John, being filled with the Spirit of God, on a Sunday, on the island of Patmos, received the Revelation of Jesus Christ from an angel in order to write what he saw so it would be available to all. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophesy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
In the letters to the seven churches, Jesus urges all people to trust in the Good News and to live by their faith in Jesus. In general, do we ever find it easy to worship the Lord? We are in the end times right now! We should not be paranoid, of course, but setting aside ridiculous and outrageous conspiracy theories, we can tell by the signs that the Day of the Lord is drawing near. Countless phony Christians and hypocrites succumb to worldly pressures and temptations. Think about how many people profess to be believers but their actions tell another story. Countless numbers claim to be Christians, but in actuality, they are ashamed of the gospel message of Christ. False teachers and phony prophets are everywhere, teaching a phony Christ and spreading lies to the naïve. These anti-Christs and anti churches are reaping in hoards of new members, even stealing from Jesus’ own flock. To these counterfeit Christians and false churches, Jesus himself will tell them “depart… for I never knew you.”
Memos to Seven Ancient Christian Churches: John begins with a series of memos, directed to specific ancient churches addressing specific issues. Keep in mind that these words are as applicable today as they were in ancient times.
Memo #1 To Ephesus: You were once courageous and strong in your love & faith, but what happened? You have fallen- turn back to your former dedication! Its not too late now, but if you wait forever, you never know. It could be worse- at least you don’t tolerate the evils of the Nicolaitions.
Memo #2 To Smyrna: Persevere during the tough times and don’t give up. Don’t let the poverty and hardships get you discouraged. The most important thing is this: built up your treasures in Heaven. Your spiritual wealth is greater than you think, and when the Devil tempts you and tests you, keep up your faith and don’t succumb. Keep your eyes on heaven!
Memo #3 To Pergamum: You are right in the midst of Satan’s dominion- you are surrounded by false religion- specifically Balaam worship. God is well aware of this, and you have done well in standing your ground and maintaining your faith. But that is still not an excuse, you can do better. Don’t put up with any false worship or false teachers or idols whatsoever. Don’t compromise or taint your faith just to please others!
Memo #4 To Thyatria: Keep up the good work, God is very pleased with your faith, and service. But watch out for false teachers and prophets that teach lies and lead others astray. Specifically, you need to stop tolerating the false prophet Jezebel. She is destroying the church and faith of many with her lies and immoral ways. To the rest of you, who are aware and discouraged, maintain your faith and hope because false prophets and teachers will get what is coming to them. Those who remain faithful will have their reward in heaven.
Memo #5 To Sardis: You are nothing but hypocrites, and while you may fool men, you are not fooling God. Your phony works won’t save you. Watch out, because if you don’t return to the original message of faith you will be caught off guard when the Lord returns. To any of you who do believe and are faithful, do not fear, your faith will save you.
Memo #6 To Philadelphia: You are spiritually weak, that is true. But you aren’t lost altogether. Though it would be better for you to work on your faith and strength, at least during difficult times, you did not out right deny the Lord. But to those of you who are hypocrites and phonies, you are not fooling the Lord! For the rest of you, hold on to your faith no matter what. Don’t waiver or let fear get the better of you. The Lord will be patient with you.
Memo #7 To Ladocia: There is nothing special about you. You are not pure evil but you really aren’t faithful either. It is as if you couldn’t care less. You are indifferent. You are basically stagnant. You are simply lukewarm. You brag about your material wealth and ignore those who are impoverished and ill. Do you think the Lord is pleased? Not at all. You are sickening in the eyes of the Lord. Its not too late to change your ways. If you do, the Lord will welcome you. In fact, the Lord invites you.
The following description include a lot of symbolism that may have been understood by the contemporary people of 2000 years ago.
A Brief Outline Of What Is To Come
The Seven Seals of the Scroll opened by the lamb
The first seal: Horsemen on white horse sent to conquer man
The second seal: Horsemen on fiery red horse sent to take away peace by causing men to kill eachother.
The third seal: Horsemen on black horse holding scales in his hand which stand for the greed of man.
The fourth seal: Horsemen called Death on pale horse followed by Hades and given the power to kill 1/4 human population by hunger, swords, and beasts.
The fifth seal: Martyrs told they must wait until their number is completed.
The sixth seal: Earthquake occurs, sun becomes black, moon becomes like blood, stars fall from heavy winds, sky recedes, mountains and islands moved .
pre-seventh: Four angels waiting at the four corners of the earth are told not to do anything until God’s people are sealed.. God’s people receive God’s seal on their foreheads. (144,000 people from the 12 tribes of Judah presently at that time alive on earth.).
The seventh seal: Silence in heaven for 1/2 hour. An angel throws a bowl (Censer) filled with fire to the earth causing thunder and lightening and an earthquake.
The Seven Angels With Seven Trumpets
The first trumpet: Hail, fire, blood and the burning of 1/3 grass and 1/3 of the trees.
The second trumpet: Great burning mountain thrown into the sea, 1/3 sea becomes blood, killing 1/3 sea creatures and destroying 1/3 ships.
The third trumpet: Star called Wormwood falls onto 1/3 rivers and springs turning 1/3 of water into wormwood causing the deaths of men
The fourth trumpet: 1/3 sun struck, 1/3 moon struck and 1/3 stars struck causing 1/3 day and 1/3 night not to shine.
