Saturday, June 24, 2006
REVELATION CHAPTERS 1 TO 5
BY DR JACK VAN IMPE.VERSE BY VERSE
If your not sure you will go up before the Tribulation on Earth starts. GIVE YOUR HEART AND SELF TO JESUS, AND YOU WILL NOT MISS OUT.
PRAY THIS PRAYER
THANK YOU LORD JESUS. THAT YOU LOVED ME, AND GAVE YOURSELF FOR ME. WHAT LOVE, AND TODAY I RESPOND, I WANT YOU AS MY OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR. AND YOUR PRECIOUS BLOOD PUT INTO A SPECIAL BODY BY YOUR FATHER, WAS SHED FOR ME, TO CLEANSE ME, TO WASH ME, TO SAVE ME. I ACCEPT IT NOW, COME INTO MY HEART PRECIOUS SAVIOR. I PRAY THIS IN YOUR HOLY NAME KING JESUS. AMEN AND AMEN
COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS.
REVELATION CHAPTER 1
The Book of Revelation is the culmination of Bible prophecy - the point at which all the prophecies of the ages converge and find their ultimate fulfillment. Revelation discloses the future of the Jew, Gentile, and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Within its pages are specific details concerning the Savior's return, the establishment of His Millennial Kingdom and, finally, the eternal state of both the saved and the lost.
The word revelation comes from the Greek apokalupsis, meaning "an uncovering or unveiling." For this reason, the Book of Revelation is also known as the Apocalypse. In either case, the definition reflects the fact that God has made known to mankind those eternal, supernatural truths and realities which man, on his own, could never realize or discover.
The Book of Revelation is the final work of the New Testament and the Revelation of Jesus Christ which details world history from the time of John (the Early Church Age) to eternity. It constitutes God's last special revelation to mankind this side of heaven. Simply stated, Bible prophecy and Revelation are history written in advance. They form God's description of future facts and events. Such prophecy is completely trustworthy because God is Omniscient, He knows all things, whether they be actual or merely possible, and He knows them perfectly from all eternity. Acts 15:18 states: Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. Thus, the Almighty is able to fully and accurately describe the future in advance of its actual occurrence.
Current international events reflect exactly the conditions and happenings predicted throughout the Bible for the last days of this age. Yet, comparatively little prophetic teaching and preaching are currently taking place. This is probably due to the fact that this field of endeavor involves a great amount of research and study (see II Timothy 2:15). Millions more prefer not to have prophecy explained to them because they would rather live by the world's standards and dictates. As individuals who are seeking satisfaction and rewards in this life, they are obviously not anxiously anticipating Christ's return.
As we walk through the Book of Revelation together, remember that this special message has been given to reveal God's truth, not conceal it; and to clarify God's eternal purpose, not mystify it. I will not present an elaborate outline or engage in the use of heavy theological terminology. My goal is a simple verse-by-verse analysis. I trust that, as a result, each reader will gain a clear understanding of the blessed truths that the Book of Revelation contains.
REVELATION CHAPTER 1
Verse 1: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
We begin our study by immediately recognizing that the noun is revelation, singular, not revelations, plural. This term comes from the Greek word Apokalupsis and means "an unveiling or uncovering." It is often used in the epistles as a "manifestation" (Romans 8:19), a "coming" (1 Corinthians 1:7), a "revealing" (2 Thessalonians 1:7), and an "appearing" (1 Peter 1:7). The Book of Revelation, then, concerns the unveiling or appearing of our precious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the unfolding of the story of St. John the Divine, or even of prophetical truth, but rather the message of the "appearing of Christ." This appearing takes place at the Rapture (chapter 4, verse 1), as well as at the hour of His return to earth when every eye shall see Him (chapter 1, verse 7).
Secondly, we see that this revelation was given to Jesus Christ, as is everything, for Jesus said, All things are delivered unto me of my Father (Matthew 11:27). They are presented unto Him to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.The term shortly in the original means "rapidity of action once there is a beginning." This certainly pictures the present hour when signs pointing to His return are beginning to appear with alarming frequency. These truths, then, are sent and signified by Christ's angel unto John, the writer of the book, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Notice that the first four letters of the word signified spell SIGN. Why? The Book of Revelation is a study of signs. There is the sign of the Holy Spirit presented as seven spirits (verse 4) and the sign of the seven golden candlesticks and the seven stars (verse 20). Thus, through signs, we come to an understanding of this gloriously revealed portion of Scripture.
Verse 2: [John] bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
This statement is self-explanatory.
Verse 3: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Verse three proves that the apocalypse is not some deep, mysterious, confusing book. God would not be an omniscient, all-knowing God if He promised a special blessing to those who read, hear, and keep what they read and hear, if they were unable to comprehend the truth. No, the Book of Revelation is understandable and fills the heart with joy once one sees its glorious message concerning the Savior.
One reason that readers and hearers are to keep that which they have heard is because the time of Christ's return is at hand. The words at hand mean "imminent." Near and imminent are not synonymous. Imminent means "impending." Hence, the event could happen immediately or within ten minutes, ten months, or even ten years. "Imminence" is always the meaning of at hand when speaking about the return of the Lord. For example, Romans 13:12 says, The night is far spent, the day is at hand [imminent]. Philippians 4:5 declares, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. And 1 Peter 4:7 says, But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. Thus, the next event on God's calendar, the return of Christ for His Church, may happen momentarily. That is why we, as Christians, should keep our eyes fixed heavenward, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).
Verse 4: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne;
John now focuses his attention on seven local churches located in a land area called Asia. This is not Asia as we know it today, but probably a portion of Turkey. Only seven churches are mentioned, although there were undoubtedly more in existence. Seven is God's number of perfection. The number also pictures seven different sets of conditions reflecting the history of God's people through the Church Age.
God's salutation, found in nineteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, is presented here as well: Grace be unto you, and peace. It is not "peace and grace" but "grace and peace," because this is God's program for sinners. They cannot have peace until He has shown them His lovely grace. God must show His unmerited favor and love, called "grace," before one can experience peace. This grace is shown through the sacrifice of Calvary and is freely bestowed upon all who believe and receive Christ. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). When grace has done its job, peace follows: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). This peace was made through the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20). Thus, Romans 15:13 states: Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Only Jesus can give this peace. An unsaved psychiatrist is unable to do the job. Psychiatrists need the same peace that they strive to give. Thus, we must turn our problems over to the Son of God.
We also find that the message of grace and peace is from the entire Trinity. First, the Father which is, which was, and which is to come; then from the seven Spirits which are before the throne (a designation of the blessed Holy Spirit in all of His holiness, for seven means perfection)...
Verse 5: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
The question is often asked, "Why is Christ the first begotten from the dead, when Lazarus and others were raised first?" The answer is simple. Others were raised to life, but they died again. They were raised from physical death to physical life only to eventually die a second time. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead to immortalityùnever to die again! He is the first to have been resurrected with a new never-dying body. This is why Christ should be the first that should rise from the dead (Acts 26:23) and why He only hath immortality (1 Timothy 6:16).
