This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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Prophecy is a very difficult and imprecise discipline, but since about one-quarter of the Bible is prophecy and we have every reason to believe that God gave it to us to understand and be encouraged by, we should spend a corresponding amount of time in an attempt to discover the true meaning of it. It is only reasonable to assume that the closer we get to the time of their fulfilling, the easier it will be to gain a fuller and more precise understanding of God’s intent.
There have been various interpretations given to the book of Revelation, and they can be a great help to us and should be considered. However, in order to know what we believe and why we believe it we must search and know God’s Word for ourselves.
God’s Method of Instruction: God constructed the Bible is such a way that a person must be familiar with the whole of it before he can begin to systemize its teachings and develop a correct interpretation and understanding of what God wants us to know about Himself and His plan for our personal lives and the future. The Holy Spirit moved certain individuals to gather and record the history of God’s creation and interactions with mankind from the beginning of time to the end of the Apostolic age; God expects us to search and study these records to learn of Him. It is not a simple or easy task, because every conclusion that we come to must be based upon and correct according to the whole of God’s Word. And this is the way that God separates the sheep from the goats; only those who have a heart to know God are going to put forth the required effort to obtain the help of the author of the book, the Holy Spirit, in rightly dividing or understanding God’s revealed truth. This is the method that God has chosen to educate us, and draw us to Himself.
In order for God to put into one book all the information that we would need down through the ages, God had to foretell events before they happened, and that is what prophecy is. God knew that we would need this information to hold on to in trying times of great difficulty, and it is indeed a source of great help and encouragement because we realize that God is really in control and ultimately everything will work out for the best. The foremost book in regards to God’s plan for this world is outlined in the book of Daniel; other books fill in additional details, but Daniel gives the most comprehensive overall view. The book of Revelation gives us the most detailed account of God’s final judgement preceding His taking full control of all the earth. Therefore the logical approach to the study of prophecy in this category would be to start with the book of Daniel, and then to fill in additional details from the rest of the Bible.
Prophecy is history given or written in advance, before it takes place. Only God knows and is capable of revealing the beginning to the end, and He has a distinct style or way or giving it. It is first given in seed form and then it grows as He enlarges upon it until it blossoms into a fully disclosed event. In fact, this is the standard learning process – by repetition we learn the basics and continue to add more detail and information as we proceed in life. God knows the way that we learn best, and it appears that He used this method as He gradually and progressively revealed Himself and His ways to chosen men throughout history, and then had this information preserved and recorded in the Bible that we call the Word God.
Four of the best places in Scripture to see and examine God’s style of presentation are: Genesis, Daniel, Matthew chapter 24, and the book of Revelation:
Genesis: Creation in seed form – Gen. 1:1-31; more detail Gen. 2:1-25
Daniel: Kingdoms of the world in seed form – 2:28-45; more detail 7:1-28; more detail 8:1-27; more detail 11:1-12:4. Time period in seed form – 9:20-27; more detail 12:5-13.
Matthew: What would the end of the age be like, in seed form – 24:4-14; more detail 24:15-36; more detail 24:37-51.
Revelation: Judgement and consummation, in seed form – 6:1-11:19; more detail 12:1-16:21; more detail 17:1-18:24; more detail 19:1-20:15; chapters 21 & 22. Personages and institutions: God’s heavenly throne room, in seed form – 4:1-5:14; more detail 8:1-5. God’s earthly people, in seed form – 7:1-17; more detail 14:1-5. Satan in seed form – 12:1-17; details about his earthly political system 13:1-10; details about his earthly religious system 13:11-18; more detail 17:1-18:24.
Chapters 4-19 of the book of Revelation are commonly believed to be prophecies that cover a future period of about seven years. The events are not necessarily in chronological order, when additional details are supplied there is sometimes a going back to the original beginning of that event to give a more complete picture of that time period. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to grasp or understand events that were happening in heaven and at the same time those that were happening on earth all in one setting, so God simplifies it for us by describing them as two events, although they may be happening at the same time. The above four examples are given as a training exercise to illustrate this style of presenting information.
DANIEL 9:20-27.... While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God — Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the former vision, being caused to fly swiftly, came near to me and touched me about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and made me understand; he talked with me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and wisdom and understanding. At the beginning of your prayers, the word [giving an answer] went forth, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved.
23bTherefore consider the matter and understand the vision. Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city [Jerusalem], to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin, to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin, to bring in everlasting righteousness (permanent moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) to seal up vision and prophecy and prophet, and to anoint a Holy of Holies. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming of] the Anointed One, a Prince, shall be seven weeks [of years] and sixty-two weeks [of years]; it shall be built again with [city] square and moat, but in troublous times. And after the sixty-two weeks shall the Anointed One be cut off or killed and shall have nothing [and no one] belonging to [and defending] Him. And the people of the [other] prince who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood; and even to the end there shall be war, and desolations are decreed. And he shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with the many for one week [seven years]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease [for the remaining three and on-half years]; and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations [shall come] one who makes desolate, until the full determined end is pored out on the desolator. (Jer. 25:1-14)
7 weeks [7*7=49 yrs] from the command to rebuild Jerusalem (verse 25), plus 62 weeks [7*62=434 yrs] until Jesus would be crucified (verse 26)
God stopped His Israelite calendar at the end of 69 weeks because His own people rejected and crucified Him. There is 1 week left until Jesus reveals Himself to the nation of Israel; until then He is building His Church from people out of all nations. Scripture seems to indicate that when Jesus catches His Bride, the Church, up to be with Him in heaven; that God will at that time start up His Jewish calendar once again and bring terrible judgment upon the whole earth during the last half of this 70th week [3 ½ yrs.] (Dan. 12:5-13; Matt. 24:15-31; Rev. 6:1-10:7).
