• Steve McAtee

Week - 39 II. The Saved Multitudes Revelation 7:9-17

Updated: Dec 15, 2021


Authored by Jerry Marshall It’s important to note some of the contrast between the first vision mentioned in (7:1-8) and this second vision (7:9-17). In the first vision, there are a specific number of people mentioned, one hundred forty-four thousand. In the second vision, there is a great multitude that no one can number.


In the first vision, the one hundred forty-four thousand come from the nation of Israel. In the second vision, the great multitude comes from every nation.


In the first vision, the one hundred forty-four thousand are sealed with the seal of the living God in order to protect them from God's wrath expressed during the great tribulation. In the second vision, the great multitude have come out of the great tribulation and are now safe and secure in the presence of the Lord.

A. The Vision of the Great Multitude (verses 9-10)

1. Their Location (9a)


After this... introduces a new aspect of John’s vision which is distinct from the one just described in (Revelation 7:1-8).


John beheld such a great multitude of people that no could possibly count. This multitude was composed of people from every nation, every tribe, and every language. This is descriptive of a multiethnic, multicultural and multi-linguistic people.


This had to be especially thrilling to this old Apostle, who at the time of this writing, was exiled to the Island of Patmos because of the persecution that the church was experiencing. The churches that existed at this time seemed weak and spiritually in trouble as noted in the letters of the Lord that was addressed to the seven churches in Asia Minor.


And where is this great multitude? John sees them standing before the throne (in heaven), in front of the lamb.


2. Their Appearance (9b)


Their white (brilliantly gleaming white), robes (stole- the long flowing robe of royalty), symbolized their victory of faith as well as the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. Verse fourteen states that their robes were made white by being washed in the blood of the Lamb.


The palm branches were commonly used for festive occasions, a time of celebration and joy, sort of like our use of balloons. They were used for example, by those who greeted Jesus in His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem.


3. Their Proclamation (10)


Their loud expression of adoration focused in on the truth that their salvation is not the product of their own efforts. It is not something they earned. It is not a product of their work for God. Salvation in its entirety is a produce of the sovereign will of God and the redemptive activity of the Lamb.


God the Father planned this salvation before the foundations of their earth. God the Son, the Lamb of God provided the only sacrifice that made salvation possible.


The strong expression reflects the depth of gratitude of the crowd and a determination to give credit where credit is due, to God and to the Lamb. Dr. Thomas. Commentary on Revelation - page 489


One translator paraphrased this passage... To our God...and to the lamb, we owe our salvation.


As opposed to our self, our efforts, our devotion, our good works, our receiving of certain sacraments.

B. The Worship of the Heavenly Host (verse 11-12)


1. Their Location (11)


In response to the proclamation of the great saved multitude regarding the work of God in redemption, the heavenly Host who were standing around the throne, fell down on their faces before God's throne and worshipped Him. Again highlighting the truth that only one is worthy of praise and adoration for the salvation of the souls of mankind and that is God and God alone.


2. Their Proclamation (12)

In affirmation of the proclamation of the great multitude, the heavenly host declares, “Amen!” so be it, or this is the truth! In response to the jubilant cry of the saints, they offer a sevenfold doxology of praise.

C. The Identity of the Great Multitude (verses 13-17)


One of the elders, in anticipation of a question he knew had to be on the mind of John, inquires rhetorically about the origin of this great multitude.


1. Their Origination (13-14)


In terms of Who they are: They are the ones who have personally appropriated the redemptive work of Jesus Christ which cleansed them from sins defilement. These are saved people - from every nation, from every language, from every culture.


In terms of where they come from, they have come out of the Great Tribulation - that time of testing that is about to come upon the whole world, (3:10), that three- and one-half year period that precedes the Second Coming of Christ which will be the darkest period in human history as well as the greatest period of spiritual revival the world has ever seen.


It refers to a specific time unique in human history in which God will give expression to His divine judgment upon this fallen world. It was Jesus who coined this phrase, Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). He limited to the second half of Daniel's Seventieth week (Matthew 24:13-22).


The words, “have come” are more correctly translated "Are Coming," which suggest that this multitude in heaven are be continuously augmented by more arrivals from the Great Tribulation. These people have lived in the Great Tribulation and were redeemed during. Now they have come of it. And more are still coming through the vehicle of death, perhaps by martyrdom, or the cataclysmic catastrophes experienced in the world at this time.


2. Their Location (15a)


They have arrived at the place that they longed to be, in heaven, before the throne of the God of heaven and earth.


3. Their Vocation (15b)


They are not seen in heaven floating on clouds and playing harps for eternity. They will serve Him day and night in his Temple. The word serve comes from the Gk. word latreuo, which speaks of the performance of a sacred service, sort of like the kind performed by the priest of the O.T. in the temple of the Lord. They serve the Lord in heaven as worshipping priest, not in ritual performance but rather in the spiritual worship of adoration and praise.


4. Their Protection (15c)


No one could ever again do them any harm because they are now protected by Him who sits on the throne. The immediate presence of God will shelter and protect them from all that harmed them while on earth.


5. Their Provisions (16-17)


This is in stark contrast to what happened to them on earth. They had been hungry, for they couldn't buy food without the mark of the beast; they were thirsty, for the rivers were turned to blood; they were scorched by the burning sun. But now the agony of their lives will be over. Dr. David Jeremiah “Escape the Coming Night” - (page 122).


Practical Implications


1. The only people who are in heaven are those who have appropriated the cleansing provision of the Lamb’s substitutionary sacrifice (Revelation 7:9-10, 14).


2. God protects those who are His and guarantees their ultimate destiny (1 Peter 1:3-5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:30).


3. Even in the expression of God's wrath, we find a manifestation of His grace (Revelation 6:16-17, 7:9-10, 13-17).


Trumpet

Reference

Description

Results

First

8:7

Hail and fire, mixed with blood, are hurled to the earth.

A third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all green grass are burned up.

Second

8:8-9

A great mountain of fire is thrown into the sea.

A third of the sea becomes blood, killing one-third of all ships on the sea are destroyed.

Third

8:10-11

A flaming star falls out of the sky.

A third of the earth's water is turned bitter, or polluted, killing many people.

Fourth

8:12-13

One third of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened.

There is less light from the sky, and people spend more time in darkness.

Fifth

9:1-11

A star falls from the sky and opens the Abyss.