Five times Christ is called "the first begotten" or "the firstborn from the dead." Another five times He is called "the only begotten." The term "only begotten" refers to His incarnation, whereas "first begotten (or firstborn) refers to His resurrection. For instance, he bringeth in the first begotten into the world (Hebrews 1:6). [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [first begotten] of every creature (Colossians 1:15). And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn [first begotten] from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence (Colossians 1:18).
Romans 8:29 declares, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn [yea, the first begotten] among many brethren. Think these verses through carefully so that no cultist can trip you up on the terms "first begotten" and "firstborn," in his attempts to make the eternal Christ have a beginning. No, praise God, Christ is from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). Yea, He is one with the everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).
The Lord Jesus Christ is also called the prince of the kings of the earth. This, of course, refers to the future, when the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) returns to earth as the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16). This glorious event will be the fulfillment of Psalm 2:6, which states: [I have] set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. At that time the Lord Jesus shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth (Psalm 72:8).
Verse 6: And [He] hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Verses 5 and 6 contain three glorious statements concerning Christ's work on our behalf: (1) He loved us; (2) He washed us from our sins in His own blood; and (3) He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father. The order is beautiful. Let's examine it in detail.
First, the Lord Jesus had to love us in order to wash us and make us kings and priests. However, it is even more thrilling when one sees that His love is in the present tense, meaning that He continues loving those He has washed. This is why John 13:1 triumphantly declares, [Jesus], having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. Can you understand such love? Oh, that you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge (Ephesians 3:18,19). This love is forever. That is why Paul declared in Romans 8:37-39: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The love which Jesus Christ has bestowed upon each born-again believer should manifest itself in daily living, for He said to His own, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:34,35). This love for you and me brought Christ from heaven's glory to the cruel cross of Golgotha's hill. Love made Him shed His blood for the remission of our sins.
Secondly, He washed us! Some do not like the teaching about the blood. They want to earn heaven by their own meritorious works. However, being whitewashed is not the same as being washed white. There is a vast difference! It is not less toil that solves the difficulty, it is no toil. Listen to God: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5).
When one trusts in the merits of Christ's shed blood, his sins are gone, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). Isaiah 38:17 declares, Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. God says, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins (Isaiah 44:22). Yes, He has cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Oh, come to Jesus and He will lift all your load. Here's proof! To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43). It matters not how far astray the wayward son or daughter has gone, the blood of Jesus Christ [God's] Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Thirdly, because of His love and the washing of regeneration, Christ is able to make us kings and priests unto God and his Father. "Priest" is the title of every believer. It is also the reason one does not need a minister to help him get closer to God. If you have been born again, you are a priest in the eyes of the Almighty. You can bring your own petitions to God. One is not heard any more rapidly because he has been ordained by men, for all born-again believers are on the same level. All are members of a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). What a calling! Thank you, Jesus. John adds, To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen
Verse 7: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
This verse announces the Lord's return to earth. Notice that every eye sees Him. That is why this great event is described as the "revealing" or "revelation" of Christ and occurs when He comes as the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16). Thus, our text is actually a preview of what will happen when He returns with His saints in chapter 19. Isn't it thrilling to know that when the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west (Matthew 24:27), every eye will witness the spectacle of the ages? Notice also that the Israelites-a special group-will observe this momentous event, for they shall look upon [Him] whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
Furthermore, when He comes in power and great glory to smite the nations, all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. This is because He comes for judgment and none will escape. As John envisions the hour when the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints (Jude 14), he victoriously cries, "Amen! Amen!" The Greek for even so is "Amen," and "Amen" is the Hebrew for even so. John is literally shouting the praise or praises of God in two languages as he says, "Amen and Amen, He is coming!"
Verse 8: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
This text speaks of the eternal Christ. Alpha and Omega are the beginning and ending letter of the Greek alphabet. Christ is saying, "I am the beginning and ending of all things." He uses the title "I am," which is a verb indicating being, but not becoming. He always was. He was before all things and created all things. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3). For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:16,17). He also controls all things by upholding all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3), and He will consummate all things as well (see Ephesians 1:10). Yes, Jesus Christ is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.
The terminology, I am...the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come, expresses Christ's oneness with the Father (see verse 4). In fact, He adds the term, the Almighty, a name used for the Father in connection with His person. This term is used forty-eight times in the Old Testament. This verse clearly refutes the doctrine of anti-trinitarianism, which is anti-God, anti-Christ, and anti-Holy Spirit.
Verse 9: I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John realizes that he is an old man and highly revered, yet he wants no praise from men for his sufferings. He immediately identifies himself as a brother in Christ and a companion in heartache and suffering. He tells of the tribulation he endured during his incarceration at Patmos, but he rejoices that the other blood-bought sons of God will miss the Tribulation. How true!
The Savior stated: In the world ye shall have tribulation (John 16:33). However, this does not include the Tribulation hour out of which the saints are kept (see Revelation 3:10). John's persecution came because of his devotion to Christ. This is always true when one takes a stand for the Savior. Jesus said in John 15:18-20, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
Verse 10: I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Beginning with this verse, we enter into the revelation experience with John and observe firsthand all that is presented to him through the remainder of the book.
Joseph A. Seiss says that John was carried forward through the centuries until he saw a vision of the great and terrible day of the Lord-the Tribulation hour. A majority of scholars, however, believe that the phrase, on the Lord's day, refers to the first day of the week. Thus, on Resurrection day-Sunday, the first day of the week-John is visited by the One who had so loved him while on earth-Jesus himself. As He appears, John hears the trumpet-like voice of Christ...
Verse 11: Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Alpha and Omega are the titles we discussed in verse 8. Verse 11 pictures the eternal Christ giving instructions to His beloved servant concerning the seven churches mentioned in verse 4 and to be discussed in chapters 2 and 3. Then, John adds...
Verse 12: And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks.
When the trumpet-like voice of Christ sounded in verse 11, John turned to see the voice that spoke to him. This is different! One does not normally "see" a voice. Yet John turned to see the voice. As he looks in that direction, he sees seven golden candlesticks or lampstands. Verse 20 clearly explains the meaning of verse 12 as follows: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks [means this:] The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The fact that the seven churches are pictured as seven lampstands is significant because believers are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Sad, as we shall see, is the fact that the history of the seven churches often diminished that light. Oh, pray that it shall not be so in your life. Jesus said, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Now that we have observed verse 12 in light of verse 20, let's take a closer look at the glorious Savior who appears in the midst of the lampstands or churches.
Verse 13: And [I saw] in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
The Lord is clothed with the garments of the Old Testament high priest because He is risen and in heaven, performing His ministry of intercession. For this reason, he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25). Thus, sixty years after Christ's death and resurrection, John sees Him as the High Priest in the heavenlies. Paul also testified to this blessed fact by stating: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (Hebrews 4:14). Next our precious Lord is described in detail.
Verse 14: His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
John's description speaks of antiquity and coincides with the vision Daniel had in chapter 7, verses 9 through 13. This Ancient of days, the eternal One, Jesus Christ, is also pictured in terms of whiteness because of His righteousness, for He is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens (Hebrews 7:26). The Greek also emphasizes the fact that His eyes "shot out fire." Christ is righteously angry concerning the sin of the churches depicted in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.
Verse 15: And his feet[were] like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice [was] as the sound of many waters.
