IHOP-KC Overview of the Book of Revelation -Mike Bickle
I. THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS FOR EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND
A. My goal is to provide a road map so that everyone can have confidence that they can understand the book of Revelation. It was written to be understood by all. The majority of people through history were uneduca11ted. I expose the lie that it is impossible to understand this book.
B. The Bereans searched the Scriptures to see if the things that Paul said were true (Acts 17:10–11).
11 These were more fair-minded…in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
C. I do not ask anyone to simply accept my views; I urge you to think for yourself. Truth is never hurt by scrutiny; rather, it is confirmed. You must boldly challenge all ideas that you hear, and refuse any that you cannot clearly see in Scripture for yourself.
D. The most controversial point is my conviction that the Church will go through the tribulation (in great victory and power). This differs from the popular pre-tribulation rapture view that teaches that the Church will be raptured at any minute and will, therefore, miss the end-time revival and crisis. The Bible does teach that the Church will be raptured. The issue is one of timing. The Church will be raptured at the end of the tribulation, rather than at the beginning. I honor the godliness and wisdom of many who hold the pre-tribulation rapture view, but I see it as a serious mistake that will leave many unprepared. We can disagree in a spirit of meekness without a spirit of debate. The reality of the tribulation is too weighty to reduce it to arguments.
E. Revelation gives us more information on the End Times than any other book in Scripture. Therefore, it is immensely helpful in preparing the Bride, and this is Jesus’ passion for this generation. It was written to help God’s people endure and overcome in victory throughout history, but especially in the Great Tribulation.
F. Revelation is very dear to Jesus and is a great gift from Him to us. We see Jesus’ splendor as a King and Priest (Rev. 1), and hear His counsel to prepare His wife (Rev. 2-3). Then we see the resource that Jesus has (Rev. 4-5) as He cleanses the earth, replaces governments, purifies the Church and wins the harvest (Rev. 6-19). We are shown His plans to rule the earth with us (Rev. 20) and, finally, to dwell with us forever in the New Jerusalem. God’s eternal plan has always been to dwell with His people in paradise on earth, and this will happen when the New Jerusalem descends and Jesus restores the conditions of the garden of Eden paradise to the earth (Rev. 21- 22).
For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)
G. Revelation is unique in being the only book in the Bible in which God promises a special blessing to anyone who reads or hears it (Rev. 1:3) as well as a curse to anyone who adds to or takes from it.
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy… (Rev. 1:3)
7 Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book…18 If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues…in this book 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of…this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life… (Rev. 22:7-19)
II. THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION
A. The primary theme of the tribulation is God’s judgment against the Antichrist’s empire that is released by the end-time Church under Jesus’ leadership. The secondary theme is tribulation against the saints from the Antichrist (Rev. 12:12; 13:4, 8). In the book of Acts, some of the believers were martyred, yet its primary theme is the acts of the Spirit through the praying apostles.
B. We need not fear the tribulation as powerless victims seeking to escape it. We stand boldly as Jesus’ bride who releases it under His leadership. Moses did not seek to escape his role in releasing tribulation on Pharaoh nor did the apostles seek to avoid their role in the book of Acts.
C. The Church is not waiting on Jesus; He is waiting on the Church. The Church is not absent from the tribulation but releases it by prayer under Jesus’ leadership.
12 Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God… (2 Pet. 3:12)
III. THE BOOK OF REVELATION: END-TIME BOOK OF ACTS
A. The book of Revelation is the end-time book of Acts given to us in advance so that we may walk in a unified prayer focus by knowing the sequences of the seals and trumpets. Revelation is a record of the acts of the Spirit through the end-time apostles and prophets. As Moses released the plagues (or tribulation) on Egypt through prayer, and as the first apostles released God’s power through prayer in the book of Acts, so the tribulation will be released by the praying Church.
