Friday, June 11, 2021

Revelation 6:12-14

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12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. ~ Revelation 6:12-14

We return to our study of the book of the Revelation, and we jump back into our study of the seven seals in Revelation 6. With the opening of the first seal, false peace and prosperity was introduced to the world. With the opening of the second seal, there was worldwide war. With the opening of the third, there was famine. The fourth seal introduced pestilences and other natural disasters. The fifth seal introduced us to the prayers of the martyred saints. Theirs was a prayer for the end of evil. This brings us to the opening of the sixth seal.

In v.12 we read, "I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red."

With the opening of the sixth seal, the world has been filled with false peace, ongoing distrust and violence. And now, a great earthquake shakes the entire universe. There have always been earthquakes. They come now and then, here and there. Even in the first half of this seven year period of time that is called the Tribulation. But this isn’t just describing any old earthquake. 

The Greek word used here is seismos from which we get the English word seismograph, which is an instrument to measure shaking. It means a quaking, a shaking, but the word “earth” is not here. It would have been better to translate it, “And there was a great shaking.” Because, frankly, it isn’t just the earth that is shaking. 

In the remainder of v.12-13 we read, "The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind."

The sun, and then the moon, and then the stars careening out of the sky, and then the sky splitting apart like a scroll. This is a shaking more than an earthquake. This is seismos in the universe.

Earthquakes are frightening. They create phobias, because man has always counted on a stable universe. He always counts on dawn and darkness, on the cycle of the rotation of the earth and the seasons as it moves in orbit.

The sun will become black as sackcloth which was what people wore to funerals. Sackcloth was a rough garment that was worn by someone who was mourning. This shaking will be so enormous that it blackens the sun. 

The earth’s solid crust is traversed with a complex network of faults, with all resting on a plastic mantle. And, the vast network of unstable earthquake belts around the world suddenly will slip and fracture on a global basis, and a gigantic earthquake will ensue. This is evidently and naturally accompanied by tremendous volcanic eruptions spewing vast quantities of dust and steam and gases into the upper atmosphere. It is probably these that will cause the sun to be darkened and the moon to appear blood red.

This will be a total eclipse. The blackened sun, of course, then will hide the moon because it only reflects the sun. When this begins to happen, it will affect everything. There will be no daylight. All the cycles by which animals function, plants function, humans function will be thrown into total chaos.

Then, the stars will fall out of the sky. This will probably be a meteor shower. The stars moving out of their orbits will result in the collapsing of the universe. The earth then will plummet with fiery balls coming out of the sky. 

In v.14 we read, "The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

The sky will literally ripped apart. And every mountain and island will be moved out of their places. This sequence fits exactly with the sequence in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, as does Joel 2. The result of the sixth seal is fear. In fact, when all of this happens, we are told by the Lord Jesus in Luke 23, people will pray for the mountains to fall on them. This will be a prayer for suicide. They will be so afraid that they would rather die than face the wrath of the Lamb.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It takes control sometimes of the will and makes people behave in ways that are inexplicable. The Lord Jesus said in Luke 21:26, Men will faint from fear.” The word “faint” appears only in Luke 21:26, and it literally means to breathe out the last breath. When that day comes, there will be such fear that people will be scared to death. Some will die on the spot. They will die from sheer terror, because they will realize they have fallen into the hands of the living God.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Revelation 6:9-11

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9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. ~ Revelation 6:9-11

Today, we return to our study of the book of the Revelation. We currently live during the Age of God's Grace, but the time of God's grace will soon come to an end. As the Scriptures urges us, "Today is the day of salvation." I trust you have trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Otherwise, you will have to pay the penalty for that which separates you from God. And that penalty is quite hefty ... separation from all that is good for eternity.

In today's text we come back to our study of the seven-year period of time that many have wrongly called the Tribulation. It is most accurately called the seventieth seven of Daniel 9 and the time of Jacob’s trouble with reference to Israel’s role in it.

In v.9 we read, "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained." 

The altar mentioned here in v.9 has not appeared in the book of the Revelation until now. It will be confirmed by later references in this book, that we are viewing the great temple in heaven, the temple which Moses saw when he was on Mt. Sinai. He was shown a pattern which he was to copy. He was ordered to copy it exactly as it was shown to him. The tabernacle that Moses was given included a brazen altar, a laver in the outer court, a Holy Place with certain furniture, and a Holy of Holies, all reflecting the heavenly temple that Moses had seen.

