Sermon Archive

The words of Revelation 22:6-21 are the last words of the book of Revelation; what is called an epilogue. In these final verses we're given the bottom line of the book: trust the book, expect Christ’s return. As we read this passage pay special attention to things repeated; they guide us in understanding the emphases of these final words.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

God doesn't reveal future events to satisfy our curiousity; He reveals future events to change our lives. I am impressed by this fact as I study Revelation 22:6-21; it is a call for the reader to respond in obedience to the prophecies of this book. Failure to heed its warnings will have dire consequences for a Christian. Obedience will bring blessing. So how should we respond to the book of Revelation?

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Revelation 21:9-22:5 gives a more detailed description of the New Jerusalem, our eternal home. I want to emphasize again the physicality of our future. At the Rapture, whether we are resurrected from the dead or we are alive and translated, we will receive glorified, physical bodies. Our glorified bodies will be like the glorified body of Jesus which was very physical though it had qualities that differ from our present, mortal bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-49). Jesus invited Thomas to touch His scars (Jn. 20:24-29). Jesus ate food in the presence of His disciples (Luke 24:36-49). Jesus talked to His disciples and they heard Him by way of their physical ears. All this is to drive home the fact that just as Jesus' glorified body is a physical body so also our glorified bodies will be physical bodies. We need to get clear in our minds that our future will be a very physical experience in very physical places starting with the New Jerusalem in which we will take up residence at the Rapture.

To be clear, all Old Testament saints and Church Age saints who have died up to this moment in history are in the Third Heaven in Paradise, but they are in a disembodied state (Lk. 23:39-43; Eph. 4:8-9; 2 Cor. 5:1-10). They await the First Resurrection - the resurrection to life (Jn. 5:29). Jesus is the first stage of the First Resurrection. Church Age saints are the second stage and will be resurrected at the Rapture.  Old Testament and Tribulation saints are the third and fourth stages and will be resurrected in the 75 day interval between the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. All of us will physically live together for eternity in the physical New Jerusalem of which John is given detailed revelation in Revelation 21 starting with verse 9. 

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

We enter the home stretch of our studies in Revelation as we open to Revelation chapter 21. By way of review using the Chronology of Eschatology chart, we are living in The Dispensation of Grace, specifically, The Church Age. We are awaiting the Rapture of the Church which, after an unspecificed amount of time, will be followed by the Tribulation. The seven year Tribulation will be brought to completion by the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. Jesus will then reign as King of kings and Lord of lords during the one thousand years of The Millennial Kingdom here on earth.

At the conclusion of The Millennial Kingdom, Satan will be released from the abyss and mount one last rebellion against Jesus. Jesus will prevail after which He will convene The Great White Throne Judgment. As a result of The Great White Throne Judgment, Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, all demons, all unrighteous human beings, the process/experience of death and even the place of the dead (Hades) will all be confined to the Lake of Fire for eternity. Then the wonders revealed in Revelation 21 will unfold: the New Heaven, the New Earth and the New Jerusalem coming to earth. 

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Many people in our society believe there will be some type of judgment in the afterlife.  Mistakenly, they believe this judgment will determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. The Bible reveals three judgments none of which determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.  One’s eternal destiny is determined in this life by one's response to Jesus Christ.

The first judgment is the Judgment Seat of Christ which will involve Church Age saints for the purposes of purification and reward (2 Cor. 5:1-10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15). This is the judgment you want to be part of. The second judgment will be the Sheep & Goats Judgment which will involve gentile survivors of the Tribulation for the purpose of determining which of them will enter the Millennial Kingdom (Matt. 25:31-46). The third and final judgment will be The Great White Throne Judgment which will involve every human being who failed to be reconciled to God for the purpose of determining degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). You do not want to be at  The Great White Throne Judgment. As we will see, the destiny of every defendant at The Great White Throne Judgment is the Lake of Fire. The Great White Throne Judgment is revealed in Revelation 20:11-15. Studied in context, it is clear that The Great White Throne Judgment will take place after the Millennial Kingdom is completed and Satan is defeated (20:7-10).

