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The Holy Bible is a fascinating collection of sixty-six books, written by forty authors and inspired by God. It is a true collection of wisdom, guidance, knowledge, love, compassion, prophecy and inspiration. It is often said that the acronym for Bible is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Keeping this statement in mind, we realize that every situation one could ever encounter in life can be found throughout the pages of the Bible. What a bold statement! The Bible is a book that tells the beginning, the end and all things. We start in Genesis (the Hebrew word for Genesis is Bereshith and means “in the beginning”), and end in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation was originally given the Greek name Apokalypsis Ioanno, which means “revelation of John.” It is also known as Apokalypsis (Apocalypse), which means “the unveiling.” However, the first verse of Revelation gives us the most accurate version of the theme of the book: Apokalypsis Iesou Christou, which means “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him (Jesus) to show His servant (John), the things that must take place.”
To start this study, I would like to simplify the book by presenting it in three manners. The first is what is called The Divine Outline, which simplifies the book in a near-chronological view (other than a few places where we get a glimpse of heavenly scenes as well as chapter reviews). Next will be a chapter by chapter overview; and the third presentation will parallel other books of the Bible with the book of Revelation so that we may have a better understanding of the text. Before doing so, I would like to share my first experience with the Bible. In 1976 as a fourteen-year-old junior high school student, I was given my first Bible at a party. The girl who gave me this blue denim Bible told me to read the book of Revelation! The next day I read the complete book of Revelation and was terrified. I thought to myself, What terror! How could a God of love pour out such wrath? So based on my experience, I have complete sympathy for anyone who reads Revelation and has a similar experience. Now let’s get started.
First off, Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand.” So to set the stage, we have a blessing as well as inside knowledge on the importance of hearing, knowing and keeping the words of this prophecy. Therefore, as Christians we need to understand this book and acknowledge what the Lord is asking us to do, which is to keep His Word. After all, Christ states repeatedly throughout Revelation, “He who has an ear, let him hear.” Also, let’s keep in mind that this is the last book of the Bible and that as with any book, the author assumes that we have read the entire book and comprehend the text or story line. Keeping this in mind, let’s elaborate more on the book by taking a look first at The Divine Outline. John was sent to the island of Patmos, which is located about 100 miles southwest of Ephesus, where he received the word and then wrote the book of Revelation. Revelation 1:10-11 says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet saying, ‘What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies.’” John was then instructed, “Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter” (Rev. 1:19). Christ has now separated this book into three sections:
1. Write the things that you have seen: John saw Christ in His glory walking in the midst of the churches.
And in the midst of the lampstands [which represent the churches] was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest (Rev. 1:13-16).
2. Write the things that are: This refers to the church age or church history, which is described in Revelation 2-3.
3. Write the things that will take place: This refers to the things that will happen after the church age, which are presented in Revelation 4-22.
To simplify the book even more and to follow The Divine Outline of the book:
1. Chapter 1—John, after being given the vision, is instructed to write what he has seen.
2. Chapters 2 and 3—Church history (starting with Pentecost to the twenty-first century)
3. Chapters 4 and 5—The rapture of the church and praising in heaven
4. Chapter 6:2—The new world leader (or Antichrist) riding on a white horse
5. Chapters 6 to 18—The tribulation period (Chapters Twelve to Fourteen are reviews of previous events)
6. Chapter 19—Christ returns with His church
7. Chapter 20—The millennium reign of Christ on earth, Satan bound and the final judgment
8. Chapters 21 and 22—New heavens and new earth, promises of Christ coming
Since we now see the simplicity of the book, let’s elaborate on a chapter-by-chapter overview.
This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, who testified to God’s word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand. John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
I John, your brother and partaker with you in oppression and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God’s Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet saying, “What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest. When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of Death and of Hades. Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lampstands are seven assemblies.
Chapter 1 already sets the scene, and we understand that John was divinely instructed to write this glorious book that foretells the future. We read in the text that Christ is the faithful witness to God, just as we Christian are the faithful witness to Christ. He is the first begotten of the dead. (He never died yet is the first to appear in a glorified body.) He is the Prince of kings and rules over the kings of the earth. He has glory and dominion forever. In verse 7 we are reminded of Christ’s second coming “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.” We also notice that Christ is always walking in the midst of the churches.
To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write: “He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands says these things: “I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can’t tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. You have perseverance and have endured for my name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.
“To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: “The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things: “I know your oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Don’t be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won’t be hurt by the second death.
“To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: “He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: “I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn’t deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans in the same way. Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.
“To the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write: “The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things: I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression, unless they repent of her works. I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as don’t have this teaching, who don’t know what some call ‘the deep things of Satan,’ to you I say, I don’t lay on you any other burden. Nevertheless that which you have, hold firmly until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him will I give authority over the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father: and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
It is amazing how the Holy Spirit laid out the seven churches in chronological order. The book of Acts covers the first thirty years of the church while Revelation 2-3 covers church history thereafter until the present day. This fills the gap between Daniel’s sixty-ninth and seventieth week. Now, if you take a moment and think about the churches that are listed, it makes you wonder why He mentioned these seven and not Jerusalem, Colossae, Galatia or Antioch etc.
Let’s take a look at what the seven churches represent historically and presently:
1. Ephesus—Apostolic Age (Pentecost-100 A.D.)
2. Smyrna—Age of Persecution (100-313)
3. Pergamos—State Religion Church (313-590)
4. Thyatira—Age of Papacy/Catholicism (590-Present)
5. Sardis—Reformation/Protestant (1517-Present)
6. Philadelphia—Missionary Church (1730-Rapture)
7. Laodicea—Apostate Church (19th Century-Present)
Please note that the last four churches are present-day churches.
Ephesus was the city where John lived; it was a great cosmopolitan society and was a major harbor for Asia. Ephesus was located on the east side of the Aegean Sea along the southwest coast of Asia. That would be its historical relevance. Christ complemented the church of Ephesus on their labors, their patience and the fact that they could not bear evil. They were also tested and had discernment; they were not easily misled, and they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans (the establishing of priesthood) which Christ also hates. Yet, Christ rebuked them for leaving their first love. They had all of the motions of a good church yet they did not have the emotion (love of God). Christ then said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:5). In another words, Christ was saying, “At first you loved me, and then you got caught up in works and religion and lost sight of Me.” A good example of this is Mary and Martha. When Christ came over for dinner, Mary sat at Christ’s feet and loved, while Martha got caught up in the world and was worried about worldly things. Christ pointed this out to Martha. Also please note that the church of Ephesus was within the first hundred years of church history and they had already lost sight of their first love. Christ referred to Ephesus as the loveless church.
Smyrna was located thirty-five miles north of Ephesus at the head of a gulf, which made the city a good port and an important trade center. Smyrna was an educational center and had fine schools for medicine and science. Today it is the city of Izmir in Turkey. Smyrna was known as the persecuted church that was ended in about 313 A.D. by Constantine. It is estimated that about five million Christians were martyred under the rule of the Roman government during the period of persecution. (Read Fox’s Book of Martyrs for more precise details.) Christ commended the church of Smyrna; He identifies Himself as dead yet is alive in order to give them hope that they too will live (that they will have the hope of the resurrection). He knows their works, tribulation and poverty. Yet He says that they are rich. He goes on to say that He knows the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews (or Israel governed by God) yet are from the synagogues of Satan. At that time, the Jews did not like the Gentiles, and Christ is stating that if the Jews were truly governed by God, then they would not act with hatred. Christ also says to the church that they will be persecuted (or have tribulation) for ten days. If this seems strange to you, let me point out that the ten days elude to the ten Roman emperors who supported persecution:
5. Septimius Severus
The interesting thing about the church of Smyrna is that Christ did not say anything bad about the church, and in fact He states, “I will give you the crown of life…He who overcomes won’t be hurt by the second death” (Rev 2:10-11). Remember that for those who are not born again there are two deaths; yet if you are born twice, you die only once (unless you are taken in the rapture).