Poisonous locusts are let loose to attack people on the earth for five months.

Sixth

9:13-21

A war with huge numbers of mounted troops begins.

A third of all the people on the earth are killed.

Seventh

11:14/14:20

The final struggle between God and Satan - good and evil - takes place first in heaven, then on earth.

Satan acts against God's plan, causing more destruction before he is finally defeated.


 

12 Tyndale Handbook of bible charts and maps, Tyndale publishing 2001

The Interlude

Revelation 10:1-11:14


God’s final judgment is revealed to John in this book and is unraveled sequentially in a telescoping series. They are telescoping because each series of God’s judgments are connected consecutively. Out of the seventh seal judgment comes the seven trumpet judgments. Out of the seventh trumpet judgment comes the seven bowl judgments.


Between the sixth and seventh seal there was an important interlude which consisted of two visions. The vision of the sealing of the 144,000, (Revelation 7:1-8) and the vision of a great multitude in white robes who had come up out of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17).


At the conclusion of the ninth chapter, six of the seven trumpets have been sounded unleashing their horrors upon the inhabitants of the earth. But before the sounding of the seventh trumpet judgment, there is an important interlude. There are two related visions in this interlude. The first is of a mighty angel with a little scroll, (Revelation 10:1-11) and the second is of two witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13).


In this first vision, there is a solemn oath that there will be no further delay in the unleashing of God’s final judgment that will avenge the blood of the slain saints of the Tribulation (Revelation 5:9-11), while bringing to an end the kingdom of the world and all the evil that is in it, in order to establish the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).


What we will learn in chapter 11, is that in the very last days of the last days, God will send into this world, two very powerful prophets. So powerful, they will rock their world. These unique spokesmen of God will not only proclaim the glorious Gospel of God’s grace, thus being a part of the fulfillment of the words of Christ recorded in

(Matthew 24:14). But they will also proclaim that the horrific disasters experienced by those who inhabit the earth during the time of the Tribulation are indeed expressions of the final judgment of God.


Their ministry will begin at the start of the last three- and one-half years leading up to the battle of Armageddon and ultimately, the second coming of Christ. This period of time is called the “Great Tribulation.” This a second vision of John that is a part of an interlude between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpet.

The Ultimate Cosmic Conflict

Revelation 12:1-6

Part One (2020)


What we have before us is a vision, which portrays in dramatic fashion, the ongoing bitter spiritual warfare between the Lord and His people and their avowed enemy who is the Devil. This warfare has been raging since the time of Satan’s rebellion and will continue to the point of his ultimate defeat. This unfolding drama in chapters twelve through fourteen tells us how we got to the point of the confident declaration stated in (Revelation 11:15).


Although the sounding of the seventh trumpet has occurred, the impact of this trumpet judgment is not described in detail until the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters. Chapters twelve through fourteen, serve as a pause, a dramatic portrayal of the cosmic spiritual warfare that was first started in the Garden of Eden and concludes with the ultimate victory over Satan which is described in (Revelation 20:7-10).


(Revelation 12:1-6) describes two incredible signs having four separate, yet related scenes.


I. The Radiant Women (Revelation 12:1-2)


A. Her Attire (1)


1” A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” (NIV)


John’s attention is now captured by what he describes as a “great and wondrous sign, which appears in heaven.” The N.A.S.B. simply translates the opening of this first, as “A great sign appearing in heaven.” “Great sign,” is a translation of two Greek words, megas and semeion. This sign is great either in the sense that it fills the sky (huge- the ultimate big screen television), or it is great in significance of its importance. The latter seems to be the sense here.


The word sign (semeion) describes that which is a symbol that points to a reality. A sign is a visual presentation that is meant to direct one’s attention to a truth, to confirm or affirm one’s calling as a spokesman for the Lord who is declaring His revelation, or in the case of the miracles of Jesus, to affirm His identity as the long-awaited Messiah who is the Savior of the world, which in turn should prompt a response of faith in the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31).


This was the first in a series of events called “signs” or “miracles” (12:3; 13:13-14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20). As signs, they were symbols of something that God was about to reveal and usually contained an element of prophetic warning. Though this sign was seen in heaven, the events which followed obviously occurred on earth.


At the outset, what John beholds is not a literal woman, but rather a symbolic woman who serves as a symbolic mother. There is and has been much debate about the identity of this woman. Some have taught that this symbolic woman is a reference to the Virgin Mary. But this is not referring to a literal woman. She is a symbol, a person of storybook proportions.


Others have identified her as the church, now facing persecution and suffering at the hand of Satan who is described in this chapter as a red dragon. Others even stated that this is John, sort of plagiarizing from pagan mythology, which had many stories of the birth of certain gods from mythical mothers who faced avowed enemies seeking to destroy their offspring.


I believe it’s best to view this woman as God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel from whom the Messiah came and from whom all true believers, all true children of Abraham have their maternal and spiritual connection with the true and living God.


She is viewed in this passage as the one from whom the Messiah comes

(Revelation 12:5). As well as being the mother of the believing community who are being persecuted by Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet during the time of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:17).


In accordance with God’s divine program for Israel, the time period that is dominant in this passion is a part of the seventieth week of Daniel which will in the end, finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring in everlasting righteousness and finally, seal up vision, prophecy and to anoint the most Holy (Daniel 9:24-27).


This seventieth week of Daniel - this seven-year period of time, which ends with the Second Coming of the Lord, is for the nation of Israel and not the church. She is described as being clothed with the Sun. No doubt a reference to her radiant glory and dignity because of her exalted status as God’s chosen people.


Deuteronomy 14:2

2 “for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.”


She is also described as having the moon under her feet, no doubt a symbol of authority. “Clothed with the sun” indicates glory, “the moon under her feet” indicates dominion. She is also described as wearing a crown of twelve stars on her head. The twelve stars are a reference to the twelve tribes of Israel.

B. Her Condition (2)


2 “She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” (NIV)

 

13Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:957


At this point in this spiritual warfare drama, she is described as being with child in the final stages of labor crying out from pain and ready to deliver her offspring.

It is a time of great vulnerability for her.


Although the church is frequently presented in Scripture as the Bride of Christ, it is never presented as a mother with child. And secondly, the Messiah is presented in Scripture as the Head of the church and the Husband of the church but never the child of the church.


