. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7; see article " Tree of Life "). Those who Overcome will inherit eternal life. They will live forever!

(2) Overcomers Will Not be Hurt by the Second Death. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (Rev. 2:11). Those who Overcome have their names written in the Book of Life and are part of the first resurrection. The "second death", is identified (in Rev. 20:14), as the lake of fire. The second death has no power over the righteous who are part of the first resurrection: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6).

(3) Overcomers Will Eat of the Hidden Manna. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." (Rev. 2:17). The "hidden manna" refers to Christ because He is the Bread of Life (John 6:33-35). Jesus, in all His fullness, will be manifested to those who Overcome and they will partake of all that He is and has!

(4) Those Who Overcome Will be Given a New Name. "I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev. 3:12). To "write the name upon something" is a common Hebrew expression used to indicate taking absolute possession of something. Christ will write His Name upon the foreheads of those who overcome, forever identifying them as His own possession.

(5) Overcomers Will Be Given Power Over the Nations. "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations" (Rev. 2:26). Overcomers will reign with Christ and sit in judgment over the nations (Rev. 20:4).

(6) Overcomers Will Be Clothed in White Garments. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:5). The white garments that Overcomers will wear represents the righteousness of the saints: "And to her was granted that she (the Bride), should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:8). John saw the redeemed standing before the throne of God, clothed in white robes with palms in their hands (Rev. 7:9).

(7) Overcomers Will Be a Pillar in the Temple in the New Jerusalem. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." (Rev. 3:12). A pillar is permanent, so Christ's promise to those who Overcome means He will give them a permanent place in the New Jerusalem. Absolutely nothing will be able to remove them from their place in heavenly Jerusalem!

(8) Overcomers Will Sit With Christ on His Throne. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:21). Those who Overcome will sit with Christ on His throne and reign with Him forever!

(9) Overcomers Will Inherit All Things. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son". (Rev. 21:7). This promise is the summation of all the blessings God can bestow. Like a son taking possession of his inheritance, those who Overcome will take possession of all their Heavenly Father has prepared for them.

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

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

We are called to Overcome and Conquer the world! Jesus said:

John 16:33 "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have Overcome the world."

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

We are called to Overcome and Conquer Satan!

1 John 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have Overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world".

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

You do not Overcome because of who you are. It is not because of any merit of your own, your good works, your strength, or anything else you possess. You are able to Overcome the flesh, the world, sin, Satan and his evil principalities because of Jesus Christ who lives within you! In the Spirit, John glimpsed the great victory that belongs to God's people and declared:

Rev. 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."

Romans 8:37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

Your victory is sealed with the assurance of the blood of Jesus Christ!

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

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

(1) It echoes a leader's prayer or praise. It means "Yes, indeed" or "may it be so in very truth." (For examples, see Psalms 41:13; 72:19; 106:48; 1 Chronicles 16:36; and Nehemiah 8:6).

(2) It is used as the assent of a listener to a royal decree or purpose. (For examples, see 1 Kings 1:36; Jeremiah 11:5).

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

To close this chapter, I want to you to read (Rev. 1:3) again.

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

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

Revelation Chapter 3 Second Continued Questions

1. What is the church at Laodicea symbolic of?

2. They are so sophisticated they have become what?

3. What unusual name does Jesus call Himself here?

4. What did Jesus and Paul warn them of?

5. What do you think Jesus' name "Amen" meant here?

6. What scripture in John leaves no doubt that Jesus was Creator God?

7. When Jesus says "He knows their works" in verse 15, what else does He say of them?

8. What kind of a church does this show us?

9. Who did Jesus tell the scribes and Pharisees would enter heaven before them?

10. Since they are lukewarm, what will Jesus do to them?

11. Jesus does not just want hearers, but what?

12. Why did these people feel they had no need of anything?

13. What five things did they not know about themselves?

14. Wealth can sometimes give us a false sense of what?

15. What are these people trusting in?

16. What will we take to heaven with us?

17. A self-satisfied attitude keeps us from _______________.

18. What did Jesus counsel them to buy?

19. Why can they not buy this white raiment?

20. Why were they to anoint their eyes with eyesalve?

21. What are the only worthwhile riches?

22. What makes these robes white?

23. It is a very serious mistake to trust in ------.

24. Why did the rich young ruler go away sorrowful?

25. Jesus says "as many as I love, I ___________ and __________".

26. What two things did Jesus tell them to do?

27. Should we sit idly and wait for Jesus?

28. A tree that is pruned does what?

29. What is Jesus doing in verse 20?

30. What terrible thing does this indicate?

31. What do we see in Gal. 2:20?

32. What does it mean that Jesus will sup with us?

33. What is promised to the overcomers?

34. What must we do to Jesus, that He did to His Father?

35. After reading this lesson, what are you encouraged to do with your life?

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Revelation 4

Revelation Chapter 4

Verses 4:1 - 5:14: The third major section of Revelation begins here: "the things which shall be hereafter" (1:19). Chapters 4 and 5 establish Christ's right and authority to act as the Judge of the earth. God on His throne invests the Lion of the tribe of Judah with the authority to establish His dominion and kingdom on earth because of His redeeming work as the Lamb.

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

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

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

The phrases "after this" and "things which must be hereafter" move to the future, beyond the age of the church. The "door" signifies entrance by way of revelation into heaven. Chapters 4 and 5 picture a heavenly scene. The "trumpet" signifies an authoritative voice.

Matthew 24:31 "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

All the elect are gathered and assembled before Christ. This is the culmination of world history, ushering in the millennial reign of Christ.

This will be the trumpet of assembly (the silver trumpet of redemption), "four" (in Matthew 24:31), means the entire world. We've all heard the saying: "from the four corners of the earth I'm sure. This assembly will not be just Americans, but the true believers from every country of the world. These "angels" are ministering spirits who carry out these orders of their Lord and Master. The "He" here is Jesus (Messiah), but now He is Lord of lords and King of kings.

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

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

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" "Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

To really understand read all of this account. I have chosen just two verses from the account for here. This will happen so quickly that you would not even have time to blink your eye.

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

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

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

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

Notice, this door was "opened" in the past tense. It is not going to be opened. Jesus opened it for us. It is now open to believers.

John 10:7 "Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep."

Heaven is presently the dwelling place of God. It will also be our eternal home.

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

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

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

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

This door has never been closed to the true believers.

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

In Both (Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16), I read at first the voice and the trumpet seem to be interchangeable. The voice of Jesus and His personal angel are a little confusing, as well. Either way the message is from Jesus. This trumpet was talking with John.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verses 2-5: "In the spirit": John sees God the Father sitting on His "throne" in "heaven", compare (verse 8). The gems and the "rainbow" show the glory of God (compare Ezek. 1:22-28). The 24 "elders" probably represent the raptured church in heaven. Their "seats" or thrones show a reward of authority in the millennial kingdom (compare 20:4), and their "crowns" (Greek stephanos), are crowns of reward from the judgment seat of Christ (compare Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). The "white raiment" shows their righteousness, which has now been judged and purified. The number "four and twenty", represents the church as priests before God. David divided the Levitical priesthood into 24 sections (1 Chron. 24:7-19). Believers are seen here as a kingdom of priests (compare 1:6). Old Testament saints are not yet included, since they will not be resurrected and rewarded until after the Tribulation period (compare Dan. 12:1-3). The "seven lamps" or "seven spirits" again symbolize the Holy Spirit of God (compare 1:4).

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

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

"Throne": Not so much a piece of furniture, but a symbol of sovereign rule and authority (7:15; 11:19; 16:17-18; compare Isa. 6:1). It is the focus (of chapter 4), occurring 13 times, 11 times referring to God's throne.

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

(1) God the Father;

(2) God the Son or God the Word;

(3) God the Holy Spirit.

The word "sat" is indicative that the work is complete.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Four and twenty elders": Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments, and their golden crowns all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (verses 9:11; 5:5-14; 7:11-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7 year tribulation time (compare Dan. 12:1-3). Tribulation saints aren't yet saved (7:9-10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point, the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8-10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (compare John 14:1-4).

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

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

In (Rev. 5:9), the Scriptures tells us the four and twenty elders sung a new song.

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

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

There are many significances tied to the number 12, but suffice it to say that God prescribed this number to have meaning and purpose of which were governmental authority, a completeness or perfection, and the authority given to mankind by God.

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

(1) One twelve for the Old Testament;

(2) One twelve for the New Testament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not the fury of nature, but the firestorm of righteous fury about to come from an awesome, powerful God upon a sinful world (8:5; 11:9; 16:18).

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

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

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

I would like to mention here that Revelation is not written in chronological order. Just as a dream sometime skips around, so does this.

Revelation Chapter 4 Questions

1. When John looked to heaven, what did he see?

2. What did the first voice he heard sound like?

3. What did the voice say to John? Two things.

4. What could be one reason for God using "seven" repeatedly in Revelation?

5. What single word shows us that John is startled?

6. Who is the door to heaven?

7. When did He open the door to believers?

8. Who is Jesus coming back for?

9. Where is the present dwelling place of God?

10. Who saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God?

11. Why is Jesus generally seated at the right hand of God?

12. Name two instances where the voice of Jesus and the trumpet mean the same thing.

13. Why did Jesus tell John to come up?

14. Do you believe John was transported to heaven, or do you believe it was just a vision?

15. When was this all to happen?

16. When John got even deeper in the Spirit, what did he see in heaven?

17. What two things does this throne symbolize?

18. The one who sat on the throne was like what two stones?

19. What was round about the throne?

20. What color was it?

21. What other places will we find all three of these stones?

22. What name does the author believe is engraved on the diamond behind the breastplate?

23. What does the rainbow remind us of?

24. What does green mean?

25. How many seats were around the throne?

26. Who sat upon them?

27. What was on their heads?

28. Why was it made of gold?

29. What is the number twelve symbolically?

30. This twenty-four is actually what?

31. What were they dressed in? Why?

32. Crowns indicate what?

33. What three things proceeded from the throne and what do they show?

34. What were burning before the throne?

35. What is fire symbolic of?

36. What order is Revelation written in?

37. What do you think heaven is like?

Revelation Chapter 4 Continued

Verses 6-8: The "four beasts" or living creatures (literally, "living ones"), are probably winged angelic beings (compare Ezek. 10:15-22), who guard the throne of God. The "eyes" symbolize wisdom, and the "wings" depict movement. They worship God as did the seraphim in Isaiah's vision (compare Isa. 6:1-3). The "lion" represents strength (compare Psalm 103:20), the "calf" service (compare Heb. 1:14), the "face" of a "man" intelligence (compare Luke 2:52), and the "eagle" swiftness (compare Dan. 9:21). The angelic vision has a strong allusion to (Ezekiel 1:4-14).

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

"A sea of glass": There is no sea in heaven (21:1), but the crystal pavement that serves as the floor of God's throne stretches out like a great, glistening sea (compare Exodus 24:10; Ezek. 1:22). This "sea of glass" reminds me very much of the laver in the tabernacle in the wilderness.

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

"Full of eyes": Although not omniscient, an attribute reserved for God alone, these angels have a comprehensive knowledge and perception. Nothing escapes their scrutiny (compare verse 8).

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

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

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

The four living beings show the four gospels: In Matthew, Jesus is shown as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The genealogy of Jesus is in Matthew beginning with verse 1, showing that Jesus truly was the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

"First ... like a lion": In what is obviously intended as symbolic language, John compares these 4 beings with 4 of God's earthly creations. Ezekiel indicated that every cherub has these 4 attributes. The likeness to a lion symbolizes strength and power.

"Second ... like a calf": The image of a calf demonstrates that these beings render humble service to God.

"Third ... face like that of a man: Their likeness to man shows they are rational beings.

Fourth ... like a flying eagle": The cherubim fulfill their service to God with the swiftness of eagles' wings.

In John 1:1, Jesus, the Word, is in fact God the Word, God the Son. God in the flesh of man.

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

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

"Full of eyes" (see note on verse 6).

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

The six wings spoken of (in Isaiah 6), seem to show humility, obedience, and reverence to God. The number six makes me believe also, that these wings show work and activity (six day work). It seems here that one of their tasks was to proclaim the holiness of God.

I really believe the three "holy, holy, holy", Lord God Almighty", indicate Father, Word, Holy Ghost. "Which was, and is, and is to come". God's eternal presence is not limited by time, He has always been present and will come in the future.

The "which was, and is, and is to come" just furthers that thought and shows us the eternity of this three in one. We do know from (1 John 5), that there are three in heaven.

1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

Verses 9-11: All of heaven "worship" the Father. The angels extol His character, and the "elders" (church), extol His creative powers. God has the right to rule and the sovereign authority to judge the earth, because He is both holy and the Creator of all.

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

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

"The giving of "honor" goes on and on and on. The giving of "thanks" is to the Spirit of God, the Trinity.

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

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

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

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

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

"Cast their crowns": Aware that God alone is responsible for the rewards they have received, they divest themselves of all honor and cast it at the feet of their King (see note on 2:10).

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

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

"For thou hast created all things": It is the Creator God who set out to redeem His creation.

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

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

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

Revelation Chapter 4 Continued Questions

1. What was before the throne?

2. What was it like unto?

3. What were round about the throne?

4. What in the tabernacle does the sea remind us of?

5. What does the number four show about these beasts?

6. What do these eyes show? Two things.

7. These four living ones denote what in the Bible?

8. What was the first beast like?

9. What does it symbolize?

10. What was the second beast like?

11. What does it symbolize?

12. What was the third beast like?

13. What does it symbolize?

14. What was the fourth beast like?

15. What does it symbolize?

16. What did the beast have six of?

17. What did the eyes within mean?

18. What was the task of these around the throne?

19. What do the three "holy" indicate?

20. In 1 John 5:7, what do we find out about God in heaven?

21. Who do the beasts glorify?

22. Who fall down before Him?

23. What do they cast before Him?

24. What does it show when they fall down before Him?

25. Why do they cast their crowns before Him?

26. What does worship really mean?

27. In our society, it is popular to worship what?

28. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive __________and ___________ and _________:"

29. God is a _________ God.

30. Why was the earth and everything in it created?

31. How do you think church services should be conducted? Tell how you would handle this if you were in charge.

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Revelation 5

Revelation Chapter 5

Revelation chapter 5 continues the vision of chapter 4. The "book" is a scroll with seven messages, each of which has been "sealed" with the authority of God. The breaking of the seals would reveal the message inside each part of the scroll. Scrolls normally had writing on only one side. This scroll contains the Tribulation judgments of God (compare chapter 6, Ezek. 2:9-10; Dan. 8:26; 12:4).

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

"Written within and on the backside": This is typical of various kinds of contracts in the ancient world, including deeds, marriage contracts, rental and lease agreements, and wills. The inside of the scroll contained all the details of the contract, and the outside, or back, contained a summary of the document. In this case, it almost certainly is a deed, the title deed to the earth (compare Jer. 32:7).

"Sealed with seven seals": Romans sealed their wills 7 times on the edge at each roll, to prevent unauthorized entry. Hebrew title deeds required a minimum of 3 witnesses and 3 separate seals, with more important transactions requiring more witnesses and seals.

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

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

Verses 2-4: Only one with the proper authority could "open the book", by loosing or removing its "seals" (compare Isa. 29:11). The question is, "Who has the right to judge the World" That is, to reveal what is hidden in the scroll and to execute what is written. "No man," literally, "No one", could be found among mankind or angels who had the authority to remove the "seals" and real the scroll.

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

"Strong angel": The identity of this angel is uncertain, but it may refer to the angel Gabriel, whose name means "strength of God" (Daniel 8:16).

I believe the reason a "strong angel" is mentioned here is to show that all the earthly and heavenly strength, aside from God's, cannot open this book or these seals.

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

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

"In heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth": A common biblical expression denoting the entire universe and not intended to teach 3 precise divisions.

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

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

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

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

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

Verses 5-7: Christ is presented both as a "Lion" (Ruler), from the "tribe of Judah" (compare Gen. 49:10), and as a "Lamb" (Redeemer; compare Isa. 53:7; John 1:29). The "Root of David" shows a messianic connection with the Davidic covenant (compare 2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 11:1), and Christ's right to the throne of Israel. The vision of Christ here brings together the twofold aspect of His first and second comings, His work as Savior and as Sovereign. Christ has the right to judge, possess, and rule the earth because of His submission to the death of the Cross (compare Phil. 2:8-11).

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

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

"The Lion of the tribe of Judah". One of the earliest titles for the Messiah (see notes on Gen. 49:8-12). It speaks of His fierceness and strength, which although glimpsed in His first coming, do not appear in their fullness until the moment anticipated here.

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

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

"The Root of David." Another clearly messianic title (see notes on Isa. 11:1-10), it anticipates His being a descendant of David, who with devastating force will compel the wicked of the earth to succumb to His authority. This, of course, refers to Jesus' incarnation on His birth with His roots in the family of David.

This "hath prevailed", just indicates that Jesus won the battle. He came against Satan and Jesus won. He won in a way that no one expected when He died on the cross. Jesus is the only one worthy to open the book. He was victorious over sin and Satan. He alone lived upon this earth free from sin. He is worthy.

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

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

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

"Lamb": Hearing of a lion, John turns to see a lamb (literally, "a little, pet lamb"). God required the Jews to bring the Passover lamb into their houses for 4 days, essentially making it a pet, before it was to be violently slain (Exodus 12:3, 6). This is the true Passover Lamb, God's Son (compare Isa. 53:7; Jer. 11:19; John 1:29).

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

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

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

"A lamb, looking as if it had been slain." The scars from its slaughter are still clearly visible, but it is standing, it is alive.

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

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

We see this verified in Matthew:

Matthew 28:18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

This statement is printed in red which means Jesus Himself spoke these words. This was spoken after His resurrection.

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

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

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

  1. The Spirit of the Lord;
  2. The Spirit of wisdom;
  3. The Spirit of understanding;
  4. The Spirit of counsel;
  5. The Spirit of power;
  6. The Spirit of knowledge;
  7. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord.

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

These seven Spirits of God sent forth into the earth are the spiritual gifts to help the Christians mentioned (in 1 Corinthians 12). It begins;

1 Cor. 12:1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant."

Then it goes on and lists the gifts that will be of help to us Christians.

  1. Word of Wisdom;
  2. Knowledge;
  3. Faith;
  4. Healing;
  5. Miracles;
  6. Prophecy;
  7. Discernment;
  8. Tongues;
  9. Interpretations.

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

Verses 7-10: This is the focus and climax of the entire vision. When the Lamb (Jesus Christ), "took the book", the weeping ended and praise erupted in the form of a "new song", celebrating what He had done (providing redemption through His death), and what He was about to do (reclaim authority over all the earth).

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

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

Verses 8-14: Three outbursts of praise and worship are directed toward Christ and the Father:

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

(2) Myriads of "angels" also praise the Lamb for His glory and wisdom (verses 11-12); and

(3) Every area of creation worships both the Father and the Lamb (verses 13-14).

The "prayers of saints (verse 8), may be prayers for the fulfillment of the messianic kingdom (compare 6:9-10; 8:3).

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

"Harps": These ancient stringed instruments not only accompanied the songs of God's people (1 Chron. 25:6; Psalm 33:2), but also accompanied prophecy (compare 1 Sam. 10:5). The 24 elders, representative of the redeemed church, played their harps in praise and in a symbolic indication that all the prophets had said was about to be fulfilled.

"Vials full of odors": These golden, wide-mouth saucers were common in the tabernacle and temple. Incense was a normal part of the Old Testament ritual. Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so that the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God. That symbolized the people's prayers rising to Him.

"Prayers of the saints": Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed concerning ultimate and final redemption.

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

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

Revelation 5:9 "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;"

"New song" (compare 15:3). The Old Testament is filled with references to a new song that flows from the heart that has experienced God's redemption or deliverance (compare 14:3; Psalms 33; 144:9). This new song anticipates the final, glorious redemption that God is about to begin.

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

"Redeemed us to God by thy blood": The sacrificial death of Christ on behalf of sinners made Him worthy to take the scroll (compare 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:3; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2 Peter 2:1).

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

Revelation 5:10 "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."

(In verse 10), speaking of "kings and priests", could be rendered kingdoms and priests in that kingdom. We will see later in Revelation, that Christians will reign with Jesus 1000 years on the earth as subordinates to Jesus. Just as there were priests with a high priest over them, our ruling will be under His rule (see note on 1:6).

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

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

"Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands": The number is to express an amount beyond calculation. The Greek expression can also be translated "innumerable" or "many thousands" (Luke 12:1; Heb. 12:22).

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

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

"Power ... blessing": This doxology records 7 qualities intrinsic to God and to the Lamb that demand our praise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(2) Myriads of angels also praise the Lamb for His glory and wisdom (verse 11-12); and

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

Revelation Chapter 5 Questions

1. What was in the hand of Him that sat on the throne?

2. How many seals were on it?

3. Who is the Right Hand?

4. What could be written on the "backside" of the book?

5. Who was proclaiming, "Who is worthy to open the book"?

6. "No man in _________ nor in _______ neither under the _______was able to open the book"

7. Why did John weep?

8. In verse 5, what two names was Jesus called?

9. Who were the twenty-four?

10. Who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah?

11. What two was Jesus victorious over?

12. What animal was Jesus shown as?

13. What was this symbolic of?

14. What did the seven horns mean?

15. What did the seven eyes symbolize?

16. Which are the seven __________ of God?

17. Who is the central figure of the four Gospels?

18. In Matthew 28:18, what do we see?

19. What does the seven Spirits mean?

20. In 1 Cor. 12, what gifts of the Spirit are listed?

21. The four beasts and the twenty-four elders had two things in their hands, what were they?

22. What are the vials of odors?

23. In the new song, what did it say about Jesus?

24. Jesus redeemed whom by His blood?

25. He had made us what?

26. Who is salvation for?

27. How many is this "ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands"?

28. What was this great number saying?

29. Who and what in verse 13, were saying blessing and honor to Him that sat on the throne?

30. How long will we praise Him?

31. What has God called you to do in the body of Christ?

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Revelation 6

Revelation Chapter 6

Verses 6:1 - 19:21: This lengthy section details the judgments and events of the time of tribulation (see notes on 3:10). From its beginning with the opening of the first seal (verses 1-2), through the 7 seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments to the return of Christ to destroy the ungodly (19:11-21).

Revelation chapter 6 begins with the seals that represent the beginning of Christ's judgment of unbelievers on the earth during the Tribulation period (see article " Judgment "). There is a close similarity between these judgments and the event predicted by Christ (in Matthew 24:4-31).

The purpose of the Tribulation period is to punish unbelievers for their sin and rejection of Christ and to bring the remnant to faith in Christ (see article " Tribulation ").

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

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

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

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

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

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

The First Seal: Initiates the worldwide conquest by the false messiah, the Antichrist (compare Matt. 24:5). He will be the final Gentile world ruler (see 13:1-7). This horseman is not the same as the one described (in Rev. 19:11), which is Christ at His second coming.

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

The animal represents an unparalleled time of world peace, a false peace that is to be short-lived (see note on verse 4). This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist (Matt. 24:3-5; (see article " Antichrist ").

"He that sat on him": The 4 horses and their riders do not represent specific individuals, but forces. Many identify this rider with Antichrist. Although he will be the leading figure, John's point is that the entire world will follow him, being obsessed with pursing this false peace.

"Bow": The bow is a symbol of war, but the absence of arrows implies that this victory is a bloodless one, a peace won by covenant and agreement, not by war (compare Dan. 9:24-27).

"Crown": This word refers to the kind of laurel wreath awarded winning athletes. It "was given to him". Antichrist becomes king, elected by the world's inhabitants regardless of the cost, and will conquer the entire earth in a bloodless coup.

The Bible is spoken of as a two edged sword. We are told over and over that the flesh and the Spirit are in constant conflict.

Verses 3-4: The "second seal" brings war and a lack of "peace" (compare Matt. 24:6-7). The "sword" represents armed conflict. Perhaps the attacks on Israel mentioned (in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39; Dan. 11:40-44), are also in view.

Revelation 6:3 "And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see."

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

Revelation 6:4 "And there went out another horse [that was] red: and [power] was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword."

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

"Another horse that was red": Its blood-red appearance speaks of the holocaust of war (compare Matt. 24:7). God will grant this horse and its rider the power to create worldwide war. But as horrible as this judgment is, it will be only the "birth pangs", the beginning pains of God's wrath (Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:7-8; Luke 21:9).

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

The power given to him that sat on the horse: "And power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another." This would seem to indicate that the condition immediately preceding this was a condition of tranquility, and that this was now disturbed by some cause producing discord and bloodshed.

"That they should kill one another": Violent slaughter will become commonplace.

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

"Sword": Not the long, broad sword, but the shorter, more easily maneuvered one that assassins often used and that soldiers carried into battle. It depicts assassination, revolt, massacre, and wholesale slaughter (compare Dan. 8:24).

We read in Zechariah about these four horses, and we can easily see what it is because the Bible tells us.

Zechariah 6:1 "And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains [were] mountains of brass."

"Brass" means judgment. The number "four" means that this is a universal message.

Zechariah 6:2-3 "In the first chariot [were] red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;" "And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grizzled and bay horses."

This is a vision of the same horses that we are reading about in Revelation. To understand the entire message, you need to (read chapters 1 and 6 of Zechariah).

Zechariah 6:4 "Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What [are] these, my lord?"

When Zechariah asked the angel what this meant, this is the answer he got.

Zechariah 6:5 "And the angel answered and said unto me, these [are] the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth."

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

Verses 5-6: The "third seal" represents inflation and famine (compare Matt. 24:7). The "balances" or scales are related to commerce and trade. The word "penny", better transliterated "denarius", represented about one day's wages. "Wheat" and "barley" were considered necessities of life. "A measure" (Greek choinix), was 1.92 pints. The price given is about 10 times what was normal. The command "hurt not the oil and the wine" may indicate a restriction of the effects of the famine in this early part of the Tribulation.

Revelation 6:5 "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand."

The Third Seal: "A black horse": Black signifies famine (compare Lam. 5:8-10). Worldwide war will destroy the food supply which spawns global hunger; (see article " Famine ").

"Pair of balances": The common measuring device, two small trays hung from each end of a balance bean, indicates that the scarcity of food will lead to rationing and food lines.

The "pair of balances" (scales), shows a weighing. We shall be weighed in the balance, and see if we stand or fall. This balance also, indicates a shortage of food. We see this in the color black, and in the balances. The famine will be so great, food will be weighed by the ounce and dispensed carefully. This famine will probably be as bad as the famine that was in Egypt in Joseph's time. Probably drought will trigger crop failures in many places. Only the very rich will be able to buy food. Personally, I believe God will instruct Christians, who are totally sold out to Him. They will know when to plant and exactly what to do, as Joseph was told of God, what to do.

Revelation 6:6 "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine".

"A measure of wheat": The approximate amount necessary to sustain one person for one day.

"For a penny": One day's normal wage. One day's work will provide enough food for only one person.

"Three measures of barley": Usually fed to animals, this grain was low in nutrients and cheaper that wheat. A days' wage provides enough for only a small family's daily supply.

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

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

We surely know that it is a "measure", which is a very small amount. Barley seems to be a third the cost, so perhaps a meager meal of barley for three could cost a whole day's wages. The famine will be so great, that food will be weighed by the ounce and dispensed carefully.

This is run-away inflation to its worst possible conclusion. In many parts of the world inflation is already to that terrible extreme.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Woe;
  2. Mourning;
  3. Terrible times;
  4. Famine, physical or spiritual;
  5. Evil;
  6. Opposite of goodness;
  7. Everything that opposes God.

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

There is a great deal of difference in accepting Jesus as your Savior and accepting Jesus as your Lord. When He is Lord, He is totally in control, and we follow His instructions without questioning. The only thing required of us, for Jesus to be our Savior, is for us to believe. For Jesus to be our Lord, we no longer make our own decisions. He makes them for us. It is so much easier when He is Lord. God will not forsake the righteous.

Revelation Chapter 6 Questions

  1. Who said come and see?
  2. Who is the Lamb?
  3. What is He able to do that no man can do?
  4. What, throughout the Bible, was mistaken for thunder?
  5. What two things will we see in the opening of this first seal?
  6. The rider of the first horse had?
  7. What was given unto Him?
  8. What did He go forth to do?
  9. We know the Bible is spoken of as ___ _____ _________ ________.
  10. We are told in the Bible ________ and ________ are in constant conflict.
  11. What color was the second horse?
  12. What kind of power did he have?
  13. What weapon did he have?
  14. What does the red horse mean?
  15. What, besides, war does it mean?
  16. In Zech. 6 the four horses are?
  17. What color was the third horse?
  18. The rider had what in his hand?
  19. What does black symbolize?
  20. What does the balance indicate?
  21. What will cause crop failures?
  22. Name two saved "in" their problems?
  23. What was the pay for a day's work?
  24. What could be bought for this amount in verse 6?
  25. Besides Jesus being our Savior, what must He be to us?
  26. What is oil and wine symbolic of?
  27. What is the most difficult thing in your life to overcome? How do you plan to overcome it?

Revelation Chapter 6 Continued

Verses 7-8: The "fourth seal" brings "death" to a "fourth" of the population "of the earth", through war, famine, and pestilence (compare Matt. 24:7; Luke 21:11). "Death" takes lives, and "Hell" (Hades), holds them for judgment.

Revelation 6:7 "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see."

"Come and see": This is a phrase often used by the Jews, to stir up attention to what is about to be said.

Revelation 6:8 "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."

The Fourth Seal; "A Pale Horse" Or "Ashen", the Greek word from which the English word "chlorophyll' comes, describes the pale, ashen-green, pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to 25% of the world's population.

"Hell": Or hades, the place of the dead, which is identified as a common and fitting partner for death (20:13; see note on 1:18). This horse represents death.

John says the rider who sat on this horse "was Death, and Hell followed with him. One quarter of the earth's population, almost two billion people, will die as a result of a WWIII war.

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

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

This "pale" here, means a sickly color, a sickly green color, as if sick to the death. "Death, and Hell" are grouped, meaning a termination of earthly dwelling. Death is inevitable for every one of us. Death of the body, that is. Hell does await some, but heaven awaits Christians. Hell is sometimes a word used for the grave. In that particular instance, Hell would follow death, because the bodies of the unrepentant will lie in the grave until resurrection day. Believers would immediately go to heaven and be "under the altar".

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

Satan takes peace from the earth, but Christians have THE PEACE, Jesus, in the midst of the problems. In Matthew;

Matthew 24:7 "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."

Matthew 24:13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

Verses 9-11: The "fifth seal" presents the martyrdom of Tribulation saints throughout the world. They will come to faith in Christ following the Rapture (compare 7:9-17), and many will be killed by satanic opposition to their testimony of Christ. They plead for God's judgment on their unbelieving oppressors (Antichrist and his followers). The "white robes" depict their righteous standing before God. More saints will be martyred, since there is much more of the Tribulation to come.

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

"Fifth seal": This seal describes the force of the saint's prayers for God's vengeance. Its events will begin in the first half and mark the mid-point and events following, in the 7 year period, which the last 3-1/2 years is called the Great Tribulation (2:22; 7:14; see notes on Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). The second 3-1/2 year period (11:2; 12:6; 13:5), features the Day of the Lord, in which God unleashes His judgment and wrath on the earth in intensifying waves (see note on 1 Thess. 5:2).

When the fifth seal is broken, John sees "under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held." Christians martyred for their faith (compare 7:9, 13-15; 17:6; Matt. 24:9-14; see also Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19).

Shortly after the beginning of the Tribulation there will be a great "soul harvest" in which many millions will come to faith in Christ, many as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses described (in Rev. chapter 7).

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

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

God tells us, as the apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Thessalonians:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are the ones who were martyred during the tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. White robes are the uniform issued to all believers in the Lord Jesus (see note on 3:4).

"Rest yet for a little season": God will answer their prayer for vengeance, but in His time. God has predetermined the number of the righteous whose death He will allow before moving to destroy the rebels.

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

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

Revelation Chapter 6 Continued Questions

  1. What does the fourth seal bring?
  2. What color was the fourth horse?
  3. What does this horse represent?
  4. What does Chernobyl mean?
  5. Who takes peace from the earth?
  6. When is the great Tribulation?
  7. Who must be crucified with Christ?
  8. What color robes will be given to believers?
  9. When the fullness of time comes, who will appear?

Revelation Chapter 6 Second Continued

Verses 12-14: The "sixth seal" brings natural disasters of various kinds (compare Matt. 24:7, 29). The earth and the heavenly bodies will go into convulsions. (Joel 2:30-31), predicts many of these judgments in nature as signs of the day of the Lord.

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

"The sixth seal": The force described in this seal is overpowering fear (compare Luke 21:26). While the first 5 seals will result from human activity God used to accomplish His purposes, at this point He begins direct intervention (compare Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25). The previous 5 seals will be precursors to the full fury of the Day of the Lord which will begin with the sixth seal (verse 17). The events described in this seal unleash the seventh, which contains the trumpet judgments (chapters 8 and 9; 11:15), and the vial or bowl judgments (chapter 16).

The "Great Earthquake": There have been many earthquakes prior to this (Matt. 24:7), but this will be more than an earthquake. All the earth's faults will begin to fracture simultaneously, resulting in a cataclysmic, global earthquake.

Earthquakes generally are God dealing with mankind. This sixth seal has to do with the end of the Gentile age. This has to do with the believers being carried away into heaven. This terrible earthquake is told about in;

Isaiah 2:19 "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."

This great earthquake is not one we have been acquainted with before. This may even be the one people are expecting when much of California drops into the ocean. Of course, we do not know that California will ever drop. We just know from what we read that an earthquake of that magnitude will occur.

Our cry, if we are Christians, just before this sixth seal is opened is "The Lord is coming".

"The moon became as blood": Accompanying the earthquake will be numerous volcanic eruptions; and large amounts of ash and debris will be blown into the earth's atmosphere, blackening the sun and giving the moon a blood-red hue (compare Zech. 14:6-7).

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

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

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

This terrible earthquake is told about (in Isaiah 2):

Isaiah 2:19 "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."

In (Ezekiel 32:7-8), we read about the darkness of the sun, moon, and stars.

In (Matthew 24), we read of this same thing in the heavens.

Matthew 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:"

Notice that this occurs at the end of the three and a half years of tribulation (prior to the start of the Great Tribulation), just before the Wrath of God is poured out upon the earth.

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

"Stars of heaven fell": The word "stars" can refer to any celestial body, large or small, and is not limited to normal English usage. The best explanation is a massive asteroid or meteor shower.

"Untimely figs": Winter figs that grow without the protection of leaves and are easily blown from the tree.

The fig tree (physical Israel), rejected Jesus and His Holy Spirit. In (Acts chapter 2), we read of the sound as of the rushing mighty wind that came and filled them with the Holy Ghost.

This mighty wind is of God. Many times, when we read of the mighty wind, it is a sign of the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit can be beautiful, as we read (in Acts 2), or frightening to those who do not believe.

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

We read also, of the spiritual shaking that will take place. We read that there shall be a great falling away in the church right before this occurs.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"

As you can see, believers will be tried, and many will fall away. (In Luke chapter 21:16), we read about those who will be betrayed by those of their own household and friends.

We read again of the commotion in heaven:

Luke 21:25-26 "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;" "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."

You can easily see that this is prophesied, not just of John, but by dozens of pens throughout the Bible.

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

"The heaven departed as a scroll": The earth's atmosphere will be somehow dramatically affected and the sky as we know it disappears (compare Isa. 34:4).

"Every mountain and island were moved": Under the stress created by the global earthquake, great segments of the earth's plates will begin to slip and shift, realigning whole continents.

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

Isaiah 34:4 "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine and as a falling [fig] from the fig tree." Whatever this is, it is of great magnitude.

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

Verses 15-17: As a result of these first six seal judgments, many unbelievers will want to die and to hide from God, but will be unable to. "The great day of his wrath" is the Day of the Lord, the predicted time of God's judgment of the earth and its inhabitants (compare Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31). The day of wrath is contrasted to the present "day of grace". "Is come", means God's day of judgment "is here". It has finally arrived, having begun with the first six seals.

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

The message in this is, wealth or position will have no influence on God's decision. He is not impressed with our importance. We cannot even fall back on being underprivileged or poor. None of this will matter. The only thing that will matter is what we did about Jesus. This really is the time when neither silver and gold will be able to save people from the Wrath of God.

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

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

"The wrath of the Lamb": Earth's inhabitants will recognize for the first time, the source of all their trouble (see note on 5:6). Incredibly, prior to this they will be living life as usual (Matt. 24:37-39).

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

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

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

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

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

"Great day": The sixth seal will commence what the prophets call "the Day of the Lord" (see Introduction to Joel).

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

The "great day" spoken of above, begins three and a half years of the worst things you could ever imagine. The last day has to be the last judgment. DOOM for the unbelievers.

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

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

Revelation Chapter 6 Second Continued Questions

1. What catastrophe happens at the opening of the sixth seal?

2. Describe the sun and moon at this happening.

3. This catastrophe has to do with the end of the ____________ age.

4. In Isaiah 2:9, why did they hide in the rocks?

5. What should the Christians cry out just before the sixth seal is opened?

6. What is told in Ezek. 32:7-8?

7. What chapter of Matthew tells the same thing?

8. In relation to the seven years, when does all of this happen?

9. What heavenly thing is compared to figs falling off the fig tree?

10. What, other than a heavenly body, could the stars be?

11. What do we read in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 about this?

12. What spiritual meaning does the mighty wind have?

13. Give me three chapters in Isaiah that speak of this time.

14. The falling away in the churches today tell us what?

15. What chapter in Luke gives a story of this end time message?

16. What three heavenly bodies will have signs?

17. The heaven departs as what?

18. What happens to the islands and mountains?

19. What chapter in Isaiah is almost identical and tells of the heavens being rolled together?

20. What does the author keep reminding you about the order Revelation is written in?

21. Name seven types of men who hide themselves in the dens and rocks?

22. What message should we get in that?

23. What did these men cry out to the rocks?

24. Why?

25. What is this called?

26. Whose great anger is this?

27. What is the terrible awakening?

28. What day is this called?

29. What do you believe this lesson is describing?

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Revelation 7

Revelation Chapter 7

Verses 7-14: Suggest that before the world is plunged into the plagues and disasters ushered in by the sixth seal judgment at the end of the first quarter of the Tribulation, God will raise up an army of 144,000 Jewish evangelists to spread across the globe and bring in a soul harvest of unimaginable proportions. Each of these "servants" of God will receive a "seal" on his forehead. While we don't know exactly what this seal will be, the text seems to suggest it will be visible, (at least to Christians). Whatever the seal is, it affords these 144,000 Jewish witnesses "of all the tribes of the children of Israel", some kind of supernatural protection. At least until the great soul harvest (of Rev. 7:9), can be accomplished.

Chapter 7 is a parenthesis in the chronology of Revelation, showing God's program of grace and salvation during the period of judgment. The winds depict God's judgment of the earth, and the four angels are restraining agents who hold back the judgment until God's special servants can be sealed.

This answers the question posed at the end of chapter 6. Two distinct groups will survive the divine fury:

(1) 144,000 Jewish evangelists on earth (verses 1-8); and

(2) Their converts in heaven (verses 9-17).

The parenthesis probably looks back to the same time period as that covered by the six seals, so that the 144,000 must be sealed before the Tribulation judgments begin (see article " 144,000 ").

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

This "after" is after the happenings of the first six seals. These angels (ministering spirits), were to do something to the whole earth (four corners of the earth). These angels were waiting for orders from God.

The 4 quadrants of the compass; that is, the angels will take up key positions on earth. Their job at this moment was to control these four winds until God said release them. The four winds is a figurative expression, indicating all the earth's winds, those from south, east, north and west. The 4 angels will turn off, for a brief interlude, the essential engine of our earth's atmosphere. The wrath is held back until those who must be sealed are sealed.

Revelation 7:2 "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,"

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

God has said over and over throughout the Bible that there has been a remnant of Jews who have not bowed their knee to false gods. At one point in the Old Testament, He said that the number then was 7000. We read (in the 11th chapter of Romans), that God told Elijah that there were 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

Romans 11:4, "But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."

You see, God has always had a remnant of physical Israel.

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

Revelation 7:3 "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea ... trees": Let the winds be restrained until what is here designated shall be done. The "sea" here could be a literal sea or as in other places it means large groups of people.

These destroying angels were commanded to suspend the work of destruction until the servants of God could be rendered secure. The division here (as in Revelation 7:1), of the "earth, the sea, and the trees," seems to include everything; water, land, and the productions of the earth. Nothing was to be injured until the angel should designate the true servants of God.

It was common in John's day for masters to seal or brand their slaves on the forehead or the hand to declare ownership. This mark also granted them protection for those who would steal or misuse them. In future days, when the seal of the Antichrist signifies death or life, Satan will have marked his followers, but God's witnesses will be sealed as well, with the name of the Father "in their foreheads".

Verses 4-8: The seal shows ownership and security, as a king's signet ring was used to authenticate and protect official documents. The 144,000 are all Israelites from the 12 tribes (12 times 12,000). This number may be taken literally, or figuratively of a national conversion. All 12 tribes returned from exile, and there was always a remnant from the entire nation in Israel (compare 2 Chron. 30:1-10, 25, 26; Matt. 10:5-6; Acts 26:7). The promise of future restoration is given to all 12 tribes (compare Isa. 11:11-13; Ezek. 3; Revelation 7:15-28). There are no lost tribes". In the list of tribes, Joseph stands for Ephraim, and Dan is missing, possibly because it was the first tribe to go into idolatry and apostasy (compare Judges chapter 18). The 144,000 will apparently be converted and commissioned to be a light to the Gentiles during the Tribulation.

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

"A hundred and forty and four thousand": A missionary corps of redeemed Jews who are instrumental in the salvation of many Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation (verses 9-17). They will be the firstfruits of a new redeemed Israel (Zech. 12:10). Finally, Israel will be the witness nation she refused to be in the Old Testament (see notes on Rom. 11:25-27).

"All the tribes of the children of Israel": By sovereign election, God will seal 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes, promising His protection while they accomplish their mission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In (Gal. 3:8), the believers are called heathen, which people of physical Israel are never called. Abraham is not the father of believers because of blood line, but because they (the same as Abraham), are saved by faith.

Galatians 3:7-8, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed."

You see, the tribes we are about to see listed are all of the nation of Israel. The only way this makes any sense is that this 144,000 is the remnant of physical Israel that God has always had.

Verses 7:5-8: Some scholars argue that the 144,000 evangelists aren't necessarily Jews? But a reading of (Rev. 7:4-8), tells us they are wrong. Those verses go on to identify the "tribes" that each of the 12,000 comes from.

Revelation 7:5-8 "Of the tribe of Judah [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand." "Of the tribe of Asher [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Naphtali [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasseh [were] sealed twelve thousand." "Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand." "Of the tribe of Zebulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand".

Most Jews alive today do not know which tribe they come from. But God does! And He purposely selects 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. You may notice when you read (Rev. 7:5-8), that 2 tribes are missing and 2 others have been substituted in their places. Why?

Some scholars believe the tribe of Dan is missing because the Jewish Antichrist, known as the False Prophet, will be a descendant. This certainly seems to be the meaning of an ancient prophecy that Jacob gave about the tribes of Israel in the last days:

Gen. 49:17 "Dan will be a serpent in the way, a venomous viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward".

We can expect the Holy Spirit to move on the hearts of people at the beginning of the Tribulation and culminate with the second coming of Christ.

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

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

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

While the tribulation period will be a time of judgment, it will also be a time of unprecedented redemption (compare verses 14; 6:9-11; 20:4; Isa. 11:10; Matt. 24:14).

"All nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues": All the earth's people groups.

"White robes" (see note on 3:4).

"And palms": In ancient times, they were associated with celebrations, including the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:17; John 12:13).

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

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

This is in accord with the way it has been all during the Christian dispensation. Nations and peoples have rejected Christ, but individuals have received Him (according to John 1).

