Armageddon On Schedule, Setting the Stage – part 2

The key to understanding Revelation is in Verse 19.  There are three parts, the things John has seen, the things which are now, and the things which shall be hereafter. (The future)

Setting The Stage – part 2

The King is Coming…

“Behold He is coming” (Revelation 1: 7-8) It is another triplet. The imminent return of Christ is the theme of Revelation. “Behold He is coming with the clouds.” And now the triplet:

  1. And every eye will see Him
  2. Even those who pierced Him
  3. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him

He will not return like before. The lowly servant and humble shepherd. No, this time He will return as the king of kings, and the entire world will know it. He will return to judge and unbelieving world.

The words of the apostle Paul will be fulfilled, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

And we see the theme, Christ is both the beginning and the ending. In Him all things were created. (John 1:3) and in him all things will be consummated. (Revelation 21:6) The Lord is described as a savior who 1. “Is” (present tense), 2. “was” (past tense), and 3. “Is to come” (future tense). Another great triplet. As the eternal son of God, just like the Father, He always was, He is, and He always will be. The ever-present One. “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14)

And then we have the Victory.

“behold I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:9-20).  John was exiled to Patmos because of the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. There was no escape from that place. Then he met the risen savior face to face on that rocky deserted island. He heard the masters voice and turned to see who it was.  And as he turned, he saw seven golden lampstands. They were likely in the shape of a Jewish menorah. (Revelation 1:12) These lampstands were representative of the seven churches the book is addresses to. (1:20) In the center of the lampstands, he saw the son of man, dresses in high priestly garments. (floor length white robe with golden sash.) (Exodus 39)   “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” (1:16)   This mention of the seven stars in His right hand are likely the symbols of the leaders or pastors of the churches.  The main word here is messengers.  They are the messengers of God.

The description of Savior is in this pattern of seven symbolizing His Shekinah glory:

  1. Hair: white like white wool
  2. Eyes: flame of fire
  3. Feet: burnished bronze
  4. Voice: sound of many waters
  5. Right Hand: held seven stars
  6. Mouth: Sharp two-edged sword
  7. Face: shining like the sun

*Regarding the seven stars in the Savior’s right hand J. Vernon McGee writes, “Angels can be either human or divine- the word here is messenger. It could refer to a member of the angelic host of heaven; it could refer to a ruler or teacher of the congregation. Personally, I think that it refers to the local pastors, it is good to hear a pastor being called an angel-sometimes we are called other things.”

Chuck Smith writes, “Now it is always to me a very comforting, and yet an extremely exciting concept, to realize the place of the seven stars. They were being held in the right hand of Him. And how beautiful and comforting it is to realize that as a messenger to the church, your life is being held in the right hand of the Lord. I don’t know of anything more exciting than that and comforting than that. Another thing that is extremely exciting is where Jesus is. He is walking in the midst of the church or the churches, the seven golden candlesticks or the seven churches. So, Christ is walking in the midst of His church. You remember in the Gospels, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name there will I be in the midst”(Matthew 18:20), His promised presence with His people. So, Jesus is here with us tonight. He has promised to be with His people wherever they have gathered in His name. And that is always just beautiful and comforting to realize the presence of Jesus.”

The description of the Savior introduces one of the most powerful symbols in the Apocalypse: the sword of His mouth. Ultimately it will be His word that will defeat the enemy. (Revelation 19:15, 21)

And he had in His right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Rev 1:16). The Bible says the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. So, His words are like a sharp two-edged sword, because they are “able to cut between the soul and the spirit. They are a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the hearts of man” (Hebrews 4:12).

Then John collapses at the Saviors feet. (Revelation 1:17) He cannot stand up on his own power as his strength is drained from seeing the Holy One.  All through Revelation we will see that approaching God is only allowed by permission of the blood of Christ. (Hebrews 10:19-20)

John laid there prostrate on the ground like a dead dog. The effect of Christ before him was paralyzing. It had been 60 years since he last saw Christ and he sees the Blessed Redeemer in all His blinding glory.  But then Johns loving Lord quickly performed a tender task and reached out and touched His disciple in need to strengthen him. “He laid His right hand upon me.” (Revelation 1:17) Jesus assured John, “I am alive.” (Revelation 1:18) Jesus also assured John that, “I have the keys of death and of Hades.”  There are five keys mentioned in the New Testament and our Lord and Savior carries them all.  The other four are:

The keys of the Kingdom. (Matthew 16;19), The key of knowledge. (Luke 11:52), The key of the Throne of David. (Revelation 3:7) and the Key to the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1; 20:1)

The Lord has come for his beloved servant and to unlock the mystery of the future and to unveil the events that would lead to Armageddon and the End Times.

