“The book unsealed”
“The things which must shortly come to pass.”
This theme has been taken directly from Rev 1:1. When John wrote 2000 years ago about “things which must shortly come to pass” he meant “the things which must shortly come to pass” in the first century, because the verse concludes, “for the time is at hand.” John was writing about things which would immediately begin to come to pass in his day 1900 to 2000 years ago.
TRANSCRIPT – kindly supplied by Sis Fay Berry
The book of Revelation
Study 1 by Neville Clark for Enfield ecclesia’s special Effort.
“The book unsealed”
“The things which must shortly come to pass.”
This theme has been taken directly from Rev 1:1. When John wrote 2000 years ago about “things which must shortly come to pass” he meant “the things which must shortly come to pass” in the first century, because the verse concludes, “for the time is at hand.” John was writing about things which would immediately begin to come to pass in his day 1900 to 2000 years ago.
What we mean, when we use that title, is not things which must shortly come to pass in the first century, but things which must shortly come to pass in the 21st century, because something like 30% of the book of Revelation will be fulfilled in the next 50 years, if Christ were to come tonight.
For those of you who are familiar with the book of Revelation, just think, of Chs 17, 18, 19, Chapter 10, 14 15, the last portion of Chapter 16, a similarly latter portion of Chapter 11, all in the next fifty years according to the Jubilee period as is our conventional interpretation. That’s what we mean by things which must shortly come to pass. This is the focus of our week,
The next fifty years of world events.
That is the time between the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the household and the commencement of the 1,000 year reign. The fifty year introduction to the Kingdom age, sometimes called the Jubilee period. That’s what I am going to deal with over the next seven or eight days.
I don’t know what your vision of the kingdom is but we have just heard one sung about just a moment ago. Perhaps you picture yourself teaching people about God or perhaps you pictured yourself playing with your children in the streets of Jerusalem, but here’s the thing, there is nothing wrong with that vision, but you must understand that the children won’t be playing like that in the streets of Jerusalem for another fifty years. You won’t be playing with your children, you will be playing with your grand-children. It is the next 50 years that it is going to take to make that vision a reality.
It isn’t going to be an easy transition into the Kingdom Age.
You know how Jesus describes it in the latter verses of Daniel Chapter 2.
He says, “In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed and will break in pieces and bruise all those kingdoms.” That means that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to establish the Kingdom of God on the ashes of the Kingdom of men, that’s what’s going to happen during that fifty year period. That’s why it is not going to be an easy transition for the Kingdom of Men, they will be, as it were, dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God. But as far as that is concerned, the time is at hand. We are on the very edge of destiny, aren’t we? We are at the precipice, you can almost smell it in the air. Christ is coming!
In the next two years, the United Kingdom is going to vote, they are going to have a referendum to decide whether they are going to remain a member of the European Union. Now they have been in the EU for the best part of fifty years, but she has to leave. Why? Beceause Britain was never ever one of the ten horns of the beast. The beast of Revelation is a European beast. Greece must also leave the Union because she is part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She is part of the dragon, not part of the beast. The Eu is about to undergo enormous changes and you can see the writing on the wall.
Europe is currently being inundated with refugees from the Middle East.
A consequence of the large number of Muslim’s running into Europe, is that antisemitism is on the rise.
And how are those two things related? Well, the Europeans have become more right-wing because of the influx of Islam into the bastion of Catholicism. And that has manifested itself in racial attacks.
You know in 2014, 50% of all racially motivated attacks in France were against Jews. Of the 10,000 Jews who came from Western Europe and migrated into Israel last year, 8,000 of them were from France! The world is heading for a period of financial instability, so commentators tell us. The stock markets are on the verge of collapse. Now I don’t know how much weight to put on some of these stories, but what does appear to me to be highly likely, however, if there is a shake down in financial markets, it will dramatically effect the Anglo-American control of trade and finance.
That would have the effect of evening up the playing field between the major powers in the world. In simple terms, what that means is, it will elevate Russia and decrease America, so that they are on more equal terms, in terms of control of world decisions.
And now, Russia is in the Middle East.
Invited there by Syria, no less. You know Russia has wanted to be in the Middle East for the past 200 years but she hasn’t been able to do it. And now she’s got there.
According to Bible Prophecy, she must be in the Middle East in order to become the King of the North, and she’s there now, and she’s not leaving.
To top it off, well you know what happened yesterday, In fact I think it has happened right now since we are a little ahead of the rest of the world in terms of time, in Cuba, right now, Pope Francis is meeting Patriarch Tirrell of the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow in a face-to-face meeting, the first face-to-face meeting that Catholicism has had with the Russian Orthodox Church for 1,000 years! They haven’t met each other since 1054: the great schism in the church, and that is happening on Friday, yesterday for us, today for them, in Cuba right now. Now that’s what’s happening in the world,
What is happening in the brotherhood?
