Rev.1:5 Washed in the Blood
"Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is that flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus."
How many young people do you know that can sing these songs by heart? Are there any new songs, contemporary ones that are taking their place? I mean songs that speak about being washed in the blood or about "a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains?"
I suppose it might seem a bit gory to picture someone taking a bath in a tub of blood or being dunked in a fountain of it, but we must remember that gory though it may seem, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb.9:22). Paul, both in Ephesians (1:7) and Colossians (1:14), states that redemption, forgiveness of sin is through His blood. Though the blood of bulls and of goats could not possibly "take away sins" (Heb.10:4) every blood sacrifice throughout the Old Testament cried out for fulfillment in the New and it was the shed blood of the Lamb of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ that absolutely answered that cry when He "entered in once into the holy place" (Heaven) by His blood obtaining "eternal redemption for us" (Heb.9:11).
Finally, we have these wonderful words of life, (blood- Lev.17:14) singing over and over in our hearts, "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood" for confirmation that indeed we have had, as born again believers, a spiritual bath in the precious blood of the Lamb. Keep on singing!
Rev.2:4 Lost Love
One cannot help wondering when reading our Lord's words directed to the seven churches just what He would say to those of our day. If Ephesus, with its zeal for truth, its patience in trial and its hatred for evil, was in danger of having its candlestick removed, must there not be much need of repentance?
Soulish music performed by a worship team that is dressed casually may be entertaining, but falls short of glorifying God. Words sung from a screen seem repetitious and boring. The question is, is it me or are my observations justified? Let me present my case.
So far as dress is concerned, ought we not wear our very best when we come together to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness? What training have these participants had regarding service to the Most High God? They look and act like the entertainers in a worldly night club. Where were they on Saturday night? What other kind of music do they play and sing when they are not in church? Were the lyrics written by Godly believers coming from the heart and inspired by the Holy Spirit? Surely if we are told to walk "in the Spirit" and "pray in the Spirit"an exercise in sacred song should be sung "in the Spirit" as well. Watching the drummer and the guitarist I could not detect anything about them except their being engrossed in the rhythm.
I have nothing against any of these instruments when they are used to glorify the Lord but there must be a great deal of sound teaching and assurance of absolute dedication to the Lord before I could whole-heartedly approve of their involvement in a service under my direction.
All of this is only the tip of the iceberg. Cartoon characters, puppets to the tune of rock music making the announcements. Ecumenical services with neighboring liberal churches along with a service for the blessing of pets were announced followed by a sermon seemingly centered on a Roman Catholic author and a philosopher than on the Lord Jesus and this in a Baptist church. When communion was passed I thought the leaven in the bread was appropriate.
Oh Lord, as you walk through our church, what do you see?
Rev.3:13 "He that Hath an Ear"
In 1:11 we are informed that these seven churches were in Asia, therefore we would assume that they were specific local assemblies that existed at the time John was writing. There is a theory, however, that is no doubt correct knowing something of the versatility of our God, that each of these churches also represents the Church during an historical period of time. One factor that might support this concept is that if the Ephesian church with all its good points was threatened with having its candlestick removed, how was it that many of the other churches, being so much worse were still in existence. The contrast, for example, between the first and last churches is tremendous. None of these actual churches are in existence today, but in this chapter, especially it would seem that the churches of Philadelphia and Laodicea fit into our day though probably certain characteristics of all of them might fit any period of history.
The former of these two afore-mentioned churches, Philadelphia, it seems, would represent the faithful church today that still has "a little strength" and is promised to be kept from the coming "hour of temptation," a reference many theologians believe speaks of the pre-tribulation rapture of the church (1:10). The Laodicean church,it would seem, represents the actual state of many churches today that appear to be prosperous but in reality are better described by the negative comments of verse 17. We hope and pray that such churches with which we are familiar will indeed be zealous and repent.
So many preachers in speaking of verse 20 have pointed out that this is a picture of our Lord Jesus standing outside at the door of the Church rather than the individual, that it hardly needs repeating.
Reference to the blotting out of names from the book of life disturbs some, but usually it is those who only have a hearsay basis upon which they are trusting their eternal destiny. These are either new Christians or those who have little or no understanding of the doctrines of grace or of positional teaching. If this is true of you, dear reader, shame on you - get cracking !- (Your Bible).