Pergamos (modern-day Bergama) was a city located fifty miles north of Smyrna, about fifteen miles from the sea. The city itself was known as the religious center of the province of Asia. It was a luxurious city yet it was filled with demonic powers. Pergamum was also noted for its fine library, and it was a place where parchments were first used. In Pergamum, four temples were erected in honor of the cults (Zeus, Athena, Dionysus and Asclerius). The church of Pergamos represents the first state religion. Constantine developed a system where the world became part of the church. This church was in the midst of Satan’s throne—among temples and demonic worship—yet they held fast to Christ’s name. However, Pergamos was a compromising church that allowed idolatry. Christ said, “You have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel” (Rev. 2:14). The church was compromising by worshipping relics. Christ also scolded them for holding the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (the priesthood), who He hates. Christ then went on to say, “Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies” (Rev. 2:16-17).
Thyatira (modern-day Akhisar) was located forty miles southeast of Pergamum. Thyatira was known for its manufacturing (garments, pottery, brass, etc.). It was also the city of the temple dedicated to Tyrimnos, an ancient-day sun god. Christ said, “I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first” (Rev. 2:19). What Christ is saying is that the church focused more on good works than on love. Christ then adds, “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20 NKJV). If you remember the story of Jezebel, she brought into Israel idols such as Baal for help and guidance. This is spiritual idolatry. We need to be totally committed to Jesus; commitment to anything before the Lord is a sin. God said to the children of Israel, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 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. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them” (Ex. 20:3-5). Christ then says to the church, “Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression, unless they repent of her works” (Rev 2:22). We can see from the text that this church is a modern-day church, and if they repent, they will be kept from the great tribulation. Thyatira represents today’s Catholic religion and is referred to in the Bible as the corrupt church.
And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: “I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won’t watch, I will come as a thief, and you won’t know what hour I will come on you. Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will be arrayed like this in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
“To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: “He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and that shuts and no one opens, says these things: “I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn’t deny my name. Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I come quickly. Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
“To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: “The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God’s creation, says these things: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.”
Sardis was located about thirty miles southeast of Thyatira. The ancient city stood on the northern slopes of a mountain with a river flowing at its base. The city was a very wealthy city and considered militarily impregnable. Sardis was also known for its pagan worship of Sybele, a goddess similar to Diana in Ephesus. Christ said to the church of Sardis, “I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). This comment refers to the Protestant Reformation. The church had the right idea, yet they still covenanted Babylonian traditions. The principles of the Reformation were correct yet, they taught infant baptism, which teaches works rather than being born again. Other dominations came out of the Reformation. In Revelation 3:3, Christ said to the church, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won’t watch, I will come as a thief, and you won’t know what hour I will come on you.” Christ was telling the church to go back to its roots and to be ready for His return, to remember their origins. The just shall live by faith and by the power of the Spirit. Do not get caught up in denominations and religion. Go back to His word, for He is coming quickly. Christ then said, “He who overcomes will be arrayed like this in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies” (Rev. 3:5). Sardis was known in the Bible as the dead church.
(As a side note, I would conclude from this passage that it is possible to have your name erased from the book of life—the salvation book. You cannot live your life believing “once saved always saved.” Salvation is present tense, not past tense.)
Philadelphia, located twenty-eight miles southwest of Sardis, was a wealthy trade center and was situated on a terrace above the banks of the Cogamus River. Philadelphia was known as “Little Athens” because of its magnificent temples and public buildings. The word Philadelphia comes from the Greek word Philo and means “the city of brotherly love.” Christ said to the church of Philadelphia, “I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn’t deny my name” (Rev. 3:8). First, we notice that Christ has opened doors for this church (although they are few, which refers to little strength) that no one can shut. Next, we notice that this is a Bible-teaching church, because Christ stated that they have kept His Word, and then we notice that the church is commended because they have not denied His name. This is referring to the born-again church. Christ then added, “Because you have kept My command [this is a command, not a suggestion] to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial [or tribulation] which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 3:10 NKJV).Christ is referring to the rapture of the church here. Christ states that He will keep them from the tribulation, which the whole world will endure. (Just as a side note, this outline that I have prepared does not spend a lot of time dealing with the trials and tribulation in Revelation 6-18 mainly because as born-again Christians, we will not be here to experience this tribulation. Therefore, I would rather focus on the glorious time with my Father in heaven than the wrath that will happen during the tribulation on the earth. Although it is valid to explain in brief what the world will experience, I would much rather encourage the reader to give their lives to the Lord so that they may bypass this tribulation period that is promised to the non-believers). Christ told us, “Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). This is another statement from Christ that validates the loss of salvation. “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies” (Rev. 3:12-13). Now may I ask you a question? How many of you have ears? Christ is indicating for you to listen to what He is saying.
Please note that Smyrna and Philadelphia were the only two churches that were not criticized by Christ.
Laodicea was located in the Lycus valley on a major crossroad forty-five miles southeast of Philadelphia, about ninety miles east of Ephesus. Laodicea was an extremely prosperous banking and commercial center (perhaps the modern-day Wall Street). The city was also popular for its medical studies and manufacturing of clothing. Christ said to the church of Laodicea, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Christ told the church that they make Him sick. They know the Word yet they do not live the Word. It would’ve been better for them not to know Christ than for them to pretend to know Christ and not heed His commands. Christ went on to say,
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev. 3:17-18 NKJV).
It is interesting that this church is the big fundraising church; they have the big production, yet they are working for themselves, not for the Lord. Christ told them to take their riches and give them up for true salvation, to come to Him and be clothed in white, to be made pure and to have their eyes opened. This church used the church as a profit ministry and did not seek the kingdom of our Lord. That is why in the next verse Christ said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19 NKJV). In other words, “You are profiting through the power of Satan, and if you do not repent, you may have all the things of this world, yet will lose your eternity in heaven.” It is interesting that Christ then quotes, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20 NKJV). There are two things that are very interesting about this statement: The first is that Christ told the church that he is standing outside the door and knocking at their hearts, yet the church will not let Him in. Our Lord is a gentleman; He will never force His way in. He will lovingly and patently be there waiting for us to respond. Next, we should note that Christ wants to dine with us! To understand the intimacy of this statement, you need to understand the culture of those days (which is still Middle Eastern culture today). It was not about fast food and drive-thrus; to dine with someone was to let them into your house and dip bread in bowls of oils and spices with you. (That is why in Jewish law it was unclean to let a Gentile into a Jewish house.) It was a long-term, sit-on-pillows-on-the-floor-and-relax relationship. Christ is saying, “Let Me in so that we can be intimate with each other; let Me get to know you and you Me.” Christ wants to have that kind of relationship with His brethren.He wants to be part of our lives. In conclusion Christ says, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne…He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:21-22 NKJV). Laodicea is known in the Bible as the apostate church.
We have now set a solid foundation for the first three chapters of the book, so let’s continue on.
After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, “Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads. Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, like a crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, having each one of them six wings, are full of eyes around about and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and will throw their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory, the honor, and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created.”
Chapter 4 starts out with the Greek word meta-tauta (met-ah’tow-tah), which, in its context, literally means “after these things.” You might then ask yourself, after what things? The answer is, after the church. John was in heaven. He was in the Spirit (for we know that our flesh and blood can’t exist in heaven), and behold there was the throne of God. (This is where we feel that the rapture of the church takes place. 2 Thes. 2 tells us that the restraining force will continue to restrain the world leader/Antichrist until it is removed. The hindering force is the Holy Spirit within the believers. Once the believers are gone/raptured, the world leader will come to power.) John saw God on His throne in all of His splendor and glory. Around the throne sat twenty-four elders. (Some Bible scholars believe that the twenty-four elders could represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles.) We then read of four living creatures, which are heavenly beings(thought to be cherubims). Chapter 4 represents the vision of God, the creator of all things, sitting on His heavenly throne. In chapter 5 we have Christ the Redeemer, the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David that has prevailed to open the scroll. (Please note that some translations say “book,” yet in the Greek, the word means “scroll.”)