An example of how Jesus interpreted prophesy: Lk. 4:18-21, "The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [Isa. 61:1-2]. . . . And He began to speak to them: Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing." Jesus stopped right in the middle of a sentence in this portion in Isaiah and said, this much is being fulfilled today, and indicated that the rest of the sentence was to take place at a later date.
This is not an unusual way for God to reveal His plans for the future, the rest of the second verse reads, "and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn." In order to understand that there is a long period of time between where Jesus stopped and the rest of verse two, we need to know what God has revealed on these subjects in the rest of His Word. We must know the whole of God’s Word in order to be "a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15b).
DANIEL 12:1-13... And at that time [of the end] Michael shall arise, the great [angelic] prince who defends and has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, straitness, and distress such as never was since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people [Israel] shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the Book [of God’s plan for His own]. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt and abhorrence. And the teachers and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness (to uprightness and right standing with God) [shall give forth light] like the stars forever and ever. But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the Book until the time of the end. [Then] many shall run to and fro and search anxiously [through the Book], and knowledge [of God’s purposes as revealed by His prophets] shall be increased and become great.
5Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, there stood two others, the one on the brink of the river on this side and the other on the brink of the river on that side. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right and his left hand toward the heavens and swore by Him Who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half a time [or three and one-half years]; and when they have made an end of shattering and crushing the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, O my lord, what shall be the issue and final end of these things? And he [the angel] said, Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be tried, smelted, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the teachers and those who are wise shall understand. And from the time that the continual burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed, happy, fortunate, spiritually prosperous, and to be envied is he who waits expectantly and earnestly [who endures without wavering beyond the period of tribulation] and comes to the 1,335 days! But you [Daniel, who was now over ninety years of age], go your way until the end; for you shall rest and shall stand [fast] in your allotted place at the end of the day.
We just want to establish here that there is something special about the seventieth week of Daniel, and a designated three and a half year period mentioned several times in God’s Word.
Outline of the book of Revelation:
REVELATION 1:1-3.... [This is] the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries]. God gave it to Him to disclose and make known to His bond servants certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass in their entirety. And He sent and communicated it through His angel to His bond servant John. Who has testified to and vouched for all that he saw [in his visions], the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed are those who hear and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near.
REVELATION 1:9-20.... I, John, your brother and companion with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance in Jesus Christ, was on the isle called Patmos, [banished] on account of [my witnessing to] the Word of God and the testimony for Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit [rapt in His power] on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a great voice like the calling of a war trumpet, . . . Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, . . . When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Ever-living One. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades. Write therefore the things you see, what they are [and signify] and what is to take place hereafter. . . .
There are those who believe that our Lord, in instructing John to write the following messages to the seven churches, has outlined Church history from it’s very beginning to the time when it will be caught up to be with Him, just before He sends judgement upon the world. Although there were many other churches, some perhaps bigger and more prominent, He probably chose these particular churches because they were a good representation of the dangers that we could expect and that we should avoid. This is why our Lord pronounces a blessing upon those who read, hear, and keep themselves true to His instructions (Rev. 1:3). To each church He says "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." What He said concerning each individual church was most certainly true, but it may also describe the progressive periods of Church history in the order in which Jesus addressed these churches, as well as a sample of what we can expect to find at any given time period of the Church as a whole. When we examine each of the seven letters to the seven churches we find that in five of them Jesus found things that they were doing that needed to be corrected, and that they progressively become worse until we find the Lord Himself outside the last church knocking in an attempt to get back in. This should only be considered as the general condition of the majority of Christendom, and not for the whole of it.
The four living creatures may be representatives of the angels, and the twenty-four elders representatives of the saints – angels are of a different order than humans, so there must be a distinction made between them. It is possible that the elders will serve in rotating shifts, as did the priests and Levites in the days of King David. The whole purpose of John’s visit to heaven is to disclose to the Church "what must take place in the future" (Rev. 4:1). The "flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder" (4:5) suggest that a time of judgement is about to commence, and that is what happens in the following chapters. So, here, we have a scene of how we and the angels will rule and reign with the Godhead in the near future. The four living creatures interact with God and report to and instruct the angels; the twenty-four elders interact with God, in the New Jerusalem, and report to and instruct the Church. We will probably reign with God over all of His creation, not just over the earth.
REVELATION 5:5-7.... Then one of the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] said to me, Stop weeping! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root (Source) of David, has won (has overcome and conquered)! He can open the scroll and break its seven seals! [Gen. 49:9,10; Isa. 11:1,10; Rev. 22:16.] And there between the throne and the four living creatures (beings) and among the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] Who have been sent [on duty far and wide] into all the earth. [Isa. 53:7; Zech. 3:8,9; 4:10.] He then went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him Who sat on the throne.
If the seven eyes represent the Holy Spirit, then the seven horns may represent the total magnificence of God the Father.
REVELATION 5:8-14.... And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] prostrated themselves before the Lamb. Each was holding a harp (lute or guitar), and they had golden bowls full of incense (fragrant spices and gums for burning), which are the prayers of God's people (the saints). And [now] they sing a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll and to break the seals that are on it, for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased men unto God from every tribe and language and people and nation. [Ps. 33:3.] And You have made them a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall reign [as kings] over the earth! [Ex. 19:6; Isa. 61:6.]
11Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels on every side of the throne and of the living creatures and the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin], and they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, [Dan. 7:10.] saying in a loud voice, Deserving is the Lamb, Who was sacrificed, to receive all the power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and majesty (glory, splendor) and blessing! And I heard every created thing in heaven and on earth and under the earth [in Hades, the place of departed spirits] and on the sea and all that is in it, crying out together, To Him Who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb be ascribed the blessing and the honor and the majesty (glory, splendor) and the power (might and dominion) forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities)! [Dan. 7:13,14.] Then the four living creatures (beings) said, Amen (so be it)! And the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] prostrated themselves and worshiped Him Who lives forever and ever.
