Today this will be my main post. I really appreciate Brother Wally Fry’s study of the Church at Ephesus. I hope you do too.
The info which others give is there for us to learn and use. As long as we credit where credit is due; and do not violate any copyright laws. Thanks Wally.
Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:14-21 (KJV)
Here we have our final of seven Beatitudes of the Revelation. Our final word of solace and encouragement.
Those who “Do His commandments” are those who love Him (John 14:`15, 21). Their garments have been made white by the sacrifice of Jesus precious blood. The greatest motivation to love Him is His love for us (1 John 4:19).
The “Blessed” are given access to the “tree of life”, and may enter into the city. The unregenerate are kept from the city and the tree of life.
Jesus Himself testifies to the truth of the angel’s testimony. The root is the unseen – the Deity, Creator of David. The offspring is the Son of David – Jesus is the root and the offspring of David. Jesus is the bright and morning star.
“The morning star announces dawn’s soon arrival. Jesus Christ will come for His Church as the ‘Morning Star’. But when He returns to judge, it will be as ‘the Sun of righteousness’ in burning fury” (Malachi 4:1-3). Warren Wiersbe BE Commentary Vol. 2 pg. 626.
Here is the last invitation in Scripture. When the last page is fulfilled the invitation closes forever.
The invitation is from the Bride [Church] in which the Spirit abides. It is just as sure as if we were already there. Read Ephesians 1.
The invitation remains opened until God closes the door (Consider Noah and the ark; Gen. 7:16).
The Church today is responsible for inviting the condemned to faith and righteousness – salvation in Christ Jesus.
There is a final warning in these glorious pages of Holy Scripture. This prophecy is not to be trifled with by attempts to explain it away or by adding to it – thus, treating it with contempt and little or no respect, holding the teachings of men over the glorious and the clear doctrines of God.
The saved of God hold God’s Word in reverence and awe. It is taught with a passion for truth and for Jesus Christ as the only Savior, Lord, and King of kings, and Lord of lords. The curse cannot apply to the redeemed of God because of the above statement. We must keep in mind that as we grow in maturity, in Christ, there are some things we believe that we will change because we discover we were wrong. This curse applies to those who set out to deliberately deceive and to purposely hold the Word of God in contempt; by those who are deceiving and being deceived.
A testimony of John and the words of Jesus speak volumes for faith. Testimony and prayer. The testimony belongs to Jesus – “Surely I come quickly. Amen”. John’s prayer – “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Twice in this chapter Jesus says, “I come quickly” (vv. 7, and 20). John’s prayer and ours, if we are in Christ is, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus”. Come quickly. Come, Lord Jesus. AMEN.
In conclusion, all through this study, I have tried to show how this book, this Revelation of Jesus Christ, is exactly as it is titled; The Revelation of Jesus Christ. And, He in all His glory. The Revelation is of Him from the first to the last.
Some of the things that are soon to happen are not pleasant, but Jesus is glorified forever more. “The Unveiling Of His Glory” has been my title for this study, and His glory is certainly witnessed in His judgment upon the wickedness of the men of earth and in the resurrection of His saints.
What Jesus began back in the garden of Eden, He will bring to completion for His glory. “I COME QUICKLY.” AMEN.
A CLOSING QUOTE:
“Though not stated in detail, the point of these two verses (vv. 18-19) is that a child of God who reveres Him will recognize at once that this is the Word of God”. John F. Walvoord from The Revelation of Jesus Christ pg. 338.
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the First and the Last. Revelation 22:6-13 (KJV)
John receives assurance of the authenticity of the vision.
The angel says these are “faithful and true” sayings (19:9, 11; 21:5);
1) “No curse – Perfect restoration; 2) The throne – Perfect Administration; 3) His servants – Perfect Subordination; 4) They see His face – Perfect Transformation; 5) His name in their foreheads – Perfect Identification; 6) No created light – Perfect Illumination; 7) They reign forever – Perfect exultation.” A. T. Pierson as cited in THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST by John F. Walvoord.
To doubt John’s vision as true is equal to doubting the apostle and prophets. God speaks to His servants, before He acts, to warn of judgment and to invite peace (Amos 3:7).
God’s angel was sent to show what “…Must shortly be done”. When these things begin to happen they will happen very quickly. These things, possibly, began to happen when Israel became a nation. When the rapture of the Church takes place the speed of the events which follow will be astonishing.
Verse 7 is the sixth Beatitude in the Revelation. This is a promise of blessing [Happiness] to the faithful. The risen Lord speaks of His imminent return. He is coming for a second time, and it is quickly. Quickly does not mean time wise, but rather a certainty without any doubt. If Jesus said He would come again He will come again.
Those who hold these prophecies dear are the “Blessed” and “Happy”. The “Crown of Righteousness” awaits those who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
What an awesome time it will be gathered around the throne of God. We will be AWED into the place of worship. In surprise of the angel’s presence John falls to worship, but is quickly rebuked by the angel. The angel instructs John that he is only a fellow servant of God, and the prophets, and all who keep the sayings of the Book. John is corrected.
The angel’s correction for John is to “Worship God”. God is the only one who is worthy of worship. May we never forget that; for now and for all eternity.
In the book of Daniel, Daniel is commanded to seal the book until the time of the end –
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4 (KJV).
God tells John not to seal the book. The message is open for hearing and understanding. It seems to me that the message is, that God wants His people to know and undestand His work among people throughout all of time; maybe even more so in the latter days. There are many who claim that the teaching of the rapture of the Church is relatively new. Praise God if it is. That means, only, that God is revealing His Word in the latter days.
Because of the availability or despite it the just will remain just and the unjust will remain unjust. The just are those who will hear the Word of God and do it – they are righteous and holy by God’s decree and His grace. The unjust are those who because of unbelief refuse to hear and/or do it.
In the very end everyone will be rewarded according to their works. The righteous at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). The unrighteous at the “Great white throne” judgment (Rev. 20:11). Keep in mind whose words these are (vv. 12-13).
Jesus, “The First and the Last” “Alpha and Omega”. He began the work of redemption. He fulfilled the work of redemption (Matthew 3:15). He completes the work of redemption in the Revelation of Himself.
The blessings of being with God are wonderful, fantastic, and I do not know if any earthly word could describe it unless it would be AWESOME. His desire for us to know and understand the Revelation is clearly revealed to us, though the understanding may be difficult. Warnings and invitation to the unrepentant and warnings to those who might treat His prophecies with contempt are plentiful and quite clear in their description of the judgment which will follow for those with evil hearts and minds; and the declaration by Jesus of a quick coming sums up The Revelation of Jesus Christ. A marvelous word from God.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 (KJV)
We will be gathered around the throne of God; the Holy, Righteous, Glorious, One.
Around the throne, we find the “Water of life”. It reminds us of the refreshing purity of God. There was a time when King David was in battle and he desired water from the well of Bethlehem. The water from that certain well was known for its fresh, clean, clear and cool refreshment. Three of David’s men broke through enemy lines and brought him a drink (1 Chronicles 11:15-19). Even the water from the freshest of wells here on earth could not begin to match the satisfaction of that “water of life” which flows from the throne of God. Out of the belly of those who love Jesus shall flow rivers of living water.
John sees the “Tree of Life”. Driven from the garden by the wrath of God wrapped in grace, Adam and Eve would never see the tree in the garden of Eden again. By God’s grace, they will see it again when we all stand before the face of God. Mankind has been kept from this tree for thousands of years (Genesis 3:22-24). Where the book of Genesis drives Adamkind from the garden, in the Revelation we find access to the tree once again for all who came by way of Jesus Christ. Access is granted again. The Tree of Life bears twelve different kinds of fruit each month. Its leaves provide healing for the nations. What kind of healing this is speaking of I do not know, unless it would be speaking of ethnic groups who will find peace and grace, and mercy at the feet of Jesus.
