Background InformationThe book of Revelation was written by Apostle John, who authored the Gospel of John, and John I, II, and III.  He was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ and known as the disciple whom Jesus loved.  During the time of the Apostles’ ministry, the early Christians were gravely persecuted by the Roman government.  As the last surviving Apostle, John strove to abolish paganism and fortify the faith of the seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Anatolia, Turkey):  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicean.  Toward the end of his ministry, Roman Emperor Domitian (81AD – 96AD), successor of Nero, came to power.  Domitian was the splitting image of Nero in his extreme, diabolical persecution of the Christians.  In 95AD John was summoned to Rome and was found guilty of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Domitian viewed John as a rebel of Roman ordinance, and ordered him to be thrust into boiling water.  Miraculously, John walked away unscathed because of the Lord’s protection.  When Domitian saw that John had suffered not one burn, he ordered him to be exiled to a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, called the Isle of Patmos.  To the Romans, the Isle of Patmos was a place of banishment for criminals; but for Christians this small island represents a banner of faith and hope, inasmuch as it is the place where the Apostle John received and wrote the Apocalypse, called The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF

REVELATION CHAPTERS 1-19

 From Bible Scholar Tom Stewart http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1: A Letter From the LORD of the Candlesticks
Chapter 2: Letters to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira
Chapter 3: Letters to Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea
Chapter 4: Angels and Saints Around the Throne
Chapter 5: The Worthy Lamb Prepares to Open the Seven Seals
Chapter 6: Opening the First Six Seal Judgments
Chapter 7: 144,000 Sealed on Earth and a Throne Scene of Delivered Saints
Chapter 8: Opening the Seventh Seal and Sounding the First Four Trumpets
Chapter 9: Sounding the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets– Demonic Locusts and Demonic Horsemen
Chapter 10: A Little Book and the Seven Thunders
Chapter 11: The Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet
Chapter 12: The Woman in the Wilderness
Chapter 13: The Antichrist and the False Prophet
Chapter 14: The 144,000 and the Victorious Judgment of the Lamb
Chapter 15: A Glorious Heavenly Scene Preceding the Vial Judgments
Chapter 16: Pouring Out the Vial Judgments
Chapter 17: Revealing the Mystery of Babylon the Great and the Beast
Chapter 18: The Destruction of Babylon the Great
Chapter 19: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Chapter 1: A Letter From the LORD of the Candlesticks

Verse 1

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John:”

The Greek word apokalupsis is translated as “revelation” or disclosure of the truth of things previously unknown.  The Father reveals to the Son, who reveals to His “angel,” who reveals to “His servant John”, who reveals to God’s “servants.”

Verse 2

“Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”

A faithful witness– as the Apostle John was– is merely to recount accurately what he has been told.

Verse 3

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

A special Promise attends our reading, hearing, and keeping of the Revelation, i.e., acting in faith about what we heard.  No man is a fool who acts as though the message of the Revelation concerns us here and now, “for the time is at hand.”

Verse 4

“John to the Seven Churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him Which Is, and Which Was, and Which Is To Come; and from the Seven Spirits which are before His Throne;”

The Revelation is in the form of a letter to the “Seven Churches which are in Asia”, i.e., the modern nation of Turkey, which is in Asia Minor. The Apostle John begins with a greeting from the Triune God– the Father, the Spirit, and the Son. The Father is The Ancient Of Days (Daniel 7:9,13,22)–“from Him Which Is, and Which Was, and Which Is to Come.” The “Seven Spirits” point to the perfection of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 5

“And from Jesus Christ, Who is the Faithful Witness, and the First Begotten of the Dead, and the Prince of the Kings of the Earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,”

Greetings from the Son, “who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession” (1Timothy 6:13).  Jesus has the distinction of being the first to rise from the dead.

Verse 6

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

A Kingdom Of Priests was the LORD’s original intent for His people Israel, as well. “And ye shall be unto me a Kingdom Of Priests, and An Holy Nation” (Exodus 19:6).  Again, our God’s desire for His Church is our assumption of the duties of a Kingdom Of Priests.

Verse 7

“Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.”

Our LORD Jesus Christ is the One who “cometh with clouds.” No other event in the history of creation will focus more attention on One Person than the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ.  “And then shall appear the Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). If anyone is able to wonder or question if the LORD Jesus has appeared the Second Time, then it definitely did not happen– because at His Second Coming “all… shall see Him” (Matthew 24:30).

Verse 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.”

The Apostle John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20), suffered exile to the island of Patmos (which means, “my killing”), a rugged and bare island in the Aegean Sea off the coast of modern Turkey, probably around 95 AD in Domitian’s persecution of the Christians. “Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2Timothy 3:12).

Verse 10

“I was in the Spirit on the LORD’s day, and heard behind me a Great Voice, as of a Trumpet,”

The Apostle John’s experience parallels that of being Raptured, i.e., hearing “a Great Voice, as of a Trumpet”. This reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. “For the LORD Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1Thessalonians 4:16).  Some believe that this indicates a Sunday (“LORD’s day”) Rapture; however, it could also mean that the Rapture will only occur for those who are walking “in the Spirit,” in readiness for the event– or both. “And to wait for His Son from Heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1:10).

Verse 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.”

These Seven Churches could be reached by traveling to each in succession, i.e., first Ephesus, then Smyrna, and continuing through the list until arriving at Laodicea. The serial nature of the list of Seven Churches gives rise to comparing them to a serial or chronological list of periods representing the totality of Church History, as well as a chronological list of Tribulation Week Progress.

Verses12-17

“And I turned to see the Voice that spake with me.  And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; (Vs13)  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.”

The Voice that spoke with John, belonged to the LORD Jesus here described in the attire of a priest and judge, like Aaron’s robe, “for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2). Fastening the garment higher on the body– “about the paps”, i.e., the chest– than the waist, allowed for greater movement, as well as greater dignity and majesty. “And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins” (Isaiah 11:5).

The “seven golden candlesticks” allude to the candlesticks of the Sanctuary for the nation of Israel, known as the menorah.  Though Israel ultimately failed to hold the “Law [that] is Light” (Proverbs 6:23) up to the world, the Church has received a similar commission to bear the Light– as “seven golden candlesticks”– to the world.  The LORD Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12).

Verse 16

“And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength.”

Jesus, the Eternal Word, Who “was made flesh” (John 1:14), here represents His Words like unto a “sharp two-edged sword”– an offensive weapon for slaying the enemy. ” And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations” (Revelation 19:15).

Verse 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.”

The Greek word aggelos is primarily translated as “angel,” but sometimes it is translated as messenger. That the “seven stars,” which are the “angels of the Seven Churches,” could be their pastors, may be inferred from the reference of Daniel 12:3 to those who “turn many to righteousness.”

Chapter 4: Angels and Saints Around the Throne

Verse 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 shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

This chapter of the Revelation begins with a new, Heavenly vision, when he saw that a “door was opened in Heaven” (4:1). This is the Open Door of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture that was shown to the faithful Philadelphians. Once the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Command– “Come up hither”– is given, the obedient Saints’ response will cause them to be immediately translated into the Heavenly presence of the Throne of God.

Verses 2-3

“And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a Throne was set in Heaven, and One sat on the Throne. (Vs3) 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.”

This exalted picture of the presence of God was seen also by Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel (Exodus 24:1) when the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) were given.

Verse 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.”

Verses 5-6

“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. (Vs6) 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 magnificence and awesomeness of God’s Throne is illustrated by the lightnings and thunderings and voices.  The “sea of glass” (Vs6) indicates the tranquility of the presence of God.

Verses 6-9

“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. (Vs7) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (Vs8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Vs9) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the Throne, Who liveth for ever and ever,”

These “four beasts” are the same as Ezekiel’s “four living creatures” (Ezk 1:5).  These are the seraphims, who are the angels that stand in the presence of God.

 Chapter 5: The Worthy Lamb Prepares to Open the Seven Seals

 Verse 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.”

A book “sealed with Seven Seals” is seen in this continuing Heavenly vision– which began in chapter 4. The Right Hand is indicative of the power and authority of the LORD Jesus Christ, to Whom “all power is given unto” (Matthew 28:18).

Verse 2-4

“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? (Vs3) And no man in Heaven, nor in Earth, neither under the Earth, was able to open the Book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the Book, neither to look thereon.”

Worthiness is a question that even the Angels of Heaven ask; but the reply is anticipated.  This matter of opening the Book and “loosing the seals thereof”  requires more than the strength and intelligence of the “strong angel.” In short, “no man” (Vs3) was found to open the Book.  Not surprisingly, the Apostle John– more than an excellent example for the Body of Christ– wept because no one “was found worthy to open and to read the Book.

Verses 5-7

“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. (Vs6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the Throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as It had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the Earth.  (Vs7) And He came and took the Book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the Throne.”

One of the 24 Elders (4:10) tells John the beloved to stop crying because Someone has been found to “open the Book.”  This Someone, The “Lion of the tribe of Juda” refers to Christ in reference to Jacob’s prophecy concerning his son, Judah. Judah is a lion’s whelp.  The “Root of David” (Revelation 5:5) indicates that the LORD Jesus was not just the “son of David,” but was also before David. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

This Lamb (Vs6) has “seven horns”, which represent the perfection of power. The “seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God” represent the “eyes of the LORD [which] run to and fro throughout the whole Earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Chapter 6: Opening the First Six Seal Judgments

 Verses 1-2 “The White Horse”

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.  (Vs2)  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.”

This is the First Seal Judgment, which signifies political conquering. This rider appears to be a spurious, substitute Christ, i.e., the Antichrist, who begins the Tribulation Week by confirming “the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27).  Antichrist’s “bow” and “crown” (Vs2) indicate that his conquering is based upon his threat of military force and the recognition of governmental power that he already possesses. The “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12) have already given their assent to his quest for Global Government.

Verses 3-4 “The Red Horse”

“And when He had opened the Second Seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. (Vs4)  And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the Earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”

This Second Seal Judgment shows us a red horse, which indicates the blood of warfare.  Permission must be granted to the rider of the red horse “to take peace from the Earth” (Vs4). When the Restraining Influence of the Holy Spirit is suddenly– but not permanently– removed via the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Saints, then the Antichrist can conduct his conquering.

Verses 5-6 “The Back Horse”

“And when he had opened the Third Seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. (Vs6)  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”

The Third Seal Judgment reveals a rider of a black horse (6:5). Black indicates the suffering of famine, which is the general consequence of warfare (Second Seal Judgment). “Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine” (Lamentations 5:10).” The fact that the rider of this black horse “had a pair of balances in his hand” (Vs5) denotes that the weighing out of the food to feed or starve the population of the world is given into the hands of the Antichrist.

A “measure of wheat” (Vs6) weighs roughly between 7 and 8 ounces (approximately 1/2 pound), which would produce about 1/2 of a loaf to one complete loaf of bread.  This would only be sufficient for the wage earner to feed himself for a day, but not enough wage left to buy anything else for himself, i.e., “see thou hurt not the oil and thewine.” Only by economizing with a less expensive– and less versatile– grain such as barley, can there be a threefold increase in the availability of food to feed a small family of two more for one day, i.e., “three measures of barley for a penny”

Verses 7-8 “The Pale Horse”

“And when He had opened the Fourth Seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.” (Vs8) And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.  And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the Earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the Earth.”

In this Fourth Seal, the  “fourth part of the Earth” is prophesied to die in this one Seal Judgment alone– about 1.5 billion people. Death and Hell accomplish their Divinely allowed mission through killing with:  (1) “sword” i.e., warfare, extermination, murder, etc., (2) “hunger” i.e., famine– such as seen in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and contemporary North Korea, (3) “death”  i.e., any of a vast number of other means of death– “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the Earth: for the powers of Heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26), and (4) “beasts of the Earth” i.e., “So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee.  I the LORD have spoken it” (Ezekiel 5:17).

