Daily Bible Verse
By Charlie Garrett
Compiled by Rory Wilson until Revelation 12:2 when he
went home to meet his Lord in glory.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1
Introduction to Revelation
In the next 404 days we will see the culmination of
God’s great plan of redemption as detailed by the Apostle John. This book has
been taken in many ways and the book marks a large dividing line between
denominations and sects within Christianity. Because there are many ways to
approach the book and many opinions on the book’s meaning and fulfillment, it
is often ignored, often misused, and often maligned. In the end though, it is a
book of complete truth because it is a part of God’s word. Therefore, we
mishandle it or misinterpret it at our own peril – just like all of Scripture.
Three prevalent views (and many lesser views) detail the timing of the book –
1) Preterist View – This view claims that the events
of Revelation are already fulfilled: preter meaning “before.” The
preterist view was developed in large part by Alcazar, a 17th
century Jesuit scholar. The belief in this view is that the destruction of the
temple in AD70 was the time of the book’s fulfillment. Some preterists believe
Christ returned at that time (a heresy known as hyper-preterism) and others
believe this is still future but the rest of the book is already fulfilled.
Preterism is incorrect and this study will disregard it completely except to
occasionally note claims of preterists during the study if applicable.
2) Historicist View – This view sees Revelation as
on-going and being fulfilled through history. Revelation’s prophecies then are
believed to be fulfilled in major events of human history and are recognizable
as such. Historicism as an overall approach to Revelation is incorrect, but
this doesn’t negate the fact that many patterns and parallels have occurred
within history that match the events of the book. The Church Age has many
exciting parallels to the time of the Law and the
3) Dispensationalist View – This view looks at the
Bible as occurring in “dispensations.” There are seven of them – Innocence,
Conscience, Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and
Revelation then is a book of hope, not only for the
people of the Church, but also for God’s beloved people
Chapters 1-3 are directed to the church. The seven
letters to the seven churches are symbolic of the seven types of churches which
characterize the Church Age.
Chapters 4-19 concern the nation of
Chapter 19 details the return of Christ to
Chapter 20 describes the
Chapter 21 describes the completion of God’s plan for
humanity when He creates a “new heaven and a new earth” which will be the
eternal state of the believers. What was lost will be restored, but it will be
far better because in the dispensation of innocence there was no possession of
the knowledge of good and evil. What is coming will be with the possession of
this knowledge and thus the redeemed of the ages will be able to appreciate the
greatness of what God has done for His redeemed creatures.
Chapter 22 finishes the book and the Bible with an
admonition, a blessing, and a warning along with other details.
Are you ready? Let’s discover the fulfillment of the
ages as we explore Revelation!
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:20, 21
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to
show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and
signified it by His angel to His servant John,… Revelation 1:1
Revelation means “unveiling,” therefore, this book is
the “unveiling of Jesus Christ.” The entire Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to
Revelation 22:21, is about Jesus Christ. However, much of the Old Testament is
veiled and requires looking back from the clear focus of the Cross of Calvary
to understand the types and pictures which were “shadowed” in the time prior to
The four Gospel accounts present a full picture of the
Lord which was evident, but veiled, such as during the theophany seen by
Ezekiel – “As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a
man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the
four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face
of an eagle.” Ezekiel 1:10. This theophany of the LORD (Jehovah) describes the
four faces of Jesus presented in the Gospels – Matthew presents Jesus as the
King (represented by a lion); Mark presents Jesus as the Servant (the ox); Luke
presents Jesus as the Son of Man (the man); and John presents Jesus as the Son
of God (the eagle).
Revelation is fully unveiling Jesus for His beloved
Church to understand that they have an assignment in holding to doctrinal
purity and to maintaining His church in the manner prescribed in the New
Testament. It also has a second assignment which is to understand that He is
not yet finished with His people
The fulfillment of His promise to Israel through
Daniel is realized in the coming pages and it is a duty of all Christians to
understand this and to support the nation of Israel, even during their time of
“spiritual blindness” as is indicated by Paul in Romans 11:25. Today’s verse
says “which must shortly take place.” This is indicating that the Church Age is
an indeterminate amount of time and that when the time of Tribulation comes, it
will come quickly.
The messenger of God, the angel, was sent to show John
that which was coming. The Church Age will end and the time of Tribulation upon
the world (the time of Jacob’s Trouble) will follow. Jesus is coming again,
first for His church at the rapture, and then to His people
Lord, it is with eager anticipation that we begin the
book of Revelation. Please help our eyes to be open, our doctrine to be pure,
and our hearts to be receptive to the glorious truths that it contains for the
people of the world. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
…who bore witness to the word of God, and to the
testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Revelation 1:2
Jesus’ beloved disciple John is the one who bears
witness “to the word of God.” This is a definitive claim by John that what is
recorded here is Scripture. For this reason, liberal scholars will attempt to
deny this was actually received and then penned by John. If, in fact, he
received it, then they would have to admit it is inspired of God. If it is
inspired by God, then it is God’s word. If it is God’s word, then it is
authoritative in all it contains and proclaims. However, much of Revelation
concerns judgment and woe. If one wants to live out a “social gospel” or a
“prosperity gospel” then Revelation becomes an immense problem because both of
these approaches to the gospel are proven false…easier to dismiss it than to
heed its warnings.
John also bears witness “to the testimony of Jesus
Christ, to all things that he saw.” Again, the book is centered on Jesus
Christ. If this is so, then it is authoritative for the Christian on all
matters it proclaims. Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the second member of
the eternal Godhead. One cannot disassociate Revelation and all that it
proclaims without diminishing the very structure and authority of the Bible.
Taking all this into consideration, it is at one’s own
peril that they dismiss the authority of the book of Revelation and it is at
one’s own loss that they don’t read it, study it, and heed it just like the
rest of Scripture. It is for these reasons that John, under inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, penned the words in today’s verse.
God is competent, God is in control of His word, and
God has provided us with this book for our warning and for our blessing. Let us
look with anticipation at the marvels ahead of us in this wonderful study!
Oh Yes Jesus! I thank You for the words to come which
were given to John and which have been recorded in Your Holy Bible. The parts
which are difficult or highly debated… please help us to understand them and to
take them in the context which You intended. Thank You for Your Word, O Lord!
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the
words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the
time is near. Revelation 1:3
There is a blessing promised to those who (in context
of the time this was written):
1. Read – the one who recites the words of the book of
prophecy aloud to others.
2. Hear – those who listen to the reader as it is read
Both of these categories will receive their blessings
if they “keep those things which are written in it.” In other words, we need to
heed the words of James 1:22-25 –
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he
is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself,
goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks
into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a
forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he
Anyone can sit and read the Bible or listen to it
being read and then go on with their life, completely unaffected by its
message. But it takes a discerning soul to hear the words, believe them, and
apply them to their lives. This then is where the blessing comes from.
John finishes the verse with “for the time is near.”
The Church Age is of indeterminate length. Just because John wrote this almost
2000 years ago has no bearing on the nearness of the moment from God’s
perspective. It is a mistake in thinking that because the amount of time has
been lengthy from our perspective that the admonition here is somehow faulty.
We don’t know the times and seasons which are at God’s authority. We are to
live our lives as if Jesus’ return could come at any time.
Lord, as the words of Revelation unfold before me,
help me to take them to heart and apply them to my life. May I be changed by
the words You have given us so that my perspective will be Your perspective and
my heart will follow Yours. Thank You for hearing and responding to my prayer
of faith. Amen.
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace
to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the
seven Spirits who are before His throne, Revelation 1:4
John is writing to seven churches in the province of
Asia, now a part of
John sends a double blessing – “grace to you and peace
from Him.” Peace, or shalom, is the common Old Testament greeting, but
John adds in “grace” as well. This is found God’s gift of Jesus. The One “who
is and who was and who is to come” is applied to God the Father here because
verse five says “and from Jesus Christ.” However, in verse 8 we will see the
same term “who is and who was and who is to come” applied to Jesus. This is a
clear indication of the eternality of Jesus. He is not a “created being” but is
the eternal God. This is a similar analogy to Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is
the same yesterday, today, and forever.” John goes further though. To confirm
Jesus as “Jehovah” of the Old Testament he says the blessing also comes from
“the seven Spirits who are before His throne.”
This hearkens back to Isaiah 11:2 and the “sevenfold
Spirit” – “The Spirit of the (1) LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of (2)
wisdom and (3) understanding, The Spirit of (4) counsel and (5) might, The
Spirit of (6) knowledge and of the (7) fear of the LORD. Jesus is the central
focus of the biblical message and He is the incarnation of the LORD (Jehovah)
of the Old Testament. He is God.
Yes! Jesus is Lord. I acknowledge that He is the One
to whom my heart, my love, my devotion, and my allegiance belong. He is the One
who reveals the heart of God the Father and it is through Him that I receive
the blessed and precious Holy Spirit. Hallelujah to Jesus! Amen.
…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the
firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who
loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, Revelation 1:5
The source of the “grace and peace” being bestowed in
yesterday’s verse is even more specifically relayed today. It is “from Jesus
Christ” who is identified in three specific ways.
1.) He is the “faithful witness.” Jesus is the
complete expression of God in a form that we can understand. He declared, or
revealed to us the Father that was otherwise unknowable except though creation.
2.) He is “the firstborn from the dead.” Being fully
man, He was able to suffer and die, which He did. But “it was not possible that
He should be held by” death (Acts 2:24). The term for firstborn also indicates
His ruling authority. According to biblical custom, the heir is the one to
receive all the rights of leadership. In Psalm 89, David is spoken of in this
symbolism which prefigured Christ. In Colossians 1,
the same Greek word for “firstborn” is used to declare His preeminence in all
ways. This word indicates not a created being, but the heir of Creation. If it
indicated Jesus as a part of creation, a different Greek word would have been
used. Firstborn then has nothing to do with Jesus’ being a part of the created
3.) Finally, He is called the ruler over the kings of
the earth. He is, as we will see in chapter 19, the King of kings and the Lord
We also see that it is Jesus who “loved us and washed
us from our sins in His own blood.” The word used here for “washed” indicates
complete cleansing from sin and is representative of the sacrifice of Jesus
that saves us once and for all. On the night of His crucifixion, He used two
words for washing in John 13:10 – “He who is bathed needs only to wash his
feet, but is completely clean.” In other words, the “bath” represents
justification, or being declared “not guilty.” The word in “wash his feet”
indicates our sanctification. As we sin after salvation, we confess it and are
cleansed from that sin; a sin which doesn’t affect salvation, but rather our
What an immensely great God we serve in the Person of
Jesus Christ. He is the finite expression of God’s infinite being…the
expression of God in a form we can comprehend! Thank You, O God, for honoring
us with Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
…and has made us kings and priests to His God and
Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:6
The same terminology is used in today’s verse and was
used by Peter in 1 Peter 2:9 –
But you are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the
praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
What is happening here is that the gentiles who were
once excluded from the covenant promises “have been brought near by the blood
of Christ.” (See Ephesians 2:11-13). Together, the believers of all ages are
built into a spiritual temple and our duties and offices come from God’s
selection of us, not from genealogy or family inheritance but because of our
faith in Jesus Christ. God is taking for Himself a collection of humans to be
for His praise and glory and we will serve Him as kings and priests. Now,
through the blood of Christ, all have access “through the veil” and into the
Lord God, it is beyond my comprehension that You would
look at me as one who is fit and qualified to serve in Your kingdom. I know
that it is only through Jesus and His work that this is possible and so I rise
to give glory, honor, and praise to You – You alone who are worthy of it. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will
see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn
because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7
Behold! John’s word today brings excitement to the
believer, hope to
Jesus is coming “with” or “in” the clouds. This is a
reference back to Daniel 7:13, speaking of the coming Messiah – “I was watching
in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with
the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near
before Him.” Jesus quoted this passage and applied it to Himself in Matthew
24:30 while teaching on the
This portion indicates
John says next that “all the tribes of the earth will
mourn because of Him.” This then is not a happy reunion with people who have
longed for His return. Instead it is the King of the Universe come to inflict
punishment upon those who have rejected Him, aligned themselves against
Lord Jesus, I long for Your coming and Your gathering
together the faithful of the ages at the rapture. But I understand that for
those who are left behind, times of great woe and tragedy are coming. Please
make me a useful tool of bringing the message of salvation now, before that
time comes. Your word is written and will come to pass. May I act now! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning
and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the
Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
When we looked at verses 4 and 5, it was determined
that “Him who is and who was and who is to come” was speaking of God the Father
because it went on to say “and from Jesus Christ.” Today this is speaking of
Jesus Christ. How can we know? Because in Revelation chapter 22 it says this of
Jesus – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,
the First and the Last.” Everything must be taken in context. If
Jesus is all of these things in Revelation 22, then today must be speaking of
Him as well.
As you can see, the same titles are given to both God
the Father and God the Son. This does irreparable harm to the claim of cults
such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim Jesus isn’t God. Either Jesus is God,
or the book of Revelation is a confused document and God has allowed
unbelievably sloppy work to be included in His word!
Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega.” These are the
first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, comparable to saying “A to Z.”
Interestingly, the middle word of the first sentence of the Bible is a word
comprised of the first and last letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet – the Aleph and
the Tav. A study on this word clearly points to Jesus as well.
Jesus is also “the Beginning and the End.” He is
“firstborn over all creation” as indicated in Colossians 1. This word
“firstborn” signifies an existence prior to creation, not a part of it.
He is eternally existent. Jesus is also the One “who is and who was and who is
to come.” Jesus is not only First and Last, but everything in-between. He is
the Divine Visitor of the Old Testament – the Angel of the Lord who met Abraham
at Alon Mamre, Moses at the Burning Bush, Joshua at Gilgal, Gideon at Ophrah,
and numerous other visits throughout the Old Testament. He is the Lord of,
above, and in creation. He is the image of the invisible God. John says He is
also the “Almighty.” This signifies Him as El Shaddai (God Almighty) of the Old
Testament – the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. He is Jesus.
Glorious Almighty and ever present Lord Jesus – my
mind cannot grasp the enormity of who You are. You are the Creator who loved us
enough to participate in Your creation by uniting with it in human flesh. How
can my mind grasp such an incredibly glorious thing? Surely You have done, are
doing, and will continue to do great things for us. Holy is Your name! Amen.
I, John, both your brother and companion in the
tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is
Revelation was most likely written at the time of
Domitian (AD81-96). This was a time of great persecution and John “was on the
Patmos is a small, rocky, and barren island about 60
miles southwest of
In Revelation, John will address all three of these
issues. Here is how they are explained in the New Testament –
1) Tribulation – Never in the Bible is there a
guarantee that believers will be free from suffering in this life. In fact,
based on the example of the apostles, the opposite can be expected. Paul
explains the purpose of our tribulations. “And not only that, but we
also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and
perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit
who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
2) Kingdom – Peter admonishes us about the
kingdom. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and
election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an
entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10, 11
3) Patience – Patience is a product of the
testing of your faith. James explains this in his epistle. “My brethren, count
it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your
faith produces patience.” James 1:2
Lord, I ask that you allow me to glory in
tribulations, have patience as I await the consummation of Your kingdom, and
maintain fortitude as my faith is tested. I don’t ask that you remove trials
from me, but that I will learn from them and become a well-rounded and faithful
Christian through them….to Your glory!! Amen.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard
behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,… Revelation 1:10
John was a faithful man and was “in the Spirit” when
he received the Revelation. He was certainly praying and was filled with the
Holy Spirit as the words of the book came to him.
This was “on the Lord’s Day.” There are probably two
meanings tied into this one concept. First, John was fellowshipping with the
Lord on a Sunday as was customary elsewhere in the New Testament –
“Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples
came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them
and continued his message until midnight.” Acts 20:7
of Antioch used the term “the Lord’s Day” for Sunday all the way back in AD110,
shortly after Revelation was written. This is the literal reading of what John
is saying. However, there’s most likely a symbolic meaning to the “Lord’s Day”
John was “in the Spirit” and was transported to the
future to see the events unfold which we will see in the chapters ahead. The
book of Revelation details the great Day of the Lord where judgment comes upon
the world. This term is used many times in both testaments such as when Paul
used it in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 –
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the
Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”
Finally in today’s verse John says he heard “a loud
voice, as of a trumpet.” The trumpet symbolism goes back to the receiving of
the Law at
The same God who spoke the universe into existence,
who gave the Law at Sinai, and who sent tongues of fire at Pentecost spoke to
John to reveal His coming words of woe.
Awesome and splendid are You, O God. When You speak,
the mountains tremble and hearts become like stone. Your voice controls the
creation and determines the future. And so we look to the pages of Revelation
and know that You are in complete control. My heart sings praises to You today
my awesome and glorious God! Amen.
…saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and
the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven
churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to
Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
To understand textual differences between translations
is a study which could go on for years, but just so you can get a sense of
varying texts, here is the same verse from the NIV –
“…which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send
it to the seven churches: to
As you see, there’s quite a difference between the two
verses. However and despite this, the differences will be made up elsewhere. In
other words, the terms dropped in the NIV translation are included at other
points in Revelation and confirm Jesus’ deity. These changes may have been accidental,
but if someone intentionally added or deleted the verses, it was most probably
not to hide this fact because the precept of Jesus being fully God is
undeniable unless one comes already believing that it couldn’t be so.
Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the
Last.” As the book was written in Greek, anyone reading it would understand
that Jesus is claiming in both instances to be eternal. He is the beginning of
all things and so He existed before those things began; He is God. He is also
the end of all things.
For example, He is the Messiah – the only Messiah and
the last Messiah. No other true Messiah will come, only a false one.
The Jesus properly presented in the Bible is the God
of the Bible. If one denies Jesus’ deity, then He is following a false Jesus
and a false Messiah. Misdirected faith is wasted faith and will result in
eternal condemnation, so getting Jesus right and not following cults which deny
His deity is of paramount importance.
Next, John is told to write in a book. This would have
most likely been a papyrus scroll. Once he had written all that would be
presented to him, he was to send it to the “seven churches which are in
Glorious Almighty God! The doctrine of the Trinity is
difficult to grasp, but it is what the Bible clearly teaches. Help my faith in
this matter that it will be properly directed and firmly grounded in the truth.
I ask this so that You will be glorified through my belief in Jesus, the Lord
of Creation and the Lord of the Church. Amen.
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And
having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, Revelation 1:12
John, in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, heard the voice
of the Lord God Almighty – who is Jesus – and turned to behold the source of
the voice that was “as a trumpet” and who was directing him to write to the
seven churches in
The “lampstand” terminology goes back to the Old
Testament and is first described in Exodus 25. This ornament of the tabernacle
(and later the temple) was filled with olive oil for burning, not wax as one
might assume today with a “candlestick.” The gold reflects the purity of the
heavenly realm in which God lives and also the purity and glory of Christ in
The olive oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit who
issues from God through Christ and who illuminates the truth of God to us,
particularly through His word. The lampstands were placed to illuminate Christ
as He reveals God the Father to us.
As we will see and revisit in the coming passages, the
lampstands in today’s verse represent the seven churches. We will also see that
Jesus has the right and authority to remove the lampstand from any church who
strays from His message. In the Old Testament description of the lampstand, it
says that it was shaped with a central shaft and six branches, three on either
side; in other words, a menorah.
On the menorah were bowls and decorations in the shape
of almond flowers and buds at specific places as directed by God. These signify
the ever-present and watchful eye of God. The word for both “watching” and for
“almond” in Hebrew is shaqad. In other words, the intent of these
ornaments was to signify that God is “watching over” His people, be it the
Nothing is missed by the ever-present, all attentive,
and always alert eye of Jesus as He moves among the lampstands, which symbolize
Lord, You alone have authority over the churches of
the world and each church rejects You and Your word at its own peril. I know
that You are watching the conduct of each church to ensure that it is being run
according to Your standards and so I pray for the church I attend, that it will
be obedient and faithful to You. Amen.
…and in the midst of the seven lampstands One
like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about
the chest with a golden band. Revelation 1:13
Today opens with John’s vision of One “In the midst of
the seven lampstands…” Although not fully explained until verse 20, yesterday
we noted that the lampstands represent the seven churches.
“One like the Son of Man” is in their midst. The Son
of Man terminology is directly linked to Daniel 7:13 – “I was watching in the
night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the
clouds of heaven!” A description of Him closely resembling today is given in
Daniel 9:5, 6 – “I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed
in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was
like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of
fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his
words like the voice of a multitude.” The Son of Man motif is the overall theme
of the book of Luke as well. Again and again, Jesus is portrayed as the God/Man
and everything about these many descriptions is meant to make this connection.
He is “clothed with a garment down to the feet and
girded about the chest with a golden band.” This description is the uniting of the
garments of both the High Priest and the King into one office. Jesus replaces
the Aaronic line of
He is our God and worthy of our devotion, adoration,
The Church serves the One true, eternal, and awesome
God – Jesus! It is You who reveals the Father and it is You through whom the
Holy Spirit is given. You are the focus of our faith. You are our glorious and
reigning King and our High Priest who mediates on our behalf. You are most
glorious and worthy of all praise! Amen.
His head and hair were white like wool, as
white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; Revelation 1:14
Again we return to Daniel’s visions in the Old
Testament to learn more about the exalted Christ. John says, “His head and hair
were white like wool, as white as snow.” This same terminology is used to
describe “the Ancient of Days” or “Jehovah” in Daniel 7:9 –
“I watched till thrones were put in place, And the
Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair
of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its
wheels a burning fire.”
This symbolism identifies Christ Jesus’ absolute
purity and complete holiness. He is the One who prevailed over death because He
never sinned and He is the One who “has reconciled in the body of His flesh
through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His
sight.” Colossians 1:21, 22. As Isaiah foresaw hundreds of years earlier –
Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as
white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah
John also says today that His eyes are “like a flame
of fire.” This reaches back to Daniel 10:6, “… his face like the appearance of
lightning, his eyes like torches of fire.” Jesus is the One who looks deeply
into the human soul and knows every thought and every deed. All our actions are
laid bare before His penetrating gaze and therefore His judgment is just.
Again, in the Old Testament, this ability was ascribed solely to “Jehovah” –
“…for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the
thoughts.” 1 Chronicles 28:9.
As has been the case and will continue to be the case,
the argument against Jesus’ deity crumbles into emptiness before the words of
John as he relates what he sees in the glorious person of Jesus Christ.
Lord, I know that it is by Your righteousness that I
am purified and my sin is removed. I also know that it is Your penetrating gaze
which looks upon my heart and which knows every deed I commit, both good and
bad. Because of this, I cannot hide my sin, but confess it to You openly,
asking that You cleanse me, purify me, and restore me as I stumble an fall.
His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in
a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; Revelation 1:15
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
who brings good news…” Isaiah 52:7. Jesus’ feet here are described as being
“like fine brass.” The Greek word translated as “fine brass” is chalkolibano
and is used only twice in the New Testament, here and in Revelation 2:18,
which again describes the Lord’s feet.
This word is actually of doubtful meaning and must be
inferred rather than knowingly translated, but it certainly reflects the same
concept as is carried forward from instances in the Old Testament such as
Daniel 10:6 –
“His body was like beryl, his face like the
appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like
burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a
Another time in the Ezra 8:27, two vessels being
“...twenty gold basins worth a thousand
drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold.”
Taking all of this into consideration, Thayer’s
Lexicon says it seems “to have been in the writer’s thought” to “compel us to
understand some metal like gold, if not more precious.” The intent is
that the color is magnificent, pure, and representing strength, purity, and
judgment, all of which can be inferred from other Old Testament passages.
The “voice as the sound of many waters” again comes
from OT symbolism –
“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from
the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and
the earth shone with His glory.” Ezekiel 43:2.
As with yesterday’s description, there can be no
mistaking that John intends for his readers to understand Jesus as the
incarnation of “Jehovah” of
It is glorious to contemplate Your majesty as
described by the pen of John, O Lord. Surely Your glory is greater than
anything in creation. How wonderful to think that someday we will stand in Your
presence and behold Your glory with our own eyes, ever hailing the splendor of
the King of kings! Amen.
He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth
went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun
shining in its strength. Revelation 1:16
The “seven stars” are later explained as the “seven
angels of the seven churches.” The term “angels” means “messengers” and can
denote either real angels from the spirit world or maybe the pastors of the
churches. Being dogmatic on this would be silly but whichever is meant, they
are “in His right hand.” The right hand is the biblical position of power. It’s
also the place where activity normally occurs. The symbolism then is that they
have the power of the risen and exalted Christ to move forward, ever advancing
the Gospel message. At the same time they have the complete protection and
security of His power. As we’ll see in the coming chapters, both of these are
conditional upon obedience and faithfulness to His word.
“Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.” The
Old Testament notes the sword as a devouring instrument. The “edge of the
sword” in Hebrew is literally “the mouth of the sword.” Elsewhere, the sword is
noted as the power of the Spirit of God and as the word of God, the Bible. All
of this points to an instrument which is authoritative, all-powerful, and able
to consume anything which comes against it. It is effective in both directions
(two edged) as it can be used 1) internally in the church for judgment –
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at
the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17),
and 2) externally for destruction of the enemies of
“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it
He should strike the nations.” (Revelation 19:15).
Finally, “His countenance was like the sun shining in
its strength.” The sun at midday, and particularly in an arid region like the
mid-east, is what’s being referred to here – a dazzling brightness. When the
Lord appeared to Paul on the road to
O God, how glorious You are. The picture that John
presents of You is One of majestic splendor and worthy of infinite praise. May
our hearts never be arrogant towards You, but may we humbly walk in the radiant
light of Your glory, ever boasting in You alone. Amen.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He
laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the
First and the Last.” Revelation 1:17
John was completely overwhelmed by the vision he saw
of Christ and it mentally shut him down so that he collapsed at His feet. This
appearance was similar to one John had witnessed many years earlier as a young
man. When Jesus took Peter, James, and him up on a mountain alone, they saw
Jesus transfigured – a slight foretaste into the glory to come. However, this
appearance in Revelation 1 reflects the full glory of the Risen Christ in His
entire splendor. John was completely overwhelmed by what he saw. His reaction
is similar to one during a visit paid to Daniel in the Old Testament.
The description of the Lord in Daniel’s vision matches
that of John’s and he had the same reaction to it; he fell into a deep sleep.
Both were restored by the gentle touch and comforting words of the Lord.
“Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard
the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the
ground. Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on
the palms of my hands. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved,
understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now
been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel…’” Daniel 10:9-12.
Both were considered “beloved” of the Lord, both were
given the blessing of seeing the Lord of creation, and both were told to not be
afraid. The power of God in Jesus Christ is one of comfort for the faithful
believer because He is “the First and the Last.” He is the Creator and
consummator. He is the First to prevail over death and has opened this same
avenue for all who follow Him. He is the Lord who is the same yesterday, today,
He is before all things and He holds all things
together by the power of His word. He is the Lord of the universe and the Lord
of His people. He is Jesus.
Lord, because of You I have no fear. Trials cannot
overcome me, pains cannot consume me, and death cannot hold me. I know that I
am safe in the power of Your right hand and that nothing in all of creation can
separate me from You. All my hope, all my trust, and all my confidence is in
You alone. You are great and greatly to be praised. Amen.
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I
am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Revelation 1:18
There’s an abundant amount of theology tied up in
1) “He who lives” is certainly a reference to the
“Living God” of the Old Testament. This is a term used no less than 12 times
when speaking about the God of Israel – “Your servant has killed both lion and
bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has
defied the armies of the living God.” 1 Samuel 17:36. The Living God is the
eternally existent God who breathed the breath of life into man.
2) “And was dead” identifies Jesus with the most
feared and final of human experiences. Death is the result of and payment for
sin; it is what humans receive – all humans. It is a final tragic end which
results in separation from the Creator who is perfect and sinless.
3) “And behold, I am alive forevermore” is the
greatest note of victory ever penned. Peter explained how it happened when
speaking in Acts 2:24 – “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death,
because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Because death is the
result of sin, and because Jesus never sinned, it was “not possible” for death
to hold Him; prevailing over death was the only possible option for the sinless
Son of God.
4) “Amen” means “truth” and when spoken by Jesus, who
is the embodiment of truth, there is not only a calm certainty in the
statement, but the confident backing from the Creator that it can be trusted.
5) And I have the keys of Hades and Death. Hades is
the repository for disembodied spirits, like a holding chamber of the dead.
Toward the end of Revelation, a Great White Throne judgment is described in exacting
Once the dead of the ages have been judged there, both
Hades and Death will be cast into the
The victory is won through the work of Jesus. Now
death and hell have no power over the sons of Adam. Instead, Jesus holds the
keys to them and I know that by faith in His work I am saved from both. Glory
to God in the highest – Jesus was victorious! Amen.
Write the things which you have seen, and the things
which are, and the things which will take place after this. Revelation 1:19
The book of Revelation, like many other biblical
books, can be divided in a various number of ways. It can be divided into
chapter/verse divisions, topically, chronologically, as based on the Hebrew
aleph-bet, etc. One way of dividing the book is given in today’s verse - “the
things which you have see, the things which are, and the things which will take
pace after this. This may seem cryptic, especially when it was written almost
2000 years ago, but it is a logical and carefully worded exhortation directly
from the risen Christ and so is to be thoughtfully evaluated.
One needs to be careful especially because the words
translated as “after this” which are meta tauta in Greek are repeated
nine times in the book. The context of a verse is always king in biblical
interpretation and so the context of John’s revelation and how it pertains to
God’s redemptive workings in human history needs to be considered today.
1) “The things which you have seen” is certainly
speaking of everything from verse 1:1 to 1:18; that which opened the book to
2) “The things which are” is a definite amount of time
based on some event in God’s redemptive history. In context, it is the Church
Age, also known as the Dispensation of Grace. Jesus was speaking to the Apostle
John who was a part of that dispensation, just as all members of the church
are. There is a point, however, when the Church Age will end.
At this time, God will unfold 3) “the things which
will take place after this.” As we can determine the Church Age from the book’s
own content, then we can determine what will come after it. The church is the
focus of Jesus’ words from Revelation 1:1 until Revelation 4:1. It is mentioned
directly or indirectly numerous times during these verses. However, starting
with Revelation 4:2, the church is never mentioned again until Revelation
19:14, when it returns with Christ at the end of the Tribulation Period.
Therefore, “the things which will take place after this” begins at Revelation
4:2 and continues on until that time. From looking around us in the world, that
may be soon!
Lord God, it is abundantly apparent from Your word
that the church is not the end of Your dealings with human kind, but that You
will again work through the people of
The mystery of the seven stars which 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 which you saw are the seven
churches. Revelation 1:20
Today is a bit of a review from what we’ve previously
addressed except to say that this is the last verse of Chapter 1. We have only
21 exciting chapters left after today and the coming pages are gloriously
filled with the splendor of God, the majesty of Jesus Christ, and the judgment
of the ages coming upon an unrepentant world. In the midst of this is the
salvation of God’s long-wayward and yet beloved people
We see the answer to the meaning of the sevens stars
in Jesus’ right hand – they are the “angels of the seven churches.” The term
angel is the Greek word angelos and occurs 26 times in the book of
Revelation. This word fundamentally means “messenger” and therefore can be 1) a
heavenly messenger – an angel. If this is what is intended, then this could be
the patron angels of individual churches. It could also simply be referring to
2) the pastor of the particular church. Either way, they are in the “right
hand” of Jesus and are under His complete control and authority.
The seven lampstands are the seven churches. This
terminology indicates that the churches are accepted by Jesus as functioning
properly, at least to some degree. A lampstand is intended to give light. If a
church is failing to be a light as intended, then the lampstand would be
removed. This has certainly occurred over the ages as individual churches fail
to properly preach and teach the gospel. When a church apostatizes, or “falls
away” from the truth, it is no longer a valid church and its lampstand is
removed; it becomes a haunt of darkness and uncleanliness.
Evaluate the church you’re in right now. Is it
following the Bible? Is it straying? Has it completely left the Lord’s
commands? Take time to evaluate where you attend and if necessary make the move
to a congregation the Lord would approve of.
Lord Jesus, in Your hand is all of the rule and
authority over Your church. Help the church that I attend to be a properly
functioning one which brings You and Your glorious gospel the honor it is due.
Help me to be responsive to the needs of our congregation and to be a person
who helps keep our church in line with Your word. Amen.
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These
things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the
midst of the seven golden lampstands: Revelation 2:1
Verse 1 of Chapter 2 begins the actual letters to the
seven churches, starting with
Today is “He who holds the seven stars in His right
hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” After this
opening, the letters (with two exceptions –
This style of writing can be equated with a sandwich.
The bread is at the beginning and the end and anything you may or may not like
is in the middle. This type of letter eases into correction and eases out of it
and is a good way of dealing with difficult issues. In the cases where no
easing in (or out) occurs, it is because the church is in such a bad state that
any commendation may be taken as approval when no approval is due. As these
letters represent problems systemic throughout the Church Age, we can easily
determine what type of church we are in when compared to these seven letters.
Look around you as you attend your church. Have you
allowed perversion to creep in? It’s addressed in these letters. Have you
allowed wealth and comfort to replace a heart for Jesus? It’s in these letters.
Unfortunately, we can normally see deficiencies in other churches better than
we can in our own. Jesus holds the stars in his hands – they are under His
authority. Jesus also walks among the churches, noting deficiencies, commending
approval, and is ready to remove the lampstand from whatever church turns away
from the truth of His gospel and His word.
Lord Jesus, we are Your people and the sheep of Your
pasture. Please note deficiencies in the churches we attend and put it in the
hearts of Your people to correct those areas which are weak and to strengthen
that which is acceptable and good. Thank You for being attentive to the state
of each church and each individual as well. Amen.
I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that
you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are
apostles and are not, and have found them liars;… Revelation 2:2
The church in
Today Jesus notes them as a church of 1) Works
– they accomplished tasks for and in the name of Jesus. They were bearing out
the fruit of their salvation as should be the case with saved believers.
2) Labor – not only did they bear out fruits,
but they did it in an on-going manner, laboring to do these right deeds
3) Patience – their works and labor were done
in a manner which reflected determination. At times, the fruits of our labors
don’t come quickly and we tend to fall away from the effort because it appears
there is no reward for the task. However, striving patiently will usually end
in seeing maturity of those fruits. Such was the case in
4) You cannot bear those who are evil – How
many churches, in an attempt to be “inclusive” allow perversion, greed,
idolatry, etc. to enter into its fellowship? The Ephesians weren’t like this.
Instead, they held fast to the truth of the gospel – that the ungodly will not
Finally, 5) they tested supposed apostles –
They listened carefully as visiting people spoke and then checked what they
heard against the standard which they had. This standard is two-fold –
a) The Old Testament – which Jesus proclaimed
as completely authoritative; and
b) The words of the known true apostles –
either as received orally or, by the time Revelation was written, in the
letters of the apostles which had been thus far accepted by the church. Today,
we have two major lessons to learn from this verse:
1) Strive to emulate that which Christ Jesus
2) Stand against false doctrine and false teaches as
Jesus cited as noteworthy. Unless we know our Bibles well, the second point is
impossible to accomplish and so it implies that we are to be well grounded in
Lord Jesus, today we see what You hold as commendable
in the church at
…and you have persevered and have patience, and have
labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Revelation 2:3
Yesterday we noted 5 commendable points in the
Ephesian church – their works, labor, patience, intolerance of evil, and
testing of those who proclaimed to be apostles. Today Jesus turns around and
restates in a positive way the fortitude of those who have so conducted
Let’s take both verses together in context –
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and
that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they
are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered
and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become
As you see, today’s verse bears witness to their 1) Perseverance
– They continued on despite what must have been long, tedious, or difficult
circumstances. This is exactly what perseverance implies; it’s like continuing
up the side of a mountain after the point of exhaustion is reached.
2) Patience – through their struggles for His
name’s sake, they waited patiently for the fruits of the labors to be realized.
Instead of losing heart and getting redirected to something less important,
they waited with the assurance of the coming actualization of their efforts.
And 3) they labored for Jesus’ name sake without
becoming weary. – The perseverance and patience they demonstrated was
reflected in their tireless efforts. This is highly commendable in any
situation because fatigue and frustration can easily tire out the strongest
athlete in any type of race, but this was a race of the highest order – for the
name of Jesus. They followed Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 –
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,
but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now
they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an
imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I
fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it
into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become
Thank You Lord for the positive examples displayed by
the church in
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you
have left your first love. Revelation 2:4
Getting notes of approval and encouragement is always
exciting and uplifting. Here comes the boss, telling you in front of everyone
else that you’ve been doing great things for the company while you brim with
pride and confidence. And just then he stops and says “nevertheless…”
The Ephesians must have read the first few sentences
and thought they were in tight with the Lord – “Look at our works, our labor,
our patience, our doctrine, and our perseverance. We’ve dotted every “i” and
crossed every “t!” But Jesus says that with this type of discipline and
stamina, they had let something far more valuable slip to the wayside – “You
have left your first love.”
The church was so heavily into doing good deeds,
helping others, taking care of needs, checking the visitor’s doctrine, and
moving forward in self-confident assurance, that they’d forgotten the very
heart and purpose of all of their labors – Jesus Christ. As you think on this, don’t
say to yourself, “That will never happen to me.” If you look back and carefully
analyze your situation, it probably already has.
Bible study is meant to reveal Christ to us, not to
become a match where we out-study, out-learn, and out-do everyone else. Church
outreach isn’t intended to make the church look better; it’s to demonstrate
Jesus to the surrounding area. Church services (get ready for this one) aren’t
meant to be uplifting to us or to lead us to some higher point of emotion; they
are intended to worship Jesus Christ. There can be far more heartfelt love and
worship of Jesus in a church with no instruments at all than in a church with
an orchestra or band. The purpose of worship isn’t to uplift us; it is to …
The dictionary defines worship as “to treat somebody
or something as divine and show respect by engaging in acts of prayer and
devotion.” This is an upward directed action. The church in
Jesus, remind me again today and every day that my
service, my devotion, my heart, and my love belong first and always to You.
Please keep my heart from being misdirected into deeds which are cold and
without love. Instead, rejuvenate me each day with Your Holy Spirit, filling me
with the desire to bring You the worship You are due. Amen.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent
and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your
lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:5
For all the commendation of verses 2 and 3 and with
what seems to be merely a mild rebuke in verse 4 “nevertheless… you have left
your first love” we suddenly have words of overwhelming importance. Apparently,
leaving our “first love” is far more important than we may imagine and in fact
it is the basis for complete rejection by the Lord.
Tied up in today’s verse are three specific verbs
which need to be evaluated.
1) Remember. Jesus says to go back and look at
where we started in our Christian walk, in our church establishment, in our
road to His kingdom;
2) Repent. This word signifies a change in mind
and attitude and in context it is to return to the attitude the church
displayed at first;
3) Do. Tied up in the acts of remembering and
repenting is the command to “do.”
Jesus asks them to remember their first love, change
their mind about their actions now which aren’t directed at all to that first
love, and to go back and “do” those things which glorified their first love.
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, 3, Paul says this, “For I am
jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband,
that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear,
lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may
be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” What Paul says is
reflected in Jesus’ words today. When we marry, we do things for our bride that
we later forget about. Our hearts turn away from that first love and the
excitement we felt for her. Jesus says this type of attitude towards Him is
intolerable and if this condition persists He will “come quickly and remove
your lampstand from its place.”
All the good works in the world, without a heart and
love for Christ, are simply a waste of time. He wants our love and devotion,
not showy deeds. The penalty for this wrong attitude is a dead church which
proclaims a social gospel; one which is directed horizontally, not vertically.
Lord, it’s apparent that any gospel which fails to
glorify You is a false one. It’s also evident that those who practice deeds for
others to see while forgetting to bring You honor are simply wasting their
time. In the end, it’s all about You or it is wasted effort. So Lord, help our
hearts to be directed to You, our First Love, and our actions will be as they
But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the
Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6
Today’s verse has been debated, manipulated, and
distorted at times over the centuries in order to meet the specific agenda of
individuals or groups.
A good example of this would be the commonly promoted
doctrine that this is referring to churches, such as the Catholic Church, which
have established hierarchies. By dividing the word “Nicolaitans” into
individual root words – nikao meaning “to conquer” and
The “deeds of the Nicolaitans” although not entirely
certain, are most likely as identified by Irenaeus, a Church Father, who wrote
about a century later. He said they were people who lived lives of unrestrained
indulgence. His analysis is that the name “Nicolaitan” came from Nicolas who is
mentioned in Acts 6:5, but there is otherwise no proof of this. It could be
(all mere assumption) that Nicolas pastured a church and that church later
turned to indulgence of fleshly desires, thus tying his name to it.
Regardless of the source of the name, and there are
other attempts to reconcile this name with other promoters of sexual
misconduct, the deeds are what the Lord hated. Sexual sin is particularly
offensive. Paul explains why in 1 Corinthians 6:18 – “Flee sexual immorality.
Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual
immorality sins against his own body.” Let us, therefore, attempt to live holy
lives for the glory of the Lord and abstain from the deeds which He finds so
offensive that He states emphatically that He “hates” them.
Heavenly Father, please help me in my personal conduct
towards others and to never fall into sexual sin. It is my desire to be wholly
pleasing to You in all ways and I ask for strength and fortitude as I face
trials and temptations in this or any other manner which could result in
sinning against You. Amen.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the
To “overcome” is a concept mentioned 11 times in the
book of Revelation. One who overcomes is the victorious believer in the Person
of Jesus Christ. Do you remember these verses from Genesis 3 – “Then the LORD
God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.
And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat,
and live forever’ therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to
till the ground from which he was taken.” There’s symmetry to the Bible that
can’t be mistaken – something is lost, something is regained; something goes,
something returns. It all fits so incredibly well that it’s hard to imagine
people not saying “I’d better check this out a little more.”
