Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Seventh Seal

"When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake." (Revelation 8:1-5 - New American Standard)

Revelation chapter eight marks the beginning of the second half of the seven year period; this is often called the Great Tribulation. The natural disasters that began after the opening of the sixth seal will increase in frequency and intensity. Chapter eight describes this. Later chapters focus upon the activity of the Antichrist during this period.

The vast destruction which is described in this chapter is horrible. It is frightening, because when taken literally, what is described is possible.

We would expect something dramatic to happen with the opening of the seventh seal. What does happen is dramatic but not what we would expect. There is complete silence in the throne room of God. This silence lasts for thirty minutes. This is the calm before the storm. The angels and saints in heaven silently wait for the Lord's plan to unfold.

Seven angels are each given a trumpet by God. Trumpets were used in ancient times for several purposes: to warn of danger, to call people to a certain place, and to give instructions to troops. These trumpets warn of danger.

Incense in the Bible is symbolic of prayer. “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayers be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:1,2 – King James Version)

The eight angel that appears offers up incense along with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar. The prayers referred to are prayers for Christ to return. At this point, his return will be only about three years away.

Verse five is a picture of judgment. Although, God is not yet ready to pour out his wrath, he is involved in judging the wickedness of man. All natural disasters are a result of the curse of sin which man brought into this world. It is part of God's judgment upon sin.

Voices, thunderings and lightnings are symbolic of judgment. This may also indicate unusually violent weather patterns upon the earth at this time, including tremendous thunderstorms and the tornadoes they produce.

Another earthquake is mentioned. Beginning with the earthquake that occurs with the opening of the sixth seal, there will be frequent violent world-wide earthquake activity.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tribulation Martyrs

"Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, 'These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?' I said to him, 'My lord, you know.' And he said to me, 'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.'" (Revelation 7:13-17 - New American Standard)

The Apostle John is approached by one of the elders who ask a puzzling question. John does not know who these people are. However, the purpose of the question was not to get John's answer but to make John consider the importance of this group.

John has no problem in confessing his ignorance. There are many people that need to expand their vocabulary to include, “I do not know.” I know some people who rather than saying this when asked a question will begin to guess and make up answer. There is no need to do this. John asks the elder to tell him who the people are.

The elder tells us that these people have come out of the Great Tribulation. So, during the seven year Tribulation unnumbered Christians will be martyred. Millions will give their lives for the Name of Christ.

The elder further emphasizes that these are saved and made pure because of the work of God and the Lamb. It is the blood of Jesus that makes a person clean before God. It is the blood shed at Calvary that makes a person white as snow. The good works of a person can not cleanse him.
There is a small clue in this passage about the nature of eternity. These martyrs will serve God day and night. That is what we are to do on earth, and that is what we will do in eternity. How we will serve him, we will discover when we reach eternity.

Verse sixteen gives us an indication of the suffering which brought these martyrs to heaven. As fugitives from the Antichrist, they suffered hunger and thirst. They fled through deserts. I am sure that we could add many other things to this list. Those martyrs from Canada would have suffered from the cold winds of winter without proper shelter.

Verse seventeen describes the wonders of eternity with God. We will be feed by the Lamb, we will enjoy living water and we will have nothing to cry about any more. There will be no pain, no sorrow, no suffering, no sin.

These martyrs traveled a rough and hard road on their way to glory. However, their suffering is insignificant beside the joys of eternal life with God. This great future is God's gift to those who simply trust in his son, Jesus, as the one who died in their place.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Great Multitude

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.' All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: 'Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!' " (Revelation 7:9-12 - New International Version)

The first half of chapter seven speaks of a numbered group of Hebrews; the last half tells us of an unnumbered group of all types of people. The first group were on earth; this second group is in heaven. The 144,000 had not yet begun their work for God; the great multitude had finished their work. The first was chosen by God; the second rejected by man. The first were protected from death; the second had died.

John used four phrases to emphasis how all encompassing this group is. There are people in this group from every nation or ethnic group; every kindred or tribe which refers to people having a common ancestor; every people or community; and every tongue or language. There is no group left out.

This multitude stands before the throne of God and before the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. They wear long white robes. This is symbolic of purity. The palm branches indicate that they are rejoicing.

The Amplified Bible brings out the meaning of verse ten. It reads, “In loud voices they cried, saying, [Our] salvation is due to our God Who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb – to them [we owe our] deliverance!”