John 1:10-12 "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

Revelation Chapter 7 Questions

  1. Who did John see standing on the four corners of the earth?
  2. Why were they there?
  3. What do the four corners show us?
  4. Who were these angels awaiting orders from?
  5. Where did this other angel ascend from?
  6. What did this angel have?
  7. What instruction did the angel, that called out, give the four angels?
  8. What was this angel to do with the signet?
  9. Where will this group be during the Wrath of God?
  10. What, besides a literal sea, could be meant here?
  11. In the 11th chapter of Romans, we read that God said, He had a remnant of how many who had not bowed the knee to Baal?
  12. Is this 144,000 physical or spiritual Israel?
  13. This 144,000 were from where?
  14. In Galatians chapter 3, we read what about the believers?
  15. What is a name physical Israel is never called?
  16. Name the twelve tribes who had 12,000 each sealed?
  17. Who was obviously missing?
  18. Why was Levi not listed in other lists in the Bible when they were dividing the land?
  19. What does the fact that this multitude is dressed in white robes tell us about them?

Revelation Chapter 7 Continued

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

"Salvation to our God": Salvation is the theme of their worship, and they recognize that it comes solely from Him.

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

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

"Elders" (see note on 4:4). "Four beasts" (see note on 4:6).

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

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

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

Verses 13-17: The redeemed Gentiles of this vision are either saints who will be martyred during the "tribulation", or believers who will survive the Tribulation and enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, or both. The "temple" may be either the earthly, millennial temple, or the "throne" and presence of God in heaven. Earthly sorrows will be over (compare 21:3-4). Christ will give them spiritual sustenance. There will be absolutely no crying or sorrow in the presence of God, for He will have wiped away "all tears from their eyes". The principal activity of the redeemed for eternity will be to "serve" God (verse 15).

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

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

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

Christians will know tribulation, but will be saved from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

I believe this rapture, or catching away of the Church, occurs before these seven years (see article " Rapture )".

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

You see there is no question that this (we read in Daniel), is the same time as what we have been reading in Revelation.

Daniel 12:9, "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."

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

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

God is the same in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. It appears to me that the most important thing in our life, even more than eating and sleeping, is making sure that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

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

"Great tribulation" (see notes on 3:10; 6:1, 9, 12). These people didn't go with the raptured church, since they were not yet saved. During the 7 year period, they will be saved, martyred and enter heaven. Though it is a time of unparalleled judgment, it is also a time of unparalleled grace in salvation (compare Matt. 24:12-14).

"Washed their robes" (compare 19:8). Salvation's cleansing is in view (see Titus 2:11-14).

"Blood of the Lamb": This refers to the atoning sacrifice of Christ (compare 1:5; 5:9; Rom. 3:24-25; 5:9).

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

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

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

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

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

"His temple": This refers to the heavenly throne of God (see note on 11:19). During the Millennium, there will also be a temple on earth, a special holy place where God dwells in a partially restored, but still fallen, universe (see Ezekiel chapters 40-48). In the final, eternal state with its new heavens and earth, there is no temple; God Himself, who will fill all, will be its temple (21:22).

"Shall dwell among them": God's presence will become their canopy of shelter to protect them from all the terrors of a fallen world and the indescribable horrors they have experience on the earth during the time of tribulation.

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

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

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

How much more wonderful could it be?

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

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

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

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

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

God's Son is both a Lamb and a "shepherd". In a beautiful mix of images, the Lamb has always been the Shepherd (Psalm 23; Isa. 49:10; John 10:14; Heb. 13:20).

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

John 10:11 tells us for sure who He is, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."

"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" is very exact. The tears are not just wiped away, they are wiped completely from the eyes so that nothing is left but joy and abundant life in Christ (21:3-4).

Revelation Chapter 7 Continued Questions

  1. When they cried with a loud voice, what did they say in verse 10?
  2. Who deserves all the credit for our salvation?
  3. The angels, elders, and beasts did what when they worshipped God?
  4. The twenty-four elders represent whom?
  5. The seven fold blessings in verse 12 are what?
  6. Why did the elders ask who were the ones dressed in white robes?
  7. Why would it not be necessary to be sealed in heaven?
  8. Seven years of tribulation are broken up into what?
  9. Jesus delivers us from the __________ to come?
  10. In Daniel chapter 12, what do we read?
  11. Who shall be delivered?
  12. Many of them who sleep in the dust shall _________.
  13. What is the brightness of the Christians compared to?
  14. Daniel was told to go his way; the words were closed up until when?
  15. What is more important to us than eating and sleeping?
  16. What were these white robes washed in?
  17. How do we become righteous?
  18. What do we Christians do, day and night in the temple?
  19. We read in Eph. 5:27, that Jesus will present unto Himself a church that is in what condition?
  20. Where will the tabernacle of God be?
  21. In Isaiah 49:10, what is it describing?
  22. Who shall feed us?
  23. In John 10:11, we see Jesus as what?
  24. Is your name written in the Lamb's book of life?

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Revelation 8

Revelation Chapter 8

Verses 1-2: Chapter 8 begins where chapter 6 ended. The "seventh seal" probably contains the "seven trumpets". The "silence" indicates the beginning of a further series of judgments.

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

"The Seventh Seal": This seal includes not only an earthquake, but the 7 trumpet judgments (8:1-9, 21; 11:15), and the 7 vial judgments (16:1-21), with the vial judgments flowing out of the seventh trumpet and coming in rapid succession just before Christ's return (see note on 6:1).

"Silence in heaven": The silence of awe and anticipation at the grim reality of the judgments, God is about to unleash.

The significance of this silence is twofold:

(1) It is entirely opposite the usual sound pattern of heaven; and

(2) It is the result of the revelation by Jesus Christ to the angelic hosts concerning what is about to fall on the earth.

The opening of the seventh seal introduces the 7 trumpet judgments, which are all judgments of God sent on the earth. In these judgments, God is exclusively the sender and people are exclusively receivers. These judgments are so terrible that the angels stand breathless in wonder.

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

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

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

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

"Seven trumpets": The trumpets are of greater intensity than the seals, but not as destructive as the final vial or bowl judgments will be (compare 16:1-21). They occur during the final 3-1/2 years, but the time of each is indefinite, except the effects of the fifth trumpet judgment, which will last 5 months (9:10). The first 4 announce the divine destruction of earth's ecology (verses 6-12), while the final 3 involve demonic devastation of earth's inhabitants (9:1-21; 11:15).

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

1: To assemble the people for worship;

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

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

As the seventh seal is broken, the seven angels receive trumpets. Tim LaHaye, (a Baptist preacher with over 40 years experience and the author of the Left Behind Series of Books), thinks the 7 seals take place in the first quarter (21 months), and the seventh seal begins the 7 trumpet judgments which begin the next 21 months or second quarter of the Tribulation.

It is this author's belief that the 4 horsemen and the Seal judgments are in the first 42 months (Tribulation), and the Trumpet and Vial (Bowl), judgments containing God's wrath, will be in the last 42 months (the Great Tribulation).

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

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

Verses 3-6: "Incense" is often an illustration of prayer (compare 5:8). The trumpet judgments may be God's response to the "prayers of the saints" (in 6:10), a cry for revenge against the enemies of Christ (compare Psalm 94:1; Rom. 12:19). The throwing of the "censer" to the "earth" represents the coming judgment of the earth. Christ will use "angels" to administer the "trumpets". The blast of each "trumpet" symbolizes the execution of God's judgment (see article " Judgment ").

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

"Golden censer": A golden pan, suspended on a rope or chain, that was used to transport fiery coals from the brazen altar to the altar of incense, in order to ignite the incense, symbolizing the prayers of the people (5:8; Exodus 27:3; Luke 1:8-9). This occurred twice daily at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices.

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the writers believe the word "censer" here should be frankincense. That is not a terribly important point. The "incense" (in verse 3), probably does indicate frankincense.

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

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

We were not praying to the angel. The angel's only job was to transport them and keep them safe until they were received. We must never pray to an angel.

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

We were not praying to the angel. The angel's only job was to transport them and keep them safe until they were received. We must never pray to an angel. We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. The important thing, to see here, is that our prayers go to the throne of God, to the most Holy place.

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

The Bible speaks of this as a sweet smelling savor (Ezra 6:10). The "angel" was the messenger who carried the prayers.

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

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

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

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

"An earthquake": Surely of equal or greater intensity than the one described in the sixth seal (see note on 6:12).

Throughout the Bible, all of these natural disasters mentioned (here in verse 5): "thunderings, lightnings, earthquake", are God dealing with mankind. This is no different, and I believe these are literal. A terrible storm takes place above ground and a terrible shaking beneath takes place, as well. The Wrath of God has begun as the world enters into the Great Tribulation.

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

Revelation 8:6 "And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."

We read here (as in verse 2), of the seven angels that had been waiting orders to move.

Evidently in succession, perhaps by arranging themselves in the order in which they were to sound. The way is now prepared for the sounding of the trumpets, and for the fearful commotions and changes which would be indicated by that. The last seal is opened; heaven stands in suspense to know what is to be disclosed. The saints, filled with solicitude, have offered their prayers. The censer of coals has been cast to the earth, as if these judgments could be no longer stayed by prayer. And the angels prepare to sound the trumpets indicative of what is to occur.

Revelation 8:7 "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."

The "first" trumpet brings literal fire and hail, and causes the destruction of most of the vegetation on the earth. Famine and a lack of oxygen production will result.

This may describe volcanic eruptions that could certainly result from the earthquake (in verse 5). The steam and water thrown into the sky by such eruptions could easily condense into hail and fall to earth along with the fiery lava (compare Exodus 9:13-25). Dust and gases may so contaminate falling liquid water that it appears blood red.

The First Trumpet: Hail, Fire and Blood. Ice and fire rain from the sky, burning up a third of all the earth's trees and all of its grass. This is an ecological disaster without parallel to this point in the history of mankind; its results are incalculable. The lava storm will create a blazing fire that devastates one-third of the earth's forests.

To make matters even worse, John also adds that "blood" arrives with the hail and fire, as the prophet Joel had predicted:

Joel 2:30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke". And this is only the first trumpet!

They now are released and told to do these things. Some religions will tell you that God never punishes, but this is not true. This is punishment from God. The devil is not doing this. It is done on orders from God. Another place where this strange phenomenon of fire and hail mixed together falling is in Exodus.

Exodus 9:24 "So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation."

Both were punishments from God. The difference is that this one in Exodus was localized. The one in Revelation is wide spread. One thing very important to remember is that the wrath of God falls on them of unbelief.

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

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

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

Verses 8-9: The "second" trumpet turns a "third" of the "sea" into "blood", and a third of the sea "creatures" and "ships" are "destroyed". This will produce a reduction of evaporation and thus a shortage of rain and fresh water on land. International commerce and distribution of food and resources will be severely hampered.

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

"As it were a great mountain": Probably a huge meteor or asteroid surrounded by gases that will ignite as it enters earth's atmosphere. Its impact will create a tidal wave, destroying one-third of the world's ships.

"Sea became blood": This may refer to an event known as red tides, caused by billions of dead micro-organisms poisoning the water, in this case the result of the meteor's collision. Or it may be actual blood, a clear act of eschatological judgment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 8:9 "And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."

The effect was as if one-third of all the fish in the sea were cut off. Of course, this is not to be taken literally. It is designed to describe an effect, pertaining to the maritime portion of the world, as if a third portion of all that was in the sea should perish. The natural interpretation would be to apply it to some invasion or calamity pertaining to the sea, to the islands, to the maritime regions, or to commerce. If the whole description pertains to the Roman empire, then this might be supposed to have particular reference to something that would have a bearing on the maritime parts of that empire.

"And the third part of the ships were destroyed": This also pertains to the same general calamity, affecting the commerce of the empire. The destruction of the "ships" was produced, in some way, by casting the mountain into the sea, either by their being consumed by the contact with the burning mass, or by being sunk by the agitation of the waters. The essential idea is, that the calamity would be of such a nature as would produce the destruction of vessels at sea, either naval armaments, or ships of commerce.

Verses 10-11: The "third" trumpet makes a "third" of all fresh "water bitter", resulting in widespread thirst and death. "Wormwood (Greek apsinthos, literally "undrinkable"), was a bitter herb (compare Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4), that would make the water of the earth unfit for human consumption.

Revelation 8:10 "And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of this is speaking of terrible things associated with such an upheaval in the earth that it is beyond our comprehension.

Revelation 8:11 "And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

"Wormwood": A bitter, poisonous substance, derived from a root, that causes drunkenness and eventually death (Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15; Lam. 3:15).

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

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

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

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

"The "fourth" trumpet takes away a "third" of the light from the heavens during both "day" and "night". The light arriving from the "sun, stars", and "moon" is reduced, leading probably to fear, lack of crop production, and a much lower quality of life (compare Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25).

"A third part of the sun ... smitten": God will supernaturally reduce the intensity of the celestial bodies by one-third. The loss of solar heat will cause a radical drop in temperature, producing severe changes in meteorological, botanical and biological cycles (Luke 21:25; compare Exodus 10:21-23). But this is temporary (compare 16:8-9).

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

Tim LaHaye states that God who created light in the first place is able to diminish it to one third. Actually, day and night will seem to be reversed, for there will be sixteen hours of darkness and eight hours of daylight. This naturally reminds us of the plague sent on Pharaoh as described in Exodus.

Exodus 10:21. "Darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt."

And it gives detail to our Lord's prediction:

Luke 21:25-26 "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;" "men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken".

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

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

"Woe, woe, woe": One for each remaining trumpet blast. Although the first 4 trumpets are unimaginable, they will be nothing like the three to come (9:1-21; 11:15ff).

Thank God Christians will be spared the Wrath.

From the "woes", the wrath is about to come.

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

Revelation Chapter 8 Questions

1. What happened when the seventh seal was opened?

2. What were the seven angels given?

3. What were they to do with what they were given?

4. What two things are trumpets used for throughout the Bible?

5. In verse 3, the other angel had what?

6. Where was the golden altar?

7. What in heaven reminds us of the tabernacle in the wilderness?

8. Who is our High Priest forever?

9. Where are the prayers of the saints?

10. How must we pray? To whom?

11. What went up out of the angel's hand?

12. What do thunderings, earthquakes, and lightnings mean?

13. What is the fire cast to the earth?

14. Who prepared to sound in verse 6?

15. What was the hail and fire mixed with?

16. What happened when they were thrown to earth?

17. Name two other books in the Bible where fire and hail fell.

18. How many ships were destroyed?

19. What Russian name means wormwood?

20. What does wormwood mean?

21. What was 1000's of times worse than normal?

22. When the fourth angel sounded, what happened?

23. The angel that was flying through the heaven said what?

24. The separation of the first four trumpets and the last three show us what?

25. Do you believe that Chernobyl is the "wormwood" here?

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Revelation 9

Revelation Chapter 9

Verses 1-3: Chapter 9 describes the first two woes, trumpets five and six. The "fifth" trumpet brings a five month period of torment on the unbelievers of the earth. The "star" is either an angel of God (compare 1:20; 20:1), or Satan, the one who has authority over the "pit" (compare verses 11; Isa. 14:12; Luke 10:18). The "bottomless pit: is the Abyss, the abode of evil spirits or demons (compare Luke 8:31). The "key" represents authority. "Smoke" from the "pit" indicates fires below. Locust like creatures come "out of the smoke". That they are not literal "locusts" is indicated by their description which follows. In the Old Testament, locusts are symbols of destruction (compare Exodus 10:1-20; Deut. 28:42, 1 Kings 8:37; Psalm 78:46; Joel 1:2 - 2:11). Considering the identity of their king (verse 11), and the Abyss from which they come, these locusts probably represent demons. Like "scorpions", they can hurt people.

In the first 12 verses, John employs the image of a pit seven times to describe hell. Each time the pit is closely associated with demons; it is also associated with the unsaved (Romans 10:7).

This image of hell may also imply darkness and imprisonment since pits were often used as prisons in ancient cultures. Obviously, the pit appears as a place of suffering.

If you have trouble believing God could ever make a hell, remember it was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Those who go to hell, are in essence choosing to spend eternity with Satan rather than with Christ.

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

"I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth": Unlike the other stars that will have fallen (6:13; 8:8), this one will be an angelic being (compare verse 2), probably Satan himself (verse 4; 12:7; see notes on Isaiah 14:12-14; Luke 10:18).

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

"Bottomless pit": Literally "pit of the abyss". Mentioned seven times in Revelation, it always refers to the prison where some of the demonic hordes are incarcerated, the place of severest torment and isolation (verses 1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; see notes on 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6-7).

The Fifth Trumpet: The expulsion of Satan from heaven. The identification of Satan in this passage is not hard to make. Isaiah foresaw this development in exactly the same manner described by John.

Isaiah 14:12 "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!"

Many people mistakenly believe that throughout human history, Satan has already been banished from heaven, or that he reigns in some kind of kingdom in hell. That isn't true. Satan has always had access to the Throne of God, where he serves as the principle accuser of the saints of God.

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them" (Job 1:6).

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

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

Here again we see great volcanoes erupting. Many natural disasters. From the spiritual standpoint, this could be a time when men's minds are darkened with false doctrines and evil thoughts. God commanded Satan to carry out the punishment here. This covers the spiritual and the physical. Jesus gave Satan the keys so that he could be released to carry out this punishment. Just as Satan had to have permission of God to afflict Job, Satan brings these terrible things on the earth and his people, by permission of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are not normal locusts, however, but specially prepared ones that are merely the outward form of demons, who, like locusts, will bring swarming desolation (see notes on Joel 2:2, 4). "Like" appears several times in John's description; he finds it difficult to describe what he sees in a way the reader can understand.

"Scorpions": An arachnid that inhabits warm, dry regions and has an erect tail tipped with a venomous stinger. A scorpion's victim often rolls on the ground in agony, foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth in pain. The demons in locust form are able to inflict the physical, and perhaps, spiritual, pain like the scorpion (verse 5).

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

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

Verses 4-6: They do not harm the vegetation, as ordinary locusts would, but only "men" who do not belong to God. They are "not" allowed to "kill" anyone at this point. They only "torment unbelievers for "five months". The pain will be like that of a "scorpion". The "torment" will be so great that they will "desire to die". But part of the judgment will be that men cannot die to escape it.

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

"Men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads": Everyone on earth except the two groups mentioned in chapter 7, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and their converts (see note on 7:4).

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

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

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

"Five months": The normal life cycle of locusts is 5 months, usually from May to September.

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

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

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

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

"Seek death, and shall not find it": The tormented will find no relief. Even their unimaginable attempts to end their misery in suicide will be unsuccessful.

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

This was the first of the three Woes!

Verses 7-10: The description of the "locusts" indicates that they are demons who are given physical forms in order to manifest their destruction and torment. "Horses" show their warlike character. Their "crowns" depict them as conquerors. Human "faces" show intelligence. Their feminine "hair" perhaps makes them seductive and attractive. The "teeth ... of lions" shows them to be destructive and hurtful. "Breastplates of iron" make them indestructible. "Wings" symbolize swiftness. The "stings" in their "tails" give them the "power" to "hurt". Fortunately for mankind, their period of torment is limited to "five months". But the next judgment is even worse.

Revelation 9:7 "And the shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads [were] as it were crowns like gold, and their faces [were] as the faces of men."

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

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

Their "faces of men" is probably a reference to these demonic creatures as rational, intelligent beings, not insects.

Revelation 9:8 "And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions."

Having "hair as the hair of women" emphasizes their seductiveness. Perhaps to lure unsuspecting unbelievers to come close to them before striking them. (Jeremiah 51:27), refers to locusts having bristles like hair.

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

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

"Breastplates of iron": Breastplates were designed to protect the vital organs and sustain the life of the warrior. These creatures are invulnerable.

"Breastplates of iron" symbolizes their invulnerability.

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

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

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

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

There are references in the bible where demons possessed people such as found (in Matthew 8:28; 4:23-24; 8:6; Mark 9:20-22).

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

Verses 11-12: The "king" over these demons is apparently Satan, who is given temporary authority over the Abyss. The name "Abaddon" is Hebrew for "Destruction" (compare Job 28:22; Prov. 15:11; 27:20). Its Greek equivalent is "Apollyon" meaning "Destroyer". Since the Roman emperor Domitian called himself Apollo incarnate, the mention of Satan as "Apollyon" (from the same root as Apollo), may be an intentional play on words. "Two" more "woes" are still coming. As the end approaches, the intensity and severity of the trumpet judgments increase dramatically.

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

Abaddon ... Apollyon": Although locusts normally have no king (Prov. 30:27), these demonic creatures do. His name in both Hebrew and Greek means "destroyer". There is a hierarchy of power among the demons, just as among the holy angels.

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

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

This "king" (in verse 11), is the star we saw (in verse 1), which was thrown out of heaven and has hell for an abode. Just as he led these angels out of heaven, he leads them in this mission of destruction. Satan, even though fallen, must do everything the Lord commands him.

Remember all of this happens because God's wrath is kindled. God alone can stop Satan. This time God does not want to stop him. God allows, and even orders, this to happen. Satan, Apollyon, Abaddon, Lucifer, the devil, or whatever you care to call him, is still obedient to God. He, as we or any other being or angel, are created and subject to the desires of the Creator. God alone could stop this destruction.

Jesus had and has many names. Satan is a counterfeiter, so he has many names as well. People throughout history have tried to put names of modern conquerors to these, but I do not believe that is intended here.

Revelation Chapter 9 Questions

1. When the fifth angel sounded, what did John see?

2. What was given to him?

3. Who holds the key?

4. Is this a real star?

5. In verse 2, what did he do?

6. What came out of the pit?

7. What two things could the darkness indicate?

8. Who does Satan have to have permission from before he can afflict?

9. Where is the home of Satan and his demons?

10. What in the spirit realm are locusts?

11. These locusts were not to harm vegetation, who could they hurt?

12. What protects believers from the devil and his demons?

13. How long shall they torment?

14. Describe the torment?

15. What shall men seek in those days?

16. Will they find it?

17. What were the shapes of these locusts like?

18. What was on their heads?

19. What did their faces resemble?

20. The breastplates were as of iron and their wings were as the sound of what?

21. Give the two names their king was known by in different languages.

22. Who is he really?

23. How many angels followed Lucifer when God threw him out of heaven?

24. What is their mission?

25. Who is the only one who could stop all of this?

Revelation Chapter 9 Continued

Revelation 9:12 "One woe is past; [and], behold, there come two woes more hereafter."

"Woe": The first of the final 3 trumpets (see note on 8:13).

As if this is not terrible enough that we have been hearing about, there are two more woes. The open warfare on the streets of Lebanon and Israel remind us very much of the things we read about in the last lesson. A mother in that area of the world has no idea when her family leaves the house whether they will return alive or not.

The descendants of Ishmael and Isaac (the flesh and the spirit), are still in mortal combat after all the thousands of years that have passed. Just as there is a spiritual battle of the flesh and the spirit that we must face each day, there is a physical battle in Israel between the Arab and the Jew. Ishmael was told that his descendants would live around the Jews and would be fighting continuously.

The Bible is true. A woe is a terrible calamity.

Verses 13-15: The "sixth" trumpet results in the death of a "third" of the surviving unbelievers on the earth. The "four" bound "angels" are fallen angels or demons who have been temporarily "bound" by God. They are "loosed for the purpose of killing a "third" of the population of the world. They appear to be in charge of the horde of demonic horsemen who will actually accomplish the massacre (verses 16-19). The "river Euphrates" was the northeastern boundary of both the Roman Empire and the promised kingdom of Israel (compare Gen. 15:18; Deut. 11:24; Joshua 1:4; Isa. 8:5-8).

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

"Horns of the golden altar": God's design for the golden altar of incense included small protrusions (horns), on each corner (Exodus 30:2; see note on 6:9). Normally a place of mercy, as God responds to His people's prayers, the altar will resound with a cry for vengeance.

The number six indicates man or mankind. "Horns" mean power and strength. The number four means worldwide. This "golden altar" is where God is. God is never associated with other metals.

The nearness to the throne here could indicate, from the spiritual standpoint, the power of the gospel which would go to the four corners of the world. They did issue from God. Whether spiritual or physical, they are carrying a message from God to loose the four angels in the Euphrates River as we read in the next verse.

Revelation 9:14 "Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates."

"Four angels": Scripture never refers to holy angels as being bound. These are fallen angels, another segment of Satan's force whom God had bound, but will free to accomplish His judgment through their horsemen (verses 15-19). God's control extends even to the demonic forces, they are bound or freed at His command.

Euphrates: One of the 4 rivers that flowed through the Garden of Eden (see note on 16:12; compare Gen. 2:14). Starting with Bab-el, this region has spawned many of the world's pagan religions.

The Sixth Trumpet: The Four Angels Released. At the blowing of the 6th trumpet, the second woe is released: the release of "the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates". The angels apparently lead an army of 200 million "horsemen" (demons), who kill a third of mankind through the plagues of fire and smoke and brimstone.

God views the Euphrates River as the dividing line between East and West. In fact, the old Roman Empire also saw it that way. Everything east of the Euphrates was called the Far East or Asia. The region just to the west of the great river was known as the Near East or Asia Minor.

The Euphrates symbolically was where Israel's enemies came from (they thought).

Revelation 9:15 "And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men."

"An hour, and a day, and a month, and a year": God works according to His predetermined plan (compare Mark 24:36; Acts 1:7).

When these angels are loosed, they immediately inspire the great population centers of Asia to launch an attack on the Western and Middle Eastern strongholds. These demons are effective, because they cause almost two billion people, a third of the remaining population, to be killed in short order.

The Apostle John wrote, "And the four angels, who had been prepared for the Hour and Day and Month and Year, are released, so that they might kill a third of mankind. And the number of the armies of the horsemen (demons), was 200 million; I heard the number of them."

Verses 16-19: John "heard" the "number" of the "horsemen" that was 200,000,000; literally, "two myriads of myriads". Although the majority of manuscripts reads "a myriad of myriads", or 100,000,000 (compare 5:11; Psalm 68:17; Dan. 7:10). John had no time to count such a large "army". The riders (and perhaps the horses), wore "breastplates". An armored cavalry was always a most formidable opponent. "Brimstone" is yellow Sulphur. The "heads of lions" symbolize cruelty and destruction. The "fire, smoke," and "brimstone" are three separate plagues, which together kill a "third' of mankind. In light of their description, and the fact that they are ruled by four fallen angels, these horses and riders are probably demons as well. The demons of the fifth trumpet do not kill, (which were compared to scorpions), but these demon riders do kill. Their "power" to kill is in the "mouth", from which come the "fire", "smoke", and "brimstone". Their "tails" have "heads" like "serpents", with the "power" to "hurt" people. This sixth trumpet, combined with the fourth seal (6:8), reduces the population of the earth to one half its pre-Tribulation level.

Revelation 9:16 "And the number of the army of the horsemen [were] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them."

"The army": Some see this as a reference to forces accompanying the kings of the east (16:12), and identify them with a human army coming from Asia. But that event occurs in connection with the seventh trumpet, not the sixth. The language is better understood as referring to a demon force that makes war with the earth's inhabitants and kills one-third of humanity (verse 15).

Now in addition to the demons who have roamed the earth throughout history, spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12), recently cast to earth (9:1; 12:4), and the numerous demons recently released from the abyss at the sounding of the 5th trumpet, comes a new demonic army that is two hundred million strong.

Some have suggested that the 200 million will come from the Chinese who can currently field an army of that size. However, it is very doubtful this could be a human army due to the inability to equip, feed, transport, not to mention the water it would take to support that size contingent. Those things taken into consideration strongly suggest this will be a supernatural rather than a human force, especially as the four angels (demons), are commanding this force.

When you combine this 3rd with the quarter of humanity killed in the seal judgments, by this point in the Tribulation half of the world's population (after the rapture), already has been destroyed. Tim LaHaye makes reference to the Chinese army which can raise a 200 million man army now. That has prompted some interpreters to suggest the 200 million would come with the kings of the east to do battle with Christ at the consummation of the end of this age, known as the Battle of Armageddon. While there is no question that the armies of the Orient coming to that battle at the very end of the Tribulation will be enormous, due to the incredible population of those countries, they definitely are not the (Rev. 9:16), army. Consider the following reasons:

(1) The (9:16), army goes out during the 6th trumpet, which occurs towards the beginning of the Great Tribulation; the (16:12), army goes out at the end of the Great Tribulation.

(2) The 200 million (in 9:16), are not humans but demons, doing things men cannot do. These "horsemen" have a supernatural effect on the earth.

(3) The Chinese army would include all the men and women under arms in China, including their local militias or defense forces. There is no way the communist government could risk committing all its military and armament to the Middle East, for they know their freedom hungry citizens would revolt before they returned. Besides, the logistics of moving an army of 200 million from the Orient across the Euphrates and the Arabian Desert to the little land of Israel seems impossible.

Tim LaHaye states that the 200 million are not to be taken as humans. They are a literal unnatural, demon like evil spirits that come out of the abyss, advancing under the leadership of the four bound angels. Only the unrepentant will be killed by this judgment.

For these and other reasons not mentioned, it is not realistic to assume that the armies (of 16:12), are synonymous with those of (9:16). The 200 million horsemen who come on the scene will obviously be supernatural, creatures that are so awesome to look on that they actually frighten some people to death. And their sting "is in their mouth and their tails", and with them they kill one third of the world's population of those who reject Christ and commit themselves to Antichrist.

Revelation 9:17 "And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses [were] as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone."

"Breastplates" (see note on verse 9).

"Brimstone": Brimstone is a yellowish, sulfuric rock that often attends fire and smoke in Revelation (14:10; 19:20; 20:10). Common in the Dead Sea region, when ignited such deposits melt and produce burning streams and suffocating gas.

Horses have been often associated with warfare in scripture. It is clear these are not actual horses judging the heads were as the heads of lions.

Many have tried to associate the meaning of this scripture with weapons of war, but this can't be. John would have no problem with associating a lion's head with what these appeared to look like.

John saw three ways the demon horses killed their victims and all ways depict the violent and devastating fury of hell. They incinerated them with fire, then asphyxiated with smoke and brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.

Revelation 9:18 "By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths."

The end result of this demonic 200 million was that a third of the remaining mankind would be killed. Note that a quarter of mankind was killed during the seal judgments, leaving three quarters of the remaining population. As one third is now killed, 50% of mankind now has been killed.

The death of one third of the earth's remaining inhabitants will be the most catastrophic disaster to strike the earth since the flood during the days of Noah.

Revelation 9:19 "For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails [were] like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt."

"Tails were like unto serpents and had heads": John's language represents the demons' ability to vent their destructive power in both directions.

Not only were these demonic horses able to kill with their mouths, but also death was in their tails. Their tails are like deadly poisonous serpents. The horse's tails were not actual serpents as the horses were not actual horses.

But these images are describing the supernatural deadliness of this demon force in terms that one would normally understand in the natural world.

Unlike the demonic scorpion stings of the 5th trumpet judgment, the bites of these demonic creatures will be fatal.

Verses 20-21: By this point in the Tribulation period, most surviving unbelievers will have permanently made up their minds concerning Christ. They will refuse to repent, even under this terrible judgment. Their religious activities will involve "worship" of "idols" and demons ("devils"), and "sorceries" or witchcraft, with the use of magic potions (Greek pharmakon, from which English "pharmacy" derives). Idolatry is in fact, the worship of demons (compare 1 Cor. 10:20). Three of the four sins in verse 21 are specifically prohibited in the Ten Commandments (compare Exodus 20:3-17). For "sorceries" (compare 18:23; 21:8; 22:15; and Galatians 5:20).

God lists 5 sins that are representative of their defiance.

Revelation 9:20 "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:"

"Devils": Reminiscent of Paul's comments about idolatry (see note on 1 Cor. 10:19-20); demons impersonate the stone and wood idols men make.

It is so unimaginable that after many years of suffering and death by this time from the horrible judgments of God, combined with the 144,000, the two witnesses, an angel who gives the Word of God to humans, not to mention the countless number of Tribulation Saints, that the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plaques, did not repent.

These "men" are not just males, but all of mankind. Women will have to answer for their own actions, as well as the men. What in the world has to happen before they will repent? All of these things worshipped (in verse 20), describes our day. These are things of the world. Trying to out do the neighbors with: a bigger house ("wood or stone"), finer jewelry ("gold and silver"), expensive ornaments ("brass"), and worship of the devil ("worship devils").

All of these things listed are inanimate objects and have no power to accomplish anything.

Anything or anyone who does not elevate Jesus Christ to deity is in error and worshipping the devil. Jesus said Himself that "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30).

We are either on the side of Jesus or the devil. There is no middle ground. We are not to worship God's creations. We are to worship the Creator.

Revelation 9:21 "Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."

At that future point in history, idolatry, mysticism, spiritism, satanism and all forms of false religion will become the norm as demons lead people into more wicked and vicious behaviors. Violent crimes like murder will be absolutely rampant. Without any sense of morality, the evil, unrepentant people will imitate the demon horde's murderous blood lust. Of course, believers in God will doubtlessly be their prime targets.

"Sorceries": This Greek word is the root of the English word "pharmacy". Drugs in the ancient world were used to dull the senses and induce a state suitable for religious experiences such as sťances, witchcraft, incantations and cavorting with mediums (21:8; 22:15; see note on Eph. 5:18).

Once again, people will refuse to repent of their sins as the world of unrepentant people compete for the scarce supplies of food, clothing, water, shelter and medicines.

Under the influence of the massive demon forces that has been unleashed upon the world, false religion, murder, sexual perversion and crime will be unparalleled in human history.

The Big Four Sins: (Rev. 9:21), lists the four most prominent sins of the Tribulation period. The significance of these sins is great in light of present trends in the world. It's no coincidence that the four major sins listed here are today four of the most serious problems facing law enforcement.

(1) The first of these characteristic sins is murder. For whatever reason, societal permissiveness, lack of punishment or lack of faith, there has been an alarming increase in murder throughout the US and the world. One factor is the rejection of absolute standards of right and wrong. When a judge who posts the Ten Commandments in his courtroom is sued, you know society has its priorities upside down (Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, who on Dec. 12, 2017 is running for a senate seat and is being accused of all sorts of sexual wrongdoing). Anyone who was awake in the latter part of the 20th century could see the violence around us. I don't think I need to elaborate on this point.

The murder of unborn children in our day is a stench in God's nostrils. Women and men should repent of these murders. Murder with a deadly weapon is not always with a gun or a knife. One of the most useless murders in our day is drunk drivers killing people with their automobiles. Some are drunk on alcohol and some on drugs. All of these are useless killings that do not accomplish anything.

President Clinton vetoed a bill, passed with bi-partisan support in both the house and the senate, that would have prohibited partial birth abortions.

(2) The second prominent sin of the Tribulation era will be drug related occult activities. The word sorceries is used (in Rev. 9:21). It comes from the Greek word meaning pharmacy, and refers here to the practice of the occult tied to the use of drugs.

Drug use in the 1990's doubled from the 1960's and early 70's. In 1997 more than 11% claimed to use drugs every month. According to a study by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York, today's daughters are 15 times more likely than their baby boom mothers to have begun illegal drug use by age 15.

Another category of skyrocketing use is in so called designer drugs, such as methamphetamine. Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York, stated when Bill Clinton was president that "I have never, never, never seen a president who cares less about this issue."

There is a strong link between drug use and demon possession. As far back as 1971, the International Journal of Social Psychiatry dealt with the reality of demon possession and how to diagnose it.

There is a need to ascertain if there is any involvement in drug addiction, as it is common that addicts, especially with heroin and alcohol, become involved with black magic and vice versa. Some have been known in some cases to have been very religious people who defaulted, and thus left themselves open to some power other than God to control their lives.

Sorceries can also be anything associated with the occult: palm reading, horoscope, etc. So many people in our society today are playing around with mind control, transcendental meditation, and other false religions. All of this type of activity is to undermine our belief in God.

(3) The third prominent sin of the Tribulation will be rampant immorality. "Porneia," the Greek word used in this verse, refers to all kinds of sexual activity outside of marriage. Apparently, there will be a complete breakdown in the institution of marriage. Well, folks, as anyone can plainly see, we're almost there!

More than 70,000 women are sexually assaulted every year in the US. (1 every 45 seconds). It is the most rapidly growing violent crime in the country.

Domestic violence is more widespread than ever. Each year between 2 and 4 million women are battered; 1,500 women are murdered by their intimate partners; 1.8 million elderly folks are victims of maltreatment; 1.7 million child abuse reports are filed. Fornication covers living with someone before you are married. Fornication covers being married and dating someone else. Fornication covers all homosexual and lesbian acts.

The US Supreme court rules as unconstitutional Colorado's Amendment 2 to the state constitution, a simple and popular attempt to prohibit local governments from turning homosexuals and other sexual deviates into the latest protected political class. By the court's reasoning, as dissenting Justice Antonio Scalia pointed out, any state that bans Polygamy is also in trouble.

It's actually a matter of debate in the House of Representatives and US Senate, whether men should be allowed to marry men and women marry women (1997). Unfortunately, at the time of this update (2016), it has become commonplace.

(4) The fourth characteristic of the Tribulation will be thievery of all kinds. Crime in all of its manifestations is on the upsurge today. The experts say a youth crime crisis is right around the corner. At the current growth rate, there will be nearly one half million more adolescent boys in the year 2010 than there are today. That trend would mean there will be 30,000 more chronic juvenile delinquents on the streets in 15 years (from 1997). Though representing only 7% of all male teens, these chronic offenders commit 70% of all serious crime in their age group.

When a nation, founded as one nation under God, gives up its sovereignty under God in favor of "interdependence" on the world, you can see where the future lies. To be a friend of this future system in the sense of compromising God's viewpoint of life and letting the world squeeze you into its mold is to commit adultery, spiritually speaking. Remember also, that in a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ, believers are viewed as being the "Bride" of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). That's another reason that playing around with false religion is viewed throughout the Bible as spiritual adultery.

For the last 30 years, America has been engulfed in a culture war that threatens the nation's very foundation, its very survival. God's word tells us (in Luke 12:48), that "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."

In the history of the world has any nation been more blessed than the US? Yet there is always a cost to immorality. And today we are beginning to pay it. In the past 30 years, there has been a 560% increase in violent crime. Illegitimate births have increased 419%. Divorce rates have tripled. The number of children living in single parent homes has tripled. The teen suicide rate has increased 200%. Student Achievement Tests have plummeted 80 points.

It should not surprise us that Billy Graham said years ago, that if God didn't judge America soon, He would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. But it's not just the US. The entire world is in a headlong plunge into the morality of Sodom and Gomorrah and unfortunately into the same judgment.

Revelation Chapter 9 Continued Questions

  1. How many "...woes..." are there?
  1. How many "...woes..." are there?

Name two of Abraham's descendants that are still fighting today?

3.What is a "woe"?

4. Where did the voice come from in verse 13?

5. What means power or strength?

6. Why are there four?

7. The four beasts mean what spiritually?

8. The nearness to the throne of the four could spiritually indicate what?

9. What were they to loose in the Euphrates?

10. What did the Israelites feel the Euphrates meant spiritually?

11. What were the four angels prepared for?

12. How many were in the army of the horsemen?

13. What communist country has an army that large today?

14. Describe the horses.

15. There will be so much bloodshed, it will come to where on the horses?

16. How many are killed?

17. Where is their power?

18. In Matthew 12:30, what did Jesus say?

19. What four things, besides worshipping false deities must they repent of?

20. What is a stench in God's nostrils?

21. Besides with a gun or knife, what is murder?

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Revelation 10

Revelation Chapter 10

Verses 10:1 - 11:14: These verses serve as an interlude between the sixth trumpet and seventh trumpet (11:15). The seals and the bowls also have a brief interlude between their sixth and seventh judgments (7:1-17; 16:15). God's intention is to encourage and comfort His people in the midst of the fury and to remind them that He is still sovereign, that He remembers His people, and that they will ultimately be victorious.

Revelation 10:1 "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:"

Chapter 10 begins with another parenthesis in the chronology of Revelation (10:1 - 11:14). These visions apparently relate to the time period covered by the first six trumpets, and thus to the latter half of the Tribulation. The "mighty angel" may be a strong angel, or even Christ Himself (the Angel of the Lord). The description is similar to that of Christ (in 1:13-16; compare Ezek. chapter 1). The "cloud" (compare Psalm 104:3), the "rainbow" (compare Rev. 4:3), the "sun" (compare 1:16), and the "pillars of fire" (compare Exodus 13:21), may refer to deity, but a parallel may also be drawn with the angel Gabriel (compare Dan. 8:16; 12:7).

In this, we must remember that John is having a dream or a vision. God appears sometimes in visions and dreams in some other way than His Godhead. Being "clothed in a cloud", shows the royalty of this being.

"Another mighty angel": Many commentators understand this to be Jesus Christ. But the Greek word translated "another", means one of the same kind, that is a created being. This is not one of the 7 angels responsible for sounding the trumpets (8:2), but one of the highest ranking in heaven, filled with splendor, greatness, and strength (compare 5:2; 8:3; 18:1).

At no other time does Christ appear as an angel or created being after His resurrection. This angel is most likely Michael, Gabriel, or an angel equal to them who swears an oath by Jesus Christ, indicating something significant is about to happen. Angels play a prominent role in the Apocalypse, being mentioned sixty-six times.

A "rainbow ... upon his head" reminds us of the covenant of God with man. This covenant has been fulfilled through Jesus (see note on 4:3). Perhaps God included this to remind John, that even in judgment, He will always remember His Noahic Covenant and protect His own.

"Feet as pillars of fire": This angel's feet and legs indicate the firm resolve with which he will execute the Day of the Lord.

The cloud, the rainbow, the sun, and the pillars of fire may refer to deity, but a parallel may also be drawn with the angel Gabriel.

Verses 2-4: The "little book" is probably a title deed to the earth (compare Jer. 32:10-11). It symbolizes Christ's right to possess and rule the earth (compare Psalm 2:6-9). The planting of the feet on the "sea" and of His promised inheritance as Messiah. The "loud voice" shows authority as well. The little book may also contain more judgments (compare Ezek. 2:8 - 3:3). The "seven thunders" or peals of thunder may be further messages of judgment, such as the seven bowl judgments still to come (chapter 16). He is here told to "seal" them up, since they will be described in detail later.

Revelation 10:2 "And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth,"

"Little book": The 7 sealed scroll that is the title deed to the earth (see note on 5:1), will be fully opened and all the final judgments made visible.

The "Little Book" that was seen in heaven (in verse 2), has a similar mission as that given to (Ezekiel 3:1-3 and Jeremiah 15:16). The prophetic Word, which is what the "Little Book" is, contains the "sweet" message of God's wonderful plan for mankind including the coming of Christ, the Millennium Kingdom, and Heaven, but it also contains the Judgment of God on sinners who do not repent and come to Him, and their ultimate consignment to hell.

Just the fact that it is opened tells us that it is to be revealed to those who will consume it. As believers, we are told to eat this book, just as John was told to eat it. This "little book", I believe, is the Word of God, the Bible.

The Bible (Word), is alive. When we eat the Bible, it gives us the strength to live victorious lives before Him. Jesus is in dominion over everything. He is our source of power. Studying the Bible is more important to our life than our daily bread. Praise God, the Bible is of no private interpretation. God the Holy Spirit will teach each of us what the Bible is saying to us.

The planting of the feet on the sea and the earth (dry land), shows Christ's authority over the earth in its entirety, and the appropriation of His promised inheritance as Messiah.

Revelation 10:3 "And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices."

The lion is the monarch of the woods, and his roar is an image of terror. The point of the comparison here seems to be the loudness with which the angel cried, and the power of what he said to awe the world, as the roar of the lion keeps the dwellers of the forest in awe. What he said is not stated; nor did John attempt to record it

"As when a lion roareth; loud and terrible; and indeed, it was the voice of the lion of the tribe of Judah, which was heard far and near, throughout the whole world, by his people, and is terrible to his enemies.

"And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices": Interpreters judge these seven thunders to signify those judgments of God which should be executed in the world upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

This again, is a repetition of the idea contained in the preceding clause. The Jews were accustomed to call thunder the seven voices, and to regard it as the voice of the Lord (compare the sevenfold "voice of the Lord"; Psalm 29:1-11). In the same way that they regarded lightning as the fire of God (Job 1:16).

Revelation 10:4 "And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not".

It seems that John was attempting to write down everything as he saw it. This little book is not for the world to see. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. Only the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are supposed to understand what is in the Book, and then only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Bible study. This message then from these voices is not for the world in general. Jesus, or God the Father, stops John from revealing these things by telling him not to write this down.

Thundering voices must come either from God or something very near Him. The voices that sound like seven thunders are a unique feature in the book of Revelation. John is prepared to write down what these thunder like voices say when he hears another voice telling him to "seal up and not write down what he heard".