God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden so that he could
worship and praise his Creator for all eternity. God had already supplied
everything necessary for the man and all he had to do was to direct his
attention upward towards God and bask in the glory he beheld. Instead, man
exercised his free-will in disobedience to what God had offered and his life
would, from that point on, be directed toward the ground – a hard master.
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil
you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles
it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the
sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out
of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
But God did a great and marvelous thing in another
garden when His own Son pleaded that the cup of His Father’s wrath be taken
from Him. Instead, the Son followed His Father’s will and thus prevailed over
the devil’s work. The Tree of Life, a representation of Jesus Christ, now
stands available to all who will partake. Eternal fellowship, worship and
praise, glorying in the Creator – all these are available to those who
overcome. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.” Glory to God in the highest in the name of Jesus! Hallelujah and
O God! Where Adam disobeyed and lost His right to live
in Your presence, Jesus prevailed and regained that right. Now, through faith
in Him and His wondrous work man can again be reconciled to You. Direct our
eyes, our minds, and our thoughts to the wondrous work which was accomplished
for the fallen children of men – the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
And to the angel of the church in
Today we start our look into the second letter to the
seven churches addressed by the Lord,
“Eighty and six years have I now served Christ, and he
has never done me the least wrong: How then can I blaspheme my King and my
Savior? …Thou threatenest me with Fire which burns for an hour, and so is
extinguished; but knowest not the Fire of the Future Judgment of that Eternal
Punishment which is reserved for the Ungodly. But why tarriest thou? Bring
forth what thou wilt!”
After this, they lit the fire and burnt him to death.
However, this certainly isn’t the end of the story for Polycarp. As today’s
verse indicates, Jesus is the “First and the Last, who was dead, and came to
life.” Jesus prevailed over death and through faith in Him and His deeds we too
are assured of victory over death. As Paul so joyfully penned in 1 Corinthians
swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your
sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
God offers eternal life to all who call on Jesus. The
question then is, “Have you called on Jesus?”
Lord Jesus, I call on You, understanding that no deeds
of mine are sufficient to save me but that by faith in Your work I can have
peace and restoration with God. Thank You for Your cross and Your victory over
death. I can say with all assurance, “It is well with my soul.” Hallelujah and
I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you
are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and
are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Revelation 2:9
Jesus, as with all of His churches, monitored the
He noticed their 1) Works – like
2) Tribulation – this word means “great
difficulty, affliction, and distress.” This is what the faithful believers in
3) Poverty – being rich or poor is no
indication of divine favor. The Bible makes this abundantly clear. The
“prosperity gospel” which is taught in
Jesus next targets “the blasphemy of those who say
they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” This has been
misapplied to false Christians, heretical denominations, etc., but it isn’t
referring to any of those. Instead it is referring to Christ-rejecting Jews. A
Jew is a Jew and a gentile is a gentile. Christians didn’t become Jews when
they accepted Christ and the church has not replaced
All people are either in Christ or they are of the
devil. The Jews referred to by Jesus in today’s passage were of the devil and
attended a synagogue of Satan.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the faithful believers in
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to
suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison,
that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful
until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
“Do not fear…”
Throughout the Bible, the Lord admonishes His people to not fear. In John 4,
Jesus tells us that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in
Today Jesus tells those at
The letter’s recipients could expect to be harassed by
the devil, placed in prison “that you may be tested,” and their tribulations
would be for “ten days.” These “ten days” may be literal, but they also might
be derived from the Bible’s numerical pattern of testing, which is the number
ten. In Genesis 31 Numbers 14, Nehemiah 4, and Job 19 the people explain their
testing in an idiom as “ten times” and in Daniel 1 (which uses the same
terminology as today’s verse) they were tested for “ten days” – “Please test
your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to
drink.” Jesus uses this same terminology and applies it in the context of the
suffering of those in
In what was about to come on them, He instructs them
to “be faithful until death.” This seems contradictory in any other context
except the Christian one because Jesus is the “Firstborn from the dead” and the
one who holds the “keys of Hades and Death” in his hand. In their persecution
and suffering which for some would lead to death, Jesus promises them the
“crown of life.” This is the victor’s crown which James refers to as well in
his epistle –
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when
he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has
promised to those who love Him.”
Jesus has prevailed over death and He promises the
gift of eternal life to His faithful followers.
How great it is, Lord, to know that nothing in the
entire universe can separate me from You. You prevailed and through faith in
Your mighty accomplishments, I too have the promise of eternal security and
eternal life. No fear here… I am a servant of the Most High God! Amen.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.
Today’s verse contains Revelation’s second note of the
blessing of “overcoming.” To overcome must occur in this life and “he who has
an ear” should pay close attention to the warning. This is our one big chance
to get it right. The book of Hebrews, makes this perfectly clear in verse 9:27
– “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, …”
Jesus, through the eternal Spirit, calls out to the churches and warns us of
the consequences of not calling on Jesus as Lord. For those who do, they “shall
not be hurt by the second death.”
This by implication means that those who fail to do so
will be sent to the
The intent for man was eternal life in the presence of
God. However, God grants all of us free-will and we are expected to use it
wisely. Those who want to live apart from God now, will live apart from God for
all eternity. And this place won’t be a joyous party where friends will get
together. Jesus describes it as “outer darkness” and a place where there is
“gnashing of teeth.” The
Now, while there is breath in your lungs, is the time
to call on the name of Jesus and get right with God. Anything else will result
in the eternal sadness of the “second death.”
Lord God, thank You for Jesus and His cross because I
know without that, there would be no hope at all. But because He prevailed over
death, I too can prevail over it. I receive Jesus as Lord and I will live for
You as You give me wisdom and strength. All glory to Jesus! And it is in His
name I pray. Amen.
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: Revelation 2:12
Pergamos was, at the time of Revelation, the capital
of the province of
The two-edged sword, as noted in Revelation 1:16, is
representative of an instrument which is effecting in cutting in both
directions. It is also effecting in deep thrusts. As noted, the Old Testament
Hebrew uses the term “the mouth of the sword” (pe chereb) for its edge.
The New Testament describes the sword as both the Spirit of God and as the word
of God (the Bible). Jesus is getting ready to explain the symbolism that goes
along with the sword and how it pertains to the church – both internally in the
church (cutting in one direction) and externally (cutting in the opposite
direction) in the surrounding area “where Satan’s throne is.”
You see, God is an impartial judge. When the church
errs, it receives judgment too. We can’t openly flaunt sin in the church and
expect to get away with it. The Bible notes in both testaments that judgment
begins at the house of the Lord. Only after wickedness and disobedience are
taken care of in God’s house does He turn to remove it elsewhere. Let us
remember this lesson as we conduct our lives in His presence!
Righteous and holy is the Lord God Almighty. Just and
true are His judgments. May we, the sheep of Your fold, be obedient to Your
word and walk and act in line with what You determine for each of us. Help us
to live our lives as honest and faithful Christians – to Your glory. Amen.
I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s
throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even
in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed
among you, where Satan dwells. Revelation 2:13
Yesterday we noted that Pergamos was the capital of
the province of
Jesus said to them, “I know your works…” Despite the
idolatry and persecution, and also being “where Satan’s throne is,” they held
fast to his name. They were so grounded in their faith, that they “did not
deny” His faith “even in the days in which Antipas” was faithfully martyred.
This is the only mention of Antipas and nothing is certain about him beyond
this, but his “witness” or “martyrdom” (both terms come from the same Greek
word and therefore this word will be translated differently in different
versions) were of such note that Jesus had him recorded for posterity as a
remembrance of his deeds.
The name Antipas means “instead of all.” Could it be
that he chose to die instead of others in the congregation? If so, then his
name matches his deeds, thus following the Lord’s words – “Greater love has no
one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 Whatever
the truth is about Antipas’ martyrdom, the people of Pergamos held fast to the
words and truth of Jesus and did not deny him, even in the face of what
Around the world today, such as in
Lord Jesus, surely we are weak, but through faith in
You we can be strong – even in the midst of persecution and trial. Today we say
a special prayer for those Christians who are facing death at the hand of Your
enemies. May they be strengthened by Your comforting Holy Spirit. We know that
judgment belongs to You, so please give them strength in their trials. Amen.
But I have a few things against you, because you have
there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a
stumbling block before the children of
Jesus complimented the church as a whole for their
works, holding fast to His name, and not denying the faith – even in the face
of death. However today He rebukes them for allowing into the fellowship (or
not excluding from the fellowship) “those who hold the doctrine of Balaam.”
The story of Balaam is in the book of Numbers. In
chapter 25 Balaam’s cunning led
In Numbers 31 it’s recorded that Balaam was “killed
with the edge of the sword.” In verse 31:16 it says “…through the counsel of
Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a
plague among the congregation of the LORD.” Could Pergamos expect any less if
they failed to handle the situation? No! And this is certainly the reason why
the particular symbolism of Jesus was presented to the congregation – “These
things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword.”
In other words, the sword was the chosen description
for this church indicating that the same judgment of Balaam was destined for
those who failed to repent of their misdeeds. Jesus is not the “cosmic
pushover” that He is often portrayed as being. He is the Lord God Almighty and
will punish disbelievers and those who arrogantly put His grace to the test.
Lord Jesus, you know each one of us intimately and you
know the secret faults of our hearts and our deeds. Turn our hearts to You and
away from that which is dishonorable and wicked. Especially Lord, please help
us with our personal struggles, be they drug, alcohol, gambling, sexual, or
other addictions. Through You we can gain victory. Amen.
Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the
Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Revelation 2:15
Our verse today is very similar to Revelation 2:6 and
shows just how much Christ Jesus hates this particular doctrine. In two
separate churches, He has singled out “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans” for
condemnation. As we noted in the previous occasion, this is certainly not
referring to churches, such as the Catholic Church, which have established
Over the years, denominational bias and infighting has
resulted in this thought. By dividing the word “Nicolaitans” into individual root
words – nikao meaning “to conquer” and laos meaning “laity” people have tried
to equate the Nicolaitans with those who have taken over the rightful positions
of the laity of the church and forced them into subjection. This isn’t what’s
being condemned here. Rather, taken in proper context with the surrounding
verses, it is referring to sin of a sexual or indulgent nature.
It may or may not have included idolatry, but it
certainly involved rejecting the oral and written words of the apostles which
implore us to flee from sexual immorality. Paul lays out the stern warning for
the church in Galatians 5:16-21 –
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not
fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the
Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do
not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not
under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions,
jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy,
murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand,
just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such
things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Lord Jesus, twice You have rebuked Your seven churches
for participation in the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, and twice You have
adamantly told us that You hate it. Help us then to be pure in heart, body, and
soul and to refrain from such licentiousness. May You be pleased with how we
conduct our lives, living to Your glory alone. Amen.
Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will
fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
Jesus has just openly presented the sins of those in
Pergamos and now He instructs them to “repent.” Our own deeds are what testify
against us. The question has been asked many times in history, “Why does God
send us to hell unless we do what He demands?” This question holds to the
fundamental error of misunderstanding the nature of God and the nature of hell.
As previously noted, hell was a place prepared for
“the devil and his angels,” not for man. Therefore, it is we who choose the
path to hell. Instead of God saying, “If you don't do what I say I will send
you to hell,” the Bible teaches that, “If you do what I say, I will keep you
from hell.” Freewill is what makes the difference possible. Therefore, how we
exercise our freewill is of eternal importance.
If we fail to respond to His counsel wisely, He will
actively fight against us with the sword of His mouth. Remember from chapter 1
the lesson of the sword. The sword is noted as the power of the Spirit of God
and as the word of God, the Bible. Because this is so, the sword coming from
Jesus’ mouth is authoritative, all-powerful, and able to consume anything which
comes against it.
In today’s verse, it is used within the church for
judgment – “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God.”
(1 Peter 4:17). This judgment, which begins at the house of God, will remove
all who fail to make the right choice concerning their relationship with
Christ. Again, this is our choice. Assigning blame to God for the
consequences of our own actions is like a child blaming a parent when it steals
a cookie after being told not to. It is incorrect thinking on our part. When we
understand the relationship between us and God, our reaction to judgment and
hell shouldn’t be, “Why O why;” instead, it should be, “How great thou art!”
Lord, help my confusion concerning the things which I
don’t understand. Help me to make right decisions based on Your nature and Your
character, and not from my limited perspective. You are the Creator and I know
that Your will, not mine, is what is right and good. Lead me in paths of right
thought and right understanding. Amen.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to
eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written
which no one knows except him who receives it. Revelation 2:17
“He who has an
ear, let him hear.” Jesus, through the Holy Spirit is speaking to His people
and imploring them to pay attention. If they listen and take to heart what has
been said, Jesus promises that they would “overcome.” This verse gives the
third set of honors for those who do overcome.
He promises to “give some of the hidden manna to eat.”
This represents the food which will not only grant salvation, but which will
also sustain us for all eternity. The Bread of Life, who is Jesus, is the only
one who can do this. When speaking to the people of
He promises those who overcome “a white stone, and on
the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” In
the culture of the time, and even in certain instances today, when a vote was
cast a white stone meant “not guilty.” Jesus handing us a white stone means
that we are not guilty before God and we will never be judged for condemnation.
This wonderful release from sin comes from Jesus’ shed blood. By trusting in
Him, He has become our substitute. He bore the wrath that we deserve. On this
stone, the new name indicates a new nature has been granted to us. With that
new nature comes a full inheritance as sons.
Paul explains that the moment we trust in Jesus, we
are sealed with the Holy Spirit which guarantees this will take place – “In Him
you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit
of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the
purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13, 14
It is beyond comprehension, O Lord, that You would do
all the work to save us. All we have to do is, by faith, accept Your deeds. How
great is Your love that You have done this! Thank You for the gift of Your Holy
Spirit which is the guarantee of the good things to come. Amen.
To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These
are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose
feet are like burnished bronze. (NIV) Revelation 2:18
We begin the fourth letter from Jesus to the churches
– “to the angel of the church in Thyatira.” This is the smallest of the seven
cities being addressed and yet it has some very big problems as we’ll see in
the days ahead.
Thyatira was on a trading route to the southeast of
Pergamos and at the time of this letter, it was becoming more prosperous. The
city had many trade guilds including wood, linen, garments, leather, tanning,
potting, bakers, slave dealers, and workers in bronze. In Acts 16, we see a
The first is His “eyes are like blazing fire.” His
eyes burn through any attempt at hiding sin and get to the very heart of the
matter, piercing deeply into the soul of man. Nothing in creation is concealed
before His piercing gaze.
The second description is that of feet “like burnished
bronze.” The word used for “burnished bronze” here is chalkolibano and
is used only one other time in the Bible – in Revelation 1:15. This bronze
symbolizes several things, including that it is magnificent, pure, and representing
strength, purity, and judgment, all of which can be inferred from other Old
It is the “judgment” aspect which is particularly
notable today though. When mentioned along with His eyes, this is certainly the
intent of the symbolism. In the temple, the altar of sacrifice was made of
bronze. This altar was symbolic of the judgment upon sin. The Israelite people
would confess their sins over an innocent animal and then slay it. An animal
slaughtered in such a way was completely burned up on the altar, thus
signifying complete destruction of that sin. This then is the symbolism we can
glean for these aspects of Christ as reveled in today’s verse.
Lord, understanding that You see every sin, know every
thought, and will judge every action, I ask that You guide me in my walk so
that my life will be acceptable to You. On my own, I mess up at every turn, but
if I follow You, I know my steps will be proper. Keep me from straying and lead
me upon paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Amen.
I know your works, love, service, faith, and your
patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the
first. Revelation 2:19
Jesus compliments the church in Thyatira in five
particular areas –
Works – The things they did as
individuals and collectively brought glory and honor to the Lord. They
continued on doing good after the initial spurt of works normally sputters. In
fact, their most recent works were “more than the first.” They were growing in
their good deeds.
Love – The church differs from
Service – The Greek word here, diakonian,
is used elsewhere when speaking of the prophets, apostles, deacons, etc. The
term is also used when speaking of spiritual gifts as well. The word can be
broken down into two separate words – dia meaning “through” and kones
meaning “dust.” The people were willing to do the jobs of service without fear
of getting their feet dirty.
Faith – This is what the ancients were
commended for as is noted throughout the Bible and as highlighted in Chapter 11
of the book of Hebrews. They retained their faith in Jesus as they worked out
their spiritual lives. Too often people get misdirected in their faith and
everything else gets misdirected with it. But because of properly directed
faith, their other areas of spiritual growth were also properly aligned.
Patience – Patience is a result of a
close walk with the Lord and a clear communion with the Holy Spirit. When we
have our eyes properly directed on the Lord and our minds and souls in
fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we can be patient through any suffering or
O God, if only I could consistently emulate the five
areas where the
Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because
you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and
seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to
idols. Revelation 2:20
Nevertheless… After complimenting the church on where
it was doing well, Jesus comes to the point about their failings today. He
brings against them a charge which involves sin directly within their walls.
They had allowed a woman, whom Jesus calls “Jezebel,” to run amok within the
The name “Jezebel” was and still is synonymous with a
woman of great wickedness. The name goes all the way back to the wife of King
Unfortunately, people have continued doing this down
through the ages. However, claiming the title of “prophet” almost always
includes the perception that they receive revelation from God. This is
certainly not the case. The Bible is the rule and guide for faith within the
church and claims of extra-biblical revelation are not to be accepted – ever.
This woman was teaching aberrant doctrines, seducing them “to commit sexual
immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
In 1 Corinthians 8 and 1 Corinthians 10, Paul explains
the details of eating meat sacrificed to idols and how a Christian should
handle such things. In the context of what Paul says, is that if someone
knowingly does this, they are sinning by condoning the sacrifice and are thus
implicitly acknowledging the idol’s value. This “Jezebel” was openly
sacrificing to idols and thus was violating the prohibition already laid out by
Lord, it is often hard to know when someone is
presenting a truthful message and when someone is simply taking verses out of
context and applying them in a way which twists the truth. Please Lord, keep me
from being manipulated by deceivers and help me to more fully grasp the right
and true doctrines of Your word. Amen.
And I gave her time to repent of her sexual
immorality, and she did not repent. Revelation 2:21
The God of the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament,
is accused of being harsh and angry without demonstrating mercy and patience.
However, from the earliest pages of the Bible in Genesis, even to the last
pages of the Bible in Revelation, a completely different view of God is given.
Abraham was promised that his descendants would
God gave the people in the land 400 years more to
repent and to seek Him out, but in the end there was simply no remedy. The same
is true with the people of
Were God to destroy humans every time they sinned,
there would be no humans on earth in a single day. Were God to give humans a
week to repent and then destroy them, there would be no humans at the end of
the week. People who point fingers at and accuse God simply deny the reality of
their own state and rule that God is unfair to judge them when in fact He is
more than fair.
Jezebel was given time to repent as well… “and she did
not.” Churches that mix shrines and relics in with their worship will be held
accountable. Churches that mingle humanistic philosophies and ideologies will
be held accountable. Mingling the holy with the profane is intolerable and will
be punished. This is reality and this is just. Pointing one’s finger at God is
merely a reflection of a problem with self, not a problem with God.
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor
punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the
earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is
from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm
I know, O Lord, that if You were to count our sins
against us as we deserve, none could stand in Your presence. But You are
merciful and abundant in kindness to the children of men. Cleanse me Lord; wash
me in the blood of Christ and I will be clean. Thank You for the forgiveness
that comes through His mighty and glorious deeds. Amen.
Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who
commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their
deeds. Revelation 2:22
The woman in Thyatira who “calls herself a prophetess”
had taught and had seduced the people there to “commit sexual immorality and
eat things sacrificed to idols.” Despite her doing this willfully and against
the teachings of the apostles, Jesus graciously “gave her time to repent.” It
is His intention that people turn from their wickedness. However, there is a
time when there is no longer a remedy for such aberrant behavior.
Today Jesus promises to “cast her into a sickbed.” The
mode which He may have used to bring about such a sickbed isn’t hard to
imagine. Sexual sins, throughout the ages, have led to the explosion of
disease. Entire villages, cultures, and groups of people are destroyed through
such diseases. For example, this occurred in
No matter how the sickbed came, when it did Jesus
promised her and those who participated with her that they would receive “great
tribulation.” The Greek term is thlipsin megalin. This indicates great
suffering which is immensely intense in nature. All of this is the result of
the selfish lusts of the flesh and rejecting the truth and beauty of the gospel
message. Jesus asks us to turn from such things before they bring about
unimaginable pain and agony.
Finally today, in comparison to Jezebel of the Old
Testament, Jesus saying she will be “cast” onto her sickbed. This is
reminiscent of Jezebel’s final moments as she was hurled out of the window on a
high wall – “…she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked
through a window. …Then he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some
of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her
underfoot. … So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the
skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.” (Portions of 1 Kings
Lord, I know we have choices to make and that we face
the consequences of our own free-will. My choice is to follow you and my will
is to serve You with wholehearted devotion. Thank You for the release from sin
and its consequences. I love You my Lord. Amen.
I will kill her children with death, and all the
churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will
give to each one of you according to your works. Revelation 2:23
Far too often, people make the mistake of speaking of
God’s love while ignoring His judgment. Jezebel and “her children” would not be
the recipients of His love.
The term “her children” is speaking of those who
followed her in her idolatrous and immoral practices. They are her spiritual
offspring and would suffer her fate. If Jesus cast her on a sickbed of
suffering, the chances are that whatever communicable disease she got spread
through her followers as well. But this is probably speaking of more than just
The term “kill her children with death” sounds like a
redundancy, but is most likely referring to the second death. They would die as
physical beings, but they would also die the second death in the
For the next thought, we need to remember the pictured
symbolism of Jesus for the
If you’re still struggling with the deity of Jesus,
today is another verse which equates Him with the LORD (Jehovah) of the Old
Testament. It says “I am He who searches the minds and hearts.” This ability
was reserved for God alone in the Old Testament such as in 1 Chronicles 28:9,
“…for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the
thoughts.” Jesus is fully God and He is intolerant of sin. Judgment awaits
those who fail to come to terms with this.
However, Jesus is a fair judge and He will “give to
each one of you according to your works.” Believers have the full assurance of
eternal salvation and rewards based on their faithful service. How much better
is this than the prospect of the second death? Live for Jesus and bask in His
Jesus, please walk among the church I attend and weed
out anything which is contrary to what would please You. Change the hearts of
those who are sinning, strengthen the hearts of those who are struggling, and
continue to bless the hearts of those who are standing strong and faithfully in
You. Glory be to Your wonderfully precious name! Amen.
“Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as
many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as
they say, I will put on you no other burden. Revelation 2:24
“To the rest in
Thyatira…” Jesus now addresses those who haven’t been pulled in by the Satanic
influence of the woman He calls Jezebel. Instead of rebuke, He gives them
comfort… “I will put on you no other burden.”
Going back to verse 19, we are reminded that the
church as a whole was doing a good job already, ““I know your works, love,
service, faith and your patience; and as for your works, the last are
more than the first.” In addition to such faithful service, they had kept away
from what was obviously wrong in Jezebel’s doings. She was most likely teaching
doctrines which supposedly revealed deeper and hidden truths of God, something
that cults have continuously done since then as well. The problem was that the
things she was teaching were neither “truths” nor were they “of God.”
Jesus says that the faithful had “not known the depths
of Satan” indicating the things she was presenting. Her proclamations and
actions came from Satan and Satan’s teachings are always false and destructive.
As Jesus said in John 8:44, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not
stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he
speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
Always be careful of someone proclaiming “something
deeper” or “something new.” Check everything you hear against the Bible and
what has been considered orthodox for the past 2000 years. Jesus Christ doesn’t
change and neither does the word which proclaims Him. Hold steadfast to sound
doctrine and His instructions won’t be burdensome. As He proclaimed, “Come to
Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden
is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Thank You Jesus for the promise of teaching me if I
will only listen to Your words. Thank You also for the promise of rest. In this
troubled world of strife and anguish, the promise of rest is my heart’s desire.
My heart sings out in joy at the prospect of sharing eternity with such a kind
and wonderful Savior! Hallelujah to Your name. Amen.
But hold fast what you have till I come. Revelation
Short and to the point… to the faithful in Thyatira,
Jesus – who has already acknowledged their good points – asks them to “hold
fast.” When an individual or a group is doing what’s right, it’s often
difficult to continue on as things deteriorate around them or attacks come
against them. But Jesus is aware of our weaknesses and limitations and isn’t
there to place additional burdens on those who are doing what’s right. Instead,
He asks them to simply “hold fast.” And the time isn’t indefinite.
There is a time for the works to end and the relief to
come. The beauty of what Jesus did was to leave that moment unknown to His
children. By promising to return, but by not giving us the date, it could be at
any moment. The anticipation of His return, therefore, should be on the minds
of all who have called on Him in two ways:
1) They should be of the mind that what they are doing
is of eternal effect in the lives of others. This is because if they don’t go
about their business and the Lord comes, then those they neglected will never
have the knowledge which leads them to salvation.
2) They should be aware that if what they are doing is
inappropriate or disobedient, then their last deeds before the judgment will be
open and exposed as insufficient for commendation.
Jesus is coming and though we are hindered by the
knowledge of when that we will be, we are also bolstered by the same fact. The
masterful plan of Jesus is that He is coming and therefore we should all be
about His business every moment of our lives. Should He tarry, all we can do is
praise Him for His patience in dealing with the wayward sons of Adam. Let us
remember the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 –
“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner
of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the
living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from
the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
How good it is to know that I could be in the
generation which experiences Your return for the church. May this be a
motivating factor in my wanting to continue on despite trials, setbacks, and
frustrations! O Lord, may You be pleased with the conduct of my life as I hold
fast to the good works which are pleasing to You. Amen.
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the
end, to him I will give power over the nations— Revelation 2:26
This is the beginning verse of the fourth set of
honors promised to those who “overcome.” The one who overcomes is the one who
trusts in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, calling on His name and being
cleansed by the power of His shed blood. In order to keep this in context, we
need to return to 1 John 5:4, 5 –
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And
this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who
overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Jesus today says, “…and keeps My works until the end.”
This implies that not everyone who is saved (which is eternal) will be given
this power. Of course, this then is a special blessing to those who not only
call on Jesus Christ for salvation, but those who also keep His works.
There will actually be some who are brought up at the
rapture who will be completely surprised by the event. We read this in 2 Peter
“For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even
to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
Peter is speaking about a person who “was cleansed
from his old sins” and yet had forgotten about it. This person won’t be the
ruler of the nations, but will spend his time watching others, who were
faithful in their walk, exercising authority that they will be denied. Make
sure that you don’t fall away from the sure rewards that await those who remain
steadfast in Christ!
Lord, in and of myself I am prone to falling away from
full attention to my Christian responsibilities. Therefore I ask that You guide
me, carry me, and strengthen me as I go forth. Keep me from falling away and
ensure my life is properly directed to the things that You deem proper and
appropriate in my Christian walk. Amen.
“’He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be
dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My
Father;” Revelation 2:27
Today’s verse is in the middle of the honors bestowed
upon those who “overcome” in Christ. It’s noted that they will share in His
triumph and will, together with Him, rule the nations. Here is the promise made
to Christ from Psalm 2:7-9 –
“I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for
Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them
to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
This rod of iron is the shepherd’s rod. The faithful
shepherd carried it in order to dash to pieces the enemies of the sheep. Jesus
speaks of the completion of this in Matthew 25:31-46. Here are verses 32 &
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He
will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep
from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on
The sheep are the nations who will support and protect
In His discourse in Matthew 25, Jesus refers to those
needing help and comfort as “my brethren.” Therefore, He is speaking of the
Jews and is referring to the Tribulation as described in the book of
Revelation. Jesus was, is, and always will be a Jew. His brethren are the
Jewish people. Those who are on Christ’s side during the Tribulation will
likewise support the nation of
“Therefore say to the house of
Despite their unfaithfulness, God’s name is upon the
Jewish people and He still has a plan and purpose for them. The Kingdom Age is
coming and Christ will rule from
Jesus, how can I fight against You and Your word. You
have shown us what is right and this includes Your sovereign decision to defend
and support the nation of
…and I will give him the morning star. Revelation 2:28
We read these words in Revelation 22:16 – “I, Jesus,
have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the
Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Today’s verse
ends the list of honors mentioned in the letter to Thyatira that will be
granted to the one who overcomes.
Jesus promises to give no less than Himself to His
faithful believers. We will share in His goodness for all eternity and He will
lead us to the still waters and the soft grass of the Garden lost so long ago.
Although the Bible in general and Revelation in particular are full of judgment
and woe, this judgment is on sin and those who act contrary to God’s will. God
gives us the choice and when we exercise it contrary to His ordinances, it is
always at our own loss.
God is gracious and abundant in mercy and He wants to
lavish His goodness upon each of us. Because He created us, He knows what is
best and what we should avoid. The prospect of sharing in the Person of Jesus
for all eternity is the most wonderful prospect of all. He is the Bright
Morning Star and the One who illuminates the splendor of God to us.
Peter also speaks of Jesus as the Morning Star in his
second epistle. We read these words in 2 Peter 1:19 –
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which
you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns
and the morning star rises in your hearts;…”
All of the “prophetic word” is meant to direct us and
guide us to Jesus. It is a light shining in the dark world in which we live and
it is there to tell us of God’s great love for us and His great Gift to us –
Jesus. Don’t miss the bigger picture of what God is doing by getting bogged down
in judgment and destruction. These things are necessary in order for us to be
at peace with our Creator.
O Lord God! Thank You so much for the promise that we
have of ever-dwelling in Your marvelous light. Thank You for Jesus our Lord who
is the Bright and Morning Star. May we walk by His light and stay on the proper
path until that great day when we are called to our true home. Thank You for
your grace, your love, and your mercy! Amen.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. Revelation 2:29
Amazingly, we’ve already come to the end of chapter 2
of Revelation and the end of the fourth letter to the seven churches. Each
letter has received the same warning and admonition as we have today. Jesus
says, “He who has an ear…” Let’s open our ears and listen to what’s being read,
let’s open our hearts and take heed to the message we’ve been given. Let’s open
our eyes that they may be fixed “on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith.” Isaiah said this when speaking to the people of
“Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do
not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this
people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with
their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And
return and be healed.”
Isaiah, not understanding, then responded:
“Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities
are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land
is utterly desolate, The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places
are many in the midst of the land.”
We need to be attentive lest we drive ourselves out of
our own favorable situation. Failure to respond to the Spirit’s words can only
result in sadness and excommunication from God. Again as before, today’s verse
says “…what the Spirit says to the churches.” Each letter is an individual one
for a particular congregation, but it is directed to all churches at all times.
The warnings, the promises, and the doctrine are meant for all. Take heed and
Lord, You have given us a true and faithful record of
Your love for us, Your expectations of us, and how we can share in Your divine
blessings. Thank You, O God, for all You have done, are doing, and will do for
Your chosen people. May we return our praises to You. Amen.
And to the angel of the church in
The name of
It isn’t our “works” that will cleanse us. In fact,
the things we do often separate us further from God. This is because we are
trusting in ourselves to earn eternal life and are thus setting ourselves up as
idols. It’s amazing how the very things we think will earn God’s favor only
cause the division to widen. Jesus has done all that is necessary for us to be
saved and it is faith in Him alone that can justify us.
In this letter Jesus presents Himself as the one “who
has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” As we noted in Revelation
1:4, the “seven Spirits” refer to Isaiah 11:2, the seven-fold Spirit of God –
“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and
understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” The Spirit searches out the state of the churches and knows which are alive and which are dead.
In Jesus’ hand are also the “seven stars.” It was
noted that these could either be protecting angels of each church, or they
could be the individual pastor. Either way, they are under the authority and
control of Jesus. The Spirit checks the health of the church and then Jesus
exercises His authority. In the case of
Lord, please look on the congregation I attend and
revitalize it in the areas where it is spiritually dead. Help us to do works
that are honoring of and for You and help us to never trust in our deeds in
order to obtain Your favor, but only to bring You glory. Amen.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain,
that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
All hope is not lost for those at
Be watchful – they were relying on past
deeds and not looking for new opportunities to move the church forward in a
Christ honoring way. They were also obviously not looking out for trouble that
could infiltrate their worship, their doctrine, and their congregation. As the
psalmist said so long ago –
I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word. Psalm 119:147, 148
The psalmist would rise early, petition God for help
in his walk, put his trust in God’s word, and stay alert even in the night,
always watchful for the troubling enemy’s attacks.
Strengthen the things that remain –
there isn’t much good left, but they can at least shore up the walls of the few
things they’re getting right. Churches that have let things slip will normally
still be strong in one area or another simply because they feel their works
will justify them. They won’t of course, but these works aren’t wrong in and of
themselves. They just need to be redirected to the honoring of Jesus instead of
Jesus closes by saying He hasn’t found their works
perfect before His God. This in no way indicates Jesus is less than God. He is
a member of the Godhead and therefore is subordinating Himself to it in this
phrase. He is the second member of the Trinity and therefore He has a right to
evaluate and make judgments on the works of His church and its members.
Jesus, thank You for watching over our congregations
and correcting us when necessary. On our own we tend to stray and get
misdirected. So please keep us on the right and proper path which will honor
You and keep us from personal boasting. To Your glory! Amen.
Remember therefore how you have received and heard;
hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as
a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3
Jesus asks those in
When we were called through the gospel, it was with
tears of joy. Our hearts were directed to the things of God and we had a
passion for His name. Jesus asks us to revisit that moment, hold fast to it,
and repent (or turn back to it). If we fail to do so, He “will come upon” us as
a thief. It will be sudden and it will be final.
Is this speaking of the second coming or of judgment
on the individual church? In the end, it doesn’t matter as much as the fact
that He is coming and judgment waits. Those who aren’t ready at the rapture
will be left behind to suffer through the tribulation period when the world
will be plunged into complete disarray. Those who aren’t ready at their death will
be separated from God eternally. And those who aren’t ready at the fall of a
church won’t even know that they are being led down a road of apostasy which
will end in destruction. We need to be ever on guard and continuously
“remember” our Lord and His mighty deeds which were done on our behalf.
Lord, as the psalmist said so long ago “I remember
Your name in the night, O LORD, And I keep Your law.” Help me to continuously
ponder the great things You have done for me and to never forget Your love,
grace, and mercy – all poured out on me at the cross. Thank You for Your
patience and caring direction in my life. Amen.
You have a few names even in
When people point fingers and accuse other churches of
being wayward, they need to be careful to understand that even in bad churches
there are good people. Jesus has had strong and disapproving words for the
When it says, these “few names even in
In Leviticus 13:47-59, instructions are given
concerning the garments which are infected with a leprous plague. These
instructions were given in order to protect the people physically, but the
symbolism points to spiritual matters. The garments were to be cleansed and any
defect was to be removed, but if the plague returned, the garment was to be
destroyed because “it is a spreading plague; you shall burn with
fire that in which is the plague.”
The same is true with those who purport to call on
Christ. A first examination may reveal they have done so, but when their
actions testify against them, Christ, who has looked into their heart, sees
that they never were truly cleansed. This isn’t pointing to works-based
salvation. Instead it is looking at the heart of each person to determine their
relationship to Christ. Those who have accepted His work have been cleansed and
are secure. Isaiah 1:18 gives us the sure promise of the LORD –
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they
are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
I stand on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His
righteousness. In Him alone do I trust, and I refuse to stand on my own works –
works which are nothing compared to the marvelous work He wrought on my behalf.
Anything I add to His work would only tarnish what He has done! And so in
Christ alone I make my stand. Amen.
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments,
and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his
name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5
The honors to those who overcome at
It is His righteousness which is imputed to us. There
is nothing we can do to either merit God’s favor or to add to the work of Jesus
Christ. The white garment then is a gift to the person who has, by faith alone,
called on Christ as Lord. The second honor is that He “will not blot out his
name from the Book of Life.” This means that all people on earth are potentially
in the Book of Life but not all are actually there. This is the same as
all people being potentially forgiven in Christ, but not all are actually
It is rather unfortunate that people, when speaking of
forgiveness, say that others “must forgive everyone who offends them.” This is
not the biblical standard. Offering forgiveness and actually granting it are
two different things. God, through Jesus Christ offers forgiveness to all, but
not all are actually forgiven. To state otherwise is the heresy of universal
salvation. To be saved, one must call on Jesus Christ and on Jesus Christ
alone. There is no other way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. When a
person does this, He promises that He will confess his name before My Father
and before His angels.” What an honor to those who believe! Jesus will openly
acknowledge them to the Heavenly Host! Hallelujah and Amen!
Jesus, give me the desire, the ability, and the wisdom
to step out and proclaim Your name to the people of the world now, before the
time comes when it will be no longer possible. Help me to make the best use of
my time for Your name’s and for the sake of Your coming kingdom. Amen.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches.” Revelation 3:6
Again as with the previous four letters, the same
admonition is given – “He who has an ear, let him hear.” Although we all have
ears, we all don’t always listen. Having a physical attribute is no guarantee
that it will be used. If you’ve ever done something unusual for the first time,
for example water skiing, you will find that the muscles you don’t normally use
will hurt the next day. If you’re not used to studying, when you attend a
college class for the first time, you’re brain will feel overloaded. If you’re
not normally a public speaker and you’re asked to give a presentation, you very
well may have a sore throat the next day. All of this occurs because you’re
using a part of you that isn’t normally exercised.
In the same way, when we don’t pay heed to spiritual
things, we get dry, cold, and lethargic in our spiritual lives. Jesus asks us
to wake up from this spiritual condition and open the spiritual ears of our
souls and “hear what the Spirit says.” How many times have you picked up the
Bible and read a passage and put the Bible back down without it changing you at
all? The words went into your eyes, passed right around your brain, and
disappeared into the ether. Unless we combine the reading experience with the
mental and spiritual process of thinking through what is being said, we’ve miss
the most valuable part of our interaction with God, His word, and the influence
of the Holy Spirit.
When you read the Bible, take a moment to pray and ask
God to open the eyes of your heart to a deeper understanding of what He is
presenting. Hear what “the Spirit says to the churches.” The words aren’t only
for the individual church being addressed, but for all people throughout the
Church Age and in every denomination. Every heart should be open to what God is
relating through the pages of the Holy Bible.
Yes Lord! Open the eyes of my heart and give me a mind
of wisdom to understand the spiritual applications which are being presented in
the Bible. If this is truly Your word, and it surely is, then it has the power
to change me, to mold me, and to direct me in wonderful ways which will bring glory
to You. And therefore, may it be so. Amen.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of
David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”
Jesus addresses now the
“He who is holy” – The Holy One is a title
ascribed to deity in the Old Testament, thus Jesus is equated with God and is
therefore capable of protecting and maintaining His church.
“He who is
true” – Jesus is the embodiment of truth and therefore His words are completely
reliable and the promises He will make to
“He who has
the key of David” – In Isaiah 22, the key of David is referring to the
authority of the House of David and the honors of the King of Israel. Jesus is
claiming that He is the ultimate fulfillment of this honorific title and
therefore the promised Messiah. He has all the authority of the kingship in His
hand. Therefore, He is the One “who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no
one opens.” In other words, His decisions are final and all authority
belongs to Him. If He accepts a person or a church, nothing can separate them
from Him. If He rejects them, then the decision is final and eternity settling
In the ultimate sense, Jesus has complete and sole authority
over the door to either life or death for all humanity. Amazingly, He leaves
the choice up to us as to which we will walk through. When the decision is
made, it is sealed with His blood for salvation or for condemnation.
I choose Jesus! Lord, be with me in my walk and be
with my church in our worship and pursuit of You. Help us to make right
decisions, and to stand firm even in times of trial or persecution. I know that
all power belongs to You and so I have nothing to fear. Amen!
I know your works. See, I have set before you an open
door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My
word, and have not denied My name. Revelation 3:8
Jesus acknowledges that He is aware of the works of
the church in
Instead, we read He has “set before you an open door,
and no one can shut it.” This means that despite their “little strength” He
will never abandon them. However this is most likely not referring to little
spiritual strength, but rather that they were continuously opposed by powerful
satanic forces. No matter what the enemy threw against them though, He would
carry them through to a successful completion and at their end He would grant
them access to heaven. The door is open to them and it is a door no one can
shut. We see in John chapter 10 what He’s talking about –
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say
to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are
thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone
enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. vss
How do we know if this access is granted for us? Jesus
gives us the answer in the rest of today’s verse. Despite having little
strength, those who have truly called on Jesus will keep His word and will
never deny His name. If you have called on the risen Lord, then by nature you
will never deny Him.
This is why Paul says in Romans 10:9, “…that if you
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Only a dummy would call on a dead
Lord! Rather, we serve the Risen Christ – the One who holds the keys to death
and Hades in His hand and the One who has victory over them both.
Great and majestic are You Lord God Almighty! When the
world comes against us, You are there strengthening us and giving us the hope
of eternal glory. I know that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate me
from the love which You displayed in Christ Jesus my Lord. Thank You for Your
sure and eternal promises! Hallelujah and Amen.
Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of
Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come
and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Revelation 3:9
God is working through history and every promise of
the Bible will be fulfilled. In an amazing turn of events, Jesus tells the
Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come
bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles
of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the LORD,
This will come to pass, but it will only happen after
None of this is fantasy, but rather it is the reality
of what will surely come to pass. For the church now, we can know that He has
loved us and will continue to do so. We are secure in our faith of Jesus
also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of
those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Lord, Your plan for the ages and the people of the
world is simply astonishing. You have bound all under disobedience that You may
have mercy on all. By simply acknowledging You as Lord and believing in our
hearts that God raised You from the dead, we are saved. What an amazing
demonstration of Your wisdom and kindness! Amen.
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also
will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to
test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10
The “hour of trial which shall come upon the whole
world” is certainly referring to the Tribulation period of the book of Revelation.
