Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 2 The Description of Jesus

This is one of the most amazing lessons in the Book of Revelation. This small section in chapter one is a rather lengthy description of Jesus. What a lot of people don’t realize is, this description is broken down and distributed among the seven churches. Why is it broken down and distributed? That repeats the lesson we have already read about and covered in the previous chapter. Gather all the facts and study them. Here we will list the example Jesus gave us to study.

Revelation 1:12-16 MKJV (12) And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. (13) And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band. (14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like a flame of fire. (15) And His feet were like burnished brass having been fired in a furnace. And His voice was like the sound of many waters. (16) And He had seven stars in His right hand, and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. And His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

It may be easier to make a list from the text above and put it together with the text from the letters to the seven churches.

And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and tied around the breast with a golden band.

Revelation 2:1 MKJV To the angel of the church of Ephesus write: He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, says these things.

Revelation 1:17-18 MKJV (17) And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, Do not fear, I am the First and the Last, (18) and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.

Revelation 2:8 MKJV And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The First and the Last, who became dead and lived, says these things:

and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword

Revelation 2:12 MKJV And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write: He who has the sharp sword with two edges says these things.

And His eyes were like a flame of fire. And His feet were like burnished brass having been fired in a furnace

Revelation 2:18 MKJV And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, He who has His eyes like a flame of fire and His feet like burnished metal, says these things:

I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands I saw One like the Son of man

Revelation 1:19-20 MKJV (19) Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be after this, (20) the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

Revelation 3:1 MKJV And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things. I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.

Revelation 1:17-18 MKJV (17) And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, Do not fear, I am the First and the Last, (18) and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.

Revelation 3:7 MKJV And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts; and shuts and no one opens, says these things:

Revelation 1:4-5 MKJV John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; (5) even from Jesus Christ the faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

Revelation 3:14 MKJV And to the angel of the church of the Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Head of the creation of God, says these things:

Of course the description of Jesus is also scattered throughout the first chapter of Revelation as well as the entire Bible. The lesson being, we have to search to find all the descriptions and stories about Jesus. This may seem like a difficult task for some people. But how many people claim to love Jesus? Shouldn’t they put time and effort into that love affair? Doesn’t that make sense? Is that asking too much from a God who gave His life for you, me, and the rest of this planet? So we need to put in a little effort into collecting all the details about Jesus. I think Jesus used the perfect example at the beginning of Revelation to make the perfect point. Number one. Not many people have taken the time to study Jesus in Revelation. What does that tell you? Their mentality when the approach the Bible. They are more concerned with this planet than the God who created it. The Creator of this world is one of the descriptions included.

When we look at the letters to the seven churches we also see other sets of parallel messages. Among other things, we see what each church did right, what they did wrong, and a description of Heaven. We also see an emphasis on learning. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Since we studied the first chapter in Revelation, we know we have to learn at Jesus’ feet. There is no other source of reliable information. Now we will see how this study rule applies to other subjects in those letters to the seven churches.

Revelation 2:2-3 MKJV I know your works and your labor and your patience, and how you cannot bear those who are evil. And you tried those pretending to be apostles, and are not, and have found them liars. (3) And you have borne, and have patience, and for My name’s sake you have labored and have not fainted.

Revelation 2:9 MKJV I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich), and I know the blasphemy of those saying themselves to be Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:13 MKJV I know your works, and where you live, even where Satan’s seat is . And you hold fast My name and have not denied My faith, even in those days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.

Revelation 2:19 MKJV I know your works and love and service and faith and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first.

Revelation 3:2-3 MKJV Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die. For I have not found your works being fulfilled before God. (3) Remember then how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

Revelation 3:8 MKJV I know your works. Behold, I have given before you an open door, and no one can shut it. For you have a little strength and have kept My Word and have not denied My name.

Revelation 3:18-20 MKJV (18) I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent. (20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.

Once we put all the good aspects of every church together, we get a much better view of what a good church is. I know a lot of people and denominations claim, they are the last day church, the church of Laodicea. By doing that, they omit the lessons recorded for the other churches. The first church had patience. Isn’t patience still a factor today? What about their works and labor? I know words and labor are bad words for some denominations. Maybe that’s why they choose to take another route by creating a new way of viewing the letters to those churches. Then we hit a big one. Ephesus knew how to test and verify people were false apostles. In other words, they knew the scriptures. They knew the Old Testament and knew what Jesus’ real apostles wrote and taught. They had the truth and knew how to compare the truth to lies and half lies Satan was spreading around. Is that attribute dead and gone? Is that type of knowledge and dedication a thing of the past? Is that old fashion? According to some preachers it is. According to them, Ephesus is a thing of the past and should be ignored.

I wish one of those teachers could present a shred of evidence proving their theories. They make claims that those seven churches reflect the history of the church, but only point to Laodicea, the last church. When we look at those two chapters, and chapter 1, there is no evidence of time setting. There is no timeline involved. The invention of a timeline is man made and built upon a foundation of speculation.

The last day church should reflect at least a few of the attributes recorded in the letter to Laodicea. The last day church should also display attributes listed for the other six churches. The last day church should have patience, know how to tell the truth from lies, they should have knowledge of all the scriptures, they should hold fast to Jesus, and keep the faith.

As a matter of fact, when we look at Laodicea, we don’t find a lot of positive traits. We see a church teetering on the brink of destruction because they lack the spiritual eyesight and fortitude to do the works the other churches are known for. So the last day church lacks spiritual eyesight like Laodicea. Does that mean they can’t study the scriptures because that’s the way its supposed to be? Was that Jesus’ plan? To withhold the ability to understand His written word? I doubt if that is true. But when you listen to some of those people preach about Laodicea, you walk away with that impression. And what good is that attitude? You skip over the letters to the other six churches. You don’t care what those letters said because you’ve been trained to ignore their message. You have 1/7 of the message and you are convinced, that’s the way it is supposed to be. You are happy being in a rut, because someone told you to stay where you are. So like a well trained dog, you sit and wait for the next command. You don’t see how works and other related words are mentioned eight times. People are telling you works is dead, gone, buried, only for the Jews, and other excuses to keep you away from those other letters. You ignore the instructions Jesus wrote to six churches, but concentrate on the pitfalls of one church. And where does that get you?

It seems the devil has been hard at work trying to keep as many people as he can away from those letters to the other six churches. And his work is largely successful. Those other letters warn about the devil creeping in. And tell us how to avoid that situation. Maybe that’s what the devil wants you to ignore. Maybe the devil doesn’t want you to see the Bible Study lesson involved in those seven letters. The last thing the devil wants is people collecting all the information in the Bible on a subject so it can be studied as a whole. That method of study can and will identify the fake apostles and false prophets. That study rule will expose Satan, his tricks, and plans. Satan wants to keep people away from that information. Jesus wants you to learn and use that study method. That’s why Jesus had John record this exercise in the first three chapters in Revelation. And will will use that study method throughout this book. That is what I want to base this book on. Collecting all the information on a number of subjects in Revelation.

The next set of subjects is a combination of the poor attributes those churches had and a set of warnings. What to watch out for. It takes a little time to copy and paste those sections into a set of lists. For some of the churches the information is a little off topic. For some churches Jesus listed some of the poor qualities they had to deal with. Jesus told some of the churches what to watch out for, because Jesus knew the devil’s plans, and saw what he was able to accomplish in other churches. Wouldn’t you consider all that that valuable information in the last days?

Revelation 2:4-6 MKJV But I have against you that you left your first love. (5) Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and will remove your lampstand out of its place unless you repent. (6) But you have this, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Revelation 2:10 MKJV Do not at all fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison, so that you may be tried. And you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 2:14-16 MKJV (14) But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. (15) So you also have those who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (16) Repent! But if not I will come to you quickly, and will fight with them by the sword of My mouth.

Revelation 2:20-24 MKJV (20) But I have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to cause My servants to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat idol-sacrifices. (21) And I gave her time that she might repent of her fornication, and she did not repent. (22) Behold, I am throwing her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent of their deeds. (23) And I will kill her children with death. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches the reins and hearts, and I will give to every one of you according to your works. (24) But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak, I will put on you no other burden.

Revelation 3:3 MKJV Remember then how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

Revelation 3:9-11 MKJV Behold, I give out of those of the synagogue of Satan, those saying themselves to be Jews and are not, but lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. (10) Because you have kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the habitable world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. (11) Behold, I come quickly. Hold fast to that which you have, so that no one may take your crown.

Revelation 3:17-19 MKJV (17) Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, (18) I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be clothed, and so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear. And anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; therefore be zealous and repent.

The last set of details Jesus gave to the churches was a short vision of Heaven. This is one of the most amazing parts and examples using this form of study method. Each church received one little vision of Heaven. Put them all together and you have a much larger, more detailed vision of Heaven.

Revelation 2:7 MKJV He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11 MKJV He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.

Revelation 2:17 MKJV He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give to him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he who receives it .

Revelation 2:26-29 MKJV (26) And he who overcomes and keeps My works to the end, to him I will give power over the nations. (27) And he will rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter they will be broken to pieces, even as I received from My Father. (28) And I will give him the Morning Star. (29) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3:4-6 MKJV You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. (5) The one who overcomes, this one will be clothed in white clothing. And I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (6) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3:11-13 MKJV (11) Behold, I come quickly. Hold fast to that which you have, so that no one may take your crown. (12) Him who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name. (13) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3:20-22 MKJV (20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me. (21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne. (22) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

It’s not by accident that Jesus included a view of Heaven in each of the letters to the churches. The descriptions were meant to be gathered and studied as a whole. Christians should have a basic understanding of Jesus, how He communicates with us, and a vision of Heaven to share. What is a Christian without those three things?

When we have a vision of Heaven, we have an opening to begin a conversation with almost anyone. We are always prepared to share the Gospel, tell a story, let people know there is a better choice, and a better life ahead. We are always prepared to encourage fellow Christians. And we have a reason to approach God’s throne without fear.

It’s not surprising that every church is told, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Jesus repeated this for a reason. He wants the churches to listen to Him. He wants the churches to be trained, and ready to face every opportunity and trial. Jesus wants the churches to know, they are not in this fight alone. Jesus wants the churches to know about Heaven and tell the world about Heaven. The message is obvious. When we see words like that repeated seven times, we can’t help but pay attention.

What does it mean to have an ear and hear? The answer should be obvious on the physical as well as the spiritual side. Jesus is more than spiritual. Jesus is not an unknown, unseen entity we cannot see or hear. We can hear Jesus when we learn to listen. We can listen in prayer, life experiences, and of course when we read His messages. Our hearing is honed when we combine all three. And there may be other ways of listening to Jesus. We know listening requires work, time, dedication, and concentration.

That completes our study on two rules that Jesus established and wrote about to prepare us for the rest of Revelation. We just passed our elementary training. We know how to look for repeated words and phrases. We also know how to gather all the information on a subject, put it together, and study all the facts we are able to gather. Now we are ready to look at other subjects in Revelation.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 1 The Beginning of Rules in Revelation

What sets this book of Revelation apart from thousands of other books? Number one, this book is not written to reveal anything about Revelation or any type of future prophecies. On the contrary, the Book of Revelation reveals the meaning of the visions John saw, the symbols God uses, and the timeline recorded in Revelation. The Book of Revelation is designed so we see exactly how John’s book explains each and every detail. It is not my intent to guess at any prophecy or insist I have any type of special gift available to a select few people. I do not rely on the world to fill in the blanks people claim the Book of Revelation has. John’s book has no blank sections. John recorded exactly what he was told to record in the order Jesus provided the information.