B. The miracles of Exodus and Acts will be combined and multiplied on a global level. I believe Jesus was referring to this in John 14:12. The church will release (loose) God’s judgments and stop (bind) Satan’s activities.
12 The works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do… (Jn. 14:12)
C. Believers around the globe will engage in the prayer of faith to bind and loose according to God’s will. This passage is fulfilled on earth in the Great Tribulation with a victorious Church operating in the greater works anointing as Rev. 22:17 makes clear.
18 On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mt. 16:18-19)
The Matthew 16 context focuses on prevailing over the authority of hell, whereas the Matthew 18 context focuses on how the Church will function in unity (with several hundred million intercessors).
E. The book of Revelation is a canonized prayer manual that equips the Church to partner with Jesus in confronting Satan’s authority. Nothing like this has ever happened in history where hundreds of millions are unified with an infallible prayer guide revealing Jesus’ action plan including both the glory and the pressures. All the saints will sing the written judgments in this prayer manual. The Church in unity will release Jesus’ “smart missiles” of judgment on Satan as Moses did.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth…7 To execute vengeance on the nations…9 To execute on them the written judgment– This honor have all His saints. (Psalm 149:6-9)
F. The fact that the book of Revelation has been canonized is significant in unifying the end-time Church worldwide; the entire Body of Christ will eventually use it as a prayer manual. As Jesus’ judgments progressively unfold according to their numbered sequence, the Church will become greatly unified and focused in the prayer of faith. Momentum will build as the Church sees the seals and trumpets released in numerical order. The prophetic credibility of the greatest end-time prophets will not compare to the credibility of this plan that has been canonized for 2,000 years.
G. If the early apostles had had the book of Acts written in advance, they would have known which cities revival and/or persecution would break out in. It follows that the end-time Church has a great accountability to God to be faithful to this awesome revelation of Jesus’ global plans.
H. In Revelation 22:17, John records the final unified global prayer focus that crescendoes after the sixth trumpet. All the saints will know that soon after the sixth trumpet, the seventh trumpet will sound in which Jesus will appear in the clouds. Therefore, the cry of “Come Lord Jesus” will explode worldwide.
I. The end-time prayer movement under Jesus’ leadership will bind and release His redemptive judgments according to the will of God (Rev. 5:8; 6:9–11; 8:3–5; 9:13; 10:6; 14:18; 16:7; 19:2).
4 The prayers of the saints, ascended before God…5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth… (Rev. 8:4–5)
J. The book of Revelation has greatly changed my paradigm of the prayer and prophetic movement, which is currently very sincere and dear to God. The book of Revelation is not a doomsday prophecy about the world coming to an end; neither is it a drama about the end of the world. It is about God’s new beginning for the world. The birth of a baby is the end of a pregnancy but it is mostly about the beginning of a new life. We are coming to the end of the dark night of Satan’s oppression of human history, to the dawning of a new day.
K. Christ defeated Satan at the cross. However, the full scope of His victory has not yet been fully manifested on earth. At Christ’s ascension, Jesus was seated at God’s right hand, far above all authority (Eph. 1:20–22). Jesus disarmed the demonic powers and made a public spectacle of them (Col. 2:15). His death stripped Satan of ultimate power (Heb. 2:14). The “already and not yet” paradox of the Kingdom is now operating.
IV. SEVEN PRIMARY SYMBOLS IN THE PARENTHETICAL SECTIONS
A. Revelation is to be interpreted its plain meaning. The events and numbers in Revelation are to be understood literally unless the Scripture specifically indicates that they are symbolic (Rev. 1:20; 5:6; 11:8; 12:1, 3, 9; 17:7, 9). How do we know when a passage is symbolic? When the text clearly indicates that it is. For example, the angel tells John that the seven lampstands are symbolic of seven churches (Rev. 1:20).
B. Daniel used some of the same symbols as John (Dan 7:3–7, 12, 17; 8:4). Daniel prophesied of the Antichrist as the beast with an evil empire (Dan. 7:7, 11, 19, 20–23) that was supported by ten kings seen as ten horns (Dan. 7:7, 20, 24; 2:41–42; Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 12, 16).
