The Revelation - A Book With 7 Seals ?
/ Ewald Frank
2. Chapter 1 - Introduction, The Day of the Lord, Origin and significance of the prophetic word
- Chapter 1 - Introduction, The Day of the Lord, Origin and significance of the prophetic word
- Chapter 2 - The seven messages of the resurrected Lord, First message, Keep the first love
- Chapter 3 - The fifth message, The Reformation Age, Strengthening the weak in faith
- Chapter 4 - A glimpse into heaven
- Chapter 5 - The mysterious book with the seven seals
- Chapter 6 - The opening of the seals, The unveiling of the power of the antichrist, A general view
- Chapter 7 - The sealed from the Jews
- Chapter 8 - The seventh seal, The silence in heaven, Mercy seat becomes judgement seat, Introduction to the seven trumpet judgements, The first four trumpets
- Chapter 9 - The incomparable torment, The fifth trumpet the first woe
- Chapter 10 - An intermediate vision The open book, The Lord as the Angel of the covenant
- Chapter 11 - The second intermediate vision, The measuring of the temple and the ministry of the two witnesses
- Chapter 12 - The woman clothed with the sun, Christ and His Own, Satan the red dragon and his followers
- Chapter 13 - The visions of Daniel in review of and in connection with the Revelation
- Chapter 14 - The Lamb and the sealed 144,000
- Chapter 15 - The seven bowl judgements and the multitude at the crystal sea
- Chapter 16 - The seven bowls of wrath, The final judgements of Gods indignation
- Chapter 17 - The woman riding on the beast
- Chapter 18 - The destruction of the great Babylon
- Chapter 19 - The rejoicing in heaven over the destruction of Babylon, The marriage of the Lamb
- Chapter 20 - Binding of Satan, Completion of the first resurrection by the martyrs, The Millennial Kingdom
- Chapter 21 - Announcing of the new heaven and the new earth, The glory of the New Jerusalem, The terrible fate of the lost
- Chapter 22 - The river of life and the trees of life, The paradise-like condition during the Millennial Reign
- Appendix - The 70 weeks of Daniel and the current events with Israel in the light of Bible prophecy
John the seer came to the isle of Patmos because of the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus. There he was taken up in the Spirit of God like in a trance. He saw the most important events pertaining to the plan of salvation transpire the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is described thoroughly in the Old and the New Testament. The assertion that the Day of the Lord is the Sabbath, or the Sunday is a misunderstanding and does not apply. The Day of the Lord is the space of time which follows the Day of grace and salvation (Isa. 49: 8; 2 Cor. 6: 2; Heb. 4: 7) - the seventh day in the divine counting of time. God counts prophetically, dealing with days as we do with years. With God one day is like our one-thousand years. "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Pet. 3: 8; Ps. 90: 4).
Since the beginning of time, we deal with seven such days as allotted to mankind by God. Roughly estimating, two such days, namely two-thousand years, elapsed from Adam to Abraham, then again two-thousand years from Abraham to Christ, and now we are nearing the end of the last two days wherein God's Spirit is working on earth during the two-thousand year period of the time of grace allotted to us (Acts 2: 17). The seventh day will be the space of the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth, lasting one thousand years (Rev. 20).
Before the Day of the Lord should come, God promised to send the Prophet Elijah (Mal. 4: 5-6). The Day of the Lord, the last space of time consisting of one-thousand years, will be ushered in by judgements where the climax will be at the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16: 12-16; 19: 11-21; Ezek. 38: 20+23; Joel 3: 9-17 a. o.). For the ungodly, that day will be without mercy, a day of wrath and anger, when it will be fulfilled, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come" (Joel 2: 31). See also Isa. 13; Ezek. 30: 3; Joel 2: 1-2; Joel 3: 14; Zeph. 1: 14-15; Acts 2: 20; 2 Pet. 3: 10; Rev. 6: 12-17 a. o.
The seventh day - the one thousand year reign - is the rest day of God. At the end of that day, Satan will come up for a moment of time and gather all nations under the leadership of Gog and Magog for the final battle. Then all ungodly forces will be destroyed (Rev. 20: 7-10). Thereafter follows the last judgement known as the "White Throne Judgement" and then comes into existence the new heaven and the new earth and time merges into eternity.
Before the Day of salvation, the Lord God sent His angel in the person of John the Baptist who prepared His way (Mal. 3: 1; Mt. 11: 10 a. o.). He performed his ministry in the spirit and power of Elijah; to turn the hearts of those who were in the faith of the Old Testament fathers to the new beginning of the children of the New Covenant (Mal. 4: 5a; Lk. 1: 17). "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." (Jn. 1: 7). He bridged the Old to the New Testament (Lk. 16: 16), preparing the way of the Lord and making straight the path of our God (Isa. 40: 3; Mk. 1: 1-4 a. o.).
The prophet who was to come before the Day of the Lord breaks forth, had to have his ministry now, at the end of the Day of salvation in this last church age to turn the hearts of the New Testament children back to the covenant word of the apostolic fathers (Mal. 4: 5b). His Bible based ministry would bring the true Church of God back into the original faith by restoring all things as they were in the beginning. By a mighty move of the Holy Spirit which the Scripture calls "latter rain" she will be placed back into her divine order (Jas. 5: 7-8). Jesus Himself spoke about this ministry in the future tense, "Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things" (Mt. 17: 11). He also confirmed the part referring to the ministry of John the Baptist as having already taken place (vv. 12-13). When John started with his ministry he was asked three questions, one of them was, "Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not." (Jn. 1: 21). In verse 23 he referred to the prophetic utterance in the Old Testament which was in reference to him and his ministry.