Within Revelation is a series of lessons showing us how to read and study the book. As well as other books in the Bible. One of the most important rules is to gather all the information on a particular subject. When chapter one is combined with chapters two and three, that rule is evident. The remainder of Revelation further verifies that rule.

Revelation Bible StudyMy intent is to go through the Book of Revelation from cover to cover showing how John’s book reveals a few easy to use study rules that must be followed. The entire Book of Revelation was inspired from Heaven. Jesus wrote the entire book and placed special instructions throughout the book. In fact, those same instructions and rules are found throughout the Bible.

One of the first rules we want to test is, the rule of introductions and summaries. The first few sentences in a chapter or book sets the theme for that chapter and of course introduces the main idea. What do we find in the first few sentences in Revelation?

Revelation 1:1-3 NLTse This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, (2) who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (3) God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

Like many other books in the Bible, John sets the tone for an inspired manuscript by explaining how he received this message and who gave him that message. In this case the message was given to John by Jesus. This should peak our interest. Jesus pointed out one important detail at the beginning of His message. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.”

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
You can download the EBook here.

We have to first READ the Book of Revelation. Jesus described the Book of Revelation as one long message. No where in Revelation does Jesus tell anyone to separate or segregate one prophecy in Revelation from the others. The timeline in Revelation is very important. Without the other prophecies, the timeline is lost. That is one thing that causes most of the problems we see in modern day interpretations. The world has adopted a study method not found or explained in the Book of Revelation or anywhere else in the Bible. The art of taking one or two sentences out of the Bible and running to the news media in this world, or any other source originating in this world is a man made study rule. It is a rule designed with no rules at all. Taking one or two sentences out of scripture and using the world to interpret that passage is a free for all, no holds barred form of Bible Study. In this book we will take the Book of Revelation step by step to see how Jesus explained sound study methods. After all Jesus, “blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says.”

One of the first things you want to do when you begin studying anything in the Bible is to look at the introduction. We already saw why that is important. Now we can look at the last few lines in Revelation chapter 1 to see what details Jesus added to His opening message.

Revelation 1:17-20 NLTse (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (19) “Write down what you have seen–both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Jesus introduced Himself to John by using a few symbols. This is important. When we see Jesus using symbols to introduce and describe Himself, we know how Jesus set the tone for the entire book of Revelation. Jesus introduced symbols. Jesus knows how to use those symbols, and Jesus knows how to explain what those symbols mean. In short, Jesus is the source of those symbols, and the only reliable source who can explain the meaning of each and every symbol in Revelation. Going outside that source is turning your back on Jesus. Going to other sources can be compared to idol worship. Even relying on yourself crosses the line Jesus established in His conversation with John.

Jesus explained exactly what those seven stars, angels, and lampstands represent. Jesus is the author of Revelation. The author chooses which symbols they will use, and what those symbols represent. No one else in the world can over ride the author. And in this case, the Author of Revelation is the One who will decide the final outcome of the judgment process. When we put the introduction together with the information found at the end of the chapter, we can see the warnings involved. Along with those warnings, we see specific instructions designed to keep us inline with the wishes of the Author. Jesus wants us to understand every detail in Revelation. And Jesus established the foundation of that understanding.

If we were to turn the page, we would see how the end of chapter 1 introduced the subject matter in chapter 2. That tells us, Revelation was written much like any other novel. You would never skip a chapter in a novel that interests you. So why skip chapters in Revelation?

At this point we are going jump to the very end of Revelation to see how it parallels the summation in chapter 1.

Revelation 22:18-21 NLTse (18) And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. (19) And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. (20) He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (21) May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

By design the warning at the end of the book echos the information at the beginning of the book. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” The introduction to Revelation contains the blessing. The end of Revelation contains the curses. Put the two together and we see how the first few and last few sentences create book stand to hold the entire book together. The warning in Revelation is obvious to most people. But its spiritual meaning is lost without the blessing. Without the blessing, what do we have?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
The Print Book is Available on Amazon.

The blessing establishes the Christlike attitude we need to approach the Book of Revelation as well as share the information revealed. When we put Jesus in the center of our studies, we can’t loose. We may not have everything revealed to us on the first, second, or even twelfth attempt. But we will continue to see details we missed. That is one way Jesus keeps us humble. Don’t forget, Revelation is an inspired book and we have to accept lessons designed for personal, spiritual growth.

We don’t want to skip over any details in Revelation chapter 1. This chapter sets the ground work of understanding. Jesus told us, this book is designed for those in His church to read and understand.

Revelation 1:4-6 NLTse This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; (5) and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. (6) He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

When we see the word, Amen, that tells us, this is a good place to stop, go back, and review the information presented. We see how John introduced himself as the messenger. The one who penned the inspired words. We see how John introduced Jesus using a series of symbols. It may seem rather strange to see how Jesus used those same symbols at the end of the chapter to describe Himself. We have to look at a number of reasons why chapter 1 used that particular pattern.

The Bible uses something referred to as repetition. Certain words or phrases are repeated to attract the readers attention. In most cases, those words and phases carry a spiritual meaning the casual reader will miss. It may seem rather strange for John to introduce Jesus with a set of symbols, then to see Jesus repeat that same series of symbols. Jesus is establishing a few general rules here. Jesus knows the meaning of each and every symbol. In this particular example, Jesus is using John to show us how He is able to meet and work with us on whatever level we are on. Yes there are different levels of learning. There are different levels of spiritual awareness. It wasn’t by accident that Jesus used spiritual symbols to emphasis that point. We know it is an important point based on the fact we see those words and phrases repeated. So remember, the author repeats words and phrases to catch our attention. At that point we have no other choice than to review the information so we do not miss its spiritual meaning.

We also saw how we had to gather all the information in the chapter before the spiritual meaning was unlocked. Collecting all the information on a subject is another important rule we need to follow.

We have the opportunity to collect information. The kingdom of priests is a phrase used in only a few stories in the Bible. The first time it was mentioned was a short time after God freed Israel from the slavery in Egypt.

Exodus 19:3-6 NLTse Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: (4) ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (5) Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. (6) And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”

Of course Israel instantly accepted the invitation. But after hearing the Ten Commandment, most of the Israelites changed their mind. They told Moses to talk to God and fill them in on the details.

We just leaned another valuable lesson. The term, kingdom of priests led us to another story with a vital connection. Jesus asks us to follow His commands as a condition to understanding the message. When we look at the original offer to becomes God’s kingdom of priests, we can’t help but notice the Ten Commandments. A link no one in their right mind could deny.

That’s exactly what we are looking for. Links in the Bible that explain the spiritual meaning of the message at hand. What is a priest dedicated to God? The Bible tells us, it is a person who keeps God’s commandments. That is one clue. Of course some people will argue, that is only for the Old Testament people. Is it? We can look at a few additional facts from the Bible.

1 Peter 2:5-10 NLTse And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. (6) As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (7) Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” (8) And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. (9) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (10) “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

Peter tied in God’s holy priesthood with the spiritual temple designed with Christ as the corner stone. Once we examine the link between these books, we can’t help but find how one story explains the other. Some people find it difficult to explain what that spiritual temple is. When we look at what Peter explained, and what Christ added in Revelation, there is no other definition than God’s people who take up the priesthood originally offered when God took Israel out of Egypt.

Some churches have long drawn out rules and regulations describing what they think a priest is, who can be a priest, and other aspects about priests and pastors they claim are Biblical. The fact of the matter is, Peter described a priest as a part of that spiritual temple. Jesus described that priesthood as anyone who reads and understand His message in Revelation. That can be a can of worms in modern Christianity. Almost every church claims they can read, understand, and interpret Revelation. Many churches claim their powers of interpretation prove they are some type of chosen or special church. Some claim to be the only true church. Many of those claims are centered on the Book of Revelation. Those claims are based on a few select lines in Revelation. When we look at those sentences as they were recorded, and where they lead us, we see quite a different story.

Some of the most popular priests or pastors today host television shows that concentrate on Revelation and prophecy. Week after week they make predictions. Week after week they prove their spiritual connection with Jesus is false and misleading. Their predictions rarely come true. Or as so vague, they hold little water. When we look at the kingdom of priests Jesus, Moses, and Peter described, we see the Biblical meaning of a priest. Which of course is far different than the earthly definition. The same is true for the majority of visions, symbols, and prophecies taken from Revelation and interpreted using any other method than those described in the Bible.

Based on the fact most churches boast about their knowledge of Revelation, no one can argue the fact, Jesus’ priests are those who read and understand His message. There is no other source of training required outside the Bible. With that in mind, we will continue to look at Revelation chapter 1.

Revelation 1:7-8 NLTse Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him– even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! (8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.”

John took a giant leap from his time to Jesus’ return. John must have jumped ahead for a reason. Remember how we jumped ahead to look at the last few sentences in Revelation? We followed a study rule. Look what we found. Now we find John sending us to the last chapter in Revelation. See how those connections exist inside scripture? We have a guide in Jesus’ Spirit. What more do we need?

Revelation 1:9-11 MKJV I, John, who also am your brother and companion in the affliction, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the island that is called Patmos, for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (10) I came to be in the Spirit in the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (11) saying, I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Also, What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Jesus being the first and last, the Alpha and Omega repeat throughout the first chapter. We can’t ignore that fact. We have to put that information in its place. Jesus is the Teacher. He is the first and last source of information for us to rely on. We don’t need any other source of information. We also see how this letter was to go out to the frontier of the Christian world. There is a lesson is that. We still have Christian frontiers.

The testimony of Christ is another phrase we have to look up. It is mentioned in a couple of stories in Revelation. This gives us the opportunity to look at other parts of the story, put the details together, and see what they say.

Revelation 6:9-11 MKJV And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held. (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Until when, Master, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? (11) And white robes were given to each one of them. And it was said to them that they should rest yet for a little time, until both their fellow servants and their brothers (those about to be killed as they were ) should have their number made complete.

When we read the description of the fifth seal, we see the price may be rather high. Following the testimonies of Jesus, which is described as reading and understanding His message is not going to be a bed of roses, or an easy road to travel. If we were merely reading Revelation, it would have taken us five more chapters before we got to that part of the message. Collecting all the information on what Jesus’ testimony is took us directly to that information.

Revelation 12:15-17 MKJV (15) And the serpent cast out of his mouth water like a flood after the woman, so that he might cause her to be carried away by the river. (16) And the earth helped the woman. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. (17) And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Here John once again tied in God’s commandments with Jesus’ testimony. None of us made that connection a second time. Jesus the Author did. Again we see how rough the road is. We also see who is responsible for adding all those bumps and pot holes in the road. We also see why the devil is angry. He tried to kill the baby Jesus. Satan is angry because he failed. So Satan took that anger and focused it on the people who continued to follow Jesus.

Revelation 19:7-10 MKJV (7) Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. (9) And he said to me, Write, Blessed are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God. (10) And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Of course Jesus is going to describe the benefits in store for those who follow His Word. The road may be rough, but the destination is well worth the journey. Jesus doesn’t hide anything. He gives us the good news, and the warnings. Jesus tells us how rough the journey is going to be before He explains the benefits.

What is that prophecy John is trying to explain here? When people take that one line out of the story, they tend to drift off in different directions. In most cases they attempt to link that one line about Jesus’ testimony and prophecy to their church, and the advanced knowledge they claim to have. Thus far we have seen no evidence to support such a claim. On the contrary, we have written evidence telling us, Jesus’ church is made up of those who accept the role of priest with full knowledge of the pitfalls and benefits. There is no mention of weekly paychecks, degrees, retirement funds, collecting funds, and the other roles mankind has attached to the priesthood. You won’t find those roles in Revelation because that was never part of Jesus’ message.

