..trying to start something new, dear God, and please just bless us this year in 2007, dear God. Bless this new series on Wednesday night. And use it in the lives of your people in such an important subject, dear God. Please speak to every heart tonight and in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
All right. So we are starting a brand new book tonight, the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible. And I want to just give a few notes before begin and delve into this great chapter, chapter one of the book of Revelation. I want to tell you a little bit about what we are going to be learning. Now, when you are studying the book of Revelation, obviously we are dealing with 90% of this book is future events. And so because we are dealing with future events there are some things that people speculate about, some things that people guess about and have ideas about that are their opinions.
Now the purpose of this study is similar to all the studies that we do on Wednesday night going through the Bible. We are not going to focus on what we don’t know. We will focus on what we do know. And so there is so much in the book of Revelation that is so clear and so obvious. This isn’t going to be about speculating about how this is going to play out in our world and what year it is going to happen and all these kinds of things. It is just going to be looking at what the Bible says. And the goal is that at the end of the series you have a mastery of the book of Revelation to where you understand the book of Revelation, you understand what each chapter is about. You understand the flow of the chronology.
And so look, if you would, at the last verse one chapter one. This is still by way of introduction. But the Bible says, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand,” Jesus Christ speaking of course, “and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
Now what I want to point out is that throughout the book of Revelation God doesn’t make you wonder what things mean. God doesn’t leave you in the dark about what things mean. He says here, “The mystery of the seven stars.” And then he says, “Let me tell you what they are. You know, the mystery of the seven golden candlesticks. Let me tell you exactly what the candlesticks are. They are seven churches.”
Now throughout the whole book of Revelation you will see this more than any other prophetic book in the Bible, all the Old Testament prophetic books. The book is explained as it goes. I mean God tells you, “This is what this means.” John is scratching his head in a few places in the book wondering what something means. Immediately someone comes and tells him what it means.
Now the only reason that people don’t understand the book of Revelation is because they are unwilling sometimes to accept the obvious truths that are put forth. And so they find a way to explain them away. They find a way to change and twist what it means. And they call it their interpretation.
Whenever people talk about their interpretation it makes me nervous right away because the Bible says that the Word of God is not of any private interpretation. It says, “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Every word in this Bible is exactly what God means. It is exactly what he wants it to say. And so you don’t need to interpret the Bible. Read the Bible. And take it literally for what it says.
And so the problem that people have understanding the book of Revelation is their unwillingness to take the book literally or their unwillingness to accept the obvious truths that are taught here.
Verse 20 of chapter one makes it very clear that God is not going to keep us in the dark throughout this book. He says, “It is a mystery, but it is not a mystery to you because I am telling you what it means. It is a mystery to people who are not privy to this information.”
Look at verse number three. He says, “Blessed is he that readeth.” Revelation 1:3. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” He says, “Blessed are you that read because you that read will understand the mystery of the seven stars. You will understand the mystery of the seven golden candlesticks. You will understand the great unfolding of events that is going to take place in the end of the world.”
And so that is what I want you to know right away is that this book is not as difficult to understand as people make it. It is very simple actually. And we will see that.
I want you to decide right now that you are going to try to be here for all 22 weeks of this series. I want you to really try and make a point to be here. This is so important and if you miss a week, obviously you can jump right back in. But you are missing a lot if you miss a week in this particular series especially. And so decide right now instead of maybe “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy,” blessed is he that comes on Wednesday night and hears this book preached, ok, because you are going to understand it. God has manifested his Word through preaching the Bible says, in Titus 1:3.
And so let’s look at this and let’s begin right away. The Bible says in Revelation 1:1... And, by the way, chapters one, two and three are introductory. Ok. Chapter one gives us the scenario, the events. Chapters two and three are Jesus Christ’s exhortations for the seven main churches in Asia at that time. And then he gets into the events of the book of Revelation in chapter four.
But look at verse number one. The Bible reads, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:”
Now what I love about the books that the apostle John wrote is that he always tells us what the purpose of the book is. In the book of John, for example, at the end of the book—and you don’t have to turn there. I will read this for you—at the end of John 20 the Bible reads in the final verse, “But these are written,” talking about the things that are written in the book of John. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
So in John 20:31 God says here that the purpose of the book of John—and this is the only book that really claims this—is so that you would believe that Jesus is the Christ and that believing you would have life through his name.
When you get to the book of 1 John he says, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. He says, “I am going to explain to you now that you are saved how to have fullness of joy in the Christian life.” And he explains that that is by walking in the light and not walking in the darkness because your fellowship with Jesus Christ is when you are walking in the light.
Well in the book of Revelation he says in verse one what the purpose of the book is. It is to show unto his servants those things which must shortly come to pass.
So who is the book of Revelation primarily written to? Is it written to an unsaved world warning them of the doom and destruction that is coming? No. The primary purpose of the book of Revelation is written to God’s people, saved born again Christians to show unto them the things which must shortly come to pass so that they can be ready for these things when they do come to pass. That is the purpose of the book of Revelation.
