HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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The Book of Revelation
Rev. 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; [KJV]
This verse is the Divine division of this Book.
- Past . . . “the things which thou hast seen.” What has John seen? The Glorified Christ! The Book of Revelation centers on Christ. He is the Subject of this Book. Don’t get your eyes on the horsemen, the seals, the trumpets, the bowls or the beasts; they are all just passing through! Jesus is the MAIN Character! Keep your eyes on Jesus!
- Present . . . “things which are.” What are the ‘things which are’? They are things that pertain to the church. The church is still here after 1900 years. This includes churches of today. It includes matters concerning the churches when John wrote this (about 96 A.D.), but also today.
- Future . . . “the things which shall be hereafter.” Revelation very plainly tells us of God’s scheduled program of things to come. This Book is prophecy! The things written in this Book shall happen!
SPECIAL FEATURES IN THE 7 LETTERS
- Each letter had a direct message to the local church to whom it was written.
- There is something in ALL the messages that can be applied to all churches in all ages.
- To each of the 7 churches, Christ presents Himself in a special way. The description of Christ is definitely related to the condition of that particular church.
- Letters are addressed to the “angel” (pastor) of each church; the person in charge of church affairs.
- Christ Jesus begins by stating to each: “I know thy works.” We CANNOT hide our wrongdoings from God.
- He first commends (praises) each church; then condemns (states what is wrong there), with two exceptions. Smyrna and Philadelphia received NO condemnation, and Laodicea and Sardis received NO praise.
- Each letter concludes with a warning: “He that hath and ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.” We should always listen to what God has to say to us!
Jesus has 7 words of praise for the church of Ephesus.
- “I know thy works.” He is speaking to BELIEVERS! Our faith makes us righteous (Rom.4:5; Eph.2:8-10; Tit.3:5). Jesus is telling this church to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph.5:18).He will not ask an unbeliever for good works (Tit.1:16).
- “I know thy labor.” Labor carries the thought of weariness. This church was diligent in their good works to the point of weariness. Works can NEVER save us, but after we are saved, we WANT to do good and serve our risen Lord.
- “I know thy patience.” Patience is a ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal.5:22). We CANNOT produce this ‘fruit’ without Him!
- “I know you cannot tolerate evil.” They distanced themselves from evil men (2 Cor.6:17; Isa.52:11).
- “Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” They tested everyone who claimed to be an apostle; and if they were not, they asked them to leave (1 Jn.4:1-2; Acts 17:11).
- “Thou hast borne, for my Name’s sake hast labored.” They believed in the virgin birth of Jesus, His deity, His sacrificial death, His resurrection, and they preached it boldly, and many paid a price for their belief and obedience.
- “Thou hast not fainted.” D.L. Moody once said “I grow weary in the work, but not of the work.” We all can get weary IN our labor and service for Christ; but when we become tired OF the work for our Lord, it is very sad and tragic! Christ keeps an account of the work His servants do for Him, and their service and labor shall not be in vain.
In the church of Smyrna, Jesus also praises 7 things.
- “Thy tribulation” meaning their suffering and persecution for His sake.
- “Thy poverty” meaning these were mostly poor people.
- “But thou art rich” means they had enormous spiritual wealth! In today’s world, most people do not even consider spiritual wealth, only earthly riches (Mt.6:19-21).
- “Blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but of the synagogue of Satan” these were Jews who were serving Satan’s purposes, not God’s.
- “Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer”? Jesus did not say He would take the suffering away; but He never abandons His own in any circumstance. His Presence is always there to comfort and sustain us. History tells us that millions went to their deaths singing praises to God! What tremendous faith!
- “The devil shall cast some of you into prison” Jesus says that Satan is responsible for the suffering in Smyrna (too, today). We may blame a person or incident on our problems, but these are just Satan’s tools. “Ye shall have tribulation ten days” means the persecution and suffering will be intense and severe, but will not last long. There were ten terrible persecution eras: Nero 64-68 A.D., Domitian 95-96, Trajan 104-117, Marcus Aurelius 161-180, Severus 200-211, Maximinus 235-237, Decius 250-253, Valerian 257-275, Aurelian 257-260, Diocletian 303-313, who was the worst of them all.
