Skip Heitzig: We're looking down on the valley of Armageddon from about a hundred feet above it and as we look down on this valley, you look over your Bible from 30,000 feet as we continue the book of Revelation.
Skip Heitzig: We are studying the book of Revelation, we're finishing it up tonight. A couple of little things, I have taught through this book on a Sunday morning, covering 43 weeks of it; so we have it on archive; if you want the CD's or tapes; if anybody is using tapes or MP3's. We have all that available it's called "History's Last Chapter." And I also put out a book that are outlined studies of the whole book of Revelation if you want further study that is also available. Tonight we're going to cover the second half of the last book of the Bible and we'll be done with "The Bible From 30,000 Feet"; Revelation chapter 12 through chapter 22.
And before we dig right in; we have a visitor tonight you know, a lot of you know that we have different groups around the country and around the world that watch or listen to "The Bible From 30,000 Feet" in churches or in home groups. And we have some visitors tonight from Oregon; they get the CD's and printed material; they get a group and meet within their home. And Dave and his wife, I hear are here with us tonight. Where are you guys? Stand-up if you're here, I heard you were going to be here. Right there! Right there toward the back, God bless you guys. We're glad you're with us tonight. [Applause] And if you thought Chicago was the windy city, this is the windy city; welcome to Albuquerque.
Let's pray tonight. Father, we thank You that the wind of Your spirit is blowing in our midst, that the Holy Spirit is working and moving and teaching, and taking us from glory to glory. We thank You that we are redeemed. We thank You, Father that when we gather there is authentic, real joy that happens. We celebrate because of what You have done, and what You are doing, and sometimes though You might not be doing it in our lives, we hear what You are doing in other people's lives, and we equally rejoice. So thankful for our guest tonight, those who are joining us via radio tonight, via the internet, and who will be later on being a part of these studies. Bless this time in Jesus' name. Amen!
Chapter 1, verse 19 is the outline to the book of Revelation. We covered that last week, but we need to cover it again this week simply because we are following the outline John gave us. John was told to write the things which he had seen, that's the vision of Christ in chapter 1, and he writes that down.
The things which are and that's chapters 2 and 3, the things of the church, there are seven local churches in Asia Minor, the church age, and the things which will take place after these things, and that's the same language we get in chapter 4 verse 1. "After these things," or after these in Greek, 'meta tauta', he was caught up into Heaven and the Spirit, and he saw things from a heavenly perspective.
That's the outline of the book of Revelation. One thing I did not tell you last week that I want to tell you tonight, is not everybody shares the same view of the book of Revelation. There are at least four different eschatological viewpoints or ways to interpret the book of Revelation, and I want to briefly tell you way what they are.
There's number one, the preterist view. The preterist view is from a Latin word, 'preter' which means 'past,' and this view sees the book of Revelation as already completely fulfilled in about the first three centuries of the Roman Empire; it's done with, it's over with. Now that viewpoint ignores the book's claim a couple of times that it is prophecy; prophecy, it is four things yet future.
Also there is certain things that if you take that viewpoint, don't fit, like the second coming of Jesus Christ in chapter 19, in Him setting up His kingdom. That didn't happen in the first few centuries of the Roman Empire. So you have a real problem holding the preterist view as I see it.
Second viewpoint is the historical view. The historical view sees the book of Revelation as a panorama of church history from apostolic times up into the present times. And those who hold this view, claim that they can see within the book of Revelation the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of the Catholic Church, the rise of Islam, the French Revolution, on and on, and on. There are several different weird viewpoints in that historical camp all which are conflicting with each other.
There is a third viewpoint, the allegorical viewpoint. This sees the book of Revelation as not historical, not literal, it's allegorical. That is, it's simply a picture of the timeless constant struggle between good and evil. That also ignores that it's a prophecy, and the graphic prediction that it is a prophetic book, it ignores that.
And the fourth and final viewpoint is the viewpoint that I hold, that is the futurist viewpoint. The futurist viewpoint. Now we tip our hat to the historical, and we say that part of the book has been fulfilled like the seven letters of the seven churches, but beginning in chapter 6 to chapter 22, all of that is yet future, that has not been fulfilled, it will be fulfilled in the future, and the future events that it speaks about are the second coming of Christ, the millennial kingdom of Christ, the great white throne judgment, and the eternal state, all of those are yet future.
That fourth viewpoint, the futurist viewpoint, seems to line up best with scriptures like Matthew, chapter 24, the words of Jesus about the last days, and it is the only viewpoint that maintains the consistency of interpretation which is the grammatical-historical interpretation of the Bible.
So we are in chapter 12; we have been following through, and when we left off, we were right in the middle of the tribulation. Chapter 6 through chapter 19 deals with the tribulation period, and there were seven seals and seven trumpets and seven bowls, and each set of judgments ushers in the next set of judgment, so that the seven seals when opened brings forth the next set of judgments, the seven trumpets, and when the seven trumpet is blown, that ushers forth the last and final set, which is the bowl judgment.
