Book of Revelation, Christ for Individuals, volume 2 of the Learn Christ Commentaries, Southern Baptist Convention, What Happened to God's People of the SBC

Number the People of God or Worship Christ, Revelation 4-7?

Chapter 3:  Number the People of God or Worship Christ, Revelation 4-7?

 

Before we thank God that we are not as the Mormons, the Church of Christ, the Roman Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, and some non denominational churches who claiming to be the only Church and the only Christians have numbered the people of God in a circle about themselves; before we thank God that we are not as the hypocrites, the Jewish people of the First Century who also claimed to be and still do to be the elect of God in spite of the rejection of Jesus Christ, we should also consider our own guilt of a priority for numbering what we consider to be the people of God over the Worship of Christ.  This chapter explains that!

Church people like other people have the two great needs of (1) guilt relief and (2) self identity.  Even in the churches these needs are not met according to God’s ordained methods in the Bible: (1) confession and forgiveness of sin and (2) personal identification with Christ through repentance and faith.   Therefore you expect in the larger American society there must be substitute solutions for these two great needs.  Guilt relief can be found in the church when the appearance of relief is chosen over the reality by justification through attendance, and self identity rather than with Christ can be found by identifying primarily socially with the other members of the church who may or may not have properly identified with Christ or found proper guilt relief.

These artificial means of guilt relief and self-identity are enhanced by the pastor and the people when they like so many others in history attempt to number the people of God in a circle about themselves.  It seems pathetic to us who objectively witness it when a very small church has so rationalized in such a manner as to think they are the only people of God in the whole world.  Of course, Elijah felt the same way when things were not going so well; except he felt as if he was the people of God of one, one individual—

“Lord, they have killed the prophets, and digged own thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what saith the answer of God unto him?  I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”  (Romans 11:3-5  KJV)

“THERE IS A REMNANT”, that is what I mean when I say “Seven Christian Thousand”.  It may be six thousand, it may be eight thousand or nine thousand.  It is only that today as the today at the present time of which the Apostle Paul wrote in the First Century there is a small number of the real people of God as compared to those who call themselves the people of God, and the seven thousand Jews in the land of Israel during the time of Elijah only serves to remind us how small the remnant may be as compared to all those who claim to be the people of God. 27-1:  Worship the Almighty God on the Throne,  Revelation 4.

The theme of Revelation 4 is the worthiness of LORD God the Father to be worshipped, and is best expressed by the last verse of that chapter—

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power:  for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  (Revelation 4:11  KJV)

It reminds us of the Model Prayer where Jesus taught disciples how to pray to God the Father, beginning with “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” and ending with “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”

  1. The book of Revelation as other books of the Bible is a self revelation originating from God and delivered through the Lord Jesus Christ by way of some messenger. The Apostle John looked toward heaven, and “a door was standing open in heaven” (Rev 4:1).  John only heard a voice through the open door, saying “Come up here” and I will show you things that are going to happen in the future after this present time.
  2. The first voice John heard in Revelation 1:10 was the voice of Jesus, and turned to see Jesus standing in the midst of the seven lampstands, Who then delivered to John the messages to the seven churches. The “first voice”, also like a trumpet, from the open door of heaven is another voice (Rev 4:1), and the voice which identified himself in Revelation 19:10 as a fellow servant.
  3. The trumpet-like voice invites John to “Come up” in order what? To see “the things which must be hereafter” (Rev 4:1), the things of eschatology and the future. So that immediately after timely messages to the seven churches comes eschatology, seven as they are typical of all churches. {There were actually more than seven churches in the Asia Minor of the first and second century.} We can find a message for our church, denomination, and ourselves in the book of Revelation.  We are not trying to ignore eschatology as you see by the extensive discussion in the last chapter, but we are saying the first priority is a timely message from Christ to the churches and then eschatology; and then beyond that to a timely message from Christ TO INDIVIDUALS.  {Hence the volume 3 title, “Christ for Individuals”, in this volume of the LEARN CHRIST COMMENTARIES.}
  4. “immediately I was in the spirit” (Rev 4:2)—this is hard to understand, for John was already “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” in chapter 1.  It would naturally lead one to believe that this was a day after Sunday.  Recall that the Sabbath Day of the Old Testament became after the Resurrection the Lord’s Day of Sunday.  Sunday is really the new testament Sabbath; and by the way, according to Jesus, it is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
  5. God the Father on the Throne: “behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Rev 4:2,3):

