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The Book of Revelation

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The Book of Revelation is probably the most avoided and misunderstood book in the Bible.

The events described don't necessarily take place in chronological order, and the language used often relies on symbols and obscure references most Christians don't understand.

As a result, many Christians read the New Testament up until the Book of Revelation, and then they stop.

And this is unfortunate.

Why?

Because the Book of Revelation is a message from Jesus Christ Himself:

"This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 1:1-2 (NLT)

Jesus presented His revelation to the apostle John, who was exiled on the island of Patmos. The result was the Book of Revelation, and below is a brief overview of its subject matter...

The Message of Jesus

The Book of Revelation begins with John's vision of Jesus Christ, as well as a message conveyed by Jesus to seven churches...

  • Ephesus
  • Smyrna
  • Pergamum
  • Thyatira
  • Sardis
  • Philadelphia
  • Laodicea

Jesus gives a personal message to each church.

These were real first century churches in Asia Minor, but some believe they also resemble believing Christians from the various chronological time periods from then to now.

Regardless of whether or not that's true, the messages conveyed by Jesus are messages each member of the body of Christ should take to heart.

For example, here's part of the message given to the church in Philadelphia:

"Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God - the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name." Revelation 3:10-12 (NLT)

Persevere. Remain steadfast in your faith until the very end.

Those who are alive at the time will be protected from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world (The Tribulation). As a result of the rapture, they will not die, but instead be transformed in an instant.

The Lamb of God

In books 4 and 5, John is taken into heaven, where he sees the Lamb of God:

"Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered - to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." Revelation 5:11-12 (NLT)

Only Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slaughtered, is worthy to open the scroll and break the seals. When the Lamb breaks the first seal, a time of Tribulation begins on earth in preparation for the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

In Chapter 6, the Lamb breaks the first of the seven seals on the scroll.

This act unleashes the infamous four horsemen of the Apocalypse:

"As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, 'Come!' I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory." Revelation 6:1-2 (NLT)

This rider is the first of four horses let loose in Chapter 6.

They are the:

1) Rider on the white horse
2) Rider on the red horse
3) Rider on the black horse
4) Rider on the pale green horse

Each horseman brings a unique set of circumstances in his wake, profoundly effecting the world population.

The 144,000

In Chapter 7, we see four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the winds, but they are forbidden from unleashing the winds until a seal in placed on God's servants:

"And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea, 'Wait! Don't harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.' And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God - 144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel." Revelation 7:2-4 (NLT)

The seal is placed on 12,000 individuals from each of the 12 tribes of Israel:

  • Judah
  • Reuben
  • Gad
  • Asher
  • Naphtali
  • Manasseh
  • Simeon
  • Levi
  • Issachar
  • Zebulun
  • Joseph
  • Benjamin

This seal from God protects those who receive it from the harm which will come upon the land, sea, and trees as a result of the four angels releasing the winds.

The Trumpet Judgments

Chapter 8 witnesses the breaking of the seventh and final seal, as well as the beginning of the trumpet judgments:

"When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets." Revelation 8:1-2 (NLT)

The first trumpet sets one-third of the earth on fire.

The second trumpet turns one-third of the sea into blood.

The third trumpet makes one-third of the world's drinking water bitter.

The fourth trumpet makes one-third of the earth dark.

Chapter 9 brings the remaining trumpet judgments.

The Two Witnesses of Revelation

During this time of unprecedented global tribulation, God will give power to His two witnesses:

"And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days. These two prophets are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of all the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die. They have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish." Revelation 11:3-6 (NLT)

God's two witnesses will prophesy for three and a half years, and during that time they will have power to keep the rain from falling, to turn rivers and oceans to blood, and to strike the earth with plagues of every kind - powers God once gave to Moses and Elijah.

Eventually, the two witnesses will be killed:

"When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them. He will conquer them and kill them. And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city which is called 'Sodom' and 'Egypt,' the city where their Lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will come to stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them." Revelation 11:7-9 (NLT)

This event sheds light on the unique technologies of Revelation, because absent supernatural means, it was previously impossible for the world to simultaneously watch a single geographic location prior to the development of our generation's technology.

The Woman and the Dragon

In Chapter 12, John witnesses a great event:

"Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth." Revelation 12:1-2 (NLT)

The woman in this passage represents the nation of Israel, and she's about to give birth to a child - Jesus Christ.

However, Satan is not pleased with this:

"Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born." Revelation 12:3-4 (NLT)

The large red dragon in this passage is Satan, and his seven heads and ten horns represent world government. And the one-third of the starts he sweeps from the sky with his tail represent the fallen angels who participated in Satan's rebellion against God.

Satan is ready and waiting for the Messiah's birth, intending to destroy Him as soon as He's born.

Nevertheless:

"She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days." Revelation 12:5-6 (NLT)

Jesus Christ is born. His life ministry is a great success. He is crucified, resurrected, and then caught up to God and His throne.

Due to Satan's continued persecution, Israel is forced to flee into the wilderness during the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation.

This is a time of unparalleled tribulation.

Why?

Because Satan and his demonic legions make their home on earth...

"Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon - the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world - was thrown down to the earth with all his angels." Revelation 12:7-9 (NLT)

During the mid-point of the seven year Tribulation, Satan and his angels lose a battle in heaven, which throws them down to the earth.