C. The dragon: is always symbolic of Satan (Rev. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17; 13:2, 4; 16:13; 20:2).
D. The first beast: is symbolic of the Antichrist (Rev. 13; 14:9–11; 17:3–17; 19:19–21; 20:4, 10).
He is called the beast thirty-six times in Revelation.
E. Another beast: is symbolic of the false prophet who is only called another beast once. Every other time he is called the false prophet (Rev. 13:11–17; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10).
F. The Harlot Babylon: will be established in the literal rebuilt city of Babylon on the Euphrates River in Iraq (50 miles south of Baghdad) that will be restored and used as a headquarters for the Antichrist. It will function as the center of worldwide demonic religious and economic networks (Rev. 17–18; Isa. 13-14; 21; Jer. 50-51). It will seduce many to sin and to persecute the saints.
G. The seven heads: are seven empires from history that persecuted Israel (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, revived Roman Empire of Dan. 2:41-42; 7:7, 20, 24; Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3-16)
H. The ten horns: speak of a future ten-nation confederation of ten kings that rule simultaneously over their own nation as they come into an enthusiastic partnership together under the Antichrist’s authority (Dan. 2:41–42; 7:7, 20, 24; 11:36–45; Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 12, 16)
I. The woman with the male-child (Jesus): the woman is the faithful remnant of Israel throughout history (Rev. 12:1–5). Satan wars with her offspring who are Gentile believers (Rev. 12:17).
V. OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION: 4 MAIN PARTS
A. Part 1: John’s commission to prophesy about the End Times (Rev. 1). Jesus gives us the clearest picture of who He is (how He thinks/feels) by highlighting eighteen descriptions of His majesty.
B. Part 2: Letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2–3). Jesus gives us the clearest picture of what He wants the Church to be; He is preparing the Church to be overcomers.
C. Part 3: Jesus takes the scroll (Rev. 4–5), the title deed of the earth. In the heavenly court scene, all resources and the endorsement of heaven are committed to Jesus. Jesus is commissioned by the Father to use the power of God to cleanse the earth, to replace all governments and to drive the usurper off the planet.
D. Part 4: Jesus’ battle plan (Rev. 6–22). The chapters in this fourth part focus on the tribulation of God’s wrath on the Antichrist’s world empire for three and one-half years (Rev. 6–19). Jesus gives us the clearest picture of how He will prepare the nations (Rev. 6–19) for the transition of all governments (Rev. 20).
21 There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world…22 Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved… (Mt. 24:21–22)
E. The time of the Great Tribulation will be a great day for those who respond; they will experience the greatest revival in history. It will be a very terrible day for the rebellious who will experience the most severe judgments of God in history.
11 For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (Joel 2:11)
F. The majority of the story line of Revelation focuses on the Great Tribulation (31/2 years) as God’s wrath is poured out on the Antichrist’s world empire in the “three numbered judgment series”
(seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls). They are literal (actual events not to be explained away symbolically), future (their greatest fulfillment is future), progressive (increasing in intensity) and numbered (released in a sequential order). The Antichrist’s reign of terror is part of this.
VI. CHRONOLOGICAL SECTIONS
A. The main story line unfolds in a chronological way as the first seal leads to the second seal which in turn leads to the third and so on, through the seven trumpets, and then the seven bowls (Rev. 6:1–17; 8:1–9:21; 11:15–18; 15:1-16:21; 19:11–21:8).
B. Two main literary features are employed in the book’s structure: five chronological sections which are the story line and five parenthetical sections which are the angelic explanations.
1. Five chronological sections: these are written in a straightforward way.
2. Five angelic explanations: the story line is put “on pause” after each chronological section. Each parenthetical section follows the corresponding chronological section, answering questions about the severity of God’s wrath (seen in the chronological sections). We ask: What requires such severe judgments? What will happen to the saints?