So notice that the audience is God’s people. It is you. You are the one who needs to be reading this book. You are the one that needs to be ready as Jesus Christ admonished you to be at so many places in the gospels.
Look at verse two. The Bible says, “Who bare record of the word of God,” speaking of John:
“Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne
Now look if you would at chapter number three. See, notice that phrase, “the seven Spirits which are before his throne.” Look at chapter three of Revelation. Flip over if you would and look at—let’s see here, I lost my place—look at verse number one of chapter three. The Bible says, “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write;” This is Jesus Christ speaking to each of the seven churches, “These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God.”
Ok. So who has the seven Spirits of God? Jesus Christ is what the Bible is saying.
Look back at chapter number one and verse number four. The Bible says that...so we know that Jesus Christ is speaking. He says:
From him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
If you were here a couple of weeks ago you know that that “and” there is not talking about two different people. It is restating who that person is. The person who is and was and is to come who has the seven Spirits before his throne is Jesus Christ. It is clear from English grammar if you understand what that word “and” means. It is a restatement of who he is.
Now we studied a few weeks ago, also, the eternal preexistence of Jesus Christ. Remember in Micah 5:2 the Bible says that in Bethlehem was going to be born someone whose goings forth were of old from everlasting.
Somebody asked me the other day, actually just on Sunday when I was out soul winning. I won this guy to the Lord and he said...and his brother was there listening and his brother did not get saved. And his brother said to me, he said, “Well, who made God? I mean, where did God come from? I mean, if everything came from God, where did God come from?”
And I said, “Well, God always was.”
And, see, that is what he means here. He says he was, he is and he is to come. We are talking about the eternality of Jesus Christ. See, Jesus Christ is as eternal as God is. He has no beginning. He is from everlasting.
By the way, those two words “from everlasting” only in the King James Bible will you find that concept of the eternal preexistence of Jesus Christ from everlasting. And so he says he is, he was and he is to come...
....and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father
Do you see the word “and” there again? “Unto God and his Father”? Are those two different people? Are God and Jesus Christ’s Father two different people? No. So you have to understand the English language here.
He says, “Unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Now when we see the word “Amen” there at the end of verse six we are ending a phase, ok. The first six verses is the introduction, telling us what the book is, telling us who the book is written to. Then we get into verse number seven which is the quintessential verse, I feel, of the entire book of Revelation. This is the key verse. And it is set apart by amens to give it a place preeminence here. Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
Now this is the theme of the book of Revelation. The theme of Revelation is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Now there are certain things that note the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Number one, he is coming in the clouds.
Now, we know that from Acts chapter one. Remember when the 11 disciples beheld as Jesus was taken up from them in a cloud the Bible says? He was... “a cloud received him out of their sight.” And then the two men stood there in white apparel which said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
So when he left...now in order to understand the Second Coming you have got to understand the ascension. When he left he was ascending up to heaven in the clouds and people were watching him, right? Eleven men stood up gazing into heaven the Bible says as he went up in a cloud into heaven. Well he is going to come back the same way. That is exactly what this says here. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
So picture this. Jesus Christ is going to return in the clouds. Every one is going to see Jesus Christ in the clouds and, I mean, think about this, world wide. He says, “All kindreds of the earth.” I mean, people in Africa, people in Asia, people in North America, South America, Australia in one moment of time are going to see the heavens rolled back as a scroll and they are going to see Jesus Christ descending in the clouds of heaven. “Every eye shall see him,” the Bible says.
Now there are several mentions in the New Testament of Jesus Christ coming in the clouds, ok. Let’s look at them quickly. Turn to Matthew 24. We are just going to look at these very quickly. Some of them I will read to you. Some of them you can look at because there is so much information that I want to give tonight and there is not a lot of time.
But look at Matthew 24 and we will look at every mention that speaks of Jesus Christ returning in the clouds. Look at Matthew 24 and look at verse number 29. Actually, look at verse number 24. Matthew 24:24. The Bible reads, For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,” you see, it is not possible, but if it were possible, “they shall deceive the very elect.”or saved, God’s people, born again.
Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
Now, look. From those two verses if somebody tells you that Jesus Christ’s coming is in some way a secret are we supposed to believe it? No way.
He says, if somebody tells you, “Oh, look he came over here it is a secret, he is over here, he is over here.” And see it says, “There shall arise false Christs.” Is that coming from up or coming from down? That’s coming from down. They are arriving, these false Christs from the earth. And it is a secret, shh.
But, no. That’s not what the Bible says. It says, “Believe it not.” “For as the lightning,” verse 27, “cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” He said it is going to be like a bolt of lightning that if it flashed over here you would see the brightness over here. You could see a bolt of lightning anywhere you are looking in the sky. You could see the shine, the flash from it.