I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a book written within and on the back, sealed shut with seven seals. I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to break its seals?” No one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look in it. And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look in it. One of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome to open the book and its seven seals.”
I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne. Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the book, And to open its seals: For you were killed, And bought us for God with your blood, Out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, And made them kings and priests to our God, And they reign on earth.” I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, riches, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing!” I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever. Amen.” The four living creatures said, “Amen!” The elders fell down and worshiped.
The scroll represents the title deed to the earth. If this sounds strange to you, perhaps we should take a quick course in Jewish Culture and Law 101 for a better understanding of the text. However, before doing so, we need to review what happened in Genesis that brought about the fall of man! In Genesis 2:17, man was told, “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (NKJV).In doing so, man’s flesh died to this world and was separated from God. This episode also caused the earth to be given to Satan, who was given power over it. And if you recall in the gospels, Christ was tempted by Satan, and Satan offered Christ all the splendors of this world. It is interesting that Christ never denied the fact that Satan could offer and fulfill all these earthly things. The fact is, Christ died for our sins and paid the price to redeem us, yet He has not yet taken possession of the earth. (Romans 11:25 tells us that God is waiting for the fullness of the Gentiles to come in before He returns for His church.) So as of today, Satan has control of this world and will continue to have control until Christ loosens the seal of the title dead of the earth.
Now let’s take that course in Jewish culture and law: If a person was to lose his land, he then had the right to purchase it back after a set amount of time. This law was established so that the Israelites would not lose their inheritance. If the original owner could not fulfill the requirements to purchase back the land, then a family member or next of kin could do so for him. This law was established to keep the inheritance in the possession of the original tribe that God had allocated the land to) So if you were to forfeit your land (usually because of financial circumstances), then the new owner would take the deed to the property and write down on a scroll the fees or requirements for you to purchase the land back. The scroll would then be sealed shut. At the end of the given time, if the owner could not meet the requirements inorder to purchase back his land, but a family member or next of kin could, then that family member could redeem the land back to the family. This was called a kinsmen redeemer or in Hebrew the goel. It is also very interesting that this transaction had to take place at the city gates in front of the elders and the authorities. (To read about this practice in depth, read the book of Ruth.) In Revelation 5:7, we have Christ, our Kinsmen Redeemer, stepping up to receive the scroll from the Father’s right hand (interesting how the right hand always signifies power.) Christ appears as a Lamb that was slain, who has paid the price in full and is now ready to claim the title deed to the earth. Picture this, if you would: Christ is described as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, but also as the Lamb that was slain. The Lion represents Christ as the conqueror over Satan, whereas the Lamb satisfies the justice of God. His marks identify His suffering as He interceded for our sins and brought us redemption through His blood. What a glorious sight! There is praise and worship in heaven, and we sing out (Rev. 5:9-10). These are the words that only the redeemed church can sing. We will praise the Lord in heaven, and we will enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb and spend seven glorious years worshipping in heaven with our Lord. This is where we receive long-awaited answers to the prayer “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth” (Matt. 6:10 KJV) as Christ came forward to take authority over what is rightfully His.
I saw that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, “Come and see!” I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown was given to him, and he came forth conquering, and to conquer.
When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!” Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come and see!” I saw, and behold, a black horse. He who sat on it had a balance in his hand. I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenix of barley for a denarius! Don’t damage the oil and the wine!” When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see!” I saw, and behold, a pale horse. He who sat on him, his name was Death. Hades followed with him. Authority over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to them.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. They cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, Master, the holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” There was given to each one of them a white robe. It was said to them that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow servants and their brothers, who would also be killed even as they were, had been fulfilled. I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became as blood. The stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when it is shaken by a great wind. The sky was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and freeman, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. They told the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”
Chapter 6 starts off with the opening of the first seal, the rider on the white horse This is where the new world leader (Antichrist) appears. I would like to point out that the word for Antichrist in the Greek (An-tee Khristos) refers to none other than Sotto or Christ. We see him riding in on a white horse going out to conquer, implying a conquest. In other words, this world leader will set up his own empire or kingdom. It is interesting that Scriptures point out that this world leader is a charismatic man who will win the world over with his charm and good business. He will appear as the man with all the answers, yet after three and a half years, he will reveal his true colors (Dan. 9:27). Next, we have the rider of the red horse, the second seal (Rev. 6:4). This horse represents war. Then we have the third horseman, who brings in famine, and as history shows us, famine always follows war. In this day and age, a nuclear war would contaminate the crops that produce food, and this would make for world-wide famine. Also, the Bible states that the people of the earth would have to pay top dollar for a meal: “A quart of wheat for denarious (or in modern-day terms, a day’s pay). Finally, the fourth horseman pours out his wrath (Rev. 6:8). This pale horse brings about disease, hunger and death to a fourth of the earth—nearly a billion people. Moving to verses 9 and 10 we have the cry of the martyrs. These are the people who did not get caught up in the rapture yet during tribulation put their trust in Christ and were martyred for their faith (Rev. 6:9-10). Seal number six is then opened (Rev: 6:12-13), and a great earthquake along with cataclysmic disasters occur. “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:17 NKJV).
After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Don’t harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!” I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel: Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. They cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation be to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
One of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?” I told him, “My lord, you know.” He said to me, “These are those who came out of the great oppression. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. Therefore are they before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never be hungry, neither thirsty any more; neither will the sun beat on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to living springs of waters. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7 introduces 144,000 Jews that are to be protected through the tribulation period. There are 12,000 from 12 tribes of Israel. In verses 9 to 15, we have a great multitude of all nations (greater than ever seen) before the throne of God. We are told in verse 14 that these are the ones who came out of the great tribulation and washed their robes clean in His blood. These are the people who gave their lives to the Lord during the tribulation and were martyred for their faith. We also notice in verse 15 that they serve God night and day. It is interesting that the raptured church is represented as the bride of Christ, whereas these tribulation saints become servants. I often hear Christians say, “If I miss the rapture, then I will commit my life to Christ during the tribulation!” Let me emphasize this: If you cannot live for Christ today, why do you assume that you can die for Him then? However, the text does state that there will be more people who give their lives to the Lord during the tribulation period than are taken up in the rapture. I am just sharing some food for thought. I would speculate that there are going to be many lukewarm Christians who know Scripture yet never walked with the Lord. Perhaps these tribulation saints will realize what has happened, then make a profession to follow Christ. Or there might be some Christians who know the Word yet their hearts become hardened, and they reject our Lord. At any rate, as discussed earlier, the purpose of this outline is not to emphasize the destruction, but to encourage the believer that he who follows the Lord will be kept from this wrath that is promised to fall upon the whole earth. And since it is written, I find it appropriate for the sake of the non-believers, as well as lukewarm Christians, to expound upon this tribulation period that is to come. Now let us take a look at chapter 8.
When he opened the seventh seal, there followed a silence in heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. The angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it on the earth. There followed thunders, sounds, lightnings, and an earthquake. The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
The first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown on the earth. One third of the earth was burnt up, and one third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood, and one third of the creatures which were in the sea died, those who had life. One third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters. The name of the star is called “Wormwood.” One third of the waters became wormwood. Many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. The fourth angel sounded, and one third of the sun was struck, and one third of the moon, and one third of the stars; so that one third of them would be darkened, and the day wouldn’t shine for one third of it, and the night in the same way. I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, who are yet to sound.