Verse two seems to focus in on the significant period of history when from the nation of Israel, the Messiah would be born and enter the world scene (cf. Revelation 12:5).


Israel, often pictured as a mother giving birth (cf. Is. 26:17,18; 54:1; 66:7–12; Hos. 13:13; Mic. 4:10; 5:2,3; Matt. 24:8), had agonized and suffered for centuries, longing for the Messiah to come and destroy Satan, sin, and death, and usher in the kingdom.


II. The Red Dragon (Revelation 12:3-4)


A. His Appearance (3)


3 “Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.” (NIV)


Here we have the revelation of the antagonist in this unfolding drama in the sky. Identifying this enormous red dragon is a whole lot easier. The Scriptures make it clear that this red dragon is symbolic of Satan himself (Revelation 12:9; 20:2).


In terms of his appearance, the seven heads with seven crowns seem to symbolically speak of the totality of Satan’s rule over the earth during the time of the Great Tribulation. We are given an excellent description of the meaning of the ten horns in (Daniel 7:19-27).


The ten horns refer to ten rulers who will rule under the authority of the Antichrist who is given Satan’s power and authority during the time of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 13:1-2).


B. His Angels (4a)


4a “His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.” (NIV)


The majority of Bible scholars understand these stars not to be a reference to the literal stars seen in the heavens but rather to angels who are referred to elsewhere in Scripture as stars such as in (Revelation 9:1-2).


If indeed these stars are angels, then most think that this is a reference to those fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion and currently operate throughout the world to do his bidding. They are those angels who are mentioned later in this chapter (Revelation 12:7, 9).

 

14MacArthur, John Jr: The MacArthur Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville : Word Pub., 1997, c1997, S. Re 12:2



C. His Ambition (4b)


4b “The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.” (NIV)

It has always been Satan’s ambition to destroy the anticipated coming king who is the Messiah and the Savior of the world. Satan gave his best efforts to destroying the people of God and the messianic line. And when he failed, He attempted to kill the Christ soon after his birth by using Herod.


Matthew 2:13

13 “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”


Matthew 2:16

16 “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”


At the outset of the earthly ministry of Jesus, Satan tempted Jesus to mistrust His heavenly father and to submit to him. Satan offered the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if only Jesus would worship him. This was the “why wait” temptation strategy.


However, Satan efforts failed (Matthew 4:1-11). Later, Satan used the people of Jesus’ own hometown to “throw him down a cliff” (Luke 4:28-30). However, Jesus spoiled that effort by simply walking away from the crowd unharmed.


Satan used Peter to tempt Jesus not the take the way of the cross for the redemption of souls. Of course, Satan had imagined that his great ambition had been fully realized at the death of Jesus on the cross. However, his seeming victory was in reality, his ultimate defeat (Colossians 2:13-15).


III. The Ruling Child (Revelation 12:5)


A. His Incarnation (5a)


She gave birth to a son, a male child,” (NIV)


In spite of the relentless efforts of Satan to prevent the birth of this male child, who is the Messiah, the women gave birth to a son.


We know from other statements of Scripture that this is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. When the second person of the Trinity left the glory of Heaven, came to this earth as a babe in the manger, eventually going to the cross to suffer and die in our behalf. Then He rose from the dead, and after forty days, He ascended into heaven conquering over sin and death. This same Son of God will return again to establish His millennial kingdom.


This first coming of the Son of God was spoken of prophetically in Scripture

(Isaiah 7:14; 9:6).


From the loins of Israel, a child was born. The Bible emphasizes that Jesus was of Jewish lineage. He is a descendent of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). He is a member of the tribe of Judah. In (Revelation 5:5), He is described as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the root of David. He is a descendant of David (Romans 1:1-2).


B. His Coronation (5b)


5b “Who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” (NIV)


This is looking forward to the eventual millennial rule of Christ, which was prophetically declared and will be fulfilled beginning with the Second Coming of Christ. This was clearly spoken of in (Psalm 2). This passage anticipates what is described in (Revelation 19:11-16).


C. His Exaltation (5c)


5c ‘And her child was snatched up to God and to His throne.” (NIV)


This is referring to the ascension of Jesus Christ. Having died for our sins and resurrecting from the grave, conquering sin and death, Jesus ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet.


“Here the incarnation and the entire ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ are compressed into the words, ‘Snatched up to God.’”


The ascension of Christ is significant because it affirms the acceptance by the Father of Jesus’ work of redemption in our behalf.


Hebrews 1:3

3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”


Mounce states; “the significant point is that the evil designs of Satan were foiled by the successful completion of Christ’s messianic ministry, which culminates in his ascension and exaltation.”


IV. The Run-Away Women (Revelation 12:6)

A. Her Protection (6a)


6a “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God.” (NIV)


Having been unable to destroy the nation of Israel, pollute the messianic bloodline, or to defeat the Messiah, or to impede His work of redemption, the fury of the wrath of Satan is at this time directed toward the women. Therefore, the woman flees to a place in the wilderness which has been prepared by God for her protection. Where this place is has not been revealed in God’s Word.


The deliverance itself took place when the woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, and she was preserved for 1,260 days, which was three and one-half years or forty-two months of thirty days each. Matthew 24:16, referred to the flight of Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (cf. Mark 13:14). References to both desert and mountains are not a contradiction as both were wilderness areas. In her desert hideout, Israel was cared for perhaps as miraculously as Israel was in her wilderness journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.


The time period was 1,260 days, later described as “a time, times, and half a time” (cf. comments on Rev. 12:14). This action (vv. 5-6) followed what is described in verse 7 as a “war in heaven.”


By this time, the woman is not only the nation of Israel but all who constitute that messianic believing community who are the focus of the attack of Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet.


In this divinely prepared place, the women will receive spiritual refuge and protection.


B. Her Provisions (6b)


6b “… where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”


Provisions will be made for the women during the time of the Great Tribulation. Those last three- and one-half years that culminates with the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.


Just as the Israelites of old were cared for by God in the barren desert with manna and food and water and safety, so now the messianic believers of the Great Tribulation will be nourished and protected by God in this harsh and dangerous environment.


Practical Implications


1. Satan is the avowed enemy of God and His people. He is tenacious in his attacks and diligent in pursuit of his goals. This calls for the same level of resolute commitment on the part of the believer to grow spiritually as our primary means of defense (1 Peter 8-9).