Verses 9-11

“And when he had opened the Fifth Seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (Vs10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O LORD, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the Earth?” (Vs11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

The Martyrs’ Seal is the Fifth Seal Judgment. The martyred Saints cry out for vengeance. Not only are the Martyred Saints given “white robes”, but they are told to wait a “little season,” until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” How long is a “little season?”  Less than 7 years– the Tribulation Week.  How are these Martyred Saints killed? They were evidently beheaded. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the Beast [the Antichrist], neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

Synopsis of Verses 12-17

(Vs12) “And I beheld when he had opened the Sixth Seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”

Though this Sixth Seal Judgment does have an Apocalyptic sense of being the Last Judgment of God against the planet–it is only the beginning.  Since the previous four Seal Judgments can be variously interpreted by ungodly men as “acts of men,” this Judgment will leave little to the imagination– this is an “act of God.” “That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this” (Isaiah 41:20). (Vs17) For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

These Seal Judgments encompass a period of 3 1/2 years– the first half of the Tribulation Week; and, the “vials of the wrath of God” (Revelation 16:1) will not be poured out until the End of the Tribulation Week. Therefore, the exclamation of the ungodly that are being judged, “For the great day of His wrath is come,”  indicates only the excited state of their hearts and minds– not an exact assessment of the progress of the Tribulation Week.

Chapter 7: 144,000 Sealed on Earth

and a Throne Scene of Delivered Saints

 Verse 1

“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.”

The events of Revelation 7 take place about 12 days prior to the Middle of the Tribulation Week. The “four corners of the Earth” (7:1) simply denote the compass points of North, South, East, and West of a spherical Earth, i.e., making reference to a complete or entire Earth.  The “four angels” restraining the “four winds of the Earth” (7:1) will receive the attention of Earth dwellers; and, it will probably coincide with the Seventh Seal’s ominous Heavenly Silence of “about the space of half an hour” (8:1). This will be a miracle of the Tribulation Week. Wind is the movement of air on the Earth’s surface, which is effected by: (1) the constant process of heating and cooling of the planet– causing the low and high pressure areas, and  (2) the rotation of the planet.

Therefore, preventing the wind from blowing may entail the LORD’s circumvention of the heating and cooling of the planet; also He may prevent the rotation of the planet. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

Preparation for the opening of the Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1) by sealing the 144,000 is part of the theme of Revelation 7.

Verses 2-8

“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, (Vs3) Saying, Hurt not the Earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (Vs4) 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.”

Preservation and deliverance of the Saints is the purpose of this angel out of the East “having the seal of the Living God.” God “knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2Peter 2:9). The Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25) not only can, but will seal the “servants of our God in their foreheads” to righteously preserve His Saints and judge His enemies.

The emphasis of the first half of Revelation 7 is the sealing of the 144,000 of the Twelve Tribes of Israel; but this does not preclude Gentile Believers from also receiving a similar sealing at this time. “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the Earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Revelation9:4).  Sealing protects the Righteous from the Judgments of God poured out upon the Earth; but martyrdom at the hands of Antichrist may still be sovereignly allowed by the LORD “[Fifth Seal Judgment  “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” Rev 6:11] or, disallowed, as in the case of the 144,000.

To be “sealed” (Vs4) by God is to be given the Holy Spirit. “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2Corinthians 1:22).  This would indicate that the Jewish 144,000 and any Gentiles sealed at this time– about 12 days before the Middle of the Tribulation Week– are newly converted.  Remember, the martyrdom of Christians of the Fifth Seal Judgment (Revelation 6:9-11) began about 90 days before the Middle of the Tribulation Week. Even as our LORD marks His property, Satan will attempt to identify his property through the Mark of the Beast. “And he [the Anti-Christ] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Rev 13:16).

Verse 9

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a Great Multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

This “Great Multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” speaks primarily of the Gentile Believers that come out of the Second Half of the Tribulation Week, i.e., “out of Great Tribulation” (7:14). “15 When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation [at the Middle of the Tribulation Week], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)… 21 For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15,21).  But, how can this be stated prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1), which occurs at the Middle of the Tribulation Week? Notice that this Great Multitude is standing “before the throne” (7:9) in Heaven– apart from any clock or sense of time, i.e., in eternity. It is as if the LORD is giving us a look into eternity at the martyrs of the Second Half of the Tribulation Week, which makes this passage parenthetical or unchronological.

Verse 10

“And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

This Great Multitude of glorified Saints enthusiastically worship and praise the Living God. How do we know that these who are arrayed in “white robes, and palms in their hands” (7:9) have been martyred?  First, in the Fifth Seal Judgment, we are told that those martyred under that Seal have been counseled to be patient until “their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (6:11), i.e., their brethren of the Great Multitude of chapter 7. Second, they are also given “white robes” (Vs13), just as the martyrs of the Fifth Seal Judgment, i.e., “white robes were given unto every one of them” (6:11).  And third, the events of chapter 7 occur as the Mark of the Beast is ready to be implemented– Middle of the Tribulation Week– where it is promised that “as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (13:15).

Verse 13

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?”

These “elders” refer to the 24 Elders (Rev 4:4), who seem to represent the entirety of the Saints of God, both Israel and the Church. Like us, they are intensely interested in the welfare and progress of their brethren, the Tribulation Saints, i.e., “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?” (Vs13). Again, the “white robes” are brought up. And, we remark that the Fifth Seal Judgment describes the Martyred Saints in “white robes” (6:11), which is the clothing of the Bride of Christ. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints” (Revelation 19:8).

Verse 14

“And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came outof Great Tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Normally blood will stain a garment, but the spiritual purity here described can only be achieved by washing away our sins through the blood of Christ shed in His sacrificial death on the Cross.

(1) Blood symbolizes life, i.e., “For the life of all flesh is the blood thereof” (Leviticus 17:14),

(2) Shed blood is necessary for forgiveness, i.e., “And almost all things are by the Law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22),

(3) Christ’s blood makes possible our justification, i.e., “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9), and

(4) The blood of His Cross is not a morbid thought, but our way to peace with God, i.e., “And, having made peace through the blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in Earth, or things in Heaven” (Colossians 1:20).

Verse 15

“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”

These martyred, but now glorified Saints now stand before the “throne of God”, serving the LORD “day and night in His Temple.”  (John 14:2-3) In My Father’s house are many mansions [dwellings or abodes]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (Vs3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Chapter 8: Opening the Seventh Seal

and Sounding the First Four Trumpets

Verse1

“And when He had opened the Seventh Seal, there was silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour.”

When the LORD Jesus Christ opens the Seventh Seal Judgment, the immediate effect is silence in Heaven.

Verse 2

“And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.”

A picture of the Judgments of the Tribulation Week would begin with the Seal Judgments (Rev 6:1-17;8:1) occupying the First Half of the Week.  The Seventh Seal Judgment contains the Trumpet Judgments (Rev 8:2-13; 9:1-21; 11:15-19), which dominate the Second Half of the Week.  And, the Seventh Trumpet Judgment  (Rev 11:15-19) contains the final seven Vial Judgments (Rev 16:1-21), which occupy the final handful of days of the Tribulation Week.  Remember that the Pre-Wrath Rapture has already taken place.

Verse 6

“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”

Verse 7

“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the Earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”

1/3 of all “trees” and “green grass” will be “burnt up,” when the First Trumpet Judgment sounds. Combined with fire and smoke, the air will be difficult to breathe. But, God will make a difference between His Tribulation Saints and the world He is judging. “Hail and fire mingled with blood” are an unnatural combination; and therefore, would be supernaturally provided by the LORD to accomplish the First Trumpet Judgment.

Verses 8-9

“And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; (Vs9)  And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”

Again, 1/3 of something is affected–   The LORD will wisely judge the Earth, e.g., incrementally affecting only 1/3 of the sea, giving space for repentance for those who remain.  Additionally, in the Second Trumpet Judgment, 1/3 of sea creatures and ships will be destroyed by the “great mountain burning with fire” (8:8) that is cast into the sea. This approximates an asteroid striking the Earth, causing 1/3 of the sea to become blood. This Second Trumpet Judgment occurs approximately 4 prophetic years into the Tribulation Week, where the Seventh Seal Judgment coincides with the Abomination of Desolation at the Middle of the Week.

Verses 10-11

“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from Heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; (Vs11) And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

Aster is the Greek word for “star” (Vs10). Our word asteroid is derived from this.  This Third Trumpet Judgment is an act of God, resulting from the impact of a star “called Wormwood” (8:11). The bitterness of the water kills many, just as bitterness of soul inclines us to iniquity and death.

Verses 12-13

“And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.  (Vs13) And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of Heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the Earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”

In our article, “For the Elect’s Sake,” we hypothesized that the Almighty would speed up the rotation of the planet by 50% during the Fourth Trumpet Judgment to cause night and day to come quicker and be shorter by 1/3.  The overall effect of this Fourth Trumpet Judgment is a shifting of man’s perception of time, as well as, utter chaos and confusion; while not breaking His Word that He gave in the Noahic Covenant, “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night.”

When was the last time that an angel from the LORD was seen “flying through the midst of Heaven (Vs13)” much less, warning mankind?  How can anyone not believe that God is judging the Earth, and that these days are unique, i.e., “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21)?

Chapter 9: Sounding the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets

Demonic Locusts and Demonic Horsemen

Verses 1-5

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from Heaven unto the Earth: and to him was given the key of the Bottomless Pit.  (Vs2) And he opened the Bottomless Pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. (Vs3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the Earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the Earth have power.” (Vs5) And to them it was given that they should not kill them (ungodly men on the earth), but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.”

The Fifth Trumpet Judgment is the first of the last three woes pronounced by the angel previously.  This chapter begins with the sounding of the Fifth Trumpet where a  “star” falls “from Heaven unto the Earth” (Vs1). Satan is that fallen star.

Commentators point out that the Greek word for “fall” (Vs1) is in the perfect tense, which signifies completed action. But, when was that action completed?  At the Middle of the Tribulation Week. Why?

Revelation 12 describes the Woman in the Wilderness– (elect)-but-still-lost Israel– during the last half (1,260 days) of the Tribulation Week, i.e., “where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1,260 days]” (12:6). Israel is described, in this context, immediately before Satan’s final ejection from Heaven, i.e., “neither was their place found any more in Heaven” (12:8). Though the “fall” will be completed 3 1/2 years into the Week, Satan will be “given the key of the Bottomless Pit,” to have his cohorts released, about 2 years later– at the sounding of the Fifth Trumpet.  Those 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6) begin– after a war in the Heavens, where Satan is permanently banned from accusing the brethren– with the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15) at the Middle of the Tribulation Week.

The “Bottomless Pit” (Vs22) is the Abyss. This place cannot be a physical confine, but a spiritual cage for demons.  The “smoke out of the pit” (Vs2) represents the vastness of the numbers of the demons, i.e., fallen angels, that darken the sky.  A third of the angels of Heaven fell with Satan at the original rebellion.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left” (Exodus 10:12).  Swarms are known to fly as high as 5,000 feet. A developed locust plague is almost impossible to control with even modern measures. They are the demons that God has divinely appointed to terrorize godless, rebellious man.

“It was commanded them” (Vs4) by the Judge of the Tribulation Week that they should not hurt the grass or trees, but only the ungodly, “which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Vs4).  The Holy Spirit designates a five month window of affliction for these Demonic Locusts, which means that the pain of one scorpion bite may give way to the next bite, until the five months have elapsed.

Verse 6

“And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”

To these, suicide is preferable to the pain of living; but, God does not allow the afflicted rebels the luxury of death– “death shall flee from them” (Vs6). Both temporal punishment, as well as possible repentance, are reasons for the All Wise God to prevent success to the rebels’ desired suicide.

Verses 7-10

“And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. (Vs8) And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. (Vs9) And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. (Vs10) And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.”

At this point, it is obvious that these are not ordinary locusts; but, in fact, they are Demonic Locusts.

(1) They are shaped like “horses prepared unto battle” (Vs7), but they may be only the size of your thumb (2 1/2 inches or 65 mm).

