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Revelation

May 18, 2009

Background

I. The Information Desk Revelation 1:1-8

  1. Introduction                                 Rev. 1:1-8

II. Room #1- Jesus Christ Revelation 1:9-19

III. Room #2 – The Seven Churches Revelation 2:1-3:21

IV. Room #3 – Heaven’s Throne Room Revelation 4:1-5:14

  1. Worship of the Lord God                       Rev. 4:1-11
  2. Worship of the Lamb                              Rev. 5:1-14

V. Room #4 – Seals 1-6 Revelation 6:1-17

VI. Room #5 – Sealed Saints Revelation 7:1-17

VII. Room #6 – Seal 7; Trumpets 1-6 Revelation 8:1-9:21

VIII. Room #7 – Lunch Room Revelation 10:1-11:14

IX. Room #8 – Hall of History; Section A Revelation 11:15-14:20

  1. Worshipping the King of Kings                Rev. 11:15-20
  2. A Historical Perspective                           Rev. 12:1-13:1
  3. The Beast from the Sea                              Rev. 13:2-10
  4. The Beast from the Earth                           Rev. 13:11-18
  5. The 144,000 before the Lord                   Rev. 14:1-5
  6. Five Angels, Five Proclamations             Rev. 14:6-20

X. Room #9 – Trumpet 7; Bowls 1-7 Revelation 15:1-16:21

  1. Readying God’s Wrath                                Rev. 15:1-8
  2. The Bowl Judgments                                  Rev. 15:9-16:21

XI. Room #10 – Hall of History; Section B Revelation 17:1-19:21

  1. The Rise of the Beast                                  Rev. 17:1-18
  2. The Fall of Babylon                                    Rev. 18:1-24
  3. Heaven Rejoices                                          Rev. 19:1-10
  4. The King Comes                                          Rev. 19:11-21

XII. Room #11 – Two Significant Events Revelation 20:1-14

  1. The Millennium                                         Rev. 20:1-10
  2. The Judgment                                            Rev. 20:11-14

XIII. Room #12 – Life Anew Revelation 21:1-22:6

XIV. Room # 13 – The Gift Shop Revelation 22:7-22

Background

Revelation is the last book of the New Testament. The author is identified
as John; but which John? That question is continually being debated by scholars.
Most agree that “John” is the Apostle John, John the disciple, the
son of Zebedee, the same person who wrote the Gospel of John and I, II, and
III John. I agree with this assessment.

The date of writing is also in question. We know there was much persecution
of Christians and John had been banished to the Isle of Patmos [Rev. 1:9], the
location where Revelation is written. Some favor an earlier date, around 65
A.D., during Nero’s reign and others prefer a later date, around 95 AD, during
Domitian’s reign. Most scholars lean toward the later date.

Many believe this was the last book written for our New Testament. Others
believe perhaps I John followed Revelation. We do not know for sure. All is
speculation. I side with those who believe I John might have followed Revelation.
II and III John talk about upcoming visits so they evidently were written prior
to John’s imprisonment on Patmos. Revelation is written to the seven churches
in Asia Minor. These churches were probably an outgrowth of Paul’s ministry
while in Ephesus during his third missionary journey. Timothy was left in charge
of Ephesus during Paul’s fourth missionary journey before being called back
to Rome by Paul [II Tim. 4:9-13]. Perhaps Timothy returned to Ephesus after
Paul’s martyrdom or perhaps he was assigned to minister somewhere else or perhaps
he too was martyred. Anyway, it appears the Apostle John eventually became the
overseeing pastor of these seven churches prior to his arrest. Now the only
reason I have of believing I John was written after Revelation is its’ subject
matter. Revelation is largely prophetic in nature telling of even greater calamity
but also telling of the victory we have as believers in Jesus Christ. It ends
with a prayer to “come quickly, Lord Jesus”. I John is a perfectly
logical follow-up letter of encouragement to those who have just read Revelation.
It completes the sentence “Until Christ comes again…..” [See
my introduction for I John]. See also my comments on II Corinthians 12:1-6.

My thoughts and interpretations of Revelation have been influenced by my personal
studies of Daniel and Matthew 24-25 alongside Revelation. There have been other
teachers; Pastors Paul P. Fryling and Jim Rose; and authors:

  1. Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin
  2. Revelation by Irving L. Jensen
  3. Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ by Walter Scott

I also have an excellent set of notes from Community Bible Study. These are
all excellent resources, particularly the book written by Walter Scott. It is
a “classic”.

It is very easy to want to over-interpret Revelation, to make everything fit
into some unique all-telling timetable. I’ll try to avoid that. There is no
question that Revelation is written with the number “7” being a dominant
factor. The number “7” is said to depict “completeness”
in scripture. There are 7 Churches [Rev. 2-3], 7 Seals [Rev. 6-8], 7 Trumpets
[Rev. 8-11], 7 Persons [Rev. 12-14]. 7 Bowls [Rev. 15-17], 7 New Things [Rev.
21-22], and 7 Beatitudes [Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:13; 20:6, 22:7; and 22:14].
There are more “7’s” such as 7 candlesticks, 7 stars, 7 angels, 7
spirits, 7 horns and eyes of the Lamb, 7 lamps, 7 thunders, 7 heads and crowns
of the Dragon, 7 heads of the Beast, 7 mountains, 7 kings, etc.

There are different viewpoints from which different scholars approach Revelation.
Rather than go into detail, I recommend you read a good Bible commentary such
as The Bible Expositor’s Bible Commentary edited by Frank E. Gaebelein or Things
to Come
by Dwight Pentecost in addition to the excellent books listed above.

Now for some final words of caution; some mainline denominational professors
have written books/commentaries emphasizing Revelation as a letter of encouragement
only and totally discounting its prophetic nature. It truly is a letter of encouragement
and hope but to discount its’ prophecy is to ignore scripture itself [Rev. 1:3;
22:18-19].  My second caution is to study this book/letter focusing on the Person of Jesus Christ.
Revelation is a book of encouragement, of prophecy, and of Jesus Christ. Focus
on Jesus Christ and the other subjects will fall into place naturally.

As we begin, many approach this book as a telescope; one group of sevens rolls
out another group of sevens. This is certainly true for the Seals, Trumpets,
and Bowls. My outline is similar but different. I am looking at this book as
if we were visiting an art museum. One will move from one room to another to
view paintings of single or multiple subjects. Most rooms will have six or seven
paintings in them. Some rooms will have a painting[s] of the past, of the present,
and of the future. Enjoy John’s gallery concerning The Revelation

Information Desk                                                                           Revelation 1:1-8

Introduction                                       Rev. 1:1-8

The Prologue [NIV] or the first three introductory verses are somewhat unusual
for a letter or epistle when compared to the other epistles we have. Verses
1-3 would normally go at the end of the letter. Read Rev. 22:18-21 and then
continues with Rev. 1:1-3. It makes a good ending even better.

But let’s look at verses 1-8 and outline them in this manner. The subject
is stated immediately; The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This revelation is From
God
[vs. 1-3] to the Seven Churches [vs. 4] and About Jesus Christ [vs. 5-8].

Another way of looking at these eight verses is to consider the repeated theme
of verses 4 and 8; who is, who was, and who is to come. Consider the following
table:

Rev. 1:4,8 What Affects
IS His Revelation[Rev. 1:1-3] Those who will respond.”take it to heart'[Rev. 1:3]
WAS His First Advent[Rev. 1:4-6] Those who now serve.”church”, “to serve”[Rev. 1:4,6]
TO COME His Second Advent[Rev. 1:7-8] Those who mourn.”all people will mourn”[Rev. 1:7]

Included in these eight verses is a description that:

  1. God is eternal [vs. 4,8], almighty [vs.8], and triune [vs. 4,5]
  2. Christ is a faithful witness, first born of the dead, ruler of Kings of the
    earth, loving,, and our Savior [vs. 5]. He transforms us into a Kingdom and
    into priests [vs.6]. When He returns He will bring forth mourning [vs. 7].
  3. The Holy Spirit consists of seven spirits; The Spirit of the Lord, of Wisdom, of Understanding, of Counsel, of Power, of Knowledge, and of the Fear of the Lord [Isaiah 11:2]. Or consider the Spirit to be the Spirit of Truth [John 14:17],

The Spirit of Life [Rom. 8:2], the Spirit of Holiness [Rom. 1:4], the Spirit
of Promise [Eph. 1:13], the Spirit Eternal [Heb. 9:14], The Spirit of Grace
[Heb. 10:4], and the Spirit of Glory [I Pet. 4:14].

So as we meditate on these first eight verses, Remember, the choices we make
are based on our understanding of Who He is and What He is About. He is asking
that we respond to His Word, to His Testimony [life], and to His Vision. He
is asking that we choose Him. We are to praise Him and be blessed. Our blessing
is not necessarily what we imagine. Our blessing is to see Christ for who He
really is. Let us enter the first room.

