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Understanding Revelation

Some say that the book of Revelation is one of the hardest books of the bible to understand. The truth is that anything is as hard as you want to make it, but the book of Revelation is readily understood when you make a determined effort accompanied with time in study.  After spending out a year in study you will understand that Revelation is a summary of all the prophecy of the Old and New Testament concerning the coming of Christ and Godís kingdom. The major theme is shown to John through a vision of Jesus Christ of what will take place soon.

Chapter 1. The book of Revelation begins with a theme of events that will take place in the near future.  Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, "who is, who was, and who is to come." God in his infinite wisdom chose John to reveal his son and the plan he has to bring the age of man to a close. In this first chapter God gives John and the church a vision of the majesty of Christís mission within the Church and what John observed beginning with the letters for the seven churches of Asia.

Chapters 2&3, John was instructed to tell the church that God knew the deeds of the church and specifically the faults of the church. In chapters two and three Jesus brings universal yet specific charges against to the Church that are still relevant to the church of today. In these letters God confronts the sin found in his church then by his grace offers the solution for repentance. God wants a Holy church when he returns and he sent this warning to you that you may prepare for his coming.

"As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14

Chapter 4 &5. The prophetic scripture from Daniel above summarizes chapters 4 &5, to show the court of God that will be set up in all its glory. Working from the throne of God outward our attention is placed on God, his honor guard, those held in deep respect, the crystal sea filled with saints that reflect Godís light, and to those standing on the shore. A scroll written on both sides is reveals the plan for judgement, but no one can open the seals of the scroll. Only the lamb that was slain from the beginning of time was found worthy to open the seals.

Inchapter 6, Christ opens the seals and a series of horsemen ride out to the earth bringing forth birth, confrontation, judgement and death. Those under the throne who died for the gospel ask how much longer they have to wait, but are told to wait until the number is complete. The sixth seal shows a cosmic event taken place on the earth and the signs of Christís coming to judge the world becomes apparent.

There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Revelation 6:12-14

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. Joel 2:31

See, the day of the LORD is coming ó a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. Isaiah 13:9-11

The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. Isaiah 2:17-19

Everyone that has to face Godís wrath is aware of his or her doom.

They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" Revelation 6:16-17

The final paragraph of Chapter six ends with the picture of the world in panic calling for the mountains to hide them from the wrath of God and him who sits on the throne. Because the day made for the humbling the arrogant and the great day of Godís wrath has come.

Chapter 7 shows the restraint of Godís wrath, until the elect have been gathered and sealed. As it was in the days of Lot and Noah, when God has identified and gathered his own to a place of safety, judgment quickly followed. John is made aware of a group of saints from every nation of the world that no one could count. They had white robes and were worshipping God. The question was asked who are they and where did they come from?

These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14

Chapter 8.&9. When the seventh seal is opened in the eighth chapter seven angelsí in order, sound the trumpets revealing the wrath of God as he humbles the wicked from the world. These judgments reduce the earth and its luxuries to ruins and the inhabitants of the earth are shown the reason for seeking life through Jesus Christ. Fire consumes the vegetation and water becomes scarce or unusable. The staples that man has taken for granted since the creation comes to an end. The age of Godís grace ends and the wrath stored against sin and its cause will be released.

See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water. Isaiah 3:1

Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. Isaiah 3:13

The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: "It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. Isaiah 3:13-14

The fourth trumpet sounds and the earth is plunged into darkness for a third of the day. Angels are seen flying overhead announcing the woes about to come on the earth. The ninth chapter speaks of the abyss being opened and the creatures coming out of the abyss unleash their stings on mankind. Men prefer death to the pain and suffering but death will elude them.

The sixth trumpet sounds and two hundred million mounted troops begin to slay a third of the inhabitants of the earth. This happened because they failed to repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Chapter 10. There is a pause as a great and powerful angel places his feet on the face of the earth. As the Angel is about to speak, God tells John Don't to write the words of the seven thunders. The mystery that God announced to his servants the prophets is about to be accomplished. John is told to take and eat the scroll in the angelís hand, which tasted sweet but turned sour in the stomach. Then God commanded John to prophesy this to the peoples of the earth.

Chapter 11. John is told to measure portions of the temple as the two witnesses are introduced. While the gentiles trample the outer courts the two witnesses plague the world frequently with all kinds of pestilence. Then a beast comes out of the abyss and overpowers the two witnesses, killing them. The people of the earth are overjoyed by their death and celebrate by giving of gifts thinking the troubles the witnesses caused are over. Three days later like our Lord, the two witnesses were resurrected and ascend into heaven. Then a great earthquake killed thousands of people and the second woe was over.

The seventh trumpet sounds and voices came from heaven announcing that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord. Our God has begun to reign. The time for rewarding the saints and judging the dead has come.

Chapter 12. War breaks out in the heavenly realm. As we begin chapter 12 the first of two women of Revelations are described symbolically. The forces of evil are making war against the church of Christ. As the war draws to an end Satan is defeated and thrown to the earth full of rage.