Christ's feet picture judgment and relate to the events that take place when He returns to the earth in chapters 19 and 20. His voice as the sound of many waters also depicts judgment.
Verse 16: And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
The seven stars of this verse are the angels or messengers of the seven churches (see verse 20), while the two-edged sword is the Word of God as described in Hebrews 4:12: The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Then the _expression, his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength, takes our minds back to the transfiguration scene in Matthew 17:2 and thus pictures the glory of Christ, who is to be the Judge during the Great Tribulation hour, Armageddon, and the Great White Throne assembly of Revelation 20:11-15. Because of it, John is stunned, astonished, and humbled at the experience and cries...
Verse 17: And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
Verse 18: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
The sight of Christ glorified was breathtaking, and the one who laid his head upon Jesus at the Last Supper now falls prostrate at His feet. As John falls before his blessed Lord in fear, Jesus lovingly says, Fear not. He is saying the same to us today. In the midst of wars, rumors of wars, heartaches, and death, the blessed Lord says, Let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1). This message to John is from the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the eternal One, Jesus Christ. The One that liveth (resurrection), and was dead (crucifixion) and who cries, behold, I am alive for evermore (ascension), Amen. He also has the keys of hell and of death. Because of this tremendous fact, Christians are not to fear, for through death...[Christ destroyed] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And [delivered] them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Hebrews 2:14,15). Not only have we been delivered from the fear of death but from the fear of Hades as well.
Let me explain: Hades was the place where the souls and the spirits of all humans went until the cross. Sheol (Old Testament) and Hades (New Testament) were one and the same. In Sheol and Hades were two compartments, one for the wicked and the other for the righteous. In Luke 16:22,23, the rich man and Lazarus went to their respective places- one to suffering and the other to comfort. The thief on the cross went to the comfort side, or paradise, as promised by Christ when He said, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). This is where Christ went upon His death (Acts 2:27,3 1). There He ministered to His people and led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8-10), literally releasing them for their entrance into the third heaven of 2 Corinthians 12:2.
Presently the comfort side of Hades has been emptied by Him who has the keys of death and Hades (hell), but the torment side is still full. This will be emptied for the Judgment Day when...death and [Hades deliver] up the dead which [are] in them: and they [are] judged...(Revelation 20:13).
Verse 19: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
This verse gives us the order of the Book of Revelation, which is written chronologically, or as the events happen. One immediately recognizes the three tenses-past, present, and future. Write the things which thou hast seen-past, chapter 1; the things which are-present, chapters 2 and 3; and the things which shall be hereafter-future, chapters 4 through 22.
Verse 20: [God explains to John:] The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Since we have discussed the closing verse of this chapter in connection with verse 12, let us move on to the study of the seven candlesticks, or the history of the seven churches, which we will cover in our next newsletter.
REVELATION CHAPTER 2
Chapters 2 and 3 contain seven letters to the seven literal, local churches mentioned in chapter 1, verse 11. These letters have a number of applications. First, they are seven actual letters to seven actual churches situated in seven different cities. Second, they are letters to seven individuals within the seven churches. Third, they are messages applicable to all churches in all ages, for the seven churches picture seven periods, or stages, of church history. In each period, the Lord speaks to the churches in a judgmental way, portraying their failures, then He calls them to repentance and zealousness.
Verse 1: Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks [or the seven churches represented throughout history];
The first church addressed is the church of Ephesus, covering the time period from approximately 33 A.D. (the birth of the church at Pentecost) until 100 A.D. when John, who wrote the Book of Revelation, died. The letter is to the angel or, literally, the "messenger" of the church of Ephesus, and is from the One who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who [walks] in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. This, of course, is the glorified Christ, as we learned in chapter 1, verse 20. How thrilling to note that the Lord both holds the churches (all believers) in His hand and walks in the midst of them, as well! This is the Christian's security. The Savior's walk among us is to bring us closer to himself. Next, Christ speaks...
Verse 2: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
Notice that, in each of the seven letters, the Lord begins by commending the local assembly for whatever He can find in them that is good before scolding them for their sins. The Ephesus church began in all purity, as can be observed from a study of the Book of Acts. Then false prophets entered in. This is exactly the warning Paul had sounded during his last gathering in Ephesus: For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember (Acts 20:29-31). The leaders of the church judged these false prophets in earlier days, but became lax as they lost their first love.
Today many think it is wrong to judge heresy or wickedness. Not so! The same Christ who said, Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1) also declared, Judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). A believer is never to judge a person as far as character and motives are concerned.
However, he should definitely judge one when that individual's doctrine is heretical or his life is filled with wickedness. This is why John said, Try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1), and why Paul stated in 1 Timothy 5:19 and 20: Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. The church at Ephesus had slipped from its original moorings and was on the way down. Is it any wonder that Mohammedanism swept through the land and destroyed the compromising church that once was mighty under Paul?
Verse 3: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Part of the reason this church (who had borne, and had patience, and for His name's sake had laboured, and had not fainted) failed may have been that they were too busy serving and not taking time for sweet fellowship at the feet of Jesus. When one is so active that he has no time for the Bible and prayer, he is too busy. Many have fallen to the indictment of...
Verse 4: Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
How true of multitudes today! When they were first saved they loved Jesus, loved to pray, loved to read the Word, loved to attend the services at God's house and loved to witness. Ah, but they have lost that first love!
Verse 5: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick (or your local church) out of his place, except thou repent.
It happened! After the conquest of Mohammedanism, the church of Ephesus became nonexistent. Do not let this happen to your church or to you! Before God finishes His pronouncement of commendations and condemnations upon the church of Ephesus, he adds...
Verse 6: But this thou host, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Who were the Nicolaitans and what was it about them that so angered Almighty God? The term comes from two Greek words which mean "victory over the laity"-a religious dictatorship that allowed little or no freedom to its members. This is precisely what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He told the church elders not to be lords over God's heritage, but...ensamples [examples] to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). How this message needs to be emphasized in our day as religious leaders try to impose their man-made rules on each and every member! After presenting this series of commendations and warnings, the Spirit of God adds...
Verse 7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
How can one be an overcomer? By trusting in the merits of the shed blood of Jesus Christ: Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5).
Verse 8: And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
We saw in chapter 1, verse 11, that this first and the last, or Alpha and Omega, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He now begins His message to the church of Smyrna.
Verse 9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
The Smyrna period of church history takes us from 100 A.D. to 312 A.D. These people probably suffered the greatest persecution in all Christianity. Their works, faithfully performed in the name of Jesus, brought great tribulation and accompanying poverty, materially. However, great riches were laid up for them in heaven. In addition, their relentless, dedicated efforts brought the Word of God to the entire Roman Empire. During the second and third centuries, the Smyrna church members were fed to the lions at Rome while multitudes cheered. Church history informs us that five million may have been martyred during this era. Every Christian ought to read Foxe's Christian Martyrs of the World. He will quickly discover the foolishness of complaining in this day of luxury and ease.
Believe it or not, the church flourished and grew during the Smyrna period! Perhaps a little persecution would do us some good today. We might learn to love other brothers in Christ who have a different religious label than ours. God forgive us for our sectarianism!
