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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Revelation 20

This chapter includes the one thousand year period, called the Millennium, when Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years (v.1-3), the Second Advent of Christ (v.4-6),  followed by a short period of Satan being loosed out of his prison and the battle of Gog and Magog (v.7-10), and finally the Great White Throne Judgment (v.11-15). Satan is cast into the lake of fire where the AntiChrist “beast” and his “false prophet” are. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Verses 1-3

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Firstly we read that an angel brings down from heaven the key to the bottomless pit (prison of some kind) (v.1) and the old serpent (the Devil, Satan) is bound there for a thousand years (v.1-3). The ‘angel’ must be stronger than Satan (Matthew 12:29). We’ll see that he is Jesus, who is more powerful than Satan (an angel is not necessarily stronger). After the thousand years bound in prison Satan is loosed for a short period (v.3).

So the question must be asked what does Satan being ‘bound’ mean? That is, Satan is bound “that he should deceive the nations no more”. Before Jesus came to Earth, the first time, all nations were ignorant of the one true God, except for God’s chosen people, Israel. And we read that after Jesus knocked the Apostle Saul (or Paul) off his horse, while he was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9 and 26), Saul asked Him who He was (Acts 9:5; 26:15). And Christ told him that He is Jesus, and that He had chosen him (Saul) to be a minister to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, that is, to the rest of the nations of the world.

Luke 1018

Christ tells Saul the mission:

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified [set apart] by faith that is in Me.

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation hermeneutics

Revelation 19

The focus here (v.1) is in heaven. Salvation is from the Lord God not the usurper. God has judged the great whore, the “old woman of prophecy,” and avenged the murder of the true believers (v.2). These are the enemies of God, but what do the Scriptures tell us about the timing of these events?

The LORD said to My Lord, Sit You on My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool? (Matthew 22:44. Also Psalms 110:1)

Christ must remain on the right hand of the Father, until all His enemies, including the great whore, are judged or put under His feet (or made His footstool). Christ cannot bodily return in His Second Coming to Earth until all His enemies are piled up and He rests His feet upon them.

6-Left_Behind_DVD_cover
“Left Behind” series of books and movies was very popular promoting a secret rapture.

There is no secret rapture before Christ’s Second Coming. He resurrects all believers, both living and dead, at His Return, and all are judged then, and not before He has destroyed all His enemies.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)

It will be very well known. It will be noisy. All will see it happen. It will be global.

Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

Now read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:42, 51-54. This means new bodies like the old but instead incorruptible. There is no doubt amongst commentators that these passages are about the Return of Christ and the resurrection of the saints.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 14

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The vision of this chapter opens with “a Lamb stood on mount Zion”. In chapter 13:11, the false lamb was seen, who “spoke as a dragon”. Here, in contrast, we see the Lamb of God, the same Lamb as in Revelation 5:6,7. In chapter 5 it is clear that the Lamb is Christ who took the book with seven-sealed book. Here and in Hebrews 12:22 are the only verses in the New Testament where the phrase ‘on mount Zion’ occurs. It is the same as “Jerusalem above” of Galatians 4:26. Hebrews 12:22 defines Mount Zion as the heavenly Jerusalem. Mount Zion is symbolic of the city of the great King, the seat of the worship of God in Jerusalem, and is used as a symbol of the true Church (Psalm 125:1,2). The saints who have entered into the covenant of Christ are said to have come, not to the mount that could not be touched, but to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. It is there used for the church of the saints, and such is its meaning in this passage

The Church of true believers are also marked in their foreheads (v.1), yet this is not a literal mark. The 144,000 (v.1-4) is symbolic of the believers who stand against the Satanic evil of the Papacy and its forces. In chapter 7:4, the same number are spoken of as sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel. It means there, a great, indefinite number. Here, I take that the meaning is the same. It is a great multitude, a round number, who are associated with the Lamb. (Alternate views of what the 144,000 represents include that it represents some 144,000 Jewish believers, or, a chosen 144,000 believers from the Christian church).

In verse 4 there is reference to those “not defiled with women”. This means those who refuse sinful intercourse with the world. Spiritual adultery or fornication is being wedded to the world and partaking of its sins. The expression “they are virgins” is symbolic that their lives are not defiled by the world. See 2 Corinthians 11:2; Hosea 2:19,20.

The believers were found to be without fault, because they are forgiven, and their sins are washed away (v.5). Then John saw “another angel fly”, which is symbolic of the true gospel being rapidly preached throughout the world to every nation and language group (v.6). The angel (v.6,7) means God’s Holy Spirit is the agency whereby this message is preached to the world. Since the Reformation the preaching of the gospel to the world has expanded quickly and is continuing to this time. This does seem to put us now towards the very end of world history (but who can say?). 

Categories
Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 13

The last verse of chapter 12 (v.17) describes the future of the true Church, with the dragon continuing to make war with (to persecute) them so long as they uncompromisingly continue to follow the Word of God and maintain their testimony of faith alone in Jesus Christ.

In this chapter John describes his vision of a beast (v.1) that rises up out of the sea, which means out of the nations of peoples.  It is the same beast described in v. 12:3 which was there described as the “great red dragon”. This seven-head beast (see below) represents the last 4 major empires of man.

The kings or emperors of those kingdoms are represented with “the name of blasphemy” written on them, meaning that they claimed god-like status, which we know was not uncommon among kings, for example, Nebuchadnezzar did with his golden image in Daniel 3 decreeing all to worshop his image; Artaxerxes is described as king of kings (Ezra 7:12), because he ruled over conquered kings, this led to a god-like status; Alexander the Great, who asserted that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon (Greek god); and the Roman Emperors, who all claimed divine status and required men to worship their statues and to offer them sacrifices.

TheBeast
Seven-headed beast of Revelation 13:1,2. It incorporates the last 4 major kingdoms, Babylon (lion), Medo-Persia (bear), Greece (4-headed leopard) and Rome the dragon (4th beast). Refer Daniel 7:1-7. If the first 3 animals are real animals then what is the dragon? I suggest it was a dinosaur that was alive at the time of Daniel, or at least was known to them.

On one head, Rome, it had 10 horns (v.1). The 10 horns represent the 10 kingdoms that pagan Rome was divided into but in v. 12:3 there were only 7 crowns, which are seen on the heads of the beast. But here the 10 horns each have crowns—there are 10 crowns—and those crowns are diadems (Greek διάδημα diadema). Diadems are worn by the kings. So this beast is different from pagan Rome. It has evolved from pagan Rome but it is more ‘wonderful’ and more dangerous. This must mean 3 additional kingdoms were added to this final kingdom (the beast) which I believe is an indication of papal Rome consolidating its power after the 4th century AD.