To come to any other conclusion is to deny the entire premise of the book and
is to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the timeline given in Daniel
9:24-27. A 490 year period was promised to the nation of
In this timeline, 483 years have come to pass, leaving
7 years to be fulfilled. These 7 years are the contents of the book of
Revelation, beginning with verse 4:2 and continuing until Christ’s physical
return in chapter 19. Jesus’ comments about the end times in the gospels, such
as Matthew 24, are also speaking of this time and His words are directed to
There are two views on what Jesus means. The first is
that He will keep the church in, but carry it through, the
tribulation period. The second is that He will take the church out of the world
through the rapture. The second option is correct. Nothing else would make
literal sense of the other passages in the New Testament which speak of the
rapture. It also fills the Old Testament typology where Lot was taken out of
The rapture will happen and it will be before
the tribulation period of the book of Revelation. Get your timeline straight,
don’t mix dispensations, and have faith in the plain, clear, and obvious sense
of passages which may seem incredible, but which are given to us to be taken in
a literal sense. The rapture is the blessed hope of the Christian – and it will
happen just as promised.
What a gloriously wonderful promise Lord Jesus! That
you would come for us in the twinkling of an eye and carry us home to be with
You is the most precious thought I carry with me each day. Thank You for Your
sure word, Your solid promises, and the security of knowing that we shall live
eternally with You in glory. Hallelujah and whooo hooo! Amen.
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have,
that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:11
The church in
A haphazard attitude toward our faith will only result
in sadness. When the Lord returns for the church, it will be in the “twinkling
of an eye.” Whether you believe this or not or whether you accept the premise
of the rapture or not, it is what the Bible teaches. We all have our warning
and none of us can say we just didn’t know or we needed a little bit more time.
The areas of the Bible we struggle with are no excuse
for being lax in what we do understand. Therefore, Jesus asks us to “hold fast”
to what we have. The areas that we are performing well in are areas we need to
shore up for the long haul because we don’t know the day of the Lord’s return.
If we do hold fast, we can be sure that no one will take our crown.
This crown is called the “crown of life” by James and
the “crown of glory that does not fade away” by Peter. The crown then is far
more valuable than whatever temporary benefit we think we have in this life.
Nothing in our current walk is worth the glory which will be manifested in us
if we endure in our faith. Hold fast and keep your eye on the prize, just as
In his second letter to Timothy, this is how he
presents the subject of our anticipated crown –
2 Timothy 4:7, 8 – “Finally, there is laid up for me
the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to
me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His
Lord Jesus, of all the things I look forward to in my
life’s walk, nothing is more precious to me than knowing that You came to
restore me to life and that You are coming again to grant that life. I love the
thought of Your appearing and it is the joy that carries me through this world
of trials and grief. I simply can’t wait to be in Your presence! Amen.
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the
temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of
My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down
out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. Revelation
Today marks the honors which will be rewarded to the
overcomer. First, Jesus “will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he
shall go out no more.” The word for “temple” is the word nao and
elsewhere it refers to the temple in
Today’s verse then is telling us of the great glory to
come which will be bestowed on the believer. We will eternally be in the very
presence of God, in the
Being sealed with the name of God indicates a complete
connection with His authority, His nature, and His being. Having the name of
the New Jerusalem on us indicates that we are citizens of this eternal city of
glory – a citizenship which can never be revoked and which entitles us to all
its rights and privileges. This city is coming “down out of heaven from My
God.” Jesus as the second Person of the Trinity is the One who is building this
city for His people and of His people and when we attain our eternal state at
the resurrection, He will write on His faithful His new name.
This name is alluded to in Revelation 19:12. It is a
name which no one knows except Himself. When He writes it on us, it means that
we are given His authority. As Paul says
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that
we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint
heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be
glorified together.” Romans 8:16, 17
Lord, the honors which You have promised to Your
faithful are more grand and glorious than we can imagine. We are undeserving of
Your honor and only deserving of Your wrath, but You promise to crown us with
eternal riches and glory. How can we but praise You! Amen.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. Revelation 3:13
This is the sixth of seven times that the Lord repeats
this advice – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
Hearing, in these cases, implies more than just sound
going into the ear and causing the little ear-bones to resonate. It implies
understanding leading to faith and faith leading to obedience. Hearing without
acting upon Jesus’ words would be no different than smelling a gas leak in the
house and lighting up a burner on the stove anyway. When the stove is lit, you
will find yourself making an unanticipated and forced exit through the kitchen
window and out of the house.
In the same way, there are people in the seven
churches, and in all churches since, who have heard the words of the Bible
which were given through the Spirit, but who will find themselves unexpectedly
and against their will tossed into “outer darkness” where “there will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The question for each of us as we read today is
this, “Have I read and thought through the admonition given to these churches?”
Just because we’re reading a daily devotional doesn’t
mean we’re getting the message. Are you in a church that condones
homosexuality, even from the pulpit? Are you in a church that’s doing good
stuff for people without giving Jesus all the credit? Are you in a church that
has idols that people service in one way or another? Guess what, these have all
been addressed in the first six letters and Jesus doesn’t tolerate these
It’s time for each of us to really evaluate where we
stand and take to heart what the Spirit is saying. We have one more letter to
go and then we’ll be off of the subject of the state of the churches. When
Jesus returns, if you haven’t taken to heart what’s been relayed to you, then
why should He return for you? He is coming, and when He does may He find each
of us ready for that unexpected and sudden moment.
O God, turn my heart to the voice of Your Spirit as it
speaks to me through Your word. Help me be attentive to what He says and to be
obedient to His words as I faithfully act upon them. May You receive the glory
You are due as I live my life in Your presence each moment. To Your praise and
honor I pray… Amen.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans
write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the
Beginning of the creation of God:’” Revelation 3:14
We now come to the final letter addressed to the seven
churches. This one is mentioned last and it certainly fits the state of many
churches in the world today. Therefore it’s befitting that we should take the
words from the Lord to heart and carefully contemplate what’s being said. There
are no words of commendation given in this letter. The church is wealthy,
arrogant, and dead in its own self-satisfaction. And because of this corrupt
state, Jesus identifies Himself as “the Amen.” He is the God of truth who was
revealed to us in Isaiah 65:16 –
So that he who blesses himself in the earth
Shall bless himself in the God of truth;
And he who swears in the earth
Shall swear by the God of truth; Isaiah 65:16
Amen is a word spoken to indicate security, soundness,
reliability, and complete assurance – all things which are lacking in this
corrupt church. He is also “the Faithful and True Witness.” He testifies to His
own nature, needing nothing to be added to it.
In both testaments the “testimony of two or three
witnesses” establishes a matter. But Jesus testifies to Himself because He is
the second member of the eternal Godhead; He is complete in and of Himself. His
witness therefore testifies to His gospel upon which the faithful can
peacefully rest. And His faithfulness means that He is true and His word is
true. They can be fully relied upon.
Finally He says He is “the Beginning of the creation
of God.” No, this doesn’t mean He was created. It means that He is the First
Cause of the creation and is therefore the sovereign Ruler of it. He is
“Jehovah” revealed in His fullness. He was, is, and ever will be. He is
unchanging and immutable. He is also the initiator of all things and the One
who will bring all things to their satisfactory completion. We serve in the
Risen Lord the eternal and glorious manifestation of God. He is Jesus.
Oh Lord Jesus! The thought of You and Your greatness
fills my soul with joy. I know that I can trust completely and wholeheartedly
in You. You are ever faithful and ever true and Your glory fills the earth as
the waters cover the sea. Praises belong to You alone! Amen.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot. Revelation 3:15
The name Laodicea comes from two separate Greek words,
laos which is a gathering of people, normally of the same stock and
language, and dike (pronounced deekay) which is translated elsewhere in
the New Testament as “judgment,” “vengeance,” and “punish.” It is associated
with a judicial hearing or decision which especially contains a sentence of
condemnation. What a fitting name for the words which will come from the Risen
Jesus starts His condemnation with a metaphor that
they would be completely aware of. Two other cities were nearby to
As you can see, the picture here is that just as the
water they had was blah and unpalatable, so were the people in the
congregation. Hot water has its usefulness and cold does too, but the tepid
water was comparatively disgusting. This is exactly how Jesus saw the Christian
This is a lesson and a warning for all of us. Jesus
wishes for us to be either hot or cold. Those who are on fire for Him will
receive a great reward and those who are cold will receive their just
condemnation. But those who are regenerated by the Spirit but who are unwilling
to act like it are a hindrance to the cause of Christ. Their lives in Christ
are wasted and there will be no reward for works. What a waste of the victory
Jesus wrought on their behalf!
Lord, I often get cold about my Christian life and I
know this is displeasing to You. Please rekindle the spark in my soul and bring
me back to the place I should be…burning with the fire of the Spirit and bringing
great honor and glory to You. I pray this that You will be praised among the
people I interact with. Amen.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold
nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:16
What is it that makes you sick enough to vomit?
Sometimes a certain smell can affect us enough to make us throw up. Sometimes
people will get sick when they seen something happen – maybe a car accident or
they come upon something dead. Certainly tasting something revolting will cause
us to wrench. These are all associated with our natural senses and this is the
description Jesus uses for comparison – something lukewarm. In our natural
senses we have a strong distaste for what is lukewarm. But to Jesus, drawing
from this comparison for our benefit, He tells us that a lukewarm state of
spiritual life is what is revolting to Him. In order for something to be
vomited out of one’s mouth, it must be in that mouth first.
Jesus is telling the church at
Just look around at denominations and churches today
which once held to the Bible as the rule and guide of the faith. If they have
been replaced with a catechism, a book of order, a book of discipline, or any
other general guideline then they may no longer be a group on fire for the
Lord. Instead, they are on fire for themselves, setting up channels of
self-satisfaction and personal theology.
Don’t just rely on the words of the local church you
belong to, but go online and check the overall doctrine of the denomination
you’re in. You may be appalled at what you see. If you are, how much more is
Jesus? Don’t get cut off from the prize because of your love for a church when
it is a heart for the Lord which matters.
Lord, I certainly enjoy the fellowship of the
congregation I’m in, but I love You far more. Open my eyes to know whether You
are pleased with where I worship or if I should be working to restore it to a spiritually
alive state or if I should be looking for another church home. I want to honor
You first and foremost. Amen.
Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and
have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor,
blind, and naked— Revelation 3:17
What was the root cause of the lukewarm state of the
The other view is that the church felt they were
spiritually prosperous and had a command of the things of God. This church then
would have felt much more “spiritual” than those around them and that they were
somehow better than the other congregations. “Look out our religion! It’s pure
and undefiled and we’re not like the rest of the sinners around us. We’ve
dotted every ‘t’ and crossed every ‘i’ and no one can tell us the error of our
Unfortunately, they missed the fact that “t’s” need to
be crossed and “i’s” need to be dotted. They’ve made the fundamental error of
trusting in religion for the sake of religion, but have missed the point of
true faith and worship.
There is a third option and one that is more than likely.
The people at
How or where we worship is far less important than Who
we worship. This doesn’t mean that chaos should rule in our meetings, but it
does mean that formal gatherings with no heart for the Lord leaves us wretched,
miserable, poor, blind, and naked. We stand shameful, hopeless, worthless,
confused, and exposed before the eyes of the One who observes our hearts and
Lord Jesus, let our hearts not be stolen away from You
by worthless material gain nor by worship which is cold and lifeless. Let us
never cling to rules of order which make our worship the very object of our
worship, but help us to use our hearts, breath, actions, and souls to glorify
You alone. Amen.
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire,
that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that
the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye
salve, that you may see. Revelation 3:18
From time to time we need advice, and so we seek out a
person we can trust – whether we know them personally or not. If we need
financial advice, we’ll find a sound advisor for our money – “Mr. Kane, I’m
facing bankruptcy…help!” If we need marital advice, we may talk to a pastor –
“Pastor Carlin, my husband isn’t caring enough. What do I do?” And if we’ve had
psychological trauma, we may go to a world-renowned psychologist – “Dr. McCabe,
I’m struggling with the memory of my car accident from a year ago…I don’t know
what to do.” In the case of all spiritual matters, the advice comes directly
from the Author of our existence – Jesus.
We don’t need to ask others for the answer to most
spiritual matters because they’re already given right in the pages of the
Bible, including the cure for a spiritually lethargic or dead state. Today’s
verse is precious counsel from Christ. He says to, “…buy from Me gold refined
in the fire, that you may be rich.” In 1 Peter 1:6 & 7 we see the
explanation – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if
need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your
faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is
tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of
Jesus Christ…” Our faith simply needs to be properly directed towards Jesus and
we will have eternal riches – “more precious than gold that perishes.”
The “white garments” were explained previously. These
are the pure and undefiled garments of Christ’s righteousness which are imputed
to us when we accept Him as Lord and Savior. All our sins are covered by the
precious blood which cleanses. Jesus, and only Jesus, is able to cover the
shame of our nakedness. This means that our sins are taken away from before God
who must judge every misdeed.
Finally, we are told to anoint our eyes with eye salve
that we may see. One of the things
Lord Jesus, help me to take to heart the advice You
have given to me throughout these seven letters. Help me to apply them to
myself and to watch for those things You warn of in my church as well. Thank
You for Your tender care of my spiritual state. Amen.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be
zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19
Jesus really slammed the Laodiceans for their lukewarm
attitude. He gave them no commendation, and He rebuked them… but there is hope.
“As many as I love” indicates that Jesus hasn’t departed the halls of the
church yet. They still have their lampstand and He is still walking among them,
if only they will repent.
Because He loves them, His words are to “rebuke and
chasten” and not simply to condemn. In this sentence, the “I” is emphatic. This
means that He is personally making the plea and there is nowhere left for them
should they reject His words of kindness. Here is how Solomon puts such a
For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding; Proverbs 3:11, 12
Jesus is “just as a Father” and is talking to “the son
in whom He delights.” Eventually we will all stand before Him for either
judgment leading to rewards or losses or for condemnation. Let’s strive to gain
understanding before that day and let us take to heart His words of rebuke.
We need to “be zealous and repent.” This is written in
the present tense and is therefore a continuing action and something we need to
do constantly. May each one of us evaluate ourselves closely and hold fast to
the words of our Lord, Master, and Savior. Let us hold fast to Jesus.
Glorious and wonderful Lord! Even in the midst of Your
strongest words of correction, Your love for us is evident. Help us to never
take this love for granted, but to hold fast to it as a precious jewel of
truth…that we can repent and turn to You for life and for eternal joy! What a
wonderful, glorious King You are! Amen.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he
After taking a strong and disapproving stand against
the church at
“Come to my house for dinner” normally means a close
and personal friendship has sprung up and the type of conversation is far
different than that of other interpersonal relationships. Jesus says to the
Laodiceans, “I have offered My life for you and you haven’t respected that
offer, but I’m willing to completely change the relationship if you will only
let Me.” And so the Lord stands at the door and knocks. In other words, He
isn’t going to force Himself on anyone, but will rather allow them to open the
door of their own volition. And it only takes one person to open a door, not
the entire congregation.
That one person may be the inspiration to revive the
entire group. If you’re in a church which is in a poor spiritual condition, are
you the one who will step forward and help revive the hearts of stone? Jesus is
knocking and He is patiently waiting. When the door is open, He will flood the
room with His glory. This verse isn’t meant to be applicable solely to the
group, although it could be if the whole group responds. Instead, His
terminology is personal “I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with
Me.” Jesus is calling the individual and he who responds will have a meal with
the King of kings. That heavenly supper is coming and it will be a banquet like
no other. Get yourself ready for the most choice dining experience you can
imagine… a meal with Jesus!
O God, to sit and dine with my Lord and Savior! It’s
more than I can imagine - nourishing myself with the Bread of Life and drinking
wine from the Cup of Salvation. Even now, I have a foretaste of this glorious
meal as I partake of the elements of communion, but these only foreshadow the
feast to come. And may it be soon! Amen.
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My
throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation
Today we see the final honor granted to those who
overcome. Before we evaluate that, let’s be reminded of how one “overcomes.”
We’re given the vital information in 1 John 4, 5 –
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And
this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who
overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
The only way to overcome the power of the devil and
the world he controls is by faith “that Jesus is the Son of God.” If one denies
this, then they remain under the control of the devil and will never
participate in the glories to come. However, for those who call on Jesus by
faith, we have a final wonderful promise – we will sit with Him on His throne.
The throne is the position of ultimate rule in a
kingdom and Jesus grants authority for us to share that with Him in His. And
how exalted is this position? It is the very throne of the Father. As Jesus
said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
The throne signifies something else which is wonderful
as well. In the temple, there was no place to sit. The work of the priests was
never done because sin continuously needed to be atoned for. But Hebrews 1:3
says that when Jesus had purged our sins He “sat down at the right hand of the
Majesty on high.” In other words, the work was finished and the “rest” which
man was offered in
Hebrews 4:3 says that “we who have believed do enter
that rest.” Jesus Christ promises us so very much if we will simply demonstrate
faith in Him and His works. The glorious promise of reigning and resting with
Him is the crown of the honors we will receive. Isaiah 11:10 says that place of
His rest will be glorious. Hallelujah and Amen, He sat down!
Lord Jesus, just to see Your face is enough for me… I
long for that day with a burning desire. But You have promised us so many
glories in addition to this. I am overwhelmed by the great Grace and Mercy You
lavish upon me, Your unworthy servant. Praises be to You. Amen.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
to the churches. Revelation 3:22
This is the end of the seventh letter to the seven
churches. It’s also the seventh time that Jesus has made this call for us to
“hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” And today marks the last verse of
Chapter 3. If you’ve been carefully following the words of Jesus as given to us
in these seven precious letters, and if you’ve taken to heart the messages He’s
given us, then you should be fully prepared to know when you or your church is
diverting from His admonitions and you should have an understanding of how to
handle such a diversion.
Jesus isn’t the cosmic pushover that people portray
Him as. He is the Prince of Peace, but He is also the God who avenges His
people, the Judge of sin, and the One who will someday return to weed out all
wickedness and unrighteousness. Jesus is speaking this one last time to “He who
has an ear” and when we listen and take heed, we will receive all of the
wondrous promises given to the one who overcomes. Let’s review the blessed
promises He has given to the obedient soul –
(1) Jesus will allow him to eat from the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
(2) He shall not be hurt by the second death.
(3) He will be given some of the hidden manna to eat.
Jesus will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written
which no one knows except him who receives it.
(4) Jesus will give him power over the nations—“He
shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the
potter’s vessel”—as Jesus also has received from His Father; and He will
give him the morning star.
(5) He shall be clothed in white garments, and his
name will not be blotted out from the Book of Life; Jesus will confess his name
before His Father and before His angels.
(6) He will be made a pillar in the
(7) He will be given the right to sit with Jesus on
His throne, as He also overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne.
Thank You Lord Jesus for the wonderful promises You
have given to the One who trusts in You alone for their salvation. Thank You
for the seven letters You’ve given us which are meant to guide us, correct us,
and lead us to You. Give me the wise understanding to follow the words of these
letters all the days of my life. Amen.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing
open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet
speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must
take place after this.” Revelation 4:1
Today’s verse marks the major dividing line given back
in verse 1:19 – “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which
are, and the things which will take place after this.” The “things which are”
is the church age and its description ends with today’s verse. The “things
which will take place after this” is the tribulation period, the millennial
reign of Christ, and the new order of things when there is a new heavens and a
new earth. The “door standing open in heaven” is Jesus. For this we go back to
Revelation 3:8 which says, “See, I have set before you an open door, and no one
can shut it.”
As we noted in that verse, this is specifically
referring to Jesus’ claim to be “the door” in John 10:7-9. By faith in Him, we
are granted access into heaven and the call in faith is rewarded with eternal
salvation. When a person calls on Jesus, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit
(Ephesians 1:13, 14) and this is irrevocable.
At some point in the future, Revelation 4:1 will be
fulfilled in the rapture of the church. The voice like a trumpet and the call
to “Come up here” is explained in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 –
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the
dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall
be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
Whether you believe in the rapture or not is
irrelevant; it is what the Bible teaches. There is no other way to interpret
these verses in their literal sense.
If you are a saved believer in Jesus Christ and you
have been taught that there is no such thing as the rapture, then the only
difference between you and believers who do accept this doctrine is that you
will be surprised at Jesus’ coming, whereas they won’t. Those who are waiting
for this day are those who have the blessed assurance of a God who doesn’t lie
and doesn’t make things up to confuse His people. As Paul states so well in 2
Timothy 4:8 – “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me
only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Yes Lord, I love the thought of Your appearing and the
great call for us to rise to You at the rapture. It is my greatest hope, my
most joyful thought, my heartfelt prayer, and the desire of my heart. To be
with You! Oh, to see Your face and rejoice in the glory of Your presence for
eternity is the most precious gift of all! I wait anxiously for that day. Amen.
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne
set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Revelation 4:2
No sooner had the call been made, “Come up here” than
John was “immediately” in the Spirit. As we learned yesterday, this is the
rapture of the church. The past three chapters have dealt with the church and
its conduct during the Church Age, but today transitions to the things which
follow this period. The church won’t be mentioned again, in any way, until we
get to chapter 19 when it returns with Jesus at His second coming. How quickly
is “immediately?” Paul explains the rapture’s speed in 1 Corinthians chapter
15:51, 52 –
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The human eye blinks in about 300 milliseconds and a
person can blink 5 times in a single second. When the Lord calls His church
home, it will be over before anyone knew it occurred. The door will be shut and
those left behind will enter the tribulation period. As soon as we depart, we
will be in the presence of God and beholding His throne.
The One sitting on the throne here is Jesus. God
doesn’t have parts and cannot be seen; He is Spirit. Jesus is the One who ever
reveals God the Father to us and this will always be the case. Every
manifestation of God that is given in the Bible is seen through the Person of
Jesus Christ. This is important to understand because there will be many views
of the heavenly throne room and many participants interacting with this throne
– and each is God manifesting Himself through the Person of Jesus. Although
this isn’t something we can fully grasp, He is the One we are seeing in each
instance. There is a day ahead when the church will be called home. The
question we need to evaluate personally is, “Am I ready for that day?” Be wise and
call on Jesus now!
Heavenly Father, I have friends and family who haven’t
yet called on You. I pray that You will call them, open their eyes, and reveal
Yourself to them before the trumpet sounds and we are gone. I wish for them to
be saved from the great and dreadful tribulation which is coming upon the
entire world. Amen.
And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius
stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in
appearance like an emerald. Revelation 4:3
The comments on yesterday’s verse included the thought
that “every manifestation of God that is given in the Bible is seen through the
Person of Jesus Christ.” Far too often, Bible commentators attribute this scene
or others like it to God the Father. Such is not the case. To understand who
this is speaking of, we need to refer to 1 Timothy 6:14-16 –
“…that you keep this commandment without spot,
blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in
His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of
kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable
light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting
As God the Father reveals Himself to us, He does it
through His Son, Jesus Christ – the “blessed and only Potentate” and the “King
of kings and Lord of lords.”
The heavenly throne room we are viewing is the
glorious position of Jesus Christ who sits at the right hand of God the Father.
This is not a physical position, but rather a position reflecting authority.
John must have been completely overwhelmed by the amazing sight because he
doesn’t attempt to describe Him “who sat there” other than to say He “was like
a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance.”
Jasper and “sardius” (carnelian) are red stones. The
name “sardius” comes from the region where it was often found,
Around the throne there is a rainbow “in appearance
like an emerald.” This emerald color symbolizes the mercy which can only be
found at the throne of grace. All believers who behold the blood red appearance
of the Lord will also know that it is through His redemption that we find
This rainbow is thought to be circular, surrounding
the entire throne and thus signifies an unending mercy to those who have called
on the Lord by faith.
What a glorious vision John saw and what a wonderful
message it holds for those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
Lord, how wonderful it will be to walk in the light of Your glory and to behold
Your splendid majesty for all eternity. What a wonderful hope the believer in
You has. Hallelujah… my heart rejoices in Your glory! Amen.
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and
on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and
they had crowns of gold on their heads. Revelation 4:4
Jesus’ throne isn’t the only one in this heavenly
vision. Around it are “twenty-four thrones.” The same word is used for both
Jesus’ throne and for these twenty-four. There is certainly debate about who
these 24 “elders” are. Some say they are angels, some find other meaning. Let’s
look into the matter…
The word for “elders” is the Greek word presbeterous
(the word from which we derive “Presbyterian”) and it is the same word is used
in the gospels and Acts for leaders in the Jewish community. In the epistles,
time and again, it’s used to describe the leaders of church congregations.
However, it is never used of angels. These elders are “sitting” meaning their
work is done and they have authority to rule. Angels are “ministering spirits”
which seems to imply they will always be at work. Also there is no indication
that they will ever be seated in rule or authority.
The elders are “clothed in white robes.” This goes
back to Revelation 3:5 where one of the honors of the one who overcomes is that
they “shall be clothed in white garments.” These garments are Christ’s
righteous which is imputed to them rather than being a righteousness of their
And these twenty-four elders have “crowns of gold on
their heads.” The crowns indicate royalty and the right to rule. This is
something which was also promised to the one who overcomes in Revelation 3:21 –
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also
overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Jesus, when speaking to
his disciples said this in Luke 22:28-30 –
“But you are those who have continued with Me in My
trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one
upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on
thrones judging the twelve tribes of
Because of these things, and so many more which are
found throughout the Bible, it is probable that these twenty-four elders
represent the 12 sons of Israel and the 12 apostles of Jesus and thus they are
representatives of the redeemed of all the ages.
Lord Jesus, it is hard to imagine that human beings
will sit on thrones around Your heavenly throne to judge and minister on behalf
of Your redeemed. How can it be that You have so favored the wayward work of
Your hands, that You would redeem us and then favor us with heavenly rule? What
a gracious and glorious God You are! Amen.
And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings,
and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which
are the seven Spirits of God. Revelation 4:5
In Exodus 19:16, we read this description of the time
when the Ten Commandments were given to the people of
“Then it came to pass on the third day, in the
morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the
mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people
who were in the camp trembled.”
In Acts 2:3, 4 we read about the moment the Holy
Spirit was given to the people –
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a
rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat
upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to
speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Today’s verse takes us to the very place where these
past events originated – the throne of God Almighty. At Sinai, the people heard
the law written which would be engraved on stone. They were given a law they
couldn’t fulfill to demonstrate to them the grace they needed.
Lord, if wayward man only knew the tribulation that
will really come upon the world; if he only knew the absolute holiness of You
who created him; if he could only reason out the more important issues of life…
Lord, help me to be a faithful witness to Your grace before the days of
judgment issue forth from Your throne. Amen.
Before the throne there was a sea of glass,
like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were
four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. Revelation 4:6
The term “sea of glass” most probably indicates the
state of the sea, not the material. “Like crystal” then would indicate its
purity and clarity. This sea is “before the throne” indicating that it must be
crossed in order to reach the throne. If the ark symbolized the throne of God
in the tabernacle and temple, then the comparison is being made to the bronze
laver (a large basin used for ceremonial ablutions) in the tabernacle and the
bronze sea at the temple. The laver and the sea were used to hold water for
ceremonial washing of the priests as they performed their duties. They were to
“wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet,
lest they die…”
According to Exodus 38, the laver was fashioned out of
bronze mirrors used by the serving women and thus was the finest and purest
bronze. This washing purified the priests externally so that they could
minister. In John 13, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. When he got to Peter,
there was this exchange –
“Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon
Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my
head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet,
but is completely clean…”
Jesus used one word for “bath” and another for “wash.”
In order to come to the heavenly throne (as promised by Jesus in Revelation
3:21), one must be pure and undefiled. We are given our “bath” when we call on
Jesus and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. To be “washed” as Jesus did with the
disciple’s feet then is the on-going sanctification of the believer which was
represented by the laver in the tabernacle. This is serious and holy business
and we need to conduct our Christian lives properly.
The “four living creatures full of eyes in front and
in back” are “around the throne.” These creatures are certainly the same as
seen by Ezekiel in Chapter 1 and 3 of his book. That they were full of eyes is
significant because nothing misses their gaze and they are ever-vigilant as
they look from the throne of God and to the throne of God. Their symbolism will
be more fully described in the verses ahead.
Simply amazing! To know that someday faithful
believers will actually gaze upon the throne of God and see the majesty of our
Lord and Savior in His glory is beyond comprehension. How wonderful is the
picture you give us in the pages of Your word! Glory to God and amen!
The first living creature was like a lion, the
second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a
man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. Revelation
As noted a few times, these four living creatures have
appeared elsewhere in the Bible. In Ezekiel chapters 1 & 3 they are seen –
Also from within it came the likeness of four
living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness
of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings…As for the likeness
of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the
face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the
left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 1:5, 6 &
There is also a veiled reference to these four faces
in the Genesis 2 story where the river in
The Lion symbolizes Jesus as portrayed in the
book of Matthew; it reflects
His kingship because Matthew portrays Jesus as the
“King of the Jews.”
The Ox reflects Jesus as portrayed in the book
of Mark; it reflects His servant-hood as portrayed there (the ox being a
The Man symbolizes Jesus as portrayed in the
book of Luke; the Man reflects Luke’s designation of Him as the “Son of Man.”
And finally, the Eagle symbolizes Jesus as
portrayed in the book of John; the Eagle reflects His deity and John’s
designation of Him as the “Son of God.”
In the end, everything points to Jesus either directly
or indirectly. What is veiled is there for us to unveil as we read and meditate
on Scripture. The Person of Jesus Christ is the full and complete revelation of
God to us in a form that we can understand. He is the glorious image of the
invisible God. He is Jesus.
How wonderful it is to see my Lord and Savior revealed
in the pages of the Holy Bible. Thank You for opening these pictures of Jesus
to us in a manner we can understand and appreciate. Surely You are a great and
awesome God! You are full of splendor and majesty and You are worthy of all of
our praise and devotion! Amen.
The four living creatures, each
having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day
or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is
to come!” Revelation 4:8
Isaiah 6:1-3 says this – “In the year that King Uzziah
died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of
His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six
wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two
he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the
LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’” As you see, there
are similarities and differences.
The four living creatures are called seraphim
in Isaiah. This word means “burning ones” and their burning appearance
certainly comes from reflecting the glory of God. This is similar to Moses’
face when he spoke with God. Afterward, his face shone radiantly. These
creatures are always in the presence of God and therefore burn intensely. The
creatures in Revelation are described as being “full of eyes” and “they do not
rest day or night.” In other words, they behold the glory of God directly and
therefore they are continuously strengthened in their being.
They are ever being revitalized from the glory of what
they see and will be eternally awake, alert, and responsive to what they
behold. And their response is to repeat an eternal chant proclaiming the sight
– “Holy, holy, holy.” The word “holy” indicates “separation.” God is infinitely
holy, or infinitely separated from what is fallen or sinful. In this repetition
of “holy, holy, holy” there is an emphasis on God’s supreme holiness and also a
hint at His triune nature within the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
But holiness doesn’t just separate “from,” it also separates “to.”
When someone or something is dedicated and purified,
there is a separation “to” God. The perfect separation to God for humans is to
be united to Him through Christ and His work on our behalf. Another difference
between Isaiah’s vision and John’s is when the seraphim in the temple at
Simply unimaginable! O God, to gaze upon Your infinite
glory and beauty is the desire of my heart. Now I have Your word to meditate
upon and to see what Your glory is like but I know that in the future I will
know intimately that which I now know only in my mind’s eye. I long for that
wonderful day when I behold You through my own living eyes! Amen.
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and
thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, Revelation
In this verse, the Greek word hotan is used for
“whenever.” It is indicating that this isn’t a rote form of worship, but rather
it comes at different levels and that it occurs periodically but continuously.
They give glory or doxan which forms our word “doxology.”
Thayer’s Lexicon says this is to “give or describe glory to God, why and how
being evident from each case in the context: thus by declaring one’s gratitude
to God for a benefit received.” They also give honor or timen in
Greek. This is described as “the honor which one has by reason of rank and
state of office which he holds.” And they also give thanks or eucharistan
which forms our word “Eucharist.” The case in which this word is used indicates
“of the person to whom thanks are given.”
A similar phase to the one in today’s verse is used
eight other times in the book of Revelation. The number 8 in the Bible is used
to indicate new beginnings and it has a specific reference in the absolute
sense to Jesus Christ. He is the one who makes all things new. These four
living creatures, covered with eyes so that they always behold the glory of the
Lord, are eternally in awe of the One “who sits on the throne, who lives
forever and ever.”
We normally have the human form of Jesus firmly fixed
in our minds and when we hear that glorious and exalted name, it is this human
form which we tend to think on. But Jesus Christ is also fully God and He is
the “image of the invisible God.” In other words, all of the glory of God is
revealed through the Person of Jesus Christ. Every good and wonderful thing we
see with our eyes came from God and is therefore only a minute reflection of
the infinite glory of our Creator – the Creator who is our eternally glorious
and worthy Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
May we never fail to remember that He is wholly worthy
of our glory, honor, and thanks.
What an amazing and glorious King of the Universe is
revealed to us in the pages of the book of Revelation. If the heavenly
creatures stand in awe of the splendor of the Lord, how much more should we.
Let us never forget that the One who washed the dirty feet of the disciples is
also the Lord of all Creation. He is Jesus. Hallelujah and Amen!
…the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits
on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns
before the throne, saying:… Revelation
Today’s verse continues from yesterday’s verse. As the
four living creatures “give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the
throne, who lives forever and ever” these twenty-four elders fall down before
Him who sits on the throne. They prostrate themselves before the King of kings.
They have been given golden crowns which signify their
right and authority to rule, but they defer the honor to the One who seated
them. Jesus is the One who bought each person back from a state of spiritual
deadness and restored to them the blessing of eternal life. Therefore, when
they “cast their crowns before the throne” they are acknowledging this. Three
more times in the book of Revelation we will see these elders prostrate
themselves in worship.
In all ways, what we have came from Him. He gave us
life as the Creator; He gave us freedom from the law as our Redeemer; He gave
us the power to grow in holiness as the One who sanctifies us; and He has given
us the future promise of glorification.
Jesus was there at the beginning, He is here now, and
being eternal, He will always be before us. Some commentaries state that the
One on the throne to whom the elders cast their crowns is God the Father, but
as we analyzed before and will again many times in the coming chapters, Jesus
is the One who reveals the unseen God. Therefore, every manifestation of God
that we see is Jesus continuously revealing the Father. We can know this is
certain in the current heavenly seen because it says the elders “worship Him
who lives forever and ever.” This is a restatement of Revelation 1:18 –
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I
am alive forevermore.”
Jesus Christ is fully God and is the One sitting on
the throne of God Almighty. To Him be the glory now and forevermore! Amen.
We fall down, and lay our crowns, At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of, Mercy and love, At the feet of Jesus
And we cry holy, holy, holy. Amen.
“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor
and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were
created.” Revelation 4:11
This verse forms the first doxology of praise from the
24 elders and it encompasses the concept of creation. In the next chapter,
there will be a doxology of redemption. These same concepts form the reason for
the 4th of the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 and
they are given in the same order. Thus these doxologies are tying the Lord
(Jesus) of Revelation in with the LORD (Jehovah) of the Old Testament.
Let’s review those – “For in six days the
LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and
hallowed it.” (Exodus) /// “And remember that you were a slave in the land
of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and
by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep
the Sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy)
This Creator, the Lord Jesus, is worthy “to receive
glory and honor and power” because He created all things. He is the One who was
there at the beginning – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth.” If He created these things, then He was there before they came to
exist. He created what is, from what was not (something from nothing) and
therefore He was before they came to be. Everything was in His mind and then He
spoke them into existence. Because of this, everything belongs to Him and the
purpose of His act of creation is to bring Himself glory.
And not only did He create all things, but by His
“will they exist.” In other words, He is currently and continuously sustaining
all things. Jesus is this “Sustainer” as is noted in both Colossians 1 and
Hebrews 1. Interestingly enough, man doesn’t need the Bible to understand the necessity
of a Creator and a Sustainer.
These concepts can be thought through, understood, and
supported by reason and intellect alone. Once these things are grasped, then
all mankind needs to do is to search out where this infinite Mind has revealed
Himself. There is only one text which accurately defines what we can know about
this glorious Creator and it is the Holy Bible. Reason alone excludes all other
religions and religious texts on earth and establishes the God of the Bible as
the One true God. Jesus Christ is the full, complete, and only revelation of
this Creator. He is the Lord God Almighty… He is Jesus.
Oh God! To plumb the depth and riches of Your word,
the Holy Bible, is something that we will be able to do forever. There is no
end to the wisdom and beauty of what You have given us in its pages. You are
worthy, O God, to receive glory, and honor, and power. Amen!
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on
the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
We begin chapter 5 with the One seated on the throne –
the Lord God Almighty, who is Jesus – who has in His right hand a scroll.
Again, we need to note that Jesus is He who continuously reveals the unseen God
to us. As we continue along, we’re going to see other representations of Him
interacting with each other – all of them are Jesus. There is no contradiction
here, but each is simply one aspect or another of God revealing Himself to us
This scroll is “in the right hand of Him who sat on
the throne.” The right hand is the position of authority and is where Jesus
rules from (see Acts 2:33 for example). This indicates that Jesus has the
authority over what is in the scroll. The scroll is “written inside and on the
back.” Normally scrolls only had writing on one side, particularly if they were
papyrus scrolls. This is because of the way they were made. The pen used for
writing would easily catch on the vertical cracks of the back side of a scroll.
This scroll then is of great importance because John specifically notes that it
has writing on both sides.
It is “sealed with seven seals.” Ancient Roman wills
were sealed with seven seals and this is certainly what is being referred to
here – a will or title deed. A parallel from the Old Testament comes from
Jeremiah 32:6-15 where Jeremiah is told to purchase land and the deed is
recorded on a scroll –
“Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is
sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel, that
they may last many days.”
This account occurred when the
Just as fallen man lost the right to the title deed of
the land he was given, Jesus regained that right, having purchased it with His
own death after fulfilling the Law in Himself (the earthen Vessel where the law
was kept.) “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity
be the death of the testator.” Hebrews 9:16
O God! That You had a plan, even from the very
beginning to restore us to
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud
voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” Revelation
Yesterday we were introduced to the scroll sealed with
seven seals in the “right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” This
scroll had writing on both sides and is the will or title deed to which Adam
lost the right when he disobeyed God. Since that time there have been many
billions of humans on the earth and the question is now put forth, “Who is
worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” Is anyone who has lived
since Adam qualified to restore and accept responsibility for that which he
The question is asked by a “strong angel.” It has been
surmised that this is the angel Gabriel who has been the bearer of God’s
revelation to certain people throughout redemptive history. He specifically
appeared to Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary and may have appeared at other times as
an unnamed herald of God’s message. Gabriel means something like “mighty one of
God” and this would fit the description here of a “strong angel.”
The words are waiting to be unsealed which implies
that they were once sealed, that they have been sealed since then, and that
someone is expected to unseal them at some point. In Daniel 12:4 there is a
parallel thought concerning sealed words – “And he said, “Go your way,
Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the
This statement was precipitated by the following words
“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince
who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time
of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that
time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found
written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those
who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.”
Daniel was told about the events of a coming day which
would be centered on the nation of
Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals?
Lord, I know that I am not. Where Adam failed, I continue to fail. I have been
disobedient to Your law and have not been perfect. But thank You O God that my
sins are covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I know that because of
Him, my sins are forgiven. Thank You, O God, for Jesus! Amen.
And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the
earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. Revelation 5:3
The scroll has been presented and the question to all
humans who ever existed has been put forth, “Who is worthy to open the scroll
and to loose its seals?” And the answer has been determined –
There is a three-fold dimension to the answer as well.
(1) No one in heaven – No human being who has ever
lived and who is currently in the heavenly realms is qualified. Enoch, the
seventh man from Adam, was translated directly to heaven because he “walked
with God” – unworthy. Elijah, the great prophet of
(2) No one on the earth – Think of the people
on the earth today who you may admire. Billy Graham – Unworthy; Tim Tebow –
Unworthy; Some politician – unworthy; You – unworthy; Me – unworthy. Repeat
this for the other 7 billion people on earth – all unworthy.
(3) No one under the earth – Every human who
has ever existed since the creation of Adam and who is now resting in the dust
from which they came… just think about it! Great men of God; great world
leaders; missionaries; evangelists; heroes of the Bible – all unworthy. And not
only are we unable to open the scroll, we aren’t even worthy to look at it.
We have inherited Adam’s sin directly in three ways: Legally
– we are legally in Adam because He is our federal head. Potentially –
the very fact that we could exist as human beings brings us into direct
contact with Adam. Seminally – all humans who actually exist
(from the very moment of conception) are stained with Adam’s sin, having
inherited it as a result of the fall. Death, which is the wages of sin, proves
this. Even infant babies aren’t excluded.
As an important note, this verse today disproves the
immaculate conception of Mary. If Mary were born and had remained in a sinless
state then she would be worthy. But no one, including Mary the mother of Jesus,
is worthy. This frightening passage should leave all of us humbled. We have no
claim to boast before God because we are unworthy.
Lord, when I get thinking too highly of myself, simply
looking into Your word reminds me that I am unworthy – wholly and completely.
My very existence testifies against me and I stand condemned. That You would
send Jesus to cleanse me has all the more significance when I see my own fallen
state. Thank You, O God, for Jesus. Amen.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to
open and read the scroll, or to look at it. Revelation 5:4
John “wept much” at the state of what he was seeing.
Other translations say he “wept and wept” or “wept bitterly.” John was
overwhelmed at the reality of what he was being presented with in this heavenly
vision. He had been told in verse 4:1, “I will show you things which must take
place after this.” But now that he was in the heavenly throne room, it appeared
that the vision may be one of eternal condemnation for all humanity. Not a soul
in all of human history was worthy to “open and read the scroll” or even “to
look at it.”