(2) They appear, as it were, wearing “crowns like gold” (Vs7), just as the gregarious locusts may appear golden when they swarm– from their previously green coloration in their solitary phase. And,

(3) They appear– to the horror of the Tribulation Week ungodly– with the “faces of men” (Vs7), but they may be capable of traveling as far as 30 miles (48 km) in one day’s time– if they are restricted to the range of conventional locusts. “Horror shall cover them” (Ezekiel 7:18).

Demonic Locusts– having human-like faces– with the “hair of a women” (Vs8), are nightmarish!  The plague of demonic, nightmarish Hollywood movies is an effort of Satan to desensitize the world to the upcoming Tribulation plagues; thus, making it less probable that the hardened Earth dwellers will repent. “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19).

These Demonic Locusts have “breastplates of iron” (Vs9), indicating that these “hoppers” will not be defeated like a grasshopper under a gardener’s shoe. Sound will first assault the Tribulation Week impenitents, who “have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Vs4). The horrific sound of “many horses running to battle” (Vs9) will be the sound of the tormentors’ wings approaching their victims. And, the only thing that will stop the torment of these Demonic Locusts will be the penitent’s cry for God’s mercy.  Pain from the tails ofthese Demonic Locusts will punish or convert men for “five months” (Vs10).

Verse 11

“And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the Bottomless Pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”

“Abaddon” in the Hebrew, means destruction. “Apollyon,” in the Greek, means destroyer.  Satan is that destroyer, who is the “angel of the Bottomless Pit” (Vs11).

Verse 12

“One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”

The Fifth Trumpet Judgment is the first of the last three woes pronounced by the angel previously. “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the Earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound” (8:13). The “two woes more hereafter” (Vs12) are the Sixth and Seventh Trumpet Judgments (9:13-21; 11:15-19).

Verses 13-16

“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, (Vs14) Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. (Vs15) And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. (Vs16) And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.”

At the sounding of the Second Woe (Vs13) or the Sixth Trumpet Judgment, the very voice of the Living God comes forth “from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God.” This verse speaks of the Presence of God, without saying it outright. The angel, who sounds the Sixth Trumpet Judgment, is divinely commanded to set free “four angels” (Vs14). These four angels must be evil angels, because God never imprisons the righteous angels– only the evil.

The “great river Euphrates” (Vs14) is the largest river of western Asia, and it was one of the four chief principal rivers that flowed from Paradise.  Originating in the Armenian plateau of Turkey, it flows 1,700 miles (2,700 km) through Syria and southern Iraq, joining with the Tigris River, before it empties into the Persian Gulf.

The “four angels were loosed” (Vs15), who “were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year” (9:15), or for a period of 391.042 days in duration, which may be required for terrorizing and slaying the “third part of men” (Vs15). The combination of the Fourth Seal Judgment (6:7-8) and the Sixth Trumpet judgment would accomplish the deaths of a half of mankind.

An army of 200 million– “two hundred thousand thousand” (Vs16)– horsemen are described. It can be seen that these are not mere human soldiers, but Demonic Horsemen, because they are released from confinement, just as the Demonic Locusts of the previous Trumpet Judgment (Vs1-2). Also, it would be a mistake to confuse the Sixth Vial Judgment’s invading army of the “kings of the east” (16:12)

with the events of this Sixth Trumpet Judgment. Since these are demons and not humans, it is unnecessary to speculate where such a sizable army could be presently found. But still, it is interesting to note that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claimed to have had a man-and-woman militia of 200 million, as far back as 1965 (from “Time” magazine, May 21, 1965, p. 35).

Please Note: Many Bible Scholars agree with this interpretation; yet others believe demonic spirits will be operating through the 200 million-man Chinese militia.

Verse 18

“By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.”

Essentially, every third person in the world will be burned alive. The “brimstone” is the fuel, the “fire” is the combustion process, and the “smoke” is the exhaust; but, wicked men are the targets of the flame.

Verses 20-21

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:  (Vs21) Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”

As the Sixth Trumpet Judgment proceeds toward the last few months of the Tribulation Week, the men that will repent, have done so; and, those who will not repent, are hardened.  This is the sad description of the Universal Depravity of Lost Men.

Chapter 10: A Little Book and the Seven Thunders

Synopsis

This angel is “clothed with a cloud” (Vs1), indicating the presence of God, i.e., “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man.” The “rainbow [that] was upon his head” (Vs1) speaks of the glory of God. “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD” (Ezekiel 1:28). The “mighty angel” (Vs1) holds a “Little Book open” (Vs2), indicating that the information contained therein is from God and that the Apostle John was given access to the “open” Book. The Apostle John’s vision of this angel must have had the “larger-than-life” feeling of seeing an exaggeratedly large angel straddling the sea and Earth.

The response to the roaring of the “mighty angel” (Vs1) was the uttering of the voices of the Seven Thunders (Vs3), which seems to be another series of judgments like the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials. John’s bitterness– “as soon as I had eaten it [the Little Book], my belly was bitter” (Vs10)– caused by the Tribulation Week Impenitents’ rejection of the LORD’s judgments, supports the position that the Seven Thunders are another series of Tribulation judgments.  The Apostle John was instructed, like Daniel to not reveal the vision that he had been shown, i.e., “Seal up those things which the Seven Thunders uttered, and write them not” (10:4).

What does it mean that “there should be time no longer” (Vs6)? It appears that the angel is saying that time is concluded for certain events to be completed, i.e., “Time is up.”

Verse 7

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the Mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.”

The expression “the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound” (Vs7) refers specifically to the Seventh Trumpet Judgment (11:15), which sounds approximately 8-9 days before the End of the Tribulation Week.

Chapter 11: The Two Witnesses

and the Seventh Trumpet

Verses 1-2

“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.  (Vs2) But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.”

Not only did John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20), have the special privilege of receiving the Revelation in its entirety; but, in this Second Vision (4:1-16:21), he was given the privilege and honor of measuring the Temple, altar, and worshippers, i.e.,  And, what is the significance of this measuring? God’s measuring demonstrates His dominion over His property–the Millennial Temple.  The second half of the Tribulation Week is the Great Tribulation, during which Jerusalem is “[trodden] under foot” (11:2) of the Gentiles.

Verse 3

“And I will give power unto my Two Witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”

The Two Witnesses– Moses and Elijah– are identified as the “two olive trees, and the two candlesticks” (11:4). A “thousand two hundred and threescore days” is the total length of the Two Witnesses’ ministry. Again, this is the same as a period of three years and six months (1,260 divided by 360 equals 3 1/2).

Through His Two Witnesses, the LORD Jesus Christ reveals Himself as a Fierce Opponent that devours, hurts, and kills His enemies.

Verses 6-10
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the Earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Vs7) And when they shall have finished their testimony, the Beast . . . shall make war against them . . . and kill them. (Vs8) And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our LORD was crucified. (Vs9) And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (Vs10) And they that dwell upon the Earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the Earth.”

Again, Moses and Elijah are most probably the Two Witnesses indicated in this verse because of the similarity of their previous earthly ministries to the deeds of these Two Witnesses.  Elijah “shut heaven, that it rained not (1Kings 17:1).  Moses had “power over the waters to turn them to blood” (Psalm 105:29).

Revelation tells us that the ministry of the Two Witnesses will be cut short by their death, i.e., the “Beast (the Anti-Christ) shall make war against them . . . and kill them” (Vs7).   The “people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies” (11:9), intimates that the Apostle John was given to understand the fact of the worldwide viewing of the Two Witnesses’ bodies– possible now by satellite broadcast.  The wickedness of those “that dwell upon the Earth” (Vs10) is seen by their rejoicing over the death of the Two Witnesses.  The Almighty will allow the spectacle in order to make His triumph over His enemies that much greater when the Two Witnesses are resurrected (Vs11).

Verses 11-13

“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (Vs12) And they heard a great voice from Heaven saying unto them, Come Up Hither. And they ascended up to Heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Vs13) And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of Heaven.”

The miraculous resurrection of the Two Witnesses “after three days and an half” (Vs11) of laying dead in the streets of Jerusalem, causes “great fear” to fall upon them.  Remember, the world, that has been watching the spectacle of their dead bodies crumpled in the streets of Jerusalem, now will see the Omnipotent, Resurrection Power of the Almighty at work in the resurrection of the Two Witnesses.

Just as the Pre-Tribulational Rapture will be announced by the First “Come Up Hither” (Revelation 4:1), the Pre-Wrath Rapture will be announced by this Second “Come Up Hither” (Vs12). Why call this Rapture a Pre-Wrath Rapture? You will notice that the Seventh Trumpet Judgment sounds in the adjacent verse, i.e., the “seventh angel sounded” (Vs15). The “vials of the wrath of God” are poured out upon the Earth following the sounding of the Seventh and Last Trump (1Corinthians 15:52). Also, this eleventh chapter of Revelation declares that the LORD God Almighty’s “wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the Saints” (Vs18).  (Vs13) By modern standards, an earthquake that destroys a tenth of a major city and kills 7,000 people is significant.

Verse 14

“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”

The woes expressed in Scripture testify to the seriousness of God’s pronouncements, e.g., “Woe unto the wicked!  The “second woe” (Vs14) refers to the Demonic Horsemen of the Sixth Trumpet Judgment (9:13-21), while the Demonic Locusts of the Fifth Trumpet Judgment (9:1-12) are the first woe of the final three Trumpet Judgments.  The “third woe” is the Seventh Trumpet Judgment that “cometh quickly” the following verse.

Verse 15

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

Just as the Seventh Day of the Creation Week symbolized the completion of God’s creative work (Genesis 2:2-3), the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet is both the completion of this series of Seven Trumpet Judgments, as well as the Last Trump to sound before the Resurrection of all the Saints of all time.

(1) The Seventh Seal Judgment (Revelation 8:1) signifies the completion of the first half of the Tribulation Week, coinciding with the “midst of the week” (Daniel 9:27) and the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15) on Earth, while Heaven is so awed by the gravity of the Almighty’s judgments yet to unfold that there is silence in Heaven for “half an hour” (Revelation 8:1).

(2) The Seventh Trumpet Judgment (11:15) represents the completion of the Church Age, and

(3) the Seventh Vial Judgment (16:17) at the End of the Tribulation Week portrays the completion of the judgments of God, i.e., “It is done” (16:17).

*The statements of the “great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Vs15) indicate that the Seventh Trumpet Judgment is the time that the LORD officially reinstates the kingdoms of the world as now belonging again to Him– about to forcibly take back absolute control.

Verse 18

“And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the Saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the Earth.”

That this is the time of the Pre-Wrath Rapture, can be seen by:

(1) The “vials of the wrath of God” (16:1) are now to be poured out, i.e., “Thy wrath is come” (Vs18).

(2) The Bema Seat Judgment (2Corinthians 5:10) of all the Saints occurs at this time, i.e., “that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the Saints” (Vs18). And,

(3) The destruction of the Wicked “which destroy the Earth” (Vs18) is accomplished by wave after wave of the “vials of the wrath of God” (16:1), by the slaughter at Armageddon (16:16), and by the Judgment of the Nations– “the time of the dead, that they should be judged” (Vs18)– where the Judge of All the Earth separates the “sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32), resulting in the “everlasting punishment” (25:46) of the Wicked.

Verse 19

“And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His Temple the Ark of His Testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

The “Temple of God” here, refers to the Heavenly Temple, and not the Tribulational or Millennial Temples.  The “lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” (11:19) are a momentous indication that God’s presence– symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant– will, shortly, be seen on Earth and in His Temple. Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen (Revelation 1:7).

Chapter 12: The Woman in the Wilderness

Verses 1-2

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: (Vs2) And she being with Child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”

Thus, the Woman Clothed With the Sun may be identified as the Nation of Israel.  And, the Woman, “being with Child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered” (Vs2), describes the Nation of Israel in general, and Mary in particular. would by the Almighty bless the world with Jesus Christ. Yes, Israel rejected their True Messiah; and accordingly, the Gentile world was then offered the same Salvation that Israel rejected.

