Study No. 7
A Study in Revelation and Hebrews – Rest and Work
A Study in Revelation and Hebrews – Rest and Work
May I ask you to first read through Hebrews Chapters 3 and 4...
Then, please read through Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, picking out the following verses...
Revelation 2:2 “I know thy works”
:9 “I know thy works”
:13 “I know thy works”
:19 “I know thy works”
Revelation 3:1 “I know thy works”
:8 “I know thy works”
:15 “I know thy works”
In Revelation 2:1 – 7, the letter to the pastor of the church at Ephesus, Christ says, v4, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love”. “thee” – it is addressed personally to him, the pastor. He had left the Lord Jesus Christ out of his life!! It is extraordinary! Here was an active Pentecostal, New Testament church, and the pastor, and presumably members of his flock also, had forgotten that the First Duty of any soul desiring fellowship with God must love Him with the whole heart and mind and strength!!
We list FIRST LOVE as one of the Descriptions of Christ in the twenty-two Chapters of the Book of Revelation. [“Introducing The Book of Revelation” Chapter 2 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”]
It was a serious error on his part! And he is told to repent, and do the first works, v5a. The consequence of not obeying this Command was dire. “I will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” It meant Eternal loss. The “candlestick” was one of the seven churches to which Christ, the Son of Man, the Judge, was seen in their midst, Revelation 1:12 – 13. And the pastor was one of the seven stars safely held in His right hand – but no more for him if he didn’t repent!
So, what does the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb, mean by referring to His knowledge of their “works”? And what does the instruction to “do the first works” mean?
After all we know that we are saved by grace. We come to Christ believing that He has done the Work of atoning for our souls and washing away our sins by His poured out Blood, and therefore we are justified by our faith in this Work; we cannot exert any human effort to persuade God to accept us into His Heart and into His Kingdom!
That is why we need to see what Hebrews says about Work – and see that God had always planned that we should work for God only in the manner in which He has prescribed, if we desire to go His Way and live with Him for Eternity.
Hebrews 3:1 “Consider ... Christ Jesus”. The first sensible Step! Focusing on the once-Crucified, Risen One who is God manifest in the flesh, who was anointed the second time [Psalm 45:7] as the official Son who is appointed High Priest, will not result in you leaving your First Love!
And the next few verses – vs2 – 6 – reveal a House with Love in it! Then – vs7 – 4:11 – comes the serious warning, but also with it comes this wonderful revelation of REST. Real Rest; No expenditure of Energy; A closing of the eyes (and ears) perhaps?; No frenzied activity of body or mind...REST!
Putting away Unbelief, then, according to these Scriptures in Hebrews, gives us the Rest of God – that Eternal Rest of the soul which has left all the necessary Work of cleansing my soul to God.
The Holy Ghost calls us to that Rest now that Christ Jesus sits on the Right Hand of God on the Throne. He shows us that hardness of heart and unbelief goes hand-in-hand.
Remember Mark 16:14, “Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen” ? And the Holy Spirit is here to bring the things that Christ taught to our remembrance...
The spiritual wanderings of the Israelites are used as a real example of how to enter and how not to enter into this Rest. They wandered about the wilderness because they kept wandering from the Lord! And those that continued without repentance, died in that condition – lost. But it is evident by the repetition of this warning of the Spirit, that God deeply desires us to understand the Reality and the Availability of this Rest.
It always strikes me with wonder that the same God to whom one day is as a thousand years, displays real deep sorrow of heart that these people He wanted as children irked Him for “FORTY YEARS” as though to Him it was like four hundred thousand years! Don’t you think so?
So we must read vs12 – 13 as God’s Love coming down to us, showing us the dangers that can destroy that Rest and wrench us away from His Love. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God (as the pastor in Ephesus had done!) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Praise God, it is still “Today”! We are still in the Age when we can enter into this Rest. We can call it “Salvation”!! And there is another word for it, which we’ll come to later...
Actually, let’s call it “Full Salvation” because it is the entering in to a Rest by the Holy Ghost. It is the promised Rest of the Holy Ghost, for Christ promised He would send Him after He had returned to Heaven.
“My rest”, 3:11, 4:3, 5; “His rest”, 3:18, 4:1, 10. It’s personal! – as personal as “thy First Love”. The necessity to know and love Christ is bound up with being full of the Holy Ghost and ceasing from our own efforts to live for, or do anything for, God.
Hebrews Chapter 4 continues with the same example of the story of the Israelites as those who were specifically barred from experiencing the Rest of God because of their perpetual unbelief.
But with the remembrance of the warning as an example to us in the Church Age comes the assurance of the Promise that such a state of Rest is possible and attainable.
v1 “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”
“... a promise being left us...” The Rest is there for the taking. But there must be conditions to be fulfilled in order to receive this Promise. After all, we are dealing with God! It is His Rest. He was unable to give it to those of time past because they wouldn’t fulfil the simple conditions. Their hardness of heart and their unbelief, which was of their own, was their own put-up-barrier preventing them from receiving the Promise of Rest!
Ever heard the expression that some people can be their own worst enemy! This is surely appropriate here. In Ezekiel 18:31, the LORD says, “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
The generous Offer was given; the Plea was uttered. The Lord did everything He could for them, but they prevented themselves from receiving His Salvation by their own refusal to repent. Sad, isn’t it? So Hebrews points these things out to us. ‘It’s all happened before, so take note, be warned and enjoy what is there for your Eternal good’ is really what it’s saying.
It is in Chapter 4, vs3 – 10 that we learn of the Reasoning behind this Offer or Gift of Rest. God worked and God rested! We work – in the flesh – and by taking this Gift, we rest – in the Spirit!
The works of God in Creation were finished before the world was founded on unbelief, 4:3.
“And God did rest the seventh day from all His works”, 4:4.
“... If they shall enter into My rest”, 4:5.
“Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein”, 4:6.
v7 gives another reminder, another warning, of how to not be able to enter into the Rest.
v8 speaks of Joshua – he was not able to give the Israelites rest when they entered the Promised Land, so the Holy Spirit speaks again (through the Psalms, Psalm 95) that a Rest is available to...
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God”, 4:9.
And the glorious result of being among the people of God, walking in God’s Way and doing His Will:
“For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His”, 4:10.
What a wonderful conclusion to this two-chapter debate!! So simply stated! It is a great Revelation, which, when really understood and lived out, is Revolutionary. And it is put forth with such simplicity! God worked, God rested; cease from your own works and enter into this Eternal Rest which God has enjoyed since He said that all He had made was, “Very good” !
This ceasing from our own works is only possible when we are free of unbelief. For us, in this Church Age, it is a different focus than that of those Israelites.
They demonstrated their unbelief when they had no water, when the Sea was before them, when they had no food, when they saw men taller than themselves... Time and again they couldn’t lift their hearts to know that God would find a way, provide them with their basic needs, or defend them from their enemies... [read it all in Exodus and Numbers]
For us, in this Church Age, we must beware of expressing any unbelief in God’s New Way to deliver His people from slavery!
We have been delivered spiritually! We have escaped the slavery of sin, Satan’s chains and the sicknesses of a corrupt world and the clutches of our own fallen human natures.
How? How did that Deliverance come about? Not through the blood of a lamb or a goat’s kid smeared on the upper lintel and side posts of a house. But because the innocent Blood of God manifest in the flesh was poured out upon this earth. Instead of the Angel of Death passing over the blood-stained doors of their houses, with This Blood, God received the Offering as the Full Price necessary to pay for the atonement of every human soul, past, present and future.