Room #1 – Jesus Christ                                                                                   Rev. 1:9-19

Upon entering this room, we learn more about John. He was suffering and being
persecuted as were other believers. But his eyes were on Jesus that Lord’s Day
because Jesus gives encouragement to patiently endure and be content. The Lord
came and spoke to him in a loud voice. There is no misunderstanding as to who
was speaking. He was told to write what he was to see and send it to the Churches
for which he was responsible. He was told to write what Daniel was forbidden
to write [Dan. 12:9]

Jesus speaks to us in much the same way. Sometimes He speaks with a “still
small voice” and sometimes He sounds thunderous or like a trumpet. We don’t
always hear because of all the commotion and activity surrounding us. To hear
Him speak, get away and be alone. Be quiet. Come before His throne. Listen.
Jesus did this while He was on earth. He went away to quiet places, probably
mountain tops, to pray. It is the only way I know of where you can be sure to
hear His voice.

But John not only hears Jesus speak, He sees Jesus and writes [paints] what
he sees. He sees someone “like the son of man” standing among seven
golden lampstands. He holds seven stars in His right hand. The seven lampstands
represent the seven churches and the seven stars represent their angels [pastors].
The image John sees is brilliant, white, and overpowering. It’s and image depicting
purity, righteousness, power, strength, omniscience, meekness, and omnipotence.
He is the Almighty, The Righteous One. His Word is Authoritative. He is worthy
of our worship. The subject of Revelation is Jesus Christ and John sees Him
in Heaven face to face in all His Glory. We, as believers, will see Him one
day too. We will bow before Him as John did. He will place His hands on us,
a sign of love and compassion, and assure us we need not fear because He has
declared us righteous before the Father. He is eternal. He is the judge of the
living and the dead. He will call us by name because we are His sons. Hallelujah!

This scene is both frightening and comforting. For believers we need not fear.
For unbelievers, eternal death and hell await. As we shall learn later, believers
will be victorious and unbelievers will be banished. This is a picture of the
One and only true God. Place your faith in Him and worship Him. Serve Him with
all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

There is only one painting in this room. Its’ Glory fills the room. If other
pictures were to be hung in this room, they would be overshadowed by the Glory
of this one picture. Until we comprehend who Jesus Christ is and worship Him
as Lord, we will be unable to comprehend the remaining rooms and pictures in
this museum [Revelation].

Room #2 – The Seven Churches                                         Revelation 2:1-3:21

These two chapters contain letters to each of seven churches in Asia Minor.
They are letters written by God given to John to be shared with each church.
As you read each letter, think of them as a “performance appraisal”.
If God were to write us concerning the performance of His Church today, what
would He say? What would He say about your local congregation? What would He
say about each of us individually? In Revelation 2 and 3 we have seven unique
letters containing information about Christ, about what each church does well,
about what needs changing in each church, a warning if the church fails to change,
and a promise if they obey God and change. Most books/Bible Studies use a chart
to summarize and explain what is similar and what is different about each church.
I am no different. I have followed their lead and done the same. I have, however,
added an additional column and a row. The last row of the first chart gives
an attribute of God for each of the five categories being appraised. The last
column gives a summary exhortation for each church starting with the letter
“R”. The box where the last row and column meet is the desired “RESULT”
of these letters. Please take time to review the next two charts.

revelation_summary_7_churches

revelation_summary_7_letters

You will note that on the last chart I have included a “Church Era”
column. The Revelation deals with what is, what was, and what is to come. There
is no question that these letters deal with “what is”. Some scholars
also think there is a relationship with respect to “what is to come”,
that is these are letters to those churches at the time of this writing but
they also reflect prophetic church history. Most Bible scholars today reject
that extension. I was first introduced to this concept by Pastor Paul Fryling.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ by Walter Scott is the source for my “Church
Era” column. I believe in the inspiration of Scripture and I believe Revelation
is prophetic. Therefore, I believe that considering these letters to the seven
churches as both current and prophetic is a worthy theory. Keep watch and keep
an open mind. How one treats these letters can/will affect your personal view
on when the rapture occurs too. The rapture is not addressed in Revelation,
only in II Thessalonians 2.

Heresies were creeping into these churches. And we must be “on guard”
today too. A majority of the epistles speak to this issue. Culture is a large
influence. I have taken the privilege of listing some of the heresies the Church
is faced with today. In the future some may disappear [but unlikely] and others
will take their place [added].

  1. Homosexuality is not a sin; it’s just a lifestyle.
  2. The Bible is not infallible or inspired, it’s just a book.
  3. God is dead; Christianity is just a crutch.
  4. The virgin birth is not an important foundational doctrine.
  5. There is no final judgment or hell.
  6. It’s not what you believe that’s important; just believe something.
  7. The sanctity of life is not a moral issue; it’s a “rights” issue.
  8. The creation account is a myth. Evolution is science.
  9. God is loving and forgiving. Judgment/justice are scare tactics.
  10. There is no end to life on earth if we just protect what we have for future
    generations.
  11. Jesus was a great teacher but He was not sinless.
  12. There is no such thing as sin other than that which is defined by our culture.
  13. Truth is relative, especially Biblical truth.
  14. I can do anything because His grace is boundless.
  15. Spiritual blessings are not a function of my offerings of time, talent,
    and treasure.
  16. Ceremony/tradition takes a primary role over a personal relationship with
    God.
  17. Education is our savior. It can solve all our problems.
  18. God isn’t concerned with me [if there is a God] but my political party cares.

In closing these two chapters, allow me to state some principles/lessons/applications
for us.

  1. The Church is being attacked on two fronts:
    1. Lies, deceit, arrogance, pride, and apathy from within.
    2. Hostility and confrontation from without.
  2. The character and witness of the Church is very important to God’s plan.
    The purity of the message and the purity of the messenger is important. Character
    includes such things as faithfulness, steadfastness, perseverance, love, discernment,
    joy, peace, good works, humility, etc.
  3. God acts on our flaws in two ways; Divine judgment or Divine deliverance.
    Either method is 100% successful on true believers.
  4. We are to serve God. God does not serve us.
  5. Martyrs are necessary for the growth/good of the Church, spiritually and
    physically.
  6. The most powerful principles/applications from these two chapters are those which become personal.

So we take leave of this large room containing seven pictures, one picture
for each of the seven churches, depicting each church at that time and, perhaps,
showing how the Church as a whole has and will evolve until Jesus Christ comes
again.

Room #3 – Heaven’s Throne Room                                   Revelation 4:1-5:14

Worship of the Lord God                                                 Rev. 4:1-11

After John has written letters to the seven churches, he is called in the
spirit into heaven by the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, of Chapter 1. John is to
see first hand what is to come. God’s plans have already been made. He is sovereign
over all things. The end and its’ result has been determined. Victory belongs
to Him.

There are four pictures in this room, one large picture for Chapter 4 and
three smaller pictures for Chapter 5. It is easy to comprehend what the subject
is; WORSHIP. But it is difficult to interpret what all these ‘beings” are
in Chapter 4. There are many views and little agreement among scholars. Perhaps
this is a chapter which has been subjected to over-interpretation.

This picture changes as we view it. More is revealed as we walk by or the
longer we look at it. The first thing we see is the throne and the Lord God.
It is amass in color and brilliance. God’s person is not described for He is
indescribable. But His character is seen, that of majesty and purity; holiness,
righteous, powerful, all-knowing, loving, peaceful, joyous, approachable, and
sovereign. He is eternal and worthy of continuous worship.

Because God is indescribable, our eyes are drawn to twenty four thrones around
God’s throne. Twenty-four elders sit on these thrones dressed in white robes
and having golden crowns. These “elders” are the subject of much speculation.
Do they represent all the saints? Are they a special “angelic” order?
Are they the twelve Apostles and twelve prophets? You can read the commentaries
and find a multitude of possibilities but here is what I think. As there is
a natural hierarchy of government in the Church on earth, there is a hierarchy
of government in heaven or vise versa. The fact that these elders are in white
robes with gold crowns indicates they may be saints. Rather than symbolizing
all saints, I think they are “special” and that they have a “special
role” in the leadership, particularly worship. They are “elders”
with an immense love of God and Christ-like humility. Their priority is to worship
God.

The Spirit of God is present at the throne as are four living creatures. Scholars
compare these “living creatures” with those described in Ezekiel 1.
Some will note the differences and some will note the similarities. Some think
they represent God’s creation of man, wild animals, domesticated animals, and
birds. Others point to characteristics such as intelligence, strength, power,
and speed. I believe they are cherubim and seraphim for the following reasons.
The tabernacle defined in Exodus was a “shadow of things to come”
per Hebrews 10. The Ark of the Covenant was God’s mercy seat, His throne. Cherubim
were made to surround the Ark on two sides. What we see in this picture is the
real mercy seat, the real throne of God, and the real cherubim and seraphim.
The sole purpose of these four living creatures is to worship God CONTINUALLY
and lead others in worship. They never stop proclaiming God’s holiness, His
power, and His eternal-ness. The elders join them in worship when the hymn changes
to one of glory, honor, and thanksgiving to God. The elders lay their crowns
at the feet of God Almighty and join in worship with the four living creatures
acknowledging the Lord God as worthy of worship, worthy of glory, honor and
power, for He is the Creator of all beings.

Worship of the Lamb                                                       Rev. 5:1-14

The central theme of the second picture is a sealed scroll held in the hand
of the Lord God. It is to be opened but no one can be found who is worthy or
who meets the requirements. It is a scroll containing the judgments of God against
mankind, particularly those who refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord. It is a scroll
initiating those actions necessary to cleanse the earth of sin. Upon staring
at this picture through tears and with the help of an elder, John sees the Lamb
for who He really is emerging on the throne. He is the Christ who was slain
on the cross for our sin. He is all powerful and all-knowing. He is worthy and
reaches out for the scroll held in God’s hand.