(1).  The reflections of light from Him on the throne were so great that John could in writing only compare it with “like a jasper and a sardine stone”; and

(2).  The rainbow that surrounded the throne of God, obviously reflecting the grace of God, and it reflected like an emerald.  I believe God and heaven are much closer to earth than we can possible imagine, in another dimension that we can not see since the wavelength dimensions of our visual sight are very short anyway; and that this is the actual rainbow that we are seeing on the earth all the time.  After all, the Bible tells us that God sits on the circle of the earth, and that the clouds are His footstool.

  1. Worship God on earth as God is worshipped by the elders in heaven—”thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”: Revelation 4:4,5.

(1).  Here starts the numbering of God that is unique, or almost unique to the book of Revelation as first it is mentioned that around the throne are 24 seats and then exactly 24 elders in those 24 seats.  The number of leaders before the throne of God are exactly the number that God planned to be there, and that number is twice the number of God’s ordained leaders of the First Century:  there were 12 Apostles and there are 24 seats with 24 elders before the throne of God.

(2).  They were clothed in white raiment.  The white raiment obvious represents as we learn later in the book of revelation being washed white in the blood of the lamb.

(3).  They had on their heads crowns of gold.  This obviously represents the reward of God for their service and persecution; and with their position before the throne, also represents their leadership in heaven.

(4).  The sound was as awesome as the sight and sound of lightnings, thundering, and voices came out of the throne.

(5).  Seven lamps were burning in front of the throne which the Apostle John—and note only the Apostle John—identifies as “the seven Spirits (or spirits) of God” (Rev 4:5).  I emphasize that these are words from the Apostle John that he added when he wrote the book of Revelation, and therefore are based on some things that were explained later to him in the revelations of the book of Revelation.  Since we know that there is only One Holy Spirit of God, we are more inclined to lean toward “spirit” instead of the “Spirit” that the King James translators used.  Unfortunately there is only one Greek word, the word “pneuma” literally meaning wind, for both the Holy Spirit and other spirits like human spirits.

