Glorifying God

The Little Book of the Revelation - Seventeenth and final in a series

This series is a call to Christians to prepare for persecution. There is no one or way to prepare you outside of the Lord through his Word and your prayers.

  • Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. (1 Pet 4:12-14)

We have observed an orderly sequence of seven seals, seven trumpets and three woes, and finally, seven bowls. Yet, not all of the end-time prophecies revealed in the chapters of the Revelation are presented sequentially; prophecy does not follow a linear path but may take a circuitous route, and will be clarified through words that echo through the Testaments.

This study has proposed that the first woe is a prosecution of conscience upon those who are firmly rooted in evil. The second woe is part of the message of the Little Book, that an end to the day of grace will arrive. The third woe is enforced in the seven bowl judgments. Thus, we see that the unsaved are heavily pressed to consider their sins before losing the opportunity to repent, after which they are finally damned.

I have suggested that the two witnesses of the Little Book symbolize mature Christians whose testimony will be made effective by God’s grace. They will join their martyred brothers and sisters from previous generations in God’s throne room as the Beast and his minions persecute them during the time of the Great Tribulation until the last ones of them who are killed but not buried, are resurrected. This event will convict the remnant of the Israel of God who will join them in life everlasting.

These concepts are not presented dogmatically. I hope this blog series will help to establish the true religion, as we noted in Post 1 that Sir Isaac Newton stated that a study in Revelation ought to do. It has presented many Scriptures without insisting on a particular interpretation so the reader can more easily reflect upon the events of the endtimes.

The reason the Lord chooses us in the furnace of affliction is for his glory. (Isa 48:10-11) “Jehovah trieth the hearts.” (Pro 17:3)

  • Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me;
    Thou wilt stretch forth thy hand against the wrath of mine enemies,
    And thy right hand will save me.
    Jehovah will perfect that which concerneth me:
    Thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, endureth for ever;
    Forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Ps 138:7-8)


The Little Book closes

The Little Book of the Revelation - Sixteenth in a series

The Day and Hour, known only by the Father (Mat 24:36), arrive now for the witnesses.

  • For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor 15:22)
  • VERSE 11
    And after the three days and a half the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them that beheld them.

The three and a half days epitomize the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation that has now ended. After this comes final destruction, not more tribulation. Tribulation is to an end; it is to accomplish the purpose of God in our lives, and it is very different from annihilation. The Trumpet blasts call us to take the side of the Lord and to suffer with Him, but the Bowl judgments are thoroughly devastating. (Rev 16:1-21)

  • VERSE 12
    And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they went up into heaven in the cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

From rotting corpses, whole, living men arise and are raised to heaven — Is this not the promised Resurrection of the dead, after which the living shall also be changed in the twinkling of an eye? (1 Cor 15:52)

  • VERSE 13
    And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

This earthquake and its death toll are not massive, as noted in Post 10. In fact, if Jerusalem is “the great city” of Revelation 16, that is, the seat of the end-time Babylonian religion of the world, it will be split into three parts when the seventh bowl of God’s wrath is poured out— a much greater leveling. (Rev 16:19)

The remarkable message of this verse is that some, a remnant, feared God and gave him glory when the two witnesses were resurrected. The same hour suggests a cotemporal event.

The salvation of the remnant is an awakening of hearts by the Holy Spirit, an irresistible grace, yet assisted by the two witnesses. The remnant, too, will rise to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thess 4:17)

  • VERSE 14
    The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

The third woe is composed of the bowl judgments, so it would seem that the second woe relates to the end of any prospect for salvation. It is not so woeful that an earthquake has toppled a tenth of the city or that seven thousand have perished; it is dreadful and a shock that there is now no more hope of salvation. The door to the ark has been shut.

Verse 14 marks the finish of the little Book, and it coincides with the sounding of the seventh trumpet in verse 15:

  • And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 11:15)

Would this not be the ‘last trump’ that Paul mentions in his first letter to the Corinthians?

  • 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. (1 Cor 15:51-52)

Paul explained to the Corinthians,

  • For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (I Cor 15:23)

The Thessalonians learned from Paul:

  • For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: 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, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thess. 4:16, 17)

Paul taught the Romans that God gave the Jews a spirit of slumber (Rom 11:8) yet they did not stumble to eternally fall but rather through their fall, salvation came to the Gentiles, provoking the Jews to jealousy, and as ‘the diminishing’ of the Jews meant riches for the Gentiles, so their salvation will mean ‘life from the dead’. (Rom 11:15)

In this perspective, the change of heart described would be viewed as the salvation of the 144,000. Those whom we first met in Chapter 7 come into view again in Chapter 14.

  • And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads…
    and they sing as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders: and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth. (Rev 14:1, 3)

In contrast, in Chapter 15 those who ‘had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name,’ stood on the sea of glass where the Lord was, and sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. (Rev 15:2-3). They loved both Old and New Testaments.

Why was the song of the 144,000 a different one from the larger group’s— one that only they could learn? This is something to reflect upon as we see both groups in the safe surroundings of God’s home before the ‘bowl’ judgments of Revelation 16 are poured out.