2. Although God does not spare His children from spiritual warfare, He continuously makes provisions and provides protection for those who are His in the warfare (Note Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

 

15Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:958


“The Ultimate Cosmic Conflict”

Part Two

Revelation 12:7-17


The person of Satan is surrounded with a lot of myth and misunderstanding. He is usually presented as a sort of funny being in a red suit with a pitchfork in his hand, horns on his head and a dragon like pointed tail.


Many have determined that Satan does not even exist. Others of think of him as a separate yet equal to God only that he is evil, and God is good. Others mistakenly assign divine attributes to him imagining him to be everywhere at the same time, or omnisciently reading our thoughts.


For the longest time now, most imagine him to be in hell and in charge of hell. Yet Satan has never been in hell. When he is cast down into the lake of fire, he will not be in charge. “He will be the lowest inmate there; the one undergoing the most horrible punishment ever inflicted on any created being.”


Presently, he roams the earth looking for someone to devour spiritually speaking

(1 Peter 5:8). He also roams the heavens master minding his evil schemes with the help of his fellow fallen angels called demons. And he also comes before God everyday hurling accusations against the saints (Revelation 12:10).


He is described in the Scriptures as the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4);

the father of lies (John 8:44). He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). The theater of his operations includes both the heavens and the earth, and he battles at every conceivable level - morally, theologically, philosophically and spiritually.


Satan is a created angelic being, the highest created angelic being, which in his pride, foolishly imagined that he could be like the Most High God. His prideful thoughts are recorded in (Isaiah 14:12-14). He is a tenacious enemy who refuses to give up even in the face of a series of defeats. He is an avowed enemy of God and all who are a part of the family of God.


How can the followers of Christ be victorious over the strategies of Satan used against them in spiritual warfare?


Fortunately for us, we have in the text this morning believers who serve as Biblical examples of how to overcome this highest of fallen angels.


The topic at hand in the last part of chapter twelve is the beginning of end of the chief enemy of God and his people. It is the last days of the last days for the one who would soon be incarcerated in the abyss for one thousand years, only to eventually be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be tormented day and night forever.


The triggering event that signals the demise of the Devil is a part of vision be held by John and recorded for us in Revelation chapter twelve.

I. War in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9)


A. A Mighty Conflict (7)


Please note both the place and the principles of this cosmic conflict.

The theater of this celestial warfare is heaven, which is not a reference to the starry sky above the earth. Nor is it a reference to the stellar space above earth’s atmosphere but rather the place, which is the abode of God.


It is familiar territory of spiritual conflict (Ephesians 6:12). Earlier in this letter from Paul to the Ephesians, he stated that this is the place where Christ is presently seated following His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven (Ephesians 1:20).


It does seem strange that such a battle would take place in the place of the very throne of God. Yet, this is precisely the picture of (Job 1), where Satan and other angelic beings present themselves before God. It is from this place that Satan falsely accused Job of serving God only for the benefits He received from God (Job 1:6-11).


The context of this chapter would indicate that the time of this battle would be perhaps at the beginning of what is called the Great Tribulation. It is a period of three and a half years, after the rapture of the church and prior to the literal Second Coming of Christ.


The primary principles in this war in heaven are Michael and his angels and the Dragon and his angels. Michael (whose name means “who is like God”) is the only angel who bears the title “archangel” (Jude 9) which means “the chief of angels.”


Michael then is the commander of all of God’s holy angels who are God’s ministering spirit being devoted to carrying out the purposes of the Lord for His glory. Michael is also described in (Daniel 12:1) as the Great prince who protects the people of God.


His foe is someone whom he has known since the day they were both created. He is described in this passage as the Dragon who is clearly identified in (Revelation 12:9) as that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan. He is that ancient serpent seen in (Genesis 3) using subtlety, treachery and deceit in order to get Adam and Eve to fall into sin and disobedience.

Satan, Satanas { sat-an-as’} Refers to an adversary (one who opposes another in purpose or act). It has become the proper name for this primary fallen angel because it best describes his ultimate purpose, which is to stand in opposition to God, His purposes, His will and His children.


His other title is The Devil. diabolos { dee-ab’-ol-os} which means to slander or accuse falsely. That seems to be what he devotes his entire day to doing

(Revelation 12:10). We are never more like the Devil when we traffic in the defamation of another person’s character with false accusations.


The Dragon’s angels would be those angelic being who have joined him in his adversarial relationship with the living God. One wonders what the nature of this battle might be since it is a battle of spiritual beings who cannot be killed with the normal weapons of warfare.

It’s certainly a battle over territory with a winner and a loser. There is a loss of territory but not a loss of life. But what is the nature of weapons used in this battle? The scripture does not say.


It is perhaps the exertion of a supernatural angelic power, which can in battle overcome other angelic beings.

B. A Major Defeat (8-9)


The Scripture clearly identifies the reason for Satan and His demon’s defeat. They were not strong enough to prevail against Michael and his angels. They were now vacated once and for all from the abode of God and from His presence.


Because of this loss, Satan and his demonic host will no longer appear before the living God. And Satan will no longer have his platform for hurling accusations against the children of God. His domain will be greatly restricted. His end is near!


It should be noted that although this defeat is another in a continuum of defeats for Satan, he does not quit! He simply turns the focus of his battle to a new territory. His defeat does not cause him to surrender. Rather, it arouses the intensity of his anger. Talk about a sore loser! It should be noted that Satan is described as the one whom leads the whole world astray; (planao { plan-ah’-o} to led astray from the truth to error).


He has done this throughout the ages by his corruptive and deceitful worldviews, erroneous theologies, corrupting morals and false hopes. He has used all possible venues to spread his deception. But now the world he has corrupted morally, theologically, spiritually and philosophically is now his only home.


Remember that he is called and angel of light when in fact, he is the prince of darkness.

II. Joy in Heaven (Revelation 12:10-11)


A. Because of the Defeat of Satan (10)


This momentous victory prompts an outburst of praise from a loud voice in heaven. Because of the phrase, the accuser of our brothers, many believe that this is the voice of one of the martyrs in heaven since angels do not share in the common experience of salvation in Christ which links all the redeemed into the family of God and therefore makes them brothers and sisters in Christ.


