By Val Lee
Copyright © 2012
All Rights Reserved
(Short segments of chapters can be used upon request)
Also published by Amazon.com
To my dear husband who
leads me in love,
discernment and truth.
Table of Contents
Introduction of Seven Churches
Chapter 1—Prince of all Kings
Chapter 4—No More Church
Chapter 5—The Weeping Apostle
Chapter 6— The Seals
Chapter 7—144,000 Male, Virgin Jews
Chapter 8—Ecological Phenomenons
Chapter 9—The Pit
Chapter 10—The Little Book
For Revelation Explanation chapters 11-21, please click here: revelation-chapter-11-mouths-of-fire
The throne of God is countless years beyond our little earth. “The heavens and highest heavens cannot contain Him;” 2 Chronicles 6:18. And the earth is His footstool; Isaiah 66:1
Revelation’s Seven Churches
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
John, the loving apostle of Christ, scribed Revelation. He also penned the book of John, and 1-3 letters of John. He was our Lord’s appointed secretary; recording future events in exactness as they frightfully unfolded before him. At the time of the vision, he was on the island of Patmos for his witness of Christ; Rev. 1:9. Obviously, outrage at the Gospel message provoked the godless to seek his silence. The unsaved also sought the silence of his blood brother, James, for his witness; whereby, he was murdered with a sword; Acts 12:2. In the Gospels, John and James were called the “sons of thunder.” Their father was Zebedee (I assume he was not the quiet man). Their mother made herself famous by making a request of Jesus. She selfishly asked that her sons have the right to sit on each side of Him on His throne in His coming kingdom; Matthew 20:20-23.
Satan assigned Roman Emperor Domitian in 95 AD to the task of ending John’s witness proclamation and that of other believers. Domitian outlawed Christian religious freedom in the Roman Empire. Not fearing what man could do, kept John proclaiming his Savior everywhere. He preached until that fateful day when Domitian imprisoned him. John was exiled and imprisoned on the rocky side of the island of Patmos. Domitian’s prisoners were compelled to work in the mines of this isle.
God’s Word was still unveiled as the book of Revelation testifies. God’s omnipotent will prevails even in isolated seclusion. The chains of silence held no victory, as Christ reigns over all hindering circumstances implemented by vile men.
John was released when Emperor Neva replaced Emperor Domitian. Neva believed in religious freedom and withdrew John from the island of Patmos, providing John permission to return to Ephesus to resume his ministry.
Such victory grandeur can even be witnessed today. I read of a pastor who was placed in a dungeon, and who was repeatedly tortured for his Gospel message. He viewed his witness in defeat. However, he would preach to himself loudly and daily in his isolated cell. Unbenounced to him, prisoners and staff listened. You see, God’s will prevails.
John departed to be with his most glorious and holy Savior in 104 A.D., at the age of 99, and was buried in Ephesus.
Patmos, is a horseshoe shaped island, sprouting magnificent scenery, including white crags (steep sharp rocks). It peers at the sky-dipped, blue waves of the vast Aegean Sea. This isle is about eight miles long and five miles wide, displaying a prime shoreline. It is a rock or petra, which portrays the illusion of floating on the surface of the sea; and at the same time, appears apprehensive within its massive impressiveness! Its west coast is quite rocky and windy, with few accessible beaches. Picturesque, sandy shores are scattered on its eastern wing.
Patmos is 140 miles from Athens, which takes about ten hours by ferry. It maintains 3000 inhabitants, with 3 schools for about 300 children. It is 163 miles from Piraeus. It may appear unappealing, being volcanic and rocky, with little rainfall. Being barren, it produces little grain. Fortunately, it does house some fauna inhabitants—partridges, quails, turtles, pigeons, snipes, and rabbits.
From the sixth to the ninth century, Patmos was raided by pirates. Later, it was placed under Turkish dominion (1523-1912). Greece took possession in 1948.
I personally believe John had been the overseer, head elder, of the seven churches addressed in Revelation until his imprisonment. Five of the seven churches were compromising, and this was possibly due to John’s lost influence. Perhaps he had been the glue that made them secure in their faith; his powerful preaching keeping these believers on task until his arrest.
The seven churches were in proximity, but all were differing in personality. John was not far from these churches to which his seven letters were delivered. Patmos is 40 miles from Ephesus, which received the first letter. God provided an unafraid messenger to do His bidding in delivery of the correspondence; though how performed in this prison setting would all be speculation. Perhaps John was allowed visitors.
God does care about all His churches, which has resulted in us still owning the seven letters today for our edification and warning.
From the study of Revelation chapters 2-3, and all Scriptures concerning the church and its calling, we recognize apostasy is very present today, and it also sucked the life out of churches in John’s day. The same actions that Christ reproved through these letters appear in various forms in the contemporary church.
Many books are available and there have been movies produced to interpret the settings in Revelation. I personally would not want to be in the shoes of those who have written fantasy tales in the name of explaining Revelation. Certain books hold a Hollywood heroism type mentality. I have been sickened by the godless and carnal presentations of God’s children who are out to kill the antichrist and who portray a Star Wars mentality.
These entertaining books are far different from the words of our LORD, and what He has ordained for this vile sinful earth, filled with nefarious, rebellious people. God states in the end of Revelation 22:18-20 that if anyone adds to the book or subtracts, he will receive the plagues written in the book. God will also take away his part from the “book of life” and from “the holy city.”
A dear friend told me yesterday that a family member knows one of the authors of these so-called Christian Revelation revealing books, and his life is very sinful and wicked. His life is a mess and she wouldn’t want to be in his shoes for anything.
There are also apostate, in-vogue analyses of Revelation that attempt to discredit the book. One main prominent philosophy is the Preterist view. R. C. Sproll is a partial Preterist and his son, a total Preterist. We need to be aware of this heresy as it is prominent in Christianity today.
Heresy Preterism in the Church:
In time past, my husband and I attended a fellowship that we felt was doctrinally sound until we learned our pastor believed in the Preterist view of Revelation that proclaims all prophecies have already unfolded. Preterists believe that the holocaustic prophecies of Revelation and elsewhere uncovered, occurred in 70 AD, when Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem. (Other titles are also assigned to this type of thinking—“Replacement Theology,” “Reformed Theology” and “Calvinism.”)
Most Preterists believe the following:
1. Nero was the Antichrist. There will be no future individual Antichrist.
2. The Tribulation Period is already over. It occurred when the Roman army, under Titus, besieged Jerusalem in AD 66-70.
3. Christ “returned” in the clouds in AD 70 to witness the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army.
4. God replaced Old Testament Israel with the Church. Therefore, all the Biblical promises to Israel belong to the Church.
5. Armageddon occurred in AD 70. The fall of “Babylon” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
6. Satan is already bound in the abyss and cannot hinder the spread of the Gospel—Revelation chapter 20 has been fulfilled.
7. We are already in the Millennium, and the stated 1,000 year period is not literal but figurative. (However, the truth is, it is mentioned six times in Revelation, chapters 19 and 20, with no hint of it being a figment of God’s imagination.) Some Preterists equate the entire Church Age as the Millennium.
Many Calvinists are Preterists, being they believe the church has replaced Israel; and the apocalypse concerning the Jewry has been deleted from the prophetical picture.
Because God has chosen to delay the forecasted future, many are turning to Preteristic, heretical teaching.
Eschatology facts to refute the Preterist view:
The Tribulation is going to devastate the whole earth, not just Jerusalem. Whenever you read Scripture concerning the tribulation, it states, the whole earth! Please read Revelation chapters 6-9 and 16. A third of the earth will be destroyed holding mankind, animal life and vegetation. One hundred pound hailstones will fall from heaven. Tremendous hail fell during the time of Joshua as recorded in Joshua 10:11; but this will be shockingly beyond the imagined in horror. God is a literalist. Nothing witnessed in the past compares to what is to unravel.
When it comes to the Jerusalem temple, it will be present during eschatological times. Various Scriptures reveal that there will be an earthly temple that resembles the heavenly temple. In the book of Acts, it states the earthly temple will be rebuilt from its foundation; 15:16f. Ezekiel addresses the future Jerusalem temple existing previous to the Millennium as well. We know he could not be speaking of the heavenly temple, as the priests can only marry virgins or widows of priests. There is no marriage in heaven as Christ proclaimed; Mark 12:18-25.
Ezekiel provides many insights into end times including the 144,000 male virgin Jews who represent key players who side with holy righteousness in Ezekiel chapter 9. He makes it clear that everyone in Jerusalem will be murdered by God except for the 144,000 male, virgin Jews withdrawn from each tribe. Everyone dies except those with the mark or seal—the 144,000. The 144,000 will be secured because they will “sigh and groan over all the abominations” which are in Jerusalem. They will hate all the sin and mourn over it, resulting in the protective sealing by God. All those without “The Mark” die in Jerusalem, in the tribulation. (The 144,000 are also expanded upon in Revelation chapters 7 & 14) This never occurred in Israel’s history. It is the future.
I have also read of the Great Tribulation in Jeremiah and various other Scriptural passages; nothing in antiquity resembles what is to come.
There will be earthquakes upon the whole earth as never before; and incomprehensible acts of our furious God. It is God’s judgment on the globe; just read Revelation. It affects all the kingdoms of the earth!
Search for the truth, dear friends!
Revelation Chapter 1
Prince of all Kings
These are things that will “soon take place;” this is according to God’s timetable not men’s. We note in verse 1, all that is revealed in Revelation was communicated to John, an apostle of Christ, who viewed himself as sustaining no elevated position. He was simply a slave who had personally, under no taskmaster compulsion, chosen to serve his Master—Jesus Christ. He held no divided interests; his eyes were solely set on his Master.
The time is near, verse 3, so all believers must sit up and take heed to all the teachings presented in this book.
Verse 5 is the Gospel message in short summary. Christ is revealed here as God, the ruler of the kings of the earth. It is He who “loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.”
Verse 7 is prophecy from Acts 1:11 and Zechariah 12:7-14. This concerns Christ’s millennial return as well as the mourning of those who pierced Him. All the people who have ever lived will cry in anguish because they rejected the Messiah. Zechariah penned the Old Testament prophecy concerning Christ’s piercing and the Revelation tribulation mourning around 500 years before He was actually pierced with the sword that confirmed His death passing. This passage also explains Israel’s elevation above all the nations that is to come. You cannot separate the two incidents! You must read this passage in Zechariah, recognizing it enlightens our eyes more to how great the sadness will be for those who rejected Christ; though Zechariah simply deals with the Jews in this regard. God’s Word is perfectly woven together by its Author, who is the perfector of our faith. A significant portion of the New Testament is composed of Old Testament quotations.
We recognize from chapter one that there is no way one cannot see that Jesus is God. He is the Alpha and Omega (beginning and end); verse 8. He is the one clothed in a modest kingly robe reaching to His feet. He has white hair and His eyes are like the flame of fire, and a sharp, two-edged sword extends from His mouth; verses 13-17. He is the “Ancient of Days,” presented also in Daniel 7:9-10. I cannot say too much concerning these verses that are bursting with the omnipotence of our God and Savior. It is all about Him!
Traveling a bit further, we witness John falling like a dead man before Christ and no wonder, especially after seeing the slicing sword stretching from His mouth—which holds the voice of many waters.
This is not a modern, contemporary Christ who will be everybody’s buddy. This is the Christ that one falls before in a dead-like state of fear. We are all called to tremble and fear before Him as we work out our salvation; Philippians 2:12. Revelation provides the true photo of Him who is to be feared above all else.
The heaven of Revelation is not a contemporary heaven filled with rock music resounding everywhere, being performed by all the sensational, Christian rock groups. It will not be filled with Christian comedians; whereby, everyone is going about laughing at all the fun jokes. You cannot help but see, as you read Revelation and all of Scripture, that trendy American Christianity holds no place before our holy, wise and undefiled, reigning LORD.
Verse 20 is one key in understanding the book. It must be marked in reference, being it exposes the mystery of veiled events so they can be puzzled together. We learn here that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches. When Christ states He will remove the lampstand, He means the church for its lack of compliance to His Word. I have seen two churches removed when pastors fell into sin. I have witnessed church lamps diminish through transgression until faithful overseers revived them again.
It is believed that there were Jewish Christians set amongst these seven churches who had fled Israel following its devastation by Titus of Rome in 70 AD. Revelation was penned in 95. It wasn’t until the end of WWII that Jews began to reinhabit Israel. Israel became a nation or independent state in 1948.
Chapters 2 and 3
Letter to the believers in Ephesus:
In verse 1, we see John is assigned to write the good and the bad of this church so it can be uplifted and reproved through this letter. It is the hope of God that it repent and remain.
Christ lets it be known that He finds some favorable things in this church. First, that it does not tolerate false teachers who come in sheep’s clothing, feigning to be of the true faith, calling themselves apostles. The Ephesus believers tested those who tried to enter in the door of the church, and if they were found to hold any beliefs contrary to Scripture, they were shut out. Now churches could learn from this example when everyone today is welcome to come and participate. The heresy teaching prevails “As long as they are in church that is all that matters.” This is all-contrary to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 commands that we not associate with immoral people who call themselves believers. We do not associate with any Christian who is covetous, an idolater, reviler, drunkard or swindler—we don’t even eat with such ones!
2 John 2:6-11 teaches, we are not even to greet those who are not abiding in the commandments of Christ who come to church; we are not to let them in the door. 2 Thessalonians instructs, we are not to associate with those who are not abiding in the apostles teachings, traditions and commands.
The Ephesus church was walking correctly in many avenues, but Christ was going to bring judgment. We all can ask ourselves, “Why.” This church appears superior to most churches today.
Christ was going to remove this church because it had lost its first love. This church did not love Christ with all its heart, soul and might as commanded from the beginning. This is the greatest commandment, as stated by Christ, and it was first delivered in Deuteronomy 6:5.
Christ called for the Ephesians to repent and we certainly trust they did, acknowledging their witness was significantly needed within this pagan Roman Empire.
Letter to the believers in Smyrna:
This church is the persecuted church. We do not grasp such a concept easily, as we live in a free country. The persecuted believers in oppressed nations can easily relate to the Smyrna church. We must always be consistently praying for our brothers and sisters in nations of oppression, being they are often times beaten, raped, imprisoned, and murdered for their faith.
