Category: Revelation Study

The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets

The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets

Text: Revelation 8-11

This is the 2nd set of judgments in Revelation, beginning at the breaking of the 7th Seal in the Book of Redemptive History. These judgments grow progressively more frightening and terrible as God ramps up the Divine War Machine and prepares to unleash His full fury.

There is some frightening imagery, here but it is important that we do not abandon the Literal Principle here and begin to allegorize the text. Remember, there are NO allegories in Scripture.

1st Trumpet: Hail and Fire mixed with blood is cast to the earth. 1/3 of all trees and all the grass is burned up.
This is quite possibly a comet. If you have ever seen one through a telescope, the description is quite similar to what we have in this text. It is also possible, as Dr. MacArthur points out, that “This may describe volcanic eruptions that could certainly result from the earthquake in v. 5. The steam and water thrown into the sky by such eruptions could easily condense into hail and fall to earth along with the fiery lava (Ex 9:13-25). Dust and gases may so contaminate falling liquid water that it appears blood red. A lava storm would certainly create a blazing fire that devastates one-third of the earth’s forests.”
2nd Trumpet: a “mountain” is cast into the sea and destroys 1/3 of all sea life and ships
While the first trumpet could very well be a comet colliding with the earth, the result of this trumpet almost certainly is an asteroid colliding with Earth. The gasses surrounding the asteroid would ignite due to the tremendous heat generated while passing through the atmosphere.
The unmitigated heat would instantaneously kill every living thing in the impact zone and the shockwave, depending on the size of the asteroid would destroy all life for hundreds of miles. As to the ships, the sea would “swallow them whole” by way of the massive tidal wave an asteroid’s impact would cause. Doubtlessly, the blood red appearance would be the blood of the inhabitants of the ships, most likely ripped apart in the destruction.
3rd Trumpet: Wormwood and the waters are poisoned
It is clear that this is some form of celestial body that is cast to the earth. This time, though, the object disintegrates as it careens toward the planet. 1/3 of all the rivers and springs are rendered non-potable. Now, this is truly frightening; in His wrath, God allows the waters to be struck and absent drinkable water, death will be prolonged and miserable. (Normally it takes 10 days to die from dehydration. In this case, those 10 days will be experiencing continued judgment and the agonies will begin to mount.)
4th Trumpet: Celestial bodies are struck

The sun, moon, and stars lose 1/3 of their power. This would cause a drastic shift in climate (temperature, tides, etc).

Looking to the IVP New Testament Commentary:
“The four areas affected–earth, sea, fresh water and sky–made up the whole of the human environment as the ancients perceived it. These four spheres were what Jews and Christians acknowledged as God’s creation (compare 14:7). Despite the discovery of new oceans and continents, even the exploration of space, these four–earth, sea, fresh water and sky–are still the natural components of the human environment as we define it today.”
To this point, the Trumpet Judgments have dealt with the physical world. The next judgments are brought about by God unleashing demons to torment men and the sons of men.

5th Trumpet: The Abyss is opened and the judgment of locust like creatures

I have heard all manner of insanity in trying to describe what these may be. However, the Scripture is clear that these are demons. In his New Testament Commentary, John MacArthur explains,

“The demons incarcerated in the abyss are undoubtedly the most wicked, vile, and perverted of all the fallen angels. Jude describes some of them as “angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode,” noting that God “has kept [them] in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 6-7). That passage describes certain fallen angels who left the angelic domain to indulge in sexual sin with humans, just as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah attempted to engage in perverted sex with angels (Gen. 19:1, 4-5).”

And John Phillips gives us the following picture,
“Picture what the world would be like if we were to open the doors of all the penitentiaries of earth and set free the world’s most vicious and violent criminals, giving them full reign to practice their infamies upon mankind. Something worse than that lies in store for the world. Satan, cast out of heaven, is now permitted to summon to his aid the most diabolical fiends in the abyss to act as his agents in bringing mankind to the footstool of the Beast. (Exploring Revelation, rev. ed. [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N. J. : Loizeaux, 1991], 125)”

So begins the End of Days…Often we have heard “it was Hell on Earth,” but this time it will be. As the final 3 Trumpets sound Satan summons his most insidious allies to wage the final holocaust of judgment against a Christ rejecting world. Fear though, because even in this terrible trumpet judgment, there remain 9 more, 2 Trumpets and 7 Bowls and each will be more horrible than the last…

6th Trumpet: The Angels of Death are loosed

In certain portions of Jewish and some Christian sects, the angels Azra’el, Samma’el, and Salathi’el. There is no 4th angel associated with death. Note: The names of these angels are not found within mainstream Christianity and the Bible does not mention a specific “Angel of Death.”

These 4 angels are, again, fallen angels, since the Bible never refers to holy angels as being bound. The army that they command is not a human army, that will come in the next trumpet. Rather, this is a demonic horde that is unleashed and it is granted to them to kill 1/3 of humanity.

Before describing the horses, the actual agents of destruction, John briefly described those who sat on them. He noted that the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone. The color of fire is red; that of hyacinth, dark blue or black like smoke; that of brimstone, a sulfurous yellow, describing the rock which, when ignited, produces a burning flame and suffocating gas. Those are the very colors and features of hell (cf. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8), and they paint a terrifying picture of God’s wrath poured out on the sinful world by these demons. These colors are reminiscent of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the nearby cities (Gen. 19:24-28). {MacArthur NT Commentary}

At that future point in world history, idolatry, mysticism, spiritism, satanism, and all other forms of false religion will become pandemic, as demons lead people into more wicked and vicious behavior. Unbridled, unrestrained, escalating wickedness will run amuck as never before in human history (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13). As a result, in addition to idolatry, violent crimes like murders will be rampant. Bereft of any sense of morality, evil, unrepentant people will imitate the demon horde’s murderous blood lust. Believers in the true God will no doubt be their prime targets, as they lash out seeking revenge for the disasters God has brought on them. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

There is an interlude in chapter 10 and most of 11, a parenthetical of sorts that we will cover in our next lesson…

7th Trumpet: God answers and Christ is Coronated

The 7th Trumpet, as the 7 seals, is telescopic and contained in this Trumpet Judgment are the 7 Bowl Judgments, the final judgments mankind will face as God brings history to its close.

Instead of calling for the moment of the Rapture of the church, as the “last trumpet” does, the seventh trumpet calls for prolonged waves of judgment on the ungodly. It does not parallel the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52, but does parallel the trumpet of Joel 2:1-2: “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

The seventh trumpet not only announces consuming judgment on unbelievers, but also the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament trumpets were frequently sounded at the coronation of a king. During his attempted coup against his father David, “Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, “Absalom is king in Hebron”’” (2 Sam. 15:10). At the coronation of David’s true successor, Solomon, “Zadok the priest … took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’” (1 Kings 1:39). Trumpets also sounded at the coronations of King Jehu (2 Kings 9:13) and King Joash (2 Kings 11:12, 14). {MacArthur NT Commentary}

In chapters 15 and forward we will see the results of this horrible judgment…

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Text: Revelation 7

As opposed to simply providing lesson notes, which is my normal custom, I want to address objections and disputations with regard to this passage of Scripture.