Anyone believing that freedom from sin and self and Satan is absolutely possible through that shed Blood can boldly go through the Door into the Kingdom of God!!
So this ancient barrier of “unbelief” is to be forbidden in the recipient of This New Life! It is not only to be dismissed, rejected, but also counted as abominable! It’s a case of a ‘Not In My Back Yard!’ attitude!
Entering into the Rest of God by believing that the Blood of Christ secured total cleansing from every-thing abominable to God, means :
there is no guilt,
no burden of past failure,
no burden of memories of past actions,
“no more conscience of sins” (implied from Hebrews 10:2),
no being bowed down by the frailty of the flesh,
no more feeling powerless against the lusts of the flesh.
This is the victorious Life which Christ suffered and died to give you. This is the Life which the Lord Jesus displayed during His earthly Life, culminating in His suffering in the Garden, before the high priests, Pilate, Herod, on the way to the Cross and hanging on the Cross.
He still displayed His Patience and Longsuffering and Obedience while in the lowest Hell for three days and three nights (Thursday evening until Sunday early morning! – yes, that’s right!).
This is the victorious Life which you are given when you receive Christ as your Saviour. And the receiving of the Holy Spirit through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit makes it real and Believable.
This is the Truth!! How else can one fulfil the Command, “Be ye holy, as I am holy”? It isn’t to do with YOU (the ‘ME’), how strong-willed I am, how many hours I pray, how many church services I attend. It is SOLELY to do with what Jesus Christ has DONE. His Work; His Effort, His achievement.
You are called to simply believe it. And to replace your unbelief with Faith. And to produce Works by the Spirit out of your unfaltering Faith! So it is actually the Life of the Spirit working within you.
The pastors of those seven churches whose works Christ was familiar with were being judged by Him as to whether they were works of the flesh or works of the Spirit through their faith.
The Command to the pastor at Ephesus to “do the first works” was coupled with the Command to repent. He was to remember the very high position he had fallen from. It was a very serious charge against him from the Lord. And the remedy was to repent and “do the first works”.
He obviously had to get back to that very high position he had fallen from. He had to re-place himself in that spiritual attitude and frame of mind which held the Lord Jesus Christ in the very highest place in his worship, his service, his motives. Then other things would be put right as a result of that turning. The Ephesians had been idolaters [Acts 19]; they had turned to Christ. Now they had fallen from Christ, (or at least the pastor had – it’s all directed to a single person).
Out of his repentance he could perform once again the “first works” which he enjoyed as a child of God, freshly saved and Baptised in the Holy Ghost. [Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was very loving and full of commendation of their new found faith. They were quickly baptised in the Holy Ghost, 1:13, and received from him many wonderful revelations]
He would then also have “entered into His Rest”. And the other word for Rest, as promised in page 2, is SABBATH. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
The Rest of God spoken of by the Holy Spirit in Psalm 95 and expounded wonderfully in Hebrews 3 and 4 is the fulfilling of the Fourth Commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy...” [Exodus 20:8 – 11]. Christ died to give us a Life, not just one day a week! A new creature in Christ is not a ‘Sunday-only’ Christian!
2 Corinthians 5:15 puts it in a nutshell, “And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” It’s a full-time vocation until we escape when He collects us!
It is a great mistake for the ‘established’ churches to call Sunday the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath was the Seventh Day. Sunday is the First Day of the week. The Sabbath in the Church Age is the Life in the Holy Ghost, through the Blood of Christ. Every Jew and every Gentile is entitled to enter into this Sabbath Rest! Please God that they will, before the sunset of this Age!
With that Rest comes a personal knowledge of the confidence one can and must have to approach the Throne of God. Chapter 4 of Hebrews ends with that encouragement. We don’t come because we think we have a right to come as made in His image. We come solely because Christ is there at God’s Right Hand – the Great High Priest interceding, the Son of God as the First-born of the Family we are now part of, the Wounded Lamb as the evidence that our sin is put away forever, the Word of God as the proof that we can live obedience, acceptable lives before the Most High God.
May the Lord bless you to come boldly to that Throne of Grace with that Eternal Rest in your heart!
Study No. 6 – Revelations on the Difference of The Lamb
Have you noticed that sometimes powerful instructions in the Word are put in a negative form?
Here are two examples:
John 3: 17 For God sent not His Son into the world [that is, Risen again from the dead] to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin [no amount of temptation would have caused Him to sin; it wasn’t in Him – but that didn’t mean the suffering was not real to Him].
Put like this, it is far stronger than saying, for example: God sent His Son into the world to save it from condemnation, or, We have a sinless high priest who was touched with the feelings of our infirmities and tempted in every way as we are. Do you agree?!
So, as the Book of Revelation reveals both the person of the Antichrist and the Person of The Lamb, let us consider more fully the negative in order to see more clearly the Positive.
Revelation 13:1 – 9
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. 2And 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. 3And 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. 4And 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? 5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7And 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. 8And 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. 9If any man have an ear, let him hear.
The revealing of the Antichrist, the “vile person” [Daniel 11:21] now embodying Satan who lives and rules within him (at his own will, of course).
ANTI – against; in complete contrast; the opposite of. This vile lawless man is the antithesis – the direct opposite – of the Lord Jesus Christ, The Lamb.
The vile person, the man of sin, the son of perdition will be the culmination – the zenith – of all unbelief. Zenith means ‘the time at which something is most powerful’. That truly describes the state of the world of unbelief ruled by this abomination in the coming Day of The LORD.
v5b “fortytwo months”. So we know this is in the Day of the LORD – starting from the second half of the seven-year rule over all the world of the “man of sin” [2 Thessalonians 2:3]
v4 “worshipped, worshipped”. They won’t just be world ruler, but a focus of
v2 “leopard, bear, lion”. We know these wild animals represent the ancient former kingdoms of Greece, Medes and Persia, and Babylon, but considering them as beasts, they are wild/untameable; lawless [to God’s Law], and all able to tear their prey to pieces for meat!
v6 “blasphemy”. The fulfilment of man’s utter contempt for God and godliness.
Peering back into Eternity, through Proverbs 8 we see that as God formed this Plan for a family even before Creation, His “daily delight” was proclaimed and installed, if you like, as the Pattern for every member of this family to come. As soon as those first two members of that innocent family fell from Grace, this Person in whom God on the Throne delighted was prepared to take human blood and die for the remission (cancellation) of their sin. (refer to Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 13:8b)
As we all know by what we see around (and within!) us, not everyone on the planet has embraced this generous vicarious offer of cleansing and absolution of their sin with open arms and ready willing minds and hearts! Unbelief was evident at the start, and unbelief continues and is rife today in the 21st century. The unbelief is unbelief in the Word of God, specifically, not just saying, ‘Oh, I don’t believe in God, or in all that stuff’.
What Should Man Be Like?
“Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve”
(Mathew 4:10 (Deuteronomy 6:13))
“Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) “Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3 / Matthew 4:4)
“What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
· The Word of God contains the whole revelation of what God expects of man. We can know why we do things.
· The Word of God contains the whole revelation of the Evidence of what Christ did and will do. We need never come off the Word of God! Have it in your heart all the time.
Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
Such is the condition of the Antichrist – the ultimate wicked man. We should keep the Word of God in our hearts. Get into the habit of having God in all your thoughts.