  1. Worship God as all living creatures of heaven and earth worship God: Rev 4:6-9. It does not matter so much what the living creatures, unfortunately called “beasts” in KJV, look like as the fact that  all the living creatures besides humans here on earth are worshipping God.  To really pray from the heart the “thy will be done on earth” part of the Lord’s Prayer (more appropriately called he Model Prayer), we should be worshipping God more nearly the way He is worshipped in heaven.  God could use more of our thought time, more consistent time talking to Him, and much less time–like zero—taking His name in vain.}
  2. They keep up this tireless worship of God both day and night and forever; and
  3. They say: “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”  (Rev 4:8)  This is the same Alpha and Omega of Revelation 1:8 that John moved forward after the giving of the whole book and immediately after John talks about Jesus Christ. You see these words about Jesus and God the Father are preliminary summaries of the main messages of all the book of Revelation as is of all the books of the Bible.
  4. This is glory, honor, and thanks to the God Almighty on the Throne from all living creatures not human.
  5. It is glory, honor, and thanks to the Everlasting God. By the way contrary to the way of much of the “praise” worship and songs, Jesus never taught people to pray to Him, only to God the Father through Jesus.  And since praise must be a aspect of prayer and worship, this is inappropriate.  Also Jesus taught to pray without vain repetition as the heathens do, and notice some of these simple praise songs which repeat three or four words over and over.  That fits more in the vain repetition category, and less in the pray with understanding category. This should also eliminate that vain babbling of so-called tongues in worship as Paul was particularly talking about this matter in Corinthians when he wrote that we are to speak in the church with understanding (that is, so others can understand) and pray and sing with understanding).  On the first day of Pentecost after the Ascension of Jesus, when the Jews from every country of the Roman Empire spoke in tongues, it was not unknown tongues.  It was the tongue  of a certain country.  In other words if some Jews were there from Spain, they heard in Spanish; if from France they heard in French, et cetera.  Of course, the really unsound doctrine of this charismatic movement in worship is that it tries to make this emotionalism of speaking in truly unknown tongues synonymous with Sanctification.  Sanctification is not that easy.  According to the sound doctrine of the Bible in spite of popular practices otherwise, sanctification is the third aspect of salvation after initial belief and new birth whereby the Christ follower becomes more and more like Christ until at the Second Coming, “we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”  This sound Biblical sanctification takes hard work, thus the Apostle Paul says “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.  Would that it could happen instantly at one worship service or evangelistic meeting or even each Sunday, but that is hardly consistent with the Bible.  And what you will most generally find is that this kind of worshipper quickly forget during the week as far as real life changes, what happened to them during that worship.  It is an unsound doctrinal substitute for the sound doctrine of the Bible.
  6. It is synchronized with worship from the leaders. Andrew Blackwood wrote a wonderful book on public prayer entitled LEADING IN PUBLIC PRAYER in which he offers this abbreviation to remember the Biblical aspects of proper public prayer, ATCSS.  It stands for Adoration of God, Thanksgiving to God, Confession to God of sin, Supplication to God for such basics as daily needs, and Submission to the will of God.  You can follow those aspects through the Model Prayer, and it would also be a good basis for your daily personal prayer, expanded of course, and put in your own words and thoughts.
  7. Worship God as all living creatures and leaders in heaven worship God: Revelation4:10,11

“The four and twenty elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshiped him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power:  for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  (Revelation 4:10,11  KJV)

(1).  God the Father created all things of heaven and earth; and

(2).  All things were created for God the Father.  The ultimate purpose of the Christian calling is to glorify God, thus W. O Carver calls his commentary on Ephesians,  THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE CHRISTIAN CALLING.  Ephesians is the best, short book of the Bible to cover all aspects of the Christ life, both BIC (before in Christ) and AIC (After in Christ), and besides my own commentary on Ephesians, ONE COMMENTARY ON EPHESIANS, it is one of the best. Anyway “great things He has done”.

3-2:   Worthy is the Lamb of God, the Christ, to be Worshipped, Revelation 5.

Oh yes, don’t misunderstand, Christ is to be worshipped.  This chapter is outlined as follows:

(1) The need for someone to open the book that was in the right hand of God the Father, Revelation 5:1-4:

(2) The Lamb of God takes the book while all living creatures around the throne of God worship the Lamb, Revelation 5:5-10;

(3) Thousands of angels join in this worship of the Lamb, Revelation 5:11-12; and

(4) All living creatures of the universe of heaven and earth join in the worship of the Lamb, Revelation 5:13,14.  How did they worship Christ?  With a new song with many different words and much meaning for understanding!

3-3:  Correlation of the events from Jesus of Matthew 24 with the Seven Seals on the Book of Revelation 6.

It actually takes six chapters for the Lamb of God to open all seven seals of the book, Revelation 6-11; but six of the seals are opened in Revelation 6, and then the seventh seal is opened at the beginning of Revelation 8, but it takes 8-11 to discuss it since that seventh seal has seven trumpets.  Revelation 7, after the first six seals and before the opening of the seventh seal, is an important insert about God’s numbering of His own people.

As is the nature of prophesy throughout the Bible where high points are given by one Prophet then elaborated on by another Prophet, Jesus as recorded in Matthew 24 gives the high points of the future with seven aspects of the Time of Sorrows, and in the book of Revelation these are expanded into the Seven Seals on the Book with the Seven Seal having seven trumpets.