Rev.4:1 The Open Door
Over the years I have heard a lot of preachers preach a lot of messages and it is strange how certain things that they said have "stuck" in my mind. In fact, many years later I can hear, as it were, the voice of the preacher, his tone and reflection as he expressed a particular thought. Such a case comes to mind as I read this chapter. Some of you may be familiar with brother Keith Rose who certainly has a style of speaking which is all his own. I don't recall anything more of his message except these words, as he emphasized the rapture of the believer, "come up hither," and I wish I could make you hear exactly as it sounded.
It is certainly not unusual for one to have a question on his mind when reading this mysterious book about the future, this revelation of John on the Isle of Patmos where he had been exiled for his faith, the only one of the apostles to escape martyrdom. If we are to believe, and I do, that before all of the events of the tribulation are to occur, events that will occupy much of the succeeding subject matter in this book, the church is to be raptured, then where and when do we see it taking place?
Not a new thought to most of my readers, I am sure, but just in case you may have missed it, you just read it. "Come up hither"! Most fundamental Bible teachers will agree with brother Rose that when John was invited by a voice sounding like a trumpet to ascend to the throne room of heaven his experience represents the event when the church militant becomes the church triumphant, otherwise known as the Secret Rapture of the church.
If that is the case, we should read this chapter carefully, for it may also picture for us what we will see upon our arrival in Glory. Wow, what a spectacular scene enfolded before John's eyes! A rainbow enhanced throne that looked like a giant emerald, the crowned elders, the sight and sound of an electrical storm, lamps burning, four fantastic creatures and all focused upon HIM WHO IS WORTHY. Whenever,- we will be there!
Rev. 5:9 He is Worthy
What will it be like to hear 100 million angels saying with a loud voice "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing."
Many things perhaps are flashing through our minds as we observe the spectacle that John now gazed upon and as he heard the crescendo of the angelic choir. One thing that I notice is that the One on the throne, which must be Jehovah, is seen separately from the Lamb who suddenly makes His entrance and takes the proffered book out of His hand. Since God is a Spirit, it is interesting here to note that if He does not have a body, He, at least here, has hands.
We also note that the Holy Spirit of God is spoken of by use of the perfect number seven pictured here as being the eyes of the Lamb and back in chap. 4 verse 5, as being lamps of fire burning before the throne of Jehovah. Is there a relationship between these lamps and the seven golden candlesticks back in 1:20? We remember also that the seven-fold candlestick in the tabernacle was fed by oil which is a consistent figure representing the Holy Spirit in Scripture.
The new song of verse 9 is not being sung by the speaking angelic multitude, but rather by the elders and living creatures which represent the saints, for it is a song of redemption, something angels have never experienced.
And finally, note the golden vials and, thinking about the golden altar of incense in the tabernacle let us wonder at this representation of the "prayers of saints" and wonder if our own are intermingled there.
Rev.6:17 The Day of wrath
The Lord Jesus, having suffered on the cross the wrath of Almighty God against sin, has apparently earned the right to open the book of His judgement upon the earth (chap.5), a wrath that has been pent up for centuries. This wrath takes the form of three series of seven judgements, namely, the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven vials. Six of the seals are opened in this sixth chapter, the seventh coming in chapter eight introduces the seven trumpet judgements. By the time we get through with the last vial, we will have come to the end of the tribulation period. Oh no, I should have perhaps said that differently for I am talking about reading through it not going through it! Praise God, as believers, we will be in heaven during this time, coming back with Christ at the end of the tribulation to reign with Him upon the earth for a thousand years (5:10).
Most readers of these devotionals, since you are "meateaters", have no doubt read, reread and studied the book of Revelation so you know that if there is one thing of which you can be certain regarding this book, it is that there isn't much about which commentators agree, and this leaves us feeling a bit uncertain sometimes.
An example of such disagreement meets us immediately in the second verse. Is this a picture of Christ or some other personality? I have read several commentaries on the subject and one good brother says one thing, and one the other. Since the first four seals are introduced by the four living creatures (beasts) it would seem that they should be treated as a unit which would make the first person on the white horse a negative entity like the other three and besides Christ doesn't come until the end of the tribulation (19:11). This is the position of John Walvoord, former President of Dallas Theology Seminary. What do you think?