Worship begins once again. The four living creatures, the twenty-four elders
holding the prayers of the saints, sing praises to the Lamb because He is worthy
to take the scroll because He was slain for our sin so that all who trust in
Him become priests serving God. The Work of Christ Jesus is being praised before
the throne of God.

The third picture is the same as the second but thousands upon thousands of
angels dominate the scene. They too are singing praises to the Lamb. Because of
the Lamb’s obedience going to and on the cross, He is worthy of power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise. All that belongs to the Lord God also belongs to the Lamb. They are One.

The fourth picture depicts all of creation bowing in worship to God and the
Lamb. This is all of man and all of nature. All God’s creation worships Him.
The elders are seen bowing before the throne saying Amen! The sovereignty of
God is recognized by all God’s creation.

In a sense, these two chapters show a progression of worship throughout eternity.
For instance:

  1. Picture #1/Song #1, where the cherubim proclaim the holiness and eternal-ness
    of God, represents Pre-Creation worship in heaven.
  2. Picture #1/Song#2, where the cherubim and elders proclaim God as Creator,
    represents Post-Creation worship in heaven.
  3. Picture #2/Song#3, where the cherubim and elders proclaim God as Savior and Priest, represents worship in heaven during the Church Age.
  4. Picture #3/Song#4, where the cherubim, elders, and angels proclaim the Lamb as King, represents worship in heaven during the Millennium reign of Christ
    on earth.
  5. Picture #4/Song#5, where all creation bows and worships God as prophesied in Isaiah 45:23 [see also Phil. 2:6-11], represents Post Millennium worship in heaven.

If such an interpretation is correct, then we have a similar situation as
with the seven churches. These pictures show worship in heaven as it was, is
, and will be in addition to just documenting heavenly worship in general. If
this is true, then the best interpretation of the twenty-four elders is that
of special worship leaders. This makes sense in that the leaders are seen holding
the prayers of the saints. These saintly prayers come directly to God by the
Spirit. They are offered that we might know God’s Will in the Name of Jesus,
the Lamb. Such prayers are holy and remain before God as our highest form of
worship.

The first thing John is shown in heaven is heavenly worship of our Lord God
and His Son. God’s #1 priority is that we acknowledge Him as the only God and
worship Him with thanksgiving and praise. An important part of worship is prayer.
Our prayers seeking to know Him and His Will are always before God. He acknowledges
them as worship of Him. He remembers them and He answers them. Worship takes
on many forms; singing praise, prayer, and humbly bowing before His throne with
a quiet heart. Remember, worship of the Lord God and the Lamb is to be our #1
priority as it was with the “elders”. Let us practice on earth what
we will do in heaven.

Room #4 – Seals 1- 6                                                                     Revelation 6:1-17

The Rapture of the Saints/Church prior to the Lord’s Second Advent is not
mentioned in Revelation. Those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture would
place it between Rev. 4:1 and 5:13. I have discussed my personal views on the
rapture in my commentary on I Thess. 4 and II Thess. 2. Also see my comments
on Mark 13 and Lessons 102-106 in The Gospels. These are key passages as we
begin to looking at the Seals in this chapter. What is described in the Gospels
was taught by Jesus in a general manner in answer to the disciples questions
during the week prior to His crucifixion.  I sense that these 6 Seals are general things that take place throughout history, particularly after Christ’s resurrection.  The seventh Seal happens to be more specific compared to the sixth Seal and is initiated by God.  See Lessons 102 and 103 in the Gospels and note the difference between “general” and “Specific”.

Some theologians, mostly in the past, consider these Seals to have been opened
shortly after Jesus returned to the Father. In other words, Daniel’s 70th week
is not a period of seven years like the first 69 weeks but is an era. A majority
of theologians today believe the 70th week is seven years with the opening of
the Seals marking its’ beginning. There is no question that elements of the
first five Seals have and are taking place in history. The question becomes
“Are these wars, famines, etc. a result of a fallen world or God’s judgment
or both. The cultures of today refuse to even consider the fact that such calamities
could be God’s judgment. That denial will be even greater [as we shall see]
when God’s judgment comes.

We tend to want to define things sharply and distinctly but reality says there
is a fading in and a fading out. I believe the 70th week is a definite seven
year period but I also believe those who are living at that time will only sense
a fading in and a fading out. What has happened and when will only be known
if one looks back and compares what has happened with Scripture. Wars, famines,
natural disturbances will increase with time and at a certain time [the beginning
of the 70th week] there will be a date where history tells us a significant
increase in this type of activity occurred. The 70th week is the Tribulation.
The last 3 & ½ years is called the Great Tribulation where calamity
is greater than any period in history. As the Church weakens [Laodicea of Revelation
3], the spirit of anti-Christ strengthens. Theses first five Seals really are
man’s calamity upon man because man believes he is god and is sovereign over
all the earth. It is Satan’s greatest deception.

Returning to the subject of the Rapture…..if the rapture takes place
in Chapter 4, why was Revelation even needed? What takes place in the remainder
of the book is not a factor except for Jews and others who may repent and turn
to Jesus. However, in general, not many will repent. Mans heart will remain
hardened through these judgments just as Pharaoh’s heart was hardened prior
to the Exodus. What we will see in the coming chapters is that God does not
condemn man but man condemns himself by the choices he makes. A friend of mine, Don Wetlaufer, did his own independent study on the timing of the Rapture using different scriptures than I and a different analytical approach. We both reached the same conclusion; a mid-tribulation rapture. But don’t get “hung up”
on when the rapture occurs. Focus on Christ Jesus and the victory we have in
Him by faith.

Now that we have laid out some background information and perspectives, we
can begin to discuss the Seals.

Seal #1- White Horse:

Its rider carries a bow and has a crown. He symbolizes a conqueror. Some believe
he symbolizes Christ and His Church and others say he represents the anti-Christ.
I prefer to represent this Seal as the rise of political or governing power,
one who desires to be a world leader [the kings in Daniel’s vision of the ten
confederate nations from which the anti-Christ rises]. More and more we are
talking of a one-world government or a leader which will solve all our problems
[globalization]. So in a sense it is the rise of anti-Christ through a global
government. This Seal represents the prominence of political power in defiance
to God as King of Kings.

Seal #2 — Red Horse:

The rider on this fiery horse takes away peace. In other words, he makes war.
This fulfills the phrases “wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom” of Matthew 24-25. This Seal represents warring
power in defiance of our God who is a God of Peace.

Seal #3 — Black Horse:

Its rider has a pair of scales depicting the economics involved in the buying
and selling of food. The cost of food will be very expensive, probably due to
shortages and/of famine. Non-necessities like oil and wine will be readily available.
The result will be a larger gap between the poor and the rich. This Seal represents
economic power in defiance of God’s command not to covet but to exercise love
and compassion for our fellow man.

Seal #4 — Pale Horse:

Its rider represents “death” followed by Hades. It’s like the horse
is devouring mankind by murder, famine, plagues, and wild beasts and then a
bag [Hades] is draped over its’ rear to catch the remains. This horse has power
over one fourth of the earth to do as it pleases. This Seal represents killing
power or perhaps it can be more aptly described as terrorist power in defiance
of God’s command not to murder.

Seal #5 — Martyrs:

This Seal shows the martyrs of God under the Altar in Heaven. These are people
who lost their lives because they refused to bow before any god other than the
true God, the Living God. These martyrs were part of past, present, and perhaps future history history, different in that the first four Seals were released in to history. These martyrs desire God’s judgment to commence avenging their blood. They are impatient whereas God is patient, hoping to bring more people into His Kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ. They are told to wait but are given their white robes. They are also told to expect more martyrs joining them. This Seal represents the Gospel power or Redemption power in defiance to the worlds/Satan’s power. Or one could say it represents persecution power in defiance of the Gospel.

Seal #6 — The Great Earthquake:

This Seal tells of a great earthquake, the sun disappearing, the moon turning
blood red, stars falling, and great winds. What is being described here is the
same as that of Mark 13:24-25 in Lesson 103. It is specific. It is the Day of
the Lord. People flee to the mountains. Their power is gone. Only God’s power
remains. In general, these are natural disasters triggered by God. This Seal
represents nature’s power [natural disasters] unleashed by God as His judgment upon mankind.

There is a 7th Seal which will be discussed beginning in Chapter 8. It contains
the Seven Trumpet Judgments including two Woes. Many look at these Seals in
sequence leading to the Trumpet Judgments leading to the Bowl Judgments. I consider the Seals more as umbrella-like judgments/calamities leading to specific Trumpet Judgments leading to even more specific Bowl Judgments. The judgments contained in these Seals are general, not necessarily chronological, but increasingly consequential. They cover many possibilities and are prevalent over the full 70th week. Know them. Know about them. And KEEP WATCH! He is coming again. So we leave this room following a sign leading us to the room containing the 7th Seal. But on the way there is a smaller room off to the side having two pictures. We will visit it [Chapter 7] on our way to the Seventh Seal [Chapters 8-9]

Room #5 — Sealed Saints                                                       Revelation 7:1-17

We have just left Room #4 where we saw six seals of a judgment scroll opened
and their calamities released on the world. On our way to view the Seventh Seal,
we stop at a small room off to the side where two very special pictures are
hung and guarded. The first picture we see is of 144,000 Jews who are “sealed”.
The second picture is of a great multitude in white robes standing before the
Lamb. These pictures depict “what” occurs but we are not told “when”
it occurs. The subject of Chapters 6-8 is Seals so one can speculate that these
happenings took place during the rollout of the Six Seals and before the Seventh
Seal is opened, the beginning of God’s great wrath.

