How do these signs suggest that Christ’s return is at hand?

Waiting For a Sign This is it feature

What about earthquakes, global crime, and the many strange activities presently occurring in space? How do these signs suggest that Christ’s return is at hand?

Earthquakes

When they read Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, or Luke 21:11, some men foolishly observe, “We’ve always had earthquakes. How can this be a sign?” The Lord made this prediction around A.D. 30. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, from 1890 to 1930 there were only 8 quakes measuring 6.0 or larger. From 1930 to 1960, there were only 18. From 1960 to 1979, however; there were 64 “killer” quakes. And from 1980 to the present, there have been more than 200. Think of it! More than 200 major quakes in less than three decades-an earth-rattling reminder that the Rapture is near.

Crimes against Humanity

Christ went on to say in His pronouncement of signs, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). What a portrait of modern-day America and the world! The U.S. Justice Department reports that about 30 percent or more of the nation’s households are victimized by serious crime every year. The U.S. attorney general says that on average one of every sixteen American families is brutalized by violent crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault. The FBI index also paints a grim picture, giving us the unsettling information that a murder occurs every twenty-four minutes, a forcible rape each seven minutes, a robbery every sixty-eight seconds, and an aggravated assault each fifty-one seconds. The total figures show that a violent crime is committed every twenty-seven seconds, a property crime every three seconds. Judge for yourself: Are things getting better or worse? The answer is obvious.

Signs in Space

Matthew 24:27-31 tells us: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

I quote from these scriptures in Matthew because many believers are confused by this scenario. It is important to note that the reference here is to the Revelation-the revealing of Christ to the entire world as He returns to earth as King of kings-not the Rapture. The elect mentioned in this text are the elect Israelites of Romans 11:28. He gathers them together “from the four winds.” Gentile believers are not listed with the twelve tribes who mourn as Christ returns. Again, these are Jewish signs pointing to Christ’s coming as King of kings and LORD of lords. The people of the Tribulation Hour will know when the momentous event is near because Matthew 24:29 pinpoints the time: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” The space signs are for the close of the Tribulation Hour. There is no way that they could point to the pretribulation Rapture, for we Christians will be gone when the dreadful bombardment of earth, probably with meteorites from space, occurs.

Luke adds to this account, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). These signs point to the close of the Tribulation Hour because they signal the return of the King to earth. Verse 27 adds, “Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” This describes the coming of Christ to set up His glorious millennial reign (Revelation 20:4).

Space signs, which are to take place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Hour or almost seven years after the believers’ departure via the Rapture, are already showing partial fulfillment. Such feats as humans walking, driving, and planting a flag on the moon make us realize these signs are only for twentieth-century citizens-for you and me. If a person had made such a prediction at the turn of the century, he would have become a candidate for a mental hospital. Space activity has become so commonplace today that no one even talks about the first step Neil Armstrong took on the moon in 1969.

“We have always had signs,”

“Nothing has changed. It’s the same as it was in Grandma’s day.”

some skeptics say.

get your head out of the sand and fix your eyes on the heavens.

My response to that ostrich stance is simply to

The Space Age is with us, and Christ’s prophecies are occurring with such rapidity that only a hardened heart could doubt it. Each new venture will incorporate additional methods of placing the potentials of space on earth. Christ’s astounding prophetic statements about space are beginning to fill the skies. Some scientists and space writers are raising the possibility that the next large-scale war could be fought entirely in space. This possibility means that Satan and his demonic hosts could use the world’s inventions for the war of wars described in Revelation 12:7-9: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The Signs and Space Phenomena

I believe the rash of reports about UFOs are connected with the spirit world. The question “Is there life on other planets?” is unimportant. There is life in the heavens, for they are full of live, demonic spirits. This could easily explain the thousands of saucer sightings in recent years. Ezekiel 1 and 2 Kings 2:11 talk about angels and chariots of fire. Whoever controls them is incidental. What is important is that these strange signs in space are prophesied for the latter days. Those days are now upon us and should make us realize the coming of the Savior is near.

Do Old Testament signs primarily speak of Christ’s return to earth? 
What about the signs in the Epistles?

I am asked this question repeatedly. While the Old Testament and four Gospels are filled with scores of references to Christ’s return or the Revelation, the Epistles also contain a rich storehouse of scripture that speaks about Christ’s return to earth. Look at the description in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Let’s look at several of the signs-as recorded in the Epistles-concerning the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to earth.

Selfishness

“Men shall be lovers of their own selves.” What a picture of the hour in which we live. You do not need to watch CNN for more than a few minutes to understand that people are living a life dedicated to self. Moreover, it is not only unbelievers who live such lives. When church members are so busy satisfying their flesh with the world’s goodies and pleasures that they have no time to pray or witness to lost souls-that is the height of selfishness. You will remember the Bible passage about the scribe who came to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 and said, “Master, which is the great commandment… ? Jesus said unto him. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

How different are we today, really? We, too, are lovers of our own selves. A person might expect this attitude in the ungodly world of pagans, but how sad when it occurs among those who are supposedly of the family of God. As selfishness accelerates and becomes the central theme at the beginning of a new century, you can be sure it is a sign that the end of the age is near.

The Love of Money

In the first century, Peter could say, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Churches today have incredible wealth. We build huge buildings and enjoy elaborate campuses. Much of this is good. However it is also a problem for many ministries, because the tail is wagging the dog. Furthermore, money does not have the power to perform miracles. As we approach the return of Christ, we need to recognize that we are living in the Laodicean age. Revelation 3:15-16 declares, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” God is saying, “You lukewarm parishioners make Me sick!” Why? “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (v. 17).

In our churches, many regard themselves as “upper crust.” They have money, power, and influence. Many of these Christian elite personalities feel they are too important to help others or to carry out acts of kindness in the Savior’s name-no time for anything except to earn a few more dollars. God declares, “The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Pride

God says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). Satan fell because of pride. Moreover millions more have followed in his wake. Imagine the gall Satan must have had to say, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

Satan has infiltrated the hearts of millions of Christians. A man with tears in his eyes once came to me and said, “I was trying to win a young lady to Christ. She was poor and needy. Her parents are alcoholics. She was so destitute that all she had to wear was an old tattered dress. I took her to our church-a Bible-believing fellowship. When she and I walked down the aisle to our seats, I overheard a few snooty people behind me say, “Why do they bring that kind of trash to our church!'” That kind of story breaks my heart, and I hope it breaks yours. However, if you feel your pedigree is better or more important than others, then I pray that God will speak to you and show you that you are one of the signs that Jesus Christ is coming again. Our Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

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JVI table of Contents

Jack van Impe feature

ESCHATOLOGY:

RAPTURE

2nd COMING

Table of Contents
  Rapture
[01] select-24-24-06 The Next Event on God’s Prophetic Clock
[02] select-24-24-06 The Correlation between Christ’s Resurrection & Rapture of the Church?
[03] select-24-24-06 Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation
[04] select-24-24-06 Pretribulational Rapture
[05] select-24-24-06 Prewrath Rapture
[06] select-24-24-06 “Partial” Rapture
[07] select-24-24-06 The Marriage & Marriage Supper of the Lamb
[08] select-24-24-06 Tribulation Judgments
Table of Contents
  Parousia:
[01] select-24-24-06 “Blessed Hope” (Return of Christ)

SIGNS

KEY END TIMES PLAYERS

Table of Contents
  Signs Concerning Mankind
[01] select-24-24-06 the “Regathering” of Israel?
[02] select-24-24-06 Will Russia Invade Israel?
[03] select-24-24-06 Ushering In The End Of The Age?
  Signs Christ’s Return.
[01] select-24-24-06 What Are The Signs of Christ’s Return?.
[02] select-24-24-06 Earthquakes, Global Crime, Strange Activities in Space?
[03] select-24-24-06 Behavioural attitudes ie. Blasphemy, Disobedience, Lack of Gratitude, Ungodliness, Lying, And Broken Promises
  Signs Israel
[03] select-24-24-06 The “regathering” of Israel.
Table of Contents
  Antichrist:
[01] select-24-24-06 Who is the coming “world ruler”

Special Interests:

PAST AND FUTURE OF ISRAEL

OTHER SUBJECTS

Table of Contents
  PFI Past & Future of Israel
[01] select-24-24-06 Earthquakes, Famines, Perilous Times, Pestilences
[02] select-24-24-06 The Rabbis Speak
[03] select-24-24-06 Sceptics Dislike The Prophet Daniel His Outline Of The Future Is Too Accurate.
[04] select-24-24-06 Daniel’s Vision
[05] select-24-24-06 70 Weeks of Daniel’s prophecy (cont.)
[06] select-24-24-06 Four Prophecies That Were Fulfilled In Jesus. Part (01)
[07] select-24-24-06 Four Prophecies That Were Fulfilled In Jesus. Part (02)
[08] select-24-24-06 Four Prophecies That Were Fulfilled In Jesus. Part (03)
[09] select-24-24-06 Valley of Dry Bones
[10] select-24-24-06 Birth of Zionism
[11] select-24-24-06
[12] select-24-24-06 Statehood for Israel
[13] select-24-24-06 Hitler’s Holocaust the Travail of Israel
[14] select-24-24-06 The Persecution
[15] select-24-24-06 Death Camp Deceptions
[16] select-24-24-06 Birth-Day, Aftermath; A Modern Exodus & Blockade
[17] select-24-24-06 The Three-Way Struggle
[18] select-24-24-06 Triumphant in Travail
[19] select-24-24-06 Paying the Price
[20] select-24-24-06 Jerusalem
[21] select-24-24-06 Jacobs Trouble
[22] select-24-24-06 The Vials & The Beast
[23] select-24-24-06 The Coming War with Russia
[24] select-24-24-06 The Unfolding Mystery
[25] select-24-24-06 The World’s Most Violent Hour “Armageddon” part (01)
[26] select-24-24-06 The World’s Most Violent Hour “Armageddon” part (02)
[27] select-24-24-06 Peace at Last
Table of Contents
  Other Topics
[01] select-24-24-06 You Can Be an Overcomer
[02] select-24-24-06 What about nuclear war?
[03] select-24-24-06 Five Denominations & Two Ministries Explain Varied Stances on Alcoholism
[04] select-24-24-06 Jesus Christ

THEMES

NEW BIRTH

HOLY SPIRIT

Table of Contents
  New Birth
[01] select-24-24-06 Only Way (The Lord Jesus Christ)
[02] select-24-24-06 Adamic Nature
[03] select-24-24-06 The Results “The New Birth”
[04] select-24-24-06 The Results “Victory”
[05] select-24-24-06 Only Way (The Lord Jesus Christ)
[06] select-24-24-06  The True Gospel (Easter)
Table of Contents
  Holy Spirit
[01] select-24-24-06 His divinity & His personality
[02] select-24-24-06 The Presence of the Holy Spirit
[03] select-24-24-06 The Power of the Holy Spirit
[04] select-24-24-06 The program of the Holy Spirit for Believers
[05] select-24-24-06 Placed into the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit

SUFFERING

DISCIPLESHIP AND REVIVAL

Table of Contents
  Suffering
[01] select-24-24-06 We are baffled by Life’s seeming Inequities
[02] select-24-24-06 What our sufferings have in common with Paul, Job, and a host of others.
[03] select-24-24-06 What Is the Adversary’s Role in our sufferings?
Table of Contents
  Discipleship and Revival
[01] select-24-24-06 The Price Paid by Christ (part 1)
[02] select-24-24-06 The Price Paid by Christ (part 2)
[03] select-24-24-06 Humility, Prayer & Confession
[04] select-24-24-06 Sins that Hinder

SEASONAL FOCUSES

EASTER

CHRISTMAS

Table of Contents
  Easter
[01] select-24-24-06 King Jesus Will Reign
[02] select-24-24-06 New Birth 06 – The True Gospel (Easter)
[03] select-24-24-06 The Last Seven Sayings of Christ Upon the Cross
[04] select-24-24-06 The Importance of Christ’s Resurrection
[05] select-24-24-06 Christ’s Resurrection and the Rapture of the Church
Table of Contents
  Christmas
[01] select-24-24-06 The Purpose of the Incarnation
[02] select-24-24-06 The Lord Jesus Christ: Saviour of the World
[03] select-24-24-06 The Deity of Christ
[04] select-24-24-06 The Birth of the Eternal God.
[05] select-24-24-06 No Room for Christ

