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Run through Revelation
A brief look at eschatology and the Book of Revelation
Today we reveal the future—eschatology. There are people who I love very much who do not agree with what I am about to teach you from the Bible. Some were taught a different position as baby Christians (someone else got to them first). Some are so passionate about reformation truths, they embrace the eschatology of the reformers. But the biggest reason for a difference in viewpoint is a different hermeneutic–if you interpret the Bible literally and normally, you will embrace what I will expose today from the Bible. But if you interpret prophetic passages in general, and the book of Revelation in specific, as symbolic, or representative or fulfilled in the cross in some manner, then you will hold to a different view. The three main views (oversimplified) are as follows:
One There is no literal, coming kingdom—amillenial. Things on earth turn bad, then Christ returns and ends history.
Two The hope that super solid long kingdom where God’s Word rules the planet, then Christ returns after this human-led kingdom—post-millenial (after the kingdom).
Three The view that Christians are going to be snatched away, the earth is going to be judged for seven years, Christ will return, then set up a literal, physical thousand year reign on the earth. He comes before He sets up His own kingdom—pre-millenial
There are genuine Christians who hold all three views, but the chart attached to your notes informs you that at FBC, all our elders and ministry leaders in some manner are pre-millenial. Most of us hope we will be snatched away in a rapture before God pours out all His wrath on Murrieta, Temecula and Hemet. As a sinful, fallen race, we are headed for real trouble. God is going to judge this world harsher and more severe than ever before. Add up all the plagues, all the disasters, all the despots and dictators, all the wars (all of them)–combine them all together, and they will not even come close to what is about to befall this world, your home, your unsaved friends and family in the Tribulation.
And just when things are their worst, Jesus will physically return, those who oppose Him will be taken away, and those who are saved will enter into a literal thousand year return to the Garden of Eden, where Christ will live and rule among us, and God’s glorified saints will rule with Him on this earth.
After a thousand years of utopia, sadly many of the offspring of regular Christians who live on earth will rebel under a final rebellion, and God will end it all, judge all of mankind, and only those in Christ will then enter into eternal Heaven on Earth. But don’t take my word for it–just take a look at what God says in the book of Revelation. Open to Revelation chapter 1.
In Revelation 22:10, an angel commands the Apostle John saying, “Do not seal up the words of the prophesy of this book [why?], for the time is near.” God wants you to know this book. In fact, it is the only book in the Bible that begins and ends with a promise of blessing to the reader, in 1:3 and 22:7–that is great. Not only does God want you to know this book, but He promises to bless you if you read it.
Why is Revelation so important to Him? Look at 1:1–because it is “The revelation of Jesus Christ”, not Revelations. It is uncovering truth about Jesus Christ. It is telling you things you wouldn’t know about Christ unless you read this book. It is a book about Jesus Christ, and about the things (that verses 2 and 3 tell us) are about to take place–events that are very near.
Jesus is coming again very soon, and this book is written to get us ready. How does it start? In 1:9ff, John records the first of his visions. He shows us a picture of Christ, who is moving among and ministering in, the local churches and congregations of all ages. A picture of Christ so dramatic–white hair, eyes of fire, bright glow, powerful voice that John faints. As a result of the vision, we get the theme verse of the book of Revelation, which also shows us the outline to the whole book.
Look at verse 1:19 (the theme verse), “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.” Write therefore, the things which you have seen (that is, the visions that we just read about in chapter one–the past), and the things which are (that’s the seven churches listed in chapters 2 and 3–the present), and the things which shall take place after these things (that is chapters 4 to 22, which are all yet future to John and to us today–the future). So what is happening now–the present?
In chapters 2 and 3, John records seven messages from God to seven different, literal churches in Asia Minor–real churches, who are also representative of all churches in every age. All seven of these churches have always existed and always will in every age until Christ comes. Some feel they walk through the church age as well. What kind of churches are there?
1 the cold orthodox church
2 the persecuted church
3 the church that’s married to the world
4 the church that tolerates sin
5 the dead church
6 the faithful church
7 the apostate church
Which one are we? Whatever quality is dominant in the church, which means whatever quality is dominant in you. Are you mainly faithful, tolerate sin, married to the world, dead?