Chapter 8 starts off with the angel offering prayers to God. We have the smoke of burning incense ascending from the golden altar. You have to keep in mind that the earthly altar was a replica of the altar in heaven, and the burning incense represents the prayers of the people that the priest would present to God. Next, we have the seventh and last seal. Always remember that seven is the number of completion; there are seven days in a week and seven notes in a musical scale, etc. When this last seal is released, the seven trumpets of the seven angels come out to sound. (Please note that the trump of God is different than the trumpet call of the angels.) The first angel sounded (Rev. 8:7). This judgment seems to destroy parts of the earth’s vegetation. The second trumpet sounded, and this destroyed one-third of the seas (Rev. 8:10-11). This plague destroyed one-third of the earth’s drinking water. The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and one-third of the sun, moon and stars were darkened. Then we read, “Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, who are yet to sound” (Rev. 7:13). Just think; after the starvation, thirst and darkness that the angels proclaim, now is the time when true torment will come! What a terrifying thought! Isn’t it wonderful to be under the grace of our Lord? Christ said in Revelation 3:10, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial” (NKJV).
The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from the sky fallen to the earth. The key to the pit of the abyss was given to him. He opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke from a great furnace. The sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke from the pit. Then out of the smoke came forth locusts on the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men who don’t have God’s seal on their foreheads. They were given power not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death, and will in no way find it. They will desire to die, and death will flee from them. The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for war. On their heads were something like gold crowns, and their faces were like men’s faces. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like those of lions. They had breastplates, like breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, or of many horses rushing to war. They have tails like those of scorpions, and stings. In their tails is their power to harm men for five months. They have over them as king the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is “Abaddon,” but in Greek, he has the name “Apollyon.” The first woe is past. Behold, there are still two woes coming after this.
The sixth angel sounded. I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had one trumpet, “Free the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” The four angels were freed who had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, so that they would kill one third of mankind. The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million. I heard the number of them. Thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those who sat on them, having breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of lions. Out of their mouths proceed fire, smoke, and sulfur. By these three plagues were one third of mankind killed: by the fire, the smoke, and the sulfur, which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails. For their tails are like serpents, and have heads, and with them they harm. The rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, didn’t repent of the works of their hands, that they wouldn’t worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk. They didn’t repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.
As we enter chapter 9 we read, “Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit” (Rev. 9:1 NKJV). We know that a star from heaven refers to an angel, which would be none other than Satan. This is where Satan is denied access to the throne of God. If this seems weird to you, you need to remember that up until this time, Satan had access to the throne of God. (For more detailed information on this topic, please read the book of Job.) Reading on, we are told that Satan is given the key to the bottomless pit. At this point we realize what the angels meant in the previous chapter when they proclaimed woe to those on whom the true torment would be released. At this time, Satan will release demonic spirits and demons upon the earth. We read of people suffering so badly, yet they are not able to die. It is also fascinating that these demonic spirits are commanded not to touch the 144,000 who are sealed by God. Again, the book of Job will help you understand the dialogue between God and Satan and how God restricts Satan from certain things.
Verse 11 of this chapter talks about the leader of these demons being a king. He is called the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew is Abaddon, but in the Greek, he is named Appollyon. Next, the sixth angel sounded his trumpet to release the four angels who were bound at the great Euphrates. These angels had been prepared for this hour, day and year and were then released to kill one-third of mankind. These angels were fallen angels that did not keep their first state and were, therefore, chained in darkness and kept for this great day of judgment. (Please see Jude verse 6 for more details.) These angels killed one-third of mankind. To set the stage, let us think about these four demonic, powerful angels going out and causing destruction upon men. Could this be what our Lord was talking about when He said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21 NKJV). Continuing on, we read that an army of 200 million soldiers will march to battle, and together they will cause war. Their weapons, fire, smoke and brimstone will kill another one-third of mankind. This is interesting because in the days that John wrote this book, there were not even 200 million able-bodied fighting men on the face of the earth, yet today one nation (China) alone can house an army of 200 million fighting solders. The text also reads that from their heads and tails would come fire, smoke and brimstone that kills one-third of mankind! How could John describe today’s sophisticated weapons nearly 2,000 years ago? Could this army John described be outfitted with tanks, missile launchers and other military weapons? In the days of John, swords, horses and flaming arrows were the weapons used for military battle. We read in Revelation 9:21 that men did not repent of their deeds, and they continued to worship their idols. They did not give up stealing, sexual immorality or sorcery. The word sorceries in the Greek is pharmakeia, which means “drugs.” It is simply amazing that no matter how bad it gets, worldly people will not look up to Christ for salvation, yet they will curse Him for their miseries.
I saw another mighty angel coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had in his hand a little book open. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land. He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices. When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don’t write them.” The angel who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky, and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.
The voice which I heard from heaven, again speaking with me, said, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” I went to the angel, saying, “Give me the little book.” He said to me, “Take it, and eat it up. It will make your belly bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my belly was made bitter. He told me, “You must prophesy again over many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”
Chapter 10 is a very interesting chapter. The Lord reveals a vision to John and then tells him to seal it up and not write it down. I believe this chapter will be revealed later in Revelation 19 when Christ comes with His church. In any case, let’s take a look at chapter 10 more thoroughly. As stated earlier, I believe that this chapter depicts Christ getting ready to usher in His reign on earth (Rev. 10:1). John saw a mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed in clouds with a rainbow around His head. His feet were like pillars of fire. I believe this is a description of Jesus. Acts 1:11 tells us that Christ will come again in the clouds. Also, a rainbow is a symbol of God’s covenant with Noah, and the description of His face like a pillar of fire fits the description of Christ in Revelation 1:13-16. We read in Revelation 10:2 that He has a little book/scroll, which represents the title deed to the earth. John is told, “Take it, and eat it up. It will make your belly bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey” (Rev. 10:9). The voice meant for John to consume (read) the book. What John reads (the promise to the believer) is sweet, yet the calamities that are to come upon the earth and its non-believing inhabitants are very bitter and discomforting. Next, John is told, “You must prophesy again over many peoples, nations, languages, and kings” (Rev. 10:11). These are John’s instructions to write the book of Revelation so that the world can read the prophecies of this book.
A reed like a rod was given to me. One said, “Rise, and measure God’s temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside of the temple, and don’t measure it, for it has been given to the gentiles. They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months.
I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands, standing before the Lord of the earth. If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone desires to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them. Their dead bodies will be in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. From among the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will people look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. Those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, and make merry. They will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. After the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. Great fear fell on those who saw them. I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them. In that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe comes quickly. The seventh angel sounded, and there followed great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!” The twenty-four elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was; because you have taken your great power, and reigned. The nations were angry, and your wrath came, as did the time for the dead to be judged, and to give your servants, the prophets, their reward, as well as the saints, and those who fear your name, the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” God’s temple that is in heaven was opened, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant was seen in his temple. There followed lightnings, sounds, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail.
At the beginning of this chapter, John is instructed to measure the temple of God, but he was told to leave the outer court unmeasured because it would be given to the Gentiles, and they would tread the outer court for forty-two months (three and a half years). Let’s expound on this for a moment: There are some very profound facts in these verses. First off, we know from the text that there will be a temple, and secondly, we are told that the outer court will be given to the Gentiles and that they will tread the city for forty-two months. So what does this mean in modern-day events? In Dan. 9 we are told that the world leader will confirm a treaty between Israel and Palestine so that the Jews can rebuild their temple. We also know that there is no way that the Muslims’ Dome of the Rock Mosque can be replaced without a holy war. The temple will be built next to the dome of the Rock Mosque, which is presently located in the outer court. The book of Ezekiel informs us that there will be a wall separating the two. Next, we read that the city (Jerusalem) will be treaded by the Gentiles for forty-two months. (Please note that when the Holy Spirit gives exact days and times, we need to take heed to His specific warning.) Keep in mind that the Muslims controlled Jerusalem prior to 1967. The Jews needed to take possession of the city (and this happened in 1967) before this prophecy could even be fulfilled. We have to remember that Israel is a key time clock for God’s prophetic plan! The forty-two months refers to the abomination of desolation, which is when the world leader/Antichrist will walk into the temple and demand to be worshipped. Then there will be 42 months or 1,290 days until the end.