The effects of sin permeated every person who was ever
born. Only a sinless being would be qualified to replace the failings of Adam…
but no one came forward. No one else was worthy. Even John who was “in the
Spirit” (4:2) wasn’t found worthy. Remember yesterday’s verse – “no one in
heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to
look at it.” The three possible categories of man’s state are covered in this
verse and the ruling has been handed down… “No one.” But John, in his moment of
grief had forgotten the words of Paul as recorded in Philippians 2:9-11 –
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given
Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the
earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
There is a name that is above every other name and One
to which “every knee should bow.” This One came and fulfilled the Law on behalf
of Adam’s seed. Being born of a virgin, he didn’t inherit sin as other humans
do and was therefore qualified to face the devil head on. He prevailed where
Adam had failed and so He can now speak on behalf of “those in heaven, and of
those on earth, and of those under the earth.” Don’t weep John; there is an
answer to your immense grief. He is coming and His name is Jesus.
That Name above every other name fills my soul with
joy. When I think on my sin and fallen state, I look around and see that
everyone else is just like me. We all fall short of Your glory, O God. And it
makes knowing Jesus all the more precious. In all of human history, only One
has gone without sin and it is to Him that I direct my glory, honor, and
thanks. It is Jesus. Amen.
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.
Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to
open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5
While John was overwhelmed with the thought of
humanity lost in sin and removed from any possibility of returning to
As we saw in the symbolism of the four living
creatures before the throne, the lion symbolizes rule, authority, and kingship.
When blessing his sons before his death, here is what
This “Lion” prophesied by
Later in Revelation 22 Jesus says, “I am the Root and
the Offspring of David.” In other words, as the Root, He is prior to David and
as the Offspring, He issues from David. He is both the Creator and Son of the
great King of Israel. This glorious ruler “has prevailed to open the scroll and
loose its seven seals.” What appeared to be a loss for humanity has become a
victory – but only because of the intervention of God. The incarnation of Jesus
Christ was the only hope for man because all men are conceived in sin through
Adam and thus receive his fallen nature. But Jesus came through a woman and by
the Holy Spirit and therefore didn’t inherit Adam’s sin. He was qualified and
He prevailed. He is the great King. He is Jesus!
Lord, when things seem out of control in our lives and
we are at our moment of greatest sadness and despair, You are there and in
complete control. What have we to fear when You have gained the victory? You
not only conquered death and defeated the devil, but You have promised to
include us in Your great plan for the ages. Praises belong to You alone, O God.
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne
and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb
as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the
seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Revelation 5:6
John heard the voice say, “Behold, the Lion of the
tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to
loose its seven seals.” Expecting a kingly figure when he raised his eyes from
weeping he instead saw… a Lamb. And this Lamb looked “as though it had been
The scroll which is to be opened is a will or title
deed and as we previously noted, “…where there is a testament, there
must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” Jesus Christ gave up His
perfect life to establish the New Covenant and to regain the title deed to
fallen humanity. The scroll which is to be opened will contain judgments upon
the world and the One who opens it will be the executor of those judgments.
When they come, the people of the world will not be able to ask why the
executor isn’t also participating in these judgments. His scars testify that He
already has. He already took the judgments that the world can now expect and He
prevailed over what He was given. He gave His life in the task before Him and,
being sinless, was resurrected. Those who call on Him will likewise be given
eternal life. Those who don’t will receive what they deserve for rejecting His
The slain lamb that comes forward has “seven horns and
seven eyes.” These are explained as being “the seven Spirits of God sent out
into all the earth.”
In verse 4:5, we read this – “Seven lamps of fire were
burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” In other words,
these “seven Spirits of God” that burned before the throne – illuminating the
splendor of God have now become the active agents of the Lamb which will go
forth in judgment. The eyes see every hidden thing and the horns, a symbol of
strength, will execute the judgment upon the unrepentant world. This lamb is no
longer the meek and mild suffering Servant. He is now the One who comes to
bring destruction on all who have rejected Him. He is the Lion and the Lamb. He
Lord Jesus, when I think on the slain Lamb, innocent
and spotless, standing in the heavenly throne, I can’t help but praise You. In
humility and kindness You came to this world and in love You have offered peace
and restoration. And yet the world has mocked, ridiculed, and rejected You.
Surely You are righteous in the judgments to come. Amen.
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand
of Him who sat on the throne. Revelation 5:7
Again, it needs to be stressed that what we are seeing
is Jesus continuously revealing the unseen God. The One on the throne is Jesus
as we previously noted. And both the Lion and the Lamb are Jesus. He is both
the First and the Last and He is the Beginning and the End. The Lamb “came and
took the scroll.” This hearkens back to the book of Daniel. In Daniel 7:13, 14,
we see this awesome heavenly scene –
“I was watching
in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with
the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near
before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all
peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an
everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.”
The right to touch and to open the scroll has been
given to the Lion of the tribe of
The scroll came “out of the right hand” of the One on
the throne. Remember, Jesus sits “at the right hand of God.” This is not a
physical position of God which He sits at, but a position of authority. Jesus
has won the victory and gained the right to the title deed and He has paid the
price for those who call on Him. He offers mercy based on His paying this
price, and He has provided the grace by exalting all who accept the call. The
choice is made and now the scroll can be opened. When it is, the entire earth
will be affected by the result.
Get ready, big events are on the horizon…
All hail the great and exalted name of Jesus. He is
the Lord God Almighty who rules the universe; He is the Lion of Judah who rules
the earth; He is the Lamb of God who provides atonement for His people; and He
is the One to open the scroll and let loose judgment upon an unrepentant world.
He is Jesus – Hallelujah and Amen… He is Jesus!
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living
creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a
harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
The Lamb is worthy and He has taken the scroll! The
right to the deed has been established. Until now, the four living creatures
and the twenty-four elders have fallen down before the One on the throne – the
eternally existent God and Creator of all things, who is Jesus. But now it says
they “fell down before the Lamb.” Jesus is God united with human flesh. From
the time of His cross and resurrection, this will always be so. He will never
cease to be other than the God/Man and it is to Him that our attention,
thoughts, allegiance, and worship are to be directed. This is the point of the
symbolism we’ve been given. Jesus has prevailed!
“Each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense”
isn’t descriptive enough to tell us whether this means the living creatures and
the 24 elders or only the 24 elders; it is, however, most likely just the
elders. Either way, they have:
1) Harps – these are translated from the Greek word kitharas
which is where our modern word for “guitar” comes from. These are not the harps
of David’s time, known as gittiyth and kinor. Nor are they the
Greek style of lyres. Instead, these are more closely associated in sound and
style with guitars.
2) Golden bowls full of incense – these would be the
same type of censers as were used in the temple times in
In the Old Testament, authorized incense was never to
be mixed with any other. On two occasions, when it was, the people offering it
died. This lesson is important for us to grasp – we are never to pray with
non-believers in inter-faith prayer gatherings. By doing so, we are telling
them that their prayers are as valid as ours and are, by default, condoning the
false god they worship. Only one type of prayer is acceptable to God and that
is prayer offered to and through Jesus Christ.
What a magnificent thought – God has never lost
control! When we thought all was lost, His plan was being carried out in the
Person of Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God has prevailed and we are saved! Praises
be to You for the marvelous workings of Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.
“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its
seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of
every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
Worthy! The Lamb is worthy; the Lion has prevailed;
the scroll will be opened after all. The Creator is now the Redeemer.
Before, the call was made to all humanity – Is there
“no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth” who could open the
scroll, or look at it? When all looked lost and we were dead in our sins, the
slain Lamb stepped forward – the One who redeemed us to God by His own precious
blood. God’s plan for the ages is fulfilled in the God/Man – Jesus Christ.
And this plan isn’t for a certain group of people
only. Jews are covered – yes of course. They are the line from whom Jesus can
trace His earthly lineage. But this isn’t just about the Jews… This is about
“every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
Do you dislike someone because they’re Asian? Jesus
has shed His blood to redeem them too.
Do you feel somehow superior to the Mexicans who moved
in down the road? Jesus’ life was given so that they have a right to eternal
Does the thought of sharing a table with an African
upset you? Jesus has offered them a seat at the Feast which is coming – a
When you were stationed in the
If you’re bearing some ill will towards a different
ethnic group, culture, nation, or language, you need to re-evaluate your
thinking. They are God’s image bearers and equal with you in all ways. Acts
17:26 bears this out –
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they
should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and
the exact places where they should live.”
We all came from one man – Adam. And we are all one
group – human beings. And we are all given the same opportunity – call on the
name of Jesus. God is no respecter of persons. The Lamb died for all.
Lord, its true… I have held bitterness towards people
of other cultures and I have felt ill will towards them. I have failed to look
at the greater picture – that they are, in fact, a part of the same human
family as I am. We came from the same father and they bear your image too. Give
me the sense, the will, and the heart to love those whom I have not loved.
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10
Today’s verse is from the NKJV. The NIV however reads,
“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will
reign on the earth.” In verse 9, it said “us” and in this verse it says, “us”
and “we.” If this is the correct reading, then the 24 elders are certainly
redeemed people and not heavenly beings. If not, then it isn’t certain who they
are. Based on the symbolism though – the white garments, kings crowns, etc. –
which we have already analyzed, the NKJV is certainly more likely. These things
are important, but we need to focus on the greater picture – that there will be
“kings and priests” to God from the redeemed of the world and they will “reign
on the earth.”
This is important especially because this is what was
“And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a
holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children
It is also something Peter wrote about when writing to
the “pilgrims of the Dispersion” in chapter 2 of 1 Peter. Resulting from the
work of Jesus Christ, we have the authority to rule and to serve. Jesus
received the right to the kingship through the line of David, but David
also indicated that the right to the priesthood would come to the
Messiah as is stated in Psalm 110. This is fully explained in the book of
Hebrews. Jesus is the King/Priest and the offices are united into one as was
prophesied in Zechariah 6:13 –
“Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall
bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest
on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
Jesus has merged the two offices into one and He now
shares those duties with His redeemed. As a saved believer in Jesus Christ, you
have a right to authority and rule. Because this is so, now is the time to
begin to act on that by exalting Him for His work of redemption in your life.
What a wonderful Lord, what a wonderful Savior! You
brought me out of the chains of sin and condemnation and have freed me to be
Your servant. But even more – You have given me the right to rule and to serve
You in Your kingdom. I stand up and praise You, O God. Thank You for the
precious gift of Jesus Christ my Lord! Amen.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels
around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them
was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, Revelation
The Lamb is worthy and has taken the scroll. When He
did, those around the throne fell down before Him and sang the song of
Redemption. John heard the glorious words, knowing now that the Creator who was
worshipped in the previous song (Chapter 4, verse 11), is also the Redeemer.
All things belong to Him and He is worthy of all praise.
Next John’s attention comes upon a marvelous sight and
surely a glorious sound – he “heard the voice of many angels around the
throne.” People write songs about the voices of angels, knowing that they must
be the sweetest sound of all – like a heavenly concert. And there weren’t just
a few, but “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” The
word for “ten thousand” here is a myriad. A myriad means “ten thousand”
and it was the largest number in the Greek numbering system. In other words,
the sight which John saw encompassed a number of angels which was simply
impossible to count.
So just think on what is being relayed. Jesus, before
His crucifixion, said this – “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the
sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My
Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” All of
the power of the heavenly hosts was at Jesus’ disposal and yet He willingly
suffered for the sins of fallen man. If you wonder what you are worth to Jesus,
it is reflected in this thought today. All of the power of heaven could have
been brought to save Jesus from the cross, but He died for you.
Jesus said something else on similar lines – “For what
profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or
what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” In other words, all of the
riches of the world aren’t worth one human soul. What we can’t always see
clearly is brought into absolute clarity of focus at the cross of Jesus. And so
the angel’s voices proclaim His majesty – “Worthy is the Lamb.” So should we
proclaim our Lord!
Lord, when I have doubts about my own worth, all I
need to do is to reflect on the cross. What You did for fallen man includes me,
even me. I am so sorry for the sins of my life and I am sorry that they
necessitated Your sacrifice. I will forever sing Your praises as we gather
around Your glorious heavenly throne. Amen.
…saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was
slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory
and blessing!” Revelation 5:12
The heavenly choir of angels – an innumerable number
of them – joins with the living creatures and the elders to proclaim the worth
of the Lamb. This Lamb was slain and bears the marks of His death as a
testament to the ages that He paid the price for the people of the world. They
call out seven ways in which He is worthy –
To receive power – As the Creator, He was
entitled to all power and authority, but He set that aside to walk and dwell
among us. However, after the resurrection, He said this, “All authority has
been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” With authority comes power. Jesus has
complete and absolute power over the created order because of His having
Riches – This includes every tangible part
of the creation. Not only does He have rule over the creation, but He is the
owner of it. He is the Creator and He is the Redeemer and so everything belongs
to Him alone and we are only His servants participating in the abundance of His
Wisdom – In 1 Corinthians 1:24, Christ is
called “the wisdom of God.” What God has done has been done through Jesus
Christ. Both the way creation occurred and continues to work, and the way God
has preordained the plan of redemption demonstrate the execution of His
infinite intelligence. The depths of His wisdom are embodied in the Person of
Strength – The concept of strength
belonging to God permeates the Bible, such as in the psalms – “To You, O my
Strength, I will sing praises.” Jesus Christ is worthy to receive this honor
because it came from Him and is now returning to Him as the victor.
Honor – This includes reverence, respect,
and worship. Because He prevailed, Jesus has the right to all of these now and
forevermore. When we bow before God, when we proclaim the majesty of God, when
we pray to God, we do these things through Jesus Christ.
Glory – In God there is no darkness. He
is the infinite brightness of splendor and radiance and Jesus Christ is the One
who reveals this to us. Towards the end of Revelation, it says this “The city
had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God
illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” Jesus Christ receives and
directs the full glory of God. He is the very light which dispels the darkness.
Blessing – There are two types of
blessing that should be noted. The first is the blessing from a greater to a
lesser, such as when a father blesses his son. The other blessing is the one
spoken of here and can be equated with “praise.” Jesus is worthy of all
blessing and praise. He created us and therefore He is to be blessed. He
redeemed us, and therefore He is to be blessed. He sustains us, and therefore
He is to be blessed. For all eternity, may the souls of God’s people bless the
Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is Jesus!
O Lord our God, You are infinitely worthy of power and
riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing! May we never
fail to give You these through the Person of Jesus. He is the One who humbled
Himself even to death so that we may have life. Allow us the honor of ascribing
to Him the splendor and majesty that He is due! Amen.
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I
heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits
on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
All blessing and honor and glory and power “to Him who
sits on the throne.” This is Jesus, the Creator of all things. “And to the
Lamb” – this is Jesus, the Redeemer. This all-encompassing doxology hearkens
back to the 148th Psalm which is directed to the LORD “Jehovah” in
the Old Testament. Jesus is the full revelation of the Person of Jehovah. Let’s
praise Him together –
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the
heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you
stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the
heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were
created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which
shall not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures
and all the depths; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His
word; Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars; Beasts and all
cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and maidens; Old men and
children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven. And He has exalted the horn of His
people, The praise of all His saints—Of the children of
Praise the LORD!
Oh Lord Jesus, may You be praised and held in the
highest honor among Your people! You are the King of glory and are worthy of
every blessing and honor that can be given. All things come from You and to You
are all things. Glory to God in the highest! Glory to the Lamb of God, our Lord
and Savior Jesus! Amen.
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the
twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
The cry of “Amen” from the four living creatures and
the prostrated worship of the twenty four elders returns to “Him who lives
forever and ever.” In other words, it has come full circle from where it
started in chapter 4. The attention has focused on the One on the throne who
lives forever and ever, and then to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of
David, and then to the Lamb who was slain. And now, after demonstrating that He
was the qualified Redeemer who descended from David and yet was David’s Source,
the attention is redirected to Him as He sits on His rightful throne.
The term “Him who lives forever and ever” is used
seven times in Revelation and it shows us the eternality of the Lord. Here in
the last verse of Chapter 5, it is repeated to remind us that everything we’ve
experienced in this heavenly scene is given to show us the magnificence of
Jesus. He is our Creator. He is the One who directed history toward the people
The gospels then tell us of His work, His death, and
His resurrection. The establishment of His church is recorded in Acts and then
the importance of His work is explained in the epistles. Here in the book of
Revelation we have the on-going unveiling of Him in His entire majestic
splendor – showing us in apocalyptic form what the Bible has presented. And now
our attention is refocused on the throne from which He came – eternity itself.
Jesus stepped off of this throne and united with human
flesh to do His amazing work and then He returned to it – there in heaven to
“sit at the right hand of God” with “angels and authorities and powers having
been made subject to Him.”
Lord God Almighty! It all makes sense when we stand
back and look at what is presented from a historical perspective. Yes, it all
comes into focus! All things are from You, belong to You, have been
accomplished by You, and they return to You. You are the entire focus of it
all. May my eyes never be directed away from the splendor of Your glory! Amen.
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I
heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come
and see.” Revelation 6:1
We’re at the beginning of chapter six and the opening
of the seven seals. From this point on, even until chapter 19 (with some
interesting inserts along the way), we will be viewing the 7 years of
tribulation which will come upon the whole world. This is the “70th
week” of Daniel’s 70 weeks as was revealed to him in Daniel 9:24-27. This is
the correct view – that the events are yet future and are centered on the
people and nation of
The fact that this is future is completely evident
from a proper study of those four verses as they are revealed in human history
and as is confirmed throughout the rest of the Bible. The Lord Jesus was also
born a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew, and was resurrected a Jew. He
ascended from the
From the opening of the seven seals and through the
trumpet judgments and bowl judgments, there is an immense amount of
disagreement as to the timing and meaning of what is occurring. Because these
things are future, it would be inappropriate to be dogmatic about much of the
interpretation. A careful evaluation of what will be presented is needed
without being adamant about that which we can’t know for certain. What is past
is certain and what is clear is certain. That which is veiled will be fully
realized only when it happens.
In today’s verse, the first seal is broken. The Lord
is opening up the title deed. As the seal is broken, one of the living
creatures around the throne calls to John, “Come and see.” John’s eyes will
behold and his pen will write the events which are coming. The world is being
warned in advance. God has graciously offered us to see these future events.
When they arrive, no one can say they weren’t warned.
Lord Jesus, open our eyes and our hearts to appreciate
the meaning of the symbolism to come. As we peer into these things, may our
study help us to more fully appreciate that You are in complete control of the
future and that nothing coming upon the world is therefore out of Your control.
We thank You for Your perfect plan of the ages. Amen.
And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on
it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to
conquer. Revelation 6:2
John’s direction is turned toward a white horse and
someone sitting on it with a bow. A crown was given to him. This crown
represents authority to rule. The rider “went out conquering and to conquer.”
There are two major views on who the rider is. The first is that it’s Jesus.
Some reasons for this view are that he is on a white horse and Jesus comes back
to earth on a white horse in Revelation chapter 19. The bow without arrows
supposedly then represents Jesus’ victory without using military might. And a
crown is given to Him, indicating His right to rule. This view is unlikely at
best. The second major view is that this is the antichrist… big difference
The white horse was ridden in ancient times by the
leaders of conquering armies, so comparing the white horse here with the one in
chapter 19 is not a necessary connection at all. The bow is a symbol of battle
and just because there are no arrows mentioned is irrelevant. What the rider
was wearing as far as battle armor isn’t mentioned either, but any warrior
would certainly wear it.
The crown which was given to him in no way ties him to
Jesus because “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that
exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 9:1)
This rider has been given authority to do his work
during the time of the tribulation period. Eight more times in the coming
chapters, the term “was given” is used to indicate an allowance of evil power,
so the argument cannot be made that this is Jesus from that term either. The
term “anti” when applied to the antichrist” means “instead of.” And this is
certainly what is expected during the tribulation period based on the figure
mentioned in Daniel 9:26 – “the prince that shall come.”
This prince is anticipated to come in the final 7-year
period mentioned in Daniel’s vision and that 7-year period is still future; it
is the tribulation period of Revelation. The figure in today’s verse then is
certainly this coming antichrist – going out conquering and to conquer.
Lord, the best part about reading today’s verse is to
know that I am already safe in You. The antichrist who is coming has no
authority over me because I am Yours! Hallelujah and amen to this! Lord, I pray
for my family and friends today who still don’t know you. Please open their
eyes now so that they will be spared from this time of trial to come. Amen.
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second
living creature saying, “Come and see.” Revelation 6:3
The Lamb opens the second seal and the second living
creature called out “Come and see.” The question may come to mind, which of the
living creatures is this? When the first seal was broken, it simply said, “one
of the four living creatures.” But this verse says “the second living
creature.” Therefore, they are calling out in order. The first one in verse 1
then was the lion and the one here in verse three would be the ox. After this
will be the man and then after that will be the eagle.
If you remember, these are also represented by the
four gospel accounts. Matthew depicts Jesus as the King, symbolized by the
Lion; Mark as the Servant, symbolized by the Ox; Luke as the Son of Man,
symbolized by the Man; and John as the Son of God, symbolized by the Eagle. The
living creatures around the throne are named in the same order as the gospels
and they are calling out in the same order as the gospels. What is revealed in
the four gospel accounts is the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
For those who accepted the message before this time of
tribulation, pardon of sins was granted and eternal life was given. They were
taken at the rapture, escaping the things to come. But now, those same gospels
which were rejected by the remaining people on earth, testify against them. The
living creatures are calling out the destroyers, one by one, who will bring
judgment on the earth to those who are left behind to endure the tribulation.
There is an order to all things and God displays His divine
order in the Bible. It is consistent and it is verifiable. Because of this, His
judgments also follow His divine order. We need to carefully and sacredly
handle the gift He has given us in the pages of the Bible. They demonstrate the
great wisdom of our Creator and they show His plan for us. Let us take heed to
the words given.
Thank You Heavenly Father for the great book You have
revealed to us – the Holy Bible. It is one of comfort, of wisdom, of joy, and
of blessing if we handle it properly. Help us to do so and to study it and love
it all the days You have set before us. Amen.
Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted
to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people
should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. Revelation
This second horseman is symbolic of war. Just as the
planet Mars, the Red Planet, is a symbol of war. This probably isn’t
coincidence as even from the first chapter of the Bible, the heavenly objects
are meant “for signs and for seasons.” Planets and constellations are mentioned
elsewhere in the Bible in this way. However, we shouldn’t make the error that
we can either predict the future by these things, nor should we look to them
for divine guidance. Instead, we have the pages of the Bible to tell us the
meaning of heavenly occurrences.
This one, symbolized by a rider on a red horse, has
been “granted to take peace from the earth.” This is coming after the rapture
as is revealed in 2 Thessalonians 1-12. Specifically, verse 7 says this – “For
the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will
do so until He is taken out of the way.” The world is already filled with
war and lawlessness, but it is restrained by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Were
it not for this presence, the world would have already come to its end.
However, when the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence
is removed, the world will be left to do things on its own. How do we know this
is after the rapture? It’s because believers are already “sealed” with the Holy
Spirit according to Ephesians. If the Holy Spirit is removed, then the
believers must be removed too because the Holy Spirit is also a “guarantee of
our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise
of His glory.” Once this occurs, mayhem will ensure.
The word “kill” in today’s verse is sphaxousin.
This term means “to kill by violence” rather than by means of war. The world
will devolve into a place of chaos and mayhem. Murderous bands of thugs will
prevail over the weaker and then they themselves will slaughter each other.
There will be few left when the seven years of tribulation are over. Now is the
time to call on Jesus. Those who do will be taken out before that time of
Lord God, I look around and see the world in chaos and
distress and yet I know that it could be so much worse. Thank You for Your
calming Holy Spirit upon the nations. Thank You for Your patience with the
unruly sons of man. Help me to be a light to Your goodness during my walk here
– to Your honor and glory. Amen.
When He opened the third seal, I heard the third
living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse,
and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. Revelation 6:5
The third horse is let loose – he is black and its
rider “had a pair of scales in his hand.” The first horse was white and carried
a rider with a bow who “went out conquering and to conquer.” The second horse
was red and “it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the
earth” through war. Now comes famine and hunger – the result of the first two
horses. If you see the logical progression, the entire world is following the
same path that Nazi Germany went down and the same path that many other
countries have gone down.
They started with a leader who supposedly could
conquer and provide peace (the white horse), but he instead brought war (the
red horse) and its result is famine and suffering (the black horse). These will
be followed by one more, but before that one arrives there is going to be the
time of rationing which is symbolized by the scales. Leviticus tells of this
type of horror – “When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall
bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight,
and you shall eat and not be satisfied.” Because the rationed food won’t be
enough to satisfy, people will secretly hide anything they can eat even from
their own family. The horrendous consequences of rejecting God will result in
what is now unimaginable.
Deuteronomy 28:56, 57 shows us the level that humans
will sink to when the food runs out. Be warned that these words are as shocking
as anything you may ever read and therefore, you may want to skip the following
quote – “The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set
the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity,
will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, her
placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears;
for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and
desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.”
Such is the state that the entire world will be reduced
to in the years ahead. This type of situation will fill the world because of
our rejection of the love of God in Jesus so we can do things our own way.
Lord, I am overwhelmed by the scene being presented to
me and it horrifies me that the world will turn to this low level of existence.
It’s so hard to even comprehend when right now there is abundance and
prosperity. But You are righteous in Your judgments because we have left You
out of our lives. In wrath remember mercy, O God. Amen.
And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living
creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley
for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:6
A voice “in the midst of the four living creatures”
gives the order to the rider on the black horse. The voice then is that of the
Lord Jesus. We can tell this because the same term is used three times in
Revelation – in 4:6, 5:6, and 6:6. The other two times it is also referring to
Jesus. The amazing symmetry should be noticed and it calls out that Jesus is
1) The Lord God Almighty in verse 4:6 (the Creator);
2) The Lamb who was slain in verse 5:6 (the Redeemer);
3) The Director of judgment in verse 6:6.
These three roles of Jesus are displayed in the
symmetrical verses and each point to the His deity. He directs the rider to
bring the world to a state of famine which is horrific to imagine – “A quart of
wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius.” A denarius
was equal to an entire day’s wages at the time of John. A hired worker or a
soldier could expect no more and it is symbolic of a day’s wages in any time. A
quart, or a choinikes, of wheat is enough to sustain one person for one
day. In other words, the famine coming upon the world will reduce a person to
working simply to survive.
If he has a family to feed, then instead of wheat he
will have to buy the lesser quality barley to feed them also – but it will only
feed three. If the family has more, the food will either be divided to less-than
subsistence amounts or choices will have to be made about who will do without.
There will be no extra money for anything else. Such is the state of man for
rejecting the Lord and throwing their allegiance behind the antichrist.
“Do not harm the oil and the wine” goes back to
Deuteronomy 28:51 – “And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the
produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain
or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of
your flocks, until they have destroyed you.” Along with farm animals, oil and
wine were considered valuable commodities for daily life, but there will be no
such extras in the time of tribulation. The wealthy and elite will bring the
masses to a state of complete ruin.
Heavenly Father, we take the normal commodities of
life as a given and never consider that a time is coming when they simply won’t
be available. The world is heading towards disaster and we need to spread the
word that “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds
from the mouth of God.” May we impress this up them now! Amen.
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of
the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” Revelation 6:7
The fourth living creature, the eagle, makes the call
as the fourth seal is broken. Again the words call out, “Come and see.” Thus
far, there have been three calls resulting in three horses – a white horse with
a rider going out to conquer; a red one with a rider going out to take peace
from the earth; and a black one going out to bring famine upon the earth. The number four is used consistently
throughout the Bible as the number dealing with the earth.
Therefore, without even reading the next two verses,
we can make the connection that this too will be a horse with a rider and it
will affect the earth in a way which logically follows a pattern we can see in
As we review these verses we will see what this
pattern is and how the people of the earth will be affected – on a global
scale. Until then, let’s consider that these tragedies are being released from
the four living creatures around the throne and that these creatures symbolize
the four-fold facets of Jesus – the King, the Servant, the Son of man, and the
Son of God. In other words, what is occurring is happening because these
revelations of Jesus have been rejected by the people of the world.
Their rejection naturally leads to a breakdown in
morality, because God is the Author of morality – it being His very nature. It
leads to a breakdown in justice, in righteousness, in truth, in mercy, in
grace, in holiness, and in love.
All of these have been set aside by a world at enmity
with God and who now will reap the rewards of wanting to do it their own way.
Some will say that God then is the Author of evil, but this isn’t the case. A
rejection of God is what will bring on these evils. Micah tells us how they
could have been avoided – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And
what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk
humbly with your God?” When we don’t walk with God, He leaves us to our own
devices and the evil which results is our own fault.
Lord Jesus, give us the ability and the desire to walk
in agreement with You, in a humble, just, and merciful way towards others and
in a way which will glorify You. Thank You for the Gift of Your good and Holy
Spirit to guide us in our walk with You. And please give us the wisdom to rely
on His counsel and not on my own earthly desires and understandings. Amen.
So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of
him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given
to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with
death, and by the beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:8
John’s eyes are directed to the last horrifying horse
and rider. He is on a “pale horse.” The word in Greek is chloros and indicates,
like Clorox Bleach, a sickly greenish color. Without explicitly saying so, this
is a horse of sickness and plague – an obvious connotation from the color.
The rider is Death – the destroyer of the body, and
following him is Hades – the consumer of the soul. The people killed by this
symbolic figure equal a quarter of the population of the entire earth and they
receive the punishments of the other riders as well – the sword, hunger, and
death. And a new mode is brought in to work its destructive ruin – “the beasts
of the earth.”
How could we imagine that humans with modern weapons,
such as guns, could be outnumbered by “the beasts of the earth”? It happens
every day in the world around us – through the diseases they carry. At an
alarming rate, new variations of swine flu, equine influenza, bird flu, mad cow
disease, ebola virus, typhoid, AIDs, malaria, and so on arise and we respond as
quickly as possible, normally containing the outbreaks to small numbers of
people. However, when the world is economically destroyed and war is prevalent,
these animal-caused and animal-carried diseases will rapidly move to human
beings and will be able to kill in the billions with little chance of
What seems like a world of peace and prosperity right
now could, within an extremely short period, turn into a world of war, famine,
disease, and utter ruin. Not only could it, it will happen. When the rapture
occurs, it will be a mere seven year period before man, who numbers about 7
billion right now, will be brought almost to extinction. By Jesus’ own words –
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the
beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those
days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those
days will be shortened.”
O great God Almighty, I look with dread at what is
coming upon the world and it tears at my soul that what is coming could have
been avoided – simply by acknowledging Jesus as our Creator and Redeemer. I
pray that many will realize this before it is too late. Amen.
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony
which they held. Revelation 6:9
The fifth of seven seals is broken and the resulting
scene changes. The past four seals have released the four horsemen upon the
earth for judgment, but today’s seal directs John’s attention to the altar. In
commentaries, this altar is often associated with the brazen altar of sacrifice
in the tabernacle, but that is not the altar being referred to here. The altar
of sacrifice was used for the transference of sin from a guilty person to an
innocent animal. The blood of that animal was then poured out at the base of
the altar. However, the people mentioned in today’s verse have already
transferred their sins to the Lamb of God, Jesus.
There is no altar of sacrifice in this heavenly scene
because Jesus has already cleansed His people. The altar in today’s verse is
referred to in both Revelation 8 and 9; it is the golden altar of incense. In
the tabernacle, this altar was in the
Therefore, the altar of incense mentioned here is
directly in the throne room.
When we get to Revelation 8:3, we will read this,
“Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He
was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all
the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” The incense is
“the prayers of the saints.” Today’s saints have “been slain for the word of
God.” In the psalms, it says this, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the
death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15. The souls under this heavenly altar are
eternally safe and their precious prayers are heard by the God who judges their
death. He will avenge their shed blood.
Lord, surely many faithful souls have been martyred
over the centuries for their witness of Your wonderful work, but surely many
more will die when the tribulation period starts and wickedness has taken over
the world. But those who have died for the glorious name of Jesus are secure
and their blood will be avenged. Hallelujah to the God who remembers! Amen.
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O
Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on
the earth?” Revelation 6:10
Today we see the Lord presented as the Avenger of
Blood. This term goes all the way back to the Old Testament. The first time the
avenger is mentioned is in Numbers 35 when speaking of someone who willfully
kills another person. If they do, the avenger is to take that person’s life.
The avenger had the right to take the life of any person who killed a close
relative, willingly or unwillingly, but provisions were set up to protect the
person who killed unintentionally. However, when the murder was intentional,
“The avenger of blood himself shall put the murderer to death; when he meets
him, he shall put him to death.”
The term for “avenger” is the Hebrew word goel
and this same term is applied also to the kinsman redeemer. Jesus is both to us
because He is our nearest relative. The people, as it said yesterday, were
martyrs – thus implying that they were God’s witnesses of Jesus Christ; saved
believers. Because of this, they are to be avenged. They cry out “How long?”
This same term is used several times in the Old Testament.
Isaiah wanted to know how long he had to witness to
the people of
These martyrs call on the “Lord” by using a term
meaning “master.” By doing so, they are recognizing His divine authority to
judge. The question that logically needs to be asked is, “Who are these souls
under the altar that are calling out?” Because the rapture has already
happened, all the martyred saints of ages past have already been glorified.
Therefore, these people have accepted martyrdom for the name of Jesus after the
beginning of the tribulation, not before it. As we will see in the chapter
ahead, there will be many, many of them.
Jesus, it is comforting to know that You are our
Avenger and that You will surely judge any who come against us. It is also
comforting to know that You are our closest relative, even closer than a
brother. You are our glorious Kinsman Redeemer and You have paid the ransom
price for our souls with Your own precious blood. Thank You, O Lord! Amen.
Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it
was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the
number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as
they were, was completed. Revelation 6:11
“A white robe
was given to each of” these martyrs. The symbolism reaches all the way back to
Genesis chapter 3 where “for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of
skin, and clothed them.” This was done only after Adam demonstrated faith in
the promise of a Redeemer to come.
By naming his wife “Eve” he indicated his belief in
the promises of God; Eve means “life.” This pattern continues without wavering
throughout the Bible. Only when faith in God and His promises are made can
anyone be clothed, or covered by Him. This clothing then signifies that a right
relationship with God has been restored. Before that time, a person is
separated from Him because of their sins, but when we demonstrate faith in
God’s word, we move from a position of guilt to a state where we are free from
guilt. In essence, God bestows upon us the righteousness of Jesus Christ,
symbolized by the white robe.
Isaiah speaks of this blessed state – “I will greatly
rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me
with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of
righteousness.” These martyrs of the tribulation period have demonstrated
faith, even to the point of death, and can now rest in the eternal security
which is the reward of this faith.
Jesus spoke of this trial that would be faced during
the tribulation – “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives
and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be
hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost.
By your patience possess your souls.” Obviously, if someone had been put
to death and yet “not a hair of your head shall be lost” then Jesus was
speaking of the eternally secure state of these martyrs. And so now they wait
patiently, covered in His righteousness, while “the number of their
fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were,
Despite the bloodbath of this horrific period, there
is an appointed end to the death and destruction. God knows, in advance, how
many will be martyred. When that number is complete, He will act by sending
Jesus back to reign from His throne in
Lord Jesus, today’s verse, despite being about
martyred believers, is one of comfort and assurance. You have promised that You
have them safely in Your care and that they will receive the eternal
inheritance of everlasting life. I can look to Your word and then to the future
and have nothing to fear – You have everything under control. Hallelujah and
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold,
there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair,
and the moon became like blood. Revelation 6:12
The first four seals dealt with the judgments upon the
earth, symbolized by the four horsemen. The fifth seal took us to the heavenly
altar and the souls of those who were martyred for faith in Christ during those
judgments. John is now directed back to the earth and the “two great lights” of
Genesis 1, the sun and the moon.
It says on the earth there will be a “great
earthquake.” The Bible records several earthquakes in the past and in the
future. This one is tied in with the sun and moon being darkened. There is no
reason not to take these things literally. What is most likely viewed here is
an earthquake large enough to cause volcanoes or some other natural disaster
which will spew great volumes of dust and debris into the atmosphere. This will
cause the darkening of the sun during the day and the moon looking red like
blood at night.
As the events of the Bible are generally surrounding
the Middle East, it is certain that this is the view that will be seen from
there and particularly in
In Acts 2, Peter speaks of this occurrence. His words
are quoting Joel chapter 2 and they are often applied to Pentecost in the year
of the resurrection of Jesus in a symbolic fashion, but this isn’t a full
picture of what Peter was speaking about. Instead, he was saying these things
would come because of Jesus’ work, not that they had come in their fullness at
that time though. The context of Peter’s words must be evaluated based on the
original prophecy in Joel. They are future to us, even now, and they will be
fully realized after the rapture of the church in and through the people of
How great and wonderful You are, O God. You have given
us a look into these future events and what is coming upon the whole world. And
You have also given us the way to avoid being caught up in them – by calling on
Jesus now. Help us to focus our thoughts, hearts, and minds on Jesus and tell
His message to others before that Day comes. Amen.
And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig
tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Revelation 6:13
There are two general thoughts on what is occurring in
today’s verse. The first is that these are literal meteors in the heavens
falling to earth, which to John would appear as stars. This then could indicate
the timing of the surrounding events – such as during a Perseid or Leonid
This would be perfectly in line with the symbolism of
the sun and moon being darkened in the preceding verse and the earthquake
before that – each of which are both plausible and likely events to be taken
literally. If this natural explanation is correct, it is important to remember
that the Bible describes events as they would appear to the spectator, not in
scientifically accurate terms.
What is written is from our human perspective. Even in
modern times we do this, such as saying, “The sun will rise at 7:10 am.” The
sun doesn’t actually rise, but from our perspective it does. Therefore, the
Bible cannot be accused of dishonesty when such pronouncements are made. They
are for the benefit of the reader.
There is a second option too. This is that the stars
are references to people in high religious positions. This terminology is used
elsewhere in the Bible, such as in Daniel 8:10 – “And it grew up to the host of
heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars
to the ground, and trampled them.” If this is the correct interpretation, then
the nations are abandoning their religious allegiances and focusing on the
anti-Christ. Not only then is military power being solidified, but also the
religious activities of the world are being brought into one large body of
Either way, literally or symbolically, the world is in
its tailspin and the events are on a global scale. The term “as a fig tree
drops its late figs when shaken by a mighty wind” is probably referring to figs
that didn’t ripen during the season and which are still green when the strong
winter winds begin. The symbolism is that there will be a large number of the
stars and they will fall all at once.
Thank You Lord for allowing us to peer into these
future events and see what is coming, although we can still struggle with
individual interpretations, we know the overall outcome. It is wonderful to
know that you have complete control over the future and that we are already
safe in You. Glory be to God and amen.
Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up,
and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. Revelation 6:14
If you read Isaiah, you will see that a large amount
of the symbolism in Revelation comes from that book. As you can see in the
following verse, yesterday’s reference to figs falling and today’s reference
about the sky receding is from Isaiah 34:4 –
All the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll;
All their host shall fall down
As the leaf falls from the vine,
And as fruit falling from a fig tree. Isaiah 34:4
One must consider, like yesterday that the heavenly
events being viewed are from a man standing on earth. The “sky receding as a
scroll” is most probably a result of the earthquake. Just as when there is a
nuclear detonation and the sky appears to roll up. This earthquake will be so
large and so widespread that it will affect the atmosphere of the earth. Side
effects of earthquakes are numerous and so this is not at all implausible or to
be taken symbolically.
The cataclysm to come will cause such a tectonic
disturbance that even “every mountain and island” will be moved out of its
place. A global catastrophe like this will shake the very foundations of
society and will certainly cause immense economic upheaval. These things really
are coming on the earth and we need to be right with Jesus before such calamity
Lord, I see that the disasters coming on the earth are
natural as well as man made and they are leading to a cumulative effect of woe
and misery. Use me, O Lord, as an instrument of Your good news now so that many
will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus before this time of tribulation. Thank
You for the protection and security that comes through you alone! Amen.
And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich
men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid
themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, Revelation 6:15
There are seven classes of people mentioned in today’s
The kings of the earth are those leaders who
have sovereign authority over their lands. Even today, kings reign in countries
of the world.
The great men would be comparable to our
presidents, prime ministers, dictators, etc. They are those who were elected
into office or gained their rule through force, but are not considered kings.
The rich men are obvious even in today’s world.
They are people who have immense wealth and can wield that wealth behind the
scenes to bring about their agendas. These people have authority in media and
access to their leaders in a way others don’t.
The commanders known in Greek as chiliarchs
are the high military officers who exercise the military powers of their
Mighty men is referring to people who
exercise power which is not specifically military in nature and yet their power
is of great strength – lower levels of governmental authority, industry, etc.
may fall under this term.
is a designation of anyone who generally exerts himself and his efforts on
behalf of another. This can be applied to servants and even to blue collar
workers who are kept in the bonds of low level work just to make end’s meet.
Finally, every free man would apply to the rest
of the people on earth – self employed, small business owners, even the retired
who are living in an uninhibited way.
In other words, all the categories of people on the
earth are listed here. And when the great cataclysm mentioned in the preceding
verses occurs, they will know that God is sovereign over His creation. All of
their power, position, and wealth won’t be able to save them in that time. They
will hide “themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains.”
In Ecclesiastes, we’re told that things repeat
themselves and that there is nothing new under the sun. We can go back to
Isaiah 2:19 to see that this is true – “They shall go into the holes of the
rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the Lord And the
glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily. Isaiah 2:19
Lord, thank You that the rapture means that I will be
spared from the terrifying calamities to come. Even the great and mighty will
be fearful and hide at what is coming, but I know that I will be secure in Your
glorious presence through it all. Thank You Lord! Amen.
…and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and
hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the
Lamb! Revelation 6:16
Let’s put this verse in the full context of the
sentence– “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the
commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in
the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the
mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on
the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’”
The people “hid themselves,” but that wasn’t enough.