· Having the Word of God in your heart by the Holy Spirit separates you from the spirit of antichrist
· Having the Word of God in your heart by the Holy Spirit fills you with the reality of the Life of the Crucified, Risen Christ – The Lamb (28 times in the Book of Revelation!)
Behold The Man!
The Lord Jesus Christ, taking on that Name and Title by being born into the world with human blood and flesh and bones, demonstrated fully that He loved the Word of God. He loved serving God, whatever it cost Him. He lived solely to give glory to God, to acknowledge God, to submit Himself to the Will of God and to declare that He was loved by God, even when He would be smitten.
· Christ was constrained by His own Love and Will to continue to the end in His loving obedience to God and His Word.
· Christ lived solely to do the Will of God, to obey the Word of God, as a Servant (even though His Equal)
· Christ had God in all His thoughts.
· Christ conducted Himself in peace, without hysteria, being always pure in thought, action, and motive.
· His was a clean heart, and a clean mouth.
· He came to witness to the Truth; He spoke the Truth; He embodied the Truth.
In other words, as the beast out of the sea is wicked, so Jesus Christ is pure; as the man of sin is lawless, so God manifest in the flesh is obedient; as the little horn is arrogant, boastful and destructive, so the Son of God is humble, meek and a bringer of Salvation. As the Antichrist deceives and seduces, so The Lamb is the Truth and draws men to the Father.
John spoke of the thief, the hireling, the stranger in contrast to the Door, the Good Shepherd. [John 10] The former steals, kills and destroys, the Latter gives life, eternal life, by laying down His own. The former is Satan, the father of lies, who will, in the LORD’s Day, (and not before!) find the prepared body of the ultimate sinner and live out his 42 month’s reign in him.
The LORD, in His Position of Ultimate Authority, must operate legally – or He would be working outside His own Standard of Holiness and Justness, being exactly like the sinner, the rebellious; the infidel. Therefore He allows for, as the Lord Jesus said, the wheat to grow together with the tares until they have both come to maturity. [Matthew 13:24 – 30, 36 – 43] The Antichrist is the ‘maturity’ of all abominations. And what do we see? The world worships him!!
In my own notes of our special away studies on “Loving Obedience”, I have it written: “Holiness is very practical. Human nature can’t react in the same way.”
The Lord, in revealing in His Word these two utterly different lives, proves to us that only Love for the Lamb can create in our hearts that separating power that keeps us clean and free from the encroaching spirit of antichrist. And we demonstrate our love for the Lamb by loving the Word of God as He did, and letting it work out in our lives by the Holy Ghost. May your hearts know the real Joy and Peace of being filled with Love for the Lord Jesus Christ, in the confidence of the Father’s Love for you!
Study No. 5 – Revelations on The Thrones
Psalm 122:1 - 9
(Daniel 7:18, 22, 27)
In studying the Book of Revelation, I’ve always believed, and have seen the sense of that belief, that other books of the Scriptures should be viewed in its light. After all, Revelation tells the story of the end of all things; the fulfilling of the whole purpose of the Lamb being the Lamb! – He who was prepared to come as our Sacrificial Lamb from the foundation (system of unbelief) of the world.
These first three passages relate to “thrones”. In Revelation, it is not clear who sits on the thrones: “they sat upon them”. But we do see that the scene is set in the Future and in relation to the days of Judgment and the Reign of Christ on the earth.
“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, 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.”
The souls that were beheaded are here in this Vision alive in their new resurrected bodies from the Rapture – “souls” means that they are whole human beings, spirits clothed with a new sinless body of flesh and bone. But they had paid the ultimate price for declaring that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ, the Risen Son of God, according to the Scriptures. Following Christ with the whole heart and mind is an Attitude; waiting for His Coming is not in counting time or having prophecies of when He will come. It is an Attitude of waiting; continuing to walk in the Light until...
And so, in interpreting these words, “and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” we should see that these people have already been resurrected (Raptured). In Revelation 1:6 we read, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” and in 5:10, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth”. Members of the Body of Christ are destined to rule and reign with Christ!!
These in 20:4 will never live under the regime of the beast, the Antichrist. Their pure lives will have been in complete contrast to the lives of those who will worship him and his image and receive his mark. The Scripture is revealing the Attitude which those who will be raptured will be living by. This is why we must understand that there is only One Resurrection to Life – the other resurrection is the second death! Therefore these people cannot possibly have lived in the days of the reign of the Antichrist!
It is so important, when reading the Book of Revelation with a will to understand it, that we realise the time setting of each vision and the position of the people in it. Getting this right will preserve you from many errors and false doctrines!
So firstly in this Vision, John saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: but we don’t know from the passage alone who “they” are.
The other passages, though, shed a lot of light on the thrones and who sits on them – in that same Future Age.
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regener-ation when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
(Interesting, isn’t it, that the Lord spoke to the twelve, knowing that Judas would not be one of them?! Matthias would replace him, as shown in Acts 1:26.)
The Lord speaks very clearly here. He is promising a future age called “the regeneration”. The Book of Revelation shows this to be His Thousand Years’ Reign – the regeneration refers to the rebuilding of a new faithful Nation of Israel. He speaks directly to the twelve, which then included Judas. (Even this promise of such elevation did not turn his stubborn, fiercely self-centred heart from his strategy to overthrow the regime of Rome.)
It is easy to put these two passages together! Twelve men, Christ’s own Apostles, which He describes as “ye which have followed Me” (Matthias was one who had followed Him since they left John the Baptist until His ascension, Acts 1:21 – 23) would be in a special position of judge when Christ rules over the world from Jerusalem. The twelve tribes of Israel would have to be those listed in Revelation 7 (see below) as the other group will be resurrected in new, sinless, bodies – hardly in need of judgment!
Psalm 122 1 – 9
“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. 2Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. 3Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: 4Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. 5For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. 6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. 7Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. 8For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. 9Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.”
verse 6a is often quoted, but it is quoted completely out of context! Let’s look at the words; it’s quite a short Psalm:
Firstly, who is the speaker in verse 1?
Second, is Jerusalem today as a city compact together; verse 3?
Third, when have you seen twelve tribes of Israel going up to Jerusalem, giving thanks to the LORD; verse 4?
Fourth, where are the thrones in Jerusalem today; verse 5?
Fifth, is there spiritual peace and prosperity in Jerusalem today; verses 6 & 7?
Sixth, who is the speaker; verses 8 & 9?
It should be clearly seen that the speaker is not referring to this present Age! The Answers to Questions 2 and 5 is NO; the Answer to Question 3 is Never; the Answer to Question 4 is Nowhere! The speaker refers to a time in the Future – when the twelve tribes of Israel will indeed go up rejoicing to Jerusalem during the Millennium Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. One set of those tribes will have been resurrected at the first resurrection (the Rapture) and will comprise the tribes of Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Rueben, Judah, Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, and Gad (as listed in Ezekiel 48 vs1 – 7 and vs23 – 28).
They will come up to Jerusalem for the feasts, travelling from their allocated promised lands west of the river Jordan. (Joseph was given two portions, so his sons Manasseh and Ephraim inherit; Levi, never inheriting land, will serve in the Sanctuary).
The other set of those tribes who will go up to worship their King will be the enlarged Remnant of Israel, increased from the 144,000 miraculously lifted away from the Antichrist’s persecution at the start of the Day of the Lord and the launch of the beast. These will live in the suburbs around the city of Jerusalem, as spoken by Ezekiel 48:17 – 19. These will comprise Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, Joseph, and Benjamin, as listed in Revelation 7 vs 1 - 8.
