I think the best way to handle this is to analyze the Book of Revelation. To do this, I urge you to have your Bible.
Why should you have your Bible? After all, I’m putting the verses up.. you can just read them, right?
well, keep this in mind – it took a few years for people reading Marv Rosenthal’s book on the “Pre-Wrath Rapture” for someone to notice he was adding words to verses, in almost every verse. And in some cases, he chose to put definitions for Greek words, sometimes straining meanings to fit what they shouldn’t, and adding those words in parentheses to his book.
This way, you can be sure that I’m not leading you astray. Remember, you will be rewarded in heaven for diligently seeking the word of God.
There are a number of books to read to help you understand Bible prophecy. don’t worry, there’s only 66 of them! If you’ve read through the Bible at least once, you’re good to go. Matter of fact, you can study these pages even if this is your first time reading the bible, but I’d prefer you to have read the Bible by yourself, letting God teach you what it means before you start accepting what I write! I mean, I can be incorrect… God cannot.
You should have noticed a number of books that speak of the End Times. Two jump immediately to mind, Daniel and Zechariah. They give a great deal of information on what will happen in the End times.
Here’s a rule to keep in mind. If I told you only to read one of the Gospels to understand Jesus Christ, wouldn’t that make you suspicious? Beware of teachers telling you not to read Daniel or Zechariah to understand the end times, and only to read Revelation. They’ve got an agenda. I’m going to start this by reminding you of the 3 basic rules of bible interpretation.
- Take it literally, until the Bible tells you not to. God wrote the prophecies of Jesus Christ to be taken literally, right? So why should He change the way He operates when it comes to the End Times? The Bible will say things like, “this is the meaning of the vision…” that’s your clue that it’s a vison. People who insist on interpreting the book of Revelation allegorically do so because they don’t like what it says.
- Compare Spiritual things with spiritual, as the Bible tells you to. To rightly divide the word of God requires the knowledge that comes as you begin reading the bible the first time, and it’s not hard to figure it out. God didn’t put all the techings on one subject in one spot. He spread it throughout the Bible, and sometimes to understand what it’s tlaking about in this one book, you have to compare it with what this other book is talking about.
- first Mention – we need to remember that the Bible defines its own words in context by usage. In other words, what does a particular word mean? The Bible demonstrates it by how it usees it in context.
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Revelation 1:1-2 (KJV)
The first thing to notice is “things which must shortly come to pass”. We need to understand that the Lord doesn’t count time as we do. Time for God is just about meaningless. He is not confined to time as we understand it. “where” and “When” are concepts God invented, and He is not bound by them.
Why hasn’t the Lord Jesus Christ returned already? Because what if He returned in 1830? You’d never have been born… and never gotten saved. The Lord is merciful.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:8-10 (KJV)
The Lord delays His return, so that everyone will have a chance to not only get saved, but the Lord even promises He wants to give us rewards. Every day is another chance to earn rewards. Once you are in heaven, you no longer have that chance.
So when is shortly for the Lord? A lot of people are caught up in 2 Peter 3 and “a day is as a thousand years.” Unfortunately, they also miss the part that says, “And a thousand years is as a day.”
What’s that teach us? Time doesn’t have the same meaning for us as it does for God. Time is almost meaningless to Him. To Him, 2,000 years was “Shortly”.
But it doesn’t take a mathemetician specializing in orbital calculations (read: “rocket scientist”) to figure out that… things are getting BAD.
Unsaved people in polls are agreeing in unprecedented numbers that they feel the End is close. Which means, it’s not just Christians who think the time is running out. It’s running out to the point that if I had to guess what time it was on God’s clock, I’d say 11:58. And every few months or so, Christians seem to react to something they can’t see or hear, as if God is allowing us to hear the second hand on God’s clock go, “tick”.
We’re running out of time. If you’ve never witnessed to anyone, this would be the time to start. If you’ve never passed out a tract, start now.
What will we see as we get closer to the end times?
- Revival begins to break out. A number if Biblical interpreters (such as John Walvoord, Thomas Ice and Tim LaHeye) all agree that the End Times will be heralded by a wave of people coming to God. People who were never Funddamentalists will begin listening to Biblical teachers, and begin getting more fervent for God. Let me detail two or three persons who are making names for themselves, and you’ll understand what I’m saying.
- Ken Ham’s Debate: This got a lot of attention, and Nye ended up the obvious loser.
- Ray Comfort: If I told you a former surfer from New Zealand would become famous teaching people how to evangelize, you’d have called me nuts. If there’s anything that historically makes Christians nervous, its about sharing their faith. And yet… now everyone’s heard of him. And I believe Ray Comfort’s video on Evolution was indirectly responsible for people watching the Ken Ham debate.
- David Cloud: There have been many great voices for fundamentalism. And yet, in this day and age, people are responding to him. B. H. Caroll was a voice for Fundamentalism in the 19th century, and Jerry Falwell in the 20th century – but Falwell had limited impact in his dfay, and Carroll even less. But David Cloud’s impact is enormous. If not for David Cloud, I might not be a Fundamentalist Baptist.
- Marc Monte: Among Fundamentalists, if you mention Marc Monte, many have heard of him. 100 years ago, people wouldn’t have been paying much attention. But today… people are seeking God.
