The last book of the Bible is as much the last as genesis was the first. Both written by direct inspiration and not by experience. One written of the past the other of the future. The beginning and the end. This Revelation Survey is the last sermon on this series, and it is a serious sermon surveying the things that will come in the not too distant future.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessedishe that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the timeisat hand. Revelation 1:1-3
This is The Revelation, The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. This introduction is where the word “Apocalypse” comes from. When we speak of the “Apocalypse” it is not ANevent, it is THE Event; it is THIS event found in this very book.
It was given by the Father to the Son, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. In other words, to tell of things that are yet future. I am sure that sounds elementary, but it is vital in these days of confusion to ensure that you might understand that this book is prophetic of all things it speaks about, that is at the very least, future to its writing down by John the Apostle. It was given by an Angel unto his servant John who bares this record and;
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.
Blessedare they that read, hear and keep those things written in this book. Beloved there are no other places given in scripture that I am aware of, where you are specifically promised blessing for the reading, hearing and keeping of a given text, but there is definitively one here.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Now we have the intended readership and as we move through this summary we shall discover that the readership includes us. Verse 9 gives to us the historical context saying;
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John was understood to be banished to this Island, being himself a companion of their respective tribulation.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 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.
The next two chapters we have the reception of the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches;
What we discover about these Churches is that they were;
They were real Churches in real history that existed during the time of John the Apostle.
What we discover as we consider the nature of these churches, is that they incredibly fit differing types of Churches throughout history.
Big word but, we also note that these types of Churches are recognized as chronologically specific to periods of times throughout Church history up to the end times. Their order and the type of Church they were makes this an interesting study.
Each type of Church also seems to fit the natures/types of individual people who call themselves Christian.
In verse 19 John was instructed by the Lord specifically;
19 Write the things which thou hast seen (the things just past), and the things which are(the things present), and the things which shall be hereafter; (The things yet future).
In this last verse of the first Chapter the Lord gives to John the interpretation of what he has seen;
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.
This is important to understand, as there are many teachers today who do not seem satisfied with Jesus interpretation of what John has seen and determine that they will interpret the interpretation.
They don’t have a problem with ‘the candlesticks’, but they don’t like the idea that there are principalities and powers overseeing the Churches, so they claim that the Angels are simply “messengers”, for that is what the Greek permits them to do, and those messengers are more directly the Pastors of the Churches.
But we know that God knows how to say “Pastors” in both Greek (see Ephesians 4:11) and in the Hebrew (See Jeremiah chapters 2, 3, 10, 12, 17, 22, 23).
Beloved, be pleased that The Word is the better interpreter of his word.
From Chapters 2-3 we have the 7 Churches
Ephesians – good and bad = The Loveless Church
Smyrna – Good = The Persecuted Church
Pergamos – Good and Bad = The Compromising Church
Thyatira – Good and Bad = The Corrupt Church
Sardis – Bad = The Dead Church
Philadelphia – Good = The Faithful Church
Laodicea – Bad = The Luke warm Church (Apostate)
More could be said about these Churches, but what is most important is the recognition of the periods of their respective assemblies through history. The Laodicean Church is the last church in this list and the description of it from verses 14-22 perfectly describes the majority of the Churches of today. The name itself means “Governance of the laity”or ‘ruled by public opinion’. This is the last church in the list and arguably, the last Church type of history.
From Chapters 4 to the end is the second major section of the book of Revelation. The Church is no longer mentioned or identified in the Bible. From this point upon the Earth, she is noticeably absent.
Chapter three is the Closing of the parenthesis of Church History.
You recall through previous studies that the Church is an anomaly in the historical plan of the Bible. Paul referred to it as “A mystery”, not witnessed before in Old Testament Scripture in Colossians 1:26-27
When we read the many passages in both the Old testament and the New Testament we recognised that both the prophets of the Old and the Apostles of the New, expected that the restoration of Israel, the coming of Christ as KING and the end of the wicked worldin the Great Day of the Lord was to happen immediately, one after one another.
The famous Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24-27 does not give any indication that a lapse of some 2000 years so far, will come in between the Coming Messiah and the Wrath of God.
They read it in the Old Testament that one followed the other.
Let me show you just one example; Turn in your Bibles to Luke 4:18-19 and also turn to Isaiah 61:2
We saw how that, when Jesus stood up to read the Old Testament prophet Isaiah in the Gospel of Luke 4:18-19, we see a full stop where Isaiah has a comma. Jesus did not conclude the passage.
He stops verse 19 with “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” and says in verse 21 “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Lk 4:21). Whereas, Isaiah does not conclude it that way in verse 2, but continues with “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isa 61:1-2). You see, Jesus did not come then to fulfill the “Day of Vengence”, but “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”.
What we see here is found several times in the Bible, and that is a partial fulfillment of Prophecy.