And the Bible says:
So shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
Now the word “appear,” that is a visual word. He says the sun is going to turn to darkness. The moon shall not give her light and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man. So then there is going to be an appearance in the sky. I am trying to describe for you what Revelation one describes here, the Second Coming, that it is going to be an appearance of Jesus Christ coming. See that is a verb that means he is in the process of coming. So while he is while he is on his way down people are going to see him. He is going to appear in the sky, in the clouds of heaven. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.”
Now let me read for you Revelation one again. He said, “And all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”
Ok. And then in Matthew 24 we see, “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” So people, when it says “wailed” it is kind of like the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that is going to be in hell. It is people wailing, crying out saying, “Oh, no. Woe unto us,” they are saying. “Good night.”
Now is this positive feeling that the world is feeling when the see Jesus Christ coming on the cloud? They are saying, “Whoa.” They are wailing. Do you know what wailing means? Wailing is like if you have babies or toddlers you understand what wailing is. Wailing is not just weeping or crying. Weeping could be just sniffling. Wailing is like... That’s right. We know. It is a familiar sound in our house with John here, you know, 10 years old.
John, would you please demonstrate for us wailing? Would you demonstrate gnashing of teeth and weeping and wailing?
But anyway, the Bible says, “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” They are crying. They are wailing. They are scared to death. “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds,” very important “in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
And so they blow a trumpet and Jesus Christ gathers his elect. He gathers all of his people. It is the rapture and they come up together to meet him in the clouds. And he will send forth his angels to “gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Look down if you would to verse number 40. Look at verse number 40.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
And so, basically, the Bible is saying here that it is going to be a certain order of events here. First, the tribulation. After the tribulation the sun and the moon are darkened which is going to be at the opening of the sixth seal when we get into chapter six of Revelation. The sun and moon will be darkened. Then there is going to be an appearance in heaven of Jesus Christ coming in the clouds of heaven. Then there is going to be great weeping and wailing on the earth and mourning and shock. And then it is going to be two people in the field working together, grinding at the mill, doing their work, men, women, working. One is going to be taken, one is going to be left. That is the way it is going to be when God gathers his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
And so flip back, if you would, to Revelation one. And while you are turning there I will read to you another account of this quickly. And I am reading you every single time, every single time that Jesus Christ coming in the clouds is mentioned, every time. I am not leaving anything out. And this is what it says. The Bible reads in 1 Thessalonians chapter four, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord...”
Now stop for a second. Are the saved, born again Christians going to be alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord? Absolutely. He says, “That’s who I am writing to.” It could be us for all we know in 2007. We might be the generation in which Jesus Christ will return. And so he says, “unto you that are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord,” so right there we see that born again Christians are going to remain unto the coming of the Lord. He said that, “we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent,” or go before, “them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God...” There is the trumpet. “And the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.” Notice, two times we have seen the clouds mentioned. “...to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
And so that is 1 Thessalonians chapter four. A little bit further down, well, I’ll skip for the sake of time. And then, of course, there is another mention of Jesus Christ coming in the clouds in 1 Corinthians 15. I will read that for you. 1 Corinthians 15 the Bible reads:
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
And so we see here the coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds several times mentioned, always consistent. Jesus comes down in the clouds, blows a trumpet. We are caught up together to meet him “in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Now look, if you would, at verse...Revelation 14. Revelation 14 is the final mention that actually mentions the clouds in this Second Coming of Jesus Christ which is what I am trying to illustrate for you. Revelation 14, the Bible reads in verse number 13 of Revelation 14.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple.
See, there is always that other angel mentioned. There is the archangel and Jesus mentioned always with the coming in the clouds.
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud,” which is the Son of man, Jesus Christ, “Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”
So here we have, again, Jesus Christ coming in the clouds of heaven with the archangel and he reaps the earth. What do you think he is scooping up when reaps the earth? Us if we are here. So, you see, he is basically reaping the earth of the elect, of God’s people. He is gathering them from one end of heaven to the other. He says, “The harvest of the earth is ripe.”
Remember Jesus said that the field is white unto harvest? Ok, so the harvest pictures the end of the world, the Bible says. “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man.” He that soweth the tares is the wicked one. He says, “The reapers are the angels.” The field is the world. He says, “[And] the harvest is the end of the world.” This is all found in Matthew chapter 13. He explains very clearly what this means. And so you have to compare Scripture with Scripture. And you will see that the reaping that takes place in Revelation 14 is the rapture of God’s people who have been saved and born again according to Matthew chapter 13.
It doesn’t take a genius. The Son of Man comes in the clouds, thrusts in a sickle, reaps the earth. And then he reaps...and then another angel comes and reaps the earth and casts it into the winepress of the wrath of God.
And so back to Revelation one. Actually, let’s look at one more place quickly. Look at Revelation six at the end of Revelation six. The Bible says at the end of Revelation six...and let’s start with verse number 12. This is where I said about the sixth seal. Look at Revelation 6:12. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair,” just like in Matthew 24, remember the sun and moon darkened.