Objection: The Bible says not all of Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6), so you cannot say that all of Israel will be saved in the Tribulation.

Answer: The Bible does indeed make the statement that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel but to imply that this verse means that “all” of Israel will not be saved is specious at best. I heard a sermon from John Piper wherein he says “Israel is God’s chosen people and most of them are perishing, cut off from the Savior, Jesus Christ. And the reason it is a crisis for you, and not just for Jews, is that, if God’s promises to Israel do not hold true, then there is no reason to think his promises to you will hold true. The rock solid security of God’s elect in Romans 8 (Verse 33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!”) – this security that we exult in, at the heart of our faith, is worthless if God proves unfaithful to his covenant people. If God does not keep his promises to Israel, will he keep the promises he makes to us?”

Statement of Fact: A number of sound Bible teachers teach that the 144,000 are not to be taken literally and, instead, are a representation of all that will be saved during the tribulation.

Answer: This is an understandable sentiment but it is deficient for 2 reasons. First, there is no reason to assume Revelation needs to be “spiritualized” There are figurative aspects to be sure and they need to be dealt with according to the normal rules of language. Secondly there is nothing in Revelation 7 that indicates that the 144,000 and the multitude are the same. I would argue the opposite is true; the multitude and the 144,000 cannot be the same because one is from Israel and the other is from every tongue and tribe (often times referred to as ha’Goyim/the Nations) and thus the multitude are still more gentiles who are saved.

Question: Is it logically possible that all Israel will be saved?

Answer: That all Israel will be saved is, in fact, a logical possibility. Moreover it is plausible, and guaranteed. 

In two of the sets of judgments, we see the unmitigated death and destruction that the Holy God allows to be unleashed on a Christ Rejecting world. What we do not see, in Revelation, is how many of those who are killed are part of Israel and as a consequence we do not know how many Israelites are left alive to be saved although Zechariah 13:8 states that 2/3 will be cut off and die. We can, then, infer that the salvation of the remaining 1/3 as “all” Israel to be saved is logically possible. As to probability, bear with me…

7 Seals Judgment

Rev.6:3-2nd Seal: Wars on earth

Rev.6:7-4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the worlds population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth

Rev.6:9-5th Seal: Persecution and mass killing of God’s people worldwide

Rev.6:12-6th Seal: Massive earthquake wrath of God.

TRUMPETS

Rev.9:13-6th Trumpet: demons released and 200 million army kills 1/3 of the world’s population.

Some points from the Revelation Teaching Series by another of my mentors

  1. “shall be saved”…salvation by faith in Jesus Christ vs works

Genesis 15:6 Habakkuk 2:4 Romans 4:9 – 5:1 Romans 9:24-26 Galatians 3:16-29

  1. “all Israel”

Romans 2:25-29 Romans 9:6b Romans 9:27 Ezkekiel 20:5, 8, 13, 16-17, 33-44

 

We come to some questions:

  • When will God rule over Israel…when will God be Israel’s King?
  • When will Israel pollute His name no more?
  • When will Israel be sanctified before the Gentile nations?
  • When will Israel know that Jesus Christ is Lord?
  • When will Israel loathe themselves and their tawdry history?
  • When will the Lord purge Israel of the rebels/unbelievers?

 

The answer to all of the above questions is

During the 70th Week of Daniel  (Dan 9:24)

Ezekiel 36:16-31 Zechariah 13:8-9 Romans 11:25-29

“all Israel” are those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, their King and Savior

Ezekiel 40-48

Question Does any reputable Bible teacher believe all Israel will be saved?

Answer:

Dr. MacArthur points out that “all Israel” means all of those members of the nation of Israel that survive the Time of Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation.

Romans 11:17- only some branches are broken off, so a believing remnant are being preserved unto/until salvation.

Before all Israel is saved, its unbelieving, ungodly members will be separated out by God’s inerrant hand of judgment. Ezekiel makes that truth vividly clear:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 20:33–38, emphasis added; cf. Dan. 12:10;Zech. 13:8–9)

Those who hear the preaching of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1–814:1–5), of other converts (7:9), of the two witnesses (11:3–13), and of the angel (14:6), and thus safely pass under God’s rod of judgment will then comprise all Israel, which—in fulfillment of God’s sovereign and irrevocable promise—will be completelya nation of believers who are ready for the kingdom of the Messiah Jesus.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israeland with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israelafter those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer. 31:31–34; cf. 32:38)

God’s control of history is irrefutable evidence of His sovereignty. And as surely as He cut off unbelieving Israel from His tree of salvation, just as surely will He graft believing Israel back in—a nation completely restored and completely saved.”

Most importantly, the reason why, at some point, the entirety of Israel looks upon Him whom they pierced, mourns, and turns to Christ is the fact that God does not change

Malachi 3:6

I, the Lord, do not change

Hosea 2:14-20

14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishf the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:29

29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”

Psalm 102:12 & 25-28

12 But Thou, O LORD dost abide forever; And Thy name to all generations. . . 25 Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. 27 But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. 28 The children of Thy servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before Thee”

Beloved, I hope this is helpful. Until next time, grace to you.

You Can’t Have a Post Tribulation Rapture

You Can’t Have a Post Tribulation Rapture

In Christian eschatology, the post-tribulation rapture doctrine is the belief in a combined resurrection and rapture of all believers coming after the Great Tribulation. This position is fundamentally flawed and, in my estimation, does not fit with the Bible.

 

  1. The Great Tribulation is a time of judgment and the true Church was judged at Calvary

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:12-13

One sacrifice for sin for all time…If your sin was paid for at the cross, it in manifestly unjust to pay for it again in the tribulation.

  1. The Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and Israel (Jacob) is not the Church

‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

Jeremiah 30:7

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “In the previous verses of Jeremiah 30, we find that the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah the prophet about Judah and Israel (30:3-4). In verse 3, the Lord promises that one day in the future, He will bring both Judah and Israel back to the land that He had promised their forefathers. Verse 5 describes a time of great fear and trembling. Verse 6 describes this time in a way that pictures men going through the pains of childbirth, again indicating a time of agony. But there is hope for Judah and Israel, for though this is called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (NASB), the Lord promises He will save Jacob (referring to Judah and Israel) out of this time of great trouble (verse 7).”

The Tribulation is a time of purification for Israel during which the obstinately unbelieving will be destroyed leaving the faithful remnant to enter the Kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:21,22 Zephaniah 3:19,20 Romans 11:26,27

  1. The Church is not mentioned from Revelation 4-19

            There is not really much extrapolation needed here. If the Tribulation were, in fact, something the Church were expected to endure, surely the Holy Spirit would have warned us. I would go so far as to say that it requires a dismissal of logical inference to presume the Church will go through the Tribulation.

  1. Revelation 3:10 and tereso oras peirasmou

Tereso oras peirasmou (I will keep you from the hour of testing.) The hour of testing being referred to, here, is the Tribulation and it is Christ Himself who says that He will keep from the hour of testing.

  1. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Where, exactly, is the comfort in facing the Tribulation?

