- Bible Studies and Questions
- End Times Prophecy and Revelation
- The Book of the Apocalypse - by Pastor Mike Taylor
The Book of the Apocalypse - by Pastor Mike Taylor
The Book of the Apocalypse - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
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:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
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." (Revelation 1:1-3)
Of all the books of the Bible, the book of Revelation, also called the Apocalypse is a most mysterious book to some, but just reading these first few verses tells the reader that the book is designed to "reveal" to the reader what is going to happen in the future. Many people look at this Book of the Apocalypse and feel that it is just too hard to understand. They see verses with what appears to by symbolic passages and just avoid reading this book, as it just confuses them. Note this will be an abbreviated version, as to interpret all of the imagery we find, would take many messages in several different parts, but let us make some observations.
YOUR PRIEST OR PREACHER WILL TELL YOU WHAT IT MEANS?
In the past, denominations warned their followers that this was not a book for them to read, and if they wanted to know anything that was written in the Bible, especially this much misunderstood book, to come to them, and they would tell them what it means. Problem with that, is the person doesn't know if the information given to them is the truth, or designed to keep them under control of the religion they profess to follow. It was that way for the last 1700 years, when a Gnostic church rose to power and prevented the masses from even reading their bible, let alone to understand what the verses meant. But is the book of Revelation a book that is not for the average Christian, or is it just too complicated to comprehend all the perceived imagery? The answer to that question, is NO....it is a book of revealing, not concealing, as our Savior wanted us to know the "Time of the end" and what will come upon the earth...Let us take a journey into the pages of this book and see if we can make sense of a book that many just avoid.
THE GLORIFIED SAVIOR REVEALS HIMSELF TO JOHN
Our Glorified Savior opens this book by showing the image of His glory and dictates to the apostle concerning the 7 churches of Asia. These were real churches in Asia Minor, but was also used to illustrate the 7 stages of the progression of the church down through the whole of the Church Age. Each church illustrates what happened in a specific time period that many would be future to the Apostle. Our Lord proceeds to dictate what He finds acceptable and unacceptable issues that our Savior and Lord have with each of these churches, until He comes to the last two churches, of the Church of Philadelphia and the Church of Laodecia. As I have preached in the past, these two final progressions of the church have overlapped one another, as the Church of Philadelphia was the missionary and revival of following the Great Commission that Jesus gave His 11 apostles, (as Judas had already committed suicide) which will continue until she is taken out of this world, and Church of Laodecia who would be the luke-warm church of the falling away, or apostasy that Jesus prophesied would be a sign of the end of days and being thrown headlong into the coming tribulation. As a reader progresses through these first three chapters, our Lord makes a promise to those who populate the earth and His church at the end of the Age of Grace, the Church Age.
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10)
I believe this promise is made to the Church of Philadelphia that would endure the worldly pull with its temptations, and repent of her sins and stay true to the Lamb of God who took away their sins...But note what the verse says. In plain English, Jesus proclaims that because you have kept my commandments, followed in my footsteps, accepted my payment for your sins, that Jesus would keep them from the hour of temptation. What temptation is Jesus talking about?
Jesus proclaims what other parts of the Bible speaks of, that there would come a strong temptation to follow after another god on earth. Namely, the coming Anti-Christ who will demand worship from all people on earth, and will show signs and wonders that would, if possible, fool the very elect.
" For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24)
But notice something that I have revealed before, and I stress the point here as well. The statement Jesus makes of the phrase "keep thee from" in verse 10 of Revelation 3, in the original Greek that the Bible was written in, reveals to us that the original word in Greek for this phrase is the word "ek" which literally means to "take out of, or remove from ." As some people erroneously believe, God will "take us out of" not through the coming Tribulation.
SHIFT IN BIBLE PROPHECY
After speaking with John about all the ages of the Church, Jesus stops His narrative and dictating to John what to write, and immediately, John is transported to a heavenly realm in vision, and in His Spirit and records what he sees...it reminds me of when Paul was taken to the third heaven and heard things that are not lawful for a man to hear. As Paul was spirited away to another plane of existence, so John was also taken spiritually into another realm to witness the throne room of God.
"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.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." (Revelation 4:1-2)
As you read, John describes the throne room of our Living God the Father sitting on a throne surrounded by 24 elders clothed in white raiment and crowns of gold on their heads. This description has confused many people, as some have tried to explain who they "think they are" as being angels, or non-humans, or being totally baffled and just read right over it.