- “Be thou faithful unto death” and they were! Jesus encouraged the believers that they need not fear the future if they remained faithful to Him. Any time you experience difficult times, it will do one of two things: turn you away from God — OR draw you closer to Him. Let them draw you toward greater faithfulness. Trust God and remember the heavenly reward He has promised: “I will give thee a crown of life.” YOU shall have the reward from Christ’s own Hand IF you stand by Him, as He so graciously stands by you!
Christ commends Pergamum for their steadfastness for 3 reasons:
- (1) He knew they were in a difficult place.
- (2) They refused to deny Christ.
- (3) “Hast not denied my faith” the majority continued to believe and teach the true doctrine.
But Jesus then condemns Pergamum for two things:
- Some were following the ‘doctrine of Balaam’ which was teaching Israel moral corruption, intermarriage to Moabite women which led to idolatry and fornication.
- Professing Christians, who were seeking to introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness
Jesus has 7 words of praise for the church of Philadelphia:
- (1) Their ‘works’. We are NOT saved by works (Ep.2:8-9), but once we are saved, we should produce works (fruit) for Him (Jam.2:17-18). “Faith alone saves; but faith that saves is not alone.” Saving faith produces good works — if it doesn’t — you’d better ask yourself “Why not?”
- (2) They have an open door, and no one can shut it. This ‘door’ is a door to peace and joy that only God can give. This ‘door’ is also a door to witness and proclaim God’s Word which they were doing.
- (3) A little strength means they were a small humble group, but they had the Holy Spirit.
- (4) Kept His Word. They believed it to be the inspired Word of God, and stuck by it.
- (5) Didn’t deny His Name. The deity of Christ was NOT denied in this church. Today Christ is blatantly denied by seminaries and the pulpit. This Philadelphia church remained true to Him.
We (believers) will have written upon us:
- (1) the Name of God
- (2) the name of New Jerusalem
- (3) and the Name of Jesus. He states here that it will be His NEW Name that is written, possibly the same Name that is on the stone (Rev.2:17). These Names written upon us are like our passport, as citizens of Heaven. We will be able to come and go as we please.
Jesus Condemns Seven things about the Laodiceans:
1. Evil works (Rev. 3:15)
2. Neither cold nor hot (Rev. 3:15)
3. Lukewarm and nauseating (Rev. 3:16)
4. Proud and self-satisfied (Rev. 3:17)
5. Ignorant of their true state (Rev. 3:17)
6. Blind, in ears, mind and eyes. Spiritual darkness (Rev.3:17; Rom2:19; 2 Pet.1:9; Mat.15:14).
7. Naked, unclothed, defenseless (Rev.3:17; 16:15; 17:16).
Some things to consider about the Great Tribulation:
- (1) The true church as salt and light (symbol of good and right) will be gone. The church has very little influence on the ‘world’ today, but it does have some!
- (2) The Holy Spirit (who indwells ALL believers, all of which are now gone) will restrain evil no more (2 Thes.2:6-12). The Holy Spirit will still be on Earth, but He will no longer restrain evil. Mankind will then be free to ‘do their thing’.
- (3) Satan will have a free rein at this time; and he knows his time is short, so he will take advantage of the situation, causing havoc like the world has never known.
- (4) Evil men will be able to carry out their vicious and wicked plans, and no one shall stop them.
- (5) But in the end, GOD will be victorious, as always! His judgments will be swift and sure.
These locusts in Revelation are quite unusual and frightening.
- (1) They eat no plants or vegetation.
- (2) These locusts are literal creatures; and resemble the literal animals named: lion, horse, scorpion and man. The 8th plague in Egypt was that of locusts (Ex.10:12-20).