And the speaker? Who is it? There are several reasons why I see that it is the Lord Jesus Himself.
In Matthew 25:40 at the dividing of the sheep and the goats just prior to the destruction of all creation and His final ‘White Throne’ Judgment, He refers to this growing former ‘Remnant’ as “My brethren”. In His Millennium Reign, the Temple, the House of the Lord, where the sacrifices were offered, is set in an area called the Sanctuary, as described in Ezekiel 48:8 – 14, and is separate from the rebuilt city of Jerusalem.
Therefore, it is quite easy to see that the Lord Himself would take great delight in hearing His brethren in the flesh say to Him, ‘Let’s go to the House of the LORD’! (v1) Don’t forget, although the Lord Jesus is King over all the earth, He is still in subjection to God on the Throne in Heaven – He is always the Lamb! In verses 8 – 9, then, we can also see that He can call them His “brethren” and promises for their sakes that He will always be the Peace in Jerusalem and will always do them good. After all, He has long ago appointed His closest friends to be their guardians and guides!
In attempting to highlight the practicalities of these visions and revelations, I bring your attention to:
Daniel 7:18, 22, 27
“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. 22. Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 27. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
Daniel has already seen the ungodly thrones of men and devils cast down in his vision (v9) and he asks someone among the many millions around the Throne of God the meaning of the four great beasts he has seen (v16).
His spiritual adviser assures him that though these great beasts arise out of the earth, yet the saints of the most High will prevail and take full control in the kingdom for ever (v18). He is speaking of all the saints reigning, not just those twelve Apostles.
v22. The “Ancient of days” is of course the Lord God Almighty on His Throne – it is not the Lord Jesus Christ. When it says, “the Ancient of days came”, it doesn’t mean that He left His Throne and went somewhere. It means as is said in Revelation 1:4b and 4:8 where He is described as “which is, and which was, and which is to come”. The Day of the LORD is to come – He will, through Christ, bring an end to all things. Included in His Plan is the physical fulfilment of the Promise that those who are “in Christ” will be kings and priests and will reign with Christ for one thousand years, with a rod of iron.
v27 emphasises again that the saints of the most High – we have a “high calling” don’t we? – will reign and rule in His kingdom.
Besides, then, having a clearer understanding of the Book of Revelation – which is a blessing in itself, is it not?! – what is the practical lesson for our personal lives as we watch and wait for our Lord to return?
Do you want a Job to do in the Future?!! An important Job with a Thousand-Year Agreement!!
Can you imagine yourself in a new sinless body? And ruling and reigning with Christ on this earth for a thousand years? Can you imagine yourself administering punishments with a rod of iron with the full authority of the Lamb who purchased you with His own Blood? Can you imagine yourself being able to teach the resurrected Old Testament saints how the Lord Jesus fulfilled all the Levitical sacrifices by the sacrifices offered in this new Temple in this area called the Sanctuary?
This is what the Church, the Body of Christ, will be expected to do. If you desire to live and reign with your Saviour in this way, then allow Him to take you through into maturity, into the way of wisdom and to grant you all the spiritual gifts you will need to fulfil His Will in you.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” John 14:23.
May you walk forward into the Future with this Love within you, ready to serve Him for ever!
Study No. 4 – Revelations on The Cleansing Blood
Revelation 1:5 “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...”
Revelation 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood”
“they ... have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”
Can you see the difference between these two statements?
Let’s talk about the Two Settings first, while you think about it!!
1:5 This is the set in the Introduction to Chapter One, and indeed to the whole of the book of Revelation. We spoke of this in “Insights into the Power of Revelation”. Have another look at it!
So, here we have John speaking directly to the seven churches and by the Holy Spirit, immediately brings Greetings from, firstly, God on the Throne, then from the seven special Angels who will pour out the Plagues over the 42 months of the Tribulation, and then from the Lord, calling Him simply, “Jesus Christ” – meaning, simply, the One Equal with God and Anointed by Him to come to earth where He was deeply humiliated and subjected to sufferings and death.
He is exalted here in v5 with these wonderful Descriptions. And then comes this exuberant peal of praise from John, which ends in v6 : “to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
I must briefly take you into Daniel 7 vs13 – 14. Here the Lord, called “the Son of man” comes to the Throne of the Ancient of Days (God on the Throne) to receive – “dominion, and glory” ... It is NO Coincidence!!
So the overall setting of this verse in Revelation 1:5 is where John is exiled on the island of Patmos, ready, in the Spirit, to receive the special Message from Christ, exactly as Christ had received it from God on the Throne. That was in the same Age as we are in now – the Church Age; the Age of Revelation, of Repentance, of Salvation, of Sanctification, of Victory of sin, self and Satan!!
7:14 This verse is set right in the time of which John was writing and seeing and hearing all the Events and Numbers and Sights and Sounds of The Day of The LORD – Judgments on the Earth; Exciting Things happening in Heaven!! We are looking at a Time YET TO COME.
These people – the vision is from v9 to v17 – this great multitude – are standing before the Throne. They are clothed with white robes. Straight away, therefore, we should see that that have been resurrected. There is only One Resurrection to Life, we call it the Rapture. These were among those who had died in Christ, who were raised first and caught up together with the living believers to meet the Lord in the air! [1 Thessalonians 4:15 – 18] (It’s not yet come!!)
They have palms in their hands. This signifies that they knew the Law. The Feast of Tabernacles, where the Israelites made booths from the palms and trees around them to celebrate their escape from slavery, bondage and oppression. They would have been made up from mostly Israelites and those who joined them and submitted themselves to the Laws of God, the God of Israel.
If you read through the Old Testament with this in mind, note the times when the people really served the Lord, when they rejoiced in His ways and were obedient to His Word. These are the people who will be there in reality when all these things come to pass.
So these are those who lived in the days BEFORE the Cross, before the Lord Jesus poured out His Blood to atone for the sins of the whole world.
Please read Hebrews 11 – the whole Chapter. Verse 1 is for YOU! The rest is the wonderful historical account of those who could not know the Lord Jesus Christ as a born-again person does today in this Church Age, but who steadfastly, against all the odds, deprivation, torture, harsh persecution, cruelty, continued to obey the Word of God and walk according to the Law of that era – the blood of an innocent animal to take away their sin, transgression, ignorance from the sight of God.
Please, let this sink in! Compared to life in Christ that you have, they had SO little – yet they endured; they kept their faith. And here in Revelation 7, you see their reward!! Don’t they deserve it!! God is no man’s debtor!!
So you see, the first verse is directed to the Church, those redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, who came to Christ after His Death and Resurrection and were born again by His Word and the Holy Spirit (this is not the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is a separate receiving of His Grace). They are New Testament saints.
And the second verse is records part of a Vision of those who were Old Testament saints. That accounts for the difference in the language.
No other can save himself from the Wrath of God. We know that. The sin of Adam has separated every human being born into this world from the Righteousness of God. We need to hear from God what God knows we must do to be saved from His Wrath! All world religions think they have found the answer, but we know, or should know, that they are all wrong. The True and Living God alone has satisfied His Legal Requirement for a Just Sentence for the Crime/Offence and His Passionate Desire to Gather Around Him a Loving, Obedient Family.
“Without the shedding of blood is no remission” Hebrews 9:22
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11
Revelation 13:8 “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law...”