This is the only proclamation in the entire book of Revelation that is sealed up. As for the seventh angel, the mystery of God should be finished I believe when the 7th coming vial judgment trumpet is sounded, is what is being referred to here.

Both Daniel and John were instructed to seal up much of what they saw, reserving the interpretation for the generation to whom it would be obvious: "I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken, and do not write them." And then, "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."

It should be apparent to even the most casual of readers that this is the generation in which knowledge has increased to the level necessary to understand the differences between symbols and substance. This is the generation in which many will experience John's eyewitness testimony, to their everlasting regret! This is the Generation of End Times.

Verses 5-7: Lifting the "hand" signifies taking an oath (compare Gen. 14:22-23; Dan. 12:7). The announcement of the "angel" is that there will be no more delay in the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ. This presumes a present delay or postponement of the promised kingdom (between Christ's two advents). With the sounding of the "seventh" trumpet (11:15), the present "mystery" form of the kingdom will be over (compare Rom. 11:25), and what God promised to the "prophets" (e.g., Isa. chapter 11, Jer. chapter 31; Ezek. chapters 36 and 37; Dan. chapter 7; Zech. chapter 14; compare Matt. 6:10), will finally be completed.

Revelation 10:5 "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,"

"Lifted up his hand to heaven": This Greek verb appears often in the technical sense of raising the hand to take an oath or a solemn vow (compare Dan. 12:7; see notes on Matt. 5:33-34). The hand is raised toward heaven because that is where God dwells. The angel is taking an oath.

Lifting the hand signifies taking an oath (Gen. 14:22-23). The announcement of the angel is that there will be no more delay in the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ (see article " Kingdom - Christ's coming Kingdom " ). This presumes a present delay or postponement of the promised kingdom (between Christ's two advents).

Revelation 10:6 "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:"

Time no longer. This literally means "delay no longer" and indicates that the time of the end is rapidly approaching. From the sounding of the seventh angel's trumpet, the world will move relentlessly toward the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Bible, culminating in the coming of Christ to the earth.

This initiates the last plagues of the Day of the Lord (11:15), indicating that the time the disciples anticipated has come (Matt. 24:3; Acts 1:6). The prayers of the saints will be answered (6:9-11; Matt. 6:10).

Revelation 10:7 "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."

"The mystery": A Greek term meaning "to shut" or "to close". In the new Testament, a "mystery" is a truth that God concealed but has revealed through Christ and His apostles (see notes on Eph. 3:4-5; compare Rom. 16:25). Here the mystery is the final consummation of all things as God destroys sinners and establishes His righteous kingdom on earth.

This is when Jesus reveals Himself to the Christians in heaven. The Bible says that when we get to heaven, we will recognize Him, because we will be like Him.

1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

You see this is a mystery to us now. When it is revealed, it will be so simple that we will think, "Why didn't I think of that?" It is not for us to know this right now.

This seventh trumpet means this is the final judgment. Throughout the New Testament, God spoke in parables so the world would not understand. Just those to whom Jesus would reveal Himself would understand.

"As he hath declared": This mystery, though not fully revealed, was declared to God's prophets (compare Amos 3:7).

Verses 8-10: John is told to "eat" the "little book', and when he does, it becomes "sweet" in his "mouth" (compare Psalm 119:103; Jer. 15:16), but "bitter" in his "belly". The act of eating represents the understanding and appropriation of prophetic revelation. The message is "sweet" because at last the kingdom promises are about to be fulfilled. It is bitter because it can only be accomplished through more judgment and tribulation.

Revelation 10:8 "And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth."

This is the third reference to the location of the angel who stands on the sea and earth (verses 2, 5 and 8). This emphasizes strongly the unusual authority he has over the earth.

Revelation 10:9 "And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey."

John is told to eat the little book, and when he does, it becomes sweet in his mouth (Psalm 119:103; Jer. 15:16), but bitter in his belly. The act of eating represents the understanding and appropriation of prophetic revelation. The message is "sweet" because at last the kingdoms promises are about to be fulfilled. It is bitter because it can only be accomplished through more judgment and tribulation.

This act graphically illustrates taking in God's Word. John's physical reactions demonstrate what every believer's proper response to God's judgment should be (compare Ezek. 3:1). Sweet anticipation of God's glory and our victory, and at the same time, the bitterness of seeing God's wrath poured out on those who reject His Son.

"Make thy belly bitter": As he truly digests what the seal, trumpet, and vial judgments hold in store for the sinner, John becomes nauseated.

"In thy mouth sweet as honey": But still God's final victory and vindication are sweet realities to the believer.

In Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3, we see that physical Israel refused the New Testament and its teaching of Jesus. This sweetness is the beautiful message received, but the bitterness is the disappointment when they refuse the message. This bitterness is the terrible judgment, as well.

Revelation 10:10 "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."

The act of eating the book (scroll), symbolizes the absorbing and assimilating God's Holy Word, the Bible (see article " About the Bible ").

When John consumed the book, the words that were written were sweet as honey (very pleasing).

But for those who would be tormented in hell for the rest of eternity which was about to happen, John then tasted the bitterness as He knew God was about to take back the earth which was rightfully His, and be exalted, honored and glorified as He deserved. John realized the terrible punishment that was about to be given to unrepentant unbelievers and that caused the sweet taste to turn to bitterness.

Revelation 10:11 "And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."

This verse is a key to the chronology of the Book of Revelation. John is told to "prophesy again" concerning (Greek epi, "about" or "concerning", not "before"), many "peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings". The seal and trumpet judgments have brought the chronology close to the end of the Tribulation period and to the return of Christ of the earth (compare 11:15). Now John must prophesy through the period a second time, concentrating this time on the major personages and movements of the Tribulation (e.g., Satan, the beasts, the harlot or Babylon system). This duplicated prophecy begins in chapter 12 and culminates in the vial (bowl), judgments, the destruction of the beast, and the return of Christ (chapters 16 to 19).

"Prophesy again": A call for John to warn men about the bitter judgment in the seventh trumpet and the 7 vials.

John is told he is to prophesy again. How could he prophesy any more than to write the book of Revelation (the gospel of John, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd books of John). Millions of people have read this prophecy, so John really did follow these instructions from God. The Bible is the most read book in the world.

This verse is a key to the chronology of the Book of Revelation. John is told to prophesy again concerning many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. The seal and trumpet judgments have brought the chronology close to the end of the Tribulation period and to the return of Christ to the earth (Revelations 11-15).

Revelation Chapter 10 Questions

1. How was this angel clothed?

2. What was upon His head?

3. What was His face like?

4. What were His feet like?

5. What is important to remember here?

6. Being clothed in a cloud shows __________?

7. What is the rainbow symbolic of?

8. Who was the covenant fulfilled through?

9. What did He have in his hand?

10. He set His right and left foot where? What does that show us?

11. What is the little book?

12. Why is it open?

13. Who was told to eat the book besides John?

14. Studying the Bible is more important than what?

15. Why should we eat the Word?

16. What did the voice sound like?

17. When He cried, how many thunders uttered their voices?

18. What was John told to seal up?

19. For who has Jesus made it possible to understand His parables?

20. Who did this being sware by?

21. Explain time?

22. When shall the mystery of God be finished?

23. Who did He declare it to?

24. In 1 John, what do we find out about Jesus and us?

25. Who would understand?

26. Who was told to go and take the little book?

27. What was he to do with it?

28. What would it taste like?

29. What things do the bitterness mean?

30. What was John told to do in verse 11?

31. What is the most read book in the world?

32. Write your own explanation of the mystery of God that is finished here.

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Revelation 11

Revelation Chapter 11

Verses 1-2: Revelation chapter 11 continues the parenthesis that began in chapter 10. John is told to "measure the temple of God", which may be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation period. Or more likely the prophesied millennial temple (compare Ezek. chapters 40-42).

The "rod" is a surveyor's instrument (compare Zechariah 2:1-5). The measuring anticipates the building of a new temple on earth during the Millennium. The outer "court" represents the control of Jerusalem and Israel by "Gentiles" during the last half of the Tribulation period.

The holy city is the earthly Jerusalem (compare Dan. 9:24; 11:45; Zech. 13:8-9; 14:2).

The "forty and two months" show that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control for three and one half years, probably the first half of the seven year Tribulation period, where the period of the Great Tribulation is seen as the last half of the seven year Tribulation period, in God's postexilic program for Israel.

Revelation 11:1 "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein."

"Unto a rod": This was a hollow, bamboo-like cane plant that grew in the Jordan Valley. Because if its light weight and rigidity, it was commonly used as a measuring rod (compare Ezek. 40:3, 5). Measuring the temple signified God's ownership of it (compare 21:15; Zech. 2:1-5).

This angel is telling John to take a measurement of the temple and the people. We read (in Ezekiel 40:5), that this reed is nine feet long (six cubits). This seems to be a similar message in Ezekiel to the one here in Revelation.

"The temple of God": Refers to the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place, not the entire temple complex (compare verse 2). A rebuilt temple will exist during the time of the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).

This statement about the "temple ... and them that worship therein." is speaking of the true believers who collectively make up the temple (body of Christ).

"Altar": The reference to worshipers suggests this is the bronze altar in the courtyard, not the incense altar in the Holy Place, since only the priests were permitted inside the Holy Place (compare Luke 1:8-10).

Revelation 11:2 "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty [and] two months."

"Court which is without": The court of the Gentiles, separated from the inner court in the Herodian temple by a low wall. Gentiles were forbidden to enter the inner court on penalty of death. That John is instructed not to measure the outer court symbolizes God's rejection of the unbelieving Gentiles who have oppressed His covenant people.

The outer court for the Gentiles means just this, the believer who is a Christian in name only, not in deed. This outer court is not the place for believers to be. The terrible thing in all of this is that among the outer court (the unsaved), are many nominal Christians, who are believing that they will be saved. The faithless portion of the church that we read about in (2 Timothy):

2 Tim. 3:5 "has a form of godliness but denies the power".

The terrible thing in all of this is that among the outer court (the unsaved), are many nominal Christians, who believe that they will be saved. This seems to be just asked of John to make him aware of the multitude of true believers who will be in the very presence of God. It is also, to remind him of those so-called Christians that have brought compromise and pleasing of the flesh into God's church.

"The holy city shall they tread under foot": Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome all oppressed Jerusalem in ancient times (compare 2 Kings 25:8-10; Psalm 79:1; Isa. 63:18; Lam. 1:10). These verses refer to the future devastation destruction and oppression of Jerusalem by the forces of the Antichrist.

"Forty and two months": The three and a half period covers the second half of the Tribulation and coincides with the visibly evil career of the Antichrist (verse 3; 12:6; 13:5). During this same time, the Jews will be sheltered by God in the wilderness (12:6, 14).

I would like to say again here that the Bible (and especially Revelation), must be understood by its signs and symbols through the spirit, and cannot be understood literally. As any dream or vision has to be interpreted, so does Revelation.

The outer court represents the control of Jerusalem and Israel by Gentiles during the last half of the Tribulation period. In other words, it is too worldly for God. He is saying (throw them out), they are not part of the elect. They are not part of the body of Christ. The inner court makes up the body of believers.

We see here in this forty-two months that the holy city is trodden down; that the believers in Jesus "holy city" will go through 3-1/2 years of trials and tribulations. All through Revelation, the "holy city" is symbolic of the body of believers.

The holy city is the earthly Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24; Zech. 13:8-9; 14:2). The forty and two months show that Jerusalem will be under Gentile control for three-and-a-half years, probably the last half of the seven-year Tribulation period (Dan. 9:24-27; see article " Tribulation"), where the period of the Tribulation is seen as the Seventieth Week, or seven year period in God's postexilic program for Israel.

Verses 3-6: Next "A Powerful Proclamation to the World". Christ is certainly not saying that this gospel must be preached to every person. Millions have already died without hearing it. Rather it must be proclaimed "in all the world for a witness to all nations." That phrase sounds as though the day is coming when not only individuals, but all the nations of the world will be powerfully confronted by the gospel and the consequences of rejecting it. John seems to have been shown such a time in his vision in (Rev. 11:3-6).

Verses 3-4: God's two witnesses" will "prophesy" or preach in Israel for 1260 "days" (three and a half years), based on prophetical years of (360 days each). The "sackcloth" symbolizes mourning, confessing and repentance. The "witnesses" will proclaim a message of judgment and the need for repentance. They bear similarities to John the Baptist, and will be the ultimate fulfillment of the promised return of Elijah (compare Mal. 4:5-6: John 1:21). They are also identified as "the two olive trees and the two candlesticks". These symbols relate to (Zechariah 4:2-6), where Zerubbabel and Joshua the priest are pictured as two olive trees furnishing oil for a lampstand (Israel). They provided help and power for Israel in a time of need. These two witnesses will be for Israel in the future what Zerubbabel and Joshua were in the past: the channels of God's power and message to Israel during the Tribulation period.

Revelation 11:3 "And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."

Two of the most colorful characters in all biblical prophecy may be the supernatural prophets that burst on the scene during the first half of the Tribulation. According to (chapter 11 of Revelation), these two are dressed in sackcloth, prophesy, dispense astonishing miracles and witness to the grace of God in the evilest culture known to mankind.

Though some believe Elijah and Enoch are the two witnesses, most Bible scholars consider them to be Moses and Elijah. Proponents of the Moses and Elijah argument point out these two Old Testament characters where the most influential Hebrew men of their respective times. Moses introduced God's written Law to Israel, and Elijah was the first of the writing prophets and even started the school for the prophets. In fact, whenever the Jews said "Moses and Elijah", they usually meant "the law and the prophets".

Together with the 144,000 witnesses (see article " 144,000"), the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have awesome power and impact in producing the enormous soul harvest of the first 42 months of the Tribulation described (in Revelation chapter 7). They will provide the millions of Jews in the Holy Land a spiritual bridge to the Christian gospel. God will demonstrate His mighty power and existence through these two prophets over whom the Antichrist will have no power until the God-appointed time. Before that designated time, the two witnesses will be untouchable, and anyone who threatens them will be killed (Rev. 11:5).

These two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have awesome power and impact, together with the 144,000 witnesses, in producing the enormous soul harvest. They will provide the millions of Jews in the Holy Land a theological and spiritual bridge to the Christian gospel. Many of the souls harvested at that time will be the sons and daughters of Abraham.

"A thousand two hundred and threescore days": Forty-two months or 3-1/2 years (compare 12:6; 13:5; see note on verse 2).

"Sackcloth": Coarse, rough cloth made from goat or camel hair. Wearing garments made from it expressed penitence, humility, and mourning (compare Gen. 37:34; 2 Sam. 3:31; 2 Kings 6:30; 19:1; Esther 4:1; Isa. 22:12; Jer. 6:26; Matt. 11:21). The witnesses are mourning because of the wretched wickedness of the world, God's judgment on it, and the desecration of the temple and the holy city by the Antichrist.

Revelation 11:4 "These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth."

This imagery is drawn from Zech. chapters 3 and 4 (see notes there). Zechariah's vision had both a near fulfillment (the rebuilding of the temple by Joshua and Zerubbabel), and a far future fulfilment (the two witnesses, whose ministry points toward Israel's final restoration in the Millennium).

"Two olive trees, and the two candlesticks": Olive oil was commonly used in lamps; together the olive trees and lampstands symbolize the light of spiritual revival. The two witnesses' preaching will spark a revival, just as Joshua's and Zerubbabel's did in Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

What a dynamic and compelling message from God these two amazing witnesses will bring to "all nations!" No one can write them off as crazies, for they display incredible supernatural powers and defy the Antichrist and his underlings to stop them. No doubt they will be seen daily on international television in every corner of the earth as they warn mankind of God's coming judgment.

Verses 5-6: They will perform miracles similar to those performed by Moses (compare Exodus 7:14-20; 8:12), and Elijah (1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:10-12; Luke 4:25; James 5:17). They are protected from harm for three and a half years. Their miraculous powers are apparently for the purpose of authenticating their divine message (as in the case of Jesus and His apostles). Their message will be twofold:

(1) Jesus is the Lamb of God (Savior); and

(2) Jesus is the King (Ruler).

The miracles show that the King is coming again to set up His kingdom, and therefore Israel must repent.

Revelation 11:5 "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed."

"Fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth": Probably this refers to literal fire. These two will be invincible during their ministry, protected by supernatural power. The false prophet will counterfeit this sign (13:3).

The world police and even the military will be powerless to silence them. Anyone who attempts to stop them from preaching is instantly destroyed. Even Antichrist's satanic powers are no match for these two fearless and God empowered preachers of truth. There can be no doubt that these two witnesses will have the attention of the entire world! Their message will be a declaration to all the nations on this earth to repent and to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the world's rightful ruler.

Revelation 11:6 "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will".

"Power to shut heaven": Miracles have often authenticated God's messengers. Here, bringing a 3-1/2 year drought (as did Elijah before them), will add immeasurable torment to those experiencing the worldwide disasters of the Tribulation, and exacerbate their hatred of the two witnesses.

"Power over waters to turn them to blood": The earth's water, already devastated by the effects of the second and third trumpets, will become undrinkable, adding immensely to the suffering caused by the drought.

Who Are They? Some try to identify one of the witnesses with Enoch (because he never died; Gen. 5:24), and the other with either Elijah (who also never died; 2 Kings 2:11-12), or Moses. For three reasons Tim LaHaye is inclined to think they are Moses and Elijah.

(1) Moses and Elijah are the two most influential men in the history of the Jews. Moses introduced God's written law to Israel and wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. Elijah was the first of the writing prophets and started the school of the prophets. Whenever the Jews said, "Moses and Elijah," they usually meant "the law and the prophets."

(2) Moses and Elijah accompanied Jesus and the 3 disciples when He was "transfigured before them", on the mount and where He discussed His impending sacrifice on the cross (Matt. chapter 17).

(3) The 2 witnesses are said to reproduce the very miracles that Moses and Elijah performed while on this earth. John said of them, "And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire" (Rev. 11:5-6).

Elijah is famous for calling down fire from heaven. The most famous instance occurs (in 1 Kings 18), in the account of the contest between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. The Lord sent fire on Elijah's altar on Mt. Carmel in response to his simple prayer:

1 Kings 18:36-38 "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your Word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again."

Elijah is connected to divinely caused drought as well as to judgments of fire. In fact, the very first time he is mentioned in the Scriptures he is heard saying to wicked King Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word" (1 Kings 17:1). And there wasn't; God honored the prophet's word.

Moses, of course, is intimately connected with the ten plagues that struck Egypt just before the Exodus (Exodus chapters 7-12). In the very first plague God turned the waters of Egypt into blood, including the Nile, all streams, rivers, ponds, pools, and even the water in buckets of wood and stone. The water turned to blood, killed the land's fish and caused the water to stink, and conditions did not return to normal for a week.

How fitting that Moses and Elijah would return to Jerusalem to commence these last 7 years of the Tribulation to "witness, testify and prophesy."

The Bible says in John chapter 14, that true believers in Christ can do even greater miracles than Jesus did when He was on the earth, when we do it through His power and in His name.

John 14:12 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

Verses 7-10: The "beast" from the "bottomless pit" is apparently the same as the "beast" from the sea (in 13:1), the Antichrist or false messiah. His place of origin shows his demonic character and the control of Satan. At the end of the three and a half years of preaching, the witnesses will finally be killed by the beast in the "great city", identified as the place "where also our Lord was crucified". This must be a reference to Jerusalem, which at this time is under Antichrist's control. As such it is called "Sodom", referring to uncleanness and immorality, and "Egypt", depicting oppression and bondage. Not allowing their "dead bodies" to be buried is the ultimate indignity. The unbelievers of the "earth", having submitted to the authority of the Beast, will "rejoice", because they hate the plagues and the message of the "two prophets" (compare 1 Kings 18:17; John 16:20).

Revelation 11:7 "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."

"The beast": The first of 36 references to this person in Revelation, who is none other than the Antichrist (see chapter 13; see article"Antichris t"). That he will ascend out of the bottomless pit indicates that his power is satanic.

The beast that comes up from the Abyss refers to the beast described (in Rev. 13:1-7), and is an expression used here for the first time. The fact that he will come up out of the Abyss is a reference to the death and resurrection of the Antichrist. However, let me interject something here. Satan indwelled two people in the bible. Do you know who they were? If you said Judas and the Antichrist you are correct.

"Kill them": With the ministry of the two witnesses completed, God will withdraw the two witnesses' supernatural protection. The beast will then be able to accomplish what many had died trying to do.

The beast or Antichrist, the man of sin, will hate the two witnesses, make war against them, and kill them. However, note that he will have no power over them until "they have finished their testimony." In other words, they will be "immortal until their work is done", which can be said of all God's servants who walk in obedience to His will.

The completely degenerate and inhuman characteristics of people living during the Tribulation period is seen (in Rev. 11:8), which informs us that the bodies of the two witnesses will be left open in the streets of Jerusalem.

The Holy City will be so degenerate spiritually that she will be called Sodom and Egypt, Sodom being a symbol of immorality and Egypt a symbol of materialism. The lives of the people going back to occupy the Holy Land today are anything but Holy. They seldom even attend synagogues on the Sabbath.

Revelation 11:8 "And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."

"Bodies shall lie in the street": Refusing to bury one's enemies was a way to dishonor and show contempt for them (compare Acts 14:19). The Old Testament expressly forbids this practice (Deut. 21:22-23).

"The great city": Identifying Jerusalem as a city like Sodom and Egypt stresses the city's wickedness. Its Jewish population will apparently be the focus of the witnesses' ministry, leading to the conversions (of verse 13).

Revelation 11:9 "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves."

"Three days and a half": The entire world will watch (undoubtedly on the latest form of visual media), and glorify the Antichrist as the bodies of the dead prophets who have been killed begin to decay.

These bodies lying in the street shows great scorn and contempt, even rejection.

The most supernatural event of those times will be televised instantly around the world, "to the people, tribes, tongues, and nations." Among other things, this will be a loving gesture by God Almighty, not only to resurrect and take to heaven His two prophets, but also to make known His existence and power around the world. We have no doubt that millions of souls to whom the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will be speaking and whom the Holy Spirit will be convicting will see this demonstration of the divine and respond to the Savior.

And then the unsaved people of the world that hate the witnesses so much will commit an incredibly evil deed. They refuse them a decent burial, leaving their dead bodies to decay in the streets of Jerusalem. They even make a Christmas like celebration out of their murders by sending and receiving gifts "in honor" of the occasion. Then an even more incredible thing happens. John prophesies that "those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days" (Rev. 11:9). How could the whole world see their dead bodies? Not many years ago, it was impossible to fulfill that prophecy, but today it could happen at any moment. We are the first generation ever to have that televising capability through Satellite transmission technology!

Revelation Chapter 11 Questions

1. What was the reed like unto?

2. What was John told to do?

3. How long is this reed?

4. What is the terrible thing about the outer court?

5. Who are the temple?

6. Who is the Holy City?

7. How long shall they face great tribulation?

8. Who will He give power to?

9. How long will they prophesy?

10. What or who are the two witnesses?

11. What will the witnesses be wearing?

12. Why?

13. What proceedeth out of their mouth?

14. What do these have power to do in the days of their prophecy?

15. Why do many believe the two are Moses and Elijah?

16. What Scripture in Jesus' words promises that we can do even greater works?

17. Sodom and Egypt mean what?

18. What two things do the bodies in the street indicate?

19. How long will they see the dead bodies?

20. What is your opinion of the lesson here?

21. Do you believe in the 7 year tribulation that Christians will be raptured before the 7 years, in the middle of the 7 years, or at the end of the 7 years?

22. Why?

Revelation Chapter 11 Continued

Revelation 11:10 "And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth".

"Rejoice ... make merry ... send gifts": Wild with joy over the death of their tormentors, those who dwell on the earth (a phrase used 11 times in Revelation to speak of unbelievers), will celebrate the two witnesses" deaths as a holiday.

These are the same people who "rejoice," "make merry," and "send gifts to one another" over the murders of God's two witnesses at the midpoint of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:10); the same people who "blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory" (Rev. 16:9); the same people who "blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds:" (Rev. 16:11); the same people who "blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail" (Rev. 16:21); and the same people whose "sins have reached to heaven", who are guilty of "the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth" (Rev. 18:5, 24).

Verses 11-14: The two witnesses are brought back to "life", and then taken up into "heaven". Their "enemies" react in "fear", since their resurrection is incontrovertible proof that their message was true and the Jesus is God and Messiah. An "earthquake" kills "seven thousand men". Compare the earthquake that opened tombs and allowed many to be raised at the time of Christ's death (Matt. 27:51-53). The "remnant" are the "rest", those who are not killed by the earthquake. Many of them repent and give "glory to God". The parenthesis begun with chapter 10 ends here. The "third woe" is the seventh trumpet, which "comes" next (verse 15).

Revelation 11:11 "And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them."

"The Spirit of life from God entered into them": The festivities however, are short-lived as God vindicates His faithful witnesses by resurrecting them. Can you imagine the fear that grips them, when they realize what a great error they have made? You see, God will not be mocked. He may let the old devil win in a skirmish now and then, but the total victory is God's.

God himself breathes the breath of the Spirit in the church and lookout for the power! You thought the church had power before, you cannot imagine the renewed power the church will have. You see all throughout Bible history, the church grows the most under heavy persecution. The church is usually its strongest when it is in hiding.

Revelation 11:12 "And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. "

"Ascended up to heaven in a cloud": Some may wonder why God will not allow them to preach, assuming their message would have more force following their resurrection. But that ignores Christ's clear statement to the contrary:

Luke 16:31 "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

The Witnesses Resurrected. After the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud.

This "great voice from heaven" that calls to "come up hither" is the Lord's. It is when the trumpet of redemption blows. Jesus has always been inviting us to come. The outcome of the church is following Jesus in his resurrection. Living forever in the presence of God is the outcome of all true believers after they have run the race and been victorious.

As our Lord was crucified, buried, and in three days rose from the dead, these men, after being slain and exposed to the eyes of the world, will hear the voice of God resurrecting them. A cloud will receive them out of sight in the face of their enemies. It is no wonder that "terror struck those who saw them." The resurrection of these men will be the final confirmation that they were men of God, another illustration that God does not forget His own.

"Enemies beheld them": Those who hated and dishonored the two witnesses will watch their vindication.

Revelation 11:13 "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."

"Earthquake": God punctuates the ascension of His prophets with a earth shattering earthquake. The destruction and loss of life may be primarily among the leaders of the Antichrist's forces.

God loses no time dealing with those who have rejected the Lord or even those who have said, I will straighten up later. There is no later. It is now. We see here that one tenth of the people lose their life in this earthquake.

"The remnant": This refers to the Jews still living, who will not yet have come to faith in Christ.

"Gave glory to the God of heaven": A genuine experience of the salvation of Jews (compare Luke 17:18-19), in contrast to those who blaspheme and refuse to glorify God (16:9). This makes a key fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy (12:10; 13:1), and Paul's (Rom. 11:25-27).

Great rejoicing and loud worship fill heaven, and on earth many lightning's, noise, thundering, hail, and an earthquake announce the approaching end.

Revelation 11:14 "The second woe is past; [and], behold, the third woe cometh quickly."

"Second Woe": The sixth trumpet (see note on 9:12). The interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets ends (see note on 10:1). Israel's repentance will shortly usher in the millennial kingdom (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 11:25-26). But first will come the final, climatic judgments.

Revelation is written for the believers (the church), and the believers will not see the third woe. They will be enjoying their rest with Jesus.

Revelation 11:15 "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever".

The seventh trumpet results in the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Christ. The seven vials or bowls (16:1), are probably contained in the judgment of the seventh trumpet. They will occur in a very brief period of time at the end of the Great Tribulation. The second coming of Christ, while a great blessing for believers, will be God's most severe judgment of the earth. "The kingdoms of this world" will be completely overthrown by the coming kingdom of Christ (19:11-21; Dan 2:34-35, 44), who will reign for ever and ever (Dan 7:13-14, 27).

This is speaking of Jesus when he takes over on this earth and reigns with the believers as His subordinates. You see, Jesus will return as King of kings, and Lord of lords.

1 Thessalonians 3:13 "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

We believers are the saints. We will rule with Jesus over those who are not raptured before, but living through the Tribulation and go into the Millennium. There is no end of the reign of Jesus. It is forever.

"The seventh angel sounded": The seventh trumpet includes the 7 vial, final judgments depicted (in chapter 16), and all the events leading up to the establishing of the millennial kingdom (chapter 20), and the coronation of Jesus as King (chapter 19).

"Kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ": Despite its many political and cultural divisions, the Bible views the world spiritually as one kingdom, with one ruler, Satan (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4). Following Satan's lead, the human rulers of this world are generally hostile to Christ (Psalm 2:2; Acts 4:26). The long rebellion of the world kingdom will end with the victorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to defeat His enemies and establish His messianic kingdom (Isa. 2:2-3; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; 18, 22, 27; Luke 1:31-33). This kingdom also belongs to God the Father (see notes on 1 Cor. 15:24).

The Seventh Trumpet - Loud Voices in Heaven - The 3rd "woe,". The blowing of the 7th trumpet is like the breaking of the 7th seal in that it introduces the next series of divine judgments. The 7th trumpet is not in itself a judgment but rather shows all heaven rejoicing at the soon to be consummated victory of Christ over the Antichrist. John records that "loud voices" in heaven shouted, "The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

Verses 16-19: "God" is "worshiped" by the "elders" because what He promised is now accomplished. Their gratitude is for the establishment of the millennial kingdom (compare 1 Cor. 15:24). The Gentile "nations" will be subjugated (compare Psalm 2:1-2). The "wrath" of God will take vengeance on His enemies (compare Psalm 2:5; 2 Thess. 1:7-8). The "dead" of all ages will be "judged" at the future " Great White Throne Judgment " (20:11-15). Old Testament and Tribulation "saints" who have died will be raised and rewarded (compare Isa. 26:19-20; Dan. 12:2; Matt. chapter 25). Those who have tried to "destroy the earth" will themselves be destroyed by God (compare 19:20-21).

"The Ark of his testament" (covenant), is a symbol of the presence of God and of His faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant promises.

Revelation 11:16 "And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,"

"The four and twenty elders" (see note on 4:4).

These you remember, represented all of the believers. They have something to praise about, seeing that they were spared the wrath of God. It was the time to fall on their faces in total adoration to God.

Revelation 11:17″Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."

"God Almighty, which art, and wast and art to come": The coming of the kingdom is no longer future, it will be immediate.

We see here that Jesus took power. The establishing of His kingdom brings final victory to the Christian. The thanks really goes to Jesus here; the believers have not established the kingdom, Jesus did. All we can do is to praise him for establishing the Kingdom. It was not done through our power and might, but by His (Lord-Supreme Authority, Divinity, Almighty-Omnipotent). You see from this, He is all of it. His power is beyond reproach. His reign is forever and ever. He has no beginning and no end. He alone is worthy of our praise.

Revelation 11:18 "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

"Nations were angry": No longer terrified (compare 6:15-17), they will be filled with defiant rage. Their hostility will shortly manifest itself in a foolish attempt to fight against Christ, a doomed, futile effort that is the apex of human rebellion against God (16:14); 19:17-21).

"Thy wrath": Almighty God answers the feeble, impotent fury of the nations (compare Psalm 2:1-9). The 24 elders speak of God's future wrath (20:11-15), as if it were already present, signifying its certainty. That God will one day pour out His wrath on rebellious men is a major theme in Scripture (compare Isa. 24:17-23; 26:20-21: 30:27-33: Ezek. 38:16ff; 2 Thess. 1:5-10).

The nations, (worldly people), had a hay-day persecuting the believers. They were angry and very unfavorable to those with faith. Now the tables are turned. These very ones, whom they persecuted, will rule over them. Here we see punishment for those who did not accept the gift of salvation and great rewards given to those who did accept and live for Jesus. These, who will be destroyed, are actually the cause of the earth being destroyed. The wrath of God not only destroyed them, but damaged the earth as well.

"Dead ... judged": The final outpouring of God's wrath includes judging the dead (compare Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:25-29). The judgment has two parts:

(1) God rewards Old Testament saints (Dan. 12:1-3; compare 22:12; 1 Cor. 3:8; 4:5), the raptured church (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18), and Tribulation saints (20:4); and

(2) God condemns unbelievers to the lake of fire forever (20:15).

These, who will be destroyed, are actually the cause of the earth being destroyed. The wrath of God not only destroyed them, but damaged the earth as well.

Revelation 11:19 "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."

"Temple of God ... heaven" (see 3:12; 7:15; 14:15, 17; 15:5-8; 16:1, 17). The heavenly Holy of Holies (see notes on Exodus 26:31-36), where God dwells in transcendent glory, already is identified as His throne (chapters 4 and 5), and here the Holy of Holies.

"Ark of his testament": This piece of furniture in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple (see notes on Exodus 25:11-18), symbolized God's presence, atonement and covenant with His people. That earthly Ark was only a picture of this heavenly one (see Heb. 9:23; 10:20). It was there God provided mercy and atonement for sin. As the earthly Holy of Holies was open when the price of sin was paid (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 10:19-20), so the Holy of Holies in heaven is opened to speak of God's saving New Covenant and redeeming purpose in the midst of judgment.

We see here the dwelling of God in all its awesomeness. There was an Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle in the wilderness. There is much speculation about where that earthly Ark is today. Some believe that it is underneath the city of Jerusalem; some believe it is in Rome. The strange thing is that it is unimportant where it is.

"Lightnings, thunderings ... earthquake ... great hail": What was anticipated (in 4:5 and 8:5), will become a terrifying reality. These events occur as part of the seventh vial (16:17-21), and are the climax of the seventh trumpet. Since heaven is the source of vengeance, judgment also comes out of God's Holy of Holies (14:15, 17: 15:5-8; 16:1, 7, 17; see note on 6:1).

We are reassured that God's covenant with us will never fail. We see God's power and might in all these manifestations such as these earthquakes. We must remember continually, that Revelation is not in chronological order. God does not tell us just exactly when each thing happens. We just know they will happen. All of these earthquakes etc., just show God's dealing with man.

Revelation Chapter 11 Continued Questions

  1. When the enemy thinks the church is dead, what do they do?
  2. What had the two witnesses done to the enemy?
  3. In verse 11, what happens in 3-1/2 days?
  4. Who breathed the Spirit into the church?
  5. When does the church grow the most?
  6. This great voice from heaven said what to the believers?
  7. How did they go up?
  8. Their _______ beheld them go up.
  9. What do we call this ascension of the believers?
  10. What is the final outcome of God's church?
  11. In the same hour, after the believers went up, what happened?
  12. How much of the city fell? What percent?
  13. What did those who remain do?
  14. Who was Revelation written for?
  15. When the seventh angel sounds, what are we told by the great voices?
  16. Jesus came to the earth as ________ of ________and _______ of________.
  17. Who are the saints?
  18. What did the four and the twenty elders do when Jesus took over Physical rulership of the earth?
  19. What were the 24 saying?
  20. The establishing of Jesus' kingdom here on the earth brings what to the Christians?
  21. In speaking of the nations, we hear they were ________.
  22. What is it time to do with believers and directly opposite to the non-believers?
  23. Why did God say that they destroyed the earth?
  24. What was opened in heaven?
  25. What do we see in this?
  26. Name two places various people believe the earthly ark of the covenant is.
  27. Where do you believe the ark is located?
  28. Describe your feelings about the catching away of the believers in Christ.

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Revelation 12

Revelation Chapter 12

Verses 1-2: Chapters 12 to 14 are explanatory prophecies that describe some of the major personages and movements of the latter half of the Tribulation period. The "woman" represents Israel, and her "child" is Christ, the Messiah (compare 12:5; Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 66:7-8; Micah 5:2; Rom. 9:4-5).

Although (chapter 11:15), records the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the effects it produces are not described until chapters 15 through 18. Chapters 12 to 14 restates or summarizes that same period, but describing events from Satan's vantage point. Including taking the readers back to the original rebellion as Satan is cast to the earth along with one third of the angels (demons).

The woman is not the church, since the church did not bring forth Christ, but rather He brought forth the church. Her identification as the persecuted Jewish saints clearly proves that the church is not on earth during the Tribulation period. The "sun" depicts her as God's chosen nation. The "moon under her feet" alludes to God's promise of dominion, and the "crown of twelve stars" pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. The "birth" pains refer to the period before the birth of Christ when Israel was waiting for redemption by the Messiah (compare Rom. 8:22-23).

Revelation 12:1 "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:"

"Wonder": A symbol pointing to something else. This is the first of 7 signs in the last half of the Great Revelation (compare verses 3; 13:13-14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20).

"A woman": Not an actual woman, but a symbolic representation of Israel, pictured in the Old Testament as the wife of God (Isa. 54:5-6; Jer. 3:6-8; 31:32; Ezek. 16:32; Hosea 2:16). Three other symbolic women appear in Revelation:

(1) Jezebel, who represents paganism (2:20);

(2) The scarlet woman (17:3-6), symbolizing the apostate church; and

(3) The wife of the Lamb (19:7), symbolizing the true church.

The woman represents Israel, and her child is Christ; the Messiah (12:5; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 66:7.8; Micah 5:2; Romans 9:4-5).

"Clothed with the sun ... moon under her feet ... twelve stars" (compare Gen. 37:9-11). Being clothed with the sun speaks of the glory, dignity, and exalted status of Israel, the people of promise who will be saved and given a kingdom. The picture of the moon under her feet possibly describes God's covenant relationship with Israel, since new moons were associated with worship (1 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron. 2:4; 8:13; Ezra 3:5; Psalm 81:3). The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

The sun reflects redeemed Israel's unique glory, brilliance and dignity because of her exulted status and shows her as God's chosen nation.

The moon under her feet alludes to God's promise of dominion, and the crown of twelve stars' pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. Go to (Genesis 37:9-11), and read about the dream Joseph had about the sun, moon and 11 stars which were bowing down to Joseph (who was the 12th).

Though this scene opens in heaven, it will quickly move to the earth.

Revelation 12:2 "And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."

"Cried, travailing in birth": Israel, often pictured as a mother giving birth (compare Isa. 26:17-18, 54:1; 66:7-12; Hosea 13:13; Micah 4:10; 5:2-3; Matt. 24:8), had agonized and suffered for centuries, longing for the Messiah to come and destroy Satan, sin and death, and usher in the kingdom.

Women, who have had children, know that there is pain involved in birth. This Scripture is spiritually speaking of the birth of Jesus and of Christianity.

The birth pains refer to the period before the birth of Christ when Israel was waiting for redemption by the Messiah (Rom. 8:22-23).

Verses 3-4: The "dragon" is identified as Satan (in verse 9). His "red" color shows his murderous character (compare John 8:44). His "seven heads" and "seven crowns" depict the completeness and universality of his power and influence (but compare Psalm 74:14). His "ten horns" show Satan's connection with the fourth beast (of Daniel 7:7, 24), and with the Beast from the sea (in chapter 13:1-10 of Revelation). The "third part of the stars of heaven" are probably the fallen angels who followed Satan in his original rebellion against God (compare Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:12-16; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). At the time of the birth of Christ, Satan was ready to kill Him (compare Matt. 2:13-18).

Revelation 12:3 "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads."

"Great red dragon": The woman's mortal enemy is Satan, who appears as a dragon 13 times in this book (compare verses 9; 20:2). Red speaks of bloodshed (compare John 8:44).

We see here this "red dragon". This is the devil, and he is shown red all over to show his murderous and destructive personality. This is the only place in the New Testament that dragon is used. Here it is not a literal "dragon", but a figure of Satan (see article " Satan ").

We see here "ten horns" which symbolize world power. Here too, we can assume these world powers oppose the Christians and Jesus' church.

"Seven heads ... ten horns ... seven crowns": Figurative language depicting Satan's domination of 7 past worldly kingdoms and 10 future kingdoms (compare Dan. 7:7, 20, 24; see notes on 13:1; 17:9-10). Satan has and will rule the world until the seventh trumpet blows (11:15). He has inflicted relentless pain on Israel (Dan. 8:24), desiring to kill the woman before she could bring forth the child that would destroy him (see notes on Esther 3:6-15).

These seven are heads of evil governments. This world power, through these earthly kingdoms, comes from Satan himself. The seven crowned heads mean universal rule, and the ten horns mean world power to the utmost.

Five emperors had come and gone by the Apostle John's time; one ruled during his time; and the seventh represents the Antichrist to come. We will get into more on this in a later chapter about the 6 empires that have come, which is most interesting.

His ten horns show Satan's connection with the fourth beast of (Daniel 7:7, 24), and with the Beast from the sea (in Rev. chapter 13).

Revelation 12:4 "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."

The third part of the stars of heaven": Satan's original rebellion (compare Isa. 14:12ff; Ezek. 28:11ff), resulted in one-third of the angelic host joining his insurrection and becoming demons.

When John tells us that the devils' tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to earth, he is describing the original demonic uprising against God.

Satan somehow managed to convince a third of all God's angels to join him in his rebellion; these beings we now call "demons" or "fallen angels." They serve Satan and play an important role in the judgments of the Tribulation.

We see here also, the woman about to birth, and this is the birth of Jesus the Christ.

"Devour her child": Unable to prevent the virgin birth of Christ, Satan tried to kill the child in a general massacre of male children commanded by Herod (Matt. 2:13-18; compare Luke 4:28-29).

Satan used Herod to try to kill Jesus the moment He was born. That was not God's plan, so Jesus was protected until the time of the cross. This also indicates here the birth of the church, which the devil has tried to devour every way he could.

Verses 5-6: The "man child" is Christ, destined to "rule all nations" as the Messiah (compare 19:15; Psalm 2:7-9). He was "caught up unto God, and to his throne" at His ascension into heaven (compare Acts 1:9; 7:55). The "wilderness" represents anywhere outside Palestine. During the last half of the Tribulation period (1260 days, or three and a half years), Israel will take refuge among the Gentile nations, where God will care for her (perhaps through Gentile believers, compare Matt. 25:40). Chronologically (verse 6 occurs after verse 7-12), and is equivalent to (verse 14).

Revelation 12:5 "And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne."

"A man child": Jesus Christ in His incarnation was of Jewish descent (Matt. 1:1; 2 Tim. 2:8). Despite Satan's efforts to destroy Israel and the messianic line, Jesus' birth took place as predicted by the prophets (compare Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2).

This is speaking of Jesus Christ. Jesus was caught up unto God to set on the right hand of God at the resurrection and is currently sitting at the right hand of God. When He returns, Jesus will rule all nations as King of kings and Lord of lords.

During Jesus' earthly, millennium kingdom, this rule is a breaking, and shattering work of judgment.

"Rod of iron": describes Jesus' coronation as king over the nations of the world (compare 11:15; 19:15; Psalm 2:6-9).

This "Rod", is one that cannot be broken and speaks of the resoluteness of Christ's rule. He will swiftly and immediately judge all sin and put down any rebellion.

"Her child was caught up unto God': Christ's ascension is in view (Acts 1:9; 2:33; Heb. 1:1-3; 12:2).

Revelation 12:6 "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days."

"Wilderness": God will protect Israel from Satan by hiding her in the wilderness, perhaps in the region of Moab, Ammon and Edom, east of Palestine. Interestingly, those countries will be specifically spared from the Antichrist's attack against the Holy Land (compare Dan. 11:41).

The woman here is the church. The wilderness represents anywhere outside Palestine.

"A thousand two hundred and threescore days": At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, puts a stop to temple worship, sets up the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), and devastates Jerusalem (11:2). At that time, many Jews flee for their lives (Matt. 24:16ff). God will preserve them during the last 1260 days (42 months; 3-1/2 years), constituting the Great Tribulation (see notes on 3:10; 6:1, 9).

During the last half of the Great Tribulation period, Israel will take refuge among the Gentile nations, where God will care for her (perhaps through the Gentile believers).

God will frustrate Satan's attempt to destroy Israel during the Tribulation and will hide His people just as Jesus stated (in Matthew chapter 24:15-21).

The world government, and even part of the church world, is leaning more and more to elevating ourselves to the point of making us god. You see, secular humanism and the New Age Movement both elevate mankind to Godhood. These are two very dangerous things to do. This is the very reason Lucifer was tossed out of heaven.

Verses 7-9: The vision of "war in heaven" anticipates Satan's exclusion from "heaven" and his restriction to the "earth" during the last half during the Great Tribulation. "Michael" the archangel is the leader of God's holy angels (compare Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9). Satan is the chief of the fallen angels. At the middle of the Tribulation period, God will empower Michael and his forces to "cast" Satan and his forces "out" of access to heaven, so that Satan must thereafter confine his activities to the earthly sphere.