Smyrna was an exceptional church due to its impoverishment and persecution. Smyrna was one of the wealthiest, exquisite and prosperous cities in Asia. However, the true Christians hated compromise and suffered poverty for not forsaking the name of Christ, and for not being ecumenical in their beliefs. It had to rely on Christ and Christ alone for its sustenance and encouragement. It is a good thing when we have only Christ to run to, being He becomes our all and all. If we live in a styling society, full of worldly entertainment and amusements, it is easy to put Christ second and the ways and things of culture first. However, we are commanded not to become entangled with those things adored by the unsaved population nor imitate them. Yes, Satan makes everything fleshly-appealing, but we are called to separate from them. If we do not, Christ will discipline, as witnessed to all so clearly in Revelation.
The believers of Smyrna had not lost their first love; they loved Christ unto death. Christ tells them in this letter that they will be tested and persecuted for ten days, and that they were to be faithful until death so they would reap the crown of life. If these believers stayed faithful, they would not be hurt by the second death, which is eternal fire—Revelation 20:11-15; especial verse 14.
Letter to the believers in Pergamum:
Christ is revealed with His two edged sword in verse 12; this vivifies His wrath and anger over sin in the believer’s life.
Pergamum was a great city—a styling city of commerce, entertainment, religion, advanced medicine, sexual promiscuity … you just name it. If you wanted anything, it was here. This was a vacation spot of the world adjacent to the Aegean Sea. There was no better place to rock and roll … It was sweet. It was like a New York City. That is why it states in 2:13, this is “where Satan’s throne is.” The saints who resided here were under tremendous, continuous temptation. Sound familiar?
In the Pergamum church there had been only one believer who had been faithful unto death—Antipas. He was Christ’s martyr. He was dedicated to Christ as His witness. Christ states only good concerning Antipas. We certainly desire that Christ view us in every positive way. Antipas is a Greek name, meaning “against all.” He certainly was true to his name, standing for Christ against a satanic culture.
Christ had certain things “against” this church. They held to the teachings of Balaam and Balak. You can read of these characters in Numbers chapters 22-25. You may remember Balaam’s donkey spoke and rebuked him in his folly. Balaam was a false prophet for hire, and Balak was the king of Moab, an idolatrous nation that wanted to annihilate the nation of Israel. Balak tried to hire Balaam to bring about an end to the Jews (a holocaust), but God would not allow it.
Balaam loved money and would do just about anything to get it through living out a “religious” performance, beguiling pagans to believe he held sorcery power. He even attempted to curse the children of God, the Jews, to please the pagans, in order to gain precious wealth.
Balaam and his clones:
Balaam held the scent of greed wherever he trod. He can represent many today who use gimmickry so people will give to their cause in the name of false Christianity. Balaams are everywhere present in Christianity and they seem to be increasing yearly. Many televangelists are Balaams.
Balaams are people who serve God expecting substantial, financial rewards. Balaam type pastors love large collection plates filled to the brim, coupled with thousands in their congregation adoring them, because they have put their church on the map of success. There are pastors who will refuse to oversee a church unless the price is right and the price has to be significantly right. Balaams are in Christendom for what they can get, not what they can give.
These preachers will not engage in visitation, as it is no longer in style in the pastorate role, as it is a humbling chore.
Balaam and Balak were both immoral in intent. They coveted the Jews destruction. When this proved unobtainable, they decided to possess the Jews, through turning them toward the ecumenical or emergent movement. This way, they could enslave them through their false religious teachings that allowed indulgence in sexual promiscuity; everything delightful of the pagan kind.
Balaam and Balak instigated a plan; whereby, they would introduce the men of God to the lovely Moabite women; through whom, they would intermarry.
These vile men succeeded to a degree because many desired to follow their immoral religion of fleshly delights. In Numbers chapter 25, the sexually immoral daughters of Moab became triumphant in their persuasions of idol worship and sex, whereby the Jews followed and God’s judgment fell.
Balaam sounded pious and even prophesied in the name of God. He was a powerful preacher who knew about God and His Word. Judas knew about God and performed miracles or so it seems, and preached with the other disciples, but he was a Balaam, following Christ for fortune. Judas, do doubt, reveled in everyone looking up to him as a miracle, performing preacher. He, though very religious in appearance, wanted everyone putting money in the collection box for the poor so he could rob its contents when no one was looking. He desired to be its greatest benefactor. He spoke flowery words that sounded so sincere when making a plea for the poor, but it all held ulterior motives. None of the disciples even suspected his heart of black wool, as his sheep’s clothing costume of white wool was so sincere.
Beware of the Balaam dogs in religion—see Jude verses 11-16 and 2 Peter chapter 2, especially verse 12.
On top of following the immoral ways of Balaam and Balak, the Pergamum church also held to the false teachings of the Nicolaitans, which the Ephesians refused to follow. No one knows what these teachings were, but looking at verses 14-15, it probably combined Christianity with some sort of idol worship and immorality. It was a religion that most likely permitted license to some degree, enabling church goers to blend in with culture.
This church, though close to Smyrna, did not seem to be suffering the same arriving, deadly fate as the Smyrna church … perhaps due to their compromising worldly compliance.
They were faithful in not denying Christ’s name even though they were under a tyrant, a Roman dictator who hated the Savior; verse 13. It does appear there was some suffering for not denying Christ, but no death bell seems to be tolling nor closing of cell doors.
God’s judgment is going to fall on Pergamum believers if they do not turn from their wicked ways of sinful, sporting delights. And God’s judgment is far more fierce than government mandates on minimizing Christianity.
For those who refused to follow the false ways in this church, Christ had reserved a white stone (white represents purity in Scripture) with a new name written on it.
Letter to the believers in Thyatira:
This letter also commences with Christ positioned as a revengeful God! He is displayed having eyes like a flame of fire. His feet proclaim supremacy, being of burnished bronze, which spells fiery refining. This is a frightful way to start a piece of correspondence!
Christ is always swift to reveal a church’s good deeds before launching into their shortcomings. This assembly appears all on-fire for Christ, as it is engaging in the blessed exploits of love and faith. It is persevering and even increasing in these areas.
It is hard to understand since sexual impurity is present in this church; verses 20-23. How can they coexist? Well, it appears from verse 24 that there were innocent parties present who were faithful and pure—blameless in the ways of evil. They, without a doubt, hated those things indecently performed and let it be known. Ephesians 5:11-12 commands the exposure of the evil ways of darkness; yet, we are not even to speak the intimate details of vile activity. We are to hate it. Jude verse 23 states, we are even to hate the garment polluted by the flesh. We are to hate every immoral way and never enjoy it.
We must never deliberately place anything, but innocence before our eyes and ears. We must turn our eyes from that which might cause us to stumble in thought and deed. At times, wickedness is peeping out everywhere, and this is when we apply the cleansing power of the Word of God.
Despite what society proclaims, the Bible does not justify sinful tolerance. Christ condemned this church! It was being “tolerant” of a woman who is called “Jezebel.” Not her actual name, but that which represented her character. She was a replica, to a degree, of Jezebel revealed in 1 and 2 Kings, who was a false teacher and murdered true believers.
The Jezebel of Thyatira was an immoral, sexy woman who allured the saints into acts of impurity and false religious beliefs. She, like the Jezebel of the Old Testament, set religious heresies before God’s people. She too was following the paths imbedded by idolatrous Balaam.
Death by disease was the fate of Jezebel’s children if she did not repent. Jezebel herself was destined for a bed of tribulation sickness, where she would languish in excruciating pain.
The death fate was pronounced upon Jezebel of the Old Testament for her unrepentant sins—2 Kings 9:30-37 and on her sons—2 Kings 10:7. She tried to avoid what God had preordained for her. When God’s henchmen arrived, she attempted to set before them a beautiful, alluring woman. She caked on the eye make-up to divert them away from their calling. But no glittering, Hollywood-like woman was going to stop them from fulfilling what the LORD had preordained. They threw her out a window to God’s fateful doom—“The dogs will eat Jezebel’s flesh.”
We do hope Christ’s painful wrath did not descend upon this alluring Jezebel of Thyatira. Christ was providing the time for her to repent and we trust she took the opportunity and all who followed her fleshly, exciting behavior that always leads to the path of death; Proverbs chapters 6 & 7—especially 6:32 and 7:22-23. We hope and imagine that she became a woman of bashful behavior and modest dress. Applying purity in all things was the only medicinal cure.
Many believers today need to repent, knowing they put Jezebels before their eyes continually. They indulge in the productions of sensual Hollywood, filled with women who employ the most skilled make-up artists to paint them; along with seamstresses who create the most fancy-fitted, seductive clothing to sell sexual pleasantries on the screen. Partaking in Jezebel’s mentality in any way is an abomination to Christ. Our minds and eyes are to be centered on the righteous ways of our holy, innocent, and undefiled Lord.
Christ hates all sin in the church. He made this clear when he murdered Ananias and Sapphira for lies and deception. This same God still is overseeing the church and bringing judgment for compromise. We recognize through these churches that the slightest deviancy from His Word induces His sword of wrath. Verse 23 informs us that Christ disciplines the church and those within according to their deeds. We all reap what we sow and Christ makes sure this is so.
Lofty promises are provided to those in Thyatira who stay true to their Savior. He will grant them exalted rule over the nations in the millennial period. Christ’s rod of iron will subdue all the nations. And they will follow the Savior willingly.
Verse 29 tells us we need to take great heed to all that is being stated in warning to these churches.
Letter to the believers in Sardis:
All the letters to the churches were addressed to an overseeing angel who was set above each fellowship through God’s orchestration; 3:1. This is declared in the first verse of each letter. We are commanded to respect angelic authority, as explained in Jude, 2 Peter, and many other sections in Scripture.
John is the secretary who is scripting physically the words of Christ. Each letter contained the instructions of Christ who loves and saved every believer; this proven through His shed blood and resurrection. (Revelation 1:5).
Another text that reveals the importance of respecting angels who oversee the churches is 1 Corinthians chapter 11. This passage commands women who are praying or prophesying (telling forth God’s Word) to don a covering on their heads for the angels who observe the assembling of believers. By researching the Greek, you can accurately decipher the word “angels” found in this passage, is referring to God’s angelic army in heaven.
Women are also charged to have long hair in this Corinthian passage. God has devised distinctions between the sexes and one is through men wearing their hair short and women wearing it long. A woman’s locks are her crowning glory and a modest covering. Having a covering on the head (a scarf or hat) marks her out more in her feminine portrayal that angels are attentive to. It also symbolizes her submissive heart to her husband.
Revelation 3:2 refers to Christ’s authority, as He possesses the seven spirits and seven stars. We know from 1:20 that the seven stars are the seven spirits who are the overseeing angels of the seven churches.
We also note in 3:2 that other fellowships believed this church was alive in the faith; however, Christ, who is the true discerner of hearts, announced, this church was dead. He knew their deeds and actions, and He is the one who determines which churches are truly obeying Him in all Scriptural matters. It is not a determination by man’s assessment in any way, shape or form.
This was a warning letter to tell these Sardis believers to get about the business of their church, which was dying. It was almost time to pick out their tombstone; their living light was almost extinguished.
Most likely, unbiblical agendas had entered the doors of the church; perhaps the agendas of local society, which had deviated folk from commanded Scripture. They set those things they were to be about on a back burner; these essentials had been left and forgotten.
Christ sees all and knows all; including what we have forsaken in the way of obedience. He is omniscient and nothing is hidden from His all-seeing eyes.
The church is responsible to be performing all that is commanded for it, which includes the work of the ministry. All the saints are to be equipped by the church for Christian service, and Ephesians chapter 4 speaks to that fact. Christians are to be engaging in the work of ministry—discipleship, evangelism, teaching, etc. They are to be exercising their Biblical gifts in love; and are to be growing in the knowledge of God through comprehensive Bible teaching, and the example set by leadership—in every Scriptural designated area.
The books of Timothy and Titus instruct concerning the qualifications for church leadership and its functioning calling.
Every New Testament epistle (letter) is presented so every church develops into all that is commanded by the Savior. Christ calls for the Sardis church to repent and this would include all churches that fall short today as well. Christ warns He is coming like a thief to judge and no one will have an idea as to His arrival time.
One of Christ’s attributes is that of a thief, who arrives unawares. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, we read that Christ is coming like a thief to judge the earth when its fun-loving inhabitants are totally unsuspecting. Those who ignore Christ and His holy, inerrant Word will not escape from His fiery judging hand. Such a warning is also located in Matthew 24:36-51, and many other texts in the Old and New Testament. We must not neglect giving out the Gospel so people are delivered from this wicked evil age of fleshly, fun activities and the consequential Lake of Fire.
In verse 4, Christ makes it known that there are some believers in Sardis who have kept themselves clean and pure and will walk with Him in white apparel. We also read of the purity of the 144,000 male virgin Jews who tell no lies in chapter 14, verses 1-5.
The importance of holy purity is stressed in this Revelation section of letters to the churches. Nowhere do we find Christ commanding the churches to be grooving with secular, sensual and immodest society. God knows if believers are holding to all chaste and holy behavior—not being entangled by the world in its fruitless and sensual thinking; they will be a glowing light in this dark world.
We also note the true dedicated purified believers will not have their names erased from the book of life; 3:5.
Letters to the believers in Philadelphia:
This church is made up of good guys who wear white—well … at least they do today, as these saints are now in heaven. White linen clothing is worn in paradise. It is interesting to note, white was what symbolized goodness in America many decades ago and black represented evil. General society knew that the Bible stressed a clean, white garment, type lifestyle.
Emphasized in verse 7 of Revelation chapter 3, is the fact Christ possesses the key of David or key of Israel—God’s chosen people. He opens what no being can close and closes what no being can open. He is the ultimate, omnipotent, authority over all.
The converted Jews of this church were being harassed by godless Jews who attended synagogues. The synagogues did not acknowledge Christ as God, and therefore were of Satan. Everyone who is not saved is an obedient child of satan; 2 Corinthians 6:14f.
The Jews who attended synagogues despised the Jews of the Philadelphia church who had been reborn by Christ’s atoning blood; Revelation 1:5. We read throughout the New Testament of Jews who tried to place the requirements of the law on new converts. These deceived Jews insisted that new believers hold to the festivals and regulations that God delivered to the Old Testament Jews. Christ fulfilled the Law Himself—the law that sinful man could never fully achieve, nor could it reach salvation, “By the works of the law shall no man be justified.” It is through the law that man learns he is a sinner; Romans 3:20. Man can never be saved by the works of the law or perfected; only by faith in the Savior, can a person be saved and regenerated. Only by the Holy Spirit’s controlling, can a person live righteously. Various religions teach salvation by works, but good works can never deliver from sin and its consequences. Good works and intentions can never purify a heart. We must believe John 3:16, and ask God the Father to forgive us of our sins through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on a tree on our behalf and arose from the grave. We also must yield our lives to God; asking Him to take control of them. After being saved, we ask Him to forgive us when we sin or do wrong. Unfortunately, we do still sin, but sin does not enslave us if we walk closely with the LORD. We have continual forgiveness in Christ. When we reach heaven, we will be set completely free from these bodies of sin and will never commit an evil act again.
