Revelation: Jesus Christ and the Future Kingdom He Shall Bring
Open your Bibles, if you would, to the book of Revelation. That's the last book in your Bible. If you don't have one of these outline journals, you're going to wish you did. This sermon is more packed than usual. In this Bible journal, you'll see at the bottom there on the inside, the chapter themes. If you keep track with what chapter we're in, you will keep track of the whole sermon, okay?
Today is November 5, 2023. Israel is at war. Many people have been curious about the end times because Israel is at war. Some people ask, is this the start of the end? Well, the end started a while ago, but this may bring us closer to the end. But this is not the end, as you'll see today. Certainly, wars and rumors of wars and the pains of the earth have increased over time. And that is true that that must occur for the end to come. But as you'll see today, that is not a description, a full description, of all that is on the way.
The book of Revelation is about Jesus Christ and the future kingdom he shall bring. We must first and foremost understand that it is not simply a prophecy, of many things that should take place. But it is a revealing of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 says that it reveals “the things that must soon take place.” They must take place. It is his world and it is his plan. But it is about Jesus, himself. It is about what Jesus has in store for the redeemed: the beauty, the worship, the joy. And it is for the judgment that will come on the unsaved. This is God's plan for setting all things right.
You may ask yourself, how can all the things going on come to their final conclusion? How can the consummation of the world occur? How can God bring everything into order? Well, you're going to see that today. Revelation gives us a series of visions. A vision is just a picture or an imagery that seems real. We start in chapter one. We could call this a vision of Jesus Christ. You see there in the chapter themes at the bottom, chapter one: “A Vision of Christ Jesus.”
Revelation 1:1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.” It is simply a revealing of things that are unknown. Things that are unknown. But this book comes with a blessing. Look at Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” Were familiar that Revelation comes with a blessing. If you want to be blessed, if you want to have the favor of God on you, simply read out loud, the 22 chapters of Revelation, and hear what is read and keep what is said. And you will be blessed. That is a promise. And one thing you're going to see with the book of Revelation is that there are a series of promises that come with this book along with the visions.
Right from the start we understand who Jesus Christ is, look in Revelation 1:4-6. This is the foundation of our salvation: “John to the seven churches that 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, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” That's who Jesus is, he is the coming King. He is our Redeemer. Of all the religions of the world, there is only one way of salvation and that is through the only Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:7-8, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Church, hear the words of God! This book is sometimes hard to understand for people, but I will help us today explain and understand these visions. And not every single phrase, I'm sorry, we would be here forever. We would finish when Jesus returns. But we will cover every single chapter in this book today. And I pray that you will have an overview of this. And if you are a note taker, your hand is going to be on fire. So, it might be one of those sermons, where you just categorically listen and then go back and play a chapter and write notes and play a chapter and write notes.
John has given this vision, that is the Apostle John. That is, John the Beloved. He is off the coast of Ephesus. He is exiled. And he sees a series of visions. Look in Revelation 1:9, “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Friends, persecution is not new. It is not new. This is around AD 90 to 95, first century. You know, when the significance of Christ split the calendar for the entire globe in half, that century. The undeniable appearance of Jesus Christ and his influence on the world. That Jesus, that's the One that we're talking about today. And John – this person who had seen miracle, after miracle, after miracle – is beside himself that he gets to see visions of the future.
He's in a colony, in a prison camp, on this wasted Island. And here he gets to write to the seven churches about salvation and the things to come. Your situation doesn't dictate how God can communicate to you. Did you hear that, church? We exert so much energy trying to just change our situation that God might somehow relieve us or that God might somehow speak to us more, but we have all that we need communicated in God's Word. And John gets this Word on this island prison. Look in Revelation 1:10-11, he says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.’”
Now, there's so much imagery here. But why does it need to be a loud voice? Ask yourselves these questions. Be curious about God's Word. You don't announce critical things softly. If your child is in the road and the truck is on the way, you don't say, “Oh, son could…” You know, then he gets run over. No, you scream, “Get out of the road!” This is the declaration: “Get out of the road or get in line with Christ!” This is a very unique Sunday for John. As he worships the Lord in exile, he gets the most magnificent vision and picture the world has ever known.
