PREPARING FOR END TIMES

by Clay Watts

"Revelation"


Introduction

This section contains class outlines for a study of the book of Revelation.  The purpose of this class was to prepare our hearts and minds for End Times by carefully interpreting and applying key prophetic passages to everyday life.  The approach was to use Revelation as the framework for discussing key End Times passages.  We included illustrations from current events (fall 2004) and principles of prophetic interpretation.  We wanted to understand how to be open and flexible in applying prophecy, but knowledgeable and sincere about using it to prepare for what is coming. 

2 Peter 3 – Our attitudes towards End Times

·        Why a delay?

·        What is the end result?

·        What is our role & motivation?

 

1 Corinthians 14:3 – Purpose of prophecy

 

The following are the specific class topics:

 

# 1 – Revelation of Christ

# 2 & 3 – Seven Churches

# 4 & 5 – Picture of Heaven, Views of the Rapture

# 6 – Opening of the First Six Seals – Parallel Scriptures

# 7 – 144,000 Sealed; Multitude in White Robes

# 8 – Silence & First Four Trumpets

# 9 – Fifth & Sixth Trumpets

# 10 – Mighty Angel & Little Book

# 11 – Two Witnesses & Seventh Trumpet

# 12 – Woman and Dragon

# 13 – Two Beasts – Unholy Trinity

# 14 – Harvest Time!

# 15 – Seven Angels with Bowls of Wrath

# 16 – Seven Plagues

# 17 – The Harlot Babylon

# 18 – The Fall of Babylon the Great

# 19 – The Return of Christ

# 20 – The Reign of Christ

# 21 – The New Jerusalem

# 22 – River of Life & Jesus’ Soon Coming


 

Revelation 1 – Revelation of Christ

  • v 3 – more motivation?
  • v 20 – what are the lampstands & stars?  principle of interpretation?

 

Revelation 2 & 3 – Seven Churches

  • How should we interpret the 7 churches?
  • Views of End Times
    • Figurative

§         Idealist (amillennial)

    • Literal

§         Preterist (historical-postmillennial)

§         Historicist

§         Futurist (pre-millennialist)

·        Pre-tribulational (dispensationalism)

·        Mid-tribulational

·        Pre-wrath

·        Post-tribulational

  • What is Christ saying to the churches today?
    • Ephesus (loveless)
    • Smyrna (persecuted)
    • Pergamos (compromising)
    • Thyatira (corrupt)
    • Sardis (dead)
    • Philadelphia (faithful)
    • Laodicea (lukewarm)
  • Related passages
    • Matthew 24: 32-51

Current events – Israel’s 425 mile security wall-fence & Ezekiel 38

 

 

Revelation 4 & 5 – Picture of Heaven, Views of the Rapture

  • Throne of God, 24 elders (Rev 21:12-14), living beings (Is 6:1-3) and scroll (title deed)

·        Views of the Rapture

o       Pre-trib (prior to 7 week tribulation)

·        John caught up in Rev 4; 24 church elders in heaven; restrainer (believers) removed before antichrist appears (2 Thess 2:7); church not mentioned Rev 6-18

·        Christ coming for (1 Thess 4:16-17) and with (Rev 19:8,14; Zech 14:5) the saints – interval for judgment & marriage supper; explains other contradictions

·        Dispensationalism – 70th week is Israel; Church age is over Tribulation is to punish Israel – Matt 24 tribulation is for Jews

·        Believers escape tribulation, delivered from wrath & judgment (Rev 3:10 ek vs. dia, 1 Thess 5:9)

·        Constant expectation of Christ’s (not antichrist’s ) coming

 

o       Mid-trib (same as pre-trib, except for following)

·        Great tribulation is last 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week

·        Seals are not judgments, but beginning of birth pains (Matt 24:3-12)

·        Seals and trumpets are not wrath, which starts in Rev 11:18

·        2 witnesses symbolize rapture in Rev 11

·        Last trumpet of Paul (1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16) same as 7th of Rev

 

o       Pre-wrath (during 2nd half of 70th week, prior to God’s wrath)

·        First 3 ½ years of 70th week are beginning of birth pains (Matt 24) & 1st – 4th seals