On the other hand, understanding this letter is a part of Jesus’ promise, and a part of the benefit package. Not the way the world understands, or tries to explain John’s book. but the way Jesus designed Revelation to be explained and understood. The more we study Revelation, the more will will see and understand that difference.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 5 Johns Description of God’s Throne

It may come as a surprise to some people when they read the literally progression Jesus used to write the Book of Revelation. Jesus used the same literally progression all successful writers use. Jesus first described a scene, then the events that occurred in that scene.

Of course we are supposed to compare the Tabernacle built on this planet to the actual Heavenly Sanctuary containing God’s throne. The Tabernacle consisted of symbols. People have been studying those symbols for generations. So why not study John’s eyewitness account of Heaven?

Revelation 4:3-6 KJV And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (4) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (5) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (6) And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

What exactly did John see? Were all those gem stones John used to describe God’s throne real, symbols, or both? Writers do one thing with symbols. Writers use symbols to captivate the imagination. Writers also define those symbols. Why look for the definition of a symbol when the author doesn’t provide one? I guess that is human nature.

Some people may say, “John used the best words he could to describe God’s throne.” John didn’t write Revelation, Jesus did. All John did was dictate Jesus’ words. So we have to ask why Jesus used a series of gems to describe His Father’s throne.

In this world gems are a thing of value. But Heaven does not operate on the currency method this world uses. In Heaven, currency is a foreign, unknown subject. So throw out all those man made concepts centered on currency. As a matter of fact, that is what Revelation chapter 4 is trying to convey with this description of God’s throne. We cannot reply on any earthly item, material, concept, idea, or doctrine to describe God’s throne. We have to rely on the Author who just happens to have a seat next to God’s throne. If we turn to any source outside of Jesus, all we are ever going to receive is a false interpretation.

Jesus told John to use gemstones to describe God’s thrown for a reason. Look at the rainbow. What story does that point us to?

Genesis 9:12-16 KJV21 And God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: (13) I do set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. (14) And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud. (15) And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. (16) And the rainbow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Purchase the eBook here

That rainbow was a symbol of a reminder. Jesus wants us to see God’s throne has a rainbow around it. A constant reminder of God’s covenant with us. One in a long list of covenants. When we look at the Ark, it is referred to as the Ark of testimony, and the Ark of the covenant. Now that we’ve read the description of God’s throne, we are shown how God has a constant reminder surrounding His throne. But why does God need a reminder? For us that rainbow is a symbol showing us how we need to constantly review all the covenants God made with this world and all its people.

I know a lot of doctrines insist there are old and new covenants and only a select few matter anymore. But who is making those choices? Is there clear evidence in the Bible telling us to ignore some of God’s covenants, and pay attention to others? Or is that claim another man made concept? I think we hit upon another subject to study. So far in our studies we’ve seen how important it is to gather all the facts and read the entire story. We’ve learned how Satan loves to hide the majority of facts found in those stories. Time to cast off those chains and approach God’s throne for answers.

Jesus also described His Father by using gemstones. A jasper and sardine stone. What do those stones mean? A quick glance at a Concordance will tell us, jasper is a gem stone. The base word means to polish. Sardine is also a gemstone with a base word which simply means stone. Put the two base meanings together and we have a new view of God polishing a stone. That takes us to a number of stories. “Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel. (Exodus 28:9 NLTse). Another is found in a previous chapter in Revelation. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17 NLTse).

There are of course other stories you can choose from. In the examples I supplied, I showed how the base words for those two stones led us back in Revelation as well as to another story about the Tabernacle. When people say, “the Lord works in mysterious ways,” I wish they would supply examples like this. Every time we turn around, God’s Word is proving it is inspired.

Jesus also described twenty elders wearing crowns. Jesus is not the only one at God’s throne. God has somehow dictated responsibility in Heaven. Doesn’t God do the same thing here on earth? God could show Himself to this world at any moment, answer every question in heartbeat, prove He exists, and send a whole list of false doctrines, ideas, and concepts to the grave. Many people ask why He doesn’t operate that way. Jesus showed us why. It’s God’s policy to dictate responsibilities. He does it in Heaven and earth. Who are we to argue. Jesus described those people as elders. People who learned a lot through experience. When we are on the right tract to God’s throne, we can see those lessons and learning curve in our life. In a sense, those elders are symbols we can understand. But we are only going to understand when we are on the right path and in the proper frame of mind.

What about that lightning and thunder? Is Jesus using that as a symbol to point to Himself or another story?

Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him. Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. (John 12:28-31 NLTse).

We will never know what those stories will tell us if we never read them. In John’s Gospel, Jesus talked about the judgment, and thunder. Some people only hear the rumble. Some people hear the message. The evidence given in the Bible is self explanatory.

Then we get to that sea of glass. Why did Jesus use that symbol? I saw before me what seemed to be a glass sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:2-4 NLTse).

Looking ahead in Revelation, we see how that sea of glass represents the victory God’s saints will secure over Satan and this world. There is no guess work involved when we let the Bible explain itself. Of course we have to examine the context. Since both visions originate in Heaven, we are assured there is a connection.

Of course God’s throne has its seven lamps, which are the seven Spirits of God. Since we know the lamp in the Tabernacle is linked to God’s Word and how it guides us, we now have a link to the Spirit and how He guides us through our studies of scripture.

It’s amazing how a look at a few key words can clear up so many questions. It’s even more amazing how the story identified those symbols. Each may have used a different method, but each had a per-designed method embedded in this story. The methods are rather simple to use and didn’t rely on any input from this world. What we need to remember is, Jesus arranged every word in the Bible. When we see descriptions of Heaven, we are seeing how Jesus views Heaven.

Revelation Bible Study

Revelation

People often look at Revelation as a book shrouded in mystery, or a book locked away by God. That could not be further from the truth. Revelation is a letter from Jesus to the saints. Revelation is an open book to the saints. Revelation is locked by people who choose to ignore the obvious messages Jesus included in His letter.

This section on Revelation looks at Revelation as a letter from Christ. This concept is not unique, but a view of Revelation many authors shared over 150 years ago. The Book of Revelation follows a unique sequence. The events this world has endured and will face in the future are recorded in the proper sequence in Revelation. The problem people face is the fact they miss the obvious timeline Revelation contains. John was shown the proper timeline. John was shown a future he could not possibly understand. After each vision an angel stood next to John to explain the visions and symbols. The angel would back up to John’s time and then explain how events lead to the visions he witnessed. When we understand those timelines, we begin to understand the future John was shown. Studies in this section explain those timelines and why they were shown to John in the sequence recorded.

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

How to Approach God’s Throne

I felt I had to take a break from Revelation to add in a sort of educational chapter. After reading and writing about Revelation chapter 4, I asked a number of people if it was still possible to approach God’s throne. For the most part, people didn’t want to answer, or didn’t know the answer. But a few did.

Approaching God’s throne is a personal matter. Each person has their own unique way of approaching God’s throne. Some people skip God’s throne while still meeting personally with Jesus while others grasp onto the theme in Hebrews chapter 4 telling us to, “boldly stand before God’s throne.” Let’s face it, personally talking with God and Jesus have been a rather obscure subject to say the least. Either people will agree or disagree. Few people will look at the subject of approaching God’s throne and a learning opportunity. There are a few, but that is a minority of people. An even smaller minority are those who want to share their moments at God’s throne. Those people are few and far between.

When it comes to direct communication with God, doubters go as far back as Moses. No one heard God’s voice for about 400 years. Then one day this well known figure, who could have, and should have done something about slavery in Egypt when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne shows up dressed like a common shepherd. What happened Moses? You were a prince then disappeared. Now your back here telling us God is going to free us from slavery. Why didn’t you do something about it when you were a prince?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
Download the complete eBook

It seems God placed Moses in a tight spot. Moses could have taken action when he was next to Pharaoh’s throne. In a sense, Moses did take action by killing a single Egyptian. That didn’t solve anything. Moses had no idea about the big picture. Maybe God had a plan to use Moses when he was in Pharaoh’s court. We have no way of knowing if Moses altered God’s plan to a certain degree. That will be interesting to find out when we get to Heaven. In the long run, God had a plan that worked. In hindsight, Moses placed himself in a tight spot.

No Israelite in Egypt heard God’s voice for over 400 years. Of course they prayed. If you were a slave, you would be praying to. But God didn’t answer. So when Moses showed up and said he talked with God, people doubted. We are still plagued with that mentality. Try sharing something new with someone who thinks they have a direct line with God. Some people have the attitude, “if God didn’t go through them with a message, that message must have come from the other side.” I’ve run into that mentality many times. I ask them how they communicate with God, and they normally shot back with a few verses about false prophets, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand. But those verses about false prophets is their man made defense mechanism they use for every circumstance they don’t agree with.

It took a few choice miracles or plagues, depending on their point of view to convince people, Moses was meeting with God and delivering messages from God. And then there was Pharaoh. The guy who knew each and every one of those Egyptian gods were fake. He thought he was in control and that God Moses talked about was as fake as the gods Pharaoh and his family made up. Pharaoh was a tough nut to crack. In his world everything outside his control was fake. People still have that mentality today.

Eventually God got Israel out of Egypt and into an environment they could mellow out and think. One day God decided to show Himself to Israel so they could believe He was real and could talk to them. Of course every Israelite that left Egypt with Moses saw all those plagues. They saw Egyptian crops being ruined as their crops flourished. They saw Egyptian cattle dying when not one of their cows or sheep showed any signs of being sick. They saw water turn to blood, hail from from the sky, frogs, locusts, and other bugs controlled by God. They should have had a firm belief in God. Something went wrong. After spending their entire lives learning how to fear every god from A to Z, that fear clung onto Israel like the chains that kept them as slaves. Since they were used to someone telling them what the gods demanded, they asked Moses to play that part as a go between themselves and God.

God offered the priesthood to every Israelite that came out of Egypt. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6 KJV). They turned down that offer.

We see the same pattern repeated when Jesus began His ministry. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (Luke 4:28-30 KJV).

No one seemed to hear God’s voice for a few hundred years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Once again God was silent for a time, and people just thought that pattern would continue. Or they invented new ways to make people think, God spoke to a select few in some mysterious way. So don’t ask for details, just follow their lead.

After the apostles, the same thing happened. No one seemed to hear God’s voice. It seemed the contact with the Holy Spirit Jesus promised was meant for a few choice people, and when they died, this world was left to figure things out on their own. The world grew dark and it seemed it needed a new religious leader. So a group of people got together and selected the most likely candidates God would eventually speak to. One after another was set in solitude to see if they heard God’s voice. After a number of attempts, one man came out of the room and told the committee, he heard God’s voice. That was good enough for that pious committee. They made that man their new leader and created a new religion based on the belief that God talks to one man here in earth, and the rest of the world has to follow dictates from that single man for God to bless this earth. That concept has stuck with this world ever since, and people who don’t fall in line are looked upon as outcasts or part of a cult. The devil won. He convinced the majority of this world that concept of one man between themselves and God was the only choice this world had. For some reason people read the Bible, and instead of taking God’s Word, and following God’s instructions, they decided to take the word of slaves. They decided that the choice that group of slaves made was the only choice. Scholars sipped right over God’s offer to be a nation of priests and clung onto the decision that Israel made. They convinced themselves and much of this world that Israel’s decision was somehow inspired. Reading that story the way it was written shows how Israel rebelled against God. But Satan took out the few words he needed to form a new religion, and had his agents spread it all over the world. Satan thought he had his prison door shut and locked. But God has always been at His best when it came to reaching people in prison.