This book, of course, has been very misrepresented over the years, but it can be understood. Most of the imagery in Revelation is explained in Revelation. Let me show you what I mean by that. Look in verse 12. I'm going to read verses 12 through 20 and show you how it explains itself.
Says John, Revelation 1:12–20,
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters [That's Jesus Christ]. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
That is Jesus. How do we know? Well, Revelation 1:5 already told us that Jesus was the One who died to make atonement for sin. Revelation 1:8 already told us that he is the Alpha and the Omega, he's the beginning and the end. Revelation 20 says Jesus is the One who defeats Death and Hades and throws them into the lake of fire. And we see those descriptions of Jesus here.
19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, [here’s the explanation] the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
And of course, in chapters two and three, there is a message to the seven churches. The angels are not actually angels, like Dustin taught on recently in Grace Equip. We know that because these are written to actual people in actual churches, and their leaders are not angels. I know some of you think that. But it's pastors who lead. These are the leaders of these churches. And in fact, in Luke 7, you can see the word angelos in Greek used of even John the Baptist’s disciples as they go out proclaiming the truth. They are leading people toward Jesus. That's what a pastor does. He shepherds and leads them towards God. Revelation isn't meant to be confusing. It's meant to be illuminating. A revelation simply means something we didn't know before.
Now, today, a lot of people claim, “I have a revelation from God.” And if you want to hear God speak, just read your Bible. Right? But this revelation was actually from God. John did actually hear words from our Lord Jesus Christ, that the angel brought to him in a vision. And this vision was of Jesus and all that he will do. Look in your Bible journal there where it says, “Chapter Overview.” That's Revelation 1:19, just broken down. It's a simple way to think through all of Revelation. Chapter One is what you have seen, that's where he says, “Write down what you have seen.” Chapter two and three is to write down “What Is,” that's the message to the seven churches. And then chapters four through twenty-two are, “What is to Come.” So, he gives us an outline of the whole book, right there.
If you want a detailed outline, there are innumerable outlines out there. You can look in our library back there, and you can get as detailed as you like, down to every single verse. So, let's go to the second section then. And as I said, there's a lot. Okay, so let's get going here. Chapters two to three are the messages to the seven churches, and we must summarize at this point. Each of these sections: Revelation 2:1,8,12,18; Revelation 3:1, 7,14; all begin with “to the angel of the church.” This is actually an incredible literary masterpiece, if you study chapters two and three. It is made to be learned and memorized and understood. And so, there's an inordinate amount of repetition in each section, I'll pull some of that out for you and then summarize these things.
Each church gets either a message of rebuke and encouragement, or there are two that just get encouragement. To Ephesus, in Revelation 2:4-6 says, you've left your first love, repent. Now, we use that word here, “repent,” so does Jesus Christ, even at the end. He's going to keep using that, until the end comes, when there's no more sin. That's to get us to not sin. And the idea here is that we, as a church, must think through what do we need to repent of? Ephesus, and these seven churches are on a major trade route, they make a little circle off the coast of where the Apostle John is. You can look these up. Look up ancient Ephesus on your Google Maps, you can zoom in to exactly where it was. It still recognizes that way. These are not fictitious places.
Smyrna, in Revelation 2:8, was another church. It's only commended and encouraged, as is Philadelphia, that church. But most of the other five churches are given some kind of rebuke. And then there's a promise in here as well. Okay, so it's not just a rebuke or not just an encouragement, there's a promise. The idea of Scripture is to put it into practice. And you want to look for this phrase, it says to “the one who conquers,” okay, look in there, do you see that phrase, look in Revelation 2:11, to “the one who conquers,” because I want you to realize there are promises in here. “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Keep that phrase in your mind as we go through to the very end, we'll try and bring that back around full circle.
“The one who conquers” is repeated for all seven churches. Every single one: Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. But there's more. In all of these churches, Jesus says, “I know you. I know your works. I know your faithfulness. I know you don't tolerate these people, but you do tolerate these other people.” Jesus, church, knows us. And that may be scary, or that could be encouraging. But he knows us as a community of believers, and he knows us specifically, and he calls out these churches for not what they claim but what Jesus knows. Church, Jesus cares. We don't think through people we don't really care about. We don't pay attention to the lives of those we don't care about. We pay attention to those whom we love. For better or worse, right, we pay attention, we acknowledge, we care for them; especially our family.