BOOK STUDIES

REVELATIONS

DANIEL

Table of Contents
  Revelation
[01] select-24-24-06 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 1: vs.1 – vs.6
[02] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 1: vs.7 – vs.20
[03] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 2: vs.1 – vs.29
[04] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 3: vs.1 – vs.22
[05] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 4: vs.1 – vs.11
[06] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 5: vs.1 – vs.14
[07] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 6: vs.1 – vs.4
[08] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 6: vs.5 – vs.17
[09] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 7: vs.1 – vs.17
[10] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 8: vs.1 – 9:vs.12
[11] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 9: vs.13 – vs.21
[12] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 10: vs.1 – vs.11
[13] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 11: vs.1 – vs.19
[14] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 12: vs.1 – vs.17
[15] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 13: vs.1 – vs.3
[16] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 13: vs.4 – vs.18
[17] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 14: vs.1 – vs.8
[18] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 14: vs.9 – vs.20
[19] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 15: vs.1 – vs.8
[20] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 16: vs.1 – vs.9
[21] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 16: vs.10 – vs.21
[22] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 17: vs.1- vs.18
[23] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 18: vs.1 – vs.24
[24] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 19: vs.1 – vs.9
[25] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 19: vs.10 – vs.21
[26] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 20: vs.1 – vs.6
[27] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 20: vs.7 – vs.15
[28] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 21: vs.1 – vs.14
[29] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 21: vs.15 – vs.27
[30] select-24-24-06  The Book of Revelation: Chapter 22: vs.1 – vs.21
Table of Contents
  Daniel
[01] select-24-24-06 Daniel 1 vs.1 – vs.7
[02] select-24-24-06  Daniel 1 vs.8 – vs.16
[03] select-24-24-06  Daniel 1 vs.17 – vs.21
[04] select-24-24-06  Daniel 2 vs.1 – vs.26
[05] select-24-24-06  Daniel 2 vs.25 – vs.45
[06] select-24-24-06  Daniel 2 vs.46 – vs.49
[07] select-24-24-06  Daniel 3 vs.1 – vs.7
[08] select-24-24-06  Daniel 3 vs.21 – vs.30
[09] select-24-24-06  Daniel 4 vs.1 – vs.18
[10] select-24-24-06  Daniel 4 vs.19 – vs.27
[11] select-24-24-06  Daniel 4 vs.28 – vs.37
[12] select-24-24-06  Daniel 5 vs.1 – vs.4
[13] select-24-24-06  Daniel 5 vs.5 – vs.16
[14] select-24-24-06  Daniel 5 vs.17 – vs.28
[15] select-24-24-06  Daniel 5 vs.29 – vs.31~ Daniel 6 vs.1 – vs.3
[16] select-24-24-06  Daniel 6 vs.4 – vs.15
[17] select-24-24-06  Daniel 6 vs.16 – vs.28
[18] select-24-24-06  Daniel 7: vs.1 – vs.28 (vs.1 – vs.14)
[19] select-24-24-06  Daniel 7: vs.1 – vs.28 (vs.8, vs.20 & vs.24)
[20] select-24-24-06  Daniel 7: vs.1 – vs.28 (vs.15 – vs.27)
[21] select-24-24-06  Daniel 7: vs.1 – 28 (vs.28)
[22] select-24-24-06  Daniel 8: vs.1 – vs.14
[23] select-24-24-06  Daniel 8: vs.15 – vs.27
[24] select-24-24-06  Daniel 8: vs.15 – vs.27
[25] select-24-24-06  Daniel 9: vs.1 – vs.19
[26] select-24-24-06  Daniel 9: vs.20 – vs.27
[27] select-24-24-06  Daniel 10: vs.1 – vs.9
[28] select-24-24-06  Daniel 10: vs.10 – vs.17
[29] select-24-24-06  Daniel 10: vs.18 – vs.21
[30] select-24-24-06  Daniel 11: vs.1 – vs.36
[31] select-24-24-06  Daniel 11: vs.36 – vs.45
[32] select-24-24-06  Daniel 12: vs.1 – vs.3
[33] select-24-24-06  Daniel 12: vs.4 – vs.13
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Easter: The Last Seven Sayings of Christ Upon the Cross

Jack van Impe feature

Seven is the number of perfection and holiness, and Christ uttered seven cries from the tree that held His body in suspension between heaven and earth.

Let’s look at the seven sayings in order of their utterance and then analyze the tender compassionate heart of Christ.

We will immediately notice that even the order or progress of the seven cries is Christ like, for He begins with His enemies and ends with himself. All through His life it was others first—self last. Thus Jesus died even as He had lived.

The order is:

1. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

2. Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

3. Woman, behold thy son!…Behold thy mother! (John 19:26,27).

4. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).

5. I thirst (John 19:28).

6. It is finished (John 19:30).

7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46).

Oh, what love, what compassion, what heartache, and what suffering. It was all for us. Everyone at this point should repeat the latter part of Galatians 2:20, [Christ] loved me, and gave himself for me.

God’s love

Now, let’s analyze each of these statements.

#1:

The first thing: Jesus did when He got to His cross was to seek forgiveness for those who had viciously nailed Him to it. He was beginning His ministry of intercession for His enemies by virtue of His blood—already freely flowing from His veins.

This cry was not being made for His admirers and devotees, but for the rabble-rousers who had mercilessly mangled and mutilated His flesh. It was for the brutes who had used the Roman cat-o-nine-tails and shredded the skin of His chest, arms, and back. It was for the villains who had barbarously battered His face with sticks and fists and yanked His beard out by the roots (see Isaiah 50:6).

The sinners who had spit in His face ridiculing, vilifying, and disqualifying Him as the Saviour of the world were also part of His intercessory cry. Even the soldiers who had nailed His hands and feet to the tree and who dropped the cross into a hole with such vehemence and hatred that it dislocated His bones (see Psalm 22:14) were recipients of His tender supplications to His Father.

Oh, dear friend, God is love and He longs to save you, regardless of the way you have treated Him. Christ died as He had lived. Do you remember His teachings contained in the Sermon on the Mount?

Matthew 5:44-48: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Loving our enemies

Is it possible to manifest love toward those who hate us? After all, Christ was God in human flesh and thereby different from the rest of us. Oh, but He also was tested in all points as we are and was without sin (see Hebrews 4:15).

In order to prove that it is possible to love others who hate us, we turn our minds to the first Christian martyr, Stephen. In Acts 7, we find this spiritual giant preaching one of the strongest messages ever recorded. The ungodly worldlings couldn’t take this bombardment of truth and reacted violently. Verse 54: When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. This means that they gritted their teeth and hurled every profane, immoral oath imaginable into his face.

It didn’t bother this saint in the least for he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (verses 55,56). This raised the anger of the crowd to an unusual pitch for then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him (verses 57,58).

Now get the picture—don’t miss it—because here we find the real evidence of the Holy Spirit in a human’s life. Notice it is not in words but in actions. The great sign is not speaking in supernatural languages but love for one’s enemies, who in Stephen’s case, crushed his skull with rocks. Notice verse 55: He, being full of the Holy Ghost. The result: And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [or he died] (verse 60). This is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s operation in a life that a sin-riddled, hateful world wants to observe.

#2:

The second expression. Today shalt thou be with me in paradise, is closely aligned with the first, in that the Saviour forgives one individual who has shown nothing but hatred toward Him. In the Gospel accounts we find both thieves heckling Christ. Mark 15:32: They [plural] that were crucified with him reviled him.

The religious leaders said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God (Matthew 27:42.43). Now look at verse 44: The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth [or face],

Since both thieves were making these identical statements and accusations against Christ’s saving ability, what triggered the sudden change of attitude in the one convict? I believe it was love. This thief saw the hatred the world had heaped upon Christ as well as upon himself. His heart was so incensed with the brutes who nailed him to a tree next to Christ that he would have strangled his executioners with his bare hands had it been possible.

Then, as he looked at the center cross and saw Christ, he heard an unbelievable utterance falling from the Lord’s lips: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). The thief was startled by the love shown to such villains. It was superhuman. Because of it, he suddenly changed his mind about Christ. Soon the one who hurled infamous blasphemies at Christ called upon Him for salvation. His cry was, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom (Luke 23:42).

Did Christ really forgive this one who so hatefully slandered Him? Did Jesus mean what He prayed when He said, “Father, forgive them?” The answer is tenderly given in the second expression: Today shall thou be with me in paradise (verse 43).

Dear friend, Christ will also forgive you of any sin if you will open your mind and heart to Him. Your sin may be murder, abortion, alcoholism, drug addiction, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, blasphemy, thievery, lying, or some other enslaving vice. Hear it! First John 1:7: The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. The thief was out of Christ in the morning, in Christ at noon, and with Christ in the evening. Guilt, grace, and glory are the three stages in the spiritual biography of the thief on the cross.

#3:

The third statement ringing from the Saviour’s lips also resounds the message of love. Let’s turn from the outer circle of sin-blinded religious leaders, brutal soldiers, and hardened criminals to the inner circle of believers. The lesson unfolded now is very moving.

Mary was the instrument of God used to bring His Son into the world. This pure young lady was a virgin who had never known man in an intimate way (see Luke 1:34). She became impregnated through the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit—a special act of creation (see Luke 1:35). Therefore Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Christ and was only called his father because he adopted Christ. As Christ hung upon the cruel cross, dying for the sins of an entire world, Joseph was not present—all evidence suggests that he was already dead.

Jesus looked at the lonely little woman who bore Him and His tender heart was grieved. He wanted assurance that someone would take care of Mother after His departure. He looked at Mary and said, Woman, behold thy son! Then to His beloved disciple John He said, Behold thy mother! (John 19:26,27). Yes, Christ in His dying moments was concerned about the future welfare of Mary, who had borne Him and whose soul was now pierced with a sword (see Luke 2:35).

Jesus had no earthly possessions to leave His mother (see 2 Corinthians 8:9). He brought nothing into the world at His birth, and He had nothing to leave behind as He left this life. He died as poor as He had lived. All that He could leave His mother was His love. He wanted His followers to love as He loved. Jesus said in Matthew 19:19, Honour thy father and thy mother.

What a lesson there is for this thoughtless, cruel age in which we live. Thousands weep because they have been forgotten. Lord, forgive us for we know not what we do. Love is the proof of salvation—love for parents, in-laws, believers, neighbors, and for lowly sinners. Do you have the evidence?

First John 4:7,8 says, Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. John 13:35: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. If this element of love pictured in the first three sayings of the cross is missing in your life, find out why. Are you saved? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Seek that love which proves salvation is real.

In closing our examination of these statements revealing God’s love, let me ask you a personal question. Would you be ready to meet Christ today if you were to die? Christ said to the repentant thief, Today shall thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). It is blessed to have the assurance that one will be with Christ for all eternity. He died by the shedding of blood, was buried, and rose again for your sins. Have you accepted this truth and received Him?

God’s holiness

#4:

The fourth: cry, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) reveals the holiness of God and the depravity of man. God is love (1 John 4:8). However, this does not mean that He sentimentally allows man’s ungodliness and debased practices to go unpunished. Perish the thought! He is also a God of holiness and wants mankind to partake of this righteous attribute. First Peter 1:16 says, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The problem is that man is inherently wicked. Every member of the human race arrives on the scene with the nature of Adam. Romans 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Yes, every one of us is born with this sinful, wicked, Adamic nature. It is this sin principle with which we are born that makes us lie, cheat, swindle, curse, blaspheme, and become enslaved to every known vice that mankind creates. We do not become sinners because we commit these abominable practices, but rather we practice these wicked iniquities because we were born with a nature that hungers after sin.

Because the God of holiness cannot look upon sin, and because this God of holiness is also a God of love, we begin to understand the words of the Saviour, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? At the cross, God’s two attributes of holiness and love were made manifest—His love, in that His Son was being offered to rid mankind of sin and His holiness, as He forsook the Son He loved. Romans 8:32 says that God spared not His own Son.

The reason the Father turned His back upon His Son at Calvary, refusing to look at Him, was that Christ was covered from head to toe with every loathsome sin mankind had ever and would ever commit. Please remember that Christ was not dying for His own sin. He was the Holy One of God who did no sin (1 Peter 2:22). He…knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26). The “good news” is that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5).

As Jesus hung there stained, saturated, and sin-laden, the Father refused to look at His Son. Why? Christ was bearing every vile, degrading vice that depraved human beings had ever com-mitted or would ever commit. His body and soul were completely immersed with man’s abominations. He bore the disobedience of Adam, the murderous act of Cain, the adultery of David, and the murders of the Christians by Saul of Tarsus. He bore every sin committed since the inception of history and every sin which will be committed until the world disintegrates by fire.

