Revelation 11 is the tipping point for how the end times come down. There is a period of 3.5 years – 1260 days – when two witnesses will prophecy. During that time the holy city will be trampled. Upon completion of the prophetic period, we are told “the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them”. This is the battle with the “two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth”. It appears that evil has won.
But wait, there’s more. The bodies will be left lying and not placed in tombs so “the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies”. The story is not over. Because at that time – 3.5 days after apparently being killed – “a breath of life from God entered them”. Seems like a familiar story doesn’t it? God calls them to heaven and they depart. “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever”. This is what we have been waiting for – Jesus is taking over the earth.
There is worship and glory and honor and praise as Jesus takes His great power and begins His reign. And now it is judgment time…..”the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth”. The battle is over and it is time to hand out the punishment and rewards. There are three camps that are described here. The dead – those who don’t know Jesus and have not dealt with the sin that will cause them eternal separation from God and an eternity in hell. The servants, prophets and saints who will spend eternity in heaven with the Father and be rewarded for their faith and acceptance of God’s gift of salvation. The destroyers of the earth – Satan and his evil demons who have been wreaking havoc and battling with Christ and the forces of good. They will be cast into their final resting place in the lake of fire. Are you ready for this day? Have you dealt with sin and got right with God? If not, judgment will be a very unpleasant place. Even if you have it is important to realize that how we live on our journey through life matters as it will determine our rewards. Are you ready for these days and events? If not, now is the time to get that way.
Revelation 10 has the seventh angel coming down from heaven. He had “a rainbow over his head…..his face was like the sun…..his legs like pillars of fire”. In his hand he had a “little open scroll” and he stood with his “right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land”. That had to be quite a sight as the angel stood there straddling between land and sea. As the angel spoke there were thunders sounding and his voice was like that of a roaring lion. He instructs the writer not to write down what has been said by the thunders.
The angel’s attention shifts to that of heaven and he raises his right hand to God who is described as the one who:
– “lives forever and ever
– Created heaven
– Created earth
– Created the sea”
God is the all-powerful creator and the One how has placed all things where they are. And the angel announces there will be “no more delay”. The time has come for “the mystery of God” to be fulfilled.
There are many in this world we live in whom don’t believe that the end times will really happen – that there is no heaven and hell – that God is a loving God that will just allow everyone into heaven when it comes down to that time. I don’t see that thinking as lining up with what scripture tells us. God is pretty clear throughout that sin is a problem we have to deal with. That there is a constant battle between good and evil. That things will end and there will be some rather nasty things that happen as part of that final chapter. Are you ready? Do you know what your future holds?
Revelation 9 continues as the seven angels pour their destruction out upon the earth. The first four angels are recorded in chapter 8, and we pick up with angel five coming to work.
Angel – action – outcome
Fifth angel – a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit – locusts….given….the power of scorpions….not to harm the grass….only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads….allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them….people will seek death and will not find it…. long to die, but death will flee from them
Sixth angel – Release the four angels – to kill a third of mankind….mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand…. three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths
So angels five and six were pretty nasty. They torment and then kill a whole lot of people – 1/3 of mankind – and not in a very nice or easy way. Five months of torment and then death by plagues. Not an appealing thought to say the least.
But the amazing thing is what scripture tells us next: “The rest of mankind….not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols….nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts”. So they have seen the death and torment but yet they are unwilling to repent and turn from sin and idolatry. Hello – that is a really stupid response to what is happening here. But it does show just how depraved the mind of man can become. Sin can get a grasp on us to the point we lose common sense. It only makes sense that seeing the kind of destruction that has been described via the first six angels should grab ones attention – but as it is written – they don’t get it. They keep doing what they have always done and will pay a huge price for that decision. God cannot tolerate sin. It won’t be ignored or overlooked. Hell is a real place. Death will happen. It is time to get your life on track and tuned in with God!
Revelation 8 has the seventh and final seal being opened by the Lamb. When opened, there was “silence in heaven for about half an hour”. This was the big one – and everything stopped including the uncountable people worshipping. Seven angels stood before God. And they began to blow their trumpet and let the destruction begin. It is interesting that with each trumpet blast by each of the first four angels – disastrous outcomes occurred to 1/3 of the things it touched.
Angel – action – outcome
First angel – hail and fire, mixed with blood – a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up
Second angel – a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea – a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed
Third angel – a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water – a third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter
Fourth angel – a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars – a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night
There were some major things happening as the angels blew their trumpets. Destruction is happening. But wait, there’s more. As an eagle flew crying in a loud voice “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth”. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. We have only seen the impact from the first four of the seven angels. More to come in the following chapters.
