Revelation is an amazing encouragement to 7 churches under persecution of the Empire (Satan/beast), most notably the Anti-Christ (Emperor). We have had an eventful fall dissecting, discussing and experiencing this letter collection in the Rainbow Chapel. What follows is the last 4 chapters with my thoughts, please feel free to comment with your own.
Celebration in Heaven
19 After this I heard something like the loud voice of a vast multitude in heaven, saying:
Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God,
2 because His judgments are true[a] and righteous,
because He has judged the notorious prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality;
and He has avenged the blood of His slaves
that was on her hands.
3 A second time they said:
Her smoke ascends forever and ever!
4 Then the 24 elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who is seated on the throne, saying:
The four living creatures are the Evangelists, could the 24 elders be the two witnesses of each tribe of Israel?
5 A voice came from the throne, saying:
Praise our God,
all His slaves, who fear Him,
both small and great!
Are we truly slaves of God? By being a slave does it mean that predestination is true? We have no free will and control? How can this ideal of text be abused, becoming a sinful scripture to damage others, instead of being a source of encouragement. Simply put this image could be encouraging because it moves one from outside society where a Christian would be during these persecutions to belonging to someone, and in this case the creator of all that is.
Marriage of the Lamb Announced
6 Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying:
Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty,
has begun to reign!
7 Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,
because the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and His wife has prepared herself.
8 She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure.
Intriguing allusion here. Is this a show that the early church saw Mary as the Wife of God, not just the Mother of Christ? Or is it a commentary that would be familiar upon the early church that Jesus had a wife? Not just the metaphor of the church as his wife, but a physical wife that could lend itself to the San Greal (Holy Grail) being not the cup of the Last Supper, but the bloodline of Christ through marriage into Mary Magdalene?
For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.
9 Then he[b] said to me, “Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate!” He also said to me, “These words of God are true.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about[c] Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”[d]
The spirit of prophecy is not about future events, it is the trajectory of building the loving and just world of God’s design rather than the selfish world that destroys Her children.
The Rider on a White Horse
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns[e] were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. 13 He wore a robe stained with blood,[f] and His name is the Word of God. 14 The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. 15 A sharp[g] sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd[h] them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. 16 And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh:
AND LORD OF LORDS.
War imagery of the ascended Christ bursting back into history, much reminiscent of what ancient Israel was expecting in a Messiah, that being more of a Macabbean warrior king, not a peacemaker of inclusion. So why is this image here and now?
The Beast and His Armies Defeated
17 Then I saw an angel standing on[i] the sun, and he cried out in a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying high overhead, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of everyone, both free and slave, small and great.”
Is this literal cannibalism? No, think of the allegory or imagery needed to understand that God is superior to all. In earlier chapters the Exodus story was alluded to, especially the plagues, and here what is alluded to is the battles of claiming the Promised Land.
19 Then I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and against His army. 20 But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with him the false prophet, who had performed the signs in his presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
From the claiming of the Promised Land, into the spirit of prophecy when ignored too ancient Israel into exile, and within exile where those thought it would be easier to side with the conquerors that stay true, and in the process lost their identity. A warning to the churches undergoing persecution that if they choose to turn back to the Empire they will simply vanish… as the 10 tribes that never returned from Exile did.
20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil and Satan,[j] and bound him for 1,000 years. 3 He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the 1,000 years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time.
Satan, not the fallen angel first vanquished by St. Michael The Archangel in the war of Heaven, or the spiritual war that was decided at the cross… rather the Emperor of Rome, a satan that is bound because when push comes to shove, same as Pharaoh, Babylon, Assyria, Canann before, God is in control and the simple perversity has no true control.
The Saints Reign with the Messiah
4 Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. I also saw the people[k] who had been beheaded[l] because of their testimony about Jesus and because of God’s word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has no power[m] over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years.
Staying faithful. Building the reign of God slowly means that it takes root, as Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus reminds us to turn to God because the Reign is almost here, but it is us that makes it reality and overthrows the oppressor.
Satanic Rebellion Crushed
7 When the 1,000 years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 They came up over the surface of the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the beloved city. Then fire came down from heaven[n] and consumed them. 10 The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Anti-Christs, satans will always rise up, but as we continually work to make the world better will it not matter in the end? In the end, there will be a choice to build a just global society or simply one of the strongest (wealthiest) survive.
The Great White Throne Judgment
11 Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.
13 Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all[o] were judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.[p] 15 And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
The New Creation
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. 2 I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:[q]
Look! God’s dwelling[r] is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.[s]
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things[t] have passed away.