Much of Smyrna's heartache came through false professors of religion-those who said they were Jews as defined in Romans 2:29 (circumcised of the heart and the spirit rather than the letter) but who, in reality, were not! They did not really believe and were actually members of the synagogue of Satan! Beware of those who claim to be Christians but deny the deity of Christ.
They, too, are of the synagogue of Satan: [For] every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God (1 John 4:3). The same is true of those who mix law and grace. Paul said, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
Because of the false brethren propagating false doctrine and despising the true believers, persecution came from within and from without. In the face of such satanic opposition, Christ's message was...
Verse 10: Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
When the hour of trial arrived, the believers were not to fear. They were to keep their eyes on eternal rewards as mentioned in James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth [testing]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Many Bible scholars believe that the ten days of persecution consisted of ten literal periods of suffering. I agree, since church history emphatically supports this assertion. Still, the church of Smyrna was guaranteed final victory through the Lord's promises, power, and provision...
Verse 11: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Verse 12: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Again, chapter 1, verse 16, proves that the speaker is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 13: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and host not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
The letters to the first three churches begin with a commendation. To each Christ says, I know thy works. God sees what we do for Him. How sad when backsliding destroys the many good deeds performed in His name! We see this strange twist at Pergamos. Here the bad works outweigh the good ones.
This church period, extending from 312 A.D. to 606 A.D., was one of materialism, self-indulgence, and worldliness. Wickedness spread like a brushfire. The name Pergamos has in it the same root from which we get our English words bigamy and polygamy. Pergamos signifies a mixed marriage of the church and the world. This happened because the Babylonian religion established its headquarters at Pergamos and infiltrated Christianity. No wonder this local church is charged with dwelling in the area of Satan's seat or literally, "throne." They were perched on the doorstep of the devil's headquarters!
Of necessity, the believer in Christ is in the world. However, he must constantly guard against becoming involved in its ungodliness. The church of Pergamos became part and parcel of Satan's worldly establishment. They called themselves by Christ's name (Christians) and made verbal and written assent to the faith, even though they saw the danger of martyrdom in the example of Antipas. Nevertheless, they backslid.
Verse 14: But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
The first grievance against the church of Pergamos was the fact that they had embraced the pleasure of the world or become a worldly church. Secondly, they had given heed to false doctrine-The theology of Balaam. Remember Balaam? He had a smart donkey! How sad to be famous because of one's donkey. The animal was so smart it could outtalk Balaam. What was the doctrine of Balaam taught to Balac? First, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and second, to commit fornication. Balac had hired Balaam to curse Israel, and Balaam, the false prophet, was unable to get the anointing of Satan upon his spirit for the task. So he figured out a plan of destruction for the Jews. He said, "Let the choice of the women of Balac's kingdom display themselves before the eyes of God's people." As expected, the Jewish men became enamored with the beauty of the daughters of Balac's kingdom, committed fornication with them, married them, and were eventually drawn into idolatry. How wrong! Those who name the name of Jesus are not to become involved with the world in any manner, [for] ye cannot drink the cup of the...Lord's table, and of the table of devils (1 Corinthians 10:21).
Verse 15: So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Not only were the people of the first church of Pergamos worldly, sinful, and idolatrous, but they also shared in the wicked practice of Nicolaitanism as did the church at Ephesus. This, again, is ecclesiastical Hitlerism. It is when the minister or leader says, "I am the head, and you have no choice in the matter," allowing laymen no voice in the affairs of the church. Concerning the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, the condemnatory statement, which thing I hate, is uttered by the Lord God himself. The solution?
Verse 16: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
This is serious business. The Christian is not to close his mind, heart, and ears to God's warning.
Verse 17: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
As previously noted, the overcomer is the true believer in Jesus (see 1 John 5:4). He is given the hidden manna (the Word of God) and is presented a white stone. During ancient court trials, the jurors would lay down white stones to signify a decision of acquittal. Praise the Lord, through the blood of Jesus, the white stones of acquittal have been presented and every Christian has a new name written down in glory!
Verse 18: And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
Once again we see that the speaker is the Son of God. The description of His eyes and feet were discussed in chapter 1, verses 14 and 15.
Verse 19: I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
To this point, all four churches have been complimented for their works. Thyatira, however, was loaded with meritorious service and unusual deeds. She was known for her good works, love, service, faith, patience, and last works. The term "last works" means that this church outdid herself. Her works became greater toward the end of her lifetime than they were at the beginning.
Historically, Thyatira covers the years 606 A.D. to 1520 A.D. However, many scholars believe that this church is found in the world until she is destroyed by the revived Roman Empire in chapters 17 and 18. Although Thyatira had many admirable qualities, she nevertheless had some deep-rooted problems as well.
Verse 20: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Who was Jezebel? In the Old Testament she was perhaps the most wicked woman of her day. She became so hated that she was thrown from a window and the dogs ate her flesh. The sin of this self-appointed prophetess was to bring Baalism into Israel as a new religion. She is accused of seducing God's servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. This constituted the breaking of two of God's commandments to His people Israel: (1) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them and (2) Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20:4,5,14). God called upon Thyatira to turn from her wicked ways.
Verse 21: I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
The long-suffering and loving God gave Thyatira approximately 1,000 years to do what was right, but she resisted. How like many twentieth-century Christians, constantly rejecting the wooings of the blessed Holy Spirit. The result...
Verse 22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Judgment always comes: Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23). The Lord promises to cast this church and her bed partners-those who have partaken of her abominable iniquity, including idolatry and unfaithfulness to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ-into the Great Tribulation. At that point, the church which sits upon seven hills (chapter 17, verse 9) will be destroyed. The details concerning this event are discussed in chapters 17 and 18.
The obvious lesson here is that God hates sin. Sentimentalists say, "Oh, the blessed, loving Jesus would never condemn anyone." Really? We know that God is love (1 John 4:8) and God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world (John 3:17). Nevertheless, when His love is repeatedly spurned and one deliberately follows a course of sin, God's holiness demands that the sinner be punished. Remember Christ himself is speaking the following verse:
Verse 23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
How sad that the church of Thyatira, so highly praised for good works in the opening passages, must be horribly judged because of having undone every good thing that had been originally performed in the name of the Savior. Likewise, today it is possible for the Christian to lose every reward he has earned, so look to yourselves, that [you] lose not those things which [you] have wrought [or earned] (2 John 8). The only good news concerning Thyatira was that a remnant remained faithful in spite of the deterioration of this local church.
Verse 24: But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
The Lord Jesus informed John that those who did not succumb to Jezebel's theological follies or fall into the fornication and idolatry propagated by this false Babylonian religion, would not have any other burden. They had experienced enough heartache.
Verse 25: But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
Here the faithful remnant was admonished to continue in the truth of God's Word until Jesus returned.
Verse 26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Verse 27: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Verse 28: And I will give him the morning star.
Christ has promised faithful believers three rewards upon His return to the earth: (1) rulership over the nations during the Millennium: For they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (chapter 20, verse 4); (2) sharing in this glorious time of perfect righteousness resulting from Christ's personal enforcement and order (see Psalm 2:8,9); and (3) the abiding presence of the blessed Savior throughout time and eternity as Christ himself, the bright and morning star, is given (chapter 22, verses 14 and 16).
If your life is not what it once was for Christ, don't be a loser when rewards are distributed. Instead, about-face! Live for Him! Heed the warning of the next verse.