This book that was closed and sealed with seven seals (Rev. 5:1) probably represents what He is now revealing to us about His judgement upon rebellious man and Satan’s world system. It is impossible to know whether the seven seals cover the first half, part of, or the whole seven-year period. It seems certain that the trumpet and vial judgements fill in more details concerning the last half. The half-hour silence in heaven (8:1) could very well mark the midpoint when the Antichrist breaks his covenant with the nation of Israel in the midst of the week (Dan. 9:27). Revelation 10:7 and 11:15-17 both state that when the seventh trumpet is blown that God will begin to reign over all the earth, so the vials that follow have to be a return to the preceding period for additional details, or the mopping up of the messy world situation at the beginning of His new administration.
A likely scenario would identify the rider of the white horse of the first seal as being the Antichrist, with the next three seals describing his takeover of the world. The fifth seal revealing those whom he has killed during the first 3 ½ years of this tribulation period. The sixth seal describes the beginning judgement of God during the last 3 ½ years, "For the great day of His wrath (vengeance, retribution, indignation) has come, and who is able to stand before it?" (Rev. 6:17). The first five seals are the natural result of the Antichrist’s world conquest, the sixth seal is the beginning of the supernatural judgement of God upon this ungodly world system, which appears to begin when the Antichrist breaks his seven-year covenant with the nation of Israel after three and one half years.
Before God’s judgement is poured out upon the earth, He takes time to seal for protection those that are His.
REVELATION 10:7.... But that when the days come when the trumpet call of the seventh angel is about to be sounded, then God’s mystery (His secret design, His hidden purpose), as He had announced the glad tidings to His servants the prophets, should be fulfilled (accomplished, completed).
God’s judgement upon this wicked world system and citizens, up to this point, has consisted of the seven seals, and the six trumpets. Here we are told that the seventh trumpet will complete God’s intended purpose, which is to establish Christ on the throne.
Christ’s two witnesses appear to be God’s two servants who were taken up into heaven without having died – Elijah and Enoch, or perhaps Moses because Moses appeared with Elijah when Jesus was transfigured. Now they are sent back to earth as powerful preachers of righteousness during the last half of the seven-year tribulation period.
"The disciples asked Him, then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? He replied, Elijah does come and will get everything restored and ready. But I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know or recognize him, but did to him as they liked. So also the Son of Man is going to be treated and suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist" (Matt. 17:10-13).
John the Baptist, in the spirit and power of Elijah (Lk. 1:17), was the forerunner of Christ’s first coming; the literal coming of Elijah will probably be as the forerunner of the second coming of Christ (Rev. 11:3-19). At that time the disobedient and rebellious children will be turned back to the religion of their fathers. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he shall turn and reconcile the hearts of the [estranged] fathers to the [ungodly] children, and the hearts of the [rebellious] children to [the piety of] their fathers [a reconciliation produced by repentance of the ungodly], lest I come and smite the land with a curse and a ban of utter destruction" (Mal. 4:5).
REVELATION 11:15-19.... The seventh angel then blew [his] trumpet, and there were mighty voices in heaven, shouting, the dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! Then the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, prostrated themselves before Him and worshiped, exclaiming, to You we give thanks, Lord God Omnipotent, Who is and was, for assuming the high sovereignty and the great power that are Yours and for beginning to reign. And the heathen (the nations) raged, but Your wrath (retribution, indignation) came, the time when the dead will be judged and Your servants the prophets and saints rewarded--and those who revere (fear) Your name, both low and high and small and great--and [the time] for destroying the corrupters of the earth. [Ps. 2:1.] Then the sanctuary of God in heaven was thrown open, and the ark of His covenant was seen standing inside in His sanctuary; and there were flashes of lightning, loud rumblings (blasts, mutterings), peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a terrific hailstorm. [1 Kings 8:1-6.]
These verses tell us that Jesus’ reign over all the earth has begun, but we do not find a description of this beginning until Rev. 19:1. Rev. 12:1-14:13 reveals to us some of the beings and events that have been going on in the spiritual or heavenly realm. It would be very difficult and confusing to attempt to show everything that was happening simultaneously in one setting or vision, or to show them in chronological order because some of them were happening at the same time.
REVELATION 12:1-5.... AND A great sign (wonder)--[warning of future events of ominous significance] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a crownlike garland (tiara) of Twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and she cried out in her birth pangs, in the anguish of her delivery.
3Then another ominous sign (wonder) was seen in heaven: Behold, a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns (diadems) upon his heads. [Dan. 7:7.] His tail swept [across the sky] and dragged down a third of the stars and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered, so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth. [Dan. 8:10.] And she brought forth a male Child, one Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations with an iron staff (scepter), and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.
Down through history, God has often given us snapshots of the then existing or future world powers. Some of the best glimpses can be found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. The very fact that God gave them to us means that they can be understood and are meant to be a useful resource for our well-being.
In Daniel chapter two we are given a brief account, through Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, of the major world powers and their final end. In chapters seven and eight, Daniel also has a dream of the same world powers, and is given an explanation by an angel in much greater detail than is found in chapter two. The fourth part or world power of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, represented by the legs and feet had ten toes; Daniel is told by the angel that his fourth beast or world power [Rome] has ten horns. We will see these same world powers and ten horns figure prominently in John’s account in the book of Revelation.
In this twelfth chapter of Revelation we find God’s description of Satan as a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns upon his heads. Chapter thirteen gives us a description of the world powers under the control of Satan -- slightly different but very similar, a beast coming up out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads. On his horns he had ten royal crowns and blasphemous titles on his heads. "And the beast that I saw resembled a leopard, but his feet were like those of a bear and his mouth was like that of a lion. And to him the dragon gave his might and power and his throne and great dominion. And one of his heads seemed to have a deadly wound. But his death stroke was healed; and the whole earth went after the beast in amazement and admiration."