Verse 19 -He commanded John to write those things which:

  1. “You have seen” (past)
  2. “Things which are” (present)
  3. “Things which shall take place after these things” (future)

The key to understanding Revelation is in Verse 19.  There are three parts, the things John has seen, the things which are now, and the things which shall be hereafter. (The future)

The Chuck Smith commentary said, “We are now living in the eras of chapters two and three, “the things which are”. The church continues to exist, and the testimony and the witness of the church, and the witness of Jesus concerning His church, which is even more important. So, there are three divisions of the book. It is important that you catch this, because if you don’t you are going to have a constantly confused and garbled view of the future. You will see the church in the midst of the tribulation and the one hundred and forty-four thousand-you’ll try to twist to be the church. There are all kinds of twisted and exaggerated concepts that have come from the book of Revelation, because people did not catch the key in this first chapter here.”

Hinson wrote, “Many have used that simple threefold designation to outline the entire book: past (Chapter 1), present (Chapters 2-3) and future (Chapters 4-22).  The chapter closes by uniting each of these elements. The Savior who died and rose again in the past is still alive and moving in His Church in the present and will come again in the future.  He has already triumphed, and so shall we!”

Amen!

Come with me next time as I begin looking into Chapter 2 of, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The Tubthumper

Armageddon On Schedule

Humanity began in the garden and will end in the Eternal City. Beginning in tragedy we will end in triumph. In the beginning was man’s failure but, in the end, there will be exaltation. Between all this there stood a cross. And on that cross Jesus Christ changed our course and the course of humanity forever.

Hi everyone,

It has been a long time since I picked up the pen due to things life has dealt. But now the Lord is prompting me to write about the book of Revelation.  As we are living now in the year 2021 we are seeing prophesy come true before our eyes. Can it be much longer? Many things are still to happen but we are definitely experiencing the birth pangs of Armageddon.  Hearts are waxing cold and evil is ever-present.  It is time to look into the future.  I believe this project will enhance my understanding of Revelation and hopefully enhance yours too. My attempt will be to provide it as clear as I can in a simple way that is easy to understand.  So let us begin with the end in mind as Stephen Covey put it.

The New Testament has guided us Christians for well over a couple thousand years and it clearly shows Christ’s birth and resurrection.  At the end of the New Testament is the book of Revelation that shows us a wonderful picture of the return of our savior the Lord Jesus Christ.  The message of the Bible would be very incomplete without the New Testament.

The Old Testament shows us the message of the coming Messiah.  All through the Old Testament we see evidence of the one that will come to be the King of Israel and savior to all mankind, the savior of the world. When the old testament ends, the coming of the Messiah is an event still not fulfilled. We await the arrival of “The Lamb of God,” to come to us and take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)

Revelation is the most significant book as it relates to prophesy, in the New Testament. It is the finale, the grand and spectacular conclusion to God’s written word and the event we all await.  All of us believers have cherished the book of Revelation, regardless of whether we completely and fully understand it. Why do we cherish it so, because it gives us hope?  It gives us hope of the future time when God will make “all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) And God said right in the verse to, “write these things because what He is saying is faithful and true.”  So even though in our frail human understanding and difficulty to believe such a dream can come true, He is saying believe it and trust it.

The book of Revelation is pretty fascinating and I am sure this will take me some time.  I do not know how long. I do not know how many posts it will take. I am sure it’s a big project for me.  I am excited to be getting started.  Revelation is a look at the end of the world. It is God’s revelation of the end-times. These posts and threads will lead us to Armageddon and beyond. Are you curious?  Do you want to know what happens next?  Follow along with me in the coming weeks and months.

God is revealing for us, the future before it actually happens. Revelation is a prophesy of future events. Hopefully I can keep it simple enough for you all to understand the messages God wants us all the hear. I will focus on the “big picture” and I will strive to not get bogged down in all the details.  Lots of people get drawn in and side-tracked by all the minute details. In my posts I will stay focused on the main message of the book.

There are Seven major points to consider:

  1. The letters to the seven churches.
  2. The seven seals.
  3. The Seven trumpets
  4. The seven bowls
  5. The seven symbolic figures
  6. The seven judgements
  7. The seven triumphs

When we look into the book of Revelation the curtain gets raised and the future is there for us all to view. Through seven visions and a lot of symbolic word and number illustrations, the entire climax of human history gets told in lucid detail.

The term, “Revelation,” means “uncover” or “unveil” or “reveal” everything that was hidden so we can now see it. The Greek term, apokalupsis is translated for us. And this is why the book is often referred to as the Apocalypse.  It is both apocalyptic and prophetic. The very last of the sixty-six books of the Bible bringing it all to a conclusion. The Apocalypse calls itself a “prophecy” of future events. (Revelation 1:3; 22:7, 10,18,19)   It is a final book of New Testament prophesy.  Prophetic visions of the future!