Well, we are on the Eve of the Lord Jesus Christ’s return, what would you expect to be happening in the brotherhood? Let’s be frank. We’ve got brethren drifting away because of “oppositions of science,” we’ve got brothers and sisters watching more television than they are watching the signs of the times, all at the very time when we ought to be on tip-toes waiting for the Master’s call.
You see, we are on the very eve of Christ’s return and we are being dragged away by the very cares of this life. Can you believe it? Well of course you can because that is exactly what prophecy says would happen.
It doesn’t, however, have to happen on an individual level, but it will happen, it is just another sign of the times.
Think about it like this. At some point in the very near future, we are all going to stand before the Judge of all the Earth. And if we want to stand before the face of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, what would we say if he were to ask us, “What did you think of my last message? What did you think about that last message I gave you at the end of the first century, meaning the book of Revelation?
What would we say if we hadn’t bothered to look at it? If it was this message that was particularly calculated to prepare us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we had never really found the time to get across it because of other things in life.
That’s why we want to turn to it this week, not the whole book of Revelation, but just the next generation. There is nothing more calculated to prepare us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ than a vision of what must happen next, so that when you see things happen about you, you can in the chronology of your mind, tick off where we are in that time-line, and be ready, as it were, for that Knock at the door.
This is how Brother Roberts puts it.
“There is no more conclusive evidence of the truly un-Christian state of the the professedly Christian society around us, than the ignorance and aversion that prevails with regard to the Apocalypse!”
Those are the opening words of his book, “Thirteen Lectures,” which he wrote in 1880.
“Anybody who professes Christianity who doesn’t understand the book of Revelation isn’t really Christian.” That is what Robert Roberts believed.
The book of Revelation is a difficult book
There are varying abilities among us, to grasp these things. But, it is one thing to be a difficult book, and another thing for it to be a closed book. It should never be a closed book.
The word Revelation means “to reveal,” or “to unveil.” It should never be closed, and certainly not to our community, but I will be honest, it will take some work. It is difficult in places, and if you have never looked at the book of Revelation, I recommend that the best place to start is brother Robert’s “Thirteen Lectures.” It is only about 180 pages and it covers the entire book of Revelation and it is not a verse-by-verse exposition, it is a narrative explanation of the book.
Once you’ve got that under your belt, then go to HPM’s verse-by-verse Expositor. Once you know your way around that, then read Eureka. That would be a good way to get an understanding of the book of Revelation. Start in small bites and migrate up to bigger ones.
But it will take some time. It is difficult, but there is a reason why it is difficult. That reason is stated in the very first verse of the book of Revelaton, Rev. 1:1.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.”
Here is a message, to the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
No other book of the bible begins like this, you know. A direct message from a Master to his Servants. It is hard to escape the fact, by the way, if your Master has written something to you, and you have never really read it carefully, then you are not much of a servant, are you? and because it is to servants rather than to any casual reader of the Bible, he has wrapped the entire message up in a mystery. He has written it in “sign,” he’s “sent” and he’s “signified” it the verse says, by his Angel unto his servant John, and signified means “to put in sign.” Or we could say he has written it in code, because the Lord knew that only true servants would ever make the effort to untangle the code.
How thankful ought we to be to the brethren who have gone before us who have broken these things up for us. If you think about the Christadelphian book shelf, the book of Revelation is by no means the most difficult book in the Bible to understand because of the literature we have got on it. We’ve got far less information, for example.on the book of Isaiah or the book of Jeremiah than we have on the book of Revelation, so we have the tools at our disposal.
it goes even deeper than what we have said on verse 1.
When Jesus calls us servants, he doesn’t just mean “servants” in the common sense. He has written these things by his servant John to the rest of us, his servants. The word servant in the Greek is the word “doulos,” and the word “doulos” just means “slaves,” so a servant here is actually a slave.
In the first century when John wrote these words a servant was just an object. You could treat a slave however you liked. His life was yours to own, and the last hing a Master would ever do is to tell his heart to his servants, his slaves. But this is what Jesus says to us. We are not just servants. Look what he says in John 15:3, “Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you. Hence I call you not servants for the servant knows not what his Master does, but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Look what he says in V 1.
“It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ which he heard from his Father and which he has made known to us.” Yes, we are servants, but we are not just servants we are servants who are “friends.”
Think of the story way back in Luke Chapter 7 of he Centurion whose servant was sick, and he appealed to the Lord Jesus Christ that his servant might be healed. And the record describes the relationship between them, it says, ” The Centurion had a servant who was dear to him, dear to him, and that is the position that we hold with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are servants, yes, but we are also friends. We are not just servants.
There is something about friends, you see, and it is contained in Jn 15:14,
The thing about friends, is that they keep commandments.
You are not a friend if you don’t do what the Master says, that’s what John 15 says. Now look at V 3 of Revelation 1.
“Blessed is he that reads and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein.” You’ve got to keep the commandments if you want to be a “friend.” You’ve got to keep those things that are written therein, says John in the 3rd Verse of this chapter.