With each series of judgments they become progressively more intense, until we are right in the heart of what Jesus called the great tribulation. Now when these judgments are over, and they will happen quickly; when it's over, the judgment is over, and Jesus Christ will return.
So chapter 11, verse 15 introduces us to the seventh trumpet that is blown, and the seventh trumpet will usher in the last seven judgments, as I mentioned, the bowl judgments, which aren't even listed until chapter 16. So what we noted last week is that you have chronology followed by parenthesis. Do you remember that? You will have a chronological flow of the tribulation period, and then a parenthesis, or you are catching up to add more information to the story, and then you continue with the chronology, and then you add a parenthesis, and chapters 12 through 14 is a huge parenthetical statement.
We are introduced in chapter 12 to a rare behind the scenes look at the great cosmic struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, Satan, or the kingdom of Satan, and the kingdom of God. In verse 1; "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. And then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth."
Now who is the woman? Well, it depends on who you ask, because a lot of people have identified her with a number of different people or events, or things, or analogies, allegories, but I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that this woman is the nation of Israel, and it's because of the scripture that gives us that hint. We mentioned last week that the book of Revelation is filled with biblical symbolism. So find in the Bible where you have twelve stars and the sun and the moon and you will get your answer.
And that takes us back to Genesis 37, when a young man named Joseph had a couple of dreams. Remember that? And the second dream he had, he told his parents and his brothers, and he said, "Hey, I had a dream that the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars, [he is the twelfth, the other eleven stars] all bowed down to me." And his dad gave him the interpretation. His dad rebuked him saying, "Shall your mother, and I, and your brothers indeed come to bow down and worship before you?"
So Joseph's father Jacob understood that the dream of sun, moon, twelve stars is Jacob, Rachel, and the twelve boys the eleven bowing down to the twelfth. This is the nation of Israel, and it doesn't surprise us, does it? To see the nation of Israel prominently displayed in last times prophecy. We would expect it, and why would we expect it?
Because we are told in places like Jeremiah chapter 30 that the tribulation period goes by another name, the time of Jacob's trouble. The time of Jacob's trouble. And even Daniel chapter 9, during the seventy weeks of Daniel, what did the angels say? He's predicted the future time period that is for your people, that is the Jewish people, the nation of Israel.
So here we see the nation of Israel pictured as emblematically, a woman pregnant and in pain giving birth to a child. The child is none other than Jesus Christ, and we don't have to read very far and we understand that. Verse 3; "Another sign appeared in heaven: behold the great fiery-red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems [or crowns] on his heads."
By the way, Satan is called a dragon, thirteen times in the book of Revelation, and you don't have to guess who the dragon is. You go down to verse 9 of this chapter and it tells you that it is Satan, that it is the devil.
Notice his strength, notice his authority. He has seven heads that speaks of completeness. He has ten horns; a horn is always a biblical symbol of strength. And he has crowns on his head. In other words, this guy is dominating the world, dominating the world. We will see that in chapter 13 to the Antichrist.
Verse 4; "His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born. She bore a male child who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and His throne."
In one verse, we go from incarnation to coronation. What a sweep that is in verse 5. He came, He is eventually going to rule all the nations, He is caught up to God and to His throne.
Satan the dragon hates Israel, the woman. Why is that? Well, it's pretty obvious, why? If he could not only hate, but if he could destroy the woman, then he can prove that God cannot keep His promises to the nation of Israel, and more than that, destroy any hope of this promised Messiah or deliverer that the Old Testament spoke about.
So if God's plan of redemption required the existence of a nation, if you could destroy that nation, you will have forded God's plan and that sums up in a nutshell, the cosmic conflict throughout the Bible, the behind the scenes conflict that goes on in the scripture.
There is a promise back in Genesis, early on chapter 3 verses 15 and 16, I'll read it to you. "From now on you and the woman, God says to Satan, the serpent, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and your offspring will be enemies. He, that is your offspring, the male child, He will crush your head, and you will bruise or strike His heel." So early on, Satan was promised that there is coming someone who is going to crush his head, crush his authority, take away the fangs of authority that he has in this world.
Now if I promised you that after the service tonight, I am going to meet you in the parking lot, and I am going to crush your head, which I never would do that, but if you are reasonably sure that I meant it, you would do everything you could to avoid that possibility, maybe even a counterattack. And so we see Satan attacking the woman, Israel through history to get out the male child who will eventually crush his head.
As the intelligence goes out throughout history, the attack and counterattack from Satan comes. I'll give you a few examples; I believe it was Satan that motivated Cain to kill his brother Abel, because Abel would be the promise seed that would bring the righteous deliverer, but he was killed. God raised up another seed through Seth.
I believe it was Satan who corrupted the earth so badly that God had to eventually destroy everything on earth and everyone through a worldwide flood, except one family, and through that family, He started bringing His promise to fruition through history. Later on, I believe it was Satan that prompted Esau to attempt to kill Jacob, because Jacob was also the one who was promised in the lineage.