He says as well, not just that, “I know you,” but he says in Revelation 3:22, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” So, if your hermeneutical mind was going off saying, “Oh, it was to those churches, not to us,” well, here's the “to us.” Seven times that's repeated: “He who has an ear, let him hear.” So, these messages are not just to the churches that are long gone and now in a very corrupt country, and a very corrupt religious system. It is to anyone “who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” So, if you want to know God's plan and God's desire for the church today, study Revelation two to three and see what shoe fits. They are for our benefit. Revelation is relevant. It is relevant, church. I encourage you to think about it, digest it, understand it.
This marvelous section to the churches ends. And Revelation 3:21 says this, “[to] The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” We want to be near God. We want to understand God. God wants us to be near him. That is so clear from Revelation chapters two and three. So far, the visions have been on earth. Now we are transported to heaven in chapter four. The church isn't spoken of again until the end of the book. And if you're wondering, the rapture, from First Thessalonians four and First Corinthians, is not taught in Revelation. But I think I can show you why I see the rapture there. Between three and four, we now leave the earth and go up to heaven.
Look in Revelation 4:1, “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’” So he leaves and goes to heaven to hear what is going to take place next. This is the future. This is the future. Chapters four and five, if you look there in your chapter themes, are about “God's Throne in Heaven.” This is a vision of God's throne in heaven. You don't have to wonder what the throne looks like, we can read about it right now.
Revelation 4:2-3, “At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who had sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” Now that might get certain groups today excited that there's a rainbow in heaven, but it's not going to mean what they think it means. Another reason why I think this picture here describes the church is found in Revelation 4:4. “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.”
So, in heaven, before the rest of Revelation occurs, we see a picture of people clothed in white garments with crowns on their heads. Does that sound familiar? It should. It should sound like believers who have already died and gone to heaven. I think the twenty-four elders are the church. Revelation 3:4 gives more reasons, Jesus says the believers of the church in Sardis will “walk with me in white.” So, we have a picture of the church, in chapter three, the church in Sardis, the church is going on Earth. And then we have a picture of them walking in heaven, in white.
James 1:12 says believers will wear a crown. Here in literal fashion, the vision shows believers in white around the throne, worshiping God – whether that's literal crowns, or it is a symbolic nature of all that God will bring. We see that pictured there very clearly. And Revelation 5:9 shows that these people are from every tongue, tribe, and nation. But Revelation four and five is unequivocally about the throne of God and what happens there. We see the throne mentioned 19 times in chapters four and five. And I know some of you like to count when I say things like that. So go ahead and count, we'll pick up with you later. But heaven is about worship around the throne.
Look at this amazing picture in Revelation 4:5-8,
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
That is heaven! That is what's happening around the throne. And this is a future vision of the specific worship of God around his throne. We see angels, we see creatures. We see mankind. Heaven is full of worship. We get to worship every week. We gather to worship, church. Church means gathering. It is a calling out of his people. We get to praise God, and sing to him, and serve him, and serve other people because we love God. Because we've been called out according to his purpose. And the worship here on earth should draw you to church. It should cause you to forsake other things and come here to worship. You won't be drawn to worship God in heaven, if you're not drawn to worship him now. We need to come together and enjoy this magnificent worship that is going to occur for all of eternity. And we can be confident, through whatever may come, because God is on the throne. It’s the symbol of power and authority and of sovereignty. And no one, as you'll see, is telling God what to do. But there is more going on here than worship.
Chapter five gives even more reason for praise. Revelation 5:1, “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.” We sang about that this morning in our music. Who is worthy to open the scroll? Who is worthy to break the seals? This is where that comes from. Seven seals were used in ancient times to greatly ensure that those documents would not be broken into. So, you know, they didn't have bookbinders and they rolled up pieces of leather. You know, scrolls could be this big, you know, about like that. And they would write on those. And if you had a scroll that was very important that you didn't want to be opened until a certain time, you would seal it seven times. You'd roll it a little bit, seal it on the inside, roll it a little bit more, seal it again. And on and on, you would go.