Revelation 12:7 "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,"

"War in heaven": The tumultuous events on earth during the Tribulation find their counterpart in heaven. A state of war has existed since the fall of Satan (compare verse 4, compare Dan. 10:13; Jude 9). Something will intensify that warfare, possible the raptured saints passing through the realm of the prince of the power of the air (compare Eph. 2:2).

I really believe that Michael is a very high-up angel directly under Jesus' command. The dragon here is Lucifer, which was an evil archangel.

Revelation 12:8 "And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven."

The vision of war in heaven anticipates Satan's exclusion from "heaven" and his restriction to the earth during the last half of the Great Tribulation, so that Satan must thereafter confine his activities to the earthly sphere. Michael the archangel is the leader of God's holy angels (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9).

I believe there is an order of command in heaven as there is here on the earth. We see here, that not only the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is being attacked here on the earth, but that there is war in heaven as well. Here we see the defeat of Satan to such an extent that he is not allowed in heaven any more, not even to accuse the believers.

His defeat on the earth is complete as well. His doom was sealed when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected.

Revelation Chapter 12 Questions

1. In verse 1, what was the wonder that appeared in heaven?

2. What does the sun symbolize here?

3. What does the moon symbolize?

4. Who are the stars?

5. This woman is symbolic of whom?

6. Where is the Christians' home?

7. What kind of birth is meant in verse 2?

8. Who had the seven heads and ten horns?

9. Why was his color red?

10. What do the seven heads mean?

11. What do the ten horns mean?

12. What did the seven crowns indicate?

13. This dragon is symbolic of whom?

14. What Old Testament prophetic book mentions this also?

15. This powerful evil movement attacks whom?

16. In verse 4, the 1/3 part of the stars are who?

17. Why did the dragon stand before the woman who was ready to be delivered?

18. What was Satan's name in heaven?

19. What did the 1/3 of the angels who followed the devil become?

20. Who did Satan use to try to kill the Christ child?

21. Why might your church not be under attack of the devil?

22. How was the man child to rule the nations?

23. Where was He caught up to?

24. Who will Jesus be known as when He rules with the rod of iron?

25. Where did the woman flee to?

26. Who is the woman in verse 6?

27. What is this period of 3 1/2 years called?

28. Not only the world, but a segment of the church is leaning toward making themselves whom?

29. Name two false teachings that are dangerous.

30. Who fought against the dragon?

31. Who lost?

32. What is the author's personal belief about Michael?

33. When was Satan's doom sealed?

34. In John 17:14-15, it is speaking of the church. Tell me in your own words who the church consists of.

Revelation Chapter 12 Continued

Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

Here we see several names for the Devil. Notice we are told here, that the serpent that tricked Eve was the devil as well. You can call him by any name you want to. If whatever you call him is evil, it is the devil or his handiwork. Here we see that he deceiveth (is continually deceiving), the whole world. That does not include the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in this world, but we are not of this world. Over and over we are told that everyone except the elect of the Lord will be deceived.

That old serpent ... cast out into the earth": Satan and his demons were cast out of heaven at the time of their original rebellion, but still have access to it (compare Job 1:6; 2:1). That access will then be denied, and they will be forever barred from heaven.

"Devil, and Satan" (compare 20:2). "Devil" comes from a Greek verb meaning "to slander" or "to falsely accuse". He is a malignant liar (John 8:44, 1 John 3:8). His accusations against believers (verse 10), are unsuccessful because of Christ our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Satan, meaning "adversary", or "enemy", and appears especially in Job and the gospels.

"Deceiveth the whole world": As he has throughout human history, Satan will deceive people during the Tribulation (compare 13:14; 20:3; John 8:44). After his temporary release from the bottomless pit at the end of the Millennium, he will briefly resume his deceitful ways (20:8, 10).

The evil one is given four designations:

(1) Dragon pictures his monstrous character as the enemy of God;

(2) Serpent connects him with the clever deception of Eve (in Genesis 3);

(3) Devil means "slanderer" (verse 10);

(4) Satan means "Adversary" (1 Pet. 5:8).

He also deceiveth the whole world (20:8).

The devil is the very one who brings in the "feel good" religion. Beware, he is a destroyer, he appealed to Eve's flesh and destroyed her. The flesh is at war with the Spirit. Do not listen to the flesh.

Verse 9 here is just a repetition of what we have been reading about, Satan and his angels (demons). The devil runs to and fro throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour. The devil does not even bother the lost at all. He already has them. He is after the believer. He comes to church regularly, trying to coax you away. He brings false doctrine and strife in the church. Check everyone and everything they say by the Word of God. The deceiver will come dressed in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15). He plants doubt and fear wherever he goes.

Verses 10-12: The words "salvation, strength" (Greek dunamis, "power"), "kingdom", and "power" (Greek exousia, "authority"), all refer to the coming of the millennial kingdom of "Christ". With reference to believers, Satan is most commonly a tempter and the "accuser" of the "brethren" before God (compare Job 1:6-12; 2:1-5; Rom. 8:33-34). Believers can and will overcome him through the "blood" of Christ and their witness ("testimony"), about Christ. The last half of the Tribulation will be a time of terrible trouble on earth (compare Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; Zeph. 1:15; Matt. 24:15-22). It will be Satan's final attempt to prevent the return and the reign of Christ. He has only a "short time" to try to prevent the establishment of Christ's kingdom. Therefore, he has "great wrath" and intensifies his persecution of Israel, God's chosen nation (verses 13-17), while setting up his own counterfeit kingdom through the Beast, the false messiah (13:1-17).

Revelation 12:10 "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

"Accuser" (see notes on verse 9). Satan will no longer accuse believers before the throne of God because he will no longer have access to heaven.

He (the devil), is tossed out once and for all time. His day is over. The Great Tribulation will be a time of terrible trouble on earth (Jer. 30:7; Dan 9:27; 12:1; Zeph. 1:15; Matt 24:15-22). It will be Satan's final attempt to prevent the return and the reign of Christ. He has only a short time to try to prevent the establishment of Christ's kingdom, so his wrath intensifies of his persecution of Israel, God's chosen nation (see article " Kingdom - Christ's Coming Kingdom ").

Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."

"Blood of the Lamb": No accusation can stand against those whose sins have been forgiven, because of Christ's sacrificial death (see Rom. 8:33-39).

Victory is Theirs! Thank God that His Word does not leave the story of the Tribulation saints with their earthly demise, but loudly proclaims their ultimate victory through the blood of the Lamb. The "they" here, are the Christians. When Jesus shed his blood on Calvary and became the perfect Lamb sacrifice once for all time, Satan was defeated.

You can see here the word of our testimony is when we open our mouths and declare that we believe Jesus Christ is Lord, and also believe He rose from the grave; we will be saved. We must proclaim this, even if we know it will mean our life. We are not to regard life here on this earth as very valuable. The life that is important is in heaven. This world is not the Christian's home. We are just passing through. We read in Romans:

Romans 10:8-10 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;" "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

The "they" here are the Christians. When Jesus shed his blood on Calvary and became the perfect Lamb sacrifice once for all time, Satan was defeated.

Revelation 12:12 "Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."

"He hath but a short time": Knowing that his time is limited, Satan will intensify his efforts against God and mankind, and specifically target Israel (verses 13, 17).

Here we Christians are told to look up and rejoice when we see terrible things happening, because our redemption draweth nigh. The devil, even now, is in an all-out push to destroy the church as it used to be fifty years ago. He realizes his time is running out, and he is working on the believers, trying to convert them to his way. His scheme is to tell us not to be a radical Christian. He is trying to make us not take God seriously. He doesn't mind going to most churches, because he hears very little pure Word of God and no sermons on the blood. Watering down Jesus is one of his favorite tools to destroy the church.

It will be Satan's final attempt to prevent the return and the reign of Christ. He has only a short time to try to prevent the establishment of Christ's kingdom. Therefore, he has great wrath and intensifies his persecution of Israel, God's chosen nation, while setting up his own counterfeit kingdom through the Beast, the false messiah.

Verses 13-14: Satan's persecution of Israel is apparently an attempt to exterminate God's chosen people, thereby preventing the fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham and David in the messianic kingdom. But God protects Israel (compare verse 6). The "wings of a great eagle" represent swift escape from persecution. The "wilderness" symbolizes the Gentile nations of the world (compare Matt. 24:16-20, 31), where believers will help to hide Jews from the Antichrist's persecution. According to (Zechariah 13:7-9), however, two-thirds of the Israelites will die first. The "time, and times, and half a time" equals three and a half times, referring to the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period (compare Dan. 7:25; 12:7), the time of "great tribulation" (Matt. 24:21).

Revelation 12:13 "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child]."

When the devil saw that he could not uphold his kingdom by paganism, nor further execute his malice by pagan emperors, but was wholly routed and overcome, as to that power. "He persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child" (see the notes on Rev. 12:5).

The child is represented as safe; that is, the ultimate progress and extension of the church was certain. But Satan was permitted still to wage a warfare against the church, represented here by his wrath against the woman, and by her being constrained to flee into the wilderness.

Revelation 12:14 "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

"Wings of a great eagle": Not actual birds' wings, but a graphic depiction of God's providential protection of Israel (compare Exodus 19:4). Wings often speak of protection (compare Deut. 32:9-12; Psalm 91:4; Isa. 40:31). Eagles, probably vulture like griffins, were the largest birds known in Palestine.

The "wings" represent swift escape from persecution. The eagle in many instances in the Bible is symbolic of God. I believe, it means that God will protect us in the midst of the problems. This I believe is what the (sealing of the believers), is all about.

Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint."

To me this just shows again that God will protect the true church.

That phrase comes (from Dan. 12:11). This refers to the second half of the Tribulation which begins by the " abomination of desolation ". In Matthew, we read:

Matt. 24:15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)."

During this time, God protects Israel from the Satan who may know where the Jews are hiding, but will be unable to get at them because of God's divine protection.

"A time, and times, and half a time": Three and one half years; the second half of the Tribulation (compare verses 6; 11:2-3; 13:5).

Verses 15-17: The "flood" symbolizes overwhelming evil and persecution (compare Psalm 18:4; Isa. 43:2). Satan, through the Antichrist and his forces, will persecute the Jews throughout the earth, but the Gentile believers of the "earth" will receive them and hide them. The "remnant" may be a reference either to:

(1) Jewish believers, who have refused to worship Satan and his Beast (compare 13:4, 7, 15), or to;

(2) Gentile believers, who are the "seed" of Abraham through Christ (compare Gal. 3:26, 29).

The last half of the Great Tribulation period will see a worldwide persecution of those who genuinely believe in Jesus Christ (13:7).

Revelation 12:15 "And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood."

And the serpent; the devil, the old serpent, mentioned (in Revelation 12:9), being able no longer to execute his malice as a dragon, by the civil power of the heathen emperors, tearing Christians in pieces, but discerning the church secured by the special providence of God, went to work another way.

"Cast out of his mouth water as a flood": Corrupting the judgments of several persons, who, out of the abundance of error in their hearts, preached corrupt doctrine.

Water is symbolic of the Word of God. This is strange because this water comes from the serpent's mouth. I believe this is a flood of false doctrine coming from Satan himself. Some of the new translations of the Bible are very dangerous as well. If Satan can't destroy us outside the church, then the final assault would be inside the church with false doctrine that is so close to truth that we would not even notice the difference, unless we were grounded and rooted in the truth.

This imagery symbolizes trouble in general. Satan's forces will sweep towards the Jew's hiding place like a great flood so as to be drown, killed or consumed by them.

Revelation 12:16 "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."

"And the earth helped the woman". By opening itself, and taking in what the serpent cast out, so that it could not reach the woman, and annoy her. Yet they served, in a great measure, to swallow up that flood of heresies which the devil threw out of his mouth by these heretics.

"Cast out of his mouth": A great army will come against Israel like a flood (verse 15; compare Jer. 46:8; 47:2), only to be swallowed up.

Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

"The remnant of her seed": Satan will turn his frustrated rage against every follower of the Lamb he can find, Jew or Gentile.

This really angers Satan. He cannot get to Jesus, as we said before, so he is venting his anger on the followers of Jesus. Notice here that there is only a remnant left that has not fallen for the devil's false doctrine. A remnant means a very small portion that is left.

You see here, that this small portion (remnant), of Christians are keeping God's commandants, and even though the opposition has been great, they still have given the testimony of Jesus Christ. These two names (Jesus and Christ), together mean The Savior, the Anointed One.

The remnant may be a reference either to

(1) Jewish believers, who have refused to worship Satan and his Beast or;

(2) Gentile Believers, who are the seed of Abraham through Christ.

"Commandments of God ... testimony of Jesus": The revealed truth from God and Christ contained in Scripture. Obedience to God's Word always marks a genuine believer (compare John 8:32).

Notice here that there is only a remnant who have not fallen for the devil's false doctrine. A remnant means a very small portion that is left. You can easily see here that what we were talking about before is true. You see here, that this small portion (remnant), of Christians are keeping God's commandants, and even though the opposition has been great, they still have given the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation Chapter 12 Continued Questions

1. Who was cast out?

2. What are three more names for him?

3. Who does he deceive?

4. Who was cast out with him?

5. How do we know the serpent in Genesis was Satan?

6. Why does this whole world not mean the Christians?

7. Satan's angels are __________.

8. How will the deceiver be dressed?

9. How did the serpent appeal to Eve?

10. This loud voice in heaven says now is come what? Three things.

11. Who has always accused the believers?

12. How was Satan overcome?

13. What do we read in Romans chapter 10 about our testimony?

14. In verse 12, who is the woe to?

15. The devil is come down with great wrath, Why?

16. Why does Satan not mind going to most churches?

17. When the dragon was cast unto the earth, he persecuted whom?

18. When the devil realizes he cannot get to Jesus, what does he do?

19. What was the woman given?

20. Why?

21. The eagle is symbolic of what?

22. Isaiah 40:31 tells us what?

23. What came out of the serpent's mouth?

24. What is water symbolic of?

25. What kind of flood is this?

26. What helped the woman?

27. How?

28. What word shows how few will make it through tribulation?

29. What does this small group do that pleases God?

30. What does Jesus Christ mean?

31. Write your opinion of those who are opposed to the true believer, who they are and what their tactics are.

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Revelation 13

Revelation Chapter 13

Revelation chapter 13 begins with a beast (the Antichrist), raising up out of the "sea", which represents the nations of the world. The beast is the Antichrist or the false messiah. He will be the final world ruler, also known as the little horn (in the book of Daniel; see article "Antichrist ").

Daniel 7:8 "I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn [were] eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things."

Things during the end times will be chaotic. A time of confusion and uncertainty will cause the people to desperately look for a strong leader that could bring hope and security in a time of fear and apprehension. People will desperately seek a strong, charismatic, authoritative leader who can pull the world back from the very brink of disaster.

Those people will get their wish as a powerful, charismatic leader spouting peace and unity comes on the scene. But he will turn out to be much more than they bargained for. He will be a dictator whose cruelty will be more than any other the world has ever known. This man will be the Antichrist as he will rule the entire world and receive its worship.

Verses 1-2: The "sea" here represents the Gentile nations of the world, from which this "beast" comes. The Beast is the Antichrist, the false messiah (compare Matt. 24:5, 24; 1 John 2:18). He is the final Gentile world ruler, also known as the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8, 20-21, 24-25), the willful king (Dan. 11:36), the coming prince (Dan. 9:26), and the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3). In Revelation, he is both a person and an empire. The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the "dragon" (Satan, 12:3), and to the fourth beast of Daniel chapter 7 (the Roman Empire; Dan. 7:7, 23). Though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. "The "horns" and "heads" are identified (in chapter 17). He speaks "blasphemy" against God (compare verses 5-6). His resemblances to a "leopard", a "bear", and a "lion" refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel chapter 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This Beast includes the people and cultures of three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself. The "power" and "authority" of the Beast come from Satan himself. Satan has his own false "trinity": Satan acts as the Father, the Antichrist as the Son, and the False Prophet as the Spirit who attempts to bring glory to the Antichrist (compare verses 11-12).

Revelation 13:1 "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy."

Both Daniel and John also saw political systems and leaders that they described using the term "Beast". John sees this beast coming up "out of the sea." This beast is a Gentile leader of a Gentile system. John didn't call it a beast because it was a Gentile. He called it a beast because It comes up out of the sea of "nations".

In Daniel Chapter 7, the prophet records a dream that he had in which he saw the rise and fall of four gentile world empires. Each was characterized as a beast coming from the sea of nations. So, the beast from the sea is the political part of the Antichrist's system. Satan is a counterfeiter. So he has an "unholy trinity" that consists of himself (Satan), the Antichrist (the political, religious beast), and the false prophet, (the religious, political beast). See article " Daniel's Prophecies ".

The sea here represents the Gentile nations of the world, from which this beast comes. The beast is the Antichrist, the false messiah (Matt. 24:5, 24: 1 John 2:18). He is the final Gentile world ruler, also known as the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8, 20-21, 24-25), the willful king (Dan. 11:36), the coming prince (Dan 9:26), and the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3).

This "sea" means large numbers of people. One writer says unstable nations of peoples. This beast has to do with the powers of this earth opposed to Christendom. Whether John or the dragon stood on the edge of the sea is not material, since we are distinctly told that the ten-horned beast rose from the sea.

These "heads" show dominion. We have said before that "ten" has to do with world government and "horns" show power. We know then that this has something to do with world government and rulers of that. "Crowns" show dominion. This "blasphemy" denies the true God. It doesn't matter who the "I" is here, but it is probably John.

We see a terrible vicious world power. I believe this "ten" here is the ten common market nations which were formed from the old Roman empire. The old Roman empire has been reestablished in the ten common market nations. The sad thing is, that it appears, the power that this group has is from the evil one.

It is not difficult to understand where their power comes from. "Upon his heads the name of blasphemy". This beast has the ten horns of power. This is the personification of what Satan does with this world power. The personification of evil when it takes over governments and people who are heads of these governments.

Revelation 13:2 "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority."

His resemblance to a leopard, a bear, and a lion refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This Beast includes the people and cultures of the three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself.

"Leopard": A metaphor for ancient Greece, alluding to the Greeks' swiftness and ability as their military moved forward in conquest, particularly under Alexander the Great (compare Dan. 7:6). The Leopard and subsequent animal symbols were all native wildlife in Palestine, familiar to John's readers.

"Bear": A metaphor for the ancient Medo-Persian Empire, depicting that kingdom's ferocious strength, combined with its great stability (compare Dan. 7:5).

"Lion": A metaphor for the ancient Babylonian Empire, referring to the Babylonians' fierce, all consuming power as they extended their domain (compare Dan. 7:4).

The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the dragon (Satan, 12:3), and to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (the Roman Empire; Dan. 7:7, 23), though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. The horns and heads are identified (in Rev. chapter 17).

As the first scripture indicated a beast with seven heads, the other two earlier empires were Syria and Egypt. To make the next scripture easy to understand, I will name the 6 again. They are Syria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. These are the 6 empires of the past.

We will revisit this again (in Rev 17:8-14), which begins:

"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is".

Be sure to read the next 5 verses as well (in chapter 17).

"The dragon gave him his power" (see notes on verse 1; 12:9).

Just so you know, the sixth beast is Rome. They were, and then they weren't as they were no longer a force, but will be prominent again during the end times.

Verses 3-5: The "wound" may refer either to the apparent death of the Antichrist himself or to the decline and apparent disappearance of the Roman Empire. The healing of the "wound" may be either the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist or the revival of the Roman Empire.

"One of his heads" is apparently the Roman Empire (compare 17:10-11). This revival causes amazement throughout the "world". The "mouth" depicts the blasphemy of the Antichrist against God (compare 2 Thess. 2:4). He will gain some type of worldwide authority for "forty and two months" (three and a half years, the last half of the Tribulation; compare verse 7).

Revelation 13:3 "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast."

I believe this means the apparent death of the Antichrist himself and the healing of the "wound" the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist.

"His deadly wound was healed": This statement could refer to one of the kingdoms that was destroyed and revived (i.e. the Roman Empire). But more likely it refers to a fake death and resurrection enacted by the Antichrist, as part of his lying deception (compare verses 12, 14; 17:8, 11; 2 Thess. 2:9).

Others tend to believe it to be the decline and apparent disappearance of the old Roman Empire, then the revival of the new Roman Empire.

"World wondered after the beast": People in the world will be astounded and fascinated when Antichrist appears to rise from the dead. His charisma, brilliance, and attractive but deluding powers will cause the world to follow him unquestioningly (verse 14; 2 Thess. 2:8-12).

This revival causes amazement throughout the world.

Revelation 13:4 "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"

"Who is able to make war with him": This confirms the absolute power that Satan will have over the world at this time. No one else will be able to stop the rise of the Beast to world dominion.

Revelation 13:5 "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months."

"Was given": The sovereign God will establish the limits within which Antichrist will be allowed to speak and operate. God will allow him to utter his blasphemies, to bring the rage of Satan to its culmination on earth for 3-1/2 years (verse 5; 11:2-3; 12:6, 13-14).

Eventually the Beast turns this unbridled animosity toward all the people of God (as Rev. 13:5-7), makes clear.

Earlier John makes it plain that the beast's power, authority and kingdom are given to him by Satan (verse 2). And John also tells us something revealed to no one else. This is the beginning of the Great Tribulation which Daniel spoke about in when the sacrifice and the oblation ceases. This is called the "Abomination of Desolation " (also see Matthew 24:15).

He speaks blasphemy against God. The power and authority of the Beast come from Satan himself. Satan has his own false "trinity".

"Forty and two months": The final 3-1/2 years, 1260 days, of the "time of Jacob's distress" (Jer. 30:7), and Daniel's 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27), known as the Great Tribulation (see notes on 11:2; 12:6; compare Dan. 7:25). This last half is launched by the Abomination of Desolation (see note on Matt. 24:15).

Verses 6-8: The unbelievers of the world will be deceived into believing that the Beast is a god (compare 2 Thess. 2:4, 11). Only those whose "names" are "written in the book of life" will refuse to "worship" the Beast. The Beast will persecute the "saints" of God, and exercise power throughout the world. The "Lamb" was "slain from the foundation of the world", in the sense that Christ's redemptive death for mankind was part of God's plan from eternity past.

Revelation 13:6 "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."

"His name": This identifies God and summarizes all His attributes (compare Exodus 3:13-14).

"His tabernacle": This is symbolic of heaven (compare Heb. 9:23-24).

"Them that dwell in heaven": The angels and glorified saints who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night.

"The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty two months. It is Satan's secret desire to have others worship him. The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy because He said He was God, and He was crucified for blasphemy. But declaring that one is God is blasphemous only when untrue.

In the case of Antichrist during the Tribulation period, it will be untrue, but such supernatural powers will be given him by the devil himself that he will appear to have Godlike characteristics and thus deceive many human beings.

Thus, during the first 3-1/2 years of the Tribulation the Antichrist will be merely a man endowed with demonic power. But during the last 3-1/2 years, he will actually be Satan himself, clothed with the Antichrist's body as the antichrist is the second person to be indwelled by Satan. Judas was the first. Remember Satan is not divine. He does not have the power to create, that is, to make something out of nothing.

He can only take what God creates and manipulate it or manufacture it into something else. He can, however, indwell individuals. Even his demonic demons have that power.

Revelation 13:7 "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."

"Make war with the saints": The Antichrist will be allowed to massacre those who are God's children (compare 6:9-11; 11:7; 12:17; 17:6; Dan. 7:23-25; 8:25; 9:27; 11:38; 12:10; Matt. 24:16-22; see note on Rev. 17:6).

The Power of the Beast: "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." Today the world is prepared for a one world governmental philosophy. That philosophy, propagated by Satan and advocated by the intellectual, godless, atheistic leaders of world governments today, is rapidly spreading across the earth.

The wrath begins immediately after the rapture of the church. I have mentioned before and will state again, here, that the word "rapture" is not found in the Bible. It is just a short way of saying the catching away, or snatching away, of the believers into heaven.

Revelation 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

"From the foundation of the world": According to God's eternal, electing purpose before creation, the death of Christ seals the redemption of the elect forever (compare Acts 2:23; 4:27:28). Antichrist can never take away the salvation of the elect. The eternal registry of the elect will never be altered, nor will the saved in the Antichrist's day worship him.

"Book of life" (see notes on Rev. 3:5).

"Lamb slain": The Lord Jesus who died to purchase the salvation of those whom God had chosen was fulfilling an eternal plan.

The unbelievers of the world will be deceived into believing that the Beast is a god (2 Thess. 2:4, 11). Only those whose names are written in the book of life will refuse to worship the Beast. The Beast will persecute the saints of God, and exercise power throughout the world. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world in the sense that Christ's redemptive death for mankind was part of God's plan from eternity past.

As already seen, humankind has just about come to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem of continuous war is a one world government.

That government will be the devil's government, established during the Great Tribulation. In the midst of that time he will assume control himself and (as verse 7 tells us), will exercise power over "every tribe, people, language and nation."

Satan's "authority" will be all but unlimited, and almost everyone on earth will worship him. This is the very thing Satan has sought from the beginning, worship from angels and men. Of course, believers in Christ will not worship Antichrist, because they will have their names written "in the book of life of the Lamb (see article " Book of Life - All Books ").

This book of life of the Lamb contains the names of all those who have called on the Lamb of God for salvation.

Verses 9-10: God will punish those who do evil. The Beast and his followers will be overthrown and judged. "Patience" (Greek hupomone), is perseverance or endurance. Those who have genuine saving "faith" will endure all the persecution of the Beast (compare 14:12), because they are God's "saints" (Greek hagion, "holy" ones).

Revelation 13:9 "If any man have an ear, let him hear."

Compare 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). This phrase omits "what the Spirit says to the churches" as in the 7 letters to the churches, perhaps because they have been raptured.

You see, this again is a warning not to let this go in one ear and out the other, but to take heed to this warning. This is emphasizing a very important truth.

Revelation Chapter 13 Questions

1. When he was standing upon the sand of the sea, what did he see rising out of the sea?

2. Describe him.

3. What was on his heads?

4. What does this sea mean?

5. What is this in opposition to Christendom?

6. What do these horns show?

7. When you put it with the number ten, what does it mean?

8. What do crowns show?

9. What does this blasphemy deny?

10. What modern group does the author believe this ten is?

11. Where does their power originate?

12. This is the personification of ________.

13. In verse 2, this beast was like unto a __________.

14. His feet were as the feet of a _________.

15. His mouth was a ________.

16. Who gave him power?

17. Who do all these names describing the beast show us?

18. What happened to the beast that caused the world to wonder?

19. Who is the dragon?

20. Who did the people Worship?

21. What was given to the beast?

22. What does this show us about the beast?

23. How long was this beast to reign?

24. Who did this beast blaspheme?

25. What is this Tabernacle?

26. Who would he make war with?

27. How do we know this covered the whole earth?

28. When does the wrath of God begin?

29. Who will worship this evil one?

30. Who are the only ones who will have their names written in the Lambs Book?

31. Give your opinion of the lesson learned from the lesson here.

Revelation Chapter 13 Continued

Revelation 13:10 "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."

This is just another way of saying, whatever you sow, you will reap. Those who teach false doctrine causes his neighbor to go into captivity and so will those who teach it.

A call for the believers to accept persecution from Antichrist with perseverance and endurance. God has chosen some believers to be imprisoned and executed which they must not resist (compare Matthew 26:51-54; 2 Cor. 10:4), but accept with patience such suffering as God ordains for them (compare 1 Peter 2:19-24).

In Matthew Jesus taught Peter that they that take the sword shall perish with the sword when he cut off Malchus' ear. (i.e. don't return evil for evil). End time believers are to depend on God and not to take matters into their own hands. This scripture is for the believers alive at that time during the Antichrist's persecution.

God will punish those who do evil. The Beast and his followers will be overthrown and judged. Patience (Gr. hupomone), is perseverance or endurance. Those who have genuine saving faith will endure all the persecution of the Beast because they are God's saints.

Verses 11-12 couples the three evil personages of the Tribulation that are the opposite counterparts of the person of God. Just as the dragon has already been anti-God and the first beast is anti-Christ, so the second beast will be anti-Spirit. His capacity in working for the worship of the Antichrist will correspond with the present ministry of the Holy Spirit. This second beast is the False Prophet. He will not seek to cause people to worship himself. He will not court his own personal prestige but will work purely for the purpose of getting others to worship the Antichrist. This evil scheme will be used by the devil and his 2 cohorts to deceive people during the Tribulation. They will victimize many individuals because they will traffic in amorality.

In these 2 verses, 5 characteristics chart the role of the False Prophet.

(1) "Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth". Many Bible teachers suggest that his coming up out of the earth indicates that he will not come up out of the sea of peoples, as the first beast does. That is, he will not be of mixed nationality; that he comes out of the earth (around Palestine), may indicate that he will be a Jew. This points to an apostate Jew who, during the first 3-1/2 years, will lead Israel to make a covenant with Antichrist and deceive them by hiding his apostasy until the middle of the Tribulation period, at which time he will serve his purpose by revealing his apostate beliefs and practices.

(2) "He had two horns like a lamb." The Lord Jesus Christ is often referred to in the Gospels and in the book of Rev. as "the Lamb of God". As such He has taken away the sin of the world. The False Prophet coming on the earth will look like a lamb with two horns. Lambs do not have horns, which are symbols of authority; instead, they are meek and mild animals. The Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Watch out for false prophets (see article " False Prophets "). They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Mat. 7:15). The False Prophet will come to Israel in sheep's clothing, but God terms him "a beast".

(3) "He spoke like a dragon" suggest that he will derive power of speech from the devil who is the dragon. This False Prophet (see article " False Prophet - The Beast ), will deceive human beings by acting like a lamb; but really, he will speak the words of Satan.

(4) "He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf." The close relationship between these two world leaders is seen in the fact that the False Prophet will be given power by the Antichrist himself. His whole purpose will be to work toward the complete dominance of the earth by the Antichrist, including a form of religion satisfactory to the Antichrist.

(5) "He made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast." The False Prophet's basic purpose and operation with all of this power from the Antichrist and speech from the devil will be to drive people to worship the Antichrist. When indwelt by Satan in the midst of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will be so deceived about himself that he will deem himself God and seek the worship of human beings (2 Thess. 2:3-8). This form of worship will be propagated by the second beast or False Prophet. He may well be described as the high priest of the Antichrist's religious system during the Tribulation period.

The second "beast" is the False Prophet (compare 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), whose role is to bring people to "worship the first beast". He is a deceiver (compare verse 14). His "two horns like a lamb" represent an attempt to give the impression of gentle harmlessness (compare Matt. 7:15). His "dragon" speech depicts his empowerment by Satan. He is given full exercise of the "power of the first beast", who is the political ruler. His priestly role identifies him as a religious power or leader. He promotes global worship of the Antichrist.

Revelation 13:11 "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."

The chief religious figure in the world during the Tribulation years is identified in Scripture as the False Prophet or the second beast. He will apparently be a Jew, influential in religious affairs, motivated by Satan, having authority delegated to him as he promotes the worship of the Antichrist. Authenticating his ministry with signs and wonders, successfully deceiving the unbelieving world, promoting idolatrous worship, having the power of death, having authority over commerce, and having an identifying physical mark. An Illustration is: As the Father sent the Son, so will Satan send the Antichrist. As the Son sends the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purpose, so will the False Prophet carry out the program of the Antichrist. Christians should recognize Satan's attempts to minimize the plans and people of the Godhead, and therefore should guard themselves with biblical doctrine (see 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:11-18; compare Matt. 17:11).

"Another beast": This is the final false prophet (called such in 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), who promotes Antichrist's power and convinces the world to worship him as God. This companion beast will be the chief, most persuasive proponent of satanic religion (compare 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). Antichrist will be primarily a political and military leader, but the false prophet will be a religious leader. Politics and religion will unite in a worldwide religion of worshiping the Antichrist (see 17:1-9, 15-17).

"Out of the earth": Likely another reference to the abyss that lies below the earth. The false prophet will be sent forth and controlled by a powerful demon from below. The earth imagery, in contrast to that of the foreboding, mysterious sea (in verse 1), may imply that the false prophet is subtler and more winsome that Antichrist.

"Two horns like a lamb": This lamb imagery may also imply that the false prophet will be also a false Christ masquerading as the true Lamb. Unlike Antichrist, the false prophet will come not as a killing, destroying animal, but as one who appears gentle and deceptively attractive.

This "beast" was pretending to be Jesus, but when he opened his mouth, you knew he was evil. This is a deceitful character. While pretending to be good, he was very evil. Of course, a lamb doesn't have real horns, a goat does; so this has to do with power.

"Spake as a dragon": The false prophet will be Satan's mouthpiece and thus his message will be like the dragon, Satan, the source of all false religion (compare 2 Cor. 11:14).

Revelation 13:12 "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed."

"He exerciseth all the power of the first beast": The false prophet will exercise the same kind of satanic power as Antichrist because he is empowered by the same source. He too, will have worldwide influence and reputation as a miracle worker and speaker.

"Causeth the earth ... to worship": The phrase "he makes" or he causes" is used several times of him. He wields influence to establish a false world religion headed by Antichrist and to entice people to accept that system.

"Whose deadly wound was healed" (see notes on verse 3; 17:8). This likely refers to the carefully crafted deception of a false resurrection, a false murder to inspire allegiance for the world.

Verses 13-15: The False Prophet "deceiveth" the unbelievers of the "earth" by means of "wonders" and "miracles" (compare Deut. 13:1-13; Mark 13:22; 2 Thess. 2:9-11), accomplished through satanic "power". He will produce the miracles of Elijah (compare 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10), and as a false Elijah he will lead people to worship a false messiah (compare Matt. 24:24). The "image of the beast" will apparently be set up in Jerusalem for the "worship" of the Beast (2 Thess. 2:4, 9, 11). Jesus called it the "Abomination of Desolation" (compare Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27; see article " Abomination of Desolation "). The ability of the "image" to "speak" is a satanic miracle. The people of the earth must either worship the image of the beast or "be killed". There will be no room in the Beast's empire for religious freedom.

Revelation 13:13 "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,"

"Great wonders": The same phrase is used of Jesus' miracles (John 2:11, 23; 6:2), which indicates the false prophet performs signs that counterfeit Christ's. Satan, who has done supernatural works in the past (e.g., Exodus 7:11; 2 Tim. 3:8), must use his strategy of false miracles to convince the world that Antichrist is more powerful than God's true witnesses (chapter 11), including Jesus Christ.

"Fire come down from heaven": The context indicates that the false prophet does counterfeit pyrotechnic signs continually to convince men of his power, and also the elimination of the two witnesses (11:5, 7).

The False Prophet will deceive unbelievers of the earth by means of wonders and miracles, accomplished through satanic power. He will produce the miracles of Elijah and as a false Elijah as he will lead people to worship a false messiah.

We will see in the next few verses of Revelation that the Antichrist system, which is a counterfeit god, contains three positions. You see, the Antichrist is trying to take the place of the Godhead. The Godhead is God the Father, God the Word (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. The Antichrist system will contain Antichrist, the false prophet, and the beast. The devil is trying to mimic God. In our age, it would be no problem to have fire come down from heaven. This is a lying wonder.

Revelation 13:14 "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live."

"Make an image": This refers to replication of Antichrist that is related to the throne he will erect during the abomination of desolation, halfway into the Tribulation period. This will happen in the Jerusalem temple when Antichrist abolishes the former false world religion and seeks to have people worship him alone as god (compare Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4). The false prophet and Antichrist again will deceive the world with a clever imitation of Christ, who will later return and reign from the true throne in Jerusalem.

Revelation 13:15 "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

"Speak": The false prophet will give the image of Antichrist the appearance of life, and the image will seem to utter words, contrary to what is normally true of idols (compare Psalm 135:15-16; Hab. 2:19).

The False Prophet will cause an image of the Antichrist to be built and will have power to "give breath to the image of the first beast". In the midst of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist has been slain and resurrected, the False Prophet will cause people to build an image like Nebuchadnezzar's image and will demand that it be worshiped (see article " Daniel's Prophecies - Nebuchadnezzar's Vision ").

By some mysterious means unknown in the previous history of the world, he will give life to that image. How long it will manifest life we are not told. What characteristics it will have we are not told. Possibly the only characteristic it will manifest is that it can "speak" (verse 15). This speech will be caused by the False Prophet, who in turn will get his authority from the Antichrist and the dragon, Satan himself.

"Cause ... should be killed": His gentleness is a lie, since he is a killer (7:9-17). Some Gentiles will be spared to populate the kingdom (Matt. 25:31-40), and Jews will be protected (12:17).

He will issue an order that all who do not worship him will be killed. (Rev. 20:4), tells us that many will be slain by the guillotine.

Everything the false prophet does is calculated to increase the power and authority of the Antichrist. That is not surprising, for he receives his own power and authority from the Antichrist.

Verses 16-18: Only unbelievers will receive the "mark" of the "beast" (see article " Mark of the Beast "). The "mark" will be place either on the "right hand" or on the "forehead", both very visible places. No one will be able to "buy" or "sell" anything without having; thus submitted to the political and religious system of the Beast. The word "mark" (Greek charagma), is often used to describe an image, stamp, brand, or other mark (compare Acts 17:29). According to (verse 17), the mark of the beast may be;

(1) The "name of the beast" (either the person or the empire);

(2) The "number" of the Beast's "name" (666) or;

(3) An image or other representation of the Beast (compare 3 Maccabees 2:29).

The "number of the beast" is 666, the "number of a man (Greek Anthropos, "man" or "mankind"). This number may be;

(1) The number of imperfection or humanity (666, the evil trinity, rather than 777, the holy Trinity, also 888 is the numerical value of Iesous (i.e. Jesus);

(2) A number representing the Antichrist's name, which will be recognized by believers during the Tribulation period; or

(3) A number derived from the Hebrew spelling of Caesar Nero (Kaisar Neron), who prefigured the Antichrist in his evil actions (compare Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel chapter 8).

Revelation 13:16 "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:"

"A mark": In the Roman Empire, this was a normal identifying symbol, or brand, that slaves and soldiers bore on their bodies. Some of the ancient mystical cults delighted in such tattoos, which identified members with a form of worship. Antichrist will have a similar requirement, one that will need to be visible on the hand or forehead.

This is the Mark of the Beast," one of the most often quoted and least understood end time prophecies of the Bible. The word translated "Mark" means, literally, "graven." It conveys the sense of being "branded."

The custom of the Hebrews, when they took a slave for life, was to mark them by driving an awl through their ear (see Exodus 21:6).

In John's day, slaves were branded by their owners in a similar fashion. Accepting the mark of the Beast means you are sold into slavery to Satan.

It really will not matter how wealthy you are; you will still have to have the mark before you can purchase. Remember, though, if you receive this mark in your head or right hand, you will seal your doom with God. Our security is not in this world or it's system, if we belong to God. Our security is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Revelation 13:17 "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

"Buy or sell": Antichrist's mark will allow people to engage in daily commerce, including the purchase of food and other necessities. Without the identifying mark, individuals will be cut off from the necessities of life.

"The number of his name": The beast (Antichrist), will have a name inherent in a numbering system. It is not clear from the text exactly what this name and number system will be or what its significance will be.

Without a mark, a person will be unable to engage in routine commerce. Notice here, it does not say you cannot live. It says you cannot buy or sell. DO NOT TAKE THIS MARK; Jesus will help you.

Anyone who accepts this mark during the Tribulation has already made his choice, and that choice will permanently disqualify its wearer from heaven. Remember, when you get the mark you MUST swear allegiance to the Antichrist as god.

It isn't merely economic, it is a worship system. Accepting the mark is tantamount to a rejection of Jesus. This is a permanent, irreversible rejection.

Many currently worry that they will accept the mark accidentally, such as the case with national ID cards. This is not so. To accept the mark of the beast, one will knowingly agree to renounce God and to accept this mark. Without the mark, no one will be able to buy or sell and will fear they and/or their family will die. But to accept the mark means eternal death.

Rev. 14:10 "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the lamb".

Revelation 13:18 "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six."

"His number is six hundred threescore and six": This is the essential number of a man. The number 6 falls one short of God's perfect number (7), and thus represents human imperfection. Antichrist, the most powerful human the world will ever know, will still be a man (i.e., a 6). The ultimate in human and demonic power (is a 6), nor perfect, as God is. The 3-fold repetition of the number is intended to reiterate and underscore man's identity. When Antichrist is finally revealed, there will be some way to identify him with this basic number of a man, or his name may have the numerical equivalent of 666 (in many languages, including Hebrew, Greek and Latin, letters have numerical equivalents).

The False Prophet will use this mark as a means of forcing people to worship Antichrist. He will demand that everyone have his mark on their foreheads or on their hands, in order to buy or sell. One can scarcely imagine the pressures of having to possess such a mark necessary to secure the necessary food for his family.

There are many views on what the 666 stands for but nowhere is it given in the bible as to what it means exactly.

I was told by programmers when I was reading various chat groups before Y2K began that some computer programs begin with a starting coding of 666. That's why there are many who today will not receive any type of computer chip implanted into them. Nor do they want any sort of a national ID which is again is something that is computer driven.

Many think that the Antichrists name (first, middle and last), each will contain 6 letters each.

I personally believe that when that time comes, those with discernment of the Word will know exactly what it means.

We do know that to accept the mark is to accept Antichrist as god and thus deny the true, living God. Only those who walk with Christ will be able to understand why taking of this mark cannot be done even if it means death to their physical body.

Revelation Chapter 13 Continued

1. What does verse 10 mean? In one sentence.

2. Where did this second beast come from?

3. What did his horns tell us?

4. Who was he pretending to be?

5. What gave the beast away as to his true personality?

6. Which has horns, a goat, or a lamb?

7. What does this second beast cause the earth and them that dwell therein to do?

8. What happened to the beast's deadly wound?

9. What wonder does this evil one do in the sight of men?

10. What three will the Antichrist system contain?

11. Why?

12. Which three Godly beings are they trying to imitate?

13. How were those on the earth deceived?

14. What will happen to those who do not worship the beast?

15. What are the two choices of places that you may receive the mark of the beast?

16. Will being wealthy help you not to receive the mark?

17. What reason will they give you to put this number on your body?

18. Where is the Christian's security?

19. What two things will you not be able to do if you do not receive the mark?

20. What is the number of the beast?

21. What is the number six symbolic of?

22. Explain your feelings about the mark of the beast and who and what you believe the false trinity is.

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Revelation 14

Revelation Chapter 14

Revelation chapter 14 begins with the Lamb standing on Mount Zion and with Him 144,000 having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.

According to Tim LaHaye in his book "Revelation unveiled", anyone who would accurately interpret the book of Revelation must locate the scene of the activity before he or she begins interpretation. Chapter 14 is a good illustration of that fact. Many bible scholars consider this to be a scene in heaven, while others regard it as a scene taking place on earth. The difference in viewpoint will seriously affect one's interpretation.

Another rule to be kept in mind is that the time should be pin pointed. This passage, which falls within the "great parenthesis" that covers (Revelation 11:16; and running to 15:4), takes place in heaven at the middle of the Tribulation period. An examination shows that the seventh seal judgment at the end of the first quarter of the Tribulation opens up into the seven trumpet judgment in chapters 8 and 9. Chapters 12 and 13 describe events that culminate in the middle of the Tribulation. Now, before we begin the vial or bowl judgments that come out of the seventh trumpet, covering the last half of the Great Tribulation, we are about to look on the upheaval that will take place at the end of the first three and one half year period, or that which is the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Revelation 14:1 "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads."

"The "Lamb" is Christ (see note on 5:6). And "mount Zion" is the location of Jerusalem. It may refer either to the New Jerusalem (compare Heb. 12:22-24), or to the earthly Jerusalem during the Millennium. Chapter 14 is designed to give encouragement concerning the certainty of Christ's victory over the Beast.

"Mount Zion": The city of Jerusalem, where Messiah will return and plant His feet (compare Psalms 2; 48:1-2; Isa. 24:23).

"Hundred forty and four thousand" (see note on 7:4).

"Name": The counterpart to the mark of the beast. It is the stamp that will identify the 144,000 as belonging to God (see note on 13:6; see article " 144,000 ").

The identity of this group of 144,000 subjects has for some reason eluded many outstanding Bible scholars. Most commentators have a tendency to assume that they are identical with the 144,000 described in chapter 7. Therefore, we must examine them in detail.