Later on it was Satan that prompted Pharaoh to give out this weird decree that if a Jewish baby is born, that is a male child, you shall kill it. Why on earth would that decree come out? It was satanically inspired to get at the seed that would crush the head of Satan, because he is just learning sort of like the satanic CIA, the entail that's coming from Heaven, i.e., the prophecies through the ages and he is working to counteract that.
We follow through the Old Testament, we see that Saul attempts to kill David because He's the messianic line. We see in the book of Esther that Haman tries to kill all the Jews in the empire in an attempt to destroy the seed. So his plan was to kill the woman, Israel, before the male child was born, that didn't work. So now once the child is born, as Revelation says, he wants to kill the male child. That's why, that's why Herod the Great, issued the decree that all of the male children, all of the babies in Bethlehem be killed from a certain age and younger. It was satanically inspired to destroy the seed that would crush the head of Satan.
Verse 6 of Revelation 12; "Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, [three-and-a-half years, the last three-and-a-half, the great tribulation period]." Verse 13; "Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to a place where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time [a biblical way of saying three-and-a-half years] from the presence of the serpent."
Satan is in the future going to unleash his fury against the nation of Israel during the tribulation period. It's going to be one of the worst times of persecution for that people group ever. That will require the Israelis to flee and to hide, and the signal for them would be the abomination of desolation, the midpoint of the tribulation, when the Antichrist sets himself up as god; Jesus predicted that.
Remember what He said, Matthew 24; "When you see the abomination of desolation spoken up by Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place, whoever reads let him understand, those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."
And it is believed that the mountains Jesus spoke about, and the area that John in Revelation spoke about, is a place called Petra, which some of you have been to, we visited there together. A hidden place, the ancient capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, southeast of the Dead Sea over in Jordan today. A place that is greatly protected by mountains and ravines, a very difficult place for any army to march through.
Either way, God is going to protect them during this time after the abomination of desolation. Now God says, two wings of a great eagle were given to this woman. I did a little digging and discovered that that's a beautiful symbol, emblem of God's protection.
You may remember back is Exodus chapter 19, I believe, God said to the people of Israel, remember, how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to Myself speaking of the deliverance out of Egypt. So it's a beautiful symbol of God's protection.
Now some people believe, I have read this, I can't be dogmatic, I can't be sure one way or the other, but some people see that's the wings of an eagle are the United States, and perhaps it's because some of us are worried that the United States is not plainly mentioned in prophecy, and it worries us. Well, what's going to happen to us? But some have thought this could be maybe the Air Force and The Six Naval Fleet that's partly stationed in the Mediterranean that's going to help bring them to that area and protect them. It's interesting guess, it's what some believe. So Israel would be protected as they flee from the presence of the serpent.
Verse 1 of chapter 13; "Then I stood on the sand of the sea and I saw a beast." Chapter 13 introduces us to the one of the most important personalities in that period of time, Daniel's Seventieth Week, or Jacob's trouble, or the tribulation period that is the Antichrist, that's what we typically know him as; he actually goes by 50 different names in the Bible and probably the last one is the Antichrist. Paul calls him the man of sin, also calls him the son of perdition, also calls him the lawless one, it's John who calls him the Antichrist in First John.
Verse 1; "I stood in the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, [again world dominion authority] and on his heads a blasphemous name." Verse 4; "So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?""
Verse 8; "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." He is called a beast, that's how God sees him. This is from God's perspective. The world is going to see him as marvelous, eloquent, dynamic, the one we've been waiting for; God calls him a beast. He comes in as a peacemaker.
Revelation chapter 6 verse 2; the seal is opened, the first seal, and it comes someone riding on a white horse with a bow, conquering and to conquer; that is the Antichrist that is not Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who comes at the end of the tribulation on the white horse with a sword, not a bow; He's the real Christ.
The Antichrist is the fake Christ, the fake Messiah. He comes at the beginning making peace. He's going to make peace between Israel and the Arabs, nobody has been able to do that. He's going to promise Israel a peace covenant, that last seven years. He's going to help them rebuild their temple. In the middle of that covenant he'll break it, he'll setup himself up as God.
Paul tells us, Second Thessalonians; "He opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God and seats as God in the temple of God showing himself that he is God." That abomination of desolation is going to take people by surprise, because this guy is going to be so suave, so appealing, so charismatic, so dynamic, the ultimate politician, extraordinary.
One commentator says, he will have the oratorical skill of a JFK, the inspirational power of a Churchill, the determination of a Joseph Stalin, the vision of a Karl Marx, the respectability of a Gandhi, the military prowess of a Douglas MacArthur and the genius of a King Solomon. It's quite a package, get somebody that's like that that wows and woos the world, but God says he's the beast; he's a beast.
Verse 16; "He causes all, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on the right hand or their foreheads." Now this is for economic reasons, this is globalism; this is toward a global economy. "So that no one may buy or sell except the one who has a mark, or the name of the beast or the number of his name. And here is wisdom. Let him, who has understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man; his number is 666."
