Several weeks ago we studied that moment of Christ's return to Rapture His Saints into the clouds and bring them home. Last week we studied one of the First Events which will follow this Rapture just before the beginning of the Tribulation. That event was the "Bema Seat" or the "Judgment Seat of Christ." Where all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and King will stand before Jesus Himself to receive rewards and positions in Eternity based upon their dedication to Him on earth. Starting today, and for several weeks to come, we will continue forward in this study on the "End-Times Train,” and walk through the events of Revelation together. We will look in detail at all of the horrors of the worst seven years in earth's history as Satan takes complete control of this planet and God's wrath is poured out in an unimaginable way. And we will end the study with a brief look at the God's Kingdom on earth which follows for a thousand years—and then the New Heaven and New Earth this Millennial period ushers in.
Let's open this completely unique Book with a truth which many casual readers miss entirely. This truth makes it unlike any other Book: Revelation 1:1-2. If you listened closely to this introduction, you see this Book is an actual "Revelation" or revealing and unveiling which God the Father gave over to Jesus Himself to reveal to John. Parts of It directly from Jesus; parts from His angels—all direct Revelation from Christ. The entire Book is literally about the "Revealing" or "Coming" of Jesus to the world in these End Time events. This is why the Book of Revelation has such a powerful blessing attached to it. Revelation 1:3. And yet many are so hesitant or reluctant to read it. We will not go through this Book in a literal verse-by-verse study, but we will go through it in an event-by-event study. Listen to the moment when John had these things revealed to him on the Island of Patmos: Revelation 1:10-20: the Revealer of these Prophecies was not an angel, as with other prophets of the past, but Jesus Christ Himself. And when John fell down as though dead in worship at His feet, Jesus did not say, as the angels did, "Arise, do not worship Me." He said, "Do not be afraid; I Am the First and the Last." Jesus tells John the reasons for this Revelation—to reveal what he had seen (past) the things which are (present to John), and the things which are to take place after this (future). The first three chapters of Revelation are to the seven churches of Asia which were all real churches of that age, but which Christ used to also represent the many aspects of all the churches throughout the present Church Age to the time of the Rapture. Jesus reviewed their past and present works, ranging from some whom He says are "dead" and in need of awakening to their First Love; to some "lukewarm" and in danger of being spit out of His mouth, to some who are "rich" and faithful whom He encourages to hold fast until the end. [This is a powerful and involved study in itself that we will save for another day.] And then, beginning in chapter four Jesus' Revelation begins to talk about "The Things which are to come." Here is where we will continue our study. And please note, after all of the messages, warnings, instructions and reprimands Christ gives to the Churches in these chapters, the Church is not mentioned again here on earth—nor spoken directly to again on earth again until the end of the Tribulation. Those saved during the Tribulation are mentioned, but not the Church. Wouldn't God have much to say to His beloved Church about what they should do, how they should persevere, Evangelize?
I know we are all anxious to delve into the Cataclysmic Events which are to soon come on the whole world, but let's stop a few moments today and take in the often missed and all important events which authorize and start this entire seven years of trials and judgment because without understanding these originating events, we can’t possibly understand or appreciate all that is to come on the pages that follow. Listen to these incredible moments in Heaven just before the Tribulation begins: Revelation 4:1-2: this is not Jesus, but God the Father Himself: Revelation 4:3: imagine the awesomeness and majesty of pure crystal light and vivid, deep red light emanating from the very Figure of God. With a halo of emerald green surrounding Him. Revelation 4:4: there is much speculation of who these 24 elders are. Some say it is the 12 leaders of the Tribes of Israel (OT), and the 12 disciples of Christ (NT). But whoever they are, one thing is certain—they represent the redeemed of Jesus Christ because they are ruling and reigning with Him on thrones; because they have on robes of righteousness won by Christ; because they have on crowns of reward and positions of authority given by Christ; and just for reassurance, when are these Saints supposed to receive these rewards and positions of authority? At the Bema Seat of Christ—which seems already to have occurred before the First Seal of Judgment has been broken upon the earth.
Let's continue with the Scene: Revelation 4:5. This is not signifying seven different Spirits of God, but completeness and fullness in the Third Person of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit (whose 7 Attributes are listed in Isaiah 11:2); who is never seen because He resides in us. So, His Presence is often represented symbolically. Here, as in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple of God on earth, there are seven lamps burning representing His Spirit—just as the Menorah before the Presence of God in the Temple. [See how the entire Bible fits together flawlessly?] So far we have God magnificently shown on the throne, the presence of His Spirit represented before Him, and the Redeemed of the Church on thrones, ruling beneath Him. And now we have some unusual creatures who appear in the vision: Revelation 4:6-8: these creatures are called cherubim. They are seemingly the highest of the angelic creation. Satan himself, in Ezekiel 28:12-15, having this position before his fall. They always have the honor and position of representing, proclaiming and guarding God's Holiness. It was cherubim who guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden when mankind was cast out for his sins against God's Holiness. It was cherubim which guarded and carried the Throne of God in Ezekiel's vision (Ezekiel, Chapters 1 and 10). There are several interpretations from scholars about the significance of their appearance: some say they represent the 4 Leading Tribes of the 12 Tribes of Israel according to the Symbols mentioned in Jewish writings & the Talmuds. Others say they represent the 4 ways Jesus is described in the Gospels. The one thing that is clear: they represent the attributes of Jesus Christ (Lion, the mighty King and conqueror; Ox, who came as the burden bearer, servant and sacrifice; Man, born to earth as a man, a kinsman to take our sins upon Himself; Eagle, He was the deliverer who came from Heaven). With eyes "all around and within" representing God's omniscience—He sees all. Day and night, these creatures proclaim the Holiness of Our God. And the end of this chapter shows the 24 elders joining in with these creatures to worship Him who sits on the Throne, casting their crowns before Him in adoration. Only one group of people in all Creation have the privilege and thanksgiving to cast their crowns before God—the Redeemed.