We learn from other Scriptures that these symbolize the ultimate dwelling place of God which is man himself! Man is the dwelling place of God. Imagine that. When we come to the end of Revelation we will see that fulfilled. These symbols are given to us as a tremendously significant explanation of the psychological makeup of our humanity: body, soul and spirit, just as the tabernacle consisted of an Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.

This group of martyrs seen in today's text, is clearly identified with the great multitude in Revelation 7. John, the Apostle, saw a great crowd which no man could number, from every tribe, nation, and language of earth, standing before the throne, all having been killed for their testimony of the living Lord Jesus Christ. This group belongs to that multitude as well, for they are given a white robe and told to wait until their brethren would also be killed. This indicates that these martyrs and those killed later who make up the great multitude, all enter heaven at the same time. This is God's way of expressing the transference from time into the conditions of eternity, where past and future are eclipsed and only the instantaneous now exists.

In v.10 we read, "They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?

These prayers are not personal vendettas, they’re not thirsts for personal revenge. These prayers are the desire for the end of sin. Their holy desire is for the destruction of Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet and all who followed them. This prayer is the sign that sin has reached its zenith and unsaved man is slaughtering those who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus. 

This seven-year period, identified in the book of Daniel as seven years, will be the time when God will unleash His judgment and wrath on the earth like never before. And, the Lord Jesus Christ not only will judge the ungodly, but He will take back the earth and the universe for His own possession.

The first four seals occur during the first three-and-a-half years of this seven year period of time. A careful study of the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24 reveals this. With the opening of this fifth seal, the second half of the seven year period of time is about to begin. Again, the pulse of this prayer from the martyrs is vengeance, but the vengeance doesn’t come in the fifth seal; only the prayers does. 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 we read, “When the man of lawlessness is revealed he opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship. He takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” 

At this point, the Anti-christ will not be a political leader as before. He will not be a world deliverer, nor will he be a savior. At the mid-point of the seventieth seven, the Antichrist will proclaim himself to be god and he will sit in the newly built temple in Jerusalem. 

In v.11 we read, "Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been."

These white robes which will be given to these martyrs is a sign of holiness and righteousness. The Greek term used here gives clear evidence that these robes will be dazzling white robes of dignity and honor. So, the Lord Jesus will give them honor and dignity and righteousness and holiness to clothe them. Their souls will be pure and righteous because they, during the first half of the seventieth seven, believed on the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

My friends, I trust that you have trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin. If you have not, let me encourage you to bow your head right now and tell God that you are a sinner and that you need His help and invite His Son into your life. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Revelation 6:7-8

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7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. ~ Revelation 6:7-8

We return today to Revelation 6 to the only one worthy enough to open the seals to the scroll. Today, we come to the fourth seal represented by a pale horse. The Apostle John uses the Greek word "chloros" translated "pale." We get our word "chlorine" from this Greek word. The word "chloros" appears several times in the New Testament in connection with grass or vegetation.

According to v.8, the rider on this pale horse was death. The combination of the two, pale and death, represents decomposition, or a corpse. And fittingly, death is followed by Hades which is just another word for the grave. Death claims the body and Hades claims the soul. 

There are four forms of death that are related to this attack. First, the sword, which here is not war but murder; individual assault upon one another. It is people taking the law into their own hands and murdering other people without regard to justice or law. 

With murder comes famine or widespread starvation. The Lord Jesus spoke of such famines in Matthew 24. There would be on earth, he said, earthquakes, famines and plagues or pestilences which is the third form of death in this verse. These pestilences are endemic diseases. When civilization begins to crumble, the defenses of mankind against diseases are lost, as well. Whole populations are decimated by such pestilences. There may be a reference here to biological warfare, the willful spreading of diseases among people so that they are wiped out en masse. 

The fourth form of death will be by the wild beasts of the earth who will attack people. A "fourth of the earth" will be given over to these four forms of death, and a fourth of the population will die. There are 7.7 billion people on earth today and that would mean that almost 2 billion people will be decimated by these four forms of death. Rats are annually responsible for the loss of billions of dollars of food in America alone, and death all over the world. Rats infested with bubonic plague killed one-third of the population of Europe in the fourteenth century. Rats can carry as many as thirty-five diseases at once. And amazingly, if ninety-five percent of the rat population is exterminated in the given area, it will replace itself in less than a year. It has killed more people than all the wars of history, and it always makes its home where people dwell.

These four seal-judgments are all references to forces that are already at work among us, but they will be carried to an unprecedented extreme in that day. Thus, these four seals confirm God's announced method of making men face up to truth. He will do this by removing His leash from evil, allowing it to have its full expression. Romans 1 declares that He will "give men over" to their own evil, and will allow it unrestricted manifestation. 