Christ bore adultery, anger, blasphemy, burglary, carnality, corruption, covetousness, cursing, deceit, defilement, degeneracy, dishonour, drunkenness, drug addiction, envy, extortion, filthiness, fornication, guile, hatred, harlotry, homosexuality, heresy, hypocrisy, jealousy, lasciviousness, lying, murder, nudity, perversion, profanity, rebellion, revenge, robbery, sadism, seduction, stealing, swearing, thievery, unfaithfulness, ungodliness, vileness, violence, war, whoredom, whoremongering, wickedness, and every sin that may have escaped this lengthy listing.

Never in the annals of history had so much sin been carried at one time, and it was all carried by the sinless One. It was all upon the sinless, holy, God-man, Christ Jesus, and this is why the Father turned away from the voice of His Son as Christ took our place (see Psalm 22:1). God could not look upon the scene. Truly, it was our sin, our wickedness, our transgressions, our iniquities, and our abominations that turned God’s face from the heartbreaking event.

#5:

Christ had suffered severe abuse at the hands of His tormentors. Many were His anguished cries. Psalm 22:1 tells us that He literal¬ly roared upon that cruel tree because of the excruciating pain. Naturally, His mouth became parched, pasty, and dry. Thus He cried, I thirst (John 19:28).

What a paradox that Christ, the Water of life, the One who satisfies the eternal thirst of the soul, cried for water. The blessing of these words becomes understandable when one realizes that the God-man was willing to suffer physical thirst in order that our spiritual thirst might be quenched for all eternity.

This truth is taught in John 4:13,14. Jesus, conversing with the woman at the well, said, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. Why? Mankind must continually replenish the fluid in his body or death will ensue. But, Christ continued, whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

I personally drank of this Water many years ago, and the Lord has satisfied every desire and longing in my heart. Quit trying to quench the thirst of your spiritual being with liquor, drugs, sex, pleasure, or money. Drink of the Water of life freely. God’s invitation to you is found in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:17: Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. It is yours without money, without works, without man-made rites and ceremonies, without Lenten observations. God offers it freely. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Christ finished the plan

#6:

The sixth utterance is the greatest statement ever recorded, historically. It is finished (John 19:30). The original Greek does not carry three words, but one: finished.

Friend, do you get the significance of this statement? Does it simply mean that Christ expired or died upon a tree as far as your understanding of the subject is concerned? If so, get ready for some thrilling theological truth. The terminology It is finished had to do with the eternal plan the Trinity originated in heaven before the world was created.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sat down in the counsels of eternity past and meticulously planned redemption’s program. They decided that the sacrifice of shed blood would be the only means of salvation for mankind. Blood would make atonement for the soul (see Leviticus 17:11). At first, animal blood would be a temporary offering— only covering sin until a permanent sacrifice could be made. Since mankind’s blood was tainted through the fall of its father, Adam, there could only be one solution. A member of the Godhead would have to go to earth, take a body with blood, and shed that blood to take away the sin that animal blood could only cover.

First Peter 1:20 proves this teaching. Who [Christ] verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8 states that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. When was He slain? Before and from the foundation of the world.

Christ said in Hebrews 10:4,5, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore…a body hast thou prepared me. This prepared body had blood. It was pure, holy blood because of the virgin birth. It was not contaminated with Adam’s virus of sin. John the Baptist recognized Christ’s earthly mission and victoriously cried out in John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Animal blood had covered sin to this point, but soon Christ, God’s Lamb, would shed His blood and take away the sin that was hitherto covered.

When Christ shed His blood at Calvary, He cried, Finished! The programmed plan from eternity past had now come to completion. The shedding of blood was finished forever. Hebrews 9:12 says, Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 10:12 states that heoffered one sacrifice for sins forever. This is why it is finished. He did it once for all—and forever. This is why man’s works are useless. It is the work of Christ—and only the work of Christ—that is sufficient forever.

#7:

Into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46). In essence, Christ was saying, “Father, You sent Me into the world (see Galatians 4:4). My work upon Calvary’s cross is finished. I have shed My blood for the sins of the world. Now I commend My Spirit unto You.”

What a beautiful example Christ sets in this last utterance from the cross. He is at perfect peace and is soon going home. The liberals and apostacized religionists of our day may laugh about heaven. They may try to insult real Christians with such phraseology as “pie in the sky when you die by and by.” Yet, death must and will come for every member of Adam’s race and there is nothing more satisfying than the assurance of eternal life. What joy and satisfaction there is when one believes the Word of God and the sayings of Jesus—especially when the night of death approaches.

Does it bother you to think about the inevitability of decease? It does not have to be this way. Death is not a sad ending but a glorious beginning for those who have trusted in Christ. He who said, Into thy hands I commend my spirit, also said in John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Verse 6: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. He died, was buried, and rose again for us. That’s the gospel. Where He went, you can go—if He lives in your heart. Receive Him now!

March 21, 2016
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Easter: The Importance of Christ’s Resurrection

Jack van Impe feature

The Importance of Christ’s Resurrection

On June 18, 1815, twelve miles south of Brussels and two miles from the Belgian village of Waterloo—largely through a series of mistakes and misunderstandings among his own leaders— Napoleon was soundly defeated by Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington. At the time of this victory, one of the strangest events in the annals of England’s history took place.

Without our modem means of communication, the people in those days were limited to semaphore signals. The news of Wellington’s decisive victory was passed along until finally, in the last relay from a ship out in the channel, the message was passed on to receivers stationed high in the towers of Westminster Abbey. The communication stated, “Wellington defeated.”

When those two words were received, a heavy fog rolled across London and the message—just as received—was passed on to the waiting people. All of London was filled with grief and despair as strong men sobbed openly and women agonized in the streets. However, a few hours later another wind blew the fog away, and the message from the ship began again, this time adding a third word and reading, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.

What a difference! The first message said, “Wellington defeated,” and the fog stopped the third word. But later the message said, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.” Oh, the rejoicing that took place in England when they got the third word of that message.

A similar event took place at Calvary. On the day of the crucifixion, the fog of hell seemed to roll in with its message, “Christ defeated.” That day ended with a broken, bloody, dead Messiah and scattered, weeping, defeated disciples. Then, three days and three nights later, the fog was dispelled by the brightness of glory. Special archangels from heaven descended to earth and rolled back the stone from the empty tomb so that a waiting world could read the entire message, “Christ defeated Satan.” Hallelujah! Christ defeated Satan. Praise God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You must believe in the Resurrection

We are living in a day and age when many apostate, liberal, modernistic ministers scoff at the Resurrection.

Dr. Duncan E. Littlefair has a book entitled The Changing Religious Thought. I quote from pages 104 and 105.

Listen to this blasphemy:The resurrection is not peculiar to Christianity. Don’t you go building religion on this basis. Don’t build it on the idea that somehow or another something different happened in Christianity because Jesus was raised from the dead. It is not so. It just isn’t so. I say to you that this physical resurrection must stop being a dominant thing in our minds. We have to understand it differently. We must see it with our spiritual eyes. The virgin birth is a mythological tale.

This is a minister speaking! Well, I choose to believe God (see Acts 27:25)!

Matthew 1:23 says, Behold, a virgin shall be with child. Let’s listen to God rather than men.

Dr. Littlefair continues, “The virgin birth is a story designed to say something. It wasn’t meant to be understood physically. It was a picturesque way of telling something wonderful that couldn’t be told any other way. The resurrection story is the same.

It should not be taken physically? Wait a minute!

Let’s see what God has to say. In Luke 24:39, Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and He was in a body. He said, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself [you do not believe it?]: handle me, and see [come on and touch me!]; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Dr. Littlefair says this should not be taken literally, as far as the physical is concerned!

He further states, “Don’t take it with your crude literal hands and destroy it. A rolled away stone and some clothes left there—how trivial and insignificant.” Really?

The literal, physical Resurrection is insignificant? Oh, Dr. Littlefair, how about Romans 10:9,10 which says that if you do not believe in this literal Resurrection you cannot be saved? That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Dr. Littlefair goes on to say, “Two men sitting there announced that the body was no longer there. One of the disciples putting his finger into the wound in the side, Jesus eating a fish to show that He was physical, passing through a wall to give a miracle, and, finally, rising up with His body. If you stop to think about it you realize the absurdity of it.

Sir, the only absurdity I see is in the article you have written in your book which does away with the precious story of what the Holy Bible, God’s Word, has to say about the Resurrection.

In one paragraph, this accomplished apostate denies the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the ascension, the existence of heaven, and the integrity of the Holy Scriptures. Philippians 3:10 says, That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection. Let me tell you, when you really know Jesus—not about Jesus, but know Him with your heart—you also know the power of the Resurrection.

You know it is not just myth. You know that it is real.

In 2 Peter 1:16, the apostle says, For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. In other words, Peter says, “This is not something that we hatched up in a dream—it is something that we saw with our own eyes.”

The pages of the Holy Bible are literally saturated with Resurrection truth.

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

Job 19:25

In Mark 16 the angel says,

Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen.

Mark 16:6

In John 11 Jesus Christ says,

I am the resurrection, and the life.

John 11:25

Peter, preaching in Acts 5 says,

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus.

Acts 5:30

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 4:25

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:34

Christ died for our sins…And…he was buried, and…he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

First Corinthians 15:3,4

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead.

First Thessalonians 1:10

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead.

Second Timothy 2:8

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep…Make you perfect.

Hebrews 13:20,21

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.

Revelation 1:18

 There is one thing this Book teaches and that is the story of the Resurrection.

Our faith depends on the Resurrection

I want to show you how vain, how empty, how meaningless, and how futile the Christian religion would be without the Resurrection. I believe the greatest chapter on the subject is 1 Corinthians 15. Look at verses 1-8: Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved. What is that gospel? Verses 3-4: How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day.

Then God, through Paul, goes to the trouble of giving us the witnesses who saw Christ in His new body, for He says in verses 5-8: He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he, was seen of above [or over] five hundred brethren at once…After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also.

Does it really matter whether or not one accepts the Resurrection story? I have already quoted Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved.

You cannot be saved unless you believe the Resurrection story. Why?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19: Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Now here is the victorious note—But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (verse 20).

There are a number of points here that we need to see.

First of all, if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is vain (verse 14). Vain means “empty” or “meaningless.” Why? We would be preaching about a deceiver.

Jesus made some startling predictions.

He said in Matthew 12:39,40, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Hear Jesus again in Matthew 16:21, From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Jesus said in John 2:19, Destroy this temple [this body], and in three days I will raise it up. He said, in effect, “They are going to kill Me; I will be in a grave for three days, but I am coming out of that grave.” If He had not done that, all our preaching would be in vain because we would be preaching about a deceiver who predicted many things and never fulfilled them.

We would also be preaching about one who had taught erroneously. If He could not back up the teaching of the Resurrection, then He would not be able to back up the teaching of the new birth when He said in John 3:7, Ye must be born again. He would not be able to back up the teaching of heaven when He said in John 14:2, In my Father’s house are many mansions. He would not be able to back up the teaching of salvation when He said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. But, praise God, He is risen and He is not a deceiver. We can believe every one of His teachings.

Second, our faith is also vain (verse 14). Why? Because one is trusting in a Saviour who could not produce what He had promised. 

He said, “I will come out of the grave the third day.” If He did not do it, He would not have kept His promises. If He could not keep that promise, He could not keep the others He made.

For instance, John 8:

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.

John 10:9

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

John 11:25,26

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

If He could not fulfill the promise of His resurrection, He would not be able to fulfill these other promises. Therefore, our faith would be in vain because we would be trusting in one who could not fulfill what He had promised. Praise God, Christ is risen and we can accept every promise. Because He fulfilled the first promise concerning His resurrection, He will fulfill all the rest. He will be the Light of the world to you. He will be the Door to heaven. He will be the Way. He will be your Resurrection and Life if you will let Him into your heart today.

Third, we are found false witnesses (verse 15). Why? Because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

Matthew would have lied because he recorded the Resurrection story in chapter 28. He said in verse 6, He is risen. Mark would have lied, for he recorded the same story in chapter 16. He triumphantly cried out in verse 6, He is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Luke also would have been a prevaricator because he described the blessed Resurrection in a narrative found in Luke 24. He said in verse 3, And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. Why? Because He was risen. John would have been untruthful because he unfolded the Resurrection scene in John 20. The Apostle Peter would have been a false witness because he said in Acts 3:15, [You] killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead.

All of these men would have been false witnesses or liars had they preached these truths, knowing that Christ’s body had been stolen. However, they were filled with the blessed Holy Spirit and integrity. The greatest proof that they believed the message they declared is the fact that they went through horrible torture and death for the message they proclaimed.