Satan’s likeness has seven crowns on seven heads, the world’s likeness has ten crowns on ten horns, but both have seven heads. The leopard (Grecian), bear (Medo-Persian), and lion (Babylonian) parts are described and identified in Daniel. In the thirteenth chapter we have the first mention of one of the heads having a deadly wound that was healed. We will give a fuller description of this beast when the angel of the Lord reveals the mystery of the woman and the beast to John in Rev. 17:7-18.
Another beast is mentioned in the thirteenth chapter in verses eleven through fourteen having two horns like a lamb, but speaking like the dragon. This beast preforms the functions of a priest, deceiving the world into worshiping the Antichrist represented by the beast. So here we have Satan’s unholy trinity – Satan, the Antichrist, and the priest and his false religious system.
This dragon and the beast of Rev. 13:1 both are pictured as having seven heads and ten horns, thus showing that they are closely associated one with the other. This dragon is identified as Satan, and the heads and horns represent the power he gives to those he rules over – the first and second beasts of Rev. 13.
This scene is in heaven, whereas the two beasts of Rev. 13 come up out of the sea and the earth respectively. The third of the stars flung to the earth are believed to be the angels that rebelled with Satan.
The woman pictured here is either the nation of Israel or the Church of all ages. The dragon is Satan and his world powers that have been trying throughout the ages to usurp governmental control of the whole earth. God will allow him to have it for a very brief time of seven years.
Revelation12:6-9.... And the woman [herself] fled into the desert (wilderness), where she has a retreat prepared [for her] by God, in which she is to be fed and kept safe for 1,260 days (42 months; three and one-half years). Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels went forth to battle with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought. But they were defeated, and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer. And the huge dragon was cast down and out--that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him.
Verses 6-9 gives us the account of Satan and his angels being thrown out of heaven; this probably takes place at the beginning of the last 3 ½ years of this tribulation period (Rev. 12:6) when the antichrist breaks his peace agreement with the nation of Israel (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-21). God provides a place of safety for the woman, probably a remnant of Israel, and then begins to pore out His judgement upon the beast and his system.
The second half of this 12th chapter describes Satan’s efforts to pursue and destroy the woman, but God comes to her rescue and Satan has to give up on the woman and begins to concentrate on her descendants, probably the 144,000 bond servants of God that had been marked or sealed back in Rev. 7:3-8.
REVELATION 13:1-10.... [AS] I stood on the sandy beach, I saw a beast coming up out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads. On his horns he had ten royal crowns (diadems) and blasphemous titles (names) on his heads. And the beast that I saw resembled a leopard, but his feet were like those of a bear and his mouth was like that of a lion. And to him the dragon gave his [own] might and power and his [own] throne and great dominion. And one of his heads seemed to have a deadly wound. But his death stroke was healed; and the whole earth went after the beast in amazement and admiration. They fell down and paid homage to the dragon, because he had bestowed on the beast all his dominion and authority; they also praised and worshiped the beast, exclaiming, Who is a match for the beast, and, Who can make war against him?
5And the beast was given the power of speech, uttering boastful and blasphemous words, and he was given freedom to exert his authority and to exercise his will during forty-two months (three and a half years). [Dan. 7:8.] And he opened his mouth to speak slanders against God, blaspheming His name and His abode, [even vilifying] those who live in heaven. He was further permitted to wage war on God's holy people (the saints) and to overcome them. And power was given him to extend his authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, [Dan. 7:21,25.] And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage, everyone whose name has not been recorded in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice] from the foundation of the world.
9If anyone is able to hear, let him listen: Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Herein is [the call for] the patience and the faith and fidelity of the saints (God's people). [Jer. 15:2.]
This is a composite beast representing the major world empires that Satan has controlled and energized throughout history. The seven heads are commonly identified as the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Chaldean or Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, the then existing Roman empire, and the one that is to come.
REVELATION 13:11-18.... Then I saw another beast rising up out of the land [itself]; he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke (roared) like a dragon. He exerts all the power and right of control of the former beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell upon it to exalt and deify the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed, and to worship him. He performs great signs (startling miracles), even making fire fall from the sky to the earth in men’s sight. And because of the signs which he is allowed to perform in the presence of the [first] beast, he deceives those who inhabit the earth, commanding them to erect a statue (an image) in the likeness of the beast who was wounded by the sword and still lived. And he is permitted [also] to impart the breath of life into the beast’s image, so that the statue of the beast could actually talk and cause to be put to death those who would not bow down and worship the image of the beast. Also he compels all [alike], both small and great, both the rich and the poor, both free and slave, to be marked with an inscription [stamped] on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that no one will have power to buy or sell unless he bears the stamp, [that is] the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is [room for] discernment [a call for the wisdom of interpretation]. Let anyone who has intelligence (penetration and insight enough) calculate the number of the beast, for it is a human number [the number of a certain man]; his number is 666.
Numbers in the Bible, at times, seem to portray a special significance. The number three is sometimes used to represent a complete and ordered whole, the number seven completeness and perfection, and the number six being short of seven indicates imperfection and sometimes the number of man. What may be indicated by 666 is a man who is as close to perfection as Satan can possibly make him.
If we were to try to assign a number to Jesus, we would probably use the number 777 representing ultimate perfection. Satan, trying to get the world to accept his man the Antichrist in the place of Christ, will raise up a man who has seemingly achieved human perfection, almost godlike. We know this because the Bible says that he will have authority over all the world, and all that are not recorded in the Lamb’s book of life will fall down and worship him (Rev. 13 5-8). He will undoubtedly have great appeal and ability, and will probably be presented when his special abilities as an able ruler will be most appreciated by a troubled world.
This second lamb beast is the Antichrist’s false prophet and the head of his religious system.