These four expressions of death have been predicted by God to be His means of final judgment in a number of Old Testament passages. Jeremiah 14:12, He says, “I’m going to make an end of them by the sword, famine, and pestilence.” In this one verse, three of these four forms of death are mentioned. And then again in Jeremiah 44:13 we read, “I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem with the sword, with the famine, and with pestilence.”  

With war and famine and earthquakes, sanitation goes. No medicine, living conditions descend to a primitive level, and the rats may be the wild beasts that run wild to kill. Awesome, divine judgment. And this is only the beginning, only the beginning; far more to come.

And sadly, it isn’t even until the sixth seal that the people recognize that God is the source of this. The writer of Hebrews asks, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” And the answer is, we won’t. But the Lord Jesus has provided a way of escape. I trust, my friend, that you have trusted solely in the Lord Jesus as your savior. If so, you will escape this awful period of time.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Revelation 6:5-6

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5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” ~ Revelation 6:5-6

Having considered the first opened seal which produced peace and prosperity on the earth, and the second opened seal which produced war, we return to Revelation 6, and to the third seal opened.

In v.5 we read, "When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand."

The third seal represents widespread food shortage on the earth. The first part of v.5 is a repeat of v.1,3, only differing in the numbers of the seal and the creature. What is different is that the horse is black and the rider holds a pair of scales in his hand. 

In those days, the purpose of a set of scales was to weigh grain and other consumables. This scale was not a scale like we know today. Rather, it was more of a balance where an established weight would be placed on one side of the balance and the item being purchased would be placed on the other side. When both sides of the scale were hanging at the same height, the item being purchased equaled the amount of the weight on the other side. These scales symbolize food being weighed out carefully.

In v.6 we read, "Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

Food will be in such short supply that it must be rationed. Even then no one will get very much because it takes a day's wages to earn a single quart of wheat or, because it is cheaper, three quarts of barley. This would only be enough food for one person for a day. One would have to work all day long and all he would be able to earn, at best, would be enough for his own physical needs. There would be nothing for the family or for anyone else. 

Notice that the luxuries, the oil and the wine, are to not be damaged. Here, God gives a warning to be very careful with the wine and the oil, because it’s so precious. If all you have is raw wheat without any oil to mix with it, without any wine to go with it, it’s very difficult. Bare staples all of a sudden become luxuries. Oil was used for the preparation of bread, for cooking, as was the wine.

Perhaps this is not referring to famine because in the next seal, as we will see, famine is specifically mentioned as part of that judgment. The cause for this shortage will be high prices so that people will not be able to buy adequate amounts of food. This is inflation; economics out of control; panic in the marketplace! Inflation makes money worthless. That, in turn, becomes an excuse for the rigid controls over buying and selling which we find in Revelation 13:17 when, under the reign of Antichrist, the whole world will be subjected to enormously restrictive controls so that "no one can buy or sell without the mark of the beast."

There is an issue on earth today that will make all of this worse, exponentially, and it is over-population. It took from the beginning of recorded history to the year 1850 to produce one billion people on the earth. From 1850 to 1930 the earth's population grew to two billion. 

By 1960, just 30 years later, we were at three billion. By 1975, four billion. By 1987, five billion. By 1999, six billion. Today, the population of this earth right now is 7.7 billion people and growing exponentially. This produces a lot of problems because the more people we have, the more odds of them not getting along together and going to war over lots of issues, and thus the more problem we have for famine to sustain that many people. 

Add to that the fact that all the Christians will have gone up in the Rapture before this seven year period. So, no more Samaritan's Purse, no more World Vision, no more Feed the Children. That paints a very dismal and desperate picture. 

It is increasingly clear, according to the book of the Revelation, that the Antichrist is nothing more than a false, deceptive politician. Whereas, the Lord Jesus Christ is the faithful King of the earth. The Antichrist promises peace, but delivers war. Jesus promises peace, and He will deliver peace. The Antichrist brings shortages of food, and the Lord Jesus says, "I am the bread of life. Whoever follows me and believes in me will never hunger." So the Antichrist will be everything the world says it wants. But the Lord Jesus Christ will be everything we truly need Him to be.


Monday, June 07, 2021

Revelation 6:3-4

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3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. ~ Revelation 6:3-4

Today, we take another trip into the future as we study the book of the Revelation. The focus of today's study is the opening of the second seal. Whereas, the theme of Revelation 4-5 was the worship of God and of the Lamb, Revelation 6 begins the display of the wrath of God upon the rebellious world that has rejected His free gift of salvation. Each seal will increase in intensity as we study them.