I do find it very intriguing that over the last decade, but more so recently there is so much talk about globalism, and global economic recovery. And what really has gotten my attention the last few days, is what's been happening with this G-20 Summit. How one of the Russian leaders has proposed that we do away with different currencies and we strive toward one world currency. I read a little article that said, that the International Monetary Fund might issue the currency and emphasize the need to update the obsolescent unipolar world economic order. What that means is, the dollar, the dollar; it's a thrust toward getting away from the dollars, as the standard worldwide and going to a global currency, and we have a global economic recovery, and with that is this interesting speak about the United States, not really having a strong Christian or Jewish underpinning, or what is right and what is wrong.
You see, this is what's going to happen with globalism. Globalism gets rid of dogmatism and dogmatism gets rid of truth. And so is the world's going, yeah, yeah, okay, one world government, one world currency, yeah, we need to get along. It is a perfect setup for being duped by the one who is going to take over and be hailed as the Messiah, and that is the Antichrist; he will eliminate truth.
And chapter 14 is also parenthetic, and it gives the several different announcements; as angelic beings announced things that are happening during this time period. There is one in particular, I draw your attention to in chapter 14, verse 6, it's a prediction made by Jesus. Verse 6; "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people." The word nation is ethnos, every ethnic group, every nation, every tribe, every, every dialect that is spoken. There is going to come a time in the tribulation period, where God is going to give one last ditch, final offer to the world as an angel goes to the heavens and speaks, so that every single human being on earth, no matter what dialect you speak, will be able to hear or if you speak sign language, see, know, what is the message of the everlasting gospel.
Now this is what I want you to notice; the tribulation period is going to be full of evangelism, full of evangelism. It's the worst period on earth, but it will be full of evangelism. There is going to be two witnesses, I believe Moses and Elijah; there is going to be one hundred and forty-four thousand messianic Jewish witnesses. There is going to be also a great multitude of Gentiles killed for their faith, but still innumerable, millions of them come to faith in Christ.
Then finally there is going to be an angel that flies through heaven and gets the gospel out. No more will anyone ever be able to come up with this lame argument. What about the people who have never heard? What about the people who live in dark Africa or in places? They are going to hear; everybody is going to hear. It's going to unmistakable, and this is what I believe Jesus meant, when He predicted this; "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come."
I want you to know that, because I do not believe in the interpretation that says, we have to get the gospel out. Jesus won't come back for us in the rapture, until we get the gospel out; we are holding Christ back. You can hasten the day of the Lord, that's a bunch of nonsense; nothing is holding the Lord back from coming. He can come back at any moment, and when Jesus said that everyone's going to hear before He comes, it was His second coming, and He was referring to this everlasting angel. It's going to be preached in every tongue, every tribe, every dialect.
Chapter 15, 8 verses, shortest chapter in the book of Revelation; it's a prelude. It introduces the bowl judgments, the last and worst of this rapid fire judgments, and again, they are rapid fire, and it takes place over a very swift period of time. I think, I think that, that's what Jesus has meant. When He said, "Unless those days were kept short, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect sake, they would be shortened."
Verse 1 of chapter 15, is the prelude. Chapter 16, lists them, but look at verse 1; "I saw another angel in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them the wrath of God is complete."
Now again, as we noted, that God's judgments in the tribulation period go from seven seals, to seven trumpets, to seven bowls, each one is progressive and more intense.
Now we are in the midst of the worst part of the great tribulation period; this is the core of the worst moment in history. Daniel said it will be the worst; Jeremiah said it will be the worst; Jesus, Himself said it will be the worst. When these judgments are done, God's judgment is done. There are no more judgments that He will ever level upon the earth. After these judgments, after the bowl judgments, comes the binding of Satan, the return of Christ, the millennial kingdom.
So look at chapter 16. Let's just go through them, and we'll read them. Verse 2; "So the first went, and poured out his bowl on the earth; and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast, and those who worshiped his image. And the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea; and it became blood as of a dead man and every living creature in the sea died."
If you've lived by the ocean, you know what red tide is. You get that a couple times during the year, red tide, they are the emission of dinoflagellates into the ocean that produce a reaction with the fish and kill the fish, you see thousands millions, miles of these dead fish, and sometimes you see the bacteria itself that turns red and floats on the surface, imagine a mega red tide that kills those creatures in the ocean? That's a possibility.
Verse 4; "A third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood." And it could be with the ocean poisoned and the hydrological cycle upset that it also affects these fresh water sources, since it all sort of interrelates and depends upon that cycle. There is no water to drink, people thirst to death.
Verse8; "A fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God, who was power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give Him glory." Some think its radiation burn, some believe it's when the ozone deteriorates; there is a lot of warning about that. Others believe, there is hydrogen explosions that will take place on the surface of the sun and cause this radiation burn.
Verse 10; "Fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom."
Verse 12; "The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the ways of the kings of the east might be prepared." That is Armageddon, an army of couple hundred million that march across.
Verse 17; "And the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done!" In another words, God has done judgment, it's over; those days have now ended, been cut short. "And there were noises and thunderings, and lightnings, and a great earthquake. Such a mighty and great earthquake as has not occurred since men were on the earth." So this bowl completes the wrath of God and immediately proceeds the second coming of Jesus Christ. That's the next event that takes place after this, as there is this massive gathering toward Armageddon.