....the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
And look at this. This is the key, verse 15. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man...” Do you see how it is the whole world wide here? Every single person on the face of the earth.
.... every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the [face] of the Lamb.
So you see the...they see the face of the Lamb. Right after the sun and moon are darkened, boom, they look up and they see the face of the Lamb and they are weeping and they are weeping and wailing. And what are they saying when they weep and wail like we saw that they were weeping in Matthew 24? We saw that they were wailing in Revelation one. This is what they are wailing. They are crying out to the mountains:
Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the [face] of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
So we see here that the initiating of God’s wrath is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds. Do we see that? When Jesus Christ comes in the clouds people are weeping and wailing because the day of his great wrath has come.
And then what is the next step? We know from Matthew 24, from 1 Thessalonians four, from 1 Corinthians 15, from Revelation 14 the next step after the weeping and wailing and “the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” He sounds the trumpet and gathers, “his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
So let me ask you something. Is the rapture going to take you by surprise? Not at all. The Bible says, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief,” in 1 Thessalonians five.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
He says, “Be sober, be ready. Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh,” he says in Luke 21. You will see, my friend, if you are alive on this earth to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we that are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord are going to look up and see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with power and great glory. That is what you are looking for, my friend. And when you see that, when you see the sun and moon darkened, when you see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great glory, then, he says, “Look up…for your redemption draweth nigh” He says, “Any second now you are going to be taken and the other that you are with that is unsaved is going to be left.”
And so look back, if you would, to Revelation chapter one. See, the Bible is very clear. It is very consistent. It is very easy to understand. And so we saw, of course, the introductory verses one through six and in verse number seven, the quintessential verse of the book of Revelation, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
Here we have the dichotomy of the book of Revelation, the dichotomy of the great day of the Lord, the day of Christ. The dichotomy is that for those of us that are saved it is a very exciting day. It is a glorious day. Now, that is why he says here people are going to be wailing because of it, but he says, “Even so, Amen.” Because he is writing it. He is not in that crowd. And so that is why in Revelation 22—don’t turn there—but he says, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” He said, “[Behold] I come quickly.” And then John says. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
You see, it is going to be a great day of excitement and rejoicing for those of us that are saved, those of us that are watching, those of us that are ready to meet Christ at his coming. Boy, it is going to be nothing more exciting in the world than to see men...the sun and the moon darkened, Jesus Christ, the face of the Lamb coming in the clouds.
You know, like the song, It is Well with My Soul, “And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled as a scroll. The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.”
Now let me ask you something. Did the person that wrote, It is Well with My Soul believe in the pretribulation rapture? No. Because they said, “Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll. The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so it is well with me soul.” The person who wrote that song knew that Jesus Christ coming in the clouds, the blessed hope, when the trump resounds and the Lord descends is going to be at the same time as the clouds, as the heavens are rolled back as a scroll.
Now, when are the heavens rolled back as a scroll? In Revelation six when the sixth seal is opened the sun turns back, the moon turns dark, the stars fall out of the sky. Then the heavens are rolled back as a scroll. Then Jesus Christ comes in the clouds and blows the trumpet.
You see, the person who wrote that song understood this great truth. They understood the book of Revelation. And so that is why I like the old hymns, the old songs in the hymnal because they are not filled with false doctrine like the new songs are that are shallow and they come out of Nashville, Tennessee. This didn’t come out of Nashville, Tennessee. No, this came from somebody who studied the Bible and understood the book of Revelation and understood the things that we are talking about. It is a great song, by the way.
And so we see this verse that describes the dichotomy of this day of the Lord. To us it is known as the day of Christ when we see Jesus Christ come in the clouds. But to the unsaved it is called the day of the Lord.
Now, as you are reading in the Old Testament, you know, you are reading through the Bible cover to cover, God willing. And so as you read through the Bible always look for that phrase, “the day of the Lord.” Ok, look for those words right there. I am talking about the capital LORD, the all caps in the Old Testament. You will see it a lot in the book of Isaiah. You will see it a lot in the book of Joel. You will see it all throughout the Old Testament. And the Bible says in the book of Joel:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered.
And then that is quoted again in Acts chapter two, you know:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
That is what it says in Acts chapter two.
And so all throughout the Bible you will see that the day of the Lord is a day of clouds and of thick darkness the Bible says. He says it is going to be a terrible day. It is going to be a dreadful day. It is going to be a horrible day is what he says. But to those of us who are saved it is a glorious day. That is the day of the Lamb of God’s great wrath. But to us it is a glorious day because it is our deliverance. It is our salvation. It is the redemption of our body. It is the first resurrection when we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and caught up together with Jesus Christ in the clouds to be ever with the Lord.
Boy, so you see the dichotomy—is what I am trying to say—of the book of Revelation? Extremely negative and extremely positive depending on whether you are saved is the deciding factor there.