Who's going to take the scroll out of God's hand? Can you picture that? Who's worthy? That's what that song is about. Look in Revelation 5:5, “And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:7, “And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.” Jesus the Lamb was sacrificed for sinners, took the scroll, and all of heaven erupted in praise.
“Then I looked,” in Revelation 5:11-12, “and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’”
So, if you don't think Jesus is God, why does God allow the worship of someone else in his presence? And all of the other religions of the world had no answer. He is the only One worthy! He is the only One worthy to receive praise and glory and honor and power and blessing and might! The only One, there is no other! The Bible does not allow the worship of anyone but God. So, if Jesus is being worshipped in heaven, before the throne of God, taking something out of God's hand, he is God!
Why would they be rejoicing that he took the scroll? Because when the seals are opened, Jesus will unleash judgment on the world and set everything right. So, we move from chapter one: the vision of Jesus. Chapters two and three: the messages to the seven churches (and to all churches of all times). Chapters four and five: we moved to see in heaven, the throne room of God and what it looks like and that Jesus, the Lamb, has taken the scroll and he is about to unleash the scroll. This brings us to chapter six. Chapters six through eighteen are what we call the seven-year Tribulation.
And I hope to get through this more quickly than the first part, or the children's workers are going to feel like they're in the Tribulation. But this ramps up the imagery quite a bit. Okay. And I know you all have extra time because you got to sleep an extra hour and all the preachers get an extra hour on Sunday to preach. So, I'm thankful that God and his sovereign choice decided that we would preach Revelation today. Amen. I got one person, I'll take it.
Chapters six to eighteen: the seven-year Tribulation, what is it? It is what you don't want to go through.
The seals, I used to think as a kid, a picture of like, you know, a wet, slippery thing with a ball on its nose. And I was like, this is kind of bizarre. Like, why do we have seven seals in heaven? And this is really weird. And for a very long time, I thought that. But no, the seals are not, you know, wet, slippery things. They are what seal up the judgments. And you need to know that each one gets worse than the one before it. And there will be a series of three great visions of judgments. So, seven seals, another seven, another seven, and they all get worse. Okay.
Revelation 6:1-2, “Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.” Now what's unusual about this rider? He has no arrows! He comes out riding to conquer. He's got a bow. He's on his horse. But it's false peace. He does not bring what it appears he is going to deliver. This is the first judgment of the Tribulation. One will appear to bring peace, but it will be a false peace. The world will unite under this ruler.
Christ opens the second seal releasing a rider on a red horse. The rider, “take[s] peace from the earth” and unleashes all-out war [Revelation 6:3-4]. So, the second of many judgments unleashes all-out war over the whole earth. Are you getting the picture here? The third seal is opened and releases a black horse and the rider carries a scale and he unleashes worldwide famine. The first seal is in Revelation 6:2, the second seal Revelation 6:3, the third seal Revelation 6:5. Worldwide famine. You and I get grumpy if dinner is late. False peace has already been given, all-out war on the world, and no food or scarce food. Everyone is going to be miserable. That's just the third seal.
Revelation 6:8, the fourth seal is opened. It says this, “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” There is no stopping that rider, whose name is Death, on the pale horse. Death does arrive. You only know if you survived if you're still breathing here on the earth.
The fifth seal is opened. This reveals the souls who have been martyred during the Tribulation so far. It's a little bit of a respite. They cry for justice. God gives them white robes and he calls for patience. The sixth seal is opened in Revelation 6:12. This unleashes ecological terror: great earthquakes, the sun becomes black and full like blood. A meteor shower rains down on the earth, and great geological movement, even the sky vanishes. So much for carbon emissions. This terrifies great and small, rich and poor. What is the response of those who are ultra-confident? To have their money saved up, their great career, they're just dominating in the world. They are doing everything successful. What do those people say? Revelation 6:16-17, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Notice, there's no wondering who's doing this. They know. They know. Earth knows the wrath of Jesus has come and no one can withstand it. Now, even in the book of Revelation, the Lord is gracious. It's not just this immense torrent of judgment through so many chapters and so much great war and bloodshed. He gives us little respites at times. And this can confuse you if you're just reading through thinking, well, chapter seven is after chapter six. So chronologically, it must be like that. As you've already picked up on, the book of Revelation, some books in the Bible, are not specifically chronological. So, this is kind of like a little rest. In all the war and the judgment and the bloodshed, here's a little rest in chapter seven. And you might be wondering, who can be saved during this? If this is all going on, nobody's wondering if they should be saved, right? No, people will get saved during the Tribulation.