Verse 3

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”

The tapestry of this 12th chapter of the Revelation first introduces the Woman that produces the Messiah (Vs1-2). Later, in this same chapter, the “Great Dragon” (12:9) is specifically identified as Satan.  “Red” (Vs3) is the color of the blood spilled by the Great Dragon, often through the very human governments.

The “seven heads” of the Dragon signify seven governments, kingdoms, or empires, from which the “ten horns” or ten different rulers reign, i.e., “ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise” (Daniel 7:24).

Verses 4-5

“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the Earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child as soon as It was born. (Vs5) And she brought forth a Man Child, Who was to rule all nations with a Rod of Iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His Throne.”

With a sweep of His fingers over the pages of history, the Holy Spirit recalls how Israel “brought forth a Man Child” Whose purpose was and is, prophetically, “to rule all nations with a Rod of Iron” (Vs5). It is a fact of sacred history that Jesus Christ “was caught up unto God, and to His Throne.”

And when He [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward Heaven as He went up, behold, two men [angels] stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

Verse 6

“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”

Following the Abomination of Desolation at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, Israel flees from the betrayal of the Antichrist, with whom she had confirmed a treaty or covenant at the Beginning of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:27).  When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

Where can Israel flee from the Antichrist?  Many have speculated that the ancient city of Petra, the Greek name of the Edomite city of Selah (2Kings 14:7) located towards the southwestern end of the Dead Sea, will be the refuge for these future Tribulation refugees.

Verses 7-9

“And there was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (Vs8) And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in Heaven. (Vs9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the Earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

It is strange to think that there ever could be “war in Heaven” (Vs7), but we are prophetically previewed of a future conflict in which “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon”, reciprocating the combat of Satan, who “fought [along with] his angels” (Vs7). When Lucifer first “drew the third part” (Vs4) of God’s angels into the Original Rebellion, he and his cohorts were “cast down to hell” (2Peter 2:4), i.e., they became persona non grata (unwelcome), no longer having the credentials or privileges of the “sons of God” (Job 1:6). However, the Wisdom of God has allowed Satan the opportunity to temporarily continue coming “before the LORD” (1:6) to accuse the Brethren.

When will this heavenly warfare take place between Michael the Archangel and Satan? The warfare will occur immediately before the Middle of the Tribulation Week. It will be followed by the 3 1/2 year period known as the Great Tribulation or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Casting out Satan from Heaven will be a great boon to the Godly, because as the chief antagonist of the Saints, he will no longer have access to God to accuse the Brethren.

Verse 10

“And I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, Now is come Salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

Because the “accuser of our brethren [will be] cast down” at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, we have it on good authority, i.e., a “loud voice saying in Heaven,” that “now is come:”

(1) “Salvation” (Vs10), i.e., when Satanic resistance is diminished, even greater numbers may be ushered into the Kingdom of God–

(2) “strength” (Vs10), i.e., Divine help will become more available to the Godly– “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10),

(3) the “Kingdom of our God” (Vs10), i.e., a powerful sense of the presence of the Spirit of God will be felt, and especially His power– “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6),

(4) the “power of His Christ” (Vs10), i.e., this represents the omnipotence of the KING of Kings making Himself felt and known during the troublous Second Half of the Tribulation Week– “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7).

Verse11

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Every Christian is to be a living “epistle… known and read of all men” (2Corinthians 3:2), thus fulfilling the Great Commission of being “witnesses unto [Christ]… unto the uttermost part of the Earth” (Acts 1:8). Likewise, all Believers who resist the Devil “stedfast in the faith” (1Peter 5:9) overcome him “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev 12:11). It is the totality of the Body of Believers, who bring down Satan, through the LORD Jesus Christ– the “Head of the Church” (Ephesians 5:23).

Verse 12

“Therefore rejoice, ye Heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the Earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

As much as there will be rejoicing in Heaven, there will be woe for the “inhabiters of the Earth and of the sea” (Vs12).  He expends the lives of his deceived offspring in a manifestation of his “great wrath” (12:12) and vicious hate. As a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44), Satan gladly disposes of his abused progeny, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1Peter 5:8), knowing “that he hath but a short time” (Vs12).

Verses 13-14

“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the Earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the Man Child. (Vs14) And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

So, when the Dragon is “cast unto the Earth” (Vs13) at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, he vents his rage upon Israel in a desperate attempt to maul the LORD. “He [Satan] persecuted the woman which brought forth the Man Child” (Vs13).  As usual, the Wicked One plays into the masterful hands of God. Through his persecution of Israel, Satan aids the Almighty in driving Elect-But-Still-Lost Israel to the extreme of admitting that the Crucified Jesus is truly the Messiah of Israel– as well as, being the “Saviour of the World” (John 4:42)– by the time of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. The Woman, who is Elect-But-Still-Lost Israel, is “given two wings of a great eagle” to be supernaturally preserved “from the face of the serpent [Satan]” (Vs14) until the End of the Tribulation Week, when she is finally and gloriously saved.

Verses 15-16

“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (Vs16) And the Earth helped the woman, and the Earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”

Satan will attempt to sweep away Israel “as a flood” (Vs15) But, only time will tell whether or not the Antichrist will employ some kind of actual flood to destroy Elect-But-Still-Lost Israel. Revelation tells us that the “Earth opened her mouth” (Vs16), i.e., referring to the Earth in the feminine. The Greek word ga, which means Earth, is a noun in the feminine gender. However, the Saints are simply pleased that the Almighty should choose to depict the Earth as nurturing and aiding the Godly, while fighting and resisting the ungodly.

Remembering that the Devil, at this time in the Tribulation, has been denied access to God to accuse the Still-Living-Tribulation Brethren (Vs10), he will now address more of his attention to persecuting the Elect-But-Still-Lost Earth dwellers, and especially Israel.

Verse 17

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

The Roaring Lion will again look about “seeking whom he may devour” (1Peter 5:8), and will decide “to make war with the remnant of her seed” (Vs17), specifically, the Jewish Tribulation Believers, who “keep the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Chapter 13: The Antichrist and the False Prophet

 Verses 1-2

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Vs2) And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”

Here, in an apocalyptic vision, John stands “upon the sand of the sea” (Vs1), where the “sea” depicts the Gentile nations. The “beast” that rises up “out of the sea” (Vs1) has been traditionally understood to be the Antichrist. The New Testament word “antichrist” comes from the Greek antichristos, meaning in opposition to Christ or in substitution for Christ; and, is found only in the epistles of the Apostle John.

The Antichrist or the Beast is described as “having seven heads and ten horns” (Vs1)– calling to mind Daniel’s description of the Roman Empire, that ultimately brings forth the “Man of Sin” (2Thessalonians 2:3) from its revived form (Daniel 7:7-8).

The “seven heads” (Vs1) represent seven successive phases of governmental history (cp. Revelation 17:10-12), while the “ten horns” (Vs1) signify ten simultaneously reigning rulers, who will be contemporaries with the Antichrist (Rev17:12).  In the Book of Revelation, both the “horns” and “crowns” (Vs1) are symbols of governmental authority; and in this instance, they are used to blasphemously supplant or usurp the true authority of the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords, i.e., “and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Vs1). Though human government was instituted by God “to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4), it will ultimately be perverted to blaspheme and war against the return of the LORD Jesus Christ.

Seven successive stages of Gentile world power– out of which the Antichrist will come– are represented by the “seven heads and ten horns” (Vs1).

(1) Egypt (1600-1200 BC),

(2) Assyria (900-600 BC),

(3) Babylon (606-536 BC),

(4) Medo-Persia (536-330 BC),

(5) Greece (330-146 BC),

(6) Rome (200 BC-400 AD), and

(7)  the Revived Roman Empire, which seems to be the European Union, that was formed from the older European Economic Community (1957-1958) through the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), which was enacted on November 1st 1993.

John the Beloved Apostle describes his vision of the “beast.” It is said that the “dragon [Satan] gave him [the Antichrist] his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Vs2). But, how could the devil give governmental power and authority to the Antichrist, when God never placed them in Satan’s hands? “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth” (Matthew 28:18). Sadly, however, when the children of this world give obedience to the devil, then they acknowledge his illegal seizure of that power.

Verses 3-5

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. (Vs4) And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Vs5) And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”

Understanding that the Beast with “seven heads” (Vs1) represents Gentile world power, the Apostle John “saw one of [the Beast’s] heads as it were wounded to death” (Vs3). This referred to the eventual collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century.  The Beast’s “deadly wound was healed” (Vs3) indicates that the Lamb of the Revelation (Jesus Christ) anticipated Satan’s attempt to revive the power of the Roman Empire.

Since the Beast “out of the sea” (Vs1) is both a system, i.e., Gentile world power in the form of a Revived Roman Empire, and a man that is called the Antichrist, who comes out of that system, then the “deadly wound” (Vs3), most likely will also refer to an actual wound to Antichrist’s head. The Greek word for “wound” (Vs3) is plege, which is also translated as plague. Just as the LORD Jesus Christ was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5) and “by His stripes we are healed” (53:5), the Antichrist will falsely simulate a resurrection from what appears to be a mortal head wound.

In a false imitation of the relationship of Christ to the Father of Mercies (2Corinthians 1:3), the Antichrist will be instrumental in directing worship to Satan, i.e., “And they worshipped the dragon [Satan] which gave power unto the beast [Antichrist]” (Vs4). Satan would have no interest in giving power to the Antichrist, if it would not somehow come back to him in worship.

“Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Vs4) will be the adulation of the world for the Antichrist. In keeping with Antichrist’s praise, i.e., “who is able to make war with him?” (Vs4), Antichrist will be a man of military and political power, for he will be responsible for the “covenant with many” (Daniel 9:27) that takes place at the beginning of the Seventieth Week of Daniel. This usurper will be a minister of Satan against the Saints for evil, who will be known for his execution of wrath in the martyrdom of the Godly, who practice righteousness.

“And he [Antichrist] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the Saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25).  Blasphemia is the Greek word for blasphemy, which means evil speaking, especially in the sense of speaking evil of God. Yet, the very fact that the Antichrist (prophetically) “sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2Thessalonians 2:4) is the ultimate blasphemy. It may be initially strange to the minds of the Godly that “power was given unto” (Vs5) Antichrist by Jehovah to return blasphemy against Jehovah; but, God allows Antichrist and the unelect “to fill up their sins” (1Thessalonians 2:16) through this blaspheming, which justifies the Almighty’s granting of their free moral agency and their subsequent “eternal damnation.

Antichrist’s “power” (Vs5) or liberty to “continue” for “forty and two months” (Vs5)– or, 3 1/2 prophetic years, which is 1,260 days. This period will begin at the Middle of the Tribulation Week, which is the “Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Matthew 24:15). The forty-two month period, which follows the Abomination of Desolation, is commonly known as the Great Tribulation. “For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (24:21).

Verse 6

“And he (Antichrist) opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in Heaven.”

Verses 7-8

“And it was given unto him to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Vs8) And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Scripture tells us that “all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship” (Vs8) the Antichrist; but, later in this chapter, we will find the reason for this universal worship, i.e., coercion based upon the threat of death. “And he [the False Prophet] had power to give life unto the image of the beast [image of the Antichrist], that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (13:15).

Verses 11-12

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the Earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Vs12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the Earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”

One feature of this Beast is that “he had two horns like a lamb” (Vs11), meaning that he had the outward characteristics of a meek and mild lamb. This implies that this Beast will attempt to appear like the LORD Jesus Christ, who is truly the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). But, the true nature of this Beast is betrayed by the fact that “he spake as a dragon” (Vs11).

Therefore, we can be assured that the Beast “out of the Earth” must be another savage creature like the Antichrist, who attempts to shield his ferocious character with a lamb-like mask.  Many commentators, including this one, believe that this Beast “out of the Earth” (13:11) describes the Endtime personality that is commonly referred to as the False Prophet, i.e., he “causeth the Earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast” (Vs12). The worship that the False Prophet directs toward the Antichrist will ultimately be received by Satan.