So let’s be clear, when we say that this message is written to servants, let’s look at the chain of communication in the opening verses of Revelation 1. From God, to Christ, to the Angel, to John, to the reader, V 3, to the hearer, V 3, to the Keeper V 3. That is the ultimate servant, isn’t it, the servant who keeps those things that are written. Not any old servant, but a certain class of servant he is speaking to.
What is it that these servants have to keep?
What is so important about this message, the servants have to understand it, and preserve it? or keep it?
Think of it like this.This is how the book of Revelation fits into the divine scheme of Scripture. It is the complementary book to the opening chapters of the book of Genesis. Have you ever thought about it like that?
In Genesis 2, we’ve got the marriage of the first Adam. In Revelation 19 we’ve got the marriage of the last Adam. In Genesis 3 we have a serpent loosed and in Revelation 20 we have a serpent bound. In Genesis 3 we’ve got sin and death introduced into the world after the fall. In Revelation 21, we’ve got sorrow and death removed from the world.
In Genesis Ch 3 we have got the way of the tree of life barred, in Revelation 23, we’ve got the way of the tree of life opened. In Genesis 2 we have the natural heavens and earth created and in Revelation 21 we have the spiritual heavens and earth created, that is in the new age, after the completion of the 1,000 years, are also created.
Can you see that the book of Revelation has resolved all the problems that began way back in Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3? What you are reading here in the book of Revelation is in fact the completion of the Gospel message.
We have resolved everything, and what does that mean in practical terms? What that means is that the apostate and wicked kingdom of men which was formed right after the sin in the garden of Eden, is completely destroyed by the time you get to the end of the book of Revelation.
Now, the critical word in Genesis 3 after the sin, was the word “enmity.” From the moment sin entered the world all human kind would be divided between two groups. The seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and there would be hostility or “enmity” between those two groups.
What that means is that there would be warfare between this kind of thinking and that kind of thinking; between fleshly thinking and godly thinking.
These are first principles. This is what it looks like in the book of Revelation.
The book of Revelation is simply the conclusion of the warfare that began in Genesis. And so you have in a metropolitan sense, you see, that hostility, manifesting itself two cities, Mt Zion and the great city Babylon, they are at war in the book of Revelation. Or the holy city as it is otherwise called, versus the city that is called Sodom and Egypt. In an ecclesiastical sense, it is New Jerusalem versus Babylon the great. In a bestial sense, it is the Lamb versus the ravaging wild beasts of Chapter 12 and 13. In a moral sense it is the the Bride versus the adulterous harlot. In a divine sense, it is the God of Heaven against the god of all the earth. The God of the earth, in Revelation 11 is the man who sits in the Temple of God, thinking that he is God, it is the Papacy.
So you can see that the warfare of Genesis runs all the way through the pages of the book of Revelation and is finally resolved in the book of Revelation.
There’s the major theme. The major theme, Zion versus Rome.
That is the story of the warfare of Revelation. You see, that is what the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ have to understand. There is a war, there are only two sides and in our own lives we are only going to stand on one side or the other, there is no middle ground in this war.
When Christ comes he is going to call his army to himself isn’t he? That is what they will become, the saints, an army. They will charge out across the next fifty years to destroy everything that the kingdom of men has set up and pave the way for the entrance of the new age.
But, this book is written, not just for a sign to believers, but for a sign against un-believers.
Think about it like this, the apostate system of men, the Catholic Church and its daughters, can’t be allowed to know what’s really going on here, so the Lord has written an open letter, the book of Revelation, to all mankind.
Every nation has a bible on its table, but it is in code so that only a certain section of mankind can ever understand it. So when the Church reads the book of Revelation, they think it is a description of heaven, full of angels, playing harps on clouds, whose entrance is through pearly gates. That’s what they find when they read the book of Revelation
There is no doubt that all those things I just mentioned occur in the book of Revelation, including the pearly gates, Revelation 19. There is equally no doubt that none of them means what the Church thinks they mean. It is written in code for a very good reason, so that ONLY the servants will understand it, but that the whole world can read it.
There’s just one thing I need to prove to you. I have made all these assertions and told you what the great theme of Revelation is, but you can see we have called it
Zion versus Rome
How do we know that it is Zion versus Rome? Well, There is no mystery about Zion, in Revelation 14:1, you might recall, the lamb stands on Mt Zion, so clearly the book of Revelation, at least in some places speaks of Zion of the future, no problem.
But what about Rome, how do you know that Rome is the protagonist? How do you know that in the book of Revelation that Rome is the enemy which will be destroyed? I ask that question, because of course, the word Rome never even occurs in the book of Revelation.
So how do you know Revelation has got anything to do with Rome? Well, come with me to Revelation 17, you’ve got a couple of clues. And we must understand this because I am going to take this as I am going to take this as an assumption from this point forward, that the system of beasts in he book of Revelation are simply successive phases of the ancient Roman Empire, but I just have to show you that to begin with.