That comma in Isaiah has lasted some 2000 years.
But now you see all the Bible comes alive, it all now makes sense. It all comes perfectly together because the Old Testament prophecies have not all been fulfilled, we have not seen;
The millennial reign of Christ in Jerusalem.
The wolf and the lamb together,
The leapord and the kid,
The lion and the calf and the little Child leading them (Isa 11:6),
The days of Gods people extend to the days of trees (Isa 65:22), when a Child shall die an hundred years old (Isa 65:20).
Or when the nations will not learn war anymore (Micah 4:3) etc.
They were expecting all this to happen with Messiah. You can understand the confusion of the disciples of Christ when he was taken to be judged and slain on the cursed tree!
They also did not recall that Christ should suffer, Jesus reminding two of them as he walked with them on the road to Emmaus, telling them they were “fools and slow of heart to believe ALL that the prophets have spoken” (Lk 24:25).
Beloved we need to learn to take the bitter with the sweet and not just see the sweet. The Bitter comes before the sweet.
The Jews expected and looked for their restoration through the coming King, but they did not consider the coming of the Suffering Servant, the Lamb who would die for their sin. They ignored Daniel 9 saying that “after threescore and two weeks Messiah should be Cut off, but not for himself” (Dan 9:26)
The Church is a parenthesis in history for the distinct purpose of saving the gentiles, that to them also salvation would come.
“25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Rom 11:25)
The Jews were cut off from the natural Olive tree, that we, (you and I) might be grafted in (Rom 11:17), through their temporary fall, Salvation came to the Gentiles (Rom 11:11).
Again, the entire Bible comes wonderfully together as God continues the scope of History with Salvation to Israel and Judgement of a sin rent world.
Apocalypse of Tomorrow
The time of history written of here is the worst time in history that will precede the golden age.
Not all the details are here, but much certainly is.
The books of Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel and Zechariah are key, with Micah, Amos and others playing smaller roles for our understanding.
Shows a heavenly vision of John where he is called to come up to see the things that will be hereafter.
He saw the Throne of God, the Lamps of fire, the 24 Elders, and one that sat upon the throne.
He saw strange beasts and heard them glorify God almighty.
He sees a book with seven seals in the right hand of him that sat on the throne.
He heard the voice of an angel call for one worthy to open the book and loose the seals thereof, but none were found.
And John wept that none were found worthy. Until an elder comforted him that one had been found, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah had prevailed and is worthy, and John looks and sees in verse 6, standing between the beasts and elders “a Lamb as it had been slain”.
The visions John sees are quite astounding and have long brought confusion to those who have considered them, and we are just beginning. But beloved it is a marvel that when the people of God read the word of God and do so regularly, that the passages and references come alive with explanation.
Words that are found here are found elsewhere. The nature of the four beasts we first see as the standards of the tribes of Israel in the book of Numbers 2, the Lion, the Ox, the Man and the Eagle. We see it again in Ezekiel 1:10 and we see it here.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, we know who this is! It is the same one that is standing in the midst of the elders, a Lamb as it had been slain, this is the same “Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).
But he is no lamb when he opens the sealed book, he will be no lamb when he returns in wrath against a Godless world, he will be The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
As he was about to open the seals in Chapter 5:11, John beheld and heard the voice of many angels;
ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power,beunto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Rev 5:11b-13)
HE OPENS THE SEVEN SEALS
John was encouraged to come and see
- The First four seals reveal the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse;
- The first seal releases the White Horse, sent to conquer with his bow
- The second Seal releases the Red horse with a horseman with the power to “take peace from the earth that they should kill one another” (v 4)
- The third seal reveals the black horse, its rider with balances in his hands, poverty to come upon the world, all that might basically sustain man to come at great expense. Each measure of food is only enough to sustain a man for a day, the cost average noted is his wage for that day. A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny
- The fourth seal sees the pale horse, Death and hell followed with him. A quarter of man on the earth would die BY hunger and BY the sword and BY beast. If this was by todays population we are speaking of 2 billion people.
- The fifth seal reveals the witness of the martyrs desiring vengeance upon them on the EARTH.
- The sixth seal broken, released a great Earthquake and the sun darkened and a blood moon appeared. Dramatic events upon the earth that cause men to fear God, greatly desiring that even the “rocks would fall on them just to hide from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb:” Why? “For the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev 6:17).
It had taken six seal judgements for men to come to fear God in this Chapter, but we will see that this is only the beginningof all that will come upon the Earth and MOST will not repent.
Reveals the Angels on the four corners of the Earth, purposed to hurt the earth and sea (v2), but restrained till 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, are sealed and preserved. The tribes are given specifically by name, so we cannot make an error in whom they are.
They are all men and they are all virgins and all know the Lord.