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." (Revelation 4:4)
But look at the description, and note where John has been, and where he is right now. He had just come from the explanation of the church ages, and in now in the throne room of God who shows him elders sitting on thrones. Their description gives them away. One, they are elders, so they would be those who are reigning with God and have great authority, as 24 is a symbol in Biblical terms as a sign of government, as 12 is this sign, and it is doubled here. They are clothed in White Raiment, and if you do a search, as it is found in the same book in Chapter 19, that white raiment is a sign of the saints. See, they are seated, so their work is over on earth as they have conquered, and on their heads are crowns of gold. Where have we read about having crowns of gold for the sign of the saints?
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)
13,"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14, If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." (1st Corinthians 3:13-14)
These seated saints, who have overcome, have received their rewards, they are clothed with a sign of the saints, and they sit on thrones in God's government. To me, it is a clear sign that the Church, those who are now "born again" into God's realm are now forever in God's presence and have been removed from this earth, as the book of Revelation is a near chronological book of events which I will briefly outline how the symmetry of the Word of God in this book is laid out.
the first three book are the Ages of the Church, up to and including the age we are now in.
the fourth and fifth chapters reveal the rapture of the church, the HARPAZO that Paul spoke of in 1st Corinthians and 1st Thessalonians....we have been snatched away from the coming wrath, by force and changed into immortal beings.
Beginning in chapter 6, the bible is divided into component parts. The next 6 chapters speak of the Tribulation, that begins with Jesus opening the 1st seal of the scroll which is the title deed of all creation that Jesus has bought with His own blood, and now will reclaim it, and begin cleansing it for His reign and rule.
Then right in the middle of these chapters, we see a description of the players in this human drama with Israel being the focus of the Tribulation in chapter 12. The whole of this chapter is about Israel, just as Matthew 24 is focused on Israel and has nothing to do with the Gentile church in both chapters that many think He is talking about the church, which He is not.
The next 6 chapters of Revelation 13-18 can only be summed up to be the Great Tribulation when the Beast power and the Anti-Christ are on a rampage to bring worship to the Satan indwelled son of the devil, the false Christ.
Chapter 19 is the beginning of the reign of Christ, as He comes to put down all rebellion on earth, and throw the false prophet and the Anti-Christ into the Lake of fire alive.
The next three chapter describe the Millennial Kingdom, the loosening of Satan for a season, and the Great White throne Judgment leading into eternity.
That's a quick outline of the book of Revelation, but let us return to a few points concerning those of us who are looking for the soon return of our Lord Jesus in the clouds for His church, and the cry "come up hither".
JESUS BEGINS HIS GREAT WRATH
Note that in Revelation 6, Jesus opens the first seal of the coming Tribulation. Some try to say that the first part of the tribulation is the wrath of Satan. Only here, it is our Lord Jesus who opens these seals in succession, and how fast, we don't know, but I believe it is the first 5 seals that are the first half of the Tribulation and Jesus reveals the Anti-Christ and allow him to come upon the earth and immediately the four horseman are revealed that bring war, death, pestilence, and diseases that destroy millions. Some try to say that the wrath of God starts with the opening of the 6th seal, but Jesus is the One who is "engineering" the results and bringing them to pass. Each seal brings a crescendo of calamity that mankind knows who is responsible for the devastation that has fallen on the earth, when they cry in this future chapter:
15 "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"(Revelation 6:15-17)
Up to this point, the imagery has been most incredible, as death and destruction is all around the people of earth. God has been using evil men to fulfill His judgment on earth to this point, just as He used Assyria and Babylon to bring judgment on an idolatrous Israel. Men are being slain, now rising into the billions, and continue near unabated, as the environment itself is not safe for anyone, as plague after plague will fall on the inhabitants that dwell on the earth. But this is just the first half, as the second half is much, much worse.
In the ensuing chapters, we see the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish evangelist that preach the Gospel to all the earth. They have come to believe in Jesus due to the events of the rapture of millions, some of them, possibly their own loved ones, the preaching of the two witnesses outside the Temple which some postulate they could be Elijah and Moses, as they were the two that joined Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Note that they are doing the preaching, and even an angel in other verses is preaching the everlasting Gospel. But the question must be here..."If the church is still here, then why are others preaching the Gospel and not us? Are we not compelled by the great Commission to spread the Gospel throughout the earth?" Logical explanation and another sign, is that the church can't preach anymore, as she is not here. That is left to others.
WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN.