According to Revelation 4:1, the church has been raptured or taken up into heaven to be with God until the Tribulation is over. On earth, unsaved man will be the recipients of the wrath of God to its fullest. For the Jews it will be the time of Jacob’s trouble, and for the Gentiles it will be the slaughter of the world.

In Revelation 5 we were introduced to a scroll in God's hand which was taken out of His hand by the Lord Jesus Himself. According to Revelation 6:1, “He begins to break the seals.” As the first seal was broken, the events of God’s wrath begin to unfold.

Now, there are seven seals on this scroll, and, today, we come to the second of the seven seals. The first four seals out of the seven take up the first three and a half years of the period known as the seventieth seven of Daniel 9 or the tribulation. We know it will be a seven year period of time because it is identified as such in Daniel 9. The first half of this seven year period of time is also identified in Revelation as a forty-two month period of time or a three-and-a-half year period of time or a twelve hundred and sixty day period of time. 

Now, the first four seals depict horsemen. That’s where we get the term “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.” The imagery is shocking and frightening, but the first of these horsemen brings a time period of peace and prosperity as we saw that last study. But the following three bring deadly results. 

In v.3-4 we read, "When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!" 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword."

Following the peace from the opening of the first seal, the second seal is opened and a fiery red horse came forth. A careful study of the Old Testament shows us that horses are associated with triumph, power, and might. But, this fiery red horse speaks of war that is most frightening and devastating. We know it’s war, because it says he takes peace from the earth and makes people kill each other. 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:3 we read, "For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

This second rider represents war, but not war between great armies. The word for kill is really the word "slaughter." This is a reference to civil war or civil anarchy where mobs of people group together to attack and destroy other peoples whom they do not like. We are seeing a demonstration of this today in what is going on in our country.

The final words of v.4 reads, "To him was given a large sword." The bow of the first horse will be replaced with a sword. This will happen at the command of God. Some say this is not the wrath of God, but it comes out of the throne in the scroll in the hand of God. This is God’s unfolding wrath. It is God who has granted this red horse, the authority and the power, to move and bring war. It was God who allowed the false peace and it is God who starts the wars. The whole earth will lose its peace and violence will break out all over the world  and seems to through the remainder of the tribulation.

We are told that since 3600 BC there have been 14,531 wars and only 292 years of what would be considered peace. This is approximately 2.6 wars per year and one year of peace out of every two decades or 36 hours of peace per month or one minute of peace every four hours. That's as good as it has ever gotten, one minute of peace every four hours. 

Well, during the tribulation period, things will change. And, it will culminate in what we could call the mother of all battles, the Battle of Armageddon. This is why this is so relevant today much more so than it was when John wrote this book. The reason is today we now have the capabilities to destroy the entire planet in one hour. 

According to the Center for Defense Information, the United States alone has an arsenal 35,000 nuclear warheads. Each warhead is equivalent to the capacity which is 35,000 times greater than the bomb that went off at Hiroshima. And that's just the United States. There are now nine nations on earth with nuclear capabilities and these weapons will factor in to the outcomes that are described in Revelation.


Friday, June 04, 2021

Revelation 6:1-2

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1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. ~ Revelation 6:1-2

We come to Revelation 6 which begins to give us the details about the future events of this book. The wrath of God will now be made center stage. The framework for the remainder of the book of the Revelation is given in Daniel 9 where we are given a prophecy covering a period of 70 "sevens" or 490 years. Of this 490 year prophecy, 483 years have been fulfilled.

Jeremiah 30:7 informs us that this last seven is a time of Jacob's trouble. Jacob was Israel's name before he came into a right relationship with God. Jacob is Israel in unbelief, whereas Israel is Jacob in belief. The design of this last seven year period time of Daniel's vision is that Jacob or unbelieving Israel would come to believe in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.

These seven years are referred to by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24 as "the end of the age"  which is about Daniel's prophecy that will run its course when Israel will be brought face to face with the Lord Jesus at His Second Coming. This seven year period of time is described in Revelation 6-19. 

In Revelation 4-5 we are given a scene that took place in heaven. In Revelation 4 God was seated on His throne in heaven. In Revelation 5 God has in His hands a little scroll sealed with seven seals. Those seven seals basically were for the purpose of hiding what was in the scroll. It could not be broken without the discovery of someone who had the right and the power to open it. And, it could not be read unless it was broken. It couldn’t be broken legally except by the one who had the right to open it.

That little scroll was the title deed to the universe, and the only one who was worthy and able to open it was the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David as He is described in Revelation 5:5. 

