MYSTERY Book of all the books! If the Bible as a whole is the Bookthat nobody understands, (except the very "elect"), certainlythe REVELATION is the one Book in the Bible least understood of all!
Yet this Book is the very key to understanding of all theprophecies!
Can it, then, be understood? It can, if you have the key tothis Book, itself.
We give you, here, this key. This is not intended to be anexposition of the Revelationmerely a brief outline to give youthe key which will unlock its true meaning for you.
No man can foretell these events. But we can know what will happenprovided we can UNDERSTAND the prophecies of the Bible!
The test of this understanding lies in the outcome of prophesiedevents. When a minister or evangelist uses the Bible prophecy toFORE-tell events, "...when the word of the prophet (preacher)shall come to pass, then shall the preacher be known, that theLord hath truly sent him." (Jer. 28:9).
Understanding of the prophecies can come only if we have the KEYSto the Book of Revelationfor in it alone do we find events ofthe various prophecies correlated in order of time-sequence.
In the Book of Revelation is a STORY-FLOW, relating one event toanother in order of time sequence, with occasional insets injectedinto the continuous story-thread. This fact is the first KEYto understanding of the Book.
Some believe Revelation is a closed Book, not to be understood.But the opening verse says: "The REVELATION of Jesus Christ . . .TO SHOW unto His servants things which must shortly COME topass. " Not the hiding, concealing, or closing uptheREVEALING of Jesus Christ to SHOW events TO COME to pass. And in thelast chapter it says: "Seal NOT the sayings of the prophecy."(22:10).
Notice, (Rev. 1:1-2) God gave the prophecy to Christ. Christ, notJohn, is the Revelator, who opens to our understanding the meaning ofthe prophecy.
John merely BARE RECORDrecorded in writingthisrevealing. John recorded three things:
The first three verses contain the opening introduction; theremainder of the first chapter the beautiful salutation. The dominantKEY-NOTE of the Bookits subject, its themeis revealed inthe 10th, or middle verse of this chapter. This theme is "THE DAYOF THE LORD."
In spirit, IN VISION, John was carried forward some 1900yearsprojected, as it were, into THE LORD'S DAY, which issimply "THE DAY OF THE LORD"the time of God's judgments andplagues upon sin at the endwhere John sees, in symbols in thisvision, these age-end events leading up to, and climaxing in, THESECOND COMING OF CHRIST!
Not understanding this key-note verse, endless controversyand confusion has resulted from arguing as to whether the message wasrevealed to John and written on a Saturday or on a Sunday. But whatmisunderstanding! What waste of precious time! The original Greekword here translated "on," is "en." This Greek word"en" is consistently translated throughout the Revelationelsewhere as "in" or "INTO."
In spiritIN VISIONJohn was projected 1900 years intothe future. INTO the "DAY OF THE LORD," foretold in more than30 places in prophecy, which is the Lord's Day, the time of Hisjudgments and plagues soon now to come. The Weymouth translation hasit: "In the Spirit, I found myself present on the Day of theLord." The Concordant Version, same as Rotherham's,translates it: "I came to be, in spirit, IN the Lord'sDay." The Bullinger translation: "I came to be, by thespirit, IN the Lord's Day."
John, actually on the isle of Patmos, appeared to be, in vision inthe time of the "Day of the Lord," now soon to come. Just as Ezekiel(Ezek. 8:3) said, "the Spirit lifted me up between the earth andthe heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem."And so the THEME of The Revelation is the events of the DAY OF THELORD, climaxing in the Second Coming of Christ.
The second and third chapters contain the messages to the sevenchurches. These were churches that existed at the time of the writingof the Book of Revelation. John had probably labored with them in thepast. The characteristics of these churches can be found in theChurch of God throughout all ages. You should study, and apply toyourself, these messages.
The SETTING for the main revelation of future events is found inthe fourth and fifth chapters. Here, in vision, John is taken intoheaven where events TO OCCUR ON EARTH are revealed. He seesGod the Father sitting on His throne, the Book of this prophecy inHis right hand, sealed with SEVEN SEALSthus completelyclosed to understanding. Seven denotes completeness.