In verses 3 to 10 we read of two witnesses sent by God to proclaim their testimony. “I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” (Rev. 11:3). From the text we are to assume that since sackcloth and ashes were the garments of the prophets when they mourned for nations, these witnesses are sent to the Jews to testify about Christ. We are told in Malachi 4:5 that one of the prophets will be Elijah. Christ stated that John the Baptist was a type of Elijah. He said, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things” (Matt. 17:11 NKJV) referring to Malachi 4:5. So the Scriptures testify to Elijah being one of the witnesses. Although the other witness is not named, most scholars believe that it will be Enoch (because Enoch and Elijah never died) or perhaps Moses. We are told that the two witnesses will be protected by God and cannot be harmed until after their testimony is complete. Then the world leader/Antichrist (representing the one from the abyss) will have them killed and leave their bodies on display for three and a half days. We are also told that the world will celebrate this event as if it was a national or global holiday. We then read that the two witnesses will arise and ascend into the heaven, which the whole world will witness. In the late 1800s, a British scholar said that the Bible was a hoax based on the verse about the whole world seeing the event. At that time, the scholar could not perceive how all nations would view a global event taking place. This was, of course, before TV was invented. Next, we have the seventh trumpet, and the angels proclaim, “The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe comes quickly” (Rev. 11:14). Then there were loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15). Then the temple of God was opened in heaven. As stated earlier, Revelation is laid out systematically, and some chapters depict what will happen in heaven, and other chapters describe what will happen on earth. Therefore, the book is not in complete chronological order. In some cases, it offers a review of past prophecies and events. Keeping this in mind, let’s move into chapter 12.
A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child. She cried out, laboring and in pain, giving birth. Another sign was seen in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns. His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred sixty days. There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war. They didn’t prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now is come the salvation, the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. They overcame him because of the Lamb’s blood, and because of the word of their testimony. They didn’t love their life, even to death.
Therefore rejoice, heavens, and you who dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the devil has gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time.” When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth. The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep God’s commandments and hold Jesus’ testimony.
The first verse of this chapter presents the nation of Israel, whereas verses 2 to 5 present the promises of a savior and Satan’s plan to wipe out the plan of redemption, as well as the fallen angels being cast out of heaven (as eluded to in chapter 8). Verse 6 speaks of Israel fleeing to the wilderness (petra) after the abomination of desolation. In verse 7 there is a mighty war in heaven, where Satan and his fallen angels fight with Michael and the Lord’s angels, yet they did not prevail. Satan is cast to the earth. Remember that here in chapter 12, John is given a recap vision of the previous prophetic events). We then read “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Rev. 12:12 NKJV). Can you imagine how horrifying it will be for the people of the earth! The full power of Satan is unleashed without the Spirit of God to defend them. Yet there are God’s promises to His nation, Israel, that He will give refuge to His people, and in verses 13 to 17 we read that God will pour out His Spirit to protect his children and will lead them into the wilderness. As a side note, in the book of Daniel we are told that during the last seven years the Spirit of God will be upon the nation of Israel.
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names. The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled at the beast. They worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy was given to him. Authority to continue for forty-two months was given to him. He opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tent, those who dwell in heaven. It was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. Authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone gathers into captivity, into captivity he goes. If anyone will kill with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky on the earth in the sight of men. He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to do in front of the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived. It was given to him to give breath to it, to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as wouldn’t worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead; and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six.
Chapter 13 brings in some very profane statements. In fact, it even foretells a technology that is in the works and is sure to come to past in the near future. Let’s take a look at this exciting chapter. The first verse says, “I saw a beast rising up out of the sea.” This beast is the world leader who will possess demonic powers and will be able to perform signs and wonders. In verse 3 John says, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast” (NKJV). The world will worship this leader and declare him as the greatest, stating, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4.) So we now have this world leader being exalted and worshipped by the whole world. In verses 5 to 7 we are told that this world leader will be given power to blaspheme God for forty-two months, and that he will make war against the saints and overcome them. In the original Greek language, the word here for saints is hagios, which refers to a person or persons who are ceremonially and or morally pure. From the context, I believe that this is referring to Israel. Power over all mankind was given to him. Verse 8 tells us that all who dwell on the earth will worship him—everyone whose name is not written in the book of life. In verse 9 we are told, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” So again, the Holy Spirit is warning us to heed His prophecy. Moving into verses 11 to 14 we read of another beast who comes out of the earth and performs signs and wonders and deceives those who dwell on the earth. This man is a sidekick to the Antichrist and is thought to be a religious leader!
Verses 16 and 17 are very interesting because they describe a technology that has been available only since the mid 1980s: “He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead; and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Think about what you just read. Also, keep in mind that the Geneva Bible went to print in 1590, and it contained this same verse. Imagine reading this passage four hundred years ago and thinking how far-fetched this technology would seem, yet today we have this technology already in place. The text is speaking of this world leader doing away with currency (setting up a global monetary system) by implanting microchips or laser tattoos in people. Without this system, people would not be able to purchase or sell anything. If this seems odd, I would like to let you know that in December 1999 a company went public on NASDAQ selling shares to a patent that enables them to insert microchips into humans for the purpose of E-commerce and global tracking. Strangely enough, the shares are being traded under the name Digital Angel. I would also like to point out that the text says the world leader will force everyone to take the mark. This will be a mandatory system. I speculate that at its introduction, it will be a convenience (maybe trendy for the upper class) yet not affordable to all, then when this world leader shows his true colors, he will force all people to cooperate with this one world order. I would also like to remind you that Christ said that when you see these things beginning to happen, you should look up for your redemption is near. The Lord is telling us that we should be able to discern the times. We are also told that during the end times, knowledge will increase. Could this be one of the final signs of the Lord’s return?
I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him one hundred forty-four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of a great thunder. The sound which I heard was like that of harpers playing on their harps. They sing something like a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. None could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand, those who had been redeemed out of the earth. These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed by Jesus from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. In their mouth was found no lie. They are without fault.
I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of waters!” Another, a second angel, followed, saying, “Babylon the great has fallen, which has made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality.” Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.” I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. Another angel came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!” He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Another angel came out from the temple which is in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. Another angel came out from the altar, he who has power over fire, and he called with a great voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Send forth your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe!” The angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The winepress was trodden outside of the city, and blood came out from the winepress, even to the bridles of the horses, as far as one thousand six hundred stadia.
The 144,000 are taken from Mount Zion in Israel up into heaven and are presented as the firstfruits of Israel before the throne. Our Lord proclaim them spotless in His eyes, and they sing a song that is exclusive to them. It is interesting that the firstfruits of the church in chapter 5 (the raptured church) sing a song that is exclusive to themselves; we see here the firstfruits of Israel doing likewise. In verse 6 an angel goes out and preaches the gospel to all nations, saying, “Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment has come.” Another angel follows, saying, “Babylon the great has fallen, which has made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality” (Rev. 14:8). This verse is talking about the Babylonian religious system, which involved worshipping other gods. A third angel follows, saying, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Rev 14:9-10).Yet this angel goes on to say in verses 12 and 13 that those who do not take the mark and who die for the Lord’s sake will be blessed and have rest from their labor. This text is referring to anyone in the tribulation who refuses to take the mark; they will be killed for their commitment to Christ. Revelation 14:14-20 is actually John’s vision of the battle of Armageddon (see Isaiah 63). Christ will come on a white cloud, and the final wrath of the Lamb will be poured out upon the earth. I will elaborate on this in later chapters.
I saw another great and marvelous sign in the sky: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them God’s wrath is finished. I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who overcame the beast, and his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. Who wouldn’t fear you, Lord, And glorify your name? For you only are holy. For all the nations will come and worship before you. For your righteous acts have been revealed.