How will God help us?
C. The angelic explanations mostly describe Satan’s attack against the Church and then God’s intervention to help with power, protection, direction or reward. They are the interpretative sections of Revelation that answer two main questions. First, “Why are these judgments so severe?” In other words, how can a God of love be so violent? Second, “What will happen to the Church?” In other words, will we be safe in God’s favor and will we be anointed to stand against deception and persecution? The five angelic explanations answer these two questions.
D. John is given pastoral insight and assurance that things will be good for the believers. For example, after John saw the severity of the seals, he was undoubtedly overwhelmed by what he learned. Thus, the angel put the chronological story line “on pause” as if to say, “John sit down and let me explain things to you.” These sections provide strength and comfort for the Church.
E. Understanding the relationship between the chronological sections and the angelic explanations makes the book of Revelation much easier to grasp. The angelic explanations are the most challenging parts of Revelation because they contain most of the symbolism.
VII. PT. 1: JOHN’S COMMISSION (REV. 1) – TO MAKE KNOWN JESUS’ MAJESTY
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him (Jesus) to show His servants–things which must shortly take place. He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John… 19 Write the things which you have seen…and the things which will take place after this. (Rev. 1:1, 19)
A. The book of Revelation is called the revelation of Jesus because it reveals His heart, power and leadership in preparing the nations for God’s glory. The Father’s purpose in giving us this book is to reveal the beauty of Jesus. It is secondarily a book about events in the End Times.
B. If we read Revelation with the right perspective, it causes us to adore Jesus and to trust His leadership as we see His dramatic plans for the End Times. His wise and loving plans combine God’s sovereignty (in manifesting His love and righteousness), human free will, and satanic rage, resulting in the great ingathering of souls and the victorious Church, without violating justice or man’s free will.
C. This book is very dear to Jesus and is a great gift from His to us. We see Jesus’ beauty as a King and Priest (Rev. 1). Next, we hear His counsel to prepare us as His beloved Bride (Rev. 2-3) as we partner with His action plan to cleanse the earth, replace evil governments and rule the earth (Rev. 20).
D. The Gospels (89 chapters) give us a record of Jesus’ miracle power at His first coming to accomplish redemption. The end of the age chapters (over 100 chapters in Scripture) tell us about Jesus’ miracle power in taking leadership over the earth. The Gospels and the end-time scriptures reveal the same Jesus operating in the same power of the Holy Spirit.
VIII. PT. 2: LETTERS TO THE 7 CHURCHES (REV. 2–3) – EXHORTATIONS TO OVERCOMERS
A. Jesus spoke prophetically to seven first-century churches, calling them to be overcomers (Rev. 2–3). He identified the issues that will most challenge the end-time Church.
B. His prophetic messages are intended to give us instruction on how to best prepare for His coming in the midst of the end-time dynamics. Jesus promised us eternal rewards (Rev 2:7, 10, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). No one knows more about how to prepare Jesus’ Bride than Jesus Himself.
IX. PT. 3: JESUS TAKES THE SCROLL (REV. 4-5) – TAKING RESPONSIBILITY TO RULE
A. Jesus takes a seven-sealed scroll from the Father. The scroll represents the title deed of the earth and the action plan to judge, cleanse and prepare the nations for Jesus’ rule over all the earth, while bringing the Church to maturity and into unity with redeemed Israel.
B. This plan is seen in the events of Revelation. This is about the quality of the man, Christ Jesus, and the resource behind Him to take over all the national governments on earth.
X. CHRONOLOGICAL SECTION #1: SEVEN SEAL JUDGMENTS (REV. 6:1–17)
A. The seven seals are released by Jesus, the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:5; 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 8:1).
