Sunday, June 19, 2011

Overview of Revelation

I posted this in February 2011 and thought it was worth reposting.

People don't read or study Revelation as much as other books of the Bible, because they don't understand or they are fearful of what it says. Revelation is the only place in the Bible that blesses those who read it; "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." - Rev. 1:3  Do you want to be blessed?  Then read it.

Why does God say this? I think it's because He wants us to know the ending, be aware of what's going to happen so we're not afraid, and we can stand firm when the Anti-Christ come and tries to deceive us. He wants us to be steadfast in our Christian walk, have sound doctrine, and be separated from false teachings.

Revelation has 3 sets of 7 (denotes divine completeness) Judgements - Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls. I will explain as much as I can - or that is humanly possible (only God knows what it all really means).

Theme -The Revelation book theme is in verse 19: "Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things."

Author - Revelation was written by the Apostle John while he was in exile on Island of Patmos.

Chapter 1 - Things you have seen.
1:1 - tells us that this book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ and is from God to Jesus to the Angel and then to John and then to us. (Revelation means to unveil.)
1:11 - the angel told John to write in a book what he sees and send it to the 7 churches.
1:13 - Jesus was in the middle of the lampstands (churches) to protect them.
Chapter 2-3 - Things which are (message to the churches).
Chapter 4-22 - Things which shall take place after these things.
Chapter 5 - The Lamb (Jesus) is the only one worthy to break the seal of the scrolls. God couldn't open it. God had a plan. He had given the right to man to rule the earth. Jesus took human form and came to earth. He is the only perfect man and has overcome the devil so He had to be the one to open the scrolls.
Chapter 6 - Starts the 7 Judgements - 6 seals are broken. John sees what the future holds.
1st seal - one on a white horse with bow, crown given to him, went our conquering
2nd seal - one on a red horse to take peace from earth, and that men should slay one another, had a great sword.
3rd seal - one on a black horse with a pair of scales (sounds like famine to follow)
4th seal - one on ashen horse named Death and Hades followed him, he was given authority to kill with sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts.
(These horsemen are usually referred to as the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse)
5th seal - John saw those killed during the tribulation
6th seal - was a great earthquake, sun became black, moon became like blood, stars fell, sky was split apart, mountains and islands moved from their places.
6:17 - "great day of wrath has come..."
Chapter 7 - 144,000 sealed - these are Jews from the 12 tribes of Israel that are sealed during the Great Tribulation.
Chapter 8 - There was silence in heaven for 1/2 hour. Worship stopped. God's wrath is coming!
7th seal - 7 angels with 7 trumpets
1st angel - sounded his trumpet and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, they were thrown to earth, 1/3 of earth burned up, 1/3 of trees burned up and all green grass burned up.
2nd angel - sounded his trumpet and something like a great mountain burning with fire thrown into sea, 1/3 of sea became blood, 1/3 of the creatures in the sea died, 1/3 of ships destroyed.
3rd angel - sounded his trumpet and a great star called Wormwood fell from heaven burning like a torch, 1/3 fell on rivers and streams making with waters become wormwood, men died from the water which was made bitter.
4th angel - sounded his trumpet and 1/3 of the sun and 1/3 of the moon and 1/3 of the stars were darkened so 1/3 of the day and night were darkened.
Then an eagle with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the 3 angels who are about to sound!"

Chapter 9 -
5th angel - sounded his trumpet and a star from heaven fell to earth with key to bottomless pit (the Abyss - confinement of supernatural beings, the earth was safe as long as pit was locked) which opened, smoke went up like a furnace, sun and sir were darkened. Out of the pit came locust as big as horses and power was given them as scorpions. They could only hurt men who didn't have the seal of God. They could not kill anyone, only torment them for 5 months.
1st WOE is past, 2 more to come.
6th angel - sounded his trumpet and told to release 4 angels who are bound at the river Euphrates. They were released to kill 1/3 of mankind. 200 million horsemen with fire, smoke, and brimstone coming out of their mouths and killed 1/3 of mankind. The rest of mankind did not repent.
Chapter 10 - Another strong angel with a little book told John to eat the book and that it would make his stomach bitter (could be because the contents were so awful and terrible)
Chapter 11 - 2 witnesses given authority to prophesy 1260 days (Some believe that is Elijah is one of the witnesses - Malachi 4:1-5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord").
The Beast will come out of the Abyss and attack them and kill them, their bodies lie in street for 3 1/2 days, God will give them breath and they go to heaven. At that hour a great earthquake - 1/10th of the city fell. 7,000 killed and the rest were terrified and gave glory to God (They gave God respect or acknowledge, but the Bible didn't say they repented).
2nd WOE is past, 3rd WOE is coming quickly.
7th angel - This starts the 3rd WOE - "Thou hast begun to reign". Nations were enraged, God's wrath has come, time for the dead to be judged, saints to be rewarded, time to destroy those who destroy the earth. The temple of God opened, Ark of Covenant appeared, flashes of lightning, thunder, earthquake, and a great hailstorm.