The content of this outburst of praise is spoken as if the salvation, power, and kingdom of God (the eternal state) as well as the authority of His Christ (the millennial rule of Christ) have already taken place because of this victory over Satan and his demonic host. There are yet a few more tricks up the sleeve of this defeated foe before he and his angels are all cast into the lake of fire.


But the fact that Satan and his demonic host have now been cast down to the earth means that his end is very near, and the Kingdom of our God and His Christ is just around the corner.

Picture again if you will that it’s like a football game in which there are about thirty seconds on the clock, but your team is ahead by twenty points. The phrase, “Our God” modifies all three of the preceding nouns.


-“The salvation of our God,” refers to that ultimate aspect of God’s deliverance when the curse of sin is eliminated and the saints of God are glorified enjoying the eternal state.


-“The power of God” is a reference to the exercise of God’s omnipotence that ultimately crushes all that would oppose His will and His reign.


-“The Kingdom of our God” is a reference to the eternal state. (Revelation 21-22)


-“The authority of His Christ,” refers to our Lord’s right to reign over His millennial kingdom.


The point is that this defeat of Satan and his angel signals that these prophetic events are now considered fully realized.


The second fact that prompts this outburst of praise is...


B. Because of the Triumph of the Saints (11)


Again, the perspective from which this declaration is made is as if this has already been achieved even though it is yet future. This victory of the saints during the time of the great tribulation is certain not because of any power they may possess but rather because of the enabling power of our Lord. That’s why the victory is certain although yet future.


The strategy that is used to gain a victory over Satan is instructive. It is interesting to me that they did not use any of the modern-day methods suggested for victory in spiritual warfare such as binding Satan or rebuking Satan. Nor did they use exorcisms, ritual formulas or repeated victory prayers or prayers of denunciation.


Their victory over Satan and his demonic host is first and foremost based upon the redemptive work of Christ in which He shed His blood for the redemption of their souls. This is the unshakable foundation of all spiritual victory.


It is descriptive of a mindset of victory possessed by those who are in Christ who are certain of their salvation, assured of their redemption and secured in their position of being in Christ. The accusations of Satan are therefore deflected by their unshakable confidence in the finished work of Jesus on their behalf. They were also victorious over Satan because of their uncompromising loyalty to Christ.


In spite of the intense persecution aimed at these saints by the ancient serpent of old, these redeemed people will remain faithful in their witness for Jesus Christ. Their testimony will not be compromised nor will they waiver.


In addition, their loyalty was rooted in their uncompromising love for the Lord. A love for Him that even exceeded their love for the preservation of their own lives. The one they loved the most is the one they were willing to die for knowing that death is only the doorway to greater intimacy with Him.

III. War on Earth (Revelation 12:12-17)


A. Against the World (12)


The defeat of the Satan and the triumph of the saints is cause for all of heaven to rejoice but not so for the earth and the sea. This exhortation to rejoice is followed by a sober warning. With this defeat, Satan is, as John Phillips wrote...


“...Like a caged lion, enraged beyond words by this new limitation now placed upon his freedom. He picks himself up from the dust of the earth, shakes his fist at the sky, and glares around choking with fury for ways to vent his hatred and his spite upon humankind.” [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux 1991]


The word fury is a translation of a word in the original language, which conveys the idea of a violent outburst of rage. It is a turbulent, emotional fury rather than a rational anger.


And this mindset of Satan is fueled by the fact that his time is short. In just three- and one-half years, he will be chained for one thousand years. And finally, he will be cast into the lake of fire forever. His timing is running out.


Chapters fourteen and fifteen will elaborate in greater detail, just how he will demonstrate his anger toward the land and the sea and those who inhabit the earth during the time of the Great Tribulation.


But the first focus of his fury is that nation from which salvation came, those descendants of Abraham from whom one came who is a blessing to all the nations of the world. Satan now directs his fury....


B. Against the Woman (13-16)


This is the same woman who was spoken of in the first part of this chapter (Revelation 12:1-6). This woman is best identified as Israel and the male child that was born from her is the Messiah, who is the Savior of the world - Our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who redeemed the saints and foiled Satan’s eternal plan of the destruction of them.


This furious pursuit of Israel is what our Lord was speaking of in

(Matthew 24:15-22):


15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—

16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

But, as mentioned previously in this passage, Israel will be given divine protection and divine provisions that will put them out of Satan’s reach.


The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.


This reference to two wings of a great eagle is probably figurative language used to depict God’s miraculous and swift protection of Israel in these days such as in

(Exodus 19:4).


Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.


C. Against the Saints (17)


Kind of like an evil energizer bunny, Satan just turns the focus of his attack on those Tribulation saints who are in the world at this time.


Practical Implications


What then is the example established for us in this passage as a winning strategy for overcoming our enemy who is that ancient serpent of old?


1. It is our salvation in Christ (12:11a)


2. It is our testimony in Christ (12:11b)

It is our faithful witness of what Christ has done in our lives


3. It is our uncompromising love for Christ (12:11c)


4. It is our obedience to Christ (12:17a)


5. It is the testimony of Jesus (12:17b)

Not their testimony of the salvation that they experienced in Christ, but the witness that Jesus proclaimed about his identity and ministry.


Who is this Beast?

Revelation 13


1. The Beast is representative of a coming world power and its primary leader (Revelation 17:12-13).


This notion is reflected in how the Beast is described in the passage that we have studied thus far. This ten horned, seven head, leopard like Beast, with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion are all Scriptural symbols of kings, rulers and world empires. Yet, the Beast is frequently described using personal pronouns

(e.g., “he,” “him,” “his,” cf. vv 1-7); note (Revelation 19:19-20).


The Prophet Daniel spoke of this Beast using personal pronouns.

(Daniel 7:25)

25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.


(Daniel 8:24-25)

24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.


The Apostle Paul refers to this coming world leader as “man of lawlessness” and “the man doomed to destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).


This Beast then is descriptive of the final world empire but also the dictator of this concluding kingdom of mankind.


2. The Beast refers to a future world leader rather than a historical one.


The context of this revelation regarding the Beast is the last three- and one-half years referred to as the Great Tribulation, which culminates with the Second Coming of Christ

(Revelation 17:12-14; 19:19-20).


3. The Beast is also known in Scriptures as the “Antichrist.” (1 John 2:18).


“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”


The Beast is the second person of a Satanic parody of the triune God.