Now after chapter 3, what is amazing is the Church does not appear again until the second coming in chapter 19. You ask, “Where is the Rapture?” It is in the white spaces in your Bible between chapters 3 and 4. What happened to the Church? We are in heaven, worshipping God in chapter 4.
Chapter 4 begins the third section of the book of Revelation. Chapter 1 is things that were, chapters 2 and 3 are things that are, and chapters 4 to 22 are the things which shall take place after these. Who is in Heaven? We are, the Church–you see the 24 elders are representative of the Church. All have white robes, all have crowns, all have thrones, and all three of those are only promised to the Church.
In 5:9 it says they are redeemed people. So what do we find in chapter 4? It is the redeemed Church in heaven, taking part in the main event of Heaven. What’s that? Worship—all are worshiping God for all eternity–incredible worship. Look at verses 8 and 11, “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. 11 Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’”
But in chapter 5, the worship is broken—why? Lying next to God the Father is a scroll that’s sealed with seven seals. Look at verse 2, “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a strong voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and break its seals?’” What is this scroll, this book? It is the title deed to earth. It’s God’s Will and Testament to give Jesus Christ the earth–it’s His. Just as Psalm 2 promised, the nations are Christ’s inheritance, and all the land His possession. Christ will rule this planet.
One of the elders (of course) knows that only Christ is worthy to open the scroll. And so now it’s in Christ’s hand in verse 7, and He is about to open it, which causes what response in verses 8 to 14? More worship and praise, culminating in that great song, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
What is happening in Heaven? The citizens of Heaven are tired of the earth being in rebellion, so they’re excited about this final, terrible judgment about to occur. But how can righteous, glorified saints and a just God seek to bring about the most terrible destruction the world has ever seen? How can a God of love do this? Read your Bible, God tells you–because according to 4:11, God is the Creator of a human race that lives in rebellion. And 5:9, God is our Redeemer (Christ died for us–He bore God’s wrath). And He did that for a people who did not care.
Chapters 4 and 5 give us a picture of the worthiness of Christ, showing Jesus to be righteous, sacrificial, just, Creator and Redeemer, so that we do not doubt Him after what He does and describes to us in chapters 6 through 18. In Chapter 6, we’re thrown back to Earth for the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation, which starts with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, which are the first four of the seal judgments.
First Seal is in Revelation 6:2, “Look, I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” A white horse, and a bow with no arrows, signifies peace–the crown is not a king’s crown, but a victor’s crown. This is the antichrist, who comes with a false peace maintained by a cold war. Daniel 9:27 tells us he will make covenants and promises in the first three-and-a-half years (of the seven-year Tribulation), but then break those promises halfway through the Tribulation period. Which leads us to the second seal in verses 3 and 4, “When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come.’ 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.”
Second seal, the red horse of war
The second half of the Tribulation period, the last three-and-a-half years, will be a time of slaughter and massacre. The first seal could be the first three-and-a-half years, and the second seal and following could be the second three-and-a-half years. The antichrist will set himself up to be god, and then slaughter Israel and go to war against several nations.
Third seal is the black horse in verse 5 to 6
One full day’s wage buys barely enough food for one person to live on. The world will be experiencing its worst famine ever.
Fourth seal is the pale horse.
The seal of death—one-fourth of all the earth’s population of 6.9 billion will die with this seal. That’s 1.7 billion people that will perish by today’s numbers.
Fifth seal in verses 9 to 11 is those who have been slaughtered for their faith during the Tribulation. Many people who had not heard the Gospel until after the Rapture of the Church will give their lives to Christ, and then be butchered by the antichrist. In verse 10 they cry out, “How long, oh Lord, will you wait until you bring vengeance upon those who killed us?”
God’s response is incredible in verse 11. He says, “Be patient. (Here is your white robe, now just rest) until all those who are going to be saved and martyred is complete.” Our God still waits for the salvation of the lost–aren’t you glad He waited for you? You may be the one
He is waiting for before the Rapture comes. Would you hurry up and give your life to Christ so we can get out of here?
Sixth seal is incredible–read verses 12 to 14, “I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Like a window shade, or dropping marbles–this is a scary time. So what do men do? Repent? Confess their sins? No! They pray for rocks to fall on them to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb in verses 15 to 17. They know it’s God, yet they still sinfully rebel.
