Revelation 13

Vs. 1, “The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.” Question: Who is this beast? This is the human Antichrist (Daniel 7:16-24) who will rise up from the future ten nations (ten horns). The Antichrist will come with charisma and power to influence many (vs. 3). Notice how it is the Lord God who gives the limited authority during this time (vs. 5). Question: Why would God do this? There is a war that has been going on since our creation. We are in this battle and in many ways these tribulations are tests from God to us. While the Antichrist plays a political role, there is another beast who will rise up in the position of a false prophet (vs. 11-18). You will recall how Jesus often warned us of false prophets who would rise (Matthew 24). He will come using signs and wonders and will require a mark on their forehead or right hand (vs. 15-18). The mark of the Beast (666) has confounded many over the years. Since seven is the perfect number, than six would sort of make sense. Certainly as mentioned before, some believe that these events are more symbolic. Regardless of our stance on symbolic or literal, we will have opposition.

Regarding application…Patient Endurance. Vs. 10, “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” Jesus warned us that evil will increase in the last days (Matthew 24:12). It is not easy to endure trials and suffering. Yet, often sufferings around us can bring a church together. If things were always on the bright side, we would find we don’t need each other. Let us endure in our current trials and remember that we are not alone in this. We have the Holy Spirit, His word and the church to come alongside of us. Keep fighting the good fight!

Revelation 12

Vs. 9, “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” John uses vivid symbolism to illustrate some very important history. Certainly the dragon is none other than Satan and the stars (vs. 4) represent the rebellious angels. It is quite dramatic as we are given insight into a cosmic battle with Michael the archangel defeating Satan (vs. 7-8). Let’s go back for a moment, the woman probably represents Israel or the remnant of Israel (vs. 1-2). The child that was born represents Jesus (vs. 5-6). The serpent Satan proceeds to make war with those on earth (vs. 17).

Regarding application…Enemy is Desperate. Vs. 12, “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Though the enemy’s time is short, he is desperate to wreck havoc wherever he can. Satan is out to destroy God’s people, especially the church. While some believe this verse is speaking of the latter half of the seven year Tribulation, the principle of desperation applies today. We live in a time when we should not take lightly our opponent. Certainly, Jesus has been victorious and will ultimately be victorious. However, that doesn’t mean that we will win every battle in this spiritual war. Let us not grow overconfident but let this be reminder to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6).

Revelation 11

Vs. 3, “And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”  Much is covered in this chapter, but a huge question looms.  Question: Who are these two witnesses?  The book of Revelation has strong differing opinions from biblical scholars.  Some believe that John is approaching this particular chapter metaphorically, while others believe in a more literal approach.  A wide belief over the centuries have been that the two witnesses are Moses (Law) and Elijah (Prophets).  Their purpose is to display the power of God during this time of Tribulation.  The antichrist will seemingly defeat them in the middle of the Tribulation, but God had different plans for them (vs. 7-14).

7th Trumpet

From an historical point of view, the purpose of trumpets were used to acknowledge the ascent of a king to the throne.  This event looks to the future as God’s wrath will be poured out upon the evil that is in rebellion towards God.  We see the ark of God’s covenant which symbolized God’s presence with His people.

Regarding application…Bearing Witness.  Vs. 3, “And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”  In the face of trial and persecution, they set the example for us.  For Jesus Himself gave us the responsibility to bear witness to this world too (Acts 1:8).  The two witnesses remind us that God will give us power.  However, the temporal outcome looked grim.  But God raised them up and He will raise us up too!  Brothers and sisters, let us not grow weary in bearing witness about our Lord and Savior!  What area in your life today can you share the love of Christ?

Revelation 10

Vs. 1, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.”  Here we are given another break with a time between the sixth and seventh seal.  John sees a mighty angel who comes bearing a little scroll.  Much of this imagery we see was indicative of the times of John.  John was to withhold what the seven thunders spoke (vs. 4).  Why?  Because, we are not always going to be privy of God’s intentions; God does as He pleases.  Question: What is the significance of the scroll?  Similar to the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2), John was instructed to eat the scroll (vs. 9).  It is sweet because it is a message of ultimate hope from God, but sour because there will be very difficult times.