Here’s the first clue. What we are establishing here, if you haven’t kept up with me is, that the system of men that is the apostate and wicked systems that have been forged by the kingdom of men, in the book of Revelation are Roman.
They are not Muslim, they are not Buddhist, they are not Hindu, it’s the Roman Empire, which must be destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ when he comes. How do we know? Well look at Revelation Ch 17:18. It says here “that the woman John, that thou saw is that great city that reigns over the kingdoms of the earth.”
Of course, John was living in the first century, in the Roman empire. It was Rome that ruled the world, you see, so the great city that ruled over the kings of the earth in John’s day was the city of Rome. It was the empire of Rome controlled from the capital of Rome.
He talks here in V 18 about a woman which John saw. Now, what do we know about that woman? Come back to V 3, just across the page.
This vision of Revelation 17
“And he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns.” So the woman in V 18 is related to that great city, which is the city of Rome, and she rides a beast which has, in V 3, seven heads and ten horns. Now does that help us? Well not yet, but now come across to V 12, because we have those ten horns described, the ten horns of the beast in V 3. and it says, “the ten horns which you saw are ten kings. Now I am not going to explain any of that to you at the moment I just want to draw your attention to the marginal reference in V 12. There is a little “h” there if you have an Oxford Bible, and it will take you in your margin straight back to Daniel 7 and V 7.
Now why does it take you to Daniel 7?
Answer: because the only other place in the Bible, outside the book of Revelation, where you find a beast with ten horns is the book of Daniel. In fact in Daniel chapter 7. What do we mean by this ? this is what we mean.
In Daniel Chapter 2 Daniel explained Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which was a dream of the kingdom of men from Daniel’s day all the way down to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.as a giant metallic image.
The various phases of that kingdom were the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman kingdoms or sub-kingdoms of the kingdom of men, of the empire of men. Well, in Daniel ch 7 Daniel saw his own version, or if you like, the Divine interpretation of Daniel Ch 2 and those same four world empires weren’t emblazoned on his mind as a glossy metallic warrior, they were four wild animals, the lion, the bear, the leopard and the great un-named beast, the fourth beast of Daniel Ch 7.
Well, that fourth beat, the Roman Empire, you can see at the bottom of the screen, that’s the beast, that’s Dan 7:7, that’s the beast with ten horns, and I suppose you will appreciate is that all that has happened, when you come to the book of Revelation, well, think of it like this, Daniel is living 600 BC in the Babylonian empire, he sees the future of the world of his day as successive empires until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
600 years later, John receives the Revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is now living in the Roman Empire, that is the fourth beast of Daniel and he sees the next 2,000 years opened up for his eyes, beast, beast, beast, each one of which has ten horns. So the beasts of Revelation 12, 13 and 17 you see are simply successive phases of the Roman Beast of Daniel Ch 7.
So all we have therefore in the book of Revelation is an amplification of the book of Daniel. And all we have in the beasts of Revelation is an amplification of the fourth beast of Daniel Chapter 7, which we all know is the Roman beast. Significant of the Roman Empire.
That is why we say the contest is between Zion and Rome. It is the Roman Empire in the latter days and her associated religion which is the great protagonist of the book of Revelation and which is the system which as far as God is concerned has persecuted the saints for the last 2,000 years.
So how does the book of Revelation come together?
What’s the structure of the book of Revelation? This is where it is going to get a little tough for some of us. If you don’t know very much about the book of Revelation you might find the next ten or fifteen minutes a little overwhelming. I am just going to say, “Bear with me,” because I will tell you what part you have to remember if you find it is all gobbledygook.
If you have a reasonable understanding of the book of Revelation, then perhaps the next ten or fifteen minutes might fill in some gaps for you.
If you are an expert, then I am going to say, “Try to spot any mistakes.”
Here’s the first thing that you will notice about the book of Revelation. If you have ever done the readings once in Revelation you will know that the whole book is divided between what we are going to call “Visions of the future,” that is “Visions of the Kingdom” and historical sections. Now most of these historical sections have now been fulfilled, but you will appreciate that we could divide the whole book between “visions of the future” and what we might call now, “visions of the past.” because of our particular point in history.
The way to understand the book of Revelation is that
Every historical section has a vision of the future which precedes it.
Revelation 1, 2 and 3 are a classic example. You have a vision of the “man of one” in Revelation Ch 1 and he’s got various characteristics starting from about V 13. “Eyes like lamps of fire,” for example. When you come to look at the seven ecclesias, of Revelation 2 and 3, all those characteristics are represented by the Lord Jesus Christ as he writes to the subsequent ecclesias of Chs 2 and 3.
The vision of Revelation 1 precedes the historical section of chapters 2 and 3.
The vision of the throne in heaven of Chapter 4 and 5 precedes the unsealing of the scroll in Ch 6. That’s actually very clear, because the seven-sealed scroll which is opened in Revelation Ch 6 first appears in Revelation Ch 5. It is handed from the man on the throne to the lamb and then the lamb opens it in Ch 6, and so there is a link between the vision of Ch 4 and 5 and the subsequent historical section of chapter 6.