Now note–those six seals took you all the way through the entire Tribulation period, through all seven years. At the end of the Tribulation, as everything falls apart and darkness sets in, men will scream and run for protection as Christ’s glory penetrates the darkness with a blinding light. Since you can only take so much judgment, there are rest spots or glory spots in this book.
Instead of being totally depressed with what is happening on Earth, there are heavenly scenes that show us God is just, and earthly scenes showing us our Savior’s mercy and grace in the midst of His wrath. This is for John the Apostle and for us. Good journalism tells you the story in brief, then goes back to fill in the details, and this is exactly what Revelation does. So the seal judgments give you details. Next the trumpets give you more details, finally then the bowl judgments give you even more details about the judgment of God.
But in the midst of all this judgment, God lets us know in chapter 7 there is some protection, blessing, and people being spared. Not everyone dies. So who is spared? The 144,000 Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel (Dan is not included because of idolatry, but they are added back in by God’s mercy during the kingdom, according to Ezekiel 48).
In the middle of the week, after three-and-a-half years, there are 144,000 Jews who are saved, and who preach the Gospel to the lost world. Are they effective? Look at 7:9 “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.” Where did this multitude come from? They are the fruit of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. They are those who had not heard the Gospel, but now have (by God’s grace) not only heard, but now believe.
If you’re tempted to think God is unjust in judgment, think again. God chooses the 144,000–12,000 from each tribe, and chooses a multitude from every nation, tribe and tongue. God is sovereign in salvation (though we do not know who is in each tribe, since the records were destroyed in A.D. 70–God knows all the records and chooses 12,000 from each tribe). As a result, in verse 11 and following there is great worship. Yet now with six seals already unleashed on the world, we are prepared for the seventh seal in chapter 8.
There are some who feel that chapter 8:1 is proof there are no women in heaven, since it says, “There was silence in heaven for about half hour.” I do not hold to that view, even though I always have the last two words in our family–you know what those final words are, right? “Yes, dear.”
No, the silence of 8:1 is Heaven in awe of the holocaust of divine wrath being poured out on the earth in preparation for Christ’s return. At this point, the apostle John reviews, not back to the beginning of the Tribulation–most likely back to the fifth or sixth seal. And it is there you will find all the trumpet judgments.
Almost all commentators agree the seals are not followed by the trumpet judgments, and the trumpets are not followed by the bowls. But each set of judgments takes you to the end of the Tribulation, then goes back a little (not to the beginning) and carries you further along, like the waves of the ocean–working towards high tide. The intensity of the Tribulation is like the shape of a long-neck trumpet. It starts small, but explodes at the end–so most of the judgments fall at the end of the Tribulation. That is why there is silence toward the end–it is incredible what God pours out at the end of the Tribulation. And if He did not end the Tribulation with His return, all would die.
Look at the trumpet judgments:
First Trumpet is a judgment upon all vegetation in verse 7.
One-third of all plant life is destroyed. That means people will have less food, animals will have less food, and the whole earth will be choking with less oxygen.
Second Trumpet in verses 8 to 9.
One-third of all the marine life dies, leaving one floating, stinking mess. Because men refused to glorify God as their Creator, God takes His creation away.
Third Trumpet in verses10 to 11 wipes out one-third of all fresh water.
Fourth Trumpet involves the loss of one-third of the light from the sun, moon and the stars at night, so day and night are now confused. Mankind loses his calendar, so he can no longer measure time. It’ll be like me in the morning—“What day is it? What time is it?” And in verse 13, an angel is saying loudly, “Woe! Woe! Woe!” (Curse, curse, curse) Can you identify with that? What he is saying is, “If you think that is bad, wait till you hear the next three trumpets. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Fifth Trumpet in chapter 9. John says in the middle of verse 1, “And I saw a star fall from heaven”–that is Lucifer, the devil, with a key to unlock the bottomless pit and let out demons that have been locked up in that prison since the worldwide flood. These are the demons who messed with human women in Genesis 6, seeking to wipe out the messianic line. These are the worst of the worst.