Revelation 7 brings us to the point of being post tribulation. One thing that is recorded here are the 144,000 that are sealed. That is 12,000 each from the 12 tribes of Israel that are going to be protected. These are going to be “sealed as the servants of God of their foreheads”. Remember that from a long time ago when the doorposts were marked so they could be spared? And following this “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb”. Those who will come to worship the Lamb will be from every nation and tribe and language. At His name – all will fall and worship Him.
The worship goes on with these words: “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever”. It seems in every chapter the length of these words grow just a bit. Can you imagine a multitude blessing our Jesus? Now is a great time to begin practicing what our future holds as a Christ Follower. We will be lifting His name on high. We will be serving Him as we spend eternity in heaven.
And for what does He deserve such blessing and worship? He is the Son of God but He won victory over evil and has through the grace of His shed blood provided us with eternal life. What is the result of our relationship with Jesus? “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”. His blood will wash us white as snow. His blood covers all our sin. He makes us acceptable in God’s sight. As His blood covers our sin – God no longer sees that but the covering of our Savior. What a Savior we have in Jesus. “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”. Are you following Jesus? He is leading us to living water. Make sure you aren’t off in the weeds and failing to follow Him.
Revelation 6 takes us deeply into symbolic things. Jesus begins to open the seven seals. With each of the first four, a horse and rider is described:
Seal One – white horse – bow, crown with the cry to conquer
Seal Two – red horse – take peace from earth, sword
Seal Three – black horse – pair of scales in his hand
Seal Four – pale horse – Death and Hades followed him
These four were “given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth”. They are empowered to destroy people – with sword, famine, pestilence and beasts. Not something to look forward to. The only good news here is they are only empowered on a fourth of the earth.
As the fifth seal comes off “the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the witness they bore” are showing. It isn’t quite time for them to join things yet, so they are asked to wait a little longer. Any chance that you might be slain for your belief in God’s Word? Does anyone even know you believe? How about your testimony? Have you ever borne witness to God and His salvation? Does anyone know you are a Christ Follower? Because of what you say? Too often we want to do our talking by how we live and hope people can figure it out. Our life absolutely has to line up with our faith. But witnessing is more than just good living. There are lots of folks who appear to be Christians who are not going to be in heaven. We have to speak our faith as well as live it.
Then come the sixth seal. It contained destruction – an earthquake, black sun, blood moon, falling stars, vanishing sky, removed mountains and islands. God’s ultimate power was released and everyone knew it – the most powerful on earth – kings and great ones and generals and rich and powerful folks – they all saw that God was in control. So they “hid themselves in caves and among the rocks”. Not so proud and powerful when compared to the power of the Almighty God. There is fear and rightfully so. “The great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand”. Here is the reality my friends. Every person on this planet will face God. We will have to give account. From President and King, to you and me, we all will stand before Him and face judgment based on what we have done with our sins (what we did with Jesus) and what we did with the gifts He gave us (how we have lived). We will give an account. What does your scorecard look like? Have you done well? Or do you need to run in fear like these powerful people did? Now is the time to get it right. Then will be too late!
Revelation 5 gives us a glimpse at the entrance of Jesus into God’s presence as John describes his vision. God on His throne is holding a scroll in His hand but no one is worthy to open the scroll and break its seven seals. But then comes “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” – the One who is worthy “so that he can open the scroll”. Jesus is the One. And He appeared as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” as He is in the presence of the creatures and elders and God. Immediately those who had been praising God “fell down before the Lamb….sang a new song”. Jesus is now the center of attention and praise. He is also worthy.
The song they sang was “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth”. Do you realize the outcome of the death of Christ on the Cross. Not only did He die to set us free from our sin and ransom us from death, but that willingness to be slain covered every person on the planet – every tribe, language, people and nation. Jesus paid it all for all. It was absolute and complete. His death covered the sin of this farm boy in Iowa to some tribal person in Africa to someone in the cold of Siberia. Jesus paid it all. And He made a Kingdom and will allow us to reign with Him on earth. We are not only set free – we are Kingdom people who will rule with Him.
There were many praising – “numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands” – too many to count. But on they went. They focused on how worthy He was. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them”. Sounds pretty familiar to the praise and honor that they were giving to God. But here we see scripture fulfilled as every creature in heaven and on earth is worshipping Jesus. Not some – but every – just as scripture tells us. And it continues “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever”. Are you part of the worship team? Are you giving Him honor and blessing and glory and praise? He deserves our worship and adoration. He paid the ultimate price for you and me. He will receive His just reward – but we should get on board that train now!