Do you think a man would give his life if he did not really believe what he was preaching? Matthew’s body was run through with a spear. Mark was dragged through the streets of Alexandria until the skin was torn off his body and his blood seeped into the sand. Then he died. Luke was hanged, and John was thrown into boiling oil. Peter was crucified, and Paul was beheaded.

These men would not have given their lives if they knew it had been a concocted message. No, praise God, let’s say it again. He is risen! That is why these men were not false witnesses and why they even gave their lives for the message they preached.

Fourth, if there be no Resurrection, then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ [those who have died in Christ] are perished (verse 18). 

If Christ perished, then we which are in Christ shall perish. If Christ had not been able to overcome death, then we who are in Christ shall certainly not be able to overcome death, because our energy, strength, and life must come from Him.

Our Saviour said in John 14:19, Because I live, ye shall live also. Let me tell you this: Because He is risen (praise God), all of our loved ones who died in Jesus are now in the presence of the Lord. Because He has eternal life in Him, He can give us this eternal life. Christ spoke the truth when He said in John 11:25 and 26, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. You can have life—eternal life—if you will come to this Jesus.

Finally, if Christ be not risen, we are of all men most miserable (verse 19). Of course! Why?

Because our preaching would be vain. Our faith would be vain. We would be false witnesses, and we would perish. Let me say it one more time. HE IS RISEN! Our preaching is not vain, and our faith is not vain. We are not found false witnesses, and we shall never perish. We shall be with Jesus for the ages of ages. Oh, let Him into your heart today!

28 March 2016

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11.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 9: vs. 13 – 21

Revelation (the Book) feature
Following on from where we left of {see}The Book of Revelation: Chapter 8: vs.1- 9:12

   Sixth trumpet   

   Second Woe   1)The second woe is revealed after the sixth trumpet judgment. This woe begins when a voice commands, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (Revelation 9:14). These four angels are demons who were cast from heaven along with Satan. God is right now keeping them imprisoned until the appointed time (Revelation 9:15; cf. Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4). These angels and their armies, numbering two hundred million, are released to kill a third of mankind (Revelation 9:15-16). After the second woe passes (Revelation 11:14), there comes a clear division in the book with the announcement from heaven, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). In other words, this final stage of judgment will be the end, and righteousness will be restored to the earth. source Rev 9:14-16

*Revelation Chapter 9* cont’d

verse 13 - 14 : [13 – 14v13 And the sixth angel sounded, and heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, v14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.


As the sixth angel sounds, John hears a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is in the presence of God. Isn’t it strange that many of the judgments are directly linked with God’s program of atonement?

Perhaps this is because so many have rejected the message of the altar which speaks of the shed blood of Jesus.

Paul warned the human race of the danger of refusing this teaching: He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:28, 29).

The rejection of God’s Word always brings serious consequences.

Before us is a scene wherein even the altar (the only place where sin can be forgiven) and the horns of the altar (actually touched by the blood) unitedly cry out to God for judgment.

Never treat the message of the precious shed blood of Christ lightly. Those who do will be sorry!

Now, because of rejecting the message, the voice from the altar tells the sixth angel to loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

The fact that they are bound proves that they are the fallen angels who rebelled and fell with Lucifer at the time of his revolt (see Isaiah 14:12-14).

Once the Church is safely in heaven, four denizens from the pit of the abyss are released upon earth. Earlier we saw four unfallen angels holding back the judgment of God (chapter 7, verse 1).2)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=REV+7%3A1&version=KJV

Now four wicked angels are set free to wreak havoc upon planet earth.

They are commanded to execute their judgment in the area of the Euphrates River. This body of water runs through Iraq and Syria and will become the point of origin for the battle of the ages in the future.

This land area belongs to Israel and no one but Israel. God will see that they get it. Proof?

And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee (Exodus 23:31).

Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be (Deuteronomy 11:24).

Again God says, From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast (Joshua 1:4).

At one point in history, the Euphrates River became the boundary of the old Roman Empire-which is being restored and will fall under the rule of the Antichrist (chapter 13, verse 1).3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=REV+13%3A1&version=KJV

This area will surely become the sore spot as history progresses, for it serves as both the frontier of the promised land and the boundary of the ten-toed, ten-horned, Western federation of nations that produces the Antichrist (Daniel 2:40,41; Daniel 7:23,24; and Revelation 13:1). The destruction unleashed upon the earth by the four evil emissaries is described in the next verse.

verse 15 : [15]: And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

The population of earth is presently approximately six billion, eight hundred million people, and it is estimated to become seven billion within the next five years.

In our study, we have seen one-fourth of this number die under the rider of the fourth, or pale horse (chapter 6, verse 8).4)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=REV+6%3A8&version=KJV Thus, starting at seven billion earth’s population is reduced to five billion, one hundred million.

Now an additional one-third-or one billion, seven hundred – perish as the four fallen angels are released.

These four executioners are undoubtedly waiting in the wings to begin the drama of the ages. They are prepared and eagerly anticipating their scheduled timetable. Remember, the Euphrates River is Middle East territory-the location of present-day Iraq and Syria. This is the world’s present and future tinderbox.

The holocaust will also include Russia and her allies posed against Israel (Ezekiel 38 and 39).5)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38+%2C+39&version=KJV The barbaric troops come against the nation of Israel from the north: Thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land… (Ezekiel 38:15, 16).

Russia is north of Israel. 

This is why Joel declared in chapter 2, verse 20,6)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=JOEL+2%3A20&version=KJV I will remove far off from you [Israel] the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate [Siberia], with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea.

Geographically, Russia alone meets the qualifications of this text.

As stated previously, Israel is mentioned as the battlefield of the world on eighteen occasions in Ezekiel 38 and 39.7)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38+%2C+39&version=KJV

There is no doubt that the Holy Land becomes the site of the greatest war in the annals of history. Now Russia marches toward the middle of the Tribulation hour, but is driven back to Siberia (see Ezekiel 39:1, 2 and Joel 2:20).

She strengthens her forces and then returns to the land of Israel once again. The scope and intensity of the offensive continues to increase until all nations become involved and are finally gathered together against Israel at Jerusalem. God says, I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle (Zechariah 14:2).

At that point the Battle of Armageddon takes place: He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).

This Mideast war numbers the largest armies in the history of mankind.
verse 16 : [16] : And the number of the army of the horsemen [was] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
Think of it! Two hundred million soldiers!

No wonder the ancient prophet said, And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land (Ezekiel 38:16).

This army advances in the latest and best of equipment:

For the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation …The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings (Nahum 2:3, 4).

Many Bible scholars associate the army of two hundred million with Red China and her oriental allies by tying this text concerning the Euphrates together with chapter 16, verse 128)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+16%3A12&version=KJV : And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east [or the kings of the sunrising] might be prepared.

Such an assembly of military might is quite feasible considering China’s present population of nearly one billion, five hundred million. Other Bible commentators believe this army is a supernatural one in light of the three verses which follow:

verse 17 to 19 : [17 – 19v17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. v18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. v19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

The advocates of literalism believe that these same verses portray the latest inventions stockpiled in the military arsenals of the world.

Either way, it will be a devastating period of time as the remaining third of earth’s inhabitants are destroyed by fire, smoke, and brimstone-a sulfurous, poisonous gas.

At this point several verses predicting the final war of fire should be considered: A fire goeth before him (Psalm 97:3). For, behold, the Lord will come with fire (Isaiah 66:15). The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy (Zephaniah 1:18). A fire devoureth before them (Joel 2:3).

Who? 

The Russian army coming from the north.

Then God states: I will remove far off from you [Israel] the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great [or terrible] things (Joel 2:20).

This is the point at which Russia and her allies are pushed back to Siberia. Joel continues in verse 30 of chapter 29)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel+2%3A30&version=KJV : And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

This sounds similar to the report mentioned in Malachi 4:1: For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven. And the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up (see Revelation 8:7).

Again-whether the means are natural or supernatural-it is catastrophic.

Personally, I believe that both the natural and the supernatural-men and demons-will be involved in the Tribulation woes. Now, what about the remaining sixty-five percent of the population?

verse 20 - 21 : [20 – 21v20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: v21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
We have now witnessed the release of thirteen judgments-seven seals and six trumpets.

One would think that after experiencing such devastation, mankind would begin considering eternity.

Not so! 

Those who are still alive continue to rebel. Wicked sinners do not give in or give up easily. In fact, God’s Word tells us that men won’t repent even after they have been in the regions of the doomed and the damned for centuries. Even then they continue gnashing their teeth in an expression of their hatred toward God. Proof?

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:41, 42).

Verses 20 and 21: presents five major sins which permeate the Tribulation scene-and for which men would rather die than switch:

(1) occultism.
(2) murder.
(3) drug abuse.
(4) fornication. (sexual orgies)
(5) stealing.

Let’s investigate them further.

   Occultism   

The Tribulation will be a time of pronounced devil worship.

Anton LaVey began the church of Satan movement in San Francisco. Estimates reveal that tens of thousands in California alone are connected to this or some other type of occult organization. Stores where satanic objects may be purchased are presently springing up everywhere nationally and internationally. God hates this sin!

Listen to the Almighty: 

Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:31).

And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people (Leviticus 20:6).

Anything that smacks of demonic-related practices has the anathema of God upon it. Look at the listing found in Deuteronomy 18:10-12:

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times [astrology], or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.

In addition to worshipping devils, earth dwellers of the Tribulation hour also use idols made of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood.

God hates idolatry!

This practice breaks His holy law-the second commandment-given to Moses in Exodus 20:4,5 which declares, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.

There are those today who, knowingly or unknowingly, break God’s commandment by worshipping lifeless, man-made idols. Their worship, however, is meaningless to God.

The psalmist says in Psalm 115:4-8, Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them [helpless and hopeless]; so is every one that trusteth in them.

God condemns idolatry-past, present, and future!

During the Tribulation hour, the world-steeped in occultism and idolatry-progresses to the worship of the image of the beast, or Antichrist, who proclaims himself as God (see 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

This image, made in his likeness (see Revelation 13:15), is undoubtedly the abomination of desolation spoken of in Matthew 24:15, which is placed in the Temple in Jerusalem and which brings great heartache to the Jews of that day. One can see that the world’s present surge of occultism is paving the way for the coming of the greatest religious imposter in history.

   Murder   

During this same time, murder becomes a sport and judgment does not change the situation.

The wicked refuse to turn from their brutalistic manner of living. They find pleasure in killing people, perhaps because terrorism is rampant.

Jesus said, But as the days of Noe were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:37).

Noah’s day was characterized by violence: The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11).

Our twenty-first century is certainly leading us to this terrifying hour.

   Drugs, fornication, and stealing   

The final three sins prevalent during the end time are interrelated and have to do with

sorceriesdrug abuse, fornication (the practice of every conceivable sex sin), and theft. These sins indicate that bodies are being sold (through prostitution) and burglaries are being committed in order to support the drug kick.

Present news headlines indicate that this day is already dawning! Surely our time as the Church upon earth is about to end and we must prepare to meet [our] God (Amos 4:12).

In concluding this chapter, let’s spend some time on the matter of drugs.

There are a number of words used in the Bible to describe the subject of sorcery. Altogether there are at least twenty-seven references to sorcery, sorceries, sorcerers, witches, witchcraft, and the art of bewitching. Of these, at least five in the New Testament are especially pertinent, for they have a direct bearing on the day in which we live-the present day of drugs and drug addiction.

In the books of the Old Testament and the Book of Acts the term sorcery always means “witchcraft” or “magic“-and one should note that the practice is continually and constantly condemned!

Five occurrences of the word sorcery in the New Testament, however, have to do with drug addiction. In these instances, the original Greek word is pharmakeia-from which we get our English term pharmacy or drugstore.

The literal meaning of the Greek is an “enchantment with drugs,” or to “get high on” or “get a kick out of’ drugs“.

Medications prescribed by doctors are not part of this condemnation.
The literal rendering of verse 21,10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+9%3A21&version=KJV then, is that men repent not of their enchantment with drugs during the Tribulation hour. Each of the five references must be carefully considered in the light of its context.
Collectively, they clearly reveal:

(1) the present world condition as foretold in the prophetic scriptures;
(2) the inevitable result of drug addiction;
(3) the certain and definite judgment upon the drug pusher as well as
(4) the drug victim; and finally
(5) the appraisal of this terrible sin in the sight of God Almighty.

As previously stated, we can already see the dawning of the day of drugs in the spread of drug use throughout all levels of society.

