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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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another Mighty Angel

"I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; and he had in his hand a little book which was open He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.' " (Revelation 10:1-4 - New American Standard)

Several times in the book of Revelation, there is a pause in activity. In these passages, John focuses upon a particular item that has caught his attention. Chapter ten is one of these passages. John's attention is caught by a powerful angel holding a small scroll.

Revelation is filled with the appearance and activity of angels. They are mentioned more than 60 times in this book. In our lives, we are mostly unaware of angelic activity, but this book reveals how important these spiritual beings are in God's plan.

John begins this chapter by describing another strong or mighty angel. The other strong angel is mentioned in chapter five verse two. He is the angel that asked, “Who has the right to break the seals on the scroll?”

John describes the appearance of the angel in detail. He is clothed with a cloud. Clouds in the Bible are often symbolic of majesty and glory. When God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, the mountain was covered by a cloud. Several passages speak of God's voice coming from a cloud. Jesus ascended into the clouds and will return in the same way.

There is a rainbow upon the head of this angel. The rainbow was given by God as a reminder of his promise not to utterly destroy the earth as he did with the flood in Noah's day. The events of the Tribulation will be tragic, but they will not be as universally destructive as the flood. Only eight people survived it.

The angel's face shines like the sun. His feet are the color of fire.

Some commentators suggest that this angel is actually Jesus, but there are two strong arguments against this. Although in the Old Testament, there are cases where the Lord appeared as an angel, there are no examples of this in the New Testament. I know of no where in the New Testament where the word angel is used in reference to any member of the Trinity. Also John specifically says that this is “another” angel.

This angel holds in his hand a small scroll that is open. Unlike the scroll that John saw early, this one is not sealed. It is open for all to read.

The angel places one foot on the sea and the other on land. This indicates that his message relates to all the earth. It is a message of universal importance and application.

The angel cries out with a loud voice. A voice that reminds John of a roaring lion.

Now a strange thing occurs. The seven thunders speak. John starts to write down what they said, and a voice from heaven forbids it. This raises more questions than it answers.

Who are the seven thunders? What did they say? Why was John forbidden to write it down? No one knows the answers to these questions.

Whatever the thunders said, this message was for the ears of John alone. There is no use speculating about it. Not everything that God has revealed to individuals through the ages is recorded in Scripture. The Bible contains all that we need in our spiritual journey. Many things that we might want to know are not in the Bible, because these are things that we do not need to know.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Second Woe: Battle

"The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury." (Revelation 9:17-19 - New International Version)

I believe in verses seventeen to nineteen, John is trying to describe a modern army in terms familiar to him. There are three distinct colors that he observes among this force. Some are wearing armor the color of fire, which would be orange or red. Some are wearing the color of jacinth, probably sapphire, which is blue. Some are wearing the color of brimstone, which is yellow.

It is impossible to identify this army based on these colors. However, the only soldiers, of which I am aware, that wear blue are those operating under United Nations control. This army, in my opinion, will be multinational.

An even more difficult question is the cause for this battle. According to the writing of many, the Antichrist at this time, should have an iron grip upon the nations of the world with a worldwide government firmly in place. This view makes good preaching but is both unrealistic and unnecessary to the fulfillment of prophecy.

The Antichrist will establish a loose worldwide government. But even in the face of great problems, many national governments will be slow to accept his authority. Throughout the Tribulation, he will be embroiled in the political turmoil of trying to enforce his policies. These policies will be implemented to varying degrees in different parts of the world.

The events described in this passage would indicate that at this time, there is a full fledged rebellion against the world government. Possibly led by the Asian countries tired of being told what to do by the West. The Antichrist mobilizes an army to suppress this challenge. The combined forces of these opposing sides number two hundred million.

From John's description and the results of the fighting, the battle may go something like this. In the beginning, it is a conventional fight. However, either as part of their plan going into the battle, or because they are losing the fight, one side decides to use tactical nuclear weapons. These are missiles with small warheads of limited range capable of totally destroying an area a few miles in radius.

Such an attack would bring an immediate counter attack using similar weapons. This quickly escalates into a limited nuclear exchange that directly and indirectly will kill one third of the world's population. When the smoke clears, the Antichrist has won the war.

Rather than dismantling what is left of his huge army, the Antichrist turns his attention toward another troublesome area: Israel. He turns his army towards Jerusalem and begins moving in that direction. At this time, the battle of Armageddon is only a few weeks away.