After these things I looked, and the temple of the tent of the testimony in heaven was opened. The seven angels who had the seven plagues came out from the temple, clothed with pure, bright linen, and wearing golden sashes around their breasts. One of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power. No one was able to enter into the temple, until the seven plagues of the seven angels would be finished.
Chapter 15 is a review chapter. In it, John gets another glimpse of the heavenly scene, and he saw the seven angels ready to pour out the last seven plagues. The final torment will be the last three and half years of the world’s existence, and then Christ will return with His church. We notice in verses 2 to 4 that there is a multitude of people in heaven who had victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark. Continuing on, we read that this group of people sang the song of Moses that was given to the Israelites, and they sang this song when they crossed the Red Sea in Exodus 15:1-21. In verses 5 to 8 we read about the temple of the tabernacle in heaven, the seven angels and the four living creatures as they prepare the golden bowls of the wrath of God. Then the temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God and His power.
While chapter 15 of Revelation is a heavenly scene, chapter 16 deals with the events that will take place on earth.
I heard a loud voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God on the earth!” The first went, and poured out his bowl into the earth, and it became a harmful and evil sore on the men who had the mark of the beast, and who worshiped his image. The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man. Every living thing in the sea died. The third poured out his bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and it became blood. I heard the angel of the waters saying, “You are righteous, who are and who were, you Holy One, because you judged this way. For they poured out the blood of the saints and the prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. They deserve this.” I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments.”
The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given to him to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues. They didn’t repent and give him glory. The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was darkened. They gnawed their tongues because of the pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. They didn’t repent of their works.
The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates. Its water was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sunrise. I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, something like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs; which go forth to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. “Behold, I come like a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn’t walk naked, and they see his shame.” He gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew, “Har-magedon.”
The seventh poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came forth out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” There were lightnings, sounds, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men on the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. Great hailstones, about the weight of a talent, came down out of the sky on men. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for the plague of it is exceeding great.
Chapter 16 reveals the last seven plagues, which are the final judgments. Looking at these plagues we can see how today’s military weapons could cause destruction such as the following:
1. sores upon man due to nuclear fallout (verse 2)
2. contamination of the sea, due to mass death of war (verses 3 and 4)
3. depletion of the ozone layer due to nuclear weapons (verses 8 and 9)
On another note, in verse 15 Christ again gives us a warning and a chance to repent “Behold, I come like a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn’t walk naked, and they see his shame.” In ancient days, the temple guards had to always be awake; if they were caught asleep, they were beaten, and their garments were set on fire. Christ letting them know that they do not have to face this tribulation but that they can have salvation through Him. Our job as Christians is to be Christlike and preach the Gospel with love to all the ends of the earth. That is the Great Commission. We need to preach the Gospel and the prophecy of this book so that people will know about the plagues that are promised to the non-believers.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality, and those who dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her sexual immorality.” He carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored animal, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her sexual immorality, and on her forehead a name written, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered with great amazement.
The angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into destruction. Those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast, how that he was, and is not, and will come. Here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. They are seven kings. Five have fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come. When he comes, he must continue a little while. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goes to destruction. The ten horns that you saw are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour. These have one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast.
These will war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings. They also will overcome who are with him, called and chosen and faithful.” He said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute, and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh, and will burn her utterly with fire. For God has put in their hearts to do what he has in mind, and to come to unity of mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
We read of the scarlet woman and the beast. This chapter is referring to a religious system, referred to earlier as “Babylon.” (Read Hislop’s The Two Babylons for more information.) As stated earlier, religion is man’s way to reach God, whereas the Bible (or God’s Word) is God’s way to reach man. In the early years of Christianity, the government decided to establish a religion, which was soon corrupted by Babylonian traditions. In verses 2 to 9, the Roman empire, headed by the Antichrist/world leader, will join forces with this religious leader, the false prophet. They will form a false, global religion and deceive the world. In verses 10 and 11, we read of a demonic spirit that will come out of the abyss and enter into this world leader. He is a spirit that possessed one of the seven Roman emperors. (Some scholars believe it to be the same demonic spirit that possessed Caesar Nero, who was known by the early church as “the Beast.”) In verses 12 and 13, ten kings join together and give power to the beast. This kingdom is already being put into place today; the countries of Europe have joined together as one. From them will rise the world leader known here in Scriptures as “the Beast.” We read in verses 14 to 18 that this great kingdom and religious system under the beast will make war with the Lamb yet will not prevail. In chapter 17 we see the destruction of the religious system or the spiritual Babylon; in chapter 18 we have the physical destruction of the city of Babylon.
After these things, I saw another angel coming down out of the sky, having great authority. The earth was illuminated with his glory. He cried with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and has become a habitation of demons, and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury.” I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come forth, my people, out of her, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues, for her sins have reached to the sky, and God has remembered her iniquities. Return to her just as she returned, and double to her the double according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix to her double. However much she glorified herself, and grew wanton, so much give her of torment and mourning. For she says in her heart, ‘I sit a queen, and am no widow, and will in no way see mourning.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will come: death, mourning, and famine; and she will be utterly burned with fire; for the Lord God who has judged her is strong.
The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived wantonly with her, will weep and wail over her, when they look at the smoke of her burning, standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For your judgment has come in one hour.’ The merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more; merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, all expensive wood, every vessel of ivory, every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; and cinnamon, spices, incense, ointment, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, and sheep; and merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and souls of men. The fruits which your soul lusted after have been lost to you, and all things that were dainty and sumptuous have perished from you, and you will find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, will stand far away for the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning; saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in an hour such great riches are made desolate.’ Every shipmaster, and everyone who sails anywhere, and mariners, and as many as gain their living by sea, stood far away, and cried out as they looked at the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like the great city?’ They cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her great wealth!’ For in one hour is she made desolate. Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints, you apostles, and you prophets; for God has judged your judgment on her.” A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, and will be found no more at all. The voice of harpers and minstrels and flute players and trumpeters will be heard no more at all in you. No craftsman, of whatever craft, will be found any more at all in you. The sound of a mill will be heard no more at all in you. The light of a lamp will shine no more at all in you. The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride will be heard no more at all in you; for your merchants were the princes of the earth; for with your sorcery all the nations were deceived. In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
It is worthy to note that today’s Iraq is former Babylon, and in fact, Saddam Hussein was restoring Baghdad in the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dynasty. We read in verses 9 and 10 that the kings of the earth grieve over Babylon’s destruction and that they stand far off for the fear of its torment as they see the smoke rise. We are also told in verses 17 to 19 that in one hour the city was made desolate. I believe that this is a good description of nuclear war; the city was destroyed in one hour, and kings watched, feeling tormented, from a distance. Could it be that the torment and watching at a distance depicts nuclear fallout? Again, you must keep in mind that when John wrote this book, bows and arrows, swords and stones were the weapons of warfare. In verse 20 we in heaven are told to rejoice over Babylon for God hath avenged her. It is also interesting that the Bible is a tale of two cities: Jerusalem and Babylon. The final torment is over, as expressed in verses 21 to 24.
After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God: for true and righteous are his judgments. For he has judged the great prostitute, her who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and he has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.” A second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen! Hallelujah!”
A voice came forth from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, the small and the great!” I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let us give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. He said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” He said to me, “These are true words of God.” I fell down before his feet to worship him. He said to me, “Look! Don’t do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.”
I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but he himself. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called “The Word of God.” The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen. Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, two-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty. He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” I saw an angel standing in the sun. He cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the sky, “Come! Be gathered together to the great supper of God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, and small and great.” I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army. The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. They two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came forth out of his mouth. All the birds were filled with their flesh.