As Elijah took twelve stones according to the twelve tribes of Israel to rebuild the altar of the Lord and call the people back to God (1 Ki. 18), so through the last message the doctrine of the twelve apostles is being established and God's people are called back to the Lord and His Word. We are now experiencing this last phase according to the plan of salvation.
The Apostle Peter made reference to the promise of restoration in the Church
of Christ while preaching his second sermon after the Day of Pentecost. He
said, being led by the Spirit,
" when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And he shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you,
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the age began." (Acts. 3: 19-21). Already at the beginning of the New Testament Church, the Holy Spirit predicted through the mouth ordained of God what would take place at the end. Right before the return of Christ the true Church would be placed back into the same state the original Church was.
In the first chapter, we are faced with the total unveiling of Jesus Christ, in Whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of God are hid (Col. 2: 3). By Him the same are also revealed. From the very introduction, we understand the all embracing significance of the statement, "Revelation of Jesus Christ."
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him (John), to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant, John,
Who bore witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is at hand." (Rev. 1: 1-3).
John received this divine revelation in a supernatural way through the commission of «His angel». Angels in general are ministering spirits (Heb. 1: 14) who on special occasions appear visibly in human form. In chapter 22: 8-9, John tells about the overwhelming part in this supernatural experience; he fell down before this angel to give praise, then he was told by the angel, "See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, the prophets, and of them who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
According to Lk. 1: 11-20, the angel, Gabriel, brought the wonderful news about the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias. As recorded in verses 26-38, the same angel later visited Mary and announced the birth of Jesus Christ. In Lk. 2 we find a record that the shepherds near Bethlehem experienced that great event, being present when the angel gave this outstanding announcement and all the heavenly hosts were singing in a choir here on earth, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Lk. 2: 8-14).
The appearance of angels is well documented in the Old and the New Testament. It always happened for a special purpose in connection with service and message. On the isle of Patmos it happened for the purpose, " to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass". The terminology, "revelation", should have been better translated as, "unveiling", according to the Greek word, "APOKALUYIS" (apokalupsis) in the original text.
In this last book of the Bible, very important happenings and events are unveiled which especially touch the end-time and are of greatest significance. Those who read and listen to the words written in this last book of prophecy, and keep the same, have the blessing pronounced on them. Thus we find, right at the beginning in chapter 1: 3, and at the end in chapter 22: 7. Therein, God has made known His plan of salvation right to the very completion. The testimony of God is therefore entirely complete. The Lord thought about everything. He has not forgotten one single event. Therefore, nobody should add or take away from it, leave alone come up with new revelations. Whenever that is done by self-appointed "prophets" and "prophetesses", it certainly does not originate with God and must be rejected.
Every revelation which comes from God will always coincide with the testimony of the Holy Scripture. Thus we have, as fallible human beings, access to the infallible Word. The Holy Spirit Who inspired and led the writers in the past also leads today into all the Truth of the Word.
John salutes the seven churches, which God had chosen among the many assemblies to characterise the one Church in the seven different epochs. He testifies about Jesus Christ, the faithful and true witness, the first born of the dead and the One who rules over the kings of the earth. "Grace be unto you, and peace, from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne;
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
And hath made us a kingdom of priests unto God and his Father, to him be
glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Thereafter, the seer announces the coming of the Lord at the commencing of His reign as King when every eye shall see Him, "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." (v. 7).
This coming does not refer or describe His return as Bridegroom (Mt. 25: 1-13), Who will take His Own home before the terrible Day of the Lord comes (1 Th. 4: 13-18), but rather His coming when He shall sit on the throne of His Glory to judge (Mt. 25: 31) and then to reign one thousand years (Rev. 20: 6). The One Who is coming introduces Himself as follows, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (v. 8). That is the testimony of Jesus.
The seer is known to be the disciple who was very close to Jesus. He mentions the personal tribulation and also the participation in the future reign, as well as the steadfastness and endurance in Jesus Christ. He heard the mighty voice of the resurrected Lord, "What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches " (v. 11).
After this he saw the glorified and highly exalted Lord in His divine majesty, walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands as Son of man. "And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,
And in the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girded about the breasts with a golden girdle.
His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were like a flame of fire;
And his feet like fine bronze, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice like the sound of many waters." (vv. 12-15). The seven golden lampstands speak of the fact that the New Testament Church goes through seven special epochs.
The Prophet Moses was told by the Lord to make a golden lampstand. He received precise information of how it should be done (Ex. 25: 31-40). The Prophet Zechariah testifies, "I have looked and, behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and its seven lamps on it, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top of it." (Zech. 4: 2). The bowl with oil above the lampstand with the seven pipes leading to the seven lamps symbolically represent the fullness of the Holy Ghost that flows into the New Testament Church always afresh during the seven church periods.
"And he had in his right hand seven stars " The Lord holds the seven stars which are the seven angels to the seven churches in His hand. These messengers of God have a direct supernatural commission. No man exercises power over them. No council can influence them. They have the Thus saith the Lord of God's Word for the Church. John saw that from the mouth of the Son of man, "went a sharp two-edged sword; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in its strength." (v. 16). The two-edged sword is the Word of God, which comes forth from the mouth of the Lord.
Whoever reads the description of the exalted Son of man carefully will sense how overwhelming it was for the seer who records, "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last;
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hades and of death." (vv. 17-18). When the Lord is seen as Son of man it shows Him in connection as the Prophet; when He is shown as Son of God it is in connection with Him as the Saviour; when referred to as Son of David it is in connection with Him as the King.