Verse 2 tells us once released, they come out like a punctured tire. Like a gush of smoke, these demons who have been locked up for centuries are now released to torment men (not creation) for five months. The torment is so bad, it’s like a scorpion bite, and will cause men to desire death over life–which makes sense, since according to verse 11, their king is the destroyer. It is Satan himself. But if you think that is bad, there are two more trumpets.
Sixth Trumpet blows in verse 9:13, and a demonic army who come from the East across the Euphrates is released by an angel. They number 200 million; they’re either demons or demon-possessed men. God’s Word says they are from the East, and the Associated Press in 1964 released the fact that China (from the East) now martials an Army of 200 million. As a result, they will kill one third of the world’s people, with some unique weaponry. (Billions of people will die.)
Again, how will mankind respond to these plagues? Will they admit their sin, repent and turn toward God? No, verses 20 to 21 say the rest who were not killed did not repent of all their wickedness.
Look at Chapter 10 to give us a rest from this destruction and this picture of stubborn hopelessness. The Spirit through John gives us another vision of Christ. And when told by an angel to take and eat the title deed to the earth, John says it was sweet and bitter. What does that mean? Sweet, because it means the second coming of Christ–bitter, because it means the condemnation of the lost to eternal punishment in Hell. And that is the heart of every genuine Christian here.
Then in chapter 11, we get another look at God’s grace with the two witnesses, one of my favorite parts. We do not know who they are–I confess that I have asked God to allow me to be one, even before anyone else did. I’d love to be in the Scripture, and these are the last specific candidates. Remember the 144,000 who preach the Gospel from the midpoint of the Tribulation all the way to the end? Who converted them? The two witnesses. How do you get saved? Faith in Christ, turn from sin, follow Jesus–but how do you hear? A preacher–who were the preachers? The two witnesses.
Chapter 11:3 tells us the two witnesses are given three-and-a half years to minister during the first half of the Tribulation. You see, when the Church is taken out, who’s left? Nobody–so God leaves this planet without a witness? Hardly–God uses the two witnesses to reach the 144,000. And the world will hate these two. With the true Church out of the way with a new age upon the planet, these two are a reminder of an unpleasant past–accountability to God, rebellious sin admitted.
But what if they try to harm them? Read Revelation 11:5, “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies.” So if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. I love that—HA-A-A, and you’re toast! You could get used to that–your antagonistic neighbor, or Christ-hating fellow-employee or your teacher is attacking Christ. You respond by politely standing for the truth, which he continues to mock with hatred and threat of violence, and you merely HA-A-A, and he is roasted.
Verse 6 tells us the two have the power to control the weather, and produce plagues. Can you hear the nightly news? “Those tyrannical two witnesses are at it again. In San Francisco today, they caused the rain to stop, lifted the evening fog, and caused the bay to turn to blood. Again authorities tried to stop these two, but every time they step in, they just go up in smoke.” Finally, in verse 7 the Beast himself will kill them in Jerusalem, and they will leave their dead bodies in the street for three-and-a-half days.
These are modern times–the whole world sees them dead. It must be TV, computer or iphones–and in verse 10 the world is so excited about their deaths, they rejoice and exchange presents. Happy Dead Witnesses Day–here is your gift. You can hear the talking head on TV, “Well they’ve been dead for three-and-a-half days now–we are so relieved to get rid of these two.” When all of a sudden, verse 11 says they will stand to their feet (I would like to see that on instant replay), and a voice from heaven will say, “Come up here.” (This is so awesome.) And terror will grip the whole world–God will never be without a witness.
After that interlude, the seventh Trumpet will blow, and when it does, it signals the finale. Look at 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’” It is over, it is finished, the title deed is fully Christ’s–so the seven Trumpets take you to the end of the Tribulation.
Now we get another interlude. Chapter 12 picks up more of the details. This chapter is a review to tell you why Satan is doing much of what he is doing. You see, Satan has consistently persecuted Israel and attacked the Messiah by seeking to kill the people of God. Chapter 12 tells you He has always warred against God’s people in any way he can. Here John describes the conflict with an image. The women are Israel, the Child is Christ, and the dragon is Satan, who is always attacking the child Christ, born of the women, Israel.
Verse 7 tells us there is a war in heaven, angels versus demons. Guess who wins? The holy angels win, and they cast Satan and all the demons out of heaven to the earth.