Where they are we do not know, their location/s is not given. But would it not be incredible that during a time when Jews are found on practically every nation on Earth, 144,000 messianic, preserved and passionate Jews would be ready to evangelize the world with the Gospel in this time?
MISSIONARIES ALREADY IN PLACE TO PREACH THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL
We send out missionaries during time of peace and safety, these are here already during great tribulation.
CHAPTER 8 Bursts forward with the opening of the Seventh Seal.
An event that inspires silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
From that seventh seal were seven angels with seven trumpets to sound;
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.
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; 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.
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; 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.
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.
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 first woe released Abbadon / Apollyon together with his tormenting horde, who, would not touch the earth but afflict only them who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads.
For five months they would be tormented, five months where men will seek after death but not find it. Five months of torment.
No matter how terrible this might be, that having the thought of death to relieve the torment, it is STILL only temporary, FIVE SHORT MONTHS OF CONTINUAL TORMENT.
CLEARLY, This is only hell on earth…. and not hell.
This is only the first of the three Woe’s, two more are yet to sound.
The sixth Angel in verse 13 commanded to loose the four angels bound in Euphrates who were prepared specifically for this time. Who they are we do not know, are they devils having been bound? Perhaps.
What we do know is that they have with them an army 200 million horse strong, with a SINGLE purpose, to kill one third of the remaining population of Earth. (if 6 Billion are left, that is another 2 billion people)
Yet after all that has been seen, and with the third Woe yet to be sounded, verse 20 tells us;
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: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
This being a great indication of the level of evil upon the Earth at this time. God is just, and he is patient and he wills that none should perish but that all come to repentance. ARE YOU BORN AGAIN today?
Have you yet repented? Will you be here when all this is coming to pass? If you have not repented of sin during this time of grace, and considering few repenting during this time of Judgement, what confidence do you have if you wait?
This will happen. So many are the signs already coming to pass, a CONVERGENCE of signs reveling the times ahead. Draw a straight line, it ends with The Apocalypse.
Sees the mighty Angel come with the Bitter Sweet book open;
The seven thunders utter their comprehensible voices;
The seventh angels sound of the Trumpet will conclude the mystery of God (v 7)
The two witnesses who testify of God in the City. Supernatural protection and abilities they have, their gifts and signs similar in fashion to those of Moses and Elijah. The two who also gave witness to Christ in the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17)
For one thousand, two hundred and sixty days they will prophesy, that is 3.5 years on the ancient 360 day per year calendar.
When they have finished their testimony and not before they have finished, they will be killed by that beast from the bottomless pit, their bodies will lie in the streets for three days and the people of the world will rejoice over their death. Even giving gifts to each other.
Imagine all the world witnessing this on their phones, their tablets, screens all over the world. When this was written such a thing, of all the people of tongues and nations (v9-10) witnessing their bodies, was not conceived of.
Imagine them seeing these dead bodies which they left lay, rise!
But no sooner had they risen that an Earthquake hits the city and it is Decimated. (A tenth destroyed)
Now verse 15, the seventh angel sounds and the Kingdoms are translated to Christ.
We have an interlude of events witnessed in Heaven and played out upon the Earth.
It is as if John sees the entire scope unveiled. We have often spoken about the reality the Bible presents of the unseen world that governs the affairs of Men. What John is witness to is the unveiling of that world.
What we are given in chapters 12-14, is that witness.
Chapter 12 is a battle fought with Michael and his angels, and Satan with his angels. Satan is cast out and is come down to earth, no longer having access to heaven as he does today.
But while there is joy in heaven that Satan can no longer appear and accuse the brethren, the Earth is in great peril;
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. (Rev 12:12)
Now he knows his time is short. The bottomless pit is opened with the Angels that sinned, who left their first estate, compelling the deluge judgment that came upon the world in ancient times, now freed but limited.
Freed from the pit, but limited to earth.
The Devil, no longer at liberty to roam to heaven, restricted to Earth and violently angry.
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.
Brings to us the account of the beast and the false prophet.
The antichrist who’s deadly wound was healed (v3) and the world wondered after him and worshipped him. With his mouth he blasphemed God and was permitted to continue in his power for forty-two months (3.5 years).
This is the latter half of the tribulation period, known to us as The Great Tribulation. This is after the Seal Judgements and after the Trumpet Judgements but before the Vial Judgments (that many call “bowl judgements”, don’t get confused).
It is here that he begins to war with the saints on earth, it is here that the false prophet is introduced as a beast with two horns like a lamb (v11).
- He performs great signs and wonders.
- He sets up an image of the beast and gives it a voice to speak, he gives life to the image.
- He compels the world to worship the image (14-15)
- And Who ever will not join in that worship, he will have killed. The New Age would tell you that the entire world needs to be in sync to reach a united vibration of spiritual evolution. Any who oppose, any who are…shall we say.. “Divergent”, INTERFERE with that progress.