Rev. 7:4 and 9 Two Special Groups
This chapter has only two themes, the salvation of the 144,000 who were sealed with God's seal in their foreheads and the great innumerable multitude arrayed in white robes.
How many times have I spoken of these sealed bond servants as being the agents during the tribulation thru which the great multitude of verse nine would be saved? With chagrin I now must confess that as neat as that idea is, I sure didn't get it from my Bible. There is absolutely no word in this chapter about the least activity of these saved Israelites (and we cannot be certain these are those in 14:1). I have said that each one of them would be like the apostle Paul, etc, etc., Jehovah's witnesses par excellance! Somewhere I picked up that little bit of extra- biblical trivia and it just goes to prove how careful we must be not to add anything to the sacred text. (Though I still think it's a neat idea - in case the Lord needs it.) By the way, it is interesting to note that for some reason Dan and Ephraim are left out of the list (vss. 5-8) and Joseph is included. Why?
Both of our (dispensational) commentators, Newell and Walvoord, have taken the position that the great multitude of verse 9 are those who have been saved during the tribulation, which is clear when we take literally what one of the elders said to John (v.14). I will quote what the latter says in his book entitled the Revelation of Jesus Christ, p.149. "A great multitude of Gentiles will also be saved but many of these will be martyred and a multitude of the martyred dead are found in heaven rejoicing in the presence of the Lamb and representing every tongue and nation. It is an indication that even in the tragic closing hours prior to the second coming of Christ to the earth, countless souls will find Christ as Saviour and be saved by His grace." This, of course, dispels the idea that the rapture is being delayed in order that more souls may be saved.
P.S. John Walvoord was president of Dallas Theological Seminary in 1966 when he wrote the above book and Newell, a teacher at Moody Bible Institute.
Rev. 8:4 "The Prayers of the Saints"
Following the parenthetical seventh chapter as the seven angels with trumpets under the seventh seal prepare to sound and the wrath of God is about to be unleashed upon the earth (6:7), as if in solemn apprehension, there spreads thru heaven, a profound half hour of absolute silence. And no wonder! For such an outpouring of judgement from the Triune God now begins as the thirdassic angels sound and third of the heavens, the earth and the sea are struck and destroyed, all a prelude to the greatest plague that mankind ever faced which will now destroy the third part of all men on earth (9:18).
And who might be blamed for such wholesale slaughter? Would you believe it? The saints certainly bear some of the responsibility, you and I, for have we not often prayed for God's will to be done on earth as in heaven? We have just recently been faced with an example as God's people prayed for a particular referendum, the passing of which would have, hopefully, caused righteousness to prevail a bit longer in our state of Maine. Unfortunately, it failed to pass and we all lamented, but if we did not pray asking God's will to be done, we should have, and I am sure most enlightened believers did. And it will be so! Do we not like, as the disciples of Jesus, to ask the question, "when O Lord shall these things be (Matt.25:3)?"
Can we not see in this chapter the answer to that question? Look carefully at verses three thru five. From the golden vial (5:1) are the prayers of all saints intermixed with the special incense of the tabernacle worship and poured upon the golden altar before the throne. As the smoke of that incense, with the prayers of the saints ascends to the nostrils of the Almighty God, the appointed angel (it is suggested that it is probably Gabriel) scoops up the coals, now permeated with the sweet perfumery, casting it from the golden censer upon the earth. It is at this precise moment that the great and terrible judgements amidst thunders and lightening and an earthquake begin to execute the willful wrath of our thrice holy God. Our prayers are at last being answered!
Rev. 9:12 "Woe, Woe"
According to the last verse of the preceding chapter, the last three angels to sound their trumpets (the first four of the seven trumpets having been sounded in ch.8) each introduce a terrible "woe" upon the earth. In other words, if you think things have been bad up to this point, you ain't seen nothing yet!
"The first woe is the locusts (1-11) the second is the Euphratean horsemen and hosts (13-21) and the plague wherewith the two witnesses smote the earth (11:5-6). The third we see in the handing of the earth to the Beast-worship of chapter 13 - worst by far, of all!" (Newell the Book of the Revelation p.127).
What we have seen is pretty bad. The fourth horseman (6:8) has already killed one fourth of the world's population and under the sixth seal the earth has experienced "a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth" etc. (6:12&13).