The Two Witnesses have complete power to:
- (1) Kill their enemies.
- (2) Keep it from raining.
- (3) Turn waters to blood.
- (4) Bring any plague they wish upon the Earth.
We see 3 very important ‘things’ in chapters 15 & 16:
- (1) God’s righteousness.
- (2) God’s wrath.
- (3) Man’s response.
God is absolutely righteous in dealing with mankind. This is firmly backed up in the Bible (Gen.18:25; Deut.32:4; Ps.7:9-12; 18:30; 97:2; 119:137; 145:17; Rom.2:5-6).
There are many similarities between the bowl judgments and the trumpet judgments (Rev.8:6 through11:19), but there are 3 main differences:
- (1) these judgments are complete, whereas the previous judgments are partial.
- (2) The trumpet judgments still gave unbelievers the opportunity to repent, but the bowl judgments do not.
- (3) Mankind is indirectly affected by several of the trumpet judgments but they are directly affected by ALL the bowl judgments.
It may be hard for man (including some Christians), to believe God will pour out His Holy wrath on a God-hating world, and completely destroy the world as we know it; but my friend, that is exactly what will take place in the Great Tribulation. Believe what God states!
Questions arise, on these two cities in Chapter 17.
- (1) Are there two Babylons? or just one?
- (2) Are these two cities in two different locations?
- (3) Are there two literal cities? or are they one and the same?
- (4) If Rome is the religious Babylon, what city is the other? And, where is it?
Personally, I think it is two entitely different cities, two literal cities, but then, only time will tell. Only God knows!
Some things to consider:
- (1) Religious Babylon will be destroyed by the Antichrist. Commercial Babylon will be destroyed when Christ returns.
- (2) Religious Babylon will be hated by the Antichrist. Commercial Babylon will be loved by the world.
- (3) Religious Babylon will be destroyed mid-way in the Tribulation (3 1/2 years before it ends). Commercial Babylon will be destroyed at the end of the 7 year period.
Many people today think that God will not bring any judgment whatsoever, upon wrongs and evil and sin. They are WRONG! So many people think God will just forget about all their sins and give them a ticket to Heaven. They think everyone will go to Heaven. They think IF their good outweighs their bad, it will be their ticket to Heaven! WRONG! God is good, they say, He wouldn’t do all those bad things, he would never send me to Hell. So many churches today teach this false doctrine. Churches are preaching and teaching only what people WANT to hear (2 Tim.4:3-4; Isa. 30:10). People do NOT want to hear that they sin, and that if they don’t turn to Jesus and accept Him, and repent of their sins, only Hell awaits. If preachers preach the True Gospel of Christ, people won’t come, so they either preach a watered-down version of the Gospel, or simply what people want to hear. That will NEVER get anyone to Heaven. People must hear the Truth in order to be saved (Rom.10:14).
HOW CAN A PERSON KEEP AWAY FROM THE EVIL SYSTEM?
Some suggestions that may help:
- We must treat people more importantly than products or possessions. Do NOT let pride take hold of you in your projects, plans and sucesses.Don’t ever forget that God’s will and God’s Word must NEVER be compromised. People’s feelings must always be considered above the making of money. Always do what is right, no matter what the cost. NEVER lie. Join with businesses that provide worthwhile products or services, not just things that feed the world’s lust.
- Always remember that God NEVER lies. He will carry out judgment just as He has said.
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
Edward Gibbon wrote a book over 200 years ago; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Some things he said then, ring just as true today. He gives 5 reasons why the Roman Emoire fell.
The corrupting of decency and sanctity of the home. Higher and higher taxes; and spending of that money for free bread and circuses for the people. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal and bloodthirsty, more immoral. The building up of great armies and weapone when the real enemy was within . . . the decay of individual responsibility. The decay of religion; with faith fading into a mere pattern of words, losing touch with reality, losing power to lead and guide the people in the right way.
What will happen in the Great Tribulation?
- 1. Rev. 4:1-2. John, symbol of the church is taken to Heaven.