Today it is rare to find people who approach God’s throne. It is rare to find people who know anything about approaching God’s throne. Or are open minded enough to learn anything about approaching God’s throne. Why is that? We just covered a few of the concepts the devil found to be effective. There are more. Take out a few choice lines in the Old Testament, add in a long speech about how God chose a few choice prophets to talk to, and you have a theology that forges the same chains that one man concept created. In the long run, the devil doesn’t want anyone to approach God’s throne, talk to Jesus, work with the Holy Spirit, or read scripture. Those are a few things the devil fears the most.

As soon as you enter God’s presence, you are in a place the devil can’t touch you. His influence is gone, and you are opening yourself to total, untainted truth. The thing is, you have to learn to put away so many thing this world has taught you. But when you approach God’s throne, you take the first step to separating truth from fiction.

I’ve talked to a number of people over the past week to get their view points on approaching God’s throne. It’s good to know God still has a number of people who will talk to Him. It may seem rather strange to think of God as feeling lonely or rejected. After all, God has billions or requests to deal with from billions of people everyday. God hears their prayers. People ask for favors, blessings, and ask God to deal with countless situations every second of every day. God knows how to deal with each of those situations. If you ever approached God’s throne, you know how God will tell you how to deal with your situation. God will give you step by step instructions you can’t argue with. If you follow those instructions, the problem is solved. The problem is, the devil is watching, and launches a hundred more attacks.

At times God will take you back a few steps to remind you how you got yourself into that mess. God is also a Teacher and Father who never wants you to repeat your mistakes. Correction from God may be a little difficult for some people to accept. That is one reason some people avoid God’s throne. You just have to learn to get over your pride.

I have may own way of approaching God’s throne. It may not be right for you, but at least you have something to think about. I look at Jesus as a way to God’s throne. To me it makes sense to cleanse myself, to make myself pure enough to approach God’s throne. After all, Aaron the high priest had to wash himself and dress in the proper way to enter the Tabernacle and to offer a sacrifice. I ask Jesus to be forgiven for my sins and to be cleansed. Then I find myself in God’s presence. Not so much to make requests, but to listen and learn. I may ask one question, then another. I may go through three or four questions before I hear a response. When I do hear a response, I know it is God’s voice. I could never second guess or argue with any of the answers God offers. They make total sense. God backs them up with stories from scripture. God’s answers are often verified by real life events that confirm His answers and messages.

There are of course as many ways to approach God’s throne as there are people. We all have our own unique personalities. One person may see God’s throne as this, another as that. When we approach God’s throne, we have respect for other people and their stories about being at God’s throne. There is no doubt about that.

The thing about books like Revelation is, people tend to get caught up with trying to figure out the future. That’s something the devil has planted in our brains. The devil wants people to believe, if they can figure out the future, that somehow draws them closer to God. That could not be further from the truth. Common sense tells us, God knows everything about the future. So why would anyone think, God wants us to figure out the future, then tell God what the future holds? That is reverse thinking. It is actually insane. All God wants is people to go to Him for answers. But this world has been trained to go to every other source but God. People have been convinced, God doesn’t talk to this world. But David tells us different story.

The one thing I ask of the LORD– the thing I seek most– is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music. Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalms 27:4-8 NLTse).

If David could enter God’s Sanctuary, why not us? If God protected David, why not us? God does not play favorites. God can’t love one person more than another. So why does the world teach us, God favors some people over others? That doesn’t make sense when we take the Bible as a whole. It’s time to make a decision. Is your view of God based on what the world wants you to think, what the devil wants you to believe, or direct contact and communication with God? What is our source of information?

How Big is the City New Jerusalem? 

The information recorded in Revelation chapter 22 is trustworthy and true. But who studies and investigates those words, the facts presented. Hardly anyone. They are caught up in Satan’s web trying to figure out what just happened in this world and what is going to happen next. That is the way of the world. Try to out class the next guy in your field. That road leads to no where.

To understand how much the world has missed, let’s take a look at the previous chapter.

Revelation 21:16 NLTse When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles.

Revelation 21:16 KJV And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

The square form of this city probably denotes its stability; while its vast dimensions, being 1,500 miles on each side, are emblematical of magnificence, and of its capability of containing all the multitude of inhabitants which should ever enter it, however immense or innumerable.

We can see how there are a number of translations for the size of the city. Some may think the dimensions are across the city. Others insist God could make a city that large so the size in the measurement around the city. We can do a little math to see which interpretation may be true.

If the city is 1500 miles around, it would be 375 miles across and 375 miles high. When we cube 375 miles we come up with 52,734,375 cubic miles. If we divided that by a billion people, each person would have 0.052734375 cubic miles of space in that city. That may not sound like much, but it is in fact 7,762,392,000 cubic feet per person. Now we have to make an educated guess at how tall each room may be in that city. If the rooms are 10 feet tall, that would leave each person 776,239,200 square feet of living space. That is much larger than the average 1200 square foot home today. If the ceiling height was 20 feet, that would reduce the living space to 38,811,960 square feet. That is if the city held a billion people.

One estimate places the total number of people who ever lived on the earth at 108 billion. We have no reliable estimate Biblically based or otherwise. The best we can do is guess. Maybe that is why Jesus told us His words are trustworthy and true. To remind us how reliable this world is.

How many people lived on this world is not what we are looking for. We are looking for a number of people who are saved. If we borrow a number from the Bible, we know a third of the angels followed Satan and those angels will be lost. If we us that 1/3 number and apply it to round figures of 100 billion people who ever lived in this world, we come up with 66 billion souls who may be saved. Of course this is only an estimate designed to look at the square footage available in the New City Jerusalem. If that city held 66 billion people, each person would have 117,612,000 cubic feet of living space. If we estimated 20 foot ceilings, each person would have a 5,880,600 square foot apartment.

That appears to be rather large. Time to recheck the math.

375x375x375= 52,734,375 Cubic miles

52,734,375 Cubic miles = 7,762,392,000,000,000,000 cubic feet.

With 20 foot ceilings: 7,762,392,000,000,000,000 cubic feet / 20 = 388,119,600,000,000,000 Square feet.

Now we can look at the square feet of the city and estimate the square feet per person based on a few figures.

With a billions people living in the city. 388,119,600,000,000,000 / 1,000,000,000 = 388,119,600 square feet per person.

With 66 billions people living in the city. 388,119,600,000,000,000 / 66,000,000,000 = 5,880,600 square feet per person. Is there any reason to recalculate this for a city that is 1500 miles across?

Of course the ceilings may be 100 feet tall. They could be for all we know. That would reduce the 5,880,600 square feet per person to 1,176,120 square feet per person. That is a lot of living space. Now if Jesus is preparing a place for us, we see how busy He must me.

Of course Jesus or God can speak such a city into existence. But what about the personal preferences each person has? Do you think each room will look alike, or each room will have its own variations based in personal preferences? The Jesus I know wants to design a room for you based on personal tastes. The question is, have you discussed those design preferences with Jesus? If not, don’t you think you have better things to do than worry about this world?

Jesus is building a future home for us and wants our input. Are we too worried about the little things of this world to sit down with Jesus and discuss building plans? What is more important in your life, the things of this world, or the place Jesus is preparing for you at this moment? Are you holding up production? Are you causing delays? Or are you helping Jesus build eternity? I’m in Real Estate and I an smart enough to know, I’ll be out of a job in Heaven. What about you? Are any of your work skills going to be useful in Heaven? Then why worry about them.

Witnessed in Heaven Revelation 12

We are trained to look at Revelation from an earthly view. Why? That is the only angle people have been taught to observe. Is there a view of Revelation we are missing? Of course there is. John was shown visions in Heaven. Everyone in Heaven understood each and every symbol and vision. No one in Heaven had any trouble understanding what John was shown. After every vision John had a bewildered look on his face.

Image result for revelation old paintingsRevelation 12:1-6 NLTse (1) Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. (2) She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. (3) Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. (4) His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. (5) She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. (6) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.

John made it very clear where this vision originated, in Heaven. There is no doubt about it, John saw that woman in Heaven. That shows a close connection the woman has to Heaven. Then John saw a huge red dragon in Heaven? What is a red dragon doing in Heaven? We have to remember where sin and the devil originated. Why is that important?

If Heaven has to be reminded where sin originated, what about us? Angels not only witnessed the conflict between Christ and Satan, they were a part of that war in Heaven. They had to choose a side. There was no middle ground, no waiting around to see the outcome before choosing a side.

Is this how Heaven views Christianity, “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” First of all, why does Heaven view Christians as women? Some Christian denominations look at women as second class. Not many, but a few denominations. She is first of all clothed with the sun. It can’t be a real woman, it has to be a series of symbols. She is also standing on the moon. Why the moon?

I’ve seen a lot of worldly views on those symbols. Preachers like to present this one like there is one interpretation, their interpretation and no other. But ask them where they got their interpretation from. John made it clear where that vision came from, and previous chapters not only told us where interpretations some from, but how scripture confirms each symbol.

For one thing, why is the woman on the moon and not on earth? There has to be a reason for her position. Later she is fleeing to the wilderness, which is obviously on earth. Does that show us how the woman represents people who are not in this world, but close to it? What about the timing? First the woman is standing on the moon, clothed with the sun, then after giving birth, finds herself fleeing to a place God prepared for her in the wilderness. If the woman is clothed with the sun, it would be rather difficult to hide, especially at night.

If we look at light and darkness in the simplest terms, we can see, the more light a Christian has, the harder it will be to hide. Or we can look at aspects from previous stories in Revelation related to the protection Jesus offered. The more light we have, the more we need to rely on His protection.

When the light of the sun is on a dark planet, it will stand out. We can see that when we look at the physical aspects of the vision. Angels can see exactly where that woman is, and what she is doing. They can be there is an instant when she needs help, and does she need help.

The woman also has twelve stars in a crown on top of her head. She is not set up to hide anywhere. The dragon has a third of the stars in the sky on his side. This is turning out to be a battle of light, and the woman seems to be out gunned.

The woman gave birth to a son who was taken away from that dragon and brought up to God’s throne. Why was the child taken up and not the woman?

Most Christians are rather good at looking at this vision and figuring out most of the symbols. The dragon is Satan. The woman represents God’s followers. The stars the dragon cast down to the earth are Satan’s followers, and the child is Christ. Now how does the Bible explain those symbols?

When we look at women in the Bible, we have this woman and two others. The other women opposed God. The woman at the beginning of Revelation 12 has a few things in common with Jesus. She was clothed with the sun. In chapter 1, Jesus’ face shined like the sun. In Revelation chapter 10 we find an angel with a face like the sun.

The woman had a crown with twelve stars. Jesus has seven stars in His right hand. Those stars represent seven angels sent to the churches. Now we are beginning to see how the Bible pieces things together.

There are other stars. The stars the dragon cast to earth. Revelation chapter 6 told us about stars falling to earth. Are those the same stars? The timing doesn’t seem to align. Could the stars in chapter 6 be a reminder, or a warning of a concentrated attack by Satan’s followers?

Chapter 10 told us about a star named bitterness that fell from the sky into the water making the water bitter. Other parts of that chapter shared the number one-third. We see how one-third of the trees and grass were burned. We can see how this war that began in Heaven was restricted to this world.

Revelation chapter 9 gives us the key. A star was used to describe an angel who came to this world to open a bottomless pit and release a portion of Satan’s army. We know what stars represent in certain stories, angels. It has been confirmed twice in Revelation.

