13.8.16

Revelation 1 The Key to Understanding

Revelation 1:1.. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Verse 2.. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
So this is not a sealed book that is without meaning or relevance. It is the revealed testimony and prophecy of God. These things will come to pass on the earth. God gave it to Jesus. Jesus sent his angel to show it to John which he then recorded in this book.

Things which must shortly come to pass doesn't mean that they should have happened 2000 years ago when this was written. It means that the next event on the prophetic timeline is at hand. The appearing of Jesus and the rapture of the church will begin this event. Once initiated, all things will shortly come to pass; seven years to be exact.

Verse 3.. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
So as one reads, studies, hears, and keeps the words of this prophecy; one receives blessing and comfort. Again, the time is at hand. The next event on the prophetic timeline is the appearing of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church.
Understanding prphecy is the key to Revelation. When we look at the book of Daniel, we find that one of the chief angels of God came and informed Daniel and talked to him and said "I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

Seventy (Dan 9:22-24) And the word weeks there in Hebrew is just sevens. The translators translated it weeks because of seven days in the week, but literally, Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city (Dan 9:24), Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Dan 9:25)

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. (Dan 9:26)
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and its end shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Dan 9:27)

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

So seventy sevens are determined to finish all things. Seventy sevens will bring us right up to the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ. I was wondering how many sets of sevens had transpired since the death of Jesus on the cross. 2016 divided by 7 equals 288 sets of seven. We know that 7 and 62 sets had transpired up and until the coming of the Messiah. So 69 + 288 equals 357. If you add 7 for the final 7 year tribulation period you would have 364 which are the number of days in a year as recorded via a Jewish calendar based upon the Jubilees.
2016 just happens to be a year of Jubilee. On September 23, 2015 our world will enter Jubilee, the first year of a new 7 year Shmita cycle. Now if 364 can be used as the number of completion or deliverance then rapture of the church is very close (the Lord's secret coming) and the world will witness the return of Jesus Christ at the end of this next Shmita cycle! (His coming in the clouds with power and great glory.)

Back to the book of Daniel.
(PC) While I was speaking, and praying, [while he was in the midst of] confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yes, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation (Dan 9:20-21).

Gabriel, one of the chief angels of God, named in Daniel, named also in the book of Luke as the angel that appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and later appeared unto Mary, the mother of Jesus. Gabriel came,
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you skill and understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

Seventy (Dan 9:22-24) And the word weeks there in Hebrew is just sevens. The translators translated it weeks because of seven days in the week, but literally,
Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city (Dan 9:24),
Notice there are seventy seven-year cycles that are determined upon the nation Israel, thy people and upon the city of Jerusalem. And so this is a prophecy that relates to God's dealing with the nation of Israel. It will be accomplished in seventy seven-year cycles. And in these seventy sevens, the work of God will be fully established as far as the nation Israel is concerned.

Because within the seventy sevens there will first of all be the
finishing of the transgression, making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision in prophecy [or to complete the vision in prophecies], and to anoint the Most Holy (Dan 9:24),
And probably "the most holy place," the new temple in the kingdom of God.
So there are seventy sevens in which all of the prophetic aspects of the nation Israel will be complete. During which time there will be reconciliation made for sins, for iniquities. Finishing of the transgressions, making an end of sins, bringing in the everlasting kingdom of righteousness, and completing the whole prophetic scene. Now he divides these seventy sevens.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, will be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times (Dan 9:25).

So there's to be, first of all, seven sevens and sixty-two sevens from the time the commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince. Daniel wrote this in the first year of Darius, the year 538 B.C. About ninety-five years later, in the year 445 B.C., the commandment was finally given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
Earlier, Ahasuerus and the other Persian kings had given commandments to Ezra to go back and to rebuild the temple. But this prophecy was to be from the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Though the temple was rebuilt, the walls of the city were still torn down and the houses were still destroyed. And you remember that Nehemiah said, "I was a cupbearer to the king." And the king said, "How come you look so sad?" And Nehemiah said, "How can I be happy when the city that I love lies in ruins?" And so the king gave commandment unto Nehemiah to take a contingent of people and to go back and to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 445 B.C. In fact, according to records that were found by Sir Rawlinson in the Palace of Shushan, that order was given in March 14, 445 B.C.

Now, it is an important date in history because according to the promise here and the prophecy here, from the time that commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens, or sixty-nine seven-year cycles, or 483 years. And so from the year March 14, 445 B.C., according to the prediction here, the Messiah should have come in 483 years from the time of this commandment.

Now the years in the prophecies of Daniel are 360-day years which was predicated upon the Babylonian calendar of a 360-day year. We, of course, compute now with a Julian calendar of 365 and a quarter days a year. But Daniel's prophecies were predicated upon the Babylonian calendar 360 days a year. And so it would be best to transpose the 483 years into days in order to figure out the time of the coming of the Messiah the Prince. And transposed into days, 483 times 360 would give you 173,880 days. And if you take and then work that out on our calendar, you find it comes out to the date April 6, 32 A.D.