The “great multitude” in Revelation Ch 7 are sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads, and in Revelation Ch 9 the Muslims would only kill those people who did not have the seal of God in their foreheads.
Again there is a link between the vision of Ch 7 and the subsequent historical section of Ch 8, 9 and 11. Why is that? Because each of these historical sections was, in fact, judgment on the Roman empire for either its apostasy, its wickedness or its persecution of the believers.
The believers, therefore, receive a vision ahead of the conflict of their particular epoch of time as an encouragement to overcome and to hang on until the kingdom age. So they receive a vision of the kingdom age particularly calculated to assist them at their time in history.
Ch 1 precedes Chs 2 and 3.
Chs 4 and 5 precedes Ch 6, and so forth all down through the book.
Now come with me to Revelation Ch 5. So there is, if you like, the high level view of the book.
That’s how it looks. Here is the golden verse.
Now I have seen all sorts of structures of Revelation. Over the years that I have been in the truth I have gone back and forth trying to work out in my own mind what is the best way to understand the book of Revelation so that when I put my pen down and I come back in 12 months later, and I pick up a chapter, I know exactly where I am. Well, I find this helpful, perhaps so will you.
Written within and Without
Look what it says in Revelation 5:1.
I saw on the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside and sealed with seven seals.”
So here is the scroll, a book is a scroll, Here is a scroll sealed with seven seals. Those seals begin to be opened in Revelation Ch 6. That is how the vision of Ch 5 relates to the history of Ch 6. but what I will draw your attention to, brothers and sisters and young people, is the fact that this book is written within and on the backside.
The New International Version says it like this. “It is written inside and outside,” writing on both sides. So it is just a scroll with writing on both sides of the scroll, what does that mean? When you run through scripture to see how the words “within” and “without” are used, you find in Revelation Ch 11, “Rise,” John says, ” and measure the temple of God and the altar them that are within but the court that is without the temple, leave out and measure it not for it is given to the gentiles.”
In Revelation Ch 11, the Temple is a symbol of the ecclesia –
“ye are the temple of the living God,” the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6.
Those that worship therein are the saints and they are being measured for tribulation. The court without is the unbelievers.
So you have got in a very simple sense,
Those who are devoted to religion and those who are not.
In 1 Corinthans Ch 5:12, in the case of immorality in the ecclesia, the apostle says, “what have I to do to judge them that are without?” that is “outside the ecclesaia,”do you not judge them that are within?” that is “inside” the ecclesia.
So at a very general level these words “within” and “without” on this scroll, concern things of a religious or a civil nature. I am not concerned here whether the ecclesia is apostate or godly, it is simply that at a general level the scroll written on both sides speaks of things to do with religion and things of a civil nature.
Why am I laboring this point? This is why. Because if we were to stretch the book of Revelation out on a number line over the last 2,000 years, this is what it would look like.
You will see that I have extracted all the kingdom visions out. Let’s just put all the kingdom visions to one side, and let’s just put the historical sections up as they happen to fall out.
What I am suggesting to you is that we have a prologue in Chs 2 and 3. and what have we done with chapter 1? Well, it is a vision and I have extracted it out an you can see it at the top of the screen there.
So the historical sections begins in Chs 2 and 3 with a prologue, It concludes in Chs 20 to 22 with an Epilogue, and between the prologue and epilogue we have two parallel lines of Roman history, one civil, and the other ecclesiastical, or religious.
Now let me prove that to you.
Come with me to Revelation 11:15. What I am going to show you is that
the book of Revelation really is written in two halves
If we ignore all the kingdom visions, the historical portion of the book of Revelation really is written in two halves. Verse 15 of Revelation 11 reads,
“And the seventh angel sounded, there were great voices in heaven, saying the kingdoms of this world have become the kings of our Lord and his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever.”
So Revelation 11 takes us right to the Kingdom age. So Ch 6 starts off in John’s day and by the time you get to Revelation 11, two thousand years have gone by and the Lord Jesus Christ has come and in fact, he is reigning “for ever and ever,” V 15.
Now look at Revelation 12. So we’ve got to the kingdom age in Ch 11, but by the time we get to Revelation 12, there is a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet. V 3 says that there is another wonder in heaven, “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns,” well there’s our Roman beast, His tail draws a third part of the stars from heaven and casts them to the earth and the dragon stood before the woman wanting to kill her.
Well, I would hardly say that is a good picture of the kingdom age. We’ve got Christ ruling the world in V 15 of Revelation 11 and we’ve got warfare in heaven in Revelation Ch 12, what’s gone wrong? Well, the answer is that Revelation 12 does not happen after Revelation 11, it happens before.
I will give you another example, from Revelation 12, we march forward in time, come across to Revelation 20. So we progress forward again in history from Revelation 12, by the time we get to Revelation 20 and V 4 this is what we read.