In chapter 8 those "thirdassic angels" (my word) which destroyed things by thirds were quietly peeled out of the seventh seal to explode with violence upon the heavens, the earth and the sea.
But, who has seen in actuality such star wars creatures as are now unleashed upon mankind? According to Newell, these are literal locusts with exactly these qualities - and have men not been somewhat prepared for such by outlandish and freakish fictional beings which of late have practically captured the imagination of our youths? But, believe it, these critters are very real and woe be to the unsealed masses who suffer their super scorpion-like attack.
When the four evil angels are loosed as a follow-up the death men sought earlier and couldn't find will be brought swiftly upon a third of the remaining inhabitants of the earth.
In spite of all, we are told in the closing of this phase that men do not repent! What can we say to all of this but, "am I glad for the pre-tribulation rapture of the church" - how about you?
Rev. 10:7 The Mystery Finished
There is a thrilling gospel song that has been written entitled, The Great Judgement Morning, that incorporates many of the words and theme of this chapter and while I love the powerful thoughts of this fine poetic piece, we must, unfortunately, admit that the writer seems to have taken too much liberty with the Scripture relative to the sequence of events in John's revelation. Poetic license we understand, but songs are a powerful teaching tool as we know from our Father's clear example (Deut. chaps. 31 & 32) therefore accuracy is, in such cases, important.
All of my dispensational commentaries agree that the mighty angel in verse one is not our Lord Jesus (again some think it could be Michael). They refer back to 5:1 to explain the word "another," and indicate that the angel in 18:1 has great glory and power but is not thought to be Jesus, supporting the theory that the angel here likewise is not either (Newell, p.141).
The word translated "time" in verse six should be thought of as "delay" meaning that time has run out, there will no longer be a delay, the end is now to be consummated (Walvoord). In other words, the "mystery" will be a mystery no longer. It will become clear to all exactly what God is doing and will do. Israel will see it, evil men will grasp it, Satan will get the message, the angels will now wonder no longer. It will all be clear, the great day of God's wrath has finally come. The seventh angel prepares to sound. (See also 11:15).
John was about to write what was written in the "little book", but a voice from heaven stopped him and thus we do not know even yet what was written therein. The interesting thing about this little book is that John was told to eat it and that it would be sweet in his mouth but would give him a stomach ache. Most of us have had a similar experience with what we have eaten on occasion. The dessert tastes great but it was a bit too much or too rich and we wish we had quit while we were ahead. John did not have a choice!
The word of God is always sweeter than the honeycomb, (Ps.19:10) because it is wholesome truth, but digesting it and applying it may be difficult. It may even bring persecution as it did to John (Walvoord, p. 174).
Rev. 11:15 "And He Shall Reign for Ever and Ever"
Walvoord says that chapter 10 thru chapter 14 is parenthetical. Remember, the tribulation is made up of the seals, trumpets and vials. There are 7 of each and the last of each opens into the next so they are connected (example, the last seal ushers in the 7 trumpets, 8:1&2 etc.) Here in this chapter the key verse would probably be verse 14 concerning the second and third woes. These 3 woes are connected with the last three trumpet judgements (8:13), the first of which ends at 9:12 "one woe is past" and behold there come two more hereafter. The second woe begins with the blowing of the sixth trumpet and the loosing of the four Euphratic angels (9:14) and includes the events in the first half of our present chapter concerning the two witnesses. Now, at verse 14 the second woe is over and the third woe is about to begin commencing with the sounding of the 7th trumpet (v.15).
Angels, angels everywhere, and keeping them straight in our minds is half the battle!
Since the seven vials (ch.16) will culminate in the battle of Armageddon (v.16), this final woe introduced by the 7th trumpet announces the wonderful news that, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever." Looking back for a moment at 10:6 &7 when this seventh (trumpet) angel is preparing to sound it is stated that time has run out and the mystery of God is finished . All other events from here to chapter 19:11 though important, are incidental, namely the war in heaven in chapter 12, the beast out of the sea and earth in chapter 13, the activity of another group of six angels in chap.14, the fall of Babylon chs.17 & 18, and are occurring simultaneously with the main events which, again, are the seals, trumpets and vials.
Let us close this chapter by joining our representatives, the 24 elders as they worship on their faces before God. Listen to what they say.