1 I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals… (Rev. 6:1)
B. The seal judgments target the kingdom of darkness (Harlot Babylon, etc). God lifts His restraining hand off evil men so that they attack one another with great hatred and destroy one another’s resources. The restraints of man’s sin are lifted so that the truth of his wickedness and lawlessness is seen. The events include the Antichrist conquering evil nations that aligned themselves with the Harlot Babylon (Rev. 17:16–17), world wars, economic crisis, famine and disease, etc. The fifth and sixth seals open the heavens to release God’s power (Rev. 6:9–17).
C. God’s judgments against the wicked in the first four seals are a result of God taking His restraining hand off evil men, thus allowing them to sin in an unrestrained way against one another. The Antichrist acts against the Harlot, and yet the devastation reaches back to his worldwide empire. The fifth, sixth and seventh seals involve heavenly activity. The trumpet judgments display the Antichrist’s power as inferior to Jesus’ power. They are supernatural acts of God through nature (first four trumpets) and demons (fifth and sixth trumpets).
D. THE SEVEN SEALS (Rev. 6:1-17; 8:1)
First seal (White Horse): Antichrist’s political aggression (Rev. 6:1–2)
Second seal (Red Horse): bloodshed and world war (Rev. 6:3–4)
Third seal (Black Horse): famine and economic crisis (Rev. 6:5–6)
Fourth seal (Pale Horse): disease and death affecting one-fourth of the earth (Rev. 6:7–8)
Fifth seal (Prayer Movement): prayer movement strengthened by the martyrs (Rev. 6:9–11)
Sixth seal (Cosmic Disturbances): cosmic crisis (Rev. 6:12–17)
Seventh seal (Anointed Prayer): prayer movement strengthened to release judgments of Rev. 8-9
XI. ANGELIC EXPLANATION #1: WHO CAN STAND? (REV. 7:1–17)
17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? (Rev. 6:17)
A. This angelic explanation answers the question: who can stand in the midst of so much pressure? John sees a divine sealing on people that gives them physical and spiritual protection (Rev. 7:1– 17). There will be 144,000 Jewish believers who will stand in victory (Rev. 7:1–8). The saints will not receive God’s judgments. We need not fear that we will compromise under pressure of persecution. Gentile believers (7:9–17) from every different background and from every nation are seen as standing without wavering under persecution. Many saints will also be physically protected in the End Times (Rev. 9:4; Zeph. 2:3; Mic. 7:14–19; Isa. 11:15-16).
3 Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 of all the tribes of…Israel were sealed…9 Behold, a great multitude…of all nations…before the throne …clothed with white robes…10 saying, “Salvation belongs to our God… (Rev. 7:3-10)
B. God puts a protective seal on His people from all the tribes of Israel before He strikes the earth (Rev. 7:3). Other believers (Gentiles) will be sealed by God (Rev 9:4). At the time of the exodus from Egypt, Israel received a protective mark on their doors that saved their firstborn from death (Ex. 11:4–12:30). Israel was also protected from other plagues that affected the Egyptians (Ex. 8:22–23; 9:4, 6, 26; 10:22–23). I call this the Goshen principle.
XII. CHRONOLOGICAL SECTION #2: TRUMPET JUDGMENTS (REV. 8:2-9:21)
A. The trumpet judgments are supernatural acts of God to destroy the Antichrist’s resources.
First trumpet (Food supply): burning 1/3 of the earth’s vegetation (Rev. 8:7)
Second trumpet (Food supply): destroying 1/3 of the sea (Rev. 8:8–9)
Third trumpet (Water Supply): poisoning 1/3 of the earth’s fresh water (Rev. 8:10–11)
Fourth trumpet (Light, energy): darkening 1/3 of the earth’s light (Rev. 8:12)
Fifth trumpet (Torment): releasing demonic locusts that torment for 5 months (Rev. 9:1–12)
Sixth trumpet (Death): releasing demonic horsemen that kill 1/3 of the earth (Rev. 9:13–21)
B. The trumpet judgments display the Antichrist’s power as inferior to Jesus’ power. They are supernatural acts of God through nature (first four trumpets) and demons (fifth and sixth trumpets). The ten plagues of Egypt (Ex. 7–12) are prophetic types foreshadowing end-time plagues seen in the trumpets and bowls of wrath, escalated to the whole world instead of just Egypt. In other words, judgment in Revelation is an eschatological application of the Egyptian plagues to prepare the saints for a final exodus from this present evil age to the new kingdom order. God warned Israel that He would judge their rebellion with the Egyptian plagues (Deut.28:27–60).