·        Great Tribulation starts with abomination of desolation (Matt 24:21) and includes 5th & 6th seals – persecution of the elect, not God’s wrath

·        Rapture occurs prior to God’s wrath, which is the Day of the Lord, whose approach is signaled by 6th seal (cosmic disturbances) and begins with 7th seal which contains the last trump.  This shortens the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:22)

 

o       Post-trib (at end of 70th week)

·        Only one coming; no interval between coming for and with his bride

·        Church is persecuted by Antichrist

·        Believers protected from wrath; kept from (delivered out of the midst of) the hour of trial (Rev 3:10)

·        First resurrection (Rev 20:5) at Day of Lord after Great Tribulation

·        Wheat & tares gathered together at end of age (Matt 13:39)

·        Elect gathered at Christ’s coming in power & glory (Matt 24:31)

·        Marriage supper at end of tribulation after Babylon destroyed

 

Review

·        What is the key message of Ch 4, the throne in heaven?

·        What does the scroll with seven seals in Ch 5 represent, and why is the Lamb able to open it?

·        What are some of the alternative views of the rapture timing?

 

 

Revelation 6 – Opening of the First Six Seals – Parallel Scriptures

 

Timing of Revelation seals, trumpets, bowls, etc.

·        Sequential

·        Telescoping

·        Parallel

·        Overlapping

Eastern vs. western view of timing…

 

  • #1 vs. 1-2; Matthew 24:4-5; deception & false christs
  • #2 vs. 3-4; Matthew 24:6-7a; wars & rumors of war
  • #3 vs. 5-6; Matthew 24:7b-8; inflation, famine, earthquakes
  • #4 vs. 7-8; death to ¼ of earth from war, famine, plague, beasts
  • #5 vs. 9-11; Matthew 24:9-12; martyrs, persecution to death
  • #6 vs. 12-17; Matthew 24:29; Isaiah 13:6-13; Joel 2:10-11; proud judged; signs in the heavens; beginning of God’s wrath

 

Revelation 7 – 144,000 Sealed; Multitude in White Robes

  • vs. 1-8; Ezekiel 9; judgments held back until Jewish believers are marked for protection
  • Various interpretations of 12 tribes
  • Judges 18:30-31 possible reason for omission of Dan
  • vs. 9-17; Isaiah 25; are these the raptured or the martyred?  Death not mentioned, but have come out of great tribulation…

 

Review

·        How should we view timing of events in Revelation?

·        Where are there parallel passages to the seals?

·        Who are the 144,000 and why are they sealed?

·        Who are the multitudes in white robes?

 

Revelation 8 – Silence & First Four Trumpets

  • Vs. 1-6; silence, incense, prayers
  • #1 vs. 7; hail, fire & blood on 1/3 of earth, trees & grass
  • #2 vs. 8-9; mountain of fire into sea; 1/3 of sea turned to blood, 1/3 of creatures & ships
  • #3 vs. 10-11; burning star (Wormwood) into rivers; 1/3 turned bitter
  • #4 vs. 12; 1/3 of sun, moon & stars turned dark; 1/3 of day & night dark

 

Revelation 9 – Fifth & Sixth Trumpets

  • #5 vs. 1-12; star falls to earth, releases locusts from abyss; torture for 5 months
  • #6 vs. 13-19; 200,000,000 troops cross Euphrates; 1/3 of man killed with plagues of fire, smoke & sulfur; similar to war of Ezek 38-39; Rev 16:12-16
  • Vs. 20-21; unrepentant

 

Comments

·        Zech 13:8,9 mentions 2/3 being cut off and 1/3 being refined

·        Effects of nuclear war?


Review

·        Silence in heaven

·        Trumpets 1-4; 1/3 of earth, trees, grass, sea, ships, rivers, sun, moon, stars

·        Trumpets 5-6; demons torture those without seal of God for 5 months; 200 million troops cross Euphrates; plagues kill 1/3 of man, perhaps through nuclear war; unrepentant

 

Comment: How would we use end times knowledge based on our view of the rapture?