Verse 29: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Let's move on to the next church. The fifth letter, written to the local church in Sardis, is also from the Savior, for Christ has the seven stars in His right hand in Chapter 1, verse 16. Again, the Savior begins by commending Sardis for her works.
REVELATION CHAPTER 3
Verse 1: And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; these things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Sardis began in 1520 A.D., and undoubtedly extends, historically, into the Tribulation. This period of time covers the Reformation (with its dead, lukewarm churches) and is presently part of the Laodicean period as well. The reason for the deadness is that, during the Reformation, entire countries became Protestant without being born again. Protestantism was made the state religion, and was freely embraced by millions who did not know what it meant to become new creations in Christ Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Thus, Sardis became the mother of dead orthodoxy. Her theme song was not "Standing on the Promises"-her members were dead! God help us to have life! Hundreds of churches follow Sardis' lead today. This is the reason millions are leaving liberal churches for good, old-fashioned, gospel-preaching lighthouses. Immediately, God called for a fivefold revival package.
Verse 2: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Verse 3: Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Sardis was admonished to:
Be watchful or alert: knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep (Romans 13:11); Strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: Her people were to do everything possible to salvage the little good that still remained in their bastion of dead orthodoxy; Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard: The Sardis Christians were commanded to recall the former days-the early days of their salvation when they were filled with purity and zeal; Hold fast: They were to retain the simple truth of the gospel and discard the excess baggage of ecclesiastical pomp and ceremony; and Repent: They were to change their minds. Christ's call was not for personal repentance but for the entire church, yea, the entire movement, to change. The Reformation churches needed to turn back to Christ, seeking His will and His Spirit's teachings rather than manmade ideas about theological truth. One of the areas of truth the Reformation churches failed to proclaim was the return of Christ. Therefore, the Lord said that this event would catch them unawares: Thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. No wonder many of the present-day offspring of the Reformation have ministers who say, "No one can understand the Book of Revelation. It is a deep, mysterious, symbolical, figurative book." Baloney! Preacher, layman, you are the one Christ had in mind. Awake thou that sleepest...and Christ shall [raise you from the dead] (spiritually speaking).
In the midst of this deadness, Sardis had a few who could still wiggle, spiritually.
Verse 4: Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Though the Reformation churches, like the mother out of whom they came, did not practice holiness unto the Lord, there were individuals who did not defile their garments in compromise with the world, the flesh, and the devil. They came out from among them, and [touched] not the unclean thing (2 Corinthians 6:17). As a result, they were promised the reward of being clothed in white garments, as stated in the latter part of verse 4 and in verse 5:
Verse 5: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
This white raiment is found upon the bride of Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints (Revelation 19:7,8). In addition, those who possess a genuine salvation experience will remain in the book of life eternally. What security! Christ says, I will not blot out his name...before my Father, and before his angels.
Verse 6: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Make sure YOUR experience is real!
Let's progress to the next church. The sixth letter is written to the church of Philadelphia and covers historically the years from 1750 until the Rapture.
Verse 7: And to the angel [or messenger] of the church of Philadelphia write these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Once again the message is from the Lord Jesus Christ. However, instead of gleaning a picture from chapter 1, as we have in the past, we are now given a new and beautiful fourfold description of the Lord:
He that is holy: one finds this description of Christ in Hebrews 7:26; He that is true: Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); He that hath the key of David: Jesus again said, I am the root and the offspring of David (chapter 22, verse 16); and He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth. Christ is not only the One who opens the door, but He is the door (John 10:9). Christ's commendation is presented to the local church of Philadelphia in verses 8-10: Verse 8: I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Verse 9: Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Verse 10: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
We immediately realize from this text that the church of Philadelphia is loaded with good works. The open door speaks of missions, and the church covering this era of time undoubtedly has done, and is doing, more than any other group ever attempted to do in the annals of history. Thank God for such vision! Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).
Although this group does so much, they are still a minority, for [they had] a little strength. One of their great strengths was that they kept His name. Since the church of Philadelphia extends into our twentieth century and even to the point of the Rapture, the command for each of us today is that we never deny His name, for if we deny him, he also will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12). Oh, the tremendous loss some will experience at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Christ also promises these faithful brethren that the members of the synagogue of Satan (false professors of religion as described in chapter 2, verse 9) will be forced to bow and worship the Lord God Almighty, willfully or unwillfully, at a future time (chapter 3, verse 9). This could be at the Judgment Day, for Paul informed the children of God that they would share with Christ in judgment. Hear him: Do ye know that the saints will judge the world? (1 Corinthians 6:2). Christ himself spoke of that time when He stated: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God (Romans 14:11).
Finally, because of their love for Christ, the Philadelphia-era believers are promised exemption from the day of the Lord's wrath, or the Great Tribulation hour: I...will keep thee from the hour of temptation (chapter 3, verse 10). In the Greek, the word from is ek, meaning "out of." God promises to keep the Philadelphia believers "out of"-not "through" (preservation), but "out of' (evacuation)-the Tribulation. (Order my full-length videocassette entitled "The Great Escape" for a complete study of the preTribulation Rapture.)
Thus, the Church will be gone when the terrible hour of Tribulation judgment comes upon all the world to try the earth dwellers. Praise God, "This world is not my home, I'm only passing through." We believers are not earth dwellers, for our citizenship is in heaven (see Philippians 3:20). In the light of the coming of Christ, an admonition is given in the next verse.
Verse 11: Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Here the Christian is warned to be faithful, lest all rewards (not salvation, but rewards) be lost-even the loss of one's crown. The promise of verse 12 is to those who are faithful.
Verse 12: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Three blessings are mentioned for the faithful:
They become pillars in the temple of God; they have the name of God written upon them, thus identifying them and allowing them access into the city of God-the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21 and 22; and they have the new name written upon them. The name of God allows them to enter the Holy City, but the new name of Christ entitles them to be His servants, where they shall see His face (chapter 22, verses 3 and 4). Because the future blessings are so wonderful, the admonition continues.
Verse 13: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.
The seventh and final letter is to the local church of Laodicea, which covers the years from 1900 to the Tribulation Hour. The message, as in all previous letters, is from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 14: And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
This threefold description of the Savior includes:
the Amen. In Hebrew, this word means "true." The complete meaning is "truth in its finality," which pictures Christ as the final truth; the faithful and true witness. This statement links Christ to chapter 1, verse 5, where He is called true, and the beginning of the creation of God. Since the Lord is the firstborn of all creation (see Colossians 1:15), we again recognize Him as the speaker.
Verse 15: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
The Laodicean church also has works, but her service is rendered in a lukewarm fashion. What a picture of the present age! Some of our churches are so cold that signs above the doors could advertise these religious refrigerators as, "First Church of the Deep Freeze, pastored by Dr. Jack Frost." The situation is so drastic that, whereas parishioners used to quote the verse, "Many are called but few are chosen," they now think the "New Reversed Version" states, "Many are cold and a few are frozen!" God alone knows how serious the present situation literally is.
Verse 16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
The condition of the Laodicean church makes God so violently ill that He wants to spue this group out of His mouth. The Greek word is emeo, from which we get the word emetic. An emetic is given to one who has swallowed poison in order to make him regurgitate. Think of that! A lukewarm church is an emetic to Christ. But what's the reason for this lukewarmness, coldness, indifference, and carnality?