REVELATION 14:1-5.... Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 [men] who had His name and His Father’s name inscribed on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of great waters and like the rumbling of mighty thunder; the voice I heard [seemed like the music] of harpists accompanying themselves on their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne [of God] and before the four living creatures and before the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin]. No one could learn [to sing] that song except the 144,000 who had been ransomed (purchased, redeemed) from the earth. These are they who have not defiled themselves by relations with women, for they are [pure as] virgins. These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These are they who have been ransomed from among men as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb. No lie was found to be upon their lips, for they are blameless (spotless, untainted, without blemish) before the throne of God.
REVELATION 16:12-16.... Then the sixth [angel] emptied his bowl on the mighty river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to make ready a road for [the coming of] the kings of the east (from the rising sun). [Isa. 11:15,16.] And I saw three loathsome spirits like frogs, [leaping] from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet. [Ex. 8:3; 1 Kings 22:21-23.] For really they are the spirits of demons that perform signs (wonders, miracles). And they go forth to the rulers and leaders all over the world, to gather them together for war on the great day of God the Almighty.
15Behold, I am going to come like a thief! Blessed (happy, to be envied) is he who stays awake (alert) and who guards his clothes, so that he may not be naked and [have the shame of being] seen exposed! And they gathered them together at the place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon. [2 Kings 9:27.]
REVELATION 17:1-18.... ONE OF the seven angels who had the seven bowls then came and spoke to me, saying, Come with me! I will show you the doom (sentence, judgment) of the great harlot (idolatress) who is seated on many waters, [Jer. 51:13.] [She] with whom the rulers of the earth have joined in prostitution (idolatry) and with the wine of whose immorality (idolatry) the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated. [Jer. 25:15,16.]
3And [the angel] bore me away [rapt] in the Spirit into a desert (wilderness), and I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was all covered with blasphemous titles (names), and he had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was robed in purple and scarlet and bedecked with gold, precious stones, and pearls, [and she was] holding in her hand a golden cup full of the accursed offenses and the filth of her lewdness and vice. [Jer. 51:7.] And on her forehead there was inscribed a name of mystery [with a secret symbolic meaning]: Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes (idolatresses) and of the filth and atrocities and abominations of the earth. I also saw that the woman was drunk, [drunk] with the blood of the saints (God's people) and the blood of the martyrs [who witnessed] for Jesus. And when I saw her, I was utterly amazed and wondered greatly. But the angel said to me, Why do you wonder? I will explain to you the [secret symbolic meaning of the] mystery of the woman, as well as of the beast having the seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is going to come up out of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and proceed to go to perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been recorded in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they look at the beast, because he [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is [yet] to come. [Dan. 7:3.]
9This calls for a mind [to consider that is packed] with wisdom and intelligence [it is something for a particular mode of thinking and judging of thoughts, feelings, and purposes]. The seven heads are seven hills upon which the woman is sitting; and they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one still exists [and is reigning]; the other [the seventh] has not yet appeared, and when he does arrive, he must stay [but] a brief time. And as for the beast that [once] was, but now is no more, he [himself] is an eighth ruler (king, head), but he is of the seven and belongs to them, and he goes to perdition. Also the ten horns that you observed are ten rulers (kings) who have as yet received no royal dominion, but together they are to receive power and authority as rulers for a single hour, along with the beast. [Dan. 7:20-24.] These have one common policy (opinion, purpose), and they deliver their power and authority to the beast.
The beast that once was and is to come (vv. 8-12), is described in this seventeenth chapter as colored scarlet, covered with blasphemous names, and having seven heads and ten horns. This beast came up out of the sea or nations (Rev. 17:15) and represents the past, present and future governments that Satan has set up and used in an attempt to take over control of this world that God created and controls. The seven heads are said to be seven hills as well as seven kings; five had already come and gone, one existed at the time John recorded this, and one was to come. There is a part of this beast (the eighth head or king) that appeared to have been destroyed, but will again be established; this could be the Occult system that was part of Nimrod’s government at the tower of Babel incident (Gen. 11:1-9), there is even the possibility that Nimrod could be the eighth king that is mentioned who is "going to come up out of the Abyss" to indwell the antichrist of the new world order. It is interesting to note that when the angel called this beast by name (v. 8), he calls it "The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more" -- the antichrist will at that time become so dominant that the beast will be called by his name. This seems to be a snapshot of world powers that Satan has used in the past in his attempt to usurp control and will again use in the near future. Although Satan’s future world government will be successful, it will only be for a short time (Rev. 13:5-8). "Also the ten horns that you observed are ten rulers (kings) who have as yet received no royal dominion, but together they are to receive power and authority as rulers for a single hour, along with the beast" (Rev 17:12". Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter two that there is a person, probably the Holy Spirit residing in the Church, restraining this beast from fully manifesting itself at the present time. When the Church is removed by the Rapture, then this form of world power will come into full existence and prominence.
Fausset has this to say about Nimrod: "The Hebrew name Nimrod means "let us rebel," given by his contemporaries to Nimrod as one who ever had in his mouth such words to stir up his band to rebellion. Nimrod subverted the existing patriarchal order of society by setting up a chieftainship based on personal valor and maintained by aggression. . . . "In defiance of Jehovah," as virtually" before Jehovah" (Prov. 15:11) means, Nimrod, a Hamite intruded into Shem's portion, violently set up an empire of conquest, beginning with Babel, ever after the symbol of the world power in its hostility to God." (from Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1998 by Biblesoft)
The description of this woman riding the beast perfectly describes the apostate Church as it exists today, the Roman Catholic Church being the most prominent, with the city of Babylon being its prototype or mother (Gen. 10:8-12). The Roman Catholic Church tried to establish this kind of world system during the Mediaeval or dark age, but was unable to complete it as the age of enlightenment gradually threw-off the deception and bondage of the popish system. But today that system which seemed to have been destroyed is once again coming to life through the efforts of the Dominionists, ecumenicalists, psychologists, the Roman Catholic Church, etc., in an attempt to realize their greatest ambition – world dominion.