The fifth trumpet: Star, with the key to the bottomless pit, thrown down from heaven. Bottomless pit opened, blackening the earth with smoke, and releasing locusts (whose king in Hebrew is Abado, and Apolyon in Greek), tormented those without God’s seal for 5 months.
The sixth trumpet: The four angels from the Euphrates river are unbound. With an army of 200 million horsemen, they kill 1/3 of the population. Those not killed did not repent to God but continued to sin by the worship idols, stealing, lying, immorality, and others...
Pre-seventh: Angel with a little book spoke with a voice of seven thunders which John was told he could not write down since it contained the mystery of God and how the mystery would be completed. John was told to eat the book which tasted sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach. He was then told to measure the temple of God, not including the court where the gentiles (those not of God)will be.
God’s two witnesses and the Three Woes
God sends two witnesses of his Word, and gives them great authority and power to preach the Good News. Man does not accept them, and hates them. As a result they endure the wrath of God they deserve. The Beast, arises from the Bottomless Pit, kills the two witnesses and leaves their bodies to decay in full view for 3 1/2 days in Sodom and Egypt (the spot where Jesus was crucified). Everyone regards the Beast as a hero, and they are joyful. After the 3 1/2 days, the two witnesses are resurrected and they ascend into heaven. An earthquake then occurs causing 1/10 of the city to fall, and killing 7,000 people. The rest give glory to God.
The Seventh trumpet or the third woe: The nations of nonbelievers of the earth are enraged at God’s wrath. It is time for the (first) Judgment. God’s temple is opened and the ark of the covenant is revealed. There is hail thunder lightening and earthquake.
A woman has a male child. The Dragon wants to eat the child who is to rule all the nations. God takes the child to his throne and prepares a place of safer for the woman from the Dragon for 1,260 days in the desert. Michael fights the dragon sending the Devil and his agents to torment the people of earth for a short time. Dragon continues to pursue the woman. The woman is given wings to escape. The Dragon becomes very angry and decides to torment the God’s people who are on earth.
A Beast (with seven horns, seven crowns and blasphemous name) is given authority and power by the Dragon. The Beast who had a mortally wounded, but healed head amazed and received praise from the people. People followed and worshipped the Dragon who gave authority to the Beast, because the Beast seemed to be so great. Many began to blaspheme God. This Beast ruled for 42 months waging war with those few who still followed God, who were written in the Book Of Life, while the others worshipped the Beast.
The Second Beast
Then there came a second Beast who exercised the authority of the first Beast in the presence of the first Beast. The second Beast made people worship the first Beast, while performing many miracles ignored to deceive many people. Then an image is made of the first beast, and the second Beast tells people to worship the image. The second Beast gives life to the image of the first Beast, and the image kills those who do not worship the first Beast. The second Beast gives the mark 666, on the forehead of all who worship the first beast. Unless one has this mark, he can not buy or sell anything.
Jesus Reaps the Harvest
On Mount Zion, the 144,000, given God’s seal, are told to preach the news of God to all. A second angel proclaims that Babylon has fallen and a third angel declares that anyone who worships the beast, who has the 666 mark will suffer the same torment as that of the Beast/Devil. The harvest is ready for Jesus to reap. With the help of angels, the people of God will be separated from the people who are not of God. The temple of the tabernacle of God is opened. Those who have not believed and accepted Jesus, those who do not have the Word of Jesus in their hearts, will suffer God’s just wrath.
The seven Bowls of the seven plagues
“Behold, I come as a thief!” Revelation 16:15 The people of God are prepared, yet, those not of God are not.
The first bowl: All who have the mark of the Beast will become covered with sores.
The second bowl: The sea becomes blood; all sea creatures die.
The third bowl: Springs of water become blood.
The fourth bowl: Men are scorched with fire; still they do not repent and they continue to blaspheme God.
The fifth bowl: The Beast, its kingdom and its worshippers exposed to darkness and pain, still do not repent
The sixth bowl: Euphrates, the river, is dried up in order to prepare the way for three kings. Three bad spirits come forth from the mouths of the False Profit, the Dragon and the Beast (the evil trinity).
The seventh bowl: God’s people are rewarded while the Beast’s follower are punished. “It is done”, declares a loud voice from the temple’s throne. There is lightening, thunder, Earthquakes the great city is split into three parts, mountains and islands fall and men blaspheme God.
Babylon destroys and overcome by God. The followers of evil are punished. People lose their riches and the economic markets are destroyed. Many lament the loss of their wealth due to their greed. The city of great importance to material wealth is destroyed.
Praise is given to God. The Blessed are rewarded. Jesus is exalted. Those who follow God are part of the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride.. The Beast is punished and so are all whom have received his mark. They are killed or thrown into the Lake of Fire. Satan/devil/dragon is bound for 1,000 years in the abyss.
The first resurrection and the 1,000 year reign of Christ
Martyrs and those of God are the first to be resurrected and they reign with Christ for 1,000 years. These are the blessed in which the Second Death has no power.
The second Resurrection
After being bound Saran is released to deceive the nations. Then he is thrown into the Lake of Fire with the Beast and the false profit forever! The rest of the dead, after the 1,000 year reign of Christ is resurrected. All the dead stand before God, books are opened, one book is the Book of Life. Those whose names are written in the book of life are not judged. Those not in the book of life are judged according to their deeds. Anyone not in the book of life is thrown with death and Hades into the Lake of Fire, and this is called the Second Death.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3
Then there is a new heaven and a new earth. All of the old things have passed away. God will be with his people. There will be no more sadness or death.