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Friday, March 22 2013
Revelation: Thy Kingdom Come
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass"
The "Book" of Revelation, like all of the books of the Bible, was actually a rolled scroll. Books, in the present-day form, with covers and pages, did not exist until centuries after the Holy Scriptures were written. Ironically, the modern-day computer term "scroll down the page" actually illustrates how a single-sheet scroll page was read in ancient times (see also Is God Using Electronic Books Now?).
The book, or scroll, of Revelation, although not usually regarded as such, was also actually an epistle, a letter. It was given to the apostle John (see also The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth; also John: Fishers Of Men, 1 John: 'If You Love The World, The Love Of God Is Not In You', 2 John: The Bride Of Christ and The Great Harlots and 3 John: Follow Not That Which Is Evil, But That Which Is Good) to write "to the seven churches which are in Asia" (i.e. Asia Minor, known today as Turkey), while he was being held as a Roman political prisoner on the nearby island of Patmos.
"1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Messiah], which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
The churches (i.e. congregations of the one and only true Church of God in various cities) were all in existence at the time of the writing of the epistle to them. They were not somehow "successive," then, or at any time ever since (see the Fact Finder question below).
"1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the LORD's day [see What Is The Day Of The LORD? and When Is The LORD's Day?], and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." (Revelation 1:9-11 KJV)
Most of the traditional illustrations and paintings of "Jesus" portray someone who looks nothing at all like how Jesus of Nazareth is actually described in the Bible - an ordinary-looking Jew of that time (Judas the traitor had to point Him out to the mob because He could not be distinguished from the apostles with Him; see Who's Hiding On Your Wall?). The apostle John, while seeing Him as the ordinary human that He was, also saw Him as He appears now. John saw the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) at least twice in that way, first in the famous "transfiguration" event, which was a vision of the even yet future Kingdom of God on Earth when Moses and Elijah will have been resurrected ("17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." Matthew 17:1-3 KJV) and then again, decades later, when he was given to write Revelation. The Messiah looked the same both times - again nothing like the false "Jesus" pictures that are so common. Compare the "his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light" quoted above with "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire" quoted below:
"1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks [see also Lampstands Or Candlesticks?]; 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
The second and third chapters of Revelation (keeping in mind that there were no chapters and verse numbers as it was originally written) were specific messages to the "spirit" of each church - the attitude of the people there then, and the attitude of the people like them ever since (again, see the Fact Finder question below).
"1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Revelation 1:19-20 KJV)
"Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy Blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation"
The epistle then continued, as John was instructed ("Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter") with a great amount of information and prophecy. He began with a vision of God's Throne, and the appearance of the Messiah after His victorious Sacrifice and Resurrection.
"4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 4:3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
The arrival of the Messiah with the delivery of the Sacrifice of His Passover was a fulfillment of a major part of the Day of Atonement, in which the High Priest once per year entered into the Most Holy Place (see The Day Of Atonement: It's All About Christianity). With the payment completed, God authorized the LORD to rule the Earth ("Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation"; see also Sending Away The Escapades Goat), in preparation for God's coming (see The Church: Mission Accomplished).
"5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
"Babylon the great is fallen"
The next chapters involve the contents of "the seven seals" scroll that God gave to the LORD God - written instructions and actions that begin the 1,000-year "Day of the LORD" (see What Is The Day Of The LORD?). Among the most-famous of the seals are the first four - that have become popularly known as "the four horsemen of the apocalypse" (see The Horsemen Of The Apocalypse).
"6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals [see The Seals Of Prophecy], and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
The contents of the scrolls intensify until "Babylon" falls (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?) at the time of Christ's return (see The Two Signs Of Christ's Return): "The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
"19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war [see The Coming World Dictator]. 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away"
The Messiah will then rule the Earth for the next 1,000 years (see The Church In The Kingdom Of God), along with those of the first resurrection (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin). When the 1,000 years are completed, the second resurrection and the final Judgment of them will occur (see The Eighth Day: Empty Cemeteries).
"20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
The end, of physical humanity, will be the beginning of the eternal life of the children of God.
"21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4 KJV)
Studies For The Book Of Revelation
Fact Finder: The "Book" of Revelation was actually an epistle, a letter, to the "seven churches." Where are those "churches" today?
This Day In History, March 22
1349: The Jews of Fulda, Germany, were massacred by the townspeople, who blamed them for the plague known as the "Black Death."
1638: Anne Hutchinson, a mother of 15 children, was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for "religious dissent" - her home Bible-study group was attracting too many people away from the "established church of the colony."
1752: Canada's first newspaper, the Halifax Gazette, was established.
1765: The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act - a tax to be levied directly on its New England colonies to help pay for their own defense against the powerful and threatening French Empire in North America. Ironically, the defense tax was used as one of the major manipulated excuses for the rebellion of the colonies against their founders. Fortunately for the survival of the colonies, France didn't attack them after they rejected British protection because Napoleon Bonaparte (the former Corporal, then self-proclaimed revolutionary General, who reigned as Emperor of the French from 1769 to 1821) consumed the bulk of his massive forces in the Napoleonic Wars across Europe - from which he suffered his famous defeat at Waterloo (Belgium) by the British Army.
1848: The Venetian Republic declared independence from Austria.
1895: In Paris, Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures using celluloid film.
1903: A drought caused Niagara Falls to temporarily stop flowing.
1917: Ironically, in view of subsequent history, the U.S. became the first country to recognize the communist government of Russia, following the overthrow of the czar. The apparent logic was that the U.S. and Russian were both "we the people revolutions," and both involved the founding of a republic after the overthrow of a king.
1919: The first international airline service was inaugurated on a weekly schedule between Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium.
1945: The Arab League, a loose confederation of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, was formed in Cairo for the purpose of securing Arab unity. Others joined later: Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
1946: Britain recognized the independence of the protectorate of Transjordan, known today as the Kingdom of Jordan (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1947: Viscount Louis Mountbatten and his wife Edwina arrived in Delhi; the last viceroy in India, Mountbatten's mission was to bring about independence for India.
1979: The Israeli Parliament approved the peace treaty with Egypt.
1993: Intel began marketing the first "Pentium" (80586) computer processors.
1995: Russian Cosmonaut Valeriy Polyakov returned to earth after a record 438 days in orbit.
1997: Comet Hale-Bopp made its closest approach to Earth.
2004: Ahmed Yassin, a leader of Hamas (a Palestinian Sunni Islamist group) was assassinated (the elderly, blind quadriplegic was in his wheelchair, being taken out of morning prayers, when killed) in the Gaza Strip by Israeli helicopter-fired missiles; nine nearby civilians ("collateral damage") were also killed.