  1. The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23 Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52

  1. There will be a final judgment but the Tribulation is not it

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works but this is not the tribulation period. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Matthew 25:46 Mark 9:43-48 Revelation 19:20 Revelation 20:11-15   Revelation 21:8

  1. Lastly, the final judgment for believers is the Bema Seat not the Tribulation.

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “Romans 14:10–12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In context, it is clear that both passages refer to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ.

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10. James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

 

The Book of the 7 Seals

The Book of the 7 Seals

So now we come to it. Christ has revealed Himself as Lord of the Church and has delivered His 7 Messages to them. We have seen Him as the Lamb who is also the Lion and, now, we see Him opening the Book of the 7 Seals and giving perfect justice. We will see that He came to save and He is coming to kill. Those who refuse to repent, who continually reject Christ, who blaspheme the Father now get what is coming to them in the form of the Wrath of the Lamb….

Text: Revelation 6

From this point forward, we are dealing almost entirely with judgment. However, in the midst of the destruction that has now come from the Day of Wrath, we will see God’s infinite mercy on display in the sealing of 144,000 Jewish Witnesses to Christ, the salvation of Israel following the purging of the obstinately unfaithful, and at least one parenthetical look at Redemptive History as God the Father pours out His wrath, the Divine Son serves as the Father’s executioner, and the Holy Spirit seals and protects those saved out of the Tribulation. Indeed, we shall see the entire Trinity is active in the Final Judgment and the Final Redemption.

6:1 the seven seals. In chapter 5, we noted that Christ was the only One found worthy to open the little scroll, the book which contains both the title deed to the earth as well as the proscriptions for the culmination of Redemptive History. As He breaks the 7 seals that secure the scroll, each seal unleashes a new demonstration of God’s judgment on the earth in the future tribulation period.  These seal judgments include all the judgments to the end. The seventh seal contains the 7 trumpets; the seventh trumpet contains the 7 bowls. If you will remember, 7 is the number of completion in the Bible and so each set of judgments echoes the completion and finality of judgment

6:2 a rider on white horse. The animal represents an unparalleled time of world peace—a false peace that is to be short-lived. This peace will be ushered in by a series of false messiahs, culminating with the Antichrist (Matthew 24:3-5). Some of these false messiahs will, doubtlessly come from within the Church herself in a partial fulfilment of Matthew 24:24. (Those coming from within the Church will precede the Rapture and the false messiahs will continue to come until the final Antichrist) The true Church, however, will resist because it will not be possible to completely deceive the Elect.

he who sat on it. I agree with John MacArthur, the 4 horses and their riders do not represent specific individuals, but forces. Many solid teachers identify this rider with Antichrist, and, although he will be the leading figure, John’s point is that the entire world will follow him, being obsessed with pursuing this false peace.

bow. We know that the bow is an instrument of war, but notice the absence of arrows; This is a bloodless conquering since the world will have grown weary of war. The war tired world will follow the Antichrist in his promise of peace (Daniel 9:24-27).

crown. This word is stephanos. Here is what Strong’s Dictionary tells us: 4735 stéphanos – properly, a wreath (garland), awarded to a victor in the ancient athletic games (like the Greek Olympics); the crown of victory.

It “was given to him.” Antichrist thus becomes king, elected by the world’s inhabitants regardless of the cost, and will conquer the entire earth in a bloodless coup.

6:4 another, a red horse. A blood red horse testifies of the holocaust of war (Matthew 24:7). God will grant this horse and its rider the power to create worldwide war. Antichrist will find his “peace” to be very short lived, but as horrible as this judgment is, it will be only the “birth pangs,” the beginning pains of God’s wrath (Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:7, 8; Luke 21:9).

men would slay one another. Violent slaughter will become commonplace.

sword. This is not a long, broad sword, but the shorter, more easily maneuvered one that assassins often used and that soldiers carried into battle. It depicts assassination, revolt, massacre, and wholesale slaughter (Daniel 8:24). It seems as though intrigue will abound along with plotting, counter plotting, and a wholesale killing that even the most treacherous despot would not imagine in his wildest fantasies.

I would like to suggest, at this point, that we begin to see what Total Depravity actually looks like when unfettered by the Holy Spirit.

6:5 black horse. Famine. (Lamentations 5:8-10). Worldwide war will destroy the food supply which spawns global hunger. pair of scales. The common measuring device—two small trays hung from each end of a balance beam—indicates that the scarcity of food will lead to rationing and food lines.

6:6 quart of wheat. The approximate amount necessary to sustain one person for one day. denarius. One day’s normal wage. One day’s work will provide enough food for only one person. three quarts of barley. Usually fed to animals, this grain was low in nutrients and cheaper than wheat. A day’s wage provides enough for only a small family’s daily supply. oil and the wine. Although the point could be that these foods will not be affected by the famine, a more straightforward meaning is that bare staples—oil was used in the preparation of bread, and wine was considered necessary for cooking and purifying water—suddenly will become luxuries that have to be carefully protected.

Note well, that the famine causes inflation to skyrocket. Later, as the final days draw near, men will literally sell their souls, taking the mark of the beast, to be able to have bread.

6:8 ashen horse. “Ashen,”  is the Greek word, chloros,  from which the English word “chlorophyll” comes. It describes the pale, ashen-green, pallor characteristic of the decomposition of a corpse. God grants this horseman the authority to bring death to 25 percent of the world’s population.

Many people think the rider is Death but this ashen horse is, without doubt, Pestilence; famine and pestilence usually come together. It would not be a stretch to think that the global famine will be so terrible that people will eat anything that could pass as food, including rats and other disease ridden animals. Side note: in its definition of pestilence dictionary.com says that the definition specifically connotes bubonic plague and, perhaps it is an antibiotic resistant strain which travels around the world.

Word Study: Hades (Nelson Study Bible)

“(Gk. hades) (6:8; 20:13, 14; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31) Strong’s #86: The Greek term means “the place of the unseen.” It designates the invisible world of the dead, as does the Hebrew word sheol. All people who die go to Hades because all pass from the visible world to the invisible. The association between Death and Hades is therefore a natural one. Unfortunately, this word has often been associated with hell, a place of eternal punishment. But there is a different Greek word for hell; it is gehenna (see Mark 9:43–45). We cannot avoid Hades, but we can avoid hell, by believing in Jesus and receiving eternal life.”

6:9 fifth seal. The fifth seal focuses on martyrs slain for standing for the word of God and Christ’s testimony, the very reasons John was exiled to Patmos (1:9). These martyrs’ souls are under the altar because sacrificial blood was poured beside the base of the altar in the temple (Exodus 29:12). The martyrs are impatient for the Lord to avenge their blood and to judge all those who are not among His redeemed (5:9). This vengeance will not be carried out completely until 19:2. Its events will begin in the first half and mark the mid-point and events following, in the 7-year period, which is called the Great Tribulation (2:22; 7:14; Daniel 9:27 Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4). The second 3½ year period (11:2; 12:6; 13:5) features the Day of the Lord, in which God unleashes His judgment and wrath on the earth in intensifying waves.

6:11 white robe. Each martyr is given the white robe of the overcomer (3:5) and told to rest until God’s appointed time. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord (see Deuteronomy. 32:35; Romans. 12:19); it will come in His perfect timing.

rest for a little while longer. God will answer their prayer for vengeance, but in His time.

until the number… would be completed. God has predetermined the number of the righteous whose death He will allow before moving to destroy the rebels.