The apostles were Jews who stood opposed to those Jews (Judaizers) who held to the Old Testament laws. The Judaizers persecuted believers who acknowledged Christ, as God the Son. The apostles led the New Testament church into truth and godliness, and away from attempting to accomplish good through the carnal flesh. They made it clear that apart from God, men can do nothing good.
Obedience to the Bible can only be accomplished through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit—yielding one’s life to God in humility. One receives the Holy Spirit when they surrender their life to Christ through faith.
Returning to Revelation chapter 3, we note from verses 9-10 that Christ only considers born again Jews as forming the true Jewish race. Someday every living Jew will come to Christ, as Romans 11:26-27 and Jeremiah 31:-31-36 acknowledge, but that is far from the case today.
Peering at verse 9, we witness Christ graciously informing these persecuted Christian Jews that He is going to make sure their Jewish enemies—those who did not pick up their tree to follow Christ—will bow down before them someday. (As a side note, the word “cross” is not found in the original Greek texts of the New Testament. It was brought into Christianity through Anglican/Catholic/pagan tradition. The KJV Bible substituted cross for stake or tree. Pointed tree or stake is true to the English word for the Greek word “stauros.” There is a Greek word for cross; it resembles “olaoTaupwon.”
We do need to recognize, Christ does love all true believers—Jews and Gentiles. His loving grace and peace are shed abroad in all believers’ hearts. He is longsuffering toward all of us who fall so short so often.
Verse 10 informs us the key of being in good standing with our Savior is keeping His Word no matter the cost to our being. His Bible is inerrant when translated accurately with no contemporary or pagan added spins, twists and turns. We can obey it in confidence. There are a few translations that are mostly true to the original manuscripts, and do not remove the true meanings of Scripture. These include The American Standard of 1901, New American Standard (not revised), King James Version and New King James Version.
The Philadelphia church was experiencing persecution for holding tightly to Christ. These believers were holding to the true Christ of Scripture, who is the only true Jewish high priest. His character embodies holiness, innocence, and undefilement.
This church was elevated as a result of its undying faithfulness. Multitudes of countless people through the centuries know of this church of brotherly love that would not waver from its solid foundation.
A church in this general area survived through the ages until the Muslim agenda removed religious freedom from Turkey over a decade ago. It was a church that loved the LORD faithfully. There may be a fellowship hidden underground, somewhere close to this local that is unknown.
Christ stated that this church would be kept from the great tribulation that will fall upon the whole earth someday; verse 10. Warnings of this tribulation can be traced back to the godly man, Enoch; this exposed in Jude 14-15. Tribulation warnings are placed throughout Scripture. Nothing in time present or in time past can compare to what is to come when Christ rains His avenging wrath upon sinful mankind. This great tribulation period is the main theme of Revelation. It is to be preached in warning to mankind. These factual threats are what consume the majority of this book’s account.
This Philadelphia church, the body addressed, is in heaven today and it did not endure the great tribulation that is to arrive on schedule—that has been predetermined by God’s time clock. This church was factual and the true dedicated church today can still reap the same blessings that Christ bestowed upon this faithful, early assembly. Christ keeps true to His promises as the unchanging God of antiquity and time present. Obedience to His Word always produces blessings in any economy.
Even though Christ still has not arrived on the earth, it must be remembered, His time clock does not run on the same principal as ours. When Enoch preached the great tribulation in time beginning, it was as if it could arrive tomorrow.
2 Peter 3:3-9 deals with God’s fiery tribulation judgment as well. It states that one day can be like a thousand years to God or visa versa. We cannot asses it in terms of global 24-hour time when trying to judge God’s prophetical Word.
Christ warns the Philadelphia believers to remain steadfast so no one robs them of their crown in Revelation 3:11. No earthly allurements can compare to the crown offered to those who are faithful unto death. We must always confront ourselves with the question—What eternal value does this hold?
Revelation 3:12 is full of promises of heavenly glories for those who overcome and do not give into any agendas divergent to the Word of God. God will display the believer and their name in the New Jerusalem which will ascend out of heaven. This verse is full of grandeur beyond our earthly comprehension. All we basically know, is a cursed earth full of wicked sin. A place full of righteousness and God’s splendid glory is a bit hard to grasp; nonetheless, we know it will be genuine as God never lies or deceives.
Letter to the believers in Laodicea:
This is the final correspondence to the churches. Verse 14 is a glorious tribute to Christ our Savior, who is the only true Witness. He is the beginning of creation as the Biblical books of John, 1 John, and Colossians substantiate.
This is the lukewarm church that God was all disgusted with, and many a sermon has been preached concerning it. This is the church that Christ was completely abhorred with, even to the point of vomiting it out of His mouth. Some Bible versions do not translate the word “vomit” accurately. However, the word is “EMEO” in the Greek and it literally means to regurgitate the stomach’s digesting contents. This is a repugnant visual picture of Christ’s rejection of believers who are not on fire for Him. He would rather they be cold and honest about it than lukewarm. Believers who walk in lukewarmness are completely distasteful to our LORD. They are abominable. Why? Because such Christians are not excited or cold about the Gospel in forthright honesty. They are those who blend in to please all; they hold no solid ground in their stances behind all the scenes.
When my husband, Al, and I were in Aruba celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, we partook of lukewarm water. It was our tap water. It was originally ocean water that was filtered and purified in Aruba’s desalination plant—the second largest in the world. Al and I made faces when we first tasted it, being it was all unpleasant. It had to have added ice or placed in the frig to make it palatable.
The Laodiceans received their water lukewarm as well, because their water source was a nearby hot spring. The water cooled to lukewarm before arriving to homes through their aqueducts. People who waver to please every palate are disgusting to our Savior like lukewarm, arriving water.
It is God’s command for believers to be on fire for Him and His Word. Our lifestyle is to be that which reflects Christ at all times. We are never to be ashamed to uplift Him who was rejected and is still rejected today by the majority of inhabitants of the world. Christ never desired to be socially acceptable. He never chased after people by promising, I will act in a way that is pleasing to everyone. I will say whatever gets a laugh, and I will make my presentations fun to keep the crowds adoring me. Many pastors chase after crowds in such a way today, making themselves disgusting to the palate.
Christ exposed the fleshly inner man that is self-centered and self-seeking. Christ dismantles the “get all the gusto you can out of life” agendas of playful culture. His holiness has always shamed society; therefore, it has always hated Him.
Laodicea was a rich indulgent society as revealed in verse 17. They had little need and little time for Christ. Their culture fed their flesh to the fullest—with its entangling activities that held goodies for the wealthy.
I find this astute richness in Laodicea interesting, especially when viewing a Bible map. It can be plainly seen that all seven churches were close in proximately. You would think this Laodicean church was outside of Roman rule, where religious freedom might have reigned. It is a shock to acknowledge the Laodicean church lived next door to the persecuted church; approximately 40 miles southwest of the hurting believers in Philadelphia.
Smyrna was a Mediterranean port city so you can rightly assume wealth existed there and it was one of the wealthiest cities in Asia. It is called Izmir today and it is still very wealthy as a large harbor city. However, according to our study, we know the Smyrna church of Revelation represented the poorest of believers, being impoverished; 2:9.
The churches, no matter the local, that were unwavering held members who were poor, suffering and dying for the Gospel. The persecuted churches could never fit into rich, snobbish society. Thank goodness!
The Laodicean church was wealthy and influential. Obviously, because it was not a threat to the surrounding unsaved. They must have kept their mouths shut when it came to religion. They probably followed the popular motto of never bringing up touchy subjects.
Christ is blunt and forthright in verse 17 and lets this fellowship know they are totally depraved and deprived. Without Christ reigning in their lives, life is not worth living. They are thriving on that which is passing away and brings no glory to their Savior.
These believers may have possessed all the covetable products of the world, placed in fancy, displayed homes on Main Street; but they were wretched, miserable, cold, blind and naked. By today’s standards, their assembly might resemble a fifth Avenue New York church of enviable prestige—being the place to be on Sunday in the world’s vain religious eyes of uppity society. But not in Christ’s! You can well bet this dignified Laodicean church rarely engaged in street preaching and door to door witnessing.
It is easy not to be persecuted if you blend in. I was reading an insightful article today. It stated that the apostles did not seek permission to preach Christ everywhere. They had the ultimate permission from God Almighty. Christian evangelism is our right and mandate no matter the governing laws. Of course, wisdom in evangelism is essential; folly is unacceptable. Drawing a crowd to show off preaching skills is not what pleases Christ. The sincere heart of a man who preaches Christ simply to win souls is wise.
In verse 18, Christ teaches this off-the-track church that blending in with culture is vain and they need to buy from Him gold refined by fire so they can become spiritually rich. They need to submit to His discipline, thus becoming righteous, pure, and holy so they can walk in white (purified) garments with Him. Hebrews 12 teaches believers to submit to the discipline of God. When this passage speaks of God’s spanking discipline it means scourging. It is the same word that is used for when Christ was scourged with a whip before His crucifixion—”PAIDEUO.” God is our heavenly father and as such, disciplines us perfectly. If we submit to His fatherly corrective discipline, it will result in spiritual growth and purified perfection. Purified perfection should be our desire no matter the pain that it may involve to arrive.
Continuing further in verse 18, we come to the subject of ophthalmology. The people in this church were experiencing flawed vision that no optometrist-prescribed corrective lenses could resolve. They required the spiritual prescription Christ was advising, that being the truths of His Word applied. This would permit them to achieve the perfect spiritual vision of discernment.
Verse 20 represents Christ’s outstretched hand reaching out to them so they can experience the best. He loved them and wanted them to receive His love. He was knocking on this church’s door so they would let Him in. He wanted to fellowship with every believer associated with the Laodicean church. He had been calling out to them, but they never listened because they were having so much fun in the Mediterranean sun. Now, He wants to be taken seriously so they dine or fellowship with Him personally. He wants them to own all the heavenly glories awaiting by casting aside society’s allurements.
The LORD calls out and reaches out to every believer for greater fellowship and commitment. Are you listening? Am I listening? He loves us and is beckoning to us. As our Father, He does not want to have to spank us.
Verse 21 is a promise of seated kingly glory next to Christ on His throne. However, there is an “if clause” attached to this whole letter. It can only occur if this church changes its ways and transforms itself into the church of the over-comers.
Verse 22 is what has been repeated by Christ throughout the section to the churches. Every church has now been warned, in their last notation, to take heed to all that has been revealed.
Every church in America needs to take heed to the warnings in the church section of Revelation. They apply to every Bible-believing assembly that is in existence today.
Let us always hear what Christ says to the churches.
No More Church
Chapter 3, ends the church age—the church goes off the air from this point on. We no longer read the word “church,” until the end of Revelation, when John is to report his vision to the churches. As in the Old Testament, the focus was on Israel, so it is throughout the rest of Revelation. We suffer with God’s chosen nation, as we travel on in Revelation, in her persecution—anti-Semitism. And we rejoice when she is delivered, exalted and glorified.
Verse 1 opens this chapter with John having a heavenly experience. He looks upward in this vision and spies an open door to paradise and a voice, like the sound of a trumpet, heralding him, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
John was in the Spirit, taking part in this setting, while imprisoned on the island of Patmos for his unrelenting faith and its proclamation. He experienced this vision through the power of the Holy Spirit, not in participation with his body—he never departed from his prison confinement to witness what is to come.
John entered that opened door to stand in heaven where God is enthroned in all glory and majesty. John is brought face to face with God upon His summoning. He sees his LORD in all glorious splendor, appearing as a jasper stone (opaque, crypto crystalline variety of quartz, usually red) and a sardius stone (ruby). God is all radiant in beauty and His breathtaking appearance is pronounced more with a “rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.”
What an awe-inspiring happening that takes one’s breathe away. No presentation before a king for queen could ever match this! Nothing on this cursed earth could ever compete with the splendor of heaven untouched by cursed sin.
In verse 4, we are introduced to twenty-four elders, who are seated around our enthroned LORD. They are in white garments, representing holiness, and are capped with golden crowns to divulge their station of exaltation.
You may inquire who are these godly elders who have the privilege of being seated around God.
Well, I will tell you what I believe. If you turn to Matthew chapter 19, verse 27, you will read that Peter wanted to know what was being offered to him and the other Jewish disciples who had left everything to follow Christ. The LORD educates the disciples to their assigned roles in heaven as we read in the following verse. They will be provided with their own thrones on which they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Because Judas was removed from his position as one of the twelve, the apostle Paul resumed his post.
If you turn to Revelation 21:14, you will read of another prestigious recognition of the Jewish apostles as their names will be on the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem that will descend from heaven in the brilliance of precious gems. Included in the names will be John the apostle who wrote Revelation, and was an example to the churches of living godly in Christ Jesus. I believe twelve of the twenty-four elders will be the twelve apostles. The Jewish apostles are the only men who are exalted on the heavenly Jerusalem foundation stones by name that we see in Scripture.
The names of the 12 Jewish tribes will be inscribed on the gates of the New Jerusalem, as Revelation 21:12 and Ezekiel 48:30-35 discloses. You read that there will be twelve gates which have the names of the twelve tribes. Therefore, I believe twelve Old Testament saints represent each tribe of Israel as elders. I believe you can locate all these outstanding men in the Old Testament and a great deal of them will be the prophets—presumably, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc. I believe Abraham and Moses will be amongst them too. (Please take note, this is simply my opinion from studying Scripture.)
You may ask, “Did not John see himself seated with the twelve apostles?” I would have to say, “Yes.” Of course, he may not have recognized himself in his future condition, being glorified in the spirit, in incorruptible form. Because Christ told him he would be seated on his own throne, he may have thought about it or even knew which of the twelve seated was himself. I have to admit this part is a guessing game for us.
You might also raise the question, “Did he see me?” It is possible. This is subsequent to the church age, which opens the door to the tribulation period. God’s transit ways of traveling through all ages is mind-boggling. How can we even begin to comprehend? We know at this time, no one has received their glorified bodies. The resurrection of the body occurs toward the end of Revelation.