4. Since in both (Revelation 11:7 and 17:8), the Beast is described as coming up out of the Abyss, it is my contention that the Antichrist is perhaps one of the highest ranking fallen angels who takes upon himself the form of a man for the purpose of fulfilling Satan’s desire “to be like the most high.”


Others see the Antichrist as a demon possessed man. But there are no Scriptural statements that indicated that.

THE SEVEN BOWLS

Revelation 16

Bowl Judgment

Reference

Description

Results

First

16:2

Horrible malignant sores break out on everyone who has the mark of the beast

Physical pain comes to those who have not repented.

Second

16:3

The sea becomes blood and everything in it dies.

With the death of the sea, all ecosystmes are affected.

Third

16:4

The sun scorches people.

With the death of the inland waters, there is no water to drink.

Fourth

16:8

Darkness covers the earth.

People burned by the heat curse God for it.

Fifth

16:10

The great Euphrates River dries up.

People are in anguish because of the darkness, but they curse God and refuse to repent. They still have the sores from the first plague and the burns from the fourth plague.

Sixth

16:12

The great Euphrates River dries up.

The drying up of the river provides a way for the armies of the east to march westward without hindrance and gather at the battlefield of Armageddon.

Seventh

16:17-21

An earthquake greater than any that has ever occurred changes the face of the earth. Then comes a terrible hailstorm.

The great city of Babylon is destroyed, islands are engulfed, mountains are flattened. People continue to curse God.


 

16 Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps, Tyndale publishing 2001

The Conquest of The Coming King

Revelation 19:11-21


Belief in the Second Coming of our Lord is one of those important fundamentals of our faith. It’s one of those unique features of our belief system that sets us apart from all the other religions that exist.


It has been said that the early church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, than about death or about heaven. “The early Christians were looking not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. They were watching not for the undertaker but for the upper taker.” Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)


The significance of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is in its relationship to several important foundational pillars of our belief system such as....


1. The integrity of Jesus Christ hangs on the reality of this event (Revelation 3:11.

Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12; Matthew 25:31).

2. The integrity of the reliability of Scriptural prophecy depends on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the integrity of the whole Bible hangs on this event actually occurring.


3. The substance of the hope of all believers is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is what every true believer eagerly anticipates.


Philippians 3:20-21

20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Hebrews 9:28

28 “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”


5. The Second Coming then is one of the non-negotiable fundamentals of our Faith. It is akin to our belief in the Bible as the Word of God, or salvation being secured by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. It is as significant as our faith in the virgin birth of Christ and our trust in the truth that in Christ all the fullness of deity dwelt in a bodily form.


6. The Second Coming must be distinguished from the rapture of the church, which takes place prior to the seven years of Tribulation. At the rapture of the church, Christ comes for his bride, which is the church. At the Second Coming, He comes for His throne.


7. Furthermore, at the rapture, Christ meets His saints in the air (1Thessalonians 4:17) to take them to heaven (John 14:2-3). At the Second Coming, He descends with them from heaven to the earth (Zechariah 14:4) and establishes His Millennial rule.


In this last section of the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, we come to the actual recording of this event, which is the culmination of redemptive history, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is the preeminent event of this book.


From our study today, we will be confronted with two very important questions that each of us must answer. I have broken this section down into two parts. The first being THE RETURN OF THE CONQUEROR and the second being THE VICTORY OF THE CONQUEROR.


I. The Return of the Conqueror

Revelation 19:11-16


I saw heaven standing open...


The last time John beheld the sight of heaven opened before his wondering eyes were in order to receive him in (4:1). It would be from that perspective that John would receive the majority of what he recorded in this book about the last days of the last days. But now, the doors of heaven are thrown open in order to clear the way for Christ and His heavenly entourage to make their way to earth. This friend is the event that all of redemptive history has been pointing to, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.


The name Jesus or Christ is never used in this passage. Instead, our Lord is described by four different titles that reveal something of His person and His mission.


A. A sanctifying title (19:11-12a)


This name is a sanctifying name because it is a title of distinction. It sets our Lord apart from everyone else. No longer is our Lord portrayed humbly riding into the city of Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. At His Second Coming, our Lord will be mounted on a white horse, the symbol of victorious conquest and the preferred mount of victorious Roman generals.


A victorious general would ride the white horse at the front of the procession of His troops as they made their way through the streets of Rome following a major victory on the battlefield. This would distinguish him as the one who is responsible for the victory.


The rider bears the distinctive title “Faithful and True.” Earlier in this book, the Lord described himself to the church in Laodicea as the faithful and true witness (3:14).

In this sense, he is faithful in all of his promises and truthful in all that he declares. The fact that Christ is coming again proves His faithfulness to His promises and the truthfulness of His Word. This would stand in stark contrast to the broken promises and lies spewing from the month of the Antichrist.


Jesus is the personification of truth (John 14:6). He told those who professed to be His disciples that they would prove the genuineness of their discipleship if they would abide by His teaching. Then they would know the truth and that truth would set them free from the mastery of sin (John 8:31ff).


In this passage, Jesus is described as being faithful, in the sense that He has already proven himself trustworthy in carrying out the mission of His first coming, which was to redeem those that God have given to Him from the wrath of God to come

(John 17:4).


“…in righteousness He judges and wages war.”


One of the first things that Jesus does when he comes the second time is to exercise His righteous judgment. His righteous character demands that He do so. As the ultimate righteous Judge, He pronounces the sentence. As a warrior, He will carry out the sentence.


When Jesus came the first time, He came as the Savior of the world. When He comes the second time it will be as its judge. When He came the first time, wicked people judged Him. People like the Pharisees, Pilate, Herod and Caiaphas. When He returns, He will judge all wicked people. And these will be subject to the penetrating and omniscient eyes of our Lord... Note verse 12


In the exercise of His Judgment, nothing will escape the penetrating and piercing vision of our Lord. Jesus can see into the deepest and darkest recesses of the hearts of mankind. Every thought, every intention, every word, every motive and every act, are all fully exposed in the sight of this all seeing and all-knowing Judge.

The writer of Hebrews declared… “all things are open and lay bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).


On His head are many diadems (crowns).

The word “diadems” is a translation of the Greek word, diadema, which refers to the royal crown of a king. In the case of Christ, He wears many crowns because He the ultimate King. The King of Kings! No longer does He bear the mocking crown of thorns. For He now bears the crowns of the ultimate monarch.