"We give thee thanks O Lord God Almighty, which art and wast and art to come because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast reigned. And the nations were angry and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great and shouldest destroy them which destroy (corrupt) the earth." (11:17&18).
Rev. 12:10 What Satan is Up To
Our commentators again agree on the identity of these characters in this chapter. No, the woman is not the virgin Mary as the Roman Catholics like to portray her, in case you, my dear reader, have that background. She is the nation Israel and the twelve stars are the 12 tribes. The child is Jesus and the great red dragon is Satan. The third part of the stars speaks of the angels that followed him in his rebellion, and the thousand two hundred and threescore days is the last half of the tribulation, (3 ½ years).
We note Satan's activities. He has sought in every way possible to "devour" the Lord Jesus Christ and we are thankful for that ancient prophecy that said, though he would strike a glancing blow against the Messiah, Jesus, the seed of the woman, would crush him (Gen.3:15). We don't know how much he understands about his future prospects, but here in v.12 it says "he knoweth that he hath but a short time." One of the greatest comforts that the saints have is the sure knowledge that our old enemy is headed for the lake of fire (Rev.20:10).
Secondly, we see from 12:10 that "the old serpent" is called "the accuser of the brethren" and that part of his activity has been the accusing of them day and night before God. I guess we might have known that from reading the book of Job.
Finally, we note concerning the devil's activities that he "deceiveth the whole world." So that what's wrong with everybody's thinking. It's no wonder they love the musical trash they listen to, that they approve of same sex marriage and line up to visit Graceland. They are deceived! We should be thankful we are not taken in by him and it's one really great reason to keep our nose in the Book lest we be ignorant of his devices (11 Cor.2:11).
In conclusion, don't forget that when the enemy comes in upon you like a flood, you can plead the blood against him and it's a good thing to remind him that you are in Christ and He is in you. I think that the last line of v.11 is another way of saying that they took up the cross and followed Jesus.
Rev. 13:17 The Mark of the Beast
As is evident, we are not seeking to produce a commentary on this chapter or any others that we have written upon, but trying to help the reader in understanding the text over all in order to derive a blessing from the reading of it. We have consulted 2 recognized authors who in turn have themselves consulted other authors. If we were making an in depth study there are many others we could find to help us but we just want to be sure to keep on track. It is assumed that as a "meateater" you are at least reading the chapter and are prayerfully seeking instruction and blessing from it. I hope! This chapter is certainly not an inspirational one, so what can we derive from it?
The scene before us is that of the triumvirate of evil, the father (of lies)(12:9) the false Christ revealed during the last half of the tribulation (42 months -v.5) and the false prophet who is the antithesis of the Holy Spirit, seeking to cause men to worship the beast from the sea (v.12). Amidst the terrible judgements falling upon the earth at this time, there is, unleashed in all his fury, the setting up of his majesty the anti-Christ, the personification of evil. No commerce of any kind is allowed without the mark of the beast (v.17) and yet, to receive such an identification brings the sure wrath of God (14:9-11).
We will get our comfort and blessing perhaps by looking at another portion of Scripture. In 1 Thess.5:9 we read "for God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." We look forward to seeing the Lord Jesus and our hope is that He will come at any moment. Those who do not believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church must be expecting any time soon to meet with the events of this chapter. Let us rejoice in the blessed hope as we read this book.
Rev. 14 Tribulation Events
This chapter has two parts: 1-5 the 144,000; 6-20 the six "other" angels. Newell devotes a whole chapter to each part and I have devoted a lot of time reading up on this material. I have to say that sometimes it is hard to find much that is inspirational in some of these chapters except the taking of phrases out of context like " in their mouth was found no guile" or "blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." We certainly must be careful in doing this. I have often used the example: "Judas went out and hanged himself;" "go thou and do likewise." We do not wonder that Calvin wrote on every book except Revelation, I am told.
Our sources tell us that these 144,000 are a special group that are preserved during the tribulation passing on into the Millennium in human bodies and, though not certain, conclude they are probably the same as those found back in chapter seven. Reference to not being defiled with women must mean not having had illicit relationships since that is what the word implies in the Greek.