On April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus said to His disciples, "Go over into the city and on a corner you'll find a colt that is tied. Untie him and bring him to me. And if while you are untying him the master say, 'What are you doing untying my colt?' just tell them that the Lord has need of him." They went over and just where Jesus told them they saw the donkey tied and they untied it. The owner said, "Why are you untying my donkey?" And they said, "Lord the needs him." And so they brought the donkey to Jesus and they began to lay their garments in the path between Bethany and Jerusalem. And they began to wave palm branches as they cried, "Save now, save now, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," Psalm 118. Psalm 118 is a Messianic Psalm. Psalm 118 declares, "This is the stone which was rejected by the builders, but the same has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's work and it is glorious in our eyes. Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord. This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

We so often get up on a beautiful morning and look out and see the sunrise and say, "Oh, this is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." That was not written for any beautiful morning. That was written for one special day--the day of God's salvation for the world, the day that the Messiah would come.
(PC) Prior to this day, Jesus had never allowed public worship of Himself. When they sought by force to make Him king, He disappeared from their midst. But on this day, He not only set the scene, He is encouraging His disciples. And when the Pharisees said, "Lord, You better cause them to shut up, because they are being blasphemous," Jesus said, "I'm going to tell you something, fellows, and I want you to get it straight. If these men would at this point hold their peace and be silent, these very stones would start crying out." This is the day that the Lord hath made. The day of redemption for the world. The day the Messiah would come; 173,880 days from the commandment of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Right on schedule.

And as Jesus came on the Mount of Olives, and He looked at the city of Jerusalem, He began to weep and cried, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if thou had only known at least in this thy day the things that belong to your peace, but now they are hid from your eyes. And they're gonna come and they're gonna encircle the city. They're gonna destroy you and your children are going to be dashed in the streets." And He tells of the desolation that is going to transpire upon them for their ignorance, not knowing the day of God's deliverance.

Now after the sixty-two seven-year periods [notice,] the Messiah will be cut off (Dan 9:26),
Not, "The Messiah will be acclaimed and accepted and salvation will come and all of the prophecies will be complete and the everlasting kingdom will come in." No, "The Messiah will be cut off." But, not for himself (Dan 9:26):
That phrase, "but not for himself" is literally, "and receive nothing for himself." Or, the Messiah will be cut off without receiving this everlasting kingdom at that time. Of course, we know that Jesus was crucified that very week. He was cut off. He was not given the kingdom at that time. He was rejected as was predicted by Isaiah. He is despised and rejected by men.

And the prince of the people that shall come (Dan 9:26)
That is, the Roman army that was going to come, which did come--Titus, under the edict of Nero, who died before Jerusalem actually fell completely.
the prince of the people that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof will be with [the dispersion] a flood [or a dispersion] (Dan 9:26),

So here Daniel predicts that the Messiah would come, the Messiah would be cut off, and that a nation would come and destroy the city and the Jews would be dispersed. You read history and you find that's exactly, of course, what did happen. Christ was crucified, the Roman armies came, the temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed. As Jesus said, not one stone was left standing upon another and the Jews at that point were dispersed and remained dispersed throughout the world until 1948. So this portion of the prophecy literally, completely fulfilled. "And unto the end thereof, wars are determined,"
desolations are determined (Dan 9:26).

Now, we have one seven-year cycle that is not yet transpired. Seventy sevens are determined upon the nation Israel. These seventy sevens were to begin at the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, 445 B.C. They were to culminate in the coming of the Messiah. That is, sixty-nine of them. But the Messiah would be cut off. Now in a sense you might say that at that point God's prophetic time clock was stopped and has remained stopped. But now we have another event which will signal the beginning of the time clock once again, the beginning of the seventieth seven or the last seven-year cycle.

Verse 27, he (Dan 9:27) Who? The prince of the people that shall come or the ruler of the revived Roman Empire that would be represented by ten nations federating together which were once a part of the Roman Empire. You have to go back in Daniel, chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image, the legs of iron representing the Roman Empire and the feet of iron and clay with ten toes. Iron representing still the Roman Empire but mixed with clays showing that it is not as strong as the Roman Empire was in an autocratic sense, but it was weakened because it was a democracy, nations that were joined together with treaties.

Also, you find the same parallel vision of Daniel as he sees them as a beast with ten horns in chapter 7. And this other little horn coming up and devouring three of the horns. So the leader that will arise over this ten-nation confederacy related to the Roman Empire are called by many Bible scholars as a revival of the Roman Empire will confirm the covenant with many for one week (Dan 9:27):
Not with all of Israel, but with many of them.

So when he makes his covenant it will not be with everyone in support of it, but with many the leader that arises is going to make a covenant. Now the covenant, or he's going to confirm a covenant, not make one; confirm a covenant. No doubt confirming the covenant that God established with the nation whereby they could relate to Him by basis of the sacrifices that they would offer.

Now the ultra orthodox desire to rebuild the temple and begin the sacrifices again. But if you ask the most of the Jewish people about rebuilding the temple they'll say, "Oh, I hope they don't." Because if they rebuild the temple then some fool is gonna want to offer a lamb as a sacrifice and that would be horrible." And that's the general opinion of the general public, but the ultra-orthodox are desiring greatly to rebuild the temple and to begin sacrifices again. And so that's a very divisive issue. And so he will confirm the covenant. That is, will allow them the right to rebuild the temple.