“I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them and judgment was given to them and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the word of God, which had not worshiped the beast or his image or received his mark, they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Well, that’s exactly what we read back in Revelation 11. So you see Revelation 20 and Revelation 11 are parallel chapters. In Revelation 11:15 it said Christ reigned “for ever and ever.” In Revelation 20:4 he reigns for a thousand years, that’s the same time period. What’s happening way back in Revelation 12? Well it says stars of heaven fall to the earth in Revelation 12, there’s warfare in heaven.
Let’s just conclude our couplets
and come with me to Revelation Ch 6, because if we are right, that Revelation 11 is parallel to Revelation 20, we ought to see that Revelation Ch 6 is in some way being parallel to Revelation 12, if in fact the book runs from Ch 6 to 11 and then leaps back in time and runs from Revelation Ch 12 through to Ch 20 as two parallel chronologies.
Look at Ch 6:12. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal and lo there was a great earthquake, the sun became black as the sackcloth f hair, the moon became as blood, the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree casts her untimely figs.”
There’s the stars of Revelation 12, falling to the earth in Rev 6:13, you see, and you know Revelation 12 and Revelation 6 are the only two occasions in the book of Revelation where the stars are cast down to the earth. So what we are simply saying is “look, it is really easy,” Revelation 6 through to Revelation 11 describes the political history of the Roman Empire. Revelation 12 through to Revelation 6 and 19 and 20 describes the religious history of the Roman Empire. And we know it is the Roman Empire as we have found because it is talking about the beast and it is the Roman Beast of Daniel 7 which is the subject of the book of Revelation. I think that is a very simple way to understand the chronology of the book and to extract out of it as we have done, the kingdom visions.
Now, what do you need to remember of all of this? Simply this:
Point 1: The book of Revelation is just
two parallel chronologies of history, one political, one religious,
and you can see why we say that.
Point 2: Distributed among that chronology of history are
visions of the Kingdom to assist the saints of every age,
that is, to assist the saints who live at various times in that historical chronology. That is what we just charted, and this is the part that we are going to talk about for the rest of the week, the last fifty years prior to Revelation Ch 20. Revelation 20 is the commencement of the 1000 year’s reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fifty years preceding that is the fifty years we want to talk about.
But can you see now, on the screen, that that fifty years is going to involve Ch 11, Ch 16, Ch 17, Ch 18, Ch 19, and though you don’t know it yet, Ch 10, and Ch 14.
That is why we say, 1/3 of the book of Revelation is going to be fulfilled in the next generation, in the next fifty years, because that is how the book is structured. And there is so much to do, and so much of significance which is going to happen when Christ comes, quite apart from judging the household, that you’ve got to have Chapter after Chapter after Chapter of that, devoted to it in the book of Revelation. Perhaps that helps you to see why we might appear in the next week to be jumping all over the place in the book of Revelation, but we are only trying to explain it, that fifty year period of time.
Here is the next big point to understand. Come back again to Ch 5. The next obvious point you will notice in the book of Revelation is that
there are judgments all over the place.
Look at Ch 5:1.
“I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals.”
Now those seals begin in Ch 6:1. So the Lamb takes the book in Revelation 5 and in Revelation 1 it says, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, I heard the voice of thunder, one of the four beasts or living ones saying, Come and see,” and a white horse charges out into the Roman Empire. Now these seals, and you will see them all the way through Revelation 6, v. 1,3,5, 7, 9,12, they are judgments on the Roman Empire. But when the 6th seal opens in v 12 and runs all the way through to the end of Ch 6, we’ve got a vision of the future in Ch 7, and then Ch 8, look what it says.
“And when he had opened the seventh seal – you’ve got six seals in Ch 6, and the seventh seal opened in Ch 8:1, when he opened that seventh seal, “there was silence in heaven about the space of half and hour,” and I saw the seven angels that stood before God and to them were given seven trumpets. And what’s my point here? In the book of Revelation you’ve got a whole lot of judgments that occur throughout the book. Seven seals, followed by seven trumpets, followed by seven vials, followed by seven thunders. The seventh seal opens up the seven trumpets, the seventh trumpet opens up the seven vials, and the seventh vial opens up the seven thunders. So you can think of it like this, here are the seals. This is Revelation Ch 6. One, two, three, four, five, six, the seventh one is opened in Ch 8, and immediately there are seven trumpets and the seventh one sounds, and immediately there are seven vials, and the seventh one of them is poured out and immediately there are seven thunders.
There is a telescopic effect between the various epochs of judgment on the Roman Empire.
Now here’s the question, why do we have seven seals, and then seven trumpets and then seven vials? There are 28 judgments here, why not just have 28 seals? We are simply judging the Roman Empire? How many ways do you want to do that? Well, there is a reason. Remember that slide I showed you a moment ago about Daniel Ch 7? breaking out in the book of Revelation into different beasts, all with ten horns all of which described different phases of the Roman Empire? Well, this is it, the seals judge the first phase of the Roman Empire, the trumpets judge the next phase of the Roman Empire, the vials judge the next phase and the thunders judge the last phase of the Roman Empire. That is all there is to it.