Before Him are the four "beasts," or living creatures, and thetwenty-four elders, and in their midst stands Christ, the "Lamb ofGod." Christ, alone, is found worthy to open the seals and reveal theprophecy to our understanding.
And fix in mind, THE SEVEN SEALS COVER THE ENTIRE BOOK. In hisvision, John sees Christ take the Book from the right hand of theFather, and, one by one, in this heavenly setting, open theseals showing us, His servants, things shortly TO COME topassnot events AFTER they have occurred, but showing events TOCOME to passBEFORE they occur!
The opening of the first six seals is recorded in the sixthchapter. As they are opened, John records the things he SEES. But thethings he sees are SYMBOLS. These symbols represent literal and realthings to occur on earth.
How can we understand the right meaning of these symbols? WHAT ISTHE KEY?
Just as Jesus spoke, during His earthly ministry, IN PARABLES tothose "without"thus veiling the true meaning so they would notunderstand, yet explaining, in plain language, the meaning of theparables to His own surrendered followers (Mark 4:10-12; Mat.13:13-15), so here the prophecy is IN SYMBOL, which those "without"cannot understand but which Jesus will explain in PLAINLANGUAGE to His true followers who keep His Father's commandments,(Ps. 111:10) and possess the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13; Acts 5:32)Because of rebellion against God and His commandments, it is notgiven to all to understand. (See Dan. 12:10) Those who breakand teach against the Commandments cannot understandRevelation.
But just as Jesus explained the meaning of His symbolicparables to His true followers IN PLAIN LANGUAGE, so He who is theSAME yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8) explains these symbols.Did Jesus, then, in PLAIN LANGUAGE explain these same events of theend-time, leading up to His second coming and age-end?
He did! When His disciples, on Mount Olivet, asked Him, "Tellus, when shall these things be? and what shall be the SIGN of Thycoming, and of the end of the age?" (Mat. 24:3) Jesus gave astartling prophecy, explaining in Plain Language these events whichshall end the age.
HERE, THEN, IS THE PLAIN EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLS! Here is theKEY that unlocks the true meaning of the seals!
In His Olivet prophecy, (Mat. 24) Jesus listed these six eventsto-occur: 1st, false prophets or false Christs (verse 5);2nd, wars (verse 6) throughout the age, culminating at theend-time in WORLD WAR (verse 7); 3rd, famines; 4th,pestilences (verse 7). Then Jesus digressed (compare Luke 21:12)to go back and describe the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70A.D., because this was a type and forerunner of the coming age-endsiege against Jerusalem and battle at ARMAGEDDON (compare Luke17:30-36 with Mat. 24:17-28). Thus Mat. 24:928 and Luke 21:12-24applies to the period of 70 A.D., only as a type of forerunnerof this age-end time, to which, therefore, it literally refers. ThenJesus shows, 5th, The GREAT TRIBULATION (Mat. 24:21), followed6th, by THE HEAVENLY SIGNS of the darkened sun and moon withthe stars falling (verse 29), together with the SIGN of Christ'scoming, seen in heaven (verse 30); and this was later followed by theactual COMING of Christ (verse 30).
Notice how accurately this explains the symbols of the six sealsof Rev. 6: When the 1st SEAL is opened (Rev. 6:1) John sees awhite horse (verse 2)an imitation of Jesus at His secondcoming described later in Rev. 19:11-16. Here are pictured FALSECHRISTSfalse preachers deceiving and causing multitudes toaccept them as the ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15),preaching counterfeit Christs (II Cor. 11:4) represented to be thetrue Christ who died for us on the Cross. The world is full of them,though deceived multitudes do not realize it!
The second seal is opened (verse 3, and 4) and a red horseappears, killing men, taking peace from the earthsymbolizingWAR.
The third seal (verses 5, 6) is a black horse, picturing FAMINE.
The fourth seal (verses 7, 8) is a pale horse meaning PESTILENCE.
The fifth seal (verses 9-11) depicts one phase of THE GREATTRIBULATIONthe martyrdom of saints. This shows the Tribulationoccurred in the middle ages only as a type, or forerunner, for themartyrs of that time are told to wait until this endtime martyrdom.