Verse 17: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
The Laodicean era is a highly prosperous one. As a result, her people have erected elaborate church structures worth millions of dollars. (Stop a moment and consider the money presently being invested in buildings used one to three hours weekly.) Laodicean pastors often attack the "electronic church" ministries. The command of Jesus is, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). However, the "electronic church" ministers, via radio and television, are simply obeying the Savior. God help each of us to see that although buildings are necessary for worship and service, they should be humble edifices rather than the latest multi-million dollar architectural monstrosities which glorify men.
God tells the Laodiceans that they are really wretched and miserable, poor (spiritually, though rich materially), blind, and naked. This is true because riches usually make one wretched and miserable. One spends forty years accumulating his wealth and the final thirty years keeping others from getting it. The Laodiceans are also blind because they cannot see the need of the millions who are dying without the Savior and going into eternal loss. Because of this fact, they are naked both now and in eternity, for they are not clothed with Christ's robe of righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). His plea to them is...
Verse 18: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Christ instructs the Laodiceans to:
buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich. This probably refers to 1 Peter 1:7, where the trial of [our] faith [is] . . .more than of gold; buy white raiment-undoubtedly, the reference is to the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness mentioned in Isaiah 61:10; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. This speaks of illumination which only the saved share: The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Because of the conditions prevalent in the Laodicean church, the Lord states...
Verse 19: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
This message reminds us of Hebrews 12:6, which states: Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Spiritual spankings are administered in order that we might be zealous and repent, or "change our minds." He continues...
Verse 20: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
This verse is actually a picture of Christ standing outside the door of the latter-day church rather than the heart of an individual, as we so often hear stated. Presently, entire churches and denominations are barring the Savior's entrance. Unbelievable! However, those who listen to His appeal, open the door, and follow Jesus will not be sorry.
Verse 21: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Finally, one last time, the Lord proclaims the warning...
Verse 22: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Chapter four begins the prophetical future. Remember chapter 1, verse 19: Write the things which thou has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. That text presented three tenses and informed us that the Book of Revelation is written in chronological order: the past- chapter 1; the present-chapters 2 and 3 (the history of the seven churches to the present time); and the future-chapters 4 through 22.
Now let's take a peek at what's coming.
REVELATION CHAPTER 4
Verse 1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
John states, "After this." After what? After the completion of the history of the seven churches. After this, John sees a door opened in heaven and hears a trumpet-like voice loudly and victoriously crying, Come up hither. This is the rapture of the church of Jesus Christ. When it occurs, multitudes from all kindreds. people, tongues, and denominations will meet the Savior face to face.
What is the Rapture? It is the literal, visible bodily coming of Jesus Christ to call out of this world, literally and bodily, every born-again believer-first the dead, then the living. First we see that Jesus is coming bodily. Remember the cultists of bygone days who said that the Lord was about to return? Clothed in white sheets, they sat on the mountainsides in anxious anticipation-but Christ didn't come. Date-setting is wrong! But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only (Matthew 24:36).
Because of their embarrassment, these cultists immediately stated, "Oh, we were right; Christ did come, but it was an invisible manifestation. He came as a spirit." Not so! When Jesus Christ returns, both in the Rapture (chapter 4) and at His Revelation (chapter 19), He will come literally, visibly and bodily. Proof? Acts 1:9-11: And when [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. The Lord will return exactly as He left.
How did He leave? Let's see. In Luke 24:39, Christ appeared to His disciples and said, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Then, in verses 41 and 42, He went on to say
Have ye here any meat [food]? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. The Lord Jesus Christ possessed a new resurrected body-a body that could be seen, a body that could be touched, and a body that could partake of food-a literal body!
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above [or over] five hundred brethren at once...After that, he was seen of JamesàAnd last of all he was seen of me also (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). No doubt about it, when He returns and the shout, Come up hither, is given, we will see Him. At this glorious moment, we, too, shall receive new bodies. The Bible teaches in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Notice that the dead in Christ shall rise first. (Perhaps this is because they have six feet further to rise-to the level of the living. Ha!) Then all of us together are caught up into the heavenlies to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the twinkling of an eye. You don't believe it? Then listen! Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [be dead], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [the living] shall be changed. Watch it. For this corruptible [the dead in Christ]àmust put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). How fast is the twinkling of an eye? Close your eyes for a moment. Open them. That's it! General Electric Company tells us that the twinkling of an eye is eleven one-hundredths of a second.
Just that quickly, at that blessed moment, we shall be changed to be like Jesus. David said, I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness (Psalm 17:15). John adds that when we see Jesus, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2). Then Paul chimes in and states: [He] shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body (Philippians 3:2 1). This, then, is the Rapture.
Some Christians say they do not believe in the term rapture. They argue that one cannot find the word rapture in the Bible. Interestingly, one cannot find the term Bible in the Bible either, but I'm holding one! Listen carefully: The word rapture, in English, comes from the Latin, rapio, which means "a snatching away." We have just learned from God's Word that all Christians, living and dead, are going to be snatched away in the twinkling of an eye, so whether one knows it or not, one believes in the Rapture.
The Bible also clearly teaches that there is a difference between the Rapture and the Revelation of Christ. We need to fully understand this truth because it is the basis for understanding the Book of Revelation, prophetical truth, and the placement of signs. Simply stated, there are two aspects, or stages, in the process of Christ's second coming, and both begin with the letter "r." We have already designated the first phase as the Rapture. The second phase is called the Revelation. Chapter 4 describes phase one, while phase two is described in chapter 19. The intervening chapters-6 through 18-basically cover a seven-year period called the Tribulation. The Rapture (chapter 4) precedes the Tribulation, and the Revelation (chapter 19) follows the seven-year period of judgment. Chapter 4 is a meeting in the air, whereas chapter 19 is a return to the earth. Chapter 4 removes the believer from the judgments described in chapters 6 through 18, and chapter 19 restores the believer to his earthly sojourn as he returns with Christ to planet earth. The Come up hither of Revelation 4:1 is synonymous with the call of 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Immediately following this event, the inhabitants of planet earth experience seven years of incomparable judgment. This judgment ends with the Battle of Armageddon, at which time the door of heaven is again opened (see chapter 19, verses 11 through 16) in order that the believer may exit heaven with Christ for the return trip to earth.
This return of Christ with His saints is called the Revelation, and comes from the word revealing. At that time the Lord will reveal himself to all humanity, so why not call this event the revealing, or revelation, of Christ? Let's not quibble about the labels concerning the Rapture and the Revelation. The truths are there; believe them! The labels only help one organize the teaching systematically.
The question often arises, "Will the church of Jesus Christ be on earth during the Tribulation hour?" The answer is an emphatic, "NO!" The Church is mentioned sixteen times in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, but is not found in chapters 6 through 18-the Tribulation period. Why?
First of all, the Tribulation is Israel's time of suffering. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7). And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people [Israel]: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people [Israelites] shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book (Daniel 12:1).
Secondly, the first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel's prophecy involved Israel. Why wouldn't the seventieth week? The Bible is plain: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Israelites] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem] (Daniel 9:24). That is why the signs in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 and 21 have to do with Israel and the Middle East.