There is no place safe from the coming wrath and no place that the Lord’s eyes
There is a parallel back in the book of Joshua chapter
10 – “‘The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.’ So
Joshua said, ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it
to guard them.’ … Then Joshua said, ‘Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out
those five kings to me from the cave.’” These kings hid, just as the kings of
the earth will hide in the future time of tribulation, but they know they can’t
hide securely so they call out to the mountains and rocks. Instead of making a
plea to the Creator of the rocks, they simply ask nature to hide them. But then
in a typical contradictory process, they acknowledge who they are hiding from…
It is confused thinking by a confused generation that
will deny the Creator while simultaneously acknowledging Him. But this is
exactly how the world is turning, even now. And what are they hiding from? “The
face of Him…”
Peter explains what this means in his 1st
epistle – “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are
open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who
do evil.” They know that their lives have been conducted in evil and
they know that what is happening now is just and deserved and so they call out
to a secondary force, nature, to hide them from the ultimate force – the wrath
of the Lamb.
Lord, surely we think unclearly about who You are and
what You have done for us. Instead of holding fast to You and acknowledging you
now, we live our lives in selfish pursuit and reckless abandon. But You are
holy and deserving of so much more. Forgive us for our transgressions and give
us the heart and desire to serve You now and always. Amen.
For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is
able to stand?” Revelation 6:17
There are verses in the Bible which seem to contain
oxymoron because they don’t fit our thinking of how things are. For example, we
are asked to be a “living sacrifice.” A sacrifice, by its very nature, is
something that dies. Someone not understanding the significance of the
Christian life can’t grasp such a concept. But the informed believer knows that
we are to be “dead to sin” and to offer our lives to God apart from the body of
sin and death which is in the world and in our flesh.
Verses 16 and 17 contain what would otherwise be
considered an oxymoron – the wrath of the Lamb. How can a lamb demonstrate
wrath? For some, even the “wrath of God” makes no sense. They can only see the
Creator as a big fluffy pushover who dotes on us and gives us candy and
prosperity. But God is holy. Our sin, no matter how small, is an affront to
God. Multiply that by the billions of people on earth who have rejected Him,
and His righteousness demands justice.
God doesn’t change during this process. Think of a
column which is fixed and unmoving. On one side of the column is written
“peace” and on the other side is written “strife.” If you are on the “peace”
side, then peace reigns down on you, but if you move to the “strife” side, then
you have become the object of punishment and pain. This is how we interact with
God. We change in relationally to Him; He does not change in position to us.
When we are covered in Christ, we are on the “peace” side, but without His
covering, we remain on the “strife” side.
Once we are at strife with God, we can never again be
on His good side by anything we do. It is an eternal change and only an eternal
correction – one from outside of the created order – can rectify the situation.
This is Jesus. He is the payment for an infinite crime against and infinite
Unfortunately, in the tribulation the world has
rejected Jesus and therefore tastes the fruits of that rejection – the wrath of
the Lamb. One can’t be right with God without accepting Jesus Christ. He is
“the way, the truth, and the life.” No one comes to the Father except through
Lord God, I understand that a finite crime against You
bears an infinite penalty. I also understand that I can never pay the fine
necessary to be right with You. But I know that Jesus could – He is fully God
and fully Man and therefore is qualified to do so. I accept His payment on my
behalf. Thank You for the Lamb of God; thank You for Jesus! Amen.
After these things I saw four angels standing at the
four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind
should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Revelation 7:1
We’ve come to the beginning of chapter seven and
immediately there arrives a brief interlude between the opening of the sixth
and seventh seals. “After these things” shows a progression of thought and time
and so what is coming now is sequential to what has occurred with these other
seals. Whether it’s sequential to John only, meaning he is being shown these things
one at a time even though they overlap, or whether the events of the opening of
this seal are sequential to the previous ones is uncertain. However, the events
coming through verse 8 are probably at the beginning of the tribulation period
and so the first option seems correct. Either way, there are “four angels
standing at the four corners of the earth.”
This is not to be taken that the Bible proclaims a
square earth, it doesn’t. In Isaiah 40:22 the Bible speaks of the “circle of
the earth” meaning an orb, not a cube or flat square. In the book of Job, the
Bible says that the Lord “hangs the earth on nothing.” The four winds then,
like other references in the Bible, is merely speaking of the four general
directions of the earth and not set points.
There are also several examples to validate this
throughout the Bible. The angels are “holding the four winds of the earth.” The
winds are the peoples of the world and the perspective is from
Lord, the world will believe they have the peace they
seek and they will delude themselves by it. Even today, we rage against You and
look to cast off Your sovereign rule. Forgive our stubborn and rebellious
hearts and help us to hold fast and faithfully to You. No matter what is coming
those who have called on You will be safe. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.
Then I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four
angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,… Revelation 7:2
John’s attention is directed to “another angel
ascending from the east.” The Greek says “from the rising of the sun” which is
obviously from the east. All the way back in Genesis 3, we read “So He drove
out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a
flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Later, when the temple was built in
In Ezekiel 10, the glory of the Lord departed from the
temple because of the idolatry of the people. When it did, it left going out
over the threshold which is on the east. In Ezekiel 43, when describing a
future temple, the glory of the Lord returns from the east. And in Haggai 2:9,
we read this, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the
former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says
the Lord of hosts.” Jesus entered the temple in
In the future, there will be a group of Jewish people
who will come to understand this and accept Him as the Messiah they had long
rejected. The coming verses will explain what will be done to and for them.
Today though, we will note that this angel has “the seal of the living God.”
Believers today are marked with the seal of God, which is the Holy Spirit, the
moment they put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1 tells us
that this seal is a deposit or guarantee of our future redemption. As God is
sealing us, there is no greater seal possible and therefore our salvation is
eternal; it can never be lost. The angel in today’s verse carries such a seal –
an everlasting mark of God’s faithfulness.
What a majestic and splendid display to behold! We can
look to the pages of the Bible and see a heavenly drama being played out before
our very eyes. It is amazing and awesome to be allowed to peer into these
events and see the very workings of the heavenly throne room. Thank You, O God,
for the things You are showing us! Amen.
…saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees
till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” Revelation 7:3
This fifth angel of the preceding verses directs the
four angels “holding the four winds of the earth” to wait and not “harm the
earth, the sea, or the trees.” The judgments coming on the earth will affect
everything and there will be great destruction as they accomplish their tasks.
But before this happens, the “servants of our God” are to be sealed on their
foreheads. The angel uses the term “we.” It is uncertain who “we” means, but if
we go back to Ezekiel chapter 9, we may find an answer.
In Ezekiel’s vision, there was a call made for those
“who have charge over the city” to draw near. When they did, they were given
instructions. One of them had an inkhorn and was told to “Go through the midst
of the city, through the midst of
The word is the same as the 22nd letter of
the Hebrew aleph-bet and the ancient tav was in the shape of a cross. In
other words, these “servants of God” in today’s verse have accepted the work of
Jesus Christ and are being sealed “on their foreheads” just as those in
Ezekiel’s time were – probably with the tav or cross. This seal isn’t
necessarily a visible mark, but a change in attitude; an understanding in their
minds of who Jesus is and their role in His work. Such a mark is given with the
inner sealing of the Holy Spirit. These people are being saved by God and for
The term for “servants” is the word doulous,
and can also be translated as “slave.” Such a person was usually captured
during battle. These are captured in the great battle for the human soul. This
is the spiritual battle between light and darkness. These people who are to be
sealed have been brought into the marvelous light of the glory of Jesus Christ
before the angels are unleashed to bring destruction on the earth.
Lord God, it is ever so comforting to know that I have
been sealed with the Holy Spirit from the moment I accepted Jesus Christ as
Lord and Savior. I know that You don’t make mistakes and therefore, I am
eternally saved despite myself. When I stumble and fall, I can still trust that
You have already forgiven me of these sins. Great and wonderful You are, O
And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One
hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of
Important: The “children of
John “heard the number of those who were sealed.” This
call was from the “angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living
God.” When the call was made, there was also the important detail of how many
were to be included, and the number is one hundred and forty-four thousand. The
number 12 is a number of a structural or governmental authority in the Bible.
Therefore, there is a complete structural unity to the number of people being
There are 12 tribes of
The tribulation period is the 70th “week”
or 7-year period of Daniel’s 70 weeks (see Daniel 9) and it is speaking about
the Jewish people and it is centered on
The church is not in the equation because the church
has already been raptured. There are also fringe cults who claim that they are
the “144,000” or have them in their ranks. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for
example, believe this. But as stated before, this thinking comes about from
poor Bible interpretation and involves self-delusion as well. The “children of
Lord God, help me from being deceived by those who
would purposely or carelessly misapply the clear and concise statements of the
Bible for selfish, hateful, or other reasons. May You open my eyes to the truth
of Your word and lead me in the proper handling of it so that You will be
glorified through my studies. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
…of the tribe of
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; Revelation 7:5
Reuben was the firstborn of
And Gad was the firstborn of Zilpah, the handmaid of
Leah – Jacob’s first wife. Gad means “a troop” or “fortune.” Here are the blessings
for each of these sons of
are my firstborn, My might and the beginning of my strength, The excellency of
dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel,
Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it—He went up
to my couch.”
“Gad, a troop
shall tramp upon him, But he shall triumph at last.”
You have ordained all things, O Lord, and You have
safely protected what You have ordained, including the children of
…of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; Revelation 7:6
Asher was the second son born to Leah’s handmaid
Zilpah. His name means “happy.”
Naphtali was the second son of Rachel’s handmaid
Bilhah. His name means “my wrestling.”
And Manasseh was the firstborn son of Joseph, Rachel’s
oldest son. His name means “forgetting.”
“Bread from Asher shall be rich,
And he shall yield royal dainties.”
“Naphtali is a deer let loose;
He uses beautiful words.”
To Manasseh (and his brother Ephraim) - “God, before
whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life
long to this day, The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
Lord, it is so wonderful to see how You have worked
through real people in human history to unfold Your beautiful plan of
redemption. Use me also, Lord, in the way which will bring You the most honor
and glory. I thank You that I am a small part of Your loving work in and
through the people of the world. Amen.
… of the tribe
of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; Revelation 7:7
Simeon and Levi were the second and third sons of
“Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of
cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their
council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they
slew a man, And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their
anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide
them in Jacob And scatter them in
“Issachar is a
strong donkey, Lying down between two burdens; He saw that rest was
good, And that the land was pleasant; He bowed his shoulder to bear a
burden, And became a band of slaves.”
Lord, it is so precious to look into Your word and to
contemplate the reasons for the mysteries it holds. Open our eyes and our
understanding to ensure that what we conclude is proper and aligned with Your
intent. Let us not deviate from sound and reasonable explanations of these
hidden treasures. Thank You for Your precious word! Amen.
Zebulun was the youngest son of Leah and his name
means “dwelling.” After him are listed the two sons of Rachel. Joseph means “he
will add” and Benjamin means “son of my right hand.” Joseph’s youngest son,
Ephraim, isn’t mentioned in this sealing of the 12 tribes, but he was given the
greater blessing by his grandfather
Many have tried to insert the church into these verses
and claim that what we’ve seen is the church spiritually representing
Here are the blessings given by
dwell by the haven of the sea; He shall become a haven for ships, And
his border shall adjoin
a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.
The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him. But
his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the
hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the
Stone of Israel), By the God of your father who will help you, And by the
Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of
the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The
blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the
utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And
on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.”
“Benjamin is a
ravenous wolf; In the morning he shall devour the prey, And at night he shall
divide the spoil.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to
the sons of
After these things I looked, and behold, a great
multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and
tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white
robes, with palm branches in their hands,… Revelation 7:9
Today we start a second scene of the vision John has
been viewing which occurs between the sixth and seventh seals being broken.
“After this” indicates a progression of time. Again, progression in Revelation
doesn’t always mean from our viewpoint, but can often simply be from John’s.
What he sees as sequential may be overlapping within the stream of time to us.
John sees “a great multitude which no one could
number.” Who are these people and at what point in history do they appear? The
answer will be given in the verses ahead, but for clarity now we will note that
they are martyrs of the tribulation period – the final seven years before
They are “of all nations, tribes, peoples, and
tongues.” These are not the same as the 144,000 Jews who were sealed in the
first half of the vision. Jews may be included in their number, but they are in
a different category.
There will be people saved out of the tribulation from
around the earth, having realized too late for the rapture that Jesus really
was who He claimed to be. Now they have to prove their faith by being faithful
even unto death.
How do we know? It is because they are “standing
before the throne and before the Lamb.” They are in heaven and have left the
earthly behind. These martyrs are “clothed with white robes.” We’ve already
seen the symbolism of this given before. It is the imputed righteousness of
Jesus Christ which they have received. The robes are emblematic of this and we
saw the same symbolism in Revelation 3:5.
Along with the robes, they have “palm branches in
their hands.” If you remember, when Jesus rode into
Hallelujah and glory to God in the highest! Salvation
has come to men in the Person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord. He has
fulfilled the law, paid our sin debt, and prevailed over death – all the work
of our Messiah and our King. Praise You, O God, for the glorious work of Jesus
Christ Your Son. Amen.
…and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs
to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:10
In this amazing heavenly scene, John beheld a great
multitude which was beyond counting from every tribe and people and tongue.
These are standing before the throne and before the Lamb and are adorned in
white raiment and holding palm branches. With a resounding voice of the
multitudes, they cry out “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb.”
This terminology goes back to many occurrences in the
Old Testament, but specifically to Psalm 3:8 which says –
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah
Salvation is of the LORD, meaning “Jehovah” of the Old
Testament. This is yet another example of the deity of Jesus Christ being
proclaimed. It is He who sits on the throne as the Creator and it is He who is
the Lamb as our Redeemer. He fills both roles – He is the Beginning and the End
of our walk with God. He is the one who calls us and the one who completes the
work in us.
In a pun demonstrated throughout the New Testament,
the word “salvation” is used in conjunction with Jesus. The name “Jesus” is
derived from Yeshua and this specifically means “salvation.” Therefore,
the play on words is saying that Jesus is the One who is God and who is also
the Lamb. He is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form and the One who
reveals the Father to us. This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ because
it is revealing Him. To find any other symbolism than the Person and work of
Jesus is to deny the very foundation of the Christian faith. He is our Lord, He
is our God, He is Jesus!
Truly salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb! It
is to Jesus that we direct our hope, our love, our devotion, and our praise.
Glory to God in the highest for having revealed Himself to us in such a
beautiful and loving way! May we as faithful Christians ever praise the beauty
of the Lord in the Person of Jesus Christ! Amen.
All the angels stood around the throne and the elders
and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and
worshiped God,… Revelation 7:11
Here we see an amazing heavenly sight. These angels
“stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures.” But
earlier it says that there was a “great multitude…before the throne.” These
angels are outside of the area where the great multitude is and where the 24
elders and the four living creatures are. The four living creatures have already
been identified as representing the four facets of Christ as presented in the
gospels and the 24 elders are possibly representative of the 12 sons of
There is a heavenly hierarchy being presented here and
the angels – beings who were created sinless and who have never sinned, are
outside of the redeemed who have sinned. How can this be? Ephesians 2:13
explains what occurs when we receive Christ as Savior – “But now in Christ
Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Because of Jesus Christ’s work, we are covered in His
perfection, symbolized by the white garments. It is as if we have never sinned
and our past sins can never be brought forth again.
Jesus Christ’s work was accomplished on our behalf and
now we can come near even though we were once far off. The infinite gap between
God and fallen man is restored through the Person of Jesus Christ. The angels
come after us because they are, as stated in Hebrews 1:14, “ministering spirits
sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation…” The honors
granted to the fallen sons of Adam are immense when Jesus is received as Lord.
Sins are washed away and the benefit of being in the very presence of God is
restored. Hallelujah and amen for our great and awesome Lord!
Lord, it’s hard for me to grasp the complete
significance of what You have done for me. I have sinned and rebelled and yet
You have lovingly granted me restoration to You and release from the debt I
owed. How can I do anything but praise You for Your majesty and glory. Thank
You for every good and kind blessing You have bestowed upon Your unworthy
… saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and
ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:12
A moment ago in this great heavenly scene, the
redeemed (the 24 elders and the great white multitude) cried out “Salvation belongs
to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Now, and only now, the
angels join in the exultation of God. The angels could not join in the previous
doxology because angels cannot be redeemed; only humans have that privilege and
grace bestowed upon them. But together with the redeemed of the world, the
angels can rejoice, just as they have since the beginning –
Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence
of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Because they can rejoice in the salvation of humans,
they join the heavenly cry saying, “Amen” or “truly.” After stating the
finality or truth of the matter, we are told what is contained in that truth –
blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might. But the Greek
gives us more information than the English translation. It says “The blessing;
The glory; The wisdom; The thanksgiving; The honor; The power; and The might.”
These then are stated in their highest form.
We can give blessing, but it is only based against an
ultimate standard of blessing – “The blessing.” We can bestow power (such as on
an elected official), but this is being gauged against the ultimate power. Such
is the nature of God… that He embodies the fullest expression of the things we
can only partially understand or convey. He is the richest and most complete
expression of every good and perfect thing and to Him alone belongs
acknowledgment of this. Let us never fail to return to Him the fullest praise
He is due.
Great and awesome and powerful God – You alone are
worthy of our highest praise and honor. Forgive us when we fail to give it to
You and help us never to exalt a part of Your creation above You. All things
are from You and therefore, to You alone belongs the deepest stirring of our
souls, expressed in worship and praise. Amen.
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who
are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” Revelation
One of the 24 elders comes to John and asks him
today’s question. Interestingly, if the elders represent the 12 sons of
The elder’s question implies that John should know the
answer. He may have been getting him to think on the matter. John had already
heard the words of Jesus in Revelation 3:5 about those who “shall be clothed in
white garments.” It’s a good lesson for all teachers of the Bible – just
because you know the answer, doesn’t mean you should just give it out. Asking
questions of those you are teaching stimulates them to think for themselves.
Likewise, when studying your Bible, you should ask questions of the text and
pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate the glorious words of life to you.
We’ll see John’s reaction tomorrow, but here are two
verses that he penned with his own hand and which should help him discern at
least a portion of the correct answer –
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes
that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments,
and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his
name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5
Who are these clothed in white? Stand by for the
answer, but just remember the lesson from today – We overcome the world by
faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and when we do, we are covered in His
righteousness and will be granted eternal life. What a bargain!
O Yes Lord God! How wonderfully beautiful it is to
stand in Your glorious presence and know that I am free from the guilt of sin –
not because I deserve it, but because of simple faith in the work of Jesus! I
stand grateful and humbled by the wondrous workings of You in my life. All
glory, all power, all majesty, all honor – they belong to You alone! Amen.
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me,
“These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14
John has been asked who these people are and he
respectfully defers back to the elder, “Sir, you know.” The answer from the
elder, although very clearly stated, is one of great debate among scholars. The
reason is that people view the book of Revelation in various ways.
Some believe the tribulation being mentioned
encompasses the entire church age, beginning right in the first century.
Various passages and statements from both Jesus and the apostles seem to
indicate this. In Acts 14:22, we read this – “We must through many tribulations
Others believe that the tribulation being mentioned
refers only to the second half of the tribulation period. In other words, the
tribulation doesn’t turn into the “Great Tribulation” until a set point just
before the opening of the seventh seal.
Although the first option, the entire church age, is a
possibility, the second – that it is referring to the second half of the
tribulation period – is not clearly thought out. The reason is that if the
church age ends at the rapture and these redeemed are only from the second half
of the tribulation period, then you have all the people between the rapture and
this expected “Great Tribulation” period in some sort of limbo that the Bible
doesn’t mention. It is not a good view.
The most likely answer is that these people have come
out of “the great tribulation” (a definite article is used in the Greek also)
which means the seven year period encompassing the book of revelation. One main
purpose of the book of Revelation is to provide insights into this period and
this is, therefore, the most likely answer.
Many people will face the hard choice of accepting
Christ and being martyred, but they will prevail. Because they properly direct
their faith, they will have their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. The
immense grace of God is demonstrated, even in this time of great tribulation.
Faith has been, is, and always will be the way to be right with God.
Lord Jesus, I know that there is no point in time
where Your grace and mercy will fail. Instead, You remain the same yesterday,
today, and forever. All You ask is that we demonstrate faith in Your work on
our behalf and to understand that our work is insufficient to bring us back to
You. All the credit belongs to You alone. Amen.
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve
Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among
them. Revelation 7:15
This great multitude has regained what was lost in
Man was created outside the garden and only placed
there afterwards. When he was placed in the garden, it was with the intent of
eternally fellowshipping with God. That right was lost when Adam sinned and man
has been toiling the ground ever since. But today records that this heavenly
congregation is “before the throne of God.” This means they are in His presence
and view Him directly. They will “serve Him day and night in His temple.” This
is the restoration of what was lost – granted to the fallen and redeemed sons
of Adam. It is the hope of the people of God and the joy which each of us
should long for with every fiber of our souls.
In the ultimate fulfillment of the Feast of
Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33), God “will dwell among them.” The Greek word for
“dwell” is skenosei and is literally “to tabernacle.” A different form
of this same word was used in John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt
among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus Christ came and tabernacled among us.
But His glory was veiled during His earthly ministry. When we see Him in His
temple, it will be with all of His unveiled glory. He will spread His glory over
His people and they will never again fear or want. This is the great hope of
all believers in what God has done through Jesus Christ.
Lord, it is so marvelous to think on what You have
done – a plan which spans time itself and which was meant to restore that which
was lost so long ago. It is so beautiful to see how You have progressively
revealed Yourself through the pages of the Bible and how those things are
coming to a glorious fulfillment. Thank You for the story of Jesus. Amen.
They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;… Revelation 7:16
Revelation builds heavily upon Old Testament concepts
and passages. Today’s comes from the first half of Isaiah 49:10 –
They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
This immense multitude has come out of the Great
Tribulation where they couldn’t buy or sell anything (See Revelation 13:16,
17). Food would have been almost impossible to obtain and they would have been
immensely hungry all the time before their death. Water would have been equally
unavailable. What little fresh water is left to the world during this period
(see Revelation 16:4-6) will certainly be controlled by those who can profit
from it. As we’ll see in the chapters ahead, water will indeed be scarce.
Likewise, the sun will blaze heavily on the people of
the world – “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power
was given to him to scorch men with fire.” Revelation 16:8. The time of the
tribulation will be agonizing even for those who can buy and sell – who have
received the mark of the beast. How much more difficult for those who have
chosen Christ over the devil and are willing to die rather than take the mark?
As Jesus spoke to His people during the Sermon on the
Mount – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For
they shall be filled.” For those who fail to call on Jesus before the rapture
there will be a chance to turn to Him during the tribulation, but it will be a
terrifying time of deprivation and death. How much better to get right with the
Lord now and avoid the terrible choices which must be made during the horrific
days to come! Don’t wait until the world quakes with war, famine, disaster, and
calamity. Call on Jesus now.
Jesus, You are abundantly wonderful to the fallen sons
of man. How great is Your love and Your mercy that You will continue to stretch
out Your hands to man, even during the time of tribulation! Your promise to
those who respond to the call is beautiful – never again shall they hunger or
thirst or be destroyed by the heat of the day. Glory to You in the highest!
… for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will
shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe
away every tear from their eyes.”
Yesterday we cited the first half of Isaiah 49:10
which corresponded to Revelation 7:16. The thought continues today in verse 17
and finds its parallel in the second half of Isaiah 49:10 –
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
Along with this, comes the fulfillment of another
blessing first penned by Isaiah in verse 25:8 –
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
These promises are accomplished for the redeemed by
“the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne.”
A Lamb will shepherd his own flock and will be their
Shepherd. The shepherd symbolism was anticipated by David in the 23rd
Psalm and it was claimed by Jesus in John chapter 10 when He said, “I am the
good Shepherd.” Likewise, the living waters also are fulfilled in the Person of
Jesus as noted several times in the Gospel of John. Because of Jesus, we will
go out and find good and safe pasture in a land of plenty.
The green grass will be vibrant from the abundant
waters they receive. In that day, we will be comforted by the pure and perfect
love of God and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. These promises come
to us, not because we deserve these things, but because God is gracious and
merciful to those who accept the finished work of Jesus Christ, trusting not in
their own deeds, but in His work alone.
O God, how great Thou art! Who could ever imagine the
wondrous promises of Your word while living in this fallen world. We have
fears, we have hunger and thirst, and we have pains and sorrows. But You have
promised that this order of things will someday be replaced with complete and
perfect joy! Thank You for the surety we have of that coming day. Amen.
When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in
heaven for about half an hour. Revelation 8:1
We’ve arrived at the first verse of chapter 8 and the
opening of the seventh seal. The previous verses detailed the sealing of the
144,000 on earth and then the heavenly scene of the great white multitude. The
next verses will go from the heavenly scene back to earth as the seven trumpet
judgments follow from the opening of this seventh seal.
When the seal is opened in today’s verse, heaven falls
silent for “about a half an hour.” The term for “about a half an hour” is used
only once in the entire New Testament. This period is like the calm before the
storm that is experienced on earth. Something is coming and everything falls
silent in anticipation of it. Because the tribulation period is centered on the
people and the
And the Lord will take possession of
The earth is coming against the nation of
Thank You Lord for allowing us to see this great and
awesome scene as it will take place at some point in the future. You have given
us the insight and ability to know what is coming so that we can choose to make
the right decisions now. Humble our hearts that we may be receptive to the
message before the time is gone and You come to judge the world. Amen.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and
to them were given seven trumpets. Revelation 8:2
John’s attention is now directed to seven angels
standing before God. These angels aren’t named and they don’t receive any other
type of identification. However, because they are the sounders of the trumpets,
we can infer that they are directors of the next major sequence of events.
The trumpets are probably not ram horns (shofar), but
rather are hammered metal trumpets – either of silver or gold. Here is a
portion of the account concerning the use of hammered metal trumpets from
Numbers 10 –
“Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make
them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for
directing the movement of the camps. … When you go to war in your land against
the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets,
and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from
your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and
at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt
offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a
memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”
As you can see, these trumpets were for signaling
major events surrounding the people of God, including war. When these seven
trumpets begin to blow in Revelation, great and awesome events will follow them
on the earth. The cataclysms which come with these trumpets are being shown us
in advance so that we can make the right choices now that will save us from the
pressures and trials they will usher in. Now truly is the time to call on Jesus
and be spared from the difficulties ahead.
Lord Jesus, You have graciously given us these
precious insights into the future so that we can make the right choice now.
Give the readers of Your word understanding to call out on Your name before
these terrible times arrive. Thank You for Your word and thank You for the sure
promises they contain for those who choose You now. Amen.
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and
stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it
with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the
throne. Revelation 8:3
Another angel, besides the seven that were given
trumpets, comes forward now. He has “a golden censer.” This is an implement
used for carrying incense. This angel “came and stood at the altar.” This would
be the true altar of incense which was symbolized by the one in the tabernacle described
in Exodus chapter 30.
The altar of incense was placed “before the veil that is
before the ark of the Testimony.” However, the altar in heaven is in the very
throne room of God, not outside a veil. The tabernacle was made by Moses to be
a type, or picture, of the true throne of God. However, until Christ died,
access to God was restricted. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn
at that same moment signifying that access to God had been restored through His
In heaven there is no separation between where the
incense altar is and where the throne is because there is no need to separate
fallen man from the presence of God. All who are received into heaven have come
through the sacrifice of Jesus.
This angel is “given much incense that he should offer
it with the prayers of the saints.” The incense has already been described in
verse 5:8 as representing the prayers of the saints; they are the same thing.
Therefore, these prayers are being offered directly to God in a great quantity.
Probably they are the prayers of all of God’s people in anticipation of the
coming of His kingdom.
God’s wrath at sin and His judgment upon the world
must come first though in order to cleanse the world. After this happens, then
there can be the establishment of this kingdom. The prayers of the saints are
coming now and they will precipitate the great trumpet and bowl judgments upon
the earth. God hears and responds to the prayers of His people. Now that they
are being brought before Him in great numbers, it means that the time of wrath
is at hand.
It is incredible to imagine that the prayers of ages
and ages of saints reach even to the throne of God and are heard by our
Creator! We long for the day when You will establish Your kingdom in
righteousness and we pray that it will be soon. Yes, our Father who art in
heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, and may it be soon. Amen.
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the
saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4
As we noted yesterday, Revelation 5:8 says that the
incense is the prayers of the saints. The smoke then is the incense (or
prayers) being lifted to God’s presence as they are carried in the form of
smoke. The symbolism is that they are lifted in unison to the throne of God.
Our prayers are made acceptable to God, not because they are prayers of any
human beings, but because they are prayers made by believers in the work of
Jesus Christ. It is He who makes our prayers acceptable to God. Ephesians gives
us this insight –
“And walk in
love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a
sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2
Jesus’ life and work became an “offering and a
sacrifice to God.” When we call on Him, we receive life and justification
because of what He did. Paul then gives an insight into the prayers being
offered by the angel in today’s verse –
“Now thanks be
to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the
fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the
fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are
perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading
to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” 2
We, including our prayers, are “the fragrance of
Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” As
we will see in the verses ahead, our prayers to God for His kingdom to come and
our requests for His justice to be served, will be responded to.
It is so wonderfully beautiful to see how Your word
fully supports itself in every way. What came from the hand of the prophets and
apostles, that which speaks to the work of Jesus Christ, is simply astonishing
in its detail. Thank You for Your wonderful, beautifully crafted, and
trustworthy word, O God. Thank You and Amen.
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire
from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises,
thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
After the angel who offered the prayers of the saints
with the smoke of the incense was finished, it now throws the censer to the
earth. The prayers of the saints were for the avenging of their blood and also
a petition for the coming of God’s kingdom. Because of this, the censer is
symbolically thrown to earth, indicating that God has received and heard their
prayers and will now act on them. Their blood will be avenged and His kingdom
will be ushered in.
Accompanying this action are “noises, thunderings,
lightenings, and an earthquake.” This is similar to the great display which
occurred when the Law of Moses was received on
God has given His word and allowed the world over 2000
years to learn it and apply it. When the Day of Judgment comes, the world won’t
be able to say they weren’t afforded abundant opportunity to repent and call on
The term for “noises” in the Greek is the same used
for the blast of a trumpet. In Zephaniah 1:14-16, we see that he anticipated
this coming day of destruction and the blast of the trumpet, warning what would
occur at some point in the future –
“The great day of the Lord is near; It is
near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the
mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble
and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and
gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm
Against the fortified cities And against the high towers.”
Oh God, when we are given these heavenly insights into
Your great throne room, it allows us to understand how You tenderly receive the
prayers of Your people and how You do act on them. I can see that every prayer
is precious to You and that in Your wisdom You respond to them at just the
right moment in history. Thank You for hearing our prayers. Amen.
So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets
prepared themselves to sound. Revelation 8:6
After the opening of the seventh seal there was
silence in heaven which was followed by these seven angels being handed their
trumpets. These then stood by while another angel was given a censer and
incense which was offered before God.
The incense, representing the prayers of the saints
went up with the smoke as an offering and a petition. When this was received,
the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and cast it
down to earth. At that moment came an end to the silence and the earth received
its warning of the doom to come in the form of noises, thunderings,
lightenings, and an earthquake. These events have brought the world to the
point of the trumpet judgments which will follow.
Angels have been used in history as God’s ministers of
such judgment including the
He cast on them the fierceness of His anger,
Wrath, indignation, and trouble,
By sending angels of destruction among them. Psalm 78:49, 50
These coming trumpet judgments will be directed at the
world which is actively working against
Lord God, I know that You hear the prayers of Your
people and are always there to defend them. I can look at the events coming in
the tribulation period and know that just as You will be a Defender of
The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed,
mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees
were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. Revelation 8:7
The first of the seven angels gives a trumpet blast
and the result is similar to the 7th plague to come against
“And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and
the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the Lord
rained hail on the
There are differences though. Along with the hail
mixed with fire, John notes that the trumpet judgment is “mixed with blood.” Is
this symbolically representing the blood of the saints who have been mentioned
in the previous verses? Whatever the cause, the result is that “a third of the
trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”
The earth is going to go from its current state to a
dry and arid place very quickly as the vegetation is destroyed on a global
scale. And this is a sudden occurrence. The trees and grass are green before
the plague, not already withered. This judgment is immediate and devastating.
Imagine the result on the earth when the plant life is
so quickly destroyed. Any rains will cause mudslides and flooding. Food will
become exceedingly scarce and expensive. Disease will begin to run rampant. You
can see how the plagues of the four horsemen can quickly come to pass with just
the sounding of this first trumpet. And yet there are six more trumpets to go.
The world is beginning a cataclysmic tailspin. Things will get progressively
worse, not better, as the judgments unfold.
Oh God, how sobering it is to see what the results of
our sin are. Rather than humbling ourselves and being obedient to You, our
Creator, we dismiss You, mock You, and only bring calamity on ourselves. Help
me be a light to those around me now before these great judgments start. Amen.
Then the second angel sounded: And something
like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of
the sea became blood. Revelation 8:8
The first trumpet took only one verse and then
immediately follows this second blast. When the angel sounds, John sees
“something like a great mountain burning with fire.” Although we can’t be
dogmatic, this is most likely an asteroid falling from space. A second option
is a good sized nuclear missile, but this will seem less likely when the third
Whatever it is that’s coming, it will be “thrown into
the sea.” Both would have the same visual effect to John when it impacted the
oceans, but an asteroid would have the “great mountain burning with fire”
effect prior to impact. This would be lacking in a nuclear warhead. The effect
of the impact is unmistakable though, regardless of the instrument of destruction.
“A third of the sea became blood.” This is reminiscent of the first plague of
the Exodus when blood struck the
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take
your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of
The blood in today’s verse is probably that of the sea
creatures which are destroyed in the event, although there could be another
symbolic meaning, such as the water simply turning red as the sea-bottom is
churned up. No matter what, the loss of life will be immense and the waters will
be negatively affected by the event.
Lord, you are in control of all the heavenly bodies
and they move at Your command. If one of Your judgments involves the impact of
a meteor, it is because You directed it and we can only acknowledge that You
are sovereign over Your creation. Help us to understand that these are a result
of our sin and not a result of an arbitrary or uncaring Creator. Amen.
And a third of the living creatures in the sea died,
and a third of the ships were destroyed. Revelation 8:9
Yesterday we read this, the result of which is today’s
verse – “Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great
mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea
became blood.” There will be an immensely powerful impact in one of the world’s
seas, most probably from an asteroid. This impact will be so devastating that a
“third of the sea became blood.” The sea becoming blood certainly includes the
immediate death of “a third of the living creatures in the sea.” It may also contain
the idea of the polluted state of the water. In other words all of the dead sea
life will surely contaminate the sea and cause further death – a cycle of
Along with the sea life though, “a third of the ships
were destroyed.” The impact will certainly send out shock waves, both through
the atmosphere and through the water. When this happens, the ships that are in
the impact zone and even ships many thousands of miles away could be equally
devastated. A tsunami going in all directions could take out ships along all
coastlines of this sea. This would only add to the polluted state of the water
because of the immense amount of toxic material going down with the ships.
Humans aren’t mentioned in today’s verse, but ships
don’t sail themselves. In other words, a great deal of human life will be lost
on those ships and probably many will die from the coastal tsunamis. The
tsunamis generated by the Indonesian earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of
people all along the
Another result of this will be the economic chaos
which will result from the loss of all the shipping and the loss of the coastal
industries. Finally, the loss of marine life for food will continue to strip
the world of food resources. Catastrophe is coming and times will get
increasing hard for the people of the world.
O God, all of the tragedy we’re reading about in these
judgments could be avoided if we would just bow our hearts and our knees to You
now. In Your wrath, remember mercy, O God. We certainly don’t deserve it, but
without it there will be nothing left. But we know already the outcome and we
do know that mercy will be coming as well. Thank You O God. Amen.
Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell
from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on
the springs of water. Revelation 8:10
The third angel sounds his trumpet and the battle cry
is responded to with a “great star.” The Geek word for star here is used for
meteors and planets as well as other heavenly bodies. It’s also used in a
metaphorical sense for people, angels, and even Jesus Himself. Because of this,
some commentators have come to the conclusion that this (and the previous
object) is actually an angel who has been cast out of heaven and is now in the
earthly realm causing havoc. This is a completely unnecessary evaluation and
denies what should otherwise be pretty obvious in the modern world.
When the previous trumpet blast was given, “something
like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.” This was
noted as most likely being an asteroid – a natural event. This trumpet is most
likely releasing a nuclear or chemical warhead missile – a man-made event. The
description is certainly fitting. The object “fell from heaven, burning like a
torch.” To John’s eyes, this is exactly what such a missile would look like.
And the effects of this type of warhead would be as one might anticipate.
This object coming in from above “fell on a third of
the rivers and on the springs of water.” What this could mean is that John saw
only one of an entire arsenal of nukes. In other words, this very well may be
describing a nuclear exchange between two or more countries. It would certainly
explain why a third of the rivers and springs of water are affected.
A single object from the sky – be it a natural event
like an asteroid, or a man-made event like a single nuke, wouldn’t be enough to
affect a third of the world’s rivers. A bunch of them would though. Tomorrow’s
verse will describe the effects that are brought about by such weapons and
these effects will certainly do as one would expect.
O God, we look to the passages in Revelation and it
seems incredible and yet distant. But these things really are coming to pass
and real people will be affected by them. Help us to get the word out that
there is salvation in Christ Jesus. The more we delay, the more people won’t
hear the good news. The time of tribulation is coming, so stir our hearts to
The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the
waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made
bitter. Revelation 8:11
Yesterday we saw the sounding of the third trumpet. At
that time, “a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on
a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.” There we made the
speculation that this may actually be symbolic of nuclear or chemical warheads
being used. The result is that “a third of the waters became wormwood.” In
other words, the water has become contaminated and poisonous. Wormwood is the
name of a plant with extremely bitter juice.
In the Old Testament, it represents contamination by
sin. In Proverbs 5, it’s equated with following the advice of an immoral woman.
The parallel then is clear – the world has followed the advice of the immoral
woman of apostasy and false religion. This is symbolized by the great harlot
coming up in chapter 17. The world will listen to the lies of false religion and
will drink the cup of her bitterness. In Jeremiah 9:15 we also read the effects
of wormwood –
“Behold, I will
feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.”
As you see, the wormwood is connected here with gall
which is mentioned in Deuteronomy and Lamentations. Gall is what was offered to
Jesus at the cross as well – which He rejected. The rich symbolism shows us the
painful effects of sin. The wormwood of this cataclysm is much stronger than
ordinary wormwood which normally doesn’t cause death. The wormwood which
infects the waters does and “many men” will die because of its effects.
Such is the nature of sin and our need to stay away
from heresies and false religion. The time is coming when these things will
lead to great cataclysms and destruction. Hold fast to Jesus and the truth of
Oh God, again we see a terrifying judgment upon the
world because of the effects of our sin and our willingness to reject the truth
and follow after lies and deceit. In the end, these things will only lead to
bitterness and death. Thank You for giving us these warnings and help us to
heed them so that we will follow only the truth. Amen.
Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun
was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of
them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.
The fourth angel gives his blast and the result isn’t
the same as the first three. Those were directed against the earth, but this
one is directed against the sun, the moon, and the stars. This is reminiscent
of the ninth plague against
Another difference is that in
“‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may
be darkness over the
Standing back and looking at the sequence of events
gives us an indication as to how this trumpet judgment came about. The first
trumpet had hail and fire mixed with blood directed at the earth. The second
was something like a great mountain burning with fire which was thrown into the
sea. The third was a great star from heaven burning like a torch. Regardless of
what the analysis of these three judgments is, they are all things coming from
space and colliding with the earth. The impact of them has thrown an immense
amount of debris into the atmosphere and it has reduced the clarity of the
atmosphere by 1/3. Hence, a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third
of the stars aren’t seen.
There are two possibilities for this as well. The
first is that the entire earth’s atmosphere is affected, so that 1/3 of these
are dimmed on the whole planet. The second option is that the debris in the
atmosphere follows the jet streams and covers 1/3 of the planet and the light
is completely obscured in those places. Either way, it is a heavenly sign of
God’s disapproval of the actions of man and they are being judged for them.
Lord, when these judgments come about, the people of
the earth only need to look into the pages of the Bible to see that You foresaw
them thousands of years ago. I pray now for those who face this time of
tribulation – that they will see and understand their great need for Jesus and
turn to Him, even at the expense of their own lives. Amen.
And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the
midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of
the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels
who are about to sound!” Revelation 8:13
The fourth trumpet has sounded and the fifth is yet to
sound. Before it does, there is a brief time between the two when there is “an
angel flying through the midst of heaven.” Some manuscripts say “eagle” instead
of “angel” and this is carried on in many modern versions of the Bible. The
difference may be found in the same being. In other words, we’ve already seen
an angelic being with the face of an eagle in Revelation 4:7. Although we can’t
know for sure, it could be an angel, or messenger, which looks like an eagle.
No matter which is correct, the eagle coming between the trumpet judgments
calls out words of doom in a loud voice – “Woe, woe, woe!”
The repetition of a word in the Bible is meant to call
stress to that word, such as when we put an exclamation point at the end of a
sentence or word. Only a very few times in the Bible is a word repeated three
times. When these occur, they are not just stressing a point, but they are
stressing it to the highest degree.
The other instances of a triple repetition are in
Isaiah 6:3, Jeremiah 7:4, Jeremiah 22:29, Ezekiel 21:27, and Revelation 4:8.
The angel today is telling the world that what has happened so far with the
first four trumpet judgments will be nothing compared to what is coming in the
next three. The world is headed for immense trouble from these three trumpets
and it will only continue to get worse because another series of judgments will
follow the trumpets. The trumpet blasts to come will be directed at “the
inhabitants of the earth.” The previous ones have been directed at the earth
and the heavenly bodies in general, but what is coming will be targeted and
decisive in nature.