The scene now shifts, and God is about to unleash His judgment upon unbelieving man who is on the earth. Around His throne is lightning and thunder. In the midst of this there is worship of God by the redeemed, raptured church, and by the angels. And in the midst of all of this worship God gets ready to act in judgment.

In v.1 we read, "I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!"

This scroll was sealed seven times, as often ancient documents were, to keep it hidden until the rightful heir opens it. And, with the opening of each seal, we will see the coming judgment as the wrath of God, as He takes back His universe.

Before the first seal will be opened, the Antichrist will be revealed. The unbelieving world will not recognize the Antichrist for who he truly is. In fact, the world will think the he is the answer to all of their problems. When he comes on the scene, world peace will accompany him. At that time, the people of earth will greet his peace with ecstasy. For a certain period of time, a certain degree of prosperity will be enjoyed by everyone on the earth. 

In v.2 we read, "I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest." 

This is the description of the first event, the first feature of the end when the Lord takes back His world. This rider on the white horse bears some resemblance to the appearance of the Lord Jesus who comes on a great white horse in Revelation 19. They both ride a white horse; they both wear crowns; and both are bent on conquest. This rider is someone who is like Christ, but is not Christ. This is doubtless the long predicted Antichrist who is yet to appear in the last days. 

This is the "Man of Sin" mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. He is also referred to as "the Lawless One" in 2 Thessalonians 2:8. This rider comes like Christ, but in his own name. He is given a bow, but no mention is made of arrows. This appears to be a bloodless conquest that he launches. Suggested here is some kind of overpowering of the minds and wills of people, without physical destruction. This will be done by deceit, by misleading and deceiving the people of the world, and thus he will overcome them without the shedding of blood. 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, we are told, "9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

In Daniel 9:27 we read, "He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

The "he" here in Daniel 9:27 is the prince who is to come of v.26, which reads, "After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."

The ruler who will come is the Antichrist who will confirm a covenant with the many for one week. But in the middle of the week he will put an end to the sacrifices which will begin after the covenant is made. The Antichrist will orchestrate peace in the world. 

In Revelation 6:2 we read, “he was given a crown.” He will be given power to rule over the people. He will not take his crown, it will be given to him, like he’s been honored by the world and elevated and given prominence. The peace that he will offer, will make him king of the world by the world. His agenda will initially be that everything is subservient to the idea of peace. And, since the architect of peace is the Antichrist, everything will be subservient to him.  

The world will fall into false peace, and they will bow down to this great world ruler who epitomizes it. But, what he offers will be a trap in which the world will be thrust into a snare. The Lord will allow this in order to reveal to the world that the Antichrist is an imposter. Through these events, the Lord will yet again, provide another opportunity for the world to turn to Him. His grace is inexhaustible, but only to those who are willing to believe in the gracious Son of His love.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Revelation 5:11-14

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11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” 14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. ~ Revelation 5:11-14

We return to the second vision the Lord Jesus gave of Himself to the Apostle John while John was on the Island of Patmos. In this vision, everyone, not only those in heaven and those left yet upon earth, but those under the earth unite in acknowledging the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some will gladly confess it because they have understood and appropriated the death of Christ for themselves. Others will reluctantly acknowledge that He is indeed Lord. This scene has not yet occurred on earth but it will soon!

In this vision a new song from another new redeemed group will be sung. This new song comes from those redeemed during the church age. This is primarily the song of the redeemed represented by the elders, but it’s joined by the angels. The number is beyond calculation. It literally reads “myriads of myriads” or "murion of murions

Murions or ten thousands was the largest Greek number that the Greeks had a word for. They didn’t have words for million and so forth, because they didn’t count anything that went that high. And all they had was ten thousand as a word in their vocabulary. So when they wanted to talk about an innumerable number they said ten thousand times ten thousand.

In v.11-12 we read, "11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"

In this vision a new song from another new redeemed group will be sung. This new song comes from those redeemed during the church age, but it’s joined by the angels. This is the goal of all history. Every historic event for these many centuries is related to and moves toward this final event of history.

In v.12 we notice the Lord Jesus as the Lamb who was slain. This long-prophesied and awaited day has come. And, the Lord Jesus earned this deserved power, wealthwisdom, and strength. These are kingly attributes which are needed to lead the people into battle. At the cross, the Lord Jesus paid the price to buy the slaves of sin with His own blood, and has set us free. He bought us so that we could choose to serve and worship Him. 

The next three words are responses of praise. Honor and glory and praise. This is what we choose to give this king who had returned as the victor. The redeemed have had a spiritual heart transplant, and once we have His heart inside, we evaluate aright. So, if anyone were to place a stethoscope against the chest of the redeemed, they would hear the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the heart of worship. This is the heart of praise.