Verses 13-14

“And he (False Prophet) doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the Earth in the sight of men, (Vs14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the Earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the Earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”

Both Antichrist and his False Prophet are liars, like their “father the devil” (John 8:44). As such, the only kind of “great wonders” (Vs13) that they perform, are lies. It will be difficult for those “that dwell on the Earth” (Vs14) not to be deceived by the False Prophet’s miracles, “which he had power to do in the sight of the beast” (Vs14). Why? To the unelect, the miracles will speak more loudly than any previously rejected Scriptures. God will send them “strong delusion” (2Thessalonians 2:11).

Verse 15

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

The False Prophet will be especially acclaimed for two miracles or wonders:

(1) calling fire down from heaven, i.e., “he maketh fire come down from heaven on the Earth in the sight of men” (Vs13), and

(2) giving “life unto the image of the beast” (Vs15).

Verses 16-17

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Vs17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

The Beast will mark all of humankind as his property, i.e., acting for the Antichrist. Notice that the False Prophet instrumentally “causeth all” to “receive a mark” (Vs16), meaning that, the False Prophet, not the Antichrist, is the chief promoter of the Mark of the Beast. If the Antichrist were to solely promote the reception of the Mark of the Beast, it would be by raw force. But, if the False Prophet is the prime promoter for the reception of the Mark of the Beast– which he will– then it will be accomplished by deceptively causing the world to desire to receive it. “[The False Prophet] deceiveth them that dwell on the Earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do” (Vs14).

Negatively, refusal toworship the Antichrist will be punishable by death (Vs15), while on the other hand, the ability to live, i.e., “buy or sell” (Vs17), will be controlled by the willingness to “receive a mark” (Vs16).

From the Antichrist’s perspective, refusal to take the Mark of the Beast means starvation, i.e., “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark” (Revelation 13:17), and refusal to worship the Beast means the penalty of death.

Please Note:  Many Bible Scholar believe the Anti-Christ is the one who will demand everyone received the mark; however the above view is common as well.

The proliferation of computers, databases, credit and debit cards, scannable bar codes (UPC), and wireless satellite Internet, data, and telecommunications– they all facilitate the tracking of the movements and activity of much of the developed world, in addition to the myriad of records traditionally kept by all governments. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the Words, and seal the Book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

Possibly, all that would remain, would be the employment of a type of programmable, scannable “smart chip” that would be implanted under the skin of “their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Vs16)– as has been done with pets and livestock– that would enable a cashless society, as well as for identification and tracking, i.e., medical information, military status, immigration records, criminal records, etc.

Verse 18

“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Some have explained the “Six hundred threescore and six [666]” as an adding of the numerical equivalents of the Hebrew, Greek, or Latin letters of the Antichrist’s name. Biblical numerics are appropriate for the Saints to study; but, like all lawful endeavours, Biblical numerics can only be properly understood when they are submitted to the guidance of the Spirit of God. This writer has found satisfaction with the understanding that the number 666 represents the “number of a man” (Vs18). Since man was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31), the number six represents man—the Antichrist is nothing but a mere man.

Chapter 14: The 144,000 and

 the Victorious Judgment of the Lamb

Verse 1

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s Name written in their foreheads.”

It must be remembered that the Spirit of Prophecy (Rev 19:10) that inspired the Apostle John to write the Apocalypse, intended the imagery of the Revelation to be understood in a conversational manner, “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). But, in the narrative of Chapter 14, like our own conversations, not every event described is in a rigidly chronological order. Thus, this chapter depicts a heavenly scene with the “hundred forty and four thousand” (Rev 14:1) “before the throne of God” (Rev 14:5) after the Pre-Wrath Rapture (about 9 days prior to the End of the Tribulation Week). The Lamb (Rev 14:1) of God “which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), is Jesus.  In this vision, John sees the LORD Jesus Christ on “mount Sion” (Rev 14:1), which in this instance, refers to a heavenly scene. The 144,000 (14:1)– the same 144,000 Jewish Believers, who were sealed in Chapter 7 shortly before the Middle of the Tribulation Week– are standing with Christ in Heaven.

Chapter 15: A Glorious Heavenly Scene

 Preceding the Vial Judgments

Verse1

“And I saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. (vs2) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the Beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”

This chapter, the shortest of the Apocalypse, sees both a Heavenly scene of triumphant praise by those who will overcome the Antichrist (Rev 14:2-4) and a description of the final preparations for the pouring out of the final Vial Judgments (Rev 14:5-8). Though the Seal Judgments (Rev 6:1-17; 8:1) and Trumpet Judgments (Rev 8:1-9:21; 11:15-19) demonstrate the displeasure of God with man, the Vial Judgments (Rev 16:1-21), which are the “seven last plagues” (Vs1), are especially noted to be full of the “wrath of God” (Vs1).

The “sea of glass” (Vs2), described previously in Chapter 4, is “before the throne”  of God.  Thalassa is the Greek word used for “sea,” which indicates a continuous body of water, as the ocean. Standing around the throne of God are those “that had gotten the victory over the Beast [the Antichrist], and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name” (Vs2).

This scene anticipates the “seven last plagues” (Vs1) of the Tribulation Week. 

Chapter 16: Pouring Out the Vial Judgments

Verse 1

“And I heard a Great Voice out of the Temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the Earth.”

The “Great Voice out of the Temple” (16:1) undisputedly belongs to the LORD Jesus Christ.  A “vial” is translated from the Greek word chiale, which means a shallow bowl or cup, usually without a stand or foot, used to draw out of a larger goblet. The Almighty’s anger with man’s wickedness is that larger goblet.

Verse 2

“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the Earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the Mark of the Beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

A “noisome [Greek, kakos, meaning bad] and grievous [Greek, poneros, meaning evil] sore [Greek, helkos, meaning sore or ulcer]” (Vs2) is a loathsome and malignant ulcer, that will be poured out upon worshippers of the Beast.  An ulcer is a lesion resulting from the gradual disintegration of tissue,which covers most of the internal and external surfaces of the body, whose main symptom is pain.

Verse 3

“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.”

Our beautiful planet, when viewed from space, is 70.8 percent covered by oceans and marginal seas, encompassing 139.4 million square miles (361.1 million square kilometers), holding a volume of 329 million cubic miles (1.37 billion cubic kilometers) of seawater, at an average depth of 12,450 feet (3,795 meters), and appearing in rich shades of blue under patches, bands, and swirls of clouds. But, soon the Almighty’s fierce wrath will turn the planet’s appearance into visible shades of red blood. “He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (19:15).

Since blood is half blood cells and half plasma– with plasma’s chemical composition resembling seawater– when the Second Vial Judgment miraculously transforms the sea into actual blood, the vast addition of the organic waste of the blood cells to the seas will deplete the supply of dissolved oxygen in the ocean, which is normally renewed by absorption from the air and by photosynthesis. When bacteria degrades the organic waste into its inorganic components (nitrogen, phosphorous, and carbon)– which in turn nourishes the microscopic algae of the aquatic food chain– the process consumes oxygen present in the sea. But, when Jehovah overwhelms the process with apocalyptic proportions of the organic wastes of blood cells, the process collapses. The seas’ oxygen supply is exhausted, and the ocean eutrophies or “dies”. Thus, the sea turns slimy and stinks.

Verse 4

“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.”

To complete the destruction of the hydrosphere, the LORD God Almighty will cause His angel to pour out the Third Vial Judgment upon the remaining sources of fresh water.  Life on the planet survives on less than one percent of the water in the Earth’s hydrosphere; and, it is evident that without a hydrologic cycle of transferring water from the oceans through the atmosphere to the continents by means of evaporation and precipitation, and back to the oceans through transpiration, infiltration, subterranean percolation, overland flow, runoff, and other complex processes, life on dry land would cease. “The LORD by wisdom hath founded the Earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens” (Proverbs 3:19).

However, survival on this planet after the Second and Third Vial Judgment, i.e., the sea became “as the blood of a dead man” (Vs3) and freshwater sources “became blood” (Vs4), will rapidly become a life ending crisis. The Third Vial Judgment seems to restrict itself to only the natural sources of freshwater storage, e.g., aquifers, rivers, lakes, springs, etc.

Verses 5-6

“And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O LORD, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. (Vs6) For they have shed the blood of Saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”

This verse begins with a declaration by the “angel of the waters,” i.e., the “third angel” of the Vial Judgments, praising and worshipping God for His righteous judgment.

A precept of the ancient Jewish civil law was the Retributive Justice of a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:23, 24). This was not intended as a statement of mercy, but it was an unqualified fitting of the punishment to the crime. Whether or not all the inhabitants of the Earth have personally executed a Tribulation Saint, God reckons them complicit with the crime by their adherence to the Antichrist, through their reception of the Mark of the Beast, their worship of the Beast, and their use of the Mark to further their self-survival. The crime against the unborn and Germany’s holocaust of the Jews are modern examples of how the Almighty must deal with a nation, when sin is tolerated by its people. When the Almighty shall give the world literal “blood to drink” (Vs6), it is the curse of God against the human life that He fashioned into existence on the Sixth Day of Creation.

Verse 7

“And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, LORD God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.”

It is instructive that the Spirit of God deemed it wise to tarry this thought another verse, to bolster our understanding of the veracity and rightness of His actions in this Third Vial Judgment. Man’s bewilderment at God’s judgments truly illustrate the words of the LORD, “My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways” (Isaiah 55:8).

Therefore, the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God in these Vial Judgments is an indication that the time of man’s probation has all but expired.

The Vial Judgments represent the end of Jehovah’s therapeutic judgments of man, whereby man’s repentance is still possible. “An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come” (Ezekiel 7:6).

Verses 8-9

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the Sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. (Vs9) And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the Name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.”

Rebellious Earth dwellers are the target of the Fourth Vial Judgment, for none but the wicked remain on the planet at this time. In this instance, Earth’s Sun is the vehicle chosen by God to make the required impression. Sunburn results from the overexposure of the skin to the ultraviolet of sunlight; but, when men are “scorched with great heat” (Vs9), more severe injury is indicated, i.e., second degree or third-degree burns. Both these burns damage the dermis and epidermis, while the third-degree burn also destroys the entire thickness of the skin. Can God be so mistaken about the character of these impenitent rebels that He would torture them with malignant ulcers, bloody seas, bloody waters, and now scorching heat? God would cease to be God, if His judgments were not forever righteous.

Verses 10-11

“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the Beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (Vs11) And blasphemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

Because the world ruled by the Antichrist has been relieved of its burden of Saints, who are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14)– through Pre-Tribulational Rapture, martyrdom, and Pre-Wrath Rapture– the Judge of All visits Antichrist’s Earth with a physical darkness that can be felt. The impenitence of these Earth dwellers is not unexpected, i.e., they “repented not of their deeds” (Vs11). They have the infamous distinction of being the most stubborn and defiant human beings still drawing breath.  Being without remorse for all their wickedness, what more evidence could the Faithful Creator give of the stark reality of their need for repentance than the supernatural, miraculous Vial Judgments? Their blasphemy, from the Greek word blasphemeo (to speak evilly of God’s divine majesty), only further hardens them, ensuring the rightness of their destruction and damnation.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven untomen. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).

Verse 12

“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared.”

Preparation of the Kings of the East for the Battle of Armageddon is the purpose for the Sixth Vial Judgment, i.e., “that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared” (Vs12). In particular, the Omniscient God understands the necessity for the drying up of the Euphrates River. Flowing from the Armenian plateau in Turkey southeastward across Syria and southern Iraq, joining to the Tigris River to form the Shatt al-Arab, and emptying into the Persian Gulf, the Euphrates River is the largest river of western Asia, with a total length of about 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers).

In the beginning of the 21st century, the evident pattern is the rising military-industrial power of China, the technological ascendancy and prowess of Japan, and the continued growth in the population of India– all guarantee sufficient capability and combatants to cross the dried Euphrates to keep an appointment at Armageddon.