One of those groups is called the 144,000. 144,000 of the Jews, 12,000 from each tribe, will be saved. And they will continue to evangelize the world so that by Revelation 7:9, in heaven, we see a multitude that have been saved, that no one can number. You say, “Are those from the Tribulation time?” Yes, Revelation 7:14 tells us specifically, those are the ones who have come to faith during the Tribulation. So, during the Tribulation revival is going to spread over all the earth. Praise God, for God's elect, during even the Tribulation.
Time for the seventh seal. And here's where if you're an outliner, you kind of going, “Oh boy, what's going on here?” Chapter eight, the seventh seal releases seven more judgments. As if one was not enough, the seventh seal releases another seven. These are called the trumpet judgments. So, you have the seal judgments. And just as you thought those were going to end… nope, there are seven more trumpet judgments on the way. And they're called trumpet Judgments because an angel with a trumpet announces each one.
It's silent in heaven, for 30 minutes. Now, there was rejoicing around the throne: “Holy, Holy, Holy.” What could cause silence, the worship of God to stop for 30 minutes? They are now anticipating, wondering. They're in reverent awe. If you've ever gone through some of the museums in DC, they're truly inspiring. But there's one that almost no one talks in. It's the Holocaust Museum. Now, you may be wondering, do they tell people not to talk there? No, they don't. You can talk. But no one does. When the reality of millions dying, hits you in the face in an undeniable way. It causes, it causes silence. And then remember, these are announced with trumpets. So, after a 30 minute silence, this heavenly trumpet sounds.
Revelation 8:7, “The first angel blew his trumpet, [sending] hail and fire, mixed with blood, … [on] the earth. And a third of the earth was burned [with fire], and a third of the trees… and all green grass was burned...” And that's just the first trumpet. The second trumpet, in Revelation 8:8, a flaming mountain, maybe a meteor, or maybe a volcanic eruption or something, is thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea becomes blood. Not sure if that means it's going to be transformed from ocean water into blood or if that just is a symbol of all the death that will occur in the ocean. But [Revelation 8:9], “A third of the… creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”
The third trumpet, a third of all freshwater sources are destroyed. The fourth trumpet in Revelation 8:12, will darken a third of the sun, moon and stars. No one will escape these things from happening. I mean, you and I, we can pull up our phone and livestream to anybody who might find your livestream around the world. But when the sun, moon, and stars go dark – a third of them – everyone will take notice. And if you want to know the truth about what is happening at that time, it's in Revelation.
Revelation 9:1, the fifth trumpet, this is a judgment. This is a vision of the judgment, we're still in the seven-year Tribulation. This will release locust-like demons who torture the ungodly for five months. Their king is called Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek. They don't kill, they just torture. They don't torture anyone, or everyone, they just torture the ungodly. That's in Revelation 9:1.
Revelation 9:13, the sixth trumpet releases four angels, who kill a third of mankind. These are most likely fallen angels or demons because they were bound for a time, until this time. So, I think that probably means that they were demons who go out and do this. These angels ride horses with the head of a lion, the tail of a multi-headed serpent, and they breathe out fire and sulfur. And with them comes an army of 200 million. You see that in Revelation 9:16, 10,000 times 10,000 twice. 200 million. Do you know what the largest army on Earth is, how many they have? Yep, it's China. Anywhere from a million and a half to 2 million. You know who's next? Not the U.S., India. About a million and a half, a little less. And then U.S. is in there somewhere as well. To say that every army of the world is outnumbered, is an understatement. Weaponized, 200 million people.