Bruce Metzger, a New Testament Scholar, tells us, “In order to become oriented with the book of Revelation one must take seriously what the author says happened. John tells us that he had a series of visions.  He says he ‘heard’ certain words and he ‘saw’ certain visions.”  Metzger adds, “Such accounts combine cognitive insight with emotional response. They invite the reader or listener to enter into the experience being recounted and to participate in it, triggering mental images of that which is described.”  We have the temptation to read about the future through our eyes of the present. Let’s not do that. There is no guarantee the end will come in our lifetime. What glory that would be though.

Events predicted in the Revelation come in symbolic language.  Many of the symbolic things come from the Old Testament passages. Such as tree of life, Lion of Judah, etc…  Some are also drawn from New Testament passages.  Some symbols have no biblical parallel and are left unexplained and still others are specifically explained and identified. There is a lot to consider.  We should move forward with a guarded caution and keen insight.

We are looking at the “book of the unveiling,” God meant for us to understand it. He gave us the promise, “Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear the words of the prophesy, and heed the things which are written in it.” (Revelation 1:3)

Revelation is very Unique.

The book is based around a series of threes and sevens. The over-reaching three is Past, Present and Future.

  1. Past: “the things which you have seen” (Chapter 1)
  2. Present: “the things which are” (Chapter 2)
  3. Future: “the things which shall take place after these things” (Chapters 4-22)

And the seven visions I mentioned earlier:

  1. Seven churches (1:9-3:22)
  2. Seven seals (4:1-8:1)
  3. Seven trumpets (8:2-11:19)
  4. Seven symbolic figures (12:1-14:20)
  5. Seven bowls (15:1-16:21)
  6. Seven judgments (17:1-19:10)
  7. Seven triumphs (19:11-22:5)

The use of symbolic numbers is found throughout the book. The most significant numbers found in the Apocalypse are:

Three- as in the number of the Trinity. Lots of threes and triplets in the book.

Four- this number is generally related to earth as in four seasons.

Six- this is the number of man, later the number of Anti-Christ 666.

Seven- this is the most significant number, many, many sevens we will see. Seven churches, seven spirits, seven lampstands, seven stars, seven lamps of fire, seven seals, seven horns, seven eyes, seven angels, seven trumpets, seven peals of thunder, seven thousand people, seven heads, seven diadems, seven angels, seven plagues, seven bowls, seven mountains, seven kings, seven beatitudes and seven “I ams” of Christ.  Twelve- this is the number of completeness, i.e.- the twelve tribes.

So, what is Revelation all about? 

It is in the title. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ, the things which must take place. Jesus Christ is the central theme of it all. He is the key to understanding the book. He is both the author and the subject of the book. The purpose is to reveal the future.  From David Jeremiah we get, “The word ‘revelation’ means the disclosure of that which was previously hidden or unknown. The book of Revelation tells us that Jesus is coming again, how He is coming, and what the condition of the world will be when He comes.”

The return of Christ, the risen savior.

Critics of prophecy have often referred to this as a book of doom and gloom. But it is not. It has both negative and positive implications.  For the unbeliever its negative. Sorry but – if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and savoir then you lose. For the believer its good news- our Savior is coming and we win!

The book of Revelation shows us a series of wide views which are then followed by more concise snapshots.  First, we get the big picture and then we get the details.  The pattern is generally, bad news-details to follow, or good news-details to follow.  With that said, things will not come to us in direct sequential order.

The basic Big Picture.

  1. The church will continue to grow.
  2. Satanic oppression will intensify.
  3. Israel will return to the Promised Land.
  4. The church will be raptured to heaven.
  5. The tribulation period and its judgements will follow.
  6. The marriage of Christ and the church will occur.
  7. The triumphal return of Jesus Christ.
  8. The Millennial Kingdom when Jesus will reign on earth for 1000 years.
  9. The final triumph and Satan cast into the lake of fire.
  10. The Eternal State- a new heaven and a new earth.

As we begin the journey through Revelation several things are very clear:

  1. John is looking into the future.
  2. He sees a pattern of events happening in heaven and on earth.
  3. The events he sees will involve some catastrophic judgments on earth.
  4. The judgments will result in the final triumph and the return of Christ with the establishment of His Kingdom. And the millennium.
  5. Then there is the Eternal State- a new heaven and a new earth.

Well friends, humanity began in the garden and will end in the Eternal City.

Beginning in tragedy we will end in triumph. In the beginning was man’s failure but, in the end, there will be exaltation. Between all this there stood a cross. And on that cross Jesus Christ changed our course and the course of humanity forever. Amen!  Hallelujah! What a Savior we have!

Praise the Lord.

Follow along with me and we will have a look to the glorious finish.

The Tubthumper     Click here to jump to the next post.