Such a widespread use of drugs cannot help but bring its own destruction. Even amid all the trips in mind expansion propaganda, not one user has ever been able to actually do more or be more efficient than he was before experimenting with drugs. This steady downward retrogression will be climaxed at the close of the Great Tribulation, when the full cup of its own judgment is measured.

The closing chapters of the Book of Revelation graphically portray the terrible consequences of mankind’s enchantment with drugs.

What we are presently witnessing is only the beginning of the coming disintegration of society during the Tribulation period.

Revelation 18:23 states: For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

The Greek word for sorceries, as already mentioned, is pharmakeia. Thus, “by their enchantment with drugs, or getting high on drugs, were all nations deceived.” This is the result of mankind’s first mass usage of drugs.

Now there is a change in the next occurrence of the word translated sorcerers. This change reveals a class of people who are doomed and is found in chapter 21, verse 811)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+21%3A8&version=KJVBut the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The Greek word for sorcerers in this text is pharmakeus.

Whereas the word pharmakeia meant “enchantment with drugs,pharmakeus means “the enchanter with drugs“-the pusher or the seller of drugs. This text plainly declares that eight distinct groups of people will never get into heaven but will rather be assigned to the lake of fire (a description of a literal hell). One of these groups is composed of those who are enchanters, or pushers of drugs. What a solemn warning against having anything to do with the soul-damning drug traffic of the present hour!

But wait! There is another reference to sorcerers in this book of the Bible – chapter 22, verse 1512)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+22%3A15&version=KJV : For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Here again the word is pharmakeus.

Although the word is the same as the one found in chapter 21, verse 8,13)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+21%3A8&version=KJV it has a deeper meaning in this context.

By extension, it includes both the drug pusher and user! Take notice-these individuals are kept out of heaven. (Heaven would not be heaven very long if they were admitted.) There is only one place to which they can go and that is the place of eternal separation from the presence of God- the place prepared for Satan and his angels (see Matthew 25:41).

The Bible is explicit in stating that there is no heaven for those who refuse to repent of their sins.

In hell, they will keep on sinning forever. They never repent or get saved there. Notice also that of the six groups named in chapter 22, verse 15,14)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+22%3A15&version=KJV sorcerers (drug pushers and users) occupy second place-immediately following the term which describes outlaws as wild dogs. Oh, God hates this sin!

An additional word, witchcraft, with the same meaning is found in Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The word witchcraft in our English Bible is again pharmakeia in the Greek. We also see that this sin is number six in this listing of seventeen kinds of sinners who shall not-shall not-inherit the kingdom of God. The drug user and the drug pusher are both excluded from heaven!

Is there no hope or escape from the clutches of this binding habit? Praise God, there is a source of liberation-it is the Lord Jesus Christ: For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Beloved, it is by the way of the cross of Calvary that Jesus has broken Satan’s grip. Now, when any-any-guilty sinner calls upon Him for salvation, Jesus Christ immediately frees that person from the shackles of sin and death which bind him.

Try Him. There is no limit to the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First Published : Mar 26, 2014 | Re Published : Mar 14, 2016
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References   [ + ]

1. The second woe is revealed after the sixth trumpet judgment. This woe begins when a voice commands, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (Revelation 9:14). These four angels are demons who were cast from heaven along with Satan. God is right now keeping them imprisoned until the appointed time (Revelation 9:15; cf. Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4). These angels and their armies, numbering two hundred million, are released to kill a third of mankind (Revelation 9:15-16). After the second woe passes (Revelation 11:14), there comes a clear division in the book with the announcement from heaven, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). In other words, this final stage of judgment will be the end, and righteousness will be restored to the earth. source
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=REV+7%3A1&version=KJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=REV+13%3A1&version=KJV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=REV+6%3A8&version=KJV
5, 7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38+%2C+39&version=KJV
6. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=JOEL+2%3A20&version=KJV
8. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+16%3A12&version=KJV
9. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel+2%3A30&version=KJV
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+9%3A21&version=KJV
11. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+21%3A8&version=KJV
12, 14. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+22%3A15&version=KJV
13. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+21%3A8&version=KJV

10.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 8: vs. 1 – 9:12

Revelation (the Book) feature

We now witness the opening of the seventh seal. 
This seal includes the seven trumpet judgments. 

They are so terrifying that, as they are opened, all the heavenly host becomes silent.

*Revelation 8*

verse 1 : [1] : And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Bob Ripley, in his “Believe It or Not” newspaper column, stated: “This verse proves there will be no women in heaven.” Ha! Seriously, what causes this breathtaking silence among angels and men? Answer-the contemplation of the forthcoming trumpet blasts.
verse 2 : [2]: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

These trumpet judgments were prophesied by Enoch as recorded in the Book of Jude, verses 14 and 15,1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jude1%3A14-15&version=KJV and were anticipated by the psalmist as well.

That’s why Psalm 96:13 states: He cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. 

Paul also confirmed these judgments in Acts 17:31, mentioning a time when the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18). Before the first trumpet sends forth its blast in verse 7,2)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+8%3A7&version=KJV however, we witness an unusual prayer meeting in the next three verses.

verse 3 : [3] : And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

This angel is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ himself, because He ministers both to God and man (see 1 Timothy 2:5).

The Saviour also appeared as the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament in many instances: He wrestled with Jacob, walked among Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and made numerous other Old Testament visits to His people. This Mediator between God and men ever liveth to make intercession (Hebrews 7:25) and now stands at the altar adding incense (efficacy) to the prayers being offered by the saints of God on earth.

They are imprecatory prayers for judgment, as in Revelation 6:10.

They cry, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

At this point their prayers have reached the throne of God!

verse 1 : [4] : And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Now prayers are answered, and judgment is prepared.
verse 1 : [5] : And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
What a contrast from the solemn silence of verse 1.3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation+8%3A1&version=KJV Now every noise imaginable is heard as judgment is prepared.
verse 1 : [6] : And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

At this moment the heavenly military says, “Ready! Aim! Fire!” This is it!

   First trumpet   
verse 7 : [7] : The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

We have no difficulty understanding this verse literally. The same kind of judgment occurred in Exodus 9:22, 23: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt…And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

It happened then; now it happens again!

   Second trumpet   
verse 8 : [8] : And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

This judgment is undoubtedly a giant meteor falling into the sea. Notice the phrase, as it were a mountain. This, again, is a symbolic description. Always take every word of the Bible literally unless God tells you to take it figuratively. This passage is an example of the latter. Something gigantic, as or like a mountain, is cast into the sea and causes a third part of the sea to become blood.

A similar occurrence was experienced in Moses’ day: And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that [were] in the river died (Exodus 7:19-21).

verse 9 : [9] : And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
God’s second trumpet blast is so horrendous that one-third of the creatures in the sea die and a third part of the ships are destroyed. God only knows what horrendous plagues will result when nuclear war under, upon, and above the oceans takes place.
   Third trumpet   
verse 10 & 11 : [10-11v10  And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters, v11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

Strange that Chernobyl in the Ukrainian Bible means “Wormwood.” 

This judgment also occurred in Moses’ day: Behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood (Exodus 7:17).

Now the phenomenon is repeated. 

A star, or meteor, soaring through space, speeds toward earth. When it strikes, one-third of our planet’s water supply becomes a deadly poison. Rivers, springs, and wells are affected.

Something similar happened in decades past. 

A volcanic explosion in the Aleutian Islands on March 21, 1823, caused the waters in that area to become bitter and unfit for human consumption.

This could easily happen again.

God created every star, knows their locations, and has named them. Job 9:9 states: [He] maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

He also knows where the star, Wormwood, meaning “bitterness,” is located, because Jeremiah 9:15 reports, Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink (Jeremiah 9:15).

It will happen!

   Fourth trumpet   
{*WOE No.1: Rev 8:12 – Rev 9:12}
verse 12 to 13 : [12-13] v12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. v13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

This fourth judgment has to do with earth’s luminaries-the sun, moon, and stars. 

We note with interest that, on the fourth day of creation, God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven (Genesis 1:14).

Now, at the blast of the fourth trumpet, one-third of the light produced by these bodies is extinguished.

This, too, happened in Moses’ day: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days (Exodus 10:21-23).

It happened once; it will happen again!

The worst, however, is yet to come. 

An angel flying through the midst of heaven cries, Woe, woe, woe! 

This correlates with Daniel, chapter 9,4)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+9&version=KJV where the Seventieth Week (discussed in Revelation, chapter 6)5)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+6&version=KJV is described.

The first three and one-half years of the Tribulation are not nearly as severe as the final three and one-half years.

In Matthew 24:8, our Lord described the first half of this time period as the beginning of sorrows. However, He referred to the final three and one-half years as the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21).

As the Tribulation hour approaches its climax, the judgments become more severe and the loss of life greater. This is especially noticed as one observes that two verses cover the scope of each of the first four trumpets.

However, trumpet five requires twelve verses and trumpet six necessitates nine verses.

   Fifth trumpet   

*Revelation 9*

verse 1 : [1] : And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

The star John sees-a male personage-is without a doubt the devil of verse 11. The Greek tense in verse 16)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+9%3A1&version=KJV is not fall – present tense, but fallen – past tense. Isaiah describes this fall in chapter 14, verses 12 through 147)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isa+14%3A12-14&version=KJVHow art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high. 

Satan’s fall came through pride. He wanted to be coequal with God.

Jesus, in eternity past, beheld this fall and said to His seventy disciples, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18). This fallen one is presented with a key to the bottomless pit, and he uses it.

verse 2 : [2] : And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

The term bottomless pit does not refer to one who has a voluminous appetite! 

Instead, the literal Greek renders it “the pit of the abyss.” 

The term is found nine times in the New Testament. In each case, it is a place to restrain or hold certain beings which have come under the judgment of God. For instance, when Christ went into the country of Gadarenes, He met a certain man who had a legion of demons. The demons within the man besought the Lord that he would not command them to go out into the deep [or abyss] (Luke 8:31). Their dread and terror of the pit (or abyss) was so great that they would rather become incarnated in swine. Oh, the pit of the abyss must be a terrible place!

How frightful, then, is the hour when the prison house of fallen angels is finally opened. 

The smoke ascending out of the pit darkens the sun and the air. Talk about pollution! The environmentalists had better get saved or they will be around for the greatest soot inundation in history. Then they will have a steady job picketing the portals of hell-but it will be too late.

   First Woe    Rev 9:3-68)The first woe is revealed after the fifth trumpet judgment. This woe is involves something like locusts that have the ability to sting like a scorpion (Revelation 9:3). Generally, these are not accepted as literal locusts because of their description and because they come from the Abyss and have a demonic overlord (Revelation 9:3, 7-8,11). These creatures are permitted to harm only those people who do not have the “seal of God on their forehead” (Revelation 9:4). Those bearing God’s seal are the 144,000 (Revelation 7:3-4) or, possibly, all believers during that time (Ephesians 4:30). These demonic locusts are allowed to torment unbelievers for five months (Revelation 9:5) with painful stings. Although victims will long for death (Revelation 9: 6), they will not be granted that release. source

verse 3 : [3] : And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power

These are not literal locusts. 

Their power is too great. They are most likely fallen angels who have been restrained and imprisoned in the bottomless pit since their fall (described in Genesis 6).9)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gen+6&version=KJV These wicked beings, chained in darkness all of these centuries (see 2 Peter 2:4), can hardly wait to begin their acts of evil.

They are told what they can and cannot do:

verse 4 : [4] : And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
In chapter 7,10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+7&version=KJV we saw multitudes sealed. The locusts, or fallen angels, are not allowed to touch the sealed, only the unsealed-those who have worshiped the Beast and accepted his number, 666. Note also that the locusts are not allowed to kill the unsealed (the unsaved). They are permitted only to torture them.
verse 5 : [5] : And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
What an agonizing period of time this will be!
verse 6 : [6] : And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
The next four verses give us a vivid description of these locusts, or fallen angels.
verse 7 to 10 : [7-10] : v7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle [this speaks of strength and speed]; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold [this speaks of royalty; a picture of conquerors], and their faces were as the faces of men [denoting intelligence]. v8 And they had hair as the hair of women [picturing attractiveness], and their teeth were as the teeth of lions [portraying cruelty]v9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron [picturing invincibility]; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle [denoting calamity]. v10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
These facts reinforce the gruesome portrait of life upon earth as the pit of the abyss is opened and the convicts of the ages-the fallen angels-are released. The next verse clearly identifies the fallen star who is the leader of these perverted angels.
verse 1 : [11]: And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

This king is named in both Hebrew and Greek. Abaddon is Hebrew. 