 

Revelation 10 – Mighty Angel & Little Book

  • Vs. 1-3; attributes of Christ – glory cloud, mercy rainbow, righteous sun, judging fire, owner of earth & sea, lion of Judah
  • Vs. 4; seven thunders sealed up—God reveals what we need to know
  • Vs. 5-7; no more delay (what delay has there been—two witnesses?); seventh trumpet to sound; mystery will be accomplished
  • Vs. 8-11; little scroll of rewards (sweet) & judgment (sour)

 

Revelation 11 – Two Witnesses & Seventh Trumpet

  • Vs. 1; measure (judge) the temple, altar, worshippers
  • Vs. 2; holy city trampled by the nations 42 months x 30 = 1,260 days (Dan 9:27; 12:7)
  • Vs 3-6; 2 witnesses in sackcloth (repentance) torment unbelievers; Zech 4 (lampstand & 2 olive trees); Mal 4:4-5 (Moses-plagues & Elijah-no rain; Mt of Transfiguration; law & prophets); “in your face” testimony against God’s enemies
  • Vs. 7-10; killed by beast; men celebrate
  • Vs. 11-14; raised after 3½ days (with loud voice, at 7th trumpet, in a cloud—1 Thess 4:15-17); earthquake kills 7,000
  • Vs. 15-19; seventh trumpet sounds, accompanied by heavenly voices declaring praise for God’s rewards and judgments in accordance with his law (covenant within the ark) and grace (mercy seat on top of the ark)

 

Review

·        Mighty angel, seven mysterious thunders, and little sweet and sour scroll

·        Temple measured, two witnesses in sackcloth torment earth for 1,260 days, killed by beast, raptured after 3½ days

·        Seventh trumpet, earthquake, heavenly praise for God’s judgments

 

Revelation 12 – Woman and Dragon

  • Vs. 1,2,5,6; woman is Israel based on Joseph’s dream in Gen 37; child is Jesus; Israel is protected during 1,260 days of great tribulation; Dan 12:1; Matt 24:21,22
  • Vs. 3,4,7-9; dragon with 7 heads/crowns & 10 horns is Satan, who tried to destroy Christ, driven from heaven by Michael
  • Vs. 10-16; Satan tries to destroy Israel, but she is protected supernaturally in the desert for 3½ years; by eagle’s wings (airlift?); from Satan’s flood (anti-Semitic propaganda?)
  • Vs. 17; Satan makes war with rest of offspring on earth - believers

 

Revelation 13 – Two Beasts – Unholy Trinity

  • Vs. 1; from sea – antichrist; political leader; 10 horns with crowns (Dan 2 statue &7 beasts-nations), 7 heads with names (Rev 17:10-kings)
  • Vs. 2; leopard, bear, lion
  • Vs. 3; fatal wound healed; astonished world follows
  • Vs. 4; world worships Satan and antichrist
  • Vs. 5-10; antichrist has authority 42 months; makes war & conquers saints, who are called to faithful endurance
  • Vs. 11; from earth – false prophet; religious leader; 2 horns like lamb, spoke like dragon
  • Vs. 12-15; false prophet performs miracles (Matt 24:24; 2 Thess 2:9) & requires people to worship image of antichrist (Matt 24:15 – abomination of desolation)
  • Vs. 16-18; false prophet forces people to take mark of antichrist on right hand or forehead in order to buy or sell; mark is the name of antichrist or number of his name, which, with insight, can be calculated to be 666; believers not to take the mark Rev 14:9-11; 20:4

 

Question: What characteristics will the antichrist and false prophet have?  How would pre-trib vs. post-trib views affect how we might prepare for the impact of these “beasts”?


 Revelation 14 – Harvest Time!

  • Vs. 1-5; the Lamb and the 144,000 on Mt. Zion
     - same Jews from Rev 7:3-8
     - appear in heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22)
     - kept pure, meaning celibate and/or holy to the Lamb
     - have apparently been martyred or raptured–see “firstfruits” in 1 Cor 15:20
  • Vs. 6-7; the Gospel preached worldwide
     - Matt 24:14 seems to be a precondition to the Lord’s coming
     - this could be the ultimate fulfillment
  • Vs. 8; Babylon destroyed
     - elaborated in Rev 18
     - see also Isaiah 13-14
  • Vs. 9-13; warning not to take the mark of the beast
     - even if it means martyrdom, for rest is promised
  • Vs. 14-16; Son of man harvests the earth
     - some say believers who have not taken the mark and escaped martyrdom
        (see Matt 24:31)
     - some say the judgment of non-believers – a parallel to the grape harvest
  • Vs. 17-20: Grapes of wrath
     - begins the final events of God’s ultimate wrath on the earth
     - blood may be from the battle of Armageddon

Current Events

·        What are the implications of Arafat’s death? 

