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Introduction to Revelation with comment on Revelation 13
The Book of Revelation

This morning we are going to continue our mini study of the Book of Revelation

-The Book of Revelation was written by John the Apostle from the Island of Patmos. John was exiled there for the crime of being a follower of Jesus (some think the middle 60's A.D. Others think the date was in the 90's A.D)

-The Book of Revelation was first written for the benefit of 7 churches located in Asia.

-The Book of Revelation is from Jesus, about Jesus and primarily concerns the events leading up to and surrounding the return of Christ. Such begs this key question: Are you ready for his return?

-There is a lot of colorful imagery in the Book of Revelation (some of this has to do with the fact that John had to be careful in how he wrote his letter while a captive of Rome). I personally find this imagery to be fascinating. I also find that if I try to imagine the different scenes and images of Revelation that I am aided in my understanding of the text. Rather than leaving us in the dark, John helps us out as it regards understanding some of the images of Revelation, telling us (at times) plainly what the images and symbols mean.

-Ones understanding of the Book of Revelation will be greatly aided by a fresh reading of the Daniel 7-8, 2 Thessalonians 2, 2 Peter 3, Zechariah 14, Isaiah 24, Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

-A constant message of the Book of Revelation is this: Be an overcomer. "To him who overcomes" is the constant refrain of Jesus' address to the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. Stay faithful to Christ. Do not compromise your faith. Do not shrink back. Do not turn to the right or the left. In Revelation 13:10, after telling us of persecutions that are to come, the text says; "This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints."

-A big theme of the Book of Revelation is the outpouring of God's righteous judgment upon the earth. All through the Bible we are warned that a Day of Judgment - The Day of the LORD- is coming for sin and for rebellion against God and for the way people have treated the saints of God. As the Book of Revelation unfolds, the judgment of God is often spoken of (7 seals of God's judgment, 7 trumpets of God's judgment, 7 bowls of God's wrath). This day of judgment is about perfect justice and is pictured as longed for by the children of God. In fact, the judgments of Revelation are depicted as an answer to the prayers of the saints (READ Revelation 6:9-11, 8:1-5, 15:1-4), If you are not a follower of Christ, this is a serious thing. Judgment day is coming. The day of accounting is nearing. Get right with God. Here's the best news: On the cross Jesus took the punishment you deserve for your sins. In Christ and a relationship with him, there is no fear of the judgment of God!

-The Book of Revelation tells us the future. This future includes some tough times of persecution and hardship for us who are the followers of Christ. We are told the future, not to scare us- but to prepare us and encourage us-- For Christ is King and our hope is real and secure.

-The chief image of Jesus in the Book of Revelation is of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Thirty times in the Book of Revelation, Jesus is spoken of such. By such reference we are reminded over and over again that our salvation rests not on ourselves but on the once for all sacrifice of Jesus -- who came to earth on a rescue mission, to die on the cross and take the punishment that we deserve for our sins. (perhaps you have been reminded of John's words of awe when he first saw Jesus "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world-- John 1:29)

SEVEN, is a key number in the Book of Revelation. Seven is a number of completion/of fulfillment/ of perfection. On 52 occasions the Book of Revelation speaks of things in seven's.

a. Revelation is written to the 7 churches
b. As John receives this revelation he notes that Jesus stands amidst 7 lamp stands (representing the 7 churches). As Jesus stands there he is pictured as holding 7 stars (representing the 7 protecting angels of the 7 churches) Revelation 1-3.
c. In Revelation 4 the Holy Spirit is depicted by 7 blazing lamps that stand before the throne of God
d. In Revelation 5, Jesus, is presented with a scroll sealed with 7 seals. As he is worshipped in the same manner as God as the Father on the throne was in chapter 4, he opens the 7 seals-- being 7 seals of judgment
e. In Revelation 8, after Jesus opens the seventh seal we are introduced to 7 angels who are given 7 trumpets. As these 7 trumpets are blown, the judgment of God falls upon the inhabitants of the earth for their sin and mistreatment of the saints. During this time, the Book of Revelation tells us that their will be much trouble for the saints of God- for our enemy the Devil will do all he can to harass, persecute, and discourage us.
f. Following the blowing of the 7 trumpets, (Revelation 15), John depicts a scene with 7 angels with seven last plagues. To the 7 angels is given seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God. Such are poured out during the time of the anti Christ/the Beast of the Book of Revelation. (see Revelation 13ff)
g. After the pouring out of the climactic 7th bowl of God's judgment- which is accompanied by the praise and joy of the saints of Heaven- the Book of Revelation depicts Jesus as personally coming to overthrow the Beast and to reign on Earth.

A look at the 2 beasts of Revelation 13

-One of the more unnerving passages of the Book of Revelation is Revelation 13 (read)
-We are not to be afraid of this coming time and these coming ones.
-We are not to compromise. We must resolve to not turn back (starting in the here and now)
-As for the identity of the two principal characters of Rev. 13, we must guard against speculation.
-Many smaller versions of the two characters of Rev. 13 have already come (Roman Emperors, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, etc)
-The doom of Satan (depicted as a dragon in Revelation 12) and the beasts of Revelation 13 is sure. Satan is a defeated foe. Christ is stronger.
-As for the identity of the figures of Revelation 13 we are told in Revelation 17:11 that "Beast" means king/powerful ruler. The word also identifies the person as evil and as in league with Satan. In particular, the 2 beasts of Revelation 13 are Satanically empowered people who will demand that they be worshipped as gods on earth. (such is not a new thing either).
-As for these 2 beasts we are told that as the agents of Satan that they will do all they can to harass and eliminate the followers of Christ. The rationale for their evil behavior is given in Revelation 12 (Satan's hatred for the children of God. Revelation 12:17). We must stand firm and resist them
-Yes, I literally believe that the time will come when these will actually demand worship, perform counterfeit miracles, and restrict the buying and selling of goods to those who are marked by a mark of allegiance to them)****
-Interesting to note that the beast will look and sound like a Savior/Christ figure, yet he will be evil (see v.11). We are reminded that Satan masquerades as angel of light.
-For more info on them and the see: 2 Thessalonians 2, Daniel 7:15-28, Daniel 8


According to the grace and mercy of God: Until the very end there will be an opportunity for people to be saved. Revelation 14:6-7

In 2 Peter 3:9 it says "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

While the Book of Revelation announces God's judgment upon people for their rejection of Him, their disobedience to His commands, and their treatment of His children, their is a continual call for people to be reconciled to God.

Through the last days leading up to Christ, there will be opportunity for people to turn to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Such is the awesome mercy and grace of God who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Consider the words Revelation 14:6-7 "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

This call will be made in the last days during the time of the anti Christ.

As for the call of Christ and the offer of salvation in the last days, we are told two things

a. Some will turn to Christ, many of them will be Jews (See Revelation 7 and Romans 9-11)
b. For the most part, people will refuse God's offer of salvation, peace with Him, and forgiveness. (Revelation 9:20-21 says; "The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."

Regardless of how people respond, we have a message that we are to faithfully take: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

We can't save anyone, but we must be faithful in taking God's message, bearing always in mind that God is merciful, He is loving, with open arms he welcomes those who come to Him in faith and repentance.




CONCLUSION

Next week we are scheduled to read Revelation 16-20. Read it over and over again. Pray and ask for insight. Read Daniel 7-12. Read 2 Thessalonians 2, 2 Peter 3, Zechariah 14 Isaiah 24. Be resolved in your heart- no matter what trial comes your way or what opposition you face for declaring the name of Jesus- to stay faithful----- for God will reward those who stay true to Him

Let us sing "Let your Kingdom come" together.