Now chapter 17 and chapter 18, focus on one aspect of these bowl judgments, and that is the system, the kingdom of the Antichrist, called Babylon, called Babylon. Chapter 17 is religious or spiritual Babylon. Chapter 18 is commercial Babylon. These are the systems controlled by the world leader and his minions in the tribulation period.
Chapter 19 is the return of Jesus Christ at the battle of Armageddon. It's actually been wrongly titled, the battle of Armageddon, because when you think of a battle, you think of two sides losing casualties; this will not be the case. It won't be like a battle going on, and over here Jesus is the head, but now He is not, and some are being killed and over here it's going to -- it's not a battle it's a wipe out, it's a destruction. He will destroy them, the Bible says, with the brightness of His coming, think back to Psalm 2.
Remember Psalm 2, talks about the kings of the earth have gathered and the people have gathered against the Lord and against His Christ or anointed, saying, let us break their bands in thunder and then it says, "He who seats in the heavens shall laugh." Ha! Ho, ho, you think you are going to fight against Me. No, no, this isn't a battle; this is where Jesus takes over the earth, people aren't voting for Him or not, it's where He takes over as the Ruler and the King. This is the second coming; this is the culmination of all the hopes of all mankind of all ages.
For 3500 years, the Jewish people have waited for their Messiah. I told you, I think Sunday or the Sunday before, I get it mixed up, the Jewish prayer, I believe in the coming of Messiah, and even though He may tarry, yet I will wait for Him, every coming day. Of course, they are waiting for His first coming. When He comes in Revelation 19, it would be Messiah, but it will be His second coming.
There is a rabbi in Chicago, named Rabbi Eckstein, who says he believes the problems that are going out in the Middle East indicate Messianic times. Interesting, Jewish rabbi, notable, saying, what's going on the Middle East indicates Messianic times. He said, "If that is the case, and if the Messiah does come, I have one question to ask Him. Is this Your first visit or second?" We know the answer to that. It is His second visit, it's His second coming.
Verse 1; "And after these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Alleluia!" Oh yeah, we are going to be joining in that chorus. The wrath is over, the judgment is over, the pain is over, the heartache is over, the sorrow and death and tears are over. "Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord, our God!"
Go down to verse 11; "I saw heaven opened, behold a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. And He had a name written, which no one knew, except Himself. He was clothed with a rope dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean followed Him on white horses. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, and with it He should strike the nations, and He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Jesus coming back will quell, end, destroy the armies, hence this analogy of the vintage of somebody going into a grape vat and stepping on the grapes and they just splatter and made into juice and wine, that's the image of final judgments, the winepress the harvest.
"He will tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe, and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And I saw another angel in the sun, standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses, and those who sit on them, the flesh of all people free and slave, both small and great."
Did you know that next to the subject of faith in the Bible, the subject to faith, next to that subject, the second coming is spoken of more than any other subject. The second coming is mentioned probably, we believe 1845 times altogether; 318 of those are in the New Testament, one out of every 30 verses in the New Testament gives reference to the second coming.
For every one time, the Bible speaks of the first coming of Jesus or predicts it; the second coming is mentioned or predicted eight times, eight times. So here we've talk so much about Christmas, Christmas, Christmas; for every one time Christmas is mentioned or the first coming, that thing, that wonderful work of Messiah; eight times the second coming is alluded to and for every time atonement is spoken of, the second coming is mentioned or alluded to, twice; so it's a very, very hefty subject.
One day the world will be shocked, surprised, as they look up and coming from the sky, like a movie they had seen; it's not a movie; it's real life. It's Jesus coming back, and we are coming with Him, and He is going to end the battle and setup His kingdom and rule and reign on this earth for a thousand years. [Applause]
And number one, it's going to be permanent; first time it wasn't permanent. He was here for 30 some odd years, and He left, and He'll return, and that will be permanent. And the second coming is very different from the first coming. First time He came as a baby, a helpless baby, not the second time. Second time, He'll come as a warrior king. First time He came, it was gentle Jesus, meek and mild; second time it will be judge Jesus, mighty and riled. He will come to say, "Move over, I'm in charge here."
Now the name of the book is Revelation; the Revelation of Jesus Christ. That's what we noted last week. This is the ultimate Revelation of Jesus Christ. As He comes and ends all this mess. This great hope of the second coming has attached to it some of the greatest songs and hymns in Christianity.
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is about the second coming of Jesus Christ. "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored." That's all about the second coming. He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on." It's the second coming.
When Isaac Watts wrote: "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King." It wasn't about Bethlehem, read about what he was thinking, he was thinking of this event, the second coming, ruling and reigning.
So He comes in chapter 19, and after this comes the millennial kingdom a 1,000 years, and then the great white throne judgment, and then the eternal state; chapter 20 introduces us to the millennium.
Verse 1; "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan." So now again the dragon is identified as the devil, Satan. "And bound him for a thousand years."