C. The first five trumpets parallel five of the plagues of Egypt. The first trumpet (8:7) parallels the seventh plague of fire mingled with blood (Ex. 9:22-26). The second and third trumpets (8:8–11) parallel the first plague of the Nile turning to blood (Ex. 7:19–25). The fourth trumpet (8:12) parallels the ninth plague of darkness (Ex. 10:21–23). The fifth trumpet (9:1–11) parallels the
eighth plague of locust torment (Exod. 10:12–20).
XIII. ANGELIC EXPLANATION #2: PROPHETIC DIRECTION (REV. 10:1–11:13)
A. Rev. 10:1–11:13 is an angelic explanation after the crisis of the six trumpet judgments. This section is focused on the welfare of the saints; God promises to provide prophetic direction and power by releasing an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17–21).
B. God has concealed key prophetic information that will be vital in the End Times. He will reveal it to the Church (Rev. 10:4). He will raise up the two witnesses (prophets) who will help God’s people with great power during the last 31/2 years of the tribulation. Jesus will also raise up prophetic messengers who will carry the “seven thunders prophetic messages”. My prayer is for 10,000 forerunners to serve in the end-time drama in each local and regional part of the earth.
XIV. CHRONOLOGICAL SECTION #3: SECOND COMING AND RAPTURE (REV. 11:14–19)
15 The seventh angel sounded…voices…saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord…” 17 You have taken Your power and reigned. (Rev. 11:15-17)
51 We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– 52 in a moment…at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible… (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
A. The Second Coming procession begins with the rapture at the time of the last (7th) trumpet (Rev. 11:15; 1 Cor. 15:52). The last trumpet signals the time when Jesus raptures the Church.
B. The rapture is the first event in the three stages of the Second Coming procession. First, Jesus comes across the earth in the sky (Rev. 1:7) to rapture the saints. Second, He comes across the land (Isa. 63:1–6; Hab. 3:3–16). Third, Jesus enters Jerusalem (Mt. 23:39) using the seven bowls of wrath to destroy the Antichrist’s armies that are gathered around Jerusalem (Zech. 12:1–3;14:1–5). He will replace all the evil governments on earth.
C. The Second Coming procession occurs over a thirty-day period which can be seen by comparing the 1,260 day (31/2 year) time frame in Rev. 11:2–3; 12:6, 14; 13:5; Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7 with the 1,290 days of Dan. 12:11. (See appendix at http://www.IHOP.org for more on Jesus’ thirty-day procession).
D. The Antichrist will operate his worldwide worship system called the abomination of desolation for 1,290 days or 43 months. However, the saints will prophesy, be supernaturally provided for and be persecuted for 1,260 days or 42 months; in other words, until the time they are raptured (Rev. 11:3; 12:6; 13:5–7).
11 From the time that the…abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. (Dan. 12:11)
3 I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy 1,260 days… (Rev. 11:3)
6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness… here 1,260 days. (Rev. 12:6)
6 And he was given authority to continue for 42 months…7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. Authority was given him over every tribe…and nation. (Rev. 13:6–7)
E. John highlights five things in his description of the seventh trumpet. First, the kingdoms (empires) of the earth come under Jesus’ manifest leadership. Second, the nations become enraged at Jesus’ leadership. Third, the unrighteous dead will be judged (evaluated and pronounced guilty) then spend 1,000 years in Hades (their temporary prison) until they are thrown in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11–15). Fourth, the saints will be rewarded. Fifth, the rebellious still on earth will be destroyed by the seven bowls of wrath (Rev. 16).
