The Book of Revelation is a very important book but is very neglected by most Christians. It can be a little mysterious, and many denominations ignore it. Many who teach through it mistake it as an allegory or even try to say it is historical rather than a look into the end of days.
Many people who know nothing else about Scripture have some knowledge about this important book, but the facts are fuzzy. They know that the number 666 is important and try to find a “creepy” meaning whenever that number appears. Scripture says that it is the number of a man rather than a random time on a clock or a string of numbers on a credit card.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom, Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:15-18).
If a person takes this mark which identifies them as following the Beast, they will, by their own choice, be forever damned with no turning back. That mark isn’t here yet, but the way is being prepared for people to take that mark. Be careful what you choose to believe and who you follow.
The first verse of Revelation (notice that it is a single revelation, not many revelations) tells us what it is all about.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Revelation 1:1).
The revelation was given from God the Father to God the Son, then related to the Apostle John, “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (Revelation 1:2).
This isn’t a transcript of a nightmare that John had one night, but it was prophecy from God. Since God revealed it to John, it’s important to study and understand.
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3).
The time is at hand and coming quickly. It’s important for every Christian to be able to help those who have little knowledge of what’s coming and let them know that only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ can bring salvation. Anyone who has placed their faith in Christ won’t face God’s wrath.
Many who read Revelation don’t understand that Jesus dictated seven letters to John, which were addressed to seven churches. Those letters describe real situations in each of those congregations but also describe the Church Age in advance, from the letter to Ephesus (the early days of Christianity had much persecution but, in spite of the troubles, those brave men and women had continued patiently in the faith) to the letter to those in Laodicea (describing today’s congregations where Christ isn’t welcome inside but knocks on the door waiting for someone to answer).
There are few pastors today who teach the pure word of God. They try not to offend the congregation by pointing out sin, nor do they want anyone to think that only Christians will go to Heaven. That is heretical teaching but prophesied as a sign that the end is near. The Book of Revelation contains 22 chapters, but after Revelation 3:14, the word ekklesia (translated church) isn’t mentioned.
What has happened? To whom are the following chapters written?
Something wonderful has taken place. The Harpazō (often called the Rapture) has taken all true Christians to Heaven. Christ has called His bride Home.
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1).
The words “after this” come from the Greek words “meta tauta,” which mean something in sequence. First, something happens, then another thing. So, first, the Church Age happens, then a door opens in Heaven, and a voice says, “Come up hither.” I long to hear that voice, and it will happen soon.
The Apostle John was given a special preview of future events as they would occur in Heaven. John wrote the book of Revelation approximately 2,000 years before the events he was allowed to see would actually occur. Our Lord Jesus Christ allowed this Apostle a very special gift, and John wrote about all He saw as he gazed into the future. That phrase “meta tauta” is used again in this verse and translated “hereafter.” After the Rapture, John sees the events we will experience in Heaven. Then in Chapter 6, he describes what’s happening on earth.
If you haven’t given your life to Christ, you will see those events up close and personal. Right now, it isn’t too late to repent of sin and give your life to Jesus. He loves you and is knocking at the door of your heart. Open the door and let Him enter.
“And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald” (Revelation 4:2-3).
John was looking upon the Throne of God as God sat on His Throne. Wow! How can human words describe the indescribable? John uses the most descriptive terminology possible at that time to provide readers with understanding as he views God’s glory. John gives believers in Christ a most glorious insight into what awaits all those who place their trust, their faith, and their lives in Christ’s hands. He gives us a peek at the wonders awaiting us at the Throne of God.
There are over 800 references in the Book of Revelation to Old Testament Scriptures. Isaiah was given a vision of Heaven, which he describes in Isaiah chapter 6. He describes amazing things, which are in line with what John saw. One thing Isaiah didn’t see is the 24 elders that John saw. These elders represent the ekklesia. When Isaiah saw his vision, Jesus hadn’t been born, and the Church Age was still many centuries from being established. So, when John describes what he saw, it isn’t surprising that he describes things a little differently than Isaiah did.
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4).
I can hardly wait to be there. John was given an awesome gift – a glimpse of Heaven, an advance look into the Throne room of God Almighty.
John goes on to explain what he saw there, and his explanation is what assures all believers in Christ that we will not see the tribulation week unfold. We will be gathered around the Throne, giving Him all glory, honor, and praise.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
Don’t wait until we’re around the throne to sing His praises. Start today. Jesus Christ shed His blood so that you can be there singing with the 24 elders. He has redeemed you, and that’s truly worth singing about.
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:10-11).
Where do we get the crowns to cast before His throne? Our salvation is a free gift from God that we cannot work to earn. When we accept Christ for salvation, our entire life should reflect His grace. Instead of doing things with selfish motives, or grudgingly, our attitude should focus on glorifying God. After the Rapture, Christians will be judged. Not to see if we will spend eternity in Heaven, but to reward our unselfish, God-centered works.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).
Start today to submit your life to Christ. Allow Him to change you from an angry, sinful person into a person who honors Him in all your words and actions. You will be given rewards around the Bema seat of Christ.
From Chapter 6 on, we see the events happening during the Great Tribulation on Earth – God’s wrath. There’s no further mention of the ekklesia. The seven-year tribulation week is the point where God once again turns His attention to Israel. Christians have not replaced Israel; God has not forgotten His chosen people. Even though the majority of the Jewish nation is blinded to the truth of the Gospel during the first half of the tribulation week, their eyes will be opened at the middle point when the Anti-Christ puts the abomination of desolation in the re-built temple and declares himself god.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Most people will think the Anti-Christ is their god, but he will show just how evil he is, and many Gentiles will also come to faith in Christ during that final week. The following years won’t be easy.
The Anti-Christ is going to demand that everyone take his mark and worship him. We can see the groundwork is being laid today for that to happen. During the Tribulation, if you don’t take the mark, you will be beheaded. If you do, you will not be able to be saved in the end (Revelation 14:11). The events of the final week are very disturbing, even gruesome. There won’t be any place to hide from the coming horrors; they will be worldwide, fierce to behold, and completely consuming in their vastness. No one on earth during this time will escape God’s wrath. Those who miss the Rapture yet become believers during the tribulation week will fall prey to some of the horrors spoken of in those remaining chapters. Most will be martyred for their faith.
Only by becoming a born-again believer in Christ now, before the Rapture, can we be assured of being in Heaven during the Tribulation. You can’t blame God if you’re left to face the Tribulation. God has given you warning. The first five chapters of Revelation speak of blessings, churches doing well, and churches not doing so well. We read about the glory of God’s throne. After we read of the glory, we are shown what those who reject Christ will face. Does your pride stop you from seeing you are a sinner who needs a Saviour? Being “good” won’t get you to Heaven. Only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will allow you to spend eternity with Him.
Judgment is coming, and the question is, how will you respond to God’s free gift of salvation? Will you reject it and face the horrors of His wrath, or will you accept it and spend eternity with Your Lord and Saviour? You make the decision.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.
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