The Similarities of the Two Groups: Two basic reasons are usually advanced for considering the two groups similar:

  1. Both groups total 144,000, and
  2. Both groups have something written on their foreheads.

The Differences of the Two Groups: Far more important, however, are the differences between the two groups:

  1. The Revelation 7 group is specifically Jewish, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes. The Revelation 14 group comes "from the earth" or "from among men."
  2. The Revelation 7 group is sealed with the Father's seal. The Revelation 14 group has the name of both the Father and the Son. Note: The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read, "having his name, (the Lamb's), and his Father's name written in their foreheads"; and the Ethiopic version adds, "and of his Holy Spirit". As the KJV doesn't read "with His name", go to and check out over 21 bible versions on this verse.
  3. The scene of chapter 7 occurs on the earth. Chapter 14 takes place in heaven, but only halfway through the Tribulation. This can be explained in that the 144,000 witnesses of Revelation 7, like their converts (of verse 9), are slain and under the altar by the middle of the Tribulation. Thus they are described (in chapter 14), as before the throne, in their spirit or "soul" state, "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
  4. The additional qualifications for being a member of this group (see verses 4 and 5), are not recorded in chapter 7. The 144,000 of chapter 7 are "servants of our God"; the 144,000 of chapter 14 are people "purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb." This indicates that their selection was not for the propagation of the gospel on the earth during the Great Tribulation, but for a special position at the throne of God before Him and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. Verse 4 tells us that "they follow the Lamb wherever he goes", which may well indicate that as a select group, they have been faithful in completely abandoning their will to the will of Christ during their lifetimes.

Not Jews, But Christians. Since only two similarities and several differences exist between these two groups, we can safely conclude that they are not the same. The fact that the numbers are the same 144,000, is not so overpowering when one bears in mind a statement by Dr. William R. Newill in his book on Revelation: "The repetition of the number 144,000, one of governmental completeness and fullness, is not necessarily conclusive proof that the two companies are one and the same." This suggests that for God's perfect governmental operation, He has selected multiples of twelve to be His special servants in the Tribulation, and another group to enjoy a relationship with Him in heaven. The difference between them being that those in chapter 14 have earned their position because of their faithfulness in doing whatever the Lord commissioned them to do.

That both have understanding on their foreheads is certainly not conclusive evidence one way or the other. The chapter 7 group is "sealed unto God"; the chapter 14 group have the name of Christ and the Father written on their foreheads. This could be a spiritual thing, exemplified by people of the stripe of the Apostle Paul, whose mind (behind the forehead), was filled with a desire to serve Jesus Christ and God the Father all the days of his life. If anyone is permitted into that group, certainly the Apostle Paul would be qualified. The differences between the two groups limit any assuming that they are the same, particularly when one bears in mind that the scene in chapter 14 is in heaven and that these are taken "from among men" (verse 4), indicating they come from all nations rather than just from among the Jews. Dr. Newell identifies the two as Israel, but he also makes the following statement:

For, although we have thus spoken of them, we cannot but leave the question open for further light. Because in all other Scripture we can recall Israel's victors are always named as belonging to that elect nation, and the favor of God is seen as arising from that national election. Whereas, these of Revelation 14 do not have that mark, but rather seem to be from a larger circle than Israel, even "from among men"; and their peculiar distinction appears to be a reward for their utter self-abnegation. As Dean Alford says, "We are perhaps more like that which the Lord intended us to be; but they are more like the Lord Himself."

Considering the above statements carefully, I present the following possibility, not dogmatically, but with a sincere conviction that this is a more accurate interpretation than those I have come upon so far. The 144,000 found in chapter 14 are probably the most outstanding 144,000 saints of the Church from the early days of the spread of the gospel to the Rapture of the Church. For this consecrated and devoted service to our Master, they will enjoy a special position before the throne of God from death until the Glorious Appearing of Christ, at which time all saints will come with Him. This position doubtless signifies that they will have great responsibility while reigning with Him during the Millennial Kingdom.

Verses 2-5: The 144,000 sing a "new Song" of worship and redemption. The "four beasts" and "elders" are the same as in chapter 4. That the 144,000 were "virgins" and "not defiled with women" may indicate either "literally), celibacy and sexual purity (compare 1 Cor. 7:25-38), or (figuratively), moral and religious purity (refusal to submit to the false religious system of the False Prophet). They "follow the Lamb" and reign with Him. As the "first fruits" of the "redeemed", they are the first to be saved during the Tribulation period (following the Rapture of the church (compare 7:1-4). A characteristic of the redeemed is that they are without "guile" or falsehood (compare 21:27; 22:15; Zeph. 3:13; John 1:47). This may refer to their rejection of the false claims of the Antichrist concerning himself (compare Rom. 1:25; 2 Thess. 2:4, 11). That they are "without fault" or blemish means that they are ethically blameless (compare Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Phil. 2:15; Col. 1:22; 1 Peter 1:19; Jude 24).

Revelation 14:2 "And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps"

The same with the voices heard in heaven upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15).

"As the voice of many waters": Very loud, and uttered by a great multitude of people, signified by waters in this book (Rev. 17:15). The same with those that praise the Lord for the destruction of antichrist, and for the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:1).

"And as the voice of a great thunder": To which the Gospel may be compared for its open, loud publication, being heard far and near, as thunder is.

"And I heard the voice of harpers, harping with their harps": That is, singing the praises of God, for the fall of Babylon, the happy state and condition of the church, and the blessings of grace. The harp being a musical instrument, used under the Old Testament in singing praise. "Harps" (see note on 5:8).

Revelation 14:3 "And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."

"New song": The song of redemption, which is being sung by all the redeemed saints in one gigantic choir. They are rejoicing over the accomplishment of God's entire redemptive work before Christ's return (compare Psalms 33:1-3; 40:3; 96:1; 144:9-10; 149; Luke 15:10; see note on 5:9).

They will sing a new song which no one can learn save the 144,000. These two rewards suggest that they will enjoy a special relationship with God the Son and God the Father from the time of their death after a life of faithful, holy service until they come with Christ to the earth. The 144,000 will learn this song and join in thanks for their redemption from the earth. The earthly, who have rejected the Lord, will not be able to sing this song. It is a song of the redeemed.

Let's begin by looking at the qualifications of this elite group.

  1. They are redeemed from the earth by faith in Christ, "who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads" (14:14b). "They had been redeemed from the earth" (14:3b). And "were purchased from among men" (14:4c). Obviously, these men were first born again by receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.
  2. They are morally pure. "These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure" (14:4). Much as been written about this qualification, suggesting that only unmarried men would qualify. There is no scriptural certainty to indicate that Paul was ever married, so he easily fits the pattern here, and to my knowledge we have no record of John's having been married, though it is possible it is just not mentioned. In any case, there may well have been 144,000 in the last 1900 plus years of the Christian Church who have remained single for the Lord's sake. Having met the other qualifications, they will share in that elite position with Paul, possibly John and others.
  3. They are obedient and available, for "they follow the Lamb wherever he goes" (14:4b). It is obvious that all of God's children, in fact, all of His servants, are not completely yielded to His will. Some have known years of yieldedness and faithful service, only to go back and "walk no more with him", whereas others have had on again off again periods of obedience. This elite group of 144,000 is unusually marked by obedience. Their attitude is epitomized by the statement of the Apostle Paul immediately after recognizing Jesus, when he said, "What shall I do, Lord?" (Acts 22:10).
  4. They tell the truth, for "no lie was found in their mouths" (14:5). These men are characterized by a contrast to Satan. They are faithful witnesses, always telling the truth. Lying is a part of a person's nature when one follows Satan, "the father of all lies." One prime characteristic of obedient Christians by contrast, is that they tell the truth.
  5. They live "blameless" lives (14:5b). This does not indicate that they are perfect, for these people too had to be redeemed "from among men"; they were lost sinners and had to be born again. Nor does it mean that they live in sinless perfection since their salvation, but reasserts what the Apostle Paul meant (in 1 Thess. 2:10), when he said, "You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed." These are men who, in their desire to serve Jesus Christ and walk with Him, leaned on His power to live holy, consecrated lives. They are men who can say with Paul; Gal. 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me".

"Before the four beasts, and the elders" (see notes on 4:4, 6).

Revelation 14:4 "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."

"These are they which were not defiled with women": With the whore of Rome, and her harlots, she is the mother of; while the kings and inhabitants of the earth were drunk with the wine of their fornication, or committed idolatry with them, which is spiritual fornication, and is here meant by being defiled with them, these were free from such pollutions, or idolatrous practices:

"For they are virgins: For their beauty and comeliness in Christ, chastity, sincerity of their love, uncorruptness in doctrine and worship, and for the uprightness of conversation (see Matt. 25:1).

"These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth": As the sheep follow the shepherd of the flock, and which is a character of Christ's sheep (John 10:4). These follow Christ in the exercise of the graces of humility, patience, and love; and in the performance of the several duties of religion, and subjection to ordinances, and in the path of sufferings. And in every way in which Christ the Lamb has gone before them, or in his word and providence leads and directs them to. Whether it be grateful to the flesh or not; particularly they follow where he is preached, and his Word and ordinances are faithfully administered. And they follow him to heaven, where he is.

"These were redeemed from among men": "By Jesus", as the Syriac and Arabic versions add and so the Greek New Testament; by the blood of Christ (for many men are not redeemed by it). And in consequence of this they were called, and delivered from this present evil world, and the men of it, and from a vain, wicked, and idolatrous conversation with it.

"Being the firstfruits unto God, and to the Lamb": In allusion to the firstfruits under the law, which represented and sanctified the Lamb, and showed that harvest was coming. So these persons are called the firstfruits to God, and to the Lamb, being called by grace, and consecrated to their worship and service. Regarding the harvest of souls, or that large number of them which will be gathered in during the spiritual reign of Christ. Which these persons will be at the beginning of. And as those who are first called and converted in a country or nation are said to be the firstfruits of it, (Rom. 16:5). So, these being the first, in the period of time to which respect is had, bear this name.

And as the converted Jews received the firstfruits of the Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, and at other times. So, these will receive the firstfruits of the far greater pouring forth of the Spirit in the latter day, which will begin, and usher in the kingdom of Christ (Romans 8:23).

Verse 4 states, "being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb", perhaps indicating that in addition to being in a privileged position before the resurrection, they will always be in a special position of service for Christ after the resurrection.

"Follow the Lamb": This indicates partisanship for Jesus Christ. The victorious 144,000 are unwaveringly loyal to Him, whatever the cost (compare Matt. 16:24; Mark 10:21: Luke 9:23; John 10:27; 12:26; 14:15).

"Firstfruits": Like the Old Testament first fruit offerings, these men will be set apart for special service to God (compare Deut. 26:1-11). Some see firstfruits as the first large group of redeemed Israel (see note on 11:13), saved much earlier, and representative of more converts to follow (compare Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15), the firstfruits of a redeemed Israel (Rom. 11:1-5, 11-15; 25-27).

"They are offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb" (14:4b). This suggests that these 144,000 are the outstanding believers of the Lamb and have been given a special position, as indicated (in verse 1), in standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion, before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. Among that throng of recipients in heaven of special rewards or commendations for a lifetime of faithful service or even martyrdom, there will, of course, be many familiar names. I often think of men like John Wycliffe, "the morning star of the Reformation," Jon Huss, William Tyndale, and many others who were burned at the stake for translating the Bible into the language of the people.

It will also include those who gave or spent their lives in taking the Word of God to forgotten or lost tribes. Because our God is a just God, we can expect to see many heroes of the faith who were totally unknown during their lifetime. They may have missed rewards of this earth, but this and other passages of the Word indicate they will receive just reward in the next life, and that will last for eternity.

Admittedly states Tim LaHaye, this interpretation places me in the minority among commentators of the book of Revelation. With due respect to faithful interpreters of God who have sought the Holy Spirit for their interpretation, the above is not presently dogmatically, but prayerfully, with the desire that it be given consideration.

Revelation 14:5 "And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."

"No guile": The 144,000 speak God's truth accurately and precisely, with no exaggeration or understatement (compare Zeph. 3:13).

"Without fault": Not sinless, but sanctified (see Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22).

This verse says it plainly. They spoke the truth, not watered down. They did not waver in their decision to follow Jesus. Their face was set toward heaven and they did not look back.

Verses 6-8: The "everlasting gospel" is the "Good News" that Christ will win and the Beast will be judged. Positively, it focuses on the redemption through Christ and the coming of His kingdom. Negatively, it has three parts:

  1. "The hour of His judgment is come" (verse 7);
  2. "Babylon is fallen" (verse 8); and
  3. Those who "worship the beast" will be punished "for ever" (verses 9-11).

The whole world is commanded to "fear" and "worship" God, and to "give glory to him". The identity and destruction of "Babylon" is described (in chapters 17 and 18). The announcement here anticipates later events.

Revelation 14:6 "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,"

Verse 6 introduces the first of five angels who convey a special message concerning the middle of the end time, that is, in the Great Tribulation period. It is astounding that an angel is commissioned to go forth preaching the everlasting gospel, for the preaching of the gospel has not been committed to angels but to human beings. This astounding state of affairs can only be an indication of the severity of the circumstances. If we keep in view the setting of this passage, we will be able to understand readily why this will be necessary. Prior to the Tribulation, the Church will have been Raptured.

"Another angel": This angel will warn the people to fear God instead of Antichrist, and to give glory to God instead of Antichrist, and he will instruct them how to do it.

Otherwise, he would be proclaiming a message of doom instead of good news. The Greek word translated "gospel" (euangelion), literally means "good news," and the only way we can offer people eternal good news is to show them how to receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. A message concerning the judgment of God is only a partial presentation of the gospel of Christ. The complete story of the gospel not only clarifies that all human beings are sinners, but also includes God's remedy for sin through Christ, who "died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and was raised on the third day."

"Midst of heaven": From a Greek term denoting the point in the noonday sky where the sun reaches its zenith. This is the highest and brightest point, where all can see and hear.

"The everlasting gospel": The angel is preaching the good news concerning eternal life and entrance into the kingdom of God (compare Matt. 24:14; 1 Cor. 15:1-10). He is urging the people of the world to change their allegiance from the beast to the Lamb. It is also called in the New Testament the gospel of God, the gospel of grace, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace, the glorious gospel, and the gospel of the kingdom. It is good news that God saves by the forgiveness of sin and opens His kingdom to all who will repent and believe. The whole world will hear this preaching by the angel as God graciously calls all to salvation.

The Everlasting Gospel. Is this a different gospel from that preached today? On the basis of the Word of God, absolutely not! This is the same gospel as we preach, the same message that was "once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).

Revelation 14:7 "Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."

"Fear God": Not Satan, nor Antichrist. This is the theme of Scripture, calling people to give honor, glory, worship, and reverence to God (compare Prov. 23:17; 1 Peter 2:17; see notes on Rom. 1:18-21).

"Hour of his judgment is come": The last moment arrives to repent and believe before God's wrath is poured out. This is the book's first use of the word judgment, a term that has the same meaning as wrath (see 6:17; 12:12).

"Him that made heaven, and earth": Creation is the great proof of God, which preachers will appeal to as the ground for all people to believe in Him and worship Him (compare 4:11; 10:6; John 1:9; Acts 14:15-17; 17:23-28).

This message that is brought will be final in its nature. It will be good news (gospel), but it will also be a last warning. This is a final warning to turn from the world to the Creator of it all. "The

Lord is coming", will be the cry. This message will be worldwide. Remember an angel is a ministering spirit. These will be evangelists. One more time I say this is the final warning that judgement is about to fall. Jesus is Creator God.

The 144,000 Israelite witnesses from all over the world will be converted through the printed page left behind by the departing church. These witnesses will harvest a multitude that no one can number (Rev. 7:9). This indicates that the early days of the Tribulation will experience the greatest revival in world history.

Remember when we first discussed the 144,000 in chapter seven; they first had to be sealed. Why and how did they get sealed? The same way we are sealed, by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The extent of this gospel should be noted, for it will be preached "to those who live on the earth, to every nation, tribe, language and people".

One of the signs of the last days is quoted "that the gospel is to be preached to everyone". Here is what is said about that in;

Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

This is why I don't believe that this must be done before the rapture, but before the second coming.

This seems to be God's last offer to humankind to flee the wrath to come before they accept Antichrist. We have already seen that Antichrist and the False Prophet will mount a great campaign, after having killed the prostitute, the ecumenical Babylonian church and will seek to get everyone to worship Antichrist. This blasphemous idolatry will forfeit anyone's claim to eternal life; thus all will be eternally lost. But as a prelude to that decision, the angel (of Rev. 14:6), will make known the gospel to all the world so that no one can stand before God at the judgment and maintain that he or she accepted the Antichrist without due warning from God.

Again, Revelation is not written in consecutive order. I do believe there will be a voice going throughout the land proclaiming the second coming of Christ, just as there was a voice (John the Baptist), proclaiming His first arrival as Christ. The people will be warned. They will be without excuse. God will have a herald going forth proclaiming truth. Everyone will have their opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord.

Revelation 14:8 "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

The Second Angel. The Fall of Religious Babylon.

This "Babylon" that "is fallen" here is not a literal city. This is the world system that opposed the church and the Christians. This evil world system did all in her power to stop Christianity. This power and the one causing small and great to receive the mark could be one and the same. At any rate, it has fallen here. "Babylon" is symbolic of the world and its evil system. Babylon, in the physical is in Iraq.

"Babylon is fallen": Lack of response to the first angel's message causes a second angel to pronounce this judgment. Babylon refers to the entire worldwide political, economic, and religious kingdom of Antichrist (compare 16:17-19 for details of this fall). The original city of Babylon was the birthplace of idolatry where the residents built the Tower of Babel, a monument to rebelliousness and false religion. Such idolatry was subsequently spread when God confounded man's language and scattered them around the world (compare Gen. 11:1-9).

Note again here, that just before this world system folds, the gospel will be preached unto all nations, as we read above and in Matthew:

Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

Here in this, God has said this is enough, and the World and its evil followers fall. This fornication is spiritual adultery, not physical.

"Wine of the wrath of her fornication": This pictures Babylon causing the world to become intoxicated with her pleasures and enter an orgy of rebellion, hatred, and idolatry toward God. Fornication is spiritual prostitution to Antichrist's false system, which will fall for such iniquity.

Bible students are well aware of the fact that Revelation refers to 2 Babylons, both termed "Babylon the Great" (see article " Babylon - the Harlot ").

Destruction is predicted for both because they will cause people to drink of the wine of the wrath of their fornication. We may understand that this fore glimpse refers to religious Babylon because it takes place in the Great Tribulation. The destruction of the literal city of Babylon is found (in Rev. 16:18-19).

That the city of Babylon will be rebuilt and become the commercial center of the world is seen from such passages (in Isaiah chapters 13 and 14; Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51). As the city of Babylon has never been destroyed according to the Old Testament predictions; thus, we can only conclude that it will be rebuilt and become the commercial center of Antichrist's kingdom; then it will be destroyed at the end of the Great Tribulation. This again points to the fact that Babylon will become the center of the world.

This "Babylon" that "is fallen" here is not a literal city. This is the world system that opposed the church and the Christians. This evil world system did all in her power to stop Christianity. This power and the one causing small and great to receive the mark could be one and the same. At any rate, it has fallen here. "Babylon" is symbolic of the world and its evil system.

This message that is brought will be final in its nature. It will be good news (gospel), but it will also be a last warning. This is a final warning to turn from the world to the Creator of it all. "The Lord is coming", will be the cry. This message will be worldwide. Remember an angel is a ministering spirit. These will be evangelists. One more time I say this is the final warning that judgment is about to fall.

Verses 9-11: Unbelievers during the Great Tribulation will receive the "mark" of the "beast" and "worship" him (see article " Mark of the Beast "). They will all receive God's eternal punishment in the lake of "fire" (compare Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:15). The "wine of the wrath of God" is God's righteous anger (compare Job 21:20; Psalm 75:8; Isa. 51:17; Jer. 25:15-38), "poured out" in full strength ("without mixture" or undiluted), on those who reject Him. The "cup of his indignation" symbolizes the place of God's punishment of sinners. The fact that this "torment" will take place "in the presence of" Christ and His "angels", makes the punishment even more intense and shameful. They will pay the eternal price of having chosen Satan and evil over God and righteousness.

Revelation 14:9 "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand,"

The third angel, will pronounce doom on the worshipers of Antichrist during the Great Tribulation period. It may be, since he follows them, that this angel will come to the earth, and like the angel who preached the eternal gospel, warn human beings of the consequences of accepting the mark of the Antichrist and becoming his worshiper (see article " Antichrist ").

We studied before about the mark of the beast. The number put in your forehead or right hand, seals the person receiving it as belonging to the beast. Just as God the Father's name is on the 144,000 and Jesus Christ's name is on the Christians, these who take the mark of the beast are sealed with the devil's number which is 666. The antichrist system is a counterfeit of the trinity of God. It consists of the beast, antichrist, and false prophet. All are a personification of Satan himself.

"Worship the beast" (see notes on 13:14-15; compare 13:8).

Revelation 14:10 "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:"

"Cup of his indignation": Anyone loyal to the Antichrist and his kingdom will suffer the outpouring of God's collected wrath, done with the full force of His divine anger and unmitigated vengeance (compare Psalm 75:8; Isa. 51:17; Jer. 25:15-16). Divine wrath is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people God does not like. It is the settled, steady, merciless, graceless, and compassionless response of a righteous God against sin.

"Fire and brimstone": These are two elements that are often associated in Scripture with the torment of divine punishment (Gen. 19:24-25; Isa. 34:8-10). Here the reference is to hell, the lake of fire (compare 19:20; 20:10; 21:8). Brimstone is a fiery sulfur (see note on 9:17).

The "fire and brimstone" here is the very same as that which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Just as the angels saw Sodom burn, they are a witness to this as well. The Lamb (Jesus), is the Judge who speaks judgment. It not only will be in His presence, but He will order this punishment as well.

Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."

This "smoke" that comes up rises from the bottomless pit. You see this "torment" is not just for a short time and is over. This is FOREVER, just as heaven is forever for the believers. "Ascendeth" means continually ascends.

"Torment ascendeth up for ever and ever": A reference to the eternality of hell (compare Matt. 3:12; 13:41-42; 25:41; Mark 9:48). Torment is the ceaseless infliction of unbearable pain (compare Luke 16:23-24), here prescribed for all who are loyal to Satan's leader.

This lack of "rest day nor night" is in total contrast to the peace forever the Christians possess. This is very explicit again about who will spend this time in hell. Those who receive the mark of the beast have sealed their doom.

Verses 12-13: "Patience" here is perseverance or endurance. The assurance of the judgment of God's enemies is a basis for the perseverance of the Tribulation believers to continue following Christ. The perseverance of genuine believers in the "faith" and in the "commandments of God" is assumed and guaranteed. "The dead which die in the Lord from henceforth" are Tribulation martyrs; they will be "blessed" through rest, resurrection, and reigning with Christ during the Millennium (compare 20:4-6). They will receive a reward for their "works" of obedience.

Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."

This is excellent scriptural support for the doctrine of perseverance, which assures all true believers in Christ that they will never lose their faith. The regenerate will continually endure, right to the end, in obedience to the truth, no matter what may come against them (see notes on Rom. 8:31-39; Phil 1:6; compare Jer. 32:40; Matt. 24:13; John 6:35-40; 10:27-30; 1 John 5:4, 11-13, 20).

Revelation 14:13 "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."

Patience here is perseverance or endurance. The assurance of the judgment of God's enemies is a basis for the perseverance of the Great Tribulation believers to continue following Christ. The perseverance of genuine believers in the faith and commandments of God is assumed and guaranteed.

The dead which die in the Lord from henceforth are Great Tribulation martyrs; they will be blessed through rest, resurrection, and reigning with Christ during the Millennium (Rev. 20:4-6). They will receive a reward for their works of obedience.

"Blessed" (see note on 1:3).

These dead in Christ rest in peace until they receive their reward. These are blessed in that they have run the race successfully and are now just waiting peacefully to receive the rewards of their labor (see article " Rewards in Heaven for Christians ").

Verses 14-16: The "Son of man" is Christ, the Messiah (compare 1:13; Dan. 7:13; Matt. 26:63-64). The "cloud" relates to Christ's second coming (compare Dan. 7:13; Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:9-11). The "crown" pictures Him as the ruler of the earth, and the "sickle" symbolizes judgment as an instrument of the "harvest (compare John 5:27). "The time is come" to finish the judgment of the "earth". The second coming of Christ includes more judgment. To "reap" and harvest "the earth" is to judge and punish its people (compare Jer. 51:33; Hosea 6:11; Matt. 13:30, 40-42).

Revelation 14:14 "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle."

"Son of man" (see note on 1:13). The imagery of the Lord on a cloud (is from Dan. 7:13-14), and emphasizes magnificent majesty (compare 1:7; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:9-11).

"Golden crown": The victor's crown, a laurel wreath, worn by those who celebrated victory in war or athletic competition. Christ now wears this particular crown, in this case made of gold, as a triumphant conqueror coming out of heaven to prevail over His enemies.

"Sickle": A harvesting tool with a razor-sharp, curved steel or iron blade and a wooden handle, commonly used by ancient farmers to cut grain. It represents swift and devastating judgment.

Revelation 14:15 "And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

"Harvest of the earth"; The grain, in this case the ungodly people of the world, is ready to be gathered up and judged (see article " Soul Harvest ").

Revelation 14:16 "And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped."

This is Christ, the Messiah. The cloud relates to Christ's second coming. Remember when he ascended, the angels told those watching that he would return the same way as he left? He disappeared into a white cloud.

The crown pictures Him as the ruler of the earth, and the sickle symbolizes judgment as an instrument of the harvest. The time has come to finish the judgment of the earth. The second coming of Christ includes more judgment.

To reap and harvest the earth is to judge and punish its people. And so the earth was reaped.

The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 furlongs or 200 miles.

The last 3 verses above show that the time is right and the Judge of all the earth is to harvest both the good and the bad. This will be the judgment of the Goats and Sheep.

Verses 17-20: Where (verses 14 to 16), picture Christ's judgment as a grain harvest (verses 17 to 20), symbolize the wrath of God as a grape harvest with the treading of the grape clusters in an immense winepress. Again the "sickle" depicts judgment. "The clusters of the vine of the earth represent the unbelievers of the earth, those who have followed and worshiped the Beast (verses 8-11). "Her grapes are fully ripe" (Greek akmazo, "at the prime"), in that the time for God's judgment of the earth is now! The "great winepress of the wrath of God" pictures the violence and intensity of God's coming judgment on the earth (compare 19:15; Isa. 63:2-6; Lam. 1:15; Joel 3:12-14). The "blood may be either the red juice of the grapes (compare Gen. 49:11; Deut. 32:14), or literal human blood resulting from the final battle. The amount of "blood" that results from the winepress emphasizes the severity of the judgment. "A thousand and six hundred furlongs" are 200 miles, the full length of Palestine. The height of the "horse bridles" may be about four feet. The winepress may be an anticipation of the vial or bowl judgments (of chapter 16).

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

"Temple" (see note on 11:19). This refers to the heavenly dwelling place of God, not the Tribulation temple in Jerusalem (compare 11:1).

Revelation 14:18 "And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe."

"Another angel ... which had power over fire": This angel is associated with fire on the altar, which represents the prayers of the saints (6:9-11; 8:3-5). Fire refers to the constantly burning fire on the brass altar of the Jerusalem temple. Twice daily the priest would burn incense with that fire and offer the burning incense in the Holy Place as a symbol of the people's prayers (see notes on 5:8; 6:9; 8:3). This angel is coming from the heavenly altar to ensure that all the prayers of all the saints for judgment and the coming of the kingdom are answered. He calls for judgment to start.

Again, the sickle depicts judgment. The clusters of the vine of the earth represent the unbelievers of the earth, those who have followed and worshipped the Beast. "Sickle" (see note on verse 14).

"Her grapes are fully ripe" or "at the prime", in that the time for God's judgment of the earth is now! The great winepress of the wrath of God pictures the violence and intensity of God's coming judgment on the earth.

The city is probably Jerusalem, and if so, the greatest intensity of the judgment may be centered in Palestine. Perhaps the reference is to the coming Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:14-6; see article " Armageddon ").

Revelation 14:19 "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God."

"Winepress": This vivid imagery signifies a horrendous slaughter or bloodbath (compare Isa. 63:2-3; Lam. 1:15; Joel 3:13). Here it refers to the slaughter of all the enemies of God who are still alive, facing the destruction at Armageddon, the final battle against God's enemies, staged on the Plain of Esdraelon. The bloody imagery comes from the fresh juice of stomped grapes splattering and running down a trough from the upper vat to the lower vat of a stone winepress.

Revelation 14:20 "And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs"

"Without the city": God will determine that this bloodbath will occur outside Jerusalem, as if God wants to protect the city from the carnage all around. (Zechariah 14:1-5), makes clear that Jerusalem will be attacked, but will not be destroyed in the end, but spared for the glory of the kingdom. And the believing remnant will be saved as the Lord defends them and the city against the nations. They will escape through a newly created valley as the Lord finishes judgment and sets up His kingdom.

"And blood came out of the winepress": The blood may be either the red juice of the grapes or literal human blood resulting from the final battle. The amount of "blood" that results from the winepress emphasizes the severity of the judgment. A thousand and six hundred furlongs are 200 miles, the full length of Palestine. The average height of a horse's bridle is about four to five feet. The winepress may be an anticipation of the vial or bowl judgments (of chapter 16).

"Even unto the horse bridles": The severity of the slaughter is indicated in the imagery of the blood of those killed in the Battle of Armageddon splattering as high (about 4 feet), of the bridles of the horses involved. Equally likely, if the battle occurs near the central valley of Israel, the tremendous volume and flow of blood could easily form troughs 4 feet deep in some places. This event clearly is described (in 19:11-21).

(Ezekiel 39:8-16), may be describing the cleanup.

"A thousand and six hundred furlongs": The approximate distance from Armageddon in the north of Palestine to Edom in the south. The great battle will rage across that entire area and even slightly beyond.

There is only one valley in Israel that fits the mile description. It is the Jordan Valley, which extends from just north of the Sea of Galilee to Eilat at the Red Sea.

This just shows the terribleness of the punishment of the still living unsaved. This could be by a tremendous war or just like Sodom and Gomorrah, as it was directly from God. At any rate, it is terrible.

Revelation Chapter 14 Questions

1. What stood on Mount Sion?

2. Who was with Him?

3. Whose name was on their head?

4. Who are these 144,000?

5. Whose name do the believers bear?

6. What two places were the mark of the beast put?

7. What is mount Zion symbolic of?

8. This voice heard from heaven was like what?

9. They sang before what?

10. Why can the angels not sing this song?

11. Does verse 4 literally mean they never married? Explain.

12. Who were the firstfruits?

13. In verse 6, who had the everlasting gospel?

14. Who was this gospel sent to?

15. Who did this angel say worship?

16. This message that is brought will ____ _________ in it's nature.

17. What is Babylon symbolic of?

18. Where in Matthew are we promised that just before the end comes the gospel will be preached?

19. What kind of fornication is mentioned in verse 8?

20. This torment in verse 10 is in front of whom?

21. Who are the lost sealed by?

22. Who is the Judge of all?

23. Why did He have the sharp sickle?

24. What was harvesting the grapes symbolic of?

25. Give your opinion of Babylon the great.

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Revelation 15

Revelation Chapter 15

Revelation chapter 15 begins the preparation for the last seven vials. The wrath of God began with the seven seals (in chapter 6), and will be finished with the last seven vials. Chapter 15 is an introduction to these last seven and final plagues on mankind.

Throughout history God has poured out his wrath in judgment on early sinners. Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden brought the entire human race under judgment.

By Noah's days, people had turned so wicked, that God sent the judgment of the flood to destroy the entire world except eight people, Noah, his three sons and their wives.

Centuries of disobedience and wickedness by the Jewish people eventually led to their judgment and captivity. First the northern 10-1/2 tribes (in 722 B.C.), by the Assyrian Empire. Then the southern kingdom of Judah (in 586 B.C.), by the Babylonian Empire.

Cities named Sodom and Gomorrah was completely destroyed by God with fire and brimstone.

Now in Chapters 15 and 16 we see the final outpouring of God's wrath before Christ's return. That wrath is expressed by the effects of the seventh trumpet which was opened in chapter (11:15), which is very short and begins the introduction to those last seven judgments.

Revelation 15:1 "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God."

The "wrath of God" began with the seven seals (chapter 6), and will be finished with the "seven last plagues", which are the seven vials (verse 7). Chapter 15 is an introduction to these "last plagues" (see notes on 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15; compare Rom. 1:18-21).

This chapter in the book of Revelation sets the stage for the last seven vial judgments that cover the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation which are described (in Revelation chapter 16).

The seven angels prepare to administer the last seven Tribulation judgments of Christ (the seven vials). Vials are actually shallow bowls (these are called the bowl judgments), used for pouring libations (5:8; 1 Chronicles 28:17; Jeremiah 52:18; Zech. 9:15; 14:20). The bowls are full of the wrath of God (2 Thess. 1:7-9). God has the right to judge, because He is the Eternal incense that filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. Until the seven plagues are finished, no one is able to enter into the temple. The time for intercession is past; God's judgment will now be completed.

These plagues are really the wrath of God which occurs the last 3-1/2 years of the seven years of the Great Tribulation.

This "seven" just means this is the end. The wrath of the devil is bad, but to fall into the hands of Almighty God and have His wrath fall on unbelievers is the very worst thing that could happen.

These plagues will conclude with the wrath of God on sinful mankind for rejecting His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The last seven plagues indicate that these are in order and this finishes the 21 total plagues on mankind before the end of time.

Verses 2-4: The "sea of glass" was before God's throne in 4:6. The "victory over the beast" is won through faith in Christ (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 1 John 5:4-5), and refusal to submit to the Antichrist. The "song of Moses" may refer either to (Exodus chapter 15 or Deut. Chapter 32). The deliverance of Israel from Egypt prefigured the deliverance of the Tribulation saints from the Antichrist. They praise and worship God for His power and His righteousness. "All nations" will "come and worship" God in the millennial kingdom.

Revelation 15:2 "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."

"Sea of glass": God's heavenly throne sits on a transparent crystal platform or pavement (see note on 4:6).

We see here a "sea of glass". A "sea" symbolizes great numbers of people sometimes. This could be the meaning here. This could also indicate the overcomers who have been baptized.

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

John was seeing the same crystal platform, but now it was mixed with the fire of God's judgment.

"Victory over the beast": All the saints from every nation, including Israel, ultimately triumph over Satan's Antichrist and his system because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

The victory over the beast has been won through faith in Christ and refusal to submit to the Antichrist. These are the Tribulation Martyrs who are rejoicing over the victory they have won. The harps indicate they are rejoicing and singing praise to God. These believers are rejoicing because their prayers for God's vengeance on their persecutors are about to be answered.

Now we see them standing on this "sea of glass". Every time we Christians see these terrible things, God reassures us of our position with Him. These believers have been up in heaven playing their harps. Notice here that these still have their "harps".

"Number of His name" (see note on 13:17).

"Harps" (see note on 5:8).

Revelation 15:3 "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints."

"Song of Moses": Sung by the people of Israel immediately after their passage through the Red Sea and their deliverance from the Egyptian armies (Exodus 15:1-21; Compare Deut. 32:1-43). This was a song of victory and deliverance that the redeemed who overcome Antichrist and his system will readily identify with.

This "they" are the believers in Christ. The "song of Moses" and the "song of the Lamb" are the same. This is the song of redemption. God used Moses to redeem His people from bondage in Egypt. Moses had lead the people out of the land of Egypt to the Promised Land prefiguring now Jesus is leading the Saints to that Promised Land we call heaven.

Who purchased this for us? Who did all the work Himself? Jesus. His works are "marvelous". It is beyond our imagination to see a beautiful snow-capped mountain and realize that the One who created that, also loved us enough that He climbed on the cross and suffered for us. He has every right to be our King. Remember in all of this, He is not just a loving God, but a "just and true" God as well.

"Song of the Lamb" (see 5:8-14). These two songs celebrate two great redemptive events:

(1) Deliverance of Israel by God from Egypt through Moses; and

(2) Deliverance of sinners by God from sin through Christ.

"Great and marvelous are thy works": This statement from the song of the Lamb extols God's powerful works in creation as He providentially upholds the universe (compare Psalms 139:14).

Verse 3 says "Lord God Almighty"; this reminds me that Jesus truly was and is our Savior, but until He becomes Lord of our life we are miles apart from Him. This name just tells us of His overwhelming power.

"Lord God Almighty", celebrates God's omnipotence, essential to the triumphant power of the last judgments and appears frequently in Revelation. This name just tells us of His overwhelming power.

"Almighty": God is omnipotent (compare Amos 4:13).

The exclamation, "just and true" reflects the Old Testament truth that all of God's works are true and His ways just (Dan. 4:37; Deut. 32:4; Hosea 14:9).

"King of saints": God is sovereign over the redeemed of every nation (compare Jer. 10:7).

Revelation 15:4 "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."

God's holy and perfect character inevitably demands that He judge (compare Psalm 19:9; Nahum 1:3, 6). After God's righteous judgment is complete, He will set up Christ's millennial kingdom on earth and the elect from every nation will come and worship Him (compare Psalm 66:4; Isa. 66:23; Phil. 2:9-11).

In Proverbs 9:10 we read "The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding."

We are not to fear the world or its people. We are "to fear" (meaning Reverence), God.

This "all nations shall come and worship", is speaking of the time when Jesus will sit on a throne in Jerusalem and rule the world. There will be a yearly pilgrimage by everyone to worship. We see Jesus is the only Holy one.

Philippians 2:10-11 says "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father."

After God's righteous acts of judgment has been made manifested or revealed, the time of Isaiah will come:

Isaiah 26:33 "And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

Verses 5-8: The "seven angels" prepare to administer the last seven Great Tribulation judgments of Christ: the "seven vials" (compare 16:1-17; 17:1; 21:9). The vials are actually shallow bowls (Greek phiale), used for pouring libations (compare 5:8; 1 Chron. 28:17; Jer. 52:18; Zech. 9:15, 14:20). The bowls are "full of the wrath of God" (compare 2 Thess. 1:7-9). God has the right to judge, because He is the Eternal One, the Almighty. The "temple" represents the presence of God Himself. The "smoke" is like the incense that filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. Until the "seven plagues" are finished, no one is "able to enter into the temple". The time for intercession is past; God's judgment will now be completed.

Revelation 15:5 "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:"

"The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony": This refers to the location of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies where God dwells (see note on verse 11:19; compare Num. 10:11).

This "tabernacle" is the original tabernacle in heaven that the one on the earth was patterned by. Moses was given instruction by God how to build the earthly one. The tabernacle was opened by Jesus, as the temple curtain which was in front of the Holy of Holies, was torn from the top to the bottom, when Jesus died on the cross.

In an earlier vision given John, God's throne room was opened so the faithful could see in. We see here that it "was opened" (past tense). Now the heavenly tabernacle, which the earthly tabernacle was a copy, was opened to reveal the most severe earthly judgment ever on the unrepentant.

The tabernacle was sometimes referred to as the tabernacle of the testimony, so named as it contained the testimony. The two stone tablets which God had written the ten commandments on.

Revelation 15:6 "And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles."

"Seven plagues": The final, most severe judgments from God, described in chapter 16 (see note on verse 1).

Seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. These are the "plagues" that will strike the earth in the last three and one-half years to punish those who have chosen to serve the Antichrist, doing his bidding to persecute the saints for their faith in Christ.

So many people in this current, new wave of believers think that all punishment comes from the devil and no bad thing comes from God. They better take another look at this Scripture right here. These "angels" are operating under God's orders. They have just come "out of the temple" (which shows the origination). They are clothed in white (which shows they are good angels and not demons). The gold of their breasts show that they have been in the presence of God.

"Linen ... golden girdles": The fabric represents holiness and purity (19:14). These are belts or girdles, running from the shoulder to the waist, that each of the 7 angels wear over his garments. The sashes demonstrate riches, royalty, and untarnished glory.

Revelation 15:7 "And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever."

"Four beasts" (see notes on 4:6-8).

"Seven golden vials": These are shallow saucers, familiar items often associated with various functions of the temple worship (1 Kings 7:50; 2 Kings 12:13; 25:15), such as wine (Amos 6:6), and blood sacrifice (Exodus 27:3). Their flat shallowness pictures how the divine judgments will be emptied instantly rather that slowly poured, drowning those who refused to drink the cup of salvation.

Here again, we see these "vials" are from God, because they are gold. These "sevens" just show the completeness of it all.

And again, we see the eternity of God in the forever and ever. They are ready to pour the wrath out on the inhabitants of the earth. God has the power to put an end to sin so that it can never exist again in His holy presence. "Wrath of God" (see notes on 11:18; 14:10).

Revelation 15:8 "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled."

As soon as the angels in verse 6 come out of the Temple, great smoke from the glory of the presence of God and His power and wrath fills the Temple so that neither angels nor human beings can go back into worship until "the seven plagues of the seven angels are completed."

"Filled with smoke" (compare Exodus 19:16-18; 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Isa. 6:4).

We know that in the tabernacle in the wilderness, no one could go inside. God is a consuming fire as we read in Hebrews 12:29 "For our God is a consuming fire."

During this time, no created human being will have access to the presence of God on His throne until the end of the Tribulation, for He will not be dealing with people in mercy, as is His usual custom. During the latter three and one half years of the Great Tribulation, He will deal with human beings in judgment.

This glory cloud will remain in the heavenly temple until the earth is completely purged, cleansed and prepared for the King and His kingdom that is coming (see article " Kingdom - Christ's Coming Kingdom ").

This "smoke" is from the Majesty of God. The children of Israel were led by God Himself. We read that a fire led them by night and a cloud by day (Exodus 13:21). This is the very same presence we read of here. No mere man can enter this Holy Place. Jesus enters here for us and takes us with Him after we are covered by His (Jesus), blood.

God sees Jesus' shed blood, instead of us, when we enter (after we are a believer); and that shed blood is what keeps us from being burned up in God the Father's presence.

God's anger is kindled at those on the earth who have caused such sorrow to the church and the true believers, and His fury has come in His face. These plagues, as we said before, are from God. What a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God and be judged by Him guilty and deserving of His wrath.

In Hebrews 10:30-31, we read about just how terrible it is for the sinner to fall into His hands.

Hebrews 10:30-31 "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." "[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Revelation Chapter 15

1. Chapter 15 of Revelation deals with the seven what?

2. What was filled with the wrath of God?

3. When is the wrath poured out?

4. What is the only thing good about the plagues?

5. What is worse than to be attacked by the devil?

6. What was the sea of glass mingled with?

7. Who stands on the sea of glass?

8. What can a sea be symbolic of?

9. How is the only way to be victorious over the beast?

10. What is God constantly reassuring the believers of?

11. What is the song of Moses?

12. The song of whom is the same?

13. What does this song call God?

14. Who is Jesus King of?

15. What does Jesus need to be in our life besides our Savior?

16. Who shall come and worship before Him?

17. What is the beginning of wisdom?

18. What was opened in heaven?

19. What was the tabernacle in the wilderness a replica of?

20. Who gave Moses the plan to build it?

21. When was the way opened in the tabernacle?

22. How were the seven angels clothed when they came out of the temple?

23. How do we know these angels were in the presence of God?

24. What were the seven vials full of?

25. What was the temple filled with?

26. In Hebrews 12:29, we read that God is a _____________ ________.

27. What do we have to be covered with to be in the presence of God without being destroyed?

28. In Hebrews 10:31, we read that it is a ___________ _________to fall into the hands of the living God.

29. Write a description, in your own words, of what you believe the 7 plagues are.

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Revelation 16

Revelation Chapter 16

Revelation chapter 16 describe the final seven Vials of the wrath of God, representing the climax of God's punishment of sinners during the Tribulation period. No repentance is invited or shown. The judgments are somewhat parallel both to the 10 plaques on Egypt and to the trumpets of chapters 8 and 9.

The vials (also called bowls), are more total and universal in their effects than were the trumpets, and generally affect people more directly.

Revelation 16:1 "And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."

The seven angels, each holding a vial (bowl), containing the judgments that are about to fall on the earth, seem reluctant to cast forth their bitter judgments. However, they are obedient to the voice of God when He speaks: These bowls constitute what the Lord Jesus referred to as the "great distress" (Matt. 24:21), or the last 42 months of the Great Tribulation period.