These people have been saved. They recognize that their salvation is not based upon anything which they have done. They deserve no praise. They are saved because of what God and the Lamb have done. Salvation is God's gift. Man cannot earn and does not deserve it.

All of heaven begins to proclaim the greatness, glory and goodness of God. How great a scene this will be: a vast multitude of people standing before God, and all around them angels worshiping God.

The angels begin their praise with a loud amen, indicating their agreement with what the multitude has said. Even the angels know that no person could be saved except that God saves them without any work on their part.

Then the angels ascribe to God, seven attributes. In the original Greek, there is a definite article in front of all these which suggests that God is the root of these things. So the angels tell us that God is the source of all blessing, all glory, all wisdom, all thanksgiving, all honor, all power and all might. This is similar to the praise offered to the Lamb in chapter five verse twelve.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Twelve Tribes

“Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.” (Revelation 7:5-8 - King James Version)

John now lists the twelve tribes from which the 144,000 are taken. This list is unusual in two respects.

First, remember that Joseph's sons, Manesseh and Ephraium, were adopted by Jacob giving them an equal inheritance with the other tribes. This makes a total of thirteen tribes. Usually when the twelve tribes are listed, Levi is left out because it is the priestly tribe and did not receive an inheritance in the land because the Lord is its inheritance.

However, in this list, Levi is included, as are Manesseh and Ephraium. Instead of Levi, the tribe of Dan is left out. This may be because this tribe was soon given to idolatry.

Second, Ephraium is included not under his own name but under the name of his father, Joseph. This may be because the tribe of Ephraium was the leader in the Northern Kingdom which quickly went away from the Lord.

God will not leave himself without a witness. I believe that even before the rapture, God prepares a group to continue preaching the Gospel during the worst period of the Tribulation. We should trust God that he will work things out for what is best. Whatever he allows in our lives today is meant to reap benefits in the future.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

144,000 Hebrews

"And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." (Revelation 7:4 - King James Version)

These 144,000 men (see Revelation 14:4) are chosen by God from the tribes of Israel. What is the purpose of this sealing? There is a similar passage in the Old Testament which may help us to understand this one.

“Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, 'Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.' [These are angels.] Behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The LORD said to him, 'Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.' But to the others He said in my hearing, 'Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.' So they started with the elders who were before the temple.” (Ezekiel 9:1-6 – New American Standard)

These people that Ezekiel saw in his vision were given a seal or mark by an angel. Those without the mark were in danger of dying. Those with the mark were protected. Although, the individual's attitude towards the sin of the land was a criteria in regarding to whether the angel placed the mark on them or not, these is only an indirect relationship between this sealing and salvation.

The 144,000 Hebrews of Revelation chapter seven are sealed or marked. This means that they are protected. They will not die in the disasters which will come with the seven trumpets. God and his angels will protect them.

Personally, I do not believe that these 144,000 are saved at this point. God is protecting them because he has selected them to be his servants. They are yet unaware of this.

Remember, God has often selected people before they accepted him. Examples are Samson (Judges 13:2-5), Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1), John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17) and Paul (Acts 9:15,16).
God is setting aside these 144,000 men to be witnesses during the final period of the Great Tribulation. We will learn more about them when we study chapter fourteen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Purposeful Pause

"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." (Revelation 7:1-3 - King James Version)

This is one of the most misinterpreted passages in all of Revelation. It has been grossly abused by cults. It has been symbolized away by those who reject Israel's future place in God's plan. In understanding this passage, we should follow one of the basic rules of interpretation: when the simple sense makes sense seek no other sense.

John tells us that this event occurs after the events of chapter six. So this occurs after the opening of the six seals, around the middle of the Tribulation.

After the great events of chapter six, which included the greatest earthquake ever, the angels of God cause a pause to occur before any more natural disasters happen. We have an indication here that the angels are involved with the happenings of nature. We understand very little of the ministry of angels. Most of us will be greatly surprised when we learn how much they have done for us.

John sees another angel approach who seems to be of a higher rank than the original four. We know from various passages that there are different groups among the angels of God. This fifth angel tells the first four and us why God wants a pause in the events that are unfolding. These angels are to seal certain people who are to be servants of God.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Mankind Hides From God

"Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?' " (Revelation 6:15-17 - New American Standard)

The terrible events of the seals, especially the earthquake, will leave mankind in fear and terror. People will think that the end of the world has come. They will think that God is going to destroy the world. They will fear God's wrath, but these events are not God's wrath. His wrath will be much worse than the events of the seals.

