by Tad Lindley
Have you ever read the Book of the Revelation? If you haven’t, you are missing a blessing. The Bible even promises a blessing to us if we read the Revelation. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3) Turn to the back of your Bible, and there you will find this 22 chapter book that blesses.
Who wrote the Revelation?
You will remember that Jesus had a disciple named John. That disciple when he was an elder was jailed for being a Christian. He was on the island of Patmos. That much we know from the Bible. Prison back then didn’t have television and a basketball court. This was pre-Rodney King. Historical sources indicated that on Patmos, prisoners were forced to mine for salt. They were chained to a cave, and were only fed if they mined salt from the cave. It was a dismal existence, and that is where John found himself. It was here that he received from God the things that are recorded in the Revelation. Last week I ran part 1, which covered the first 13 chapters of Revelation.
Chapter 14: Are there really harps in heaven?
There is so much misinformation about the Bible that unless we read it, it is hard to know what is real and what is made up. For instance, the famous painting of the last supper has Jesus and the 12 disciples sitting at a table looking like they hadn’t seen a barber since the 1960s. The Bible makes it clear that they were reclining on the floor (John 13:23) not sitting at a table, and that they did not have long hair (I Corinthians 11:14). If you have ever wondered, “Do angels in heaven really fly around strumming harps?” The answer is right there in Revelation 14: And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. (14:2)
Thinking about taking the mark of the beast? Think again.
John heard three angels give announcements. The third is a dire warning to those who want to be saved. If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God… (14:9-10) In short, there will be no salvation for those who serve the anti-Christ. On the other hand, there is great news for those who reject the mark of the beast. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (14:12-13)
The 7 vials: the wrath of God
Chapter 15 is the prelude to the seven vials, these are carried by seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. (15:1) Grievous sores, water turning to blood, men scorched with great heat, darkness, pain, hail, and a great earthquake befall the earth as God’s punishment on the unbelieving. In the midst of this though, men still refused to repent to God. (16:1-21)
The Great Harlot
Chapters 17 and 18 deal with the destruction of Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. I’ll let you read the chapters and see what you see. In short, the reference appears to be to Rome, as Rome was widely known in John’s day as the City of the Seven Hills, and reading 17:9, The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth, and 17:18, the woman which thou sawest is that great city.
The return of the Lord
At the end of the destruction of Mystery Babylon, there is great rejoicing in heaven, and then the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:7-10). This appears to be the time when the dead in Christ are raised, and those who are alive and remain are gathered to meet him in the air (see I Thessalonians 4:16-17). Then the Lord descends to the earth with his armies and defeats the anti-Christ and the False Prophet who are immediately cast into the lake of fire (19:11-21). At that time, Satan is bound for 1,000 years at which time the Lord rules over the earth (20:1-6).
The return of the devil
At the end of the 1,000 years, the devil returns for one last showdown. You know the end of the story, he loses (20:7-10), and then there is the judgment. At the judgment the unsaved dead are resurrected and along with the saved stand before God to be judged (20:11-15).
New heaven and earth
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (21:1) The remainder of the Revelation focuses on this new eternity and how life will be there: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (21:4)
Friend, I urge you to read the book of Revelation and consider as you close the final chapters where you will spend eternity. Where will it be?
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.