Chapter 12 - Signs in heaven - woman, which is Israel, red dragon, which is Satan (Rev. 20:2). War in heaven, Michael and angels with dragon and his angels. Dragon thrown down from heaven (he could not go back and forth from heaven to earth as he was able to do) to the earth and sea, because Satan will have great wrath for he has only a short time.
Chapter 13 -
1st beast, which is the Anti-Christ, given power and authority by the dragon to perform signs. God gave him that power for 42 months.
2nd beast, which is False Prophet (Rev. 19:20), makes earth worship the 1st beast (Anti-Christ), can perform great signs also, deceives the earth, makes image of 1st beast and makes earth worship him, gives breath to the image and causes many to worship the image or be killed, makes all on the earth take the mark of the beast (666) - if they did not, they can't buy or sell.
Chapter 14 - this chapter could be an overview of the bowls or 7th trumpet. The 144,000 now in heaven.
another angel - "Fear God His judgment has come"
2nd angel - "Fallen is Babylon the great"
3rd angel - "Whoever takes mark will be tormented..."
4th angel - "...hour to reap has come." Son of Man on a cloud swung His sickle and earth was reaped.
5th angel - also had a sharp sickle
6th angel - had power over fire, came out from the altar and called out, "Put in you sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth,..." He swung his sickle and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
Blood from wine press came out up to horses' bridles for 200 miles.
Chapter 15 - 7 angels with 7 plagues with them the wrath of God is finished, victory over beast, they cam out of temple, 7 angels given 7 bowls full of wrath of God.
Chapter 16 -
1st bowl poured on earth became loathsome and malignant sore upon men with mark of beast
2nd bowl poured into sea, became blood, every living thing died
3rd bowl poured into rivers and springs, became blood of the saints and prophets
4th bowl poured upon sun and scorched men with fire, they refused to repent
5th bowl poured upon throne of beast, his kingdom darkened/gnawed their tongues with pain, they blasphemed God and refused to repent
6th bowl poured upon Euphrates River, it dried up, gathered kings for Armageddon
7th bowl poured upon the air, voice said, "It is done."
Lightning, thunder, great earthquake, city split, cities of nations fell, Babylon remembered by God for His wrath, hailstones, men blasphemed God.
Chapter 17 - Woman (Babylon) sitting on scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names with 7 heads and 10 horns, drunk with blood of saints and witnesses. Beast - 7 head = 7 kings goes to destruction, 10 horns = 10 kings receive authority for 1 hour, was war against the Lamb, but Lamb will overcome them.
Chapter 18 - Fall of Babylon
Chapter 19 - Jesus is coming! Multitude in heaven rejoices, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the Marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride (church/believers) has made herself ready."  Lord comes on white horse who judges and wages war, armies in heaven follow Him. Beast and False Prophet seized and thrown into lake of fire, rest were killed and birds ate their flesh which is the Great Supper of God. 
Chapter 20 - Angel with key to abyss, bound dragon (Satan) for 1,000 years, threw him into abyss so he couldn't deceive the nations until 1,000 was complete, then he will be released for a short time.
1st resurrection - those who did not receive the mark - verse 4.
After 1,000 reign the unbelievers will be brought to life which is the 2nd resurrection. After 1,000 year reign, Satan released, then thrown in lake of fire with false prophet.
Great White Throne Judgment - dead judged if name not written in Book of Life thrown into Lake of Fire.
Chapter 21 - New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem.
John saw New Jerusalem -
12 gates - names of the 12 tribes written on them
12 foundations stones - names of 12 apostles
1500 miles - length, width, height
Wall - 72 yards
City - gold, adorned with precious stones
Streets - pure gold
No temple - Lord God and Lamb are it's temple.
So sun or moon, - glory of God will illumine it, it's lamp is the Lamb.
Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be there.
Chapter 22 - River of life coming from throne of God and Lamb, Tree of Life no longer any curse, no longer night, throne of God and Lamb shall be in it, they shall reign forever.
22:7 - "Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
22:19 - "If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book".
22:12 - "Behold I am coming quickly, my reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done."


