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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Church History The Papacy

Revelation 12

This chapter now skips back to an earlier period in church history to the beginning of the Christian church and the period of the persecution of the early Church under pagan Rome that transitions into her persecution under papal Rome. The chapter is more of a vision of the spiritual view of the forces at work rather than those in the earthly realm. It shows us the same satanic power behind pagan Rome as is behind papal Rome. Compare verse 12:3 with 13:1.

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This revelation really starts with chapter 11:19. There we read that the temple of God is opened in a new vision, where even the holy ark of His testament is seen. Compare to Revelation 4:1, the same type of language is used.

The ark of the Old testament covenant must have disappeared at some point from Temple worship, because, when the veil of the Temple was split down the middle (Matthew 27:51) at Christ’s death on the Cross, it showed that Christ earned the right of being (symbolically) the ark of God. He is the only intercessor between man and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). The ark of God in heaven means that the following occurs temporally after the resurrection of Christ.

There appeared (v.1) “a woman”, the true Church of God, “clothed with the sun,” symbolising Christ’s covering for salvation. The true Church shines with the light of the sun of righteousness. The phrase “the moon under her feet” could symbolise the Old testament, which shone by a reflected light not fully revealed until Christ came in the flesh, and is subordinate to the New Covenant of the Church. The woman then symbolises the true Israel of God (Isaiah 62:11), the believers (Galatians 4:31). Some say “the moon under her feet” means she survives in the world.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Roman Catholic Church the Bible The Papacy the Reformation

Revelation 11

In the last chapter we saw the revelation deal with the open book, which symbolised the Bible that God thrust upon the nations in their own native languages after the Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church was opposed to its circulation, and many persons were burned for the only crime of possessing a Bible. With that book John the Apostle was commanded to preach the true gospel. That was representative of the missions to spread the gospel to the world. Events continue on from there. Chapter 11 events occur under the sixth trumpet up to verse 15 when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet and the Lord returns to claim His kingdom.

This chapter opens with the Apostle John being given a reed to measure with (v.1). It is a divine measure, not by man’s standards but by God’s. There is a divine standard for measurement, given to the Apostles by Christ, and that is the New Testament of Jesus Christ.

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The revelations always apply to peoples and nations not buildings and things. In verse 1 “…measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein” symbolises the true Church, the true faithful believers. They are measured against the Word of God, but the false church measures itself by its false pagan traditions, decisions of the Popes and decrees of councils.

Thus “the court … outside the temple” which is “given to the Gentiles” (v.2) symbolises the false church, the false institutionalised Latin Roman church, of religionists, which persecutes  “tread under foot” the true Church for “forty and two months” or 1260 days. The period of time many have suggested is calculated by a day symbolising a year. Isaac Newton wrote that these ‘days’ are actually prophetic years. Therefore the Roman church persecutes the true believers for 1260 years, though I believe that this could be symbolic of a longer period of time than that.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Church History Greek New Testament the Reformation

Revelation 10

Another angel is seen coming down from heaven (v.1) and he had in his hand a little book (v.2).

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Who is this angel? (v.1) Sometimes in Scripture the Lord is represented by an angel (Exodus 3:2-6,13-15). Here he is called “another mighty angel” which may imply he is different from the seven trumpet angels. He has a rainbow was on His head. Where have we seen a rainbow before? In Revelation 4:1-3 “… there was a rainbow round about the throne, …”

His face was like “the sun” (v.1). In Matthew 17:2 we read,

And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment [clothing] was white as the light.

Also 2 Corinthians 4:6 and Revelation 1:14.

His feet were “as pillars of fire”. In Revelation 1:15 “… His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace“. This strongly indicates it is the Lord Jesus Christ here. Also read Habakkuk 3:3-6:

3 God came from Teman [תֵּימָן, the south], and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. 4 And His brightness was as the light; He had horns [קֶרֶן qeren, as rays of light] coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of His power. 5 Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet. 6 He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow [in worship]: His ways are everlasting.

This ‘little book’ in His hand (v.2) symbolises the Bible. It is described as an open book, possibly meaning that the prophecy was still being written in that book, the prophecies that are revealed in this final book of the Bible.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Islam

Revelation 9

Continuing from chapter 8 we see two more of the 7 trumpets sounded which bring them hordes of Saracen (Arab) and Turkish armies to invade the Eastern part of the old Roman Empire, called the Byzantine Empire, as well as north Africa and the middle Eastern areas. The historical interpretation is continued and covers the period of history of 476 AD (the fall of Western Rome) to 1453 AD (the fall of Constantinople in the Christian Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire). This chapter divides in to 3 segments, v. 1-12, v. 13-19 and v. 20,21.

Credit: Bigdaddy1204 Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
Byzantine Empire in 1025 AD. Credit: Bigdaddy1204 Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifth trumpet (v.1) – a star fell from heaven, meaning an angel to whom was given the key to the bottomless pit or Hell.

A star fallen from heaven (v.1) symbolises the fall of a prince or a leader, who fell to Earth meaning he has influence in the earthly realm. He was given power to unleash hellish influences on Earth. It sounds much like Satan who was cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:9), and given limited power by God on Earth. Some commentators mark him as Muhammad. Now Muhammad lived from 570 AD to 632 AD. Most of this suggested period, ending in 632 AD, for an invading Saracen (Arabian) army, would predate his life.