In this next chapter—the last chapter just before the judgments of Christ on earth—we see one of the most significant events of the entire Tribulation to come which gives us the reason for the judgments and shows us the awesomeness of our Savior: Revelation 5:1-4. God the Father has in His hand a Scroll sealed with seven seals [stop and think on this for a moment]—many wonder what is contained in this scroll? Most call this the scroll of judgments on the earth and each seal broken releases one of the judgments included therein. I strongly do not agree, and I think the evidence is here Scripturally to support what I am about to explain. This very passage says no one in Heaven or on earth was worthy to open the scroll, right? Whatever was in the scroll had not yet been recognized or executed because no one had previously been worthy to do so. Let me ask you—had God already executed many judgments on earth in previous times, even before Christ came and died for our sins? Because our righteous God has always not only been worthy and justified in judging and destroying evil—but even obligated in His Holiness to do so. So, the Scroll could not be representative of the right to bring judgment on earth based upon worthiness or authority. But there is something in the Hebrew culture of the ancient world that was often seals in this manner—a deed of entitlement. Just as the one in Jeremiah 32:6-15 where Jeremiah was offered a sealed scroll containing a title deed because he was the kinsman redeemer with the right of redemption to the deed. Just as Ruth was lost and without hope until a kinsman redeemer (Boaz) came to claim her as his bride. Listen closely now, when we sinned against God, we became separated, lost and alone without a husband or possessions of our own. Because this world, and our very souls became the ownership of the one who made us follow him—Satan. If you do not agree with this, listen closely to the offer Satan made to Jesus when he was tempted in the desert: Matthew 4:8-10. Satan bragged that all the kingdoms of the world were his and offered them to Jesus without having to die if Jesus would bow to him. Would Satan have been dumb enough to make this offer if he knew he had no authority to do so? Wouldn't Jesus have rebuked his false claim? Jesus became a human so that He could live life as a human in perfect holiness and love and yet still die for all of the sins that He did not commit. On our behalf, He literally became a kinsman redeemer, paying the price to redeem the rights to His bride; paying the price to redeem the title to a fallen world in sin. This title deed to our very souls and to a fallen world is what will be contained in that scroll. This is why no one else was found worthy to open it. This is why John wept much when it could not be opened. And then it happened: Revelation 5:5: Jesus, of the human tribe of Judah, of the human King David, has prevailed. He is worthy to open the title deed for our souls and this world: Revelation 5:6: Because Jesus had died as the sacrificial lamb to pay the price. This made Him alone worthy to open the scroll—not for the right to judgment (He always had that), but the right to redemption (that He alone bought). To be the kinsman redeemer of the deed; to once again hold the rights to be with His beloved bride: Revelation 5:7. When Jesus steps to the Throne of God and takes the scroll in His hand, all of Heaven erupts in praises, honor and worship of the One who gave all to hold the deed in His hand. All of His sacrifice, pain, humility, shame and torture was for the right to that one scroll which contains the destiny of every person in this room. The song they sing at that moment reflects the true nature of the contents of the scroll as well, because they do not break out in song over judgments Jesus has always had the right to bring upon earth, but on over the Salvation won for the lost of the world: Revelation 5:8-14.
And with each seal broken by the hand of the Lion of Judah; the all-powerful, unstoppable, sacrificial King who fought and died for His beloved people, one more act of judgment and destruction will come upon the one who stole His bride and took the Kingdom He made for them. One more act of judgment and destruction will come upon all those who chose to join Satan in his profitless quest of hatred and dominance until there is no one nor anything left to stand before Jesus' wrath because He—the Kinsman Redeemer—holds the deed to His beloved bride and the world. Many people may sit without truly participating in church or worship today—half-interested, chitchatting, playing games, even dozing off—but in this moment in Heaven, the realization of who Jesus truly is in this Universe, of what He so lovingly and sacrificially has done for us all, and of our undeserved life He's bought back as our Redeemer will be intense and overwhelming. The joy and thanksgiving we all will feel to know someone as merciful, precious and undefeatable as our King Jesus, now stands with my fate firmly in His warrior-scarred hands forever; at His own expense; will assure there are no lukewarm, non-particapatory Christians in heave. If we could truly understand the heart of this message today, there would be none here either. As you see the reality of all of the prophecies coming true around us this very day and hour, and you see the relentless sacrifice and pure love of one so adored and revered in all of Heaven—and you know He could be yours—He died for you—what else could you possibly be waiting for to join the multitudes singing this song, and decide He is worthy? Because tomorrow may be the day we hear the trump calling us home and when that final note goes silent—the world will wait unexpectedly and helplessly for the first seal to break.
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