It would seem that the two witnesses obtained a measure of success by God’s plan and grace. Their testimony helped to achieve the change of heart in the remnant of Jews who were marked for security before the seventh seal was opened. (Rev 8:1)

An Aside: When The Lord gets the credit for our successful accomplishments, it is called Calvinism, but if we believe we have achieved mighty works as our own gift to God, it is called Arminian. The outcome of the praise either lifts up the Lord as sovereign or lifts up man as a free agent. Let us always lift up the Lord.

‘God is doing many things at one time.’ In revealing to John the events of the end, he has a pattern of assuring him that all will be well before he shows him the destruction of the earth and the martyrdom of the Christians.

We saw the saints in heaven having come out of the great tribulation before we were told what they must endure in Chapter 13. Likewise we were told the Jews will be with the Lord in heaven before the ‘bowl’ judgments of God’s wrath. And in the Little Book we see the resurrection of the righteous.

John tasted this prophecy and it was sweet but then bitter; we, too, are happy that a resurrection awaits the faithful and those who are beloved for the fathers' sakes. (Rom 11:28 ), but we are grieved that the day of grace must end. “Multitudes in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14) —or, more accurately, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, … (Jer 8:20) Salvation is no longer possible.

Let’s pray more than ever for loved ones and all who do not know the Lord.

In the next and final post we will wrap up any loose ends of this series.

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The Little Book of the Revelation - Fifteenth in a series

The scene turns dark as India ink poured into a well. We bend to look, perplexed, but see no edge nor level.

These next verses of the Little Book remind us that the darkest hour is before the dawn, and we think of the many encouragements in the Revelation to be overcomers or conquerors, and to be patient to the end:

  • To Ephesus: To him that overcometh, to him will I give… (Rev 2:7)
  • To Smyrna: He that overcometh shall not be hurt of … (Rev 2:11)
  • To Pergamum: To him that overcometh, to him will I give of… (Rev 2:17)
  • To Thyatira: And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give… (Rev 2:26)
  • To Sardis: He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in … (Rev 3:5)
  • To Philadelphia: He that overcometh, I will make him a … (Rev 3:12)
  • To Laodicea: He that overcometh, I will give to him to… (Rev 3:21)
  • Here is the patience and faith of the saints. (Rev 13:10)
  • Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Rev 14:12)

And think of all the encouragements in Scripture to wait on the Lord, to endure, to keep the faith! A few references: Psalm 37:34, Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 10:38. Even we may be more than conquerors! (Rom 8:37) Let us run with endurance the race that is before us (Heb 12:1) and mount up with wings like eagles (Isa 40:31) as events close in.

Zion is a wilderness (Isa 64:10)

  • VERSE 7
    And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that cometh up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.

God determines when the end will come, and by then, Christians will have completed the work of preaching the gospel. Next comes their death in the Lord (Rom 14:8); the beast who gained his power from the dragon (Rev 13:4) has worn out the saints of the most High. (Dan 7:25)

  • The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. (Isa 57:1)
  • VERSE 8
    And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Where is Zion? Where is the city of our God? The people of the Lord are not comforted but they are despised. Should they rejoice in their sufferings— do they complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of the church? (Col 1:24) — Understand, this has nothing to do with the cross of Christ but of ministry that is an agony, for if we endure hardship, we will also reign with him. (2 Tim 2:12)

When will the great city be ‘a praise in the earth’? (Isa 62:7) How long will it be before death is swallowed in victory? (1 Cor 15:54) Do we not have the mantle of Elijah, and can we not proclaim with Elisha, “Where is Jehovah, the God of Elijah?” (2 Ki 2:14) Why must we die in captivity, in Egypt, and why in Sodom, the place of final judgment?

  • Wherefore should the nations say, Where is now their God? (Ps 115:2)
  • I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. (Jer 23:14)
  • VERSE 9
    And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

The unsaved relish the demise of the saved, and wait three and a half days, keeping them in view to ascertain their souls should no longer hover nearby, and to verify they are dead. Rabbis taught that it took the soul three days to transition to the afterlife, so, does this scene reflect that belief?

Now we see that the ‘peoples, tongues, kindreds and nations’ were not only the saints but also their tormentors. Jerusalem is not only the city of God where we are born and live in Christ, but it is also the place of terrifying contrast—of blind zeal and slavery to sin, where our Lord was crucified.

This confusion of opposites must be resolved. We cannot continue in strife and darkness.

  • It is time for You to act, O LORD, For they have regarded Your law as void. (Ps 119:126)
  • And I will wait for Jehovah, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. (Isa 8:17)

The goats and sheep must be separated, the wheat and chaff divided.

  • VERSE 10
    And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

The people who are blind and rebellious show their delight by sending one another gifts to celebrate because their consciences were tormented by the Gospel. Obviously, one can be without spiritual vision, evil in thought and deed, yet nevertheless have some semblance of a conscience that is urgent to quiet.

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Attention Readers

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