O Lord, when Isaiah looked up and saw you in the
temple, he cried out Holy, Holy, Holy, but today the world simply shrugs a
shoulder and turns its back on You. How can we be held guiltless when we reject
our Creator? Surly You are righteous in bringing judgment upon the world. Give
us hearts now to understand our state and repent and turn to You. Amen.
Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen
from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.
Here we are already starting chapter 9 of Revelation.
What a great adventure it’s been so far to see how things will unfold in the
days ahead. Today the fifth angel sounds his trumpet. When he does John sees “a
star fallen from heaven to the earth.” Almost no one takes this to be a literal
star, but rather the star is symbolic of something else – either Satan, or
another demon, or possibly the angel named in verse 11 which is still ahead. If
so, then this angel is Abaddon – which means “destruction.”
There is good evidence to take this star figuratively
rather than literally. Such figurative language is used in both testaments,
like as in Isaiah 14:12 –
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the
morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the
Another reason to believe this is Satan, a demon, or
Abaddon is that the star is “fallen.” This indicates that it is not an angel
who held its position in heaven, but like Adam, fell in a spiritual sense.
Another such interpretation can be found in Jude -6
“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain,
but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness
for the judgment of the great day…”
This angel “was given the key to the bottomless pit.”
In other words, it doesn’t have access under its own authority to enter this
pit, but only at the direction of the Creator.
Again, a similar situation of the Lord having
authority even over fallen angels can be found in Job 1 where He directs
Satan’s movements. This pit is alluded to throughout the Bible, such as in
“But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of
This place of destruction is where sinners and fallen
angels go to be held in custody until the final judgment. However, because God
controls all things, it can be opened at His direction. Such is the case in
Lord, we can tell from verses such as today’s that
there is a great unseen world around us. Thank You for giving us insights into
this. By seeing that You control even this unseen world, we need not fear these
things, but we can know for certain that You are in complete control of them. I
thank You for these insights and marvel at Your greatness! Amen.
And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out
of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were
darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Revelation 9:2
Today’s verse is reminiscent of Genesis 19:27, 28 –
“And Abraham went early in the morning to the place
where he had stood before the Lord. Then he looked toward
The judgment upon
In theses verses from Revelation, there is certainly a
spiritual application as noted in the sounding of a heavenly trumpet by an
angel, a spiritual being falling from heaven, and then the opening the
bottomless pit. However, the smoke rising from the furnace is real, not
spiritual. It causes the sun and the air to be darkened because of the smoke of
the pit. Therefore, it is likely that these physical events are the result of
other physical elements of destruction which are being directed by spiritual
forces. In other words, the smoke from the furnace could be the result of armed
During the first Gulf War, these verses perfectly
resembled what occurred when Saddam Hussein set fire to the oil fields of
Heavenly Father, You would have Your creatures love
You and each other, but instead, we revile Your glorious name and we resolve
our conflicts with anger, war, and destruction. We, as believers in Jesus
Christ, look forward to the Day when He returns and these things will no longer
occur. We look forward to the Day when righteousness reigns in the earth. Amen.
Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And
to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. Revelation
The plague of locusts is a common theme in the Bible.
The 8th plague on
What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has
What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten;
And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten. Joel 1:4
The description of these locusts is given until verses
7-10 and when those verses arrive, it will become clear that these aren’t real
locusts, but symbolic of something else. John gave the best possible
description he could based on the times he lived in and from the view of the
world as he saw it, but not until modern times could we clearly identify what
these locusts are.
Even until recently, they have been symbolically
termed demons or other spiritual beings because they simply aren’t real
locusts. The locusts however come “out of the smoke” meaning the great furnace
of the pit from verses 2 & 3.
In today’s verse we also see that they are “given
power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Scorpions are small and can
go anywhere because of their size. They are found on every continent but
How interesting it is to see what You have placed in
Your word, O Lord, and it is a challenge to our minds to try to understand what
is being shown us and how it points to future events. Help us to look at these
difficult verses clearly and use reason as we consider them. Amen.
They were commanded not to harm the grass of the
earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the
seal of God on their foreheads. Revelation 9:4
Locusts are consumers of vegetation. However, these
locusts aren’t. They are directed to not “harm the grass of the earth, or any
green thing, or any tree.” This is contradictory to the very nature of locusts
and therefore it is absolutely certain that the term “locusts” is allegorical
for something else.
They are directed specifically toward “those men who
do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. This refers back to the sealing
of the 144,000 from all the tribes of
Probably, because they are Jewish believers in Christ,
these “locusts” are kept from coming against all of
In the end, the nation of
Heavenly Father, thank You for how You have faithfully
kept every promise to Your people
And they were not given authority to kill them,
but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the
torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. Revelation 9:5
These locusts that came out of the smoke of the abyss
were given power like scorpions and were commanded to not harm the grass or any
green thing. They are only given permission to harm the people who don’t have
the seal of God on their forehead. This is similar to the account in Ezekiel
chapter 9 where judgment came on the Israelites for rejecting God and turning
In that passage, those without the seal of God are
killed. However, these unbelievers are only tormented for five months, but not
killed. There is a mixture of grace and punishment mixed up in this. The mercy
is that their lives are spared, but the punishment is that they have to endure
the torment as if being struck by a scorpion when it strikes a man. In other
words, there is great affliction, pain, and suffering involved in a scorpion
strike and these people will endure through that. Lamentations 4:9 tells us
that sometimes death is preferable to life in such dire situations –
Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.
In the end, such trials and troubles are brought upon
ourselves and we can’t point our finger at God and blame Him when He has
revealed Himself to us in the Person of Jesus as testified through His word.
Even more so, we have to accept the fact that the world has been told, in
advance, of what is coming and how to avoid it. Surely God is just.
Lord, our eyes look to You for all good things and all
the blessings of life. But when we receive them, we accept them as the work of
our own hands, forgetting that they came from You. Eventually, we push You out
of our lives completely and reap the harvest of such unrighteousness. Surely
You are justified when You judge us in our faithlessness. Amen.
In those days men will seek death and will not find
it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. Revelation 9:6
The dreadful situation that the people targeted by the
locusts find themselves in is so tragic that the idea is repeated – “men will
seek death and will not find it” and “they will desire to die, and death will
flee from them.” This is a poetic tool called “parallelism” and is found
throughout the Bible. A thought is stated and then it is restated in a similar
manner. This is done to emphasize what is being said and to draw the listener’s
attention to the situation. It can be found in positive thoughts and in
negative thoughts. Here is a positive one from the Psalms –
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:2, 3
In the Gulf War, the Iraqi soldiers who had been
captured from the front lines made statements similar to what we read in
today’s verse. They had been under precision guided attacks by the American
forces and sat in their tanks waiting and wondering when their time was up.
They had prayed for death and it didn’t come. The agony of the uncertain state
they were in was so horrifying that all they wanted was for it to be over –
they desired death, but it fled from them.
This is the same sentiment that will come again during
this time of targeted attacks by the locusts of Revelation and the parallels
are striking. One thing the people won’t do, just as they didn’t do in
How horrifying it will surely be for those who are
participants in this coming battle. The sadness of contemplating the state of
the human mind at such a time is hard for us to grasp, but such is the nature
of judgment upon sin. Lord, help us to get the message out and to bring people
to Christ before this terrifying time comes. Amen.
The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for
battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were
like the faces of men. Revelation 9:7
In verses 7-10 we’re going see John’s description of
the locusts from the abyss. As said in the evaluation of previous verses, there
are both spiritual and physical sides to what is being seen here. The
description of these locusts is John’s best attempt at describing something
he’d never seen or even imagined. And remember, he was looking into the far
future, to a time when
The locusts shape is “like horses prepared for
battle.” When prepared in this way, horses are in formation. These locusts are
also in a recognizable formation and hold their ranks.
“On their heads were crowns of something like gold.”
These are the windscreens of a modern jet fighter. Jet fighters have a
microns-thick layer of gold plating to reflect the IR signature of the pilot
and cockpit components. When the sun shines on them from the right direction,
they reflect this gold very clearly.
“Their faces were like the faces of men” is the exact
description one would make when seeing a pilot inside of the cockpit. John is
seeing close up and far distant views of these jets as we’ll see in the next
few verses – as if he is watching a movie.
In the previous verses it said “they were commanded
not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only
those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” This is the
exact capability of modern fighters – targeted warfare with precision-guided
munitions. And interestingly enough, verses 5 & 6 which we just got through
exactly describe the conditions of the first Gulf War – the time of the battle,
the conditions in the battle, and the description of the people’s attitude when
attacked. Could the Gulf War have been a preview of a much worse battle to
come? It is not unprecedented and the parallels to these verses are amazing.
Lord God, it is especially interesting to live in this
day and time when the events of Revelation are becoming much more
understandable. We know that because
They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were
like lions’ teeth. Revelation 9:8
Imagine the last time you were at an air show and the
stunt plane flew in all kinds of crazy ways and directions as the smoke-making
device pumped away. What did it look like to you? Or when you watched an old
time WWII movie as the hundreds of bombers flew to their targets, what did the
skies look like as the contrails followed behind the planes?
In both instances, what you saw was something like the
long hair of a woman following the planes. At least, if you were John on the
The lion is an animal which John was familiar with and
this is what he would describe as the battle of the future rages around him in
a prophetic vision. When one stands back and reads these verses properly, they
are certainly not describing something spiritual, but rather something real.
Real battles like this are coming to the
John must have been dumbfounded and amazed at the
sight he was beholding!
Certainly Lord You are in control of the future. If
You can reveal such startling detail to a man who lived eons ago on a small
deserted island, then You have all things in Your mighty grasp. Why should I
fear when You know the end from the beginning. I look to You and feel the
comfort of knowing all things are under Your control! Hallelujah and Amen.
And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron,
and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses
running into battle. Revelation 9:9
John is attempting to describe the “locusts” he sees
in his vision. So far he has seen…
They can be commanded.
They can target their enemies without hitting objects
They are not given the authority to kill them, but
only to torment them.
Their torment is painful and so horrifying that those
targeted will seek death and not find it.
They are like “horses prepared for battle.”
They have “crowns of something like gold.”
They have the faces of men.
The have hair like women’s hair.
They have teeth like lion’s teeth.
So far, we have seen described in detail modern jet
fighters and their ability to attack specific targets, destroying
infrastructure while protecting human life.
This is exactly what occurred during the Gulf War and
other recent wars and the descriptions are exactly as you would expect from a
man 2000 years ago. Today John continues –
They have “breastplates like breastplates of iron.”
John, not knowing metallurgy, describes a modern
fighter as best as he could. “The sound of their wings was like the sound of
chariots with many horses running to battle.”
Go to any horse race or movie like Ben Hur and listen
closely to the sound as the horses come by the camera. What you will hear is
just what a modern jet fighter sounds like. The roar of the jet planes is
certainly what John is attempting to describe with the closest analogy he could
find – many horses running together. John’s vision is the terrifying and
tremendous vision of a modern war waged with fighter jets which are
specifically targeting infrastructure to weaken an enemy without killing
people. The air force is using extreme restraint in their attacks. This is
something one would expect from a nation not intent on destroy its enemies but
only crippling their ability to retaliate.
It is amazing to stand back and look at the
description John has given and see that he actually saw the engagement of a
modern battle with fully equipped jet fighters. Lord, I know that You are
beyond time and therefore can reveal the future. I know that You are in
complete control and I trust in You to care for me as well. Amen.
They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings
in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. Revelation 9:10
We’ve been looking at the locusts which have been
given to harm “those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
The general idea that has been given is that these are modern jet fighters and
that they are using targeted attacks against an enemy foe. These fighters have
been sent out, not to kill the enemy, but to cripple them without taking life.
This would be done with precision guided munitions that are used by an air
force which has great restraint in warfare. Based on past history, this brings
the number of modern countries down to just a few.
If this period in history is coming soon, then it
The locusts have “tails like scorpions.” The sting of
the scorpion is right at the end of the tail and it is sharp and extremely
painful. Likewise, a jet fighter will have its weapons under the wings, or
under the main body, not at the head. When shooting a missile, John would have
seen it flying out from the body rather than the front of the aircraft and he
would probably have the idea of a scorpion in his mind.
This air war, just like the Gulf War air campaign,
will last five months. After this time, the campaign will end and the world
will move into another trumpet judgment. All of this could be avoided, but the
human race has other intentions than to willfully submit to the sovereign
authority of God. And so the troubles will only increase.
Well Lord, we can only look at the pages of Revelation
and say that we have been warned. Terrible times are ahead for the people of
the world. But You are in complete control and have all things worked out in a
way which will bring You great glory and which will show that You are just when
You judge. Truly O God, how great Thou art! Amen.
And they had as king over them the angel of the
bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the
name Apollyon. Revelation 9:11
Today’s verse confirms that these aren’t real locusts
and that they are merely symbolic of something else – they have a king over
them. This is in contrast to Proverbs 30:27 which says –
“The locusts have no king,
Yet they all advance in ranks.”
This king is called “the angel of the bottomless pit.”
It can’t be certain whether this is an angelic being or a human being. The term
“angel” can refer to either and so this could be a person who has human authority
represented by something going on behind the scenes in the spiritual realm.
Whoever this being is, in Hebrew he is called Abaddon
which means “destruction.” The Greek term used is “Apollyon” which means
This king is the one directing the locusts and has
shown restraint in the attack of his enemies by destroying their infrastructure
without killing the people.
Again, as said before, this is a common trait among
the forces of the western world today. While other armies wage war without any
regard for who is killed, the battles and wars waged by western armies in the
recent past have showed immense restraint in their conduct. Only after the
opposing forces have been “softened up” and allowed a chance to surrender first
do they then come at them with fully unleashed power and with the intent of
subduing their foes. This appears to be the pattern of this future army of
Lord, even the angel of the bottomless pit is at Your
direction, and You have sovereign authority over what he does and how he
conducts his warfare. Whoever this being is, we know that he will only wage war
according to the plan You have set down. How comforting it is to know that all
things are under the control of Your sovereign hand. Amen.
One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are
coming after these things. Revelation 9:12
After the trial of the first woe, there is more to
come. Three woes were anticipated, meaning there are two left. The next one
will come in conjunction with the sixth trumpet and the third will come with
the seventh trumpet. But the seventh trumpet will also bring in the seven
“bowl” or “vial” judgments. Things are going through a progression and they are
only going to get worse, not better.
Surely the people of the earth will be thinking that
each trial will be the end of sorrows and that an era of peace will be ushered
in – by the actions of man and the anti-Christ. However, such is not the case.
The world has said to God, “We can do it without you.” And God will allow them
to try. But man isn’t inherently good.
The Bible teaches that we are fallen and that we are
corrupt by nature. Because this is so, we can only botch things up and make
things worse. The good we do, such as inventing things, writing poetry, and
petting puppies on the head is inevitably short-lived and overshadowed by the
bad we do.
Without the light of Christ in the human soul, there
is only darkness and a desire to shun God for self and for selfishness. Let us
remember this and lean wholly on our Creator and God and not on our own
understanding. The Lord will be with those who call on Him and He will never
Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness of sins
which comes through the shed blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus! I know that I
don’t deserve the favor You have lavished upon me, but because of Your great
love and mercy for the work of Your hands, You have looked upon me and been
gracious to me. I will ever sing the praises of Your name. Amen.
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from
the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,… Revelation 9:13
John has just beheld the sounding of the fifth trumpet
and the subsequent first woe which came about. The swarm of locusts and the
destruction they brought must have been amazing for him to behold. But now his
attention is redirected to the heavenly throne room again as the sixth trumpet
sounds. When it did, a voice is heard “from the four horns of the golden altar
which is before God…” This takes us back to verses 8:3-6 which began the
trumpet judgments –
“Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and
stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it
with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the
throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended
before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it
with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were
noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had
the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
The voice then which is coming from the altar has been
analyzed differently by different scholars over the years. Some believe it is
the voice of God directing the events. Some believe it is the angel who had the
censer, and some believe it is the voice of the martyrs calling out.
Because we can’t be certain, there isn’t any point in
arguing the issue. Rather, we should look to the coming events and know that
whoever is crying out for them to occur, they are happening because God’s
judgment is due on the world which has martyred His saints and rejected Him.
O Lord God, You have opened our eyes to future events
while keeping some things hidden so that we can speculate on what they mean. No
matter what our personal opinion about the hidden things, those things which
have been revealed belong to us as a heritage and a means of understanding what
is to come. Thank You for these insights. Amen.
…saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet,
“Release the four angels who are bound at the great river
The angels that are “bound at the great river
The boundaries began at the time of Cain when he dwelt
“in the land east of
Later in the Bible, the king of Assyria is called the
rod of God’s anger and is used as God’s judgment against the northern tribes of
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
A person more righteous than he? Habakkuk 1:13
God has used the unrighteous to bring about His
purposes against His people and to bring about His plans in a way which
demonstrates His sovereignty over all creation. Nothing happens apart from the
sovereign decisions of God – including the great battle to come in the judgment
of the sixth trumpet.
We will read all about it in the next few verses. As
you read your Bible, look to the geography of the lands and see how God is
using real locations to make spiritual applications. By understanding these
things, your knowledge of world events will certainly be increased.
O God, Your word is beyond compare and every time I
look into it, I am more amazed at the complexity and beauty of how it is
arranged. Every time I think I have my finger on all it contains, I find myself
realizing that it is far deeper and more glorious than I had previously
imagined. Time and again, I realize what a treasure Your word is. Amen.
So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour
and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
These are the “the four angels who are bound at the
“To everything there
is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.”
And in Acts 1:7 when asked about the coming kingdom,
Jesus told His disciples –
“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the
Father has put in His own authority.”
God has everything under His control and this includes
the destruction of the great battles which lay ahead. These four angels have
“been prepared for the hour and day and month and year.” There is a logical
progression to all things and God knew before He created what that progression
would be. All things are according to His purposes and we are merely participants
in His great unfolding plan for the ages. We need not get concerned about the
things which are ahead because God is completely in control of them.
And for those who have called on Him, His promises
hold fast. No matter what – through life or through death – nothing can remove
us from His powerful grasp. So if the events of Revelation seem terrifying,
just trust that God already knows His good plans and purposes for you.
Heavenly Father, when I see that You already know the
future, it gives me great comfort. Even if things are troublesome in my own
life, I know that these things will never spin out of Your control and I know
that all of my trials are being worked out for my good and Your glory. Because
of this, I can shout “Hallelujah!” Amen.
Now the number of the army of the horsemen was
two hundred million; I heard the number of them. Revelation 9:16
This is an amazing prophecy for John to have seen. The
“four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” and “who had been
prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third
of mankind.” When they are released, they direct the movements of an army of
two hundred million soldiers.
In Greek, the term two myriads of myriads is used. A
myriad is the highest number used at the time and was a force of 10,000
soldiers. By multiplying as John stated, we come to the figure of 200,000,000.
John then confirms what he heard spoken, “I heard the number of them.” He
states it this way to leave no doubt about what he had heard because it was
At the time this was written, it is doubtful that
there were that many people on earth and therefore the number is either merely
symbolic of something – which is most unlikely because he adamantly confirms
the number, or the prophecy is in the far future, at a time when an army of
this size could be brought together. And today it is not just possible, it
could occur in a short amount of time by nations uniting against a common foe.
What John saw and heard is both realistic and yet
future. But when it occurs, it will be because the world is being directed into
a whirlpool of destruction because of its failure to acknowledge God and simply
call on Him for direction.
O Lord God – Creator of heaven and earth – You have
given us every opportunity to simply bow the knee and call out to You in faith.
You sent Jesus to show us the true avenue to peace, and yet we have
continuously rejected Your gracious offer. And because of this, we have faced
and will continue to face many trials. Righteous are You when You judge, O God.
And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat
on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and
the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their
mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. Revelation 9:17
Along with the 200,000,000 soldiers who will
participate in the coming battle, there will be “horses” meaning a cavalry.
John takes time to describe these horses and his description is exactly what
you would expect from a person who saw these events 2000 years ago. Having
never seen a modern mechanized cavalry force, John would use terminology that
he was familiar with. And yet, what he saw and the way he describes it, is
exactly as we would expect for a modern force of tanks.
“Those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red,
hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow.” John has described the very colors of the
flags of the attacking army or armies. The
“The heads of the horses were like the heads of
lions.” John is describing the ferocity of the head of a tank, which roars as
it lets go of its ammunition. And of course, John nails the description with
the final words of this verse…
“and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and
This is exactly what proceeds from the fierce and
angry mouths of modern mechanized armament. John is seeing a massive battle
which is yet future and he is describing it in terms which even a person would
describe it today if they had never seen a tank. Good job John!
You have given us a sure insight into the future and
have thus proved that these events are, in fact, ahead of us and not fulfilled
at some point in the past. The book of Revelation is describing what is coming,
not that which has already been fulfilled.
How wonderful to know that the book of Revelation
proclaims future events and which confirms that You, O God, have not rejected
By these three plagues a third of mankind was
killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their
mouths. Revelation 9:18
A couple of verses ago, we noted this – “It isn’t
certain whether this is one third of all the people alive on the earth at the
time, or one third of those who are caught up in the ensuing battle. Either
way, the number of dead will be immense.” There is a third possibility to this
number as well. Because the events of Revelation are focused on
The battle is certainly future and it will be an
amazingly harsh one. The plagues of fire and smoke and brimstone are, as
described yesterday, the ravages of a land battle which uses heavy artillery
and mechanized equipment. If this massive army is coming against
God has promised, despite
“You will come up against My people
Lord, we know that perilous times are ahead and that
For their power is in their mouth and in their tails;
for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do
harm. Revelation 9:19
These “horses” in the great cavalry John is describing
have “their power in their mouth.” As we’ve already seen, the description John
has given is undoubtedly the description of modern weaponry, such as tanks. For
eons, these things (and the “locusts previously mentioned) had been allegorized
because the descriptions were so strange and didn’t really resemble anything
man had ever seen. Unfortunately, such allegorical references are still used by
many scholars despite the clarity of description John gave, even though we can
surely identify them as planes and tanks.
The tanks John saw also have power “in their tails.”
The secondary weapon systems on tanks are their machine guns, normally at the
back of them. John continues to describe the tails which bring harm – “for
their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.”
When a man comes out of the tank to work the machine
gun, this is just how John would describe the scene. He would hear the rattling
of the machine gun and describe it as best as he could. To him is would sound
“like serpents.” And watching a large machine gun, like a 50 caliber, would
easily be described as doing “harm” when it fired off its lethal rounds.
The vision only becomes clear in modern times and it
points to the fact that Revelation was and is a book of prophecy about a future
battle, not something which occurred in his lifetime. Those who want to claim
that the church replaced
We are living in exciting times and the events of
Revelation are coming nearer by the moment. Maybe they will even occur in our
Thank You Lord for giving John the visions which we
have recorded as the book of Revelation! Because we have an understanding of
what he saw, we can look with confidence concerning the events of the book,
knowing that You are in complete control of the future and have a plan laid out
for the people of God. Our confidence and hope is in You! Amen.
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these
plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not
worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can
neither see nor hear nor walk. Revelation 9:20
Judgment has been brought about in the fifth and sixth
trumpets, which are the first and second woes. In these battles which comprise
the aerial assault and then a ground invasion, a third of the people were
killed and yet there has been no change in heart…no repentance and turning to
Instead, those “who were not killed by these plagues”
have continued in the worship of things made by their hands. Anything that we
can form is formed out of something that God has made and is therefore not God.
The bizarre thought process of worshipping an idol of this sort, along with the
irony involved, is laid out very clearly in Isaiah 44:6-20. Take time to read
that passage today, but here is a portion of it –
“He burns half
of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is
satisfied. He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen
the fire.” And the rest of it
he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it,
Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
In the list provided in today’s verse are a host of
materials used in idolatry – gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood. But the list
is started with the thought that they are really worshipping demons. Paul
explains this in 1 Corinthians 10:20. Demonic activity is behind all idolatry.
Any attention of worship to a physical, tangible, created substance is error.
We are only to look to God, the Maker of all things,
not to the things He has made. The Bible says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”
It reveals Jesus to us and Jesus reveals the Father. Why should we look
anywhere else for our heart’s desire when He is the Source of all things?
Lord God, how far we have fallen! We direct our eyes
away from You and instead lavish our attention and devotion on mere things?
Forgive our wicked hearts and let us always remember that You are the Creator
and that all things have come from You. May we never set up an idol in our home
or in our heart, but instead may we worship You alone. Amen.
And they did not repent of their murders or their
sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:21
This is the last verse of chapter 9 and here we have
the continuation of the thought of the previous verse which said the people
“did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship
demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither
see nor hear nor walk.” In addition to these abominable practices, the people
have not repented of “their murders.”
Murder is the willful and intentional killing of
another human being. Man is created in God’s image and to kill another human is
therefore an attack against God’s image bearer. The Bible only gives one
penalty for murder – the ending of the life of the murderer. When a society
fails to execute this capital crime, it is actually a secondary attack against
God. And this is what we see in the liberalizing of our judicial systems around
the world. Murder is given light sentences in court and this only leads to more
The people have also not repented of “their
sorceries.” Sorcery includes the magic arts of the occult and entering into
this realm is not only tolerated, it has become fashion because of the heavy
influence of sorcery in the movie industry. Sorcery surely includes the use of
drugs though. The word translated as “sorcery” is pharmakeion. As you
can see, it is a root of the word “pharmacy.” The use of drugs has been and is
closely linked with the practice of sorcery.
The people also are bent on continuing “their sexual
immorality.” Homosexuality, bestiality, fornication, pornography… the list goes
on. Sexual relations outside of the bonds of marriage (between a man and a
woman) are considered repulsive and unacceptable by God. Those who practice
such things must repent or face the consequences.
And finally “their thefts” are mentioned. Thieving is
repugnant because it is taking what doesn’t belong to someone without care or
concern for the work and time of the one being stolen from. The other sins will
often take up a great deal of time and expense of the offender, who is only
bent on more sin, so the easiest route to feed their debauchery is to steal
from others. For these acts, continued judgment and woe is coming on the world.
Lord Jesus, when I read the list of things that offend
You and which bring about Your wrath, I know that I have participated in these
things as well during my life. And yet You had mercy upon me. I can only pray
that You will call the hearts of the unrepentant back to You, just as You have
done to me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Amen.
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from
heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was
like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. Revelation 10:1
With this verse, we start Chapter 10 of Revelation.
John’s vision at this point seems to be from an earthly view as he sees
“another mighty angel coming down from heaven.” The previous verses have been
centered on battles occurring on earth and now this angel is coming to that
He is “clothed with a cloud” indicating the glory
which surrounds Him. He also has a rainbow on His head. This is a symbol of
God’s faithfulness to the promises He makes, just as was the case with the
rainbow given as a sign to all humanity after the Flood of Noah. His face is
“like the sun.” This depiction indicates the radiance of the light of life
being in Him and shining from Him. And finally, His feet are like pillars of
fire. Fire symbolizes purity and judgment.
There is great dispute among scholars who this angel
is, Christ or another heavenly being. It could really go either way depending
on which of the coming verses one focuses on, but none of them negate it being
the Lord. However, several of the verses clearly point to deity; it is
certainly one of the many ways Christ reveals Himself to us in the book of
Revelation. The Greek word allos is used for “another” and indicates
“another of the same kind.” In other words, another description of the Lord –
this book is the revealing or unveiling of Jesus and it is He who is being
Today’s verse begins an interlude between the 6th
and 7th trumpets, just as there was one between the 6th
and 7th seals. This interlude will last for quite a while and the
final trumpet isn’t blown until Revelation 11:15. The majestic description of
this portion of the heavenly vision is given to prepare us for the verses ahead
– all of which are amazing and glorious.
How beautiful it is to read the various descriptions
given to us which show us the glory and beauty of the heavenly realm. Above all
is the majesty and splendor of Jesus, our Lord. Thank You, O God, for the
wonderful insights into these things. We look to You and your glory with
amazement and hope! Amen.
He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his
right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,… Revelation
This is the mighty Angel from verse 1 who came down
from heaven clothed with a cloud with a rainbow on his head, with his face like
the sun, and having feet like pillars of fire. We now see that he has “a little
book open in his hand.” This is probably some type of unsealed scroll and is
not the same scroll as was brought to our attention back in chapter 5. A
different word is used for the scroll in this verse, biblaridion. Its
significance will be seen in the verses ahead.
This mighty Angel “set his right foot on the sea and
his left foot on the land.” Two important concepts are derived from this. The
first is that the message in His hand is a message which pertains to the entire
world – indicated by the sea and the land. The second is that this Angel is
claiming authority over both the sea and the land. In a display of complete
control over a vanquished nation, rulers of the past would go to the shore of
the land and place their feet in this manner. It was a symbol that they held
control over the entire realm. All trade – whether by land or by sea, all
industry – coming from the land or the sea, all the resources – as acquired
from the land or the sea… all of it was under the authority of that ruler.
In this verse, the Angel is claiming complete
authority over the earth because He descended from heaven to earth. The title
deed to the earth which was opened in chapter 5 is claimed by the great Hero of
today’s verse. The amazing thing about our God is that He is sovereign over the
world and yet He allows us to disobey Him and ignore Him at will. Most
sovereign rulers would simply snuff out those who rebel without giving them a
chance, but God provides ample opportunity to the people of the world to
However, there is an end to disobedience and when the
cup of His indignation is full, it is poured out in judgment. We as His
creatures cannot be disobedient forever.
How marvelous it is to see the splendid descriptions
in Revelation, to think about the power and majesty displayed there, and then
to know that You have been patient – ever so patient with the sons of men.
Instead of immediate destruction, we receive mercy and blessing even when we
fight against You. Thank You for Your longsuffering and kindness. Amen.
…and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion
roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. Revelation 10:3
The “mighty angel” whose feet are on the sea and the
land now cries “with a loud voice, as when a lion roars.” The lion is the king
of his realm and the fiercest animal of his domain. When he roars, it is a
sound of terror to those who hear it. The symbolism is one of ferocity and a
source of great fear for the people of the world.
Back in Revelation 5:5, we saw Jesus depicted as the
Lion of the tribe of
When He cries out, “seven thunders uttered their
voices.” As we will find out, what is said isn’t revealed, but it is surely a
call for judgment upon the earth. In Job 37, we read this parallel –
“He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His
lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with
His majestic voice, And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God
thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot
The voice of God is majestic and marvelous and with
His utterances, great things occur. Such is the case with the coming resounding
Lord, I know that we as humans have two choices, to
hear Your tender call as the Shepherd of Your saved sheep, or to hear Your terrifying
voice as the great Judge of lost humanity. I thank You for having called me out
of darkness into Your light and I pray for those I love who have not yet
responded to this call. May You work upon their hearts and bring them to You.
Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I
was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the
things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” Revelation
In Psalm 29:3-9, the voice of the Lord is mentioned seven
1) over the waters,
2) is powerful,
3) is full of majesty,
4) breaks the cedars,
5) divides the flames of fire,
6) shakes the wilderness,
7) makes the deer give birth and strips the forests
The seven thunders today roar and they are in an
understandable voice because John was about to write what he heard. This Angel
then is certainly the Lord as the previous symbolism has already shown, because
it is the “voice of the Lord.” that utters them.
What is revealed is something that will happen during
the tribulation period, but suddenly John hears another voice from heaven
saying “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write
them.” Because this voice comes from heaven and directs the Angel, some
scholars have decided that the Angel can’t be Jesus. But we have already seen
on several occasions that Jesus fulfills sequential roles of the heavenly court
– such as in Revelation 4 and 5 where Jesus is sitting on the throne and then
hands the scroll to the Lamb who is Jesus. In other words, we are seeing the
“unveiling” or “revealing” of Jesus. Just because we see sequential things
occur from different places and there is interaction between individuals who
are present, doesn’t negate that they are all Jesus.
Concerning the sealing up of the seven thunders, there
is an interesting parallel which comes from Daniel 12 –
“‘Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said,
“My lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said,
‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till
the time of the end.’”
The book of Revelation is the “time of the end” and it
is revealing the things Daniel wasn’t given. However, even in Revelation, there
are things which are sealed. God has chosen to reveal His Son in the way which
He has chosen and we are not privy to all of the information concerning the
coming time of tribulation. His plan will come to pass as He directs and in
order for that to happen, the seven thunders must remain hidden.
It is exciting to see the events of the future
unfolding before our very eyes, and yet we have things that are hidden from us
as well. Because of this, we have an even deeper interest in such things,
stretching our minds to see that which is beyond our eyes. How wise You are in
how You have presented the future to us! Thank You, O God, for these insights.
The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the
land raised up his hand to heaven… Revelation 10:5
Today’s verse, combined with the one tomorrow, is
another reason why scholars have denied that this Angel is Jesus. As we will
see, the raising of the hand is accompanied by swearing by “Him who lives
forever and ever.” If this Angel is swearing by “Him who lives for ever and
ever” the thought is that it can’t be Jesus because Jesus is God and it is He
who lives for ever and ever. This logic is incorrect.
Deuteronomy 32:40, Jeremiah 22:5, Daniel 12:7, and
elsewhere contain such vows made by the Lord when speaking of Himself. For the
Angel to raise His hand to heaven and make such a statement in no way negates
The only thing that can be inferred from today’s verse
is that an oath is going to be made and it is being made by One who has
authority over the sea and the land. Here is how the Lord presents His vow in
Deuteronomy 32 –
For I raise My hand to heaven,
And say, “As I live forever,
If I whet My glittering sword,
And My hand takes hold on judgment,
I will render vengeance to My enemies,
And repay those who hate Me.”
When God swears by Himself, in either testament, it is
making a proclamation that what is said will absolutely and assuredly come to
pass. We have every confidence that what God speaks is absolute truth and that
the Bible is God’s word.
I know, O God, that You can do all things and that You
have all authority and all power. I also know that Your word is truth and that
what You proclaim will surely come to pass. Thank You for having given us such
confidence. By resting in Your truth, we can live at peace in this world full
of trouble and trial. Amen.
…and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who
created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are
in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no
longer… Revelation 10:6
The mighty Angel described in verses 1 and 2, after
raising His hand toward heaven, now swears “by Him who lives forever and ever.”
This is a binding oath and reflects the very nature of God, who is everlasting.
As the Creator, he existed before the creation and He will endure for all time,
throughout eternal ages. The term “forever and ever” is applied to the Lord
dozens of times in the Bible and several times in the book of Revelation. Back
in Revelation 5:14, it said this “Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!”
And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and
As we noted yesterday, several other times in the
Bible, the Lord swears by Himself. At these times, because there is no higher
authority, the vow is eternal in nature and cannot be changed. Today the vow is
“that there should be delay no longer.” What is coming will come and it will
Another clue that this Angel is Jesus is that the vow
isn’t only “by Him who lives forever and ever,” but He is also the one “who
created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are
in it, and the sea and the things that are in it.” This mighty Angel, while
proclaiming this, has one foot on the sea, one foot on the land, and His hand
upraised to the heavens. In other words, He is signifying authority over these
three things that He has created.
There is now only a short time left for repentance and
turning to righteousness. When the coming judgments arrive, the time will be
too late. But each human already faces such a deadline. In reality, we don’t
know the moment of our death. It could be today in an accident or by the
stopping of our heart. We could be killed by an intruder or choke on our
dinner. We simply don’t know the time of our end and therefore we must be ready
at every moment for the Lord to come for us. Let us be found ready.
The mighty Angel of these verses swears that there
will be delay no longer and the time is set. But Lord, we have a date to meet
You that was set before the creation of the world. In Your wisdom, You created
us and have allowed us to decide which path to follow. May we make right
decisions that are pleasing to You and that will lead others to You as
…but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel,
when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared
to His servants the prophets. Revelation 10:7
“But” in this
verse indicates a contrast from what has been said – “that there should be
delay no longer.” In other words, the seventh angel will sound and judgment on
the world will come in a terrible and frightening way. So the question is, and
which is highly debated, does the seventh trumpet sound and then continue to
sound during the seven bowl judgments to come, or is it a blast and then
judgment. However this is interpreted, and this will be analyzed as we
continue, “when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished.”
A mystery in the New Testament is something that was
previously unknown and which is now revealed. There are several mysteries
spoken of by Jesus and the apostles. The Old Testament saints saw, for example,
a time when there would be great tribulation on earth and they also saw a time
when there would be a reign of righteousness on earth. When these, and many
other things were declared to them, they wrote them down in the pages of the
Old Testament, but they didn’t understand how these things tied together with
the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Peter describes this process in his first epistle
“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and
searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time,
the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified
beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To
them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering
the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached
the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels
desire to look into.”
O God! How wondrous it is to think that we, as New
Testament saints, can look into things that the prophets of old and even the
angels have longed to see and understand! May we handle this information
carefully and with great care, knowing that we are the recipients of what
others actually suffered for, particularly our Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen.
Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me
again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the
angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” Revelation 10:8
In his vision, John is certainly on the earth because
we read that the voice from heaven speaks again to him and says, “Go, take the
little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on
the earth.” John has migrated back and forth in his vision between heaven and
earth and at it requires care to see when the change from place to place
occurs. Just because the voice comes from heaven and directs John to take the
scroll from the hand of the Angel doesn’t mean the Angel isn’t Jesus.
In the gospel accounts, the voice of God speaks to the
people when Jesus is present, such as in Matthew 17 at the Mount of
“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud
overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is
My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’”
In today’s verse, the command to John comes and it is
very similar to one given to Ezekiel many hundreds of years before John’s time
“Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to
me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. Then He spread it before
me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written
on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.” Ezekiel 2:9, 10.
What John will be asked to do with the little book is
similar to what Ezekiel was asked to do with the scroll. We will see this in
the verses ahead and find out what they symbolize. God’s great plan includes
the use of His people for specific tasks. Just as God used Ezekiel and John, so
He can use you too.
When He stirs up your spirit to act, be ready to do so
that He may be glorified through you. It must be a delight to His heart for Him
to see His creatures willfully following His call and directives.
Use me according to Your great plan, O Lord. I know
that You will never give me a task which is beyond my ability because You
created me and know my capabilities. Help me to know them as well and to use my
time and talents in the way which will bring you the most glory. You are surely
worthy of all I can do, so use me, O Lord. Amen.
So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the
little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your
stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Revelation
Let’s go back to Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3 to see the
Old Testament parallel to today’s verse –
“Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to
me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. Then He spread it before
me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written
on it were lamentations and mourning and woe. Moreover He said to me,
“Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of
As you can see, the parallel passage says that on the
scroll are lamentations and woe and this would be the same with the book given
There is a two-fold occurrence when one is given the
word of God. The first part is that it is sweet. We put it in our mouths and
cherish it because God’s word is life and sweetness. The psalmist said that
God’s word is “sweeter than honey to my mouth.” When we know God’s word we
aren’t to just read it and stop there, but we are to meditate on it and then
turn around and share it with others.
When we meditate on it, we compare ourselves to it and
find that God is infinitely greater than we are and we can never compare to
what His word proclaims – absolute holiness and complete purity. Because of this,
it makes our stomach bitter, knowing our fallen state. And even more – when we
share it with others, knowing that we are sharing God’s truth, we can expect
those who hear it to shun us and revile us.
Most people want nothing to do with holiness and purity
and will accuse those who proclaim the word of being “holier than thou.” And
when we proclaim God’s judgment for rejecting His word, the accusations and
hatred only grow more intense. The world is at war with God and His word and
this brings about bitterness and strife. But let us never compromise God’s word
for the sake of tolerance or non-confrontation. We are in a spiritual war and
all wars contain bitterness, lamentation, and woe.
Lord – fill me with Your word. Surely it is sweeter
than honey to my mouth. And never let me forget or diminish the lessons it
teaches me, even though they are hard to stomach and cause me bitterness of
soul. And also Lord, give me the desire, stamina, and fortitude to stand fast
on Your word and to proclaim it to the people of the world. Amen.
Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand
and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it,
my stomach became bitter. Revelation 10:10
It turned out just as the angel said it would – John
“took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it.” When he did, “it was
as sweet as honey” in his mouth. Jesus really is coming back and the Bible is a
book of hope, wonderment, and joy at the thought of His return and what He will
do for the people of the world. The messianic age will be marvelous to behold.
And after that time, we have all of eternity to look forward to as well.
There will be no more pain or suffering. All things
will be made new and we will walk in the light of the Lord. These things really
will come to pass and reading about them is “as sweet as honey” to our souls.
However, something else happened to John after eating the book. It made his
When we know something bad is coming in our lives, our
stomachs churn and we have all kinds of physical problems that are associated
with that. The bitterness we feel inside can only be resolved by passing
through those times of trial and getting to the other side. And this is the
case with John and it should be the case for each of us as we continue reading
on in Revelation.
The world really will come to a time of decision,
rejection of God, judgment, and destruction. How can the love of God be
complete in our hearts when we know that each person who dies apart from Christ
will be eternally separated from God and sent to a place of eternal torment?
This should be the bitterest thought of all for each of us. But one thing we
can’t do in the process is to waffle on our convictions.
Like Ezekiel of the past, we need to stand firm and
proclaim God’s word in its entirety –
“But the house of
It is true Lord, the thought of your coming judgment
is a difficult concept to stomach, especially when I look at Your mercy in the
cross of Jesus. But it is this very cross which demands Your justice on all who
reject the offer – the immense offer – of grace and peace that was given there.
Truly You are just when You judge, O God. Amen.
And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many
peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” Revelation 10:11
John has taken the book and eaten it and it was sweet
to his taste but it became bitter in his stomach. Now he is told, “You must
prophecy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”
The word for “about” is the Greek word epi.
This word is in the dative case and therefore can be translated in a number of
ways – against, over, for, upon, as, about, etc. Therefore, the translator’s
preference, along with his knowledge of the context of the verse as well as the
overall meaning of the passage, is highly important. The prophesying that John
is to do is not literally in person, but is most probably speaking about the
rest of the warnings and judgments which lay ahead in Revelation. What he will
receive and pen for the world to see then is what brings bitterness.