6:12 sixth seal. The force described in this seal is overpowering fear (cf. Luke 21:26). While the first 5 seals will result from human activity God used to accomplish His purposes, at this point He begins direct intervention (Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25). It is now time for God to unleash the full fury of His indignation.

The previous 5 seals will be precursors to the full fury of the Day of the Lord which will begin with the sixth seal (v. 17). The events described in this seal unleash the seventh, which contains the trumpet judgments (chapters 8, 9; 11:15) and the bowl judgments (chap. 16).  There is essentially a shift, here. While there will be more and more people saved, mercy has run its course and can bring no relief from the escalation of God’s judgments; In a very real sense, at the 6th seal, mercy is no more.

great earthquake. There have been many earthquakes prior to this (Matthew 24:7), but this will be more than an earthquake. All the earth’s fault lines will begin to fracture simultaneously, resulting in a cataclysmic, global earthquake. It is hard to convey the destruction that this event will cause because it is nearly impossible to imagine. To say that this earthquake causes unparalleled destruction would be no understatement. We should also note: An earthquake previously announced the terrifying arrival of the Lord in His glory (Exodus 19:18; Psalm 97:5; Ezekiel 38:19–20), but His final coming will shake both earth and heaven (Haggai 2:6; Hebrews 12:26–27).

moon became like blood. Accompanying the earthquake will be numerous volcanic eruptions; and large amounts of ash and debris will be blown into the earth’s atmosphere, blackening the sun and giving the moon a blood-red hue (Zechariah 14:6, 7). In my lifetime, as recently as 2014 and 2015, there was a lunar tetrad with “4 Blood Moons” and many, who do not know the Scriptures well, thought that this portion of the prophecy was coming to pass or that the moons portended to some other apocalyptic sign. You can be sure, though, that when we finally reach the point spoken of in this verse, there will be no question that it is being fulfilled as it will come on the heels of terrible destruction.

6:13 stars of the sky fell. The word “stars” can refer to any celestial body, large or small, and is not limited to normal English usage. Most probably this is a meteor shower of some form. There are times in the Bible when angels are referred to as the stars of heaven but I do not believe that angels are in view here.

unripe figs. Winter figs that grow without the protection of leaves and are easily blown from the tree.

6:14 sky was split apart like a scroll. it actually reads as receded in in the ancient language. Receded is apechōristhē . The term is used to describe the parting of Paul and Silas from Barnabas and Mark (Acts Acts 15:39). The sky receded causing it to be “split apart” (NASB). At the appearance of the Judge at the Great White Throne Judgment, “the earth and heaven fled away and there was found no place for them” (Revelation 20:11). The psalmist predicted a time when the heavens would “grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them” (Psalm 102:25).

It is easy to read a verse like this and be tempted to go to a symbolic interpretation but I would caution against that. There is no reason to assume a symbolic interpretation; the entire created order is, quite literally coming apart at the seams during God’s judgment.

every mountain and island were moved. Under the stress created by the global earthquake, great segments of the earth’s plates will begin to slip and shift, realigning whole continents. I would not be surprised, in the least, if entire mountain ranges suddenly found themselves flattened.

6:16 wrath of the Lamb. Earth’s inhabitants will recognize for the first time the source of all their trouble. Incredibly, prior to this they will be living life as usual (Matthew 24:37-39).

“In order to ensure that there is no misunderstanding on the source of these disasters, God will open the heavens for an instant, and the people on earth will be given a glimpse of God and the Lamb on their thrones (6:16). Suddenly, earth can peer into Heaven as Stephen did in Acts Acts 7:56. Man sees Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb. Men will know they are experiencing the wrath of God, and this knowledge will be even more fearsome to them than the great natural catastrophes they will have endured.” Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987),

The true terror of this particular verse is the fact that men realize this judgment is coming from God yet they do not repent of their sins and neither do they try to appease God.

6:17 great day. The 6th seal commenced the arrival of that great and terrible day, the Day of the Lord, which is also called the Day of Vengence.

There is no more turning back. Sin must be paid for and for those who have rejected Christ again and again, the judgments in Revelation are a down payment on the wrath to come in the Lake of Fire.

The Lamb is the Lion: Judgment begins

The Lamb is the Lion: Judgment begins

Text: Revelation 5

5:1 a book (scroll). There are several possibilities here: Dr. MacArthur has suggested, in several sermons, that this scroll is the title deed to Earth. Dr. Ryrie has suggested that it is the “Book of Redemption” telling the story of Redemptive History (See Ryrie Study Bible notes on Revelation). In the New Oxford Annotated Bible we are presented with the idea that this scroll contains the Divine Plan of Judgment and Redemption.

written inside and on the back. This is typical of various kinds of contracts in the ancient world, including deeds, marriage contracts, rental and lease agreements, and wills. The inside of the scroll contained all the details of the contract, and the outside—or back—contained a summary of the document. In this case it almost certainly is a deed—the title deed to the earth (Jeremiah 32:7)

sealed up with seven seals. Romans sealed their wills 7 times—on the edge at each roll—to prevent unauthorized entry. Hebrew title deeds required a minimum of 3 witnesses and 3 separate seals, with more important transactions requiring more witnesses and seals.

This is like the scroll given to Ezekiel (Ezek. 2:9–3:3) and given that it is sealed it is both unalterable and unknown until God chooses to reveal the contents.

5:2 strong angel. The identity of this angel is uncertain, but it may refer to the angel Gabriel, whose name means “strength of God” (Daniel 8:16). If you look at Luke’s Gospel, we see that the angel who visits Zacharias says “I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God and am sent to bring you these tidings (Luke 1:19).” This lends itself to the idea that the angel who speaks is in fact Gabriel. The only other angel specifically named in the Bible is Michael. I find it doubtful, though, that this would be Michael since he is usually portrayed as a warrior.

5:3 in heaven or on the earth or under the earth. This common biblical expression denotes the entirety of the universe and it is not intended to teach 3 precise divisions.

5:2-4 The scroll awaited one worthy to open the scroll and break its seals, and no servant of God introduced so far—neither elders nor living creatures nor anyone else in heaven, on earth, or under the earth—had sufficient authority to unveil and implement God’s secret agenda. Sensing that the church’s hope stood in jeopardy, John began to weep loudly.

5:5 the Lion… from the tribe of Judah. One of the earliest titles for the Messiah, it speaks of His fierceness and strength, which although glimpsed in His first coming, do not appear in their fullness until the moment anticipated here.

the Root of David. Another clearly messianic title, it anticipates His being a descendant of David, who with devastating force will compel the wicked of the earth to succumb to His authority.

I have an amillennialist friend who believes that this moment pictures the moment of Christ’s ascension; I disagree. It seems as though the logical conclusion, here, is that we see a reverse hierarchy i.e. the potential openers of the scroll are listed in ascending order and no one in the created order is worthy. John mistakenly concludes that there is no one worthy to open the scroll because none in the created order are worthy. Where the angel says behold, I think “wait!” is a better translation. Wait! Look, the creation cannot open it but the Lion of Judah, who is the Creator is worthy.”