Crown is another symbol used to identify the woman. In Revelation chapter 2, Jesus promised a crown of life to His faithful followers. In Revelation chapter 4 we are told the elders around God’s throne also have crowns. But Revelation chapter 9 tells us those locusts commanded by Satan also have crowns. There are two sides to the symbol. Because the woman’s child was taken to God’s throne in Heaven, we know the crown is used in the same context as those people who are close to God.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation. eBook available here.

That dragon also had seven crowns on his seven heads. Who is that dragon? This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (Revelation 12:9 NLTse). This story clearly identified the dragon as Satan, the devil.

The moon is another symbol to look at. In chapter 6 the sixth seal was opened and the moon became blood. That was the second reference to Revelation chapter 6 we found in chapter 12. A third of the stars and the moon turning to blood shed a little light on chapter 12. Would the woman still be standing on the moon when it turned to blood? Does a bloody moon indicate the beginning of the woman’s flight into the wilderness for 1,260 days? Are those stories related by more than the symbols they contain?


 

Then

Revelation 12:7-12 NLTse (7) Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. (8) And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. (9) This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (10) Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. (11) And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (12) Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.”

The word, “then,” indicates a series of events. It shows how one event has to follow another. Did Jesus have to return to Heaven before Satan and his followers were restricted to this planet? It seems the war in Heaven didn’t happen until after Jesus died and returned to Heaven Did Heaven have to see Satan carry out all his plans before war could be declared? Did God have to wait until Satan provided undisputed proof how far he would go to obtain the power he lusted over? If we look at how the sequence was recorded, it would lead us to that conclusion.

The story about Job and a few other stories in the Bible show us how Satan went back and forth between this world and God’s throne for a time. We have no idea, except for this sequence and a few other stories that help put a time line together.

There had to be two events with the devil and his agents. First they were allowed access to this planet. Genesis showed how Satan came to this planet and tempted Eve. Was Satan restricted to this planet at that time? Other stories in the Bible, like those in the Gospels, tell us about demons in this world. We know devils were on this planet at that time, but were they restricted to this planet? How long was Satan and his agents allowed to go between Heaven and earth?

This vision supplied a lot more information. Satan and his angels used to accuse people in front of God’s throne 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Judgment began at the end of Revelation chapter 11 and God’s Sanctuary was opened. Satan and his angels had to be cast of of Heaven and the Sanctuary before cleaning could begin.

Some chapters in Revelation provide a series of events over a vast period of time, while other chapters provide a step by step process over a more specific time period. We have to be able to recognized time periods in Revelation and how some information overlaps. We see the same style of writing in Genesis where creation was explained, and later the author went back and added more details about the same event. That style of writing is common throughout the Bible.

Some people criticize the Bible based on the fact, writers recorded some events in different orders. Biblical writers have a tendency of recording events in the order they happened, or are going to happen. But they still use the style of recording certain details after a certain event or story is introduced. Inspired writers do that to emphasize certain details. That’s why we have to read the previous story, so we can see the author’s view. If the author had a reason for placing one story after a particular story, while another author used a completely different story to introduce the theme shows how God is willing to work with us where we are. Some events caught John’s attention more than they stood out in Matthew’s mind. When we have a book like that, the Spirit can present the same concepts, ideas, and lessons in a variety of ways to different people in different generations, or periods of time.

Can you imagine a war in Heaven. Was it a real war with weapons? Were angels involved in hand to hand combat? Can you imagine that scene John saw? Huge angels fighting against one another. Where did the war take place, in the Sanctuary, or some remote battlefield? Is that war and battlefield described in the Bible? What was it like? Why didn’t John describe that war? Was it a violent war like we see on earth, or a word of words. Jesus was described as having a two edged sword in His mouth. Is that telling us it was a war of words?

Looking back at the previous story we see judgment began in Heaven. The Ark containing the Ten Commandments was presented as evidence and was the center of attention. Who stood as a witness? What better place to begin judgment than at the origin of sin, Satan and his followers. There is an interesting story in the Bible that helps explain the scene John witnessed.

The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the LORD’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. The LORD said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover. “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on. Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the LORD. Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the LORD at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the LORD and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the LORD. The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the LORD. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the LORD. “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the LORD. After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering, he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the LORD. Then he will take two handfuls of fragrant powdered incense and will carry the burner and the incense behind the inner curtain. There in the LORD’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. If he follows these instructions, he will not die. Then he must take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it on the east side of the atonement cover. He must sprinkle blood seven times with his finger in front of the atonement cover. “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood. Through this process, he will purify the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after purifying himself, his family, and all the congregation of Israel, making them right with the LORD. “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the LORD. He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar. Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy. “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there. Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the LORD. He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar. “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp. “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned. The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp. “On the tenth day of the appointed month in early autumn, you must deny yourselves. Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the LORD’s presence from all your sins. It will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. This is a permanent law for you. In future generations, the purification ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments and purify the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire congregation. This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the LORD once each year.” Moses followed all these instructions exactly as the LORD had commanded him. (Leviticus 16:1-34 NLTse).

The high priest entered to Most Holy compartment where the Ark was only once a year. There were two goats involved in the ceremony. One goat was an offering to God. The other goat took on the sins of the people and was led into the wilderness. In Revelation chapter 12, the earth was referred to as a wilderness. Satan and his angels were cast down to this world. For Satan to be cast down to this world, there had to be a trial before God could sentence them to a life of isolation. When the judgment process began, Satan and his angels were first on the docket. Once they were removed from the courtroom, God could begin judging the dead.

The Ark was front and center in the courtroom. Angels already saw what Satan did to Jesus. All of Heaven saw how Satan had Jesus beaten, wiped, and hung on a cross. Heaven saw how the high priest tried to force the decision on the government. Heaven saw how Jesus’ trial was fixed, and how every step was orchestrated. Now Heaven could see how God conducted a trial.

Even though Heaven saw what Satan did to Jesus, God waited nearly 2000 years before calling Satan into His courtroom. There was never a trial in Heaven before. All God had to do was call His Son Jesus as a witness. As soon as Jesus stood in front of the Judge, and all the angels, Satan’s fate was sealed. Court records showed how Satan sinned in Heaven, attempted to murder Jesus many times, and finally succeeded. Satan had no defense. He had plenty of time to prepare a defense, but there was none. Evidence was overwhelming. Sins committed in Heaven were placed upon Satan and he was cast down to earth, never to see Heaven again.

Now God could begin judging this world. First the dead, then the living. In the mean time, Satan’s fury was unleashed upon this world. Wars became deadlier. Men developed weapons no one imagined. Satan was given leeway to deal with this planet like never before. In one sense we call it the industrial revelation. In reality it is mankind learning more effective ways to kill one another.

The Dragon

Image result for revelation old paintingsRevelation 12:13-18 NLTse (13) When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. (14) But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. (15) Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. (16) But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. (17) And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children–all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. (18) Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea.

Satan wasn’t happy about being restricted to this dismal planet. He wanted a lot more than this tiny planet to rule, he wanted the Universe. It took Satan some time to realize he lost the ability to travel between earth and Heaven. Satan wasn’t happy about loosing that ability. Satan lost a lot more. He began to loose the shine and light he had in Heaven. Satan was beginning to deteriorate, change, and face the consequences of sin like everything else in this world. Satan lost eternity and knew his time was short.

When the dragon was let loose on the world, the woman was protected for a time, which is a time prophecy equal to 1260 years. This same time period is found in the previous chapter. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days.” (Revelation 11:3 NLTse). Are they the same time period? People trample the holy city for the same time period. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months. (Revelation 11:2 NLTse). In the next chapter we see a beast given authority for the same time period. Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. (Revelation 13:5 NLTse). Are all of these prophecies covering the same time period? If they aren’t, they either have to be literal days and months, if they were concurrent years, we have a long time to wait for Jesus.

During those 1,260 years, Satan is running loose, trying to destroy the woman. The woman is hiding in the wilderness. God has two witness delivering a message or messages to this world most people don’t agree with. During that time nations trample the holy city, and a beast is given authority to do whatever it wants to do. If they are all pointing to the same time period, and persecution of that woman, she doesn’t stand much of a chance.

The prophets have the ability to defend themselves. That may be why the woman is hiding and the message is still getting out. There are two classes of people or witnesses Satan has to deal with. God is not using one front to attack Satan, but hitting him from multiple sides. If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die. They have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish. When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. (Revelation 11:5-7 NLTse).

The woman and the two prophets are protected from the beast and dragon for the same 1260 years Then the two prophets are killed and taken to Heaven. What happens to the woman after the witness go to Heaven and her protect period passes?

The bottomless pit is opened after the fifth trumpet is blown. Four other angels are released and a 200 million man army showed up after the sixth trumpet was blown. Between the sixth and seventh trumpet, John is given a message to deliver, the holy city is overrun, the two prophets testify for 1260 years, and after that are killed. When the seventh trumpet is blown, the Heavenly Sanctuary is open, the Ark is seen inside, and judgment begins.

After John saw the Sanctuary opened in Heaven, he was shown another vision taking him back over a time period of earth’s history that took place during the time of Jesus’ birth and life on earth. After Jesus’ death the woman was sent to the wilderness for 1260 years. Details that fit into the previous stories are given in Revelation chapter 12.

Now all we have to do is figure out a few events on earth that happened after Jesus’ birth, or we should say the time between when John wrote Revelation and when the Sanctuary was opened in 1844 to find out how those prophecies were fulfilled. But I’m not going to do that. So many people did that already. I’m looking at a better understanding of Heaven, and pointing out how the Bible shows related stories. The main theme I am looking for is how Heaven viewed all those visions and symbols.

After the devil faced trial in Heaven, God gave John and the angels a review of what the devil did. It is like we are seeing evidence presented during Satan’s trial. The woman was taken away on two wings. Angels have wings. Revelation explained how some beings in Heaven have wings. The dragon sent a flood out from his mouth. The mouth often refers to the war of words raging around us. Maybe the flood refers to the 200 million man army in Revelation chapter 9. They had horses with fire coming out of their mouths. “All who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.” It is clear the dragon declared war on everyone who sides with Jesus. Some refer to that as a church.

The woman is identified by her children. “all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.” They are people who follow Jesus, often referred to as a church in the loosest term. Some claim to be a type of remnant church, without knowing what that term means. If you look it up you’ll see how a remnant was no better than the other people who followed God to a limited degree. The majority of people were misled, but God stuck with them, and tried to teach them. Only a remnant, or small group heard God’s messages to one degree or another, and took steps to reestablish communication with God.

The dragon took a stand on the shore beside the sea. The angel in Revelation chapter 10 had one foot on the land and the other on the sea. The devil has some control, but not as much control as Jesus. That may explain why stories about God’s remnant never seemed to completely return to God, but decided to make only a part of the journey.

Revelation of Jesus Revelation 1

This chapter takes a look at Revelation chapter 1. What makes this book unique is the fact it will show you how Revelation actually teaches you how to understand the book and every prophecy and vision in the Bible. The Book of Revelation begins as a training manual. Nothing more and nothing less. The question is, why have those instructions been hidden from this generation?

Revelation 1:1-9 NLTse This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, (2) who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (3) God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. (4) This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; (5) and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. (6) He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (7) Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him– even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! (8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.” (9) I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.

Well here we are, 224 chapters into this series of books, and I haven’t covered one third of what was written about the temple. I thought it was a good idea to skip over other portions of the temple to jump into the Heavenly Sanctuary. I was surprised to find so little written about the Heavenly Sanctuary. Most of the Old Testament looked at the Sanctuary as a place of safety, a place to meet God, a place they were able to enter in their time, and a place we should be able to gather for true worship. The Sanctuary is a place we need to go to get information, the next message, warnings about false messages, false Christs, and what this world is doing to drive a wedge between us and God’s throne.