- Apostasy among God’s people increases. This is the biggest “Huh?” there is. While there’s a rus of people running TO Fundamentalism, there’s a bigger rush AWAY from fundamentalism. This is due to a number of factors: Christians today now accept blindly anyone who names the name of Christ as a Christian. I’ve heard well meaning Christians call President John F. Kennedy a Christian, because he was a Catholic. Uh… Kennedy never gave a testimony of salvation. And if you think Roman Catholics are Christians, you need to stop this study right now, go down to my category listing on the right hand side, and read all of my posts on that religion. Because it is not only not Christianity, it’s anti-Christianity. We trust people now as Bible teachers who fifty years ago we’d have rejected wholesale, and unSaved men are invited to preach in Baptist pulpits who should instead be urged to kneel at our altars. Christians are reading bibles that distort, add to and remove thousands of words from God’s Bible, and see nothing wrong with it. I simply am dumbfounded when people learn about literally thousands of changes to God’s word, and just blindly go on reading them. Really???
The bible gives us an outline for the book of Revelation…
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; Revelation 1:19 (KJV)
This is easy to understand. “The things which thou hast seen” is the past, the formation of seven churches that John has pastored, or started, or sent men to start. It’s the past. “the things which are” is the message Christ is about to send to the seven churches. “And the things which shall be hereafter” refers to…. everything AFTER the message to the seven churches!
There’s no arguing with that!
The message of this book is simple: This is God’s long delayed judgment of mankind, come at last. A supremely Holy God cannot turn His back on sin and rebellion forever. He has shown supreme toleration and forgiveness up to now – but this is the limit.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7 (KJV)
John has spoken of the love of Christ for all mankind up to now, a theme of the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2nd John and 3rd John. However, John’s speaking of Christ has grown stronger, with more warning. He starts this book, the very last book of the Bible, with the plain stated fact… “all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”
a wail is a cry of dismay. It’s the final warning from God. “I will not allow this to go on forever.” Christ WILL be king, and He WILL rule with a rod of iron. His children have nothing to worry about, being washed in the precious blood of the lamb. But for those who will be born and live in the Millennium, that’s a different story. Should my writings still be accessible in those days, my advice is… get saved. Of course, that’s my advice for right now, too!
Why will the kindreds of the earth wail because of Him? The Bible tells us every eye will see His return. There will be no doubt who this is. This is moshiach, King Messiah, Jesus Christ. And His return will be the “time’s up!” notice for many. Countless millions will see Him and understand, this is not about to go well for them.
The armies whi are attacking Israel at the time will die, in a vicious, bloody manner, so fierce that the blood will flow as high as a horses’ stirrup for quite a distance. We’ll get to all that.
And the bottom line, is that many, many billions of people who have rejected Christ, or worse, never were born again, will be cast forever into Hell. They will wail in dismay and horror forever. This is the warning of Revelation.
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:9-20 (KJV)
Yes, we’lll go through the letters to the seven churches. I know, everyone wants me to get to the Rapture stuff, and then the seals… but we’re not there yet. The Lord felt it important to tell us of the seven churches – so we need to look at them.
I’ve taken the step of understanding that if the Lord never refers to all Christians as “The church”, neither should I. Instead, the Lord refers to specific churches as “The church which is at Ephasus”, and to all the Christians as “The churches”. I recommend you make that change, too.
“Isn’t there a name for all the saved?” Yes, in terms of our belonging to God as bond servants the term is “the Kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of heaven”.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17 (KJV)
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15 (KJV)
And Paul describes in at least one place in the Bible all the believers as “the body of Christ”.
Howver, at no time does the Bible call all of the believers “The Church”. So that’s a habit we picked up from Rome, and we need to get frid of it pronto.
In verses 12-16, we see Christ, but not the gentle, meek lamb of God. That function has been fulfilled. Yes, He’s still the gentle Jesus Christ who enjoys the presence of children. But His ministry now has changed. He is the coming King. And the wrath, judgment and vengeance of God has been given unto His hands.
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:22-30 (KJV)
This passage desrves some study all on its own, but we’ll leave it at this right now and explain simply that – Jesus Christ is going to judge all men, based on one thing – who do you say Jesus Christ is? And were you born again? The answer to question number one is simple – you believe Jesus Christ is God, second person of the Trinity, one God revealed in three persons – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Ghost. These are bottom line answers. If you’re answering anything but this, you’re doomed to eternal punishment.
The second issue is this – all the devils know Jesus Christ is God in human flesh! They have NO DOUBT! It’s probably amazing to them that human beings can disbelieve this. KNOWING is not enough. And that’s the tragedy, as many who call themselves Christians will suffer forever because they NEVER were born again. A lot of people talk about a famous actress who claimed to be a Christian, and yet, she even admitted she wasn’t born again, and had no intention of “…being one of those types”. I don’t know how she’s defining Christian, because if you’re not born again, you’re not a Christian – and you’re not going to enter heaven. Hopefully, she has repented of that, and got saved. I say that about everyone.
Christ has come to John with an important message for five of the seven churches. What’s the candlesticks? the seven churches. The stars? the Pastors of those churches. The Bible describes them as “Angels”, from the Hebrew Malachim, which means “messengers”.
The seven churches will be both condemned and exalted at the same time – only two of them will not be condemned. The Lord is trying to purify the churches, calling them to holy, set apart, sanctified lifestyles. This is the message of this day.
Tomorrow we start looking at the first of the seven churches.