·        Is peace more or less likely?

·        What does Bible prophecy say about peace in the Middle East?

 

Revelation 15 – Seven Angels with Bowls of Wrath

  • Vs. 1; seven plagues complete God’s wrath
  • Vs. 2-4; victors over the beast sing song of Moses & the Lamb; martyrs? raptured?
  • Vs. 5-8; temple opened, yet filled with smoke from God’s glory until plagues completed

 

Revelation 16 – Seven Plagues

  • Vs. 1; why is God sending wrath?  Why are these plagues so similar to the plagues God used to deliver Israel from Pharoah?
  • Vs. 2; #1 – sores on those with mark of the beast
  • Vs. 3; #2 – sea turns to blood and everything in it dies (similar to 2nd trumpet)
  • Vs. 4-7; #3 – rivers and springs turn to blood; retribution for saints’ blood (3rd trumpet)
  • Vs. 8-9; #4 – sun scorches with fire (4th trumpet)
  • Vs. 10-11; #5 – beast’s kingdom in darkness; blasphemed; refused to repent
  • Vs. 12-14,16; #6 – Euphrates dried, kings brought to Armageddon by 3 demon spirits
    - appears to be final battle of 200 million troops in 6th trumpet, Rev 9:16; blood flowing in Rev 14:20
  • Vs. 15; Lord comes like a thief; who is blessed by staying awake?
    - why is this verse here?
  • Vs. 17-21; #7 – earthquake, hailstones; seems to relate to sixth seal in Rev 6:12ff
  • Review relationship of seals, trumpets and bowls; does it matter?

Current Events

·        Alignment of EU, Russia, UN, China around Islamic causes in Iraq & Iran

 

Revelation 17 – The Harlot Babylon

  • Comparison of woman in Rev 12 with woman on the beast
    -  meant to be comparable in representing Christ vs. antichrist
    - entire universal church of believers of all history vs. organized anti-church of false believers of all history
    - same comparison of cities of Jerusalem and Babylon
  • Vs. 1-2; prostitute/adulteries – Bible term for idols that entice men to ignore and replace God’s Word, rebellion; many waters – occurs throughout all peoples (vs. 15)
  • Vs. 3-6; woman (prostitute, harlot) on a scarlet beast (antichrist) in the desert (no life)
    - scarlet – bloody since same picture of the beast in Rev 13
    - purple, scarlet, gold show superficial nobility, contrasted with filthy, perverse inside
    - Babylon – Nimrod’s tower in Babel was the mother religion of all rebellion (Gen 10:8-10, 11:1-9)
    - drunken with blood of saints – always persecuted by false or pagan religions
  • Vs. 7-8; astonished at the beast who was, is not now, and is yet to come – may be refering to antichrist with mortal wound that is healed in Rev 13:3,4
  • Vs. 9-11; seven heads of the beast represent seven hills and kings (kingdoms, extensive empires)
    - five have fallen (Greece, Persia, Babylon, Assyria, Egypt)
    - sixth now is (Rome)
    - seventh yet to come (antichrist); is resurrected as the eighth, but finally destroyed
    - aligns with 4 kingdoms of Daniel 2 & 7, starting with Babylon, ending with Rome, from which the final, but different, king arises
  • Vs. 12-14; ten horns are ten kings ruling with antichrist, who give him their power
  • Vs. 15-17; antichrist and ten kings hate and destroy the prostitute – will forcibly replace the diversity of false religions with one that ultimately worships antichrist
  • Vs. 18; woman is great city that rules over kings – world trade is the force that breaks down national & religious barriers into one great universal fellowship and kingdom of commerce