Fortunately, when that New World Order is finally established, it will only last a short time (vv. 12-18). Although the world leaders need the religious leaders to bring this New World Order into existence, they really don’t share like-minded ambitions, and the world rulers end up destroying this great city and it’s establishment, as described in Revelation chapter eighteen. When man once gets in control, he no longer needs a god or gods to help him and they become repugnant to him.
Notice that the various images are used to describe more than one object of reality: the beast is spoken of separately from the kings and horns and yet they are one, the seven heads are seven hills but they are also seven kings, the revived beast in its last form will be lead by the eighth king who is of the seven and belongs to them (17:11). The Woman is the world’s horrible religious system, but she is also a great city (Rev. 17:18).
REVELATION 18:1-10.... THEN I saw another angel descending from heaven, possessing great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his radiance and splendor. And he shouted with a mighty voice, She is fallen! Mighty Babylon is fallen! She has become a resort and dwelling place for demons, a dungeon haunted by every loathsome spirit, an abode for every filthy and detestable bird. For all nations have drunk the wine of her passionate unchastity, and the rulers and leaders of the earth have joined with her in committing fornication (idolatry), and the businessmen of the earth have become rich with the wealth of her excessive luxury and wantonness. [Jer. 25:15,27.]
4I then heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out from her, my people, so that you may not share in her sins, neither participate in her plagues. [Isa. 48:20; Jer. 50:8.] For her iniquities (her crimes and transgressions) are piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her wickedness and [her] crimes [and calls them up for settlement]. [Jer. 51:9.] Repay to her what she herself has paid [to others] and double [her doom] in accordance with what she has done. Mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed [for others]. [Ps. 137:8.] To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled in her wantonness [living deliciously and luxuriously], to that measure impose on her torment and anguish and tears and mourning. Since in her heart she boasts, I am not a widow; as a queen [on a throne] I sit, and I shall never see suffering or experience sorrow-- [Isa. 47:8,9.] So shall her plagues (afflictions, calamities) come thick upon her in a single day, pestilence and anguish and sorrow and famine; and she shall be utterly consumed (burned up with fire), for mighty is the Lord God Who judges her.
9And the rulers and leaders of the earth who joined her in her immorality (idolatry) and luxuriated with her will weep and beat their breasts and lament over her when they see the smoke of her conflagration. [Ezek. 26:16,17.] They will stand a long way off, in terror of her torment, and they will cry, Woe and alas, the great city, the mighty city, Babylon! In one single hour how your doom (judgment) has overtaken you!
Don’t be deceived into being a part of this New World Order and its religious system; it’s doomed to destruction as described above. God has shown us in His Word what is to come, and calls any who might be caught in its clutches to come out of this system before it’s too late.
REVELATION 19:7-8.... Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself. [Ps. 118:24.] She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white--for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God's holy people).
Notice that we are permitted to dress in fine linen, suggesting that it is Christ’s righteousness and not our own. God has provided for us in Christ what was only hinted at when He clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins in the garden of Eden.
REVELATION 19:19-20:3.... Then I saw the beast and the rulers and leaders of the earth with their troops mustered to go into battle and make war against Him Who is mounted on the horse and against His troops. And the beast was seized and overpowered, and with him the false prophet who in his presence had worked wonders and performed miracles by which he led astray those who had accepted or permitted to be placed upon them the stamp (mark) of the beast and those who paid homage and gave divine honors to his statue. Both of them were hurled alive into the fiery lake that burns and blazes with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword that issues from the mouth of Him Who is mounted on the horse, and all the birds fed ravenously and glutted themselves with their flesh. Then I saw an angel descending from heaven; he was holding the key of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and a great chain was in his hand. And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that old serpent [of primeval times], who is the devil and Satan, and [securely] bound him for a thousand years. Then he hurled him into the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and closed it and sealed it above him, so that he should no longer lead astray and deceive and seduce the nations until the thousand years were at an end. After that he must be liberated for a short time.
Keep the above paragraph facts in mind as we progress through the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth and come to its end: the beast and the false prophet, or Satan’s previous world government and false religious systems have been permanently confined to the lake of fire. Satan has been temporarily confined to the Abyss until he is released for a short time at the close of the thousand-year reign of Christ.
REVELATION 20:4-6.... Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted. Also I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes for their witnessing to Jesus and [for preaching and testifying] for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted his mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived again and ruled with Christ a thousand years. The remainder of the dead were not restored to life again until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the person who takes part in the first resurrection! Over them the second death exerts no power or authority, but they shall be ministers of God and of Christ, and they shall rule along with Him a thousand years.
This is an account of Jesus’ thousand-year reign, along with the saints, over the nations of the world after the rulers and armies are destroyed (Dan. 7:26-27; Matt. 19:28; 25:31-46; 1 Cor. 6:2-3; Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21). It begins with the resurrection of those that were martyred during the Tribulation, as it explicitly states, and therefore is part of the first resurrection that began when the Church was raptured before the Tribulation. We know that these resurrected here are not a part of the Church because the Church was married to Christ back in nineteenth chapter. These reign with Christ on earth, but the Church will probably reign over the whole of creation, with God, from the New Jerusalem.
REVELATION 20-7-10.... And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his place of confinement, and he will go forth to deceive and seduce and lead astray the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth -- Gog and Magog -- to muster them for war; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and encircled the fortress of God’s people and the beloved city; but fire descended from heaven and consumed them. Then the devil who had led them astray was hurled into the fiery lake of burning brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
There are many mysterious things, both present and future, that God has not revealed unto us, among them are: what is this lake of fire, is it physical fire or is it spiritual fire? Satan and his angels went into it in spiritual bodies, will the resurrected lost have similar spiritual bodies? How will all in this lake be affected by the fire? Will there be any other articles in this place, such as dwelling places? Why is this an eternal condition?