The angels join in the background but the ones with the harps and the bowls who sing the song are the redeemed. And, these are those who are the raptured church. And, with this being the case, it strengthens the argument for the pre-tribulational rapture. 

According to v.12, Angels can only echo the song of redemption. They can not initiate it because it is not their song. Angels can glorify God but they can not sing the song of the redeemed. They can not invent it, they can only echo it. 

In v.13 we read, "Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

Included in this group is every created thing. There is nothing left out. This includes everything: angels, men, dogs and dolphins. No created thing will be excluded. Endless praise, honor, glory, and power will be rendered to the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole universe chimes in because the curse will be rendered void. There will be no more worry or pain or sorrow.

In v.14 we read, "The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped."

Notice the nature of this praise which is what the redeemed do naturally and spontaneously. This worship comes from deep within after we have experienced His incredible love. This praise is not forced. It is not laborious. It erupts from within us. This praise is natural and organic. And the “Amen” means “let it be and make it happen.”

In Revelation 4, we see God upon His throne. He is praised because He is God and because He created us. God’s first great gift to mankind was creation. At the beginning of Revelation 5, we endured the despair and hopelessness of a world that was broken beyond repair. We have wept due to the pain and suffering in our lives. But, the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ rose up and went forth to conquer sin and death. And now, He is poised to defeat Satan, and in so doing, He will provide for the redeemed the broken penalty of sin, the broken power of sin and the broken presence of sin and Satan. Oh, what a day that will be!

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Revelation 5:6-10

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6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” ~ Revelation 5:6-10

A careful study of the Old Testament renders the understanding that Christ had to deal with sin and death before He could take on the adversary, Satan. According to Hebrews 2, Satan held the power of death, which kept all of humanity in bondage. This bondage had to be broken first before the Lord Jesus could render Satan powerless. Through His death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus conquered sin and death. At Calvary's cross, the Lord Jesus overcame that which separated us from a personal relationship with out Creator. 

As we come back to Revelation 5, the Lion who is from the tribe of Judah and the Root of David has overcome as the Lamb. John uses the Greek word nikao translated triumphed to describe the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. This Greek word nikao is the word from which we get our word Nike.

In v.6 we read, "Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth."

The term “lamb” is used six times throughout Scripture in reference to the Lord Jesus, until we get to the book of the Revelation. In the book of Revelation, alone, it is used twenty-eight times. Lamb is a key title for the Son of God in this book.

Notice that the lamb is standing. He is alive, yet He is standing as if slain. And, He is bearing wounds which are the marks of His death on our behalf. He will have these marks for all of eternity. In these, the Lion and the Lamb, John sees the uniting of two themes that run throughout the Bible. Lions conquer while lambs submit! Lions roar while lambs die! Here is introduced to us the One who conquers by submitting. 

When this scroll begins to unroll God is calling the nation of Israel back to the ultimate fulfillment of the promises that He long promised. The history of earth is now in view, and the key to that history is the nation Israel. The time has now come for the restoration of Israel, and this is what the book of the Revelation is all about.

Notice that the Lamb has seven horns. Horns in Scripture speak of power, and seven is the number of fullness. So the Lamb has fullness of power on the basis of his death.

In v.7 we read, "He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne." 

This monumental act is the thing that has been building since Revelation 4:1, since John was granted this vision. This is the great culminating act of human history. The goal of redemption is about to be reached. Paradise is about to be regained. The Lamb comes and takes the scroll out of the hand of God.

In v.8 we read, "And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people."

Each elder had a harp, and bowls of incense, fragrances, which, are the prayers of the saints. The slain Lamb is the center of all of the worship for He is God. The harp symbolizes the music of inanimate creation. Not only will all creatures of the universe praise God and join in worship before Him for His redemptive love, but creation itself will praise Him. Heaven worships Him not for His teaching or His perfect life of compassion, or even His miracles. Heaven worships Him for the shedding of His blood for sinners of every age. 

In v.9-10 we read, "And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

There were two majestic doxologies in Revelation 4, and now there are three more added here in Revelation 5 to make a total of five great doxologies of praise to God and to the Lamb. The crescendo of praise continues and it rolls on, accumulating momentum, until the song of adoration is in the mouth of every living creature in the universe.

Spontaneous worship erupts because of the end of sin and that the end of Satan is imminent. What happened on the cross in terms of his sentence will now be executed. It is at this point that the four living ones who are the cherubim and the twenty-four elders who are the representatives of the redeemed church fall down before the Lamb.