There was a curse put on Adamkind in the garden of Eden due to Adam’s and Eve’s sin of disobedience and eating the forbidden fruit. The curse was sin, death, and hell. It has been the inclination of mankind to rebel against God and curse Him. There is an emptiness in man that causes him to search for someone greater than himself, but always, apart from God’s searching for him, looking elsewhere other than the Creator. Making gods in their own likeness, like creatures, and other men. According to the Psalmist these gods have hands, but cannot work; feet but cannot walk; eyes but cannot see, and they that make them are like unto them (Psalm 115, and 135). The curse is eternally lifted at the glorification of Jesus Christ, and obedience will be the inclination of all who enter that city, that is called Holy. God and the Lamb are present, and where God and the Lamb are, sin cannot be. PRAISE HIM!!!!
We are gathered around the throne as His children glorifying Him for all eternity. What a blessing to be before His face (Coram Deo is Latin for “Before the face of God”). That should be the heart of the child of God until we see Him face to face. One of the greatest blessings will be that we will be marked by His name in our foreheads.
God is the Light of that city. Scripture does not say there is no sun or moon. My mind tells me that the glory of God and the Lamb will be so bright and majestic that the light of the sun and moon will only fade behind the scene.
O, do you know Jesus the Glorious One who died, was buried, and rose again?
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 21:10-27 (KJV)
The description of the abiding place of the Bride. The place Jesus speaks of in John 14:1-3.
The description John gives is only as splendid and glorious as he could give in human terms. Whenever you try to communicate the holy to the unholy all you will do is come up far short of actuality. For instance, “the lake of fire” – the fire may indeed be a human description by symbol, however, the reality or the substance is greater than the symbol.
It is like a nuclear physicist who writes down all he knows and hands it to a kindergarten student. That student will have no idea of what he is looking at. God was showing John some wonderful things and inspired him to write the way he has so we could have a little understanding of the glory which awaits us.
In verse 10 the angel takes John, “In the Spirit”, to a mountain where he sees the holy Jerusalem descending “out of heaven from God”. Warren Wiersbe writes…
“The eternal city is not only the home of the bride; it is the bride! A city is not buildings; it is people” (from the BIBLE EXPOSITION COMMENTARY by Warren Wiersbe, Vol. 2, pg. 623).
The city is described as having foundations, walls, and gates.
FOUNDATIONS speak of permanence. The houses we build, though they do have foundations, are only temporary when marked by eternity. They are only the tents of “pilgrims and strangers” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
WALLS speak of protection. This wall of the city is eternal. Nothing wicked and vile can enter this city for the only entrance is by way of the blood of Jesus.
GATES speak of a way in – an entrance. God used Israel as an entrance for Christ to become flesh. Christ is the door through which man can come to God.
The bride of Christ would then seem to be made up of those of Israel who believe and the Church whom Jesus Christ “…hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 3:14).
Each gate of the city is named for one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of the twelve foundations is named for one of the apostles.
In chapter 11 John is commanded to measure the temple (a symbolic gesture of ownership). Here, he witnesses as the angel measure the heavenly city. The dimensions of the city are staggering. FOURSQUARE means the city is equal on all sides. The shape could be either a cube or pyramid. The length, height, and breadth equal “twelve thousand furlongs” – a furlong is equal to 220 yards today – if we say a furlong is equal to 600 feet we would come up with a city fo 1,500 miles long, it would have a breadth of 1,500 miles and a height of 1,500 miles. To help us understand this – to place this city in perspective to the United States, it would cover over half of the contiguous states land mass. It is a large city, showing that God has provided plenty of room for all who will come to Him through His Son Jesus.
Now we come to the wall. It measured 144 cubits. If a cubit equals 18 inches, then the wall would be 72 yards high or 216 feet.
The construction of the city is astounding; walls of Jasper, streets of pure gold, foundations decorated with precious stones (Jasper, 2. sapphire, 3. Chalcedony, 4. emerald, 5. sardonyx, 6. sardius, 7. chrysolite, 8. Beryl, 9. topaz, 10. chrysoprasus, 11. jacinth, 12. amethyst). We can tell by this description that the bride of the Lamb is certainly arrayed in glory and beauty (Eph. 5:27a), the gates are twelve pearls, the street of pure gold. What a place to walk. The thing for which men crave most on earth will be under our feet in the new Jerusalem.
There is no temple (v. 22), “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it”. Notice the plurality and the singularity of this verse concerning the temple, God, and the Lamb. We will forever be in Christ Jesus and He in us (John 17:21-22).
There is no need of the sun or the moon. Verse 23 does not say a sun or moon does not exist. It appears to be saying that the glory of God and of the Lamb is the light of the new Jerusalem – the holy city come out of heaven from God. The glory of God will be so bright that the sun and moon will fade into the background – similar to how the other stars are unseen during the daylight hours, due to the “glory” of the sun.
Then, “nations” are probably those who dwell on the “new earth”. These have access to the city, but evidently do not live there. These walk in the light of the glorious city. These may be those who chose to remain faithful to the Lamb of God during the thousand years of His reign and during the last attempt by Satan to lead them astray. The very fact of their faith is the glory they bring into the city each time.
They are free to come and go as they please – the gates are always opened.
Only those whose names “are written in the Lamb’s book of life” can enter there.
What construction! What beauty! What a Savior! The Temple of that City and the Light of that City is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Revelation 21:1-9 (KJV)
Throughout all of Scripture God thrives on making things new. He especially desires to make the hearts of people new.
We have virtually come to the conclusion of mankind’s rule and dominion of the earth. Christ set up His kingdom for one thousand years of utopia. Mankind – unredeemed – has stood before the great white throne and has been rewarded “according to their works” (20:13) and their reward was eternity in “the lake of fire”.
At or around the time of the final judgment the heavens and the earth (old) are destroyed (2 Peter 3:10-12). Chapter 21 begins with “a new heaven and a new earth”. The “new heaven” does not mean the abode of God, but the atmosphere and planets of, probably, earth’s solar system. Evidently, the old earth and heaven are so polluted by the evil of man that it is destroyed and remade. That is an amazing show of God’s grace – He redeems a segment of mankind, but destroys the old earth, and creates a new one on which the redeemed can dwell for all eternity.
Verses 3 and 4 provide us with eternal presence of God and His glory. “The tabernacle of God is with men” can refer back to John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us…”. Just as Jesus put on flesh to dwell among us we will put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:53-54) in order that we might bear the glory of God eternally. Remember His name is Immanuel which means “God with us”.
There will be no tears – God will wipe them away. There will be no death – it has been defeated. There will be no sorrow – for what reason would there be for it? No crying; this is different than tears in that crying involves sounds of sorrow – since tears and sorrow are no more. No more pain – this will be especially great for those who are suffering pain from arthritis, or other sickness or disease. The old way is no more. Also see Isaiah 65:17.
If God says He will “make all things new” we can trust that He will bring it to pass. He is Faithful and True (19:11).
The blessing of those who receive Christ and the damnation of the unbelieving is a True and Faithful word from God.
Even while John is writing this blessed Revelation God says, “It is done”. Everything He had planned on doing is as good as done. Nothing that has taken place has happened against His will. From the beginning, in God’s mind, the salvation of man was as good as done. What God has said will be. A-MEN.
One of the angels that had part in the seven vials [bowls] of plagues came to John with an invitation.
The invitation was to see the “Bride, the Lamb’s wife”. Who is the Lamb’s wife? None other than the Church. Which are those who are born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, His burial, and resurrection. Where is the Bride? Gathered in the holy city.
And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 (KJV)
We now come to the last judgment. It is the judgment that many want to deny and that many, if they could, would completely dismiss as a lie. However, “Let God be true and every man a liar”.
There may even be some who see this as a time when they can present all their “good deeds” before God and believe He will justly award them eternal life. If you are at this judgment all you will receive is eternal damnation. Those reveling in their own good works had better take another think.
The “great white throne” of judgment is the judgment of the wicked dead. The dead who have died without saving faith. Please note again verse 6, “…on such the second death hath no power…”, [speaking of those who believed in Jesus] and look at verse 14, “This is the second death” concluding what the great white throne judgment is really about.