The seals, you see, in Rev 6, will judge the pagan Roman Empire, and what that means is that the Roman Empire in John’s day when these things occurred or shortly after was not Christian it was pagan. Constantine came, he toppled the existing government of the pagan Roman Empire – that’s what is meant by v 12 and 13 of Revelation 6, “a great earthquake”, “stars falling from heaven.” All the top brass of the Pagan Roman Empire were deposed, they lost their jobs and in many cases, lost their lives, when Constantine brought in Christianity. Now he didn’t really reform very much, he just re-branded the empire from a pagan Roman Empire, to a christian Roman Empire. It was known as Apostate under Constantine’s Christianity as it was under paganism. So the next round of judgment begins, you see, the trumpets begin to judge the christian Roman Empire that Constantine has created.
Then, or course, the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 after the first four of the trumpets were blown. Rome falls in the west, the barbarians come in – it falls “into the abyss” in fact as it is described in Revelation and it lumbers along beneath the surface for 300 years and finally resurrects itself as a papal Roman Empire, the third beast there. This was the holy Roman Empire based in that century, in Germany, which lasted for a thousand years, until Napoleon pours out the first five vials on the holy Roman empire in western Europe, and he killed it, he killed it. That lamb, that you see there with the two horns, it was killed by Napoleon Bonaparte. But the old sea beast, that second breast there, he goes into the abyss, and he climbs out of the holy Roman Empire, but he never quite dies, he resurrects himself as the scarlet colored beast, the fourth beast here, with seven heads and ten horns, of Revelation 17, and that’s the beast that Christ and the saints will judge after the judgment seat, after the battle of Armageddon, during that fifty year period, prior to the commencement of the millennium. And they will pour out the seven thunders and judge that breast. So that’s all there is to it.
One last point, because someone is gong to ask me, every time a beast falls, or a beast is mortally wounded, or about to be mortally wounded,
there is a “great earthquake.” Not just an “earthquake,” but a “great earthquake,”
and there are three great earthquakes. At the fall of the pagan Roman beast, just prior to the fall of the papal Roman beast, and at the fall of the scarlet colored beast, of Revelation 17, bang, bang, bang, great earthquakes, it tells us, because the empire is changing, we’ve got the fall of one empire and the rising of the next, a great earthquake. Stars fall from the sky, everything is shaking to pieces, you see, “a great earthquake.” These are the major major symbols of the book of Revelation, and we’ve pretty much we’ve now covered everything, visions, beasts, seals, trumpets, vials, thunders, and the two chronological progressions of history. That’s how the book of Revelation is, and if I were to put all that together, there’s our two lines of history, we’ve extracted the visions, and you can see the judgments of the seals, trumpets, vials and thunders appearing as they do in history. That’s what the book of Revelation looks like along the bottom of the screen.
There is just one other thing I need to show you before we conclude.
Remember the fifty years, remember the slide we had a short while ago, that we want to talk about the next fifty years and I have prepared the ground for that, and told you how things look in the book of Revelation, and I am going to have to come back to some of these things as the week progresses.
That fifty years, it’s got a lot of chapters, that describe it, and an enormous amount of detail compressed together. Now come with me to Revelation Ch 16 which was our reading. Here in Revelation Ch 16, is that fifty years. Revelation 16:12, is the sixth vial, you can see that the sixth vial was poured out on the River Euphrates. Now that began to happen in the year 1820. The Ottoman, or the Turkish Empire existed in Turkey and beyond in 1820, the River Euphrates is a river that begins in Turkey., so the River Euphrates was judged, and it simply means that Turkey began to dry up and shrink its territory back to what we know today as the modern country of Turkey. That began to happen in 1820 as Greece and Albania and various countries parted company with Turkey and got self-determination and began to govern themselves, and Turkey lost control.\ there are three unclean spirits in V 13, like frogs, bringing the world at the end of V 14, to the great day of God Almighty.
That’s where we are today, at the end of V 14. The very next thing that happens, is that Christ comes as a thief, V 15, and then there is the battle of Armageddon, V 16. After the battle of Armageddon, the seventh angel, V 17, he pours out his vial into the “air.” Here’s the seventh vial judgment upon the modern-day version of the Roman Empire, and that seventh vial is going to begin seven thunders, the last epoch of the judgments upon the Roman Empire prior to its death at the start of the 1000 years reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it says in V 19, that after that vial was poured out, “the great city,” and that’s that great city of Babylon, the Roman Empire, “the great city was divided into three parts,” and “the cities of the nations fell and great Babylon came up into remembrance before God,” now what are the three parts that Babylon was divided into? Well, they appear to be in V 13, the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, because the Roman Empire has a number of different pieces to it. It’s got a civil piece, it’s got religious piece, it’s got an economic piece. The dragon is Russia, the military exponent of the Roman Empire, the Beast is the European Union, the economic exponent of the Roman Empire, and the false prophet is the papacy, the head of the religious portion of the Roman empire. These are some of the greatest actors in the book of Revelation, they are all brought onto the stage in Revelation 16:19, they all come for remembrance before God and they are all destroyed in the seventh vial.