The reason this is likely is what he has eaten
immediately became bitter. Therefore, the word “against” is the most probable
translation for this verse. You must prophesy again against many
peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” This then is parallel to what Ezekiel
was told in his vision and prophecy. Ezekiel 3:11 records,
“And go, get to the captives, to the children of your
people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they
hear, or whether they refuse.”
Ezekiel was prophesying against the rebellious
Lord, it seems like we can’t learn from the past and
are thus destined to make the same mistakes again in the future. How sad it is
that the people of the world can’t simply bow their knee and acknowledge You
and Your great workings in human history. But such isn’t the case and so You
are justified when You judge. Open eyes and hearts now, O Lord. Amen.
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the
angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those
who worship there. Revelation 11:1
There are several interludes which occur between
chapters 10 and 14 and one of them begins with this verse, which is also the
start of chapter 11. As Revelation is 22 chapters long, we are approaching the
half way point of the book.
John is “given a reed like a measuring rod.” The
measuring of something in the Bible is normally used to indicate either
destruction of something, preservation of something, or a mixture of both. In
the time of King David, in 2 Samuel 8, we read this –
“After this it came to pass that David attacked the
Philistines and subdued them. And David took Metheg Ammah from the hand of the
Philistines. Then he defeated
In Ezekiel 40, there is a passage very similar to
today’s verse where a future temple would be measured as well.
“’And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your
eyes and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you; for
you were brought here so that I might show them to you. Declare
to the house of
One difference between Ezekiel and Revelation is that
the man with Ezekiel did the measuring, but this one asks John to do it.
One thing which is certain is that the temple John is
asked to measure is not the temple which was destroyed in AD70. It is a temple
which is yet future to our time. And guess what! The implements for this temple
are made and on display in
Lord, looking at the world today and knowing the
But leave out the court which is outside the temple,
and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will
tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. Revelation 11:2
As incredible and impossible as it seems in today’s
world, there really will be another temple in
This temple will stand, most probably, on a large
empty spot directly in the middle of the mount. On the north end stands the
Dome of the Rock, which is adorned with a gold dome. On the south end is the Al
These are obviously defiled areas which belong to the
“gentiles” or the nations. The measuring of this future temple leaves out the
court where these two defiled edifices stand, thus indicating that they are
excluded from future blessing and will be removed at some point in the future.
These same gentiles who have a foothold on the
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one
week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and
offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even
until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
A covenant of peace with the antichrist is coming and
it will be for a period of “one week” or 7 years. However, this covenant will
be broken in the middle of the week, which is 3 ½ years or 42 months.
Understanding and properly interpreting Daniel 9:24-27 is the key to
understanding what is coming and when – and it all pertains to the Jewish
people and to the city of
O Lord, it is so exciting to see that we may be very,
very close to the time which was prophesied so long ago in the book of
Revelation and even back to the time of the Old Testament prophets. As the
world turns away from You, they are also aligning against Your people
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and
they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in
sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3
Today’s verse gives another clear reason that the
Angel that has been speaking to John is Jesus. He says “I will give power to my
two witnesses.” It is the Lord who provides such power to the sons of man, not
a created being; the Angel is Jesus. He directs His prophets and the words of
their mouth. And these two witnesses will do so for 1260 days.
This is a period of 42 months or 3 ½ years. A biblical
year is always based on a 360-day pattern. When you do calculations on Bible
dating, or when you look at websites that attempt to do so, using anything
other than a 360-day year will result in error. Remember this as you do your
This 3 ½ year period is not unique in the Bible.
Elijah also withheld the rains from
As we noted yesterday, this 3 ½ year period was
prophesied by Daniel and it is pointing to a future date, not something that
has already been fulfilled. The key to understanding the times we live in is to
The two witnesses are “clothed in sackcloth.” The word
is a transliteration from the Hebrew word sak and wearing it is a sign
of mourning and woe. Wearing such garments is to show great distress, humility
before God, and even as a petition that what is deserved is destruction, but
there is a hope for mercy. In the case of these two, they are in sackcloth on
behalf of the people they are speaking to. Demonstrating that great woe is
coming and that the people should take heed and join them in their humble
petitioning of God for mercy. In the verses ahead, we will look at who these
two people are.
Heavenly Father, the fact that a definite time is set
for these two witnesses to prophecy tells us that there is first a plan,
secondly an end to the period of grace, and third that the time is fixed and
will not be changed. What You have ordained will come to pass and all we can do
is be in prayer that eyes will be opened and hearts will be responsive – to
Your glory, O God. Amen.
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands
standing before the God of the earth. Revelation 11:4
The question everyone seems to want to know is “Who are
these two witnesses.” The answer must be found in the Bible if it is to be
found at all. Some have suggested one is Moses. This is not correct. Moses’
death is recorded in the Bible and the book of Hebrews says we get one chance
at life and then judgment. But as we will see in the coming verses, these
witnesses will die – one is not Moses. Some have suggested one of them is John
the Baptist. Again, this is incorrect. These are alluded to in the Old
Testament book of Zechariah as already serving the Lord –
answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees—at the right
of the lampstand and at its left?” And I further answered and said to him,
“What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles
of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?’ Then he answered me and said, ‘Do you
not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.’ So he said, ‘These are
the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.’”
The two witnesses predate John the Baptist and John
also was beheaded. He doesn’t fit the biblical requirement. One is not John the
Baptist. So they are two people who haven’t died and who serve the Lord, even
in the Old Testament. This leaves only two possibilities – Enoch, the seventh
man from Adam who is recorded in Genesis 5. Hebrews and Jude explain that Enoch
was a prophet and he was taken directly to heaven. The other is Elijah who was
taken directly to heaven as recorded in 2 Kings 2.
An argument against this, which is invalid when
thought through, is that it can’t be Enoch because Enoch wasn’t a Hebrew. So
what? The Bible never says they are both Hebrews. And also, they are witnessing
to both Jew and gentile during the tribulation period and so this only makes
more sense. And finally, the answer is resolved when looking at Daniel 12:5, 6
Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other
on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was
above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders
In this passage, the Lord is above the waters and
there is one man on one side of the river and one on the other. The designation
“Hebrew” comes from the ancestor of Abraham, Eber; his name means “cross over.”
Enoch is a gentile who lived on the other side of the
The Bible seems to explain who these two men probably
are and what role they play – in both Testaments of the Bible. And the Bible
provides the exact symbolism to determine who they are. Therefore, the most
likely and biblically adherent answer is that they are the prophets of old –
Enoch and Elijah.
Both never died and have been faithfully serving the Lord
for thousands of years now. There is no reason to think that they wouldn’t
serve Him in this especially personal way during the coming tribulation period.
When evaluating difficult passages, it is often
necessary to search the entire Bible to resolve the difficulties. We cannot run
with biblical analysis without doing diligent research, and although passages
like today are not related directly to salvation, they are a part of the whole
counsel of God and so they need to be treated as such.
Lord, open our hearts to a desire to know Your word
completely – in both Testaments. Surely it is filled with treasure beyond our
understanding and the more we look into it, the more You will reward us in
grasping it. May You alone be glorified through our studies and then teaching
others of the wonders of Your Word! Amen.
And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from
their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he
must be killed in this manner. Revelation 11:5
The Lord’s two witnesses testify to the people of the
world for 1260 days. As they do, the world will hate their testimony, but they
won’t be able to do much about it. There will be those who come against them,
but their words of retaliation will be futile. The big question which arises
from today’s verse is, “Will it be real fire which proceeds from the mouths of
The prophet Elijah did call down fire from heaven on
companies of soldiers who came against him, so one could think this might also
be some kind of heavenly gift. However, what is far more likely is that those
coming to “harm them” are people with their own false testimony, and also
naysayers who say that God isn’t judging the world at all. They will come
against these two in order to trap them in their own words, but Jesus has
already given a promise to those who speak on His behalf in times such as this
“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and
magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer,
or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour
what you ought to say.”
Because this is the case, the “fire” of the Holy
Spirit’s utterances are far more likely than real flames. The question is, can
such an example be found elsewhere in the Bible? If so, then this is the more
The answer is “Yes.” We read the words in chapter 5 of
“They have lied about the Lord, And said, ‘It is
not He. Neither will evil come upon us, Nor shall we see sword or famine. And
the prophets become wind, For the word is not in them. Thus shall it be
done to them.’ Therefore thus
says the Lord God of hosts: ‘Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make
My words in your mouth fire, And this people wood, And it shall devour them.’”
The words of the Lord are a consuming fire,
particularly when they proclaim judgment.
Lord, just as Your words are a consuming fire when
disregarded, they are also a fire in the hearts of those who love You. Let us
never quench the fire which burns inside of us by withholding Your truth from
others. Instead, give us the desire and ability to boldly proclaim Your truth
to the people of the world. Amen.
These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls
in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to
blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
The closing verses of the Old Testament say this,
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and
dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the
children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and
strike the earth with a curse.” This is
a strong indication that Elijah is certainly one of the witnesses. And as
discussed earlier, Enoch is the most likely and biblically reasonable second
The two of them, probably Enoch and Elijah, will have
tremendous power. Elijah previously had the ability to shut up the rains as is
recorded in 1 Kings 17 – “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of
Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I
stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.’” This
period of no rains lasted for 3 ½ years. This is the same period of time that
these two witnesses will prophecy in the future.
In addition to this power, the witnesses will have the
powers which Moses was given during the exodus, such as turning the waters to
blood. The term “and to strike the earth with all plagues” is pretty
encompassing! They will have the Lord’s power over the elements in a way
previously unseen on the planet and it will be for “as often as they desire.”
It is good not to get too dogmatic on who these two
are, but there is nothing wrong with reasonably searching Scripture to make a
sound determination. In the end though, regardless of their names, they are
servants of the Lord and are fulfilling His great plans, leaving no doubt that
they speak on His behalf.
Lord, what’s more amazing than the fact that these
people are coming is the fact that their witness will be disregard despite all
of the evidence to the contrary. But because of this, how much more just is
Your judgment when it comes. Until that day, help us to continue to share the
beautiful message of the gospel to others. Amen.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that
ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them,
and kill them. Revelation 11:7
The two witnesses, regardless of who they are (we have
identified them probably as Enoch and Elijah, but this isn’t certain) will
finish their prophesying after three and one half years and they will be killed
by “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit.” This is not likely to be
the angel with the key to the bottomless pit in verse 1 of chapter 9, but
rather he is probably the leader of the forces which are let loose from there,
represented by locusts. He is quite possibly the antichrist who was spoken of
by Daniel and also Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10.
The term for “beast” here is not the same term that is
used for the four living creatures around the throne. But because some
translations use the term “beast” for both it is good to clarify this. The term
used here means a wild animal. It is probably analogous to the term used for a
beast in Daniel chapter 7, but there is also a difference. The beast there is
speaking of an empire, but this one in Revelation seems to be speaking of an
individual. However, this isn’t 100% certain either. This very well may be an
The leader of an empire is normally associated with
the entire empire. When one speaks of the Germans of World War II, they will
often speak of Hitler as representing the whole. Again, Stalin is used as an
example of the entire communist system of his time. There is no reason to think
this isn’t the case here as well and time will resolve these hard to identify
terms, peoples, and empires. Until then, we can only look and know that God is
in control and that after these things occur, we will see His omniscience in
the situation – knowing that He foresaw exactly what would happen.
Death isn’t the end of the story for these two
witnesses, so don’t fret as we close our analysis of today’s verse. Jesus has
complete and final control over all who are His. Hallelujah – we are secure in
Lord, by seeing the faithfulness of these two
witnesses, it gives us courage as well to speak out for Your glory and Your
great name. Give us that strength as we face the wickedness of such ideology as
that which comes against Your gospel and attempts to deny the very rights which
we have as humans to speak about You and Your hand in our lives. Amen.
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of
the great city which spiritually is called
Back in verse 2 of this chapter we read this, “But
leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it
has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for
forty-two months.” The city of
First, the gentile people living in the city are
defiled and have rejected the Lord and are following apostate religion and
abominable practices, but more importantly, this has been allowed by the Jewish
nation which was brought back by God from dispersion around the world and given
control of both the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. Unfortunately
though, instead of understanding God’s hand in this, they have rejected this
notion and have made a pact to allow the city to be divided in an attempt buy
peace, which will never come in this manner.
What a sad commentary for the place “where also our
Lord was crucified.” In an attempt to show that they have overcome the
testimony of these two witnesses, and as a sign of contempt for them, the dead
bodies are left open and exposed in the streets of the city. In a sense, these
two are following their Lord in the public shame He endured. But this isn’t the
end of their story. Stay tuned!
O Lord, even in the face of the mighty miracles
performed through these two witnesses, the people have rejected their
testimony, and thus Your testimony. However, we are not unlike them. We have
Your complete revelation in the pages of the Bible and yet most people reject
it as well. Open hearts and minds to Your truth, O God. Amen.
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues,
and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow
their dead bodies to be put into graves. Revelation 11:9
The two witnesses who have prophesied against the
people of the world, and particularly those in and around
With the advent of cell phones and the internet, they
may even become a curiosity to check in on. Maybe there will be the “Two
Witnesses Webcam.” However, this verse doesn’t prove TV; it only suggests its
possibility. Anyone who has been to
So this terminology could simply mean that people out
of those groups, who happen to be in town at the time, will witness their dead
bodies in the streets. But in modern times, as already stated, it would be hard
to imagine people not publishing photos and videos of them all over the world.
We live in an exciting time where mass-media can relate the truth of God’s
message in an instant to the four corners of the earth.
Yes Lord! We live in exciting times and it is
wonderful to think of the blessings of this age that people of times past
didn’t have. But at the same time, with blessings come trials. Our lives are
hurried and our days are overloaded. Help us to focus on what is most important
– our relationship with You. Let us not be distracted from that! Amen.
And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over
them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets
tormented those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 11:10
In John 16:20, Jesus says this to his disciples –
“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will
rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”
The world rejoices when it seems that God’s plans are thwarted or defeated. It
has always been this way and it will continue on into the Tribulation period.
But what the world doesn’t stop and think through is that if God is God, then
He is above His creation and therefore He knows what will occur – from
beginning to end.
Whatever seems to be a defeat is a part of His plan
and occurred because He determined it to be that way. This isn’t some type of
way to trick people. Instead it is His way of proving His sovereignty over what
happens. And so, when the two witnesses are killed and left exposed in the
streets, the earth will rejoice.
This will happen in the same perverse manner that the
Palestinians rejoiced openly on 911. They went into the streets and held big
parties, gave gifts of food to each other, and shoot their weapons in the air
in jubilation at the destruction of
There will be dancing and shouting and jubilation
because they proclaimed judgment and condemnation on the world’s wickedness and
the people were unable to do anything about it. But now, it will seem as if the
path to their plans for domination will come to pass. They will believe that
they’ve thrown off the yoke of God and have complete control over their future
– small ideas from small minds. In the end, they will see the error of their
ways, but it will only be as they face their final destruction.
Such is the nature of judgment on folly and sin. And
all because of the rejection of the greatest offer of love and peace ever
bestowed upon mankind – the gift of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Heavenly Father, it truly is heartbreaking to stand
back and see people rejoice over deeds of evil and wickedness. There is a sense
that there is no control at all left in the world. However, we know there is
and we know that it is found in You. Help us to change hearts and minds now
before judgment falls and it is too late for these wayward souls. Amen.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life
from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on
those who saw them. Revelation 11:11
The world saw the witness, prophecy, and miraculous
signs, wonders, and plagues of the two witnesses and they disregarded them,
fought against them, and eventually killed them. After this, they shamelessly
let them lie dead in the streets of
The term “breath” and “spirit” are used synonymously
in the Bible. This breath is the same breath mentioned at the creation of man
in Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
These two are not only given the reanimation of their bodies though, the
“breath of life from God” includes the fact that they are born of the Spirit.
Their resurrection then is an eternal one. They have
triumphed over death because Jesus went before them and has granted them the
same eternal life that He has. This is an implicit indication then that the
rapture has already occurred. These two witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, were taken
to serve the Lord in Old Testament times and returned to earth to witness. The
fact that they died and then have been resurrected to eternal life means the
rapture has either already taken place or will take place at this time.
Paul explains in 1 Thessalonians 4 that “the dead in
Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the
air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” If these two are granted the
resurrection, then they are either participating in what has already been
bestowed upon other believers or being raptured at the same time as them.
The first option is most likely because otherwise all
believers would know when the rapture was going to occur. Therefore, the
rapture most likely happened before the tribulation started.
Thank You Lord for the great hope we have in us – the
promise of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus! Why should we fear
when we know that You have already triumphed over death for us. We need never
fear; our hope is secure in You! Hallelujah and Amen.
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to
them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies
saw them. Revelation 11:12
Back in Revelation 4 we read this,
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing
open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet
speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must
take place after this.’”
This was a picture of the rapture of the church. From
chapters 1-3 the church was addressed, but after 4:1 – all the way up to
chapter 19, the church is never mentioned again. The world, however, was
deceived into believing that no such thing as the rapture occurred. Paul
explained in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12 that this deception would happen. The
people of the world will be blinded to the truth of what occurred and they will
simply believe some crazy story instead.
But when these two witnesses are brought back to life,
there will be no doubt about what they have seen. In the same call as the
church received – “Come up here” – they will be gathered to the Lord. And it
will be in a similar fashion to the rapture as well because Paul explains that
the church will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord also.
Interestingly, these two, who are the two lampstands and the two olive trees
who stand before God (verse 4), are more than probably the two men who stood
with the disciples in Acts chapter 1 –
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they
watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And
while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men
stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you
stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you
into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’”
In what is an amazing scene, the two men, Enoch and
Elijah, who were taken directly to heaven to serve the Lord for the past thousands
of years were there with Him in the Old Testament, there with Him at His
ascension, and testify to Him at the end of the present age. They will be taken
up in a cloud just as their Lord was and they will return with Him when He
returns at the end of the tribulation period.
Imagine the stories these two men have in their
service to the Lord!
Lord, the way you have tied things together in
Scripture is simply astonishing. The small clues you have placed throughout the
pages of Your word lead to immensely interesting patterns and parallels. They
also testify to Your faithfulness to Your people. When the world is judged,
Your people have nothing to fear. Hallelujah! Thank You, O Lord. Amen.
In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a
tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed,
and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:13
At the time of the two witnesses’ resurrection, there
will be a “great earthquake.” This isn’t an understatement by John. A tenth of
Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of
At the time of the earthquake in Revelation 11, and in
the midst of the destruction and death, there will be great fear, but also a
change in some hearts towards God. They will give Him the glory He is due. This
will not be the case with everyone though because more judgments and rebellion
are coming, but some in
Yes Lord, we in the world find every reason to ignore
you and Your obvious call to us through the written testimony in Your word and
also in our hearts. Therefore, judgment is often the only remedy. Because this
is so, and because it will bring You glory, let Your judgment come – that You
may receive what we have otherwise failed to give. Amen.
The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is
coming quickly. Revelation 11:14
Two of the woes are now complete, but there is one
more to come. The world hasn’t woken up from the spiritual darkness they are in
and they will have to endure a great deal more judgment before the tribulation
period is over. When it says the “third woe is coming quickly” it doesn’t mean
“immediately.” In fact, it will be quite a while before we get to it. In the
meantime, there will be more interludes to analyze. If one looks over
commentaries of the past, they will see an amazing diversity of opinion about
the meaning of the events which are given in Revelation.
Depending on one’s view of Scripture and the role of
the church in history, some have seen all of these events directed at the
Jewish nation at AD70. Others see these events and their resulting judgment
directed at the Roman Catholic Church and other figures in history as history
unfolds. However, as has been seen as we’ve moved through the book, these
events are future, not fulfilled in the past or progressively unfolding in
Why would someone make the call that the church has
When we look at what God has done in history, we
should all be amazed at the greatness and perfection of His unfolding plan!
Great are your mysteries O God – in your creation and
in your ways. Thank You for allowing us to peer into your word and discover the
riches of Your unfolding plan and to know that it does include the faithful
keeping of Your covenant with
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud
voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the
kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and
ever!” Revelation 11:15
This seventh trumpet is the last trumpet to be sounded
in the sequence of judgments. When it is sounded, the heavenly chorus breaks
into joyous noise! Their cry resounds – “The kingdoms of this world have become
the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and
ever.” What might seem confusing is that this cry is made before the third woe.
In other words, there is still rebellion, judgment, and destruction coming.
However, this is an anticipatory trumpet and it
includes the seven bowl judgments; it encompasses what is yet ahead. And
remember what just occurred, the resurrection of the two witnesses was viewed
by the world. There can be no doubt about God’s promises or about the truth of
His word at this point and so the proclamation is made.
The seventh trumpet here is not the “last trumpet”
Paul refers to when speaking about the rapture. That trumpet was a trumpet of
the church age and was one of salvation. This trumpet is during the Tribulation
period and is one of more trials, but despite the coming trials, the victory is
assured and the kingdoms of the world have been handed over to the authority of
“our Lord and of His Christ.”
The term “forever and ever” is from the Greek phrase
“to the ages of the ages.” It is a term which reflects eternity itself and is
something that has no end. The authority of Christ over the earth is complete,
absolute, and eternal. Isaiah predicted this time 700 years before the coming
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the
increase of His government and peace There will be no end, the
throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with
judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord
of hosts will perform this.”
Victory belongs to our Lord. His kingdom will reign on
earth forever and ever. But how wonderful it is to know that, even now, we can
participate in that glorious kingdom! Oh God, You have offered peace and
reconciliation to the children of men through the shed blood of Jesus. Thank
You O God for the victory of our Lord and His cross! Amen.
And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their
thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,… Revelation 11:16
The twenty-four elders who were seen in Revelation 4
and 5 are seen again in Revelation 11. As before, they “fell on their faces and
worshiped God.” Before we analyze what they do after falling down (coming up in
the next verses), let’s remind ourselves of what they did before –
Rev 4:11 – “You are worthy, O Lord, To
receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will
they exist and were created.”
Rev 5:9, 10 – “You are worthy to take the scroll, And
to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your
blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us
kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
As we noted, the first time they fell before the Lord
in praise they did so based on God’s creative power – “For You created all
things and by your will they exist and were created.” The next time, they did
so based on Jesus’ act of redemption – “For You were slain, and have redeemed
us to God by Your blood.”
Pay attention to the terminology of such phases and
you will see the plan of God unfolding before your very eyes! What do you think
will be the reason these twenty-four elders fall down before God in the coming
verses? Stay tuned and we will look at them together.
What a wonderful and beautifully unfolding plan You
have laid out in the pages of Your word! Thank You for opening up these
passages for us and showing us the great heavenly scenes which even the angels
participate in! How blessed we are when we simply open Your word and look at
its structure and beauty! Thank You, O Lord, Amen.
…saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The
One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken
Your great power and reigned. Revelation 11:17
Yesterday’s verse noted that the two previous times
the 24 elders fell prostrate before the Lord and the heavenly voices resounded,
it was because of God’s acts of Creation and then Redemption. Today we note
that God is highlighted as the Eternal One, “the One who is and who was and who
is to come.” He is the Creator, which means He necessarily is before His
creation; His presence is above and yet in His creation, directing it; and He
ever shall be.
Just as we move into the future, live in the present,
and look back on the past, we also anticipate God’s revelation, live moment by
moment in His revelation, and continuously look back and learn from the things
He has revealed. This is noted by the heavenly chorus and then they acknowledge
to God that “You have taken Your great power and reigned.” Therefore, the
logical sequence of this heavenly scene goes from Creation, to Redemption, and
then to the Authority to Rule. In Matthew 4, we read this account between the
devil and Jesus,
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high
mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he
said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and
Jesus didn’t question the devil’s authority over the
world. That dominion was lost at the fall of man, but Jesus regained the
authority in His work on the cross. Now that authority is being exercised as
the final judgments on the earth are being readied in anticipation of His
Today’s verse calls Him, the “Lord God Almighty.” This
is translated from the Greek word pantokrator and it is equivalent to the Lord
of the hosts or Jehovah Sabaoth of the Old Testament. Jesus is the omnipotent
Creator, Redeemer, and Ruler. He is sovereign over His creation and has now
taken His great power and begun to reign. His purposes for man are being
realized within His creation – the very creation He participated in when He
walked among us.
Glorious and Almighty God! The story which You have
planned and participated in is beyond our comprehension. You came and united to
Your creation in the Person of Jesus Christ. You walked among us and shared in
our humanity. How can we not give You all the praise and honor and glory You
are due! Great are Your works among the children of men! Amen.
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth. Revelation 11:18
The anger of the nations is spoken of in the 2nd
Psalm. Peter quotes this psalm in Acts 4 indicating that Jesus and His work are
the fulfillment of what David prophesied. However, the cross and the
resurrection aren’t something that were fought against at only one point in
history. Instead, the nations have continued to rage against the work of Christ
since that time and it will come to its final state during the tribulation
As the world rejects what Jesus has done, God’s wrath
is being stored up and will be poured out in great judgments. After this period
of tribulation there will come a 1000-year reign of Christ on earth. At both
ends of this reign there will be resurrections. Those prophets and saints who
have gone before the time of the cross, and those who died during the
tribulation period will be a part of the first resurrection. This will include
those who fear the Lord’s name, small and great. In other words, God looks for
faith in His unfaithful creatures, so just a little bit will do.
Each will receive their rest and reward based on the
faith they exercised in their walk of life. And in contrast to the saved, there
will be judgment and destruction for “those who destroy the earth.”
This probably isn’t just speaking of the physical
earth, but all the people of the earth as well. At times in the Bible, the term
“the earth” is used in this way, speaking of the earth’s inhabitants. Those who
destroy the lives and souls of people are striking out at God’s image bearers
and their judgment will be harsh.
Jesus tells us of this in Matthew 18:6 – “Whoever
causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better
for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the
depth of the sea.”
Holy, just, true, and righteous are Your judgments, O
God. You have given us every chance and opportunity to repent and turn to You.
And You haven’t made it hard. Instead, all You ask is that we live by faith,
even faith as small as a mustard seed. Help us to think rightly and to use our
time wisely that we may be saved from the Day which is surely coming. Amen.
According to the previous verses, Christ has taken His
power and is reigning, the nations were angry and His wrath has come, and the
time of judgment is at hand. After the heavenly chorus utters this great
doxology, John says that “the
This is not the ark which was in the temple in
“And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the
head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain” (John 20:12).
Inside the ark were the tablets of the covenant, the
Ten Commandments, which represent the law which Jesus embodies and which He
fulfilled on our behalf. Every detail of the ark pictured and prefigured the
For any who are willing to call on Him, mercy will
still be granted, but as we will see in the coming chapters, there will be a
cost for acknowledging Christ as Lord during this time.
When Jesus the
What an awesome and majestic spectacle to behold –
Christ, the Ark of the Covenant in His holy temple! O God, You have revealed to
us the glory of Your Son and the magnificent work that He has accomplished for
Adam’s fallen seed. How great, yes – how truly great You are. Thank You, O God,
for the perfect and glorious Gift who is Jesus our Lord! Amen.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed
with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve
stars. Revelation 12:1
Our study now takes us to a new interlude with
beautiful symbolism of the workings of God through human history. During this
display there will be seven distinct characters and four different conflicts
presented for our contemplation.
Today, we first see “a great sign in heaven.” In
Genesis 1:14, it says the heavenly lights were given “for signs and for
seasons.” This is a clue that even the heavens declare the unfolding plan of
God. The very order of the constellations carries His message and displays His
wisdom. In Daniel 4:3, it is proclaimed, “How great are His signs!”
God has woven into the creation His workings in a way
which reveals the message of redemption found in Jesus. Another type of signs
we are given come from His word. They are symbolic messages which convey truths
concerning reality. These are known as apocalyptic symbols.
Today we see one of them – “a woman clothed with the
sun.” To be “clothed” with something is to have that characteristic as one’s
very nature. In the 104th Psalm, it says this, “O Lord my God, You
are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself
with light as with a garment…”
This woman then bears the radiance of the sun. In
Malachi 4:2, the coming Messiah is called “the Sun of righteousness.” The next
description is that the woman has “the moon under her feet.” The moon is the
lesser light which rules the night in Genesis 1:16. It is also the sign of
coming judgment when it is eclipsed.
During this time, it turns a blood red color – a sign
used several times in the Bible in this way (Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20, and
Revelation 6:12). The moon is full during the nighttime and night is the time Jesus
said holds the power of darkness (Luke 22:53). And finally, the woman has “on
her head a garland of twelve stars.” The stars are explained in Genesis when
Joseph (whose life is used in the Bible as a picture of Christ) had a dream.
They represent the twelve tribes of
Having looked at some of the biblical parallels to the
symbolism used, we can now evaluate who this woman represents. Three main
figures have been proposed by past scholars – Mary, the mother of Jesus; the
church; or the Jewish nation.
Taking every thing in biblical context it is certainly
not Mary. She was the human mother of Jesus, and only that. The corresponding
symbolism negates it being her. The woman is also not the church. As we will
see in the coming verses, the woman will bring forth a Son, who is Jesus. The
church did not bring forth Jesus. Only a bias against the Jewish people could
come to this faulty conclusion.
The only biblically acceptable answer, based on the
principle of having Scripture interpret Scripture, is that the woman is the
Jewish nation who ushered in the Messiah. This will become more evident in the
Jesus was of the tribe of
The woman is
Lord, even though Israel rejected You, You have not
rejected them. Though they were cast among the nations, You have re-gathered
them to their land for Your sovereign purposes. Though they have been
faithless, even as each of us has been faithless, You remain faithful. Your are
the God who keeps covenant promises for Your name’s sake. Hallelujah and Amen.
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in
pain to give birth. Revelation 12:2
We rightly noted yesterday this woman is
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
The seed of the woman would be the one to destroy the
devil’s work. In the physical sense, this was Mary in whose womb Christ was
conceived, but Mary was of the seed of
As a woman with child
Is in pain and cries out in her pangs,
When she draws near the time of her delivery,
So have we been in Your sight, O Lord
Heavenly Father, since the world began You have spoken
through Your holy prophets concerning the coming of the Messiah. And You have
brought Him forth through Your beloved people
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a
great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his
heads. Revelation 12:3
John’s attention is now directed to “another wonder in
heaven.” As he looks at the unfolding drama before him, he must find what he is
seeing hard to grasp. When he looks, he sees “a great red dragon, having seven
heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”
This is similar to a vision Daniel saw many hundreds of
years earlier – “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth
beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it
was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was
different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten
horns.” Daniel 7:7
The dragon is Satan as will be explained later. His
authority is revealed in an earthly power which has the seven heads and ten horns.
As we progress through Revelation, we will see another figure which is similar
as well in verse 13:1. However, we will also see that these are being seen at
different times. Therefore, the symbolism is that this is how the devil reveals
himself, not just once, but at several different times in history.
The red color is reflective of war, blood, and death.
Jesus called the devil “a murderer from the beginning…” and He certainly meant
that right from the time of the creation of man, the devil set out to kill and
destroy. In the Garden of Eden, he tempted man and caused death to enter the
world when man believed his lies. He continues to deceive and kill both
individuals and nations.
The heads picture leadership, the horns symbolize power,
and the crowns indicate authority to rule. The picture given here is a
corporate body that has been established on earth and which has the intent of
thwarting God’s purposes for the redemption of man. This redemption was
promised all the way back in Genesis 3:15 and reflects the anticipated Messiah
who would come.
All of the devil’s efforts are to undermine His coming
and His rule.
Oh God, no matter what the devil tries and no matter how
fierce are his minions who work his evil, we know that You are infinitely greater
and that Your plans and purposes for the restoration of all good will never be
thwarted. Your book is written and the prophecies are given. We can watch them
unfold with great surety that all will come about as stated! Amen.
His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw
them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give
birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. Revelation
The dragon has positioned itself in anticipation of the
birth of the Child. This scene therefore is a look back into the past and the
coming of Christ. As previously noted, the woman therefore must be
The dragon, who is the devil or Satan, “drew a third of
the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” Many scholars take this to
mean that 1/3 of the angels of creation followed the devil and lost their
heavenly position because of this, thus becoming demons. Another view is linked
to Daniel 8:10 – “And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some
of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.”
This is speaking of an earthly ruler who corrupted the
Often that which is more dramatic sells the most tickets
at the box office, but it isn’t always based on sound principles. The dragon is
at war with the coming Christ who was prophesied all the way back in Genesis
3:15. The most effective way of winning in this battle is to subvert the very
people and chosen line whom the Christ was to come through.
It is no secret that this is
But the devil isn’t God and God’s plans cannot be
thwarted! Jesus rules because He prevailed!
Lord, the plan You have laid out in the Bible is glorious
and it is one that spans the ages – from Adam all the way to the end You are in
complete control. Despite our weaknesses and failings, You have accomplished
wondrous deeds by bringing many of Your wayward children home by the work of
this precious Child who came and dwelt among us! Amen.
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a
rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Revelation
The vision John sees is coming to a glorious moment now.
This woman “being with child” who “cried out in labor and in pain to give
birth” does bear the Child. This Child is set to “rule all nations with a rod
Some commentators claim that this is the Church and not
Jesus because “her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.” The idea is
that the Church, not Jesus, will be raptured in the twinkling of an eye.
Another support for this is that in Revelation 2:27, Jesus grants authority to
those who overcome (meaning those who make up the Church) will rule [the
nations] with a rod of iron.
However, this authority is granted by the overall ruler
of the nations who is defined in Psalm 2:7-9 – the coming Messiah.
Additionally, the Greek of this verse which is translated “a male Child”
actually says “a son, male.” This repetition clearly identifies this One as an
individual, not a corporate body. It is referring to Jesus and His right to
Jesus, after His work on earth, was caught up to God at
the ascension which is recorded in Acts 1. It is a description like that of the
rapture of the church in that “He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of
their sight” just as the church will be gathered in the clouds. This verse then
demonstrates that the church age is a distinct dispensation and that Christ
will return again to rule during the millennium.
In other words, God is not through with the Jewish people
and there is still a plan for them in the future. This future begins with the
tribulation period of Revelation and continues through the millennial reign. In
order to dismiss this, the analysis of the remaining chapters of Revelation
will only become more and more convoluted as scholars must “symbolize” passages
which would otherwise be taken literally.
Yes, God has a plan for the Jewish people and it is to
them that Jesus will return as He spoke with His own mouth – “O Jerusalem,
Lord, it is evident that even when we are faithless, You
remain faithful. When we turn our backs on You, You still abundantly forgive
when we repent and call on Jesus as Lord. Thank You for this, and thank You for
being faithful to the people of
The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for
her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Revelation
This heavenly scene that John is witnessing has gone from
Why would this scene jump over a 2000 year period like
this? The reason is because
At this time, many prophecies will begin to come to
fulfillment. At the half-way point of the tribulation, which is 42 months or
1260 days, the covenant which was made with
These day and month timeframes are certainly to be taken
literally and there are several reasons for this.
The first is that the 490-year period of Daniel 9:24-27
has been fulfilled literally and to exact and verifiable dates. Of this
490-year period, 483 years have come to completion. This leaves a 7-year period
remaining, which was promised to
A second reason to take this timeframe literally is
because it is repeated several times in Revelation. Because of this, it is a strong
indication that they are not merely symbolic of an unknown timeframe.
There is no need to worry about the nutty ravings of
people like the president of
The heavenly scene we are witnessing, O God, is one of
marvelous wonder. We can look at it and discern that You are in complete
control of the ages. This beautiful play spans the ages and yet is portrayed in
a single occurrence, indicating that You see all of time at once and have
complete control over it! How absolutely magnificent You are! Amen.
And war broke out in
heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his
angels fought, Revelation 12:7
Michael, which means “who is like God,” is the
This verse tells us that Michael is specifically the protector of the
Today’s verse is the last time Michael is specifically mentioned. We
see that a heavenly battle is taking place. The structure of the Greek
indicates that Michael and his angels are the attacking force and they are
coming against the dragon, identified as the devil.
The devil, along with his force of fallen angels, is in a spiritual
battle against the forces of good. This battle is spoken of in Ephesians 6. In
that chapter, Paul explains that “… we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness
of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
There really are spiritual battles being waged and they have occurred
since the beginning, even in Chapter 3 of Genesis. They will continue until the
20th chapter of Revelation.
Lord, help us to properly balance our
spiritual lives, understanding that there is a devil and that we are in a
battle against him and his forces, but at the same time we already have the
victory in Christ. Help us to not have unbalanced priorities by focusing too much
on a battle with a defeated devil. In Christ, the victory is assured! Amen.
…but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them
in heaven any longer. Revelation 12:8
Too often in our society, and going back for eons as
well, men have credited the devil with far more power than he actually
possesses. It is true that he has great power and it is surely magnified when
combined with those who rebelled with him. But the fact of the matter is that
despite his capabilities, it is far less than that of the heavenly host.
Today’s verse shows that the devil and his angels could
not prevail over the good angels and they lost the heavenly realm that they had
access to. In an unfortunate turn of events for the world though, this means
that their dominion is now where man treads upon the earth.
And yes, it is true that the devil causes havoc here. But
the devil is finite and God is infinite. Therefore, whatever power the devil
has is infinitely less than God’s. Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we have
access to the very throne of God. And through acceptance of His work, we become
sons of God through adoption and we have the strength of the Almighty to
protect us. When things are tough, let us remember this –
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
There is a throne where God rules and He graciously
allows us to enter His presence through our Mediator, Jesus. When the devil is
about and causing us grief, we need to remember this and use this heavenly gift
to seek out comfort from our loving and all-powerful Creator.
What great love You have poured out on us, O God! You
sent Jesus to lead us back to You and to give us power over the devil. When we
are afflicted, you offer comfort. When we are tried, you lead us to the still
waters. When we are overwhelmed, you offer us a seat at Your table. Thank You,
Lord. Please help us to remember this heavenly access when it is needed. Amen.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old,
called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the
earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9
In our analysis of verse four, it was determined that the “third of the
stars of heaven” which were cast down to earth were actually the human rulers
Those “stars of heaven” have already been cast to earth, but only now,
along with the devil, are the fallen angels cast out with him. As you can see,
there are two realms of warfare – the first is on the earth and the second is
in heaven. Both are ultimately brought about by the work of the devil though.
He corrupted man in the Garden of Eden and man fell. This fall has brought
about every wicked thing that has ever occurred. In similar fashion, the devil
has also caused angels to fall along with him. It is the pride of his beauty
and the lust of holding the power of the universe which brought all of this
about. Instead of looking to his Creator, he has looked to replace Him.
In the end though, it will only bring about his final and eternal
destruction in the
This verse is a good one to remember because by it many things are revealed
from the rest of the Bible. It lets us know that the dragon is the serpent, the
devil, and Satan. In other words, all of these individual words found elsewhere
in the Bible are tied into this one wicked and destructive being.
It is he who even tempted the Lord at the beginning of his ministry, but he
failed there. It is he who again tempted the Lord when Peter spoke and
indicated that he wouldn’t let Jesus fulfill His ministry by dying. The devil
tried and failed in each instance and the Lamb of God prevailed over his work.
Great is the Lord God Almighty and wondrous are His
deeds. The Lamb has prevailed over the work of the devil and so all who call on
Him are freed from the penalty of sin and rebellion which has endured through
the ages. Thank You Lord for coming and releasing us from this infinite debt!
Great and glorious is the Lamb of God! Amen.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now
salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His
Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our
God day and night, has been cast down. Revelation 12:10
As we will see in tomorrow’s verse, this portion of the heavenly scene
occurs after the cross of Jesus. We have seen God’s chosen line of
During or after this time, there was war in heaven between Michael and his
angels and the dragon and his angels. This account then is running sequentially
and is leading us through the ages in this great heavenly scene, but it is
completely skipping over the Church Age. In other words,
The dispensation of the church age is not the focus of what is occurring.
During this time of tribulation, Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven
and at that time, the great heavenly proclamation is made – “No salvation, and
strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come.”
And the reason is because – “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them
before our God day and night, has been cast down.”
Since the beginning, Satan has determined to bring accusation and
destruction to humanity. He did it in the Garden of Eden. He did it during
Job’s time – attempting to malign and destroy that godly man. He did it during
the time of King David (see 1 Chronicles 21:1). He did it after the exiles of
the Babylonian captivity when he stood accusing Joshua the High Priest in
Zechariah 3:1. And, he stood to oppose Jesus during His time of fasting in the
Satan has been active throughout the ages and he continues to accuse the
church, even to this day – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the
devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter
The devil has been active, but the book is written and the writings are
sealed. His time is limited and he will be cast down. Great is the Lord who
defeats the devil!
Heavenly Father, please give us strength to resist the
devil and be with us, O God, in our times of weakness and temptation. We know
the victory is won, but in our flesh we are still weak and at risk of falling.
Help us to never do that which would bring dishonor to You and Your glorious
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the
word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation
This is referring to those in the previous verse whom the
devil had “accused them before our God day and night.” These fallible
Christians were unworthy in and of themselves to attain eternal life or the
blessings of God.
No one deserves these things because they have inherited
Adam’s sin and then heaped up their own sins in life. This is evident because
the devil stands accusing us before God. There would be no accusation if there
were no actual guilt, but with this guilt the prosecution steps forward;
fingers pointed at us.
However, God has allowed our sin to be transferred to a
qualified substitute – Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. When we call out
to Him in faith, we are saved “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of
[our] testimony.” The word of our testimony is the simple proclamation asked of
every believer, “Yes, Jesus is Lord.”
When we confess Jesus as Lord, and believe in our hearts
that God raised Him from the dead, Paul writes in Romans that we are saved. Why
does Paul tie belief in the resurrection with Jesus being Lord? Only a dummy
would call on a dead lord because a dead lord is no lord.
Jesus prevailed over death because He never sinned, thus
proving He didn’t inherit Adam’s sin and Adam’s guilt, nor did He sin on His
own accord. The Bible says “the wages of sin is death.” Because Jesus didn’t
sin, He was resurrected to eternal life, having paid our sin debt by His blood.