As to the six angels, it is interesting to note that five of them are spoken of as being another angel. Don't you find such repetition fascinating? The Person upon the white cloud is most probably the Lord Jesus though He is spoken of as being "like unto the Son of man." The first reaping (v.16) could be a harvest of believers and the second (v.19) is obviously a harvest of the wicked. Most of what is seen in this section is prophetic in relation to the events in Revelation.
It is significant that the tormenting of those who receive the mark of the beast and are involved in his worship takes place in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (v.10). As Walvoord points out, "the same Scripture which assures all Christians of the love of God and grace of God as extended to those who trust in Christ is unequivocal in its absolute statements of judgement upon the wicked." (P.219). That we are not among them gives us something to be very thankful for as we close this chapter.
Rev.15:3 "Great and Marvelous"
Here we have the introduction to what are called the last plagues. We should not be surprised that there are seven of them. This chapter and the next go together as we shall see.
Could it be that from this sea of glass are emanating flashes of light that make it seem that the sea is on fire? It is hard to conceive of glass mingled with fire. We call lightening bugs fireflies because the light flashes from them. It is awesome at any rate and even more so if we could hear the two songs being sung by this great chorus of martyrs. With what joy and triumph will they sound forth their victory over the anti-Christ accompanying themselves on the harps of God. I hope, though I shall never belong to such a choir, that I shall get to play one of those harps of God. I have the feeling that in our glorified state we shall not need to take lessons on any instrument available but will instinctively know how to play them, music will be so native to our souls. I hope that there will also be violins of God.
It will probably be the song of Moses from Deut. 32 especially from verse 35 to the end, closing with these words, "Rejoice O ye nations with his people for he will avenge the blood of his servants and will render vengeance to his adversaries and will be merciful unto his land and to his people." What is about to happen is certainly a response to this request.
After the second song which will magnify the Lamb, probably that of Rev. 5:9 or much like it comes the thunderous chorus "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee O Lord and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all the nations shall come and worship before thee: for thy judgements are made manifest."
With this background, the heavenly temple opens and out comes seven angels clothed with linen. To these are given the vials full of the wrath of God!
Rev.16:17 "It is done"
A commentator J.B.Smith is quoted by Walvoord as calling this "the great chapter of the Bible," since that word is used 10 times. Certainly these are the greatest of all the judgements to fall upon the earth. It is noted how similar they are to the seven trumpets, but in fact they are more intense if we look closely.
The seven angels with the golden vials full of the wrath of God (15:7) have proceeded, in chapter 15, out of the temple and here in the first verse we are told that they are sent forth by a great voice coming from within, that, we would assume is the voice of the Almighty God. From this "tabernacle of the testimony in heaven" issues the most terrible of judgements and we cannot help but reflect upon the fact that this is the throne room of our great God, a place heretofore known as the "house of prayer for all nations" where the mercy seat has been sprinkled with the blood of our propitiatory Lamb. Long our God has endured the insults to His majesty which have arisen from this earthen footstool but no more! The time of His great wrath has come. From the mouths of fools has poured out the foolishness of unbelief for the last time. The brains of the evolutionists are fried by the heat of our Creator - God's Son. The cursing tongue is gnawed in pain as it blasphemed the God of Heaven.
If we might doubt for a moment that our God of grace, mercy, peace and love could wreak such chaos and fury upon the earth we hear the voice of the angel which has charge of the waters saying "thou art righteous O Lord to judge thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets...and another out of the altar (said) Even so Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgements" and finally "a great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne saying 'It is done'."
This is a good time to read Psalm 94 and remember that the Psalmist longed for the day when "God to whom vengeance belongeth" would show Himself. Here it has finally come!
Rev.17:5 Mother of Harlots
This chapter and the next are a pair, the one speaks of ecclesiastical and the other of political Babylon. Probably the events described here actually take place at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (last 3 ½ years).
There are many different interpretations of the material presented in this chapter. To most fundamental expositors, the great whore is the Roman Catholic church. Most people have not carefully studied church history with reference to Catholicism and they have no idea of the wickedness of that system. Whether it is that which the angel told John about, we cannot be absolutely sure, however there are certainly many quite convincing reasons to think so. The colors, the richness and the spiritual adultery mentioned in verse four all remind us of that Roman system. So does the fact that so much in Romanism has been borrowed or adapted from the Babylon mystery religions, for example, the mother- child image, the use of holy water, an order of virgins, the resurrection of Tammuz, the Latin title Pontifex maximus adopted by the bishop of Rome, all these and more show the relationship. Every Christian ought to read Fox,s Book of Martyrs in order to appreciate the extent to which our brothers and sisters have suffered at the hands of the Popes (v.6). In verse seven we note that for a time the Anti-Christ is carrying the woman that is, supporting her and being directed by her in the fashion of that which was certainly the case during the dark ages when Romanism dominated the nations of Europe (witness the Spanish Inquisition).