He that sits on the throne is God in the person of Jesus Christ (John 5:22). It is certain that the wicked dead will try to flee from His presence, but they cannot. This could be the meaning of “…earth and heaven fled away…” It could also mean that at this time is the old heavens and earth are destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). At any rate, it certainly implies the end of the wickedness of mankind and of their eternal destruction. There is “No place” for the wicked to flee from this judgment, except for now, we may flee to the cross of Jesus – until this door is closed.
It does not matter what class of people – the small and great will stand before God at this judgment.
There are at least three books opened. One book records their birth and life. One is the Word of God, the roadmap to justice and eternal life. The other is the Book of Life in which is recorded the names of every child of God redeemed to eternal life.
Who are these present at the great white throne? Those whom death and hell have delivered up. The saved dead have already been raised and rewarded (19:9; 20:6).
Hell would better be referred to here as sheol or hades – the abode of the wicked dead until the great white throne of judgment. It is the abode of the rich man in Luke 16:23-24 where he cries out, “I am tormented in this flame”.
There are many who want to do away with Hell by claiming only its fiery symbolism. The fire may indeed be symbolic, but only in that, there is no other human terminology to describe its pain and eternal torment. “This”, John writes, “is the second death”.
If your name is not in the Book of Life your eternity will be spent in the “lake of fire” to “be tormented day and night forever and ever” (v. 10b).
There are two classes of people mentioned in chapter twenty: 1.) Those who have part in the second death, which is eternal torment in the lake of fire, because they refused the free gift of God’s grace; 2.) Those who have part in the first resurrection by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on Calvary.
I am not exactly sure of what those of us who have part in the “first resurrection” will be doing in the kingdom of Christ on earth, but I do know that I will be with Him. How about you? If you do not have an assurance of salvation, then, call on the name of Jesus in faith and He will hear you and save you unto eternal life.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 29:7-10 (KJV)
Satan is loosed from the abyss “to deceive the nations”, but only for “a little season” (v.3b).
Some have wondered why God would do such a thing. One thing it does is show us that God is in complete control and that the devil can do nothing but what God permits him to. Read Job 1 – 2, and you will see that Satan had to get permission to afflict Job.
Robert Govett, as quoted from the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST by John Walvoord gives us four reasons why God looses Satan at the end of the millennium:
1. “To demonstrate that man even in the best environment will fall into sin if left to his own choice’;
2 ‘to demonstrate the foreknowledge of God who foretells the acts of men as well as His own acts’;
3. ‘to demonstrate the incurable wickedness of Satan’;
4. ‘to justify eternal punishment, that is to show the unchanged character of wicked people even under divine jurisdiction for a long period of time.”
The Gog and Magog seem to be likened to that of Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39. This definitely shows us that it is not our circumstances that cause us to be righteous or evil, but it is the attitude of the heart. We see mankind has rejected the Most High and Holy during a long period of grace to the end of the tribulation period, and at the end of a long earthly reign of bliss.
How could children who have lived under the awesome rule of Christ turn from Him? We might ask Adam and Eve someday. The children born during the reign of Christ will be given a choice through the deceit of the devil. Those who choose the vices of Satan will rise up against our Lord only to be defeated.
Those who rise up against Christ, inspired by Satan, will surround the holy city only to fall in defeat in an instant.
Satan is judged. He is cast alive into the lake of fire. Notice the mention of the beast and false prophet (SEE also 19:20). After one thousand years they still exist in the lake of fire. Does this sound like annihilation? Not hardly.
There is an onslaught against the teaching and truth of an eternal judgment from professing Christians, as well as eager unbelievers to justify themselves and their lives. Hell is just as real, and just as eternal as Heaven. It is said that Jesus said more about Hell than He did of Heaven. Now I have not checked that out, but if Jesus mentioned that often, then, He did it in warning to those who heard Him.
There is eternal judgment for those who do not believe and receive the precious Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He died on Calvary’s cross, was buried, and He rose again. You can spend eternity with Him or you can stay in your sin and condemnation, and spend eternity in Hell. Christ Jesus died for us. Call on His name. He will hear you.
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6 (KJV)
In these three verses, we find power is given to “an angel” to bind Satan for “a thousand years”.
Some have speculated and said, “an angel” is referring to Christ himself. It is unnecessary to speculate. Christ is completely capable of delegating power to whom He will. This angel is given a key and holds “a great chain in his hand” (SEE Judge 6).
The angel “laid hold on” the devil who is described in verse 2 in four different terms:
- Dragon – this shows his beastly nature and leadership as he inspired the government of the beast of Revelation 13;
- Serpent – this name shows his subtle nature as a smooth operator, deceiver, etc.;
- Devil – this shows he is a liar, and murderer and Jesus said this was so, “from the beginning”;
- Satan – this shows him as the accuser – he accuses us before God. He was Job’s accuser.
After laying hold of the deceiver (Satan) the angel binds him for one thousand years, cast “into the bottomless pit” and “shut up” and “sealed”. This is for the purpose of giving the earth, under the administration of Jesus Christ, complete tranquility, without the deceit, fraud, and destruction of the old serpent.
There is, however, a somewhat sad note at the end of verse three. The devil will be released at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ, but only for a short duration. Only the Lord Himself and give the answer to the multitude of questions that come to our minds.
These verses deal with the “first resurrection”, the ruling and reigning of the saints with Christ, and also speaks of the one thousand years we often call the “Millennial reign of Jesus Christ” on earth.
One thousand years is where the word “Millennium” is derived. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millenniums. There are at least three groups of interpretation concerning the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:
- Amillennial view – this group believes in no literal earthly reign of Jesus Christ – some in this camp believe that Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth…
- Post-millennial view – many in this camp believe Jesus will come again only after the Church has won the world to Christ, by the preaching of the gospel – the latter part of the victory being a thousand years (not necessarily literal) of peace, prosperity, and long life – with Jesus coming after the millennium…
- Pre-millennial view – Jesus returns again before the thousand years to rule and reign on earth with His saints. The pre-millennial view is literal concerning the one thousand years.
The thousand years is mentioned in Revelation 20 six different times, in only 15 verses. Is that an accident of, or a clue to interpretation? Six is the number of man. It could be a clue to being one thousand literal years of men. The very fact it is mentioned six times seems to stress the point “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalms 90:4 (KJV).
Those whom John sees on the throne are most likely the saved of God. It could be that John saw the twenty-four elders on the thrones, but that does not negate the above statement if we keep in mind that the “elders” represent the redeemed. A great emphasis is placed upon the martyrs. Saints who gave their physical lives, through death, for Jesus during great trials and persecutions.
Sometime shortly after the fall of Babylon – religious, economic, political – those who die for Jesus during the Great Tribulation are resurrected and given new bodies. These are the last to be resurrected before the millennium begins. These are the ones who have part in the “first resurrection” along with all those who were raptured at the beginning of the tribulation. The “first resurrection” began with the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and others who came out of their graves also (Matthew 27:51-53). A third group to be raised – of the “first resurrection – are those who “died in Christ” before the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (the tribulation period). This will take place at the rapture when both the dead and living [in Christ] will be “caught up together” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16-18).
In verse six we find the fifth of the seven Beatitudes in the Revelation. “Blessed [Happy] and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:…” The promise is that “the second death” – eternal damnation will have no power, no affect, or effect on the ones who are of the “first resurrection”. What a blessing it is. Those who have part in the first resurrection will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”.
During the thousand years, those who survived the great tribulation without succumbing to the vices of Satan will live on earth and repopulate it under the rule of Jesus as the King of kings. Some aspects of Christ’s earthly reign will be 1) Complete peace, 2) Prosperity, 3) Long life, 4) The animal kingdom will be practically domesticated (Isaiah 11:1-9). There will be no fear of the animals or beasts of the field. There will be children born during this beautiful era.
To be sure you are in the group of the First Resurrection call on the name of Jesus for eternal salvation. He is the only Savior there is.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV)
The term “heaven opened” is used only once in the Revelation. It is, however, used three other times in the New Testament; in Matthew 3:16; John 1:51; and Acts 7:56. In each case, it is a very special and glorious event.