5:6 Lamb. Hearing of a lion, John turns to see a lamb (lit. “a little, pet lamb”). God required the Jews to bring the Passover lamb into their houses for 4 days, essentially making it a pet, before it was to be violently slain (Ezekiel 12:3, 6). This is the true Passover Lamb, God’s Son (Isaiah 53:7; Jeremiah 11:19; John 1:29).

as if slain. The scars from its slaughter are still clearly visible, but it is standing—it is alive.

seven horns. In Scripture, horns always symbolize power, because in the animal kingdom they are used to exert power and inflict wounds in combat. Seven horns signify complete or perfect power. Unlike other defenseless lambs, this One has complete, sovereign power.

5:8 harp. These ancient stringed instruments not only accompanied the songs of God’s people (1Chronicles 25:6; Psalms 33:2), but also accompanied prophecy (1Samuel 10:5). It should be noted that these would be smaller and much more portable than what we know as a harp today. The 24 elders, representative of the redeemed church, played their harps in praise and in a symbolic indication that all the prophets had said was about to be fulfilled. Spontaneous praise is almost always the response of the saints.

bowls full of incense. These are golden, wide-mouth saucers similar to those which were common in the tabernacle and temple (Remember that the tabernacle and the temple were pictures of heavenly realities. Incense was a normal part of the Old Testament ritual. Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so that the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God. That symbolized the people’s prayers rising to Him.

prayers of the saints. Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed concerning ultimate and final redemption.

5:9 new song. The Old Testament is filled with references to a new song that flows from a heart that has experienced God’s redemption or deliverance (Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 144:9). This new song anticipates the final, glorious redemption that God is about to begin.

purchased for God with Your blood. The sacrificial death of Christ on behalf of sinners made Him worthy to take the scroll (1Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:3; 1Peter 1:18, 19; 2 Peter 2:1).

A note on the translation of verse 9: The KJV and the NKJV translate this as “purchased us/redeemed us” Revelation 5:9 is entirely dispensational

5:10 a kingdom and priestsreign upon the earth. The earth will not always be tyrannized by Satan and destroyed by his followers (Rev. 11:18; 12:12; 13:8). The first heaven and earth, stained by the curse through human sin, will be replaced by a new (or fully renewed) heaven and earth (21:1, 4) in which Christ’s saints will reign in righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13).

5:11 myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands. The number is to express an amount beyond calculation. The Gr. expression can also be translated “innumerable” or “many thousands” (Luke 12:1; Hebrews 12:22). Essentially, this is a limitless host. On its surface, it would appear that the whole of Heaven responds to Christ in an atiphonal chorus of praise. This is the clearest picture that we are given, in the Bible, of Jesus as being the center of everything.

5:12 power… and blessing. This doxology ascribes, to the Lamb, the sevenfold tribute that He is worthy of… power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, blessing

5:13–14

Finally, every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea (Psalm 146:6) offers a fourfold doxology (blessing, honor, glory, might) to God and to the Lamb. Eventually, every knee “in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” will bow and “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11).

Divine Worship as Judgment Begins

Divine Worship as Judgment Begins

Text: Revelation 4

Several visions of the heavenly throne-room occur in Revelation, usually preceding punitive actions on earth implying divine sovereignty over all earthly events, for events in heaven determine events in the world (7.9–17; 8.1–5; 11.15–19; 14.2–3; 15.2–8; 19.1–10; 21.3–8; see also 1 Kings 22.19–23; Job 1.6–12; 2.1–6).

 

Overview

This chapter is all about praise to God, the Creator of all. In the first vision, John sees the one God enthroned over the whole universe, praised as the Creator of all. This scene provides the setting for the remainder of the book. Faith in one God is at the core of both the Jewish and the Christian faiths (Deut 6:4-5; Mark 12:28-34; Rom 3:30; Gal 3:20; Jas 2:19).

In chapters 4 and 5 we get a glimpse into the Divine Throne Room as YHWH prepares to judge a Christ rejecting world.

Revelation 4

4:1 Come up here. This is not a veiled reference to the rapture of the church, but a command for John to be temporarily transported to heaven “in the Spirit” to receive revelation about future events. The Rapture has occurred somewhere between chapters 3 and 4. We note that it is not mentioned again until chapter 19 and God is specifically calling John into the Throne Room of Heaven to see:

what must take place after these things. According to the outline given in Chapter one and verse 19, this begins the third and final section of the book, describing the events that will follow the church age. We need to be absolutely clear here, the events which are described in chapter four and following do not concern the Church. This is the time of Jacobs Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) and is for the purification of national Israel.

4:2 throne. This is not necessarily a piece of furniture; it is, however a symbol of sovereign rule and Divine authority (7:15; 11:19; 16:17, 18; Isa 6:1). The Throne is the focus of chapter 4, occurring 13 times, 11 times referring to God’s throne.

4:3 It is unlikely that this is a description of God Himself. More likely what John is describing are the colors he sees as the Lord’s Crown reflects His radiant majesty. jasper. John later describes this stone as “crystal-clear” (21:11). He is probably referring to a diamond, which refracts all the colors of the spectrum in wondrous brilliance. A jasper/diamond would amplify the brilliance of Divine Majesty

sardius. A fiery bright ruby stone named for the city near which it was found (The sardius stone was commonly found near the city of Sardis).

emerald. A cool, emerald-green hue dominates the multi-colored rainbow surrounding God’s throne (cf. Ezekiel 1:28). From the time of Noah, the rainbow became a sign of God’s faithfulness to His Word, His promises, and His Noahic covenant (Genesis 9:12-17).

4:4 twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments, and their golden crowns all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (verses 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? These Elders cannot be Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7-year tribulation time (Daniel 12:1-3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point—the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8-10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (John 14:1-4). We need, also, to remember that the term elder is used to describe the Sanhedrin, which these are not, and it is also the title of the leaders of the Church. Since the Elder (presbuteros) stands before God to represent the flock, it is logical that the elders mentioned here are analogous to the Church.

4:5 lightning… thunder. Not the fury of nature, but the firestorm of righteous fury about to come from an awesome, powerful God upon a sinful world (8:5; 11:19; 16:18). Much like a storm that blows up on a lake, this is sudden and severe. It will seem like a surprise to the unredeemed world but to God it will not be a surprise but will come at exactly the time He plans for it.

seven Spirits of God. The Holy Spirit in His full perfection.

4:6 sea of glass. There is no sea in heaven (21:1), but the crystal pavement that serves as the floor of God’s throne stretches out like a great, glistening sea (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:22).

four living creatures. Lit. “four living ones or beings.” These are the most likely cherubim (sing., cherub), those angels frequently referred to in the OT in connection with God’s presence, power, and holiness (Ezekiel 1). Although John’s description is not identical to Ezekiel’s, they are obviously both referring to the same supernatural and indescribable beings (Psalm 80:1; 99:1; Ezekiel 1:4-25

full of eyes. The description of them as being full of eyes is reminiscent of the seraphim in Isaiah chapter 6. However, while these 4 Living Creatures could be seraphim it is more likely they are cherubim. The eyes are metaphoric in nature; although they are not omniscient—an attribute reserved for God alone—these angels have a comprehensive knowledge and perception. Nothing escapes their scrutiny, hence a description of being full of eyes.