Four of these seven judgments occurred literally in Egypt among the ten plagues and have never been accepted by credible Bible teachers as anything but literal. In addition, part of the 6th judgment; that of drying up the Euphrates River and producing frogs, was also literally fulfilled during the history of Israel. Frogs were generated as one of the plagues of Egypt, and both the Red Sea and Jordan River were rolled back so that God's people could walk forth on dry ground.

Therefore, nothing new will be transpiring when God dries up the Euphrates River in order that the kings of the East may march over on dry ground.

If the plagues of Egypt were literal, and they certainly were, why should we not expect these awful judgments likewise to be literal?

Revelation 16:2 "And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and [upon] them which worshipped his image."

The First Vial Judgment. Foul and loathsome sore. When men choose to worship Antichrist rather than Christ and demonstrate their allegiance by accepting the mark of the beast, God responds by sending on them a plague of "a noisome and grievous sore". John makes it clear that these awful sores afflict only those who worship the Antichrist and who have accepted the mark of the Beast; no Tribulation saint suffers from them (see article " Mark of the Beast ").

The first "vial" produces a painful "sore" on all the followers of the "beast", wherever they are. This parallels the boils of the sixth plague on Egypt (Exodus 9:9-11; compare Deut. 28:27; Job 2:7-13).

The Septuagint (LXX), uses the same Greek word to describe the boils that plagued the Egyptians (Exodus 9:9-11), and afflicted Job (Job 2:7). In the New Testament, it describes the open sores that covered the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:21). All over the world, people will be afflicted with incurable, open, oozing sores.

"Mark of the beast": Only the worshipers of Antichrist will be afflicted (see note on 13:16; compare 14:9-11).

Further confirmation that the three judgments; the seals, the trumpets, and the vials are sequential, not concurrent (as some bible teachers suggest), is clarified in the time of this judgment.

Antichrist will not be set up as the object of worship until the middle of the Tribulation period. This judgment falls on the human race because of their worship of Antichrist, which can only occur after the middle of the Tribulation.

The recipients are the beast worshipers. The selection from among the peoples on the earth is clearly seen in this passage: Only those containing the mark of the beast and worshiping his image will be selected for those awful sores.

Some might say "what a cruel thing for God to do". This is just not so. God is more than gracious to all of us. We all deserve every one of these plagues. God's love for us is the only reason He provided a way out for us (through Jesus). Each of these plagues happened not only in punishment, but to get men to repent. I cannot believe "they repented not". Notice here that the reason this fell on them, was because they worshipped a false god.

This indicates that God in His marvelous grace will not bring judgment on believers during this latter half of Tribulation, but will protect them as He did the Israelites during the plagues of Egypt.

This further confirms our assumption that in the previous judgments, when He slays 25% and then another third of the world's population that's remaining, (making a total of 50%) He will exempt believers.

Revelation 16:3 "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead [man]: and every living soul died in the sea."

The Second Vial Judgment. Became as the blood of a dead man": Now the second angel "poured out his vial upon the sea", and it turns into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea dies.

"Second ... vial ... every living soul died in the sea": This is reminiscent of the second trumpet (8:8-9), and of the first plague against Egypt (Exodus 7:20-25). However, this plague will be far more widespread. The water in the world's oceans will become thick, dark, and coagulated, like the blood of a corpse. The death and decay of billions of sea creatures will only add to the misery of this judgment.

We have already seen that God will cause a third part of the sea to turn to blood during the 2nd trumpet, but this second bowl includes the entire sea. Imagine when all living creatures in the seas die. Think of the unbearable stench and the potential for disease.

"The "blood of a dead man" is coagulated and rotting. No evaporation for rain would be possible.

This judgment may well interfere with commercial shipping and send whole populations into confusion as people grope for an adequate supply of water, not to mention destroying what is left of the fish industry.

These vials, trumpets, and evil things happening are like the problems that came with the ten plagues on Egypt. In all cases, God brought them on to cause repentance. Just as Pharaoh repented not, these worshippers of the beast repented not. Many large cities have so much pollution today, that the water is bad.

Verses 4-7: The third "vial" turns all fresh "water" to "blood", so that no pure water for drinking is left on earth. This again parallels the first Egyptian plague, but also the third trumpet (8:10-11). That it is "righteous" for God to judge the earth thus, is shown by the fact that the Beast and his followers "had shed the blood of saints and prophets". Those who shed the blood of God's people must now "drink" blood (compare Isa. 49:26).

Revelation 16:4 "And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood."

The Third Vial Judgment. Poured out his vial upon the rivers": The third vial, a sequel to the second, carries with it an interesting explanation as to why God will permit it. God will destroy the only remaining sources of water, the rivers and fountains or springs of the deep, by letting them turn to blood.

"Third ... vial ... rivers and fountains of waters": Fresh water, already in short supply because of the prolonged drought (11:6), will now suffer the fate of the oceans (compare Exodus (7:19ff), in addition to suffering from thirst, the worshipers of Antichrist will have no clean water with which to wash their sores.

Whether this means literal "blood", is inconsequential, for if Christ can turn water to wine, He certainly can turn water to blood. What is significant is that it will become corrupt blood, which will breed disease and pestilence. One of the basic needs of humankind is water. Unless God provides water from another source or engineers by some process can turn this corrupted water into pure water, the world will be in a state of riot and confusion, seeking this necessity of life.

All of this describes devastation beyond what we can comprehend. The judgment of God has fallen. Sometimes, God uses wars to bring His will about. At any rate, this no doubt does away with a good part of humanity.

Revelation 16:5 "And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus."

Notice here, this is not the people saying that God is righteous. This is the angel saying God is righteous. At no time do the people repent. The angel here is saying that this judgment that God has brought is justified. This God mentioned here is the great "I Am".

"Which art, and wast": This phrase expresses God's eternality (compare 1:4, 8; 14:8; 11:17). Verse 6 says that the eternal God will judge justly because they have killed the believers and preachers of the gospel (6:9-11; 7:9-17; 11:18; 17:6; 18:20). This slaughter will have no parallel in history (Matt. 24:21), and neither will the vengeance of God (compare Rom. 12:19-21).

Revelation 16:6 "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy."

"Given them blood to drink": The thick, blood-like substance which the fresh waters have become is all that is available to drink (compare verse 4).

"They are worthy": The angel exonerates God from any charge that His judgments are too harsh. The unspeakably wicked generation then alive will shed more blood than any before. It, including that of saints (6:9; 17:6), and prophets (11:7-10). God's judgment is fair and proper (compare Exodus 21:25-27; Lev. 24:19-20; Heb. 10:26-31).

It seems that blood in their water supply is in punishment for the blood of the saints and prophets. Throughout the ages, the world and its evil system has been opposed to God and His people. They deserve this punishment.

Revelation 16:7 "And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments."

"Altar": The personified altar echoes the words of the angel, reinforcing the truth that God is just in all judgment (19:1-2; compare Gen. 18:25; Psalm 51:4; Rom. 3:4).

As bad as these judgments are, they are deserved. As it was said before, everyone likes to think of God as love, but few remember also, that He is the Judge of the world. Thank God His grace saved me. He is longsuffering, not willing that even one should perish. However, there is a day of reckoning when the God of the entire world will judge fairly. This seems to be that time.

Verses 8-9: The forth "vial" scorches the earth with "fire" from the "sun". This is the opposite of the fourth trumpet (8:12). The followers of the Beast are scorched as well (contrast 7:16). Since they have by now made a permanent decision to reject God and follow the Beast, they blaspheme "the name of God" and refuse to repent. Like Pharaoh, their hearts have become hardened (compare Exodus 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34-35).

Revelation 16:8 "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire."

The Fourth Vial Judgment. "Scorch men with fire": Their mouths already parched from lack of water, those who are unrepentant suffer even more intense thirst when God causes the sun to "scorch them with fire".

"Forth ... vial ... scorch men with fire": The sun that normally provides light, warmth, and energy will become a deadly killer. With no fresh water to drink, earth's inhabitants will face extreme heat. The scorching heat will melt the polar ice caps, which some estimate would raise the level of the world's oceans by 200 feet, inundating many of the world's major cities and producing further catastrophic loss of life (compare Amos 9:5-6). The resulting disruption of ocean transportation will make it difficult to distribute the dwindling resource of food and water.

How right the angel was who said to God, "True and righteous are Your judgments" (16:7). Like Pharaoh, their hearts have become hardened (Exodus 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34-35).

The environmentalists are telling us every day that we are destroying the Ozone layer above the earth. Every time a person sprays their hair or uses an aerosol spray of any kind it does away with a little more Ozone. The scientists tell us that this is so thin that it might just go away altogether. And if it did, people would die by the thousands from harmful rays from the sun that had not been filtered to make them safe.

You see, God put this earth together very intricately and man, in changing God's ways, has messed up the atmosphere. An interesting thing to note in connection with this is, that it takes just a very thin coat of the shed blood of Jesus to protect us from the enemy. What a comparison.

Revelation 16:9 "And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory."

"Scorched with great heat". But even this does not drive the rebels to their knees in repentance. Instead, they blaspheme the name of God "who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory."

With this type of rays from the sun, they would be covered with sores. This terrible plague is vented at the beast and its followers. The worst thing they could possibly do was to curse God, and that is just what they did. They did not repent; their hearts had been hardened. They either were not aware of God's power or just did not want to give Him the glory. Either way, they are in trouble.

This type of "heat" would burn up all crops, cause droughts, and probably even melt all the polar ice region.

"They repented not": Incredibly, sinners will still refuse to repent (compare verses 11 and 21), but instead blaspheme God, the One they know has caused their afflictions.

The worst thing they could possibly do was to curse God, and that is just what they did. At any time, they could have fallen on their knees before God and repented of their sins, and God could have turned the plagues off. They did not repent. They either were not aware of His power or just did not want to give God the glory. Either way, they are in trouble.

Verses 10-11: The fifth "vial" produces "darkness" on the "seat" and "kingdom" of the "beast". His seat is his throne or headquarters, probably either Rome or Jerusalem. His followers suffer "pain" agony, and fear. There are parallels with both the ninth plague on Egypt (Exodus 10:21-29), and the fourth trumpet (8:12). The "sores" of the first vial continue, and the Beast's followers continue to blaspheme God and refuse to repent of their sins.

Revelation 16:10 "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,"

The Fifth Vial Judgment. Darkness: What's John talking about when he refers to the judgment falling upon the throne or seat of the beast and his kingdom? It's probably best to think of the beast's throne as a reference to his entire kingdom since his kingdom was full of darkness. Some see this to mean the city of Babylon, but his kingdom will be worldwide.

"Fifth ... vial ... seat of the beast": This refers to either Antichrist's actual throne, or his capital city, but extends to all his dominion. Regardless of where the darkness begins, it eventually covers Antichrist's entire kingdom.

"Darkness": Worldwide darkness is elsewhere associated with the judgment of God (compare Isa. 60:2; Joel 2:2; Mark 13:24-25).

Notice also that tremendous darkness envelops the beast's kingdom. This same phenomenon occurred in Egypt during the plagues; the whole land was consumed in darkness so oppressive that Moses said you could actually feel it. That's the sort of thing that will come upon the kingdom of the Antichrist at this time. This divine judgment will give a physical illustration of their spiritual darkness.

You see, the beast may have control of evil men upon the earth, but he cannot control God or nature.

This "darkness" here was not just physical darkness, which is bad enough; but this "darkness" is of the spirit as well, bringing depression, attempted suicide, and all sorts of evil attacks on the mind.

"Gnawed their tongues": A futile attempt to alleviate the pain from their sores, the drought, and the fierce heat.

Two things indicate that this darkness will prevail for some time on the earth: the predictions of other prophets, and the effects on human beings. This judgment, a repetition of the 9th plague of Egypt, is to be understood literally:

Amos 5:18 "Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light"

Nahum 1:6 "Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him".

Nahum 1:8 "but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness".

Zephaniah 1:15 "That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness".

The answer to all of this is to cry out to God for forgiveness. God is good and kind. This beast they are worshipping is the created, not the Creator. God is a jealous God. He will not allow us to worship any thing or anyone other than Him. The only good thing I can say about all of this is that the Christians are in heaven when this takes place.

Revelation Chapter 16 Questions

1. In chapter 16, what is poured out?

2. Where did the great voice he heard come from?

3. Who was this voice speaking to?

4. What did the great voice tell them to do?

5. Who were these plagues poured out on?

6. These sores mentioned, describe what?

7. Is God cruel in pouring out these vials?

8. What percent died in the sea?

9. What Egyptian happening do we relate these plagues to?

10. Who said "thou art righteous, O Lord"?

11. In verse 6, why did God give them blood to drink?

12. What name was God called by in verse 7?

13. What protection must the Christian apply to be safe from the enemy?

14. When these men were scorched, what did they do?

15. Who had the power over these plagues?

16. What could these people have done to stop this horror?

17. What other things would this type of heat do?

18. What did they do because the pain was so great?

19. What two kinds of darkness prevailed?

20. What is the only good thing here?

21. Write a mini-sermon about how you would convince someone to repent.

Revelation Chapter 16 Continued

Revelation 16:11 "And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."

"Blasphemed the God of heaven". A sign of their continued loyalty to Antichrist and their anger at God for the cumulative miseries brought about by the first 5 vials. "God of heaven", a frequent Old Testament title for God, appears in the New Testament here (and in 11:13).

Christ's own prediction was:

Mark 13:24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon will not give her light". The effects on people, described in: Rev. 16:10c "And they gnawed their tongues for pain", indicate that the relief from the heat will soon produce an exasperating, frustrating darkness.

We may forecast that human ingenuity in producing electricity may solve this problem, but we must remember that the water supply produces electricity, and with the tampering of the water supply, as seen in the second and third judgments, people may be incapable of continuing to draw electrical power and illumination from the rivers and bodies of water.

These judgments are so clearly supernatural that everyone will know that they descend from the God of heaven. But instead of falling down before Him to become the recipients of His mercy, people only "cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done." They not only blaspheme God, but refuse to change their ways. Let it be understood that those who reject the Lord do so, not because of philosophical doubts or unexplained answers to unanswered questions, but as a result of hardness of heart and love for sin.

"Their sores": The lingering effects of the first bowl are the chief cause of their blasphemy.

Verses 12-16: The sixth "vial" results in the gathering of the armies of the "whole world" together in Palestine for the battle of Armageddon". The "river Euphrates", at the northeastern boundary of the promised kingdom of Israel, is "dried up", so that the "kings of the east" may come into Palestine. These kings are unidentified (perhaps they are from China, India, or other Oriental nations), but there may be a parallel with the sixth trumpet (9:13-21), and its two million horsemen (9:14, 16). The "three unclean spirits" are demons who support the activities of Satan, the "beast", and the "false prophet". By means of "miracles", they will convince the eastern "kings" and all the armies and "kings of the earth and of the whole world" to "gather" in Palestine to fight against the second coming of Christ (compare 19:19). This is Satan's final attempt to prevent Christ's return. Verse 15 is an exhortation to the surviving believers to be watchful and alert (compare Matt. 24:32 - 25:13), and to remain faithful and loyal to Christ during a time of intense persecution. To have "garments", rather than be "naked", relates to spiritual preparedness. Verse 16 identifies the place of the final battle as Armageddon, for the "Hebrew Har Megiddon (the Hill of Megiddo). The hill country of Megiddo and the adjacent valley of Esdraelon have been the site of many important battles (compare Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 9:27; 23:29; see article " Armageddon ").

Revelation 16:12 "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."

The Sixth Vial Judgment. Euphrates Dried Up: The sixth bowl judgment comes in 2 parts.

(1) The drying up of the Euphrates River, which will be a preparation for the "battle on the great day of God Almighty;" and

(2) The tremendous demon forces that will bring the rebellious armies of the world to the Valley of Megiddo for the purpose of opposing the Lord.

"Sixth ... vial ... Euphrates": Called "the great river" five times in Scripture (compare 9:14; Gen. 15:18; Deut. 1:7; Joshua 1:4). It flows some 1800 miles from its source on the slopes of Mt. Ararat to the Persian Gulf (see note on 9:14). It forms the eastern boundary of the land God promised to Israel. With its flow already reduced by the prolonged drought and intensified heat, God supernaturally will dry it up to make way for the eastern confederacy to reach Palestine (Isa. 11:15).

It is likely that when the Euphrates River, the natural boundary between east and west is dried up," the "kings from the east" will march a sizable army across to battle with the King of kings. That army will probably be 3 to 5 million strong. These forces will be joined in the valley of Megiddo by huge armies from all over the world, and while that valley is vast as Napoleon has said, "the most ideal, natural battlefield in the world", even it has a limit to how many people it can hold.

"The kings of the east": God providentially draws these kings and their armies in order to destroy them in the battle of Armageddon (verse 14). Their reason for coming may to rebel against Antichrist, whose failure to alleviate the world's suffering will no doubt erode his popularity. Or, this may be a final act of rabid anti-Semitism intent on destroying Israel, perhaps in retaliation for the plagues sent by her God. Since the sun may have melted the ice caps on Ararat, flooding the valley of the Euphrates as the river overflows its banks and bridges, the land will be swamped. God will have to dry it up; miraculously for the eastern army to get to Armageddon.

The Euphrates River is the eastern border of the land God gave to Abraham (Gen. 15:18). It is about 1800 miles long and so large that it forms a natural barrier against the armies of the world. Most people are not particularly conscious of the fact that it served as the eastern border of the Roman Empire. The sixth bowl judgment will dry up that river to make way for the "kings of the East."

This river could have dried up because of the problems caused by some of the other vials. There will be such a drought that this waterway will dry up, and these armies from the east will come into Israel on dry land.

These kings from the east have befuddled Bible prophecy scholars for many years, for few scholars mentioned anything about them. That is, until the communist takeover of China after WWII. Since then it has become apparent that this largest of all countries, by population, has a prophetic role in end time events.

China is controlled by some of the most dedicated Communists in the world. They are not "reformers" or "progressive" as our media tried to represent them a few years ago. They are a ruthless group of elite gangsters who have never wavered in their plan to use China as a military platform from which to conquer the world. The events of the next 2 decades, if indeed we have that long, will prove that point. One thing we can be certain: China is not going to go away. John the Revelator saw them as players on the world scene in the end times.

Even so, the Bible has very little to say about China. In fact, what is said includes more than just China, for the terms "kings from the east" really means "kings from the rising sun," which would include Japan and possibly other Asian countries.

Dr. John F. Walvoord was considered perhaps the world's foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy. He was a member of the Dallas Theological Seminary faculty. He was born in 1910 and died on December 20, 2002. He was 92 years old.

He was considered the dean of prophecy scholars when he wrote: There has been some tendency to take the expression "the kings of the east" literally, "the kings of the sunrise" as referring specifically to Japan where the rising sun is a symbol of its political power. However, it is more natural to consider the term "rising sun" as a synonym for east. The Euphrates River, one of the first rivers mentioned in the Bible, has served for centuries as the natural dividing line between East and West.

The significance of the rise of China to become a principal player among the nations of the world was not lost on Dr. John Walvoord. He saw the prophetic significance of the Chinese rise to prominence back in 1967 when he wrote: The fact that the rise of Asia has occurred in the 20th century with so many rapid and unexpected developments is further evidence that the world is moving toward its final climax and the end of the times of the Gentiles. In Asia, as in other parts of the world, the stage is being set for the final drama in which the kings of the east will have their important part.

If he were writing on that subject today, he might be inclined to say the curtain is about to rise. We are the first generation to witness the sleeping giant of China reach the potential of fulfilling this prophecy. No one doubts that unless something drastic and unforeseen occurs soon, China will gain control of most of the countries of the East, with whom she shares many religious and cultural similarities.

It is realistic to believe that she could be led in these very days by her master, the dragon, "that old serpent, the devil," to rebel against God that she would actually join the armies of the world in opposition to the coming of Jesus Christ. What is needed to bring her to that point? Very little! Merely the deceiving spirit forewarned by John the Revelator. She is almost there today and could gain control of the entire Orient in 10 or 20 years.

Remember, the events of Revelation (Rev 16:12), do not take place until 7 years after the rise of Antichrist, which follows the Rapture of the church. More than enough time to be fulfilled and just one more reason to believe Christ may return for His church in our generation.

Revelation 16:13 "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet."

"Three unclean spirits": A common New Testament designation for demons (compare Matt. 12:43; Mark 1:23; Luke 8:29). These are especially vile, powerful and deceitful (verse 14). They are demons who support the activities of Satan, the beast and the false prophet (see article " False Prophet - the Beast "). By means of miracles, they will convince the eastern "kings" and all the armies and kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather in Palestine to fight against the second coming of Christ (Rev. 19:19). This is Satan's final attempt to prevent Christ's return.

Do you remember the Egyptian plague of the frogs? Even then, the frogs were associated with the devil.

We do know that even now there are very bad deceiving spirits in the church. God says that if the time were not shortened even the very elect could be deceived (Matt. 24:22). These "three unclean spirits" represent the devil, the world, and the flesh. The "dragon" represents the devil, the world is represented by the computer ("beast"), and the deceit through the flesh represents the "false prophet". I touched on it before, but it is really easy to see the flesh creeping into many of even the Spirit-filled churches today.

These unclean spirits will no doubt perform supernatural signs as part of their deception. Undoubtedly, they will work lying wonders to deceive the eastern kings, seducing them to make the difficult journey to their doom at Armageddon.

"The dragon ... the beast ... the false prophet": The "un-holy trinity", composed of Satan (the dragon; see note on 12:3; see article " Satan "), the Antichrist (the beast; see note on 11:7), and Antichrist's associate (the false prophet; see note on 13:11), spew out this plague.

"Like frogs": This figure further emphasizes their vileness (compare Lev. 10:11, 41). Frogs were unclean animals according to Old Testament dietary laws (Lev. 11:10-11, 41). Persian mythology viewed them as plague-inducing creatures. The demons are thus described as slimy, cold-blooded, loathsome beings.

Revelation 16:14 "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

"Miracles": These are supernatural wonders (compare 13:12-15), designed to deceive (compare 19:20; 1 Kings 22:20-23; Mark 13:22), the kings into invading Palestine. Their impact will be so great that the unclean spirits are able to induce the kings to make the journey to Palestine in spite of their sores, the intense heat, drought, and darkness.

Kings of ... the whole world": No longer just the eastern confederacy, but now all the world begins to gather in Palestine for the final, climactic battle (Psalm 2:2-3; Joel 3:2-4; Zech. 14:1-3).

"The battle of that great day of God Almighty": The Battle of Armageddon (verse 16). It is the great war with God and Christ (see notes on 2 Thess. 1:7-10; compare Joel 2:11; 3:2, 4). The war will end when Christ arrives (19:17-20).

You see, it tells you here that these are "spirits of devils". In other words, they are the followers of the devil. Demons are the fallen angels who followed Lucifer out of heaven. These "spirits of devils" have power to do miracles, just like the Egyptian magicians copied some of Moses' miracles. Their power is limited, just as was the Egyptians. When Moses threw his rod down and it became a snake, the Egyptians threw two rods down and they became snakes. The only difference was that Moses' snake swallowed their snakes (Exodus 7:9-12).

The Bible says that at the end, the devil will have power enough to call down fire from heaven. His miracles will be so convincing that people will believe a lie. This is deception to the utmost. These evil spirits are so deceiving, that they convince these armies to come against Israel. They willingly come to the battle of Armageddon, believing they will win. This battle is actually the forces of evil coming against God Himself. This war has actually been going on for centuries, but here is the culmination of it all.

Revelation 16:15 "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."

"He that watcheth, and keepeth his garments": Our Lord stresses the need for constant readiness for His return (compare 1 John 2:28). The imagery pictures a soldier ready for battle, or a homeowner watchful for the arrival of a thief (see also 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:2, 4; 2 Peter 3:10).

We see here that this comes unexpectedly. The garment spoken of here is the robe of righteousness. We must not despair of His coming and fall away into sin. We need to walk in righteousness after we receive our robe of righteousness, washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Verse 15 is an exhortation to the surviving believers to be watchful and alert (Matt 24:32 - 25:13), and to remain faithful and loyal to Christ during a time of intense persecution. To have garments, rather than be naked, relates to spiritual preparedness.

Revelation 16:16 "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

Armageddon is the place where this great battle is to be fought is in Israel. The blood will run up to the horses bridle in this valley of Megiddo during this battle. This valley is called by the name Jezreel also. There have already been twenty battles fought at this very spot, but never a battle of this magnitude. This battle will be the twenty-first (3 x 7). Three means God. Seven means spiritually complete. God Himself will settle the outcome of this once and for all. This truly will be the war to end all wars. Shortly after this battle, Jesus will set up His Kingdom (see article " Kingdom - Christ's Coming Kingdom ").

"Har-Megedon": The Hebrew name for Mt. Megiddo, 60 miles north of Jerusalem. The battle will rage on the nearby plains, site of Barak's victory over the Canaanites (Judges chapter 4), and Gideon's victory over the Midianites (Judges chapter 7). Napoleon called this valley the greatest battlefield he had ever seen. But the Battle of Armageddon will not be limited to the Megiddo plains, it will encompass the length of Palestine (see note on 14:20).

Verse 16 identifies the place of the final battle as Armageddon, from the Hebrew "Har Megiddo" (the Hill of Megiddo). The hill country of Megiddo and the adjacent valley of Esdraelon have been the site of many important battles (Judges 5:15; 2 Kings 9:27; 23:29).

Verses 17-21: The seventh "vial" produces the destruction of Babylon, "the great city. Babylon" is further described and identified (in chapters 17 and 18). The statement "It is done" shows that with this vial and the return of Christ Himself, the judgments are now finished. A tremendous "earthquake" destroys the great city and "the cities of the nations". The "cup" symbolizes the "wrath" of God (compare 14:10). The large "hail" (a "talent" weighting about 60 to 100 pounds), may help to destroy the "cities" (compare Joshua 10:11: Ezek. 38:18-22). But unbelieving mankind still blasphemes "God" and has no opportunity for repentance. The seventh vial is the last of the seven plagues (15:6-8), and also completes both the seventh trumpet (11:15), and the seventh seal (8:1).

Revelation 16:17 "And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done."

The seventh vial judgment. The Wrath of God: Then came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed.

"Seventh ... vial ... It is done": This bowl will complete God's wrath (except for final judgment on the rebellion at the end of the Millennium; 20:7-10), and immediately precedes the second coming of Christ. It will usher in the worst calamity in the history of the world. The voice from the temple in heaven is undoubtedly that of God Himself. "It is done" is best translated, "it has been and will remain done" (compare John 19:30).

This "great voice out of the temple" was probably God. In Genesis, when God made the earth in six days, then He said "it is finished". When Jesus hung on the cross six hours, He said "it is finished". I believe that is just what this "It is done" means here. I believe this is at the close of the six-1000 year days of work for the earth, just before the 1000 year Sabbath of rest. God would be the one to decide, and I believe this is Him speaking here.

When the seventh angel pours out his bowl into the air a voice will be heard from the Temple of God before the throne, conveying a most welcome message: "It is done!" It is most welcome because it signifies the consummation of the Great Tribulation, the conclusion of the day of God's wrath on the ungodly, and the end of the time of Jacob's trouble.

Revelation 16:18 "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great."

God will punctuate the completion of His wrath with a devastating earthquake, the most powerful in earth's history (compare verses 19-21).

This final judgment of God will appear in the form of the world's greatest earthquake, one that "has never occurred like it since man has been on earth." As prophesied in Haggai;

Haggai 2:6-7 "For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;" "And I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts."

Revelation 16:19 "And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."

"The great city" (compare 11:13; 21:10; see notes on Zech. 14:1-8). Jerusalem will be split into 3 parts (Zech. 14:4), not as a judgment (compare 11:13), but as an improvement. The additional water supply (Zech. 14:8), and topographical changes (Zech. 14:4-5), will prepare the city for its central place in the millennial kingdom. Jerusalem is the only city to be spared the judgment (compare 1 Chron. 23:25; Psalm 125:1-2; Micah 4:7), and will be made more beautiful (Psalm 48:2), because of her repentance (see 11:13).

"Cities of the nations": God' purpose is very different for the rest of the world's cities, they are to be destroyed.

"Babylon": The capital of the Antichrist's empire will receive a special outpouring of God's wrath as prophesied (in Isaiah 13:6-13). Chapters 17 and 18 give details of its destruction (see article " Babylon The City ").

God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.

In (chapter 11:8), we see where the witnesses were killed described as "the great city". This is Jerusalem where it is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

The massive earth quake will split Jerusalem into 3 parts. When the Mount of Olives splits in two, it will create a chasm into which the believers can seek refuge until the awful carnage is completed. Its interesting to note that there is a fault line that runs under the Mount of Olives that moves in exactly the same direction that the Bible prophesies.

Zech. 14:3-5 "Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah."

Jerusalem is being prepared for the central role it plays during the millennial kingdom. This is where New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven and rest.

In addition, "cities of the nations collapsed," meaning that all of the cities of the world will be destroyed.

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

"Every island fled ... mountains were not found": This powerful earthquake will radically alter all the earth's topography, preparing it for the coming millennial kingdom (compare 6:12-14; Isa. 40:4-5; Jer. 4:23-27).

In addition, every island will vanish and the mountains will not be found. This will indicate a complete renovation of the earth, which may be a fulfillment of 2 Peter, which predicts that the entire earth will be destroyed:

2 Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

When it is done, the earth will be basically flat with no seas, no islands and no mountains, preparing it for restoration to something like its pre-flood condition.

Revelation 16:21 "And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, [every stone] about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great."

"Every stone ... the weight of a talent": The huge size of the hailstones indicates unparalleled atmospheric convulsions. Such massive chunks of ice (a talent weighs approximately 100 pounds), will cause unimaginable devastation and death. It is difficult for us to conceive of hailstones that large or the devastating effect they will have on the people they hit.

Dr. David L. Cooper draws attention to "what the Lord said in Job 38:22-23. He has filled His armory full of hail and snow "against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war."

Even now, these men do not repent. Instead of repenting and asking for God's help, they curse Him. You see, in all of these plagues, God wants them to repent and turn to Him.

Revelation Chapter 16 Continued Questions

1. What did these followers of the beast do because of their pain?

2. Upon what river was the vial of the sixth angel poured out?

3. Why was the water dried up?

4. How many unclean spirits came out of the mouth of the dragon?

5. What did they look like?

6. What do these three unclean spirits represent?

7. When was there a plague of frogs before?

8. In verse 14, we find they are spirits of _________.

9. What were they doing that deceived people?

10. Why did they go forth?

11. The devil's miracles will be so great that they will __________ __ _____.

12. In verse 15, He comes as a __________.

13. Who are the blessed here?

14. Where were they gathered together?

15. How many battles have already been fought here?

16. What is this valley generally called?

17. What does twenty-one mean here?

18. Where did the seventh angel pour his vial?

19. What did the great voice say?

20. How many days did God spend building the earth?

21. How many hours was Jesus on the cross?

22. In verse 18 there were voices, thunders, lightning and a great ________________.

23. What happened to the islands and mountains?

24. How much did the hail weigh?

25. When the hail fell, what did the men do?

26. Write a few sentences about when, where, and why this great battle is fought.

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Revelation 17

Revelation Chapter 17

Revelation chapter 17 goes back and fills in some of what has already happened during the Tribulation. Chapter 16 is when the Great Tribulation is finished. Now chapter 17 covers the specifics of when Babylon the Harlot or the Religious Babylon is Destroyed (see article " Babylon the Harlot ").

Archaeologists tell us that Babylon is the cradle of civilization. Located on the shores of the Euphrates River, the ruins of this city have revealed some of the most ancient documents of past generations.

This city begun by Nimrod, who was a rebel before the Lord, authored some of the greatest evils ever to fall on humankind. Two of these evils will be destroyed during the Tribulation period. Revelation 17 is the destruction of the religious Babylon that takes place about the center of the seven years after the Antichrist declares himself to be God and no longer needs the One World Religion.

In chapter 18 we will read about the destruction of the commercial, political Babylon when it takes place at the end of the Great Tribulation.

In ancient days Satan seemed to make Babylon the capital of this evil operation. From this headquarters was started false religion, humanity's attempt for self-government in defiance of God's will and city dwellings for commercial and social purposes contrary to God's command to "be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth" (Gen. 1:28).

These great evils, which have damned the souls of millions by substituting counterfeit solutions to natural human problems that would ordinarily lead a person to God, will all be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period. Chapter 17 describes the coming judgment of God on the religious system that has enslaved the human race in superstitious darkness for centuries.

The woman is a great city: "The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:18). Many have taken this to mean that the woman represents the capital city of Antichrist's kingdom, but this cannot be, for Antichrist himself rules over the kings of the earth.

If then, the woman is not the Antichrist, what other possible explanation can we have for such unanimous world dominance? The only answer is the one system before which all kings, dictators, and nations have been forced to bow down throughout history, that is, the Babylonian religion of idolatry. One cannot go anywhere in the world without being confronted with some semblance of the idolatry.

No system in the world's history has enslaved more people than this awful religion. It should not take us by surprise that this prostitute woman, the religious system, is referred to as a city. When used symbolically, a woman is always intended throughout the Scripture to signify a spiritual or religious movement. If a good woman, it is "Jehovah's wife" or "the bride of Christ". If an evil woman, such as "a prostitute," it represents the evil religious system of idolatry.

Since the woman who rides the beast gets her authority from the beast, the Holy Spirit uses this description to show how religious Babylon and governmental Babylon are so intertwined they are presented together. However, they are destroyed at different times. The prostitute (religious Babylon), is destroyed by the "beast and the kings of the earth," who "hate the prostitute" and kill her.

This clears the way for Antichrist to fulfill the lifetime dream of Satan to get people to worship him. She is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation; Babylon the governmental system will be destroyed at the end, when commercial, political Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 18). With "Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Prostitutes" out of the way, "all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).

The Vision of the Woman - Ten details describe this woman:

  1. The great prostitute;
  2. Who sits on many waters;
  3. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery;
  4. The inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries;
  5. A woman sitting on a scarlet beast;
  6. Dressed in purple and scarlet;
  7. Glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls;
  8. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries;
  9. On her forehead: Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abomination of the Earth;
  10. Drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

Even before we come to the angel's interpretation of this vision, it is clear that we are not dealing with a mere human being, for no one woman can commit fornication with the kings of the earth, nor can a woman be "drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus."

Verses 1-3: Chapters 17 and 18 picture the judgment of God on a system, empire, or city called Babylon the Great (17:5); it is a more detailed description of the seventh vial (16:17). The "great whore" (verse 1), is named "BABYLON THE GREAT" (in verse 5). Chapters 17 and 18 show her "judgment". The "waters" represent the various peoples and nations of the earth (verse 15). She "sitteth upon" them in the sense that she has worldwide influence. Her harlotry and "fornication" refer either to physical immorality or (more likely), spiritual adultery. Idolatry and religious apostasy (compare Isa. 1:21; 23:16-17; Jer. 2:20-37; 13:27; Ezek. 16:15-43; Hosea 2:5; Nahum 3:4). The "kings" and "inhabitants of the earth" have opened their arms to her influence. The "beast" is the first Beast of chapter 13, the Antichrist and his empire. Her sitting upon the Beast represents the intimate association between the Antichrist and the harlot (an association of support, influence, or control).

Revelation 17:1 "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:"

"Seven angels": The reference to these angels' links chapters 17 and 18 with the vial (bowl), judgments (chapter 16), which extend to the second coming of Christ (see note on 16:17). Chapters 17 and 18 focus on one aspect of those vial judgments, the judgment of Babylon. The judgments already described are identified as targeting the final world system.

"Great whore" (see note on 14:8). Prostitution frequently symbolizes idolatry or religious apostasy (compare Jer. 3:6-9; Ezek. 16:30ff; 20:30; Hosea 4:15; 5:3; 6:10; 9:1). Nineveh (Nahum 3:1, 4), Tyre (Isa. 23:17), and even Jerusalem (Isa. 1:21), are also depicted as harlot cities.

"Sitteth on many waters": This picture emphasizes the sovereign power of the harlot. The picture of a ruler seated on a throne, ruling the waters, which symbolize the nations of the world (see verse 15).

This "whore" here is not a literal woman. In Hosea, his wife (who was a whore), was speaking of Israel. Here, this "whore" is speaking of the idolatrous church.

This statement "sitteth upon many waters", speaks of large groups of people. This is not the true church. This is the apostate church. God calls it the harlot church; the church that is not faithful to God, the church that is worldly. This church, while claiming to be Christian, finds many reasons to conform to the beast and the evil world system. This will be the one world religion which will appear after the church (Christians), have been raptured (see article " One World Religion ").

This, without question, is the part of the church that has compromised with the world and is no longer a chaste virgin in the sight of God. I truly believe that a large portion of the church falls into this category today. Worldliness has crept into our churches. The sad thing is that if she would repent, God would take her back, but she will not repent.

The Bride of Christ is called a city, and that is the portion of the church which has not compromised. The other (opposite), side of that is the harlot. It is also called a city but is evil because of compromise. This is not only the apostate church in Rome, but the apostate in many other churches, as well. Again, the waters let us know that this apostate church is throughout the masses of people.

Revelation 17:2 "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication."

"kings ... have committed fornication": The harlot will ally herself with the world's political leaders. Fornication here does not refer to sexual sin, but to idolatry (see note on 14:8). All the world rulers will be absorbed into the empire of Satan's false christ.

"Wine of her fornication": The harlot's influence will extend beyond the world's rulers to the rest of mankind (compare verse 15; 13:8, 13:14). The imagery does not describe actual wine and sexual sin, but pictures the world's people being swept up into the intoxication and sin of a false system of religion.

We see here, that this universal apostasy (unfaithfulness to God), does not affect just one class of people. This unfaithfulness is from the very rich and powerful (kings), to the very poor.

The same way a drunken person naturally has no earthly idea what he is doing, this apostate group is so carried away with the world that they, too, do not realize the terribleness of what they are doing. God will judge this idolatrous church. Judgment begins at the house of God.

Revelation 17:3 "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns."

"In the spirit": Compare 1:10, 4:2; 21:10). The Holy Spirit transports John into the wilderness (a deserted, lonely and desolate wasteland), perhaps to give him a better understanding of the vision.

"A woman": The harlot (of verse 1), Babylon.

"Scarlet colored beast": The Antichrist (compare 13:14, 14:9; 16:10), who for a time will support and use the false religious system to effect world unity. Then he will assume political control (compare verse 16). Scarlet is the color of luxury, splendor and royalty.

"Full of names of blasphemy": Because of his self-deification (compare 13:1; Dan. 7:25; 11:36; 2 Thess. 2:4).

"Having seven heads and ten horns": This pictures the extent of Antichrist's political alliances (see notes on verses 9-12; 13:1).

This "wilderness" here, I believe, means the world. This "scarlet colored beast" shows evil world power.

Since this woman sits upon this beast, it means that her power comes from this evil beast (in Revelation 18:2), as It supports her. This woman, it appears, has decided to trust the powers of this world over God's power.

Seven denotes spiritually complete, ten denotes world government, and horns denote power.

You can easily see, since she is on top of this thing, she guides it, but receives her support from the beast. The word "scarlet" can be very good or very evil. In this case, it is very evil. This great evil (blasphemy), that this woman (church), has committed is spiritual adultery (the watering down or changing of the Word).

Verses 4-6: The elegant clothing and jewelry of the "woman" show her wealth and attractiveness, but her activities are filthy and abominable to God. Her mystery name is BABYLON THE GREAT".

Much of the world's idolatry can be traced back to historical Babylon (compare Gen. 11:1-9), including the mother-child cult of Semiramis-Tammuz (compare Jer. 44:16-19; Ezek. 8:9, 14), which entered other cultures as Ashtaroth-Baal, Aphrodite-Eros, Venus-Cupid, and even Madonna-Child. As the fountainhead of idolatry, Babylon the harlot is the MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH. The harlot has killed many of God's "saints" and Christian "martyrs" throughout the ages, and will do so again during the Tribulation period. Admiration" (Greek thauma), here means "amazement" (compare 13:3; 17:6).

Revelation 17:4 "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:"

"Purple and scarlet": The colors of royalty, nobility, and wealth. The woman is portrayed as a prostitute who has plied her trade successfully and become extremely wealthy.

"Decked" Prostitutes often dress in fine clothes and precious jewels to allure their victims (compare Prov. 7:10). The religious harlot Babylon is no different, adorning herself to lure the nations into her grasp.

"A golden cup": Still another evidence of the harlot's great wealth (compare Jer. 51:7); but the pure gold is defiled by the filthiness of her immorality. Just as a prostitute might first get her victim drunk, so the harlot system deceives the nations into committing spiritual fornication with her.

This "fornication" here spoken of, I truly believe is spiritual adultery or compromise with the world. God will tolerate most anything except the worship of someone else or something else. I truly believe this has to do with the watering down of Jesus (Who He is).

Ancient Babylon is a type or prefigure of this future Babylon. The harlot will do what literal Babylon did in the past:

(1) Oppress God's people, and

(2) Propagate a false religious system.

Semiramis (also known as Ishtar and Isis), who was both Nimrod's wife and mother, was worshiped as the "mother of god" and a "fertility goddess" because she had to be extremely fertile to give birth to all the pagan incarnate gods that represented Nimrod.

Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

The color scheme of this one world religion as defined (in Rev. 17:4), is most revealing: "The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet." If you are familiar with pictures of the Vatican Council as published in national magazines, you will have observed that the bishops and cardinals wore purple and scarlet robes.

You will also see that the pope and other church leaders are "glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls." They hold "a golden cup in their hand, filled with abominable things and the filthiness of their adulteries." These abominable things and adulteries are the idolatry and worship of gods other than Jesus Christ. In Rome can be seen all manner of idols in the very headquarters of the Roman Church. More costly surroundings can scarcely be found than in the Vatican.

The Catholic Church is many times decorated this way, but I believe this includes all of the apostate churchs, Protestant and Catholic. Perhaps this is people sitting on a church pew, but not really being the bride of Christ. There are some in all churches, but most assuredly the church in Rome. You can see great masses of gold, silver, and jewels. Usually when a church building is decked out like this, it is in an area where there is abject poverty.

"Purple" indicates that this was in the church, because purple means godliness. This was a false godliness.

This "golden cup" also indicates this is inside the church, because gold symbolically means the purity of God. We know this "cup" belonged to God. To me, it just means that the sins of the world have been brought into the church.

This "fornication" here spoken of, I truly believe is spiritual adultery or compromise with the world. God will tolerate most anything except the worship of someone or something else. I truly believe this has to do with the watering down of Jesus.

Revelation 17:5 "And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."

"Forehead": It was customary for Roman prostitutes to wear a headband with their name on it (compare Jer. 3:3), parading their wretchedness for all to see. The harlot's forehead is emblazoned with a 3-fold title descriptive of the world's final false religious system.

"Mystery": A New Testament mystery is truth once hidden, but in the New Testament revealed (see notes on Matt. 13:11; Eph. 3:4-5). Spiritual Babylon's true identity is yet to be revealed. Thus, the precise details of how it will be manifested in the world are not yet known.

"BABYLON THE GREAT": This Babylon is distinct from the historical, geographical city of Babylon (which still existed in John's day). The details of Johns vision cannot be applied to any historical city (see note on 14:8)

MOTHER OF HARLOTS": All false religion stems ultimately from Babel, or Babylon (compare Gen. chapter 11; see note on 14:8).

Just as God marked the 144,000 with the name of the Father, and just as the bride of Christ is marked with the name of Christ, we see here this group marked on the forehead. This name alone makes you know how evil and worldly this church is.

This worldly part of the church, though nominally Christian, is yet more faithful to the world than to God. Notice here, that the church that pretends to be Christian and is not, does more to cause harm than those worldly people who claim to be lost. The worldly church always persecutes the faithful church. This evil in the church is an abomination to God. It is a mystery how this could happen in the church.

As the fountainhead of idolatry, Babylon the harlot is the MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH; the harlot has killed many of God's saints and Christian martyrs throughout the ages, and will do so again during the Tribulation period.

Revelation "17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."

The blood of the saints ... martyrs of Jesus": Some see the first group as Old Testament saints, and the second as New Testament saints, an unimportant distinction since this pictures the "witnesses", or martyrs, of the Tribulation. John's point is that the harlot is a murderer. False religion has killed millions of believers over the centuries, and the final false system will be far more deadly than any that preceded it.