At heaven’s opening, here we see a great army being led by none other than the glorified, risen Jesus Christ. This is not the same horse or rider that is mentioned in 6:2-3. The first rider went out to conquer with the deceit of false peace. This second white horse rider goes out to conquer and to put an end to every evil man and deed.
He is given several names in these verses.
- “Faithful and True”, thus fitting with the final sentence of verse nine (v. 11);
- One name that “no man knew”, but He Himself (v. 12);
- “The Word of God” – identifying Him as the One John earlier spoke of in John 1:1-5, 14 (v. 13).
- “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v. 16), for truly all kings will bow before Him and, the devil, that is, Satan, the liar will bow before Him as Lord.
The “second coming” of Jesus will be to make war, not peace. War against His enemies who have rejected, neglected, and blasphemed His every attempt for redemption. War against those who considered their way better. War against those who despised His written Word. He will put them down by the Word of His mouth (2 Thes. 2:8).
Let us look now at the description of His appearance (vv. 12-16).
- “Eyes…as a flame of fire”. They are piercing, looking, judging righteous judgment. Surely, He would have been righteous in His judgment even had He chosen to redeem no one;
- “On His head were many crowns” – Could this be the crowns awarded the saints at the ‘judgment seat of Christ’? Awards the saints received only to lay them at the feet of Jesus recognizing Him as the One worthy of the crowns;
- “A name, no man knew”;
- “A vesture [robe] dipped in blood” – This is not His blood, but the blood of those who were trampled beneath His feet. If our sins are not paid for with the blood of Christ, then our own blood will be required to pay the eternal debt.
- “His name the Word of God” – This identifies Him as our Creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16) and as the One who gave His life for sinful man.
The “armies of Heaven” would probably include the angels of God as well as the Bride of Christ. Notice the reference back to verse 8, “fine linen, white and clean”. Verse 8 says, “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”. Certainly, then, the ‘army’ includes the saints at least.
He puts down the nations with His Word. We can find reference to verse 15 of Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”. His love, mercy, and grace have been extended over millennials of time. Now His ultimate wrath is poured out. The end of the reign of man has come and Jesus Christ shall reign forever more.
Because of the carnage, vultures are called to the scene. In the Old Testament, it was a sign of divine judgment when corpses of the dead were eaten by the beasts of the field. For example, read about Jezebel’s death in 1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:30-37. As a contrast to the above, read about the prophet in 1 Kings 13, and pay special attention to verses 23-25.
Needless to say the vultures, at man’s war with the glorified Jesus, have the feast of a lifetime.
The nations of earth could not keep their own “peace accords” and through this, God in His sovereignty calls them to “Armageddon” (16:16) where they fight one another only to suddenly be confronted by the Son of God. Confronted by Him sitting on the ‘white horse’ they unite against Him, recognizing a common enemy, only to be slain and fed to the vultures by the Lamb of God.
The Beast (13:4) and the false prophet (13:11) are cast into “a lake of fire burning with brimstone”. The smoke of their torment ascending day and night forever. The rest are slain by “Him that sat upon the horse”, and the “fowls were filled with their flesh”.
In conclusion, if this is the end of man’s anarchy against God, and his Word what will be your destiny? Will you be in the blessing of His presence on the glorious day of the LORD? Will you be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and riding with Him when He comes with His saints, and in wrath upon His enemies?
The wrath for our sin has already been bourne by Christ Jesus on the cross. The curse of sin and its debt paid by the blood of Christ.
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.
And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:1-10 (KJV)
“After these things” is certainly speaking of the previous two chapters. The “great whore” was judged by God through the godless. The “great city” was judged by plagues from God.
Remembering the “great whore” represents false religion that basically accepts all beliefs as being legitimate, its fall and the rejoicing of the kings show us that we must stand for truth.
In these first five verses, we find Heaven rejoicing (Revelation 18:20). The “voice” of verses 1 and 5 cannot be the voice of God, according to some. But why not? God does command our worship of Him. There is a possibility that it is that of an angel.
These are rejoicing in the justice and judgment upon world evil and those who tortured and tormented the saints of God.
If you will, notice verse 3. The judgment upon the woman, both as religious, and political/economic Babylon is judged forever – eternally. This could not be speaking of a physical – material city, but of the wicked souls of men who ruled the city. See Isaiah 66:24. Their smoke of torment will rise up forever and ever.
Back around the throne of God again, we find the twenty-four elders and the four Living ones worshipping the One who sat on the throne.
Who else could these ‘elders’ be other than the Church – the redeemed by the cross of Jesus Christ? We see them in chapters 4; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16-18, and then once again in this passage. Every time we find the ‘twenty-four elders’ mentioned we see that they are in Heaven before the throne of God in worship of Him who sits on the throne.
We come now to what is called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. It is correctly called this in the fourth beatitude of the Revelation.
It matters not whose voice is heard in verse 6. It only matters that it is heavenly.
He is calling out invitation to the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ for the marriage has already taken place. The Hebrew wedding – to my understanding – has three major aspects:
- There is a marriage contract drawn up between the parents of the children, while the ones who become betrothed are still children;
- At a suitable age the bridegroom along with his friends would go to the brides home to take her to his home (Matthew 25:1-13);
- He would bring her to his home for the marriage supper, to which guests were invited.
The marriage supper of the Lamb precedes the “Day of the LORD”, earth’s blackest, bleakest and most horrible day, yet heaven’s day of rejoicing when evil will be removed from God’s presence.
The Lamb’s wife has made herself ready at the “Judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10) where all the “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3:11-15) of every Christian life will be burned up and only the “gold, silver, and precious stones” will remain. Of course, preparation began when each individual is justified (made right with God) by faith (Eph. 2:8-10; 5:25-27).
The beatitude of verse 9 is also a great invitation to people of all ages. “Blessed (Happy) are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb”. Will you be at the marriage supper of the Lamb? By faith in Jesus Christ, becoming wed to Him by the covenant of grace through faith you will be. The marriage supper of the Lamb will be the time of consummation or glorification of the Bride [the saints, the Church].
“These are true sayings of God”. Can God say anything that is not true? Can God lie? Not hardly (Rom. 3:4). Truly the most blessed place to be is at the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is no earthly activity which can compare to the glory of this marriage supper.
The voice spoke of earlier certainly cannot be divine. John falls before the one speaking in worship only to be rebuked and corrected to worship God. All Scripture is centered in Jesus Christ. However, the whole intent of prophecy is to testify of Jesus. All the prophecies, before He came as man, are proof of who He is. Just as surely as the Old Testament prophecies testified of His first coming and were fulfilled, so too, will each unfulfilled Old and New Testament prophecy which testifies of His second coming be fulfilled. The prophecies of Jesus are the means of identifying Him.
Jesus is the one all who reject Him will face one day. It will not be a pleasant day for those rejecters of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus – His payment for our sin. Believe Him today.
Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Revelation 18:20-24 (KJV)
Remember what I said in previous posts, about the world’s rejoicing and God’s rejoicing.
He is speaking here to all the saints of God (“holy apostles and prophets”). Rejoice because God’s righteousness is being vindicated. We rejoice not over the condemnation of a lost soul, but for justice, and that God is glorified.
Babylon – religious, economic, and political – is utterly destroyed, to rise no more.
She will sink like the “great millstone” never to rise again. There is a similar story in Jeremiah 51:61-64. Jeremiah wrote against Babylon and had a young man read it to Babylon, and when finished reading the “book” to “bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates”. Jeremiah’s faith in God and His Word was sure. Babylon will fall. The Word of God continues.
The pronouncement of the angel, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” is in the past tense. Just as surely as God said it, it shall be done.
The merchants will buy “no more at all” (v. 14); the city “shall be found no more at all” (v. 21); music “shall be heard no more at all in thee”; “no craftsman… shall be found any more in thee”; the work of the mill “shall be heard no more at all… (v. 22); “the candle… no more at all…”; wedding ceremonies “…no more at all…” (v. 23). Seven times is complete and final. God’s Word is true.