By this point, after all of the seal judgments and the trumpet judgments, you'd think, everybody's going to repent. Who's going to want to stand against God? Everybody's going to be thinking, I don't want this, I mean, we just saw a mountain thrown in the ocean. All of these judgments released and demons and beasts, like the world has never seen before. Unleashed on the earth, with specific jobs – some attack the whole world, some attack, just some. But listen very carefully to this: Circumstances never change the heart. Circumstances never change the heart. Revelation 9:20, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold…” the world just kept on sinning. Even hell won't make a person repent. That is why it must be a work of God's grace.
Well, chapter 10, you're probably like going, “Oh, I hope this is a rest chapter.” It is. Chapter 10 is another rest from the judgments. And here an angel stands with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land. And that shows us that his God is in control over all things, the land and the water. And we are reminded in Revelation 10:7, that God will indeed keep his promises. Look at that, “the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” I mean, the prophets have to be in awe. In awe.
Chapter 11, still in the Tribulation, this is another review of what's going to happen during the Tribulation. Okay, and this is the latter half of the Tribulation here. This is the two witnesses. I remember listening to a preacher preach this message back in the 80s, and he said, “You know, God, if you're looking for volunteers, I volunteer for being of these two guys.” They have incredible power. And this is just yet another interlude. Just another picture of what's going on in the Tribulation. We see these two witnesses, they are in Jerusalem. And Revelation 11:3, they preach the gospel in Jerusalem nonstop for three and a half years. I mean, you can't street preach for an hour without a mob trying to tell you to be quiet these days. Right? Unless you're chanting something against God. For three and a half years straight, people will try and kill them. Fire will come out of their mouth to consume anyone that tries to kill them. They have complete authority over the rain. You know, the land of rocks yet again, more famine if they want. No rain, or rain, whenever they want. They're given miraculous power over the rain in Revelation 11:6. Revelation 11:5 is where the fire comes out of their mouth. Revelation 11:7 is no one can kill them until this point.
The beast, the Antichrist, rises. He comes out of the bottomless pit and kills them. Leaves their dead bodies in the street for three and a half days, and the world will rejoice over their death. But then God will raise them from the dead and all will see it. This will terrify the world. And God will bring them up to heaven as the whole world watches in Revelation 11:11-12. We might need to go buy some extra cookies for the nursery workers, there’s 22 chapters.
Revelation 11:15 is where the seventh trumpet is unleashed, “the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.’” Chronologically, this is the end of the Tribulation period, this is the end of the seven years. Okay, but there's more in the Tribulation we need to see. So, it's like we've gone through it and now we circle back around, and we watch the two witnesses for three and a half years. And now we're going to circle around a few more times to get more detail of what happens here. In fact, chapters 12 through 14, take us through the Tribulation again, seeing what the Antichrist will do.
Chapter 12, you have the woman, the dragon, and the child. And just to summarize: the woman is Israel, the dragon is Satan, and the child is Jesus. And what you'll see from these, no matter what the Antichrist does, or plans, no matter how great it seems he's going to win, he does not win. God's plan is sure. It is effective. And it will come to pass. And his rule will be on full display for all to see. Satan still has access to heaven at this point but according to Revelation 12:9, three and a half years into the Tribulation, he will be cast out completely along with his demons. This will cause him to be so angry, he will make war on God's people on earth, that's Revelation 12:17.
And now he raises up other leaders. Revelation 13:5, he raises up other leaders, for three and a half years, to help him. Revelation 13:1, one of these leaders is the false messiah, called the “beast rising out of the sea.” This is the Antichrist; he will appear to have a mortal wound but will survive. He will become the world leader – not just a guy we say is the world leader or the leader among leaders – he will have complete rule over every human on earth. And they will worship him. Revelation 13:11-12, a second leader is raised up, he's a false prophet, and he makes everyone worship the Antichrist. Whoever doesn't worship the Antichrist they kill. They just killed them. He will make a statue of the Antichrist and point people to worship the statue. He will bring the breath of life into the statue. And it won't be some kind of AI trick. It won't be graphics, it won't be fake, it won't be an illusion. There will be a statue that is made of the antichrist that people worship, that will come alive.