I believe the other twelve will be representatives from Israel’s twelve tribes. If you look at Revelation 21:12, two verses previous, you will read that there will be twelve gates which have the names of the twelve tribes. Therefore, I believe twelve Old Testament saints represent each tribe of Israel as elders. I believe you can locate all these outstanding men in the Old Testament and a great deal of them will be the prophets—presumably, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc. I believe Abraham and Moses will be amongst them too. (Please take note, this is simply my opinion from studying Scripture.)
The Jews are God’s first chosen, so it should not surprise us that some of them will be the loftiest souls surrounding God’s throne in paradise. They are those who rule under Christ.
You might inquire here, “Where does that leave us, Gentiles?” Gentiles will have a place of authority as well. I Corinthians 6:1-11 informs us, we will judge angels and the world; and that is why our churches are to be the courts of law for believers. I Corinthians, chapters 5-6, speak in regard to us judging believers and that we are to do so; but of course, never in an unbiblical, physically, destructive manner. We learn here that we are to exercise our Biblical wisdom so we do not associate with so-called believers who are immoral, covetous, idolaters, revilers, drunkards or swindlers. We are not even to eat with these people who call themselves Christians, and who attempt to come into our churches. Romans 16:17-18, 2 Peter, Jude, etc; also command that we have nothing to do with so-called believers who do not hold to Biblical teaching and who teach contrary to Scripture. They persuade believers not to take the Word seriously through their flattering speech. Being on guard is part of the believers’ walk. This is why we must study the Bible to show ourselves approved unto God so we are never seduced into falsehood.
Reuniting with Revelation chapter 4, in verse 5, we see the omnipotence of God displayed in unchallengeable authority. No one rules over the Godhead or in place of. His will is revealed throughout the whole earth. The whole Word of God displays the fact that nothing can thwart His will and ways. Isaiah chapter 40 is one chapter that explains that no king or authority is placed in leadership on this earth outside of God’s orchestration and He dethrones any ruler by desire.
Around God’s throne are flashes of lightening, and pounding thunder! This reveals the fact that our holy, innocent, pure Savior is to be feared, praised, honored and obeyed. Job 38:25 teaches that it is God who fashions lightening and determines where a thunderbolt strikes. Reading the complete chapter of Job 38 as well as 39, provides great insight into God’s total global control over His creation. Job 40:9 inquires of us who can “thunder with a voice like His?” Psalm 29:3-9 exalts, His voice is upon the waters; the “God of glory thunders.” His voice is “powerful” and “majestic” and His voice “breaks the cedars.” His voice “hews out flames of fire” and He “shakes the wilderness.”
He makes the “deer to calve” and “strips the forests bare.”
In Daniel 7:9-10, we view Daniel coming face to face with the throne of God—His lofty seat “ablaze with flames.” Here thousands upon thousands constantly attend Him, and are attending Him presently in heights above, billions and billions of years away in distance, beyond all galaxies. His heaven is above all heavens and no man can comprehend or view all that exists beyond the broadest degree of countless years that stretch far beyond our minute earth. Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Paul also had encounters with heaven’s majesty. We know through the Bible that these encounters humbled the core of these men. Who can stand before Almighty God in any kind of bold self-assurance? No one of earthly flesh!
We also cannot begin to activate our mind to imagine the royal power that emerges forth from God’s hand—His scepter.
Touring London, facing the history of regality and the present presence of monarchial rule, gave me insights concerning the history of the kings of Israel, and what respect and fear for enthroned authority entails.
This same fear of a regent is what we need to comprehend and grasp when it comes to our Sovereign King—though our subjection to God, is on a far, greater reaching scale—He is the Creator and sustainer of all.
What we witness here in Daniel, is the judgment throne period, which we will behold ourselves in the future. The unsaved will come face to face with the fact they failed completely in honoring their enthroned God, who reveals His commands in His Word. He rules over the heavens and the earth and abhors every disobedient action. This is why we are commanded to fear and tremble before our LORD, working out our salvation; Philippians 2:12. Moreover, we must share the Gospel that the wayward might be rescued from the eternal wrath of fire to come; Jude 23. They relentlessly dig their own graves as they live day by day apart from the Savior. We dwell amidst a universal graveyard.
Verse 5 of Revelation chapter 4, is full of the truths that surround our enthroned God. He has seven lamps burning before Him, which are actually seven spirits or angels. We read of these angels in the previous chapters of Revelation; they were assigned to the seven churches; 1:20. They are represented as lamps, being they are full of the brightness of God’s holiness that five of the seven churches fell short of, and were to be judged accordingly if they did not repent.
Someday, true believers will be like Christ in holy purity. We will shed these bodies of sin; Romans 6:5-6. We will never be tempted to disobey our holy LORD again.
In verse 6, we view before the throne, something resembling a sea of glass (like crystal) in the center and it surrounds the seat that holds the One of all omnipotence. This adds to the luminosity of our King of majesty, reigning above every subjected and formed thing.
The book of Esther provides insight into the respected area of a king, though all minuscule in comparison to God’s hallowed dwelling. We read in Esther chapter 4 that she, even as queen, could lose her life by coming near the imperial area of the king minus permission. We read in chapter 1 of Esther of the riches and brilliance of the king’s citadel—the gold, silver, mosaic pavement of precious stones, artistic hangings, etc. We see throughout Esther that the palace area was exquisite, reaching far beyond the normal splendor that represented wealth in that period. Who can even phantom the glorious splendor of holy heaven when we all have been subjected to a sin-filled, cursed earth?
We observe also in verses 6-7 of Revelation chapter 4, creatures full of eyes in front and behind. These eyes can certainly be representative of the fact that God sees and hears all, that nothing escapes His notice—Proverbs 15:3 and 2 Chronicles 16:9. He writes every deed of every person in His book (20:12-13). Romans 2:15-16 deals with the thoughts of men, and God judging the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Matthew 12:36 reveals that God takes note of our every word. Christ stated, “That every careless word people speak, they will give an accounting of in the day of judgment.” Certainly the facts should place obedient fear in my heart and yours so we strive to bring the LORD constant glory through our thoughts, words, and actions.
The first of these creatures is like a lion, the second a calf, and the third like a man, and the forth like a flying eagle—a flying eagle in Revelation 8:13 will, in human verbalization, speak of the woes falling on dwellers of the earth that will arise by the hand of Christ, as this prey bird soars through the atmosphere.
These creatures are all representative of the attributes of Christ, He being a devouring and fearless “lion” of judgment and condemnation. He too is like a “calf,” who moved in a meek and non-harming way upon the earth. As a “man” he traveled the land of Israel to serve others. As an “eagle” Christ’s eyes of omniscience roam and monitor all. Moreover, He is tenacious in His dealings, and strong and resourceful in fulfilling His will. All the attributes displayed in these creatures are disclosed throughout God’s Word concerning His multifaceted character.
These six-winged beings, full of eyes, never stop repeating this praise to God, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” Christ is coming again onto the earth just as He left—this time, to rule as King of all; Acts 1:9-11, Revelation 19:11-20:6, etc.
God lives forever and ever and these creatures never stop acknowledging His glory and honor in eternal thanksgiving.
These beings are also exposed in Ezekiel chapter 1, providing additional insight into their complexity and appearance.
We have been peering through these texts with our creative thought, traversing through this chapter, attempting to grasp the displayed. We close it viewing the 24 elders falling down before our LORD. They too, add to the worship, along with the creatures, by lauding the Godhead with glory, honor and power for the fact He created all things and by Him they existed. Colossians 1, verses 15-18, magnifies God the Son as the Creator of all. This reveals to us that there is no question concerning Christ being God, part of the Trinity Godhead. Revelation makes it totally apparent as well, that Christ is magnified God.
Revelation Chapter 5
The Weeping Apostle
Photo clip by photo clip is how we continue to tread into Revelation. John is relaying his astonishing heavenly vision systematically, which commenced with the previous chapter. We enter this section, chapter 5, with John telling us he saw a book written inside and on the back—interesting, don’t you think? It was in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. I believe this to be God the Father. We know following Christ’s ascension that He sat to His Father’s right; Mark 16:19.
You may inquire, what is this book he wants me to know about? Well, I will tell you what I think. If you turn back in your Bible to Daniel 12:4, you will read Daniel was commanded by God to seal up the book that held the concluding prophesies that the LORD set before him in visions—visions similar to John’s. I believe this is that book. It was to be sealed and to be unsealed when the time of last day fulfillment was to arrive—the days previous to the unleashing of the tribulation period—troublesome times.
We also see in this verse, in Daniel, that one of the signs regarding the last days will be the abundance of travel. My, hasn’t that come to pass?
In verse 2, back in Revelation chapter 5, we observe a strong angel (we know from the Word that angles are all male, have differing appearances, assignments, and obviously strengths) seeking to locate, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” He is asking in a loud, obviously intense voice, so all will hear. It is a very concerning thing, we are beholding here in this segment of this flight into the future.
As we attempt to grasp exactly all John is viewing in this heavenly scene, we notice no one is found worthy to open the book. Though the angel’s resounding voice penetrated throughout heaven, no one is stepping forward.
Now, we need to turn and look toward John. To our dismay, we see this appointed apostle is weeping greatly. He obviously knows the importance of having the book unsealed. He may have known this to be Daniel’s writings (my assessment) that needed to come to pass. (Placing the prophesies of Daniel beside Revelation gives us a clearer photo of all that will unfold in the ghastly final days.)
Encouragement arrives on the scene for us in verse 5, as we witness John being told that he need no longer lament; disclosing Christ, the Lion of Judah, the root of David, is the One appointed to open the book of revealed prophesies.
The words here are entirely significant as this reveals that Jesus, born of the tribe of Judah, is the root of David. This fulfills all the prophecies concerning the line of David ruling on the throne in Jerusalem over the Jews. The Messiah is the ultimate King in this line. Matthew 1:1-17 displays Joseph’s genealogy, Christ’s adoptive, ancestral right to the Davidic throne. Mary’s line is provided in Luke chapter 3, which traces her ancestry back to Nathan, David’s son. Nathan was not of the line of Solomon. Solomon’s line eventually begot King Jeconiah. God revealed in Jeremiah 22:30 and 36:30 that none of Jeconiah’s (AKA Coniah and Jehoiachin) descendants would successfully reign on the throne of David.
Zerubbabel was Jeconiah’s grandson (Matthew 1:12), but he never sat on the throne as king when the Jews returned to Israel from the chastening captivities placed on them by God when they desired to be styling with surrounding culture and society. Zerubbabel did rule as governor and oversaw the rebuilding of the temple as recorded in Ezra and Zechariah 4:6f. Nevertheless, God being gracious, did state of Zerubbabel, in Haggai 2:21-23, that during the millennial period, Zerubbabel would be like a signet ring, for God had chosen him. Kings wore signet rings for legalizing documents. The ring’s insignia was set in a small mound of soft wax or clay, which solidified. The document’s addressee could only break this royal embossment. This teaches us Zerubbabel will have exalted, rex power on the earth during the millennial reign of Christ.
Christ has right to Jerusalem’s throne through David, and of course, as God Almighty! He being of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, will rule as God over the world from His throne. Much of the nativity story deals with Christ’s legal prophetic right to the throne. When the angel appeared to Mary in Luke 1:30-33, he spoke in millennial terms, never referencing the church age. Of course, Mary was a Jew, therefore the angel Gabriel spoke of the millennial promises that would be fulfilled by her Seed. In Luke 1:32, she was told by God, Jesus would be formed within, that He would someday reign as Messiah on His throne of David, as a Jew and as LORD. This pre-info, powerfully proclaimed, procured He will reign over her people, the Jews (Jacob’s line), forever and His kingdom will have no end.
Every believing Jew awaited the Messiah’s reign—prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Mary anticipated, as a Jewess, the promises of the reigning Messiah. She was told this would ensue through her. She was God’s chosen, pure (but not sinless) instrument. God speaks in timeless ways … a thousand years are as one day to Him. None of the millennial prophesies, set before Mary, would come to pass until centuries following her entering into paradise.
Christ’s perfection of supremacy rule on the earth is what believers still await.
A Few References:
Revelation 2:26: And he that overcomes, and keeps 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; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Revelation 12:5: And she (Israel) brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron…
Revelation 19:15: And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16: And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Micah 4:1: But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2: And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3: And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. … 7: And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
Zechariah 14:9: And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one … 11: And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. 12: And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth … 16: And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17: And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18: And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19: This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Psalms 47:2: For the LORD most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. 3: He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
In Revelation 5:6, we see Christ the lamb standing as if slain. This sad truth, in heavenly vision form, is to remind us that Christ died for our sins, as the only one worthy—as the sinless Lamb of God.
We are to take communion often in remembrance of this. 1 Corinthians 11:26 speaks of communion being consumed often (“As often as you eat”) and, of course, the apostles exampled this. We observe in Acts 2:46 that believers partook in the breaking of bread—doing so as they went from house to house.
1 Corinthians 11:20 speaks in regard to the church engaging in a pre-communion meal, addressed as the “Lord’s Supper.” It is also designated as a “love feast” in Jude 12.
In warning of communion, if we take it unworthily, our lives can be snuffed out as 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 renders. This is a form of church discipline performed by God Almighty. Whereby, He allows believers to become ill and eventually die if they do not repent of undisclosed, Scripturally disobedient undertakings. The church too is to discipline Biblically, but leadership is not always aware of all the sin present in a congregation and this implements a safeguard. Our mighty God knows all the facts and can judge without any misguidance.
We read, as well, in Revelation 5:6; of the seven spirits. Remember, they oversaw the churches and pronounced judgment upon those fellowships that allowed in its doors acts of Biblical disrespect. Christ was going to discipline those churches that fell short of submission in various areas of Scriptural nonconformance. Here, we witness these angels being sent into all the earth.
In verses 7-8, one of the elders (of the 24) is taking the book out of the Father’s hand and is handing it to the Son of God.
Subsequently, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fall before the Lamb … what a holy sight to behold. Each is holding a harp. This is the only played instrument implemented for singing that we witness in heaven—it being a medium that transmits pure and lovely tones. We are commanded to dwell an all that is lovely, pure, honorable … all that is above reproach—Philippians 4:8. This includes compositions listened to and sung. All must represent separation from the sensual beat of this world.
These elders and angels are also holding bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. It is interesting that believers’ intercessions are represented by sweet smelling incense. Praying according to Scriptural truths is entreating in the will of the Lord, and we see these supplications are very precious and delightfully fragrant to God.
Next in presentation in this moving scene, are the elders singing praise to Christ the Lamb, the only One worthy to break the seals of the book. It was only He who shed His blood for the sins of mankind, so that mankind everywhere in the world might be saved who call upon Him.