The first picture we see shows four angels holding back the four winds from
blowing. Perhaps there is a delay in the high winds forecasted from the Sixth
Seal. Such is certainly implied by the “sealed angel” supervising
the work of the four angels holding back the winds. A special act of “sealing”
must take place first, the sealing of 144,000 Jews. Twelve thousand are sealed
from each tribe. Once again there are numerous interpretations as to who the
144,000 are or represent. Some believe they represent all the saints and others
believe they represent a Jewish remnant. Assuming these are the same 144,000
mentioned in Revelation 14 [a good assumption], they would appear to be 144,000
celibate priests set apart for a special work, to bring the nation of Israel
into fellowship with God. God has chosen 12,000 from each tribe [actually Joseph’s
tribe has 24,000 and Dan is missing altogether] as a believing remnant to witness
and evangelize Israel into faith that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of
God. The Church is now “Raptured” to be with the Lord, saved from
the worst of the tribulation as stated in Matthew 24:22. The so called “Age
of the Gentiles” is over [the Church Age, Luke 21:24] and God returns to
His chosen people Israel to be His final witness before He returns.

This brings us to the second picture in this room. It shows a great multitude
from every nation, tribe, people, and language standing before the throne looking
upon the Lamb. They are dressed in their white robes of righteousness praising
God and the Lamb in worship because He has made salvation possible through faith
in Christ, the Lamb of God. All the angels, the twenty-four elders, and the
four living creatures are also present in this scene of worship.

John asks for clarification of who this great multitude is and the angel confirms
to him that they are the “sealed saints” [Eph. 1:3-14], the Church,
those who placed their faith in the Lamb. We who are “born again”
are seen before the throne in worship, in service to Him who redeemed us by
His blood. We stand before His throne realizing that He will protect us, care
for us, love us, heal us, and lead us eternally. He has conquered and we are
victors in Jesus Christ.

The saints are shown in heaven, not shown being lifted up to heaven. So it
is entirely possible the rapture of the Saints triggers the sealing of the 144,000.
But as I stated earlier, we know “what” but not exactly “when”.

These two pictures give us great encouragement to view the remaining pictures
in Revelation’s gallery. We can have confidence that God cares for His children,
those who place their faith in Him and those who He chose to be His people,
Israel. He, God, is faithful to redeem all who love Him. As a believer I am
encouraged and look forward to being in that number seeing my Lord face to face
and worshipping Him. Worship Christ on earth and we will also worship Him before His throne in heaven.

This last picture of His saints in heaven is one of the most valuable in all
the “Revelation Gallery”. In the midst of life’s trials and tribulations,
God gives His children a glimpse of the future. Choose Him and do not forsake
Him. Make this picture the real you.

Room #6 — Seal #7; Trumpets 1-6                                  Revelation 8:1-9:21

In leaving Room #5 and entering Room #6, we go from pictures of rejoicing
to pictures of devastation as never before. As the Seventh Seal is opened, there
is a half hour of silence. It is the calm before the storm. It is not only quiet,
things are still. We can interpret this lull as a short 30 minute lull and/or
short period of time or we can equate it to the 70th week as 7 years which equates
the 30 minutes to 51 days. Seven angels stand before God and receive seven trumpets. Whereas the Six Seals were opened and devastation released or allowed to take place, these Trumpet judgments come forth from God through His angels. This marks the beginning of God’s wrath, probably during the last half of the seven
year tribulation period. It is the beginning of the end, the beginning of the
Great Tribulation leading up to the Lord’s Day of Wrath and His return.

The saints [Church] are still on earth and in much prayer. They, no doubt,
are praying for God’s intervention and judgment to come upon the wicked and
godless people on earth. They are praying for God’s protection in that many
are probably being martyred for their faith. Although we have already seen a
picture of the raptured saints in heaven, it hasn’t taken place as yet. A belief
in a pre-tribulation rapture is common today so many will take issue with my
interpretation. This is probably a good time to include a chart given me by
my CBS Teaching Director, Winn Chapman, outlining the Revelation events in a
general manner [see the next page]. On his chart he notes three basic beliefs
concerning the rapture; pre-trib., mid-trib., and pre-wrath trib. viewpoints.
Others have drawn charts that differ slightly [my personal ones are probably
too specific to include] but Winn’s seem to take in a broad enough approach
to satisfy all viewpoints and yet remain true to scripture. Therefore, I have
included his chart and not mine. I have also included one of his Timelines comparing
Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation.

The fact that we have seen a picture of raptured saints in heaven is not a
problem with any of these viewpoints. The picture stands alone on its own merits.
It was shown between the 6th and 7th Seals and the 6 Trumpet Judgments of the
7th Seal are greater and shown in more detail, relating to the umbrella-like
aspect of the 6th Seal. With this background, let’s enter Room #6.

revelation_daniels_70th_week

revelation_timeline

Note: The above two charts were adapted by Winn Chapman from Marvin Rosenthal’s
book The Pre- Wrath Rapture of the Church and presented in one of his CBS lectures
on Revelation in Austin, Texas.

Trumpet #1 — Hail and Fire:

God initiates a natural disaster of hail and fire from the heavens. I assume
these are severe thunderstorms starting fires such that 1/3 of the earth is
burning. With such hail and fire there is also much death of animals and man,
thus the term ‘mixed with blood”.

Trumpet # 2 — An Asteroid or Tectonic Plate Activity

This picture could depict a large asteroid or meteor crashing into the earth’ sea. Most meteors burn up in our atmosphere but an asteroid is too large and enters the
water ablaze. A stronger possibility is that several tectonic plates shift causing active volcanic islands to rise in the sea and set off several huge tsunamis. The disaster is so great that the sea is red with blood. The shifting of tectonic plates, volcanic activity rising from the ocean floor, and related earthquakes causing many tsunamis could easily destroy 1/3 of all sea life and 1/3 of all the ships as prophesied.  Most goods and oil are shipped from the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean making those locations a high probability for this disaster.

Trumpet # 3 — A Blazing Star:

This disaster could be similar to the Second Trumpet except it affects a large fresh
water supply. Instead of landing in the sea, it lands on land near rivers and
lakes. Perhaps this “star” breaks up and multiplies upon entering
the earth’s atmosphere and is able to affect many water supplies. The result
is the contamination of 1/3 of our fresh water supply such that many people
become sick and/or die.

Trumpet # 4 — Darkness:

Light is important to life. Darkness brings despair, destruction, and death.
This disaster is cosmic in nature. It is unseen and unexplained by man. It is
of God. The wrath of God has reached a new level. Life goes on but it is not
the same. Either the time or the quantity of light has been reduced by 1/3.
The earth begins to cool and mankind is scrambling to understand what has happened
and what he can do to reverse the trend. The result is intellectual chaos. The
environmental radicals are in “heaven” and even correct in their doomsday
projections.

Trumpet #5 — Locusts:

The specific interpretations of this Trumpet are legion. An angel comes to earth
and opens up the Abyss. Some say this is Satan himself being tossed out of the
heavens and others say it is one of God’s angels sent to loose demons and/or
fallen angels imprisoned until God desires to release them. All are equally
valid interpretations. We could say that man has no sense about what is to happen
because light has been significantly diminished, 1/3 of the earth is burning,
and the wind is causing the disasters of Trumpets 1-4 to obscure the view. Or
it could be that man is just blind and/or unbelieving with respect to what is
coming. Nevertheless, the locusts swarm the earth. They could be a natural insect, an escalation of the Fourth Seal, vor they could be a “war machine”, an escalation of the Second Seal. Or perhaps it is a plague of sorts carried by insects which are immune to any man-made insecticide [chemical warfare?]. Whatever this is it is from evil and it is evil. God is using evil to bring torment to those who are evil. They are
reaping what they have sown. These locusts discriminate, attacking only those
who are not sealed by God as His Children. They do not attack the vegetation
either. Remember that 1/3 of our vegetation was destroyed in Trumpet #1. The
locusts are released to torment the ungodly but not kill them. God is sovereign
over the “locusts”. In a sense, God is tormenting the ungodly on earth
similar to the torment they will receive in Hell if they do not repent of their
sins and turn toward God in faith. God is also exercising His grace and mercy
in that he is not allowing them to die but giving them full opportunity to repent.
God is also showing his grace and mercy toward those who believe by protecting
them from these “locusts”. In the midst of His discipline, God is
merciful and loving.

If man was not so stubborn against God they would easily understand the reason
for the selectiveness of this “plague”, repent, and turn to God. But
such is not the case as we shall see in the next Trumpet.