The faithless part of the church is guilty of the blood of the saints. In Matthew 12:20 we read that Jesus says "He that is not with me is against me". This watered-down church is actually causing great problems for those who are sold out to God. We do know that Rome had a great deal to do with the death of the martyrs and even had a hand in crucifying Jesus.

Of course, the Jews (church), of that day had even more to do with the crucifixion of Jesus. However, the most blame for His death has to be placed on each of us. Sin placed Jesus on the cross. He went to the cross to crucify sin. His sacrifice stopped us from being a servant to sin.

The wonder of it all is, that with the Bible as their guide, how could these people get so far away from God and still occupy a pew? The answer is quite simple. They never read or study their Bible themselves. They allow someone else to read it and tell them what it is saying.

I truly believe that much of the problem lies at the shepherd's feet. So many preachers are overlooking the need for the spiritual growth of their people. In the 34th chapter of Ezekiel, it says God will take the sheep away from the shepherds that do not care for them. Shepherds BEWARE! We are not to be as concerned with "our" needs as we are with the needs of "our people".

We see from the last few scriptures above that this is probably speaking of Rome and the Catholic Church, who have brought the compromise. Even more than that, it is speaking to individuals in all churches who have compromised themselves.

2 Timothy 3:5. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

A person claiming to be a Christian on the outside, but who is not on the inside. It's so easy to point to someone else, but in so doing we should examine ourselves as well.

Verses 7-8: These two verses contain a more detailed explanation of the entities depicted symbolically as a "woman" and a "beast". The Beast as an empire goes through four stages, from the viewpoint of the beginning of the Tribulation period"

(1) It "was", that is, it existed in the form of the ancient Roman Empire.

(2) It "is not", that is, it has not existed as an empire since the fifth century and will not exist again until the Antichrist gains worldwide authority during the Tribulation period.

(3) It "shall ascent out of the bottomless pit", that is, Satan will raise up the Antichrist as his false messiah and give him worldwide rule (compare 11:7; 13:3-4); and

(4) The Antichrist will be cast into "perdition", the lake of fire (compare 19:20). Unbelievers will "wonder" in amazement at this revival of the power and glory of the Roman Empire (compare 13:3).

Revelation 17:7 "And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns."

"Mystery": Not that Babylon is a false system of religion, because that is already known, but that the beast will fully support the harlot and together exert vast influence over the whole earth.

The Vision of the Beast - Five details describing the beast are given:

  1. Blasphemous names (verse 3);
  2. Had seven heads (verse 3);
  3. And ten horns (verse 3);
  4. The prostitute rides it (verse 7);
  5. The beast was, and is not, and will come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss), and go to his destruction (verse 11).

The careful Bible student will immediately recognize this beast even before examining the angel's interpretation. In the first place, it is similar to the beast (of Rev. 13), and doubtless represents what all beasts used symbolically represent: either a king or a kingdom that opposes God's will.

When John sees the great prostitute, he is "greatly astonished?" Actually, some parts of this vision should have been familiar to John, for it is obviously the same beast as that described (in chapter 13).

The angel introduces his explanation with the words, "This calls for a mind with wisdom" (verse 9), which indicate that only someone with the wisdom of God (found in the Word of God), can understand this vision.

Revelation 17:8 "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

"The beast": Both a king and kingdom are referred to by this term.

"Was, and is not; and shall ascend" A reference to the Antichrist's false resurrection (13:3-4; 12-14; see note on 13:3).

"Out of the bottomless pit": After his "resurrection", the Antichrist will become possessed by a great demon from the abyss (see notes on 13:1, 3).

I believe this mark indicates that the power given unto this group comes from the bottomless pit.

Here it is speaking of the reforming of the old Roman empire. The old Roman empire has been reformed by the ten common market nations in Europe today. In my opinion, these "ten horns" are these ten common market nations. The headquarters for these ten nations is in Rome. In 1954 the 10 Member States were: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

"Go into perdition": Eternal destruction (compare verse 11; Matt. 7:13; John 17:12; Phil. 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thess. 2:3; Heb. 10:39; 2 Peter 2:3; 3:7, 16). This is the lake of fire, the place of Antichrist's destruction (19:20).

"Book of life": The roll of the elect, written in eternity past by God (see note on 3:5). Only the elect will escape the Antichrist's deception (Matt. 24:24).

"From the foundation of the world" (see note on 13:8; compare 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; "long ages ago"). A frequent phrase (Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3; 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20), referring to God's pre-creation plan.

Go to chapter 13 and re-read the first 2 verses and the descriptive comments of those two verses for an accurate description of what the beginning of verse eight's meaning is.

This word "perdition" means ruin, loss, or damnable. This Roman empire was in great power, it fell, and then revived again in the ten nations. It is a wonder how Berlin was divided into two parts after World War II. This was done so the line of the old Roman empire would be the same. Of course, the governments of U.S. and Russia did not know why they did this, but it established the old territory anyhow.

"The beast that thou sawest".

"Whose names were not written in the book of life". The false religious system of the end times will be very convincing and popular among the unsaved, but those who have committed themselves to Christ will understand that anything idolatrous is not of God.

Revelation Chapter 17 Questions

1. What did one of the seven angels promise to show John in verse 1?

2. Where is this located?

3. What does many waters mean?

4. Is this, whore, a literal woman? Explain.

5. What kind of church does God call this?

6. While this church claims to be Christian, it conforms to the ________ and the__________ ________ _______.

7. The bride of Christ, besides being all believers, is sometimes spoken of as a ________.

8. These waters let us know they are located where?

9. In verse 2, speaking of kings tells us what?

10. What does apostasy mean?

11. Who will judge this idolatrous church?

12. In verse 3, who was sitting on the scarlet-colored beast?

13. How many heads and horns were mentioned in verse 3?

14. What does this scarlet-colored beast symbolize?

15. Where does the woman 's power come from?

16. What is the great sin this woman (church), has committed?

17. Who is verse 4 describing?

18. What does the golden cup symbolize?

19. What was the name written on her forehead?

20. In verse 6, the woman was drunken with what?

21. In Matthew 12:20, how does God separate people?

22. What is the main reason Christians are being deceived?

23. In Ezekiel 34, what warning does God give the preachers?

24. We know that spiritually this message is to all apostate churches, but literally, who is it to?

25. What does the angel promise to reveal to John?

26. Who is the beast that was, and is not, and yet is?

27. Where does its power come from?

28. What group makes up the old Roman empire today?

29. Where is the headquarters for this group?

30. What city was divided in World War II and made the line correct for the old Roman empire?

31. What two major countries divided this city unaware that they were forming the old line?

32. Give a synopsis of what you believe this lesson is telling us.

Revelation Chapter 17 Continued

Revelation 17:9 "And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."

The "seven heads" of the Beast represent "seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth". The city of Rome was known throughout the ancient world as a city built on seven hills or mountains. John notes that the wise "mind", will make the proper identification. The woman apparently represents idolatrous, anti-God civilization, centered at Rome but with worldwide influence (compare verse 15). The identification of the seven heads as Rome shows that the Beast will have his major base of operations at Rome also (compare Dan. 9:26), the "people of the prince that shall come" are the Romans (in A.D. 70).

"Seven mountains": The Greek words often used of hills (Matt. 5:1; 15:29; John 6:15; 8:1). Many commentators interpret this expression to mean Rome, which sits on 7 hills. It is true that the final worldwide system of false religion includes, but is not necessarily limited to Rome; but specifically, the 7 mountains in context likely symbolize the 7 kingdoms and their kings of verse 10.

We will see in this scripture that the city of seven hills is where this evil system has its headquarters. This is a marvel to the world who are not fully aware of the implications of the Bible it shows. Of course, the bride of Christ, the Christians who have their names written in the Lamb's book of life since the world began, are aware of all of this and why it happened.

The Antichrist is a copycat. Just as God has a trinity, so does the devil. God's trinity is: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Devil's trinity is: Antichrist, beast, and false prophet. You see, the false prophet has to be involved in leading a church. He will be proclaiming Jesus on one hand, but denying the power on the other.

It is interesting to note that the Catholic church and the National Council of Churches united in the early 1950's to make the church one physically. God does want us to be one, but not physically. He wants us to be one in the Spirit. There are people in all churches that will be saved as individuals. We must remove ourselves from the apostate church if possible.

This National Council of churches has come out with a Bible that waters Jesus down to the point that it indicates that Jesus is not God. This is very dangerous. They would have us believe that Jesus was just a man walking down here on earth. My Bible says He was Immanuel; "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

It says (in 2 John 1:7) "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Antichrist."

In (John 1:14) we read "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

You see by all this, that Jesus was in fact God the Word, who came and inhabited the body of a man, so that it could be possible for His body to die on the cross for our sins. Anyone or anything that denies Jesus as God manifest in the flesh is not of God. The sad thing is, that most people proclaiming to know Jesus have accepted this new Bible and its teachings.

Every time you pick up a brochure on Rome, the very first thing they tell you is that they are the city of seven hills. Here we see that the headquarters for the ten common market nations is here as well. You see anything that you would like to believe here, is located in Rome. The "wisdom" of this is that anyone, who can read a brochure or hear an advertisement on Rome, knows what is spoken of here.

The identification of the seven heads as Rome shows that the Beast will initially have his major base of operations at Rome. It is thought by many studying the end times that after the Harlot has been killed, the beast will move his headquarters to the actual city of Babylon during the last three and one half years.

Revelation 17:10 "And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, [and] the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space."

"Seven kings": Representatives of the 7 great world empires (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and that of the Antichrist). Compare Daniel's image in (Dan. 2:37-45).

"Five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come": When John wrote this, the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Media-Persian and Greek empires had gone out of existence; Rome still existed, and the Antichrist's empire had not yet come. When it does, it will be brief (12:12; 13:5), and he will end in perdition (verse 11; see note on verse 8).

This could speak of the empires of old such as the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and the Greeks which make up the past kingdoms. The power to be, when this was written by John, was the Roman government which falls shortly thereafter and then is restored again in the ten common market nations banning together, reviving the old Roman empire.

The seven heads of this beast mentioned, according to Tim LaHaye, are kings of the Roman Empire. The best definition is that they represent five kings up to the time of John; the sixth, Domitian, was the Roman king at the time of John, who then skips forward to the end time for the seventh head, which will bring the king of the revived Roman Empire. This Roman Empire was in great power; it fell, and will be revived again. Then (see verse 11), as this is describing the Antichrist who will be the eighth and final king who will rule the entire world (kingdom).

A rather interesting scripture regarding the Holy Spirit's description of the beasts that represent kingdoms appears in the book of Daniel. When one thinks of world governments, they take on a beautiful shape, as did king Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel. In his dream, the beast contained 4 different types of metals. Each section of that image represented one of the four coming world kingdoms which at that time were coming (Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was already there and was the first of the four).

Two governments had already come and gone at that time which were Assyria and Egypt.

Those 4 beasts found (in Daniel 2:35), are explained as Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream for him. The four beasts in his dream is Babylon represented by head of gold. The two arms of silver represented the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The belly and thighs of brass (or bronze), represented Greece. And the fourth kingdom described the Roman Empire as the legs of iron. When God describes the coming world kingdoms, He uses beasts to symbolize them. Human beings look favorably on government as a great help to them, whereas God looks on government as a great hindrance to them, as does anyone who has studied history and observed government's bestial treatment of humanity.

Whether this scripture is describing kings or empires doesn't matter as they still mean the same which makes up the beast described here. The seven kingdoms or empires throughout history that have ruled over Israel and much of the known world are:

(1) Egypt;

(2) Assyria;

(3) Babylon;

(4) Medo-Persia;

(5) Greece;

(6) Rome - The Roman Empire existing at the time of John which ceased to exist;

(7) And then the seventh, the revived Rome which has not yet come;

(8) Then the eighth and final will be the Antichrist (see verse 8).

This revived Roman Empire is represented in the book of Daniel by the 10 toes in the image of (Daniel 2:41-44), and by the 10 horns on the fourth beast of Daniel (Dan. 7:7, 20, 24), and in Revelation by the 10 horns on the first Beast (13:1; 17:3, 12, 13). It will exist as a major power only a short while, since it will then give its authority to the Beast (11-13).

Revelation 17:11 "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."

"The beast": The final world kingdom ruled by the Antichrist, is "the eighth" king or kingdom. He "is of the seven" in that he is the culmination of all the previous, pagan, idolatrous empires. But he will go "into perdition", the lake of fire (compare verse 8; 19:20).

"Was, and is not ... an eighth": The Antichrist's kingdom is said to be both the seventh and eighth kingdoms because of his supposed demise and resurrection. He is the seventh king before and the eighth king after his "resurrection" when he destroys the harlot's religious empire and demands exclusive worship of himself (verse 16).

The beast, the final world kingdom ruled by the Antichrist, is the eighth king or kingdom. He is of the seven in that he is the culmination of all the previous, pagan, idolatrous empires and the reason many think the Antichrist will arise up out of the revised Roman Empire. But then he will go into perdition, the lake of fire.

Put another way, the beast that John saw is the Antichrist, the satanic ruler of the last and most powerful empire in human history, who will serve as Satan's instrument to attack Israel, persecute believers, conquer the world for Satan and oppose Christ.

Scripture portraits him as an intellectual genius (Dan. 7:8); an outstanding orator (Dan. 7:20); a military leader without parallel in human history (Dan. 7:23); a shrewd calculating and manipulating politician (Dan 8:25, 11:21); and the ultimate religious charlatan (2 Thess. 2:4). The angel briefly reviews the detailed description of him given (in Rev. 13:1-10).

Verses 12-14: "The ten horns" on the Beast represent "ten kings" of the future revived Roman Empire (compare Dan. 2:41-44; 7:24). Their worldwide "power" will come in association with the "beast". "One hour" indicates a relatively short time (compare 18:10, 17, 19). These rulers of a 10-nation federation will unitedly give their political authority and military power to the beast to conquer the earth and "make war" against Christ (compare 16:14; 19:19). The purpose of Satan through the Beast and fellow kings is to establish an invincible kingdom that Christ cannot overcome when He returns. But Christ is "King of" all "kings" and will "overcome" the Beast and his kingdom when He returns (compare 19:11-21). Those who follow Christ are "called and chosen" by Him, and "faithful" to Him (compare 19:7-8, 14).

Revelation 17:12 "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast."

"Ten kings" (see notes on 12:3; 13:1; compare Dan. 2:41-42). Theses kings are sub-rulers under the Antichrist, whose empire will apparently be divided into 10 administrative districts.

Here we see that ten separate countries make up this evil group.

Reading (in Daniel 2:45), the ten toes of the fourth beast (Roman Empire), were made of iron and miry clay making a brittle substance. This is speaking of the 10 kingdoms or kings which will emanate from the Roman Empire and be in existence at the time of Christ's return. Their worldwide power will come in association with the beast.

This is speaking of the reforming of the old Roman Empire. Presently the old Roman Empire has been reformed by ten common market nations in Europe today. There are more currently, but only 10 will come to prominence during the end time. In my opinion, these "ten horns" are those ten common market nations. The headquarters for these ten nations is in Rome.

These rulers of a ten-nation federation will unite to give their political authority and military power to the beast to conquer the earth and make war against Christ (16:14; 19:19). The purpose of Satan through the Beast and fellow kings is to establish an invincible kingdom that Christ cannot overcome when He returns. But Christ is King of all kings, and will overcome the beast and his kingdom when He returns (19:11-21). Those who follow Christ are called and chosen by Him, and faithful to Him (19:7-8, 14).

"Which have received no kingdom as yet": Thus, the kings cannot be identified with any historical figures.

At this point in his career the Beast will have total control of the world, for he will command ten "kings" who rule the nations of the earth: The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.

Revelation 17:13 "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast."

These are of one mind, "and shall give their power and strength unto the beast". Then the Beast's kingdom starts to come apart. He hears rumors of insurrection, which fill him "with great fury to destroy and annihilate many," in Daniel's terminology (Dan. 11:44).

It is to fulfill prophecy. Kings and Kingdoms, good and evil, have to do exactly what God wants. Sometimes they are not even aware of why they are doing it. God puts the idea into their head, while all the time, they think it is their clever idea.

He marches to the Valley of Megiddo, where he meets other armies of the world, and there they do an amazing thing as we see in the next scripture.

Revelation 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful."

"Make war": A referenced to the battle of Armageddon (16:14-16), where the Lamb will destroy the kings (19:17-21).

Lord of lords, and King of kings": A title for God (19:16; 1 Tim. 6:15; compare Deut. 10:17; Psalm 136:3), that emphasizes His sovereignty over all other rulers to whom He has delegated authority.

These shall make war with the Lamb. This will occur when these kings kill His faithful followers and come out to fight against Christ in the " Battle of Armageddon ". Those who join with Christ to overcome them are called "chosen, and faithful," titles used in other Scriptures to describe true believers (1 Pet. 2:9).

You see, as has been said so many times before, we Christians are in a battle. Our leader is the Lamb (Jesus Christ). We are fighting a very real enemy. The devil and his demons are our enemies. This war we are in is a war of the spirit. We must come against the devil in hand to hand combat every day. Our weapon is the two-edged sword (Bible).

This war is fought by an army of believers who always have their weapon (Bible), at their side. Besides having it at their side, they have its contents inside of them (their food is the Word of God). When they are in hot combat, the sword comes from their mouth. They are willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Jesus.

The flag we Christians fly is the banner of righteousness. It is red because of the blood of our leader, it is white because of the righteousness of believers, and it is blue for our heavenly calling. This is a voluntary army. This battle is in the final hours before the return of the Lord. This army will be made up of boys, girls, men and women. God has called a vast army, as He did in Gideon's day.

This group will be sold out completely to God. They will be willing to give up homes, family, friends, wealth, and position in their community to work for God. They will be loyal to Jesus even to the death. They will have a peculiar uniform described (in Ephesians chapter 6, this is the Christian's armor). This uniform will be provided to us by our Lord (Jesus). Loins girded about with truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

The big difference is that this army will have patches on their knees. This battle will be fought with much prayer (on our knees). You see this victory is the Lord's. We must fight the good fight. Give it everything you have. The war is peaking now. God needs good Christians who will not compromise for any reason. The battle is hard, but the rewards are beyond comprehension; a home in heaven forever with Jesus and the opportunity to hear Him say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant".

You see, we soldiers shall be kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; Rev 5:10), but He will be Lord and King over all. We are the called, chosen and faithful. Hallelujah!

Verses 15-18: "The whore" has been described as sitting;

(1) On many "waters" (verse 1);

(2) On the Beast (verse 3); and

(3) On seven mountains (verse 9).

Revelation 17:15 "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

Here the waters are identified as "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues", indicating the worldwide influence and authority of the harlot. (In verse 18), she is identified as "that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth", referring probably to a worldwide, idolatrous pagan system centered at Rome.

See notes on verse 1.

The Prostitute Explained. Then the angel explains to John the meaning of the water on which the woman is sitting: It is the peoples of the earth. Peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages designate all humanity in the book of Revelation. As in the saying, "sea of humanity".

Those who are followers of the evil system will be from all nations. There will be hundreds of millions lost.

Revelation 17:16 "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire."

"These shall hate the whore": After using the false religious system to unify the world kingdoms and gain control of all, the Antichrist, with the help of his 10 sub-rulers, will turn against the system, plunder and destroy it, and seize all power and worship for himself. They will be carrying out God's will (verse 17; compare Gen. 50:20).

The Coming Destruction of the Babylonian Prostitute (see article " Babylon the Harlot "). The Antichrist will permit the one world (apostate), church to govern his actions during the first three and one half years of the Tribulation while he is gathering more and more power (see article " One World Religion "). But in the middle of the Tribulation, when he feels he can become an autocratic ruler, he and the ten kings will throw off the prostitute because, in reality, while being dominated by her, they "hate the prostitute".

None of the world's political leaders have enjoyed subjugation to religious leaders, but have continued in a servile role only for expediency. When it is no longer necessary, the ten kings will "bring her to ruin and leave her naked", meaning they will confiscate her temples, her gold, and her costly apparel. In so doing, they will unwittingly be the instruments of God in destroying this awful Babylonian system once and for all: "For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose."

Here, we see these evil ten nations turning against the world and the world church. This power, these evil nations have been, and are being used to rule the little people. This fire speaks of war. These ten nations will do away with this church, even though it is the apostate church.

When Will the Prostitute Religion Be Destroyed? The religious Babylon (of Rev. 17), which is destroyed, comes in two parts. One occurs during the first part of the Tribulation when the governmental system of Babylon (pictured as this ugly "beast"), is gaining world control but has to permit the "prostitute" to sit on and ride the beast. We see this as meaning she exercises a degree of control over the Babylonian system by bringing the nations of the world under her idolatrous religious power.

During the first half of the Tribulation she incurs the wrath of the ten kings who see her use the authority of the Antichrist to advance her religious causes. So they plot to kill her. The reason we know this killing of the prostitute of "mystery Babylon" is done in the middle of the Tribulation is twofold:

(1) "The deadly wound" of Antichrist is healed by the indwelling of Satan himself, simulating the resurrection of Christ, in the middle of the Tribulation.

(2) From then on the world does not worship mystery Babylon but the image of the beast. The False Prophet will do away with all religion except the worship of Antichrist Satan, which he will enforce. That begins at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, that's described (in Rev. chapter 13). This is the time when people will have to take the mark of the beast and swear their loyalty to the beast or face death. No middle ground, either accept Jesus or accept the beast.

Since the woman who rides the beast gets her authority from the beast, the Holy Spirit uses this description to show how religious Babylon and governmental Babylon are so intertwined they are presented together. However, they are destroyed at different times. The prostitute (religious Babylon), is destroyed by "beast and the kings of the earth," who "hate the prostitute" and kill her.

This clears the way for Antichrist to fulfill the lifetime dream of Satan to get people to worship him. She is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation. Then Babylon the governmental system will be destroyed at the end of the Great Tribulation, when commercial Babylon is destroyed (Rev. 18).

With "Mystery Babylon the Mother of Prostitutes" out of the way, "all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).

Religious Babylon Destroyed. Archaeologists tell us that Babylon is the cradle of civilization. Located on the shores of the Euphrates River, the ruins of this city have revealed some of the most ancient documents of past generations. This city begun by Nimrod, who was a rebel before the Lord, authored some of the greatest evils ever to fall on humankind. Two of these evils will be destroyed during the Tribulation period, according to (Rev. chapters 17 and 18).

In ancient days Satan seemed to make Babylon the capital of this evil operation. From this headquarters was started false religion, humanity's attempt for self-government in defiance of God's will and city dwellings for commercial and social purposes contrary to God's command to "be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." (Gen. 1:28). These great evils, which have damned the souls of millions by substituting counterfeit solutions to natural human problems that would ordinarily lead a person to God, will all be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation period.

Chapter 17 describes the judgment of God on the religious system that has enslaved the human race in superstitious darkness for centuries.

Revelation 17:17 "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."

Toward the end of the Tribulation period, however, the 10 kings (compare verse 12), will destroy the harlot system (compare 18:6-24). They will do this as God's "will", and will turn their total devotion and worship to the "beast" himself (compare 13:12; 17:13; Dan. 11:36-39). The 10 kings will be God's instrument to destroy the harlot Babylon (compare 16:19; 18:5-6; 19:2). The destruction of the "woman" or harlot is pictured as the destruction of a "great city" (in chapter 18).

You see, all are subject to God whether they are following the beast or God. Even the devil has to do exactly what God tells him to do. Some of this has happened to fulfill God's word. The devil is not only subject to God, but he is subject to us, as well, through the mighty name of Jesus. We may dismiss the devil, just as Jesus did. The only difference was that Jesus used His own power, and we have no power of our own. We do it in the name of Jesus. It is Jesus' power.

Revelation 17:18 "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth."

"Great city": Here is another identification of the capital city of Babylon, centerpiece of Antichrist's empire (compare 18:10, 18, 21).

Many have taken this to mean that the woman represents the capital city of Antichrist's kingdom, but this cannot be, for Antichrist himself rules over the kings of the earth.

If then, the woman is not the Antichrist, what other possible explanation can we have for such unanimous world dominance? The only answer is the one system before which all kings, dictators, and nations have been forced to bow down throughout history, that is, the Babylonian religion of idolatry. One cannot go anywhere in the world without being confronted with some semblance of the idolatry.

No system in the world's history has enslaved more people than this awful religion. It should not take us by surprise that this prostitute woman, the religious system, is referred to as a city. When used symbolically, a woman is always intended throughout the Scripture to signify a spiritual or religious movement. If a good woman, it is "Jehovah's wife" or "the bride of Christ". If an evil woman, such as "a prostitute," it represents the evil religious system of idolatry.

Here we see again, Rome. In its heyday, Rome was thought of as the capital of the world. They truly did reign over all of Europe.

We conclude then, that chapter 17 describes the destruction of the religious system, whereas chapter 18 denotes the destruction of "Satan's seat," the commercial and governmental city of Babylon, marking the prelude to the consummation of the Tribulation.

No longer does the seer John have the ecclesiastical religious system in view but now turns the spotlight of God's judgment on the commercial and governmental systems that originated there. Babylon has had the most harmful effect on mankind of all the cities of the world. For all idolatrous religion, greed-based commerce, and secular government were begun there. At the end of the Tribulation, God will destroy them all in the seventh or last vial judgment in fulfillment of the prophecy (in Isaiah 47:1-9; 21:9).

Revelation Chapter 17 Continued Questions

1. What are the seven heads symbolic of?

2. Name the trinity of God.

3. Name the false trinity of the devil.

4. What do we know about the false prophet?

5. What two bodies of churches are trying to unite?

6. Is this God's plan for the church becoming one?

7. Who put out a Bible that waters down Jesus?

8. What does the author mean by watering down?

9. What does Immanuel mean?

10. In 2 John chapter 7, we read that deceivers enter into the world who deny Jesus as whom?

11. In John 1:14, we read that "who" was made flesh and dwelt among us?

12. Anyone or anything that denies that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh is ___ _____ ___ _____.

13. What is the sad thing that most people proclaiming Jesus have accepted?

14. Every time you pick up a brochure on Rome, what do you immediately see?

15. Who are located in Rome that pertain to this lesson?

16. Name the empires these "five fallen" stand for?

17. Who was in power when John wrote this?

18. What is probably the revival of the old Roman Empire?

19. In verse 12, we see the ten horns as what?

20. What is this one hour symbolic of?

21. We see in verse 13, their loyalty is to the ________.

22. Who will these evil ten make war with?

23. Who will win?

24. What are we, who are with the Lamb? Two things.

25. Who are our enemies?

26. We believers in Jesus Christ make up God's _________.

27. What kind of war is this?

28. What is our weapon?

29. When in hot combat, the weapon comes from where?

30. Describe our flag.

31. Who will make up this army?

32. Describe these soldiers of God.

33. Describe their uniform.

34. Why will we have patches on our knees?

35. What is the pay for being a soldier in God's army?

36. Who are the waters?

37. Who turns against the whore?

38. Why did they do this?

39. What great city is mentioned here?

40. Give your views on the physical oneness of the church and being one in the Spirit.

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Revelation 18

Revelation Chapter 18

Commercial, Political Babylon is now in view. The destruction of religious Babylon described (in Rev. 17), and commercial Babylon here (in chapter 18), will decisively rid the world of the major evils that have plagued the human race for about 5000 years. We have already seen the destruction to be unleashed on ecclesiastical or religious Babylon in the beginning of the Great Tribulation period.

But the destruction of the commercial and governmental systems will not take place, however, until the end of the Great Tribulation. Some Bible scholars do not distinguish between the destruction of chapter 17 and that of chapter 18, but mold them altogether. The following six reasons establish that they are not the same.

  1. "After these things" (Rev 18:1), this expression indicates that the events described (in chapter 18), will not take place until after the events of chapter 17 have been fulfilled.
  2. "I saw another angel coming down from heaven" Events of chapter 17 were introduced by "one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls" (Rev 17:1). The angel referred to (in chapter 18), is obviously not the same as the one who introduced the events of chapter 17. Therefore, we can expect the same sequence of events that have happened throughout the book of Revelation: When an angel fulfills his responsibility, another distinct judgment takes place on the earth.
  3. The names in the 2 chapters are different. The name in chapter 18 is simply "Babylon the Great" (Rev. 18:2). True, the Babylon destroyed in chapter 17 has the name, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the whole Earth" (Rev. 17:5). But the only similarity is the location, Babylon. When both titles are used fully, the contrast of these two Babylons is clearly seen.
  4. Babylon the prostitute of chapter 17 will be destroyed by the kings of the earth (Rev. 17:16). The Babylon of chapter 18 will be destroyed by the cataclysmic judgments of God.
  5. The kings who destroy the Babylon of chapter 17 rejoice. In the Babylon of chapter 18, the kings and merchants lament and weep for her (Rev. 18:9-15).
  6. If chapters 17 and 18 take place during the last days of the Great Tribulation, there will be no place for the Antichrist and the False Prophet to do away with all religions and substitute the worship of the Antichrist's image as described (in chapter 13).

Verses 1-3: That the city "Babylon" in chapter 18 is the same as the whore or harlot in chapter 17 is shown by:

(1) The parallels between the two (compare 17:1-6, 15-18 with 18:2-3, 6-8, 12, 18-24);

(2) The identification of the harlot as the "great city" in 17:18;

(3) The summary of Babylon's judgment in 19:2-3; and

(4) The fact that the imagery in both chapters comes from Old Testament references to Tyre, Nineveh, and Babylon (compare Isa. Chapters 13, 14, and 23: Ezek. chapters 26-28; Jer. chapters 50-51).

The language of chapter 18 is highly figurative. The phrase "after these things" shows that chapter 18 is a further revelation concerning Babylon: the results of her destruction. (In verse 2), her doom is announced: "Babylon the great is fallen" (compare Isa. 21:9). The reference to "devils" (demons), and "every foul spirit" shows the total destruction and utter desolation of the harlot system. "All nations": The "merchants of the earth" have become wealthy through the apostate, idolatrous system centered at Rome.

Revelation 18:1 "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory."

Then John saw another angel coming down from heaven. Whether "another angel" is one of the seven angels who had the seven vials, we are not told. But it seems doubtful, for this angel is distinctive, with such "great authority" that he lights the earth with his glory.

"Earth was lightened with his glory": The fifth vial (16:10), will have plunged the world into darkness. Against that backdrop, the sudden, blazing appearance of another angel (not the same as in 17:1, 7, 15), will certainly rivet the world's attention on him and his message of judgment on Babylon (compare 14:8).

In the last lesson we saw that the beast, and his system, and the great whore were revealed. Here in chapter 18, we will see the judgment that comes from God poured out on them. This "angel" (in verse 1), was sent from heaven. This "power" spoken of here is power that God has endowed on this angel for the execution of this punishment. This "angel" has been in close association with the Light. We see here that this powerful Light of Jesus, even though second hand through the angel, still lightens the earth.

Revelation 18:2 "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."

"Babylon the great is fallen" (compare 14:8; see note on Isa. 21:9), the verse from which these words come. The Greek text views the results of this as if it had already taken place (see note on 14:8). But the seventh vial is being referred to here and it is yet to come at this point (16:17-21). When it comes, devastation and annihilation will take place, leaving the place to demons.

The message of this angel who cries with a "mighty voice" is this: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!" Since chapter 18 seems to describe the destruction of a literal commercial city, the governmental capital of the world during the Tribulation, we naturally ask ourselves the question, "Where is that city?" Again, Bible prophecy students are not in agreement. Some suggest the city of Rome, and some years ago suggested New York City because he felt it was the commercial center of the world. Some who believe we should take the Scriptures literally whenever possible are inclined to believe that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt.

There is a similar description of this very same thing in Isaiah:

Isaiah 21:9 "And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, [with] a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground."

Here we see the fall of the great apostate church. We also see the fall of these ten evil nations. God is not mocked. God wins the war. God has given up on them completely. Now judgement comes. Babylon is a very wicked group, but they are not the world. They are the church gone bad. For a while the world and the apostate church were walking hand in hand. The evil ten nations, at last, have turned against this apostate church, both Catholic and Protestant. This is the church that has committed spiritual adultery. Iraq is physical Babylon.

This "...strong voice... came from God. This apostate church God doesn't even claim any more. The real Christians are already in heaven. Now we see even this watered-down church fall, and that leaves the way open for every unclean spirit that exists. Demons control.

In (Rev. 18:10, 16, 18, 19, and 21), you find reference to this Babylon being a city. (In verse 2), the angel cried mightily and said "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen". The "literal" interpretation would dictate that indeed this Babylon is a city. But I do not believe this is so! If you read (Rev. 17:18), you see: "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the Kings of the earth."

The "woman" was the corrupt religious system and not a city. The same applies here. Commercial Babylon is a corrupt commercial, social and political system that will be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation (go back and read the 6 reasons given before verse 1 of this chapter again).

Revelation 18:3 "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."

"Wine of the wrath of her fornication": Religious Babylon (chapter 17), lures the nations into spiritual drunkenness and fornication with false gods (17:2, 4); commercial Babylon (chapter 18), seduces the unbelieving world into a materialistic stupor, so that the people of the world will become drunk with passion because of their relationship with Babylon.

"Kings ... merchants": Political rulers and corporate leaders alike are swept up in this worldwide system of commerce (14:8; 17:2).

Remember in chapter 16 we saw the actual destruction of commercial Babylon. At the end of this chapter I will show it to you again so you can make sense of what is taking place.

The corruption may have had its beginnings at the city of Babylon, but believe me it has spread to every corner of the earth. It will not be until the earth is totally destroyed that this evil will be no more. Those who mourn are those who are loosing their ability to deceive the nations any longer.

Looking ahead at what it says in:

Rev. 18:23: "for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived".

So, you see this is not a city but a very corrupt system that is being destroyed by God by his Judgment to prepare for the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verses 4-8: Believers must be separate from the harlot system, or else they may be found to share in "her sins" and thereby "receive" part of her judgment. "God hath remembered her iniquities": The day of judgment for sin has arrived. The "double" judgment emphasizes full punishment for her sins (compare Jer. 16:18; 17:18; 50:29). That she calls herself a "queen" and "no widow" shows her arrogant self-confidence (compare Isa. 47:7-8). She sees herself as beyond any possibility of personal "sorrow". But the humbling of the harlot (compare Luke 14:11), will involve "torment" and "sorrow". "One day" may be a literal day or a symbol for the suddenness of the destruction. The "fire" may also be either literal fire or a symbol of the judgment of God (compare Jer. 51:25-58). It is reminiscent of the burning of Rome in A.D. 64 by Nero.

Revelation 18:4 "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."

"Come out of her, my people": God will call His own to disentangle themselves from this evil system. This may also be God's calling the elect to abandon the world system and come to faith in the Savior. In either case, the message is to abandon the system before it is destroyed (compare 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 John 2:15). The judgment of God on that society living in sinful, arrogant self-indulgence can be avoided. Compare Isaiah's and Jeremiah's message to their people to leave Babylon (Isa. 48:20; Jer. 50:8; 51:6-9, 45). In both cases, the message is to abandon the system.

Read (2 Cor. 6:14-17) below, for a good example of this:

(14) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

(15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

(16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

(17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,

True believers, who are still in this type of church, are very foolish. God through this "voice from heaven" is saying, "Come out of her my people". This is not speaking of Rome, but the apostate church. His people are the church. He leaves no doubt what a person should do if they are caught in these apostate churches.

You see, even though you are not committing sin, as such. You are committing sin by association. The Bible tells us over and over not to be unequally yoked with those of unbelief. If you do not remove yourself, you are guilty of her sin. In (verse 4 above), we read that her plagues will come to you as well.

If your church preaches that Jesus was not born of a virgin, or the Red Sea did not part, that Jonah was not actually swallowed by a whale, or if your church recognizes homosexuals and lesbians as equals, and does not condemn it as sin, you had better get out. No one or nothing should be put ahead of God. There is no mediator between man and almighty god except Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:5 "For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

We should not bow down to graven images of anyone or anything. We read in Exodus 20:4, one of the Commandments of God.

Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:"

Be careful how you worship. Be careful about the things of God. Know who Jesus is and why you worship Him. Be thoroughly convinced in your heart. Do not listen to someone telling you what the Bible says. Read and study it for yourself. God will reveal to you what it is saying, if you are earnestly trying to learn. Even check out what I am saying. Do not be easily swayed by anyone. Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.

The righteous God of the universe has not overlooked the sins of the elite power brokers who have used commerce and government for centuries to live luxuriously at the expense of others. The commercial, social and political systems of the Antichrist will receive double judgment for their sins.

Revelation 18:5 "For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."

"Remembered": (see 16:19). God does not remember the iniquities of His people (Jer. 31:34), but does remember to protect them (Mal. 3:16 - 4:2). For unrepentant Babylon, there will be no such forgiveness, only judgment.

Babylon's sins will pile up like a new Tower of Babel, but unlike the ancient tower, her sins will reach as high as heaven.

Then an angel states that God has remembered her sins. He will take note of them as He did that earlier monument to man's sinful, arrogant, prideful rebellion at Babel.

It is always good to remember that all of Revelation was addressed to the church. God gives us warnings and gives us time to repent. Even now, here, when He has already passed judgement on this apostate church, He is crying out for individuals to come out of this apostate church. Jesus calls us all to righteousness and holiness in Him. It is up to us to answer that call.

Verses 6-7: "Reward her": The angel calls for God to recompense wrath to Babylon in her own cup to repay her according to her deeds (see note on 17:4). This is an echo of the Old Testament law of retaliation (Exodus 21:24), which will be implemented by God (Rom. 12:17-21).

Revelation 18:6 "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double."

"Double": Has the sense of "full", or "overflowing". The punishment will fit the crime (compare Jer. 16:18).

"Cup": The cup of wickedness from which so many have drunk (14:8; 17:2, 4, 6), will call for the cup of wrath (14:10; 16:19).

This "reward her" simply means will recompense or repay commercial Babylon according to her works. All of those who are involved and are guilty will suffer double judgment as the cup is filled twice for her for what she has done to the Saints (see article " Babylon the City ").

She will reap what she sowed.

Revelation 18:7 "How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow."

"And am no widow": A proud, but empty, boast of self-sufficiency, also made by historical Babylon (Isa. 47:8; compare 1 Cor. 10:12).

This is describing 3 sins she is guilty of.

(1) "She has glorified herself" meaning she was proud;

(2) "She lived Deliciously" meaning she pursued self-gratification; and

(3) "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow" meaning she was not only proud but boastful.

That proud boast echoes that of ancient Babylon who said "I will be a queen forever" and I will not sit as a widow, nor know loss of children. Now read that boast (in Isaiah 47):

Isaiah 47:7-8 "And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: [so] that thou didst not lay these [things] to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it." "Therefore hear now this, [thou that art] given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I [am], and none else beside me; I shall not sit [as] a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children."

Revelation 18:8 "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong [is] the Lord God who judgeth her."

"Her plagues": These could include those (of 16:1ff), but must be the special destruction of the city as well, described as "plagues and mourning and famine".

"In one day" (see verses 10, 17, 19). The special judgments on Babylon take place in a brief period of time. (Daniel 5:30), records that Babylon of old fell in one day.

(Isaiah 47:9). "But these two [things] shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, [and] for the great abundance of thine enchantments".

This is saying that Babylon's destruction will not be progressive. The wicked city (system), will be instantly destroyed. (Dan 5:25-28, 30), records a similar fate that befell ancient Babylon; the city fell the very night that God wrote its doom on the wall of the king's palace.

Babylon's doom is certain and cannot be avoided. No one can change God's plans or keep Him from accomplishing what He purposed to do as Nebuchadnezzar discovered above in Daniel. Or in this case his grandson Belshazzar (Dan. 5:13-30).

Verses 9-20: This section records the lament over Babylon's destruction, not her sin, by those who were part of her system.

These verses consist of three laments over the fallen city of Babylon, from the perspective of kings (verses 9-10), merchants (verses 11-16), and seamen (verses 17-19; compare Ezek. chapter 27), followed by a call for rejoicing on the part of God's people and His angels (verse 20). The "kings" (of verse 9), are not the kings (represented by horns of 17:16), but rather various earthly kings who have participated in the Babylonian system. The laments picture utter chaos on the earth at the end of the Tribulation period. The "merchants" will find nothing to buy or sell. "In one hour": The destruction will come suddenly and quickly (verse 17). The world's pagan economic system will collapse. "They cast dust on their heads" as a sign of mourning and sorrow (verse 19; compare Job 2:12; Lam. 2:10; Ezek. 27:30). "God hath avenged you on her": God at last judges the Babylonian system for its treatment of God's people, particularly those who are martyred during the Tribulation (compare 6:9-11). Verse 20 shows heaven's perspective on the judgment.

Revelation 18:9 "And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,"

"Kings": The political leaders of the world will weep because the loss of their capital city will signal the doom of Antichrist's empire, and with it, the source of their power (compare verse 3; 17:2).

"Bewail her, and lament for her": Bewail means to weep, and "Weep" means "to sob openly". "Lament" translates the same Greek word used to express the despair of the unbelieving world at the return of Christ (1:7).

This will no doubt include the 10 kings of the earth who rule Antichrist's kingdom under his authority as well as the rest of the world's leaders.

The destruction of the Antichrist's political and economic power will strike a fatal blow to his empire. The fall of Babylon will be a symbol of the fall of the entire evil world system.

And again, Babylon is pictured as a harlot whose death causes her lovers to weep and lament over her.

Revelation 18:10 "Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come."

This "standing afar off", could mean those who heeded and came out of her. It really doesn't matter where. It may be all of these cities and many more, or it might not be a literal city at all. I really believe this is both an evil system and many evil cities as well, being destroyed.

The one hour simply means the judgment will happen rapidly just as verse 8 predicted (compare verses 8, 17, 19).

Revelation 18:11 "And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:"

These mourners are the merchants of the earth who will weep and mourn over Babylon because no one will be able to buy their goods anymore.

Whatever economy there had been will end and so will any semblance of normalcy on this devastated planet that was already in serious trouble brought on by the divine judgments of God.

Verses 12-13: Over half of their commodities appear in the list of (Ezek. 27:12-22).

Revelation 18:12 "The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,"

"Purple": This refers to garments laboriously dyed with purple dye extracted from shellfish. Lydia (Acts 16:14), was a seller of such expensive garments. A distinctive mark of the Caesars was their purple robes.

"Thyine wood": Wood from North African citrus trees, highly valued because of its color, which was used to make extremely expensive pieces of furniture.

"Marble": Marble, imported from Africa, Egypt, and Greece, was widely used in Roman buildings.

It appears that these are classed in several types:

(1) Personal items of jewelry;

(2) Articles used for furniture;

(3) Nice smelling and tasting things;

(4) Food;

(5) Animals;

(6) Souls of men.

What significance this has, I do not know; unless, it means worldly things. Most of these are things a person could do without if hard times came and you had to, even maybe the food for a while.

This "souls of men", is one of the more interesting. In the days of the old Roman Empire, they sold people as you would animals. Perhaps that is what is meant there. They thought no more about selling a person than they did a pair of shoes.

It appears to me, in all of this that trade has just about ceased, period. Probably, all the plagues and wars have just about stopped everything.

Revelation 18:13 "And cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men".

"Ointments" (compare Matt. 26:7, 12; John 12:3).

"Frankincense": A fragrant gum or resin imported from Arabia and used in incense and perfume (SOS 3:6; Matt. 2:11).

Slaves, and souls of men": The slave trade, long banned by the civilized nations of the world, will reappear in Antichrist's debauched commercial system.

Revelation Chapter 18 Questions

1. In verse 1, describe the angel that came down.

2. Who has this angel been near in heaven?

3. He cried with a loud voice saying what?

4. Who had Babylon become the habitation of?

5. Where in the Old Testament, do we read of the fall of Babylon?

6. What is this fall of Babylon? Two things.

7. Is Babylon the world? Explain

8. Who controlled fallen Babylon?

9. All __________ have drunk of the wine of the wrath.

10. The _______ ____ ______ _________ have committed fornication with her.

11. Which churches are part of the apostasy?

12. When this church goes bad, what does God tell the people to do?

13. Name several things taught that should trigger you to leave your church.

14. Who is the only mediator? Give the scripture.

15. What are we told in Exodus 20: 4 about images?

16. What are at least five things we should be careful to do to make sure we are worshipping correctly?

17. Where had Babylon's sins reached?

18. Jesus called us all to what two things?

19. What braggadocios remark had Babylon made?

20. What do we see in this remark?

21. When will the plagues come on Babylon?

22. Who bewails her?

23. Why?

24. Where does judgement begin?

25. Why do the merchants weep and mourn?

26. Name some of the things that will not be sold any more.

27. Give them six classifications.

28. What was responsible for just about all commerce stopping?

Revelation Chapter 18 Continued

Revelation 18:14 "And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all."