So that is verse numbers seven. Isn’t that a great verse? What a powerful verse in the Bible. This is my favorite verse in the whole book of Revelation, bar none, hands down, Revelation 1:7. I mean I quote this verse all the time it is such a fantastic verse. Understand verse seven in order to understand the whole book of Revelation.
Look at verse eight. The Bible reads, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,” talking about Jesus Christ, “which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Now, of course, the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God. And this is what they will say. They will say, “Jesus is a mighty God. But he is not the almighty God.” Like, for example, in verse number six of Isaiah chapter nine the Bible calls Jesus Christ, “the everlasting Father, the mighty God.”
And I have shown that to Jehovah’s Witnesses and said, “Look. Jesus Christ is the everlasting Father, the mighty God,” because even in their Bible, their Bible perverts a lot of things and tries to remove every reference to Jesus being God. But even in the New World translation of the Bible, Isaiah 9:6 is not tampered with. It is left as “the mighty God.” And they will say, “Well, he may be the mighty God, but he is not the almighty God.” That is what I have been told by literally in excess of 10 Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
But here we have Jesus Christ called the almighty. Do you see that? And he is called the beginning and the ending. He is the beginning. See, there was nothing before Jesus Christ because he is the beginning. I mean, by him, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” And so he says, “I am Alpha and Omega.” Those are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. He is saying, like, “I am the A to the Z.” He says, “I encompass the past, the present, the future.” “By him all things consist,” the Bible says in Colossians.
You know, people don’t even understand what holds an atom together. You know, the proton and the neutron and the electron? Did you know that if you were to put things to scale? Let’s say you made a proton be the size of a marble, then the electron would be thousands and thousands of miles away, literally. I mean, they are both far smaller than that and so they are very close together in our mind, you know, within an atom I am talking about, a single atom. And, of course, even a penny is made out of just quadrillions of atoms, right? But if you go down to the smallest unit, an atom, the electron is so tiny and the proton is so tiny that they are literally...it is like they are millions of miles apart, I’ll put it that way, even though they are close together. But in relation to their size, do you follow what I am saying?
What holds them together? What keeps that electron in orbit around the proton? Am I going to deep here? I mean what keeps the electron in orbit around the proton?
You say, “Gravity.”
Gravity? Things that are that small? I thought only big things had gravity, otherwise I would be attracted to things in this room by gravity. But my density is too low, my mass is too low and things have to be close together and they have to have a lot of mass.
Now, does an atom have a lot of mass? Not at all. Tiny. What keeps it together? What keeps it in orbit?
And you think about the planets. They spin around other planets. I’m sorry, the planets spin around the sun. The moon spins around the planet. What keeps it spinning?
You say, “Gravity.”
Well, then why does it spin the exact same way in the atom?
You see, “By him all things consist.” Jesus Christ is the one who keeps the whole universe together. He is the one that keeps that electron and the proton and the neutron in that balance. And no one can ever understand it. The world doesn’t understand it. All they know is that if they split that atom they can create an explosion that could level a city like that. See, that is the power of God, my friend.
And so Jesus Christ is the end all, be all is what he is saying when he says, “I am alpha and omega.” He says, “I am the beginning and the ending.” And he says, “I am the Almighty.”
And then look at verse number nine. Here we have John speaking.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
So John, who is writing this book, is actually being punished because it says that he is in the Isle of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus Christ and for the Word of God. Why was he put on the Isle of Patmos? Because he maintained a testimony, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Because he took a stand for the Word of God he was sent to this Isle of Patmos as a punishment, as exile. Instead of being killed or thrown in jail, they decided to punish him by throwing him on this deserted island. You know, I don’t know if he was all by himself. I don’t know if he was in some kind of a prison colony. I am not really sure if anybody was there with him. But he was probably not with any other believers or anything like that. He is just kind of on his own on this desert island, so to speak, the Isle of Patmos, “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Now, I love what he says here. “I John, who also am your brother.” Ok. And he says, “And companion in tribulation.”
Now the word “tribulation” is a word that everyone knows, a very commonly used word when dealing with the book of Revelation. But did you know that it is used very little in the book of Revelation? It is used in Revelation chapter number one. It is used in Revelation chapter number two. And then it is used in Revelation chapter number seven. And that’s it. It is used very little, ok?
It says in verse number nine here. He says, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation.”
Now what is the tribulation that John is enduring in verse nine? The tribulation that he is enduring is persecution for what he believes as we see the first time that the word tribulation is used in the New Testament in Matthew 13 when the Bible says, “For when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word...” Ok. “For when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
And so here we have, again, the tribulation is because of the testimony of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. Tribulation is a result of taking a stand for the Word of God. Do you understand why I am saying that? The Bible says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” He says we will suffer tribulation for what we believe. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” You will be persecuted for what you believe. If you take a stand, not just for the testimony of Jesus Christ, that might not get you persecuted, but when you take a stand for the testimony of Jesus Christ and for the Word of God, now you are into some tribulation. Now you are going to get some persecution.
You see, when persecution and tribulation ariseth because of the word.
