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Revealing Revelation - Part 5
This prophetic look at the seven churches leads us into chapter 4 where we will see removed both the church and the Holy Spirit. This leads directly into the Tribulation.
In Revelation 3:22 we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. You will not find the word “church” or “churches mentioned again until Revelation 22:16. The reason for this is simple. The church is not there. The church is raptured and a lost and dying world is left behind.
I believe the rapture is represented in chapter 4:1. “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
The first event to take place to usher in the end times is the rapture. The word “rapture” comes from the Latin word “rapere” which means “a catching away.” That is what will happen to all the saints of God at the beginning of the Tribulation. They will be caught away to meet the Lord in the air.
We come across a door in verse 1. It is the door to Heaven that has been opened to allow John to see into the future. Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” But here we see an entrance into the future by way of Jesus Christ.
Next we notice the trumpet. The meaning of the word “trumpet” here is a “reverberation.” Notice the words “as it were”. This was not an actual trumpet, but “as it were”, a trumpet - a reverberation, a quavering. As I said, this trumpet is representative of the rapture. I Corinthians 15:52 says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” I Thessalonians 4:16 gives us this account. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
The Trumpet tells John to “Come up hither.” Here we have John being summoned into the very presence of God. Just as he calls us at the rapture so did he call John. Verse 2 says that he immediately was in the spirit. Instantly, straightway, he was in the spirit, being led along by the Holy Spirit. John gets his first look at Jesus Christ as judge sitting upon His throne. No longer is He representing our high priest, but now He is The Judge of all the earth.
n verse three we see that John saw no form, just the brightness of the jasper (purple) and sardines (red) stones. The rainbow of promise is also here in brilliant emerald (green), a symbol of passing judgment.
Verse 4 brings us to the elders indicative of the church, now in Heaven. We see them sitting in white raiment purified by the blood of the Lamb.
Verses 6, 7 give us this thought. “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and round about the throne, there were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like unto a lion, and the second like a calf, and the third beast had a face of a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” This description fits almost exactly the same description that Ezekiel saw in his vision in Ezekiel 1:10. “As for the likeness of their faces: they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”
It would seem that this creature might represent at least in part the four gospels - the ministry of Christ. The book of Matthew was written to the Jews and depicted Christ as King, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Mark wrote his gospel to the Romans, and painted Christ as the beast of burden, the Servant of servants. Luke writing to the Greeks wrote of Christ as the “Son of Man.” John wrote of Him as deity represented by the eagle.
In verse eight we see that these beasts were full of eyes (omniscience). They rest not day and night (omnipresence). They call Him Lord God Almighty (omnipotence).
At the beginning of chapter five we immediately are taken to the beginning of the seven seal judgments. Seven represents completeness or perfection. Before the seals are opened we must look to the One who is worthy to open the seals. In verse one John sees a book written within and on the backside sealed with seven seals. Verses two and three find an angel seeking someone to open the seals. No one in Heaven or in Earth is worthy, and in verse 4 John weeps because of man’s unworthiness. Verse 5 reveals that the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David is able to open the book.
Humanity had failed to reveal the facts of the future. But Christ is able as He opens the seven seals of the book. Some believe that the book is the title deed to the earth—created by God, for God, redeemed by God, and owned by God. Some believe it represents the New Covenant with Israel. At any rate only Christ has the power and the right to open the book.
“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. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and 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” (verses 5, 6). John mentions both a Lion and a Lamb in these verses. Both refer to Christ. Compare the difference between His first and second coming.
Lamb (1st Coming) ------------------------------- Lion (2nd Coming)
Christ came in meekness ------------------------- Christ comes in majesty
Christ came as Savior ----------------------------- Christ comes as Sovereign
Christ was judged ---------------------------------- Christ comes as Judge
Christ showed the grace of God ---------------- Christ shows the government of God
Notice that in verse six that the Lamb stood. It is at this point that Christ begins the action of Judge. Remember that in chapters 1-3, Jesus was dressed in His high priestly garb acting as our intercessor. Now He rises to judge the earth. For those that remain on the earth there is no second chance.
II Thessalonians 2:10-12 says, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Without going into detail, it would appear that if someone had heard the Gospel before the rapture and rejected it, they will not be able to be saved after the rapture. God will force them to believe a lie sealing their doom. I believe that that lie is the same one told to Eve in the garden—that they can become god.
You do not have to look too far to see that philosophy being popularized even today, especially among the Hollywood crowd. It is the philosophy of the New Age Movement, guaranteeing the doom of millions.
Revelation 5:9-14 is filled with praise and adoration as the next step in God’s plan is about to unfold. We see in verse 8 that the elders bow down and worship. In verse 9 we see that they sang a new song. Verse 10 gives us the exciting news that we have become kings and priests to our God.
This leads us into the opening verses of chapter six. One by one, Christ breaks the seals and His judgment is poured out on the earth. Remember, at the time of the rapture, the Holy Spirit that inhabits every believer has left. Again II Thessalonians 2:7 says, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” The word “let” has to do with the idea of restraining. The Holy Spirit restrains a certain amount of sin even now, but when He is removed, the earth will see trouble like it never has before.
God’s judgment is about to begin and there is no turning back. We will look at the Seven Seal Judgments next time.