The term lake, suggests that there will be nothing but a flat surface upon which the inhabitants will have to exist upon; suggesting, that because they rejected Christ, they forfeited everything, because Christ is to be our all in all. They are there by choice. Therefore, they are left with nothing but the persistent, agonizing awareness that they didn’t have to end up in this horrible place. Their life will be useless and meaningless, without purpose, hope or opportunity to excape. It’s hard to imagine a worse state or condition to be in. In contrast, in heaven we will be able to drink of the water of life freely, experiencing life at its fullness.
The last six chapters of the book of Revelation presents, among other things, the amazing contrast between the kingdom or domains of God and Satan. We have just considered the living conditions or environment of Satan’s final realm, the lake of fire – a state too horrible to give much attention to. The last two chapters of Revelation and the Bible will show the tremendous contrast of God’s kingdom, as a brief description of the new heavens, earth and the New Jerusalem are given.
The next great event we are going to observe is God judging or determining who will be confined to the lake of fire and perhaps, the extent or degree of their punishment. "And the dead were judged by what they had done [their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors] in accordance with what was recorded in the books" (Rev. 20:12b).
REVELATION 20-11-15.... Then I saw a great white throne and the One Who was seated upon it, from Whose presence and from the sight of Whose face earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. I [also] saw the dead, great and small; they stood before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged by what they had done [their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors] in accordance with what was recorded in the books. And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire.
REVELATION 21:1-8.... Then I saw a new sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband; then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. Also He said, record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine). And He [further] said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I [Myself] will give water without price from the fountain (springs) of the water of Life. He who is victorious shall inherit all these things, and I will be God to him and he shall be My son. But as for the cowards and the ignoble and the contemptible and the cravenly lacking in courage and the cowardly submissive, and as for the unbelieving and faithless, and as for the depraved and defiled with abominations, and as for murderers and the lewd and adulterous and the practicers of magic arts and the idolaters (those who give supreme devotion to anyone or anything other than God) and all liars (those who knowingly convey untruth by word or deed) -- [all of these shall have] their part in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone. This is the second death.
At this particular time in history, will take place a momentous event as great or greater that the original creation of the world. According to verse five, God is going to make everything brand new. The old order and conditions are gone forever: No longer any sea (21:1), sorrow, pain, death (21:4), temple (21:22), sun or moon (21:23), night (21:5; 22:5), or vileness (22:3). Verse eight promises us that all that would defile God’s new holy order will have been confined in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone.
What we have described here is an Eden-like atmosphere; no storms or extreme temperatures, and no need for heaters or air conditioners. A very moderate climate over all the earth, and all the world will be without oceans and inhabitable. More than 70% of our present earth is covered by water, and we spend about 1/3 of our time sleeping instead of being productive. We shall never become tired or grow old.
Of course, all of the above benefits may not be available to those who are living on earth. For instance, the earth may still experience nighttime as it revolves on its axis to position itself with the New Jerusalem, but we can’t be sure. We have much to look forward to!
Seiss states that there will still be a sea even though the first verse says that, "there no longer existed any sea." He also believes that those that dwell upon the earth will still bear children, even though God says, "and death shall be no more (verse 4)." If there is to be new births throughout eternity, that new world would soon be overpopulated, unless God makes other provisions. One possibility is that dwellers upon the earth could eventually graduate into new spiritual bodies, or populate other planets, but this is mere speculation and we will have to wait until that time comes to find out how God will arrange things in the eternal state.
Seiss’s theory is that God will restore the universe to the original creation state, but the "all things new" will probably be as great in proportion as the second Adam is to the first Adam. It is more likely that there will be no new births, one reason being that they would then need to be tested and tried as the rest of mankind had been; this is one reason that the devil was only locked up in the Abyss until the end of the millennium instead of being thrown directly into the lake of fire – to determine if those born during the millennium would willingly follow Christ or rebel against Him.
Another thought to consider is the way that God says He will end the Old World Order and bring in the New. Peter tells us "the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind o person ought [each of] you to be in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities, while you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire? But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness (uprightness, freedom from sin, and right standing with God) is to abide (2 Peter 3:10-13)." With as much of a change as the Bible describes taking place at this time, it is hard to believe that there would be only a minimal change to the bodies of those who populate the new earth, therefore, we should expect as monumental a change in the people as we find in their new dwelling place. See also: Isa. 60:18-22.
REVELATION 21:9-21.... Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven final plagues (afflictions, calamities) came and spoke to me. He said, Come with me! I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Then in the Spirit He conveyed me away to a vast and lofty mountain and exhibited to me the holy (hallowed, consecrated) city of Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, clothed in God’s glory [in all its splendor and radiance]. The luster of it resembled a rare and most precious jewel, like jasper, shining clear as crystal. It had a massive and high wall with twelve [large] gates, and at the gates [there were stationed] twelve angels, and [on the gates] the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were written: on the east side three gates, on the north side three gates, on the south side three gates, and on the west side three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation [stones], and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who spoke to me had a golden measuring reed to measure the city and its gates and its wall. The city lies in a square, its length being the same as its width. And he measured the city with his reed -- 12,000 stadia (about 1500 miles); its length and width and height are the same. He measured its wall also -- 144 cubits (about 72 yards) by a man’s measure [of a cubit from his elbow to his third fingertip], which is [the measure] of the angel. The wall was built of jasper, while the city [itself was of] pure gold, clear and transparent like glass. The foundation [stones] of the wall of the city were ornamented with all of the precious stones. The first foundation [stone] was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony (or white agate), the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each separate gate being built of one solid pearl. And the main street (the broadway) of the city was of gold as pure and translucent as glass.