The Scriptures show that it was always God’s Plan and intention to save mankind from his sin and restore him to Himself – the Holy City is large enough for many billions, if they would come in!
The whole revelation of who Jesus Christ really is proves that over and over. But until He came and died on the altar of Calvary, men had to be given a way through which they could approach God humbly and obediently, and know that if they did those things which He said, they would be accepted by Him. Hence Leviticus etc...
So these people were forgiven their sins as they brought the innocent animal before the priest for slaughter. Its shed blood was accepted by God in Heaven, and they could go free of that sin. And so it went on and on, all their lives, all their generations... They “washed their robes” – they washed them themselves by going to the priest with their offering as commanded by God.
And then they died in faith... If they were not raised again, what hope had they? But they did have hope, as Hebrews 11 says, hope for a City whose builder and maker is God – that Holy City in Heaven. That is exactly where those Old Testament saints will live with the Church, the Body of Christ. (The enlarged Remnant of Israel will live on the New Earth with the Gentile nations who have been obedient to the King and therefore come through the Thousand-Year Reign of Christ.)
And because Christ was always going to come and shed His own Blood, these faithful, obedient people are also covered by the Atoning Blood. “It is finished!” covered all time, all ages. All true believers are ‘under the Blood’, as we say – or at least the old Pentecostal believers used to say that! “It’s under the Blood, brother/sister!” In other words, Go on your way rejoicing!
So that is why the two verses we are looking are phrased differently. They do not mean the same thing! We, today, in the Church Age, come to God through the Blood of Christ, knowing that we cannot wash ourselves. This is what we are told from day one. ‘You cannot make your own way to Heaven; accept the Lord Jesus Christ because He has died in your place and taken your sins upon Himself.’
1 Corinthians 6:11 speaking of coming out of a selfish, worldly life without Christ into the Eternal Life of Christ, says, “And such were some of you (fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners –vs9 – 10) but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit have each played their part in making a sinful, vile detestable creature in God’s sight CLEAN AND HOLY AND SINLESS!!
Washed – washed clean. Has He left a little spot or stain? NO! He cried “It is finished”.
Sanctified – set apart unto God, in harmony with His holiness.
Justified – free from all charges again the sinner, counted as holy as Jesus Christ.
Can you believe it?
You MUST believe it!
If you don’t, or won’t, or can’t believe it, you will not be able to live a victorious life by the Faith of Jesus Christ.
You can work out for yourself what the consequences of that unbelief will mean for you!!
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you abundantly as you take into your heart and life this new revelation from the Word of God.
Study No. 3 – Introducing Thoughts on
The Letters to the Churches
The Letters to the Churches
Revelation 2:25 “But that which thou hast already hold fast till I come”
Revelation 3:11 “hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown”
As we saw in “Insights into the Power of the book of Revelation”, these verses are set in the second instruction of what John was told to write: Revelation 1:19 “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”
These verses in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 are to do with “the things which are” – from the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born until now; the situation of the churches in the church Age.
What is it that we have already?
We have Forgiveness, we have Cleansing from sin, we have Justification, we have Sanctification.
We have the Word of God – the Word of Truth – by the Holy Ghost.
We have the Witness of the Holy Ghost of its Truth.
And, We have the Person of the Holy Ghost to bring us all that Christ has given us!
So, in order to hold fast onto these spiritual things unto the end, and gain the crown that is waiting for us, we need to draw on the spiritual help and encouragement available to us.
COMFORT. Another word for encouragement is COMFORT. It includes exhortation, imploration; entreaty; and it is also means beseeching – as a goad; a prod. It is not just for consoling.
Acts 9:31 “...the comfort of the Holy Ghost”. We need this while we live in this world without the physical presence of Christ.
Romans 15:5 “the comfort of the scriptures”. They should often “pull us up” as well as calm us!
2 Corinthians 1:3 “the God of all comfort”. He knows exactly how to teach us, and in what measure.
Matthew 9:23 – the woman healed was told to “be of good comfort”. She was to have courage.
2 Corinthians 13:11 “be of good comfort”. They were to be perfect, and be strong, and, being called near, they were invited. Paul was pleading with them, invoking them, imploring, exhorting, entreating (it means all these things) them to stir themselves out of their fleshly natures. He was certainly not saying, “there, there” and giving them a pat of sympathy!
The Spirit of God, given to us by Christ as “Another Comforter”, is constantly calling, beseeching, imploring members of the Church to live a life in the Spirit, which is, in fact, the Crucified Life. He shows us the Life of the Crucified One. That is His Mission; not to receive prayers or songs directed to Himself, but to direct us always to Christ – The Lamb.
Psalm 23 v4 “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort Me.” We must learn how Christ overcame the flesh, showing us how to do the same.
The Hebrew for “comfort” means as a sigh, breathing strongly, as in consoling. Christ was confident of God’s Love, but still He was prepared to take the smiting.
Psalm 23 is actually the revelation of Christ looking to God in His last days on this earth. The table spread for their last Passover meal together, with Judas there at the beginning of the meal; He went down into the valley – Hell, the lowest Hell. He looked to God as HIS Shepherd – so that we can look to HIM as our Shepherd. And, as He sits at God’s Right Hand, He sees the Goodness and the Mercy which He obtained for men, following Him as they crowd into God’s Kingdom!!
The shepherd’s rod and staff is basically just two sticks, branches cut and shaped for their specific purposes.
STAFF – a support as a walking stick over rough ground; The Way which God sent Him; the Cross.
ROD – for punishing/chastising, for writing, for fighting, correction, also for walking (in the right direction)
For writing – in other words, for marking the sheep, identifying the sheep in whose flock they are.
John 10:14 & 27 The Lord said, “I know My sheep and they follow Me.”
This is comparable to the Sealing of the Spirit in this Church Age. Christ was set apart, and so the members of His Body are to be set apart by the sealing of the Holy Spirit.
For counting the sheep – (Leviticus 27:32); Ezekiel 20:37 “I will cause you to pass under the rod”. John 17:12 So the Lord said, “none of them is lost (but the son of perdition)”.
Separation from the other “sheep” meaning, the world, is essential to be able to remain in This Fold, and feed where This Shepherd leads His sheep to feed in the middle of the day (Song of Songs 1:7)
For Punishing – Paul said “shall I come to you with a rod?” (1 Corinthians 4:21)/ chastising / correction. Punishment in order to AVOID the Final Judgment!
Hebrews 12:5-8 uses very strong words. If you want to be a true child of God then you must allow Him to keep you in His Narrow Way.
If the Lord from Heaven came prepared to be smitten by God to do God’s Will, then so should the members of His Body, the Church, be prepared to be chastened, refined and pruned.
1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20 “We are bought with a Price; you are not your own”.
It has to be Death to Self. The Lord said 2 years / 1 year before He went to the Cross Himself :
“Take up your cross” / “Take up your cross daily” – Matthew 10:28; 16:24; Luke 9:23.
Paul said “I die daily” – 1 Corinthians 15:31 – this is the Resurrection Chapter!!
John 12:24 “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: ...”
It is not One Person over-lording over another weak and frail person! It is all for your protection from the world! For your place in His Eternal Home!!
For Fighting – not with His own sheep! but against His sheep’s enemies. We cannot possibly overcome Satan by our own means or strength, or our knowledge of martial arts, or any weapons of war, but ONLY by “the Blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 12:11].