Trumpet # 6 — War:

The armies camped at the Euphrates River are released by God and His angels
to make war and kill 1/3 of mankind. Those who were not killed refused to repent,
preferring to continue worshiping demons and false gods such as commerce. They
did not turn from their murderous ways, deceit, theft, and sexual immorality.
Their money is on the “black horse” [Seal #3] believing he will win over the “red horse” [Seal #2]. Both are probably negotiating with the “white” and “pales” horses [Seals #1 & #4] to obtain the upper hand. They don’t realize that they are not in control. These people serve themselves, their will, and their gods. They refuse to repent, turn to the Lord, and acknowledge Him as the one true Sovereign God of all. They refuse to see or recognize the judgment of God against their sinful ways. Their heads are “buried in the sand”.

With these six pictures of God’s judgments we see He has destroyed 1/3 of
the food supply, 1/3 of the water supply, 1/3 of the commerce. 1/3 of the light,
sent a discriminating plague, destroyed 1/3 of mankind and man still will not
repent and turn to God. Therefore it is important that we take inventory of
our own hearts and minds. Are we open to God or stubborn? Are we accepting of
God’s discipline or do we tend to reject His sovereignty? Do we rely on man
to solve life’s problems or do we first approach His throne with humility seeking
His Wisdom? What will our reaction be when disaster comes into our lives? Our
first and foremost reaction must be to REPENT. Life eternal is dependant on
a repentant heart.

Room # 7 — Lunch Room                                      Revelation 10:1-11:14

To continue on with our analogy of touring an art museum, we move from Room
#6 into the Lunch Room before continuing on to see the Seventh Trumpet Judgment
in Room #8. Room #7 contains one picture, a model, and a video. This is also
called the second woe. The fifth, sixth, and seventh Trumpets contain woes because
the end is very near, the devastation is great, and peoples hearts have become
hardened toward God. So this room is actually a continuation of the Sixth Trumpet.

Once again there are many ways to interpret what John is seeing. I will not
list all the possibilities but most are given in any good commentary. I will
write only of my conclusions after considering the many possibilities.

We enter and view a picture of a mighty angel [who looks very much like the
Lord] who has come to earth and has placed one foot on land and one foot on
the sea. In his hand is a small scroll. A voice thunders from heaven but John
is not permitted to write what he heard. John understands that the end is near
for the angel proclaims there is to be no more delays preceding the Seventh
Trumpet blast. I believe this angel depicts Christ, the person who is in control
and sovereign over all the earth. The thundering John hears is the Word of God.
Man is warring against man. Nature is warring against nature. God is warring
against unrepentant man. Satan wants to take control. But we see a picture of
Jesus Christ stating He has control. That is the mystery of verse 7. Jesus Christ
is in control and every knee will eventually bow before Him. He has come to
redeem all who acknowledge Him. All will acknowledge Him as the true God eventually
but for many it will be too late. God is just, victorious over death, and victorious
over evil.

It is now time to sit down and have something to eat. John takes the scroll
from the “angel”. He is to eat it knowing that it will be bitter in
his stomach but sweet in his mouth. Ezekiel had a similar experience noted in
Ez. 2:8-3:3. The sweetness is the Truth of God’s Word. He is in control. He
is just. Salvation is available to all who put their faith in Him. However,
God’s Truth is also bitter because He will judge those who do not acknowledge
Him as Lord God and sentence them to the Lake of Fire, Hell. The message for
us who believe is that the Lord provides for His people spiritually. After eating,
John is told to continue writing. Likewise, we are to continue working for His
Kingdom.

Lunch is over and John is told to measure the Temple of God, the altar, and
to count the worshipers. He is to exclude the outer court because the “gentiles”
are in control for 42 months or 3 ½ years. In my analogy, I called this
a model but someday it will be real. John’s vision is symbolic but probably
shows the third temple to be built in Jerusalem. The counting of the worshipers
refers to the Jewish converts as a result of the 144,000 witnesses in that the
Church has probably already been raptured. God is now working through His chosen
people, Israel. The gentiles are not to be counted because they are in the area
to defile the temple and not worship the True God. John is to count the true
worshipers. [Reference Luke 18: 1-8; Ez. 40:3; Rev. 21] The message to believers
is continue building the Kingdom of God and don’t worry for God will provide
for His people physically.

After eating, John is shown a video about Two Witnesses who are filled with
the Holy Spirit and have been given special powers and special protection. I
believe these two are real persons and not symbolic of angels, peoples, testimonies,
or organizations because their character and work is very specific including
their death and resurrection. Interpretations to identify who these two witnesses
are or represent gets very creative among the scholars. I read one place where
Moses and Elijah represent Israel’s Prime Minister and High Priest respectively
and were displaced from their jobs by the anti-Christ at the mid-tribulation
point when “the abomination that brings desolation” occurs in the
temple. It sounds far-fetched and yet it has as much merit as most other views.
Most likely they are preaching the Gospel to all who will hear and take heed.
These two witnesses die at the hand of the Beast, the King of the Abyss from
Trumpet #5, when God has determined their work is finished. The world celebrates
their death [it is ironic that they celebrate death instead of life] but is
shocked when they come back to life and are resurrected. A great earthquake
happens and 7000 human beings are killed as a tenth of the city of Jerusalem
is destroyed. The survivors are terrified and give glory to God. It is doubtful
that these people repented. I think they acknowledged God’s involvement but
were just thankful they were spared. The message of these Two Witnesses is that
God will provide for His people eternally. When our work is done, God will take
us home.

As believers, our work is not done until God calls us home. The grace and
love of God extends to the very end. God exercises great patience and perseverance
to bring people to repentance and faith in Him. When it looks like all is lost,
the final battle begins to make things right. That is where we are in this gallery
of pictures depicting the end times. Therefore, never give up. Perseverance
counts. God alone determines when His Work is done. We may think time is gone
but continue working.

God’s judgment is sure but so is His love for those who believe and put their
trust in Him.

Glory be to God!

Room # 8 – Hall of History; Section A                                           Revelation 11:15-14:20

Worshiping the King of Kings                                                      Rev. 11:15-20

The Seventh Trumpet has sounded and the results are in. We leave the Lunch
Room and proceed down a long large hall toward the Room of the 7th Trumpet,
the Bowl Judgments. The first picture we see is that of many voices in heaven
praising God because Christ is ready to reign. Among the voices are the twenty-four
elders sitting in their thrones worshiping God. They too are singing praises
to God thanking Him for taking control of an unrighteous and unjust situation
on earth. God has assumed control, ruling over all the nations in preparation
for judging the dead. The Lord is ready to reward those who love Him and destroy
those who do not love Him. Thus begins the Day of the Lord or the commencement
of the Lord’s Wrath.

The temple in heaven is opened and the Ark of the Covenant becomes visible
symbolizing God’s faithfulness to His Covenant with Israel. The area is filled
with the power and awesomeness of God. The Church has been raptured [many voices worshiping]. The Christians still living on earth are those Jews who believe
as a result of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and the Two Witnesses. This picture
grabs our attention as we leave the Lunch Room and directs us to the room of
the Seventh Trumpet.

We have waited a long time but we see a faithful God moving His Plan of Redemption forward.

As we travel down this large hall, let us acknowledge Him and worship Him because
He is God Almighty, a Living God, and a God who has the power to rule; to condemn
or to pardon with a righteous justice. Trust Him as Lord and Savior and rise
up to receive your reward.

An Historical Perspective                                  Rev. 12:1-13:1

This picture consists of three separate panels. The first panel shows a pregnant
woman clothed in light, having a unique position in the world, and a crown made
up of twelve stars. This woman represents Israel who is about to give birth.
This panel shows a red dragon having 7 heads, 10 horns, and 7 crowns whose tail
swept 1/3 of the stars [angels] out of the sky. This dragon is Satan who controls
a “seven nation” confederacy and who has deceived 1/3 of the angels
to follow him. The dragon is shown standing before the woman ready to devour
her child, Jesus Christ, as He was born. God protects the child by bringing
Him back into heaven [Christ’s ascension]. Likewise, God protects His people
Israel by preparing a place in the desert for her lasting 3 ½ years.

The second panel is of war in heaven between Michael’s army of angels and
the dragon’s angels. Michael wins and Satan and his angels are tossed out of
heaven to roam the earth. Worship breaks forth once again because Satan and
his angels no longer have access to heaven to accuse us before God. A major
battle has been won and God begins to exercise His power.

The third panel shows the dragon [Satan] pursuing the woman [Israel]. Israel
is being protected in the desert and Satan is redirecting water to flood Israel,
either killing her or isolating her from influencing others. Water could be
literal or it could symbolize a massive army and/or political influence. But God continues to protect Israel by having the earth open up and swallow the “flash flood” waters. Then Satan changes tactics, deciding to pursue and persecute the Church prior to her rapture.

The Beast from the Sea                                    Rev. 13:2-10

The next picture is of a beast rising up from the sea of humanity. The beast
has ten horns, each with a crown, and seven heads. Each horn has a blasphemous
name indicating they consider themselves to be a god. They have god-like powers
and authority from the dragon [Satan]. This picture is similar to Daniel’s vision
recorded in Daniel 7. This beast is quick moving. Once he catches his prey he
mauls it and doesn’t let go but devours and consumes like a lion. The beast
has complete control and dominion over its prey. One of the leaders is wounded
and miraculously healed. This astonishes the world to the degree that they believe
this leader has special powers. The people begin to follow this leader and worship
him, the blasphemous man-god that he is. This beast, the anti-Christ, rules
for 3 ½ years during the Great Tribulation. He persecutes and kills all
who believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Creator God Almighty. He is allowed
to rule the earth, imposing his will and his way on humanity. God allows Him
to rule because man wants him to rule. The faith and assurance of the saints
living on earth at that time will be according to God’s grace in that they will
be the only ones who will speak out against this tyrannical false god and leader.