Regarding application…Consuming God’s WordVs. 10, “I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.”  Speaking metaphorically, we too are to digest God’s word.  It’s not enough just to read it, we must chew on it and let if affect our lives.  God’s word reveals to our souls the bitterness of the reality of this world.  It is through the opening of our eyes and hearts that we are to be completely motivated to share the truth (vs. 11).  There is a people who walk in darkness that need the light of Christ.  It isn’t always easy to digest the things that God has told us will come.  Let us do our part in trusting in Him and sharing His love to a world that needs hope.

Revelation 9

Vs. 1, “The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.”

5th Trumpet

Scholars speculate what the significance and identification of this invasion.  Some speculate it could refer to Satan.  The locusts represent an army, most likely of fallen angels.  However, there are those that believe it could refer to a human army.

6th Trumpet

The identity of the four angels could be four fallen angels who are still under the control of God.  They were to kill an additional 1/3 of the population on top of the 1/4 earlier in chapter 6.  If you hold to the seven years of Tribulation, this event would fall at about the halfway point.

Regarding application…Godly Fear.  Vs. 20, “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.”  It’s important to remember who the original audience was?  Revelation was not written to unbelievers for a future time.  Revelation was written to Christians.  This message of doom is a sober reminder of how important it is to fear God correctly.  All these catastrophes are not happen-chance or evil conquering good.  God is showing His sovereignty and power of all created things, even evil.  Rather than curse God’s name or grow a hardened heart, we should remember that God is in control.

Revelation 8

Vs. 1, “When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”  The scene before us is very solemn.  It is the calm before an intense storm. The seven trumpets are about to bring the full intensity of the Tribulation.  Many scholars believe the seven trumpets are poured out in the first half of the Tribulation.

1st Trumpet

This parallel’s the seventh plague of Egypt. Hailstorms in themselves are dangerous.  But there are hailstorms mixed with fire.but mixed with fire, quite devastating.

2nd Trumpet

This parallel’s the first plague of Egypt.  The sea/ocean which occupies most of the Earth will be next.

3rd Trumpet

This will literally affect our fresh drinking source.  Some believe this may also be a meteor.

4th Trumpet

This is a fulfillment of one of Jesus’ prophecies (Luke 21:25-28).  It is somewhat ironic that on the 4th day of creation, God created the Heaven’s & Earth.  On the 4th trumpet he will darken his creation of light.  This will bring terror to so man, for signs in the skies have always made people fear.  The crime & tumult will only increase to gigantic proportions.

Regarding application…Consequences.   All of these consequences are a time of wrath poured out upon a sinful world.  Yet, God’s is also about redeeming His creation.  How we respond to consequences in our lives often determine our spiritual maturity or lack thereof.  The next time you see a child scolded, examine their response.  If the child responds with sadness  and a sorry heart, you can see that they are learning to grow from their mistakes.  If you see the child “huff & puff” and go pick on their little brother or sister because they are mad, then this would really determine a “brat!”  This attitude of responding to consequences can either make our heart turn to God more, or grow bitter.  Question: Which one are you?  We are being redeemed, God has not forgotten us!

Revelation 7

Vs. 10, “And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  There is a pause between the sixth & seventh seal.  Judgment is given a temporary break as God chooses 144,000 people from the tribes of Israel.  The church as we know it today will have been raptured up to Heaven.  Yet, God’s message of redemption will still need to be shared while it is not too late.  This is a literal 144,000 Jews who will then take part in sharing God’s word in this time of Tribulation.  And during this time multitudes of Gentiles will come to know the Lord, because of the preaching & sharing of God’s love through the 144,000 chosen Jews!  This multitude of Gentiles came to know the Lord during the Great Tribulation and here they are presented before the Throne of God.  They most likely have been martyred during the trials of living as a Christian.  What a glorious sight to see; the twenty-four elders & the church, Angels, four living Creatures, Jesus & now the new multitude of believers are bowing down to proclaim the truths of our Lord!

Regarding application…Remain Steadfast.  Vs. 14, “I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Much to digest in one setting!  It will be amazing what God is going to do in the time of tribulation!  Multitudes of sinners will come to know the Lord.  But they will also pay a deep price of suffering during this time.  We read in the latter half of this passage what they all had to endure.  To live in the tribulation will not be easy!  It’s awe-inspiring to grasp that so many will come to Christ in this short time.  Out of great tribulation, God is sought after more than ever.  Let us continue to remain steadfast in our hope for one day we will witness this marvelous event!