Now we behold, glimpsing more intently into this heavenly panorama, that every person from every tribe and tongue will be represented as benefactors of Christ’s shed blood. Therefore, He is worthy to bring judgment upon all who have rejected him. When the actual seals are broken in time future, His judgment will be cast and all evil will receive His avenging anger and wrath unleashed in incomprehensible omnipotence; what never an eye has witnessed before on this sinful, cursed earth.
Examining verse 10, we grasp hold of the fact that God’s promises are to us, true believers, who will be a kingdom of priests to God, and we will reign on the earth with Christ during the blessed millennial period.
Verse 11 ensues us to casts our eyes upon countless angels before the throne of God who are giving praise to Christ with their voices. They sing that familiar hymn, Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain, with delightful, magnified voices untarnished by sin. (I hope your church sings this hymn of awarding praise for God’s sacrificial death. Of course, we do not know the way it is chorused in heaven.)
Every created thing in the heaven, earth, and under the earth, and on the sea and all things in them repeat the same; verse 13. Job 12:7-9 informs that animals do not question God and His mighty works. This creature-praise should not unnerve us.
The total worship scene here is completely awesome—the glorification of Christ—our slain Lamb. This is one example set before us of bowing down before God in all reverential fear and adoration. We must understand our humbled state before Almighty God. There is no room for pride and self-elevation, only knees collapsing.
Revelation Chapter 6
In chapter 5, we witnessed a need arise. A sealed book had to be opened and no one seemed qualified for the task. This penned eschatological work, when opened, would unleash holocaustic terrors upon the whole earth, never witnessed before. We know at the end of the book of Daniel, that Daniel was commanded to seal his recorded account of the last days, which I believe to be this sealed book.
We finally witnessed, the only qualified person coming forth—Christ, our slain Lamb. We concluded chapter 5 with the angels and elders awarding praise to Christ who died that men might be saved. Tremendous accolades were afforded to the One deserving!
In verse 1 of chapter 6, we witness our slain Lamb breaking one of the seals. At this juncture, the first of the angels (of four living creatures) says, “Come.” This thunderous angel is commanding a white horse (representing purity) with rider holding a bow, to come forward; verse 2. This angelic mount is presented with a crown, which proclaims exalted authority—his authority to conquer in Christ’s pure righteousness.
In verse 3, we observe our omnipotent Christ, the worthy One, breaking the second seal. Whereby, the second living angel commands “Come.” A red horse looms forward, representing avenging blood. One of the Biblical names for our God is “terror” and this name is apropos to Revelation. This riding angel will take peace from the earth with his great sword, the peace we presently experience. Our world still grasps some peace, even in its depraved state. We do not continually observe masses of people killing one another. I do not look out my window and witness by neighbors shooting one another. My neighborhood is most always peaceful. We still have some law and order that prevents continuous mass murdering. Yes, we have murders and other crimes that plague our globe, but nothing at all similar to when all peace is completely abolished. We are grateful that we can now relish some peace on earth.
We own the awareness, through Scripture, that in the last days evil will increase as Satan’s power will increase. Admittedly, we witness the criminal aspect unchecked, as never before. Good is definitely called evil and visa versa, which was not the case in previous centuries. Murder incurred the death penalty, without question, in most cases. The majority of people were imprisoned for unlawfully transgressing others.
As spectators in this apocalyptic setting, we are watching men slaying one another, as permitted by God, through our mind’s eye. Minus God’s constant, intervening omnipotence, this globe would be a far cry from its current state of affairs. Christ addressed mankind as being an adulterous and sinful generation; Mark 3:38. His judgment must finally descend upon the earth, as things have not changed; they are continually worsening. This world’s fallen state will result in a slaying sword, held within the hand of Christ the Judge.
Yes, we still have more seals of judgment to witness—remember, there are seven seals. The third seal is broken by Christ in verse 5. Another angel commands another horse and rider to “Come.” This horse is black and its horseman is holding a pair of scales—scales to weigh. There will be little food to weigh during this time of famine when men experience the justice of God’s frightful hand—a frightful hand that does not encompass tolerance.
In verse 6, we see a denarius used as money accounting, which = a day’s wages. A denarius could buy a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley … not much to feed, house and clothe a family. “The prices are outrageous,” we would appallingly state. We see the angel, out of God’s grace, not being allowed to damage the oil or wine. These preserved supplies will be protected out of God’s kind love.
A fourth seal is unleashed in verse 7, as the command to “Come” arises once again. Here we have an ashen (pale) horse bearing a rider whose name is “Death and Hades.” This is the last of the four living creatures to gallop in retribution, casting woes upon the earth.
Hades is a holding tank for the condemned dead who will someday be placed in the Lake of Fire. Not until the white throne judgment, Revelation chapter 20, will anyone be cast to this fate. We do know Hades is a very hot place, as is hell, through the story of the rich man and Lazarus; Luke chapter 16. This “Death and Hades” rider will be provided with authority to kill a fourth of the earth with sword, famine, sickness and wild beasts in time advancing. When these wild beasts strike, they will extinguish all animal rights groups. Everyone will be walking in trepidation, watching for wild beasts out of the corner of their eye.
This will be a trying time for the human race when these four plaguing woes beset a fourth of our planet. It will be a sad time for the rebellious who have rejected Christ, when the death bell tolls these grievous judgments.
There will be little or no food to nourish, and sickness resulting in death will be present everywhere. The call of the wild will be knocking at the door—animals and those who want to mass murder. This section of Scripture reminds me of the dreadful perils that were present on the Oregon Trail. However, this arriving revelational period will surpass those road hazards in untold, unimaginable levels.
We now arrive at the fifth seal which presents a different photo of what we have previously witnessed. We see no horse and rider beckoning. What we do witness in this portrayed footage is souls—the embodiment of the persecuted church. This is an interlude period that refrains from earthly woes; verse 10.
These believers who held the faith unto death, lie beneath the altar. They have been sacrificed for their faith in Christ. In the Old Testament, altars were erected for blood sacrifices, for sin atonement. There is also an altar placed in heaven to remind us of Christ’s crucifixion.
We do not know how many sacrificed individuals are represented, but it would not surprise me if a million souls rest beneath the altar. These faithful believers desire revenge and are awaiting judgment on the unsaved. They want blood revenge, as we see in verse 10. In 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 we read of God’s promises of affliction—repayment placed upon those who persecute believers. This will be fulfilled in the last days, verse 7: “when Christ is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,” He will deal out retribution on the unsaved. Of course, we know many persecutors have come to Christ and are still coming to Him, out of His charity. We must witness to those who hate us, remembering we were simply saved by grace.
Verse 10 addresses Christ refraining from judgment even though the martyrs are begging for it. God is longsuffering that all might be saved. We note there is a certain number of destined martyrs, and that accounting must be fulfilled before judgment. In Romans 11:25-26, we read of the “fullness of the Gentiles.” Here also there is a number set before God, this dealing with Gentile salvation. During this church dispensation, God has predestined a number of Gentiles to be saved. Subsequently, when this number is completed, then the focus will return to the Jewish nation and their complete salvation.
Returning to Revelation, we see God loves these faithful tortured ones who never compromised to save their own hides. As a result, He presents each of them with a white robe for their faith of obedience that led to their frightful deaths.
It is now time for the sixth seal unveiling, which arrives in a quake, an earthquake; verse 12. No horse and rider arrive for this sealed judgment, being there were only four assigned to the seven seal breakings. The earthquake is accompanied by darkness that covers the sun like a thick, black feed sack—called sackcloth. (Sackcloth was a rough material used in sacking goods. It was made from goat or camel hair. A burlap sack serves the same purpose today.)
We also witness the moon becoming like blood and the stars falling from the sky to the earth.
I shot this photo of the moon on a night where fires loomed miles away. The reflection turned our moon to orange-red.
A rhythmic picture is presented, ending verse 1—“as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.” It is set before us to reveal that the whole earth will suffer shaking deadly turmoil at this time.
It is hard to imagine planets falling and landing on the earth and the bloodshed which will commence from their crushing, burning destruction. In 8:10, we see a great star falling from heaven and it was burning like a torch. I assume these stars in 6:13 will begin to burn also when they enter earth’s upper atmosphere as do meteors.
Meteors become heated by friction and are set afire by the Earth’s oxygen mantel. There is such an onslaught to the earth’s atmosphere that the available oxygen in certain areas are completely consumed. Heated gas in the comet’s tail form petrol chemicals, which when falling through the atmosphere burst into flame, a sheet of flame falling to Earth.
(Christ quoted these same catastrophes in Matthew 24:29 when he preached on the tribulation.)
Picturing the heavens splitting “like a scroll, when it is rolled up,” seems to defy my intellect. It appears the clouds and blue sky will simply disappear before men’s eyes; Revelation 6:14.
Joel 2:31-32 also describes this phenomenon, and we know it is this period, as it states “the great and awesome day of the LORD,” which always refers to end time prophesies. Joel refers to the wonders of the sky and earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke; the sun turning to darkness, and the moon into blood. This text teaches there will be those who escape who live in Jerusalem, “the survivors whom the LORD calls.”
Reading further, we note every mountain, and island, not just some, will be moved out of their places. This far surpasses any earthquake or tsunami that has come to the earth up to its present time. Something to contemplate!
The result appears in verse 15, where kings, great men, commanders, rich and strong, slaves and freemen will hide themselves in caves and rocks. All mankind will be living in terror of God! Yes, they all know this is the wrath of Christ, as they command the mountains and rocks to fall on them, to be hid from the presence of Christ the Lamb; verse 16. There will be no professing atheists during this time!
Now, man makes a great statement, “The great day of their wrath has come, who is able to stand;” verse 17. When I read these words, I could not help but think of the lyrics to “Handel’s Messiah,” which covers a great deal of the apocalypse. This musical masterpiece comprises only Scripture. My husband and I enjoy listening to Messiah; it encompasses Christ’s outlined life, including what is to come.
“Handel’s Messiah:” “But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire. And He shall Purify;” Malachi 3:2.
What powerful words to end this chapter. Christ will purify the earth like a refiner’s fire. How we look forward to the time when all evil will cease—every unrighteous, unholy and unchaste way.
This chapter instructs us to be about the Gospel that men might be saved from the wrath to come!
Revelation Chapter 7
144,000 Male, Virgin Jews
The power of angels is difficult to comprehend. Revelation and other Bible references make it clear that they are not sweet, little ladies with wings, appearing similar to fairies. As I have stated previously, there are no female angels listed in Scripture and they were created countless years before Eve, who was created by God, by taking a rib from Adam—which I don’t believe he missed. I don’t know any man who misses this rib.☺
Sinful humankind has always desired to worship women, as history and present day religions example. This easily proves women’s lib has always been in style; the odd and sinful elevation of female beauty and power. Who can deny Cleopatra’s persuasions of beauty and control at a point in history that people view as suppressive to women? Her’s was the era of goddess worship.
Female angels appeal to depraved, sensual-minded humanity.
We view in verse 1, four angels standing at each corner of the earth, holding back the four winds of our globe; obviously extremely powerful beings. The four corners of the earth would be the rudimental points of the four winds, where their force looms forth. Our earth has four prevailing winds and these winds will be held back through God’s selected celestial beings.
Gusty power is explained in fact to a minute degree below. These details reveal the LORD keeps His winds “on track.” They are orchestrated and guided.
4 Prevailing winds — the general circulation of the atmosphere from encyclopedia:
Prevailing winds are winds which come about as a consequence of global circulation patterns. These include the Trade Winds, the Westerlies, the Polar Easterlies, and the Jet Streams.
The Trade Winds are the most familiar, consistent and reliable winds on the planet, exceeded in constancy only by the katabatic wind of the major ice sheets of Antarctic and Greenland. It was these winds that early mariners relied upon to propel their ships from Europe to North and South America. Their name derives from the Middle High German trade, akin to Old English trod meaning “path” or “track,” and thus the phrase “the wind blows trade,” that is to say, on track.
Along the east coast of North America, friction twists the flow of the Trades even further clockwise. The result is that the Trades feed into the Westerlies, and thus provide a continuous zone of wind for ships traveling between Europe and the Americas.
The Westerlies, which can be found at the mid-latitudes beneath the Ferrel circulation cell likewise arise from the tendency of winds to move in a curved path on a rotating planet. Together with the airflow in the Ferrel cell, poleward at ground level and tending to equator ward aloft (though not clearly defined, particularly in the winter), this predisposes the formation of eddy currents which maintain a more-or-less continuous flow of westerly air. The upper-level polar Jet Stream assists by providing a path of least resistance under which low pressure areas may travel.
The Polar Easterlies result from the outflow of the polar high, a permanent body of descending cold air which makes up the poleward end of the polar circulation cell. These winds, though persistent, are not deep. However, they are cool and strong, and can combine with warm, moist Gulf Stream air transported northward by weather systems to produce violent thunderstorms and tornadoes as far as 60°N on the North American continent.
The Jet Streams are rapidly moving upper-level currents. Traveling generally eastward in the tropopause, the polar jets reside at the juncture of the Ferrel cell and the polar cell and mark the location of the polar cold front. During winter, a second Jet Stream forms at about the 30th parallel, at the interface of the Hadley and Ferrel cells, as a result of the contrast in temperature between tropical air and continental polar air.
The Jet Streams are not continuous, and fade in and out along their paths as they speed up and slow down. Though they move generally eastward, they may range significantly north and south. The polar Jet Stream also marks the presence of Rossby waves, long-scale (4000 – 6000 km in wavelength) harmonic waves which perpetuate around the globe.
Our miraculous LORD is certainly past finding out!
These angels, under God’s direction, must see to it that no winds blow on the earth, on the sea and not on any tree. And we know, these angels will not fail God; they rarely question—only trust and obey. I can only recall one Biblical instance of angelic inquiry; this is located in Zechariah chapter 1. Here we read of an angel of the LORD begging for justice regarding the cities of Judah in Israel. He wants the nations who abhor Israel to pay the consequences for their disrespect and contempt for the chosen of God, the Jews. He respectfully asks of God, “When will justice arise?” God responds with grace and mercy, explaining, He will comfort and rebuild Zion or Jerusalem and will bring blessings. The enemies of the Jews would not be able to thwart God’s promises.
Nowhere in Revelation do we observe an instance of heavenly messengers questioning God’s activities.