In looking at these verses we could have a very convincing description of our own nation. Capitalism, when not restrained by God’s Spirit, can breed greed, selfishness, and lust for power, yet, I believe it is the best economic system mankind has going for it when kept in check by the Spirit of God, not government. Babylon, very well, could be capitalism run amuck because of the absence of God’s restraining influence.
Because some chose to stand for Christ, the world of Babylon slew them. O, what a bloody city.
Here is a parallel to the Babylons of Scripture: The first is historical and found in Genesis 11 prepared to maintain the union of the world – overthrown by God through confusion of language and scattering of people. The second is ecclesiastical, symbolized by the woman of Revelation 17 proposes common worship and religion uniting all religions into one world church, and much advocated in our day by some of those in the reprobate church which will be destroyed by the beast in Revelation 17:16, thus fulfilling the will of God. The third is political, symbolized by the “great city” of Revelation 18, attempts domination of the world, by common market and world government. These are destroyed at Jesus’s second coming in power and great glory. EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS.
BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN – Justice will come to those who have given their lives for the cause of God, His word, and His work. Stop trusting in the “Babylonish garment” (Joshua 7:21); the material things of this world, like gold, silver, garments, houses, and land, and trust the One who has already won the victory.
Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the One who died on the cross for us, was buried, and rose again. He is the One who is now preparing to return and make all things right.
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. Revelation 18:11-19 (KJV)
Now, the “merchants of the earth” mourn her demise.
I think it would be fitting to make this statement; What the world rejoices in, God weeps upon, and what God rejoices in the world weeps upon.
A list is given of the merchant’s merchandise. Everything on the list is the objects only the wealthy could possess. Let us look at that list;
1) Precious metals – gold and silver; 2) Precious stones – diamonds, rubies, pearls, etc.; 3) Fine materials for clothing – linen, silk, and scarlet; 4) Scented wood – like cedar for lining closets; 5) Vessels – special made pieces of art from ivory, and wood; 6) Other metals; 7) Seasonings; 8) Perfumes; 9) Drinks; 10) Oil; 11) Livestock; 12) Transportation means; 13) Men made slaves – the government and the wealthy merchants probably enslave the common man, making them think that they (the banks and the government) will supply all their needs – shelter, clothing, food, health care; transportation, etc., only the common man will own nothing in order to have this, while capitalism will thrive for the wealthy.
“And the souls of men” just could be saying that the merchants are responsible for the deaths of many, or their enslavement.
The words “no more at all in thee” or its minor variations are found seven times from verse 14 through the end of the chapter. What the “merchants of the earth” have relied upon and trusted in has come to an abrupt end. The economy of man, no matter how prosperous it is, cannot give peace in times of calamity or in times of peace.
The city burning almost sounds like the twin towers falling on September 11, 2001. There were many nations around the world who were grieved by this calamity. Thousands of people were killed in that attack by an evil people. Sad to say many were more concerned with the economic impact than they were with the thousands who died.
It not only seems that the city is destroyed, but all the wealth as well (v. 17). In verses 16-19 the merchants are weeping more over their economic ruin than they are over the eternal ruin of their soul.
You can sow your seed, but remember God does not give the harvest the next day. You do reap what you sow – good and/or bad (Gal. 6:7). Will you begin today sowing seeds of righteousness by coming in faith to the Son of God, God the Son who is also the Lamb of God who died to redeem us from all our sins, our shame, and condemnation? Hear Him and believe.
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come. Revelation 18:9-10 (KJV)
I know that posts like I have been sharing recently, are not popular. I do not share them to draw a crowd. I share them because they are the truth, and to give warning to those who are the “Earth dwellers”, and love material things, wealth, houses and lands more than the Lord Jesus and His word. As Jesus says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” Even if one is drawn here by the Spirit of God, sees, and hears the word and is delivered from the bondage of sin, then that will be a glorious thing.
As a contrast to chapter 17, in which the kings desolated the “great whore” and “burned her with fire” (17:16), here they “bewail her” and they “lament for her”. They have great sorrow of heart. Their means of wealth has fallen. This in itself shows us this is the commercial or economic Babylon.
The “kings of the earth” are fearful. She had been strong, wealthy, and “beautiful” just a few hours before, now she is FALLEN, poor and desecrated. They stand “afar off” – at a distance – fearful of where their wealth will go, of what will become of them now; is there anyone to protect their losses.
Isn’t it great to know that when one knows and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our treasure is in Heaven, where thieves cannot break in and steal, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and that it is riches that can stand the fires of God’s judgment, even coming out of the fires of a purer sort.
The suddenness of judgment upon this economic empire could loosely be likened to the crash of the stock market that caused the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s. People lost wealth and threw themselves from windows, and committed suicide in various ways. Times like these are certainly times when we find out where our heart and treasure is (Matthew 6:19-21).
It seems that at the time of this judgment the nations of the earth will have been prosperous. Great prosperity will abound in the last days of man’s rule on earth – economically. The banks and governments will be wealthy; the people, for the most part, will be in slavery. Babylon, the city of wealth, has fallen. A sad day for the “kings of the earth”.
There is a kingdom coming which will never fall but will stand forever, and that is the Kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. See Daniel 2:44-45. Jesus came and died on the cross to build His kingdom. His kingdom is built on the confession of all those who will hear and believe His word, trusting their all completely to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Jesus died, was buried, and He rose again.
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. Revelation 18:1-8
In this study, we will see that the judgment of God will be upon the evil political-economic government of the world empire, God’s grace in warning His people to flee from her and that we are to rejoice in the judgment of God upon evil. NOTE: The woman on the “scarlet colored beast” of chapter 17 is referred to as “the great whore” which implies religious apostasy and spiritual adultery, thus chapter 17 is dealing with religious Babylon shown by the use of symbolism.
Chapter 18 is more literal and seems to be dealing with a literal city, probably Rome since that is what Christians of John’s day would have seen as being Babylon.
Please note the differences in the two. In chapter 17 the kings rejoice in her death by causing it. In chapter 18 the kings and merchants mourn the destruction of the city.
Religious Babylon is established, by the world ruler, of all the world religions, only to be thrown down by him to establish himself as god (2 Thes. 2:4; Daniel 11:37), thus, making it illegal for the people to worship any god but him.
Chapter 18 is political-economic Babylon, described by the trading in verses 11-13.
“Another angel”, a different angel from 17:1 is identified as “having great power” and being very brilliant in appearance.
Great power in which to exact punishment upon the wicked city.
“Glory” which exposes all that is hid in the darkness.
This angel declares the same cry of another angel (or is it?) in 14:8. It seems as though there are Old Testament prophecies which would forbid the idea of the rebuilding of literal Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 50), so we must, to a certain extent, believe this to be Rome. Rome is probably what the Christians of John’s day would have understood Babylon to be. Babylon is symbolic of apostasy, evil powers, and greed.
Since the Babylonian system will fall it becomes the habitation of every kind of unclean and evil thing (v. 2). See Daniel 4:4-27 and compare Matthew 13:31-33…
“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV).
The city has been a source of great wealth, because of her commerce. Others around the world flock to her to become wealthy as well. Selling their souls to obtain wealth that the moth and rust can corrupt.
There is “another voice from heaven” crying out in mercy, “Come out…” The invitation is to those who are God’s to flee from the great city.
The call to flee has a twofold purpose:
- By separation from her they will not partake of her sin;
- They, also, will not be inflicted with the plagues of judgment.
There is an allusion to the Genesis 11 account of Babylon. Her sins are stacking up like brick and mortar; building a tower of self-righteousness. In the piling up of her righteousness, which is “filthy rags”, she only heaps up judgment on herself.
For every stone of self-righteousness, they are exalting themselves over God’s righteousness and He remembers every such sin.
The reward of the city of Babylon will be double what she did unto the saints of God. The same cup she used to seduce the nations to commit fornication with her, is the cup from which she herself will drink damnation.
She is seen as self-satisfied. She says she has no need. She is so full of pride she takes no thought of God or His judgment.