Revelation 6

Vs. 1, “I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”  For the next 13 chapters, we are now given a glimpse into the seven-year period of Tribulation.  It’s important for us to remember that God is in control of these judgments that are to follow.

First Seal

The rider on the white horse with the bow has been speculated differently.  Some believe it is Jesus, some believe it represents 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 still the antichrist…and he comes holding scales (weight balances).  This will indicate that the government’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 sacrifice 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 vengeance, 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!”  Indeed, this is the same Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.  But now we see the wrath of the Lamb!  But what is wrath?  Holman’s Bible Dictionary: His absolute opposition to sin and evil.  But realize that God is not vengeful and full of anger, as we would understand it.  It is not our right to shell out wrath.  Wrath is reserved for God.  Don’t get discouraged by the signs of the times, we know it’s going to get worse.  We must continue to help seek and save the lost to Christ.

Revelation 5

Vs. 5, “Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”  Question: Who is worthy to open the seal?  Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9-10)!  An awe-inspiring and dramatic scene to say the least!  Jesus did not conquer by overpowering, rather by succumbing to death.  The significance of the sealed scroll is reminiscent of legal documents back in that day.  Picture the scroll as a will and only after the author of the will is dead can it be opened.  There are differing views from scholars as to the content; some believe it represents human history, some believe it is the Book of Revelation, others believe it is a list of judgments (Ezekiel 2:9-10) and another view is that it is the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).  Just as the Passover lamb protected the Israelites, the Lamb of God’s blood protects God’s children.  The horns and eyes of the Lamb (vs. 6) indicate the supremacy of Christ and His standing with the Father and the Spirit.  I love how the response from the elders and four living creatures was to worship and sing (vs. 8-10) and declare the Good News for all nations!  And in a stirring scene, the ten thousand times ten thousand (100,000,000 and more) angels join in (vs. 11-14) to declare the majesty of our Lord!

Regarding application…Prayer’s Importance.  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 God’s people.”  What a beautiful reminder of what happens to our prayers.  How many of us have prayed and felt like, “What’s the point?”  But our prayers rise up  like incense to God and He hears and values them.  I don’t have a child yet, but I can imagine one day my son or daughter wanting to talk to me.  As a parent, they would value that precious time with their child.  God values that time we spend with Him.  Prayer reminds us that we are dependent upon Him.  Prayer reminds us that we can’t get through this life without Him.  Take time today to consider the moving scene of the Lamb who was worthy to take the scroll!

Revelation 4

Vs. 1, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  We now move into a section of Revelation that will speak to the things that will happen in the future.  It’s a pretty humbling and awesome glimpse into the events that will happen in heaven.  Reminiscent of the prophets before (Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) John language and vision is similar.  John is transported immediately to the throne in heaven (vs. 2).  Contrary to great detail of other prophetic pictures of a God in His throne room, John actually doesn’t elaborate too much.  This actually adds to the mystery and reminder that God is not impressed by earthly grandeur.  Question: Who are the twenty-four elders?  We are not given specific detail, but their purpose is clear; worshipping God.  Some say angels, some say a mixture of Old & New Testament believers, others think it could be the twenty-four priests over the course of time (I Chronicles 24:4).  These elders represent us, much like congress represents their people in their state.  Question: What about the four living creatures?  Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) also gives us his version of what these creatures looked like.  They are beyond human description, yet John does his best to explain them.  The fact they have eyes all over their body denotes that nothing is hidden from them.  Their purpose we see here is to proclaim the holiness of God.  The twenty-four elders response of falling down before the Lord reminds all of us that He alone is worthy of praise (vs. 10-11).

Regarding application…How Great is Our GodVs. 8, “Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”  God deserves our worship and praise.  Notice, how the twenty-four elders lay their crowns at His feet.  All that we have and all that we are must be laid down before the Lord.  God isn’t just great because He is the creator of the universe.  God is worthy of our worship because of the lamb that was slain for us.  God created us in His image with mind, will and emotion.  We have the ability to grasp the great love and sacrifice He Himself gave for us.  Now the onus is upon each of us to respond to our great God.  How will you respond?  Will you lay down your crowns?