Revelation 6

Daniel 9:27, “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’  In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”  John begins to explain the first half of the beginning of the 7 year tribulation!  Jesus takes the sealed book and begins to open the seals!

First Seal

The rider on the white horse with the bow has been speculated differently.  Some believe it is Jesus, some believe it represent’s all of creation’s greed, but most scholars today believe this rider is none other than the Antichrist himself!  Remember, the Antichrist will not appear at first as a villain.

Second Seal

The Antichrist now exchanges his white horse for a fiery red one!  God temporarily gives the antichrist authority over the world.  He exchanges his bow for a sword and the world peace ends shortly as wars between countries escalate.

Third Seal

The black horse coincides with the famine that is to come to the whole world.  The rider hasn’t changed…it’s stil the antichrist…and he comes holding scales (weight balances).  This will indicate that the governement’s will have control over the food as food will grow scarce.  The quart of wheat & three quarts of barley were almost nothing and the poor would receive little…while the oil & wine were reserved for the filthy rich.

Fourth Seal

This pale (greenish) horse represents 1/4 of the earth’s population being wiped out by Death & Hades.  Death would come to many, in what would be the largest amount of people to die in all of history!

Fifth Seal

In the OT, priests would poor the blood of sacrifce under the alter…but here we see the souls of those sacrificed for Christ under the alter of God.  But it wasn’t time for God’s vengence, for others who would yet come to know Christ during the tribulation would come and have to die for His Name’s sake.  There were still to be more martyrs…and in fact in the past century…more have died for Jesus’ name then the 1900 years preceding it.  And there are still more to come!  Are you ready to die for Jesus?

Sixth Seal

World chaos will come & a mighty earthquake will desolate much of the earth.  The people who experience this will know it is of the Mighty Hand of God.  This begins the second half of the 7 year period of tribulation.

Regarding application…Wrath of God.  vs. 16, “They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”  Yes indeed…this is the same Lamb who takes away the sins of the world….the same Lamb who died for all that they know God.  But now we see the wrath of the Lamb!  But what is wrath?  Dictionary meaning: punishment for an offence.  But realize that God is not vengeful and full of anger as we would understand it.  One day soon Jesus will come back to give the biggest consequence to a sinful world.  But it is not our right to shell out wrath…that is only reserved for God.  We must continue to love & draw the lost & sinner to Christ.  But one day, sinners will have no more time.  May we do our best to show this lost world the most incredible Love of the Lamb!

Revelation 5

Vs. 2, “And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  Just picture the scene…John is in Heaven…we just witnessed the elders & the four living creatures worshipping God.  And then we see a scroll in the Hand of the God Almighty who sits on His throne.  And an Angel comes asking this very question we just read in vs. 2.  Perhaps there was a pause, vs. 3 suggests it….there was a pause as everyone looked around to wonder who would be that person worthy of such a deed?  John wept with tears as he began to understand the ramifications if that scroll could not be opened.  All creation was in jeapordy if no one was to be found worthy.  The angel soothes John by pointing to the Lion of Judah (none other than Jesus our Lord)…yet John all of the sudden sees a lamb in the center of the throne room…but the lamb had been slain.  Vs. 2, “Why was this possibleWhat is about to happen here

Regarding application…Praise & Worship.  Vs. 8, “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”  The harps signify praise…the incence of course signifies our prayers.  If you believe in prerapture…this even would fall after rapture, but before tribulation.  Going back…vs. 8, really shows us how we are to live today.  How did those bowls of incence get full?  They got full because of the church that worshipped & prayed to Jesus before this even actually happened.  That means now at this very moment we are filling up those bowls!!!  Yet…whether we are filling up those bowls now…or one day joining the elders, the four living creatures & the Angels….the key to this whole thing is the proclamation of “Worthy is the lamb…”  The heart of worship has always been about the Lamb…Jesus!  Revelations gets me excited!!!  Selfishly…I cannot wait till the day we are joining our voices in Heaven!  What a glorious day that will be.  Until that day…may we do our part during the period of Grace, to share to the world the love & sacrifice of the Lamb who was slain for you and me.  One day Jesus will come back to redeem us & make right what went wrong.  But, that day hasn’t happened yet & may we do our part until then!

