One of my favorite pastimes has been studying the book of Revelation. I started at age 13, and basically had no clue what this cryptic book was referring to. Over the years through studying different expositors, praying and becoming familiar with the other books in the Bible, some aspects of this book have become clearer. The key to much of this is the rules of interpretation (hermeneutics), and when one does an in depth study of how other prophesies have been fulfilled, it makes it much more understandable how to go about reading this book. I will be commenting on this wonderful book from time to time, again because I have a great passion for it.
Too many people have made comments to me over the years that “you are obsessed with this, and it is a scary book”. There may be some truth to this, but I usually respond “Yes, it is fearful to a degree, but what scares me more is the continuation of the state we are in, which gets worse by the year. I would be more afraid of NO action by God, knowing things will continually get worse.” I also inform them that we win in the end, and that’s the main thrust of the book. God’s name will finally be cleared for the rest of eternity, and sin will forever be eliminated from this universe. We will also be witnesses to this, and have the eternal duty to take this message to the rest of God’s creation long after this is but a hazy memory.
Revelation is the end of time written in advance, so those of the faith alive at that time will understand what is happening and why it has to happen. It is a series of events (14) over a short period of time that will culminate in two things: 1) the end of sin and 2) the completion of the gospel message and acceptance or rejection of Jesus as lord by the whole of humanity. The fourteen events mentioned are the seven trumpets, which will occur over a few years, and the seven bowls that will most likely be about 30-40 days in duration. Each event is described with enough detail to understand what it is, and who sent it. It also allows for those going through the tribulation to understand where they are in the prophetic scheme, and to instill hope that God will come through in the way he has foretold.
For instance, I get in endless debates as to the 6th trumpet, the mark of the beast. There are many who believe the mark is either here (universal bar codes on all products) or on the way. The problem is, it’s the 6th trumpet. For this to be an accurate interpretation of this scripture passage, the first 5 trumpets would have had to occur, and be readily identified by nearly everyone alive. Since the first five trumpets have not occurred, the sixth trumpet could not have occurred. This is like saying Jesus was crucified before he was born. Prophesy has an order, and is fulfilled in that order as written, and it only causes confusion and chips away at the faith, when one picks and chooses from the prophesy, without keeping it in the order written.
Revelation was also written in language used almost 2,000 years ago. The first, second, third, and fourth trumpets described in order: a massive meteor shower that causes large fires, burning up all the grass and one third of green plant life, an asteroid striking an ocean, and causing massive tsunami’s and carnage, a comet striking a land mass somewhere, that contaminates much of the water supply and a ring of darkness (clouds, soot, ash) that cuts off 1/3 of the daylight and night sky, and through these first four trumpets, approximately ¼ of the population is killed (1.75 billion people). The language used back then would have been clearly understood back then, but it is still clear enough to understand what John the evangelist saw. God would not allow for details like this to be lost in ‘translation’ because it is too important for those living through this period of history to NOT know what is going on, and what is coming next.
The following three trumpets are called ‘the three woe’s’, due to them involving Satan. The fifth trumpet is the physical appearance of Satan, and this will be very glorious in its happenings. The man of lawlessness will be allowed to take bodily form and to appear to complete the delusion that he is god, and needs to be worshipped. After a time of counterfeit miracles, Satan will reveal himself for who he really is, and transform himself into the ‘stern faced king”. Only once he has secured the earth, through the first beast Babylon, will he show his true colors, and like King Nebuchadnezzar, he will require those loyal to him to take his mark, the sixth trumpet and execute those who refuse. Also at this point, he will eliminate the first beast Babylon, because Satan will present himself as the king of kings, and lord of lords, and will not tolerate competing systems. The seventh trumpet is the ‘close of salvation’ meaning, everyone made their choice, and this trumpet sound will be accompanied by the Ark of the Covenant appearing in the sky for all to see. Those taking the mark will have the very sickening and sunken feeling that they ‘chose wrong’ and hatred towards their counterfeit god will be beyond description.
God then judges Satan, his government and his people directly, harshly and with out mercy. The seven bowls last a short time, because the severity disallows for life much past 30 days. All resources are destroyed, the sun is allowed to burn brightly and hot, and Satan’s government is destroyed in front of all the people taking the mark. Satan is exposed as the fraud he is, by not being able to stop these bowls, and is humiliated in front of his subjects, as Jesus was when hanging on the Cross. Then after a few days of this, King Jesus appears, gathers the dead in Christ first, and those who survived with God’s mark, are caught up in the air. Jesus then slays the remaining wicked with the sword, or word from his mouth, and the world as we knew it is effectively ended.
There’s more, but due to keeping this brief, the story will stop here for now.