XV. ANGELIC EXPLANATION #3: VIOLENT CONFRONTATION (REV. 12:1–14:20)
A. This angelic explanation occurs after the seventh trumpet and the rapture (Rev. 11:15). It gives us insight into the magnitude of Satan’s attack against the Church and explains why God’s wrath is so severe. Namely, Satan makes war through his two evil vessels—the Antichrist and the false prophet. The Antichrist violently confronts God’s purpose and His people.
B. This angelic explanation occurs just after the announcement about Jesus replacing all the governments on earth (Rev. 11:15) and gives insight into why God’s wrath is so severe as to require that all the governments of earth be replaced. The reason is that the Antichrist and those in agreement with his leadership violently confront all that is dear to God on earth.
C. In Revelation 13:1–10, the Antichrist will wage war against God and His people with a political, military and economic alliance of a ten-nation confederation. The false prophet will be devoted to causing all nations to worship Satan and the Antichrist (Rev. 13:4, 8).
XVI. CHRONOLOGICAL SECTION #4: SEVEN BOWL JUDGMENTS (REV. 15:1–16:21)
A. The seven bowls of wrath are the third and final numbered series of judgments (Rev. 16). They will destroy evil infrastructures in society. Jesus will release the seven bowls in a way that parallels Moses releasing the ten plagues of Egypt against Pharaoh (Ex. 12).
B. Jesus will destroy the infrastructure of the Antichrist’s empire.
8 I (Father) will give You (Jesus) the nations for Your inheritance…9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Ps. 2:8–9)
C. All the bowls will be poured out over a thirty-day period as Jesus marches up through Jordan to fight the final battle of the Armageddon campaign in Jerusalem, and to rescue the unsaved remnant of Israel (Zech. 12:1–9; 14:1–5; Isa. 63:1–6; Hab. 3:3–16).
D. The seven bowls of wrath (third judgment series) recall the ten plagues of Egypt (Ex. 7–12).
First bowl (Sores): painful sores on those who worship the Antichrist (Rev. 16:1–2)
Second bowl (Food supply): destroying the sea with blood and killing all in it (Rev. 16:3)
Third bowl (Water supply): poisoning the earth’s fresh water with blood (Rev. 16:4–7)
Fourth bowl (Torment): scorching heat and fire from the sun (Rev. 16:8–9)
Fifth bowl (Destruction): darkness on the Antichrist’s global empire (Rev. 16:10–11)
Sixth bowl (Global guilt): deceiving the nations to come to Armageddon (Rev. 16:12–16)
Seventh Bowl (Annihilation): shaking by earthquakes and hail stones (Rev. 16:17–21)XVII. ANGELIC EXPLANATION #4: SEDUCTION BY BABYLON (REV. 17:1–19:10)
A. The seventh bowl declares God’s fierce judgment on Babylon (Rev. 16:19). This angelic explanation section tells why such severe judgment is necessary. The seduction of the Harlot Babylon’s evil religion will permeate and infiltrate all the structures of society, requiring that she be destroyed.
B. The seven bowls of wrath will be necessary to destroy the infrastructure put in place by evil leaders.
C. The judgment of the Great Harlot (Rev. 17) and the fall of Babylon (Rev. 18) will destroy many of the resources of the infrastructures of darkness. The marriage supper of the Lamb is the revelation that motivates each believer (Rev. 19:7–10).
D. Surprisingly, neither the timing of the rapture nor the marriage supper is described in the book of Revelation. Why? Because they are not events that happens in one moment, but instead are a process occurring over days (possibly weeks). The marriage supper occurs in a parenthetical section (Rev. 17:1–19:10); the saints are rewarded with garments that reflect their righteous choices during their time on earth (Rev. 19:7–8; 11:18; 22:12; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Isa. 40:10; 62:11).