Another angel appears in verse 2, ascending from the rising sun. It does not seem fire, ice or other elements effect angels. We could never ascend from the rising sun, not being able to soar in these bodies that are earthbound. These dusty shells also hate extremely hot temperatures, and would suffer destruction if exposed to the sun’s flames. Someday, the born again will have perfect bodies that will not be frail or subject to harm. We will no longer consist of dust. However, God is graciously mindful that we are simply made of dust; Psalm 103:13-14.
This sun-ascending angel holds the seal of the living God. It must be placed on the 144,000 male, virgin Jews by God’s decree. They are sealed as God’s chosen, righteous ones. Their numbers are 12,000 x 12,000. From every tribe of Israel, 12,000 righteous ones will be extracted, which = 144,000. Even though the Jews have intermarried with other Jewish tribes (every tribe descended from one of Jacob’s twelve sons; Genesis chapter 49) and Gentile peoples throughout the centuries, God is making sure there will be those who can be distinguished by their tribe.
We see the names of the twelve tribes listed in verses 5-8; though, for some reason, Dan is not listed. Perhaps it is included with another tribe or a scribal error occurred when copying the original text. However, scribal errors are virtually inexistent in Scripture; thus proven by placing ancient copies side by side.
It is made clear, by verse 4, that these holy men will encompass all twelve tribes.
This special unit of God’s army of righteousness is also spoken of in Ezekiel chapter 9. Here, Ezekiel makes it clear that everyone in Jerusalem will be murdered except for the 144,000 male, virgin Jews secured from each tribe. Everyone dies, excluding those with the mark or seal—the 144,000. The 144,000 are set apart because they “sigh and groan over all the abominations” which are in the city of Jerusalem. They will hate all the sin displayed in the holy city and will mourn over it, resulting in the protective sealing by God—which is the name of the Lamb and His Father; Revelation 14:1. They will not compromise in any way, shape or form. They will not be tolerant of evil in any form.
All those without “The Mark” die in Jerusalem in the tribulation. This includes men, women, children and the elderly. Though the Ezekiel text does not specifically state 144,000; we know it refers to them, as no other Jewish male group in Scripture is so distinguished with this godly mark on their foreheads; Ezekiel 9:4 and Revelation 7:3.
These holy Jews are also spoken of in chapter 14 of Revelation; these men will stand with Christ on Mount Zion, which is Jerusalem, AKA the temple area. This will be where the new temple will be built and where Solomon’s temple stood and Zerubbabel’s. King Herod’s temple, that we view in the New Testament, is Zerubbabel’s Temple holding all the glorification Herod erected in an attempt to bring Zerubbabel’s Temple to the standard of Solomon’s Temple. However, it never achieved Solomon’s total grandeur. Still, it was very impressive; this affirmed by the disciples acclaim in Luke 21:5-6. We note here that Christ was totally unimpressed. God is never impressed by the work of man’s hands, which will someday all be dismantled when this earth is destroyed.
The Two Temples:
“Solomon’s Temple was an artistic structure of the highest conception. In its commanding position on the mount, in the pleasing effect of its white stone ornamented with cedar-wood, and in its symmetrical proportions it surpassed Herod’s Temple, though the latter exceeded the former in mere magnificence. Herod’s Temple was the most beautiful building in the world designed by one of the most infamous men in the world.
It was constructed entirely of polished granite interspersed with dark-colored marble, with beveled edges, set in plaster. Herod even proposed to fill up the edges with gold; but the Rabbis advised him to abstain from doing so, as the white plaster combined with the granite and marble gave the Temple the appearance of waves of the sea” (Suk. 57b). Thus it is evident that Herod was somewhat gaudy in his taste and that his Temple was less artistic in design and coloring than that of Solomon’s.”
Wicked King Herod beautified Zerubbabel’s Temple (the second temple) and God allowed it to be destroyed by the Romans, having been desecrated by his murdering hands.
Herod flowed in defilement and vileness. He was a man of destined failure and damnation, which led to the destruction of his attempts and futile accomplishments.
Because of his sins (the main one, attempting to murder God the Son), he acquired unbearable disorders that led to his death.
Christ implemented the temple adoration in Luke chapter 21 to lead into a warning for the disciples, stating that many will come in His name and deceive in the last days—Luke 21:8.
We certainly see this today in the church where the holy Christ of the Bible has been removed and replaced with a rock and rolling christ, who loves to rock out and relishes references to television and movies. The Biblical Christ, who hates this world and the things of this world, has mostly been abolished—not to be found in most Christian circles. The church apostasy is not being extinguished, and will not be until Christ seizes control of the earth with His rod of iron.
The very popular Message Bible has totally changed Christ’s identity to form a false christ who is trendy and culturally acceptable. It also removes the fact, Christ is the only begotten Son (only born) of the Father, as does the NIV version, which is heretical too. These Bibles and others delete much of the original texts to please all men. Publishers change the original penned passages in the current translations for sale purposes, being money mongers, who own no fear of God. And they openly admit filthy lucre is the reason for their wrongful and blasphemous translations.
They present a christ for Hollywood—one who doesn’t step on anyone’s toes too hard or harms anyone’s sensual agendas. You will not find the word “homosexual” in the Message translation. Only “cheap sex,” “abusive sex” and “sex without love” appear to be condemned. It is not surprising that homosexuals applaud this Message translation as being “nicely done.”
God states adulterers and those who engage in premarital sex will be judged. God only approves of virgins coming together in holy wedlock for a lifetime; Hebrews 13:4. Of course, we understand Christ’s gracious forgiveness and restoration (the woman at the well being a perfect example). But we cannot change God’s holy declarations that set forth His innocent heart’s desire that produces the greatest blessing. This is what must be taught—abstinence until marriage, and that union of a man and a woman.
This Message christ is also environmentally concerned; Romans 15:13: “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”
The “green hope” Hindu mantra is a popular rallying cry in the New Age Mother-Earth demonic, environmental movement. “Green” signifies oneness with the Earth. “Energy” of the earth prevails in Satan’s New Age religion of demonic powers—they, being the running energy within the earth and in vegetation. Satan teaches, no one should harm his demon gods by resourcing what God has placed in the earth for men to utilize for his benefit.
The true texts of the Bible forthrightly present the omnipotent Holy Spirit maintaining holy, righteous power, not simply “energy.” The Greek word is “dynamis” in Romans 15:13, from which we obtain our English word “dynamite.”
The Christ of the Bible speaks of this sinful earth passing away. He commands us to keep our mind on things above not on the things of this vile earth. The Bible makes it clear, Satan is the god of this earth.
This false Message translation speaks in sterile, disrespectful, matter-of-fact tones. It is void of the Holy Spirit. The author, Eugene Peterson, is of a liberal, sin-accepting denomination. He takes abusive liberties with the Greek and Hebrew texts, manufacturing continuous false renderings; changing the original Scriptures. Adding and subtracting, is forbidden by God; Matthew 5:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:19.
This blasphemous translation is now widely used in churches, because it presents a non-threatening environment and a non-threatening christ. Recently, I stopped submitting articles to a Christian website, because the editor now quotes the Message Bible.
Other Message examples:
|1 Tim 1:9-10. “…realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.||The Message: “It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever!”|
|John 3:5. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”||The Message: “Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind hovering over the water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.”|
|1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders [sodomites] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified…”||The Message: “Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start….” [Emphasis added]|
|Romans 8:35-37: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”||The Message: “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins.
|Romans 9:27-28. And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.||The Message: Isaiah maintained this same emphasis: If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled “Chosen of God,” they’de be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by personal selection. God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus.|
You notice in the Romans chapter 9 passage, God’s chosen nation Israel, is completely removed from the Message translation.
Peterson lies and rewrites the Word of God according to his own theology passions. He tunes the Gospel of his Message Bible to his liking; whereby, being reborn by the Holy Spirit through the cleansing of Christ’s shed blood is inexistent. True believers can discern it is penned by a fleshly, unsaved, New Age man who desires to exterminate holiness from the texts of God.
The church apostasy is not being extinguished, but is growing at unbelievable rates. We witness in our fellowships many church attendees who appear unwashed, not cleansed in the blood of Christ. They engulf themselves in filth during the week; walking in it as one. They are roaming down the road of eternal destruction, parading a religious facade.
The 144,000 Jews of Israel will not stand with the rewriting of God’s Word—changing the original language, which waters it down and erases its convicting power, as well as Israel’s rightful place in Scripture. These godly males will not compromise the truths of Christ in any manner! They will not follow a contemporary christ—who only exists in the mind of those who cannot accept the Biblical, separated, innocent, undefiled, holy Christ (Hebrews 7:26).
Verse 9, of chapter 7, moves us to a hallowed scene, a remarkable scene, revealing the power of God to save to the uttermost. We observe here, the saved of the world, from every nation, tribe, people and language, being saved in the tribulation, as confirmed in verse 14. They will “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
There are so many believers, no one can count them! My, what a mighty God we serve! Christ announced if He be lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself; John 12:32. His power to save will not end before the tribulation, though many would desire we believe this. Countless multitudes will be saved.
These blessed redeemed ones, cry out with a loud voice, while holding palm branches in their hands, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb;” verse 10. On Palm Sunday, before Resurrection Sunday, we remember how Christ was uplifted and adored. The inhabitants of Jerusalem proclaimed, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD, even the King of Israel,” with palm branches; John 12:12-13.
What occurred on Palm Sunday, a week previous to the crucifixion, was the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 being partially fulfilled. Christ will again come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey when He is made King over the entire earth. It will be the entire globe that rejoices at this time. It will be completely fulfilled beyond our comprehension. Praise God!
Returning to Revelation, we see all the angels taking part in continued worship, surrounding the twenty-four elders and four living creatures; verses 11-12. They reverently fall on their faces before God, seated on His throne, and worship, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
We can all fall on our knees right now and proclaim the same praise to our God and King—the only One deserving of praise and adoration. We can pray multitudes of verses as we read through His Word. Whenever we entreat with His Word, we pray His perfect will.
In verse 13, our attention turns to John, as one of the elders approaches and speaks to him. Remember John, in this future time, will most likely be one of these elders; this was explained previously.
We do not know the name of the godly elder who is conversing with John. (Though someday, all things will be disclosed to believers.) This elder is asking John, “Who are the ones who are clothed in white robes?” John respectfully replies to this elevated one, “You know.”
This elder then replies to John’s inquiring mind, “They are the ones who came out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”—Jesus Christ, also stated a few verses prior. We know blood makes things red, but Christ’s cleansing blood makes believers whiter than snow.
These future tribulation martyrs will never deny Christ and will never stop preaching Him (Acts 5:40-42, Acts 4:20, 1 Corinthians 9:16; etc), no matter the opposition, and they will be slain. It will be contrary to the laws of men to be a Christian at this time, but these will sacrificially die for breaking the laws of men to spread the salvation message of Christ. Today, many believers are perishing because they refuse to obey the laws of silence.
Yes, we are to obey the legislation of the land, but not when these laws forbid the spreading of the Gospel. We cannot place our stamp of approval on any person or government that forbids the spreading of the Gospel; Acts 5:28-31. We can never declare it is fine for a government to enact anti-Christian laws. Satan is the author and legislator of all such laws.
These godly persecuted ones will be completely worthy to walk in white as those who will not compromise. They will serve Jesus Christ day and night in His temple and He will spread His tabernacle over them. His holiness will engulf them.
We learn from Revelation that if we do not walk in compromise to God’s Word, we will be significantly blessed in heaven. Being willing to be persecuted, produces eternal blessings overflowing. Why walk in compromise on this earth to please sinful man and to feed your fleshly desires? This earth is passing away and also its lusts. Is it worth it? No person can love you like God. No person will be as faithful to you, dear one.
These uncompromising righteous ones who feared only God, will find total contentment and deliverance from their earthly persecuted trials that led to their termination. They will no longer suffer from hunger, thirst or having to work under the hot sun and its heat.
There is no better reward than being before the Lamb who sits in the center of the throne. He will be their Shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life. And God will wipe away their every tear.
What a spectacular, vibrato note on which to end this chapter study. It will be a glory for us when we never have to shed another tear of sadness.
What a grand day when we can see our slain Lamb who suffered and died for every sin we ever committed!
I have compiled a list of the seven seals with chapters and verses to assist you:
The Seven Seals, chapters 6 & 8:
First Seal: Conquering angel on white horse; 6:1-2.
Second Seal: War—men slaying one another; 6:3-4.
Third Seal: Inflation and famine, but oil and wine preserved; 6:5-6.
Fourth Seal: Death—famine, pestilence and wild beasts; 6:7-8.
Fifth Seal: Christ’s martyrs; 6:9-11.
Sixth Seal: Terror—unsaved call for the rocks to fall on them to protect them from the LAMB; 6:12-16.
Seventh Seal: Silence about ½ hour, and 7 trumpets are given to 7 angels; 8:1-5.
Revelation Chapter 8
We were provided with great optimism as we departed from chapter 7. We learned those faithful believers who had been persecuted unto death during the tribulation, would never again suffer harm. Christ the Lamb “will be their Shepherd and will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes;” Revelation 7:17.
This is also the eternal hope of believers who have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. Heaven is our delivery destination—here we will find freedom from all earthly turmoil and testing.
In this new chapter, the seventh seal of the seven seals is now broken. This event leaves heaven silent for a space of a half hour. This reveals the solemness set toward the destructive, seven trumpeting dramatics, that will appear before our eyes in predicted display.
The explanation of the seven trumpets handed to seven angels to blow, with coordinating events; chapters 8, 9 and 11:
First Trumpet: Hail, fire, blood and 1/3 of the earth is burned, 1/3 of trees and 1/3 of grass; 8:7.
Second Trumpet: Great mountain burning with fire and thrown into sea … results in 1/3 of it becoming blood. 1/3 of the sea creatures die, and 1/3 of the ships are destroyed; 8:8-9.
Third Trumpet: Star falls on 1/3 of the rivers and on springs. The star is called wormwood and many men will die from the poisonous, bitter water; 8:10-11.
Fourth Trumpet: 1/3 of the sun, moon and stars are struck and the earth is completely darkened for 4 hours during the day, and 4 hours during the night; 8:12-13.
Fifth Trumpet: The angel who is the “star” (1:20 informs us stars represent angels) is handed a key by Christ to open the bottomless pit; 9:1-12. (We know the “key” came from Christ. Revelation 1:18 informs us He holds the keys of death and of Hades).