And so, this one who bears the title of faithful and true, is the victor on the white horse, the Judge whose eyes penetrate deep into the recesses of everyone’s heart. And His judgments are a reflection of His omniscient understanding of all things.

He is also the warrior who will execute His sentence upon the wicked inhabitants of the earth.

B. A secret name (19:12b)


He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.


Jesus bears this secret name. It won’t do us any good to speculate what that name might be. The only thing we can say is that all of the titles of Jesus that have been revealed to us are descriptive of his character, His abilities and His mission. No doubt this secret title will in some way reveal these things.


C. A sacred name (19:13-15a)


This blood on His robe is not His blood. It is not the blood poured out for us by Him in His loving act of redemption. He bears the blood-spattered robe of a conquering king. And the blood is that of His enemies. (Keep in mind that John is using the example of our conquering Roman soldier or king).


The imagery of this passage is similar to that of Isaiah 63:1-6. The prophet having a vision of God inquired of God, “Why is your garments red like those of one treading the winepress?” God replied, “I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments.” And so, this robe dipped in blood, bears the blood of the enemies.


The sacred name He bears is the Word of God. Jesus is the Logos of God, the visible, tangible expression of God in a bodily form. He is the reason and the source of all that there is. He is called the Word of God because He is the ultimate revelation of God. He is the full expression of the mind; will and purpose of God (cf. John 1:1, 14).


Note verse 14, “The armies which are in heaven.” What is the composition of this army?


According to Revelation 17:14, those who are with the Lord when He defeats the Antichrist and his armies at the time of His Second Coming, are referred to as His called, chosen and faithful followers. This could be a reference to the tribulation saints (Revelation 7:13-17), who have come to rule with Christ during the millennium (Revelation 20:4), or it could refer to the raptured saints (Revelation 19:7-8). There are some who understand this army to refer to an angelic host (cf. Matthew 5:11; 25:31).

Whatever the composition of this army from heaven, “They return not to help Jesus in the battle (they are unarmed), but to reign with Him after He defeats His enemies” (20:4; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12). Cf. Ps. 149:5–9.


This army is made up of noncombatant supporters of the Messiah as He wages the final battle single-handedly. And they, like the Word of God, are mounted on white horses, the mount of those who have been victorious. And they are dressed in fine linen, white and clean.


D. A sovereign name (19:15b-16)


The sovereign rule of Christ is described for us using graphic imagery.


From His mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it He may strike down the nations.


From the mouth of God came those commands that unleashed His creative power that brought all things into existence. But now, from the mouth of the Lord, the nations of the world will come under the powerful words of judgment that are like unto a sharp sword that strikes them down with deadly force.


And just as the Lord did not need to use the devices of man to flood the world in the exercise of His judgment, He will not need the weaponry of man to bring down the nations. He will do that simply with His Word. This is the ultimate example of “Death from Above.”


And then, quoting of Psalm 2:9, John describes the nature of the anticipated rule of Christ during the time of the Millennium. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”

We know that this is describing the Lord’s manner of rule over the nations of the world during the millennium because the nations that are gathered at the Battle of Armageddon will be destroyed. There won’t be anything to rule!


“Iron Scepter - this is a symbol of tough justice, of unbending, unwavering righteousness. It is justice based upon God’s morality, which is rooted in His Holy Character.”


The word that is translated “Rule” comes from the Greek word poimaino which not only conveys the idea of governing or ruling but also nourishing and providing. It is frequently translated in the NT to shepherd.


Jesus will be the ultimate Shepherd during the time of the Millennium. But He will also be a benevolent dictator nonetheless who will swiftly exercise His righteous judgment against sin and those who commit it.


John then returns to the work of Christ at hand at the time of His Second Coming and that is judgment. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.


The imagery here is that of the ancient practice of stomping on grapes as a part of the winemaking process. Here it depicts the fierce judgment of the Lord exercised at the time of His Second Coming against these nations. And just as the grape juice would spatter during this process, so the blood of the enemies of the Lord will be spattered as the Lord treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.


This anger of the Lord has been building up for centuries as His holy character has been offended by the blatant sinfulness of mankind.


Note Revelation 19:16. The Lord is wearing what is probably a banner, which runs across His chest and down on His upper leg. And there we find this fourth name, KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS. Christ is the ultimate monarch. He is the King of time and space and the King of all creations. He is the LORD OF LORDS, the ultimate sovereign ruler who controls all things in the magnificence of the exercise of His divine providence. How dare anyone oppose such a King and such a Lord as this?


And so, at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, John affirms the extraordinary nature of the Son of God come to judge the nations and to rule the earth by these unique names, a sanctifying name, a secret name, a sacred name and a sovereign name.


II. The Victory of the Conqueror

Revelation 19:17-21


A. The gathering of the birds of the earth (19:17-18)


So confident of the victory of the conquering KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD’S, that an angel of the Lord calls for the birds of the earth to come and feast on the carnage of the battle before the battle begins. This invitation anticipates the victory of the Lord over these enemies.


These birds will feast upon the kings, generals, mighty men, horses and their riders, which is descriptive of all those gathered at the Battle of Armageddon. But also, this feast will include all people, free and slave, small and great. They are the inhabitants of the earth who received the mark of the beast and worshipped the Antichrist.


As they gather around the city of Jerusalem in order to destroy it, the sharp sword that comes out of the mouth of the Lord will strike down the armies of the earth. In addition, the beast worshippers from every social level will be destroyed as well.


B. The gathering of the armies of the earth (19:19)


The formidable and seemingly invincible armed might of the Beast, with all its firepower, awaits the arrival of the faithful and true one who is the Word of God, THE KING OF KING’S AND LORD OF LORD’S, who is accompanied by His army.


The beast is the Antichrist, the kings of the earth refers to those ten kings who rule the ten sectors into which Antichrist’s worldwide empire is divided. The armies of the ten kings are gathered to make war against the coming rider and his army.

They believe that they have come to this battle because of their own choice. However, they are simply conforming to the Lord’s sovereign design for the end times.


C. The triumph over the enemies of God (19:20-21)

I know that this is often referred to as the Battle of Armageddon, but it isn’t much of a battle. The fact that the Beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire is convincing refutation of the false doctrine of annihilation (Note 20:10).


John Phillips describes this scene in a way that cannot be improved upon.