The Beast from the Earth                                              Rev. 13:11-18

Right next to the picture of the last beast is another picture of a beast
rising out of the earth. It looks like a lamb but speaks like the dragon [Satan].
This beast appears to be gentle and innocent but he isn’t. He is the spokesman
for the previous beast from the sea [anti-Christ]. This beast is deceitful and
trained in the magic arts. He may have certain special powers but his greatest
power is that of deceit and deception. Truth is not part of his vocabulary,
only lies. He is sometimes referred to as the False Prophet because he organizes
and defines the worship of the beast from the sea, the anti-Christ. He couples
the worship of a false god with the economic and commerce system through the
use of a mark, the number 666. This number may take different forms such as
a series of 6 numbers plus 6 numbers plus 6 numbers like our credit cards today.
But all will be forced to choose whom they will serve, the Beast or the true
God of heaven.

It is no different today except there is less pressure. The decision we make
is still about life or death. Choosing to serve God, the risen Christ, will
mean persecution and/or death on earth but it assures us of life eternal. Following
the anti-Christ, Satan, the way of the world, the easy life on earth, leads
to eternal death. Choose wisely. Choose with the future in mind, not the present.
Choose to follow Jesus Christ.

What has been represented thus far in these pictures is:

  1. God is ultimately the victor over Satan and his kingdom. God will rule over
    all creation.
  2. God has a heart for His people Israel and is faithful to love her, protect
    her, and redeem her.
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s Son born out of the nation Israel and who Satan desires
    to devour. [see Gen. 3:15]
  4. Satan desires to be God by deceiving God’s creation.
  5. The anti-Christ desires to be the Son of God through tyrannical rule on earth,
    controlling all commerce and worship.
  6. The False Prophet desires to be like the Holy Spirit, teaching by deception
    instead of truth.
  7. In that the true God is living and triune, Satan hopes to deceive mankind by setting up a false trinity.

Remember, the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man and God’s
ways are different than man’s ways. Choose Truth. Choose Life. Choose to worship
Jesus Christ, Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, who was, who is,
and who will be. There is no other God.

This is probably a good time to further explain the anti-Christ, the beast
from the sea. The most extensive scripture relating to who he is and what he
does comes from Daniel 7-11 and Revelation 13 & 17. Most scholars agree
he is a political figure rising out of a 10 nation confederacy who gains power
at the expense of 3 other leaders in the confederacy. This 10 nation confederacy
is symbolic of the Roman Empire which ruled the world after Greece. This person
first makes a peace pact with Israel, pretending to be her friend. It lasts
for the first 3 ½ years of Tribulation. Suddenly the peace pact is broken
with the “abomination that brings desolation”, an unclean, unholy
sacrifice in God’s temple at Jerusalem [thus the thinking that there will be
a third temple constructed]. In making this sacrifice, he declares himself to
be God, ruler of the world, and a system mixing commerce and religion is set
up so that the world will worship him during the last 3 ½ years of the
Great Tribulation. Many believe the confederacy to be a revival of the Roman
Empire coming out of the European Union. Others take a broader approach considering a one world government rising out of the UN or other such organization. We traditionally think of this beast or anti-Christ as an individual who has been granted power by Satan. I don’t disagree with this but I am also willing to consider and watch for other alternative possibilities. One such alternative would be the rise
of a dominant world power such as the United States. The 10 nation /area confederacy would be the USA, the UK Commonwealth countries, Europe, Latin & South America, Africa, the Middle East & Indonesia, Russia, the Far East countries, India, and Israel. The 7 nation/area confederacy would result from a combination of
UK Commonwealth countries with Europe and Russia, The Far East, and India becoming one. Oil in exchange for nuclear technology and/or food could become the driving force. The USA could elect a pro-Israel leader to set up a peace pact and then
within 3 ½ years have elected an anti-Israel leader to break the pact.
Then it would be Israel versus the world and God would actively intervene to
protect, save, and redeem His people from their enemies. The wound which was
miraculously healed could be recovery from a devastating terrorist attack or
it could be the result of an assassination attempt. Of course this is all speculation
but it emphasizes the need to heed the words of Jesus to “Keep watch”.
He has given us enough information concerning the future that we need not fear
but live assured of what’s right and wrong and be able to recognize the true
anti-Christ and not be led astray. This is one of the reasons Revelation is
such an important book. It reminds us who trust Jesus that He has already declared
victory. All we need to do is patiently wait for it to come to pass. We are
to be watching, be witnessing, be loving, be persevering, and be faithful.

The 144,000 before the Lord                           Rev. 14:1-5

The next picture in the Hall of History shows The Lamb standing on Mt. Zion
with the 144,000 sealed Jewish believers. I believe this is a heavenly scene
and not an earthly scene in that Jesus Christ is shown as a Lamb as He is before
His Millennial Reign. When Christ comes again He will come as a King. Sounds
come forth from the throne room like thunder, rushing waters, harps playing,
and voices singing. It is a large full sound. This is a special song by the
144,000 Jewish believers. They have been redeemed, probably martyred unless
their work was done before the Church was raptured. These 144,000 evangelists
were special servants of the Lord. They were celibate and pure. They followed
the Lamb, obedient to His Will and His Work. Their lifestyle was godly and righteous.
The fact they were considered first fruits indicates they may have been raptured
and/or martyred before the Church was raptured. Regardless, these were special
ministers with a special calling to do a special work who were given a special
song to sing before their special Savior.

As believers, we are all special to God. He has called us His children, sons.
We too have a special work and our own song of praise and thanksgiving to God
for His grace, His forgiveness, and His redemption. We are to sing our song
of thanksgiving and praise to Him while on earth. We sing it on earth and we
sing it in heaven. Our song of worship is wrapped up in service to Him. It brings
joy to our heart and to His.

Five Angels, Five Proclamations:                                   Rev. 14:6-20

This is a picture consisting of five different panels. The first panel is
of an angel proclaiming the Gospel, to fear God, to give Him glory, and to worship
Him, the Creator of all things. Judgment Day is near [7th Trumpet]. This is
the last opportunity for man to repent and turn to the Lord before it is too
late.

The second panel shows an angel proclaiming that Babylon has fallen. Babylon
is code for Rome [I Peter 4:13] is code for the center of politics, commerce,
and religion. Babylon [literal or symbolic] is the capital of the anti-Christ’s
empire.

The third panel shows an angel proclaiming that all who worship the Beast
and receive his mark will experience God’s fury/wrath of the 7th Trumpet and
Bowl Judgments. But it goes beyond the Bowl Judgments and includes Hell itself.

Time is short. Man must choose to repent and turn to the true God or eternal
damnation awaits. There evidently are some small numbers who do repent and must exercise patient endurance until the Lord comes or they are martyred by the
anti-Christ government and religious system. We don’t know how much time we
have left on earth either. Even if God’s judgment is not near, our time may
be near. These three angels give us a warning; repent, follow Christ, and do
not place your faith on things of this earth which fail. Failure to repent guarantees
that one will face God’s wrath forever. The angel’s message is simply:

Choose Christ or die.

Choose Christ and live.

Choose Christ now.

The fourth panel shows Christ Jesus with a crown on His head ready to rule.
Before that takes place, the earth must be harvested of man. The first harvest
is that of believers. Those who believe in a pre-wrath rapture will place great
emphasis on this scripture. This view has some merit, especially in relation
to the 144,000 Messianic Jews.

The fifth panel shows an angel proclaiming the harvest of unbelievers and
taking them to God’s winepress to be crushed. Many will lose their life in the
last great battle or in the plagues to come. This simply brings us back to the
messages of the first three angels. Choose Christ. Avoid His wrath. Bathe in
His love instead of the blood of unbelievers.

We are finished looking at the pictures hanging in the Hall of History. Our
choice is clear. We can either worship the true God who loves us or the man
who deceives us. Why isn’t this choice easy for us? Only because we refuse to
believe we are sinners and need a Savior. But who do you want to follow, to
be like? Do you want to follow the God of love and justice or the man of lies,
deception, and murder?

Choose Jesus Christ. Be like Him. Do not delay. Be with the Victor for eternity.

Room # 9 – Trumpet 7; Bowls 1-7                                  Revelation 15:1-16:21

Readying God’s Wrath                                     Rev. 15:1-8

As we enter this room, the first picture we view is of seven angels having
the seven last plagues of God’s Wrath. On one side of the picture we see people,
presumably martyrs, who refused to worship the beast and, therefore, were victorious over the beast. These people are standing by a sea mixed with fire. I believe they are standing before God’s throne in worship. These are Jewish believers
singing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb. They sing of God’s greatness,
His deeds, His power, His justice, His righteousness, His glory, and His holiness.

On the other side of the picture we see the temple of heaven with the Ark
of the Testimony representing God’s Covenant with Israel. Here stand the seven
angels dressed in white gowns with gold sashes. They carry bowls filled with
God’s wrath in the form of seven plagues. The angels are sent forth with God’s
glory and power to avenge the world’s injustice toward Israel and toward God
Almighty. The Day of the Lord or the Day of the Lord’s Wrath has begun. God’s
grace is no longer available. It is too late for man to repent.