The term, found only this one time in our English Bible, is found six times in the Hebrew Bible: Job 26:6; Job 28:22; Job 31:12; Psalm 88:11; Proverbs 15:11; and Proverbs  27:20.

The Greek form, Apollyon, means     the destroyer”      –  a word that certainly describes Satan.

verse 12 : [12]: One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First Published : Mar 25, 2014 | Re Published : Mar 7, 2016
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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jude1%3A14-15&version=KJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+8%3A7&version=KJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation+8%3A1&version=KJV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+9&version=KJV
5. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+6&version=KJV
6. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+9%3A1&version=KJV
7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isa+14%3A12-14&version=KJV
8. The first woe is revealed after the fifth trumpet judgment. This woe is involves something like locusts that have the ability to sting like a scorpion (Revelation 9:3). Generally, these are not accepted as literal locusts because of their description and because they come from the Abyss and have a demonic overlord (Revelation 9:3, 7-8,11). These creatures are permitted to harm only those people who do not have the “seal of God on their forehead” (Revelation 9:4). Those bearing God’s seal are the 144,000 (Revelation 7:3-4) or, possibly, all believers during that time (Ephesians 4:30). These demonic locusts are allowed to torment unbelievers for five months (Revelation 9:5) with painful stings. Although victims will long for death (Revelation 9: 6), they will not be granted that release. source
9. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gen+6&version=KJV
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rev+7&version=KJV

09.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 7: vs. 1 – 17

Revelation (the Book) feature
God has a parenthesis {inserted as an explanation or afterthought} for us

The seventh seal is discussed in chapter 8.1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8&version=KJV However, before we get there, God has a parenthesis for us in this chapter.

Chapter 7 may be divided into two portions dealing with two groups:

• verses: 1 through 82)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+7%3A1-8&version=KJV -the 144,000 Israelites.

• verses: 9 through 173)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+7%3A9-17&version=KJV -the multitudinous Gentiles.

This chapter also portrays God as compassionate, merciful, and loving.

This is right, for God is love (1 John 4:8). In fact, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).

It’s mankind’s wickedness, rebellion, and sin that produce judgment: For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same (Job 4:8).

The judgments already described were unleashed because of the hardness of men’s hearts.

They rebelled-and continue to rebel-for thousands of years. God, however, is so great that, at this point, He declares a “time out.”

He still loves the human race and longs to save mankind.

He desires for men everywhere to open their minds and hearts and come unto Him. The result is this chapter, which deals with the mercy of God in the midst of Tribulation. God, in love, creates a lull before the storm in order to call men to salvation and revival.

THE 144,000 ISRAELITES

verse 1 : [1]: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

The fact that the angels are standing on the four corners of the earth does not signify that the earth is square. God knows the world He made is round: He …sitteth upon the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).

This statement was in the Bible when Christopher Columbus allegedly was making a fool of himself by claiming, contrary to public opinion, that the world was round. The God who made it and sits upon the circle of it knows it is not square.

Therefore, the term “the four corners of the earth” is but a Bible expression depicting north, south, east, and west-the four points of the compass.

The four angels, standing at these four positions administering judgment, are commanded to relent so there might be a time of great revival as the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.

verse 2 & 3 : [2 & 3] v2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, v3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
The wicked get their seal-666-under the super-deceiver, the great imitator, the Antichrist (chapter 13, verses 17 and 18)4)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13%3A17%2C18&version=KJV. The genuine believers receive their seal from the angel of God at this point in time.
verse 4 to 8 : [4 to 8] v4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. v5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. v6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.v7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. v8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

This group cannot be the Church: for the Church is already in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1).5)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=KJV Also, the Church is not Jewish, but is composed of all races, people, and tongues. Again, this group does not picture the Seventh Day Adventists or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both have claimed this in their theological writings.

The Seventh Day Adventists: say that the 144,000 are not Englishmen or Americans either, as the advocates of British Israelism teach. They make the Israelites forerunners of the Anglo-Saxons. Come on now, Armstrongites and Garner Ted. Surely you cannot be that foolish!

These are Jewish tribes with Jewish names.

Do the names Juda, Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, Joseph and Benjamin sound British?

Had they been named Heathcliff, Sir Winston, or Sherlock Holmes you might have had reason to propose such nonsense. Under the circumstances, however, you had better allow Jews with Jewish names to head up Jewish tribes in a Jewish nation-Israel.

Presently the Jews are not certain of their tribal heritage.

However, the omniscient, all-knowing God will untangle this condition at the appointed time. Actually, no one today really knows what his stock is. As a result of migrations, most people are a hodgepodge of differing nationalities. Perhaps it is best not to know or trace one’s ancestry. We might be embarrassed to discover our roots! One might learn that he is a descendant of Attila the Hun! Persons planning to study their family tree should beware. They might find some of their relatives hanging by the neck, while the evolutionists find theirs hanging by the tail!

The 144,000 Jewish evangelists are anointed by the Spirit. Joel 2:28, 29 describes the situation as these Spirit-filled preachers proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

We need to pause here briefly because there is a great deal of confusion concerning the presence of the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation hour.

This has resulted from a faulty understanding and interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:7: For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

The term letteth is the Old English word for hinders.

The picture being painted here is the rise of the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 states: Ye know what withholdeth that [the Antichrist] might be revealed in his time. Then verse seven makes it clear that the Hinderer-the Holy Spirit-continues to hinder the Antichrist’s rise until He-the Holy Spirit-is taken out of the way.

Here is another reason millions believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Why?

The Hinderer lives in the hearts of His people: If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9). Also, 1 Corinthians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Because of this truth, God’s Spirit cannot be taken unless those in whom He lives are taken. Hallelujah!

One should note, however, that the Spirit’s removal only speaks of His restraining power.

Let me prove this assertion:

The Holy Spirit is God, the third member of the Trinity. As God, He is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (everywhere at al
l times). Therefore, the Holy Spirit cannot be removed from the earth because He, as God, is in all places constantly.

David states in Psalm 139:7-10: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Since the Holy Spirit is everywhere at all times, only His restraining influence over sin is removed during the Tribulation hour.

Presently Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world: (see Matthew 5:13-16).

The evacuation of Christians, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit lives, is the way-the only way-His restraining influence on sin is removed, ridding the world of salt and light. Christians are God’s preservative forces, as well as the dispellers of darkness. Imagine what happens when the Spirit’s restraining influence (the Church) is removed via the Rapture. Quite literally, all hell will break loose upon earth. Still, even during this time, His continuing personal presence on earth produces one of the greatest revivals in the history of mankind.

The message of the 144,000 centers on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This was the emphasis of the Old Testament preachers: To [Jesus] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).

In addition to preaching the message of the shed blood of Jesus, the 144,000 proclaim the advent of the King: And this gospel [or good news] of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matthew 24: 14).

This is not the message of His first coming – the Rapture (chapter 4, verse 1)6)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=KJV but the Revelation or revealing of Christ as King (chapter 19, verse 16).7)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A16&version=KJV

In order to get a picture of the complete message the kingdom messengers proclaim, one must study the life of John the Baptist.

John’s message was:

(1) Repentance: He said, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2);

(2) the blood: again, He saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world  (John 1:29).

This message of repentance and the blood was to prepare the hearts of the people for the third part of His message-the coming of the King. Though Christ was rejected in the days of John the Baptist, He will be accepted when the 144,000 Jews preach the identical message.

At this time a worldwide revival ensues, for one of the elders asks, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (chapter 7, verses 13 and 14).8)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+7%3A13%2C14&version=KJV

Let’s study this God-sent, Holy Spirit-empowered revival, step by step.

THE MULTITUDINOUS GENTILES

verse 9 : [9]: After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

John states: After this.

After what?

After the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are sealed by the Spirit of God. God’s message is always to the Jew first, then to the Gentile.

That’s why Romans 1:16 declares, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Since the Jews have heard, John sees a great multitude standing before the throne which no man could count, from every race and nationality. Their white robes prove that they have trusted in the message of the blood and are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The waving of the palms in their hands signifies victory. They have overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. They are joyous because they have survived the first six seals of judgment and their joy leads to praise.

verse 10 : [10]:They cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
This multitude recognizes the source of their salvation and victory. They cannot be kept silent. Who can be silent when the grace of God does its mighty work of salvation in one’s heart? Immediately the angels join with them in praise to the Father and to the Son.

verse 11 & 12 : [11 & 12v11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, v12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

What a glorious scene as the angels surrounding the throne and God’s people (represented by the elders) fall on their faces in worship, praise, and adoration!

Their sevenfold praise session to God centers around:

(1) blessing,
(2) glory,
(3) wisdom,
(4) thanksgiving,
(5) honour,
(6) power, and
(7) might…forever and forever!

No wonder they say, “Amen!” Then one of the elders asks a question.

verse 13 : [13]: And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
The answer?
verse 14 : [14]: And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

This is another proof that the Church is in heaven, not upon earth.

Why?

John does not recognize this group.

He knows the raptured Church in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1),9)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=KJV but not the ones on earth in this text. These are Tribulation saints who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Please hear God once again: These are they which came out of great tribulation. That settles it and explains why John-who recognized the Church in heaven-is in a fog concerning these individuals. They are new brothers and sisters in Christ, though unknown to John. They have been saved in a different period of time-a time when he and the Church were in heaven. The Church was not on earth to make their acquaintance.

The next scene is exciting. Each group saved during different dispensations of time has different duties to perform. The Church is the bride of Christ and enjoys the 1,000-year honeymoon upon earth (chapter 20, verse 4).10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+20%3A4&version=KJV They reign as rulers, kings, and priests (1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6). The 144,000 serve as bodyguards of the Lamb and His bride (chapter 14, verse 4).11)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+14%3A4&version=KJV The Gentiles saved during the Tribulation will be Temple servants, waiting on Christ and His bride. They serve in the glorious Temple (described in Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48)12)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+40-48&version=KJV which is set up immediately after Russia-under the names of Gog, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Rosh-is destroyed (Ezekiel 38 and 39).13)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38-39&version=KJV Everything is so near. Russia could march soon, then Antichrist would be smashed and the Lord would return with His bride. At that time the millennial Temple is erected and the Gentiles serve.

verse 15 : [15]: Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Because God is dwelling among them, the deprivations they suffered under the Antichrist are now abolished. Under the reign of the world dictator, there was little food and one had to take the mark of the beast, 666, to obtain sustenance. These believers who refused the number had to eke out an existence day by day. Now, with the Lord in their midst, the picture changes.
verse 16 : [16]:They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

This refers to the scorching effects of the sun during the Tribulation hour: [As] the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire (chapter 16, verse 8).14)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+16%3A8&version=KJV In addition, the word heat refers to the fires of persecution as described in 1 Peter 1:7. Such trials are finished forever.

From this point onward the people of God from all dispensations enjoy the presence of God. Their days of suffering, heartache, and abuse by an ungodly world are finished. Tears are wiped way as every remembrance of past sorrow is obliterated from their minds.

verse 1 : [17]: For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First Published : Mar 12, 2014 | Re Published : Feb 29, 2016
Share

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8&version=KJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+7%3A1-8&version=KJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+7%3A9-17&version=KJV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13%3A17%2C18&version=KJV
5, 6, 9. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=KJV
7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A16&version=KJV
8. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+7%3A13%2C14&version=KJV
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+20%3A4&version=KJV
11. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+14%3A4&version=KJV
12. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+40-48&version=KJV
13. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38-39&version=KJV
14. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+16%3A8&version=KJV

08.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 6: vs. 5 – 17

Revelation (the Book) feature

THIRD SEAL
As we continue chapter six, which introduces the Tribulation hour upon earth, a word of explanation is in order concerning the placement of signs.
verse 5 & 6 : [5 & 6v5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. v6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and wine.

Famine and inflation usually follow war. 

The rider on the black horse produces these tragic twin sorrows upon earth.

Ezekiel prophesied this hour: And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time thou shalt eat it. Thou shalt drink also water by measure… behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care (Ezekiel 4:10, 11, 16).

Leviticus 26:26 states: … Ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.

This is pictured by the pair of balances in our text. 

The angel in Revelation 6:6 also cries, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny.

In Bible times laborers received a denarius, or one penny, as an entire day’s wages (see Matthew 20:2). A measure would be sixteen of our American ounces.

Think of it! An entire day’s wages for a loaf of bread!

No wonder Moses said, Ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.

A man will have to spend everything he has just for the necessities of life. What about the oil and wine? These items were luxuries in Bible times, and we find that there are those who still possess them during the Tribulation. Nevertheless, the general picture is that of hunger stalking the world.