As to the seven mountains, Walvoord quotes a lengthy passage from Joseph Seiss, The Apocalypse who presents a strong case for these referring to seven kingdoms ("they are" rather than "there are" in v.10) five of which have come and gone and the one that is (during John's time) being Rome and one yet to come (during the tribulation). The word admiration at the end of verse six should be "wonder" or "astonishment". That helps doesn't it!
Note that the great whore will be finally destroyed by the Anti-Christ (v.16). In the meantime, Romanism will make any accommodation necessary to achieve her ends, she might even have room for Islam. Let us watch and see.
Rev. 18:20 Rejoicing Over God's Vengeance
There is certainly a difference between ecclesiastical Babylon in the previous chapter and political Babylon in this one. Probably the former judgement occurred at the beginning of the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation and the latter near the end of that period as would be consistent with the consecutive nature of the vials (16:19-21).
We do not know if this city is one that presently exists or is one that will be built during the tribulation nor can we be certain that Babylon is its actual name though it would seem to me that it is.
God's vengeance is made a cause for rejoicing according to verse 20. It is no wonder since "in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth" (v.24). We will be in heaven at this time so it seems we will take part in such rejoicing. We will have our new bodies by that time and will certainly be in full accord with everything our Father does.
This might be a good place for us to be reminded that there is a blessing decreed for those of us who read or hear the words "of this prophecy" (1:3). I think there must also be a special blessing for those who try to write devotionals on such a chapter as this, I hope so. Anyway, the material in the next four will be a welcome relief.
Rev. 19:11 Lo He Comes
Now that the scene is set, the major Player in this, earth's final curtain call, comes front and center! John beheld as heaven opened and its mightiest Citizen marched forth. The closest we can come to an appreciation of this climactic moment is perhaps remembering a scene from an old western movie when the besieged fort is surrounded by Indians and suddenly the air is pierced by the sound of a cavalry charge and the army on horseback races down the hill to the rescue. Here are gathered "the kings of the earth and of the whole world to the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (16:14). They have chosen (they think) the great plain of Meggiddo as the battlefield. The enemy appears invincible, but wait.
On a white horse He comes, and what is His name? You might have many names for Him. Try "Faithful and True" as to His character. See on His blood red clothing across His body is written King of Kings and Lord of Lords. By some He is called The Word of God but He alone really knows in actuality Who He really is (v.12).
He leads vast armies dressed in brilliant white and riding also upon white horses and of every one it can be said "no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper" (Isa.54:17). "A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand but it shall not come nigh thee" (Ps.91:7). With their eyes they shall behold and see the reward of the wicked as suddenly from the mouth of their conquering Leader there issues a sharp sword which lays waste the armies of the Antichrist. He along with the miracle working false prophet are taken and cast alive into the lake of fire as the fowls of the earth are called to feed upon the flesh of the slain.
So rings down the curtain on what was to be truly the mother of all battles but in reality was hardly a battle at all! Jesus is Victor!
Rev.20:15 The Second Death
I believe that the correct meaning for verse five is as follows: "this is the first resurrection"describes those of the proceeding and following verses (4 & 6), the latter having reference to all resurrected saints who will now reign with Christ for a literal thousand years. This belief is what makes us pre-millennial in our theology. We believe that our Lord comes back before His thousand year reign on the earth. Others that we may assume are also born again have concluded either that the reference to a thousand years here is only symbolic (making them amillennialists- that is no millennium) or that an actual period of peace will one day begin on earth which will culminate in the return of Christ at its conclusion. These latter would be called post-millennialists. We prefer to take the Bible literally.