The Bowl Judgments                                       Rev. 15:9-16:1

Bowl #1 – Sores

This bowl is emptied upon all man kind who have the mark of the beast on their
forehead or their hand. These sores are painful and torment/torture those who
have been approving the torture of God’s saints. The sting and pain of the locust
lasted five months but these sores remain. Relief is not possible.

Bowl #2 – Death of all Sea Life

This bowl is emptied into the seas and all sea life dies, turning the sea into
a bloody mess. Seafood is cut off and shipping is stymied if not eliminated
altogether. Before, 1/3 of all sea life was terminated. Now none exists at all.
This begins the economic disaster of the beast’s kingdom.

Bowl #3 – Contamination of all Fresh Water

This bowl is emptied into all the rivers, streams, lakes, and springs causing
all fresh water to be contaminated. Without fresh water, man can not live very
long. This water turns to blood also. It is God’s vengeance on those who killed
God’s saints. Before, 1/3 of all fresh water was contaminated. Now there is
no fresh water at all. Cleanliness and personal hygiene is not possible. Disease
is eminent. Animals die.

Bowl #4 – Significant Temperature Increase

This bowl affects the heavens. The sun burns brighter instead of being darkened
as happened in the past. Now grains are being scorched and this food supply
is significantly reduced. By now, famine is setting in. Perhaps this happens
via a change in the earth’s axis.

Bowl #5 – Power Outages

This affects only the kingdom of the beast, but that is most of the world. Now
commerce is completely shut off and all communications are down. The beast’s
kingdom is in total chaos. All are in the “dark” as to what is happening
and why except for Israel. Israel senses their redemption is near and begins
turning to God if they haven’t already done so. They also recognize a great
and final battle is about to begin.

Bowl #6 – Armies Advance to Armageddon

The Euphrates River dries up, allowing the armies of the east to cross over
and proceed to the valley of Armageddon to fight Israel. Even to do so, their
water and food supply has to be low. Fighting will be difficult without communications. They are vulnerable even if God chose not to come to Israel’s rescue. They are entering God’s trap, coming to one location where God can easily and quickly destroy them with His wrath.

Bowl #7 – The Great Earthquake and Hail

An earthquake as never before attacks earth leveling all the key cities, splitting
Babylon into three parts and leveling all the mountains and islands. All is
now flattened. This is the reverse of what happened during the flood in Noah’s
day. It not only cleanses the earth of the beast’s kingdom but it begins to
cleanse the earth of the prior contaminating plagues.

These Bowl Judgments happen quickly compared to the previous Seal and Trumpet
Judgments. There is no reason to delay further. Those who live during this time
have made their decision for Christ or against Christ. Those who belong to the
Beast are unrepentant and curse God. The end has come!

Room #10 – Hall of History; Section B                         Revelation 17:1-19:21

We leave Room #9 and the Bowl Judgments to enter into our second Hall of History.
The pictures we view in this Hall provide us with details, a different point
of view, amplifying what we have previously seen.

The Rise of the Beast                            Rev. 17:1-18

Some say this picture provides us with a historical perspective of the first
3 ½ years of the Tribulation. This is true but it also may be somewhat
limiting. This picture tells of the rise to power of the anti-Christ and the
false prophet over the earth. It extends to the Bowl Judgments and probably
began forming prior to the beginning of the Tribulation period [Daniel’s 70th
week].

In summary, we see John’s vision in the picture for verses 1-6, the angels’
explanation of the picture in verses 7-13, and learn of the end result in verses
14-18. There are many ways of viewing this picture even with all its detail.
The following chart [starting on the next page] labeled the Harlot and the Beast
is my attempt to clear the fog and provide a simple description of what we are
told and the interplay of the elements in the vision. I have followed that with
Alternative Interpretations taken from a variety of commentaries. Even this
is not all inclusive. My own personal view is as follows:

Beast: The Kingdoms ruled by anti-Christ and the false prophet.
Harlot: The unjust, corrupt, deceitful government of the Beast, also known by the capital city named Babylon.
7 Heads: Represents periods of time in history.
10 Horns: Different kingdoms/nations controlled by the Beast and the Harlot.

All this is the result of the evil influence of Satan. The Beast, which is
made up of ten kingdoms, actually hates the Harlot because they have been forced
and coerced into surrendering power to this corrupt and deceitful government
in order to survive. They commit adultery with the Harlot because they have
changed their loyalty from their people to the Harlot. These Kingdoms give up
their power in hope that they will have an opportunity in the near future to
destroy the Harlot. They are continually looking for ways to destroy her while
committing adultery with her.

The scenarios below are my attempt to explain why the Harlot would be so intent
on killing Christians. True, we have different allegiances but why the animosity?

revelation_scenarios

revelation_harlot_beast

revelation_alternative_interpretations

So what can we learn from all this?

  1. Christians are persecuted for their faith. But we must not let “good
    works” [idolatry] take precedence over faith in Christ. Good works eases
    pain but God’s Grace erases sin and brings glory to Him.
  2. God uses evil to judge evil and asks His followers to show His love and tell
    of His grace to redeem that which is evil.
  3. A right perspective of faith over works [not works over faith] brings God’s
    love and comfort in the present and assures us of our eternal victory and reward.
  4. Keep your focus on Christ and your perspective on the eternal.
  5. Be careful who/whom you support, particularly in relief work and in commerce.

[Past examples of corrupt behavior would be Abercrombie and Fitch, Enron, World
-Com, United Way, Red Cross, 911 Charities]

The Fall of Babylon Rev. 18:1-24

In Chapter 17 we saw how the Beast and its capital city Babylon rose to power
through deceit, lies, blackmail etc. This picture depicts the fall of Babylon
and the Beast as a result of the Bowl Judgments poured out by the angels. Again,
one gets the impression that the Bowl Judgments happened very quickly, perhaps
even simultaneously. The picture of the Fall of Babylon is made of five panels
[voices] telling of Babylon’s destruction. Keep in mind that Babylon represents
the governing commerce side of the Beast.

The first panel shows an angel displaying the general condition of the Beast
before judgment. The city, Babylon, is filled with demons and evil spirits.
She has corrupted all the nations in her evil ways. Kings have sold their souls
to her and merchants have become rich because of her economic rules and regulations concerning buying and selling via the mark of the beast, 666.

The second panel shows the results of the Bowls Judgments in a very general
way. Israel and/or believers have been separated out from her and the Bowl Judgments pour out a double portion of the evil she has inflicted on others. The Beast [Babylon] is proud and pompous only to be soon overtaken by mourning, famine, death and fire.

The third panel shows distraught kings weeping and mourning over what is happening to Babylon. They hate her but yet they depend on her for survival. She is their god, a false powerless god compared to the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Babylon is burning, probably as a result of Bowl #4, #5, and #7. Only one hour
is needed to topple Babylon and create chaos and confusion. Shipping commerce
has come to a halt [Bowls #1, #2, #3, & #5]. Babylon’s banks and commerce
have failed. Their stock market has crashed. The power outages have brought
commerce to a screeching halt. Inventories are destroyed or aren’t needed because
they were luxuries instead of needs.

The fourth panel shows that shipping has indeed stopped [Bowls #1, #2, #3,
& #5]. The merchants see the destruction caused by Bowls #4 and #7. These
shipping magnates were rich but now they have lost everything. Only the people
in heaven rejoice because God has finally avenged their persecution and righted
the injustice imposed upon them.

The fifth panel shows a large boulder cast down on Babylon. This is Bowl #7.
The resulting earthquakes, fire, and hail levels everything. Pleasure stops,
work stops, factories stop, power grids stop, communications stop, commerce
stops, and killing stops. The true King is coming.

Obey the words of Jesus when He said in Matthew 6:19-24:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust
destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures
in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break
in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will
be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of
darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can not serve both
God and Money.”

Disobey these words and you will be like the kings who gave up their power to
the Beast. You will be like the merchants who placed their faith in Babylon.
You will be easily deceived by the anti-Christ and the false prophet. Obey these
words and you will enjoy eternal life with the Father in heaven.

Heaven Rejoices                                      Rev. 19:1-10

This picture is simple. It’s just an invitation to the wedding of the Lamb
to His bride, the Church. When John hears [sees] these words, he falls down
to worship his angelic guide. These words moved him to worship because this
is what every believer anticipates, the great wedding feast of our Lord. The
angel correctly refuses John’s worship and directs him to Worship God, proclaiming
that the Words of Jesus are true and have come to pass. The salvation of God’s
saints will soon be complete.

This picture comes with music offering praise and glory to God in worship.
The songs are sung by a great multitude in heaven of saints, angels, the twenty-four
elders, and the four living creatures. The first song speaks of God avenging
the blood of the saints [martyrs] and the condemnation of the Harlot, the corrupt
governing system of the world’s last empire which has just been destroyed.

A voice comes from the throne, either from the four living creatures and/or
the twenty-four elders, to continue the praise and worship of the Lord God.
I attribute this voice to the four living creatures only because I believe the
next song is sung by the twenty-four elders.

Worship in song begins again because God reigns over all things. All ungodly
or evil competition has been eliminated. This song announces that the wedding
of the Lamb is about to begin. I believe this song is sung by the twenty-four
elders because it announces the wedding with the saints. Therefore, the saints
are not singing it but readying themselves for the marriage ceremony and feast.