There will be no false religion when Christ commences the 1,000 year reign.
Now, I am not going to deal any more with these verses, because I am going to speak about them tomorrow afternoon in our second study. I want to draw your attention, however, to one point. I made the comment, just a moment ago, that the seventh vial, which begins in V 17, opens up the seven thunders. You’ll see them mentioned in V 18, when the seventh vial was poured out, “there were voices and thunders and lightnings and a great earthquake.” Well no surprise that there was “a great earthquake,” is there? This is the complete fall of the Kingdom of Men. This is the destruction of great Babylon the system that has lived for the last 2,000 years since Rome became an empire as the fourth beast of Daniel 7. Look at V 18, “there was a great earthquake,” in fact, “a great earthquake which was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. There has never been a destruction of an empire like Christ will destroy the latter day Roman Empire when he comes. In the history of the world there had never been the collapse of such an empire, why? Well, because this is the complete destruction of the kingdom of men.
Think it like this, the image of Daniel 2 stands on two legs at the battle of Armageddon in V 16, the stone comes and smites it on the feet. What happens between V 17-21? It is ground to powder and it is blown away, and the kingdom of men ceases to exist after the seventh vial has done its work. And the way that happens is through the seven thunders of Revelation 10 and that’s the point of the word “thunders” in v 18. Why am I laboring this point? Because, tomorrow morning, by way of exhortation, I am going to speak on Revelation Ch 10. Because I have usually done the exhortation on Revelation 10 after the second study and not before, I need to tell you something about what I am going to tell you tomorrow afternoon, and this is it. The fifty years. Here is the fifty years. There is the sixth vial of Revelation 16 on top of the screen, and here is the seventh vial, and if Bro Thomas is right, and it’s our best guess, I might say, and its the chronology of the next fifty years. Lets imagine if Christ comes TODAY, in ten years time will be the battle of Armageddon, in 20 years time will be the destruction of the city of Rome, that is, in Italy. Rome falls into a great hole in the ground and the smoke of her burning will be seen all the way around the world.
Thirty years after that, in year 50, we have, V 19, the fall of great Babylon, the destruction of the kingdom of men. Why is that important? Because the last thirty years, from year 20 to year 50, is when the seven thunders of Revelation Ch 10 are poured out. So when we speak about the seven thunders tomorrow, you just understand that they are from year 20 to year 50 of our Jubilee time period, over the next 50 years. Just again, Christ comes in year zero. We have the judgment seat, the marriage of the Lamb, the Gogian invasion. In year 10, the battle of Armageddon, so Gog finally comes into the land of Israel, and is opposed by the Lord Jesus Christ and the immortalized saints, who have now been co opted into an army and organized. Gog is destroyed very quickly. The battle of Armageddon does not take 10 years the battle of Armageddon is over very quickly, but from the time Gog is destroyed, there is a proclamation that goes out to the world to announce the fact that Christ is now in control of Jerusalem. He has just taken Jerusalem in year 10, because he took it from Gog, remember, after Armageddon. Now the world is called to submit at the end of 10 years, it is called the “mid-heaven” proclamation, of Revelation 14. We will deal with it tomorrow afternoon.
Well, the world doesn’t submit.
Bang, the city of Rome is destroyed! That gives you some indication of why the world doesn’t submit. Rome’s the problem. But despite the destruction of Rome, she still doesn’t submit, and seven thunders, now, are poured out upon the world, and finally by year 50, great Babylon falls, and the thousand year reign of Christ begins, which the kids sang about. It won’t happen for fifty years, why? Look what has to be done! And this is what the rest of the week looks like. Today, “the Book unsealed,” it’s been unsealed in the book of Revelation and we are going to talk about the next fifty years. Tomorrow afternoon, we are going to look at the detail of the seven vials, Rev 16:17-21. But the detail of this portion of Revelation 16 is in fact contained in Revelation 14. That’s where we get the understanding of the fifty years time period.
Then we are going to talk about the rise of the dragon, the rise of the beast, and the rise of the false prophet and their subsequent destruction. Why are we going to talk about that? Because as we explained to you in v 19 of Revelation 16, great Babylon is divided into three parts and those three parts are the three major facets of the latter day Roman Empire. The dragon, military, beast, economic, false prophet, religious. Each one of those has got to be addressed before the millennium begins. Tomorrow morning our exhortation is on Revelation 10. Next Sunday, exhortation, Revelation 4 and 5. Sunday School tomorrow morning, Daniel Ch 2, but this is the part of Daniel Ch 2 that you have never heard, What I am going to do is show you is eastern and western European history, and what we would expect to see happen in world events prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s for the senior Sunday School. The fraternal, sisters class, Napoleon and the vials. That’s the first half of Revelation Ch 16. That’s what our week is going to look like.
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