Now, as to the first part of verse five, " the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished", it is a statement that goes with the remainder of the chapter which tells of the events after the millennium. They will be as follows: Satan will be loosed from the bottomless pit for "a little season" to deceive the nations (who should have learned their lesson a long time ago) finally ending up being cast into the lake of fire; then will transpire what is called the "great white throne" judgement where the wicked dead will be judged.
There are several important points to observe about this final judgement most notably the fact that no believers are here being judged, only the wicked. Also noteworthy is the fact that after the thousand years the beast and the false prophet are still in the lake of fire to be tormented "for ever and ever." There is no such thing as the annihilation of the lost. The place of death, hades, delivers up the remainder of its contents to be judged and, with no second chance, to be cast into the lake of fire. They will not to be tormented by the devil, but along with him.
A word of praise and thanksgiving is in order as we are reminded that those of us whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life have been saved eternally from such a state as "the second death."
Rev.21:2 A Prepared Place
I like to build - most men do. Historically, they would build the house and the woman would make it a home. For years I dreamed of building one, I drew many sets of rough plans and eventually in my 60's I got to do it. It was hard work but it was fun and very rewarding. I am thankful that the Lord gave me the privilege!
It is from the perspective of being interested in building that I view in my mind's eye, the city new Jerusalem. What a fantastic place it will be! Abraham "looked for a city... whose builder and maker is God" Heb.11:10. Since we are made in God's image we come honestly by the tendency to want to build things ourselves. One wonders exactly what is going on in heaven regarding the "place"Jesus has gone to prepare for us (John 14:2). I know He could speak it into existence but I somehow believe that it is being done much the way we would do it if it were
being done here.
Looking at the "specs" we can get some idea of the immensity and the elegance of the "holy city." About 1500 miles on each of the four sides of its base and equally as high, it probably is in the shape of a pyramid with God's throne room at the apex. Consisting of 12 layers with each one perhaps having a "foundation," I picture it as being designed something like a parking garage with living spaces for all the saints of both Old and New Testaments around the edges and 1000's of acres of park-like space in between with the river of life meandering throughout and tumbling from one level to another all the way from the throne room (22:1). Think of what man can do with combinations of glass, gold and precious stones! Add the special effects of super abundant light (v.23) and the ingenuity of angelic foremen and, (pardon the pun) the sky's the limit. If this is seemingly a bit earthy or crass, don't worry everything there will be perfect and we will love it and will be there for eternity. Most important of all, the Lord will be there and that is obviously the crowning touch. Don't you think its okay to dream a little?
Rev.22:1 The Crystal River
The millennial center of heavenly operations will have a temple from which will issue the waters of a supernatural river according to Ezekiel 47:1. This greatly differs from what is noted here in this chapter. First, we are specifically told that there is no temple here (21:22) and secondly, the origin of the river is from the throne of God (22:1). The city in our text is the eternal home of the redeemed and as we can see from chapter 21 the description is vastly different from what is found in Ezekiel. Some think that the one pictured in Revelation will hover over the earth during the 1000 years, will be accessible to the saints and then at the end will come down as John saw in 21:1, but I can see no real evidence for this way of thinking, do you?
I believe that the river of life and the tree of life speak figuratively of God's life being made available to us. Note that these same figures are present in chapter two of Genesis and now here as time ends and eternity begins. They seem to be like book- end memorials to the work of the Living God.
Let us carefully note the various sources of the river keeping in mind that this river is God Himself! It starts in the garden of Eden (2:10) where the trees picture men (Ezek.31:16) (the Lord Jesus is The Tree of Life - The Man among men). In Ezekiel 47 it appears as a millennial monument and now, here in Revelation, as a permanent fixture in the Holy City New Jerusalem. In the former the source is the temple and in the latter it is God's throne. During the Gospel period, the Lord Jesus proclaimed Himself (to the Samaritan woman) to be the source (John 4) and the promise was given (John 7:38) that this water of life flowing from the believer was the very Spirit of God.
We conclude then that God always planned for man to be the recipient of His life. Flowing underground, as it were, after sin entered, the river of Life bursts forth in the fulness of time in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ Who, being received (John 1:12), gives us the Spirit of Life Who in turn flows out of these temples where Christ is on the throne of the heart, in other words, from a yielded life (Rom.12:1). Here sing Channels Only!
The book of Revelation closes with a wonderful invitation (v.17), and with a short but pertinent prayer, "Even so come Lord Jesus."