Now picture this–all the demons, who were locked up, are out of the pit. All those who were normally functioning on this planet are still here, and now all those who were causing conflict in heaven are now cast to the earth. When Satan fell, one-third of the angels fell with him, and now they will all attack this planet during the Tribulation, especially the last half.
If you think that is bad, Chapter 13 gives us more detail on the antichrist. This is the one who is called the Beast, the man of sin, the wicked one. What is he like? He is a man of high intelligence, with incredible speaking ability, has some crafty political talents, a strong physical appearance, military genius, morally corrupt, materialistic, a blasphemer, is motivated by selfish ambition, functions against all law, tries to change prophecy and history, and substitutes himself for God.
Read verse 13:4-8, “They worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
But to complete this demonic trinity–Satan dragon being the father, the antichrist/beast being the son, then Satan, the great imitator, will also have a false prophet, a cohort (a false holy spirit) described in chapter 13:11 to the end of the chapter. His job is to get everyone to worship the antichrist. So he performs lying signs, false miracles and wonders.
Then he builds an image of the beast, a statue, and makes it come alive–demonically or through deceptive disneytronics. And the world is so utterly demon influenced, they will worship the antichrist. It could be so bad that every person on this planet potentially could be a raving maniac. Like in the gospels, people could be cutting their bodies, foaming at the mouth, since Satan will have total control over everyone.
Add to that in verse 16 and 17, to survive everyone must receive an external mark in order to buy and sell. Now with all demons on earth, and demon-possessed people everywhere, there is no place to hide. You become a Christian and you will be discovered. What is the number? It’s 666–well 666 means man, and he can never get to seven, which is the number of perfection. He can only reach 6-6-6.
Don’t try to make it spell out a name—Miller, Petras, Dodson–all work perfectly, as well as Obama. If you have a credit or debit card, you already have a number. And if we lived in a cashless society, to keep you from buying or selling, just remove your number and you starve. The problem is, you can lose a credit card–so you laser tattoo it to your wrist or forehead, which in a cold climate are easily accessible/scanable, and you no longer run into problems . . . unless you love God–unless you know Christ. As a result, the antichrist will control the whole world.
Chapter 14 gives us various pictures of Heaven and Earth–but the most graphic is the tribulational holocaust that concludes with the battle of Armageddon, in verse 14. “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.” The sharp sickle is a picture of slaughter. Think of the first century mind, and what it meant to cut down wheat. Giving us a look at the sixth trumpet, this battle is summarized in verse 20 when it says, “And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press (graphic), up to the horses’ bridles (about five feet high), for a distance of two hundred miles (that’s the nation Israel).
God is going to trample out His judgment. If you die in martyrdom, don’t worry–you missed the worst of two choices. Chapter 15 prepares us for, and chapter 16 lists the last seven judgments like a machine gun, in rapid-fire succession. These bowl or vial judgments are all at the very end of the Tribulation, and according to verse 1, “Finish the wrath of God.”
First bowl Verses 1 and 2, will be cancerous sores and the loss of health for all mankind.
Second bowl Verse 3, will be the death of all marine life, so that you will not even see the water because of the surface covered with dead corpses.
Third bowl Verses 4 to 7, the loss of all fresh water.
Fourth bowl Verses 8 to 9, the sun scorches all people so much, men burn with fire–yet they still will not repent, but continue to curse God.
Fifth bowl Verses 10 to 11, is utter and complete darkness. It will be so dark, people will trip and suffer injury.
Sixth bowl Verses 12 to 16, is the further conquest by the demon-possessed army from the East.
Seventh bowl Armageddon–the final battle in Megiddo. I’ve been there, it’s a huge valley that Napoleon said was the greatest battlefield in the world.
Look at chapter 16:13-14, “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” That is the unholy trinity, moving all the great empires to come together for the final battle against one another. And the kings of the south, east and north will all fight–and in the midst of the battle will come Jesus Christ to end it all, claim His planet, and begin His kingdom.
You may ask at this point, what is life like during the Tribulation? Will there be religion in the Tribulation? Answer: yes–chapter 17 tells us there will be. Now if you call the true Church a bride, what do you call the false church? A harlot, who rides the antichrist to power, but then the antichrist overthrows the religion halfway through the Tribulation–being consumed with power, he sets himself up as the only god. It is at this point the false prophet sets up the image, and makes it come to life, doing various miracles, so that after he sets himself up as God, no other religion will be tolerated.