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Jesus will defeat the army of the Antichrist and bring the seven year Tribulation to an end. Following the Tribulation, Jesus will establish His Kingdom here on earth. In fulfillment of God's unconditional covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants many passages in the Old Testament speak of a future kingdom ruled by the Messiah during which time Israel will dwell securely in the land area God promised.  Further, the nation of Israel will be brought into the New Covenant as a nation and every Jew will know the Lord during the Messianic Kingdom (Jer. 31:31-40; 50:17-20). The expectation of a Messianic Kingdom is based on a large amount of material in the Old Testament Scriptures.

The contribution of Revelation 20:1-10 to the revelation of the Messianic Kingdom is that this passage reveals the duration of the Messianic Kingdom. It is stated six times in these ten verses that the Messianic Kingdom will last for one thousand years. The duration of the Messianic Kingdom was not revealed in the Old Testament. Revelation 20:1-10 clearly reveals a duration of one thousand years. When we refer to the Kingdom as the Millennial Kingdom we are emphasizing its duration. 

According to Daniel 12:11-13 there will be a seventy-five day interval between the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. Many things will  take place in this interval including the binding of Satan and the resurrection of martyred Tribulation saints. 

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Revelation 19:11-21 reveals the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to the earth at the end of the 7 year Tribulation. He will come to make war against the Antichrist and False Prophet. In order to fully understand the situation at the time of Jesus’ second coming we need to do some review and some supplementing of our passage. We discovered in Revelation 12 that midway through the 7 year Tribulation, Satan and his demonic forces will be defeated in battle by Michael the Archangel and his angelic forces. As a result, Satan will be cast to the earth (Rev. 12:7-9). Knowing prophecy, Satan will be enraged knowing he has only 3 1/2 years before the second coming of Christ to the earth. His rage will be directed at Israel, the Jews, and at the followers of Jesus (Rev. 12:13-17). Working through the Antichrist and False Prophet Satan’s persecution of the Jews will be the most severe in human history.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Cathy and I had a terrible two years of dating before our engagement. I was in a period of spiritual rebellion. Cathy was not sure about marriage. We call it two years of "kicking each other in the shins". But we loved each other and by God’s grace in December 1983 we were engaged. Initially we thought it would be a twelve month engagement, but encouraged by the counsel of my father, we shortened it to four and a half. April 28th, 1984 we were wed. We then honeymooned on the central coast of California.

Dating, engagement, wedding and honeymoon are traditionally the four stages of our western wedding system. In Jesus' day there were four stages as well in the Jewish wedding system: the arrangement, fetching, ceremony and feast. As the Bride of Christ, we will experience each of the four stages. In fact, we've already experienced the first stage – the arrangment. We're looking forward to the second stage – the fetching. And then we’ll experience the third and fourth stages revealed in Revelation 19:6-10 - the ceremony and the feast. But before we get to this, verses one through five of Revelation 19 vibrate with heaven's celebration at the fall of Babylon.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

I need to correct something I taught in our previous study. The outline of the book of Revelation is such that from Revelation 6 through 19 the chronological sequence of Tribulation events is "interrupted" by interludes or explanatory breaks in the action (e.g. Rev. 7:1-17, 10:1-11:14, 12:1-15:4, 17:1-18). The phrase after these things (meta; tau:ta) is the signal in the Greek text that the sequence of events is resuming.

In our previous study I stated that chapters 17 & 18 were an interlude following the chronological sequence of the 7 Bowl Judgments revealed in chapter 16. That is incorrect. Chapter 18 begins with the phrase after these things (meta; tau:ta) indicating that the sequence of events is resumed in chapter 18 (Unfortunately, the ESV mistranslates this phrase as "After this."
Chapters 17 & 18 both deal with the destruction of Babylon; chapter 17 with the destruction of ecclesiastical Babylon (the one-world church) and chapter 18 the destruction of commercial Babylon (the economic system of the Antichrist). Careful observation of the text makes clear that these are separate and distinct events. Here are two significant ways in which these events differ: Ecclesiastical Babylon will be destroyed by the Antichrist and 10 king coalition (17:16), but commercial Babylon will be destroyed by God (18:4-8).

Direct download: 140817AM.mp3
Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Revelation chapters 17 and 18 are an interlude in the sequence of Tribulation events. These chapters deal with the destruction of religious and economic Babylon. Revelation 17 reveals the destruction of Babylon in its religious aspect.