5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words[u] are faithful and true.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. 7 The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. 8 But the cowards, unbelievers,[v] vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem
9 Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 He then carried me away in the Spirit[w] to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal. 12 The city had a massive high wall, with 12 gates. Twelve angels were at the gates; the names of the 12 tribes of Israel’s sons were inscribed on the gates. 13 There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had 12 foundations, and the 12 names of the Lamb’s 12 apostles were on the foundations.
15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out in a square; its length and width are the same. He measured the city with the rod at 12,000 stadia.[x] Its length, width, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall, 144 cubits according to human measurement, which the angel used. 18 The building material of its wall was jasper, and the city was pure gold like clear glass.
19 The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone:
the first foundation jasper,
the second sapphire,
the third chalcedony,
the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth sardonyx,
the sixth carnelian,
the seventh chrysolite,
the eighth beryl,
the ninth topaz,
the tenth chrysoprase,
the eleventh jacinth,
the twelfth amethyst.
21 The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each individual gate was made of a single pearl. The broad street[y] of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I did not see a sanctuary in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations[z] will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.[aa] 25 Each day its gates will never close because it will never be night there. 26 They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.[ab] 27 Nothing profane will ever enter it: no one who does what is vile or false, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.
What has preceded is simply the reality of what happens when we truly live the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) reflect on it:
http://www.pilgrim.org.au/worship/Lords_Prayer.php (yes there are many versions here)
The Source of Life
22 Then he showed me the river[ac] of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the broad street of the city. The tree of life[ad] was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, 3 and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city,[ae] and His slaves will serve Him. 4 They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 Night will no longer exist, and people will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.
The Time Is Near
7 “Look, I am coming quickly! The one who keeps the prophetic words of this book is blessed.”
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 He also said to me, “Don’t seal the prophetic words of this book, because the time is near. 11 Let the unrighteous go on in unrighteousness; let the filthy go on being made filthy; let the righteous go on in righteousness; and let the holy go on being made holy.”
12 “Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes,[ah] so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you[ai] for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.”
17 Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.
18 I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book.
20 He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
So be it… so what is the encouragement for the church today? What would you write to the local community churches within your area to step up and create the world God has called us to create?
- Revelation 19:2 Valid; Jn 8:16; 19:35
- Revelation 19:9 Probably an angel; Rv 17:1; 22:8-9
- Revelation 19:10 Or to
- Revelation 19:10 Or the Spirit
- Revelation 19:12 Or diadems
- Revelation 19:13 Or a robe dipped in
- Revelation 19:15 Other mss add double-edged
- Revelation 19:15 Or rule
- Revelation 19:17 Or in
- Revelation 20:2 Other mss add who deceives the whole world
- Revelation 20:4 Lit souls
- Revelation 20:4 All who had given their lives for their faith in Christ
- Revelation 20:6 Or authority
- Revelation 20:9 Other mss add from God
- Revelation 20:13 Lit each
- Revelation 20:14 Other mss omit the lake of fire
- Revelation 21:3 Other mss read from heaven
- Revelation 21:3 Or tent, or tabernacle
- Revelation 21:3 Other mss omit and be their God
- Revelation 21:4 Or the first things
- Revelation 21:5 Other mss add of God
- Revelation 21:8 Other mss add the sinful
- Revelation 21:10 Or in spirit
- Revelation 21:16 A stadion (sg) = about 600 feet; 12,000 stadia = 1,400 miles.
- Revelation 21:21 Or The public square
- Revelation 21:24 Other mss add of those who are saved
- Revelation 21:24 Other mss read will bring to Him the nations’ glory and honor
- Revelation 21:26 Other mss add in order that they might go in
- Revelation 22:1 Other mss read pure river
- Revelation 22:2 Or was a tree of life, or was a tree that gives life
- Revelation 22:3 Lit in it
- Revelation 22:6 Other mss read God of the holy prophets
- Revelation 22:6 Or soon
- Revelation 22:14 Other mss read who keep His commands
- Revelation 22:16 In Gk, you is pl
- Revelation 22:21 Other mss add Christ
- Revelation 22:21 Other mss omit the saints
Revelation 22:21 Other mss omit Amen.
- Today’s Message: Be Free From Curse! (kzlam36.wordpress.com)
- Millennium Years (shelleywilliamsblog.com)
- The Pale, or ‘Green’ Horse of Revelation? (lynleahz.com)
- Empire: A Home For Demons (daviddflowers.com)
- Purification – The ascent (divineheartofgod.org)
- A Victorious Walk (1victoriouslifewithchrist.wordpress.com)
- We Are The Children of God ~ Romans 8:9 – 23 [Darby] | Bible Resources (spiceofyourlife.wordpress.com)
- What Manner of People (sonlightdevotional.org)
- Christ The Lamb Of The New Testament – An Outline Study (ptl2010.com)
- Solomon’s Life as a Type of Christ in 1 Kings (the-scarlet-thread.com)