Why?

Inflation, the leading economic culprit, becomes so bad during the Tribulation that precious metals actually become worthless.

Those who think that it will help to hoard diamonds, gold, or silver should beware! During this period of time, inflation will skyrocket and the Antichrist’s numerical program, 666, will replace gold, silver, and paper money.

Because of the situation, they shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: … their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord… (Ezekiel 7:19). 

James adds in chapter 5, verses 1 and 3,1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+5%3A1%2C3&version=KJV Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.. .your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

Earthly treasure, then as now, brings nothing but sorrow and tears in the last days. One had better do what he can for the Lord while he can. Why leave it behind for the Tribulation hour or keep it until it becomes valueless?

Every Christian should serve God with material blessings, winning souls to Him for all eternity.

Jesus said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21). 

One can either let go-give it to God and store it up on the other side-or hang on, keep it, and let greedy, unsaved relatives share it, losing it both here and forever. One must make his choice-either for the here and now, or for eternity.

FOURTH SEAL
Let’s move on to the next rider, on a pale horse, who aggravates the conditions begun by the rider on the black horse. The third seal unleashes hunger and inflation upon the earth, but the fourth seal produces mass starvation.
verse 7 & 8 : [7 & 8v7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. v8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger; and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. 
«This horse is described as pale.» 

The Greek word is chloros from which we get the term chlorine gas. In other areas of the New Testament, we find that chloros is translated “green” (see Mark 6:39 and Revelation 9:4).

«The fourth rider is the deadliest.»  

This is why his name is Death and why Hell follows with him.

He destroys the body, then Hell swallows up

the souls and spirits of those he kills with sword, hunger, and the beasts of the earth-probably AIDS, produced by the green monkey virus. One-fourth of the world’s population dies through his brutality-more than one billion, seven hundred fifty million people at today’s population figures.

This could easily happen

given the capability of mankind’s atomic, hydrogen, and neutron bombs. Today’s armies have the means to reduce population figures by tens of millions within hours. Their arsenals include chemical warfare and test tubes filled with germs for the greatest biological and bacteriological attack ever.

The after effects of such a battle could easily dwindle earth’s population by twenty-five percent. God help us when it happens!

FIFTH SEAL
Next, the opening of the fifth seal brings forth the cries of slain martyrs. 

Jesus spoke of this hour in Matthew 24:9, 10. Hear Him: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Please read chapter 42)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4&version=KJV again. 

Rediscover that this reference is to Tribulation saints composed of elect Israelites and those Gentiles converted by the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. These persecuted saints and martyrs are not part of the Church-the body of Christ and the bride of the Saviour-already in glory (chapter 4, verse 1).3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4&version=KJV

verse 9 to 11 : [9 – 11v9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: v10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? v11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. 
These martyred saints are seen under the altar. 

In the Old Testament, the altar always referred to the place where blood had been sacrificed. Souls will be saved during the Tribulation hour the same way souls are saved today-through the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because the believers of the Tribulation hour proclaim Christ crucified, they lose their lives.

At this point every twenty-first century believer should ask himself the question,

Would there be enough evidence to convict me as a Christian during this period of time were I present?” However, in this age of grace, we also will be the losers if we attempt to be secret disciples, never testifying of our faith in Christ Jesus.

The Saviour said, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:32, 33).

Please listen to this next statement carefully. 

These slain martyrs are crying.

They are not in an unconscious state. The doctrine of “soul sleep” is not taught in the Bible. Some denominations teach that all believers sleep until the resurrection morning.

Not so! 

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8, To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord.

The “soul sleep” adherents can never find a time when they are absent from their bodies. If the soul remains in a state of sleep in that body until the morning of Christ’s return, the two are never separated.

The Bible teaches that they are separated.

The body is asleep in one place (the grave), whereas the soul is alive in another place (heaven or hell). For the Christian, to be absent from the body means to be present with the Lord. 

That is why Paul said, To die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

It is also the reason that, when Christ returns at the Rapture, He brings those who sleep (the dead) with Him: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

Now, how can the Lord bring the dead with Him and still come after the dead in 1 Thessalonians 4:16?

Simple. 

It’s because the dead are in two places!

The souls and spirits are with the Lord (absent from the body and present with the Lord), but their bodies are in the grave. 

Hence, Christ brings the dead-the souls and spirits already in His presence-with Him, so they may come to get their bodies. That’s why the dead in Christ rise first. But all this pictures’ the Rapture. The text under investigation describes a later time-the Tribulation hour. 

It is then that the spirits of the martyred Tribulation saints cry. They also wear white robes. Lifeless spirits cannot cry or wear white robes.

The solution ?

The spiritual being has a temporary covering. 

Proof: For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved [dead], we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). 

We may not understand everything about the spirit world, but one thing is certain- being in spirit form does not mean unconsciousness.

Spirits move, talk, cry, and even wear white robes.

Demons also are spirits. 

They spoke on many occasions in the Gospels.

Why?

Spirits live!

Away with the doctrine ofsoul sleepin any dispensation! Our loved ones are with Jesus if they died trusting in the merits of the shed blood. They are also under the altar, just as these Tribulation saints will be. Soon they will come forth for their eternal covering, their bodies.

Now, since we have learned that it is possible for the dead to cry because the spirit never ceases to exist, we next discover that their cry is one of vengeance.

Why? 

They are not under grace, the love covenant. Instead, they want blood. Stephen, under grace, cried,

Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (Acts 7:60).

But this is a different dispensation-the fulfillment of the hour mentioned by David when he spoke of the actions of Jehovah, saying,

  • He maketh inquisition for blood (Psalm 9:12).

This group of saints knows that prophecy is being fulfilled, and they wonder how much longer their loved ones, still alive, must suffer. The Lord speaks to them about having a little more patience. There will be one more wave of persecution in chapter 20, verse 4. Then they will live and reign with Him for 1,000 years.

SIXTH SEAL
In verse 12, we see a great earthquake.
verse 12 to 17 : [12-17] v12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sack-cloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; v13And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind. v14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. v15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; v16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: v17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
There are four quakes in the Book of Revelation

the one mentioned here plus three others in Revelation chapter 8, verse 5, chapter 11, verse 13, and chapter 16, verses 18 and 19.4)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%3A5%2C11%3A13%2C16%3A18%2C19&version=KJV 

It is interesting to note that the judgments of the first four seals were under the jurisdiction of the Antichrist. The opening of the sixth seal,

however, begins the administration of supernatural judgment from heaven. One cannot conscientiously interpret these events figuratively. The judgments occurring in this portion of Scripture are to be taken literally.

And why not? 

Do you know that earthquakes have accompanied the judgment of God throughout history? 

Mount Sinai quaked when God descended upon it in fire: And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly (Exodus 19:18).

Rocks were smashed to smithereens through earthquakes in Elijah’s day: For, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord (1 Kings 19:11).

There was also a great earthquake when Christ died at Calvary: Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose (Matthew 27:51, 52).

If all these quakes were real, why wouldn’t the scene before us be literal?

It is exactly what Jesus predicted for the Tribulation hour. He said, And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 21:25, 26).

At this time the earthquakes and convulsions upon earth are so great that the stars of heaven fall like figs being shaken out of a tree prematurely. Strong winds, possible tornado’s, and hurricanes also wreak great havoc. 

The devastating quakes cause mountains and islands to be moved from their foundations. 

No wonder one-half of the world’s population dies through the manifold catastrophes that bombard the earth.

The scene is so terrifying that kings, great men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men, bondmen, and all free men hide in dens and mountains for safety.

Now we understand Christ’s statement: Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth (Luke 21:26).

The situation becomes so unbearable that humanity pleads to die, begging for obliteration and annihilation by crying to the mountains and rocks saying, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6: 16, 17).

Thank God, the Church is in heaven during this calamitous hour!

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First Published : Mar 6, 2014 | Re Published : Feb 22, 2016
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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james+5%3A1%2C3&version=KJV
2, 3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4&version=KJV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%3A5%2C11%3A13%2C16%3A18%2C19&version=KJV

07.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 6: vs. 1 – 4

Revelation (the Book) feature
As we begin chapter six, which introduces the Tribulation hour upon earth, a word of explanation is in order concerning the placement of signs.

Some sincere Christians say:

Matthew 24:14 states that the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.

Since there are some tribes who have not yet heard, Jesus Christ cannot return. Such people have their signs in the wrong place, because the Rapture is a signless, timeless event. Let’s investigate this statement further.

What relationship exists between the Rapture and prophetic signs? 

None. Are you shocked?

The Rapture is only an evacuation of believers before the great judgment of the Tribulation hour.

It is a meeting in the heavenlies and not Christ’s return to the earth.

Since His first coming was to earth, His second coming must also be to earth.

The Rapture, then, is not a coming to earth, but a meeting in the clouds. Seven years later we return with Him, and all the signs point to this coming when He returns to earth.

Watch the simplicity of this next statement unfold. Take two Bibles and place them side by side.

Open one to the Book of Revelation, chapter 6,1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6 where the signs begin.Then open the other to Matthew 24,2)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24&version=ESV Mark 13,3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13&version=ESV Luke 174)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+17&version=ESV or Luke 21.5)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+21&version=ESV Compare the signs in these chapters with those found in the Book of Revelation. {Comparison Chart}

The inescapable conclusion?

They are identical! 

The texts are practically the same.

The Church is raptured in chapter 4, verse 1,6)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=ESV and believers-represented by the twenty-four elders in verses 10 and 117)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A10-11&version=ESV – are placing crowns at the Saviour’s feet before the signs and judgments of the Tribulation hour begin in chapters 6 through 18.8)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C18&version=ESV

The signs, then, are post-Rapture and pre-Revelational. In other words, they are fulfilled after the Rapture and before the Revelation-after Christ calls His saints home to heaven and before He returns with them to earth.

Not one sign needs to be fulfilled prior to the Rapture, because all the signs point to the Revelation, or the revealing of Christ to the earth. Thus, there is a period of seven years following the Rapture during which every sign can be adequately fulfilled. This, of course, is the Tribulation hour, after we Christians have been raptured.

At this point every believer should praise the Lord, because the next statement is utterly fantastic. Since the signs point to Christ’s return to earth, and since we believers return with Him, then the logical deduction is that all signs point to our return with Christ. Presently the signs are casting their shadows.

They are all beginning to be fulfilled. Imagine! The prophecies that take place after we believers are gone and which indicate that we will return with Him are already beginning.

If the signs indicate that we are coming back with Jesus soon, and we are still on earth, how very, very soon must the Rapture then occur to take us out of this earth so that, seven years later, we can return with Him!

Presently a number of the sealed judgments contained in this chapter deserve special emphasis. 

Each will be discussed thoroughly later.

First, in verse 2,9)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%3A2&version=ESV we discover a rider on a white horse.

This coincides with Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:3-5, when His disciples asked Him, 

What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said ‘unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ.

This rider on the white horse, depicting the first seal judgment, is a counterfeit. Satan always attempts to do everything that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to do.

The Lord is seated on a white horse in chapter 19, verse 11,10)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A11&version=KJV when He returns with you and me to the earth. Thus, seven years before Christ returns, the Antichrist also mounts a white horse.

This event is identical to the sign of Matthew 24:3.

Next one should note

verse 3 & 4 : [3 & 4] : And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. 

This is the second sign Jesus mentioned: that there would be wars and rumors of wars (see Matthew 24:6).

verse 5 & 6 : [5 & 6] state: And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. 

This is a picture of mass starvation and agrees with Christ’s third sign:

There shall be famines (Matthew 24:7).

verse 7 & 8 : In verses [7 & 8] we are told, And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. 

The fourth seal judgment agrees with Christ’s statement: [There shall be] pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places, destroying thousands, yea millions (Matthew 24:7).

verse 9 : [9] states: And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. 
This is the fifth sign Jesus gave in Matthew 24:8 and 9These are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
verse 12 to 16 : Finally in [12 to 16]John tells us, And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.

The sixth seal is the sixth sign Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24:29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.

Thus, it is evident that Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain the same signs as the Book of Revelation. However, one must realize that each sign is completed or fulfilled after chapter 4, verse 1,11)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=KJV where the Church is called to heaven in the twinkling of an eye through the phrase, Come up hither.

As previously stated, these signs that are to be fulfilled after we are gone are already transpiring. We see them before our eyes daily in world events.

Today’s “Bible Headlines” indicate that you and I will soon return with Jesus.

However, we must first go home via the Rapture in order to return soon.