Revelation 4

”  We see a vision of God’s throne with rainbows, thunder, lightening….we see twenty-four smaller thrones with twenty-four elders…we see four creatures with eyes all over them!  Whew….what a sight to behold!  Yet, even in this description we do not see a flambouyant display of grandeur, but rather a display of the Holiness of God!  Don’t be confused by the details of this chapter…rather look at what all of this is trying to point out:  The Greatness of God!  Fasten your seat belts & put your seats in an upright position!  You are about to come with John to the throne of the Most High!!!!  Vs. 2, “Question: Who are the twenty-four elders

 

Regarding application…Worship of God.  Simply ask yourself again…what are we learning from this chapter?  Worship of God.  Worship is not just saying nice things about God on Sunday.  Worship is recognizing who God already was, is & will always be!  Theologian J.I. Packer, “We must turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God.”  The more we know of God…the more it will help you to truly worship Him!  But once again….you may ask…”But why do we worship?”  Pastor Richard Foster, “Our God is not made of stone.  His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all.”  Wow…do you know what this means?  God delights in the worship & attention of His creation!  That we would matter to God brings a purpose in life so incredible!  Guess what?  One day we all will be before this very throne we just read about!  Let us join with these four living creatures….join with the angels…join with our brothers & sisters awaiting our homecoming to heaven….join to raise our voices & sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty…”

Revelation 3

Sardis

.”  Sardis was a dying church.  But, even in a dying church there were still a few who remained faithful.  Vs. 5 has been a controversial passage in which some people like to use this verse to support the fact that a Christian can lose their salvation.  However, this book of life has all the names born in it…but those who turn to the Lord have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life and those who do not have their names blotted out of the original book of life.  I know it’s confusing but take a look at Revelations 13:8, 20:12, 20:15, 21:27. Vs. 1, “…

Philadelphia

.”  This is one of the strongest passages to support the fact that we will be raptured (taken to Heaven) before the 7 years of tribulation!Ahhh…the city of brotherly love.  It was a smaller church and here we see Jesus doesn’t have words of rebuke, but rather words of encouragement.  We see that though they were small, they were faithful!  Small churches have their places in this world =)  Vs. 10, “Laodicea

.”  A well known passage to stop our complacency…but also a note to remember that “Hot” & “Cold” are both good connotations by our Lord Jesus.  Jesus isn’t saying He would rather see us withcold hearts.  The “cold” here would be like a refreshing cold spring or glass of water.This was the wealthiest church of the seven.  When I think of the churches today…I can’t help but see the churches in the United States represent the modern day Laodicea.  In fact the word Laodicea means “The rule of the people”.  Perhaps they were a church who no longer followed the spiritual leaders, but rather tried to rule on their own.   Vs. 15, ”

Regarding application…Which church do we represent?  Upon completion of the seven churches….We must be open & honest before our Lord and see what diagnosis is needed for our church…for our individual lives.  None of us are beyond rebuke or admonishment.  Let us not forget our first love (Ephesus) and become lukewarm ( Laodicea ) churches.  While vs. 20 is used for many evangelistic messages…this really is a message for the body of Christ.  Jesus wants to fellowship with his church…are we inviting Him in?  Are you inviting Him in your QT’s?

Revelation 2

Jesus speaks directly the churches, so let’s examine a bit further into each church:

Ephesus

.”  Ephesus had become a large & proud church…they had accomplished plenty.  Discerned false teachings, suffered for Christ, grew in their knowledge…yet they had lost the most important ingredient of all: Love.  Without love the light of Christcould go out.Vs. 4, ”

Smyrna

.”  Smryna had opposition from both unbelieving Gentiles & hostile Jews.  Though they lived in a affluent city, they found themselves in poverty (maybe because of sanctions against Christians at the time).  They were a picture of a suffering church.  Small & beaten…yet Jesus reminded them that the crown of life awaits them in this temporary world we liven in.Vs. 9, ”

Pergamum

.”  Pergamum was a city full of idolatry…and where idolatry is…Satan flourishes.  This was not a easy city to live in as a Christian.  Christians were compromising their faith & were peer pressured into following the crowd.  They were accepting things that God had clearly laid out to his children that are wrong….Idol’s & sexual immorality.Vs. 14, ”

Thaytira

).  We must be careful when it comes to accepting activities in this world that contradict our Lord!.”  Thaytira would be the opposite of Ephesus …plenty of love, but no discernment.  They were easily swayed by false teachers, particularly a woman prophetess by the names Jezebel (Vs. 20, ”

Regarding application…Good News & Bad News.  Vs. 23b, “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.”  Just when we think we are doing well in our churches…in our walks with the Lord…we are reminded here in Scripture that there is no time to grow complacent.  I am reminded of when someone tells us, “I have good news & bad news.”  We usually don’t even want to hear the bad news in the first place.  Jesus came to us today with good news & bad news.  Yet, the beauty of Jesus is that He made sure to praise the churches for the good things, share the bad things in truth & love, and then share the best part by sharing what happens when we overcome!  Dearest brothers & sisters, as Jesus searches our hearts today…let him show us what it is in our lives that we need to correct!  Let us not be like Jezebel from Thyatira who was given the chance to repent, but chose to harden her heart instead.  Let us overcome together in prayer & petition to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ!