- 2. Daniel 9:27 Antichrist signs a covenant for 7 years with Israel. This begins the Great Tribulation.
- 3. Rev. 6:1-2. 1st seal judgment: rider on a white horse (Antichrist) promises world peace and establishes his one-world government.
- 4. Rev. 6:3-4. 2nd seal judgment: introduces a great world war.
- 5. Rev. 6:5-6. 3rd seal judgment: ushers in famine (aftermath of war).
- 6. Rev. 6:7-8. 4th seal judgment: outcome of this war is death of 1/4 of the world population, probably more than a billion people.
- 7. Rev. 6:9-11. 5th seal judgment: introduces martyrdom of those converted by the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses described in Chapter 7. MANY will receive Christ but will be killed by the government leader and the Harlot (chapter 17). Evangelism will be in the hands of the Jews in the Tribulation.
- 8. Rev. 6:12-17. 6th seal judgment: displays God’s wrath (righteous anger). God will produce an earthquake such as has never been seen before; so terrible people pray for rocks to fall on them.
- 9. Rev. 8:1-5. 7th seal judgment: introduces the “Seven Trumpet Judgments” which ends the first quarter of the Tribulation period and prepares for a worse period to come.
- 10. Rev. 8:7. 1st trumpet judgment: 1/3 of all trees and grass will be burned up by hail, fire, and blood cast upon the Earth.
- 11. Rev. 8:8-9. 2nd trumpet judgment: a great mountain of sulfur falls into the seas, destroying 1/3 of all the living creatures in it and the ships in the sea.
- 12. Rev. 8:10-11. 3rd trumpet judgment: a huge star or meteor called “wormwood” (bitter) falls on all fresh waters, poisoning the waters. Millions die.
- 13. Rev. 8:12. 4th trumpet judgment: God causes the sun, moon and stars to produce 1/3 less light, causing a depressing darkness.
- 14. Rev. 8: 13. A special angel flies around the Earth, warning much worse is yet to come.
- 15. Rev. 9: 1-12. 5th trumpet judgment: Hideous demon-like creatures like scorpions or locusts are freed from the bottomless pit. They do not have power to kill, only to torture, so badly, that people will beg to die, but death will not come.
- 16. Rev. 9:13. 6th trumpet judgment: 200,000,000 horsemen (demon possessed death angels) kill 1/3 of all people on Earth which probable occurs between the 40th and 42nd month of the first part of the Tribulation. This will bring the world population down to about 50 %.
- 17. Rev. 11:3-14. Two supernatural Witnesses appear and prophesy for 1,260 days.
- 18. Rev. 11:15. 7th trumpet judgment: introduces some tremendous events that take place in chapters 12-18, and will bring on the worst judgments yet; the vial judgments.
- 19. Rev. 17:1-18. Describes the destruction of the “Harlot” (false religious system), which merges ALL the religions of the world during the first half of the Tribulation (which will easily take place after the true church, born again believers, are raptured or taken to Heaven). The Harlot will be so powerful, it dominates both Antichrist (the beast) and the ten kings at that time. But, because this false church is hated so much by the Antichrist, he will make war on her and completely destroy her.
- 20. 13: 1-3. During the process of killing the Harlot (Mystery Babylon), Antichrist receives a “deadly wound” that is miraculously healed. It seems he comes back to life again (imitating our Lord Jesus). Some think when Satan is cast down from Heaven (chapter 12), where he has been “the accuser of the brethren,” he now resurrects Antichrist to an even more vicious life.
- 21. Rev. 13: 4-10. Antichrist, now resurrected, forces everyone on the whole Earth to worship him and him alone.
- 22. Rev. 13:11-18. The False Prophet will now replace the slain religious system (the Harlot), forcing everyone to worship the Antichrist and his image or be killed. Everyone will be compelled to receive Antichrist’s mark (666), in order to hold a job, buy, sell, go to a doctor or hospital, etc. Anyone who takes a stand for Christ and refuses the mark will be killed. But once anyone accepts this mark, they are doomed for Hell. God turns His back on all with Antichrist’s mark.