4:7 first… like a lion. In what is obviously intended as symbolic language, John compares these 4 beings with 4 of God’s earthly creations. Ezekiel indicates that every cherub has these 4 attributes. The likeness to a lion symbolizes strength and power.

second… like a calf. The image of a calf demonstrates that these beings render humble service to God.

third… face like that of a man. Their likeness to man shows they are rational beings.

fourth… like a flying eagle. The cherubim fulfill their service to God with the swiftness of eagles’ wings.

4:8 full of eyes. See v. 6

Holy, holy, holy. Often God is extolled for His holiness in this 3-fold form, because it is the summation of all that He is—His most salient attribute (Isa 6:3). Here, again, is why I bring up the possibility that the 4 Living Creatures are seraphim. As in Isaiah, these angels call out holy, holy, holy in what is most likely an antiphonal chorus.

who was and who is and who is to come 

This is the eternal nature of who God is. He always has been (Psalm 90:2), He is I AM (Exodus 3:14), and He always will be (eis tus aionos tau aiono) (Revelation 22)

4:10 cast their crowns. Aware that God alone is responsible for the rewards they have received, they divest themselves of all honor and cast it at the feet of their King.

4:11 You created all things. It is the Creator God who set out to redeem His creation.

Heaven’s response to the person of God and to everything He does is praise. The Church joins in that worship. We join in because He is not just our King, He is our Redeemer and for that, we praise Him

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

This week’s lesson is the 7 Churches in Revelation. The notes you will find today are from my pastor, David Jeremiah.  You can find the notes and additional resources at http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/articles/seven-churches-of-revelation-bible-study.aspx

While exiled on the island of Patmos, the apostle John received a revelation from Jesus Christ that we now call the book of Revelation. In this vision, Christ gave John seven messages for seven first-century churches in Asia Minor. Read on to discover why Christ wanted to speak to these seven churches and what the messages mean for us today. Watch and listen to these messages here.

1. EPHESUS: THE LOVELESS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:1-7)

The church of Ephesus had many positive qualities; Christ commended them in five specific ways—they were dynamic, dedicated, determined, disciplined, and discerning (Revelation 2:2-3). But verse 4 reveals where they went wrong. “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Everything about the Ephesian church looked good on the outside, but inwardly they had heart trouble. Their devotion to Christ was waning.

If you find yourself in this place with your relationship with Christ, here is a three-part formula on how to return to your first love.

Remember

“Remember therefor from where you have fallen” (Revelation 2:5).

If we have left something or someone, the first step is to remember where we started.

Repent

The next logical step after remembering where we started and realizing where we are now is to repent. This means to reverse course and go in the opposite direction. “. . . repent . . .” (Revelation 2:5).

Repeat

Repeating to the original good works will help you get back to the place where you began. “. . . do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Return to what you did when you first became a Christian—the spiritual disciplines that kept you close to Christ and motivated to follow Him.

2. SMYRNA — THE SUFFERING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:8-11)

Christians in developed countries today think little about being persecuted for their faith. But there are churches in the world where such persecution is a daily reality. Such was the case for the ancient church in Smyrna. They suffered because of pressure, poverty, and persecution (Revelation 2:9). Christ’s words to that church can prepare all believers for what might come.

Be Fearless

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer” (Revelation 2:10). Because Christ is Lord over all of life’s circumstances, we have nothing to fear. Paul wrote that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Fear is a natural human response, but we live supernatural lives through the power of Christ in us.

Be Faithful

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Given the intensity of the persecution in Smyrna, I believe Christ was saying, “Yes, you may lose your life for My sake, but be faithful until the end.”

3. PERGAMOS — THE COMPROMISING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:12-17)

Pergamos was nicknamed “Satan’s City.” The Christians in Pergamos were surrounded by pagan beliefs and practices. In spite of their faithfulness in some areas, the Christians in Pergamos had compromised their faith in others. They had allowed idolatry to creep into their congregation.

Satan is still employing the strategy he used in Pergamos: What you can’t curse and crush, you can corrupt through compromise.

Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, Satan will be there to try to corrupt the truth.

Speak the Truth in Love

Christians should not be combative or antagonistic. Wherever corruption or compromise tries to gain a foothold, we need to be vigilant, sober, and on guard and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Remember the Lesson from Pergamos

Guard against the dilution of true doctrine by false teaching and authoritarian leaders. If that makes us intolerant in the eyes of some, then so be it. Christ will commend us just as He did Antipas, His “faithful martyr.”

4. THYATIRA — THE ADULTEROUS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:18-29)

There are Christians and churches today who feel a need to be relevant and all-inclusive when it comes to spiritual and moral boundaries. The ancient church in Thyatira must have felt that way as well. This church allowed an immoral individual to lead many others away from Christ (Revelation 2:20). What does Christ say to a church that is tolerating immorality in her midst?

THE THREAT OF DISTRESS (REVELATION 2:22)

When the prophetess refused the chance to repent, Christ warned of His judgment: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed.” Whether taken figuratively or literally, we should take those words as a warning. God is holy and will not abide rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The Threat of Death (Revelation 2:22-23)

This warning is not just to the prophetess but also to “those who commit adultery with her.” They would find themselves in “great tribulation” unless they repented of their immorality.

The Message to the Christians (Revelation 2:24-25)

The message for those that stood their ground and did not engage in the cult of immorality is to “Hold fast what you have till I come” (verse 25.)

The Message to the Conquerors (Revelation 2:26-29)

This is a message to those who would choose to remain faithful to Christ “until the end”. Christ promised that they would reign and they would be raptured.

5. SARDIS — THE DEAD CHURCH (REVELATION 3:1-6)

With this church there are no commendations; Christ begins immediately with a denunciation: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” The church was full of what we today would call “nominal Christians”—Christians in name only. Christ gives five specific directions for the church that is dead.

  • Be Sensitive to the Inroads of Sin in the Church (verse 2)
  • Be Supportive of Those Who Remain True to Christ in the Church (verses 2, 4)
  • Be Submissive to the Control of the Holy Spirit in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Subject to the Authority of God’s Word in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Sorry and Repent for the Sin of the Church (verse 3)
There is hope for those that do what Christ has directed. He promises eternal life for those that repent and submit to Him (Revelation 3:5).

6. PHILADELPHIA — THE FAITHFUL CHURCH (REVELATION 3:7-13)

Christ commended the church in Philadelphia for four things: they have an open door, they have a little strength, the have kept the Word of God, and they have not denied the Lord. If we want to be commended by Christ like this church, we will go through open doors of ministry, depend on His strength, and be true to Him and to His Word. What does this mean for us today?

The Potential of the Local Church

If Christ is present and the church is committed to Him, there is going to be a door of opportunity for ministry. Every church should pray for those doors to be recognized, opened, and walked through.

The People of the Local Church

Many churches today think there are too few people, there is too little money, there are too few gifts, and there are too few opportunities. Remember this simple truth: When we are weak or little, Christ is strong and big. Building the Church of Jesus Christ is not up to us. We depend on the head of the Church to give His Body the strength we need.