But what is happening in the world during the seven-year Tribulation? What is the economy like? Chapter 18 answers that question. When everything starts to collapse, and verse 2 tells us that demons have taken over the world–all the nations are saddened. Why? Because all the banks, economies, governments all collapse, and nobody cares about buying any products, buying anything. All people are interested in now is surviving (imagine that). No one goes to the mall anymore (so sad). Verse 11 says merchants weep cause no one buys their cargo. All money, all economies fall apart—wait.
But something great is going on in heaven. Look at verse 20 and you’ll see that heaven is rejoicing–why? Because even though the party is over on earth, it is just getting started in Heaven. Look at chapter 19—underline verse 1, “Hallelujah”, verse 3, 4, and 6. All Hallelujah’s. What are they so happy about? Look at the end of verse 6—our God reigns. “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” And in verse 8 He tells the glorified saints to get their nice robes on, cause we’re headed for the kingdom.
How are we getting there? Revelation 19:11 to 16, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” This is it–the literal, physical, glorified return of Christ. What happens when The King of Kings returns?
First The carnage of Armageddon in 19:17ff–the destruction and death are so overwhelming, an angel calls the birds to eat the flesh.
Second The antichrist beast, the false prophet, and Satan himself are cast into the Lake of Fire. (They are the first customers—it’s not yet in use).
Third The Lord sets up His kingdom. Chapter 20:4, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
What are those thrones for? Look at the end of verse 4–they are for us. The glorified saints will live and reign with Christ for one thousand years in a perfect environment. But do you know what happens at the end of the kingdom–the thousand years? Look at verse 7–Satan is loosed for a little while. He rallies many of those in physical bodies like ours today, who are the offspring of those who entered the kingdom as Christians (not glorified saints)–after surviving the Tribulation in order to rebel against God. How could he do that? Because even with Jesus physically reigning on the planet, glorified saints in glorified bodies righteously ruling–all in a perfect environment, many of the offspring of regular human Christians who live through the Tribulation and enter the kingdom, some of their offspring later will not put their faith in Christ. They will not believe—isn’t that amazing?
Not really–they didn’t believe in Christ the first time. If it’s amazing to you, then you don’t understand how fallen we really are. So there is a final rebellion in verses 7 through 9, and God sends fire down from Heaven and devours the rebels. (He flicks His Bic and it’s over). After this, all the unsaved from all of history in verse 11 are collected to the Great White Throne Judgment, and in verse15, if they’re not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they’re cast into hell.
What happens after the thousand-year kingdom? Chapters 21 and 22 tell us there’s a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem (heaven comes down to Earth). What’s it like? Chapter 21:3 to 4 focuses on the highlight–the high point of Heaven is this: God will live with men. Chapters 21 to 22 describe the eternal state, what we will be doing for all eternity.
But the main point, the conclusion, the most important message behind this future plan, is found at the end of chapter 22. Look at Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” You are invited to take part in the blessing and miss the wrath. Without cost–you exchange all that you are, for all that Christ is. If you lose your life, you will gain His life and have eternal life. And if you do, you will say with John in 22:20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
We did it—let’s pray.
Do you have God’s hatred for sin? If you follow Him and have His Spirit, then you will hate sin too. You will confess it, and you will repent of it, and get help overcoming it. Is there today a sin that must be dealt with–then deal with it. If you are His, you are forgiven, but agree with Him it’s wrong, and turn from it by His Spirit.
Do you believe God is just in punishing sin? He is the Creator, He is the Savior who died.
You shouldn’t wonder why He pours out His wrath during the Tribulation, but why He doesn’t do it now? We should be overwhelmed by His mercy and grace towards us.
Do you believe worshiping Christ is our highest privilege? It is what we will do for all eternity.
If you’re bored with it now, you’ve lost Christ in your Christianity. Fall in love with Christ again today–adore Him, treasure Him, love Him.
Jesus is coming to rule the earth. His presence will radically change this planet.
And if He rules you now, like Him, you will be used to radically change people, by being salt and light as a witness. Ask Him this week to be used of God to make as many people like Jesus Christ in the shortest time possible.