- 23. Rev. 16:1-2. 1st vial judgment: huge, terrible, agonizing sores break out on all who reject Christ, on all those who accept the 666 mark.
- 24. Rev. 16:3. 2nd vial judgment: is poured out on the sea, turning it to “blood as of a dead man” and every living creature in the sea died.
- 25. Rev. 16:4. 3rd vial judgment: will turn rivers and fresh waters to blood.
- 26. Rev. 16:8-9. 4th vial judgment: will intensify the sun’s heat so drastically that ungodly men will blaspheme the Name of God.
- 27. Rev. 16:10-11. 5th vial judgment: causes darkness to engulf the throne of the Antichrist and his entire kingdom. The sores will continue relentlessly, producing such agony that people will gnaw their tongues because of the excruciating pain. They will still persist in blaspheming God, and refuse to repent.
- 28. Rev. 16:13-16. 6th vial judgment: sends lying demon spirits to rulers of the world, causing them all to unite at “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (better known as the Battle of Armageddon).
- 29. Rev. 16:17-21. 7th vial judgment: results in the righteous judgment of Almighty God that destroys the entire world system. It judges ALL unsaved people to the extreme. There will be a terrible earthquake; there has never been such an earthquake since the creation of human beings worse than this! Huge hailstones, each weighing as much as a hundred pounds, will fall from the sky on people, who will curse God because of the plague of hail. Even though people know it is God who is in total control, they still refuse to repent and turn to Him.
- 30. Rev. 18:1-24. The destruction of commercial and governmental Babylon. This possibly happens during the 7th vial judgment (verse 19), just before the Earth’s final judgment. The rule of Antichrist comes to an end (total collapse), but it paves the way for the last event. The best is yet to come!
- 31. Rev.19:11-21. The awesome and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, coming in great power as King of kings and Lord of lords to set up His 1000 year reign!
The favorable or positive side of Christ’s return is that He will wipe out ALL evil and injustice! ALL wickedness will be gone! Jesus will rule the Earth for 1000 years (millennium). PEACE at last! As for now, the next great event on God’s time cloch is the Rapture. Immediately following that will be the awful Judgment of the Great Tribulation!
At the Great White Throne Judgment, death, the final enemy of man, is removed; there will be no more death! Hades, translated Hell in the New Testament, is the prison where lost souls are kept until this Judgment. The lost will no longer be in Hades, but the Lake of Fire (Hell). God’s judgment is finished. The Lake of Fire is the ultimate destination of everything wicked; Satan, the beast, the false prophet, the demons, death, Hades, and all those whose names are not recorded in the Book of Life. Only faith in Jesus Christ can place your name in this Book. There are NO gray areas in God’s judgment! NO maybes! If you have not confessed Christ as Saviour and Lord, there will be NO hope of Heaven, NO second chance, NO appeals. Is your name in the Book of Life?
People who “overcome” (stand firm to the end, Mark 13:13) shall receive the blessings that God promised:
- eating from the tree of life (Rev. 2:7),
- escaping the Lake of Fire (the “second death,” Rev. 2:11),
- receiving a special name (Rev. 2:17),
- be included in the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5).
Two facts make this Holy City, New Jerusalem reveal the glory of God:
- God’s Presence.
- The presence of the saints who have been conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29-30).
May the Lord Jesus give you wisdom to make right decisions about your erernal future.
Book of Revelation
Ch.1. . Ch.2 . . Ch.3 . . Ch.4 . . Ch.5. . Ch.6 . . Ch.7 . . Ch.8 . . Ch.9 . . Ch.10 . . Ch.11 . . Ch.12 . . Ch.13 . . Ch.14 . . Ch.15 . . Ch.16 . . Ch.`17 . . Ch.18 . . Ch.19 . . Ch.20 . . Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Special Comments