Religion will flourish during the first half of the Tribulation in the false religious system called Babylon, the great prostitute. This system may be centered in the rebuilt city of Babylon or perhaps in Rome. It will be ecumenical including numerous apostate religious groups. This one-world church will enjoy the support of the state and use the power of the state to push its agenda. For the first half of the Tribulation, the prostitute will reign unchallenged; but at the middle of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will see her as a challenge to his own power and program. With the coalition of ten nations under his control, he will destroy the one-world religious system and declare himself God, demanding to be worshiped.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Chapters 12-14 have revealed personalities and events of the middle of the seven-year Tribulation. The Antichrist will come to power. The False Prophet will be advancing worship of the Antichrist through the image and the mark. Violent persecution of the Jews will break out with a remnant of Jews kept safe by God in a city of refuge. Followers of Jesus Christ will find themselves enemies of the state subject to arrest and execution. Chapters 15 & 16 now resume the chronological sequence of Tribulation events. God's wrath against the counterfeit Trinity and its followers will reach its zenith in the form of the seven Bowl Judgments.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Jesus taught a number of parables revealing the nature of the Kingdom between His first and second comings. The Parable of the Weeds is one such parable. The Parable of the Weeds follows the Parable of the Soils which explained why the good seed Jesus had sown had not taken root; it was because of the rocky soil that characterized the hearts of Israel's spiritual leaders. But there was another power at work as well which is the subject of the Parable of the Weeds.

In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus gives the parable. The Greek noun translated "weeds" (zizania, used only here in the N.T.) refers to a plant similar in appearance to wheat which does not produce any grain. Before the genuine wheat produces grain, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference. Thus the master's prohibition against weeding out the zizania before the harvest.

In verses 36-43 Jesus explains the parable. Jesus is teaching that during the Church Age, wherever the good seed of God's Word is sown, Satan is right there sowing counterfeit seed. When is the time of the harvest?

Direct download: 140727AM.mp3
Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Midway through the 7 year Tribulation, the Antichrist will achieve his ultimate goal of world domination. 3 1/2 years into the 7 year treaty which he will sign with the nation of Israel, the Antichrist will violate the security treaty, invade Israel, Jerusalem and the Jewish temple (Dan. 9:27). He will seat himself in the temple and declare himself god (2 Thess. 2:4). A second entity, the second beast of Revelation 13, the False Prophet, will command an image of the Antichrist be fashioned and set up in the temple (Matt. 24:15; Rev. 13:14). Empowered to animate the image, the False Prophet will coerce mankind to worship the image; those refusing will be killed (Rev. 13:15). The False Prophet will also inaugurate operation "Mark" requiring citizens of the world to take the mark of the beast (Antichrist) on their right hand or forehead as an act of worship. Those refusing will be barred from buying or selling (Rev.13:16-18). In his drive to be worshipped exclusively, the Antichrist and False Prophet will undoubtedly ban all religions and suppress the teaching of all sacred texts; especially the preaching of the Word of God.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Revelation 14 contains three sections each of which begins with the phrase kai eidon (then I looked, 14:1; then I saw, 14:6; then I looked, 14:14). This study is of the second section (14:6-13) which contains three angelic pronouncements and an affirmation of the Holy Spirit. These pronouncements will be made mid-tribulation; the time at which the Antichrist will achieve world domination. Supported by the False Prophet, he will declare himself god and demand the world worship him. His image will be set up in the Temple; those refusing to worship it will be killed (13:15). The worldwide campaign of "the mark" will force people to worship; without the mark, one will not be able to buy food (13:16-17). Jews and Jesus followers will be hunted, imprisoned and many murdered.

As this nightmare begins to unfold, God will send angelic preachers to warn the world's people not to worship the beast nor take his mark, but to worship the one true God. It will be yet another manifestation of God’s love and grace. The first angelic preacher will warn the citizens of the earth to worship the true God because His judgment is imminent.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Revelation chapters 12 & 13 reveal the darkest time in human history. Satan (the dragon) cast down to earth will vent his rage against Israel through the Antichrist (beast out of the sea) and the False Prophet (beast out of the earth). Rising to world power, the Antichrist will crush mankind under the heel of his totalitarian regime. Freedom of conscience and freedom of religion will be persecuted under the False Prophet's campaign to replace all religions with the worship of the Antichrist. Dissent will not be tolerated. Those refusing to worship the image of the Antichrist will be executed. Those refusing to take the mark of the Antichrist will be denied access to basic necessities. Millions the world over will die.It will be the darkest, most brutal period in human history.