Notice how long, a thousand years; now that will be mentioned six times in seven verses, thousand years, thousand years, thousand years, thousand years, thousand years, thousand years. So nobody will go, I wonder how long it is. You really can't be dogmatic or literal about this, thousand years, thousand years, thousand years. Well, it's just sort of maybe a thousand years. So don't mistake, it's a thousand year period. That's where we get the term millennium; Mille annus in Latin, a thousand years.
Verse 2, "He laid hold of the dragon." I already read that. Verse 4; "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus, and for the Word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or its image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
Verse 6; "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
Now understand that there are hundreds of biblical text that referred to this time period, the kingdom age, it goes by several different titles, it's described by prophets, but only here do we get the length of time. So when we put all of the text together with the last book of the Bible, we understand what will happen and for how long it will happen. This is what Jesus referred to in Matthew chapter 19, verse 28. He called, this the regeneration when the Son of man sits on His throne in glory and He promises His apostles to sit with Him and to judge and reign over the twelve tribes of Israel.
Acts chapter 3, the kingdom is called the times of refreshing, and also in that chapter the time of the restoration of all things.
Ephesians chapter 1 verse 10; Paul said, when the dispensation of the fullness of the times have come.
There are many references to this time period, we simply put it all together and call it the millennium. What is it? In short, it's an extreme makeover of this earth. We have trashed this earth, and before you go, yeah dude, I am with you, green all the way, and I don't want to get down on that, but we have trashed the earth. If you think we've trashed it, what do you see what God does with it in the tribulation, He is going to like mega trash it, and then He is going to take the earth that He trashed, and has the right to, because He is going to judge it, He made it, He is going to give it a makeover, not a new one, this one, made over, an extreme makeover. There will be massive geographical, topological climatic changes that restored this earth to its former glory, i.e., garden of Eden type environment.
The most compelling reason to take this whole millennium business literally, and not allegorically, not figuratively, like the amillenialists like to do, is simply there is no other way to interpret it fairly, because as soon as you start saying, well, we interpret prophecy figuratively, but everything else literally. I am going to ask you, on what basis do you have the right to do that? On what basis can you say, that's literal, but that's not, that's literal but that's not? Because when Jesus said that He is the only way to heaven that, well, maybe He just meant that figuratively.
He said, oh no, it's literal, and so is everything else. You may have emblematic language that speak of a literal event, but the thousand year period is a literal event. And here is why? If thousand doesn't mean thousand, then what does it mean? You are going to have to make something up, and your neighbor might be an allegorist and make something else up, and you are going to have 15 billion conflicting interpretations of it. If a thousand doesn't mean a thousand, you have big problems, because the book of Revelation is very exact. Here is an example, there are seven churches, there are twelve tribes, there are twelve apostles, there are one-third of mankind. There are two witnesses, there are 42 months, there are 1,260 days, there are 12,000 furlongs, you get the picture; very exact numbers. If none of that means anything that it says, then why did God spend a whole book writing about something that's not going to happen, that really didn't mean that? So the best way to interpret it, is a grammatical historical interpretation and take this as literal.
Verse 11 introduces to the great white throne, we'll move quickly. "I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away." As we read this, I want you to just read this very somberly if you can. This is the most sobering moment in all of world history, past, present, and future.
"From whose face the earth and heaven fled away, there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."
Most sobering, somber moment in history and in the Bible. It's a courtroom scene, very unlike and earthly courtroom scene, very, very different. There is no debate about guilt in this courtroom scene. There is prosecution, there is no defense, there is a judge, there is no jury; there is a sentence, there is no appeal, and there is punishment and there is no parole. It's the great white throne Judgment, it's the final judgment of the loss of the damned as the theologians like to say.
Chapter 21 and 22 is called the eternal state, the eternal state. This is the end of the end, this is the eternity of eternity. If you die today, you'll go to heaven, you will behold the throne of God. At some point in the future will be a rapture, saints will be caught up, after which period there will be seven years of tribulation, the first three-and-half years sort of mild, the last three-and-half years really, really, really bad. Jesus will then come back at the end, makeover the earth there will be thousand years ruling and reigning. Satan who is bound will be released momentarily. There will be an uprising that will be quelled, after that great white throne judgment. After that the eternal state, and it stays that way for ever and ever and ever, the eternal state is the new heaven and the new earth, and the capital city, New Jerusalem; this is the ultimate phase, this is the final phase.
Verse 1 chapter 21; "I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, also there was no more sea." Okay, the millennium was a makeover. Now it's destroyed, this earth will eventually be destroyed by fire, Peter said. Jesus will make a new one, God will make a new one. Jesus said, heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will never pass away. So this is it, this is a new heaven and a new earth. "Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
The word New Jerusalem, new heaven, new earth is the word kainos not neos, it's not just new in time and chronology, it's fresh, it's different, it's altogether totally cool and totally different in the first one, that's the idea.
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. And He sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new!" And he said to me, "Write this: 'These words are faithful and true.'""