“Then suddenly it will be all over. In fact, there will be no war at all in the sense that we think of war. There will be just a word spoken from Him who sits astride the great white horse. Once He spoke a word to a fig tree, and it withered away. Once He spoke a word to howling winds and heaving waves and the storm clouds vanished and the waves fell still. Once He spoke to a legion of demons bursting at the seams of a poor man’s soul, and instantly they fled.

Now He speaks a word, and the war is over. The blasphemous, loud-mouthed Beast is stricken where he stands. The false prophet, the miracle working windbag from the pit is punctured and still.

The pair of them are bundled up and hurled head-long into the everlasting flames. Another word and the panic-stricken armies reel and stagger and fall down dead. Field marshals and generals, admirals and air commanders, soldiers and sailors, rank and file, one and all- they fall. And the vultures descend and cover the scene.” (Exploring Revelation, 236)


Practical Implications


1. One of the new attitudes that Paul spoke of as an indicator of true conversion is one of anticipating the Second Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10).


2. There are certain virtues and behavior patterns that should be evident in the lives of those who wait for the Lord to come.


3. The order of our behavior should be characterized by holiness and godliness.


2 Peter 3:10-11

10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.”


4. All who hope in and for the Second “Coming of Christ indicate their confidence in that truth by a lifestyle of purity.


1 John 3:2-3

2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”


5. Those that wait for this essential event in redemptive history must be steadfast and patient.

James 5:7-9

7“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”

VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM

Revelation 20

The 1,000 years are often referred to as the Millennium (Latin for 1,000). There are three major views about the millennium, commonly called premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism.

Premillennialism

Premillennialism says that the 1,000 years is a literal time period. Christ’s second coming will begin the millennium before the final removal of Satan. (The pre-, mid-, and post- Tribulation views are all “premillennial” in that they all agree that Christ will return at some point around the Tribulation, but before this thousand-year reign.)

Under this view are two types of understandings:

(1) Dispensational premillennialists say that at the end of the tribulation will come the battle of Armageddon, the imprisonment of Satan, and Jesus’ reign over Israel (19:19–20:6). During that thousand-year reign, the Old Testament promises for Israel will be fulfilled (such as Isaiah 2:4; 9:6-7; 11:6-9; 35:5-6; 42:1). Dispensationalists believe the Millennium will end with Satan leading a brief rebellion against Christ and then being thrown into the lake of fire. Then God will recreate the heavens and earth.

(2) Historic premillennialists believe that Christ’s Second Coming will occur after the Tribulation to bring believers into his millennial kingdom. He will defeat the Antichrist’s forces at Armageddon and kill the Antichrist, ending a first stage in Christ’s defeat of evil. The believers will accompany Christ as he establishes his millennial kingdom on earth. Satan will be chained during that time. Premillennialists believe that the establishment of Christ’s millennial reign on earth will cause the nation of Israel to turn to Jesus, thus fulfilling many of the Old Testament prophecies for Israel. Historic premillennialists contend that only believers will be raised from the dead to reign with Christ in the millennium. The remaining unbelieving dead will be raised to life when the millennium ends—they will be raised for judgment. At that point, God will bring into existence the new heaven and new earth.

Amillennialism

Amillennialism understands the 1,000-year period to be symbolic of the time between Christ’s ascension and his Second Coming; thus, the Millennium is the reign of Christ in the hearts of believers and in his church and is another way of referring to the church age. This period will end with the second coming of Christ. Amillennialists do not believe in a literal period of Tribulation because they view the Tribulation as including various events during the history of the church.

To them, the events of the millennium described in Revelation 20:1-6 are actually occurring now! Amillennialists believe that as the last days approach, the forces of evil will climax with the Antichrist and the great tribulation he will bring (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). They believe that the wicked will continue to gather strength, persecuting believers more and more. Only when Christ returns will wickedness be stopped once and for all. After judging both the living and dead, Christ will establish his everlasting reign of peace.

Postmillennialism

Postmillennialism looks for a period of peace on earth ushered in by the church. At the end of this time, Satan will be released, but Christ will return to defeat Satan and reign forever. Postmillennialists believe that Jesus will return to a world that has been “Christianized” by the work of the church. Thus, the millennium will be established by the church, and Christ will only return to the earth after the Millennium. They believe that the church is now gradually transforming society (Matthew 13:31-33). Postmillennialists believe that the tribulation symbolizes the constant conflict between good and evil which has existed throughout history.

Postmillennialists believe that the millennium will end when Satan is released from the bottomless pit. Then Christ will return to judge all people and establish a new heaven and new earth. Postmillennialists believe the church bears the responsibility for spreading the Good News to all the world.

THE BEGINNING AND THE END

Revelation 21

The Bible records for us the beginning of the world and the end of the world. The story of mankind, from beginning to end—from the fall into sin to redemption and God’s ultimate victory over evil—is found in the pages of the Bible.

Genesis

Revelation

The sun is created.

The sun is not needed.

Satan is victorious.

Satan is defeated.

Sin enters the human race.

Sin is banished.

People run and hide from God.

People are invited to live with God forever.

People are cursed.

The curse is removed.


 

19 Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps, Tyndale publishing 2001

Tears are shed, with sorrow for sin.

No more sin, no more tears or sorrow.

The garden and earth are cursed.

God's city is glorified; the earth is made new.

Paradise is lost.

Paradise is regained

People are doomed to death.

Death is defeated; believers live forever with God.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT ETERNITY

Revelation 22

see also 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 The Bible devotes much less space to describing eternity than it does to convincing people that eternal life is available as a free gift from God. Most of the brief descriptions of eternity would be more accurately called hints, since they use terms and ideas from present experience to describe what we cannot fully grasp until we are there ourselves. These references hint at aspects of what our future will be like if we have accepted Christ’s gift of eternal life.

Description

Reference

We will have a place prepared for us.

John 14:2-3

We will be unlimited by physical properties (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

John 20:19, 26

We will be like Jesus.

1 John 3:2

We will have new bodies.

1 Corinthians 15

It will be a wonderful experience.

1 Corinthians 2:9

It will be a new environment.

Revelation 21:1

It will be a new experience of God's presence (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Revelation 21:3

We will have new emotions.

Revelation 21:4

There will be no more death.

Revelation 21:4


 

20 Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts and Maps, Tyndale Publishing 2001

 



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