Third, during the Tribulation hour, the people involved are instructed to pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day (Matthew 24:20). Israel is eternally identified with the Sabbath day (see Ezekiel 20:12,20).
Fourth, when Christ returns to Jerusalem (see Zechariah 14:4), all the tribes of the earth mourn (see Matthew 24:30). The mourners are the twelve tribes of Israel, numbering hundreds of thousands of individuals who were brought to repentance by the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish representatives from each of the twelve tribes (12,000 per tribe).
Finally, the persons experiencing the woes of the Church are never called "a synagogue," but rather the church (Acts 2:47).
As already stated, the Church cannot be found in Revelation 6 through 18, the portion of the book describing the horrible Tribulation hour. Israel, however, is seen in the midst of the holocaust (see Revelation 12:1-5). This correlates with the elect of Matthew 24:22. Jesus said, And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. This elect group is not the Church but Israel, for God has two elect groups upon earth-the Church and Israel. First, let's look at the Church. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love (Ephesians 1:4). This chosen group is called the elect in 1 Peter 1:2.
However, the Church, the bride of Christ, elected to be His sweetheart and wife for all eternity, is not in view in Matthew 24:22. Instead, this text has Israel, the wife of Jehovah, in mind. What? How can that be? Where was Israel chosen? In Genesis 12:2,3 God said, And I will make of thee a great nation, and l will bless thee, and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
In Deuteronomy 7:7 and 8, the Israelites were again reminded of their elect status: The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers...[He chose you]. This oath that chooses Israel as an elect group of people has never been abrogated: For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance-or without change of mind (Romans 11:29). Because of God's unchanging covenant or oath, Romans 11:26-28 declares, And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins...as touching the election (the elect), they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
When God chose Israel as His elect wife, He chose her forever because the calling of God is without change of mind. Though Jehovah's spouse has often committed spiritual adultery by turning to iniquity and idolatry, still Jehovah loves her because God abides faithful. There is no doubt about it, Israel is the elect group mentioned in the Gospels for whom the days of judgment will be shortened. Israelites are the ones who will pray that their flight for safety will not be on the Sabbath (their day of worship); who will suffer persecution in their own synagogues (only Jews meet in synagogues); and who have the name of Jacob, and who will experience Jacob's time of trouble (see Jeremiah 30:7), for Jacob is Israel (see Romans 11:26).
Hence, a period of seventy weeks is determined upon Israel (see Daniel 9:24). The nation of Israel has seen Jerusalem compassed [about] with armies (Luke 2 1:20), and will again observe the armies of the world posed against Jerusalem for the final war as God gathers all nations against Jerusalem to battle (Zechariah 14:2). This definitely is not the Church. All Christians slipped out through the open door in the fourth chapter before the judgments of heaven and earth began to be unleashed in the sixth chapter. They were evacuated when the shout, Come up hither, was given.
There are those who say that Revelation 4:1 is an exclusive picture of John the Beloved in a vision, being caught away in the presence of God. Therefore, they reason, this has nothing to do with anyone else, including the Church. This argument is fallacious because chapter 4, verse 10 states: The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne. When will believers be crowned? Immediately after the Rapture. Proof: Thou shalt be recompensed [rewarded] at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14). Again: And when the chief Shepherd shall appear [His coming], ye shall receive a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). Obviously, the Judgment Seat of Christ must take place before believers are crowned. Then they lay these crowns at Christ's feet, in verses 10 and 11, meaning they were already in His presence. The only way they could have gotten there is through the Come up hither of verse 1. We must also remember that John, the representative of all of God's people, is shown the things which must be hereafter and the things that will happen, both in heaven and on earth. Chapters 4 and S picture that which takes place in heaven, while chapters 6 through 18 picture that which occurs on earth-the Tribulation.
Verse 2: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Again, as in chapter 1, verse 10, the Holy Spirit takes complete control of John in order to give him the most glorious vision in all time or eternity-the Lord Jesus Christ upon His throne. Most of us have not personally met many kings, queens, or presidents, but such introductions will become absolutely meaningless when we see Jesus in His majestic splendor. Praise God, that day will soon be here. We are going home imminently. Amen and amen!
Verse 3: And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
Here we see a comparison of Christ with two precious stones-the jasper and the sardine. The jasper is clear as crystal (chapter 21, verse 11) and is likened to the light of the holy Jerusalem which comes from the glory of God (chapter 21, verse 23). Imagine, glory is that which first strikes our eyes as we see the Lord Jesus Christ. The sardine is red, the color of fire. This undoubtedly speaks of the righteous wrath of God and the judgment that is to fall in chapters 6 through 18. The rainbow, resembling an emerald, proves that the impending judgment will not come through a flood (because of God's promise to Noah in Genesis 9:13), but that it will be a holocaust of fire. After describing the throne and its occupant, John indicates the presence of another group situated in the very presence of the Lord...
Verse 4: And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
These are not angels, for elders always depict members of the human race. What members? The redeemed. They are also in resurrection bodies, as is the Lord, for they sit down. An immaterial spirit cannot sit, for a material body is necessary in order to sit on a material throne. Christ possesses such a new glorified body (see Luke 24:39), and when we see Jesus we shall be like him (1 John 3:2). The elders are also clothed in white raiment. One could not put a coat on a spirit very readily, for it would continually fall to the floor! The Book of Revelation cannot be spiritualized. These are real people! In fact, since the Judgment Seat took place immediately after the Come up hither of verse 1, these individuals are already wearing the crowns which they will place at the Master's feet in verse 11.
Who are these twenty-four elders? Some believe they represent the twenty-four groups or orders within the Levitical priesthood. This, in turn, represents all believers in Christ for, through Him as High Priest, every Christian is a member of the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Others believe the twenty-four elders represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles-for a total of twenty-four. In other words, they say the elders represent God's people of all ages. This is a good possibility since Revelation 21 describes the New Jerusalem, the names of the twelve tribes inscribed on the gates, and the names of the twelve apostles found upon the twelve foundations (see verses 12-14). Regardless of the view one holds, the four and twenty elders represent the children of God in the presence of the Lord, before the horrible Tribulation begins in chapter 6. A preview of the judgment about to be unleashed upon the entire globe is found in the following verse.
Verse 5: And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
Lightning, thunder, and voices speak of judgment. Rumblings resound through the heavens as the saints are informed of what is about to occur on earth.
The present hour is so late, prophetically speaking, that this very scene could happen soon. We may go home momentarily to become the very participants around the throne! Jesus is coming and His appearing is at the door (see Matthew 24:33). But wait! The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God, picture the Holy Spirit in all His perfection, for seven always denotes flawlessness in the Bible. (Note the seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:2.) This blessed Holy Spirit is also involved in the impending judgment. Each member of the Trinity is righteously indignant over earth's inundation with wickedness and participates unitedly in the twenty-one seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments which occur in chapters 6 through 18.
Verse 6: And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
Although thunderous judgment will soon be released upon earth, perfect peace surrounds God's throne. The glassy sea pictures calmness, a sea untroubled by winds and storms. This is the Church at rest in heaven before the storm occurs upon earth. Hallelujah!