The book of Hebrews tells us how Jesus already fought and won the battle. Now its just a matter of clinging onto the new promises, and walking through that vail that used to separate symbols from reality. The disciples didn’t understand prophecy as it was unfolding in front of their eyes. They had to wait until a good portion of it was fulfilled before Jesus could sit them down and explain exactly what happened. What are we supposed to learn from that experience?

Today we live in what is referred to as an advanced society. We have larger, fancier homes with electricity, lights, computers, we drive faster cars, we can fly around the world, we have computers, smart phones, all sorts of ways to communicate, find, copy and paste information, make videos, and all kinds of other stuff to make us smarter then those disciples who relied on fish and sheep to eat, make a living, and had to walk from one place to another to get anything done. The question I have, what does all the garbage today have to do with understanding prophecy? To some people, technology is the key to understanding prophecy, like God gave us the news media to replace the Holy Spirit, and a vague understanding of a few choice bits of scripture to replace long hours reviewing what has been recorded over generations.

For some reason Jesus quoted scripture. Some times He quoted scripture a lot. At times, Jesus sent priests, Pharisees, and others back to the prophecy He was fulfilling in front of their eyes. Did they look at those prophecies? Some of them did. Not relying on your memory was such a strange thing back in those days, it made people look like idiots, as if they didn’t put in enough time to memorize the important points, or didn’t understand every detail when they read it the first six times. Going back to scripture and reading it in the light Jesus provided that day was looked upon as a sign of weakness. Reviewing scripture was looked at as such a curse. Those who did review it were afraid to discuss what they learned with the other priests and Pharisees. They stood silent as more prophecies were fulfilled, not knowing what to do, or how to react.

The world today is not much different. People claim to posses some superior knowledge of scripture. A whole bunch of people want to be just like the Pharisees. They want to be rock stars of prophecy. They want to come up with quick one line answers, standing above the wisdom of the world like a shining star leading the way. The way to what? The biggest house, fanciest car, a larger screen to project some Power Point project used as a teaching tool. What has the world ever gained from quick, one line prophetic guesses? It should have gained the knowledge, people using that formless method of study have all been wrong. They’ve been wrong thousands of times, and if they continue on their chosen course, are going to make thousands of more mistakes. Why does the world still follow them?

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation. Now you can download the eBook direct from the author.

It will take about a minute to look at the Internet and find dozens of people claiming this prophecy, or that prophecy is being fulfilled today. Most cannot point to a specific prophecy, its just that the news has something about a war some place in this world, and people know there is a prophecy about wars somewhere in the Bible, so the world must be reaching an end. Using the same study methods the priests and Pharisees used to kill Jesus, people think the technology they have at their fingertips is somehow going to make their guesses come true. In all that mayhem, where is God’s Spirit? No one knows. No one cares. Our technology will provide answers we need, when we need them. Somehow the tax dollars we pay and wisdom of our elected officials will save the day.

That’s another one of those prophecies floating around the Internet today. People claim leaders of all kinds of different levels are in the Bible in some symbolic form, and this leader, or that leader has a master plan to take over the world. Their plans are so secret, but somehow, mister average Joe working in his underwear on his laptop was shown details of those top secret plans. He can’t explain any details from those plans, how he obtained the information, but part of the world believes him. He posts something on an Internet site, works with a broker to place ads on the side, and somehow makes $10,000 a week from Internet advertising. That is what prophecy has turned into today, a money making machine. Think about is, sheep used to be dollars on the hoof. Today sheep are behind laptops and smart phones looking for easier ways to understand prophecy, and the wolves are waiting for the sheep to come to them.

Ask those people what study method they used to put their study together. You won’t get an answer. They look at a symbol in scripture, then just know that symbol points to this person, or that person. They got those symbols wrong a hundred times in the past, but that doesn’t slow down the next guess, nor the income their next guess will produce. If you can’t see the parallel between those Internet vultures and the priests who killed Jesus, allow me to spell it out for you. MONEY.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a guy with a few PhD’s in Bible Study. He was smart enough to show me a few ways to study scripture. Only a few. He was smart enough to know, if I studied with the Spirit, the Spirit would show me other ways to study scripture, other methods, other patterns used in the Bible from the front cover to the back cover. And that’s exactly what happened. Spend some time in the Bible with the Spirit, and He will show you details no one can argue with. The Spirit will show you how the Bible is designed to protect you from all those false teachers. The Bible is designed to show you how to tell false prophets from real prophets.

There is one thing about the Bible that makes it the Bible. When God has a prophecy recorded, He also has the fulfillment recorded. When I ran across that study method, I found out what parallel chapters are. It was all so simple, I wondered why no one ever showed it to me before. Parallel chapters are rather easy to figure out when you know a few basic rules of context. The rule of repetition tells us to pay attention to words the author repeated. We call them key words, that can be the same, similar, and related. Contrasting words can also be related. The other important rule to know is the rule of introductions and summations. The first few verses of every chapter in the Bible tell us the main theme in that chapter. The last few verse summarize the main theme.


 

Common sense tells us, the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment have to cover the same subject, therefore, they must contain the same key words, which can be the same, similar, or related. In some instances, but not many, they can be contrasts. Key words help us search for the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment. We may come up with a variety of choices. How do you find the right one? That’s where introductions and summations come in. When the prophecy and its fulfillment cover the same subject, the introductions and summations in the two chapters will agree, making them parallel chapters. It is that simple.

When people interpret prophecies using news media, their own knowledge, something they heard or read on the Internet, in a seminar, or using history books, anything outside of the Bible, it is impossible for them to establish the link between the prophecy and the fulfillment God recorded. They can guess a thousand times and never come up with the right answer because they are not studying with the Spirit. They cannot, or do not want to explain the process they used to formulate their opinion, and know, few people will ask them to explain the methods they used.

When we look at the introduction to the Book of Revelation, we see how John immediately identified the source of his information. John received his information directly from Jesus Christ. John eliminated all doubt by following the laws of the prophets, which is, explain how you received the message.

John also followed another law of the prophets by explaining why the message was given, “to show his servants the events that must soon take place.” John then identified an angel as the form of communication God chose to use to deliver this message. Daniel’s book is a guide telling us the major forms of communication God uses. Among them are, dreams, visions, angels, prayer, daily events, and of course, scripture.

John also identified who the message is for, and important detail when we begin a study. When we study the physical aspects, we are better able to see the spiritual implications, then understand how they apply to us, which is another study process we can follow.

John tells us, we’re supposed to be a kingdom of priests, a reminder the Levitical priesthood is dead, and Jesus is now the head of a new priesthood. We can’t go mixing old ways with new ways. We can’t take the old Levitical priesthood, take out a few interesting points, and fabricate a new religion out of it. Our instructions, orders, messages, and training all come from Christ. If John knew of another plan, he would have recorded it in Revelation, or in another one of his books.

John also did something unusual, John gave us a description of Jesus, then later broke it down into sections, adding one part of that description to letters written to the seven churches. In essence, John was told to record one Bible Study method. Take all the information on a subject, put it all together, and study it as a whole. When one piece is missing, you’ll find it difficult to understand. When it all comes together, the understanding will flow.

We can take the descriptions of Jesus placed in the seven messages to the churches, put them together and see a much better view of Jesus than any single one can provide. A casual reading of Revelation may miss many details like that. If people know a few basic study techniques, those details should stand out, or at least ring a bell. We should ask why God used a writing style like that. The obvious answer is, so we can show people, basic study techniques are actually in scripture, and we don’t need other sources to teach. God included everything we need in the Bible.

God must have seen the study techniques people made up and like to use. Take out one line, and make up a story about it. Isn’t that what most of the world does? So Jesus had John record a number of details about Himself in one place, then broke them up into sections at the beginning of the book so we knew how the rest of the book was written, and how to understand it.

None of the prophecies in Revelation contain a complete description of what is going to happen. Some details for an event are scattered here and there. The more details we gather, the better picture we get. The more we are able to explain to people. Some people follow that general rule of Bible Study, but way too many people want to show off like those priests and Pharisees. Show them one piece of a puzzle, and they want to show off by explaining every detail. Challenge their wisdom and watch out. The only other parts of the Bible they have memorized is a few choice lines about false prophets they shoot out at anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

I for one feel much more secure when someone can show me a study method used in the Bible. There are dozens of them found in the Bible. Jesus taught using a series of parables. The parables He used in one day were all related. Some times Jesus used simple symbols like grass, seeds, or crops to show all those parables were linked together. Each parable had a few pieces of information. When we put them all together, we get a much better understanding of the lesson Jesus taught that day. Separate them, and we are generally left with the impression one person received from one parable. It may sound good. It may make sense, and have something to do with the other stories a teacher decided to mix in, but more often than not, teach a lesson about this world when Jesus was teaching a spiritual lesson about Heaven, life in Heaven, His ministry, or another subject not really related to what a modern day teacher wants to imply.

Jesus used that method of teaching, using parables with related symbols to teach another lesson about Bible Study. Stories in the Bible are related to one another. You cannot understand the physical aspects of one story without reviewing the previous story, which lead into whatever story you are studying. Back ground is very important. It is also important to know what actions and decisions led to the situation at hand. That may sound like common sense, but how many people follow that general rule of Bible Study?

In the Bible, that general rule of looking back also applies to all the books in the Bible. Look at Revelation chapter 1 for example. See how the end of the previous book sets your mind in order to begin a proper study on Revelation.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. (Jude 1:20-25 NLTse).

Jude is like a brief description of Revelation. The end of Jude tells us, this is about more than ourselves. This is a matter of life and death. Jude also reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s part in this warfare here on earth. Jude also sets our mind on the concern Jesus has for this planet, thereby explaining why Jesus sent an angel to John with enough information to fill a book.

The first chapter of Revelation also introduced the concept of prophetic timing, a subject few people want to try to explain. Not because they don’t understand it, but because proper prophetic timing will not allow people to do what they do best, take prophecies out of sequence. Whenever people are allowed to take prophecies out of sequence, they can apply a line here, and another line there, whenever the need arises. Let’s get serious. There are a handful of people making a very good living out of taking one or two lines out of scripture, playing a few seconds of a news event, and telling people it is prophecy being fulfilled. We want to learn to avoid people like that and not get caught up in the confusion they create. That is the main reason God decided to include solid Bible Study methods in books like Revelation. Timing is another one of those rules.

Lord’s Day

Revelation 1:10-20 NLTse (10) It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. (11) It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” (12) When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. (13) And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. (14) His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. (15) His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. (16) He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (19) “Write down what you have seen–both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The beginning of Revelation tells us exactly where the information in this book came from, directly from Jesus in Heaven. That is one of the most important details at the beginning of every chapter in Revelation, as well as the beginning of every prophecy in the Bible. Every prophet identified where and how they received the message. That is one of the many safety features God installed in the Bible. At times authors tell us messages are from false prophets, kings made decisions without praying, asked counselors, or received advice from other sources. As we proceed through those stories, we are given the opportunity to see how each event turned out. This created a series of contracts to learn from. We can put together a series of events when people followed God’s orders, and see how it turned out. Then we can compare those results to see how decisions without praying turned out. We can also see how reliable those counselors and false prophets were.

When we get to timing in Revelation chapter one, John kept the lesson rather simple. Jesus is the First and Last. He has been around a lot longer than any of us, has seen a lot more, has generations of experience, and will be around a lot longer than many of us. In other words, Jesus should be our only reliable source of information.