Sixth Trumpet: Four angels are unbound from Euphrates River and the army from the east arrives. This military force will consist of 2 hundred million horses and riders. The horses’ heads resemble ferocious lions. Fire, smoke and brimstone proceed forth from their mouths. Their serpent-like tails also bring harm. 1/3 of mankind is killed by this out-breathed fire, smoke and brimstone; 9:13-19 and Joel 2:30-31. (This is the second time 1/3 of men are extinguished by God’s hand of wrath. Trumpets 1-4 address when a third of the earth is destroyed. The sixth trumpet is the second destruction of a third of mankind.)
Seventh Trumpet: Christ’s kingdom revealed, with His eternal judgment and heaven’s temple glory; 11:15-19.
Now, seven angels receive seven trumpets. Another angel appears and is given a golden censer as he stands at the altar.
Censer: “A small portable vessel of metal fitted to receive burning coals from the altar, and on which the incense for burning was sprinkled (2 Chronicles 26:19; Luke 1:9).” The only distinct precepts regarding the use of the censer are found in Leviticus 16:12 and in Numbers 4:14. Solomon prepared “censers of pure gold” as part of the temple furniture (1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chronicles 4:22).
Much incense was provided so this angel could add it to the prayers of the saints on the altar which is before the throne of God.
We can truly recognize, as we peer into heaven, how significant the tabernacle and temple were as they represented heavenly activities of service.
A beautiful picture is set before us in verse 4, back in Revelation, as we witness this incense—representing the prayers of saints flowing up to God, issuing from the angel’s hand. See also Exodus 30:7-9, Psalm 141:2, Revelation 5:8, and Luke 1:9-10.
The altar is very symbolic in Scripture as well. We know the continuous blood from animals that flowed from the Jerusalem temple altar represented the blood the Messiah would shed for the whole world in prophesied future. All this was fulfilled two thousand years ago. From this time forward, the world has reaped the benefits of the Lamb’s chosen death. His sacrificed cleansing blood is offered today to all, that all might be saved (whosoever believes—John 3:16). However, the road is narrow that leads to heaven, as few choose to be washed clean from all filth and vileness.
Returning to chapter 8, we survey more of the retribution of God, spilling on the earth. Joel and other prophets spoke to this occasion. Joel 2:30-31 discloses tribulation facts by addressing the wonders that will come to pass—blood, fire and columns of smoke. Moreover, the sun being turned to darkness and the moon to blood. Joel and other prophets, through inspiration, rightly referred to the tribulation as “The great and awesome day of the LORD.” God’s promises of judgment will be fulfilled.
In verse 5, back in chapter 8 of Revelation, one of the angels takes the censer and fills it with the fire from the altar and throws it to the earth. Earth’s inhabitants continue to reject Christ and they are paying the consequences once again. We witness that our world will be filled with fire, thunder, and lightening.
When it appears things cannot worsen, an earthquake rattles the earth. In chapter 6, we had the unleashing of all the tribulation seals … all except the seventh. The six seal also held an earthquake of unimaginable magnitude. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The sun was blackened and the moon became like blood. The stars of the sky fell to the earth.
This planet will reap what it has sown throughout the multiplied centuries of its existence. God is very gracious and longsuffering, but only to a point.
These befalling episodes compare to nothing you and I have ever witnessed. Devastating consequences will be observed that we cannot even begin to fathom. This is the wrath of God unleashed—predicted throughout the Old and New Testament. We have not been shut out and left unawares.
We know earthly disasters will increase as we journey closer to closing times. We do seem to be witnessing catastrophes on a larger scale. They are all leading toward this epoch. We are commanded to warn the unsaved of what is to arrive. We do not want our unsaved friends and neighbors suffering the wrath of God. Knowing the fear of the LORD, we persuade men; 2 Corinthians 5:11.
In verse 7, the first angel trumpets the first war cry. This produces hail and fire mixed with blood. This explosive conglomerate is thrown on the earth. This will hit our planet, descending from above, and it will suffer this destruction for its Biblical disobedience.
The consequences of this highest court, judicial verdict thrust upon evil mankind will affect a third of the earth—trees and green grass burned to oblivion.
The Bible says judgment arrives because man does not give thanks to God for His many blessings. Many unsaved people we personally know would not think of offering praise to the Creator for the green grass and the lush tress. They could not reflect on the importance of giving thanks for the sun-enhanced blue sky and fluffy passing clouds. Man is very hardened and he would rather curse God than praise Him—the One from whom all blessings flow.
Verse 8 brings us to the blowing of the second trumpet by the second angel. John, our recorder, describes this by scribing, “Something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood.” This is the unleashing of immeasurable, avenging hemal.
We have noted that God’s punishment is being dished out in thirds. He is not destroying the whole earth, as He still desires that men repent. Even in all His revenge, God still desires salvation for all.
Along with the second trumpeting, we see a third of aquatic life brought to stinging death and a third of all ocean vessels destroyed—human carnage floating in the seas.
By this time, there will be few places to run. Who can escape the One who rules the heavens and the earth?
In verse 10, we are brought to the third sounding angel. Following his musical charge, a great star falls from heaven; possibly one of the known planets. It will be “burning like a torch” and of course, we know that when meteors enter our atmosphere, they burn like a torch.
There are 70,000 million million million stars—sextillion, in God’s heaven!
That’s the total number of stars in the known universe, according to a study by Australian astronomers. There are about 10 times as many stars as grains of sand on all the world’s beaches and deserts.
“The figure – 7 followed by 22 zeros or, more accurately, 70 sextillion – was calculated by a team of stargazers based at the Australian National University.”
We know this blazing planet will not burn to nothing before it reaches the earth; it will be massive when it hammers a third of our planet. It will induce momentous catastrophes. It will fall on a third of the rivers and springs of water.
God names this star wormwood: Artemisia absinthium
“The wormwood shrub grows wild in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. It is now cultivated in North America as well. The leaves and flowers, and the oil obtained from them, are used as medicine.
Historical or traditional use: Wormwood is perhaps best known because of the use of its oil to prepare certain alcoholic beverages, most notably vermouth and absinthe. Absinthe, popular in the nineteenth century in Europe, caused several cases of brain damage and even death and was banned in most places in the early twentieth century. Wormwood oil continues to be used as a flavoring agent for foods, although in much smaller amounts than were found in absinthe. As a medicine, wormwood was traditionally used as a bitter to improve digestion and to fight worm infestations. It was regarded as a useful remedy for problems involving the liver and gallbladder.”
Wormwood is a deadly and bitter herb that cannot be consumed in significant quantities. This star is referred to as wormwood in verse 11, as it will be ghastly destructive and will leave countless people in bitter pain. Many men will die from the infested bitter waters that this star pollutes. People will not be able to locate fresh unpolluted water in this sphere.
In verse 12, a fourth angel blows his trumpet in perfect, montage sequence. It is time now for a third of the sun, moon and stars to be “struck.” A third of the day and night will be total darkness—eight hours. This will be very scary, a total blackout.
We conclude this chapter by being introduced to a remarkable eagle—a loud speaking eagle; verse 13. Now, we cannot be too surprised. It is possible that animals could speak before the fall. Eve was not surprised by the talking serpent or so it appears. Of course, Balaam wasn’t surprised by his donkey’s brilliant, questioning oration. Stupid Balaam just argued with him. (Numbers chapter 22) Our omnipotent God can make anything speak. Christ revealed in Luke 19:37-40 that the stones would cry out if the God-praising crowd became silent.
This eagle is a prophesying bird of prey (completely apropos). He soars the sky telling the earth’s inhabitants, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” Yes, four angels have now trumpeted the perils of God, but three are still left.
God throughout history has warned of His wrath to come. He desires repentance not judgment. Silly man just shakes his fist toward God.
Please remember there are no atheists at this time. We learned this from chapter 6. The residents of the earth were crying for the rocks to fall on them so they would be hidden from the omnipotent, avenging catastrophes of the Lamb of God and the Father; 6:16-17.
If you want to read something similar to what we are reading in Revelation, you can study the nine plagues found in Exodus, chapters 7-10. Here you observe horrific torments placed on Egyptians due to their hard hearts. Of course, these are very minute when scaled in comparison to the world calamities of revealed times.
This ends this lesson, but the trumpets will continue in chapter 9.
Revelation Chapter 9
In chapter 9, we arrive at the fifth trumpet of tribulation judgment brought upon the entire earth by the sounding of the fifth angel. Remember, I have all the trumpets and consequences listed in the previous chapter.
Viewing verse 1, we witness a star falling from heaven, which is an angel. We get to glimpse the power of angels through the book of Revelation. We have noted that all elements, including fire and gravity, pose no harm or threat to them. We witnessed an angel that ascended from the sun in 7:2. They can soar at insurmountable speed, rocketing through the galaxies that are trillions of years away, in the simplicity of a moment. Their abilities reach far beyond our comprehension. God’s holy angels are rightly to be respected as Scripture exhorts.
The key of the bottomless pit is handed to this star (angel) of verse 1. Remember, Revelation 1:20 holds a key for us when it comes to understanding the fact stars represent angels (though not in all cases). There were seven angels (stars) that were assigned to the seven churches that we read of in chapters 1-3.
The earth-landing angel of chapter 9 uses a key to open the demonized, hot bottomless pit; whereby smoke arises like that of a great furnace; verse 2. On this future day, the sun and air will be darkened via the smoke of the dreadful pit. How can I warn too much regarding this bottomless infernos crater? Hell is the destination for the unredeemed (those who have not been washed in the blood of the Savior, being made clean in God’s sight through spiritual rebirth) who have perished. (20:11-15) Currently, Hades (a very hot temporary holding place in the earth) contains the unsaved, who have expired; those who did not call upon God the Savior to save them.
In Revelation 9:3, we witness bizarre locusts arising out of the fiery pit. They are very savage and astounding in appearance. We do not know their size as this is not revealed. Movies and books like to portray them in giant structure, but we do not know if they will be larger than the common locust. We do know they will plague men to a degree that we cannot fully process in our minds.
God created over 9,000 of these uniquely modeled species:
“Locusts are migratory members of the short-horned grasshopper family; the name applied to almost 9,000 different species of singing, jumping insects in two families of the order Orthoptera. Grasshoppers are long, slender, winged insects with powerful hind legs and strong mandibles, or mouthparts, adapted for chewing.”
The Old Testament prophetical book of Joel addresses a portion of what is described in this Revelation chapter. God directed Joel to write on the tribulation period in general. This exposing little book also divulges the sins that Israel partook of during his era—approximately 835-796 BC. We can relate to this disclosure as humanity’s sensual, sinful nature does not transform except by rebirth.
Joel foretold of the locusts that will arrive upon the earth in the tribulation. One fearsome manifestation will be their mighty teeth—teeth of a lion; Joel 1:6. Revelation 9:8 also bears this fact. Chapter 2 of Joel deals with the great horrors that will arrive within the tribulation period, including these unfathomable grasshoppers. We know Joel is addressing this period, being he refers to it as the day of the LORD’S coming. He speaks of these locusts arriving in a day of darkness and gloom—so true to Revelation’s forecast. No one in ages past has experienced anything like what is to come! The appearance of these creatures will be that of horses; 2:4. This is also verified in Revelation 9:7. They will run like mighty men—climbing, marching, and coming into homes; Joel 2:8-9. Revelation 9:9 further testifies to these facts. Joel also addressed present time foreclosure of God’s judgment of locust that was soon arriving to plague Israel; this being somewhere in the 700 BC time period. God’s nation was going to experience common locusts, possibly the “Pink” species, which is known to that region.
Israel today is far from Christ and is in rebellion and the terrain still suffers in a multitude of ways, including attacks by the Pink Locusts. The last devastation of Pink Locust occurred in 2004. One day, the whole land of Israel will serve Christ in total willingness. Then the land will be set free from all agricultural pests.
The locusts of Revelation will own the characteristics of the scorpion (a stinging family of around 1,3000 differing species), being painfully powerful. Akin to the scorpion, the grasshoppers will sting; whereby men will suffer for five months, as if they had been stung by a scorpion. Amazingly, these tiny, stinging monsters of our world are deadly potent in their harm to men, killing a thousand a year in Mexico.
(Entomology study can boggle the brain. At times, I like to observe the powerful intelligence God implanted within the tiny mind of an insect when one chooses to land on my hand. Just consider the fact, they never had to take flying lessons, yet own complete control of aerial abilities, as well as many other aptitudes. By the fact God guides these tiny ones, we know He can perfectly guide us.)
One distinctive of the Revelation locust is their lack of harm when it comes to crops and foliage; verse 4. They will not eat any green thing, acting oppositely of known locust. We also learn from this verse that the 144,000 male virgin Jews will not be touched by these dreadful creatures. They will not pose harm to those who own the seal on their foreheads. We learned from chapter 7, the 144,000 will have a seal on their foreheads. Chapter 14 of Revelation teaches, they will be completely pure and holy, not being defiled with women, as blameless male, virgin Jews.
These locusts will harm every person who does not have the mark of God on their foreheads. However, they will not kill any person with their sting. People will want to die because their inflicted, painful agony will be so gnawing. However, they will not be allowed to extinguish their own lives. Harakiri will be an impossibility.
We perceive from this portion of Scripture that these locusts are battle-like in appearance and action, noting they will display breastplates, like shields of iron. They will have wings and their sound will be like that of chariots, of many horses running into battle.
They will be kings in that they will exhibit what appears to be crowns of gold on their heads. Their faces will be like the faces of men—how very odd indeed. They will be dreadful in every aspect of the word! Flowing hair like that of women will embrace their heads.
Even though these locusts are of Satan, they are governed by God. The locust invading army cannot harm the 144,000 or kill mankind, as I stated previously. Satan would love to destroy all mankind, as man is made in the image of God, whom Satan hates. He will take every opportunity God allows to thrust his sword at him. Job chapters 1 and 2 inform us that Satan cannot harm without God’s permission. He must appear before God on occasion and give an accounting of his activities. Satan was allowed to harm Job in tremendous ways, but he could not snuff out Job’s life. All of Job’s trials, though completely destructive, worked together for good and God was glorified.
Someday Satan will have all his wicked power withdrawn and will be cast into the Lake of Fire. I look toward this marvelous day.
Locusts were the main staple entree for John, the baptizing prophet; Matthew 3:4. John lived a lowly life, minus all worldly hindrances. He desired to be all about the Messiah. A simple locust and honey diet represented this simple-living, godly man.