I imagine John has just sort of taken, he is looking, new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem; he's going like this. God had to say, wake up boy, write this down. This is going in the Bible man, this is the book of Revelation; write this, this is faithful and true. Now some people in reading this are very uncomfortable with heaven, at least part of it being one gigantic city. You go, oh no, I pictured a mansion out in the country, a big city, and it is a big city, it's 15,000 miles wide, 15,000 miles deep, 15,000 miles long; it's like a big cube coming out of heaven.
You see, even I, when I read this, I say, okay, if I am writing the book, and I am not, thank the Lord. If I am writing the book, it's going to say, something like this, and there was no more city, not no more sea. It's going to say, and there were no more cities, but there was lots of seas, and lots of beaches. You know, that's where I go with it. Apparently, God doesn't agree with me; apparently, God believes that we were created for social interaction, and heaven is going to be the ultimate social interaction, ultimate social community, a shared social place, shared community, and some people again like to say, well, this is just an allegory, it's not a literal city, except they keep saying, it's a city, it's a city, it's a city, it's a city. So if it tells me enough times, I am going to go, you know what? I just think it's a city. The physical dimensions are even given just in case, you think it's an allegory, you have to now allegorize all the physical exact dimensions that are measured.
Look at chapter 22 verse 6; "And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." The Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place."
Remember, we discovered in first chapter, these things must shortly take place en tachai is the Greek. We get the word tachometer, it's something that measures velocity. Once these things start to happen, they are going to happen rapid fire, and be done with very quickly, that's the idea, might shortly take place.
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed [or happy] is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." That's verse 7. Go down to verse 20; "He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen!"
Now, the Bible begins where we see a curse. Now we have grace, the very last verse. The last chapter of the Bible, God's final message brings us full circle. You see the Bible is sort of like a novel, you open it up, everything is wonderful and good and magnificent, it's the garden of Eden, it's filled with goodness and then there is a twist in the plot, evil is introduced into the world. But immediately a deliverer is promised, but the evil gets worse and worse and worse, and as it does, more promises, more promises, more promises of a deliverer, then Jesus Christ finally comes. He is born, He grows up, He lives, He dies, He resurrects, and He leaves again with a promise to return.
In the meantime, we are left wondering and waiting and hoping and wondering what's it all going to turn out to be like. And so we read the book of Revelation, and we find out how it's going to turn out, that which is ruined is restored. Consider this as we close, the Bible opens in a garden, the Bible closes with a garden environment in a city, spoken about in Revelation 22. The Bible opens with a heaven and earth created, the Bible closes with a new heaven and new earth created. The Bible opens in chapter 1 of Genesis with God making the sun. In Revelation 21 and 22, there is no need of the sun; God illuminates all with His glory.
In the book of Genesis, the night is distinguished from the day, in Revelation 22, I think verse 5, there is no night; everything is always illuminated. In Genesis 3 a curse is promised on creation. Revelation 21 and 22, the curse is removed. In Genesis, there is the fall of man, introduction of death, sorrow, tears, pain and all of that is removed in Revelation. In Genesis, man is barred from paradise and unable to eat of the tree of life. In Revelation 22, the tree of life is in the city of God and man will eat freely from it, which brings vitalization to the nations. I hope that the Bible, and especially this last book has awakened you and I afresh to the reality between this world and the next world.
Have you ever heard this, get real man, live in the real world man, this is the real world? Have you ever heard those kind of things? It's true, this is the real world, real things happen, real hurts happen, and people say, this is the real word, it is. But there is another world, let's call it the really real world. This is the real world, but what's coming is the really real world. It's eternal, and there is only two kinds of people, not three not a million, only two kinds of people, saved and unsaved, born again and not born again. People who will inhabit the really real world of heaven, and the new heaven and the new earth, and those who will not be.
And the Bible repeatedly draws that distinction, and that's why it begins and closes this book saying, "Blessed is the one who keeps this book." How do you keep the book of Revelation? I am going to go home and practice the book of Revelation tonight. How do you do that? Simply by making a choice for living for the eternal, really real world, not just the real world, not just the fleshly world. I'm going to give you that opportunity, if you've never made that choice; I'm going to give that opportunity tonight.
Let's all stand and we'll pray. Heaven Father, we thank You for the last sixty-four weeks of "The Bible From 30,000 Feet" from Genesis to Revelation and thank you Lord for this great book. Thank you that we know how the story is going to end. So when things happen around us they intrigue us and they causes us to go to our knees in prayer for our country, our world. We see that there's something going on behind the scenes but the average person on the street because they don't know this book, they're not aware of, we're aware of it; the answers are in the back of the book; You've showed us too. Father, I pray that our choices now will be, to live for eternal things not for the temporal not for the eternal; not just to be born but to be born-again.
Lord, I pray for anybody here, who has backslid from You, walked away from You, or have never really committed themselves in honesty to You. Some are searching, some are hungry, some are empty, some are wanting peace, some have tried so many things but they're being swallowed up by anxiety and hopelessness. Lord, I pray that even though the Bible predicts some pretty gnarly things coming down the pike; You give us a sense of peace but it really comes, it really begins we know because You said so when we make peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; Romans chapter 5 tells us.