You say, “Well, you know, people aren’t persecuting me because I am a Christian.”
Well, start talking about this book and see. Start preaching the things that are in this book. Start talking about the Word of God. And you are going to find yourself in a heap of tribulation right away. Ok, that is the difference. It is not just the testimony of Jesus that gets you tribulation, but when you take it a step further and say, “I am going to take a stand for the whole book. I believe everything in this book and I am going to preach it from the housetops.” That is where you are going to endure tribulation and persecution because of the Word.
So John says, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation...” He says, “I hope as you are reading this, that you are enduring tribulation like I am. I hope you are not leaving me on this island of Patmos in suffering and persecution, tribulation as well while you don’t take a stand for Jesus Christ, while you are living some namby pamby Christian life, while you are in the in feel good, psycho babble church, while you are in some lame church, while you are not taking a stand, while you are not out soul winning, while you are not taking a stand for the things of God, while you are some liberal preacher that won’t stand up and preach right, because I am in tribulation and persecution and the people that I am writing to,” as we saw in verse one, “are his servants. I am writing this to show unto his servants those things which must shortly come to pass. And his servants are enduring tribulation.” And he says, “If you are not my brother, if you are not my companion in tribulation, you are reading the wrong book. This is written to people who love God, who take a stand for God, who are my companions in tribulation.”
Would you like to be a companion of the apostle John? Would you like to be a companion of those that are like him? Then you are going to have to endure a little bit of persecution for what you believe. And if you are not enduring any persecution for what you believe, you are probably not living godly in Christ Jesus, because otherwise the Bible is not true.
And so tribulation and persecution will come to those who believe. The other mention of tribulation...I am just going to show you the three mentions quickly. I am hurrying to get done with the chapter. But look at verse number nine of chapter two, Revelation 2:9. This is written to a church in Smyrna. The Bible says:
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Now, let me ask you something. Is the book of Revelation hard to understand? Or is it very consistent? Because here we see John in tribulation because of the Word of God and he is in prison, so to speak, because he is on the Isle of Patmos. That is exactly what he says here to this church. He says, “You are going to have tribulation 10 days.” He says, “The devil is going to case some of you into prison.” He says, “Be thou faithful unto death and I shall give thee a crown of life.” So the Word is very consistent.
And then look down, if you would, here is another mention of tribulation, verse number 21 and 22 of chapter number two. The Bible says:
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death.
So what does tribulation mean here? Well, here it is God saying...and this is...keep in mind these are written to seven literal churches back in the time of John’s day, these seven churches.
He writes to another church and says, “You know what? This woman who is an adulteress, who is seducing my servants to commit adultery and to commit fornication,” he says, “I am going to cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation.” And he says, “I am going to kill her children with death.” He says, “I am going to go around and persecute her myself.”
And so tribulation always means in the Bible persecution. Nine times out of 10 it is the world and the devil and the evil crowd persecuting God’s people. Here is one of the 10% of the times where it is actually God persecuting an unbeliever, you know, or an ungodly person. Here it is probably a person that is saved, but that is living ungodly because he says she is seducing his servants to commit adultery. And he is persecuting her. He is killing her children. Do you see that is a persecution? That is a tribulation.
And then the last mention in the book of Revelation is in chapter seven, Revelation chapter number seven and look, if you would, at verse number 14.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
You see how it is the...basically the same people that...remember, “So shall we ever be with the Lord”? Remember that? Well, these people that have come out of great tribulation and washed their robes, he says that they are with the Lamb day and night. You know, later on we will see that they follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth. And so they are right with him.
And so that is the last mention in the book of Revelation of tribulation. It is not mentioned that much. But there is a great deal of tribulation mentioned in the book of Revelation, mainly the antichrist persecuting God’s people for what they believe, for the testimony of Jesus Christ and for the Word of God.
So verse number nine, again, where we were in chapter number one he said:
[I am your] companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.
Now, was the voice that he heard a trumpet? No. He says it was as a trumpet. See, the Bible is always careful to tell you when it is literal a trumpet and when it just sounds like a trumpet. That is what “as” means. It wasn’t a trumpet. It was a voice that was like a trumpet.
What is a trumpet like? A trumpet is very loud. And so he says with a very loud voice. It was a voice as of a trumpet saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia.” Of course, that is the book that we are reading, the book of Revelation is what he wrote.
He lists the seven churches there.
Verse number 12.
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Now Jesus Christ here is standing in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Now what are the seven golden candlesticks according to verse 20? The seven churches, right? So those candlesticks... Now remember this verse? “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” So here we have a...it said here that Jesus Christ is in the midst of his churches. So in this church right here is Jesus Christ here in the midst of us? Is he with us? Absolutely. And that is what he is saying here. He is saying, “I am standing in the midst of these particular seven golden candlesticks because these are the seven golden candlesticks that I happen to be addressing right now, that I happen to be writing to right now.”