From the 3rd century AD, Arabian history becomes more tangible with the rise of the Ḥimyarite, and with the appearance of the Qaḥṭānites in the Levant and the gradual assimilation of the Nabataeans by the Qaḥṭānites in the early centuries, a pattern of expansion exceeded in the explosive Muslim conquests of the 7th century. For this leader to be Muhammad it would have to be that most of the conquests it represents occurred in the period, not leading up to 632 AD, but after 632 AD, for a period of 150 years (v.5,10; 5 months = 150 ‘days’ = 150 years) when Arab Islam assaulted the old Roman world.

The ‘air was darkened by reason of the smoke from the pit’ (v.2) symbolises these hellish influence. A great horde of ‘locusts’ (v.3) symbolising great destroying armies ‘came out of the smoke’ and they we sent to torment (v.4,5) those humans who did not have the salvation of our God, where salvation is symbolised by a seal in their foreheads.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation

Revelation 8

What the Holy Spirit held back in chapter 7, by holding back ‘four winds’, is now released to unleash the full power of all the agencies of destruction the God intends.

The Lamb opened the seventh seal (v.1) and as a result there was silence in heaven for half an hour, so this is a very significant event. This seal has under it seven trumpets which seven angels, standing before God, sound off one after another (v.2).

Now what follows is the sounding of those seven trumpets (v.6). There is reference to the prayers of the saints (v.3,4), the true believers, so this indicates that the true church is still on earth, even under persecution (v.5). This is not some future post-rapture period as some teach.

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Why a trumpet? The trumpet is used to give a signal. Usually it implied the start of the march or the charge of an army. See Joel 2:1,15, Jeremiah 4:5 and Ezekiel 33:1-6. Sometimes it calls the people to worship. See Numbers 31:6 and 1 Chronicles 15:24 .

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Roman Catholic Church Trials and temptations

Revelation 7

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Roman Colosseum Credit: Wikipedia

We saw that the opening of the sixth seal in chapter 6 refers to the overthrow of the old Pagan religions of pagan Rome. The seventh seal is not opened until chapter 8, verse 1.

All the symbolism of chapter 7 is therefore under the sixth seal. At the end of the 3rd century Paganism was dominant, persecuting, seeking to “abolish the Christian name.” But by the end of the 4th century the civilized world had become Christian. 

Four angels (v.1) standing on the four ‘corners’ of the earth holding back ‘four winds’ that it ‘should not blow on the earth’. These winds symbolise four destructive agencies were restrained by the Holy Spirit until the Holy Spirit’s work of the spreading the gospel was accomplished, by taking advantage of this opportunity.

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Belief in God Bible prophecy Book of Revelation

Revelation 5

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The ‘book’ with 7 seals is introduced from the throne room of God. It is actually in the form of a manuscript, rolled up into a scroll, and sealed with 7 seals (v.1). The ‘book’ must be constructed is such a way that seven scrolls are connected together, but each individually has a seal that must be broken to read it. The scrolls are written on both sides. In the following chapter (chapter 6) these seals are opened one after another, up to the sixth seal, each allowing a part of the book to be read. In chapter 7 the final seal is broken and the last book is opened.

Verse 2 opens with an angel asking “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”  To which it is replied ‘no one’ (v.3). In verses 3 and 4 the word ‘man’ appears in the KJV, but there is no word in Greek for ‘man.’ At the time of the translation ‘man’ had a generic meaning referring to ‘one’ as used today. In the traditional Greek text translation KJ3 the expression used for ‘no man’ is ‘no one’, as is found in many other translations. Thus it would seem to imply ‘no one regardless of who or where they are.’ St. John says he wept (v.4) because no one was found to open the book.

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Belief in God Bible prophecy Book of Revelation

Revelation 4

The book of Revelation chapters 4 and 5 introduce us to the throne room of God with 24 elders, 4 strange four-faced beasts, and the Lord God who lives forever and ever.

Verse 1 opens with the Lord God speaking. The “first voice…as of a trumpet” uses the same expression as in v.10 “a great voice as a trumpet”, which from v.11 we know is clearly identified as the Lord God. Thus John is given a vision of the throne room of God (v.2) set in the heavens as with the rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28). The Lord God who sat on the throne appeared to shine like “a jasper and a sardine stone” (v.3). From Revelation 21:11 we learn that a jasper is not the same as we know today but is a clear crystal that has a brilliant shine. So it could be a diamond. God’s throne is described also by Isaiah (chapter 6)  and Ezekiel (chapter 1 & 10).

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Throne room of God

There are 24 elders seated around the throne of God (v.4). Who or what they represent is debated still. They have “white raiment” which often signifies salvation and “crowns of gold” where the Greek word for ‘crown’ here is ‘stephanos,’ meaning laurels, the prize won in public games, or a symbol of honour. This is not the same as ‘diadema’ the Greek word for a kingly crown. This word for crown (stephanos) was used in v. 3:11 in relation to the believers enduring the trials and tests of life unto the end whence he/she will receive a crown (a reward) as a winner, but not meaning to win salvation, which can only come through grace.