As I mentioned, chapter 12 just drops down into the narrative to identify the players in this spiritual drama and then continues with the plagues and destruction leveled upon the earth. Even though mankind is being persecuted by the Anti-Christ and his cronies that are controlled by the false religious prophet, (that even now is trying to unite all religion into a One World Religion), it is nothing compared to the Divine environmental catastrophes that are coming down upon all mankind .....that is the difference between the times past that all men have been persecuted down through the ages for their beliefs and not following a singular ruling theocracy bent on power and control, but now is the WRATH OF GOD, that in no time past has had this level of destruction. This begins in Chapter 6 and continues after chapter 12, and the 6th seal is opened that can only be compared to the Great Tribulation.
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Daniel 9:27)
Because of the defiling of the Temple of God and the edict to destroy the Jews, much like in the book of Esther and the madman, Haman, God's Wrath is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation. Those on earth who have taken the Mark of the Beast have pledged allegiance to another so called "god".
9 "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name" (Revelation 14:9-11)
JESUS COMES AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
Note from the time of the Anti-Christ entering into the Holy of Holies and proclaiming himself to be a god, that you could pinpoint the return of Jesus Christ almost to the day. As John told us in Chapter 12, that Israel will be protected, a remnant from the serpent for 3.5 years.
"But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent." (Revelation 12:14)
and the prophet Daniel confirms this information in his prophecy:
'And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days." (Daniel 12:11)
Two problems that come up with those knowing the almost exact time when Jesus will come, and those who believe in a post-Tribulation coming of our Lord for His church.
Jesus said " "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37, But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:36-3
If we know to near the exact date of the return of Christ, and knowing that it will NOT be as in the days of Noah, as the population will only be interested in survival mode, and no one will be living life as normal by any stretch. So if the truth of God's Word says that no one knows the hour and day, and it can't be as in the days of Noah, drinking, eating and giving in marriage, there must be an alternate time that Jesus speaks of and to fulfill another set of verses.
If the Post Tribulation model is correct (and I proclaim it not be), then when Jesus comes in the 2nd coming, the dead in Christ are raised to life, the living changed into immortal Spirit Beings, and the rebellion of mortal men who have followed the Anti-Christ and dare come against our Lord to do battle at Armageddon, which included all who have taken the mark of the beast, (as there will be no gray area, you are either in one camp or the other, either with Jesus or with the Anti-Christ.) who is it that goes into the Millennium as mortals? See the problem? The answer is no one will be alive in their mortal bodies to enter into the Kingdom of God. Only the Pre-Tribulation model makes any sense and aligns with God's Word.
2 "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." (1st Thessalonians 5:2-5)
Every one who falls under the wrath of God will have signs in the heavens that announce the coming of our Lord Jesus. It will be a time of intense suffering, death and destruction, for as Jesus said:
'And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)
It will be the most destructive and dangerous time in all the history of the rule of mankind. Anyone who reads these verses along with what Revelation speaks of, can see that this will not be life as usual. Men and women will be dying by the millions into the billions in 7 short years and the rule of Satan found in the Anti-Christ will be beyond anyone's imagination.
THE RETURN OF THE SAINTS OF GOD
Note as you read these verses and try to contemplate what is coming to pass, and the destruction leveled at all mankind, that the church has not been mentioned one time. Some try to say that the saints are the church, but that is not possible. Why? Because Jesus gave each of us a deposit of God's Holy Spirit that dwells within each of us. Remember what Jesus said? While Jesus was still on the earth 2000 years ago, He said
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
As long as we are in the world, and have Jesus as our Comforter, found in His Holy Spirit residing in the Church, Satan cannot overcome us, as long as we stay close to God. But that is another problem for those who are Post-Tribbers. If Satan can't overcome us, then how does the Anti-Christ overcome the saints during the Tribulation? And if I be a Christian and the Holy Spirit has been drawn back as 1st Thessalonians 2:7-8 testify, then Jesus lied to us, as He said He would never leave us or forsake us...since Jesus is not a liar, then why am I alone in the Tribulation without Him when I need Him the most? Easy, the church is not there.
"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." (Revelation 13:7)
More easy explanations, as the Bible cannot contradict itself. The saints of Revelation 13 is not the Church. And those who Jesus speaks of in John 16 are the church, but they are both saints, just not the same group of saints. Those in the Tribulation are NOT sealed as the 144,000 Jewish evangelist are, but although they have accepted Jesus, God does not seal them, meaning they CAN loose their salvation, if they take the dreaded Mark of the Beast. So the verse that says "He who endures to the end, shall be saved" applies here.