The disciples asked Jesus privately about eschatology—

“Tell us, when shall these things be?  and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”  (Matthew 24:3  KJV)

First, the beginning of the Time of Sorrows:  Matthew 24:4-8.

Then the continuation of the Time of Sorrows: 24:9-14.

Then the Abomination of Desolation of Daniel, in 80 A.D. the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem, and for all practical purposes the Jewish religion of the First Century: A.D.:  Matthew 24:15-20.

Then Great Tribulation of believers:  Matthew 24:21-13.

A Final Tribulation on all flesh and on the universe shortly before the Second Coming:  Matthew 24:29.

The Second Coming of Christ:  Matthew 24:14-31.

One place that the Apostle John moves progressive revelation on eschatology forward, based on and going beyond what Jesus taught in Matthew 24 is in allowing us to see these six categories as continuing events.  Of course, you must remember that the book of Revelation is coming from the Ascended Christ so that Jesus the Ascended Christ is elaborating on what Jesus the Son of God taught before His crucifixion and resurrection!  Events of the beginnings of sorrows continue while the time of sorrows goes deeper, the destruction of the temple continues as destroyed while the tribulation of the First Century takes place, also the time of sorrows; and so on through the six categories:  (1) The Beginning of Sorrows; (2) The Continuation of Sorrows; (3) The Abomination of Desolation; (4) Great Tribulation on flesh only; (5) Final Tribulation on the universe and flesh, and (6) The Second Coming of Christ with the Gathering of the Elect. We will briefly compare the six categories of Matthew 24:4-8, the beginning of sorrows, with the six categories of the six seals of Revelation 6:1-10. To summarize the six seals of Revelation 6:1-10:  (1) white horse rider with bow and power to conquer; (2) red horse rider with power to cause a world war; (3) black horse rider with famine; (4) pale horse rider with power od Death and Hades; (5) the souls under the altar slain for the word of God given robes; (6) The Great Day of the LORD with the shaking of the whole universe.

Matthew 24:4-8                                            Revelation 6:10-7:17

  1. The beginning of sorrows 24:5-8 1.  white horse rider with power to conquer:  6:1,2
  2. Continuation of sorrows 24:9-14                         2.  red horse rider with power to take away peace from the earth:  6:3,4
  3. Abomination of Desolation 24:15-20                    3.   the black horse rider of famine and hunger in Jerusalem   6:5,6
  4. Great Tribulation on flesh only 24:21-13               4.  pale horse with power to kill one fourth of population 6:7,8
  5. Last Tribulation on flesh   24:29                          5.  The Cry of Martyrs during the tribulations     6:9-11, 7:1-17
  6. The Day of the LORD and Lord 24: 5.  The universe crumbles and men cry for relief     6:12-17

Should it be a surprise that we have a one to one correlation between the events of Matthew 24 and the six seals of Revelation 6.  You see how easy it is if we keep Scripture, including the book of Revelation, in the total context of the Bible.  The beginning of sorrows finds expansion in the first seal as the rider on the white horse with a bow went out to conquer; the continuation of sorrows correlates with the rider on the red horse who has the power to take peace from the earth; the rider on the black horse that delivers famine and hunger is an expansion of what happened in Jerusalem during the Abomination of Desolation, the period the Romans surrounded and then destroyed Jerusalem,  as a quart of wheat sold for a day’s wage.

3-4:  Seven Christian Thousand.

It is in Revelation 6:9-7:17 that we see the primary theme of the book of Revelation as we witness the three ways in which Christ and God the Father number their own people:  (1) First the martyred souls under the altar who are told to be patient until the number of those to be so martyred is complete; (2) Then 144,000 Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel; and (3) The vast multitude from every nation that no man can number. That is no really many Jews among the people of God is the Jews of each generation that were truly of the remnant, or people of God, was only seven thousand like God said during the time of Elijah.  If you divide seven thousand into 144,000; or— 14 X   7  equals    20.57  generations.

From Earthquakes to Final Tribulation. 