After two chapters about the religious and the physical destruction of Babylon, chapter 19 begins by describing the praise and worship that will take place in heaven. In verses 5 to 10, we in heaven are gathered together for the marriage supper of the Lamb; blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In verses 11 through 16, the heavens open and the great rider of the white horse (Jesus Christ) appears. He is called Faithful and True. He is clothed in a white vesture that was dipped in blood, and out of His mouth came the Word of God (a sharp sword). He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He is now returning to the earth with His army (the church). This is the second coming of Christ. Next, we have the culmination of the Battle of Armageddon, where the Antichrist, the false prophet and Satan gather together with the kings of the earth for the final battle in the valley of Megiddo. At this point, Jesus will speak the Word of God and destroy them all.
I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for one thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time. I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ one thousand years. The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years. And after the thousand years, Satan will be freed out of his prison, and will come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. They went up over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them. The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where are also the beast and the false prophet. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.
In the first verses of this chapter, Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. Yet after the 1,000 years he must be released. I was always puzzled by this passage. I always asked myself, Why would Satan be held and then let loose? The answer is simple: God did not create robots; He created us with free will. During the 1,000 years that Satan is bound, Christ will reign on earth. During His reign there will be no temptation. After Satan is released he will have one last chance to tempt the people who do not have true hearts for the Lord. Verses 4 to 6 describes what is called the “1,000 year reign of Christ.” This is where Christ reigns on earth with His church (the raptured saints) as well as the believers who were martyred for their faith. We also know from the text that there are some who survive the great tribulation and will live in the 1,000 reign. During these 1,000 years, families will multiply, and there will be people raised in this perfect environment who do not know of sin. Verses 7 to 10 say that Satan will be released and that he will go out and prepare an army against God. At this time, God will send down fire from heaven and destroy Satan and his followers. Satan and the false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and will be tormented day and night forever. Verses 11 to 15 tell of the great white throne of judgment. All who have died will receive their final judgment, and anyone not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. Chapter 21 describes the moment that we Christians have been waiting for.
I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s tent is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away. He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son. But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were laden with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb’s bride.” He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shown me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal; having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. He who spoke with me had for a measure a golden reed to measure the city, its gates, and its walls. The city lies foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth. He measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand stadia. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. He measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass. The foundations of the city’s wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring their glory into it. Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there), and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
This chapter describes the glorious New Jerusalem and the presence of God. Our God will dwell with us forever, His love fully manifested in His people, and His glory put upon us. There will be no more death, no more pain or suffering, and all tears shall be wiped away. The promises of our Lord have now been fulfilled. In chapter 22 we have a more detailed description of this heavenly city as well as a vision of the tree of life in the middle of the street.
He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night, and they need no lamp light, neither sunlight; for the Lord God will give them light. They will reign forever and ever.
He said to me, “These words are faithful and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angels to show to his servants the things which must happen soon.” “Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. He said to me, “See you don’t do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” He said to me, “Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still.” “Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” He who hears, let him say, “Come!” He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely. I testify to every man who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
He who testifies these things says, “Yes, I come quickly.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
We see Jesus and the Father upon the throne. We are told that all curses are no more and that this wonderful city will never have darkness, nor does it need light, for the Lord God gives light forever. In verses 6 through 20 we have the angel telling John not to seal up this book but to proclaim its message to all. We also have Jesus’ confirmation of His second coming as He says three times, “Behold, I come quickly.” Blessed are those who obey His commandments, that they might have the right to the tree of life. This is the conclusion of the Bible.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
We know that the book of Revelation is about redemption, which means restoring what was lost to its original owner. The Bible starts with Genesis and ends with Revelation. It is interesting that Genesis represents the beginning whereas Revelation represents completion. Taking a closer look at this, we have Genesis 1:1 where “God created the heavens and the earth,” while in Revelation 21:1 the earth passes away. In Genesis 1:5 darkness is established, and in Revelation 22:5 darkness is no more. Sin is introduced in Genesis 3; in Revelation 21 and 22, sin is no more. In Genesis 10:8-10, Nimrod founded Babylon, and in Revelation 17 and 18 we have the destruction of Babylon. In Genesis 3:24, man’s dominion ceases, and Satan’s dominion of the earth begins. In Revelation 22, Satan’s dominion is ended, and man’s is restored. These are just a few examples of the parallels between these two books.
Let’s take a look at the description of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as found throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In Revelation 1:13-16 we read of Christ as the high priest. He is described in the following ways:
• He is the intercessor for our sins (Heb. 7:25).
• He is the one who cleanses us (1 John 1:9).
• He is our advocate (1 John 2:1).
• He is the inspector of our fruit (Rev. 2 and 3).
• He appears in the midst of the seven lamp stands. (The word for lampstand is Luchina, which means “light bearer” or “people who bear His light.” See Matt. 5:14-16.)
• He is clothed with a garment (see Ps. 104:1-2 and Isa. 11:5).
His chest is girded with a golden band. His head and hair are as white as wool, and His eyes are like a flame of fire. We can parallel this with Matthew 17:2 and Daniel 7:9. In His right hand He has seven stars. We are told in Revelation 1:20 that the seven stars are angels. The word for angels here is angelos, which means “messengers” or “believers.” (See John 10:28-29.) Out of his mouth comes a sharp, two-edged sword—the Word of God (Eph. 6:17, Isa.11:4, Isa. 49:2 and Rev. 2-16). His countenance is as the sun. Christ is the light of the world.
In the next chapters we can parallel the seven churches John writes about to the churches in the letters Paul wrote. First, the church of the Ephesus shares a lot of similarities with the church in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians was written to the early church to confront them with heresy and problems coming into the church. In Ephesians 6:10-17 we are told about the armor of God and how to defend ourselves. The basic setting of the book is to strengthen the believers in their Christian faith. The instructions to the church of Ephesus in Revelation and to the church of Ephesus in Ephesians both deal with the basic nature of the church and the challenges facing the living body of Christ on earth. They need to avoid getting caught up in the world.
Next let’s parallel Smyrna with the Philippians. Smyrna was the faithful church whose believers were persecuted unto death, whereas Philippians is a book that boasts about the church having joy in all things. Paul wrote this book while he was in jail, and he emphasized the joy of the Lord. He says that Christ suffered and died for them and that they must stand firm and run the race of Christianity for Him. They must be filled with the fruits of righteousness and have boldness to speak the Word of God without fear.
Pergamos can be related to the Corinthians. In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, one of his main issues was that the Corinthians were married to the world. They lived their lives accepting worldly values and lifestyles and were also caught in false teachings and with compromised faith.
Thyatira and the book of Galatians share the same theme: the struggle between the Gospel and religion. The book of Galatians was written to bring the believers back to the whole Gospel. Salvation is received through God’s grace, not by legalism or religion. God’s children are free in Christ and are guided by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit instructs, leads and gives power. He ends the bondage of religions and creates joy, peace and love that come only through Jesus Christ. The Jews were basing their faith on laws and customs.
Sardis and the book of Romans have the same theme, which is that the just must live by faith. Paul gives clear and very descriptive guidelines to the Christian faith. He emphasizes that it is not about theology or law but rather about complete submission to Christ. Paul stressed that salvation and unity come only by grace that is freely given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Philadelphia and the book of Thessalonians parallel themselves as the raptured church. The church of Philadelphia has the promise of being kept from the hour of tribulation, whereas the book of Thessalonians teaches that Christ is the victor over death. The Thessalonians also accepted the message of the Gospel and tested everything that was taught. Paul warns them that Christ could come at any moment and that they must be prepared for His coming.
Laodicea and the book of Colossians share the same themes. Colossians teaches that Christ needs to be the Lord of life and that believers need His guidance every day. The church of Laodicea had Christ standing outside the church trying to get in. Paul taught that Christ is all things while the church of Laodicea was caught up in functions and did not have the love of Christ. Paul continually mentions the mystery of Christ, which tells us that the church did not know Him, though they believed they did. It is also interesting to note that the church of Laodicea is mentioned twice in the book of Colossians.
