Revelation

Revelation: Chapter 20

The Judgment

In my opinion, Revelation 20:11-15 is the greatest and most solemn announcement in the Word of God. This is the time of which the writer to the Hebrews warned us - “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” 

 

The Great White Throne - The word throne is mentioned more than thirty times in Revelation, but this throne is unique, because it is “a great white throne.” For Rev. 20:11 says, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.” This judgment takes place in space, because the earth flees from the presence of the Lord Jesus. It cannot take place in heaven, because no unbeliever has access to heaven. See Rev. 21:8.

Truth and justice will meet with sin and rejection right here at this throne; and it is a Great White Throne. The judgment will be “great,” because almighty power will be demonstrated. It also will be “great” because of the vast crowds that will be there: every unbeliever from the time of Adam, the fallen angels, and the great hosts of angels and believers - they will assist at this judgment (See 1 Cor. 6:2-3). This great throne is “white,” emphasizing the holiness and purity of the Judge. This dazzling whiteness will be in contrast to the blackness of sin of those who stand before the throne.  

 

Revelation: Chapter 18

This chapter depicts the destruction of the political power of the Antichrist. John depicts great sorrow on earth over her destruction. In all likelihood, Rome will become the world’s center for banking, finance, trade, government, industry, and culture. Men’s fortunes will be both invested and lost here. That is the reason for the sorrow over her destruction. Read Rev. 18:9-19. We see in Rev. 18:20-24 that the attitude of heaven will be different. It will rejoice that Rome is utterly and completely destroyed, and that no trace of it will ever be found (Rev. 18:21-22).

Revelation: Chapter 17

[Describe the destruction of the apostate church]

In this chapter we are introduced to one described as the “great harlot.” We are also confronted with a weird seven-headed, ten-horned beast. To get the meaning of the chapter, we must identify these two.

The Great Harlot - The “great harlot” is the apostate church – a wicked religious system. In Rev. 17:1, we see that this woman sits upon many waters. Rev. 17:15 clarifies that these “waters” refer to peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. John’s description of this woman makes her bath both fascinating and repugnant. The most disgusting and horrible thing about her is that she is drunk, not with alcohol, but with the blood of believers (Rev. 17:6).

The Beast - John describes the weird beast with seven heads and ten horns carrying this woman. What a diabolical combination! This beast is symbolic of the Roman Empire or the Common Market nations. Bringing this picture into focus, we see the conditions that will prevail during the first 3½ years of the Tribulation.

The Destruction of the Apostate Church - The Antichrist of Rome finds it expedient to go along with the apostate church. The fact that the woman rides the beast indicates that, for a time, the religious system influences the political system. In the middle of the Tribulation, the Roman Antichrist and the Jewish False Prophet find that they have no more use for the apostate church, so they destroy her. 

Revelation: Chapter 16

In Revelation 14, we saw God’s reluctant, but final decision to close the gates of heaven to any further entrants. In His great foreknowledge, God knows that every unbeliever alive on the earth at that time will have hardened his heart against the Gospel and will never come to Him. Therefore, He prepares to release the final judgments on the earth.

The Bowls of Wrath

Revelation 16:1 - This verse depicts a great voice booming out of the smoke-filled temple. This voice gave the seven angels orders to pour out the bowls of wrath that had been given to them.

Bowl No. 1

Revelation 16:2 - “There fell a foul and painful sore open on those who had received the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.” This sore will be worse than anything man has ever experienced. It will be so foul and painful that cancer and leprosy will be trivial by comparison. No known drug will cure these sores. Even the Antichrist with his supernatural abilities will not be able to cure these malignancies. On the other hand, God will supernaturally protect the believers from this horrible plague. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” Compare this with the plague of boils in Exodus 9:8-11.

Bowl No. 2

Revelation 16:3 - “The sea became like the blood of a dead man.” In essence, the waters congeal like blood and every living creature that lived therein died. In Rev. 8, only a third of the sea became blood and only a third of the marine life died. In this judgment, all marine life is going to be wiped out. The whole earth will be affected. Sea transportation will be paralyzed. The former series of judgments (seals & trumpets) have increased gradually in measured progression. In the bowl judgments, all the stops are out.

Bowl No. 3

Revelation: Chapter 15

Seven Last Judgments (Revelation 15:1) - In this chapter we are introduced to the final judgments of the Tribulation. Chapters 15 and 16 record the consummation of events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as seen in Revelation 19. Rev. 15:1 introduces us to seven angels. Each one has the power to unleash a judgment upon mankind. These judgments are the most intense and devastating of all the judgments that precede them. The seal judgments showed man’s wrath against himself. The trumpet judgments showed Satan’s fury against mankind. The vial or bowl judgments reveal the wrath of God against rebels and enemies. God has been slow to anger, but at this point His long-suffering ends and His judgments fall on mankind.

John says in verse one, “for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” That is to say, in these judgments, the wrath of God is brought to a conclusion: It is finished. At this point, it is God’s wrath on those who have continued rejecting Christ that is to be finished. This is a sobering thought for anyone who continues to reject God’s offer of salvation. There will come a time when God’s patience and long-suffering will be exhausted and there will be no more opportunity to receive Christ as Savior; this happens to some in life, to others after death. The future for such persons is the lake of fire. See Rev. 20:11-15.