She is rich. Notice the similarities between the church of Laodicea and the city of Babylon (see 3:17). How can she repent when she has no need.
Therefore, her judgment comes quickly, “in one day”. The day before she is prosperous and proud. The day after she is dead and despairing.
“When it is time for God’s judgment it descends with unwavering directness”. JOHN WALVOORD from the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Look at some other times of God’s quick and direct judgment upon the frivolous and self-righteous:
- Daniel 5:24-30 — Belshazzar is judged the same night that he defiled the cups of God’s temple;
- Luke 12:16-20 — The foolish man’s soul is required “that same night” that he decided he was in charge of his life.
We can be sure when God’s judgment comes it comes quickly. The Lord God He is strong and mighty. No one; no government, religious institution, or power can stand against Him or avert His wrath. He will bring to pass what He has proclaimed. The word of God stands true for all time and eternity.
Remember Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and He rose again. He forever lives.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:14-18
From verses 12 – 13 of the previous post, The “Ten horns” are ten kings which will rule the earth.
These unite to make war with the Lamb. They will be defeated by the Lamb because He is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings”.
There are four descriptions of the people of Christ: 1) They are with Him, 2) Are called, 3) Chosen, and 4) Faithful.
The fall of Religious Babylon is described in these verses. The sovereignty of God is seen throughout all of Scripture and it is none the less so here. God using a wicked political system to put away the wicked religious system. God hates hypocrisy and destroys all religion that opposes His plan and will for mankind. Remember this, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will… until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” God does work in mysterious ways; His wonders to perform.
When these political rulers think they are serving their own purposes and plans they will actually be carrying out the judgment of the Holy God upon the unholy harlot.
Any religion that bases salvation of man upon works, rather than by grace through faith, is a false religion and will fall under the judgment of our holy God.
The keeping of sacraments, indulgences, confession, rosary, witnessing, saying empty words, are works; and not grace provided by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. To claim works obtain salvation is to make void the cross of Christ, and commit “spiritual adultery”.
WORKS ARE THE FRUIT OF SALVATION, NOT THE CAUSE.
This will be THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOTHER/CHILD RELIGION. Let me pose a question. Could this beast be the beast of democracy?
Religion rides highly in democratic governments, in most cases. Just think about many of the political campaigns of our day. Somehow “god” always comes into the picture. God is a big campaign word. It is sad when the name of God is used in Church to make personal gain. It is sad to see it in politics as well. It is even spiritually gross to hear His name used to promote wrong, vile, and evil things.
O, friend, will you turn your life; your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength over to Him now? He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He arose alive, and lives forever. Call on His name and He will hear you, save you, and give you eternal life.
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. Revelation 17:7-13 (KJV)
In verses 1-6 we have had revealed to us the mystery. In the following eight verses the angel gives the interpretation.
The Beast 1) “Was” that means, had lived prior to this day [John’s], 2) “Is not”, that is, was dead during the time of action involved, 3) “Shall ascend out of the bottomless pit”, that is, to come to life and appear on earth [at the time of God’s appointing], 4) “To go into perdition”, that is, to be appointed to death and confined to eternal torment.
The beast comes out of “the bottomless pit”. There are several references to this pit in the Revelation – 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3.
The Beasts’ destiny is to perdition. Eternal torment awaits him and all those who follow him. Remembering the “Beast” as a government; governments are represented by leaders and, of course, it would be these leaders of whom this would be speaking.
In these verses, we have the interpretation of the “seven heads”. Rome is often called, “The city of seven hills” and may be somewhat implied.
Sometimes mountain also refers to a kingdom, this seven kingdoms. Since “seven” is the number for completion, this is quite likely a reference to world government, all Gentile governments, and most likely they have reached the end.
Prior to John’s day, five empires had fallen [five kings]: 1) Egypt, 2) Assyria, 3) Babylon, 4) Medo-Persia, and 5) Greece. One king was then present – Rome. The seventh was yet future, and an eighth comes out of the seventh.
The last world ruler could be the seventh and the eighth. When he begins at the beginning of Daniel’s “seventieth week” he is a man greatly influenced by Satan. However, in the midst of the week, he is killed, ending his rule, only to be seemingly raised from death as the incarnation of Satan, totally possessed by him, thus, making the eighth king. This is a possibility, however, there is no way to be dogmatic about it. Only God truly knows.
One thing we can learn from these prophecies of the beast is that the end will be a time of deception, drugs – to bind, blind, and control the minds of men. I do not know about the rest of you but we can see this beginning to take place with the legalization of many mind-altering drugs, and it began with alcohol.
O, soul, will you, rather than trusting in the governments of men; will you call on the One who has come and taken on Himself all the sin of the world, and died for us, was buried and carried our sin, shame, guilt and condemnation away and left them there, and He rose from the dead? He forever lives interceding for us. Call on Him and He delivers you from the wrath to come unto Himself.
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. Revelation 17:1-6 (KJV)
Bill Dudley, a Missouri Baptist Pastor, and Evangelist has written some notes on the Revelation. I am going to quote him here.
“In his book THE TWO BABYLONS, Alexander Hislop traces the development of Mystery Babylon through the centuries to the present time.
NIMROD was the founder of Babel (Gen. 10-11), and the kingdom of Babylon. His wife’s name was SEMIRAMIS. In Gen. 3:15 God had promised to deliver the race through the “seed of the woman”. Because of this promise, when NIMROD’S wife, SEMIRAMIS, gave birth to a son, she said he was miraculouly conceived by a sunbeam and she preseented him as the promised deliverer of the earth.
Continuing Dudley’s words… “The son’s name was TAMMUZ. When TAMMUZ was grown, so the story goes, a wild boar slew him; but after forty days of his mother’s weeping, he was raised from the dead. This ancient story of SEMIRAMIS and her son, TAMMUZ is the origin of the cult of mother/child worship that has spread throughout the whole world.
In ASSYRIA and NINEVEH she is called ISHTAR and her son was still known as TAMMUZ.
In PHOENICIA she was called ASTARTE or ASHTEROTH, and her son, still TAMMUZ.
In EGYPT she was called IRIS and her son is OSIRIS or HORUS.
In GREECE she was called APHRODITE, and her son was called EROS.
Among the ROMANS she was called VENUS, and her son was called CUPID.
As this mother/child worship spread through the earth, she was worshiped by the offering of a wafer (a little cake) to her as the queen of heaven. The worship always included forty days of Lent, of weeping over the destruction of TAMMUZ, before the feast of ISHTAR, at which time his resurrection was celebrated. The sign of TAMMUZ was an ISHTAR egg, a symbol of his restoration to life.
The Old Testament prophets rebuked the mother and child cult. In JEREMIAH 44:19-30 he rebukes the people for worshiping the queen of heaven and in EZEKIEL 8:5-18 the prophet sees the people, v. 14, observing the forty days of Lent during which they afflict themselves and weep for TAMMUZ, the child that was slain by the wild boar.
This ancient worship of the mother and child passed down from BABYLON to ASSYRIA, to PHOENICIA, to PERGAMOS, and finally, to ROME.
In ROME the Emperor was PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, the high priest of all the idolatrous systems of the Roman Empire. When there were no more Roman Emperors the title of high priest of the rites and mysteries of the cult of mother and child, the Babylonian mystery religion, was assumed by the BISHOP OF ROME.” pp. 55 & 56 of Bill Dudley’s notes.
In these verses, we have a description of religious Babylon.
In the book of the Revelation there are four women of four different visions who have a relationship with religion:
- In the letter to the church in Thyatira “Jezebel” was a false prophetess corrupting the church in the city of Thyatira (2:20);
- In 12:1-6 the mother of the man-child was the nation of Israel, the people of the Old Covenant;
- In our present chapter, Babylon is seen as a religious system centered in man rather than God – a woman riding the beast, and the beast being the government of man;
- And, in 21:9, the Bride of Christ represents the saints of the Church joined to Christ who redeemed them.