John also tells us, this book contains information on events from the past and the future. Some events were happening, or some prophecies were being fulfilled in John’s time. How do we tell which prophecies have been fulfilled, which were being fulfilled in John’s day, which were fulfilled after John, and which prophecies are we waiting to be fulfilled? This can get very confusing if we didn’t have a timeline. A timeline needs a base point, or point to begin. A type of foundation to build on. From there we have to look at key words in the Bible God placed there to indicate a series of events following a particular order. This happens, then that happens, this follows, and finally we see this event. That sequence is achieved using simple words. The KJV generally used the word, “and,” to show a sequence of events.

Rev 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

Rev 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

Each verse begins with the word, “And,” showing a simple sequence of events. John saw a book. John had to notice that book before the next event could take place. After John noticed the book, an angel asked who could open it. The question had to be asked before moving onto the next event. No one in Heaven or earth was able to open that book. That fact had to be established before moving onto the next event. One of the elders told John about a Lion from the Root of David. Jesus was first introduced as a Lion, before appearing as a Lamb. Each event had to follow that particular order. Each event is identified by the word, “And,” which is commonly known as a linking word, tying all those events together.

People tend to disagree with the timing in Revelation. They want to ignore those linking words that tie events together in the order Jesus said they have to occur. That is one of the most important details in the Bible, and one of the most ignored details in scripture. Why? I’m not sure. I look at those linking words and find it easy to follow prophetic timing. There is no excuse to be confused. Each event is recorded in perfect order, just the way Jesus said they will occur, key words link them all together, and anyone can follow the simple order. But people insist Revelation is a book of mystery, and they have to put prophecies in the right order. What order? People tend to look at the world for guidance on the sequence of events recorded in Revelation. People prefer to have earth’s history dictate prophetic timing. That is the way of the world. Where does that come from? The world – not from Heaven. Which source are you going to trust?

Modern Bible translators saw how Revelation told about one event, the next event, so on, and so forth. Many of them took the word, “and,” used in the KJV, and changed it to the word, “then.” The original Greek word can be translated either way.

John tells us, he was praying when the message began. This is an important point to consider. Will God approach us with a message, do we have to first approach God, or does it work both ways? Communicating with God is another subject we have to be aware of in scripture, and we should be studying.

John was told to write a book. Not just deliver a message, but write a book. Notice how Jesus told John how to deliver the message. That is another feature we need to pay attention to. Whenever we receive messages from Heaven, we are told who to share it with, and how to share it. This is another safety feature God uses. Often people create their own message, determine who to deliver it to, how, and when to deliver it. Where is the Spirit in their message? Taking a few words out of scripture does not make it a message from Heaven. Priests and Pharisees took a few lines out of scripture. Did that make every one of their messages a message from Heaven? The devil took out a few sentences from scripture and used them to try and trick Jesus. Did the devil’s message come from Heaven, or his own imagination? Just because someone takes a few sentences out of scripture does not make it an inspired message.

People often want to focus on symbols, especially in books like Revelation. The Bible has a general rule about symbols. Typically symbols are identified and explained in the story they are found in, more often than not in the same chapter like here. The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches, and the seven stars are seven angels. This rule of interpretation was recorded in the first chapter to teach us how symbols are defined, and this rule applies not only to the entire book of Revelation, but the entire Bible.

Jesus is seen standing among those candlesticks, which shows His relationship with those churches. Jesus has to travel from one church to the next, hence the need for an angel to go to each church, which shows Jesus’ concern and the protection He offers. When Jesus was arrested, He reminded everyone, all He had to do is say one word and legions of angels would be sent to protect Him.

Jesus is wearing a long robe. Is this His robe of righteous or another rode. The only clue we are given is, the robe is covered by a golden sash across His chest. Is the gold significant or the chest it covered? We could look at what gold represents, but would gold represent the same thing here as it does in other stories? The fact is, John is seeing a vision of Jesus in Heaven. If we take an interpretation for what gold represented in a story taking place on earth, would it be the same?

Jesus’ head is white like wool. What does white hair normally represent? Old age here on earth. White hair may also represent age, experience, and wisdom. Let’s put ourselves in John’s shoes for a moment. John saw Jesus a few years ago. Could Jesus have aged that quickly in Heaven, or did Jesus take on a form He exhibited before He came to this world to be born, live, grow, and die?

What did John think when He saw the one he lived with white hair? Did John think, things happening here on earth gave Jesus white hair? Did that white hair instill a spot of concern in John? We have to admit, John wrote words he was inspired to write, and left out his personal ideas about the views he witnessed.

Jesus’ eyes were like flames of fire. What did John think? Eyes normally are a key to identify people. When their eye color changes, that is something people are sure to notice. It was one of the details John noticed and recorded.

Eyes of fire may make people think, Jesus has something to get excited about. Something wasn’t right. But at that time, Jesus had a number of people doing the best they could with what they had, and what they understood. Or were they? How was the world accepting the message, and how was the enemy trying to rewrite the message? Was anyone getting the message right?

Jesus feet were like polished bronze. Bronze usually represents bondage, like when Nebuchadnezzar put Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. But is that story about an event on earth the same as an event in Heaven? This is why we have to allow the story to interpret symbols. Are all details within a scene a symbol? When you dress, are your cloths a symbol? Are they always a symbol? Sometimes they may be, and at times they may not be. We have to follow the story, looking for more information, and at times changes in the details.

Jesus’ voice was another detail that stood out. It wasn’t like the voice John knew, but a distinct voice that could carry all the way from the halls of Heaven to earth.

Stars in His right hand is a place people like to linger, but the stars are identified as symbols within the story. Jesus told John what those stars and candlesticks represented. Having angels in His right hand was a scene Jesus wanted John to see. The angels protect the church, and were seen in Jesus’ right hand. We don’t need scholars to explain the details. Jesus established the scene, controlled the scene, told John what items were used as symbols and what they meant. What more do we need?

Can you imagine John’s reaction to the scene? There John was, standing in Heaven’s court. A second ago John was on a desolate Island with some of Rome’s most notorious prisoners. John was lucky to be alive. John had to rely on prayer everyday so he wouldn’t become one of the island’s many victims. Food was scarce. People killed for a meal. Nothing grew on the Island. Fresh water was also limited. Each day seemed like a challenge. Then one day, the Heavens open up. John saw the light, then thought for a moment, this is it. This is the day I get to leave this world. But it was only a vision.

John saw the one he loved, Jesus. But it wasn’t the same Jesus John knew on earth. Jesus was different in some ways, and the same in others. His hair was different, much longer and now it was white. It wasn’t that long ago he saw Jesus. His clothing was different. That was to be expected. But Jesus didn’t choose to dress like the kings of this world. Jesus didn’t need jewels and gold to show His title. A gold sash was all He needed.

John looked down at Jesus’ feet. They were a little darker than before. John remembered the last thing Jesus did before he was arrested. No one cleaned Jesus’ feet, but look at them now. Heaven is so different than this world.

Hearing from Jesus was something else. His voice seemed to carry on forever. The tone in His voice told John, the message was important, one that would carry to the ends of the world. It began with seven letters to a collection of seven groups of followers in seven locations.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation

Back In Heaven Revelation 14

Revelation 14:1-5 NLTse (1) Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (2) And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together. (3) This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (4) They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb. (5) They have told no lies; they are without blame.

As soon as John saw a vision of the world and those beasts, God immediately switched the scene back to Heaven. What a contrast between Revelation chapter 13 and 14. Which is in fact another rule God used in scripture, contrasts. Contracts may be one of the most difficult things for people to see, but they are used throughout the Bible. In this case, the previous chapter ended with the mark of the beast, while chapter 14 begins with the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. The previous chapter showed visions originating on earth, and from the earth. John is then taken to a vision of 144,000 with His Father’s name in their foreheads. If that isn’t a contrast, I don’t know what one is.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation Now you can purchase this eBook direct from the author

The first word in chapter 14 pointed us back to the previous chapter. The word, “then,” tells us, we can’t hope to understand this chapter unless we review the previous chapter. As soon as we do, there is no mistake, John is shown a series of contrasts.

Angels don’t have trouble seeing contrasts. They see them everyday. They see the splendor and peace in Heaven, then they look at this world to see what is going on. In this world, angels see people running around trying to solve problems. In Heaven, there are no problems. That leaves plenty of time to praise God. There is a lesson there we should pay attention to.

People also waste a lot of time trying to explain what the number 144,000 is, and who those people actually are. Is it a literal or symbolic number? As usual, people go to the world for answers. I don’t know any two numbers in the Bible that have received more attention than the numbers 666 and 144,000. The Bible shows those numbers are a contrast. 666 points us to the rule of repetition. Comparing the number 666 found at the end of chapter 13 to the number 144,000 at the beginning of chapter 14, tells us to use the rule of contracts.

The rule of contracts is an extension of the rule of repetition. Words can be the same, similar, related, or contracts. Contracts have something in common with other related words.

It is relatively simple to see contrasts on the surface between Revelation chapter 13 and 14. Chapter 13 is all about this world, is viewed from this world, and takes place in this world. Revelation 14 suddenly shifted to Heaven, a good place to split John’s letter into a new chapter. Beginning a new chapter does not mean it is no longer related to the previous chapter. John wrote one long letter that was broken into chapters generations later.

We also need the end of chapter 12 to show us who those beasts on Revelation 13 follow, the devil. It is evident who the 144,000 in chapter 14 follow, the Lamb, used to symbolize Christ. That is one of the most vivid contracts in the Bible. The mark of the beast and seal of God is another contrast. It seems rather strange when we look at the Christian world to see which one receives more attention. By far, the mark of the beast receives much more attention, has more people teaching about that mark and beast, has more radio programs, Internet videos, TV shows, and sells more books. If you searched the mark of the beast or 666 on the Internet, you would find thousands of links, some having hundreds of thousands of viewers visiting the site. Now we know what John meant when he wrote, “And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.” (Revelation 13:8 NLTse).


 

We have one group that worships God in Heaven, and another group dedicated to hunting down people like that and killing them. The contrasts we are given are designed to examine is a war.

It’s not by mistake or chance Jesus used music and song as a symbol here. Music contains both order and repetition. John tells us, “No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” Music and song are a contrast to words coming from the beast, and his barbaric, warlike features.”Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” (Revelation 13:5-7 NLTse).

People learn by repetition. People will either learn those warlike features the beast is teaching, or the song Jesus teaches. Is the number 144,000 symbolic? Is the beast symbolic? Is the song Jesus teaches symbolic?

When we look at the rhythm of the visions John wrote, we can see a distinct pattern of symbols. Instead of using Christ’s name, John introduced Jesus in symbolic form. To complete the pattern, information following the symbol of the Lamb would also be symbolic. That makes Mount Zion, God’s name written in their foreheads, the new song, and the number 144,000 all symbols.

The roar of the waves and thunder are descriptive words adding to the flavor of the scene John is describing.

John’s description of the people who follow Jesus is a contrast to the people following the beast. Jesus’ followers are compared to virgins. Satan’s followers build monuments to the beast, which is a form of spiritual idolatry.

Those who follow Jesus stay close to Him, and have one leader. Those who follow Satan follow a series of beasts and images, a type of prelude to Babylon, meaning confusion. Jesus’ leadership follows the consistency and order of a song. Easy to learn, soothing to the ears., and something difficult to forget once you learn. Songs have a tendency to create a safe haven. A subject covered in previous chapters by examples that included promises directly from Jesus. On the other hand, the devil uses force and broken promises, seen consistently throughout scripture. Other stories show us the way demons possess people, holding them in spiritual chains.