Notice also that the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17 goes all the way from the simple earthquakes of the beginning of sorrows to the sun darkened of the Final Tribulation that is on the whole universe as well as man—

“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”  (Revelation 6:17 KJV)

“…(all men living) hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains…”  (Revelation 6:15  KJV)

“And the heaven departed as a scroll”  (Revelation 6:14  KJV)

“And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth…”  (Revelation 6:13  KJV)

“the moon became as blood”  (Revelation 6:12  KJV)

“the sun became black as sackcloth…”  (Revelation 6:12  KJV)

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake…”  (Revelation 6:12  KJV)

Considering these in reverse order, or in the original order of Revelation 6:12-17, what you have is:  (1) The lesser earthquakes of the beginnings of sorrows to at the end of time becomes one great earthquake that shakes the whole earth; (2) The sun becomes dark just as predicted by Jesus and by the Old Testament Prophets as an event before the Great One Day of the LORD and Lord; (3) Also the moon ceases to give light; (4) The stars fall from heaven, another event before the Great One Day; (5) The old heavens began to pass away in preparation for a new heavens; (6) The whole old earth is shaken in preparation for the coming of the new earth; and (7) This is the One Great Day of the LORD and Lord.

Satan.  We already know from the clear teachings of II Thessalonians that Satan has been bound for a figurative one thousand years since the first Day of Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection.  That is when the Holy Spirit came in great power putting a restraint on the successful works of Satan in terms of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  As Paul tells, when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn at the peak of the increase in lawlessness, then Satan will be empowered to do all his dirty works.  It is much like the happenings between God, Job, and Satan as recorded in the book of Job.  God gave Satan permission to take away Job’s possession, family, and his health.  In the case of the release of Satan, God for a short time gives Satan the leeway (with the Holy Spirit removed) to harass the whole globe as he did Job.

The Prophet. Another thing that the book of Revelation demands in the way of last events is a last False Prophet to support the last great world leader, the son of perdition, who is also under the control of Satan; and while the Mormons are by no means the only group that could supply such a False Prophet, they are a good example of one of several such good groups.  Each President of the LDS is considered God’s modern day Prophet on earth so much so that any time he speaks on secular or religious matters it is revelations from God.  Well, one of those Prophets, Brigham Young, according to the criterion established by Moses in the book of Deuteronomy for a false prophet is a false prophet.  If he foretells something as Brigham Young was foolish enough to foretell that men were on the moon, which was proven to be false when the Astronauts landed there. and it doesn’t come true, then he is a false prophet.

The Son of Perdition. While there are several sons of perdition mentioned in the Bible including Judas, and meaning that these are men under the control of Satan, the ultimate son of perdition like the ultimate false prophet is reserved for the last events of the last times; and the Apostle Paul writes of this son of perdition in II Thessalonians 2:1-5.

From this passage and from the total context of the Bible the dominant theme of eschatology must be kept in mind of the ONE DAY OF THE LORD AND Lord.  Sometimes you do not get that impression from reading books on last things nor even listening to sermons or lessons, but for every one time that matters like a thousand years, the battle of Armageddon, Satan, and the False Prophet and Man of Perdition are mentioned, the One Day of the Lord is mentioned at least ten times.  There is no more consistent theme in all the Bible other than on God Himself, on Jesus and salvation, than on the subject of the One Day of the Lord.  And it is with the subject of the One Day of the LORD and Lord that Paul in II Thessalonians 2 also mentions the Man of Perdition.

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, that you may not be quickly shaken from you composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.”  (II Thessalonians 2:1,2  NASV)

The sequence of primary last events are here—

  1. The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. The Gathering of Christians to Him that are alive at His Second Coming.
  3. The One Day of the Lord when all these things will happen of the Second Coming, the gathering of Christians, and judgment on Satan, the Man of Perdition, and the False Prophets with all unbelievers. Some people think that hell is horrible; but there is something far worse than hell about which the last chapters of Revelation tell us.  We are told that death and hell are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone with Satan, the False Prophet, and the Man of Perdition.
  4. The One Day of the LORD and Lord preceded by an Apostasy of Christians. “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first.” (II Thessalonians 2:3  NASV)
  5. Then the Son of Perdition is revealed which the NASV calls the “man of lawlessness” and “the son of destruction”.