Against the dark backdrop of Revelation 13, Revelation chapter 14 shines a ray of hope. All will not be lost. The unholy trinity will not win. The Lamb will stand on Mt. Zion with His redeemed!

The vision given the Apostle John in Revelation 14:1-5 was given as a direct contrast to Revelation 13. The vision is of the future. It is a vision of the Millennial Kingdom. The purpose of this vision is to encourage believers that as terrible as the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation will be it will not last; Jesus and His saints will triumph. 


As we read Revelation 14:1-5 keep in mind the dark days of the Antichrist's regime revealed in chapter 13.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Revelation 12 revealed that midway through the Tribulation Satan will be cast to the earth. Knowing his time is short; Satan will work through the Antichrist and the False Prophet to receive the worship he craves. This is the theme of Revelation 13.
Revelation 13:1–2 (ESV) 1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to  it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. This beast that rises from the sea is the Antichrist. The meaning of the symbols used to describe the Antichrist have been explained in previous sermons available on both our church website and smartphone app.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

In our previous study we were thinking about this long period of time in human history called the Times of the Gentiles. Please reference the Times of the Gentiles chart on page two of your notes. The Times of the Gentiles stretches from 586 B.C. to the end of the Tribulation. Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 reveal that from God’s prophetic perspective, four Gentile empires dominate Jerusalem over the course of the Times of the Gentiles.

We discovered that the first three Gentile empires - the Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Hellenistic – were represented symbolically by animals – a lion, bear and leopard. The fourth Gentile empire, however, is so powerful and brutal, it is described as a beast that crushes. The fourth Gentile empire began with the Roman empire. The Roman empire came to an end but the fourth Gentile empire has not. The Roman empire was a stage of the fourth Gentile empire but is not the totality of the fourth Gentile empire. The fourth Gentile empire and the Roman empire are not one in the same. The fourth Gentile empire which began with the Roman empire continues to dominate Jerusalem until the end of the Tribulation.

So what is this fourth Gentile empire that began with the Roman empire but extends beyond it?

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Midway through the 7 year Tribulation persecution will break out against the Jewish people on a scale unequalled in human history. Revelation 12 reveals the reasons: 1) Satan hates Israel because it is the source of the Messiah (12:1-6), 2) Satan will be defeated by Michael the Archangel and cast down to earth for the final 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation (12:7-12) and 3) Satan will attempt to annihilate the Jews but God will protect a Remnant in the Wilderness (12:13-17). The final words of Revelation 12 set us up for chapter 13: Revelation 12:17 (ESV) 17 …And he (the dragon) stood on the sand of the sea.

Picture Satan standing on the seashore furious and filled with rage. He knows his time is short – only 3 1/2 years before the 2nd coming. He's been defeated by Michael the Archangel. He no longer has access to the presence of God.  He can't attack Jesus directly so he will vent his rage on Jesus' people, the Jews. He still craves to be worshipped by mankind.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

1/3 of the world population of Jews were murdered in the WWII Holocaust.  2/3s of the world population of Jews will be murdered in the Tribulation Holocaust (Zech. 13:8). Who will be driving this anti-Semitism and why? Poised to begin the second half of the Tribulation, Revelation 12 reveals the who and why of the Tribulation Holocaust.
Several of the symbols are interpreted in the chapter itself so we will read the entire chapter.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

We are studying Revelation 11:15-19. On the Tribulation Timeline this places us very near the midpoint of the Tribulation. It is at the midpoint of the Tribulation that the activities of the counterfeit trinity will kick in to high gear.  The parentheses of chapters 12-14 explain the "why" and "what" of the counterfeit trinity’s intensified campaign. Revelation 11:1-2 reveals that a third Jewish temple will be operational at the beginning of the Tribulation. This Tribulation Temple will not be sanctioned by God and, in fact, will be censured by the Two Witnesses who's ministry during the first half of the Tribulation is revealed in 11:3-13. As we come to Revelation 11:15-19, 6 of the 7 Trumpet Judgments have already been executed. Here, near the midpoint of the Tribulation, the 7th Trumpet is sounded.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Throughout history various men have sought to rule the world. None succeeded. In the Tribulation a man will succeed. How will this come about? The Scriptures reveal that…