Verse 7: And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Verse 8: And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
These verses are symbolic. Always take every word of the Bible literally unless God specifically indicates that it is figurative. In these texts we find the words, "like a" and "as a," expressing symbolism. The term beast is Zoon in the Greek, and means "a living creature." These are literal, created beings. At this point, the symbolic and figurative expressions depict their strength and knowledge. Thus, they have eyes before and behind to see all things clearly and accurately. By comparing the characteristics of these living creatures with Isaiah 6:1-3, we see they are undoubtedly seraphim-angels of God-created to praise, exalt, and adulate the Lord. These beings are not monstrosities. Instead, they are a picture of beauty. Within each species there is always a leader-the lion among wild beasts, the calf among domestic animals, the eagle among birds, and man among all creatures. This is the portrait set before us-angels in all their magnificence praising the Lord, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. This threefold adulation of holiness is for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit-the three in One (see 1 John 5:7). The description-which was, and is, and is to come-is the title of the Father (chapter 1, verse 4), the Son (verse 8), and also the Holy Spirit who always was, and is, and is to come, for the Trinity works unitedly. The praising of God by these living creatures is contagious and the entire group of God's people, pictured by the twenty-four elders, joins them.
Verse 9: And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
Verse 10: The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Verse 11: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
REVELATION CHAPTER 5
This is one of the most glorious moments in heaven. The crowned saints lay their rewards at the feet of Jesus. They lay aside their rewarded glory to add to His glory, thereby ascribing all glory to Him. They know that their victories came only because of His power working within them. (My full-length audio cassette, "The Judgment Seat of Christ," contains detailed teaching on this subject.) The praise session is concluded with the words, Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Imagine, both the angels and the elders praise God for creating them! This proves there will be no evolutionists in heaven. Instead, they will join with Darwin in singing songs about their ancestors-the monkeys-in a place where air conditioning does not exist. Jesus is coming! Prepare! Be with the blessed host when the greatest praise festival in the entire universe and heaven occurs.
Here is an important statement to consider: Bible chapters and verses came into existence 500 years ago. They are not inspired, but greatly assist one in finding texts. Sometimes, however, they break the continuity of a study. Such is the case at this point. Because John continues describing the heavenly scene, there should not have been a break between chapters 4 and 5.
REVELATION CHAPTER 5
Verse 1: And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
The book in the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ is actually a scroll of sheepskin, papyrus, or vellum. Its subject is redemption, and its contents unlock the remainder of this chapter. The message is contained on the inside and outside, and is enclosed by seven seals.
Verse 2: And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
The search for a member of the human race, past or present, or any rank of angel to open the book proves fruitless. None is worthy!
Verse 3: And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
John is heartbroken!
Verse 4: And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
John's lament has to do with the fact that this scroll is also the title deed to the earth. As long as it remains sealed, Satan will be in complete control of the planet.
Verse 5: And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
John's weeping ends at the place where all tears are dried. He is pointed to Christ where tears are turned to joy. Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. Since Judah is the leading tribe of Israel and a lion is the king of the beasts, Christ is thus pictured when He comes as Israel's King (see chapter 19, verse 16). It is at this same moment that the Lord God gives unto him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32). Let's go further in proving that our Savior is the One John sees.
Verse 6: And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
As mentioned previously, the seven-sealed scroll is the title deed to the earth and its subject is redemption. The Lamb of God (John 1:29), who earned the right by redemption to the title deed of the earth, is the only One worthy to open the seals. This is the Lamb who died for you and for me. Yes, Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He shed His precious blood to purchase our redemption, for the blood of Jesus Christ [God's] son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). John, who recorded the fact that Jesus was the Lamb of God when He walked upon the earth, now says that no one can overcome but by the blood of the Lamb (chapter 12, verse 11). "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?" There is no other way! Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins (see Hebrews 9:22). This Lamb is worthy because of the sacrifice He paid for your sin and mine. Yes, worthy is the Lamb to be praised for time and eternity.
The Lamb's seven horns picture strength. Jesus said, All [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). The seven eyes picture the fact that He sees everything each of us does: All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13). Since "seven" means perfection, there will be no mistakes made as the judgment is meted out, because the seven spirits of God-a picture of the Holy Spirit in all of His fullness-rest upon Christ without measure. Coupling His power (seven horns), His all-seeing vision (seven eyes), along with His filling of the Spirit of God in a sevenfold way (see Isaiah 11:1,2), not one mistake will be made during the Tribulation hour. The One found worthy now acts.
Verse 7: And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Verse 8: And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
The twenty-four elders, representatives of all of God's saved people, share in this glorious moment. The praise is so spectacular that the redeemed break out in song. What a heavenly choir-the largest ever assembled! Listen to them!
Verse 9: And they [sang] a new song, saying, thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Verse 10: And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
The song is in appreciation of the fact that Christ was slain on Calvary's cross, that His precious blood was shed (see 1 Peter 1:19), and that it was shed for the entire world. This includes Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists. Some Christians think they are going to have their own little corner, all alone, in heaven. Not so! Christ's sacrifice was for all kindreds, all tongues, and all people, all nations. God loves the world! The choir also sings about their soon return with Him when He comes as King of kings (chapter 19, verse 11). At that time they-the armies of heaven-will follow Him upon white horses. At this point the angels also join in praising the Lamb...
Verse 11: And I beheld, and l heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Verse 12: Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Notice that this passage is not a song. Nowhere does the Bible teach that angels sing. They recite their praise, whereas the Church Triumphant sings her glorious message. The angels, associated with the Lord since their creation, know Him as few know Him-for they have lived with Him for thousands of years. They praise the Lamb for seven reasons: (1) His power; (2) His spiritual riches; (3) His wisdom; (4) His might; (5) His honor; (6) His glory; and (7) His blessing. Carnal Christians who will not bow in worship to Christ here on earth, soon will!
Verse 13: And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
At this point Philippians 2:9-11 will be fulfilled: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What is the response as the heavenly hosts envision this future hour?
Verse 14: And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Notice they get a head start. They cannot wait to begin their worship of the Lamb-the Lord Jesus Christ!
If your not sure you will go up before the Tribulation on Earth starts. GIVE YOUR HEART AND SELF TO JESUS, AND YOU WILL NOT MISS OUT.
PRAY THIS PRAYER
THANK YOU LORD JESUS. THAT YOU LOVED ME, AND GAVE YOURSELF FOR ME. WHAT LOVE, AND TODAY I RESPOND, I WANT YOU AS MY OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR. AND YOUR PRECIOUS BLOOD PUT INTO A SPECIAL BODY BY YOUR FATHER, WAS SHED FOR ME, TO CLEANSE ME, TO WASH ME, TO SAVE ME. I ACCEPT IT NOW, COME INTO MY HEART PRECIOUS SAVIOR. I PRAY THIS IN YOUR HOLY NAME KING JESUS.
REVELATION VERSE BY VERSE CHAPTERS 1 TO 5 BY DR JACK VAN IMPE.
HERE IS THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION FROM REVELATION CHAPTERS 6 TO ETERNITY REVELATION CHAPTER 22.
231 - http://israndjer.blogspot.com/2006/06/sin-judgement-and-tribulation.html
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