The sixth seal shows the heavenly signssun and moon becomingdark, and the stars falling. (Verses 12-13) Some claim this alreadyhas occurred, but the events they describe were mere LOCAL events,seen only in a small section of New England, and merely a forerunnerand warning of the far more vast, awe-inspiring, terrible event heredescribed as YET to come.
It occurs AFTER the Tribulation. (See also Mat. 24:29) Furthermorethis event is accompanied or immediately followed by the SIGN of thecoming of Christ (Mat. 24:29-30)which Rev. 6:14-17 shows is theheavens departing as a scroll rolled together men hidingthemselves in stark terror in the dens and mountains, crying for therocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face ofHim who is sitting on the throne in heaven (compare Rev. 4:2, thescene where John, in vision, sees these seals being opened)andfrom THE WRATH OF THE LORD, for THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH ISCOME! This (compare Zeph. 1:14-17) is "THE DAY OF THE LORD."
It is vital to understand the distinction between the GreatTribulation, and the Day of the Lord. The heavenly signs do not occuruntil AFTER the Tribulation. (Mat. 24:29) But they are to come BEFOREthe "Day of the Lord" (Joel 2:31). The two are different andseparate. 1st, Tribulation; 2nd, heavenly signs; 3rd, Day of theLord, which, we shall see is the seventh seal.
But just as we come to the time for the terrible DAY OF THE LORDto strike, an angel appears holding back the four winds, (Rev.7:1-3) which are the first four Trumpet plagues (chpt. 8:7-12) of theDay of the Lord.
They are held back until the 144,000 are sealed, and the greatinnumerable multitude of ALL NATIONS turn to God and His protection.
The 144,000 are 12,000 from each of the literal tribes of Israel.(Rev. 7:4) They are sealed by the Holy Spirit. IN their foreheads,and it is THE FATHER'S NAME that is sealed there. (Rev. 14:1) TheTIME of this sealing, then, is yet futureafter theTribulation, after the heavenly signs, after the SIGN of Christ'scoming appears in heaven.
The innumerable multitude shall have come out of THE greatTribulation (Rev. 7:14). God will not send His plagues withoutwarning of such supernatural nature (the heavenly signs and the signof the Son of Man) that all who are willing shall heed. Preaching andwarnings now seem to fall on deaf ears. But when God sends thesemighty supernatural signs, MEN WILL HEED and turn to Christ.
Then comes the opening of THE SEVENTH SEAL, in the eighth chapter.
And what IS the 7th seal? Remember, the seven seals covered theENTIRE BOOK, so this seal covers the remainder of the prophecy. Undereach seal John records what he SEES. What does he SEE, as this lastseal is opened? (Rev. 8:1-2) He sees THE SEVEN TRUMPETS beinghanded to the seven angels.
Here is the third VITAL KEY to this Book. The sevenTrumpets are not, as many have been taught, contemporaneous with theseven seals. Neither do they follow the closing of the seventh seekThey ARE, and CONSTITUTE, the seventh seal.
The seventh seal comes in SEVEN STAGES, each called a Trumpet.These are PLAGUES. (chpt. 9:20) A trumpet is BLOWN. The firstfour Trumpet plagues are described as winds that BLOW on the earth,trees, rivers, sea. (Rev. 8:1-12) I do not, here, attempt tointerpret the nature of these plagueswhether this language isto be taken literally or as symbols. But remember, if you attempt tointerpret these things as symbols, you must find a BIBLEinterpretation for each. A Trumpet also is a symbol of WAR, and the5th and 6th Trumpets picture WARthe two phases of the comingWORLD WAR III. The last three Trumpetsthe 5th, 6th, and 7th,are called WOES. (Rev. 8:13).
The first woe, or 5th Trumpet, is described in chapter 9, verses1-11. The power that causes the destruction, this time to Men, comesout of the "bottomless pit." We know this is a symbol. The only placein Scripture where it is interpreted is Rev. 17:814. There we learnthat the re-birth of the old ROMAN EMPIRE is the power that emergesout of "the bottomless pit." It is a war-making power (Rev. 9:7).Mussolini restored the pitifully-weak, insignificant SIXTH "head" ofthe "Beast"the Roman Empire. A seventh and last revival is yetto come. Hitler started thisbut failed to complete it.