Surely this momentous event is at the door! I think you know that the foregoing discussion of prophetic signs in relationship to the Rapture and the Revelation has given us a panoramic view of chapter 6.12)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6&version=KJV

Now let’s delve into this portion of God’s Word more deeply.

In chapters 6 through 18,13)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C18&version=KJV we witness firsthand the events which take place upon the earth during the Tribulation. The presentation occupies nearly two-thirds of the Book of Revelation-a total of thirteen chapters.

One should also note that three additional Bible verses graphically describe this hour of horrendous judgment:

(1) Jeremiah 30:7: Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it; 

(2) Daniel 12:1: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book; and

(3) Matthew 24:21: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

These texts inform us of the fact that the Tribulation will constitute earth’s bloodiest hour. There will not have been anything in past centuries to equal it, neither will there be any event in the future to match the judgment unleashed upon our planet.

The catastrophic calamities arrive through a series of twenty-one judgments which are described as seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls.

At the breaking of each seal, the blowing of each trumpet and the outpouring of each bowl, a new judgment is released.

The seal judgments are found in Revelation 6:1 through 8:1.14)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C18&version=KJV

The first six are located in chapter 6. Chapter 715)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C7&version=KJV is a parenthesis, and the seventh seal judgment takes place in chapter 8, verse 1.16)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%3A1&version=KJV


FIRST SEAL
verse 1 : [1] : And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the voice of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

At this command, the apostle sees the One who is worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof, the blessed Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus, beginning the work of judgment.

Immediately John hears the noise of thunder-a sign of impending catastrophe-as well as one of the living creatures (angels) saying, Come and see

The words, come and see, are not in the original, just the word Come. It is a command given to the rider on the white horse, the infamous Antichrist. His time has arrived!

verse 1 : [2] : And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

Satan has always tried to duplicate the works of God.

Back in the day of Moses, the demon-possessed magicians of Pharaoh were able to accomplish the same miracles as Aaron. This has always been Satan’s ploy. He is not the creator-God is. All he can do is imitate or fake the works of the Almighty.

This rider appears at the outset, or beginning, of the Tribulation period. There can be no such hour without him.

Since he is the master counterfeiter, who is he imitating? The answer is found in chapter 19, verses 11 through 16,17)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A11-16&version=KJV which describe Christ’s return at the conclusion of the Tribulation.

The fake begins it and the Saviour ends it.

John says, And I saw heaven opened. This is the second time an opening appears in heaven (see Revelation 19:11)

To provide an exit for Christ and His bride as they return to earth.

As heaven is opened, John beholds a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

This is the coming of the true Christ.

Since our Christ is God, the Antichrist also proclaims himself as God.

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

We will study this hypocritical creep later. Presently let’s just skim the surface.

The Antichrist comes to power through an international peace pact (see Daniel 9:27). This is why the horse’s rider has a bow but no arrows.

The Antichrist conquers through diplomacy as a king, hence, the crown. In fact, when he takes control over the nations via a world government, power [is] given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations (Revelation 13:7).

The Antichrist is rapidly followed by three additional riders of judgment. Together, these four horsemen of the apocalypse bring heartache upon the globe such as has never been experienced in the annals of history.

The Antichrist is called the Beast because of his character (chapter 13, verses 2 and 3),18)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13%3A2%2C3&version=KJV because he ascends out of the abyss (chapter 17, verse 8)19)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+17%3A8&version=KJV and because he receives his power, his throne, and his authority from Satan (chapter 13, verse 2).20)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13%3A2&version=KJV

The Antichrist’s ascendancy to world leadership signals the unleashing of the remaining twenty judgments.

The peace that was made by the first rider is broken by the one who mounts the red horse. This, of course, is in harmony with the first rider’s-or Antichrist’s-program. Daniel 9:27 outlines the peace package as well as its failure: And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.

When peace is confirmed, the Jews will feel at ease to conduct sacrifices without fear of war. However, in the midst of the week, or literally in the middle of the heptad, the contract is broken. The term heptad in the original means “seven years. As decade means “ten years” in English, so heptad means “seven years” in Greek.

Now we understand more fully why the Tribulation covers a timetable of seven years-simply because Daniel 9:27 states that the Antichrist will make his proposal for a heptadseven years-and then break it in the midst of the heptad, or after three and one-half years.

SECOND SEAL
verse 3 & 4 : [3 & 4]: And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. v4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

One of the nations that marches during this period of time is Red Russia. How interesting that a rider on a red horse takes peace from the earth!

Could Red Russia play such a major role during this hour?

In Ezekiel 38:2, the terms Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and

Rosh are mentioned in connection with a march to the Middle East for the battle of battles, before Armageddon.

Listen to the message God gave Ezekiel: Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him (Ezekiel 38:2).

Each of these names can be located within the present-day Russia.

Tobolsk, historically the eastern capital of Russia, is the ancient “Tubal” mentioned in the text. It is southwest of Siberia on modern maps-the place where U2 pilot Gary Powers was gunned down years ago.

Meshech is Moscow.

The historical names for Moscow begin with: Meshech,” then “Moshoch,” then “Moschi,” then “Moscoty,” then “Moscovy” and finally, Moscow. “Rosh” is Russia herself.

Thisgreat bearinvades Israel from the north: And thou shalt come up from thy place of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes (Ezekiel 38:15,16).

Russia is directly north of Israel and moves against her in the latter days (see Ezekiel 38:8).

The attack centers around the Holy Land. In fact, the name Israel is used eighteen times to identify the nation being invaded in Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39.21)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38%2C39&version=KJV Such information attests to the divine inspiration of the Bible, for there was no nation in modern history called Israel until 1948.

This war of the future undoubtedly occurs close to or during the Tribulation hour because the facts presented in this Book of Revelation tie in harmoniously with Ezekiel’s prophecy. In fact, the eighth and ninth22)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%2C9&version=KJV chapters contain two unusual predictions concerning the woes of the Tribulation hour which point to such a mid-East war. Chapter 8, verse 7,23)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%3A+7&version=KJV mentions the burning of one-third of the earth as the first angel sounded.

I quote: The first angel sounded, And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 

In turn, Revelation 9:18 depicts the extinction of one-third of the world’s inhabitants, for, by these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

The Life Pictorial Atlas, which lists land areas and population figures for every country of the world, contains shocking proof that these prophecies and astronomical figures are capable of being fulfilled at the present time.

According to this statistical survey, Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America incorporate a total of 56,889,581 square miles.

Dividing this figure by three, one arrives at the sum of 18,963,194 square miles-the amount of land area that will burn during the Tribulation period according to Revelation 8:7.

Comparing this figure with the combined land areas of the nations predicted to align themselves for the Middle East confrontations [Daniel chapters 2, 7 and 11,24)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+2%3B7%3B11&version=KJV and Ezekiel 38 and 39]25)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38%2C39&version=KJV, one discovers that the two sums are identical-one-third of the globe to the exact mile, believe it or not! Is this startling? 

Let’s go one step further.

The Atlas also lists the population figures for the nations of earth.

The same alignment of pro- and anti-Russian nations for the war of wars totals one-third of earth’s inhabitants! Revelation 8:7 and Revelation 9:18 could become factual events, fulfilling verse 426)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%3A4&version=KJV very, very soon!

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First Published Feb 26, 2014 | Re Published February 15, 2016
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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24&version=ESV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13&version=ESV
4. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+17&version=ESV
5. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+21&version=ESV
6. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=ESV
7. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A10-11&version=ESV
8. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C18&version=ESV
9. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%3A2&version=ESV
10. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A11&version=KJV
11. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+4%3A1&version=KJV
12. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6&version=KJV
13, 14. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C18&version=KJV
15. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%2C7&version=KJV
16. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%3A1&version=KJV
17. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A11-16&version=KJV
18. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13%3A2%2C3&version=KJV
19. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+17%3A8&version=KJV
20. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13%3A2&version=KJV
21, 25. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38%2C39&version=KJV
22. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%2C9&version=KJV
23. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+8%3A+7&version=KJV
24. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+2%3B7%3B11&version=KJV
26. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%3A4&version=KJV

06.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 5: vs. 1 – 14

Revelation (the Book) feature

Here is an important statement to consider: Bible chapters and verses came into existence 500 years ago. 

They are not inspired, but greatly assist one in finding texts. Sometimes, however, they break the continuity of a study.

Such is the case at this point. 

Because John continues describing the heavenly scene, there should not have been a break between chapters 4 and 5.

verse 1 : [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.

The book:

In the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ is actually a scroll of either sheepskin, papyrus, or vellum.

Its subject is redemption, and its contents unlock the remainder of this chapter. The message is contained on the inside and outside, and is enclosed by seven seals.

verse 2 : [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?

The search for a member of the human race, past or present, or any rank of angel to open the book proves fruitless.

None is worthy!
verse 3 : [3] : And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
John is heartbroken!
verse 4 : [4]: And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
John’s lament has to do with the fact that this scroll is also the title deed to the earth. As long as it remains sealed, Satan will be in complete control of the planet.
verse 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

John’s weeping ends at the place where all tears are dried. 

He is pointed to Christ where tears are turned to joy. Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.

Since Judah is the leading tribe of Israel and a lion is the king of the beasts, Christ is thus pictured when He comes as Israel’s King (see chapter 19, verse 16).1)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A16&version=KJV

It is at this same moment that the

Lord God gives unto him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32).

Let’s go further in proving that our Saviour is the One John sees.

verse 6 : [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.

As mentioned previously, the seven-sealed scroll is the title deed to the earth and its subject is redemption. The Lamb of God (John 1:29), who earned the right by redemption to the title deed of the earth, is the only One worthy to open the seals. This is the Lamb who died for you and for me. Yes, Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).

He shed His precious blood to purchase our redemption, for the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

John, who recorded the fact that Jesus was the Lamb of God when He walked upon the earth, now says that no one can overcome but by the blood of the Lamb (chapter 12, verse 11).2)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+12%3A11&version=KJV

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

There is no other way! Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins (see Hebrews 9:22).

This Lamb is worthy because of the sacrifice He paid for your sin and mine. Yes, worthy is the Lamb to be praised for time and eternity.

The Lamb’s seven horns picture strength.

Jesus said,

All [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18).

The seven eyes picture the fact that He sees everything each of us does: 

All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13).

Since “seven” means perfection.

There will be no mistakes made as the judgment is meted out, because the seven spirits of God-a picture of the Holy Spirit in all of His fullness-rest upon Christ without measure.

Coupling His power (seven horns), His all-seeing vision (seven eyes), along with His filling of the Spirit of God in a sevenfold way (see Isaiah 11:1, 2), not one mistake will be made during the Tribulation hour.

The One found worthy now acts.

verse 7 & 8 : [7 & 8] : And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. v8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
The twenty-four elders, representatives of all of God’s saved people, share in this glorious moment. The praise is so spectacular that the redeemed break out in song. What a heavenly choir-the largest ever assembled! Listen to them!
verse 9 & 10 : [9 & 10]: And they [sang] a new song, saying thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue and people, and nation; v10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

The song is in appreciation of the fact that Christ was slain on Calvary’s cross, that His precious blood was shed (see 1 Peter 1:19), and that it was shed for the entire world. This includes Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists. Some Christians think they are going to have their own little corner, all alone, in heaven.

Not so! Christ’s sacrifice was for all kindreds, all tongues, and all people, all nations. God loves the world! The choir also sings about their soon return with Him when He comes as King of kings (chapter 19, verse 11).3)http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A11&version=KJV At that time they-the armies of heaven-will follow Him upon white horses. At this point the angels also join in praising the Lamb…

verse 11 & 12 : [11 & 12] : And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beast and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. v12 Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing.

Notice that this passage is not a song.

Nowhere does the Bible teach that angels sing. They recite their praise, whereas the Church Triumphant sings her glorious message.

The angels, associated with the Lord since their creation, know Him as few know Him-for they have lived with Him for thousands of years.

They praise the Lamb for seven reasons:

(1) His power.

(2) His spiritual riches.

(3) His wisdom.

(4) His might.

(5) His honor.

(6) His glory.

(7) His blessing.

Carnal Christians who will not bow in worship to Christ here on earth, soon will!

verse 13 : [13]: And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

At this point Philippians 2:9-11 will be fulfilled:

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What is the response as the heavenly hosts envision this future hour?

verse 14 : [14] : And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that liveth for ever and ever.
Notice they get a head start. They cannot wait to begin their worship of the Lamb-the Lord Jesus Christ!

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First Published: Feb 19, 2014 | Re Published: February 8, 2016
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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A16&version=KJV
2. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+12%3A11&version=KJV
3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+19%3A11&version=KJV