Verses 13-14

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet.  (Vs14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the Kings of the Earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

The “three unclean spirits” that “come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet” (Vs13), indicate that the hellish influence of the devil and Satan possessed men alike is often disseminated by demons. What Satan, demons, and evil men believe to be their own machinations against the Most High and His elect ones, is actually the supreme demonstration of the Omnipotent and Omniscient God in using their evil to perform His purpose. These demons are allowed to work miracles, i.e., “working miracles” (Vs14), so that they may persuade the “kings of the Earth” and the “whole world” that they can fight and win at Armageddon, the “battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Vs14).  “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

Though God can never be the substance of evil, He does so thoroughly control His adversaries that the “wrath of man shall praise [Him]: the remainder of wrath [shall He] restrain” (Psalm 76:10). The King must demonstrate to the satisfaction of all His subjects that His judgment of the world that opposes Him at Armageddon, is a righteous and just execution.

Verse 15

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

“Behold, I come as a thief” is a warning, but this verse is also meant to be a promise to those who read it before Armageddon is fought. Only to the wicked, will He come as a thief; but, a receiver of this promise “watcheth” and awaits his LORD’s coming.

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the LORD so cometh as a thief in the night. (3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (5) Ye are all the Children of Light, and the Children of the Day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by our LORD Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:2-9).

Verse16

“And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

The most advertised battle engagement of all time is Armageddon. The timing of the Apocalyptic Armageddon is at the End of the Tribulation Week, since the Vials are poured out at the close of the “Hour of Temptation” (Rev 3:10), at nearly the rate of one Vial Judgment per day, with the Sixth Vial Judgment specifically preparing the way for the “Kings of the East” (Vs12). The Antichrist will unreasonably attempt to engage the LORD Jesus Christ in combat at Armageddon. “And out of [Christ’s] 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” (Rev 19:15).

Verse 17-18

“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a Great Voice out of the Temple of Heaven, from the Throne, saying, It is done.  (Vs18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the Earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”

The Seventh Vial Judgment is the last recorded Apocalyptic Judgment. Since Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and the “god of this world” (2Corinthians 4:4), then pouring out the Seventh Vial Judgment “into the air” (Vs17), would be a frontal attack against Satan, so that all can see how Jehovah defeats, masters, and judges the Archenemy.

Again, the “Great Voice out of the Temple of Heaven” (Vs17) is undoubtedly that of the LORD Jesus Christ. The declaration of our LORD, “It is done,” is an affirmation of mastery. The Throne Presence of God is seen and felt throughout the world in the Seventh and Last Apocalyptic Judgment, i.e., “voices, and thunders, and lightnings” (Vs18), leaving the planet with the certainty that God Himself has returned.  As indicated in this verse, the Greatest Earthquake of All Time occurs at this Seventh Vial Judgment.

The “voices” (Vs18) of the Seventh Vial Judgment are most probably those of the Godhead commanding the Greatest Invasion Force the World Will Ever See– the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ– making the massive June 6th 1944 D-Day invasion of Nazi occupied Europe by Allied forces during World War II on the beaches of Normandy, France, only a significant footnote by comparison.

Verse 19

“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.”

The “great city” refers to Jerusalem, i.e., the “great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our LORD was crucified” (Rev 11:8). Babylon the Great, which is the Harlot Rome, is not the “great city” mentioned at the beginning of the verse, for Rome will be utterly destroyed in “one [literal] hour” (Rev 18:10, 17), i.e., “in one hour is she made desolate.”

Not only is Jerusalem specified as a target for tripartite division, but the “cities of the nations fell” (Vs19), as well. This is a Global Earthquake.

Finally impenitent Babylon (Rome) must be judged, or God’s Holy Law of Perfect Love toward God and man must be eternally ridiculed.

Verses 20-21

“And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Vs21) And there fell upon men a great hail out of Heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

It is apparent that the Global Earthquake of the Seventh Vial Judgment will cause the destruction of the islands throughout the world, i.e., “every island fled away” (Vs20). This will occur through the action of tsunamis (seismic sea waves), as well as the earthquake itself. Fast moving tsunami waves moving through deep water will increase in amplitude as they approach the shallow waters near land. The onrush of water, especially around bays and inlets, will cause the greatest amount of immediate destruction around the low-lying ground of such inlets. Islands will not only be catastrophically damaged by the waves, but the volcanic earthquakes that initially formed some islands, e.g., the Hawaiian Islands, will permanently destroy them or alter their existence.

As if to ensure that what the “exceeding great” (Vs21) plague of the Global Earthquake does not sufficiently awaken or destroy, “there fell upon men a great hail out of Heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent” (Vs21). Hail is the precipitation of balls or pieces of ice that often accompany thunderstorms. Ordinarily, hail may be about a quarter of an inch to 4 inches (5 millimeters to 10 centimeters) in diameter, but this hail will be “every stone about the weight of a talent” (Vs21). The weight of a talent would be between 90 to 100 pounds (41 to 45 kilograms).

Scripture indicates that there is sufficient humanity left to be cursed by the hail, for they “blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail” (Vs21). “To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). Though judgment is the theme, repentance is still possible.

Chapter 17: Revealing the Mystery

of Babylon the Great and the Beast

Verses 1-2

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the Great Whore that sitteth upon many waters: (Vs2) With whom the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

An angel, “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials” (Vs1), is seen here instructing the Apostle John concerning the “judgment of the Great Whore.” She is described as sitting “upon many waters” and sitting astride the “Beast that carrieth her” (Vs7). Just as Antichrist arises “out of the sea” (Rev 13:1)– signifying that he will emerge out of the “isles of the Gentiles” (Genesis10:5)– the Great Whore sits “upon a scarlet coloured beast” (Vs3)– signifying that she both derives her power from the Antichrist and exerts controlling influence over him– a symbiotic relationship.  Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has been noted to have this whorish relationship between Established Religion and State, and as mammoth as Rome is today.

Why have the Kings of the Earth committed spiritual fornication (Vs2) with Babylon the Great? Just as physical fornication is intercourse between unmarried partners, spiritual fornication is an illicit departure from God for the gratification of self.

Verse 3

“So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured Beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”

The phrase “full of names of blasphemy” indicates that both the Great Whore and her paramour the Beast are full of evil speaking against our LORD Christ, “who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 9:5).

Verses 4-5

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: (Vs5) And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

The Great Whore is “arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls” (Vs4), indicating an opulence unknown to the vast majority of the world, but so easily identifiable with the ecclesiastical pomp of the Church of Rome. A gilded cup is held by the Whore, “full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (Vs4). The cup is gold, which is lawful for all to possess, but its contents of disobedience and rebellion are deceptively marketed to mankind as good and right– and not the self-seeking, self-loving, self-gratifying, God-hating thing that it really is. “

Those who refuse to separate themselves from the Whore, become partakers of her evil deeds, and are justly worthy of her punishments. “And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

The name emblazoned by God upon the forehead of the Whore, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Vs5), makes simple her identification. The Greek word musterion, which is translated “MYSTERY” (Vs5), is capitalized by the translators of the King James Version as part of the title “BABYLON THE GREAT” (Vs5); however, it may only be an adjective describing the woman’s title, e.g., “Babylon the great” (Rev 18:2). John Wesley also reminds us, “This very word [“MYSTERY”] was inscribed on the front of the Pope’s mitre, till some of the Reformers took public notice of it” (from Wesley’s comments on Revelation 17:5 in his “Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament” [1765].)

Identification of Papal Rome, i.e., Roman Catholicism, with Babylon the Great, and the Pope with the False Prophet, are both historically accurate and prophetically most probable.

Verse 6

“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”

It is certain that even Rome could not eradicate all of the godly through martyrdom, for Christ promised that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against” (Matthew 16:18) the True Church; and, though at times, it is difficult to believe otherwise, Rome could not martyr but a small portion of the True Saints.

Verses 7-8

“And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the Beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. (Vs8) The Beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the Earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the Beast that was, andis not, and yet is.”

The angel of this verse is “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials” (Vs1).  (1) Satan is the Beast that “was” (Vs8), and as Apollyon, he but again “shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit” (Vs8).

The Antichrist is the Beast that “is not” (Vs8)– at least, at the time of the writing of the Apocalypse. This second person in the Trinity of Evil is the Counterfeit Christ that triumphantly enters the Tribulation Week as a Messiah-like peacemaker, speaking “great swelling words” (Jude 16), to “confirm the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27). The character of the Antichrist can be seen in the first four Seal Judgments. He will imitate Christ the Conqueror.  Unlike the Elect, those that “dwell on the Earth shall wonder” (Vs8) after the Beast. Their “names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world” (Vs8). God gave them over that “they should believe a lie” (2Thessalonians 2:11) “because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved” (2:10).

Verse 9

“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”

In the day of the Apostle John, the city of Rome was famed for its situation of encompassing seven hills, i.e., Capitolinus, Palatinus, Aventinus, Esquilinus, Coelius, Viminalis, and Quirinalis.  But, though this may draw the reader to correctly identify the “woman” with Papal Rome, the identification of the “seven heads” is that they “are seven mountains” (Vs9). Using this understanding, the “seven mountains” are seven kingdoms or temporal dominions upon “which the woman sitteth” (Vs9).  Seven, being the number of perfection or completeness, i.e., “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day” (Genesis 2:2), the “seven mountains” represent the totality of kingdoms and empires, which the “woman” — Babylon the Great– seduces and manipulates.

Verse 10

“And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”

The “seven kings” (Vs10) represent seven successive kingdoms or empires, i.e., Egypt (1600-1200 BC), Assyria (900-600 BC), Babylon (606-536 BC), Medo-Persia (536-330 BC), Greece (330-146 BC), Rome (200 BC-400 AD), and Revived Rome, which seems to be the European Union, that was formed from the older European Economic Community (1957-1958). Though the first six kingdoms fit the historical pattern, the lengthy gap between the Roman Empire and the Revived Roman Empire takes more effort on the part of the reader to interpret.

“Five are fallen” (Vs10) refers to Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece having come and gone– the zenith of their power already abated.  Since the Apostle John penned this Apocalypse around 95 AD, Rome was the “one [that] is” (Vs10), while the Revived Roman Empire was the one that “is not yet come” (Vs10). The longevity of the Revived Roman Empire will be short-lived, for “when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (Vs10).

The Ancient Roman Empire stretched from England through Spain to Northern Africa during its nearly six centuries (100 BC to 476 AD) of marching across the then known world of Western civilization. Most of Europe, Greece, and Asia Minor fell under the control of the iron of Roman peace {Pax Romana). Syria, Palestine, and Egypt were added to the Empire, before it reached its greatest extent under the emperor Trajan (c. 117 AD). Roman law, coinage, civil engineering, roads, and communication welded together diverse peoples into the stability and security that the Living God providentially used to rapidly diffuse the message of Christianity throughout the world.  By comparison, the European Union (EU) projects to the world an image of “stability, peace, and economic prosperity.”

Verse 11

“And the Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”

At this point in the Divine Narrative, our analysis of the “Beast that was, and is not” is focused upon the coming Antichrist, i.e., “even he is the eighth” (Vs11).

The implication is that the Antichrist will come out of the seventh kingdom, i.e., “is of the seven” (Vs11). Though the “seven kings” (Vs10) represent successive dominions, the Antichrist will uniquely be the consummation of the seventh kingdom. Antichrist’s designation as the eighth identifies him as the epitome of defilement for:

(1) on the eighth day, the male child was circumcised, i.e., “And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:3), since the previous seven days his mother was in her separation and uncleanness, i.e., “If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days” (12:2),

(2) the eighth day after his healing from leprosy, the healed leper was to offer sacrifice for his ceremonial cleansing, i.e., “And [the newly healed leper] shall bring [the required sacrifice] on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the LORD” (14:23), and

(3) a woman was not considered ceremonially clean of her menstrual discharge, until she had offered “two turtles, or two young pigeons” (15:29). Even so, the Man of Sin “goeth into perdition” (Vs11)– that place of Unending Defilement– just as his “father the Devil” (John 8:44).