2 Thessalonians 2:9–11 (ESV) 

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

Antichrist will achieve world dominion. He will be energized and enabled by Satan. Citizens of the Tribulation who have no commitment to truth will fall prey to his deceptions. Chief among his deceptions will be his resurrection from the dead. The Antichrist will be part of a counterfeit trinity consisting of himself, Satan and the False Prophet. Mimicking Jesus’ death and resurrection, Antichrist will be killed and will rise from the dead. Three times this counterfeit resurrection is mentioned in Revelation 13. When will the death and resurrection of the Antichrist take place? Our study of the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11 enables us to identify when on the Tribulation timeline Antichrist will die and be resurrected. First, Revelation 11:3 reveals the Two Witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days (3 1/2 years).

Direct download: 140511AM.mp3
Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

A Muslim mosque, The Dome of the Rock, presently dominates the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Two Jewish Temples have stood on this site. The first, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second, built by Zerubbabel, was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

In 637 A.D. Muslim forces conquered Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock was completed in 691 A.D. Just a few meters south of The Dome of the Rock is a second mosque even more sacred to the Muslims which is called the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The Scriptures make clear that a third Jewish Temple will be built on the Temple Mount. It will be operative during the Tribulation. The Antichrist will desecrate this temple by erecting in it a statue of himself (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; Rev. 13:11-14). This is called the abomination of desolation by our Lord (Matt. 24:15). It will take place mid way through the seven year Tribulation.

At present, building a third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount seems impossible. How it will come about is not revealed in Scripture. That there will be a Third Jewish Temple is certain. That is the clear message of the first two verses of Revelation 11.

Direct download: 140504AM.mp3
Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

Following the sixth Trumpet Judgment (9:13-21) the Apostle John saw another mighty angel. This is another angel (Grk., "another of the same kind") distinct from the sixth angel who sounded the sixth trumpet (9:13). He is coming down from heaven emphasizing his origin and his heavenly authority. Clouds are often associated with divine intervention and judgment (Dan. 7:13; 1 Thess. 4:17). His being clothed with a cloud symbolizes his role in executing God's judgment.  The rainbow encircling his head reminds us of the rainbow around God’s throne and signals this angel is acting with divine authority (4:3). His face reflects God’s Shekinah glory and his legs like pillars of fire symbolize divine judgment.

The little scroll open in his hand is not the seven-sealed scroll of 5:1. A different word is used in the Greek to distinguish this scroll from the former. Based on what happens in this vision, this little scroll contains revelation concerning the final series of judgments, the Bowl Judgments.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

If you were to walk into the teaching room on Barangonan Island you would see two miniature boats suspended from the rafters. One boat is painted black and is sailing towards the Lake of Fire. The other boat, painted white, is sailing to the New Earth. We are in one or the other of these boats. We are sailing either to the Lake of Fire or to the New Earth. These boats speak not only of destination, but alignment. Those in the black boat are aligned with Satan and the demonic world. Those in the white with Jesus.

To the secular, naturalistic mind, Satan and demons are the stuff of fantasy. The Bible clearly reveals that Satan is a created angel who rebelled against God, deceived a third of the angelic host to worship him and is the avowed enemy of God, of righteous angels and humanity.  Regarding Satan the secular man scoffs and dismisses as religious fanatics those who believe in his existence.

But a day is coming when all such scoffing will cease.  In the fifth and sixth Trumpet Judgment the stuff of nightmares will be reality. Let’s review where we’ve been and where we are in our study of end-time events.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

The Chronology of Eschatology chart gives an overview of the present age and major endtime events. We are living in The Dispensation of Grace; specifically The Church Age. At any time Jesus could come to fetch His bride, the Church and take her to heaven through the Rapture event (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11). When Antichrist signs a 7 year covenant with Israel, the 7 year Tribulation will commence (Dan. 9:27). The Tribulation will end when Jesus comes again to the earth to deliver Israel and defeat Antichrist (Rev. 19:11-21). Jesus' triumph will usher in the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom (Rev. 20:1-6). With its conclusion the Great White Throne Judgment will take place during the Aftermath resulting in the consignment of Satan, demons and unrighteous humanity to the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). Then The Eternal Order will commence resulting in the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem (Rev. 21).