The extent of the redemption then is given in v.9, “from every tribe and language and people and nation.” The Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for the whole world. He provided redemption back to God for the willing from every tribe, languagepeople and nation.

And then v.10 adds the result of such a redemption: "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be a kingdom of kings and priests forever. We will reign with the Lord Jesus into the new heaven and the new earth and into eternity. We will enjoy complete access to God’s presence forever because of the determined obedience of only One, the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer will we be incomplete because it is His presence which renders to us the fullness of joy. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Revelation 5:1-5

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1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” ~ Revelation 5:1-5

In Revelation 5 the theme changes from the worship of the Creator, as seen in Revelation 4, to the worship of the Redeemer. It is our privilege to worship the Creator because all that we have is a gift from Him. 

Many have desired to rule this world. Certainly there is Lucifer, now known as Satan and the devil. He desired to rule the world and the universe. Only one individual has the right and the power to take back the universe from sin and the curse and Satan’s usurping attempt at rebellion. That one is the central figure here in Revelation 5. No one other than He is worthy to rule all.

In v.1 we read, "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals."

The earth and the universe came under captivity in the fall of man. But the document that displays who really owns it, God has had all the time in His possession. And, this scroll is the official document that grants the created universe to the Lord Jesus to be reclaimed from Satan. This scroll is a rolled up parchment with seven seals on the end so that as the seals are broken the scroll is unrolled and the writings upon it can be read. This scroll contains detailed descriptions of God's judgments, wrath, and vengeance. This is what the book of the Revelation is all about.

In v.2 we read, "And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, '"Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?"'

As indicated in Revelation 4, God's wrath being unleashed upon sinful man is a done deal. He is about to ignite the tribulation which pins sinful man to the floor and his painful judgment is near. This is why there is a last ditch effort to find someone to make a difference. The outcome is not just temporarily awful, it is eternally awful.

Then in v.3-4 we read, "3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside."

In these two verses despair is drilled down as far as it could go. Who can throw out Satan? Who can obliterate sin? Who can reverse the curse on all of creation? All hope was lost, producing an uncontrollable mourning that seemed to be an eternal mourning. John wept! He wept because no one could unseal the scroll or even look inside it. 

Then in v.5 we read, "Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

At the center of Revelation 5 is the One who leads mankind to redemption. This is the moment that no one in heaven except one of those who wore a white robe and a gold crown could believe. No elder could redeem the universe. No angel could redeem the universe. Only God could do this.

And, we are directed to "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" which is a title for the promised Messiah. It’s taken out of Genesis 49:8-10 which reads, "8 Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his."

Judah is a lion and he will produce a lion who will rule the nations. The Messiah then became known as the lion that would come from the tribe of Judah. As the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ rules the nations. But, when He first came, He didn't come as the Lion of Judah. He came as the Lamb led to the slaughter. He had to come as the Lamb before He could come as the Lion.

And this, in part, is why they killed the Lord Jesus because He was not lion-like in His first coming. As the Lamb, there was nothing devastating, menacing, and threatening about Him. Quite the opposite. He was set on laying down His life so that mankind could be made right with God and avoid His wrath.

The genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ comes right through the tribe of Judah. The Lord Jesus Christ is that lion, but His lion-like work awaits the moment anticipated here in Revelation 5.

He is also called, in v.5, "the Root of David." This is another messianic title. The Old Testament very clearly indicated that the Messiah would be a Son of David, that He would be an offspring of David.

In Isaiah 11:1-5 we read, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”

That’s talking about His kingdom. He will come and He will be a shoot out of David. And He will have the Spirit of the Lord on Him. And He will be righteous. And He will be just. And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth.

Every Jew expected that when the Root of David came, He would come in power and with force. He would come with a rod. He would come in destruction and devastation. He would come and He would force the wicked of the earth to succumb to His authority. He would judge sinners. And, He come out of the Davidic line.

And indeed He was. The Lord Jesus Christ came from the line of David, both as to His father and as to His mother. Joseph was in the line of David, and so was Mary. The genealogies of His father in Matthew and of His mother in Mark point out very clearly that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of the lineage of David.

But, at His first coming, He wasn’t like a king, and they killed Him. Because He didn’t act like a lion, they killed Him. But now John sees Him step forward again. The elder says to him, “Look, the lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.” Now, He’s going to act like a lion, and now, He’s going to act like a king. He’s going to come in furious judgment against the nations of the world, and establish His rightful throne.

The elder says, “He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” This is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the rightful King from David’s loins, both through Mary and Joseph. He is the fierce lion with the power to destroy, the power to devastate. And, how can He be such? Because He was the Lamb led to the slaughter.