And he says in verse number 13, it says that he is:
...clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.
Boy, isn’t this a dreadful picture? Can you imagine seeing a man whose face is pure white as snow. His hair on his head is as white as snow. And his eyes are like burning flames of fire. Can you imagine this? And it says, “His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
So two illustrations of what his voice is like. He said it is like a trumpet. “I heard Jesus talk to me,” he said, “It sounded like a trumpet.” And he said, “And it sounded like many waters.”
I mean I was thinking about this. Every time I go to the ocean I think about this. I was standing by the ocean not too long ago and just the waves crashing in and I thought of this verse. This is the verse that popped into my head. “His voice as the sound of many waters.” I just thought about that loud sound. I mean you get right next to the water and just hear those waves crash. And that is what his voice sounded like. It is a powerful voice.
The voice of the Lord is so powerful, the Bible says, that it can break cedar tree in half with his voice when he speaks. And so he has a powerful voice.
And, of course, his voice, this is what he speaks. When he speaks he speaks the Word of God, the Bible. And so he says, “His voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword.” Of course the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword.” “The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,” it says in Ephesians six.
It says, “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance...” his face is what countenance means. “His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” When it says the sun shineth in his strength it means...it is...go back to the Greek. It says. It says, “The sun shineth in Phoenix, Arizona.” Ok, that is what it says. “The sun shineth in its strength.”
Now, you can be on the brightest day of the year, for example, in Chicago. Like let’s say in January in Chicago and it is noon and sometimes, boy, I remember when I was there blue skies. The sun is bright and it is like negative three outside. And it was weird because you would look out the window and it looks—is this true?—I mean it looks sunny. It looks nice. You walk out there... because what happens is at different seasons the sun is at different angles with the earth’s atmosphere. And when it is shining straight down it has the shortest distance through the atmosphere to the earth. So when the sun is directly above you it shines just straight down and there is not as much resistance of air. But if the sun is coming at you diagonally like this, well, then it has to go through the hypotenuse of that triangle is a lot longer. It has to go through a lot more atmosphere and so the sun gets weaker. That is why sometimes in the winter...have you ever noticed that the sun goes up like this? It doesn’t really ever get above your head. You know, in the winter it kind of goes up. Unless you live in Phoenix. Then it is always just beating down on you. But go somewhere else sometime, see the world, ok? And you can see the sun sometimes will rise...it will rise over here and it will go up. And it will never get up in the sky. I mean it will just kind of rise over here and then just go down because...and it has got that angle. And that is why.
That is why if you go out at noon you are more likely to get a sunburn than if you go out at, you know, six AM it might be just as sunny, but it is not shining in its strength.
So he is saying here that when you look at the face of Jesus Christ here it is like looking at the sun. But not only is it like looking at the sun. He says it is like looking at the sun when it is straight up in the sky at noon time in Phoenix, Arizona and you look straight up in the air. He says, “That is how bright.”
Probably just the only way that he can describe it, because what is brighter than that? I don’t think there is anything brighter on the face of the earth than the sun shining in its strength.
And so he says, “That is what Jesus Christ’s face looks like.” It is no wonder that in verse 17, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.”
Here, another time read Daniel chapter seven. Daniel chapter seven and, again, in Daniel chapter 10 this is alluded to. If you read Daniel chapter seven you will see this exact same description of the white hair, the eyes that are a flame of fire, the throne of God. He calls him there the Ancient of Days and talks about God on his throne. Of course, Jesus is God, the same person. And it makes it very clear that...let me see here. Where it says he...it is the same thing happens, really, because this man appears to him in Daniel chapter 10, actually it is...look at seven and look at 10. But in Daniel chapter 10 this man appears to him and, again, Daniel falls on his face like he is dead. And then an angel actually comes and lays his hand upon him and tells him, you know, “Fear not, Daniel, Though thou beloved of the Lord,” or whatever it actually says.
And so you will see almost the exact same scenario as this in the book of Daniel. “I am he that liveth, and was dead,” a very important doctrinal statement there. He was dead. Understand the resurrection of Jesus Christ was that Jesus died and that he was buried and that he rose again. He didn’t...it is very important to understand that he was dead for three days and three nights, ok.
A lot of people don’t really comprehend that. Some people think that just was up in heaven during that time or something. No, he was dead. I mean he was in hell. Ok, he was dead for three days and three nights. He was dead and he says:
Behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.
So you see the past, present and future. He says, “Some of the things that you are writing in the book of Revelation are things that are present day,” which is chapters two and three. Chapters one, two and three are all present day for him. Some of chapter 12 is also present day for him. And he says, “Some of the things that you have seen is past,” you know, some past events are described in Revelation 12, the birth of Christ, the ascension of Christ which John has physically seen, the ascension of Jesus Christ. He says, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” That’s the bulk of the book of Revelation, the future events.