The events that occur under the opening of the seals are either caused by man or nature. God's wrath is yet to come.

The fifth and sixth seals present quite a contrast. Man goes about killing those who are God's children. Then he cries out in fear of God when a great earthquake occurs. Man thinks that he can defy God. Yet he has no power over natural events, yet alone over true acts of God.

Those of us who are Christian should learn to trust and depend fully upon the Lord. We can then face human cruelty and threats or natural disasters with hope, faith and trust in the sovereign and good will of God.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sixth Seal: A Great Earthquake

"I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place." (Revelation 6:12-14 - New International Version)

Earthquake activity and that which comes with it is a sign of the end times throughout the Bible. Joel in describing the Day of the Lord states, “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: ... The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:10, 31 - King James Version)

Haggai wrote, “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.” (Haggai 2:6 - King James Version)

Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken.” (Matthew 24:29 - King James Version)

This earthquake that occurs upon the opening of the sixth seal will be great but it is only the beginning. Increasingly violent earthquakes will occur until the end of the Tribulation.

Earthquakes are a result of the movement of the world's tectonic plates. There is another natural event associated with the tectonic plates: volcanic eruptions. These often accompany strong earthquakes. From John's description of what follows this earthquake, it will trigger incredible volcanic activity.

The sun become black as sackcloth is a result of the heavy layer of volcanic ash thrown into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions around the world. The moon becoming a blood red color is a result of light refraction in the atmosphere. This refraction is what makes the sky blue and makes sunsets red. It also makes the moon look orange when it is close to the horizon. Atmospheric refraction is increased when there is a lot of air pollution: such as ash. This will make the moon look red.

Verse thirteen may describe a meteor shower. Or this verse may just indicate that the stars are no longer visible due to the air pollution.

The sky receding like a scroll must be understood in light of what is occurring. As a scroll is rolled up from both ends the area in the middle that is visible steadily decreases. What is being described is the area of unpolluted atmosphere disappearing as the volcanic ash rolls across the atmosphere. Over a period of time this huge cloud of ash rolls up the entire sky and totally encircles the globe. The sun, moon and stars will disappear from sight behind an unending veil of dark clouds.

The mention of every mountain and island being moved gives us the extent of this earthquake. It will be the result of a great shifting and realigning of all the tectonic plates. Every place on earth will actually move when this earthquake hits!

If you want to know more about earthquakes, check this link: For more infomation on volcanos, go to this link:

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fifth Seal: Martyrdom

"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." (Revelation 6:9-11 - New International Version)

I believet the fifth and sixth seals will open in the third year of the Tribulation. During this time, the Antichrist is seeking to consolidate his position as world leader. With a powerful UN or EC army behind him, he uses the economic collapse and world famine to take direct control of the world's governments. By the time, the fifth seal opens, over a billion and a half people may have died: a quarter of the world's population.

John sees another vision of heaven. Only this time, he is shown the altar. There stand the martyrs who have been killed for their Faith. They would not compromise the Word of God. They would not deny the One Who died for them.

John hears them call out to God to judge the wicked. This is not a cry of revenge, but a cry for justice. They want an end to wickedness and evil.

The white robes represent the righteousness which these martyrs have found in Christ. They are told to rest and wait a little longer. There were yet others to be added to their ranks.

During this time of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will be encountering resistance from those who recognize who he is. Those who oppose his efforts to establish a world government will be accused of being traitors against humanity. They will be hunted down and destroyed.

We may find this hard to believe. Yet we must understand the conditions that will exist. The fighting in the Middle East will lead to the collapse of the world economy. Hundreds of millions will be facing starvation as the lack of oil increases transportation costs and food prices increase.
Most people will be ready to do and believe anything if told it will make things better. As has happened before in history, measures and actions that would be considered crimes against humanity in better times will be overlooked.

As Christians speak out against the world government and its leader, they will be slaughtered. The prophet Daniel tells us that the Antichrist “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” (Daniel 7:21 - King James Version)

Personal Message

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Over the holidays, I was on vaction with my family in the Philippines. During my vacation, I stayed off the Internet so there have been no new postings on this site during that time. However, I will be making a new post on Revelation today.