And the merchandise that was available before are now gone and will never ever be available again. The commercial system is completely shut down and that reality is about to be made manifest.

It will probably be a time when it will be next to impossible to even find enough to feed your family. Even if you did find enough for them to eat, it would probably take all you could possibly make just to have even bread for your family.

This is probably the time when a loaf of bread would cost a whole day's wages. There will be no money at all left for niceties.

Even if you have a tremendous amount of money, there will be great shortages of real items necessary to live on not to mention the things the rich consume will be entirely unavailable.

Revelation 18:15 "The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,"

Here, we see such great fear from these merchants who used to sell their merchandise at tremendous, outrageous profits. Like today when many get rich from oil by taking advantage of those who can't afford the inflated prices. And that includes the government who adds very high taxes to every gallon of gas. When this horrible punishment comes, it will put the fear of God on those looking on. It is about time that someone begins to fear.

These merchants weep because their materialistic passions can no longer be fulfilled. The weeping that begins then will last for eternity in hell.

These greedy merchants are a classic illustration of those in all times who gain the whole world only to end up forfeiting their own souls.

Revelation 18:16 "And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!"

Any city, we would come up with; would be pure speculation. As in the lesson before this, we must realize this "Babylon" is a city and, also the apostate church. These plagues jump back and forth from the city to the church (see article " Babylon the City ").

The "fine linen" has to do with the church world. All of this describes the finery in these big churches. "purple, and scarlet" are Godly colors.

These items were common commodities in the ancient world and were the source of great immense financial gain. Those materialistic, unrepentant people mourn as God brings His judgment against Babylon, knowing these items will never be found again.

Revelation 18:17 "For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,"

In one Hour: The destruction will come suddenly and quickly. The world's pagan economic system will collapse. They cast dust on their heads as a sign of mourning and sorrow (verse 19; Job. 2:12; Lam. 2:10; Ezek. 27:30). God hath avenged you on her: God at last judges the Babylonian system for its treatment of God's people, particularly those who are martyred during the Tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11).

"Shipmaster": Ship captains will mourn the loss of Babylon and the lucrative transport business that went with it.

Revelation 18:18 "And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like unto this great city!"

The people cry and are amazed as they see this destruction taking place before their eyes.

Revelation 18:19 "And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate."

Casting dust on their heads is a typical ancient expression of grief. These last few scriptures state sailors, but could mean any system of transportation and delivery systems of today such as planes, trains, trucks etc. All of these services would be immediately shut down if the commercial system was destroyed including banking and computers.

Even a lukewarm church would certainly be aware of what other believers thought the Bible teaches about the wrath of God. When they realize they have missed the rapture of the Church, there would be grief beyond comprehension. This was a sudden destruction that no one could deny was a punishment from God.

"In one hour": Not just 60 minutes, but one brief period of swift judgment (see note on verse 8).

Consider what would happen if there was no more electrical system available.

Revelation 18:20 "Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her."

"God hath avenged you on her": The angel will exhort the tribulation martyrs (6:9-11), to rejoice, not over the deaths of those doomed to eternal hell, but, because God's righteousness and justice will have prevailed.

God has taken vengeance on the ones who killed his prophets and apostles and even his blessed Son. Finally, all of those martyred by these have been avenged.

The long-awaited moment of vindication, retribution and vengeance for which the martyred tribulation believers had prayed for (in Rev. 6:9-10), and for which all the redeemed have hoped, that time has arrived.

Verses 21-24: These verses picture from within the results of the collapse of the Babylonian system. The finality of its destruction is shown by the six fold repetition of the phrase "no more at all". The "stone" cast "into the sea' depicts the "violence" and permanence of the destruction. The Babylonian system began (in Genesis chapter 10), and has continued uninterrupted in one form or another to the present day. But one day it will suddenly "sink", never to return.

Revelation 18:21 "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast [it] into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all."

"Great millstone": Millstones were large, heavy stones used to grind grain. This metaphor portrays the violence of Babylon's overthrow (compare Jer. 51:61-64; see note on Matt. 18:6).

"Sea" sometimes means masses of people, but I do not believe that is the meaning here. Whether this is only a real city, (rebuilt Babylon), or a sinful commercial, social and political system that corrupts the entire world which is being destroyed here, this is speaking of total destruction. More than likely this is speaking of both as the two can be easily associated. This millstone here is similar to the one spoken of as being around a neck and thrown into the sea.

In the light of this Scripture, this is a really bad punishment. I believe this illustration is to show the finality of this judgment of God. We must remember Babylon is destroyed by God Himself, not by the devil.

Verses 22-23: The fall of Babylon ends whatever semblance of normalcy will still exist in the world after all the seals, trumpets and vials. Life will be totally disrupted and the end near. No more music, no industry, no preparing of food ("millstone"), no more power for light, and no more weddings because God will destroy the deceivers and deceived.

Revelation 18:22 "And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft [he be], shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;"

Literally everything grinds to a halt everywhere. Babylon will be completely and so thoroughly destroyed that it will never rise again as predicted by the Old Testament prophets.

Isaiah 13:19-21 "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah." "It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there." "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there."

In (verses 23b-24), three reasons are given for the destruction of Babylon:

(1) Its arrogance;

(2) Its deception of the nations; and

(3) Its persecution and martyrdom of God's people.

Revelation 18:23 "And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived."

Three final reasons are given for Babylon's judgment. Notice that the merchants are mentioned as the great men of the earth. That's why this is talking of a commercial system as well as a political system. They are not from the city of Babylon, but from all parts of the earth.

First, they use their wealth to ascent to positions of power, prominence and influence. The abuses of the proud, arrogant rich are well documented in scripture. James, Isaiah and Amos condemned the rich for their self-aggrandizement and maltreatment of the poor.

Second is all the nations were deceived by her sorcery. Sorcery is from pharmakeia, the root word of the English words "pharmacy" and "pharmaceuticals". The word is used in the New Testament to refer to magic and occult practices (Gal. 5:20).

We know that "sorceries" have to do with drugs. It seems this city was dealing in drugs. Of course, nearly every major city in the world is also. This is really no help in determining which city. It just helps us establish the extent of the evil. I still believe this city has worldwide connections to a branch of the church. I truly believe the deception they brought to the world was spiritual in nature. Here again, the things mentioned that have stopped, are normal things that happen in all large cities.

Babylon's hold on the world will not be entirely due to her military and economic power, but also to her occult influence.

Revelation 18:24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."

A final reason given for Babylon's judgment is her murderous slaughter of God's people.

"Blood of prophets, and of saints": The religious and commercial/political systems embodied in Babylon will commit unspeakable atrocities against God's people (compare 6:10; 11:7; 13:7, 15; 17:6; 19:2). God will avenge that slaughter of His people (19:2).

This is the city Babylon and the faithless church as well. True, faithful Christians are many times neglected and even oppressed by the church. We see youth lost because of the shallow teachings of this apostate church. Every time I see strong Christians ridiculed by lukewarm Christians, I am more convinced, more people are lost going to a watered-down church than by not going to church at all. At least those who do not go at all are not fooled into a false sense of security. They know they are lost.

It is much easier to reach someone who never went to church, because they know they need a Savior. The ones who go once or twice a year believe they are already saved and don't need the Savior. It is such a shame that the Shepherds do not teach their people to study the Bible for themselves. Through the Word is where true commitment begins.


Let's go back and read the end of chapter 16 starting with verse 17 through verse 21, as this was the end of the world as we know it.

This is starting when the Angel pours out the seventh vial or bowl judgment which is the last of the 21 plaques of Revelation right before the second coming of Jesus and the battle of Armageddon.

16:17 "And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done".

16:18 "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great".

16:19 "And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath".

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

16:21 "And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, [every stone] about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great".

Notice that not only Babylon fell, but also the cities of the nations as well (verse 19).

Also, don't forget the earth is already reeling from the thunders and lightings not to mention the biggest earthquake the world has even known.

Then the great hail that weight about a talent (100 pounds each). This hail is totally capable of destroying cities with no problem at all.

Then (verse 20), tells us that every island fled away and the mountains were no longer found. This is the worst plague of the 21 by far as it completely destroys the political, commercial system called Babylon the Great from off the earth. Not to mention that this is the end of the earth as we have known it as it now has been completely leveled and is ready for the renewal process that's coming.

Revelation Chapter 18 Continued Questions

1. In verse 14, what thing had departed from them?

2. What kind of a time is this describing?

3. How much will a loaf of bread cost?

4. Even if you had a great amount of money, what problem would you run into?

5. Why did the merchants stand afar off?

6. What two words were the merchants saying?

7. How was this great city clothed?

8. What do you associate fine linen with?

9. What two things is Babylon?

10. What period of time did the destruction come on?

11. What happened to the ships bringing goods to her?

12. The shipmasters cried when they saw what?

13. What was a sign of terrible grief?

14. Even a lukewarm church would be aware of what?

15. Who was to rejoice over her?

16. Why?

17. Who did God take vengeance on?

18. What did the angel cast into the sea?

19. How will Babylon be thrown down?

20. What does this indicate?

21. Who destroys Babylon?

22. What sounds will not be heard anymore?

23. In verse 23, name three things that indicate this is a city.

24. What does sorceries tell us?

25. What do I believe about the deception they brought into the world?

26. Where does true commitment begin?

27. What message have you received personally from this lesson.

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Revelation 19

Revelation Chapter 19

Revelation chapter 19 and 20 bring the climax of the Book of Revelation: the return of Christ to establish His Earthly Kingdom (see article " Kingdom - Christ's Coming Kingdom ").

But first, the first five verses show heaven's response to the judgment of the harlot.

The multitude in heaven praises God for judging the great whore (Babylon, the harlot), and avenging the blood of the martyrs (7:9-17). The eternal smoke symbolizes the permanence of Babylon's destruction (Isaiah 34:8-10). Amen derives from a Hebrew word meaning "to be firm," and may be translated "truly" or "so be it."

This chapter is one of the most dramatic in all the Bible. In it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, is the guest of honor at the marriage of the Lamb in heaven (verses 1-10), and returns with Christ in His Triumphal Second Coming (verses 11-21). The people mentioned here are distinct from the other beings in heaven, for they are singing a song that includes mention of salvation. This scene incorporates believers, the Old Testament saints, the Church age saints, and the Tribulation saints. Together they join this great chorus proclaiming "Alleluia!"

The scene now shifts from the earth where it has been (since chapter 6), to heaven.

Verses 1-6: "Alleluia": This Hebrew word appears 4 times in the New Testament. This exclamation, meaning "Praise the Lord", occurs frequently in the Old Testament (compare Psalms 104:35; 105:45; 106:1; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1; 117:1; 135:1; 146:1). Five reasons for their praise emerge:

(1) God's deliverance of His people from their enemies (verse 1);

(2) God's meting out of justice (verse 2);

(3) God's permanent crushing of man's rebellion (verse 3);

(4) God's sovereignty (verse 6); and

(5) God's communion with His people (verse 7).

Revelation 19:1 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:"

In the last chapter, we saw the terrible destruction of commercial and political Babylon symbolized by its capital city of Babylon. Now the scene totally changes to heaven. We hear the voices of the redeemed. This "great voice" here is because of the number of people speaking. It is not the magnitude of each voice. These words of praise here are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. The redeemed are the ones who are praising. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to say enough about what Jesus has purchased for us all.

"After these things": This is a time key. After the destruction of Babylon at the end of the "Great Tribulation, just before the kingdom is established (chapter 20). This section bridges the Tribulation and the millennial kingdom.

The marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper of the Lamb "in heaven" (19:6-9), are evidence of the Church being in heaven prior to the return of Christ to earth. Christ is the Bridegroom at the marriage and his Church is the Bride. The word "church" (Greek ekklesia), appears nineteen times (in Revelation 1-3), and does not appear again until (Revelation 22:16), emphasizing the absence of the Church from the earth during the judgments of (Rev. chapters 4-18).

"I heard a great voice of much people in heaven": The people are the same with the 144,000 seen with the Lamb on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1), and with those on the sea of glass, who had got the victory over the beast (Revelation 15:2), and are no other than God's covenant people, who are given to Christ, and made willing to be his in the day of his power. And though they are but a seed, a remnant, a small company, when compared with the world and carnal professors; yet are a large body of themselves.

Especially they will be now, when the nation of the Jews shall be born at once, and the fullness of the Gentiles will be brought in. And their voice on this occasion and the downfall of Rome, is said to be "great" partly because of their number. Who will join in acclamations of praise, and partly on account of their great affection and vehemence of spirit, which will be raised hereby.

Revelation 19:2 "For true and righteous [are] his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand."

"Judgments": Saints long for the day of judgment (compare 6:10; 16:7; Isa. 9:7; Jer. 23:5). Godly people love righteousness and hate sin, for righteousness honors God and sin mocks Him. Believers long for a world of justice and it will come (verse 15; 2:27; 12:5).

It appears that those who were redeemed were looking on from heaven and approving of the destruction of Babel, because the Messiah was bringing justice and righteousness to the world.

There is a reassuring tone here telling the Lord that He was justified in His judgment. They have long waited for the time when God's justice would triumph. Now that time had come.

"Which did corrupt the earth with her fornication": Drew the kings and inhabitants of the Roman empire into wicked and idolatrous practices, and so corrupted and destroyed them in soul, body, and estate.

"And hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand": And by these judicial dispensations God hath also taken vengeance on them for the blood of his saints shed by them. It is remarkable, that all along this book, idolatry and persecution are made the beast's provoking sins.

Revelation 19:3 "And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever."

"Smoke rose": This is because of the fire (compare 17:16, 18; 18:8-9, 18; 14:8-11).

This is saying that this judgment is permanent and is like the language that God used (in Gen. 19:28). This is just a statement telling us it will never be built again.

This destruction of the last, most powerful empire in history marks the end of man's day. The rebellion that had begun in the Garden of Eden is finally ended. Never again will there be more false religions, worldly philosophy, injustice or unrighteousness.

Then entire sorry results of human depravity will finally be vanquished.

Revelation 19:4 "And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia."

These twenty-four elders, I believe, as I said before, are two groups of twelve, twelve disciples and twelve Old Testament prophets. These are representative of the church.

"Four beasts": The four beasts are the cherubim as described (in Rev. 4:6). These compose the same group as (in 7:11), and are associated with worship frequently (4:8, 11; 5:9-12, 14; 11:16-18).

Revelation 19:5 "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great."

The speaker isn't identified but is probably an angel and refers to God as our God. His instructions are to praise God.

The redeemed in heaven are called God's "Bond Servants", and this is the group being addressed here to add to the other 3 mentioned groups.

"Both small and great": All distinctions and ranks are to be transcended. The small and the great mean everyone which includes all human categories and distinctions. All redeemed are told to praise God.

Verses 6-10: "Omnipotent": God is all-powerful, and "reigneth" over His universe. "The marriage of the Lamb": The "wife" or bride of Christ is the church (compare Matt. 22:2-14; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-32), and the marriage is the eternal union of the church with Christ following the Rapture (compare 1 Thess. 4:17). The "fine linen, clean and white", represents the "righteousness" of the church, which has now been judged and purified at the judgment seat of Christ (compare 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). "The marriage supper of the Lamb" represents the millennial kingdom of Christ, which will take place on earth following the return of Christ (20:4; compare Matt. 25:1-13; Luke 14:15-24).

"Called": Those who are invited to the marriage supper are Israel, who will turn to Christ in faith during the Tribulation (compare Jer. 31:31-34; Zech. 12:10; 13:9; Rom. 11:25-27). "Worship": Only God is to be worshiped (compare 22:8-9; Acts 10:25-26). "Spirit of prophecy": The person and message of Jesus is the essence of all true prophecy.

Revelation 19:6 "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

So vast is this group that they are without number. These are the faithful. When this great multitude begin to praise God, the volume would be so great as to sound like "mighty thunderings".

"Lord God": Used many times in Revelation as a title for God (compare verse 15, 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 21:22). The great praise of the multitude sounds like a massive crashing of waves.

This name used here, pertaining to our Lord, is a very strange one. This is the only place in the Bible where the word "omnipotent" occurs. Omnipotent means almighty: having unlimited power. When you couple that with "Lord", which means supreme in authority, and "God", which means supreme deity; you have an overwhelming understanding of Who this is.

Then we look at "reigneth". This has no time element attached. It means continually reigns.

At this point the evil world system has been destroyed and God's kingdom has come into its fullness.

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

The heavenly praise continues, this time for a call for gladness, rejoicing and giving God glory for a fifth reason, the marriage of the Lamb has come.

"Marriage of the Lamb": Hebrew weddings consisted of 3 phrases:

(1) Betrothal (often when the couple were children);

(2) Presentation (the festivities, often lasting several days, that preceded the ceremony);

(3) The ceremony (the exchanging of vows).

The church was betrothed to Christ by His sovereign choice in eternity past (Eph. 1:4; Heb. 13:20), and will be presented to Him at the Rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). The final supper will signify the end of the ceremony. This symbolic meal will take place at the establishment of the millennial kingdom and last throughout that 1000 year period (compare 21:2). While the term "bride" often refers to the church, and does so here (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-24), it ultimately expands to include all the redeemed of all ages, which becomes clear in the remainder of the book.

The marriage of the Lamb: The wife or bride of Christ is the church (Matt. 22:2-14; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-32). And the marriage is the eternal union of the church with Christ following the Rapture (see 1 Thess. 4:17; see article " Rapture "). The fine linen, clean and white, represents the righteousness of the church, which has now been judged and purified at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12-15: 2 Cor. 5:10).

This is in total contrast to the harlot Babylon. Here we see the chaste virgin (faithful to Jesus). At a marriage, there is rejoicing and giving of honor. The strange thing to me, is that Jesus would even have us. We have been washed in His blood, and we have on our white wedding garment ready for the wedding. I believe the word "Lamb" is used here, instead of one of the other names of Jesus, to show that we have been cleansed by His sacrificial blood.

In ancient times, a marriage was the single greatest celebration and social event in the biblical world. Preparations and celebrations were much more elaborate than those of today. And they also lasted much longer.

They were in three distinct stages which first involved the betrothal or engagement. This was an arrangement by both sets of parents, was legally binding and could only be broken by divorce. Then there was a time of preparation as the groom prepared for his bride.

Second was the presentation which was a time of festivities just before the actual ceremony. Those festivities could last up to a week and sometimes even more depending on the economic or social status of the bride and groom.

Lastly was the wedding ceremony during which time the vows were exchanged.

The same imagery of a wedding picture's the Lord's relationship with His Church.

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

"Righteousness of saints": Not Christ's imputed righteousness granted to believers at salvation, but the practical results of that righteousness in believer's lives, i.e., the outward manifestation of inward virtue.

The fine linen the bride is clothed in represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Just as I said, these robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb. This "righteousness" was not ours until we received the Lord Jesus into our lives and took on His righteousness. Our own righteousness had been as filthy rags, but Jesus replaced the filth with His righteousness. Just like, as many other places in the Bible, "her" does not mean just women, it is the bride. All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the bride of Christ, whether they are male or female.

I would like to say a few words about this "fine linen". In the tabernacle in the wilderness, the High Priest wore a very ornamented robe with a breastplate of all sorts of jewels when he represented God to the people; but when he went into the Holy of Holies, he wore pure white linen. You see, all of the fineries of the world mean nothing to God. This tells us something about our approach to God. Salvation is simple. It is not complicated, just bare all to God. He knows all there is about us already. We do not have to pretend to be something we are not. He accepts us plain and simple.

Revelation 19:9 "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."

"Blessed" (see note on 1:3).

"They which are called": This is not the bride (the church), but the guests. The bride doesn't get invited, she invites. These are those saved before Pentecost, all the faithful believers saved by grace through faith up to the birth of the church (Acts 2:1ff). Though they are not the bride, they still are glorified and reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom. It is really differing imagery rather than differing reality. The guests also will include tribulation saints and believers alive in earthly bodies in the kingdom. The church is the bride, pure and faithful, never a harlot, like Israel was (see Hosea chapter 2). So, the church is the bride during the presentation feast in heaven, then comes to earth for the celebration of the final meal (during the Millennium). After that event, the new order comes and the marriage is consummated (see notes on 21:1-2).

Those who are invited to the marriage supper are Israel (see article " Marriage Supper "), who will turn to Christ in faith during the Tribulation (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zech. 12:10; 13:9; and Roman 11:25-27).

The marriage supper of the Lamb represents the millennial kingdom of Christ, which will take place on earth following the return of Christ (20:4; Matt. 25:1-13; Luke 14:15-24). The Jewish marriage consisted of three major elements:

(1) The betrothal;

(2) The presentation; and

(3) The marriage feast (supper), as was discussed just before.

Figuratively, with reference to the church,

(1) The betrothal takes place on earth during the church age;

(2) The presentation will take place in heaven following the Rapture (verse 7); and

(3) The marriage feast will take place on earth following Christ's return with the church.

Revelation 19:10 "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

"Fell at his feet": Overwhelmed by the grandeur of the vision, John collapsed in worship before the angel (compare 1:17; 22:8).

"Do it not" (compare 22:8-9). The Bible forbids the worship of angels (Col. 2:18-19).

John here was so awed by all of this that he fell at this angel's feet to worship him. Then the angel quickly tells John not to worship him. Only God is to be worshiped (22:8-9; Acts 10:25-26).

"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy": The central theme of both Old Testament prophecy and New Testament preaching is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The "testimony of Jesus" is what the whole Bible is about. Without Jesus, there would be no salvation. The Old Testament points forward to Jesus, beginning in Genesis. The New Testament is the "last will and testament" of Jesus, and to receive our inheritance, we must read the will.

If you preach on prophecy, you are bringing the testimony of Jesus. If you understand the testimony of Jesus, then you must preach and prophesy so that others may live (see article " About the Bible "). This testimony here is not Jesus giving it, but we believers who testify of the Lord. Whoever this angel is, he too had the testimony of Jesus.

Revelation Chapter 19

1. In verse 1, this great voice from heaven was whom?

2. What were they saying?

3. Who are these people?

4. What two words describe His judgements?

5. Who had He judged?

6. What had she corrupted the earth with?

7. Whose blood had He avenged?

8. Those looking from heaven approved what?

9. What kind of fornication is this?

10. What did the "avenging the blood" probably mean?

11. Who said Amen, Alleluia as they worshipped around the throne?

12. The voice that came out of the throne said what?

13. Who were the twenty-four elders?

14. What are the four beasts?

15. The voice of this great multitude was as the voice of __________ ______________.

16. Chapter 19 of Revelation is the only place in the Bible that this name describing God is used. What is it?

17. What does it mean?

18. What does Lord mean?

19. What does this particular rendition of God mean?

20. What does "reigneth" mean?

21. "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him: for the ___________ of the _______ is come"

22. Who are the chaste virgin?

23. Why is the word "Lamb" used here to speak of Jesus?

24. What is the "righteousness of the saints" that they are clothed with?

25. Who is the bride of Christ?

26. What does the linen garment tell us about salvation?

27. Who are the Blessed?

28. Why did John bow to this angel?

29. Why did the angel tell John not to do this?

30. What is the testimony of Jesus?

31. What is the New Testament?

32. If you understand the testimony of Jesus, what must you do?

33. Summarize this lesson in your own words.

Revelation Chapter 19 Continued

Verses 11-16: In these next six verses, we are swept up into the triumphal entourage of redeemed saints in the heavenly procession with the King of Kings. Jesus Christ comes to make war on Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the kings of the earth. He rides on a white horse and has on His head "many crowns." When this war with Satan is over, He becomes the absolute ruler of the earth.

Throughout both Old and New Testaments, the Scriptures teach a literal, physical (bodily), and visible return of Christ to this earth to establish His kingdom and rule for a thousand years. The greatest theme of all Bible prophecy is the second coming of Christ (see article " Glorious Appearance - Second Coming of Christ "). This was the theme of mankind's first prophecy (Jude 14-15), and of the last messages of the Bible (22:20). While certain events and experiences may occur in the lives of individuals (Christ appearing to those who are saved, or to those who die), these are of course not the ultimate return of Christ. The term Second Coming should be reserved for His final revelation at the end of the age. In anticipation of the Second Coming, Christians should live soberly, righteously, and godly (Titus 2:12; see Jude 14, Rom. 2:1-16, besides the scriptures here in 11-16).

This "white horse" is not that of 6:2. Here the "True" Messiah returns in victorious conquest. He is "Faithful" to His Word and promises. He will fulfill the twofold role of "judge" and warrior. His judgment of the earth will be totally righteous (compare 16:5-7; 19:2; Psalm 96:13). The "fire" depicts glory and judgment. The "crowns" indicate total sovereignty and authority (contrast 12:3; 13:1). The secret "name" expresses the mystery and greatness of the person of Christ (compare 2:17; 3:12; 19:13, 16; Phil. 2:9-11). The "blood" represents the judgment of Christ's enemies (compare 14:14-20; Isa. 63:1-6). The name "Word of God" presents Christ as the revelation of God Himself (compare John 1:1, 14, 1 John 1:1). In His first advent, Jesus especially revealed the love and grace of God (compare John 1:17; Rom. 5:8). But in His second advent, He will reveal the holiness, justice, and judgment of God (compare Heb. 4:12).

Revelation 19:11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."

"Heaven opened": The One who ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), and had been seated at the Father's right hand (Heb. 8:1; 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22), will return to take back the earth from the usurper and establish His kingdom (5:1-10). The nature of this event shows how it differs from the Rapture. At the Rapture, Christ meets His own in the air, in this event He comes with them to earth. At the Rapture, there is no judgment, in this event it is all judgment. This event is preceded by blackness, the darkened sun, moon gone out, stars fallen, smoke, then lightning and blinding glory as Jesus comes. Such details are not included in Rapture passages (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

"White horse": In the Roman triumphal processions, the victorious general rode his white war horse up the Via Sacra to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. Jesus' first coming was in humiliation on a colt (Zech. 9:9). John's vision portrays Him as the conqueror on His war horse, coming to destroy the wicked, to over-throw the Antichrist, to defeat Satan, and to take control of the earth (compare 2 Cor. 2:14).

Notice several things about the description of our Lord's return. First, it will be public, obvious, and not restricted to a small group. He says His coming will be like lightning that flashes from the east to the west. Everybody will see it, and there will be no hiding it. Second, He says it will occur "immediately after" the Great Tribulation. Third, His return will be accompanied by "mourning" on the part of "all the tribes of the earth". The mourning of sadness on the part of the Jewish nation, that it so long rejected Christ as Messiah, as well as the mourning of despair on the part of the ungodly, who reject Him as King even as He appears in the sky.

This opening of heaven is not to go in, but is the opening for Jesus and His followers to come out.

Again, as we saw in chapter four, a door opened in heaven. The door to heaven has never been closed for the Christians to enter in. The "horse" symbolizes war, and the fact that it is "white", symbolizes victory. White, also symbolizes holiness and righteousness. This tells us that this war is a holy war, and Jesus is victorious.

"Faithful and True": True to His word, Jesus will return to earth (Matt. 24:27-31; see note on 3:14).

Just the fact that "Faithful and True" have initial caps, lets us know that this figure is God the Son who has been made Lord of lords and King of kings, Jesus is the Judge. He is always faithful to His promises and what He speaks is always true.

"In righteousness he doth judge" (see 20:11-15; compare Matt. 25:31ff; John 5:25-30; Acts. 17:31). We are assured that His judgments are right. He has been sitting at the Right Hand of the Father in heaven, but now He is about to set up His kingdom here on the earth.

"Wages war"; This startling statement, appearing only here (and 2:16), vividly portrays the holy wrath of God against sinners (compare Psalm 7:11). God's patience will be exhausted with sinful, rebellious mankind.

The most detailed description of the ("Second Coming"), was given by our Lord Himself in Matthew:

Matthew 24:27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be".

Matthew 24:29-31 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken". "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory". "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other".

Revelation 19:12 "His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself."

"His eyes were as a flame of fire": "Eyes" show wisdom, and these, like "flames of fire" can see right into the soul of man. Nothing escapes His penetrating vision, so His judgments are always just and accurate (see note on 1:14).

This "fire" here speaks of purity and judgment. The crowns indicate total sovereignty and authority (contrast 12:3; 13:1). The secret name expresses the mystery and greatness of the person of Christ (2:17; 3:12; 19:13, and 16; Phil. 2:9-11).

"A name ... no man knew": John could see the name, but was unable to comprehend it (compare 2 Cor. 12:4). There are unfathomable mysteries in the Godhead that even glorified saints will be unable to grasp.

There was a secret name on the stone underneath the breastplate of the High Priest worn into the Holy of Holies. This was the unspeakable name of God. This name here is similar to that name. It is a name that no one knew except our Lord. In (Rev. 3:12), we studied about this name the Lord will put on us.

Revelation 19:13 "And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God."

"A vesture dipped in blood": This is not from the battle of Armageddon, which will not have begun until verse 15. Christ's blood-spattered garments symbolize the great battles He has already fought against sin, Satan, and death, and has been stained with the blood of His enemies.

This is not representative of the blood Jesus shed on the cross, but is a picture of judgment, not redemption. This is the blood of his slaughtered enemies. This is not His first battle, but His last. He has fought for His people throughout redemptive history and His "war clothes" bear those stains. The blood represents the judgment of Christ's enemies (14:14-20; Isaiah 63:1-6).

"The Word": Only John uses this title for the Lord (see introduction: Author and Date). As the Word of God, Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15); the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3); and the final, full revelation from God (Heb. 1:1-2).

Over and over in these lessons, I have given the Scriptures where the word of God took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. In the book of John, the first chapter, we read about the Word of God.

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Jump down to;

John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

We also see here, that this Word (Jesus), was, is, and always will be God the Word.

Verses 14-16: Christ is King over all who call themselves kings, and Lord over all who call themselves lords (compare 17:14; Deut. 10:17; Dan. 2:47; 1 Tim. 6:15). Here we see the Second Coming of Chirst as the armies in heaven come with Him.

Revelation 19:14 "And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."

"Armies ... in heaven": Composed of the church (verse 8), tribulation saints (7:13), Old Testament believers (Jude 14; compare Dan. 12:1-2), and even angels (Matt. 25:31). They return not to help Jesus in the battle (they are unarmed), but to reign with Him after He defeats His enemies (20:4; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12; compare Psalm 149:5-9).

They will share in Christ's victory and glory (Roman 8:18-19). The linen symbolizes righteousness (verse 8).

Here we see the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ following, these are the called, chosen, redeemed, the bride. The whole army is on "white horses". They have white horses, because they have overcome the devil. They are washed in the blood of the Lamb. They have on pure white linen for the righteousness of Christ. This army has been in heaven waiting for the wrath of God, on the ungodly, to be over.

Revelation 19:15 "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

"Sharp Sword": This symbolizes Christ's power to kill His enemies (1:16; compare Isa. 11:4; Heb. 4:12-13). That the sword comes out of His mouth indicates that He wins the battle with the power of His word. Though the saints return with Christ to reign and rule, they are not the executioners. That is His task.

The sword from His mouth depicts judgment through His spoken Word (1:16; 2:12-16; Isaiah 11:4; 2 Thess. 2:8). The Bible says that it is so sharp that it can divide the soul and spirit.

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Smite the nations: Christ will destroy all unbelievers (19:21; Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thess. 1:8-9). Rod of iron: Christ will subject all nations to Himself, and destroy all His enemies (Psalms 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:24-25). Winepress (see 14:17-20).

"Rod of iron": Swift, righteous judgment will mark Christ's rule in the kingdom. Believers will share His authority (2:26; 1 Cor. 6:2; see note on 2:27; 12:5; Psalm 2:9).

Words relating to wrath and anger are found 15 times in Revelation. We see how powerful this Word is. This "rod of iron" that He is to rule with just means that His law is absolute and unwavering. He never changes.

"Winepress": A vivid symbol of judgment (see note on 14:19; compare Isa. 63:3; Joel 3:13).

When we see this "treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath", This wrath of God is for three and a half years of Tribulation, then after those, another three and a half years that is called the Great Tribulation, making a total of seven years of God's Judgment and Wrath.

Revelation 19:16 "And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

"On his thigh": Jesus will wear a banner across His robe and down His thigh with a title emblazoned on it that emphasizes His absolute sovereignty over all human rulers (see note on 17:14).

KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS: Christ has universal sovereignty. This expresses His sovereign triumph over all foes and His absolute rule in His soon to be established Kingdom. (17:14; Deut. 10:17; Dan. 2:47; 1 Tim. 6:15).

There are approximately ninety-seven names throughout the Bible that the personage that we know as Jesus is used. The name He was called at the time had to do with the circumstance at hand. Here He is coming to the earth to take over as Supreme Ruler, so He is called by the name "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS".

Verses 17-21: These verses depict the frightening holocaust unparalleled in human history, the Battle of Armageddon, the pinnacle of the Day of the Lord (see note on 1 Thess. 5:2). It is not so much a battle as an execution, as the remaining rebels are killed by the Lord Jesus (verse 21; see notes on 14:19-20; compare Psalm 2:1-9; Isa. 66:15-16; Ezek. 39:1ff; Joel 3:12ff; Matt. 24:25; 2 Thess. 1:7-9). This Day of the Lord was seen by Isaiah (66:15-16), Joel (1:15; 3:12-21), Ezekiel (39:1-4; 17-20), Paul (2 Thess. 1:6ff; 2:8), and our Lord (Matt. 25:31-46).

Verses 17-18: "The supper of the great God" is different from the marriage supper of the Lamb (verse 9). Here, God call the "fowls" or birds of the sky to "gather" to "eat the flesh" of those who have died in the Battle of Armageddon (compare 16:14, 16; 19:21; Ezek. 39:17-20). "All men" indicates "all kinds of men"; not everyone at Armageddon will be an unbeliever (compare Matt. 25:31-46.

Revelation 19:17 "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;"

An angel speaking in a loud voice invites all of the birds to feed on the results of the carnage which will shortly take place. This angel is declaring Christ's victory before the battle even begins. A similar passage is found (in Luke 17:37) stating: wherever the corpse is, there the eagles (vultures), will gather.

"The supper of the great God": Also, called "the war of the great day of God, the Almighty" (16:14). It will begin with an angel summoning birds to feed on the corpses of those who will be slain (compare Matt. 24:27-28). God will declare His victory before the battle even begins. The Old Testament frequently pictures the indignity of carrion birds feasting on human dead (Deut. 28:26; Psalm 79:2; Isa. 18:6; Jer. 7:33; 16:4; 19:7; 34:20; Ezek. 29:5).

This "supper" that this speaks of, will be right after the battle of Armageddon. Some people believe the birds are gathering in Israel now for the feast (see article " Armageddon ").

"Unto the supper of the great God": As if the great God were about to give you a feast, to wit, the carcasses of those slain. It is called "his supper" because he gives it; and the image is merely that there would be a great slaughter of his foes, as is specified in the following verse.

Revelation 19:18 "That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all [men, both] free and bond, both small and great."

What this is saying is that for those lying out there dead in the valley of Megiddo, it will not matter whether you were a general or a private. The birds will not know the difference. With God, there has never been a distinction. He is not impressed with your position in life. The birds will eat them all.

This reveals the extent of the massive slaughter. To have one's unburied body left as food for birds would be the ultimate indignity, especially for the mighty military commanders and the proud kings. The same fate awaits the God hating rebels everywhere in the world.

Verses 19-21: The "armies" of the "beast" and of the "kings" of the East (and of all the "earth"), will gather in Palestine at Armageddon (compare 16:12-16), to attempt to prevent the return and kingdom of Christ. Christ will immediately defeat and capture the Beast and the "false prophet" (compare chapter 13). These will become the first inhabitants of the "Lake of fire" (compare 20:10). The rest of the kings and armies will be killed by the Word of Christ, and will be eaten by the birds (verses 17 and 18). The unbelieving survivors of the Tribulation will be judged by Christ and also sentenced to everlasting fire (compare Matt. 25:41, 46).

Revelation 19:19 "And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army."

"Kings of the earth" (see 17:12-17).

"Their armies": (see 16:13-14).

"His army": Zechariah describes this army of the Lord as "all the holy ones" (Zech. 14:15).

This beast is the Antichrist, the leader of the last and greatest empire in human history. The kings of the earth are those ten kings who rule the ten sectors which the Antichrist's worldwide empire is divided into.

The Antichrist has gathered his armies to do battle with Jesus and His army. The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the beast, with all of its firepower, now awaits the arrival of the Rider on the white horse.

Ever since the beginning of time, the armies of God and the armies of the devil have been in mortal combat. The flesh and the Spirit have been in combat also. Isaac (Spirit), and Ishmael (flesh), are still in mortal physical combat through their descendants in Israel today. This Scripture above is speaking again of the battle of Armageddon.

Revelation 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

"The beast was taken ... the false prophet": In an instant, the world's armies are without their leaders. The beast is Antichrist (see notes on 13:1-8); the false prophet is his religious cohort (see notes on 13:11-17).

"Cast alive": The bodies of the beast and the false prophet will be transformed, and they will be banished directly to the lake of fire (Dan. 7:11), the first of countless millions of unregenerate men (20:15), and fallen angels (compare Matt. 25:41), to arrive in that dreadful place. That these two still appear there 1000 years later (20:10), refutes the false doctrine of annihilationism (compare 14:11; Isa. 66:24; Matt. 25:41; Mark 9:48; Luke 3:17; 2 Thess. 1:9).

But before the battle can even begin, it's over. Not only that, but those two demonically empowered leaders, Antichrist and False Prophet, are dealt a terrible blow. Those two are thrown alive into the lake of fire.

The false prophet and the beast were used of Satan to perform his evil deeds. As the two most evil, vile and blasphemous people who have ever lived, it is fitting that they should be the first two to arrive in that awful place. And they will be there by themselves for a thousand years until the devil joins them at the end of the millennium. Then at the second resurrection (the second death), they will be joined by all unbelievers for all eternity.

"Lake of fire": The final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels, angelic or human (compare 20:10, 15). The New Testament says much of eternal punishment (compare 14:10-11; Matt. 13:40-42; 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 3:17; 12:47-48).

This is the first mention in the bible of the "lake of fire". This is the final hell and the ultimate destination of Satan, his angels (or demons), and the unredeemed (see article " Hell, for the Unbelieving Dead ").

Hell has always existed, but this is hell's final form. Unlike Hades which was a temporary holding place, this is the final permanent place for incarceration and punishment.

"Lake of fire burning with brimstone" (see note on 9:17. These two are frequently associated with divine judgment (14:10; 20:10; 21:8; Gen. 19:24; Psalm 11:6; Isa. 30:33; Ezek. 38:22; Luke 17:29).

We see here, the total victory over the beast and the false prophet. This shows here that the "KING OF KINGS" throws them into the "lake of fire". This "brimstone" is sulfur. This is final victory over the earthly manifestations of Satan's power.

Revelation 19:21 "And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

Then all of the rest who were with the Antichrist and the false prophet will then be destroyed and the rest of those gathered to fight against Christ.

"Sword" (see verse 15; compare Zech. 14:1-13).

Then suddenly it will be all over. Actually, there will not be any war at all as we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from the Rider who sits on the white horse. That's the same One who spoke the heavens and the earth into existence at the very beginning. The One who spoke to a fig tree and it withered away. Who spoke to the howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves were stilled. Who spoke to a legion of demons in a man and instantly they fled.

Now by His Word, the Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet windbag from the pit is stilled. Then they're hurled into the everlasting flames. Then another Word and all of the panic-stricken armies' stagger and fall down dead.

"Fowls were filled with their flesh": All remaining sinners in the world will have been executed, and the birds will gorge themselves on their corpses. All the birds ate and were filled with the flesh of those who were killed.

The rest of the unredeemed throughout the world will be judged at the sheep and goat judgment which takes place at this time (see Matthew 25:32-46; see article " Judgment on Mankind is Coming ").

This is not just defeat, but is physical death for those who followed the beast and the false prophet. The Word of God defeated them. They actually die in the battle of Armageddon by the Words of Christ and not by an easy death as scripture tells us that the blood in that valley ran up to the horse's bridles, about 4 to 5 feet deep for the entire length of the 200 mile valley.

Revelation Chapter 19 Continued Questions

1. When heaven opened, what did John see?

2. What two names did the rider have here?

3. How does He judge?

4. What is peculiar about heaven opening here?

5. What does the horse symbolize?

6. Why is it white?

7. Where has Jesus been, up until this incident?

8. Describe His eyes?

9. What was on His head?

10. The fire here speaks of what?

11. The name under the priest's breastplate was what?

12. What was His vesture dipped in?

13. Give me the portion of Scripture that proves Jesus is God's only Son.

14. Who was the army that followed the Lord?

15. What are they riding?

16. What does this indicate?

17. What comes out of the Lord's mouth?

18. How will He rule them?

19. In Hebrews 4:12, what do we discover about this sword?

20. What does the "rod of iron" mean?

21. What is written on His vesture and His thigh?

22. Approximately how many names does Jesus go by in the Bible?

23. Why are different names used?

24. Why were the fowls called from all over the world?

25. How long will it take to bury the dead?

26. Why does verse 18 speak of poor men and very powerful men?

27. Who made war against the Word?

28. What happened to the beast and false prophet?

29. What happened to the remnant left?

30. Describe Jesus in your own words.

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Revelation 20

Revelation chapter 20

Revelation chapter 20 is one of the most controversial chapters in the Bible, not because it contains anything essentially complex, but because it touches on a subject of preconceived bias.

Now is the time when Satan will be taken, bound and put into the bottomless pit (abyss), where his influence will not have any effect on the Tribulation Saints who have lived through the seven years of Tribulation. Can you imagine a life where Satan isn't around to temp anyone? Do you think that the 1000 year millennium will be a time of paradise? That nothing bad will happen?

No one will enter into the 1000 year millennium unless they are a believer. Most will live for the entire one thousand years and will procreate and have children. Yes, even the curse on the animals is lifted and the wolf will lie down with the lamb and will live in peace with each other.

But human nature is what it is. The children of those Saints will still have to be taught about Jesus, even though He will be with them constantly, many will not accept Him. Remember, the heart is very wicked and unfortunately, that is the nature of man. Many of those children will be rebels and with a tremendous population explosion during those one thousand years, there will be probably billions of people at the end much like it is now. However, the unbelievers at that point will be as "the number of whom [is] as the sand of the sea" (verse 8).

Verses 1-3: The "bottomless pit" is simply the Abyss (Greek abussos), the abode of evil spirits (compare 9:1-11; Luke 8:31). The "key" shows authority, and the "chain" depicts imprisonment and binding. Before the millennial kingdom begins, "Satan" (compare 12:9), is "bound" in the Abyss. The "seal" indicates God's authority and guarantee that Satan will not be released until "a thousand years" have passed. During the Millennium (Latin for "one thousand years"), Satan will not be able to tempt or "deceive the nations". Any temptation to sin during the Millennium must come from within those people who are born after the kingdom begins. It must be assumed that all of Satan's demons or fallen angels are also imprisoned at that time (compare Isa. 24:21-23). Christ will reign on earth without opposition, and His kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace, and love (compare Isa. 2:3-4; 11:3-5; 35:1-2; Dan. 7:14; Zech. 14:9). However, after the thousand years, Satan will be released for a short time (verses 7-9).

Revelation 20:1 "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand."

This "angel" is not Jesus Himself but is a ministering spirit that Jesus has given authority to. This angel comes from heaven (near the throne). We can assume from this that Jesus has turned the key to the bottomless pit over to this specific angel and has given him power and authority for this job. This "great chain" in this angel's hand, shows the power God has given him over the devil for this task, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.

"Key of the bottomless pit": The place where demons are incarcerated pending their final sentencing to the lake of fire (see notes on 9:1; 2 Peter 2:4).

Revelation 20:2 "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,"

"Laid hold": This includes not only Satan; but the demons as well (see article " Satan "). Their imprisonment will dramatically alter the world during the kingdom, since their destructive influence in all areas of human thought and life will be removed.

"Dragon": Likening Satan to a dragon emphasizes his ferocity, and cruelty.