You can locate locust recipes. Some people find them to be quite pleasant to the taste; supposedly, they taste like shrimp. I guess this is the way to go when they destroy everyone’s crops. “Locust swarms, which can range in size from one square kilometer to 100 square kilometers, are spread by the wind. With up to 3,000 locusts per cubic meter, swarms can comprise tens of millions of insects, which consume vast amounts of food. Each locust can eat two grams of food per day, and experts reckon that every million locusts gobble as much food as 5,000 people can eat in one day. They are known to eat their own weight each day, consuming just about anything that grows—anything green, stripping every shred of vegetation from areas where they invade.
We learn in verse 11 one of the names of Lucifer, that being Apollyon, which is the same as Apollo. We know this verse refers to Satan as he is the angel of the abyss. Ancient civilizations worshipped Apollo as the Greek god of the sun who displayed curly golden hair and was the son of Zeus.
Satan arrives in many names in the realm of idolatry. He even appears as female goddesses. God Almighty never appears in female form! Any such representation is of the spirit of the antichrist. Mary of the Catholic Church is portrayed as a female goddess and countless idols have been imaged in wicked honor. Lucifer has held other goddess names such as Diana or Artemis of the Ephesians; her temple being one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Many of her attributes were transferred to Mary, and an idol of the multi-breasted Diana is stationed in the Vatican Museum. In Ayasalouk (formerly Ephesus) there are two main idol shrines that are visited; one to Mary and the other to Diana/Artemis. In the book of Jeremiah, the Jews were commanded not to worship the “queen of heaven” which was one of the titles of the female goddess, Ashtoreth. Mary holds this same “queen of heaven” title and so did Diana and Venus.
God declares image worshippers are kept out of heaven and we must be warned, knowing idolatrous religions are viewed as a good ecumenical thing. Yoga, which is part of the idolatrous Hindu religion, and other New Age pursuits are on the rise in America. Satan is behind all idol worship. When people worship a graven image, they worship him and they are held accountable for worshipping Satan in his multitude of forms. Satan is the head of our present ecumenical movement and will be the head of the apocalypse ecumenical movement when countless idols will be worshipped to please all tastes. Idol worship will be all the rage in the tribulation. Multitudes of idols will be adored; 9:20. I would not be surprised if Apollo is once championed.
Bouncing back to chapter 9 verse 13, we observe a heavenly temple scene. The four horns of the golden altar are mentioned. It is very interesting that the temple in heaven resembles the tabernacle, as well as the temple structure (built during the time of Solomon) that was designed by God for Jewish worship. There was a brazen altar with four horns created for sacrifice (Exodus 27:1-2). One will be formed again when the millennial temple (Ezekiel chapters 40-44) is build in Jerusalem on the original temple mount, where Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac. It is from this heavenly temple that the sixth angel blows his trumpet, upon which four angels who have been bound in the great River Euphrates are released. The River Euphrates is in present day Iraq and seems to be the central local of Revelational happenings. Of course, Jerusalem is the foremost staging area.
In verse 15, we see the four angels of God are assigned to kill a third of mankind or the world’s population. If you will recall, we observed God destroying by thirds in chapter 8, verses 9-12. I think it is safe to assume the 144,000 virgin men will not be harmed at this time as well. This holocaustic mass killing will be accomplished by armies of horsemen of two million. The apostle John is still present, observing and recording and he states “I heard the number of them.” He noted the riders had breastplates the color of fire and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions and “out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.” These are not the kind of horses I would want to be around. They certainly will resemble to a small degree the dragon created by God and explained in Job chapter 41. Its size could have filled a large coliseum or so it appears. Its body could never be harmed or penetrated, seeing it was double armored. It breathed fire and smoke on land and underwater; verses 20-21, 31. Please read this chapter in Job regarding one of the most masterfully created creatures that lived on this earth. Job chapter 40 verses 15-25 speak of another amazing dinosaur that bent its tail like a cedar.
One would assume this punishment for sin would cause the living two-thirds of the inhabitants of the world to repent. Unfortunately, they will not; verse 20. They will not turn away from a Harry Potter mentality of sorcery. They will not turn away from their murders, thievery, and sexual deviances (they will not hold to sex in marriage alone). These pagans will continual to worship false gods of idolatry in this future era. It is amazing that people will worship idols made by the hands of wicked man that cannot hear or talk. They can easily be hit right off a table in one swing. How absolutely ridiculous to adore things manufactured by the hands of sinful folk.
Yes, we end this chapter on a sad note, acknowledging the world’s population is not repenting. People still refuse to adhere to Jesus Christ, the only Savior. Hearts are totally hardened, being in bondage to sin. We witness this identical hardness of heart today, even in the church. Many do not take God seriously and His words of warning placed in Revelation. It is very foolish not to fear and tremble before God; Philippians 2:12 and 1 Peter 1:17.
Revelation Chapter 10
The Little Book
A plane crashed in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. People prayed, the people were saved. No one perished. No doubt, Christians were on the plane and prayed. Everyone referred to it as a miracle. America, as a whole, was grateful for everyone’s survival.
One day, men will not seek after God and He will no longer be gracious to men.
We ended chapter 9 on a depressing note. It speaks to the time when God, the greatest military strategist, will bring painful and deadly nightmare horrors upon the earth during the tribulation. God will implement an army of two hundred million horsemen in revenge of men’s sin. The horses will pour forth fire, smoke and brimstone like dragons, whereby a third of the rebellious will perish. He will assign locusts, who have the faces of men and wear the hair of women, to painfully sting. Earth’s inhabitants will anguish in torment for five months, to the full extent God predetermined. People will want to snuff out their lives, but God will not permit suicide.
These horses will pour forth fire, smoke and brimstone like dragons, whereby a third of mankind will perish. The chapter went on to explain to us that the horses’ tails will be like serpents with heads, also creating harm. What a frightful thing to ponder on.
Chapter 10 opens with a strong angel arriving from heaven, clothed with a cloud and with a rainbow upon his head, and his face is like the sun, and his feet appear as pillars of fire. (Interesting to picture each of these details in our minds.)
This is all poetically stated! What a powerful backdrop to introduce us to this chapter and future earth happenings. So much of Scripture comes to us in poetry. A great deal of the Old Testament was penned in Hebrew poetry. It is wise to own a translation of the Bible that does not remove God’s poetic and lofty nature.
This impressive angel, who came from above, has something in his hand. It is a little book which is open. I like little books and I have antique little books with which I decorate. They sit nicely in the palm of one’s hand. These books are a pleasure to pick up on occasion, as they are ancient and do not speak forth worldly, degrading agendas. They are simplistic, expelling bright, innocent writings that were a significant part of generations past … when modesty and decency had a large foothold, holding our society more firmly in place.
This angel, with the open book in hand, places his right foot on the sea and his left on the land. He is an expansive angel of magnitude impressiveness. Maintaining his stance, he cries out with a loud voice in mystery. We do not know what he cried out, though we do know it was like “when a lion roars.” This certainly must have placed great fear in John the apostle. John is currently stationed on the earth in this future display. John was one who feared and trembled before God; and who, most likely, trembled before His frightful angelic creation as well.
When this angel cried, the seven peals (meaning a prolonged sound) of thunder also uttered their voices. We have eight loud angels at work in unison here. The Bible teaches in Job that thunder is the voice of God; Job 37:2-5 and 40:9. God does thunder from heaven and His power over creation should cause us to stand in awe.
The seven angels speak and we note John is about to write their words in obedience; verse 4. God had instructed him to communicate what would be set before him. He had to pen it for you and for me; 1:1-3.
We note something odd at this point, John is suddenly stopped. A voice from paradise commands him, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoke and do not write them.” This is a secret and John is to seal his lips and never tell a soul. To this very day, we do not know what was spoken. Daniel too was told to seal up things in a book (Daniel 12:4). As stated previously, I believe this to be the book we read of in Revelation 5:1-2. When it was unsealed, it detonated the devastating tribulation plagues as prescribed by God.
In verse 5, we return to the gigantic angel that is standing on the sea and on land. This angel lifts his right hand to heaven.
This angel swears by Him who lives forever and ever, “WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer.” This verse reminds us that evolution is an outlandish lie. It is an unchangeable fact that everything was uniquely and marvelously manufactured by God. Not even man, who has a brain and mobility, can recreate what has been made. He cannot reconstruct to perfection one single strand of human hair. Unfortunately, many silly, arrogant men and women believe everything came from absolutely nothing. Someday they will bow before Christ, the Creator of all (Colossians chapter 1, John chapter 1, etc.), and then soon, will suffer unfathomable, incinerating, eternal pain if they do not repent.
Verse 7 refers to the seventh angel and to the days of this angel who has no name. No angel in Revelation holds a stated name. This angel is the one assigned to blow the final trumpet. Six trumpets have sounded. This verse addresses the time when he is about to sound. This will be the time when the “mystery” of God is finished; here referring to the tribulation epoch. We know the mystery surrounds Christ. Even though the prophets wrote of His first coming and the suffering surrounding it, the ancient Jews never picked up on these mystery truths. (In 2 Peter 3:2 we are commanded to remember the words spoken by the holy, Old Testament prophets and the apostles that we might obey them. We are to be diligent studiers of the Word of God so we are never made ashamed of our lack of knowledge and obedience.)
Jews understood the Messiah would arrive and reign as King. They could not comprehend a humble, dying Messiah. Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 are key locations that speak to a suffering Messiah. Colossians 4:3 and Ephesians 3:9-21 refer to the “mystery” of Christ, which was hidden from mankind for many generations; that is, the enlightenment regarding truths that have come through the church age. These consist of Christ’s first lowly appearance on the earth, His death, His resurrection, as well as the church age and tribulation. We do acknowledge that no text in the Old Testament directly addresses the church age. Numerous truths have been unleashed through the church age Scripture writers and aren’t we glad?
The seventh angel will sound at the appropriate time. This occurs in the next chapter, subsequent to the powerful judgment revelation of the two witnesses and their death, resurrection and rapture. This all transpires in Zion—Jerusalem. This miraculous, rapturous event proclaims Christ will reign over everything forever and ever. Eternal life for the true believer is forever and ever. What a blessed thing to dwell upon.
(When studying the Word, it is important to pray for understanding. The Holy Spirit does teach and enlighten. It is essential that we request God’s guidance. We should pray continually to understand the Bible, which speaks the mind of God. Sometimes we lack because we do not ask and do not thoroughly study the entire Bible.)
In verse 8, John recognizes the voice from heaven speaking to him; this being the same voice as in verse 4. He is told to go and take the book that is held open in the angel’s hand—the divine messenger of verse 2 who stands on the land and sea. John approaches and tells him to give him the book. John removes the book from the angel’s hand and the angel commands him to eat it and relates the consequences of its consumption, which will cause bitterness in his stomach, but will be sweet as honey in his mouth.
You might ask what kind of book was it, and what did John scribe these events on? Was it a scroll? I would say, “Yes.” The Greek word is “Biblos” which means book; and of course, “Bible” means book. Most books were constructed using papyrus. We get our word “paper” from papyrus. It came to denote paper made from the bark grown in Egypt; later it expanded into a common word used for any type of paper.
(Gathered info edited and condensed)
Ancient Egyptian Papyrus
Papyrus was very important to the ancient Egyptians. It helped transform Egyptian society in strengthening ways. Once the technology of papyrus production was developed, its method was kept secret allowing the Egyptians to have a monopoly on paper manufacturing. The first use of papyrus paper is believed to have been 4000 BC.
The raw material of papyrus paper comes from the plant Cyperus papyrus. This tall sedge grew along the banks of the Nile, providing the Egyptians with the necessary raw materials. It was quite versatile; not only used in the production of paper, but also in the manufacturing of boats, rope and baskets. However, the singularly, most important and valuable product was the papyrus paper itself. Not only was this ancient Egypt’s greatest export, but it revolutionized the way people kept valuable information. No substitution for papyrus paper could be found that was as durable and lightweight until the development of pulped paper by the Arabs. Pulp paper was far easier to produce; unfortunately, not as durable. This not only led to a decline in papyrus paper making, but also to a decline in the papyrus plant cultivation. Eventually, the papyrus sedge disappeared from the area of the Nile, where it was once the lifeblood of ancient Egypt.
Papyrus making was not revived until 1969. An Egyptian scientist named Dr. Hassan Ragab reintroduced the papyrus plant to Egypt, and started a papyrus plantation near Cairo. He researched the method of production, recognizing the exact techniques for producing papyrus paper had been kept a secret! The ancient Egyptians left no written records as to the manufacturing process. Dr. Ragab finally caught on to how it was accomplished, and now it is demonstrated in Egypt.
The Method of Papyrus Paper Production:
– The stalks of the papyrus plant are harvested.
– The inner pith is removed and cut into long strips. The strips are then pounded and soaked in water for 3 days until pliable.
– The strips are cut to the length desired and laid horizontally on a cotton sheet overlapping about 1 millimeter. Other strips are laid vertically over the horizontal strips resulting in the criss-cross pattern in papyrus paper. Another cotton sheet is placed on top.
– The sheet is put in a press and squeezed together, with the cotton sheets being replaced until all the moisture is removed.
– Finally, all the strips are pressed together forming a single sheet of papyrus paper.
In verse 10, we see John obeys the heavenly voice and takes the book and eats it. It was sweet as honey in John’s mouth, just as explained. And it also left a bitter taste in his stomach as predicted. The forthcoming judgments on the earth will be a bitter pill to swallow as were the previous. John is told he must prophecy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.
Ezekiel was an Old Testament prophet. He also had a vision, whereby he was told to eat a scroll; Ezekiel 2:8-3:3. It was sweet to his taste like honey though he was to deliver a bitter message. His vision involved the judgment of God on His disobedient children, the Jews, because they rebelled and had not heeded the truths of Scripture even during their discipline of Babylonian captivity. They did what was right in their owns eyes and they were going to continue to pay for their disobedience as reveled to Ezekiel. They believed their captivity might be short lived, but God made sure what He spoke was fulfilled and they were going to suffer the complete 70 years as prophesied. See also Jeremiah chapter 29.
John’s scroll consumption concludes chapter 10, and chapter 11 will take us into more amazing acts of God. These prophecies will someday take place on the earth. It takes the faith of a true born again believer to accept these apocalyptic occurrences. It is the Holy Spirit within that confirms these happenings. Many today, even pastors in Bible churches, deny Revelation as prophetically unfolding. Some pastors deny it behind closed doors. Catholics have always discounted Revelation, but its denunciation is becoming more and more prominent in so-called Bible churches. The apostasy is grave.
For Revelation chapters 11-21: revelation-chapter-11-mouths-of-fire
Please see: Paradise (1 John 5:10-13—the Bible)
All rights reserved © Val J. Lee (Personal information not for viewing)
Photos by Val J. Lee
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