This holy city of Jerusalem, or the new Jerusalem, is probably the place that Jesus told the disciples that He was going to prepare, for them and for us, in His Father’s house. We are told that this city came down from heaven, but we are not told if it actually lands upon the earth or merely hovers somewhere above the earth. That it is clothed in God’s glory would appear to indicate that the very best materials were used in its construction, by the master builder Himself. That the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles are inscribed upon this city, in which God Himself dwells, is proof positive that we are all God’s people. The dimensions of the city (the width, length and height) are each about 1500 miles long, or about half the width of the United States, in length. I don’t see anything to indicate whether the 1500 miles in height will contain layers or levels or just atmosphere.
Let’s suppose that there will be streets going both ways, each a mile apart; and that the height will be layered, each a mile high. That would make ((1499*2) * 1499)) 4,494,002 streets 1500 miles long and somewhere around 6,741,003,000 miles of pure golden streets in our new dwelling place, The New Jerusalem – how’s that for accommodations?
REVELATION 21:22-27.... I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Omnipotent [Himself] and the Lamb [Himself] are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to give light to it, for the splendor and radiance (glory) of God illuminate it, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations shall walk by its light and the rulers and leaders of the earth shall bring into it their glory. And its gates shall never be closed by day, and there shall be no night there. They shall bring the glory (the splendor and majesty) and the honor of the nations into it. But nothing that defiles or profanes or is unwashed shall ever enter it, nor anyone who commits abominations (unclean, detestable, morally repugnant things) or practices falsehood, but only those whose names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
God will not dwell in a building in this new Jerusalem, but the illustrious presence of God and His Son Jesus will give light continuously to the whole 3,375,000,000 cubic miles of it, and at the same time give light (as does the present sun) to the earth. That there will be things upon the earth worthy of being brought into this glorious city is proof enough that the world has indeed been changed and renewed. The only passport through the gates of this city is to have your name recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is doubtful that the holy angels have their names in this book, and therefore may not have access to this special place. It is also probable that there are other living beings or creatures that will dwell elsewhere, but will not be able to enter this city either.
This holy city of Jerusalem must be hovering high over the earth, so I imagine that it is high enough so that a large portion of the earth will be illumined by this city as the earth rotates below it; suggesting, that the normal inhabitants of this renewed earth require sleep to refresh their bodies, and therefore are in some regards unlike those who have received glorified bodies like the Lord’s.
REVELATION 22:1-7.... Then He showed me the river whose waters give life, sparkling like crystal, flowing out from the throne of god and of the Lamb through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations. There shall no longer exist there anything that is accursed (detestable, foul, offensive, impure, hateful, or horrible). But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall worship Him [pay divine honors to Him and do Him holy service]. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall be no more night; they have no need for lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will illuminate them and be their light, and they shall reign [as kings] forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities). And he [of the seven angels further] said to me, These statements are reliable (worth of confidence) and genuine (true). And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His messenger (angel) to make known and exhibit to His servants what must soon come to pass. And behold, I am coming speedily. Blessed is he who observes and lays to heart and keeps the truths of the prophecy contained in this little book.
It is somewhat surprising to find that there is still a need for water and twelve manner of fruit to give or sustain life for God’s changed people. Whether this food and drink will be necessary for those whose names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book, we do not know. But apparently the nations of the earth will still be in need of the leaves of the tree of life for continual healing or probably purifying in order to be acceptable to God. Wherever something is repeated in Scripture, it signifies that it is important and sure to happen. Here is repeated that nothing that is impure will enter this city, that God’s throne will be there, and that there will be no more night because God is the light. What has not been told us before is that God will write His name upon our foreheads, we shall see Him face to face, and of course we will worship Him for we shall see Him as He Is. Then illuminated and empowered by His countenance, we will reign with Him, as kings, throughout all eternity.
If, as we have previously imagined, there are layers in this heavenly city; most assuredly God’s throne would be on the very top, and the river of life cascading down through every layer and flowing through every street of this blessed city would most likely culminate with a beautiful garden of paradise at the very bottom. This then is the Father’s house or throne with many dwelling places that Jesus told the disciples about in John 14:2-3; which has come down that we may dwell in the very presence of God and rule and reign with Him (22:3-5).
This marvelous book of God’s Revelation should awaken a keen awareness in us that we cannot allow a careless attitude toward sin or disobedience; loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by sensuality (Jude 23). Our motivation should be for the glory of God, and not just because we desire to receive and enjoy the position benefits of His kingdom. To lose faithful rewards is bad enough, but to bring shame and disgrace upon our blessed Lord and His kingdom is inexcusable! We have all probably failed in many ways, but forgetting that which is behind let us all press on to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12-14). This is no time to be caught up or spending our time with the things of this world, nor to be conformed to it (Rom. 12:1-2). Let us realize our high calling and our responsibility to it, and to our Lord Jesus Christ Who purchased us and made us His own.
REVELATION 22:8-11.... And I, John, am he who heard and witnessed these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell prostrate before the feet of the messenger (angel) who showed them to me, to worship him. But he said to me, Refrain! [You must not do that!] I am [only] a fellow servant along with yourself and with your brethren the prophets and with those who are mindful of and practice [the truths contained in] the messages of this book. Worship God! And he [further] told me, Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book and make no secret of them, for the time when things are brought to a crisis and the period of their fulfillment is near. He who is unrighteous (unjust, wicked), let him be unrighteous still; and he who is filthy (vile, impure), let him be filthy still; and he who is righteous (just, upright, in right standing with God), let him do right still; and he who is holy, let him be holy still.
Two observations need to be considered in this encounter between men and angels. 1) Messages from angels are not a common Christian experience. 2) As favored and experienced as the apostle John was he was still overawed by this spiritual being to the point where he had to be warned, more than once, not to worship this angel. This should be warning enough for us not to expect or seek help from spiritual entities – lest the fallen angels deceive and lead us astray.
Also it is important to notice that God expects us to understand the book of Revelation, because John was specifically instructed not to seal up the book, and because Jesus gave it to John so that God’s people would know and be prepared for these coming events.