And then, of course, the verse we already read, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
So let’s quickly review this and just get a grasp of chapter one. I want you to understand the book of Revelation by the end of this series. I want you to have a firm grasp of it so that it doesn’t daunt you and you say, “Boy, the book of Revelation, wow, it is over my head. It is complicated. It is cryptic. It is mysterious.”
He says, “It is mysterious and let me tell you what it means.” It is mysterious to those that are not reading it and that aren’t saved or that haven’t had it explained to them, perhaps. But, really, you don’t even need it explained to you as long as you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. He will explain it to you. Don’t be daunted by it.
Let’s go over it quickly. Verse number one through six was an introduction, John explaining to you the purpose of this book. It is written to you that are saved. It is written to the servants of God, “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.”
Now, look. It is even shorter now than it was back then. Every day it gets closer. Every day it is drawing nearer. And so he says in verse number one through six, he explains to us who Jesus Christ is, what the book is about, who it is written to.
Verse number seven, the quintessential verse to understanding the book of Revelation, Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
Then we see in verse number eight Jesus Christ stating who he is.
Verse number nine, John explaining that he is on the Isle of Patmos. Here he is minding his own business. He is in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. It is Sunday. He is reading the Bible. He is in prayer. He is fellowshipping with God. All of the sudden he hears a voice behind him that sounds like a trumpet, that sounds like many waters. This great voice behind him stating, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,” you know, all of that. And then he turns around to see who it is that is talking to him and he looks to see who is talking to him and what does he see? He sees:
...“seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
And it described the same description as in the book of Daniel and Jesus Christ as he looks face to face at Jesus Christ like the sun shining in his strength. Jesus instructs him. He says, “I want you to write everything that I show you, some things that you have already seen. But you are going to see everything else that I show you, you are going to write it in this book and you are going to send it out and mail it out to these seven churches.” He says, “You are going to write the book of Revelation and seven copies and send it out to these seven churches.”
Now think about this. Why was it sent to seven churches? Why did he write seven copies of the book? Well, if he wrote one copy somebody might tamper with it, right? Think about this. And this is why it is so easy to believe that the King James Bible is the Word of God and that these other Bibles are wrong. If he just wrote the book of Revelation one time and just mailed it out somewhere, who knows if it is going to get lost in the mail? You know, who knows somebody is going to mess with it?
Ok, so he says, “Write it seven times and send it to the seven churches.”
Now think about this. If he wrote it seven times and sent it to seven different churches it is going to be pretty easy to tell the accuracy of the book because all you have to do is compare the seven side by side and if they all match up, you know, you have got an accurate copy. That is what the basis of the King James Bible is that it is the majority text. It is the text that is based on the hundreds and millions of copies throughout history. And so he sent...that is why he sends it out to seven churches. He sent out seven copies of it. He said, “Don’t add to it. Don’t take from it.” He says, “Compare the seven. They will be the same. They will match up.”
And so these are the seven copies that he sends out. And he explains what he is sending out.
And then look at verse number one of chapter four in closing, verse number one of chapter four. So we saw John. So far the book of Revelation is pretty easy to understand, right? John is being persecuted for what he believes. He is thrown on this island, but God sees fit to appear unto him and give him this great vision of the things that are going to be hereafter.
Look at verse number one. This is what picks up the story of chapter number one. The Bible says, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me.” Now, did he hear a trumpet? No. He said, “The first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet,” the same word that we saw earlier, “as of many waters.” Did he hear many waters?
Oh, it was because he was on the Isle of Patmos. It was the tide came in and he thought it was Jesus.
No. When it says his voice was as waters, it means it was like waters. It was not literally waters. Again, we see not literal, not literal trumpet here. He says, “The first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me.’ “It sounded like a trumpet talking with me.” And he says:
Which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set.”
Where? In heaven. So after Jesus appears to him on the Isle of Patmos, gives him some special instructions for these seven churches in chapters two and three. When it picks up the story in chapter number four verse one he says he looks up and a door opens in heaven and he hears a loud voice, the same voice that he just heard, the one that sounds like a trumpet, the voice of Jesus Christ saying, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
Everything in the book of Revelation is not just what Jesus told John about, but it was things that he was shown. I mean, he literally saw everything we are going to read about in the book of Revelation. Have you noticed how that has been emphasized. On and on he says, “I am a witness to these things.” He says, “I have seen these things.”
Everything in the book of Revelation John saw and so that’s chapter one.
Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
God, thank you so much for the Bible and thank you so much for the book of Revelation. What a fascinating book, what a phenomenal book in the Bible, dear God, so interesting to study. And it is so clear, dear God. And please just give us understanding in these coming weeks, dear God, as we delve into this book of the Bible. Help us to understand what we read and, boy, what an exciting book, what a thrill to think about Jesus Christ coming in the clouds. How exciting to look up in the sky and to see Jesus Christ come in the clouds. Imagine how our hearts are going to be pounding when we know that any second now we are going to be caught up to be with him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. “ Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus,” is our prayer tonight. And we love you and thank you so much for everything that you do for us, dear God and in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.