That leads us up to another concept in the introduction to Revelation 14. The term redeemed and purchased is introduced at this point. We see how Jesus had to pay a price for His followers. Remember the story of the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet?

You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:45-48 NLTse).

Those who have been forgiven a lot, are thankful beyond all comprehension. Those who have been forgiven little should be just as thankful. All are a special offering to God and the Lamb.

Another Angel

Revelation 14:6-7 NLTse (6) And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (7) “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

John introduced this angel, some people refer to as the first angle, as another angel. That means, this angel follows another angel. Who was that first angel? A simple search using the word angel in the Book of Revelation shows us who that other angel is.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm. (Revelation 11:15-19 NLTse).

John just gave us a time line to deal with. The actual first angel is the seventh angel to blow a trumpet, making a vital announcement, the judgment process began in Heaven. Then John added details about events leading up to the day the judgment process will begin. That leads to a point in time mentioned later in Revelation chapter 14, which is the end of the judgment period. In other words, a short overview of earth;s history from the beginning to the end of the judgment period.

Many people shun the judgment period, even frowning on any study of the judgment period. Other books in the Bible deal with the judgment process in more detail, and a collection of related prophecies tell us the beginning of the judgment period. John explained how the Judgment period began with the Sanctuary doors opening, the Ark is seen, and Jesus in the form of a slain Lamb is before God. All that is pretty basic information. Jesus is the High Priest, one of the main themes explained in the Book of Hebrews.

That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” And in another passage God said to him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:5-14 NLTse).

Jesus as High Priest is something we are supposed to know and teach. That’s why is seems rather odd to hear and see so many people teaching about the mark of the beast when we see instructions telling us what to teach go ignored.

Looking at this with a view from Heaven, we know angels are close to Jesus. Angels watch His every move. They know what Jesus is working on as well as what Jesus had to go through in Heaven and on earth. Angels and the elders in Heaven seated next to God’s throne are another contrast we can learn from. A subject far more important than studying who the devil is and what he is doing on earth.

The first announcement in Revelation 14 is the beginning of the judgment period. What can we tell the world about the judgment period, the trial in Heaven? The angel who followed the seventh trumpet has a message, the eternal Good News. When you think about is, that is a relatively long message. That message is supposed to go out to the whole world. The question is, has it, and was the right message delivered?

The first angel in Revelation 14 has a direct connection to the angel with the seventh trumpet. Both announcements concern the judgment period. Does the world know it is being judged at this very moment, and your name could come up at any minute? What is gong to happen when your name comes up? Is Jesus going to be able to stand up before His Father and tell God about the relationship you have? Or is Jesus going to have to say, he doesn’t know you? How much have you shared with Jesus, and how much does He know about you? How much do you know about Jesus and His role as High Priest?

Second and Third Angels

Revelation 14:8-13 NLTse (8) Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen–that great city is fallen–because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.” (9) Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand (10) must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. (11) The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.” (12) This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

After the announcement about the beginning of the judgment, another angel followed in what appears to be quick succession, and introduced Babylon as a new symbol. John heard the announcement in his vision, but didn’t see the physical city fall. Based on the study rule of looking back in scripture for an answer, the word immorality points us back to only one place, the dragon in Revelation 12, and the beasts that follow him in Revelation 13. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or theologian with countless degrees and titles to see what side of the war Babylon is on.

The link to consider is the one between the beginning of the judgment period and the city Babylon falling down. Where does that lead us to? Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:7-10 NLTse).

Satan and his angels were cast down to earth. The city Babylon also fell. Babylon was the first world power identified by Daniel. Babylon was represented by the head of gold on the statue in the dream. What does that tell us when the head falls off? The figure still had arms, legs, and feet, and can still cause damage, but it is an idol showing it cannot think, see, hear, or talk. That is very close to another story in the Bible. But the next morning the same thing happened–Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the LORD again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. (1 Samuel 5:4 NLTse).

Israel misused the Ark and lost it to the Philistines, who had no idea what it was, and treated it like any other battle trophy. The Philistines were smart enough to know a powerful God was inside that Ark, and decided to get rid of the Ark before encoring any more damage. The problem was, not many people in Israel actually understood the Ark.

We see the same problem here in Revelation. People don’t understand the Ark, what it represents, or the judgment process involving the Ark. But God is sending angels with perfect understanding to help us. Jesus’ followers explain the details, but are we doing our job?

The third angel added to the first two messages and expounded on the message Jesus’ followers take out to the world, this time with a warning. The message shows, we can’t understand the warning to the world unless we follow basic Bible Study concepts and look back at that beast and the image he made. Does that mean we are supposed to spend countless hours and money studying and telling people all about that beast , his image, the mark, and what the forehead and hand represent? A warning is a warning. A road sign before a sharp curve tells people to slow down to a safe speed. No one posts a sign explaining all the details about that curve, or what would happen if they didn’t slow down. It would take so long to read, people would miss the warning, or face the danger when it was too late.

Babylon has its wine, and so does God. God has a cup of wrath and anger. Why do you think God is angry? Is it because He gave this world a message about His son, the Son who came to this world to explain the plan of salvation, only to see so many people go crazy over details about the beast, its image, and that mark?

We can see a connection between the second angel’s message and the first. That relationship established a connection between the beast and Babylon. When we look at the second message and apply a simple rule of context, seeing, Babylon is fallen, that great city is fallen, we know the information is repeated for a reason. That is a flag telling us to pray about that detail.

There were two Babylons that fell in the Bible. One was the Babylonian world empire that fell to the Medes and Persians that Daniel wrote about. In that story king Belshazzar had a feast.

Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. (Daniel 5:1-6 NLTse).

King Belshazzar threw a party, and decided to challenge God by praising all kinds of false gods and idols. He did this while a huge army was camped outside the city gates. It was like saying, “I don’t need you God.” The other fall of Babylon was when it was called Babel.

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world. (Genesis 11:1-9 NLTse).

Those people chose to challenge God by building a huge tower just in case God decided to flood the world again. They didn’t believe God’s promise anymore than Belshazzar believed promises God gave to his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar.

What do those stories have in common? People wanted to trust in their own power, wisdom, and judgment. They wanted to live free from God and all His commands. That began in the garden with Adam and Eve. They wanted to go beyond what God gave them, the entire world. Where did all that come from? The devil.

The devil tempted Eve in the garden. The devil tempted Cain when he made his own from of worship. The devil tempted the people in Babel, and those in Babylon. All of Satan’s temptations led people away from God, leading them to a promise Satan made about a better life, free from God’s restraints. People are still making that mistake today.

People want to come up with a better, more powerful, and more interesting worship service. None of those worship services are in the Bible. Enoch didn’t need any of those services to meet with God. Enoch simply met God, and God appreciated the time and effort. Think about that. Isn’t that what we do when we study scripture with God’s Spirit? We are spending time with God outside of this world. Not wasting time inside this world looking for answers the world has to offer.

The penalty for following after that beast is rather sever. The beast as we know goes right back to the devil and his suggestions. People have to choose to honor and worship God in the prescribed way, or follow the world and their altered suggestions. Is there a proper way to worship God, and if there is a wrong way, what is it?

The Bible contains a lot of information about the Levitical laws, how worship and sacrifices were conducted in the Tabernacle. Kings and priests changed the laws given to Moses, added to them, and at times completely ignored them. That brought on Jerusalem’s fall. Finally Jesus came, died, and reintroduced God’s original plan A, the end of the Levitical priesthood on earth with direct communication and worship of God on His holy mountain, a symbol for Heaven.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:19-24 NLTse).

How do people worship God through or in the Spirit if they insist on using updated versions of the Levitical priesthood placing someone, a human between themselves and God? It cannot happen that way. It was not what Jesus told that woman was coming.

Jesus died to gain the role of High Priest. We have all been given the role of priest, and there is no middle man here in earth in any way, shape, or form. Worship is worship. On the other hand, collecting and distributing funds for ministries is another issue. That involves organization to a certain degree. The apostles saw a need for organization, but that organized committee never had any control over who would minister, how they would minister, or who they would minister to. That was the role of the Holy Spirit. Any variation on that is a man made concept we have to learn to overcome.

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” (Acts 6:1-4 NLTse).

The job was not going to be easy. People who lived to follow the Spirit would often die serving the LORD. Jesus followed the Spirit. People accused Him of taking orders from the devil. Jesus had something they didn’t, a direct connection with God’s throne, and religious leaders didn’t like that. There was too much Jesus could and did expose. Religious leaders looked at the situation and two choices. They could either change, accept Jesus, or get Him out of the way. They soon found out they couldn’t challenge Jesus. So they killed Him.

Son of Man

Revelation 14:14-20 NLTse (14) Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. (15) Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.” (16) So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested. (17) After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. (18) Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” (19) So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. (20) The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

For John the scene quickly changed from watching angels flying over the earth with messages to a vision of Jesus, and another angel coming out of the Holy Sanctuary in Heaven. What a dramatic change. What were all those angels thinking when they saw that sudden change? It was easy for angels to relate to the three angels and their messages. Angels can and have seen everything that happens on this planet, and are capable of telling us when things are about to go bad. Angels in Heaven can see Satan and his angels working in the back ground, and at a moments notice, come to this world to warn or save people. That’s been their role for countless generations, and they are more than happy to do it. One word from God and they are here in a flash with powers we cannot imagine.

The question is, why does Jesus have a crown and a sickle? We have to look back at the last time John saw an image of Jesus in Heaven to understand why this scene changed so quickly. Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. (Revelation 5:6-7 NLTse).

John saw a lot happen between Jesus presenting Himself to God, opening the scrolls, and coming out of the Holy Sanctuary wearing His crown. Seven seals were opened. Seven trumpets sounded. The earth was attacked, trampled, Satan and his angels were cast down to earth. John saw Jesus’ birth and persecution. We would have to cover a lot of ground to get a complete story of what happened, and everything that led to it. All of that led up to the judgment, which led to Jesus leaving the Sanctuary, crowned as KING of kings.

John saw Jesus on a cloud. It looked like a cloud. It looked like Jesus needed something to support Him and His throne. Millions of angels were around Jesus. It was one of the most important events in Heaven. Something we all should be looking for, and trying to understand. John’s attention was focused on Heaven, and the scene he saw. All Heaven was present, and knew exactly what that scene meant.

The harvest was ripe. Judgment was finished. The High Priest has left the Sanctuary. Satan was a million miles away wondering this world, knowing his time was short. He had little time to make his last stand, or convince the Universe, his ideas would work. The Universe saw what Satan did to God’s Son, and what Satan would do to them if he was in charge and they refused to fall in line. The Universe witnessed what Satan did to this planet, one of God’s perfect creations. How Satan used leaders, then cast them aside the moment they served their purpose. Fill that leader in with new leader easier to control. Satan was full of greed and knew how to push the right buttons in every human being driven by greed. Violence seemed to be the the only way to resolve issues. Dying was a way of life on this planet, something the angels in Heaven never saw before Cain slew his brother. Angels witnessed one scene after another, each more surprising and horrific than the one before it. Angels saw how leaders chose to kill hundreds of thousands of people to sway the thoughts of one man. Angels saw how none of that effected Satan and how he lost all feelings, all respect for life, and the breath of God.

Now it was time to deal with Satan and his followers. Judgment was finished. Every case has been decided. There are no do overs that this world loves to teach about. No final test or examinations. The last generation in this world will not be treated any differently that any other. All the books, movies, and radio shows in the world will not change the judgment process or a single decision made in Heaven. The courtroom scene is over and the plan of salvation enters its next phase.