XVIII. CHRONOLOGICAL SECTION #5: JESUS’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY (REV. 19:11–21:8)
11 …behold, a white horse. And He (Jesus) who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war….14 And the armies in heaven…followed Him on white horses. 15 Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them…16 He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS…20 The beast (Antichrist) was captured, and with him the false prophet …These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. (Rev. 19:11–21)
A. Revelation 19:11–21:8 relates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the King to end the Armageddon campaign by destroying the armies of the Antichrist. Jesus will sit on an earthly throne as King over all kings. He will cast the Antichrist and false prophet into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). Jesus will cast Satan into prison (Rev. 20:1–3) and establish the Millennium (Rev. 20:4–10).
2 He (angel) laid hold of…Satan and bound him for 1000 years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit…4 I saw thrones, and they (saints) sat on them…They lived and reigned with Christ for 1000 years…6 They shall reign with Him 1000 years. (Rev. 20:2-6)
B. The Millennium is a literal 1,000-year period in which Jesus will rule the whole world from Jerusalem in righteousness and peace. Millennium is from the Latin mille—a thousand. At this time the Kingdom of God will be openly manifest worldwide affecting every sphere of life (political, social, agricultural, economic, spiritual, educational, law enforcement, family, media, arts, technology, athletics, environment, social institutions, etc.). The result will be a 1,000-year period of unprecedented blessing for the whole earth as Jesus establishes righteousness and prosperity, and restores the agriculture, atmosphere, and animal life to some of the conditions that were seen in the garden of Eden (Rev. 20:1–6; Isa. 2:1–4; 9:6-9; 11:1–16; 51:1–8; 60–62; 65:17–25; Ps. 2:6–12; 110:1–7; Deut. 8; 28; Mt. 5:5; 6:10; 17:11; 19:28; 28:19; Acts 1:6; 3:21).
C. After the Millennium, all unbelievers will be judged before the great white throne (Rev. 20:11– 15). The earth will be cleansed by fire (2 Pet. 3:10–13) but will continue forever (Ps. 37:29; 78:69; 104:5; 105:10–11; 125:1–2; 1 Chr. 23:25; 28:8; Isa. 60:21; Ezek. 37:25; Joel 3:20).
XIX. ANGELIC EXPLANATION #5: RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS (REV. 21:9–22:5)
A. At Jesus’ coming, He will restore all that God originally intended to be in the Garden of Eden.
19 Repent therefore and be converted…that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus…21 whom heaven must receive (retain) until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken… (Acts 3:19–21)
B. This angelic explanation shows the victory of the Bride and describes the New Jerusalem’s relationship to the millennial earth (Rev. 21:9–22:5). God shows how He will fully vindicate and reward the saints for remaining faithful throughout the tribulation. This gives hope and stability.
C. The New Jerusalem descends during the Millennium (Rev. 21:10) revealing heaven coming down to earth. Jesus brings the heavenly and earthly realms together. (Eph. 1:9-10). When the New Jerusalem comes to earth, then heaven is literally on earth. New Jerusalem is the place where resurrected saints will live.
12 …the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. (Rev. 3:12)
D. The New Jerusalem will descend with the Father’s throne (Rev. 21:1–8). The New Jerusalem will descend to the earth (Rev. 3:12) in two stages. First, it descends when Jesus comes to begin the Millennium (Rev. 21:10). At this time it is not actually on the earth but just above millennial Jerusalem. Second, it will descend onto the new earth after the Millennium (Rev. 21:2).
E. In the first stage, the New Jerusalem will descend to a place above millennial Jerusalem where the temple stands on Mt. Zion creating a vast “governmental complex” joined by a “corridor of glory.” It will be the governmental center of heaven and earth referred to as Jesus’ throne of glory (Mt. 19:28; 25:31).
31 When the Son of Man comes…then He will sit on the throne of His glory. (Mt. 25:31)