John 16:8-11. The Holy Spirit was sent to reprove the world of SIN, of RIGHTEOUSNESS and of JUDGMENT If the Church / the local churches do not sound a clear call from their trumpet, how is the world to see and understand its faults, and repent? That’s what Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:8 said: “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound...”
If the members of the Church are not already reproved of their sin and have repented of it, how is the world to understand that they must acknowledge Christ as their only Saviour from sin, and repent?
If the members of the Church are not already reproved of their lack of knowledge of God’s Righteousness while Christ sits on His Right Hand Side, how is the world to recognise that God’s Righteousness is necessary for their lives also?
If the members of the Church are not already reproved of the Fact of Coming Judgment and the Complete Settlement upon this world and Satan’s end in the Lake of Fire, how is the world to know these things and fear the Lord? The world is to see your fear of the Lord, your holiness before God and Man, and your separation unto the Crucified Christ.
What has this to do with the book of Revelation??!
Because Revelation shows us The Lamb as the Central Figure of God’s Eternity, with His Wounds as the Central Feature of God’s Eternity, and His Death as the Central Fact of God’s Eternity.
Every person’s Eternal Destiny, as shown clearly in the book of Revelation, depends entirely on that person’s relationship to The Lamb. And if we already know what we have in Christ, we must keep it unto the end!
Hebrews Ch. 2, Ch. 6, Ch. 5:9.
A Life Under Grace is More Demanding of Total Obedience than a life under the Law Because of THE Innocent Blood – because of HIM, the Lamb, the Crucified One.
The Consequences of falling from a Life Under Grace is More Severe than a life under the Law Because allegiance to the Crucified Christ has been once proclaimed.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:”
v10 “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins...”
1 Samuel 2:3 “the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.”
Today the emphasis is so much on Self Esteem – Feeling Good About Yourself – Self Achievement. It’s all Anti-Christ! It is NOT the Crucified Life! It is the Complete Opposite!
(Of course, whatever work we do in a job etc, then we do it unto the Lord; giving Him the glory and without self-boasting – that is the key!)
Paul said “I count all things but dung!” – Now there’s a graphic expression to show one’s despising of the world and its glories!! [Philippians 3:8]
It’s realistic! Would you drape a gold chain around a heap of dog’s mess? Of course not!
This is why Jude said, “hating even the garment spotted by the flesh”, v23b.
This is why Jude said, “hating even the garment spotted by the flesh”, v23b.
It doesn’t mean we should throw all our clothes away, far from it! But to know in our deepest soul that clothes are only necessary to cover our nakedness because we are no longer innocent; we are in a body of sinful flesh. We need new bodies in order to live with God in Heaven. And that’s why the Lamb says, “Behold, I come quickly” Revelation 3:11.
So there is a crown waiting for all those who endure the chastising and correction and instruction! This is the Message of the book of Revelation!
1 Corinthians 10:13 “there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Why doesn’t He take away the troublesome thing? ...
Because He has given you the Crucified Christ; He has given you the Holy Ghost to see the Crucified Christ on God’s Right Hand; He has given you the Word, purified and tested, to live by. He wants you to learn how to live the Crucified Life and be worthy to live with His Son!!!
John 8:29b ”I do always those things that please Him.” – That’s the Crucified Life! – pleasing God as Christ did and does always!
We can now live innocent lives, free from the captivity of sin and Satan’s lies AND have the Person of the Son of God – the First Begotten From the Dead – the Crucified, the Lamb with us.
Whatever you go through; whatever your (present) weakness; whatever your trouble – God your Father KNOWS all about it, all about you, what you can take, what you can endure, and what you can achieve from it.
There are EIGHT mentions of OVERCOMING in the book of Revelation! Seven times in Chapters 2 and 3 Christ says, “He that overcometh...” and Revelation 21:7 God on the Throne says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son”. Purified, humbled (but not humiliated), having endured chastisement and tribulations, to be victorious. All because the Holy One, the Lord of Hosts, the Alpha and Omega offered Himself as the Lamb!!
Study No.2 – Introducing Thoughts on The Title
Revelation 14:1 – 5 and 17:12 – 14 (King James Version!)
We are familiar with the Lord Jesus being called the “Lamb of God” from the Gospels, where John Baptist made his Holy Spirit-inspired pronouncement, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” [John 1:29 & 36]. But in the book of Revelation this special Title is greatly emphasised, with many repetitions.
After God manifest in the flesh is declared to be “Jesus Christ” [Ch. 1 – 5 times],
“the faithful witness”, “the first begotten of the dead”, “the prince of the kings of the earth” [Ch. 1: 5],
“Alpha and Omega”, “the first and the last” [Ch. 1:11, 17 (NOT v8); Ch. 2:8],
“the Son of man” [Ch. 1:13],
“first love” [Ch.2:4],
“the hidden manna”, “a white stone” [Ch. 2:17],
“the Son of God” [Ch. 2:18],
“the morning star” [Ch. 2:28],
“the Amen”, “the faithful and true witness”, “the beginning of the creation of God” [Ch. 3:14],
“gold tried in the fire” [Ch. 3:18],
“the Lion of the tribe of Juda”, “the Root of David” [Ch. 5:5] ...
the Holy Spirit then reveals Him as “a Lamb” [Ch. 5:6]. And this is the First of TWENTY-EIGHT times throughout the rest of the book that the Lord Jesus Christ is called “The Lamb”.
Do you think this is significant?! Those of you who have children – if you had to say to your child something as many as 28 times, would it be something important?!
The two passages above, Revelation 14:1 – 5 and 17:12 – 14, each contain a verse where the Title “the Lamb” occurs TWICE in the same verse, namely, 14:4 and 17:14.
Do you think that this is significant?!
Revelation 14:1 – 5. “an hundred forty and four thousand...” Who are these people? Where are they and when do they arrive there? What time-span are we witnessing here in this scene/vision?
From Chapter 4 the story told by the book of Revelation is overall chronological. It starts with the Book of Settlement (see Study No. 1) taken by the Lamb from the Hand of God on the Throne [Ch. 5], and it being opened by the Lamb [Ch. 6] and goes through Plague by Plague until they are all poured out and Christ returns to earth [Ch. 19] and the two Eternal Destinations become very obvious [Chs. 20 – 22].
(The overall Plan contained in the book of Settlement is repeated in several different ways between Chapters 8 and 16 – more on this later!)
By understanding this overall Plan and the Fact that John was in the Spirit, mentally and spiritually able to receive from Christ all the things that were to come to pass in the Lord’s Day [Ch. 1], we can see clearly that the Rapture had already taken place by Ch. 4. The 24 elders had new resurrected bodies and their white robes and crowns indicate that the Judgment of the saints and their rewards had already taken place [2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:13 – 15]
This is important! Many strange interpretations are given to Revelation because people do not see which era / time span they are reading about!
So the 144,000 on Mount Sion are in Heaven, at the Throne of God, in new resurrected bodies while on earth the effects of the Day of the Lord are being felt.
V1. They have “His Father’s” name written in their foreheads. This doubly speaks of them being in the Church. Our Heavenly Father is called “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Ephesians 1:3], meaning that the Risen Son of God as the First-born of God’s New Sinless Family can take in other sons and daughters into the Family. These 144,000 are well-secure in that Family through the Risen Son!
V2. Thunder and the voice of harpers! This again shows the difference between what is going on on the earth – thunder, Wrath of God, Plagues, Punishments – and what is happening in Heaven – joy, victory, a special relationship with God, their Father.
