Before beginning Chapter 12, I felt it necessary to do a very important review of what we covered so far to keep in mind these things. Its not too late to join us here on Sunday mornings for our Adult Bible Study, which starts promptly at 9:15 AM. Its only a 45-minute study, but as “Revelation 1:3 (ESV) tells us,
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”
Chapter one shows the Apostle John exiled to the Isle of Patmos. While Scripture does not show this, extra biblical literature does. John was exiled for his preaching and teaching of the Word by the terrible Roman emperor Domitian in 95 AD. However, remember that John tells us that he is on the isle of Patmos for a reason.
Revelation 1:9 (ESV) I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
The tribulation John speaks of in verse 9 is not the Great Tribulation we will cover, which begins in Chapter 5. He is speaking of the tribulation that all Christians were going through up until this time. But of course, John will be taking part in the upcoming tribulation as he is told in Chapter 10, where Jesus tells him “11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
Revelation starts out telling us that God the Father gave to Jesus, His Son, so that we His Servants the “things that must shortly take place.” (Rev 1:1)
This chapter also tells us that this entire Book is a Prophecy.
Revelation 1:3 (ESV)
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Jesus appears to John in all His Glory walking amid the Lampstands, holding the seven stars in His right hand. These are clearly explained by Christ
Revelation 1:20 (ESV)
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Shortly to God? One day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. God gave us the idea of time as we could not grasp His eternity.
Prophecy is a prediction of future events. In fact, the very title of the Book in Latin is “Apocalypsis Jesu Christi.” Translated into English – The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Why did I mention this? Although many other prophecies are foretold in the Bible, I strongly believe that many commentators get people more confused by going back in time instead of forward to the future. The very meaning of the word, whether in Latin or English means, “that which has not previously been revealed.” If you consider this carefully, then you will see many of the Old and New Testament prophecies do in fact point to this book, but not really the reverse. Keep this in mind as we continue forward.
Again, we won’t cover that again, but we did show here that the apocalyptic imagery is explained in the Book of Revelation, either immediately or much later in the book. That which is not explained there is explained in the Old Testament Scriptures.
Jesus tells John to write to the Seven Churches existing then in Asia Minor. That blows the Church-Age theories out of the water.
“Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11
Each of the seven messages begins with a personal description or designation of Jesus Christ taken from the vision of Christ given in Revelation 1:12-16, 20.
Each then receive a commendation where due, a rebuke if needed, and all receive an exhortation.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
If you have a Red-Letter Bible, you will see nothing but RED.
This is the only time Jesus speaks of the Seven Churches per sei. Yes, John is to write to each of those Seven Churches, but this Scroll is for all the churches existing at that time (95 AD) and for all the churches up to and including today.
Chapters 2 and 3
Only two of the Churches (Smyrna and Philadelphia) are given no rebuke yet warned to keep what they have. One of the churches (Laodicea) receives no commendation, but a strong rebuke. Each of the churches receives a sneak preview of what is to come.
The end game!
Each of the Churches receive a similar admonition, which is to hold fast to what they have and repent of those He has against them.
Chapter 4 – 5 John is called up to Heaven. As he enters, he is in the presence of an awesome scene. He sees God the Father seated on His Throne, surrounded by a rainbow and many stones that are precious to Him. He is surrounded by the Four Living Creatures; the twenty-four elders and a myriad of angels.
While the scene is beautiful, John becomes distraught when he hears, “a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
Yet, John is told not to weep as the Lion of Judah has prevailed to open the scroll.
And this is where the TRIBULATION BEGINS!
The “seventy weeks” prophecy is one of the most significant and detailed Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. It is found in Daniel 9. The chapter begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging the nation’s sins against God and asking for God’s mercy. As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him a vision of Israel’s future.
The Divisions of the 70 Weeks In verse 24, Gabriel says, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city.” Almost all commentators agree that the seventy “sevens” should be understood as seventy “weeks” of years, in other words, a period of 490 years. These verses provide a sort of “clock” that gives an idea of when the Messiah would come and some of the events that would accompany His appearance.
The prophecy goes on to divide the 490 years into three smaller units: one of 49 years, one of 434 years, and one 7 years. The final “week” of 7 years is further divided in half. Verse 25 says, “From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’” Seven “sevens” is 49 years, and sixty-two “sevens” is another 434 years:
49 years + 434 years = 483 years. Where is the remaining 7 years? This is where most believe there is a giant pause and that the last 7 years will be called the tribulation period of the Book of Revelation.
For much more about this, you will have to come to Pastor Bob’s study in the Book of Daniel, especially when he gets to chapter 9. However, we will shortly see where Daniel breaks down this last 7 years into: “Time, times, and half time,” “3 ½ years, “42 months,” “1260 days,” all of which describe this exact time. We are about to see these variations mentioned throughout the next several chapters.
The Tribulation begins with the opening of the first seal of the scroll.
Chapter 6 First Seal: The Conqueror He brings the Antichrist that brings the one world system of banking and promises peace. Can’t we all just get along? He deceives all the people of the earth for the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. Yet now his promises are worthless. However, he has brought many to worship him. They will receive the mark of the beast on their forehead or their right hand.
Second Seal: Brings conflict on the Earth as in wars. When the first 3 ½ years are over there is great conflict on the earth with war.
Third Seal: Scarcity on Earth as in a famine. After the war, there is as expected great famine.
Fourth Seal: Widespread Death on Earth is brought upon many due to the famine. Needless to say, that famine brings widespread death.
Fifth Seal: We hear the cry of the Here we switch to the martyrs under the altar crying out “Revelation 6:10 (ESV) They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” They are told to be patient and that they must wait, “until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
Sixth Seal: Brings many severe Cosmic Disturbances. This leads to “…the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand."
There is so much cosmic disturbances, that they seem to see the light.?” Yet they do not repent, and they will face the wrath that is to come!
The Second through sixth and seventh seal take place during the same period lasting for 3 ½ years after mid-tribulation begins.
The word altar is used several times throughout the book of Revelation (cf. 8:3, 5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7). We’ll cover them as they come up. Commentaries vary so much here trying to allude to various altars we have seen throughout Scripture, especially in Leviticus and even as Paul talks about in Philippians.
The Seventh Seal
Revelation 8:1 (ESV)
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
I am not going to go over these two chapters, 8 & 9, but will refer to them later. Here we see parenthetically the events of the earlier chapters
I will refer to these as we cover them later. For now, it is more important to briefly cover a few items in the next two chapters
The Angel and the Little Scroll (Rev 10)
Revelation 10:11 (ESV)
And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
The Two Witnesses – Chapter 11
Revelation 11:2–3 (ESV)
but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
John sees another Mighty Angel. He is holding a little scroll (Greek Biblion a diminutive of Biblos that was used for the large scroll Christ took) in his hand.
He heard seven thunders and at once wanted to write what they said down but was told to seal them up and not write them down. They are never revealed in this book. Another after-life bucket list.
John was told to eat the scroll after being explained that it would be sweet in his mouth (God’s Word) but would turn bitter in his stomach (he would see what was about to happen). The most important thing to remember about this chapter is first John is told that he must prophesy again.
Chapter 11 introduces us to the Two Witnesses. Although we discussed who they most likely are (Moses and Elijah), it is not so important as to who they are as to what they do and how long they do it. Twice in this chapter we saw the time.
First the nations would trample the “Holy City” for forty-two months. The second time we are told that the witnesses would prophesy for 1260 days during that same time.
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