Peter describes the absolutely incomprehensible value of
the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ – “…you were not redeemed with corruptible
things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received
by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a
lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19
Glorious and Almighty God! You have done for us what we
could never have done for ourselves. You have redeemed us from the wages of sin
by paying them through the life and vicarious death of Your own Son. All hail
the glorious and splendid works that You have accomplished for us. All hail the
Lamb – our Lord and Savior, Jesus! Amen.
Monday, 28 May 2012
Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!
Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to
you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. Revelation
Two things are happening in this one verse. The first is
that there is occasion for great rejoicing in the heavens and for those who
dwell, or tabernacle, in them.
The term “to tabernacle” goes back to the Feast of
Tabernacles as is laid out in Leviticus 23. It looked forward to the time where
God would dwell with man. This was a feast of great rejoicing in
Jesus, being fully God and able to see the future, saw
this moment during His earthly ministry and proclaimed it in Luke 10:18. Now it
is being realized in the stream of time. But there is a second half to the
verse and it is one of woe to all the inhabitants of the earth and the sea.
The devil knows the Bible and the prophecies it contains.
The world has come to the halfway point of the tribulation period and the
remaining time is known directly from the Bible – there are three and one half
years left for him to work his iniquity. He will do this through the antichrist
and the false prophet and he will do it with “great wrath, because he knows
that he has a short time.”
Once the wheels are placed in motion, nothing can stop
them because the book is sealed. In the hands of believers is God’s eternal and
unchanging word – the Holy Bible. It is a roadmap to the events to come and it
is completely reliable in all it contains and proclaims. The world will face
many great calamities in the next three and one half years and, as Isaiah
proclaimed so long ago, man will become “more rare than fine gold.”
Few will survive the calamitous events of the last half
of the tribulation.
Surely there is a time for rejoicing and a time for
mourning. Lord, in my life is the surety of eternal salvation because of the
work of Jesus Christ. But in the lives of many whom I love there isn’t that
assurance. Please hear my prayers for those who have not yet called on Jesus. I
pray that they will know You before their time of judgment comes. Amen.
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the
earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. Revelation
The dragon, which has been identified as the devil
(Satan) lost his place in heaven due to the great battle fought by Michael and
the good angels. Because of this, he was cast to the earth. As we saw
yesterday, this means “woe” for the people of the earth because the devil now
knows that his time is very short. And so he will bring about as much havoc and
destruction as possible before he is bound in chains.
When he is cast to the earth, the first thing he does is
to come against and persecute “the woman who gave birth to the male Child.” As
noted, this is
This terrible time was prophesied by Jeremiah and will be
a time like no other in their history –
“Alas! For that day is great, So that none is
like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved
out of it.”
This “time of Jacob’s trouble” will be an immense test for
How absolutely precious it is to know that You are ever
faithful to Your people, O God. When You speak, it is in absolute truth. And
when You raise Your hand in a vow, nothing in all of creation can nullify Your
word. Thank You for Your steadfast faithfulness to the people of Your flock.
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that
she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a
time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. Revelation
This verse very closely matches verse 6 – “Then the woman
fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they
should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” What this means
is that verses 7 through 13 were a parenthesis and now the outlying information
is being returned to.
The woman is
In Exodus 19:4, we read these words as spoken by the Lord
– “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on
eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” The “eagle” terminology is also used
when speaking of the Lord’s care and provision of His people in both
Deuteronomy 32 and Isaiah 40. The symbolism is that of a powerful bird which
will protect its young and is able to carry them above any troubles so that
they are safely out of danger. The flight of the Israelites to the place of
safety in “the wilderness” will be without harm, just as it was for them when
they were brought out of
When the people arrive at the location the Lord has
chosen for them, He will nourish them for three and one half years. This may be
a supernatural care for the people as it was during the wilderness wanderings,
or it may be that there will be people who tend to them by shipping in food,
water, and whatever else is needed. Either way, God is already aware of what
will occur and has ensured it will come to pass by placing it in His word. All
of this will be in a place where the devil cannot harm them.
Lord, for thousands of years Your care has been upon Your
people. You safely led them to the
So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood
after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.
In Isaiah 59, which is speaking of the Redeemer of Zion
and most likely the very events of which are spoken about in today’s verse, we
read this –
“So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19
The symbolism in today’s verse then is most likely the
same all of the symbolism in this interlude, symbolic in nature. The devil will
cause a group of people to chase “after the woman” like a flood. This will be
an attempt to destroy the remaining Jewish people of the land. But the Lord
will be their protector and defender as we will see in tomorrow’s verse.
There are other possible interpretations to this verse
such as a literal flood of water or the river symbolizing a flood of lies in
the religions of the world which are working against God. The first option is
unlikely because God is in overall control of nature. Even though the devil is
allowed to cause natural disaster elsewhere in the Bible, it makes no sense
that he would be allowed to work in this way directly against the very purposes
that God is intending. The second option is also unlikely because of the
parallels elsewhere in the Bible which match both the flood of enemies and the
judgment from God coming in tomorrow’s verse.
Lord, the devil thinks he can win against You by
destroying the Jewish people and thus showing that You are unable to keep Your
everlasting covenant with them. But he is mistaken and so are all the nations
who rage against them. You are in complete control of all things, including the
But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its
mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Revelation
Yesterday’s verse determined that the “flood” which comes
from the dragon is probably an army which is bent on the destruction of God’s
This “flood,” being an attacking army, is obviously
superior in strength to those fleeing, but “the earth helped the woman, and the
earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood.” What exactly occurs here
can’t be known for sure, but when it happens, those fleeing will know that they
were saved by God’s divine hand.
The earth may be representative of a protecting army,
friendly to the plight of the Jews or it could be an appropriately timed
earthquake which occurs at the spot where the attackers are in pursuit. Another
possibility is that something like what occurred during the wilderness
“Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these
words, that the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth
and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with
all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into
the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly.
Whatever happens, in the end it is God who is behind the
deliverance of this group of fleeing Israelites. He has spoken now so that when
these astonishing events occur, it will be plain, clear, and obvious that it
was He all along who knew what would transpire. He is in complete control of
what is coming.
Lord, throughout the history of the world Your works have
been evident. Creation testifies to You, but so does the miraculous – those
things which transcend creation and which are meant to demonstrate that You are
sovereign over all things. When we see Your work in and around us, help us to
acknowledge Your loving hand in it. Great and awesome are You, O God. Amen.
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to
make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and
have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17
Yesterday’s verse noted that “the earth helped the woman,
and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had
spewed out of his mouth.” Again, as has happened throughout history, the devil
has attempted to destroy the Jewish people and thus negate the promises of God,
but also again the devil has been defeated in his attempts.
Because of his defeat in what he had attempted and
knowing that it would do no good to further attack her (Israel who has fled
into the wilderness), the dragon “went to make war with the rest of her
offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus
The offspring of the woman are different than the woman.
If the woman has been identified as
In addition to them came the two witnesses of chapter 11.
The message they have proclaimed has gone out to the post-rapture world and a
great multitude has believed. They have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and
Savior and will not bend the knee to the global system which has been
In the chapters ahead, we will see the penalty for
rejecting this global system. It is this penalty which is the war the dragon
will wage during the tribulation period. The commandments of God are centered
on faith in Jesus. It is this faith which cannot be tolerated by the world of
wickedness which seeks to rule apart from God. This was the case before the
Flood of Noah and it has been repeated throughout the ages. But for those who
hold fast to their faith, there will be great rewards.
In the chapters ahead, we will continue to see God’s plan
Lord God, You have called us to faith and promised us
rewards for that faith. In this world it can mean trials, troubles, and
difficulties, but it is worth it! The promise of life to come far outweighs the
short-term gains of this temporary walk. Help us to keep our priorities
straight and to focus on You every moment we walk upon Your world. Amen.
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast
rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns
ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Revelation 13:1
John’s attention is now directed to “a beast rising up
out of the sea.” This is a continuation of the interlude between the sixth and
the last trumpet judgments. The “sea” is representative of the peoples of the
world. We see this same symbolism back in Daniel 7 – “I saw in my vision by
night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the
In Daniel’s vision, he saw “beasts” which represented the
major world empires from his time through to the end of the age. Each of these
empires is noted because it specifically affected the nation of
The final empire of Daniel’s vision is identified as the
Roman Empire – an early fulfillment is the destruction of
The world is lining up for this final conflict, noted by
prophets and holy men so long ago. The beast in today’s verse has similarities
to the one in Revelation 12 – having 7 heads and ten horns. However, the crowns
are not on the heads but on its horns. And on the heads is a “blasphemous
Blasphemy is something which occurs against God and so
whatever this name is, which John hasn’t disclosed, it is something which
indicates that they are supposedly the spiritual banner of the earth; replacing
God. This beast will be located in
Lord, after the rapture, it’s evident that the world will
be lined up exactly as Your word says and it will be in a way which is opposed
to You and Your gospel message and yet it will be what the world thinks is
correct. Such is the way of false religion, hiding the truth behind subtle
falsities. Help us to get the word out now about this coming apostasy. Amen.
Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet
were like the feet of a bear,
and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his
throne, and great authority. Revelation 13:2
If you go to Daniel 7 and look at the great beasts which
are mentioned there, the beast in this vision from John resembles all of them
in one way or another.
In Daniel 7, the first was a lion with eagle’s wings
The likelihood then is that this future beast will be a
conglomeration of all of these previous empires – a world power which will
unite into one terrible whole, centered in
“So I will be to them like a lion; Like a leopard by the
road I will lurk; I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will
tear open their rib cage, And there I will devour them like a lion. The wild
beast shall tear them.”
This will be a time of war against the disobedient in
This beast then is not an individual, but it will
certainly be led by an individual – the anti-Christ. He will be filled with all
of the power of Satan and he will unleash immense destruction upon the world.
His seat of power will be one of terror and brutality.
Lord God, when we as humans don’t bend our knee to You,
the only other place for us to turn is to wickedness and destruction. Help us
to continually keep our eyes, our hearts, and our thoughts on You. Help us to
bring others to a saving knowledge of You and Your great deeds. There is a day
coming when this won’t be possible, so stir our hearts now. Amen.
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally
wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and
followed the beast. Revelation 13:3
The general thought concerning today’s verse is that this
“head” is speaking of an actual leader of the beast rather than a leading body.
In other words, it is believed that this is a type of “false resurrection” of
an individual who is mortally hurt.
This is possible, but seems less likely than the other
possibility – the seemingly mortal wound (in a figurative sense) to one of the
leading bodies. To give an example, the EU today is going through great financial
troubles. If one of its “heads” meaning a nation within the EU were to receive
a mortal wound – a financial disaster so bad that it would seem impossible to
overcome – and yet were to be “healed” to a financially secure position, the
world would marvel at the ability of the beast to cure its wound and would
follow it in its financial dealings.
The same logic could be used militarily. If a nation
within a corporate body of nations was facing complete defeat and yet overcame
the defeat, the world would marvel at what occurred and follow after the beast.
This second type of calamity – of certain defeat being turned into victory
during conflict – is the most likely scenario because of what is said in the
A person receiving a life-threatening (and even mortal)
wound to the head which is miraculously healed may be sensational and exciting,
but it certainly wouldn’t cause the world to follow after him. Modern medicine
is to the point where this type of thing is common and although people are
always impressed with a person’s ability to overcome such a trial, no one
follows after such an occurrence as if they were indestructible.
A great modern day equivalent is
It’s great to look into Your word, O Lord, and see the
various possibilities of meaning. We can’t be certain until something has
happened that it is what You were speaking of, but when it does occur, we are
left with no doubt. Thank You for allowing us to analyze these things this way
in order to find the true meaning and then wait on its fulfillment! Amen.
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the
beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast?
Who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13:4
At times in the Old Testament, the question is raised,
“Who is like the LORD?” One such example is found in Exodus 15:11 – ““Who is
like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
There is but one God. We don’t need the Bible to be able
to figure that out. But the Bible reveals this one God to us. He is the Creator
of all things. The earth is like an insignificant grain of dust in the vastness
of the cosmos and yet it is more of creation than any other being has ever
created – because a created being can’t create anything.
Despite this, the people of the world will see the
beast’s power and decide that it is worth worshipping. When they do this, they
are actually worshipping the devil who gave the beast its power in the first
place. This is the nature of all false religions, and all religions but the
truth of Christianity are false. They are either directly or indirectly Satan
worship because anything which doesn’t worship God as He has revealed Himself
is wrongly directed worship.
Remembering this is most important because John, in his
first epistle, gives the main reason that Jesus came. Every other reason
mentioned in Scripture for Jesus’ coming is tied up in this final concept –
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the
works of the devil.”
This is obviously not a popular concept with people who
don’t align themselves with the Christian message, but either it is true or it
is not true. If it isn’t, then Jesus’ ministry was a waste of time and He died
for no reason at all. But the truth of John’s statement assures us that the
whole world is under the sway of the devil and it is Jesus alone who can change
Calling on Jesus is the most important choice anyone can
Lord, when looking at the verse today, we wonder how
anyone could be so hugely stupid as to worship the beast and the devil. But
when we realize that this is the default position of all people, it no longer
seems so silly. Instead, it shows us the enormity of what Jesus has done and
the great work He accomplished for us. Thank You, O God, for Jesus. Amen.
Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to
blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. Revelation
The anti-Christ will openly defy the true Living God
though his blasphemies. First, he will “blasphemy against God.” This is a
railing against the God who is revealed in nature as Paul proclaims in Romans
1. His attacks will defame the character of the Creator – His grace, mercy,
truth, love, righteousness, holiness, and justice. He will proclaim that which
is contrary to these infinite and unchanging standards.
Only the God revealed in the Bible can truly be God
because only He can atone for sins as was accomplished through Jesus Christ.
Any other “god” will compromise at least one of these unchanging attributes,
thus proving he is no God at all. Only the Creator, through Jesus, is both the
Just and the Justifier of the people of the world.
The anti-Christ will also “blaspheme His name.” This is a
direct attack against the very nature of who God is because God’s name is a
self-revelation of His eternal and unchanging character. When God spoke to
Moses, “I AM who I AM” He was stating that He is – without change of any kind;
He is the self-existent, timeless, perfect God from who creation finds its
source and its continuation because the created order came from nothing by His
The anti-Christ will also blaspheme “His tabernacle.”
This is a specific and direct reference to the Person of Jesus Christ. The word
“tabernacle” means the place where God dwells. In John 1:14, we read this, “And
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In this verse, a
literal translation of “dwelt” would be “tabernacled.”
God’s true tabernacle is the Person of Jesus. Jesus is
the One who reveals the unseen Father to us and He is the One through whom we
receive the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to blasphemy God’s tabernacle is to defame
the Person and the work of Jesus Christ – speaking against His atonement, His
all-sufficiency, and that He is the only way to be restored to God – His
exclusivity. Instead, the anti-Christ will proclaim falsities about these
things in order to establish his own supposed avenue to heaven.
Finally, the anti-Christ will blaspheme “those who dwell
in heaven.” This is the entire heavenly host – from the highest archangel to
the last saint taken to glory. All who are in heaven stand sinless before God
because of the work of Jesus Christ – either directly, such as the angels who
were created by Him and who never sinned, or the humans redeemed by His atoning
sacrifice, having their sins washed by His precious blood.
The anti-Christ will make claims that what occurred in
these people wasn’t of any value and that Christians aren’t the people of God.
His claims will be very similar to those of cults, false religions, and even
liberal “Christians” of today. Anyone who denies the fundamental tenets of the
faith and the work of Jesus Christ in its fullness is already of the spirit of
the anti-Christ as stated by John in His first epistle (1 John 2:18).
This person in Revelation will be the ultimate example of
such a person, having been filled by the power of Satan. His blasphemies will
Heavenly Father, it is beyond comprehension how merciful
and patient You are. You allow us to strive against You, speak against You, and
bring great blasphemies against You, and yet You don’t destroy us but are
patient as You wait for us to turn and call out to You. Thank You for Your
mercy on those of us who have acted this way in the past but now see the error
of our ways. Amen.
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to
overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and
nation. Revelation 13:7
In the last three and one half years of the tribulation
period, the anti-Christ will be “granted” the ability “to make war with the
saints and to over come them.” The anti-Christ then has no true power or
authority of his own. He is working on behalf of Satan and even Satan is bound
to what the Lord will allow – something we learn from the first chapter of the
book of Job.
What John is saying here hearkens back to Daniel chapter
7. In verse 21 of Daniel 7 it says “I was watching; and the same horn was
making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,…” These saints are
people who had not accepted Jesus Christ prior to the rapture, but came to an
understanding about the truth of His message during the tribulation period.
The anti-Christ is going to make war against them and
they will be martyred by the millions. We know this from Revelation 7:9, 10 –
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could
number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the
throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in
their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs
to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”
As you can see, just because the anti-Christ has been
granted authority to make war against these people and to “overcome them” it
doesn’t mean he has any true authority over them. Rather, Jesus holds their
eternal destiny in His powerful grasp. Death for them is only temporary. As we
will see, at the end of the tribulation, they will be raised to eternal life.
However, the second half of today’s verse says that the
anti-Christ will be given authority “over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” The
whole world will be under his authority and those who don’t accept Jesus Christ
will pay for it with eternal consequences. There is a difference – some will
die and receive eternal rewards while others will die and receive eternal
condemnation. Jesus is the key to both – either accepting Him or rejecting Him
is the most important decision anyone can ever make.
Lord, the blessing of dying peacefully in this life is of
no value at all when compared to the eternal blessing of being saved by the
Person and work of Jesus Christ. Help us to get our priorities right and give
us the courage and strength to use this life for Your glory, even if it means
death for Your name’s sake. Amen.
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names
have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation
of the world. Revelation 13:8
There’s an important lesson to remember in today’s verse
– “Not every “every” in the Bible means every, and not all ‘all’s’ in the Bible
mean all.” In other words it is important to take seemingly absolute claims in
context. A good example is Matthew 2:3 –
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled,
Obviously, from the context of this verse, it is speaking
of the general leadership of
Today’s verse, in context, is that “all who dwell on the
earth” is that the vast majority will worship the great beast – not every
person. How can we know this? Because the previous verse says that “it was
granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” There can’t
be a war with the saints unless there are saints to make war with.
These saints will be a part of this battle, even until
the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. For those who are not
saints – “whose names have not been written in the Book of Life” there will be
a casting away of the truth of the Creator to follow the beast headed by the
Because the power of the anti-Christ comes from the
devil, these people will actually be worshipping and giving allegiance to
Satan. This is the state of the world even today though – all false religion is
of the devil. The tribulation period will merely magnify this rebelling against
“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The amazing truth of this verse, and one which must be
carefully contemplated, is that even before the world was created, God knew
that His Son would have to go to the cross and die to pay our sin debt. Because
this is so, the willful rejection of Him can only lead to one thing – eternal
separation from God and being cast into the
God has shown us what is right and how to obtain eternal
life. We reject this at our own destruction.
O God, today’s verse is simply beyond our ability to
fully comprehend. Before You created a single thing, You knew what would have
to happen – that Your own Son would need to die for the sins of the people not
yet created. And yet You gave us life anyway. I cannot comprehend the love You
have for your wayward children. All hail the name of Jesus! Amen.
If anyone has an ear, let him hear. Revelation 13:9
In Deuteronomy 4:9, 10, we
read these words –
take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things
your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your
life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord
said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that
they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that
they may teach their children.’”
those verses is the admonition that the people are told to “let them hear My
words…” The Lord is speaking to His people and asking them to listen and apply
the words to their lives. And then Jesus finally came – 1500 years later and
walked among the people of
times the gospels record Jesus’ words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” These eight
times are in Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, Mark 4:9, 4:23, 7:17, Luke 8:8, &
14:35. In Revelation, this phrase is also repeated eight times – 2:7, 2:11,
2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22, and 13:9.
then is the last time this phrase is mentioned in the Bible. It is a final note
of warning to the people of the world and it will call for a true and steadfast
heart to be willing to heed the words from the mouth of the Creator.
will look at that verse and what God is instructing the people who live in this
terrible time of tribulation. By far the best option is to get right with Jesus
now and avoid the trials, the woes, and the tests to come. Bow the knee to
Jesus, call on Him now, and be ready for the rapture. Maybe it’s coming soon to
a miraculous event near you!
Heavenly Father, since the earliest days of man on
earth, You have given Your word and asked us to hear it and apply it to our
lives. O, but we are so determined to do it our own way. Certainly, You give us
such instruction so that we may live and enjoy life, but we continuously reject
it for temporary pleasure. Help us to get it right; help us to follow Your word
of life. Amen.
He who leads into
captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed
with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Revelation
Prior to the Babylonian
captivity, the people of Jeremiah were told that they were destined for trouble
because of their unfaithfulness. After asking Jeremiah where they should go,
his answer to them was abrupt, concise, and lacked hope –
“And it shall be, if they say
‘Where should we go?’ then
you shall tell them,
‘Thus says the Lord:
“Such as are for death, to
And such as are for the
sword, to the sword;
And such as are for the
famine, to the famine;
And such asare for the
captivity, to the captivity.”’
In opposition to this,
today’s verse is a verse of hope. The saints of the tribulation period will
fall by the sword and be martyred in an amazingly vast number – all because
they refuse to bow the knee to the anti-Christ. But in a word of comfort to
these people who surely ask, “What will be the end of this?”
Jesus tells those with an ear
to hear –
“He who leads into captivity
shall go into captivity;
he who kills with the sword
must be killed with the sword.”
The very forces that come
against these martyrs will face the same punishment that they meted out. There
is a difference though. Those who hold fast to Jesus will be granted eternal
life and the wrongs done to them will be made right. However, for those who
follow the anti-Christ, there will only be eternal damnation.
Because this is certain, John
says, “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. The “here” is
emphatic, meaning that this is the promise which should help them to endure the
trials and death they will face. “Here – rest in this brave soul; your reward
One of the stupidest bumper
stickers seen on the roads of
Whether millions or billions,
the number is irrelevant– when He returns, He will wage the greatest war of
history and it will be over simply by speaking the word. Truly “here” is the
patience and faith of the saints.
Lord, even now in this time of peace and abundance, my
life often seems difficult and filled with trials. I sometimes take my eyes off
the fact that You have already written Your word and that it therefore will
come to pass exactly as promised. Help me to remember this as I face my daily
troubles. Give me that peace which passes all understanding. In Jesus’ name,
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and
he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. Revelation
John’s attention is now directed to “another beast coming
up out of the earth.” This beast is known as the “false prophet.” Unlike the first
beast which came out of the sea, meaning the great sea of nations, this beast
is coming up out of the earth.
It is possible that this is speaking of the
It could be that John is building upon this concept and
it seems likely because the first beast is specifically coming out of the “sea”
and this one is coming out of the “earth.” There must be a definite reason for
this and the distinction between the gentile nations and the Jewish people is
This beast “had two horns like a lamb.” Because there are
two horns, and horns in this case signify power, the appearance of the power
possessed by this beast will be tame and docile – like a lamb. However, its
words won’t match its appearance as it will speak “like a dragon.” It will give
the impression that its actions are caring, loving, and with completely good
intent, but as it directs its actions verbally, its true source of power will
be revealed – it is speaking on behalf of the devil.
A good way to visualize this is to simply look at the
politicians in one’s own city, state, or nation. Far too often people are duped
by those who appear to have other’s best intent in mind, but in the end they
only find wickedness in their elected official. The people of the earth will
see one thing but will come to find another in this Satan-filled beast.
Lord, how easily we look to our elected officials as if
they have all the answers and as if they are the epitome of moral rectitude,
but then find that they are filled with deceit, moral perversion, and greed.
Give us discerning eyes to know the truth of our leaders and to reject those
who would bring discredit to Your great glory. Amen.
And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in
his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the
first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. Revelation 13:12
This second beast, the false prophet, has the same
authority as the first beast. This means that he is filled by Satan just as the
first beast is. The anti-Christ and the false prophet both obtain their
authority and power from the devil.
He exercises this authority of the first beast “in his
presence.” This means that what he does is with the expressed approval of the
first beast. The false prophet will deal with mostly with religious matters
while the anti-Christ will deal with the political/military matters.
The false prophet will cause “the earth and those who
dwell in it to worship the first beast.” If in fact the earth is signifying the
Jewish people in
He will have them thoroughly convinced that the beast
“whose deadly wound was healed” is worthy of following and giving their
allegiance to. Regardless of whether this is a Jewish person or not, he will
have the ability to mislead the masses concerning the workings of the
anti-Christ and will have them following him.
As unlikely as it seems to us who look forward to these
things and understand them from a Jesus-centered worldview, the people of the
world won’t look at the events around them in this manner. Instead, they will
simply think that what they are doing and the one they are following is their
This has been the case time and again in history as
leaders arise to deceive those who follow them, but when the tribulation comes,
it will be on a global scale.
Lord God, it is so sad to read through the pages of the
Bible and see the history of man continuously repeating itself. We fall away
from the truth, are judged in order to correct us and then for a short time
return to You. But time and again, we stray right back to our ways of error.
Give us wise and discerning hearts to follow You obediently. Amen.
He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come
down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. Revelation
This is still speaking about the second beast who has
appeared – known later as the False Prophet. What we are seeing here is
something that goes all the way back to Elijah in the book of 1 Kings. At that
time, Elijah called for a great contest between the God of Israel and the false
god of Baal. The god of Baal couldn’t do anything because it was no god at all,
but Elijah stepped forward and with a quiet prayer came the heavenly response –
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt
sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water
that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they
fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He
The False Prophet will likewise perform a sign by making
fire come down from heaven. The word “sign” is the Greek “semeia” which is the
same word often used to describe Jesus’ miracles. However, we read in 2
Thessalonians 2 that what the False Prophet does here is a false sign –
“The coming of the lawless one is according to
the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all
unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the
love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
The people will see his false workings and believe him.
Whatever this sign is, it will be discernable as a false sign, but like crop
circles and global warming – both of which have abundant evidence for being false
– people would rather believe the lie than accept the truth. A
ll true miracles have the overarching purpose of bringing
glory to God. Any supposed miraculous event which doesn’t do this is not a true
miracle. The False Prophet’s signs will only lead people away from God, not
glorify him. Failure is found in his signs and failure is found in those who
follow him because of his failed signs.
Unfortunately, this religious leader will sway people
from every corner of the religious spectrum and will be heralded as a great man
of God. The root of the problem – people have failed to check things out for
themselves in the word which God has provided… the Holy Bible.
Heavenly Father, if we would simply devote our time to
reading and knowing Your word, we would save ourselves so many pains and woes.
But alas, it is far easier to watch TV or go out jogging than to sit and read
the beautiful words of life. And because of this, we believe many lies rather
than the one truth. Turn our hearts to Your word, O God. Amen.
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those
signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who
dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword
and lived. Revelation 13:14
Revelation 13 in particular has been the source of an immense number of
interpretations. And today’s verse, along with the coming few, are as debated
as they come.
To be dogmatic about an interpretation is not a smart policy because they
are future and therefore any interpretation is speculative. We can be certain
that the false prophet will be a deceiver and the signs he is granted to will
do come from the power of Satan.
This false prophet, after deceiving the people of the earth, will tell
those he has deceived to make an image. What is the image and what is its
purpose? There are numerous ways to translate this. The image will be “to” the
beast, “of” the beast, “for” the beast, “in honor of” the beast, etc. Even the
word “image” is given a more specific translation at times, such as “statue.”
As you can see, what the translators already believe is how they will make
This analysis will use “of” the beast because it seems to fit best with
what is coming and also it fits the modern world context. The false prophet has
seen the beast have one of its heads receive a mortal wound only to recover. If
you remember, it was determined that this was probably a nation within an
alliance which will receive a severe military wound – so severe in fact that it
seemed that nation was dead, but it came back to life.
Because this happened, the false prophet will see the wisdom in following
this pattern and develop an “image” of this beast. If that beast could survive
as it did, then it is obviously a pattern worth emulating. This then will be a
worldwide system based on this pattern – a system which will be able to control
not just a coalition of countries, but the entire world.
Lord God, no matter what the analysis of these verses is
now, when these things come to pass, they will fulfill Your prophecy perfectly.
Only after these things occur will it be seen clearly. Until then, help us to
be alert and on guard against the wiles of the devil. Give us wisdom in
determining Your will for our lives. Thank You for hearing our prayer. Amen.
He was granted power to give
breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak
and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Revelation
The False Prophet here “was granted power to give breath
to the image of the beast.” As this commentary has argued, the image of the
beast may be a worldwide alliance based upon an existing pattern of nations.
As an example, we currently see the EU. If one of the
nations of the EU were to have a seemingly mortal wound (economically or
militarily) and the nation were to revive, it would be an indication that this
type of unity (represented by the beast here in Revelation) would be worth
emulating as it has an underlying strength to heals its own problems.
The False Prophet then may develop an “image” or model
patterned after this type of arrangement which would be worldwide in scope. The
word “breath” can also mean “spirit” or “life.” Each of these translations is
possible and the final decision is left to the individual translator. In other
words, the context allows all options.
To give “life” to this image then isn’t to breathe the
breath of life into it as God did to Adam and the animals. Instead, it would
mean to animate it in the same way the beast upon which it was patterned is
animated; to make it a fully functioning organization.
This probably isn’t some type of living creature as so
many have speculated, but an organization which can “speak” – issue edicts and
proclamations just like any governmental organization. It would also be able to
“cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” –
enforce its edicts and proclamations with the power it has solidified.
What is happening in the world is that a
military/religious state is to be constructed which will only tolerate absolute
obedience. It will be something like Nazi Germany on steroids and it will be
terrifying for those who won’t bow the knee to their evil ways.
Lord, time and again we have seen nations demand absolute
obedience from those who are under their scope of authority. This is because we
reject You and try to do things our own way. Help us to remember that You alone
are worthy of our worship and if we reject this, we bring great calamity on
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free
and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,… Revelation
There is coming a system of identification of all the
people of the world – a way to determine who belongs to the beast and who
doesn’t. By stating different categories in polar opposites the verse leaves no
exception for any class – “small and great,” “rich and poor,” “free and slave.”
Everyone is included in this identification process. But the giant question is,
“How will the mark be applied?”
The Greek word charagma is used which seems to
indicate an obvious mark which is visible. However, there may be more to it
than this. The King James Version translates the word “on” as “in.” This could
therefore be some type of tagging device such as a v-chip under the skin. Other
translations actually state it will be a brand, an inscription, etc. But as a
more likely possibility directly from Scripture, and one which matches in a
numerical way as well, we read this in Exodus 13 –
“And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land
of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you,
that you shall set apart to the Lord all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn
that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the
Lord’s. … It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your
eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of
If you notice, both Exodus 13:16 and Revelation 13:16 use
the same terminology – the sign is on the hand and on the forehead. This type
of numerical grouping occurs elsewhere in the Bible and demonstrates a divine
unity even in the selection of chapter/verse numbering of biblical passages.
The “mark” therefore may not be a visible mark at all.
The sealing of the 144,000 from chapter 7 of Revelation is to be on the
“foreheads” of the chosen of
It is no jump in conclusion about this being such an invisible
mark on believers as well because the Bible has other such parallels. In
Ezekiel 9, a “mark” is placed on the forehead of the faithful before the
unfaithful were executed. Here is the account – “Go through the midst of the
city, through the midst of
This mark in Ezekiel certainly wasn’t visible as can be
determined by the context of the passage. But surprisingly, the “mark” in
Ezekiel is the word “tav.” “Tav” is the 22nd letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet and
originally was formed in the shape of a cross. The passage is saying, as is
revealed at other times in the Old Testament, that the cross is the saving mark
of the faithful – looking forward to the work of Jesus Christ.
Because of these patterns and analogies, the “mark of the
beast” is probably an acknowledgment of allegiance. The right hand is used for
making vows and oaths throughout the Bible and throughout history. The forehead
(the spot where one’s brains are) is where the mental assertion for our actions
is made. This mark then is a vow of allegiance which comes about by the mental
assertion that the beast is due worship – something only the Creator is due and
it therefore indicates a rejection of God and an allegiance with the devil.
This mark very well may be backed up by identification –
be it a tattoo, v-chip, retinal scan, finger print scan, or whatever. But
taking the Bible as a whole, it points to the fact that it is the allegiance to
the beast which is the true identifying mark.
Lord, only You are due my obedience, worship, and praise
and nothing else in all creation is worthy of this. I am willing to demonstrate
this fact with my own life. Give me the courage to stand and proclaim You no
matter what test or trial I face and let me be strong and resolute in my
proclamation and allegiance to You. Amen.
…so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the
mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. Revelation
Regardless of whether the mark of the beast is visible or
tangible or not it will represent an allegiance to beast. It will be based on a
vow of allegiance and a mental assertion that this is the only right way.
Because this beast is filled with the power of Satan and because it will
perform false signs, vowing allegiance to it is the same as making a vow to
As the world already falls under the devil’s sway, this
vow merely solidifies what is already true – that those who make this vow have
no part in the promises of God; they can never be saved. This will become
evident in the chapters ahead.
If such a vow of allegiance is refused, the person who
refuses it won’t be able to buy or sell anything. In essence, it will lead to
their death from starvation or at a minimum their turning to a network of crime
simply to feed oneself. Those who refuse the mark are destined for terrible
times, but if they hold fast to the end by refusing to show allegiance to the
beast, then they can be saved.
It is important to note that this type of system has
never been fulfilled in past history and therefore it can only mean that these
verses are speaking of the future. Only a view of Scripture that says that
there is still a plan and purpose for
In order to deny this, verses must be “spiritualized” to
such an extent that their meaning and context actually mean nothing at all. But
when looked at through the lens of God’s promises to the people of Israel from
the Old Testament as coming to fulfillment at a future date, the entire
scenario not only retains sense, but the Bible comes into clarity of focus. God
has not rejected His people
Heavenly Father, if I’m hungry today, all I need to do is
go to my kitchen and put something together for lunch. Or I can go to the
grocery store or a restaurant and enjoy something yummy. I can’t imagine a time
when the mere choice of eating means that I would lose my right to be Your
child. Such a choice is too terrifying to imagine. Thank You that I have been
saved now and won’t have to face such a decision. Amen.
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate
the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. Revelation
This may be the most studied, debated, misused, and
twisted verse in the entire Bible. People who don’t even believe in the truth
of the Bible seem to find themselves drawn in by this particular verse. From
the earliest days after John received Revelation, people have tried to fit
someone they don’t like into the number of this man.
In order to find fulfillment of the verse at the time of
John, people have attempted to align the number with the emperor Nero. In order
to do this, one must spell his name wrong and convert his name to Hebrew (which
makes no sense as the New Testament is written in Greek). Or as an option, they
will use the number 616, not 666. In order to substantiate this as valid they
use an ancient Greek manuscript which was discovered in modern times which has
the number 616 instead of 666 – 1 ancient manuscript out of almost 6000 which
exist has this number. In other words, Nero wasn’t the anti-Christ and only a
foolish attempt at biblical interpretation could come to this conclusion.
In addition, attempts have been made to match this number
with many other world leaders for the past 2000 years. But this approach is
actually pointless for Christians, because Paul explains in 2 Thessalonians 2
that this man won’t be revealed until the Day of the Lord. This period will
only begin after the rapture of the church –
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day
will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is
revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that
is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of
God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4
A few things we can know from this verse – 1) The wise
will be able to understand who this person is when he is finally revealed. 2)
The number requires a sort of calculation which can be understood from a
biblical perspective. 3) It is the number of a man.
Until this person is revealed during the tribulation
period, we can only make guesses as to who this person is. Should we be wrong,
as so many have been throughout the ages, we only bring discredit upon
ourselves and we give those who look for reasons to dismiss the Bible abundant
reason to mock Christianity. The best approach concerning the number is to not
spend an inordinate amount of time on it, but rather direct our attention to
the greatness of Jesus, the true Christ.
Lord Jesus, Your word asks us to fix our thoughts and
eyes on You. Help us to remember this and to not get sidetracked by hype and
sensation – especially over things that are hidden until the time they are to
be revealed. You alone are worthy of our devotion and praise, so help us to
remember this as we live our lives. Amen.
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on
Before returning to the bowl judgments which follow the
trumpet judgments, there is one more chapter of the interlude which began in
To start chapter 14, John’s eyes are directed to a Lamb
These men have “His Father’s name written on their
foreheads.” They were selected by the Father to serve Jesus and carry the His
message to the tribulation world. This victorious picture is given at the same
time that the anti-Christ and false prophet are working on their agenda,
marking the people of the world with the number of the beast.
The sides are being divided up. Those who accept the
number of the beast and bow allegiance to him will be eternally condemned, but
those who follow the Lamb and listen to the message of the 144,000 telling of
the work of Jesus will be raised to eternal life. The contrasts couldn’t be
clearer and the consequences of the choice will be fixed.
Now, during the church age, we have the choice of following
Christ or rejecting Him and either way life goes on pretty much the same, with
the exception of localized persecution. But in the tribulation period, the
choices will result in clear distinctions between the faithful and the
Great and mighty is the Lord God! How wonderful to know
that despite the wickedness in the world today, the battle is already won.
Jesus has prevailed and will return again to rule from
And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many
waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists
playing their harps. Revelation 14:2
In Revelation 1:15, we read this – “His feet were
like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many
waters…” John’s ears hear the voice “from heaven” as he stands on the earth and
listens. The voice which blares out of heaven is “like the voice of many
“Many waters” is John’s only way of describing the
thundering resonance of the Lord’s awesome and glorious voice. At the same
time, he “heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.” The description of
the harps shows them to be the same type of harps as those used by the 24
elders in Revelation 5:8.
Accompanying this heavenly orchestra are the voices of
the redeemed of the Lamb as we will see in the verses ahead. The 66th Psalm
shows us the intent of music when used in worship. Let’s take a moment and read
four verses of this song of praise –
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall
submit themselves to You.
All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah
Yes! Let us sing praises to our God and King. With every
bit of our fiber, let us remember to praise and exalt Him for what He has done.
Praise the Lord for His mighty deeds among the children of men and Hallelujah
to the Lamb who has redeemed us to God! Amen.
They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before
the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song
except the hundred and forty-four
thousand who were redeemed from the earth. Revelation 14:3
The 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth “sang as it
were a new song.” Singing a new song is a theme which goes back to the Old Testament
and is found in no less than five psalms. One example is in Psalm 96 –
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all
the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His
salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders
among all people.
Although today’s verse contains a “new song” it is only
so because of the progressive working of God in human history. In other words,
the overall message of such a song will be the same – proclaiming the greatness
and the glory of God in His unfolding plan of redemption.
A “new song” for the Old Testament saints will be
different than a “new song” for the New Testament saints. The salvation is
ultimately of the same source – the Person and work of Jesus Christ. But how
that salvation is brought about in the individual has differences.
Old Testament saints, prior to the Law of Moses looked
forward to it in their own unique way. Those who lived during the Law of Moses
looked forward to it in a different way. Each “dispensation” has the same
Savior, but with a clearer picture of His work. In the end though, each relies
on grace through faith in Him for their redemption.
The song recorded in this verse is a song which is known
to only the 144,000 – not the living creatures, not the elders, and not anyone
else. Over the ages, people have tried to identify who the 144,000 are. Cults
such as the Jehovah’s witnesses claim it springs from specially sealed members
within its organization. Many older, mainstream denominations claim it is
symbolic of the redeemed of all the ages and thus excludes Israelis of a future
tribulation period. All such analyses are wrong.
Chapter 7 clearly identifies these as Jews, not cult
members of aberrant denominations or sects, and they are also not a “symbolic”
counting of the redeemed of the ages. The same scholars who argue this view
also argue that the 24 elders are representative of the redeemed of the ages.
This attempts to “have one’s cake and eat it too.
The 24 elders cannot know the song, thus they are not of
the same group. The new song reflects the entire process of the redemption of
these numbered and sealed Jews of the future. The reason “that no one could
learn that song” is because this specific redemption has only happened to them.
Only a person who was on the Titanic and was saved from
that drowning can “sing the song of the Titanic.” Only a person who was on the
No one else can sing their song because it is a unique
event which God has designed for them alone.
Heavenly Father, it is important for us to realize that
we are all saved in the same way, but not in the same context. We can’t insert
our salvation experience into another person’s life and so we cannot make
unfounded assumptions about their walk with You either. Help us to focus on the
fact that they are redeemed, not so much in the manner in which it occurred.
These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for
they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
These were redeemed from among men, being
firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:4
This verse is speaking of the 144,000 who were “redeemed
from the earth.” The description of them begins with the note that they “are
the ones who were not defiled with women.” Many scholars state that this is a
“spiritual” defilement and that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have
never been married. For a comparison, we can turn to Hebrews 13:4 for reference
– “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but
fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
The argument is that the word “defile” speaks of
impurity, pollution, or filth and that when married and faithful in that
marriage, these words don’t apply. Therefore marriage is excluded from what
this verse is talking about. This completely ignores the qualifying statement,
“for they are virgins.” The repetition of the thought “they were not defiled
with women” and “for they are virgins” leaves only one option. John couldn’t be
To state otherwise means that the most obvious
interpretation can be rejected and therefore all Bible interpretation means
what we choose for it to mean. This is the path the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” must
take in order to claim the 144,000 are from their cult. Twisting Scripture in
this way leads to convoluted theology and a break from what is clear and
The next description given is that they “follow the Lamb
wherever He goes.” They are obedient to their Master and where He leads, they
will follow. Christ, the Lamb of God, went to His death to redeem man and this
verse must surely include this concept. The 144,000 are willing to give their
own lives for the gospel, even as their Lord did.
Next it says “they were redeemed from among men.” This
repeats yesterday’s verse where they were “redeemed from the earth.” “From the
earth” is probably another reference to the people and
Being redeemed from