“…and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.  Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?”  (II Thessalonians 2:3b-5  NASV)

What we learn here about the Son of Perdition as foundational for the more we will learn in the book of Revelation—

(1).  False worship sets the stage for him to exalt himself above those false objects of worship.

(2).  He leads in the ultimate deception as he takes the primary seat of honor in the very temple of God.

(3).  He displays himself as God!

Honesty Versus the Lie.   Every time an individual or a group of individuals in a church or any other organization contribute to a lack of honesty, to half-truths, distortions, and lies {the Mormons with their four Bibles that distort truth and sound doctrine are not the only ones, only the best example of the worst unsound doctrine}, they are also contributing to the release from bondage of Satan to again deceive all the nations as he did the Roman Empire in the First Century.  Seem strange, then read again II Thessalonians 2 where the mystery of lawlessness is at work centered around the believing of a Lie.  Evidence of the big lie comes when churches or other organizations like that of Sardis have a reputation of being alive while the reality is that they are dead.  It can also happen to an educational institutions, a state, or a federal government.  It can happen to any leader, secular or religious, as a divergence develops between their reputation and the reality. Here as an aspect of sin or lawlessness, we are dealing with what Elton Trueblood calls “intellectual honesty”.  It is a lie when appearance is promoted through PR that is a distortion of reality.

You see the reason the reputation can be so different from the reality is that while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart of an individual or organization.  The way of the world is the way of appearance.  The way of God is the heart.  The way of the world is the appearance of the building and the organization, the way of God is the inward motivation and strength of the spirit.  This is the reason Jesus said, “Judge not by appearance; but judge righteous judgment.”

We see the ultimate the appearance of religion versus the reality as we listen to what Jesus had to say to religious leaders about the First Century Hebrew religion—

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  (Matthew 15:7-9  KJV)

  1. Since this was a quote for Isaiah, it was the indictment of God against the Hebrew religion years before it took place; and it figured in significantly to the rejection of Jesus by most of the Jews.
  2. They were practicing vain worship. Isn’t that horrible to assemble sabbath day after sabbath day, to speak the name of God, and to even proclaim that it is in the name of God; and for it all to be vanity.  Worthless worship!
  3. The mouth and the lips of the worshippers were speaking the right words, even the appearance of the words was right; but their hearts were far away from God.
  4. Along with vain worship was the teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The doctrines of the Bible had been subverted into the commandments of men.

3-5:  Exegesis of Revelation 4-7.

4:1   John saw a door standing open in heaven.  The eternal secrets of heaven were about to be revealed.  John is going to be told what shall happen “after these things”; but what has happened after the things?  Only the things of the problems in the seven churches, and this interpretation is verified by the words with which this verse starts—”After these things…”  You see these problems in the Christian churches were as much revelations of secrets as the seven seals and seven trumpets to follow, because these churches and Christians did not realize that they had these problems.  Only whole church thought it was alive and was dead, had a reputation among many churches of being alive; but the secret revealed to them is that they were dead.  Another had left their first love, the original concept of the God of the Bible, and did not know it.  One thought it was rich, but it was poor; and so on…

4:2   The Throne is important, sitting in heaven; for when the old earth passes way and the new earth comes with the New Jerusalem, this same throne of God will be lowered with the 1500 mile high city and God on that throne.

4:3   Even as much of the news of the new earth has the appearance of jasper, clear and sparkling so the God the Father who sat on the Great White Throne had that appearance.  It is the appearance of purity and righteousness.

4:4   You can see that the new Jerusalem is going to be a place where God and the 24 elders rule all nations as the new Jerusalem is going to be lowered to earth.  That is, it will close the gap between heaven and earth!