The Principles of the Local Church

In verse 8, Christ summarizes three principles that apply to every Church: open doors for ministry, depending on Christ’s strength, and keeping the Word of God. Being faithful to God’s Word will lead to open doors for ministry and depending on Christ’s strength since they are both taught in the Bible. When the Word of God is the first priority, everything else will fall into place.

The Priorities of the Local Church

Because the Church of Jesus Christ is His Church, we are to boldly identify with Christ regardless of the cost. We must proclaim Christ as the Bible does—the only name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

7. LAODICEA — THE LUKEWARM CHURCH (REVELATION 3:14-22)

The church in Laodicea was lacking in every way. It was a compromising, conceited, and Christless church and Christ said that it made Him sick (Revelation 3:16). Today’s Church should take note; those words may apply to us as well. We would be well advised to apply this counsel to our lives and churches today.

The Prescription for Spiritual Poverty

The Laodiceans were rich, but their riches were worldly, not spiritual. They needed spiritual wealth which can only come through Christ (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Nakedness

Nakedness in Scripture is a metaphor for defeat and humiliation, therefore Christ counsels them to procure “white garments” from Him that the shame of their nakedness might be covered (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Blindness

The only salve for spiritual blindness is repentance and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him for the fullness and wisdom of His Spirit to restore our spiritual sight.

The Prescription for Spiritual Compromise

There is only one word of counsel for the spiritually compromised: “Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19). God doesn’t love us only when we are doing the right things. He loves us all the time and He wants us to repent when we need to.

God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

The Prescription for Their Christlessness

Christ has this to say for any without Him: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). When Christ is moved to the margins and pushed outside the Church altogether, He stands knocking and seeking to be invited back in.

The King Who’s Coming

The King Who’s Coming

It is nearly impossible to look at the world without noticing that it has spun out of control and that’s the bad news. The good news is this: the world is right on schedule to meet its appointed culmination. How will this happen? Well if you will pardon the pop culture reference, it will happen with the return of the King.

The Lord of All the earth is about to make His return and to restore a paradise that has been lost. Officially, we call this “Our blessed hope” and it can be articulated this way: “The Imminent Return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory to gather His Church unto Him, is the Blessed Hope of the church.” Following that event, will be the Tribulation, the days of wrath, which will then culminate in the Millennial Kingdom.

In this week’s lesson, we are going to look at the King Who Is to Come.

Our text this week is Revelation 1:10-18

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

If you look back to Exodus Chapter 19, when the Lord made His visitation Sinai, His visitation was preceded by the sound of a trumpet, and it is interesting to note, that in most of human history, the blast of a trumpet announced the arrival of a coming King. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we see that, at the Rapture, the arrival of the King to gather His people to Himself into the clouds is accompanied by the sound of a trumpet. So we have two possible things in play here: 1. John heard the sound of a trumpet heralding the arrival of the King of the Universe. 2. The voice John heard was as loud, distinctive, and piercing as a trumpet blast. I tend to think that number 2 is the more likely scenario although 1st is a possibility.

11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

We are about to be treated to a glimpse into the Eternal Throne Room. Not only that, but we are about to receive a privilege unmatched anywhere in Scripture. Ever the teacher, the Lord Himself is about to give us the definitive exposition on the Scripture. We are going to see, in the imagery He uses, the Lord of all the Earth in resplendent glory and majesty.

We need understanding with verse 12-16 This vision is absolutely not a physical description of Christ in His Glory; we are not yet at the point where we will be able to behold Him as He now is. Instead, this is the lesson: Christ gives us a composite of Old Testament symbols representing the Lord of All:

 

10 Noteworthy Items

  1. One like the Son of Man

First, we need to note that this was not some otherworldly creature. The person that John saw was human in form. Over 80 times in the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself or is referred to as the Son of Man. This term does not simply identify the humanity of Jesus; His use of it to refer to Himself shows that He identifies with us. The One who is God above all gods, whose own precious blood redeemed the church, has humbled Himself to the point of being able to identify with the Bride. Since she can never be God, like the groom is, He has brought Himself to her and came in her likeness, as a Son of Man.

  1. “Clothed” in a garment down to the feet

By being clothed in a garment down to the feet, Christ shows Himself in His High Priestly role. (Hebrews 2:17 and 3:1) From the Ascension until this point in Redemptive History, Jesus has filled the Office of ha Cohen Gadol, the High Priest continually offering intercession for His saints before the Throne of God the Father. His shed blood at Calvary was the final atoning sacrifice which then left the role of the High Priest to be intercessor before God.

  1. Girded about the chest with a golden band

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells us that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been committed to the Son. In the Ancient World, a gold band was a symbol of power and authority. Kings, Satraps, Governors, etc. wore these bands around the waist as a sign of their authority.

  1. His head and hair were white like wool

This identifies Christ with the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-14). Not to be confused with the “white hair of old age,” this is a blazing white that speaks of righteousness. White is, perhaps, an insufficient adjective. This is absolute, superlative, holiness; a holiness so bright that leaves no room for any shadow. The white is Shekinah, the personal divine holy presence of God Himself.

  1. His eyes were like a flame of fire

In Greek, this phrase literally says “eyes shot fire.” Two things are in play here: first, this phraseology indicates indignance at the apostasy of the churches since the Church not being what she should be would certainly arouse the indignance of Christ. Secondly, eyes like a flame of fire speaks of the omniscience of Christ. Every thought and motive must pass through this gaze and all that is impure will be burned away.

  1. Feet like fine brass, refined in a furnace

If we look back to the Tabernacle for a moment, the altar of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (Exodus 38:1-7). Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin.

  1. Voice like many waters

When you stand near a waterfall, every other sound is drowned out by the thunderous roar of the waters. This is a picture of Jesus on the Day of Judgment; every voice, every sound will be brought to stillness before His authority. That is to say, when Christ calls His Judgment Court to session, the entire cosmos will come together and be convened.

  1. In his right had He held seven stars

Many times in Scripture, we see that stars and angels are used interchangeably and since the word angelos means messenger, it is clear that these would be messengers to the 7 Churches. What is not clear is whether Christ is referring to 7 actual angels or to the pastors of the 7 churches that He was sending His messages to. That Christ holds them in His hand shows Him as absolute Lord over all things, including the Church.

  1. Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)

A two-edged sword speaks of judgment and portends to judgment on those who would attack Christ or His Church. The Standard of Judgment that Christ uses is none other than Sacred Scripture, His Word. What will determine your salvation and your righteousness? Nothing more or less than the standard laid out in the Bible.

  1. His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength

Think back to Matthew 17:12 on the Mount of Transfiguration. His countenance (face) is blazing in unmistakable resplendent glory.

Looking down to verse 17…

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

It is possible that John simply passed out, but it is also possible that the shock of seeing Christ in His glory caused John’s aged heart to fail and, as He did so often in the Gospels, the Lord healed John with a touch.