This false religious system is seen sitting “upon many waters”. NOTE: In most other cases water, in the Revelation, is to be taken literally, but here, the text itself gives it a symbolic meaning by its interpretation of verse 15.
This shows how false religion has covered the earth and influenced and condemned many to destruction.
Verse 2 has this “harlot” in an act of spiritual adultery. God has accused, and rightly so, Israel of being a harlot (Hosea). Spiritual adultery is the pretense of worshipping the one true God in ceremony, while at the same time honoring other gods in heart. Other gods can be our own wishes and desires and over The one true God’s word, will, and way.
In this case, the “whore” has power in government. She has sold out every spiritual principle for political power (1 Kings 21:20). Our verses here describe her as riding a “scarlet colored beast”. This beast represents government, and by its color, an evil government – scarlet represents the devil.
This “great whore” is seen as full of wealth (v. 5). She is also seen as a “mystery”. A mystery only those to whom God gives the interpretation can understand. It is godly wisdom that causes understanding. She is proud to even call herself, “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATION IN THE EARTH” – Religious Babylon (Babel). There has always been an attempt to join all religions. The apostate religions of earth want the Church to join with them, to lay aside the truth of sin, Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, the second coming and be in unity with them. The apostate church accepts all beliefs.
In the minds of many who profess the label of Christianity, it is completely acceptable to join with those who defame, defraud, and blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ, and in the name of unity, peace, and humanity. It is not. There is solely one way of salvation, and that is through God’s grace displayed on Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.
The “Inhabitants of the earth” of verse 2, remember, are those whose hearts and minds are tied to the earth, material things, and not to God and godly things. These want to live for themselves, and God has no part of life.
This “MOTHER OF HARLOTS” is guilty of shedding the blood of God’s saints. John is astonished. He knows about persecution, but it has come from the government. However, what he saw was the apostate church – professing to know Christ – in the end time, drunk on the blood of the saints of God. Religion without faith in Christ is dead and will lead to eternal death.
Today we continue the study of the seven vials [bowls], and within these judgments, we find a blessing in verse 15. It is a word of hope for the Church, the believer, the follower of Jesus Christ throughout all ages. Let us continue…
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. Revelation 16:8-21 (KJV)
4. (VV. 8-9) With the fourth trumpet the sun was darkened (8:12-13), but here the heat of the sun is intensified and is destructive (see Isaiah 30:26);
5. (VV. 10-11) This vial is poured out upon the throne of the “Beast”; even with this great wrath these wicked men refuse to repent;
6. (VV. 12-16) With this vial two important events take place; 1) the drying of the Euphrates River, and 2) the gathering of the armies of the world.
Within this, note the Beatitude (v. 16). It is God’s reminder to us of His provision for those who prepare by receiving His grace.
“Behold I come as a thief”. The Church can be assured that Jesus will come as a thief for His bride and take her out of the world. Who will He take out of this world before the Tribulation? 1) Those who are watching and alert; 2) Those who are living lives that please the Lord. “Blessed” or “Happy” will be those who are with Jesus during this horrible time of God’s wrath.
Verse 16 clearly shows the very sovereignty of God. When the world peace is not working and the armies of the world gather for battle against one another – remember it is God who brought them to this battle. While they are battling with one another the King of kings will descend from Heaven, and the armies of the earth will join forces against Heaven’s army and do battle. All He must do is speak a word, and it is over. What a mighty God we serve.
The final wrath of God is poured out. Sin is totally put away and evil destroyed. “It is done”, the voice from the temple says. It almost sounds like Jesus as He hung on the cross and cried out, “It is finished”. The work Jesus came to do was finished on the cross. The work God began in mankind with Adam will be finished when He completely destroys sin. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
What happens with the final or seventh vial being poured out?
- Voices, thunderings, and lightnings;
- Great earthquake – unlike any known by man;
- The destruction of Babylon – the political, economical, and ecclesiastical rule of man will crumble, probably recognized through a city;
- Because of the earthquake the face of the earth is changed (v. 20);
- Hailstones about the weight of 100 pounds will fall;
- Rather than repenting men still living will blaspheme God.
It is great to know we are still in a day of salvation. If people harden their hearts to God, it is certain to be that God will harden their hearts toward Him, and if that happens – there is no hope.
Repent when God calls (2 Corinthians 6:2). When God calls do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7-8). You may not have another day (Proverbs 27:1). Do not wait to experience the glory of His wrath. Experience His glory in His grace through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say,
Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments. Revelation 16:1-7 (KJV)
One of the four Living ones of chapter four gives each angel a golden vial [bowl] according to the plague for which they are assigned.
In 5:8 is mentioned “golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints”. It would appear that there is no more prayer – “no man was able to enter the temple”. The time for prayer will cease, and the time of God’s vengeance against those who mocked His name, His law, His holiness and righteousness, and His people has come.
The vials are the last judgment before the appearance of Jesus in all His glory.
The voice from out of the temple must be that of God the Most High. The prayers of the saints from 5:8 are being carried out to the fullest. Do we pray for vengeance upon evil today? Should we? I believe that we do and should; of course, for the cause of God’s glory. We must remember evil even in our own lives. In the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is the phrase “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; and that is what Jesus is speaking of. The fire of His Spirit falling on us burns away the dross and filth of evil. If you are “in Christ” ( a phrase used by the apostle Paul) you stand in the fire and come out purer and stronger before God.
Let us commit ourselves as followers/disciples of Jesus Christ to praying for God’s vengeance upon evil (starting with our own), and one day we will see it brought to pass. Let us pray also that friends, family, all our loved ones, and neighbors will be convicted of sin, and in that, lead them to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Every time a soul is saved evil is judged.
It seems that where the seven seals, and seven trumpets speak of man’s choice to live without God, their sin brings judgment and finally in the bowl judgments God’s own hand is stretched out to judge.
- For God to pull away and let mankind have his way is a terrible judgment;
- Man’s selfishness, pride, lust, greed causes pollution, and environmental harm bringing their own judgment;
- Finally, when wicked men see God’s wrath and yet reject His mercy and grace, God steps in in full force to put an end to evil.
These vials [bowls] seem to coincide with the seven trumpet judgments. Remember the seventh trumpet brings in the seven vials of wrath. Where the seals and trumpets only seemed to touch a part of the earth – one fourth part in the opening of the “seals” (6:8), one third part in the “trumpets” (8:7-9) – these judgments seem to touch the whole earth and the heavens.
What the seven vials of judgment deal with and their correlation to the trumpets:
- 8:1-7 “The earth” 16:1-2;
- 8:8-9 “The sea” 16:3;
- 8:10-11 “The rivers” 16:4-7;
- 8:12-13 “The heavens” 16:8-9;
- 9:1-2 “Mankind – torment” 16:10-11;
- 9:13-21 “An army” 16:12-16;
- 11:15-19 “Angry nations” 16:17-21
These seem very similar, but the scope of their devastation is much different. The vial judgments are said to be “the last”.
With the vials:
- (V. 2) The objects of this wrath are clearly the ones who worshiped the beast;
- (V. 3) The whole sea turns to blood compared to only one third with the second trumpet (8:8-9);
- (VV. 4-7) Every stream and fountain of fresh water becomes “blood”; with the third trumpet one third of the waters became bitter (8:10-11)….
Verses 5-7 are a doxology of praise to God. It is a righteous and just thing to praise the Lord when He judges evil. Let us also rejoice because one day all evil will be eternally dealt with.
Judgment is not a pleasant to talk about, however it would not be appropriate, neither would it be right to ignore these horrible events. It would be improper for a doctor to find cancer in a patient and not inform the patient. God has made a way for humankind to miss judgment, and that is by way of believing and receiving the gift of eternal life purchased for you on Calvary’s cross – Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and on the third day he rose again. He is alive forever more.
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Revelation 15:1-8 (KJV)
There is a phrase used several times throughout the Revelation which becomes quite obvious after a while. It is the phrase “Inhabitants of earth”. The fullness of God’s wrath is in view upon this group, therefore it is fitting for all who will call upon the Lord, to do so before that day comes, do so by trusting exclusively in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, believing that He died, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave, that He ascended unto the Father, and that He is coming again.