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

We are in the third division of the book of Revelation - those (things) that are to take place after this (1:19). Chapters 6-18 reveal the events of the seven year Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin with the signing of the seven year covenant between Antichrist and Israel (Dan. 9:27). Chapter six reveals the first of three series of judgments that take place during the Tribulation. Some scholars believe the Seven Seal Judgments will take place in the first quarter of the seven year Tribulation, that is, during the first 21 months of the Tribulation (see Chart on page 5). The first four seal judgments follow one another in a cause and effect relationship: the Antichrist sets out to conquer the world, war breaks out resulting in famine and mass death from starvation, disease and wild animals (6:1-8). The fifth seal judgment reveals that all during the first half of the Tribulation persecution and martyrdom will break out against followers of Jesus (6:9-11). With the sixth seal judgment, God will shake heaven and earth producing catastrophic destruction (6:12-17). The seventh seal judgment reveals a half hour of silence in heaven and preparation of the next series of judgments called the Trumpet Judgments (8:1-2). Notice in your Bible that the seventh seal judgment (8:1-2) is separated from the sixth seal judgment (6:12-17) by chapter 7. Chapter 7 is a parentheses, an interlude in the flow of action for the purpose of explaining something mentioned in chapter six. Let's begin by reviewing the sixth Seal Judgment paying particular attention to the closing statement of verse 17.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

We are in the third division of the book of Revelation - those (things) that are to take place after this (1:19). Chapters 6-18 reveal the events of the seven year Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin with the signing of the seven year covenant between Antichrist and Israel (Dan. 9:27).

Revelation chapters 6-18 reveal that during the Tribulation there will be three series of Judgments: the Seven Seal Judgments (6:1-8:1), the Seven Trumpet Judgments (8:2-11:19) and the Seven Bowl Judgments (15:1-18:24).

With the signing of the covenant, the Seven Seal Judgments will commence.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

We are in the third division of the book of Revelation, what Jesus referred to as those (things) that are to take place after this (1:19). These events follow the Rapture of the Church. Chapters 6-19 reveal the events of the seven year Tribulation.

Having taken the seven sealed scroll from the Father's hand, Jesus our kinsman redeemer will break the seals thus commencing the first of three series of judgments that will take place during the Tribulation. The first series of judgments are aptly called the Seal Judgments. These judgments begin as a result of the signing of the Seven Year Covenant between the Antichrist and the nation of Israel (Dan. 9:27).

The breaking of the first seal brings forth a man wearing a crown, riding a white horse and going forth conquering, and to conquer. Please read with me Revelation 6:1-2.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

The elderly Apostle John was given this revelation of Jesus Christ and the end times in 96 A.D. while a political prisoner of Rome exiled on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Revelation 1:19 is the outline of the book. The things you have seen was the vision of Jesus John saw and recorded in Revelation 1:9-20. Those (things) that are refers to the letters written to the seven churches (1:11). Chapters 2 & 3 contain these letters. Those (things) that are pertains to the Church Age which began Pentecost 33 A.D. and will end with the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Those (things) that are to take place after this refers to the events that will take place following the Rapture of the Church. These future events are revealed in chapters 4-22. The vision of chapters 4-5 reveals that following the Rapture of the Church, somewhere in the heavens, thrones will be set up (Dan. 7:9-10). Jesus our kinsman-redeemer will take the seven-sealed scroll and break the seals. With the breaking of the seals the judgments of the Tribulation begin.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

In the first century A.D. a scroll sealed with seven seals would have been recognized as a legal document; specifically, a will. This scroll is the title deed of our inheritance. It is the restoration of that which was lost in the Fall (Gen. 3). Not just anyone will be able to open the scroll in that day. The one who opens the scroll must be a kinsman-redeemer for the human race. He must be our blood relative, but without sin. He must desire to redeem us. He must pay the redemption price. According to the elder, a kinsman-redeemer exists. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Root of David. He has conquered. He will be worthy to open the scroll in that day. The Apostle John’s gaze was met with a shocking sight.