The second woe, with its symbols of horses and horsemen (compareEzek. 38:4, 15) and (Joel 2:4) is described in the 13th-21st verses,chapter 9. Could this be the USSR destroying the coming RomanCatholic, Nazi-Fascist Europe called "The Beast" and "Babylon" inRev. 17-18, also described in Isa. 47, 48:13-14, and in Jer. 50 and51?
And now notice that the TWO WITNESSES end their mission(chapter 11) at the END of the second Woe. (verses 12-14) They arekilled by the "Beast" re-born Roman Empire that comes out ofthe bottomless pit under the first woewhich places the time YETIN THE FUTURE, shattering some cherished man-made theories.
Now comes the THIRD WOE, or 7th Trumpet. What is it? Thisis the last 7th part of the seventh seal, and remember the sevenseals cover the ENTIRE PROPHECY!
Notice Rev. 11:15-18. When the 7th Trumpet sounds, the nations areangryin world war, again ragingand it is proclaimed "THYWRATH is come." The only thing here described that possibly could bethis terrible woe is "Thy WRATH."
And what is "THY WRATH"? According to Revelation 15:1, it is THESEVEN LAST PLAGUES! Just as the 7th seal is subdivided into the SEVENTRUMPETS, so the 7th Trumpet is divided into the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES,which are and constitute the 7th Trumpet or third woe. Thus the 7last plagues too, are part of the 7th seal. The second coming ofChrist shall occur at the precise time of the seven last plagues. Andso, as this 7th Trumpet is blown, the kingdoms of this world arebecome the kingdoms of Christ, who then reigns. (11-15) So Christcomes at the LAST TRUMP. (I Cor. 15:52, I Thes. 4: 16).
Chapter 12 is an inset chapter, injected into the mainstory-thread. Just as any writer will stop his narrative at a certainpoint, to go back and sketch a different scene involving differentcharacters and events, bringing them up to, and connecting them withhis story-thread at that juncture, so here John pictures the TRUECHURCH, from the time prior to Christ's birth, (verse 4) thru Hisbirth, resurrection and ascension, (verse 5) and the 1260 years ofpersecution when the TRUE CHURCH was forced to flee completely beyondthe bounds of ROMAN dominion. The TRUE CHURCH has always existed.
The church of chapter 17 is the great false church. Rev.12 brings the story of the true church to the present, whenthe devil, knowing he has but a short time, (verse 12) persecutes thetrue Church pictured as a remnant or SMALL in number, and KEEPING THECOMMANDMENTS OF GOD. (verse 17) while the false Church and herdaughters (Rev. 17:5) preach the Commandments are done away!
The 13th chapter is another inset, picturing the symbolic "beast"and the second two-horned "beast." Chapter 14 shows the three angelMessages, proclaiming the fall, or DOOM, of "Babylon" thru the sevenlast Plagues; and the warning against the MARK OF THE BEAST, whichthose in "Babylon" are deceived into having.
Chapters 15, 16 describe THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES, which are thethird woe or seventh Trumpet. These are God's judgments against thisfalse religious system, "Babylon"(Rev. 18:4, 8-10).
Chapters 17 and 18 picture the revived Roman Empire and the greatFALSE CHURCH, with her DAUGHTER CHURCHES (17:5) deceiving all nations(17:2, 15 and 18:3).
Israel is today IN BABYLONdeceived! (Jer. 50:4-8, 13-15,51:6-9; Isa. 47:1, 5, 7-9, 11; 48:1, 12, 17-20) We are God's people,IsraelIN BABYLON today, as Israel was in Egypt when God'splagues were on Egypt! And God calls us OUT (Rev. 18:4) and tells usto keep His commandments!
The 19th chapter shows the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, and the 20ththe THOUSAND YEAR REIGN ON EARTH (Rev. 5:10)21st and 22ndchapters the NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH thru eternity.
NOTE: To understand this article, be sure to read everytext quoted IN YOUR OWN BIBLE.
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5th Trumpet--First Woe
6th Trumpet--Second Woe
7th Trumpet--Third Woe or The Seven Last Plagues
SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
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