 Revelation 18 – The Fall of Babylon the Great

  • This may be the same or a different (political/commercial vs. religious) Babylon; judged by God rather than antichrist
  • Vs. 1-3; Babylon the Great has become demonic, unclean, idolatrous, materialist
  • Vs. 4; God’s people to come out of her to avoid her sins and plagues
  • Vs. 5-8; receives double portion of torture, grief, plagues, death, mourning, fire (penalty of a priets’s daughter who became a prostitute)
  • Vs. 9-10; kings (political) weep at sudden (nuclear?) destruction; terrified at her torment
  • Vs. 11-17; merchants (economic) weep at loss of excessive luxuries & riches; sudden destruction; terrified at her torment
  • Vs. 18-19; sea captains (traders) weep at sudden destruction
  • Vs. 20; rejoice at her judgment
  • Vs. 21-24; no art, crafts, light, joy, or love; destroyed as by a great stone (Christ- Acts 4:11; Daniel 2:34)
  • Who or what is this Babylon?
     - Rome, Romism, Catholic church, papism
     - America (Isaiah 18:1,2; Jeremiah 50-51 seem to depict a latter-day Bablyon that
        resembles America)
     - rebuilt Babylon in Iraq

 

Revelation 19 – The Return of Christ

  • Vs. 1-3; Judgment shows salvation, glory & power
    - why does the prostitute’s (city’s) smoke go up “forever”?
  • Vs. 4-9; All heaven rejoices & praises God because the wedding of the Lamb has come
    - how does the bride “make herself ready”?
  • Vs. 10; Don’t glorify prophecy – it only points to Jesus, who alone is to be worshipped
  • Vs. 11-16; The Lord leads the armies of heaven to take vengeance on the nations (strike down in fury & rule with iron scepter)
  • Vs. 17-21; Beast & false prophet thrown into Lake of Fire; rest killed & fed to the birds
    - could this be Ezekiel 38 & 39 war?

 

Revelation 20 – The Reign of Christ

  • Vs. 1-3; Satan thrown into abyss for 1,000 years
  • Vs. 4-6; Saints & resurrected tribulation martyrs reign with Christ 1,000 years
    - if pretrib, is this another rapture?
    - if posttrib, all raptured at the same time
  • Vs. 7-10; Satan released to deceive the nations into making war with saints; destroyed & thrown into Lake of Fire
  • Vs. 11-15; Great White Throne Judgment of unbelieving dead
    - no more death or Hades
    - final destination of unbeliever is Lake of Fire (Gehenna)
  • What is the purpose of the Millennium; of Satan’s “parole”?

 

Revelation 21 – The New Jerusalem

  • Vs. 1-4; new heaven and earth
     - no sea (why?); Holy City on earth; God lives with men; no more tears
  • Vs. 5; everything new (not just the city—what about us?)
  • Vs. 6-8; overcomers receive life, sinners lake of fire
  • (Note: Vs. 1-8 may be after vs. 9-21)
  • Vs. 9-14; New Jerusalem – the bride – coming down from heaven
     - gates for 12 tribes of Israel; wall foundations for 12 apostles
     - culmination of the history of God’s people
  • Vs. 15-21; Gates & walls & streets
     - 1500 miles long, wide, high; wall 216 ft thick; of jasper
     - foundation of precious (anisotropic) stones; gates of pearl
  • Vs. 22-27; holy characteristics
     - God & Lamb are temple & light
     - Always open, full of light, only pure will enter

 

Revelation 22 – River of Life & Jesus’ Soon Coming

  • Vs. 1-6; river of life from throne of God
     - 12 crops of fruit for food; leaves for eternal health
     - servants see God & Lamb, and reign
     - soon to take place
  • Vs. 7; Jesus is coming soon – quickly – reason to prepare, as in labor
     - readers are blessed – who “keep” the prophetic words
  • Vs. 8-9; don’t worship messenger
  • Vs. 11-13; time is near – one’s preparation determines response to Christs quick coming; then it will be too late to change
  • Vs. 14-15; Blood-washed receive eternal blessedness & rewards – unsaved remain “outside” (lake of fire)
  • Vs. 16-17; Jesus’ final offer of eternal life
  • Vs. 18-19; warning not to create a greater authority (new revelation) or diminish the authority of these prophetic words
  • Vs. 20-21; we need God’s grace to prepare for His quick coming

 

 

 


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