4:5   The seven “spirits of God”, spirit not Spirit, are the spirits of the prophets, the spirits of the angels.

4:6-8  All living creation is represented in the four living creatures, like a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle; and the point is that all living creation worships the Almighty God.

You know that even as seven represents completion so the opening of the seventh seal on the book of heaven will wrap up all the events of Matthew 24 and of history.  The Seventh Seal in short is the Second Coming of Christ; but the story of the end is spread out in that there are seven trumpets to be sounded, in that history is reviewed from beginning to end from the perspective of God and of God’s heaven!  After this review of history from the perspective of God, the Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet of the Seventh Seal is the Second Coming of Christ.

The first six trumpets represent the Judgements of God against the earth in answer to the prayers of the saints—

“And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”  (Revelation 8:1-4  KJV)

Recall that the original prayer of the souls under the altar of Revelation 6:10 was, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  (KJV)

As the first angel sounded the first trumpet fire and blood was cast upon the earth destroying one third of the trees and all the green grass; as the second sounded a mountain size ball of fire was cast into the sea destroying one third of the ships and one third of the life in the sea; at the third a bitter star poisoned the fresh water of earth so that many died; at the fourth trumpet the light of the sun, moon, and stars was darkened by one third; at the fifth trumpet the angel of the bottomless pit is released with his scorpions to torment men that who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads—”They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss, his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon”  (Revelation 9:11  NASV); at the sixth trumpet an army of two hundred million which killed one third of the men on earth; and at the sounding of the seventh trumpet the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 11:15-19).

How do these seven trumpets of the seventh seal compare with the broad outline of eschatology of Matthew 24?  After the Abomination of Desolation of 70 A. D., Jesus tells of:  (1) A Great Tribulation on flesh only but so terrible that if it were not shortened no flesh would survive; (2) The arising of many false Christs and false prophets; (3) The death of many men as carcasses for the gathering of the eagles, another great tribulation but this time one that affects the environment as well as flesh; (4) The shaking of the heavens with lessened light from the sun, moon, and stars; (5) Second Coming of Christ in power and glory; and (6) The angels gather the elect of God together from heaven and from earth.  And once again you see how the aspects of each category spill other from one sequence in history to another as first there is a great tribulation on flesh only which took place in the First Century, and indeed had already begun to happen in the history of Revelation where you find the martyred souls under the altar, similar to the Great Tribulation of the very last days that is on the universe and flesh.

You also see how the seven trumpets are simply more details on the eschatology of Jesus of Matthew 24.  Also the aspects of the fire and brimstone of the seven trumpets elaborate on the earth melting with a fervent heat of the Apostle Peter and of II Peter 3:

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men….But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements of the earth shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  (II Peter 3:7,10  KJV)

The fervent heat starts on earth as the first trumpet of the seventh seal sends hail and fire to earth that burns all the green grass and one third of the trees; the heat gets hotter as with the second trumpet the mountain of fire affects the ocean life and ships; a burning and bitter star falls into the fresh water at the sounding of the third trumpet; and the heavens began to be effected— sun, moon, and stars—with the fourth trumpet; with the fifth trumpet as the bottomless pit opens to let out the angel-king, more of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened by the smoke from the bottomless pit; and from the army of two hundred million came fire that destroyed one third of the men living on earth.  This is the Greatest Tribulation on the universe and man for which the Great and shortened tribulation was only a foretaste.

The Apostle Peter in reference to why God was withholding the sounding of the seventh trumpet with the end of time and the Second Coming of Christ writes about the patience and mercy of God—

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one days is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (II Peter 3:8,9  KJV) Yet during the judgments from the sounding of the fifth trumpet rather than repent as God is seeking by the delay in final judgment, they continued not to worship God!

3-6:  Patience and The Thousand Years.