Verses 12-13

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. (Vs13) These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast.”

What are the “ten horns” (Vs12)? The Spirit of God has revealed that they “are ten kings.” The interpretation that the “ten kings” represent the European Union is appended with the thought that the Antichrist’s global kingdom will ultimately– for in the Apostle John’s time, they had “received no kingdom as yet”– metrically divide the world into ten parts.

The meaning that the “ten horns” shall “receive power as kings one hour with the Beast” (Vs12)? The “ten horns” point to a global expansion of the EU format with ten regional governors under the Antichrist. The final form of human government before the Return of the LORD Jesus Christ will be with the Antichrist, but only for “one hour” (17:12). What does “one hour” signify? “The ‘Hour of Temptation’ (Rev 3:10) is equivalent to 15 days, if Daniel’s Seventieth Week (1 week) equals 2,520 days. One hour would be 1/168 of a week or  .0059523 of a week, which is 15 days.

Each of the “ten kings” (Vs12) will be prepared to administrate their respective domains in concert with the Son of Perdition. “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast” (Vs13). Satan hopes to promote the success of pan-European cooperation, i.e., the European Union, as a model for future global governance through the Antichrist– capitalizing on the world’s yearning for material well-being, as well as their fear of instability, conflict, and annihilation.

Verse 14

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is LORD of Lords, and KING of Kings: and they that are with Him are Called, and Chosen, and Faithful.”

What madness! How unthinkable that man should fight against God! Notice that the King’s attendants are so honored that they would appear with Him as His “Called, and Chosen, and Faithful.” The Resurrected and Raptured Saints are His “Called” (Vs14), who have the honor of conquering with the Conqueror.

Verses 15-16

“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the Whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. (Vs16) And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the Beast, these shall hate the Whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”

Here, we are specifically told that the “waters” are to be non-literally interpreted as “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Vs15). The selfishness that Satan cultivates in his own to promote rebellion against Jehovah, causes the “ten kings” (Vs12) to despise the Whore, for they can truly love only themselves. How unlike True Love, which “seeketh not her own” (1Corinthians 13:5)! Once Babylon the Great has been targeted by the Beast’s hatred, he– in concert with the “ten kings” (Vs12)– will isolate, abuse, and spoil the Great Whore.

Verse 17

“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the Beast, until the Words of God shall be fulfilled.”

The Living God plays His creation like a symphony orchestra, and even His enemies “fulfill His will.” In the context of Revelation 17, these cohorts of the Antichrist destroy the Whore– which is the Roman Harlot, the world religion of Satan, the global religion of the False Prophet. In particular, their destruction is aimed against “that great city” (Vs18) of Rome. This collaborative effort will continue “until the Words of God shall be fulfilled” (Vs17).

Verse 18

“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth.”

The greatest clue to the identity of the “woman which thou sawest,” is that she is “that great city” (Vs18)– of Rome. Religiously and historically, no other city has so reigned “over the Kings of the Earth” (Vs18). Present attempts to discount the role of the Papacy as part of the system of the Beast– incorporating Ecumenical Christianity and probably the United Religions Initiative– range from incredulity that any could think such a thought against the Vicar of Christ to certainty that some impostor will ultimately misrepresent Catholicism. 

Chapter 18: The Destruction of Babylon the Great

Verses 1-3

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from Heaven, having great power; and the Earth was lightened with his glory. (Vs2) And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (Vs3) For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the Earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the Earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”

The previous chapter ended with a short statement that the Antichrist and his governmental system of Ten Horns “shall hate the Whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Rev 17:16). The focus in Chapter 18 is on the Judgment that the LORD God gives upon “that great city Babylon, that mighty city” (Vs10) of Rome, the capital city of Babylon the Great, i.e., the City of Seven Hills (Rev 17:9). Babylon’s Judgment will yield the collateral damage of cutting off the lucrative commerce that we learn that Babylon feeds upon and controls, i.e., the “merchants of the Earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Vs3).

Again, the word Babylon represented the wicked and futile attempt to exalt man and not God. But possibly, the most enduring representation of the concept of Babylon, is seated on the Papal Throne of the Roman city. What did the LORD mean that Babylon the Great “is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Vs2)? This indicates that mighty Babylon has been divinely, officially, and finally abandoned to its Judgment, cutting off the invitation of Salvation to all those taking refuge within her treacherous walls.

What entity today has such a global reach, that has spanned so much of the Christian era, and has been so responsible for counterfeiting the Christian religion in its presentation to the world of the “faith in Christ” (Acts 24:24) than the Roman Catholic Church?  The evil of Babylon’s spiritual intoxication is proliferated through her comprehensive reach of humankind.

Verses 4-7

“And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Vs5) For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Vs6) Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” (Vs7) How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”

“Come out of her, My people” (Vs4) coincides with the timing of a Pre-Wrath Rapture, in that before Babylon the Great is judged and the “Vials of the Wrath of God” (Rev 16:1) are then poured out in the few remaining days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, God mercifully provides a “way to escape” (1Corinthians 10:13). God has been taking careful account of all the sins of Babylon the Great, and this verse reminds us that the knowledge of her sins is remembered by the Almighty. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Retribution for sin is the theme of this chapter, i.e., “Reward her even as she rewarded you” (Vs6). judge or “reward [Greek, apodote, recompense] her” for her sins, instead of seeking her Salvation.  It comes as no surprise that Roman Catholicism celebrates the Queen of Heaven as being Mary the mother of Jesus, for we have already established to our satisfaction that Babylon the Great embodies the Church of Rome. Without speculation, Scripture assures us that for those who know how to exploit the Roman Catholic system, the wealth of the Catholic Church is immense, i.e., “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously” (Vs7). God’s Judgment of Babylon the Great extends only towards those who for whatever reason refuse to leave the culture of lies and deception that is the Church of Rome.

Historically, the Protestant nations, e.g., England (Anglican Church), Denmark (Evangelical Lutheran Church), Finland (Finnish Orthodox Church), Norway (Norwegian State Church), etc., joined themselves to religion through established state churches; but, it has been through the global outreach of the Ecumenical Movement, in particular, through the World Council of Churches, that Babylon the Great encouraged the union of non-Catholic churches– and, ultimately with herself– without yet officially joining them.

But, the relationship of those that control the governments of the world with the Great Whore has been illicit in that they have adopted or tolerated her religion, i.e., “committed fornication and lived deliciously with her” (18:9), in exchange for the material benefit that comes from her control of the benighted masses. The “kings of the Earth” (18:3, 9) and then the “merchants of the Earth” (18:3, 11) are described as mourning their loss of Babylon the Great, i.e., they “shall weep and mourn over her” (18:11); but, like all sinful people, they mourn for selfish reasons, because greed is not good.

Verses 8-11

“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the LORD God who judgeth her. (Vs9) And the kings of the Earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, (Vs10) Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy Judgment come. (Vs11) And the merchants of the Earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:”

The swiftness of Jehovah’s Judgment is such that “her plagues come in one day” (Vs8). First, the “kings of the Earth” (Vs3&9) and then the “merchants of the Earth” (Vs3&11) are described as mourning their loss of Babylon the Great, i.e., they “shall weep and mourn over her” but, like all sinful people, they mourn for selfish reasons, because greed is not good. “Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough” (Isaiah 56:11). Their sadness does not touch the fact that the only way that God could deal with Babylon’s wickedness was through Judgment, so their immediate loss is only material and financial, i.e., “for no man buyeth their merchandise any more” (Vs11). “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Synopsis of Verses 12-15

“The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,”

Beginning with the more durable items of desire, the best known precious metals “gold, and silver” (Vs12) head the list of things not to be found any more, no longer in Babylon. “Precious stones” and “pearls” are denominated second in this list of permanently out of stock items for Babylon the Great.

“Thyine [Greek, thuinos] wood” (Vs12) was known to the Romans as citrus or citron wood, to the

botanists as Callitris quadrivalvis, and to the modern island nation of Malta as its national tree, Gharghar or Sigra tal-Gharghar, whose English name is the Araar Tree. This evergreen tree is rare and found only in the Mediterranean area, i.e., Malta, Spain, and Northern Africa, where the Mother of Harlots maintains her papal throne. Thyine was valued for its fragrance in burnt sacrifices and for its beauty when fashioned into furniture.

The secular humanism of the merchants only measured their success by the bottom line of monetary profit, i.e., “which were made rich by her” (Vs15).

Verses 16-19

“And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! (Vs17) For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, (Vs18) And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! (Vs19) And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.”

Here, we have noticed at length the strong reactions of the merchants of the world to their loss of goods, income, and opportunity, when she is judged, i.e., “that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!” (Vs16). We cannot even know but the surface of the relationship between the religious robes of Babylon the Great and the economic order of the world! “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

We may only have limited success in describing from human records the religious, political, economic, and social cabal of Babylon the Great; but here, the Divine Audit authoritatively records the evidence. All are still bewildered at the swiftness of their loss– astounded that it actually took place.

This is the end of an illicit love affair that has endured the ages. “And I will come near to you to Judgment; and I will be a Swift Witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the LORD of Hosts” (Malachi 3:5).

Since it is the vengeance of God, the Righteous can rightfully rejoice that justice has been done.

It is inconsolable grief, when these grown men “cast dust on their heads” (Vs19) and cry, “Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.” This is a picture of numbness that can only be assuaged by repentance– and, death will not put them out of their misery. The Great Whore will not deliver herself from God’s Judgment, even with her vast wealth, i.e., “by reason of her costliness” (Vs19). For the third time, it is said that her desolation is complete in “one hour” (Vs19), making the reader feel that the impact of her Judgment must be so swift that it must take place within sixty actual minutes. “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).

Verse 20

“Rejoice over her, thou Heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”

Vengeance is the domain of God, so the Saints ought to “rejoice over” God’s Judgment of Babylon the Great. The Mighty God avenges Himself upon Babylon the Great to clear away her disrespect for Himself and His Law.

Vs42– I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with [or, it may be rendered, because of] the blood of the slain and of the captives [i.e., because of the blood of His people whom they have killed], from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. 43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people” (Deuteronomy 32:42-43).

The Ten Horns, like the policeman, may execute God’s Judgment here below; but, it is God’s revenge, that is accomplished, and God’s people that will be avenged.

Verses 21-23

“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. (Vs22) And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; (Vs23) And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the Earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

In short, God erases Babylon the Great. Total Judgment falls upon the scientists, engineers, technicians, and skilled laborers of Babylon the Great. “No craftsman [Greek, technites], of whatsoever craft [Greek, techne] he be, shall be found any more in thee.”  The dominion that God appointed man to have over the Earth, i.e., “And God said… have dominion… over all the Earth” (Genesis 1:26), has been lost by man’s skillful  creation of all manner of devices to fulfill his wicked lusts. heard no more at all in thee” (Vs23). Those men of finance and commerce who cooperated with and profited by their relationship with Babylon the Great are labeled “thy merchants.”

Who are the “great men of the Earth” (Vs23)? In any age, they are those of renown, who their respective generation identifies as the rich, powerful, gifted, and talented– occasionally including even the Godly– but, the Godly are not in this instance numbered among Babylon the Great.

“By thy sorceries [Greek, pharmakeia, deceptions and seductions] were all nations deceived” (Vs23). The Mother of Harlots merely gave those merchants what they wanted, seducing only those who were willing, and failing with those who refused.

Verse 24

“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth.”

This closing verse of Chapter 18 lays the “blood of prophets, and of Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth” on Babylon the Great. Where is the justice of blaming even the bloodthirsty Whore for the blood “of all that were slain upon the Earth” (18:24)?