Monday, May 31, 2021

Revelation 4:7-11

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7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” ~ Revelation 4:7-11

We return to John's vision of heaven and of God on His throne. All who are present in this scene are worshipping the Lord God Almighty. God's awesomeness creates in the hearts of the humble a response of worship which is preoccupation with God in all of His fullness. Worship causes us to place Him at the center of everything, and it diminishes us. When we see God as He is, we cease existing for self. As a result, worship frames up all things in a way that we recognize how it all serves us to love the Lord more and more.

In v.7-8 we read, "7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come."

John begins to describe this scene of worship by turning our attention to four created creatures. Ezekiel records the same living beings surrounding God in heaven. Ezekiel identifies them as "cherubim." Isaiah, in Isaiah 6, describes them as "seraphim." The main difference between the types of heavenly beings known as cherubim and seraphim is their appearance. Cherubim have four faces and four wings, while seraphim have six wings. Ezekiel also describes them with the faces of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. 

Some say these four creatures correspond with the four gospels. The Man refers to Christ’s incarnation and humanity. The Lion refers to Christ’s power, courage and victory. The Ox refers to Christ’s sacrifice, And, the Eagle refers to Christ’s divinity and ascension to heaven. These Four Living Creatures before His throne all refer to the Redeeming Work of Christ.

Cherubim appear in several books of the Bible, including Genesis, Ezekiel, Kings and Revelation. Their four faces are ox, lion, man and eagle, although Ezekiel exchanges the ox for the face of a cherub or an angel. 

Seraphim only appear in the book of Isaiah. They use two of their wings for flight. As the cherubim, they are among the highest order of angelic beings.

These four creatures had eyes everywhere and six wings each. Eyes symbolize discernment and knowledge. Wings describe swiftness of movement. The first was like a lion which speaks of power. The second creature was like an ox which speaks of patience. The third had the face of a man which speaks of intelligence. And, the fourth was like a flying eagle which speaks of swiftness. These four living creatures are involved in leading creation to worship its Creator.

And worship is always their priority. They must cover their face, lest they be consumed by seeing the fullness of God’s glory. They must cover their feet, lest they be consumed, because they stand on holy ground. And so they are engaged in worship day and night, nonstop. This is their eternal occupation, joy, and privilege.

At the end of v.8 we read, “Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come."

This crescendo of praise begins with a quartet, and then are added twenty-eight voices, and then are added harps. And then, all the angels; and finally, every living being chimes in on the worship of our gracious God. Whereas Revelation 4 focuses on God as the Almighty God of creation, Revelation 5 focuses on God as the God of redemption.

And the four living creatures recite, unceasingly, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” Their worship focuses, as all worship should, on the character of God, His attributes, and His nature. And the first thing that causes them to worship is His holiness.

Holy, holy, holy” is the only attribute of God repeated three times. The Bible never says God is love, love, love. God’s holiness is His utter and complete fullness, accentuating His separation from evil. He is holy or complete and lacking nothing.

Not only do these four creatures accentuate the holiness of God, they also put the spotlight on His power. Notice that these beings identify God in v.8 as the Almighty. This means God is the strongest, and the most powerful being there is and He has no rival. This term, “almighty,” brings the idea of an overpowering strength that cannot be withstood.

At the end of v.8, these four creatures describe the Lord as, “...who was, and is, and is to come.” This phrase speaks of God’s eternality. This means that God is self-sufficient and He is independent of anything outside Himself. As a result, God has no needs. In fact, Psalm 50 teaches us that the worship of the true God is not intended to meet God’s needs, but to acknowledge Him for His sufficiency to meet our needs.

In v.9-10 we read, “Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne.

The worship of the living creatures influences the twenty-four elders who fall down before Him who sits on the throne. This is the first of six times, in the book of the Revelation, when these elders prostrate themselves before God and the Lamb. (Rev. 5:8,14; Rev. 7:11; Rev.11:16; Rev. 19:4). And their posture is the posture of worship. They fall down prostrate before God.

And then, they cast their crowns before the throneThey have no preoccupation with their justified status before God. They have no concern about their own honor or reward. They are lost in adoration which is preoccupation of God above all else. This is voluntary worship prompted by the God of their redemption.

In v.11 they cry out, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

The word “worthy” is axios in the Greek. This word was used when the emperor marched along with a triumphant procession, attributing worthiness to him. The crescendo of praise is prompted by the fact that God created all things. God has the right to judge and redeem His creation. This is the beginning of the momentum of paradise regained.