All who want to buy or sell must take the mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead. And this number is 666. We see that in Revelation 13:16-18. You already know they're doing digital cashless grocery stores, where you have to go in and you have to scan the app. And you can only pay if they know who you are. And you use their app, with their currency, that they dictate. That's already going on with Aldi in London. You can't come in with anything else, you can't even get in unless you scan it. You can't buy or sell in that grocery store, without doing that. This will be easy. People have already been taking chips in their hand for many years now. Has all your information, your credit card information, and when you need to scan something or buy it, you just put your hand on it. And then you've got a chip in your hand. They're already doing that. This is not going to be difficult.
But chapter 14 is a preview of victory. The 144,000 have a mark on their forehead, Revelation 14:1. There will be more gospel preaching; this time miraculous gospel preaching by angels. There will be in Revelation 14:6, an angel, it says, “flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” An angel will preach the gospel around the whole world. 144,000 Jews will preach the gospel at that time, around Jerusalem. The two witnesses will preach the gospel. And not only that, but coming after the angel who preaches the gospel, will follow another one who also preaches a warning and a judgment, Revelation 14:9.
Revelation 14:9-12, it is this call. Torment forever. Hell is real. And every single person will be warned about it. Revelation 14:20, gives a preview of the wrath of Armageddon. With the blood being five feet deep and 200 miles long. 200 miles is roughly the length of Israel. In chapter 15, the seventh trumpet is about to come forward. So, we've had the seals, the trumpets, and now as we learn and go to chapter 16, the bowl judgments.
You’re still believing that there's a blessing for everyone who reads this aloud, right? I know that it's unsettling to think about this. But we must think about the truth. The seven bowl judgments are poured out, we're still in the Tribulation, chapter 16. I'm going to summarize. Bowl one brings sores on those who worship the beast, and so much so, that they gnawed their own tongues. Bowl two kills everything in the sea. Bowl three, fresh rivers turned to blood. Bowl four, the sun scorches people. Bowl six dries up the Euphrates River, and guess what? This causes Armageddon. Chapter 16.
For my family, I have a little software package, and we played what it sounds like, this word Armageddon in the Greek. It doesn't sound like we pronounce it. But it is a phrase denoting the Valley of Megiddo. Or what you might look up on your maps, you can find that as well. You can look up on your maps, Jezreel Valley. This is slightly south of the Sea of Galilee, and to the west. It's south of Nazareth. Okay. Napoleon called this the greatest battlefield he had ever laid his eyes on. This is the Battle of Armageddon. Revelation 16:16, “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”
Bowl seven is poured into the air, and there are “flashes of lightning,” Revelation 16:18, “rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.” 100-pound hailstones are coming. The seventh bowl would be the end of the war of Armageddon. But again, Christ wants us to see more. So, chapters 17 and 18 are the judgments of the Antichrist’s systems. So, the judgments of their spiritual-religious systems and the judgments of their material systems. And here, I was talking with Adam earlier, here we see that it gets so bad on the earth, that even non-Christians are tired of nice things. They stop pursuing gold, they stop pursuing silver, they stop pursuing money. Can you ever imagine the United States, or China, when they stop pursuing money? It's going to happen. They will even quit singing and making songs and music. It is the reason why they say Communism never produced a great work of art, there was no inspiration. No great statues come from Communism, except to remember how bad it was. Why? There's no inspiration, it's an oppressive system. And here the entire world is completely oppressed.
But praise be to God, chapter 19 comes. And here is the rejoicing that never ends. If you look in our section, we're in chapter 19. Revelation 19:1 says, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.’” And “hallelujah” is repeated over and over again: in verse one, verse three, verse four, verse six. It is just this resounding praise and celebration. And you say, “Why are we celebrating now? We just had so much judgment on the world and so many people died and were tortured. And why is that?” Because this is the time when Jesus Christ is going to enter the world and set up his kingdom.
Look in Revelation 19:11-12, Christ enters, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True [that's Jesus], and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.” Verse 13, “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.” That’s Jesus. [Revelation 19:14-16] “And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” And everyone who loves, serves, and follows Jesus Christ gives great praise and glory when Jesus arrives.