“There is no city under the sun which has so clear a title to Catholic blood-guiltiness as Rome. The guilt of the blood shed under the heathen emperors has not been removed under the Popes, but hugely multiplied. Nor is Rome accountable only for that which hath been shed in the city, but for that shed in all the earth. For at Rome under the Pope, as well as under the heathen emperors, were the bloody orders and edicts given: and wherever the blood of holy men was shed, there were the grand rejoicings for it. And what immense quantities of blood have been shed by her agents! Charles IX., of France, in his letter to Gregory XIII., boasts, that in and not long after the massacre of Paris, he had destroyed seventy thousand Huguenots. Some have computed, that, from the year 1518 to 1548, fifteen millions of Protestants have perished by the Inquisition. This maybe overcharged; but certainly the number of them in those thirty years, as well as since, is almost incredible. To these we may add innumerable martyrs, in ancient, middle, and late ages, in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia”

(excerpted from John Wesley’s “Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament” [1755], commenting on Revelation 18:24).

Chapter 19: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

The focus of this chapter of Revelation is the physical return of the LORD Jesus Christ to the planet Earth to sit upon His Throne, i.e., “and He shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Vs15), while the Beast (the Antichrist) and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever, i.e., “both were cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone” (Rev 19:20).

Many newspapers have reserved their largest print type, which they call “Second Coming Type,” for headline news of the highest importance. Why shouldn’t the headline, “Jesus Christ Returns to Earth,” be deemed the greatest headline possible by even the secular press, if atheists curse with the name of God upon their lips, and all walks of life make some kind of appeal to the Almighty in dire circumstances?

At this point in the Divine Narrative, “a great voice of much people in Heaven” (Vs1) signifies all mankind, who have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb, who have been resurrected or raptured.  A command has been echoed by God’s creatures to praise and worship God, i.e., “Alleluia” (19:1). In the Greek, allelouia means Praise ye the LORD or Hallelujah. It comes from the Hebrew words halal (praise) and Yahh (Jehovah).

As we have seen from Revelation 18, already Jehovah “hath judged the Great Whore” (Vs2). This second time the Inhabitants of Heaven cry out their praise of God, i.e., “Alleluia” (Vs3), for their hearty agreement with His judgment of the Great Whore. Do you remember these “four and twenty elders” (Vs4) worshipping around the throne of God, especially in Revelation 4, 5, and 11? They are said to sit upon their own seats or thrones before God, i.e., “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats [Greek, thronos, a chair of state having a footstool]” (Revelation 11:16). Each time the expression “Come up hither” (Rev 4:1; 11:12) is used, the “four and twenty elders” are present.

The consensus of the “four and twenty elders” (Vs4) is agreement, i.e., “Amen; Alleluia” (19:4), with the “Great Voice of much people in Heaven” (Vs1) and with the Angelic Creatures, who are here called the “four beasts” (19:4). Again, these Angelic Creatures or Seraphim– compare them to Isaiah’s “seraphims: [who] each one had six wings” (Isaiah 6:2) with the “four living creatures” (Ezekiel 1:5) of Ezekiel’s vision– are the Angels, who stand in the Presence of God directing the worship of Him. “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts: the Whole Earth is full of His Glory” (Isaiah 6:3).

Verses 7-8

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. (Vs8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints.”

We know that Jesus Christ is the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and this verse tells us that Heaven is in a condition of gladness and rejoicing, “for the marriage of the Lamb is come.”

“Who is the Bride of Christ? ‘Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife’ (Revelation 21:9). What did the angel show the Apostle John? ‘And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God’ (21:10). Is the Lamb of God to be married to a city? No, Jesus will be married to what the city represents– His people. Israel’s Twelve Tribes will be represented by the City’s twelve gates.  The Old Testament Saints are identified with Israel, just as the New Testament Saints are identified with the Church. Both Israel and the Church are the Bride of Christ.”

What a glorious condition for formerly sinful man to “be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” (Vs8)! Indisputably, man has little claim to anything but his sad and detestable history of sin. “10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).

The True Saints of the Old Testament understood Jehovah to be their righteousness. “This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17).

Verse 9

“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

John the Beloved was told by a “fellowservant” (Vs10) to “write [Greek, graphon]” (Vs9) or commit to writing the message concerning the blessedness of the participants of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Why should John write? The essence of an idea in the mind of God would not be known to us unless expressed in an intelligible form, as in this Divine Declaration, “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Vs9). This is the Word of God.

Why such blessedness? At that point in time, all of the Saints have been raptured from the planet– first by Pre-Tribulational Rapture and finally by Pre-Wrath Rapture– and though there are still Elect upon the Earth, they have yet to repent and be saved. Therefore, to be at this Marriage Supper of the Lamb means that you are among the Most Wonderfully Blessed Group of Beings Existing in the Universe– the Righteous, who have been redeemed “with the precious Blood of Christ” (1Peter 1:19).

Verse 10

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy bretheren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.”

It was a very understandable reaction that John was so overwhelmed with the blessedness of the revelation of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that he prostrated himself before the angel speaking to him.  What is the “testimony [Greek, marturia, witness] of Jesus?”  He immediately explains that the “testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy,” but what does this mean? Both man and angel are given the witness of Jesus through His Spirit concerning the prophetic events that are to come to pass.

Verse 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.”

The narrative of that grand event known as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ begins in this verse with a description of the LORD Jesus Christ returning to earth as a Judge and not a Saviour.  The twofold purpose of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is here summarized: “in righteousness He doth judge and make war.”

As Heaven opens, we notice a “white horse” (Vs11). Who said there were not horses in Heaven? This white is the Greek word, leukos, which means brilliant from whiteness or dazzling white; and, we were earlier told that white was significant because it is identified with holiness or righteousness. What sets apart this dazzling white horse? The Rider of the brilliantly white horse is none other than the “KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords” (Rev 19:16).

What makes the Rider of this horse so eminently fit to be Judge and Executioner? “He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True” (Vs11). Only One Entity can naturally be described as Omnipotent, i.e., “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth” (Matthew 28:18), Omniscient, i.e., “Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the  hearts” (1Corinthians 4:5), Omnipresent, i.e., “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9), Immutable, i.e., “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8), and Eternal, i.e., “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13), which is the Rider of this horse.

Now we have the proper focus of the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ– the person of Jesus Christ!

Verses 12-13

“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. (Vs13) And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.”

What a fierce magnificence is this upcoming picture of Christ! “His eyes were as a flame of fire.”  What is the significance that on the head of the LORD Jesus Christ, “were many crowns?” We already know that the LORD Jesus is the King above every king and the LORD above every lord, not simply because it is an exalted thought or title, but because it is the clearest understanding of God, that He is most fit to be the Moral Governor of the Universe.

It is no mystery that the returning Son of God is the “Lamb that was slain” (Revelation 5:12) for the redemption of mankind, but this verse describes His appearance as “clothed with a vesture dipped in blood” (19:13). Rather than alluding to His previous Work of Redemption, this seems more to point at

His Work of Judgment. One further evidence of the identity of the Rider of the dazzling white horse (19:11) is the fact revealed to us that “His name is called the Word of God” (Vs13). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Verse14

“And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”

The Commander-in-Chief rides a white horse, and so do His armies; consequently, the stables of Heaven must be bursting with innumerable “white horses” (Vs14)! How large are the LORD’s “armies?”  According to Revelation 5:11, just the Angelic Host around the Throne of God would number more than 100 million. And, how many Justified Saints since Adam can be added to that count? “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

The Messiah’s White Army will be “clothed in fine linen, white and clean,” so no mistaken friendly fire will be directed at this Host of White. The message is clear: Christ’s Army is pure, “even as He is pure” (1John 3:3). “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the LORD cometh with ten thousands of His Saints” (Jude 14).

Verse 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.”

The sword of verse 15 is the unusually long Thracian rhomphaia [Greek]– found six times in Revelation 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21– which was a very long sword, commonly worn on the right shoulder, made of iron, and used as an offensive weapon of slaughter; especially, when compared to the shorter machaira [Greek] sword– found three times in Revelation 6:4; 13:10, 14– which was used for personal defense, as well as the butchering of animals. Note that the Word of God, which is described as a “twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow” (Hebrews 4:12), is properly the machaira. This depicts more the surgical removal of unwanted parts, while the rhomphaia speaks of the offensive function of slaughter, killing, execution, and nothing else.

The Son of God will use the “sharp [Greek, oxus, swift, quick]” (Vs15) rhomphaia out of His mouth (His Words) to “smite the nations” (Vs15).

Verse 16

“And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Another portrayal is given to us of the LORD Jesus Christ, i.e., “He hath on His vesture [Greek, himation, upper garment, cloak, tunic, mantle] and on His thigh [Greek, meros, thigh, upper part of the leg between the hip and knee] a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Perhaps the LORD Jesus will be wearing some kind of sash draped across His chest extending down past His hip with His title of KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, that will certainly be read and understood by the least to the greatest of His Armies, whether His enemies can read it or not.

Verses 17-18

“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; (Vs18) That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.”

This is the famous Battle of Armageddon matching the Christ against the Antichrist in the Final Conflict. Rather than a detailed analysis of the Antichrist’s battlefield tactics, the LORD gives John the specifics of the results of the battlefield carnage of the Antichrist’s armies. Vultures, ravens, hawks, eagles, crows, magpies, and gulls shall be given the “flesh [Greek, sarx, physical flesh] of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men. Without any brag, but just a statement of Omniscient Fact, the flesh and blood of the armies of the Antichrist will be eaten by the animals for supper.

The Judge of All the Earth has graphically chosen to physically kill each rebel in this wholesale slaughter of Armageddon to make an impression upon all Moral Beings, especially upon those who will physically enter into the Earthly Millennial Kingdom, as well as for the stability of His Heavenly armies.

Interesting parallel: The Godly will eat with their LORD at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, while the Ungodly will be eaten by scavenging birds at Armageddon.

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Verse 19

“And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the Earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army.”

Not all of the world will be gathered at Armageddon, but the Beast (the Antichrist) will assemble the “kings of the Earth, and their armies” to confront Jesus Christ as He returns to Earth. But, why would someone as demonically intelligent as Satan even bother to fight against Omnipotence, unless the Sin of Rebellion is a Moral Insanity? Though the rank and file foot soldier of Antichrist is also committed against Christ, how do they know to assemble in Israel to oppose the returning Christ, unless the chain-of-command has been directed by Satan? “Vs13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon [Satan], and out of the mouth of the Beast [the Antichrist], and out of the mouth of the False Prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the Earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14).

Verse 20

“And 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.”

We are told that both the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be captured alive and cast into the Lake of Fire, i.e., “these both were cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone.”  Since the Lake of Fire is the Final Place of Torment for those resurrected and judged at the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20, then the Antichrist and the False Prophet have been given the dubious distinction of their own special judgment, “for they are worthy” (Revelation 16:6). Those who believe that death is the annihilation of existence would have difficulty with Jehovah’s Judgment eternally keeping the condemned alive, while forever delivering the most perfect physical and spiritual torment.

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Thessalonians 2:3, 10-12). The combined action of the Deceived is that they “received the Mark of the Beast” and “worshipped [the Antichrist’s] image.”

Verse 21

“And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”

In context, the “remnant [that] were slain with the sword of Him [Christ] that sat upon the horse” are the soldiers of the Antichrist at Armageddon, who are not immediately slain by the LORD Jesus Christ before the Beast and False Prophet have been cast alive into the Lake of Fire. The Sword that “proceeded out of [the LORD’s] mouth” will be the last thing that the Wicked Remnant will experience as they are personally killed by the LORD Jesus Christ.

Depart from Me, ye Cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 46 And these shall go away into Everlasting Punishment: but the Righteous into Life Eternal” (Matthew 41 & 46).

With all the tender pictures we have of the Saviour, we must add to them the reality that He is also the Judge of All the Earth that must enforce punishment of those who have violated the Law of Love. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The carnage of this closing scene before Christ’s Millennial Reign on Earth begins, is necessary to root out and physically slay all Rebels, for the LORD poignantly promised, “If ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 1:20).

Commentary on Revelation Chapters 20-22 from Pastor Wayne D. Turner