Although we will encounter the famous one thousand years of Revelation in Revelation 20, so called by many as the “millennium”, since the Bible has so little to say about this “one thousand years” with references only in Revelation 20 and here in II Peter 3:8,9, it behooves us to take note of what Peter writes in progressive revelation before the Apostle John writes Revelation and Revelation 20.  Peter is making a point of the patience of God, and that to God one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. However, in spite of this Bible relativity whereby to God one day can mean anything from a day to a thousand years and vice versa, I think we should take the thousand years during which Satan is bound as literal, starting when Satan could deceive the nations no longer when the influence of the Roman Empire was destroyed in the world, or approximately somewhere between 400 and 1400 A.D.  Since I think that Joseph Smith had to have supernatural help in the generation of so many lies, distortions, and half-truths as are represented in the three unique Bibles of the Mormons, I think Satan had to be released somewhere before or about the time of the famous golden plates on which was recorded the book of Mormon.  That would mean that Satan had to be released somewhere before 1820.  If we speculate Satan’s release as approximately 1800, then one thousand years before this would be at approximately 800 A. D. when Satan is bound in that he can no longer deceive whole nations.  (Satan was not bound in that he could no longer deceive individuals, only nations!)  I like this date of approximately 800 since it places it closer to the destruction of the Western Roman Empire than to the destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire.  After all, since Christ told us that no man knows the exact time, what we are doing is using God ordained signs in the book of Revelation and in the rest of the Bible to speculate.  It is the trends that we must look for that will conclude the end of time.  The two great and detrimental trends of rejection of the knowledge of God and of the increase of intellectual dishonesty in lies, half-truths, and distortions.

The Apostle Paul had something to say about this increase in dishonesty with a corresponding rejection of the knowledge of God, and identified the trends as the “latter times”.  (This “latter times” reminds you of what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4.)

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”  (I Timothy 4:1-3  KJV)

Notice that on the positive side that those “which believe” are also those who “know the truth”; and that with a seared conscience, seductive spirits, and faith departure also comes “lies in hypocrisy”.  (Since we know which denomination called by them a Church abstain from meats and forbids to marry, we also know which Church besides the LDS is active in “lies in hypocrisy” with the seared conscience, faith departure, and seductive spirits and doctrines of devils.  Also recall that it is devils that are being worshipped in Revelation 9:20 that keeps them from repenting in spite of the torments of scorpions from hell of the fifth trumpet, and in spite of the slaying from the army of Satan of one third of mankind.

Table 3:  The 4 Phases of History in Revelation Based on the

Teachings of Jesus in Matthew 24.

Beginning of Sorrows

Matthew 24:5-8

Great Tribulation

Matthew 24:9

Period of Offences

Matthew 24:10

The Falling Away

Matthew 24:11-14

1. Many False Prophets Come. False Prophets
2.  Many Deceived. Many Offended Falling Away
Betray One Another Lawlessness Abounds
Hate one Another Man of Sin Revealed
3.  Wars and rumors of wars Lovers of self and money Holy Spirit withdrawn
4.  Nation against Nation Despisers of good Satan released
5.  Famines Battle of Armageddon
6.  Pestilences Love of many waxes cold
7.  Earthquakes Shaking of heaven and earth
Great Tribulation from the World and Satan Turn Away from the truth and turn into fables Physical tribulations from God in Final Tribulation
Abomination of Desolation Form of godliness  (religion) with inward power of God Elements melt with fervent heat
Great Tribulation shortened for sake of Elect Blasphemers, proud, arrogant, and trouble makers Gospel to every nation
False rumors about the Second Coming Second Coming of Christ and great gathering in the clouds

 NOTE:  This message/chapter is Chapter 3 of the Learn Christ commentary, volume 2 entitled “Christ for Individuals”.  If you wish you can free download this chapter, Number God’s People at

www.biblecombibleman.com/NumberGodsPeople.pdf.  

 

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One thought on “Number the People of God or Worship Christ, Revelation 4-7?

  1. Pingback: The Faith Once for all Delivered at the 2018 SBC Part I. – The Christian Mind

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