The issue is not who is singing but that singing and worship is taking place
in celebration of the Lord’s victory over evil. The focus is on praise and thanksgiving
toward God, who reigns forever. Therefore, let us offer Him our praise and thanksgiving
in the midst of all our trials, tribulation, and victories.

The King Comes                                                Rev. 19:11-21

This next picture tells of the defeat of the anti-Christ, the false prophet,
and their armies. This is the Battle of Armageddon, the result of Bowl #6 when
the Euphrates River dried up allowing the large armies of the Beast to advance
on Israel. Our Lord, who is faithful and true, will judge and make war against
the Beast. He has the same characteristics as the Lord God in Revelation 1 plus
He is adorned with many crowns and His white robe has been dipped in blood for
the sins of the world. He has a special name which we know as the Word of God.
He is leading heaven’s armies, all on white horses and in white linen. The armies
coming with Him are made up of the Lord’s saints [believers] and angels. But
Christ’s Word alone is enough to defeat the armies of the earth. He is coming
to rule and to bring God’s wrath upon the Beast. He is coming as the King of
Kings and Lord of Lords. This is Christ’s Second Advent.

Armageddon is a very short battle. We tend to think of it as the battle of
all battles but that is not true. The Word of God destroys the Beast’s army
and the anti-Christ and the false prophet are captured quickly and cast into
the lake of fire [Hell]. All the Beast’s armies are killed, providing a huge
feast for the vultures. The Beast’s army and its leadership are no more. Armageddon
is as if it never happened. The battle is fought, won by the Lord, and cleaned
up without a trace. Anti-Christ doesn’t have a chance against the Lord God.
It is no contest. Christ comes with heaven’s armies but they aren’t needed.
God’s Word is all that is needed. God’s Word was all that was required to create
all things. God’s Word is all that is needed to destroy all evil.

Likewise, all we need to defeat Satan’s temptations for producing sin in our
lives is the Word of God. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. We are to place God’s
Word in our hearts and use it to be victorious over Satan and his army of lies
and deceit [see Psalm 119:11]. Count on God’s Word for protection and victory.

Room #11 – Two Significant Events                                          Revelation 20:1-14

The Millennium                                         Rev. 20:1-10

Now we enter our next room to see what is to come after the armies of the
anti-Christ have been defeated at Armageddon. The anti-Christ and the false
prophet have been tossed into Hell but Satan is still free.

The first picture we see is that of an angel holding the keys to the Abyss.
This is probably the same angel that opened the Abyss so the “locusts”
could escape during the 5th Trumpet Judgment. The angel is shown seizing the
Dragon [Satan}, binding him, and locking him in the Abyss for one thousand years.
This eliminates his influence over any remaining people or nations. Although
scripture pictures Satan as strong and cunning, he is no match for this angel
who has authority over the Abyss. Satan’s strength is one of his great deceptions.
When confronted by God, His Word, or His servants, Satan is actually weak.

The second picture concerning the Millennium shows the Lord’s martyred saints
resurrected to reign with Christ along with appointed judges surrounding His
throne. Revelation is not clear here if all the saints reign or just the martyred
saints [see Dan. 7]. Other scriptures indicate that all the saints come with
Christ to reign. Personally, I believe those on the thrones are the twenty-four
elders. The martyrs are given special positions in the Lord’s Kingdom on earth
because of their faithfulness when their lives were “in the fire”.
Verses 4 and 6 are general representing all saints. As saints, we are given
duties throughout the earth to carry out the Lord’s will during His one thousand
year tenure as King of Kings.

The third picture shows Satan being released from the Abyss. A thousand years
in captivity has not changed him. Actually, his captivity is an example of God’s
grace. Satan has been given one thousand years to repent and humble himself
before God. But he chooses to deceive many of those who did not believe in God
but happened to live through the Tribulation. They form a great army and march
toward Jerusalem, the Lord’s capital. They march but fire from heaven quickly
destroys them and Satan joins the anti-Christ and the false prophet in hell.

Our lesson is that the Lord reigns and is sovereign over all things at all
times. We see this from looking back on history, we see it in our present lives,
and now we see it in the future. Our Lord was, is, and will be. We can either
be stubborn like Satan or a submissive saint. Only submissive saints reign eternally
with God in Heaven.

The Judgment                                                       Rev. 20:11-14

This picture shows our Lord sitting on the great white throne. Earth and sky
are no more, gone. The books containing the works of man are before Him as is
the Book of Life. All the dead are before Him, those who were not part of the
first resurrection. God is checking to make sure His judgment is mistake-free.
All death and Hades is cast into the Lake of Fire [Hell]. If any in this multitude
are saved [none are mentioned] it would be those who placed their faith in Christ
and died during the Millennium. This judgment is man’s final appeal. If ones’
name is not found in the Book of Life, Hell is their final destination. Salvation
is not of works but of faith in Jesus Christ.

Our Lord is a God of love, mercy, and grace. He is also a holy and just God.
Man condemns himself with the choices he makes. As we have stated before, choose wisely, choose Christ. It is a decision of life or death, eternal heaven or
eternal hell. The decision is easy but we make it so difficult because of pride
and selfishness. Let us turn our hearts toward Christ today and worship Him
forever.

Room # 12 – Life Anew                                                               Revelation 21:1-22:6

This is the last room in the Revelation Gallery. In it are three pictures.
The first picture is of a new heaven and a new earth. The old heaven and old
earth have been destroyed after Christ’s millennial reign [See II Peter 3:13].
In the new earth is a new city, Jerusalem. It is easily seen because of its’
brilliance. She is like a bride being presented to her husband. When one looks
at this picture, your attention is immediately drawn to Jerusalem.

The second picture in this room gives us a closer view of the New Jerusalem,
a mountain-top perspective. The picture in titled The Bride, the Wife of the
Lord for it is the dwelling place of “believers”. It is brilliant,
full of light, sparkling because it is a jewel and it is constructed of jewels.
It is made of the best and most expensive materials known. It has a wall and
twelve gates, three on each side, named for the twelve tribes of Israel. The
wall has twelve foundational footings, those of the Apostle’s teachings concerning
the Lamb, the Son of God. This picture has dimensions. It is a cube about 14oo
miles to a side. Its’ walls are approximately 200 feet wide and made of jasper
and gold. Twelve different jewels make up its’ foundation. The gates are pearls
and the main street is gold. There is no temple in the New Jerusalem. The Lord
God and the Lamb fill the city with “glory light”. No other light is needed or required. It’s gates do not have locks. People are constantly coming and going.

The third picture shows a river internal to Jerusalem. It is clear, pure,
and flows from God’s throne into the median of the main street of gold. Fruit
trees line it. These are special trees, each bearing twelve different fruits,
one each month. Their leaves have healing power, bringing peace to and among
the people.

A pamphlet is available giving us more information, namely:

  1. Jerusalem is a city for God’s people. There is no death, mourning, crying,
    or pain. It is a city of light and joy.
  2. This is a newly created city where God dwells with His people. It is a place
    where we can see God face to face.
  3. The “curse of sin” and “unbelievers” are not present nor are they
    anywhere near. They are gone forever to Hell. There is no way for them to reach
    the New Jerusalem.
  4. This city personifies the promised intimate fellowship of the righteous [believers]
    with the Creator God. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book
    of Life live here.
  5. Worship of God will be open and continuous.
  6. It is a city personifying the love of God, the peace of God, and the joy of God because it is the City of God.

For further clarification, consider the following chart:

revelation_chart1

Further in Revelation, we discover more about those who live in the New Jerusalem.

revelation_chart2

Those who live in the New Jerusalem are:

“those who believe these words are trustworthy and true”.

This last room and it’s pictures depict the New Heaven and the New Earth filled
with intimacy between God’s people and God, being indwelt by God Almighty, living
in harmony with God and one another, living in peace, and, above all, living
in love with God and one another.

Today we have a “fallen” Jerusalem because we live in a fallen world.
Tomorrow we will have a “restored” Jerusalem when Christ returns to
reign for 1000 years. Then will come the “new” Jerusalem. I mention
this to show how consistent God is. We, man, is fallen in sin. But God restores
us through faith in Jesus Christ and makes us anew in our resurrection to live
with Him. As we meditate on the “new” Jerusalem we see:

a. the light within………………….God the Son

b. the throne within………………..God the Father

c. the river within………………….God the Holy Spirit

d. the people within………………..the Bride, the Church,
the Children of God

e. the life within……………………joy, peace, love,
righteousness, holy

As we leave this room

“We are in Awe of God’s great Love and Mercy”.

Room # 13 – The Gift Shop                                                      Revelation 22:7-21

As with any museum or gallery, the last stop is the gift shop. This gift shop
is filled with the Words of Jesus, “I Am Coming Again”. Instead of
buying a gift, we are given a gift. His gift to us is three-fold.

A Blessing;…………Eternal life in heaven to those who believe.

A Promise;…………He is coming again with His rewards.

A Purpose;…………To tell others of His Revelation to reconcile
sinful man to Himself.

He is coming with a blessing …and….He is coming for His Blessed.

Consider the summary of this Scripture passage on the next page [note the
verses referenced in the lower right hand corner of each cell].

revelation_announcement

revelation_remember

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