Hopefully you will be encouraged and informed by reading what God has revealed to me.  I have studied Revelation several times, but am not a Bible scholar.  These are my thoughts and my current beliefs and understanding of the Bible. I welcome any constructive thoughts or criticisms you may have.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Life After Death

Part I - Hell

What is Hell?

Hell is the place of final judgment created for the devil, his angles, and all who die without making peace with God.  It is described as the Lake of Fire and a place of utter darkness.

What does the Bible say about Hell? 

Jesus talked about Hell more than the joy of Heaven. 
Jesus said “those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. (John 5:29)  Hell is a horrible place - a place of “darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 5:12, 22:13, 25:30), a place “where the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:43). 

The Bible says Hell is a place of choice.  “For God so love the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)  If you haven’t chosen to follow Christ, you have chosen to go the Hell.  It’s that simple.

People are stubborn and independent and ignore how their long-term choices will affect them.  People are too busy worrying about their day to day lives than of their life after death.  They say, “God is too loving to send people to Hell”, “I have plenty of time, I want to enjoy life”, or “I’m a good person.  I’m not a murder or thief”.   

Appearances can be deceiving.  People don’t look like they deserve Hell.  They are not evil like Hitler and serial killers.  (Romans 3:1-18) – talks about the wickedness of good people.  If people don’t acknowledge their sin and believe in Jesus Christ, the day will come when they will stand before the final judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and see themselves as they really are.  The final judgment will be done by Jesus Christ Himself.  He will be completely fair and not show favoritism – (Romans 2:11).  We only die once and then there are no more chances - (Hebrews 9:27).

Today more than ever before we see more frequent devastation all over the world with more wars, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunami waves, floods, etc.  Jesus talked about the signs of the end of the age. (Matthew 24:3-8) - “…..You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
Don’t wait too long.  Your time may be running out.  We do not know the hour when the Lord will return.  “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” – (Luke 1:40)

God has the right to expect us to make Him Lord and give Him thanks – He did die for us, you know.  We are full of pride, full of ourselves, and full of our own lives and the pursuit of happiness.  (Romans 1:18) – The wrath of God is on the human race.  When people refuse to believe, they are counting on themselves not God. 

The Bible warns sinners about Hell and should motivate believers to do all they can do to reach people with the gospel.  It shows us how terrible sin is in the sight of a holy God. 

God has proven His love in many ways.  He sent His son, Jesus to die on the cross for our salvation – (John 3:16).  Listen to Him and put your trust in Him.  Listen to His warnings before it’s too late.

Part II - Heaven

What is Heaven?

Heaven is the dwelling place of God.  God is everywhere, but His dwelling place is heaven, the location of His throne, a place where He accepts our worship and hears our prayers.  Heaven is a place where death doesn’t end - a place where the soul lives on.  When believers die, they will be immediately in the presence of Christ.  Not all will enjoy the glories of heaven - only those who have faith in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Heaven is referred to as the “heavenly Jerusalem” - (Hebrews 12:22)  From scripture we think of it in three ways - where faithful spirits of the dead now live, a satellite city from which believers commute to earth during the millennial age, and the new city which will ultimately rest upon “a new earth” (Revelation 21:2).  From the book “Portraits of Eternity

In Revelation 21 John saw heaven glowing with God’s glory with 12 jeweled foundations, pearly gates, golden streets, and a crystal river.  He gave its measurements - the city was laid out in a square, 15,000 miles long and wide, it’s length, breadth, and height were equal, a beautiful place with no worries, no pain, no heartache, no tears, no more death, no sorrow, no sin - only happiness.  It will be a place where we all will worship and serve Him.  It’s a place where all believers will reign with Christ for all eternity.

WOW!  What a place!  I hope I will see you there.

How can you get to heaven?  

Admit that you are a sinner, confess your sins, repent, and believe that Jesus was born, died on the cross to pay the debt for your sins, and was raised by God on the 3rd day.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” - (Matthew 18:3).  “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” - (John 14:6). “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” - (John 3:3).
(Luke 13:5) unless you repent, you too will all perish”.

Once we believe and put our faith and trust in Him, God will not condemn us.  “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” - (Romans 8:1).   “Through Him everyone who believes is justified … - (Acts 13:39).  Through His love and grace we are saved.  He will protect and provide for us.  We are His and we are a part of His family.  He is saving a place for us in heaven.    

He has rewards awaiting us in Heaven for our faithful service.  We will receive a crown of life.  “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” - (Revelation 2:10). We will receive a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), an incorruptible crown (1 Cor.9:25), a crown of rejoicing (1 Thess. 2:19), a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:24). We will receive a new body. – (1 Corin. 15:42-49).  

Make certain that Heaven will be your eternal home.