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Category:Revelation -- posted at: 7:30am PDT

The Apostle John was distraught. No one in all the universe is worthy to open the scroll; not the Father, not the Spirit, not an angel, not a human being. John weeps. But then..

Revelation 5:5 (ESV) 

5 of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."

Who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah? Who is the Root of David? Who is He and what has He done so that He is the only One in all the universe qualified to open the scroll? Because we have the completed canon of Scripture, we know that He is Jesus.  But do not let that knowledge diminish our contemplation of who He is in all His fullness.  Again, the questions guiding our study this morning are these: Who is He and what has He done so that He is the only One in all the universe qualified to open the scroll? Jesus is Worthy Because He Is the One Designated by God to rule the earth (Rev. 5:5).

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In Revelation chapter 4 we were brought into John’s vision of the heavenly courtroom convened for the Tribulation judgments. John was privileged to see the throne, God the Father seated upon it, the Holy Spirit before the throne, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders. Chapter 5 continues John’s vision of the heavenly courtroom. 

What is this scroll and it’s significance such that John weeps when, initially, it appears no one is worthy to open it?

And what is required in order to be worthy? Let’s observe carefully what John saw. According to verse one, where was the scroll?  It was in the right hand of the One seated on the throne; in other words it was in the right hand of God the Father.  God the Father is the author, the source of the scroll and its contents, therefore, whatever it contains is true and whatever plans it holds will be carried out. John saw that the scroll was written within and on the back indicating that it was full and comprehensive, nothing more could be added because it is complete. Finally, John saw that the scroll was sealed with seven seals. Seven is the number of perfection or completeness, again indicating that the contents of the scroll are complete. The scroll may have looked something like this with the wax seals all along the exposed edge of the scroll.

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Courtrooms are a very sobering place to me. The wood panelled walls, the banister separating spectators from litigants, jurors, lawyers and judge, the armed bailiff – all these impress upon me the seriousness of the courtroom. I have witnessed, firsthand, the power and authority of a judge, robed and seated above all delivering life changing judgments. Revelation chapters 4 and 5 usher us into God’s courtroom from which the most severe, earth shattering judgments will be delivered. Please turn in your Bibles and read along with me as I read Revelation 4:1-11.

Revelation chapters 4 and 5 usher us into God’s courtroom which, I believe, is specifically setup to render divine judgment upon the earth during the Tribulation (Rev. 6-19). Revelation chapters 2 and 3 deal with the Church Age, that period of human history from Pentecost 33 A.D. to the Rapture of the Church (2014 + x years). Following the book’s outline, Revelation chapters 2 and 3 constitute the second division of the book, the things… that are (1:19). Presently, we are living in this period of time; we are living in the Church Age prior to the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Chapters 4-5 transition us into the third division of the book of Revelation, the things… that are to take place after this. (1:19).

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The greatest threat to the spiritual vitality of the Church is not persecution, but prosperity. Prosperity has undermined God's people for millennia. On the eve of entering the Promised Land, God warned the twelve tribes of Israel of prosperity's corrosive effects. 

The traveler from Philadelphia would go forty-five miles southeast to Laodicea on the same major postal road that stretches from Pergamum through Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia to the Mediterranean. The city was also one hundred miles east of Ephesus on the main Roman trade route to eastern Asia Minor. Philadelphia and Laodicea were situated on the only two routes into Phrygia (the eastern province) from the west. This confluence of major trade routes made Laodicea critical for trade and communications in the province. Laodicea was the more important member of a tri-city formation with Hierapolis six miles north and Colosse ten miles east; all three cities were part of Phrygia. It eventually became a banking center and an increasingly wealthy city. Known for its soft, raven-black wool, it outstripped other garment manufacturers in the district and became wealthier still. There was a famous school of medicine at Laodicea, connected with the temple of Men Karou ("god of the valley"), the god of healing. Followers of the teaching of Herophilos believed in compound medicines for complex diseases and developed a compound for curing eye diseases called "Phrygian powder," which brought Laodicea even more fame and money. There were only two drawbacks to Laodicea. First, like Philadelphia it lay in a region prone to earthquakes. An earthquake in a.d. 60 virtually destroyed the city, but unlike Philadelphia (and Hierapolis), Laodicea wanted no financial aid from Rome. Instead, the wealthy citizens rebuilt their city. Second, Laodicea had no water supply. They had to pipe in water from Denizli, six miles south, via an aqueduct that left the city vulnerable to weather and enemies.