 

Revelation: Chapter 12

Introduction

This is one of the great prophetic chapters of the Bible. An understanding of its contents is essential to the correct interpretation of prophecy. Only a small part of the chapter fits into the sequence of events during the Tribulation. The chapter is really an inset providing the necessary information about the past, present, and future events concerning Christ, Israel and Satan. Chapter 12 reveals “the conflict of the ages.” This conflict involves Israel, Christ and Satan. There are four great passages brought to our attention in the chapter: (1) The Woman [Rev. 12:1-2], (2) The Great Red Dragon [Rev. 12:3-4], (3) The Man-Child [Rev. 12:5-6], and (4) Michael, the Archangel [Rev. 12:7-12]. It will be our purpose here to look at each of these more closely.

 

The Woman (Rev. 12:1-2)

There appeared a great “sign” in heaven. The appearance of this woman is a sign or symbol of an important truth. It is a miraculous signpost. Who is this woman? [Describe her at this point]

The Bible is its own best interpretation. In Genesis 37, at 17 years old, Joseph had a dream. He dreamt that the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His family understood the dream and resented it, for it referred to his father (Jacob), mother (Rachel), and eleven brothers bowing down to him. Joseph’s dreams came true. They bowed down before him three times with their faces to the ground. The woman John saw here in Rev. 12 is clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and crowned with a crown of twelve stars. This identifies her as the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob and Rachel.

Revelation: Chapter 10

The Mighty Angel and the Little Book

Chapters 10-14 in the Book of Revelation are parenthetic. They do not advance the chronology of the book. Instead, they give us some facts that help us to better understand the total prophetic picture. In this interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets, we are introduced to three personalities: the mighty angel and the two witnesses.

 

The Mighty Angel

Revelation 10:1-7 – The angel: came down from heaven, was clothed with a cloud, had a rainbow upon his head, had a face that was like the sun, and had feet that were like pillars of fire. In Rev. 1:2, we see “He had in his hand a little scroll” - the title deeds of the world. It also contained the revelation of future prophecies. “He also set his right foot on the sea and his left on the land.” The sea is referring to the masses – the Gentiles – and the land is referring to the nation of Israel.

This angel is claiming universal authority for Jesus Christ. The angel sat on the rolled away stone. Christ’s work was finished. “The angels’ work was about to begin.” Christ stood triumphantly. “The Kingdom of this world is about to become the kingdom of the Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” See Rev. 11:15. [Describe the coming glory of the reigning King.]

In Rev. 10:3-4, the angel cried with a loud voice like a lion; then there were seven thunders. These thundering voices evidently conveyed a message. John was about to write it down, but was told not to do so. What the messages were remains a mystery.

 

Introduction to the Book of Revelation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

The New Testament opens with the four Gospels telling of the FIRST coming of Christ. The Revelation closes the New Testament with the theme of the SECOND coming of Christ. Within the confines of the book, the Second Coming of Christ and the years immediately preceding it are revealed more graphically than in any other book in the Bible.

There are many ways Revelation has been interpreted:

    1. The ALLEGORICAL or non-literal approach.

    2. The PRETERIST approach: They regard the book as a symbolic picture of early church conflicts that have been fulfilled.

    3. The HISTORICAL approach: They view the content of the book as a symbolic picture of church history in the present age.

Revelation: Chapter 9

Revelation 9 begins a new phase of God’s dealings with men. He now begins to pour out His great wrath on unrepentant sinners and Christ’s rejections. Rev. 6:17, “For the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand.” The angel of Rev. 8:13 introduces these as “Woes.”

The Fallen Star (Revelation 9:1-12)

The Fifth Trumpet

“And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I beheld a star fall from heaven unto the earth.” The identity of this star is obscured a little in the language of our King James Version. The star is described more accurately in other translations as “fallen,” rather than “falling.” It is written in the perfect tense, which signifies an already completed action. The star had already fallen.

That this is not a literal star is obvious from the fact that “to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” I believe that the star mentioned here is “Satan himself.” Rev. 12 describes the war in the heavens and Satan and his angels being cast upon the earth (chronologically this has already happened). So then, what we have here, at the blowing of the fifth trumpet, is Satan in possession of the key of the Abyss. 

Satan and The Bottomless Pit

The key to the bottomless pit (or Abyss) really belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. See Rev. 1:18, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” The keys of the “bottomless pit” belong to Jesus Christ, but He gives them to Satan at this time.

Revelation: Chapter 8

 

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

Rev. 8:1 - “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” This is a startling statement. It was the awesomeness of the opening of the seventh seal that caused the hosts of heaven to pause in silence, for they had received a panoramic view. The judgment of the six seals in Rev. 6 was terrible in their content, but with the blowing of the trumpets, the judgment increases in intensity.

If I may direct your thoughts for a moment, to the judgment given through the pouring out of the seven bowls: there is a definite progression in the intensity of the judgments. This knowledge brings “silence in heaven for half an hour.” Rev. 5:4-5 shows us that Heaven is a happy place. The angels, the four living creatures, the 24 elders (whom many believe to be the church) - everyone in heaven, whom we have seen there, is rejoicing in jubilation, but now they are silent. It seems as if heaven gasps in horror at the prospect of such judgment about to fall on mankind.

After the judgment of the six seals, one would have thought that mankind would have repented. But, no, seal six repented not. Why don’t men and women repent today? How easy it is to do so (see John 5:24). “God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” “He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). 

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