So Lord, I pray for anybody who is in this auditorium tonight or listening by radio tonight, or watching this by DVD or any other media. That if they don't know Christ personally; if they've never surrendered their life and ask Jesus to take charge; that tonight would be the night; where they would break the chains of bondage and come into freedom and become a Christian, a follower of Christ, because that is the winning side; You're going to rule and reign forever and we want to march with You. In Jesus' name, amen!
As we sing this final song, I'm going to ask those of you who have never committed their lives to Christ or maybe you did something years ago but tonight you're not following Him; you're not walking in obedience to Him; you need to commit your life to Him. I'm going to ask you to get up from wherever you are standing and come right up front, we're going to make room for you, and give your life to Jesus Christ tonight. Get on the winning team, get peace and hope and purpose and meaning into your life. As we sing this song, you begin to come; we'll wait for you but come quickly and let us pray a prayer of salvation for you; give your life to Christ tonight. [Music playing] [Applause]
You don't have to be afraid, you don't have to be afraid; I know some of these things in the future look really bad but you need to know that God has a plan for you that is a different plan; we've spoken to you about that. A plan first of all for you tonight is to get your heart right with God; He wants to forgive you of your sins; He wants to forgive you of your past. You know what, God know that we'd all sin; we'd all blow it; He know that. That is why He had purpose to send His Son from the very beginning to take care of that problem once and for all and maybe tonight is your night were you lay your burden down; I remember the night I did it; I still remember it fresh. Let this be the night you say, "Yes" to Him and you surrender your life. A few of you have already come, we'll wait for you but come now. [Music playing] [Applause]
Father, we pray that if there is anyone here in this auditorium who has not yet received Jesus Christ; we pray that You by Your spirit would draw right now. We, pray Lord that there wouldn't be any who are wondering or worrying or just waiting. I pray that they would just settle that issue tonight and experience Your love and Your peace. We pray Lord, You would just prompt them just put it in their heart to get up from where they're standing right now and come. This is the sovereign work, Lord, that's why we ask You for souls of man and woman; You ask You to bring them to Yourself, we ask You to draw them. Is there anybody else? We'll wait just another moment before we close in prayer. You could be in the balcony or you could be in that foyer out there or in the family room or scattered around this campus in a number of different places just get up and come. Don't stay on the outside any longer, come to Jesus. [Applause] Come to Jesus. [Applause]
That's right, that's right, that's it, that's right. [Applause] Come right up this way; that's right. Come on up. Come on up; that's it. God bless you guys. I'll tell you forgiveness feels really, really good, it feels really, really good to confess your sins and to ask Jesus to forgive you feels really good; He made it that way. Now those of you who have come; I'm going to lead you in a word of prayer to receive Christ and as even as we're getting ready to pray, if you're just on the edge of your sit you know you should be up here; you quickly come and join those who I'm going to lead in prayer.
I'm going to ask you to say this prayer out loud after me and here's why. You know when Jesus called people, so often He called them publicly and I'm going to ask you publicly to give your life to Him; He died for you and I publicly. And husbands and wives when they marry each other they say vows publicly; so I'm going to ask you to say this out loud from your heart to the Lord asking Him to be your Savior. Let's pray.
Lord, I give you my life; I know I'm a sinner; please forgive me; I put my faith in Jesus that He died on the cross and that He rose from the dead; I turn from my sin; from my past, and I turn to You as my Savior wash me; as my Master control me. In Jesus' name, amen. [Applause] Amen! Yeah! Yeah! I'm so happy for you guys; I am; I'm happy so for. [Applause] I'm happy because you're my brothers and my sisters you know, now you're kind of stuck with us and what we're going to do, we're going to help you, we want to help you walk with Jesus. We would like you who have come forward to follow Neil and our pastors and counselors to a prayer room, we want to speak with you for three; four minutes, give you a Bible, explain what is means follow and obey, just a few little things that you can take with you tonight that will be helpful in the days ahead. God bless you guys. [Applause] Go with these guys this way. Good night and God bless you.
Pastor Nate Heitzig: Well, hey, not so fast you have to get back out here for a second. Now we have finished "The Bible From 30,000 Feet" and you have given us a gift of having taught through the entire Bible yet again. So we wanted to give you a gift. Justin, why don't you come out here. As a gift for having taught through the entire Bible, we're presenting you with an original Bible leaf from the 1611 King James Bible. I have a certificate of authenticity here. This leaf is guaranteed to be an original 1611 Anno Domini King James Bible leaf. In 1604 King James of England ordained that the whole Bible by translated from Greek and Hebrew and that this version be placed in all churches; fifty-four men divided into six committees, spend six years on the work which was first published in 1611. The King James Bible became the most published book in the world and we are blessed to have this preached in our church today. [Applause]
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Wow, without taking any more of your time; let me just say it is my honor to teach the word of God to such a willing and hungry flock; it's my honor to do so; I'm thrilled, I love the journey with you. This is going to hang here in the church a place of prominence for all to enjoy. Thank you very much, God bless you. [Applause] Good night.