V3. “as it were a new song”. These words are significant and not to be left out. It means that they did sing a new song before the Father, but it was not exactly new to them because they had sung it before in their victorious lives on earth. Only they among all the other members of the Church could sing it like they did. From the time of their spiritual birth they had sung that “new song”. Freedom from sin; completely turned around from the world and self; complete understanding of repentance, was the harmony of this song. Once they had repented of their Christ-less lives, they never needed to repent again! They never experienced doubt, back-sliding or sinning again! They had been “redeemed from the earth” once and for all time!
V4. This has nothing to do with whether these people were male or female. The Scriptures often use these kinds of expressions to emphasise relationships with God. Israel was often called “a whore”, and an unfaithful wife. Paul speaks of the mystery of Christ and His Church in encouraging love between husbands and wives. And in 2 Corinthians 11:2 we have Paul saying, “for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” – whether they were male or female!!
V4. And they “follow the Lamb” and they lived the purest lives since their conversion “being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”
V5. “no guile”. They spoke the word of God in truth. Never a twisted meaning or wrong interpretation.
They never sought to deceive or trick, or mislead. There are many wrong doctrines about today, mostly about Rome/Israel and about the Holy Spirit. (I’ve just learned of “Cessationism”!!)
The last time I went to India in 2010, I was very moved to say that if we do not preach Christ as He is and revealed in the Scriptures, we will make disciples of ourselves and not of the Lord Jesus Christ. Liars, deceivers, untruthful – sinful human nature!! (Remind yourself of Jeremiah 17:9!)
“without fault”. The purity of their Lord Jesus Christ was eternally in them; clothed in His Righteousness, fully aware of why He is the Lamb – hence the two references to the Lamb in v4.
This revelation can have two lessons for us:
When we bring people to Christ, they should know the power of the Blood to redeem a soul from sin, that there is the possibility available to them that they need never backslide or have the need to repent again.
The other lesson is that for those who have fallen from Grace and needed to return to Christ, there is the possibility to regain the position of the high calling. The 144,00 is a special part of the Church; there are many others all around the Throne praising God and partaking in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! [See 1 John 2:1 – “sin not... if any man sin...”]
Revelation 17:12 – 14. Whereas the first vision could be related to any time within those first 42 months of the Day of the LORD, this vision is set at a very specific time. This is the fulfilment of prophecies declaring the complete downfall of Jerusalem for her idolatry and spiritual adultery.
V18. “that great city”; Ch. 11:8 “the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” – unmistakably Jerusalem! Remember how the Lord wept over the city, Luke 19:41 – 44 and lamented over it in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34. Back to Matthew 23, vs. 35 – 36 :
“upon you shall come all the righteous blood” and “All these things shall come upon this generation” – the judgment, the avenging of all the righteous blood, besides His own, coming upon the generation at the time of the Settlement, the 42 months. This is the Fulfilment of Everything, far beyond just the fall of Jerusalem in AD70!
(I seek to focus people on the Scriptures, the Written Word of God which is the Revelation of the Secret, Christ Crucified, or The Lamb, rather than the newspapers and the tv and today’s fake media!)
V12. “the ten horns” These are the ten nations surrounding Jerusalem : Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Yemen. They are not with this power to destroy her NOW. Every citizen of each of these countries is called into the Church and has the right to become a child of God. In the Age of the vision, in the 42 months Judgments, this will be when God allows them to align themselves with the beast, the Antichrist, and destroy her for her rejection of God’s Beloved One.
V12. “one hour with the beast” In just one hour they will torch Jerusalem and burn her with fire, v16.
V13. “one mind”, “give their power and strength to the beast”. Total submission to the man of sin. All with the LORD’s full powers of execution! They are puppets, fulfilling the LORD’s Command! They think they are in charge, but they are fulfilling the Scriptures of old, as the LORD said they would!
V14. “war with the Lamb”, “the Lamb shall overcome them” He comes to reign with all His saints; stands on Mount Olivet, which splits north and south, making a way through to Jerusalem, now destroyed with the Plague of hail and the fire from these ten kings. They confront Him in their wrath and hatred for Him and He destroys them with the sword of His mouth, Ch. 19:21.
[Revelation 19:11 – 14; Zechariah 14:1 – 3, v4; Revelation 12:15a, 19b, Revelation 16:17a, 21]
So what does this vision teach us?
Obviously, that no opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ will succeed!
Then, we see clearly that there is a definite end to all opposition with a specific programme, and it is according to the Scriptures. The end of Jerusalem is prophesied in all the Prophets. Babylonian exile and siege did not destroy her. AD70 destroyed the temple, but we have a Jerusalem today! The prophecies will be fulfilled in the Day of the LORD, and particularly at the end of the 42 months, just before the Lord descends to earth. He will not enter an idolatrous city again!
The troubles in the Middle East we see today is all man’s doing – regime change desires by UK and US governments with other nations working as a ‘coalition’. This has NOTHING to do with God’s Final Plan of Judgment! It simply proves that the spirit (not the man) of antichrist is in the world. [1 John 4:3. (Incidentally, “come in the flesh” means He returned to Heaven in the flesh.) and 1 John 2:18] At the same time, the Gospel is preached and souls come into the Kingdom. The wheat and the tares grow together! [Matthew 13:30 (there are actually three “harvests” /gatherings : the Rapture of the saints; the miraculous escape of the Remnant of Israel, Revelation 12:14; and the Battle of Armageddon, Revelation 16:14, 16, 19:19.)]
Now, in the Church Age, God “commands all men everywhere (that’s Jew and Gentile) to repent” – come into the Body of Christ; be one new man in that Body! God is not interested in land; all that will be sorted out when Christ returns. [Acts 17:30; Ephesians 2:13 - 16]
That is why we need to look at “The Lamb”!
Revelation 14:4 “the Lamb”... “the Lamb”
Revelation 17: 14 “the Lamb”... “the Lamb”
What do we see?
In the first, we see a group of people who so love, cherish and honour the Lord Jesus Christ because of His endless Giving of Himself to secure their Eternal Salvation, and because of the terrible suffering and shedding of His Precious Blood in that Once-for-All Sacrifice, that whatever befalls them, whatever suffering they go through, they resolve never ever to doubt, backslide or sin again until He comes for them in the First Resurrection!
They follow the Lamb!
In the second, we see a group of people who so hate and despise the Lord Jesus Christ that even when they see the terrible wounds of His suffering for them upon His Face and Body, desire only to confront Him with all their weaponry and venom.
They make war with the Lamb!
A Person who can evoke such extremes of Love and Hate must be Unique !
It is as The Lamb that He brings out these extreme human emotions.
His Humility, His Crucified Body, His terrible wounds, the Humiliation He was willing to endure to restore the Family to God, His Complete Submission to the Will of God, and the Word of God, either DRAWS a soul to Him in awe and an unreserved resignation to His Call,
OR, it REPELS a soul away from Him in disgust and rebellion against His Call.
“Whosoever will may come”; “Come unto Me...”
The book of Revelation of all Books of Scripture brings these two extremes to a head. That is why there is this emphasis of Christ being “The Lamb”. There is only One Destination for either of these two extremes. There is no swapping or temporary residence in either!!
The Destination is chosen and it is Final – the New Earth with the New Jerusalem, the Holy City for the Church and the Resurrected faithful saints from before the Cross OR the Lake of Fire, the second death.