“Do not be afraid”; when one is approaching the Sovereign Lord in His majesty, there is a measure of fear but that is not all that is alluded to here: The Lord, in His all-consuming holiness could have struck John dead for any sin, at all, that he had. Jesus, though, has an excellent memory, and knowing John as the Disciple Whom Jesus loved, he reached out in His grace and mercy and strengthened him.

18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

I know Baptists don’t do this, but every time I read this verse it makes me want to jump and shout. I don’t think most people get this verse. The Living One who was dead and it alive forever more!! Stop and get that. The Source of Life, who was murdered by His creation is alive forevermore! No one will ever again take His life from Him and the life that He gives to His Church can never be taken to her either!

 

NOTE: Audio will be available at a later time

 

The Promise of a Davidic King

The Promise of a Davidic King

There are several prophecies of the continuation of the Kingdom of David and of Messiah’s Rule. In this lesson, we will post a prophecy and the associated passage of Scripture, followed by the New Testament Fulfillment Passage.  (This lesson, is the precursor to the lesson The King Who’s Coming.

David’s royal line will be perpetual

2 Samuel 7:16

Psalm 78:67-70

New Testament Fulfillment

Luke 1:33, 2:11   John 7:42  Romans 1:3

The Scepter will not depart from Judah

Genesis 49:9-10

New Testament Fulfillment

Hebrews 7:14 Revelation 5:5

The Branch of Jesse (David’s father) is to rule

Isaiah 11:1-5

Zechariah 12:8

New Testament fulfillment

Luke 3:23, 4:18   Romans 11:26 Revelation 22:16

God promises David a kingdom

Psalm 89:2-4    Psalm 132:11

New Testament Fulfillment

Luke 1:32

An assurance of government from David’s Throne

Isaiah 9:6-7

Jeremiah 23:5

New Testament Fulfillment

Luke 1:33

Messiah to be born in Bethlehem

Micah 5:2-4

New Testament Fulfillment

Matthew 2:1-6

 

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

https://soundcloud.com/user-138132460/unmasking-the-apocalypse

 

Text: Revelation 1:1-3

What is an apocalypse?

apocalypse/revelation

Greek: apokalypsis (Luke 2:32; Rom. 8:19; 16:25; Gal. 1:12) Using the roots apo (G0575), “from, away,” and kalypto (G2572), “covering, veil,” this word means “an uncovering, revelation, disclosure.” What is being disclosed was previously hidden. In the New Testament this word is typically used of spiritual things, such as visions (2 Cor. 12:1), spiritual truth (Luke 2:32), or eschatological events (Rom. 8:19; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:13). In these cases, what is revealed could be known only through supernatural disclosure. The entire Bible is God’s progressive revelation of who He is and how He is saving His people, and the Book of Revelation focuses on His final revelation when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom.

Why should I try to study Revelation? Isn’t it too hard to understand?

This is a very understandable and legitimate question. John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, really the entire Bible would be incomplete without it. In chapter 1, when we see Jesus’ appearance, it is a perfect exposition of the Old Testament. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: Here we see the most definitive picture of Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

As to whether or not Revelation is too hard to understand, bear this in mind:

  • We read Revelation according to the normal rules of language. Therefore, what appear to be metaphors or similes are just exactly that. If you understand the literary features of Revelation, you will be halfway to a correct understanding of the message therein
  • We read Revelation literally. That means, for example, when the book talks about locusts, it means exactly that; locusts not attack helicopters or other such nonsense.
  • Over half of Revelation refers back to the Old Testament. If you do not understand the Old Testament, correctly, you will never get Revelation right either.
  • God promises blessing to those who read the words of the Revelation (Ch 1 vs 3)

 

What does Revelation really unveil?

  • Revelation reveals Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church
  • It reveals the nature of the Church through 7 types and what the end result will be for each church.
  • It reveals the Divine Judgment Machine and how God deals with a Christ rejecting world
  • The total triumph and finality of redemption is revealed including the final destruction of Satan
  • Lastly, the Kingdom is revealed.

Quoting John MacArthur on Revelation

“The book of Revelation contains truths that had been concealed, but have now been revealed. Though it nowhere directly quotes the Old Testament, 278 of its 404 verses refer or allude to Old Testament prophetic truth, and it amplifies what was only initially suggested in the Old Testament.

The Apocalypse reveals a great many divine truths. It warns the church of the danger of sin and instructs it about the need for holiness. It reveals the strength Christ and believers have to overcome Satan. It reveals the glory and majesty of God and depicts the reverent worship that constantly attends His throne. The book of Revelation reveals the end of human history, including the final political setup of the world, the career of Antichrist, and the climactic Battle of Armageddon. It reveals the coming glory of Christ’s earthly reign during the millennial kingdom, the Great White Throne judgment, and depicts the eternal bliss of the new heaven and the new earth. It reveals the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over all human and demonic opposition. The book of Revelation describes the ultimate defeat of Satan and sin, and the final state of the wicked (eternal torment in hell) and the righteous (eternal joy in heaven). In short, it is a front-page story of the future of the world written by someone who has seen it all.

But supremely, overarching all those features, the book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes in detail the events associated with His second coming, revealing His glory that will one-day blaze forth as strikingly and unmistakably as lightning flashing in a darkened sky (Matt. 24:27).”

That last point, Children of God, is why we study Revelation- so that we might see Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Lord in all His glory and give Him the worship that is due Him.

Even a cursory glance through the book of Revelation reveals that Jesus Christ is its main theme. He is “the faithful witness” (1:5); “the firstborn of the dead” (1:5); “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:5); “the Alpha and the Omega”(1:8; 21:6); the one “who is and who was and who is to come”(1:8); “the Almighty”(1:8); “the first and the last”(1:17); “the living One”(1:18); “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1); “the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12); “the Son of God” (2:18); the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and … feet … like burnished bronze” (2:18); the One “who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1); the One “who is holy, who is true” (3:7); the holder of “the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7); “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”(3:14); “the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14); “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (5:5); “the Root of David” (5:5); the Lamb of God (e. g., 5:6; 6:1; 7:9-10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1); the “Lord, holy and true” (6:10); the One who “is called Faithful and True” (19:11); “The Word of God”(19:13); the “King of kings, and Lord of lords”(19:16); Christ (Messiah), ruling on earth with His glorified saints (20:6); and “Jesus … the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (22:16). The book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in song, poetry, symbolism, and prophecy. In it the heavens are opened and its readers see, as did Stephen (Acts 7:56), visions of the risen, glorified Son of God. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

Are those who read Revelation really blessed?

Yes, we are really blessed by reading Revelation. For starters, it is given for our comfort as we face a world that is falling apart, where wickedness abounds so much that even Sodom would blush with shame; Christ and His righteous will triumph. The spirit of lawlessness may kill the body (God will allow some to be martyred) but antichrist will never triumph over the Righteous Lamb and those of His Elect.

Remember that blessed does not simply mean happy, even though that is an acceptable and accurate translation of the word used here. It also means favorable circumstances granted by God and it also connotes having shalom (peace and wholeness) with God.

Beloved, the time is near. This is not kronos which is our normal method of keeping time; it is kairos, the age. John wrote well because we indeed are in last days and there is nothing left to be fulfilled; all that yet remains is for the Lord to consummate redemptive history and to deliver the Kingdom up to the Father.