Introduction – Revelation

Although Jesus gave this revelation of himself to John nearly 2,000 years ago, it still speaks to us today!  Christ will return to rescue his people and settle accounts with all who defy him.  From the revelation from God, to the messages to the seven churches, to the series of visions portraying the rise of evil & the Antichrist, and finally following the triumph of Jesus…journey with us to see God’s awesome plan for us!  Be full of hope, knowing that God is in control, Christ’s victory is assured, and all who trust him will be saved!.  Revelations is really a book of hope

Revelation 1

Vs. 3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”  Rome was now led by emporer by the name of Domitian.  He was even worse than Nero and he persecuted both the Christians & the Jews.  John was exiled on the Island of Patmos for this very reason.  This revelation from God to John was not some thing that happened in the first century…it wasn’t just for spiritual meaning…It was for the future of all the prophecies before us!  Simply look at vs. 3 again to see that this is a book with a promise of a blessing!  The seven churches were literal (real) churches at the time…yet they were representative of all churches of all times (including us today).  The trumpet (vs. 10) plays an important symbol.  The trumpet was like the voice of Christ, it calls John to heaven, it signals the wrath of God, and the trumpet will call God’s people home!  The double-edged sword is the authority & power of God’s word!  And of course, the number “7–seven” plays an important symbol.  For seven symbolizes perfection or more accurately “completion”.

Regarding application…World is Getting Worse.  Vs. 19, “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”   The world is getting worse…but Jesus already said that it would get worse.  We see all sorts of documentaries about global warming and the end of the world….we are indeed getting closer.  While it seems that society is losing its morals before our very eyes…don’t be too suprised.  While it may seem we are losing the war (terrorism, violence, school shootings, murderers, child abuse, etc…) know that we are one day going to win the War!!!!  Why do I know this?  Because of the book of Revelations!  Let us not shy away from such an awesome book!  I pray with all my heart that you journey with me in studying & devoting our minds & hearts to God’s revelation!  Remember, to read aloud God’s word as we read each chapter a day!  Revelations is not meant for casul reading…so let us reverently approach the Lord as we seek his revelation for our lives.

Introduction – Jude

Tucked in the back of the New Testament, we find the book of Jude.  Although it’s more of a brief letter…Jude is believed to be another half-brother of Jesus and brother of James.  Jude’s intention was to defend the faith against false teachings in the churches.  Jude urged believers to fight for the faith that had carefully been handed down to them.  Christians are to defend & stand up for what is true!  We are to hold on to our faith!

Jude 1

Vs. 3, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”  We see Jude’s humility and his desire to both shepherd and teach the church.  One of the main problems of why this was happening was the lack of understanding “GRACE” – undeserved acceptance & love (The YG here’s this defnition often).  These false teachers lacked a fear of God and took advantage of the fact that God’s grace covers their sins.  It was reckless teaching with a selfish motive.  Whether it was for financial gain, poplularity, pleasing the crowds, personal agenda…these teachers relied on their own talents rather than the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Regarding application…Build Ourselves Up.  Vs. 20, “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”  In the midst of such falsehood and deception, we as Christians must all the more build ourselves up.  Remember, the enemy here wasn’t the pagans & unchurched…it was those in the church that were endangering the truth.  There is a name for this: Apostacy = The abandoning of the faith.  Even today, apostacy is rampant in the churches…especially in the faith that truly saves.  Question: What is building up?  Simply studying & knowing His word…we do that through QT’s!  Additionally through prayer, fellowship and dependence upon the Lord…we continue to build each other up.   Just as you cannot build a house without a foundation, we cannot build our lives without the foundation of Chirst.

Introduction – III John 1

The wise elderly John wrote this brief letter towards the end of the first century.  John sent this letter to a man named Gaius.  Gaius often showed hospitality to traveling teachers & missionaries.  While John praised his genourosity, he also warned him against a man who was refusing to listen to spiritual leaders in authority.  This is a very personal letter and still carries the same theme of truth from the second letter.  Truth & love must be tempered with wisdom.