Once again, we see the Powerful Call in the book of Revelation. In it we see clearly “The Lamb”!
Answer the Call for yourself and make the Call plain to all you seek to bring to Christ before the Rapture.
Study No.1 – Introducing Thoughts on
The Day of The LORD
Revelation 5:1 – 14 (King James Version!)
It all begins with the Book! A hand-written Book containing all the Instructions which must be carried out by ?? “someone” ?? in order for the Whole Plan of God – Salvation and Judgment – to be wrapped up forever!! You can call it the Book of Settlement.
Chapter 5 clearly shows that ONLY the Lord Jesus Christ is fit and able – worthy – to open and execute all these Instructions. He is the ONLY One, not because He is the God who created Israel and brought them through many troubles up to that day, but because He is The Lamb.
He receives great praise from both men and angels because He is The Lamb who shed His Blood to redeem mankind and make them right with God.
V13 “And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea ...” The redeemed in new bodies in Heaven, around God’s throne, AND the “left behind” rejecters etc on earth plus the Remnant of Israel (who are soon to be revealed as a faithful Nation as the Antichrist seeks to attack them), and in the sea, AND those dead in Hell – ALL will worship The Lamb, whether willingly from their hearts or forced out from them!!
(THE Revelation of Jesus Christ) The Final Book of Scripture reveals Him EXACTLY as God sees and knows Him, and demonstrates what He will do for God in Fulfilling God’s Plan for The Future of All Mankind.
Just before the opening of the Seals, Christ, described as “an angel” (messenger of God) in Revelation 8 vs 3–5, offers up the prayers of the saints crying out for the Settlement to begin – as shown in Chapter 5 vs 9 & 10. It is obviously Christ, going through the actions of a high priest (Aaron, Leviticus 16:12)
[A great revelation!!] NB. Chapter 8:2 begins the Programme of the first 42 months of the Lord’s Day again, in more detail, after the Brief Outline of Chapter 6.
So the Book is opened! Each seal opened reveals new Instructions for Christ to execute within the first three and a half years of the Lord’s Day and into Eternity. As the First Seal is opened (in Heaven), The Day of The Lord begins. On earth, the Antichrist has just proclaimed himself GOD (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 and Daniel 9:27). One of the four beasts (living creatures at the Throne) commands the man of sin to launch himself out onto the world – the counterfeit messiah. He is used by God to confirm the wickedness in those left behind after the Rapture. Everything is Legal and Just!
So the Antichrist is launched with the opening of the First Seal of this Book of Settlement, as a great conqueror to destroy all rebellious Jews and multitudes of Gentiles.
This corresponds to Daniel 9:26–27 “... the prince that shall come... 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 (desolator)” Compare what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:15 – same abomination; the man of sin.
The next THREE Seals launch the Antichrist to fulfil the ancient prophecies of the Plagues of (Second) SWORD, (Third) FAMINE AND (Fourth) PESTILENCE with wild beasts.
These Scriptures are: 1 Chronicles 21:12 and 2 Samuel 24:11–14 – David’s choices for his disobedience.
Jeremiah 5:12, 14:15, 21:9, 24:10, 14:12, 16:4
Sword... Famine; Sword... Famine... Pestilence (plagues of fearful diseases); Sword... Famine... Beasts of the earth. To the Jew first (it is the “time of Jacob’s trouble, Jeremiah 30:7) and also to the Gentile.
The Promises of God in the Prophets are to 1) Jew and Gentile who accept Christ as Saviour and Head of the Church, 2) Obedient and faithful before the Cross (resurrected), 3) the Remnant of Israel.
The Plagues, Curses, Promises of Judgment etc are to the Jews without Christ as their Lord and Saviour in this Church Age and in the Age to come.
The Fifth Seal is different! Those who have died – killed – for their faith in the Lord and acceptance of the Word of God in the Ages both before and after the Cross, in their new resurrected bodies (they are “souls” ie complete again) cry out for Justice. They are told to wait just a little longer for “their fellowservants and brethren” to be killed as they were.
This verse 11 of Revelation 6 has been so misinterpreted!! How many people does it take to make a single person into a plural?! Just TWO! These “fellowservants and brethren” are the Two Witnesses, who must be both Jews and in the Church (they are able to sing both the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb, Revelation 15:2 – 4). NOONE ELSE will be resurrected to Life after the Rapture (called the first resurrection, Revelation 20:5–6).
These Two are killed by Satan in the man of sin and rise again three and a half days later and ascend into Heaven, Revelation 11:7–12. The timing of this is crucial to understand the Event of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Descent to Earth of Christ and His armies to judge and make war, beginning His thousand-year Reign. (I will explain who they are, if you don’t know already! another time. This too is a great revelation!)
Now to the Sixth Seal! “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; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” (Revelation 6:12–14)
Please be aware that this is NOT the End of the World! These are the Signs that Christ is coming very soon with His saints to rule and reign for a thousand years. After that Reign all creation will be burnt up. Here we see cataclysmic movement, shifting of stars, mountains and islands. The planets will appear to be gathered up and shifted to one side – Christ, descending will be all the more clearly seen!
There are many events that occur around this time. From the Start of the Lord’s Day, Seven specially commissioned angels will in turn over the following 42 months blow their trumpets and pour out their vials (bowls) of severe and damaging Plagues – Punishments.
So Revelation 11:14 says, “the second Woe is past (the Plagues of the 6th Angel); and, behold, the third Woe cometh quickly (the Plague of hail of the 7th Angel)”
Also Revelation 10:7 and 11:15 says, “But in the days of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished...” and “And the seventh angel sounded...”
This means that the Church is complete (with the return of the Two Witnesses), so the Marriage Supper of the Lamb can take place in Heaven, also that the Last Plague of Hail pours out on the ungodly on Earth.
The Sixth Seal opens and a great earthquake comes – the same great earthquake which comes within an hour of the Two Witnesses’ return to Heaven, Revelation 11:13.
So, members of the Body of Christ, the Church and His Bride, will most definitely be in Heaven when the sun goes black! They – we! – will be enjoying the Very Special Feast with the Lord, joined to Him officially for all time and Eternity hereafter!! Remember He is still abstaining from drinking the fruit of the vine, and He will only break that fast on This Special Day!!
When the Marriage Feast is over, and the world is much subdued by the Hail and collapse of its cities from the earthquake (Revelation 16:19), and Jerusalem – the great whore – will be burning, utterly destroyed by the earthquake and the attack on her from the ten nations surrounding her (Revelation 17:16 etc), THEN the Lord Jesus Christ will come to reign; to judge and make war (Revelation 19:11)..
And we will reign with Him for a thousand years! Hallelujah!!
Why The Judgment?
Psalm 9:16 “The LORD is known by the judgment which He executeth...”
Ezekiel 6:10 “And they shall know that I am the LORD...”
Ezekiel 6:13 “Then shall ye know that I am the LORD...”
Ezekiel 6:14 “... and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
etc, etc, etc – many other references in Ezekiel
They shall see His Blazing Majesty, the piercing purity in His eyes, the terrible wounds of His humility and unwavering obedience to the Word of God, His power over all flesh! They will truly know who He is!
He will commit the rebellious to Hell and the Lake of Fire.
He will provide for the faithful and obedient for Eternity in the Holy City or the New Earth.
Every soul must answer the Call, or take the fearful consequences...