Since we have been in an interlude, the Scriptures have three different times which take us to the brink of the destruction of wickedness in chapters 11, 14, and will again in 16 only to stop and fill in some details until chapter 19 where it happens.
John is shown seven angels, probably different from the others, “Having seven last plagues”. “Last plagues” seem to certainly indicate these events will precede the coming of Jesus in power and glory. In these plagues is the bringing to completion of God’s wrath upon wickedness on the earth.
These “That had gotten victory over the beast…” are probably those who refused the mark, and all the things of the beast, and died by his hand. They are alive.
The “Sea of glass mingled with fire” certainly implies a persecuted people by the trials and fires of the Great Tribulation. There is another “Sea of glass”, but without fire in 4:6.
These, like the 144,000, sing a song. This song is clearly called “the song of Moses”. I mentioned in the previous chapter the possibility that the 144,000 sing the song of Moses from Exodus 15. These in this chapter, most likely, would fit in singing the “Song of Moses from Deuteronomy 32. The 144,000 being delivered physically would fit Exodus 15, while these of our present chapter of Revelation, being delivered by death would be in accord with Deuteronomy 32 because it is a song of God’s vengeance on the wicked persecutors. The “Song of the Lamb” is a song of grace, apart from which no one can be saved. As the Lamb, it speaks of His blood sacrifice; “Without shedding of [His] blood is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22b).
The Lamb of God is worthy of our worship and one day every tribe, and tongue and nation will worship Him. All shall see that He is holy in His judgments, He is righteous in all His assessments. All the earth shall bow at His feet and call Him “Lord”.
I am going to let John Walvoord describe this scene…
“Another vision now introduced by John as a later development constitutes the immediate introduction of the judgments represented in the vials. Our attention is arrested by the phrase ‘I looked and, behold.” This expression always introduces something dramatically new. As John observes, the Holy of Holies in the heavenly Tabernacle is opened. The expression ‘the temple’ (Gr., naos) refers to the inner holy place of the Tabernacle, the design of which God gave to Israel during the wilderness wandering. The expression ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ is a reference to the whole tentlike structure, a portion of which contained the Holy of Holies. It is described as ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ because of the presence of the tables of stone containing the ten commandments which were placed in the ark of the testimony in the Holy of Holies (cf. Exodus 32:15; Acts 7:44) and is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Exodus 38:21; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11; 17:7-8; 18:2).” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pg. 229 (1966).
It seems quite obvious that this “Temple” is not the Church. It is actually the temple from which God gave the design to Moses for the tabernacle in the wilderness.
John describes these angels as coming out of the temple. It almost seems to be a quiet, hushed, reverent procession.
These angels are clothed in white. These are angels of God. The white represents the righteous character of Holy God, and the justness of His wrath which is about to proceed from the heavenly throne. The golden girdle speaks of justice and righteousness of His wrath. The truth is bound in this golden girdle.
Each of the seven angels holds in their hands one vial of judgment, which seems to be given to them after they proceed out of the temple. God in His holiness will be glorified.
There is never a wrong time to praise and worship the Lord and to thank Him for His mercy and grace. Those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb always have a song in the heart. Fill your heart and life with Christ Jesus. Receive His gift of grace paid on the cross for the redemption of the world.
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” Revelation 14:14-20 (KJV)
If you were to read Acts 1:9-11 you would find how Jesus ascended up from this earth… “A cloud received Him out of their sight”. Verse eleven ends by saying, “…This same Jesus… shall so come in like manner…”
The “Sickle” – In verse 14 Jesus holds all judgment in His hands (John 5:22). This verse refers to Him as “Like unto the Son of Man” – this was a title Jesus used to refer to Himself. The “Golden crown” on His head should leave no doubt in our minds that this is Jesus.
In verse 15 we have the fourth angel. He comes out of the temple (heavenly) and speaks unto the “Son of man” the judge of men. He is worthy to judge men.
The ripe harvest has to do with over ripeness – drying, rotting, decaying fruit. The time of judgment upon the wickedness of the world.
When Jesus comes for the Church He will come “With a shout, the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16), not with a sickle.
Here Jesus comes with a sickle of judgment and wrath upon the tares of the field [world] (Matthew 13:40-43).
In verse 17 we find the fifth angel and in verse 18 the sixth angel of chapter fourteen.
These verses certainly deal with the fulness of God’s wrath. The men of earth are likened to overripe grapes cast into a winepress under the feet of the husbandman [owner]. This event is given in fuller detail in Revelation 19:11-21.
Be saved by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, or your blood will be on Him in judgment and wrath. Get ready to meet Jesus as Savior, or you will certainly meet Him at the final Judgment as the One who holds all Judgment in His hands.
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:6-13 (KJV)
There could be as many as seven angels mentioned from verse six through verse twenty. There are certainly six. Why six? Remember six is the number of man. Angels throughout Scripture and time have been servants and messengers to man as well as his protectors. For example see Genesis 18 and 2 Kings 6:8-23. If verse thirteen’s “Voice” is from an angel that would be the seventh, however, we cannot reasonably conclude the “Voice” to be angelic, but rather, possibly, the voice of the Spirit of God.
God is merciful. This is His closing act of mercy, lest there be some who will hear. The “Everlasting Gospel” is: 1) Fear God; 2) Give glory to Him; 3) The hour of judgment is come; 4) Worship your Creator.
This isn’t really an opportunity for those of earth to repent as it is assurance to those of God that He will have His way.
Babylon is practically a synonym for wickedness and all sorts of evil. Babylon, in our text can refer to three or four different earth agencies: 1) An actual city; 2) Political power and intrigue; 3) Economic power and banking; and/or 4) Religious power – one world religion.
We know from the study of history that the actual city of Babylon has already fallen, although, there were reports when Saddam Hussein was ruling Iraq, that he was rebuilding it. The other three we can be seen though, and greatly increasing; in the economic system of this present world. The Babylon of mankind’s politics will crumble to nothingness, the economy of the world banking conglomerates will crash, and the world’s religion will only add fuel to Hell’s fires. Just as surely as John sees it proclaimed, everything that man builds to exalt himself over God will crumble. It is as good as done. It is written – So it shall be. “Forever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
This third angel spells out clearly the doom that the worshipers of the beast will face. Their doom is not of short duration. It is for ever and ever, everlasting.
The Bible mentions nothing of the soul’s annihilation, but it does of eternal souls. If the soul of man could be annihilated why does hell’s fires burn forever? Why doesn’t God put them out after the souls are all burned up?
We as Christians need to believe what God says in His Word about hell, just as surely as we believe about salvation and eternity in Heaven. Some say that in the Scriptures Jesus mentions hell more than He does Heaven. Hell is a place to miss, not to flee into. Every lost soul is living in condemnation on the road to hell, and some of them would repent and believe if only someone told them of Jesus.
When it comes right down to it, today, all those who reject Christ are worshipers of the beast. We can do nothing for those who reject Jesus, but we must tell them and let Jesus and the Holy Spirit do the saving.
The “Patience of the saints” is that they who trust Christ during this darkest hour will be delivered. Just as surely as the worshipers of the beast suffer forever and ever, they who “Follow the Lamb” (v. 4) shall enjoy eternal bliss. They are the ones who “Keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. The keeping of the commandments does not save, but they are saved to keep the commandments [to obey them] (Ephesians. 2:10).
Verse thirteen provides the second “Beatitude” of the Revelation. “Blessed” meaning happy. This encouraging word is to those who are in tribulation and their lives are in danger. To serve the Lord in the darkest hour of human history will cost the lives of many, but God would have us know that all they who go through the great tribulation, keeping the commandments by faith in Jesus, if they should “die in the Lord”, they are “Blessed”.
What benefits are there for them who “die in the Lord”?
- God’s promise of happiness;
- They rest from their trials and labor;
- Their works stand as a testimony of their faith.
These are true for all those who follow Jesus Christ in any day or age. Trust Jesus today.