Chapter 4 is what we refer to as the rapture chapter. As mentioned previously, this chapter starts off with the word meta-tuta, which literally means “after these things.” After church history, John was caught up. We can parallel this idea with 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which says, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up [harpazios] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (NKJV). This can also be connected with Acts 1:11, which says, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (NKJV). Now keep in mind that Christ states in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (NKJV). So as you can see, Christ testifies to a generation that will not die. Also we should note that before John was caught up, he heard a voice like a trumpet telling him to come hither. This statement parallels with another rapture verse found in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (NKJV).
In verse 7 we have four living creatures: one like a lion, one like a calf, (or ox) one had a face like a man and the fourth was like an eagle. If we compare the four gospels we will also see some similarities. In Matthew, Christ is presented as the Messiah through the genealogy of Abraham in which Judah was begotten. Judah represents the Lion. Mark presents Jesus as a servant, and in Scripture a servant represents by an ox. Luke, being a doctor, presents Jesus’ lineage from the root of man (Adam), therefore presenting Jesus as the Son of Man. Finally, John presents Jesus as the Son of God (eagle).
As we enter chapter 6, the church (the body of Christ/believers) is removed from the earth, and we are introduced to a rider on a white horse. We can reflect here on 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, which talks about the lawless one being at work and waiting to come to power. Yet the restraining force (the believers/body of Christ) is holding him back. Once the Christians are removed he will be able to come to power. Reading on we note that the rider of the white horse has a bow. The word used here in the Greek is toxon, which is the same word used in Hebrew (keh’-sheth) in Genesis 9:13 when God gave Noah a promise or covenant with the rainbow. I believe that the word here for bow stands for a covenant, which then parallels with Daniel 9:27, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many” (NKJV). So here in chapter 6 we have the introduction of the world leader followed by wars (Matt. 24:6), famines, pestilence and earthquakes (Matt. 24:7). In verse 9 we read about the martyred saints who were lukewarm Christians; they heard the Word yet were not truly Christians. They missed the rapture and came to faith during the tribulation period. (Keep in mind that the true Christians witnessed to this group and planted seeds in them about the Gospel.) We can read of this also in Matthew 24:9-14. As you can see, Revelation 6 and Matthew 24 share the same content.
Skipping over to Revelation 10 we again have a description of Jesus Christ. “I saw another mighty angel coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire” (Rev. 10:1). We can now look back at Exodus 24:17 where the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire. Matthew 24:30 says, “And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds” (NKJV).
Chapter 11 starts off with John measuring the temple. This means a temple first has to be built. We can cross-reference this with Daniel 9 and Matthew 24:15. (As a side note, the abomination of desolation refers to making an unclean sacrifice or to blaspheming God in His temple or upon the altar of the temple.) In verse 2, John is told not to measure the outer court of temple because it is given to the Gentiles. This statement is fascinating because we know that the dome of the Mosque sits upon the temple mount. Prophecies in Ezekiel say there will be a wall put between the dome and the temple. I believe that this will be the world leaders’ treaty for peace between the Jews and the Muslims. The world leader will confirm a treaty to rebuild the temple and will divide the temple and the dome with a wall. This will be his answer to peace in the Middle East. Next we have two witnesses who are sent to prophesy, and they are given power from God. We are told in Malachi 4:5 that Elijah will be one of these witnesses. If we reflect on Hebrews 9:27, we read that it is appointed once for a man to die. Keeping this in mind we believe that the other witness could be Enoch, because Enoch and Elijah were the only two people in the Bible who never died. “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Gen. 5:24 NKJV), and Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:11).
In Revelation 12:4 we have the fall of Satan where he is cast out of heaven. (See Luke 10:18.) Isaiah 14:12-19 also gives a description of the fall of Satan. In the next verse a woman representing Israel bears a son (Christ). We also note that Israel (the woman) flees to the wilderness for 1,260 days. This parallels Daniel 9. This is the last three and a half years of the world’s history known as the “wrath of the Lamb” or the “great tribulation.” At this time, full demonic powers will be poured out upon the earth. There will be a war in heaven where Michael and his angels fight against Satan, but Satan will not prevail (Matt. 16:18).
As we enter into chapter 13 we have the beast and his prophet. The description of the beast can also be found in Daniel 7:3-8. There will be an assassination attempt on the world leader’s life, yet he will make a miraculous recovery, and the world will worship him, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4). Zechariah 11:16-17 says, “Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded” (NKJV). It is incredible how the Bible depicts these events in so much detail.
Chapter 14 starts with Jesus Christ standing on Mount Zion. This parallels Psalm 2:6 Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion” (NKJV). Revelation 14:14 is the appearing of the Son of Man; He comes for His harvest. This we can also find in Joel when God is judging the nation. Joel 3:13 says, “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow—For their wickedness is great” (NKJV).Christ also makes reference to this in Matthew 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn’” (NKJV).
Chapter 15 is the shortest chapter in the book of Revelation; it proclaims the last seven judgments on the earth. If we compare this chapter with Leviticus 26:21 we read, “If you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins” (NKJV). So here we are getting God’s promise of His seven final plagues.
In chapter 16, the command from heaven is given to unleash the plagues upon the earth. This parallels Psalm 79:6 “Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You, And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name” (NKJV), and Jeremiah 10:25, “Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You, And on the families who do not call on Your name” (NKJV). It is also interesting how these plagues compare with the plagues of Egypt in the book of Exodus. In Revelation 16:15 we are again given the promise from our Lord, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (NKJV). We also find this statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:4, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (NKJV).
A side note: it is our awesome Lord and Savior who keeps on reminding us of His grace. The sweetness of our Lord is always giving us the chance of redemption. Praise His name.
In chapter 17 we read of the harlot (the spiritual Babylon, the religious system that corrupts the world). Yet in verse 8 we read another encouraging statement about redemption for those who are found in the book of life. We can also hear Christ in Matthew 25:34 saying, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (NKJV). As we read through all of these calamities, we can always find a verse of hope tied in.
Chapter 18 alludes to the physical destruction of Babylon (modern-day Baghdad).
Chapter 19:9 describes the marriage supper of the Lamb, “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (NKJV). If we compare this with the parable in Luke 14:15-24, we will notice that Christ invited all, yet few accepted His invitation. In Revelation 19:11-14, the heavens open, and we behold a white horse. This is referring to the second coming of Christ when Christ comes with His church. In Matthew 24:30 we are told, “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” )NKJV). And in Matthew 26:64 Christ says, “Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (NKJV).
Moving into chapter 20 we have the millennium reign of Christ, when Christ sits on David’s earthly throne for 1,000 years. This promise can be found in 2 Samuel 7:12-13 and in Luke 1:32, which says, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (NKJV). After the 1,000 years we have the final judgment, which we can also read about in Daniel 7:9-11 and Acts 17:31. We end this chapter with the book of Life, which we can also find reference to in Exodus 32:32, Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:3 and Luke 10:20.
Now in chapter 21 we are introduced to the new heavens and the new earth. Looking back in Scripture we read Isaiah 65:17, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (NKJV). 2 Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (NKJV). And of course, Matthew 6:10 says, “Thy kingdom come” (KJV).
And now the climax of the Bible, Revelation 22, can be summed up in one sentence repeated three times: “Behold, I am coming quickly!” (Rev. 22:7 NKJV). We can find this in Isaiah 40:10 as well: “Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him” (NKJV).
In closing, Christ says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (NKJV). Do you know Christ personally? Does His Spirit live in your heart? To accept Christ, all you have to do is confess your sins, admit that you are a sinner and ask Christ to take residence in your heart. If you accept Him, He will accept you. The Bible was given to us so that we could know the God who created us. We were made to glorify our maker, and in doing so we are promised eternal life. This promise can be summed up in the book of Revelation, where Christ reveals His plan and gives us the promise of everlasting life with Him. To accept Him means to abide in His Word and to follow Him. May all who hear His words live His words. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.