JESUS RETURN TO RULE AND REIGN
The perils of the tribulation come to an end in chapter 19, as John sees the bride of Christ being called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
7 "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.
8 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 19:7-8)
I want you to focus on the description of the Bride of Christ and what she is dressed in. "fine linen, clean and white" which is a sign or righteousness of the saints. She is called to the Marriage supper, but a few verses later, we see an army coming with our Lord Jesus riding on white horses.
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.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
Note again the description of those who come with Jesus to make war with the last of the rebellion on earth. "clothed in fine linen, white and clean" again a sign of the saints. Where have the saints been? This is the church, and she has been with Jesus for the last 7 years in heaven and now comes back to watch Jesus finish the destruction of all rebellion, as His vesture is dipped in blood, which is not His blood, but the ones He has been slaying in the wine press of His fury for the last 7 years.
THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
As we read these chapters 19 and 20, we see Satan bound, the 1000 year reign of Jesus, and the unleashing of Satan for a little season. Enough time to cause another rebellion on earth that is destroyed by fire coming out of heaven by God when they surround the Holy City and think in their madness they can confront the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Thus begins the Great White throne judgment of all unsaved mankind. They are gathered from wherever they died and are raised to immortal life, but their life is short lived as they are judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire, as their name is not written in the Lamb's book of life. You will not find a passage that says that anyone who has ever lived are given another chance to accept Jesus as their Savior.
This life was designed just for that. "What will you do with the man, Christ Jesus?" Will you accept His free gift of salvation or reject it? Some say, what about those who never heard of the name of Jesus and didn't get a chance?. To that, I say....that is God's Sovereign will. I am not God, but He has not revealed to us what will happen to them, or if they are forever lost. Who in their right mind would turn around and say no to a free offer of salvation, the choice of heaven or hell and not accept Jesus as Savior, who is standing right in front of them? You say, no one? You would be right. Only a madman would reject a free gift. But that is exactly what men are doing right now, because they must have proof. They must have something to believe in that is tangible....not some invisible Divine Being.....Jesus told us when He spoke to doubting Thomas who must put his finger into His nail scarred hands and His side to believe.
20, " Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
It is called faith, and it is something given only by God's Holy Spirit to even accept that free gift of His mercy and grace. But men do reject that calling of His Holy Spirit to their everlasting destruction if they meet God after this life.
I want to close with something that many miss at the very end of Revelation, when the Bride and the Groom of Jesus Christ beckon to those who will listen.
16 "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:16-17)'
The Bride of Christ and the Spirit beckons to all who will hear, to come and join them. The Bride of Christ has been known from the foundation of the world. God wrote down each of those who belong to Him, in the Lamb's book of life. Now we, as the Bride of Christ beckons to others who will hear. Those can only be the guest who go through the Tribulation and survive, or are slain for the Word of God by being beheaded. That would include Gentiles that have believed and endured to the end, and Jewish people, but a remnant of either, even though they are a great number, many will die without Jesus in their hearts and be condemned.
I have given you a brief description of the judgments of God as revealed in Scripture and the proof that the Church is not destined to be included in this time. As many bible passage proclaim that we are not appointed to receive any of God's wrath..There is a difference between now and then, and that is God's Wrath. Men have always been evil and persecuting other men, but God NEVER, EVER has subjected His people who call upon His Name to the endurance of His wrath. To believe that the church must endure the wrath of God and be purified along with Israel (Malachi 3:3) and endure the torment of such a time, is to embrace the concept of a Catholic purgatory that says that the blood of Jesus was just not quite good enough to save us utterly. I'm here to tell you...Jesus saves....past, present and future sins and the Church being in the Tribulation serves no purpose according to God's Word. Isaiah 26:19-21 tells us that Jesus has prepared a place for us, and to hide ourselves in our chambers till His indignation has past. He also reaffirms this fact in John 14:2-3 that He is preparing a place for us, and that where He is, there we will be also...He is coming to receive us to Himself. Will you be ready for that event?
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only beotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)
Believe today, because the signs says that the tribulation is close at hand, if it if close, then the coming of our Lord Jesus is even closer for those who believe in Him, by faith...
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you are ready when Jesus comes..soon....if you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at
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TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET................SOON.
- Bible Studies and Questions
- End Times Prophecy and Revelation
- The Book of the Apocalypse - by Pastor Mike Taylor