Revelation 19:20, the beast and the false prophet, that is the Antichrist and the false prophet, are thrown into the lake of fire. As you can see on the front here of your Bible journal, there's no weapon, he just needs to speak, and his enemies are defeated. Jesus is pictured as this powerful Ruler. This ushers in a great time of peace. Chapter 20 is the Millennial Kingdom. The thousand-year reign of Christ on earth begins. And there's one last enemy to defeat, Satan, who roams the earth still.
Revelation 20:1, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.” If you believe that we're right now, in the millennial kingdom, you have to deal with chapter 20. You have to deal with the prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah 14, Daniel 9, you have to deal with these verses. Some people think all this is going on. That this is not a kingdom Jesus will set up. That it is not some place where he's going to rule in the future, but he's currently doing this.
Do the nations seem deceived to you? Yeah. So, I think this is a literal kingdom. Scripture teaches it that way. We haven't spiritualized a period of time yet and we're not going to as we finish up the book. This will usher in a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth called the Millennial Kingdom. Earth will be inhabited by all the saints who lived through the Tribulation, and they will repopulate the earth. All the resurrected and glorified saints from across the ages will be there as well. Yes, a literal thousand years. Remember, it's supposed to be revealing. It's supposed to be illuminating. It's not supposed to be like, “Ooh, tricked-yah. I know we said, ‘a thousand,’ 7 times but it doesn't really mean ‘a thousand.’”
Satan is released in Revelation 20:7. And fire comes down from heaven and kills them as they have surrounded the city [Revelation 20:9]. “And the devil,” in verse 10, “who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Revelation 20:11, is the Great White Throne Judgment. Revelation 20:14 is where Death, Hades, and the current earth are destroyed. So, you look at your outline there, we have one last section: “The New Heaven and Earth for all Eternity.” Revelation 21:1-2, says this, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
And even as magnificent as this is, and just the description of this new Jerusalem and the streets of gold that are transparent. And we're in awe over walls, right? And I am too, it's like, “Wow, the walls are jewels! They're made of these amazing, wonderful things, and...” But the most amazing thing about Heaven is not that you and your spouse don't sin. As amazing as that will be! Or that you and your neighbor – who you didn't think was saved but came to faith before they died – and you see them, as amazing as that will be. As amazing as it will be to see someone from every tongue, tribe, and nation, there worshipping God. Notice, you recognize the nations, you will see people and recognize the different nations, they will be there praising God! As amazing as that will be, the most amazing thing is that God, himself, will be there.
Look at Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’” Now remember, I told you to remember that phrase, “the one who conquers.” We see it again in Revelation 21:7, “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” The New Jerusalem is described in unparalleled beauty. But the most magnificent thing about heaven is being with God, himself. Seeing our Lord Jesus Christ, ruling and reigning, seeing all the magnificent things that God has prepared and that God has created.
Revelation 22:16-17, as we wrap it up here, “‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’” The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
God, in his infinite love and wisdom, even with all of these visions, at the very end of these visions is telling John we need to invite people to receive eternal life, it is without price. You cannot earn your way to Heaven. You and I don't deserve any of these things. But God in his gracious mercy and love is willing to give us his forgiveness through Jesus Christ, if we would only come to him. And I beg you, you do not want to go through the trials and the tribulations and the eternal torment. You need to get over the pride, you need to get over the, all the excuses, and you just need to admit that you're a sinful person, and you're in need of salvation and God will save you and change you forever!
We are left with this picture: Jesus is coming. Three times in this last chapter: “Behold, I am coming soon.” With the Apostle John we should all reply, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
And the last verse of our Bible [Revelation 22:21], “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
This concludes the 66 books of God's Holy Word! To God be the glory! Let’s pray.
“Lord God, what a magnificence plan of restoration, of setting all things right. We know we don't deserve salvation, we are no better than any single person on this earth. Yet, as the entire Bible ends with grace, we pray Lord God, that you would bring grace to our family and our friends.
We pray, Lord God, that you would help us to anticipate your arrival. That we would anticipate the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. For your glory.
Friends, let's just take a moment and ask God to help us be ready for Jesus and all that is coming.
Lord God, you are our Creator, you are our King, and we worship you. Amen.
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