Chapter 13. Satan regroups and continues his war with God by attacking his children. His plan is to deceive the elect by making a idol made in his image and forcing the inhabitants of the earth worship it. He was given power to give breath to the image, so that it could speak. Men will reason that only God can give life to an image. However, this is a counterfeit miracle that enables the inhabitants of the earth to believe the lie. at the end of Chapter 13, Satan marks those who worship his image with his number.

Chapter 14. The scene changes and standing before the throne of God are the 144000 that were sealed in chapter 7. They are singing praise in honor of their God. A series of angels fly overhead, the first proclaiming the gospel and salvation of God. The second angel proclaims Babylon has fallen and corrupted the world with adulteries. The third angel declares a warning to those on earth not to take the number of the beast and especially for the saints to be patient so they can endure to the end. Blessed are those who die in the Lord for their deeds will follow them.

A person seated on a cloud like the son of man having a sharp sickle appears. Another angel comes with the message to harvest the earth. The sickle is swung and the earth harvest was reaped. Another angel comes swinging another sickle and the grapes are harvested put into a press and the wrath of God treads the grapes. The life of the creature is in the blood and their blood flows freely over great distances.

Chapter 15. Seven angels appear with vials holding the plagues that complete Godís judgement on those who refuse to repent. The heavens erupt with praise for God as he reveals his glory to his children.

Chapter 16. A voice from heaven directs each of the seven Angels to pour their bowl out on the earth. The first angel pours out his bowl and those with the mark of the beast break out with painful and irritating sores. The second bowl is poured on the sea and the ocean turns to blood like that of a dead man. Third bowl is poured out on the springs of water and they too turn into blood. The fourth bowl is poured out on the sun and the heat of the sun will sear those who refused to repent. The fifth bowl is poured out on Satanís throne and his kingdom is plunged into darkness. The sixth bowl is poured out onto the Euphrates River to prepare the way for the kings of the east. The kings of the earth are gathered to the place called Armageddon. The seventh angel pours out his bowl into the air and he earth suffers the most severe earthquake known to man. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men and they cursed God on account of the plague of hail.

Chapter 17. The second woman of Revelations is adorned with the riches of the earth. She boasts of costly stones and gold that decorates her gown, not caring that she obtained them at the cost of peopleís lives. With her the whole world is influenced to commit sin in exchange for the luxuries that give people stature, fame, and pleasure. She overlooks the laws of God to drag push or pull the saints deeper into the filth of the world. The beast she rides will bring her to ruin and eventually destroys her with fire.

Chapter 18. Angels from heaven come down shouting that Babylon has fallen. God has overcome the kingdom of the world and is pouring his wrath on those whose names were not in the book of life. Come out of her, my people do not share in the plagues that will overtake those who refused to repent. Their sin has been seen and the recompense due them is being given accordingly. Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.'

Chapter 19. Christ has triumphed and praise is given to Christ for condemning the great prostitute and for avenging the blood of the saints. Christ has prepared a table before his saints in the presence of their enemies, blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb. The angel overhead calls for the birds to gather and feast upon the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great. The armies of God march out with Christ at its head into battle to slay those who refused to be adopted as children of God, those who refused to submit to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who refused to humble themselves before their creator. Many were slain.

Chapter 20. Satan and the beast are captured and thrown into the abyss for a thousand years while Christ reigns until God has put all his enemies under his feet. A thousand years later when Satan is released he goes into the world to gather those deceived to battle with the king of kings. He surrounds the city of God and when the time is right fire falls on them and Satan is thrown into the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Chapter 21. John sees a picture of the new heaven, the new earth and the New Jerusalem with its occupants. John depicts the bride who has dressed herself to meet her husband. The old order of things has passed away and a new life is ahead of those who washed their robes. The New Jerusalem that comes to the new earth shines with the brilliancy of God. Our new home is adorned with precious stones and the streets are paved with gold, God has something for everyone to enjoy. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Chapter 22. Life is the most precious thing that is known to man and as we see in this chapter, God is the source of all life is the light of life. The river of life flows down the center of heaven and beside the river is the tree of life. Life is in abundance and life as we know it is promoted by the source of all life, Jesus Christ. Inside Godís kingdom are those who washed their robes and purified themselves from sin and they were made holy.

I would like to close this article with the following observation of the book of Revelation. The prophecy found in Revelation is the testimony of Jesus Christ Revelation 19:10 and I would like to leave this thought for you to think about. In the beginning of Revelation Jesus Christ said,

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Revelation 1:3

Jesus Christ wants you to take his testimony to heart. Every time this phrase is in the bible it refers to the depth of understanding and the sincerity in which the words were given. God wants you to hear and take his words to heart and at the end of his words he warns those everyone not to alter his word in any way.

At the end of Revelation, the prophecy of Jesus Christ ends with this final warning. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."  

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