Knowing he has little time, Satan is filled with great anger.

The Beast Out of the Sea

Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation introduces the beast out of the sea:

"Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority." Revelation 13:1-2 (NLT)

The beast out of the sea represents world government, and world government gets its power and authority from Satan. The Tribulation period is marked by the rule of a revived Roman Empire which gives its power and authority to one man.

The Beast Out of the Earth

Chapter 13 also introduces the beast out of the earth:

"Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast." Revelation 13:11-12 (NLT)

The beast out of the earth has "two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of dragon." In other words, the beast out of the earth appears to a Messiah, but his words betray him as a devil.

This beast exercises all of the authority of the first beast, the revived roman empire.

This is the Antichrist.

666: Revelation's Mystery

One of the most infamous and intriguing passages in the Book of Revelation is found in Chapter 13:

"He required everyone - small and great, rich and poor, free and slave - to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666." Revelation 13:16-18 (NLT)

These verses reveal that the Antichrist will force everyone in the world to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.

This mark, known as "the mark of the beast," is required in order to buy or sell anything.

In essence, this mark gives the Antichrist complete and total control of global commerce.

Armageddon

Chapter 16 of the Book Revelation introduces another infamous concept:

"And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon." Revelation 16:16 (NLT)

Armageddon is often associated with the end of the world or destruction on mass scale, such as nuclear war, a global pandemic, or a large asteroid strike.

But the Book of Revelation never associates any of these events with Armageddon. Instead, it identifies Armageddon as a geographical location where the rulers of the world and their armies gather together.

The Great Prostitute

Chapter 17 of the Book of Revelation introduces the Great Prostitute:

"One of the seven angels who had poured out the seven bowls came over and spoke to me. 'Come with me,' he said, 'and I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality.'" Revelation 17:1-2 (NLT)

The Great Prostitute represents false religion, which through the centuries, has persecuted the saints and provided great wealth and power for the kings of the world.

In the last days, the world's false religious systems will be utterly destroyed.

The Fall of Babylon

But false religion won't be alone in its destruction.

The end times will also witness the rise of Babylon as the center of global commerce. But Babylon's rise will be short-lived. God's judgment will destroy her:

"And the kings of the world who committed adultery with her and enjoyed her great luxury will mourn for her as they see the smoke rising from her charred remains. They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out, 'How terrible, how terrible for you, O Babylon, you great city! In a single moment God's judgment came on you.'" Revelation 18:9-10 (NLT)

The destruction of Babylon will come swiftly, in a single moment. And the kings of the world and those who enjoyed Babylon's luxuries will mourn for her, terrified.

The Rider on the White Horse

In Chapter 19 of the Book of Revelation, heaven opens and the rider on the white horse appears:

"Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords." Revelation 19:11-16 (NLT)

The rider on the white horse is Jesus Christ. He is the Word of God in flesh who wears a robe dipped in blood.

This chapter of the Book of Revelation describes the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, which He alluded to on several occasions. Here's one such instance:

"And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Matthew 24:30 (NLT)

On the day of His return, there will be deep mourning among the people of the earth who oppose Jesus Christ.

The Millennial Kingdom

Chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation introduces the Millennial Kingdom of God:

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon - that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan - and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while." Revelation 20:1-3 (NLT)

With Satan bound in chains in the bottomless pit and Jesus Christ reigning on earth as King, a 1,000-year time of peace comes over the earth. This is known as the Millennial Kingdom.

However, after the 1,000 is over, Satan must be released for a short time...

The Defeat of Satan

Satan's release from the bottomless pit will lead to a new rebellion:

"When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations - called Gog and Magog - in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle - a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore." Revelation 20:7-8 (NLT)

Despite the personal rule of Jesus Christ, humanity still wrestles with its sinful nature during the time of the Millennial Kingdom. Because of man's fallen state, Satan's ability to deceives results in numerous converts to his latest and last rebellion.

Nevertheless, Satan's rebellion will fail:

"Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Revelation 20:10 (NLT)

Satan's ultimate destiny is the fiery lake of burning sulfur... Hell.

The Final Judgment

Following the Millennial Kingdom and Satan's rebellion, the dead are judged before God's throne:

"And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:11-15 (NLT)

One day, the dead (both great and small) will be judged according to what they have done. Those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire, while those whose names are found in the Book of Life will enter eternity in the New Jerusalem...

The New Jerusalem

Chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation introduces us to the New Jerusalem:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." Revelation 21:1-2 (NLT)

Jesus spoke about the New Jerusalem when He said:

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." John 14:1-3 (NLT)

Jesus is Coming!

The Book of Revelation paints a vivid picture of humanity's future, from the Church Age to the end of the Millennial Kingdom... Through seven years of Tribulation to the Final Judgment.

The book is a revelation of truth from Jesus Christ.

And the most fundamental truth is this:

"Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:12-13 (NLT)

Yes, Christ is coming!

If you have not yet, repent of your sins. Turn your attention to the Creator. Ask for forgiveness, and ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

This opportunity will not last forever.

Eventually, He will come:

"He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon!' Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!" Revelation 22:20 (NLT)

Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Coming To Jesus and Signs Of The Second Coming. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for FREE when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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