But it is not only a religious and spiritual UNITY that occupies the False Prophet, read with me verse from 16, as we see it must also be an economic and openly identifiable allegiance to the Beast. This plans purpose is to weed out any left opposed.
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: 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.
Beloved it is during this tribulation that the mark of the beast is caused to be received. Those who are not born again today will be compelled, on fear of death, to take the mark. Those raptured before the tribulation, will not need to fear this event.
All who take the Mark may be able to eat and to drink for the next 3.5 years, but all who align their lives with the Beast through this worship, will suffer eternal torment (Rev 14:9-10).
The choice will seem to be a stark one; it seems to be one designed to perfectly separate the Goats from the Sheep. Like a winnowing fork, only those with substance will remain strong.
Yes beloved, I do truly believe many will be saved during the time of tribulation. Passages like Chapter 14:13 below indicate such.
Speaks of the angel that goes to and fro on the earth preaching the everlasting Gospel to them that dwell on the earth.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessedarethe dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. 14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloudonesat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 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. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
With 144,000 Messianic Jews witnessing, with the two witnesses in Jerusalem and their miraculous power and ascension after three days, with the obvious judgments of the Lord and the angel with the everlasting gospel warning the world, and with this passage just noted, how can we claim all on the earth are lost?
Who will be here to repopulate the earth for the millennium? Those caught up to be with the Lord neither marry nor a given in marriage, they will not procreate.
Some must remain to the coming of the Lord.
Continue the judgements and dedicate their focus upon the Great Whore, and Babylon The Great.
It deals with a specific religious institution that has absorbed the false religions of the world, and it also deals with ALL the false religious systems of the world.
Has the actual return of Jesus Christ, making landfall on the mount of Olivet. He returns with his bride.
And what John sees he describes well in Chapter 19:11-13
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon himwascalled Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyeswereas a flame of fire, and on his headweremany crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And hewasclothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
CHAPTER 20 has the Devil bound a thousand years, to be released for a short time when the thousand years are ended and immediately he goes out to deceive the nations again (8). Until he comes against Gods people.
The Lord then casts him into the lake of Fire where the beast and the false prophet are (v10).
Just think on that for a moment. Those who believe in destruction or annihilation, when was the beast and false prophet cast into the lake of fire?
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.
Now Satan is cast into the same place where they still are, one thousand years they have been in the lake of Fire. How much longer?
A New Heaven and New Earth is seen by John, with a city, New Holy Jerusalem comedown from God out of Heaven. The Old Earth and Heaven past away and never to be remembered.
The glorious city that comes down from heaven is 2400km on all sides, “the length and the breadth and the hieght of it are equal”. John saw that the citywaspure gold, like unto clear glass”.
And the wall surrounding the City, its building was of Jasper and it had twelve foundations each garnished in all manner of precious stones,
One of jasper;
one of, sapphire;
one of chalcedony;
one an emerald;
20 One, sardonyx;
the seventh, chrysolite;
the eighth, beryl;
the ninth, a topaz;
the tenth, a chrysoprasus;
the eleventh, a jacinth;
the twelfth, an amethyst.
This great wall was with twelve gates, each made of Solid Pearl; and at those gates stands twelve angels, and each gate has a name written that corresponds to each of the twelve Tribes of Israel.
The gates surround the City, three on each side. 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
21…and the street of the citywaspure gold, as it were transparent glass.
and there is no temple in the City. 22… : for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lambisthe light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
And nothing that might defile the city are permitted to enter into it, ONLY those which are written in the Lambs book of Life will enter it.
ARE YOU WRITTEN IN THAT BOOK?
Have you been freed from the penalty of sin, have you taken of that gift of God to set you free, never to be condemned with the Devil and his angels?
Are you alive in Christ? Or will you suffer the second death (Rev 20:14) in a lake of fire with the unrepentant Devils and stubborn peoples of the world?
Tells us there is a river in this city which flows out of the throne of God and the Lamb, on either wide stands the tree of life, monthly bearing twelve manner of fruit (not one).
In this place there is no sin, the curse is lifted, no sorrow, no more death nor pain. The servants of the Lord shall see his face (v4), and the name above all names shall be on their foreheads.
There will be no night, no need of a candle, no need of the sun “for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
The descriptions of the City mostly end in verse 6 of chapter 22.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, andfromthe things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christbewith you all. Amen.
That last phrase, :Surely I come quickly” gives strong indication of a winding up of things when they begin to start. We have all seen evidence of rapid changes coming already upon this world, even the secular world recognizes the extreme pace of change in these last of the last days.
Only one question remains, do you know Christ NOW?
Are you born again, NOW?
We have completed the volume of the book, it all is written of Christ and it all is written for you.