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The Church of Philadelphia was one of two churches that received only commendation and no critique from the Lord Jesus. The outstanding characteristic of the Philadelphian believers was their faithfulness amidst persecution to reach out to unbelievers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Sardis was a city in decline; her past wealth and splendor greatly deteriorated. Set atop a mountain surrounded by steep cliffs with a single, narrow approach, Sardis had been considered impregnable, but had twice been conquered  because of its arrogance  and lack of watchfulness. Sardis was devoted to the worship of the mother-goddess Cybele. Ironically, a white, clean robe was required to participate in worship characterized by orgies and debaucheries of the basest nature.

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Thyatira was known for its trade guilds for potters, tanners, dyers and bronze workers. It was particularly known for its wool and dying industry as illustrated in the life of Lydia, a distributor of the purple garments for which Thyatira was famous (Acts 16:14). These guilds created a tremendous problem because it was extremely hard for a merchant to pursue his or her trade without belonging to a guild. But to belong to a guild put a Christian in a compromising position because of the pressure to participate in their pagan, idolatrous feasts. Each guild had its own patron deity, feasts, and seasonal festivities that included sexual immoralities.

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Pliny, a Roman author, described the city of Pergamum as "by far the most distinguished city in Asia." Pergamum was a university city boasting a library of more than two hundred thousand books. It was a center of worship for four of the most important pagan cults of that day - Zeus, Athene, Dionysos, and Asklepios. Pergamum was the official center in Asia for the imperial cult. It was the first city of Asia to receive permission to build a temple dedicated to the worship of a living ruler. In 29 B.C. Augustus granted permission for a temple to be erected in Pergamum to "the divine Augustus and the goddess Roma." In His letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum Jesus commends them for their faithfulness to His name even when Antipas was martyred, but rebukes them for allowing in their midst false teachers who were influencing them to compromise themselves with the prevailing culture.

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As Jesus speaks to the suffering saints of Smyrna challenging them to be faithful unto death He does so as their Sovereign Lord (the first and the last) Who was, Himself, faithful unto death (who died and came to life.) His death and resurrection guarantees their ultimate victory if, in fact, they are martyred on account of Jesus. 

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Jesus the Judge (1:9-20), Judgment Begins with His Church (1:13), Jesus’ Judgment of the Church of Ephesians (2:1-7).

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In his invocation, John calls upon all three members of the Trinity to let  grace and peace rest on the seven congregations to whom Revelation was written. The One who is and who was and who is to come is God the Father. The seven spirits who are before his throne is the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. It was in His first coming that Jesus served as the faithful witness and, through His resurrection, became  the firstborn of the dead.

Did Jesus become the ruler of kings on earth in His first coming? Has Jesus been reigning over the kings of the earth for the past 2000 years? Is Jesus presently reigning and ruling in righteousness over President Putin of Russia, President Rouhani of Iran, President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, President Obama of the U.S.? Is Jesus, at this time, ruling the kings of earth?

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It is amazing how many people know the hymn "Amazing Grace"; it is sad how few people experience God’s grace. John’s hope and longing was that the persecuted churches to whom he wrote would deeply experience God’s grace and peace in the midst of their trials. 

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How many of us have read or tried to read the book of Revelation? Did you find Revelation to be an easy or a challenging read? Most of us, including myself, find Revelation to be a challenging read, yet a blessing is promised to anyone who reads and heeds this book.

What makes Revelation so challenging? It is challenging because of the way in which God communicated His message.  As you know, if you've read even just a portion of Revelation, God communicated His message using a lot of symbols. Revelation is not the only book full of symbols;  God also used a lot of symbols in the Old Testament books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. In fact, as we will discover, many of the symbols used in these Old Testament books will be employed by God in Revelation.

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