Now how can he do that with the Dome of the Rock Mosque? No problem. It would appear that the sight of Solomon's temple was not there at the Dome of the Rock Mosque as we dealt with Ezekiel, chapter 42. But the Dome of the Rock Mosque sets over what was the outer court of Solomon's temple.

(PC) North of the Dome of the Rock Mosque a large vast flat area, perhaps as much as ten acres, in which they can easily rebuild their temple and never disturb the holy Muslem sight. I'm certain that this will be the suggestion. In John's vision of the new temple, Revelation, chapter 11, where John is ordered to measure it, the Lord said, "Don't measure the outer court; it's been given to the pagans." In Ezekiel, when he sees the temple, he says, "And there was a wall, five hundred meters to separate the holy place from the profane." And so I believe that a wall will be put up along the north porticoes of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, and the Jews will be allowed to rebuild their temple and will begin their sacrifices again.

And when that covenant is confirmed by the little horn, at that point the last seven-year cycle will begin. The seventieth seven, the final seven-year cycle, which at the end will bring in the everlasting kingdom. It'll complete the whole prophetic picture and the most holy place will be anointed and the kingdom of God established upon the earth.

So he will make, or he will confirm the covenant with many for one week, the seventieth week or one seven-year cycle.
and in the midst of this seven-year period [or after three and a half years], he shall cause the sacrifice and oblations to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, [or the final consummation of the age] and that which is determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Dan 9:27).
And so this remarkable prophecy of Daniel that deals specifically with the day of the coming of the Messiah and then the seventieth week takes us out to the end of this age in the last twenty-seventh verse.

Verse 4.. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Seven here refers to the complete church. There were certainly more than seven churches at the time of this writing. Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; Seven again is the number of completeness. Verse 5.. 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, Verse 6.. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Verse 7.. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

We know that Jesus is coming in two different ways. He is coming as a thief in the night and also with power and great glory in the clouds. The cloud reference is described in Matthew 24:29. This comes at the end of the tribulation period. The thief reference would occur at the beginning of the same period. See Matthew 24:36 for a description of this event. Things are normal during this time. Whereas when He comes with power and great glory, as in Matthew 24:39-30, the earth has suffered the great tribulation.

Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Jesus compares his appearing (Rapture of his bride) to the days of Noah in Matthew 24:37-39..."But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood (Judgment) they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark (Rapture), And knew not until the flood came (Tribulation),and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Luke 12:37-39 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Verse 8.. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Verse 9.. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Verse 10.. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Verse 11.. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

There were more that seven churches during this time. Most commentators believe that seven refers to the complete church which would also include us.

Verse 12.. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; Verse 13.. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. Verse 14.. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; Verse 15.. And his feet like unto fine brass, as it they burned in a furnace: and his voice as the sound of many waters. Verse 16.. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. Verse 17.. 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:

So we have a description of the Lord in his glorified form. Interestingly enough we don't ever get a description of his human form in any of the gospels or epistles.

Verse 18.. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus has the keys of hell and of death because after he died on the cross he descended into that realm. Afterwards, He ascended. He lead those captives from their captivity for He had the keys of death and hell and He concords over death and hell.

Acts 2:22-27 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Verse 19.. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

(PC) Now the command of John in verse nineteen gives to you the key to the book of Revelation. And the understanding of this book is really dependent upon your using the key, which is verse nineteen of chapter one, for there are three divisions to the book of Revelation.

Write the things which you have seen (Rev 1:19),
This is past tense; so, it was this vision that he wrote of Jesus Christ that he saw here in chapter one.
Secondly,
the things which are (Rev 1:19),
These are the present things.
And thirdly,
and the things which shall be hereafter (Rev 1:19);
The words "hereafter" are a translation of the Greek words "meta autos", which literally means "after these things". So you have John writing that which he saw. He will be writing in chapters two and three the things which are during this present age, the things of the church. And then as you begin in chapter four, he is going to write of the things that transpire after the things of the church, the things that will be hereafter, or more literally after these things, so it is significant. You need to watch for it.

Chapter four begins with the Greek words "meta autos". "After these things, I saw a door open in heaven: and the first voice was as of a trumpet saying unto me; Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be". Again the repetition of the Greek words "meta autos", "after these things." So you enter into the third section of the book when you get to chapter four. So, you get into the future aspects of the book.
We are now living in the eras of chapters two and three, "the things which are". The church continues to exist, and the testimony and the witness of the church, and the witness of Jesus concerning His church, which is even more important.
So, there are three divisions of the book. It is important that you catch this, because if you don't you are going to have a constantly confused and garbled view of the future. You will see the church in the midst of the tribulation and the one hundred and forty-four thousand—you'll try to twist to be the church. There are all kinds of twisted and exaggerated concepts that have come from the book of Revelation, because people did not catch the key in this first chapter here.

Verse 20.. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Now, the Lord explains to John a little bit of the vision that he saw. Remember he turned and he saw Him walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the [messengers] of the seven churches (Rev 1:20):
The word "aggelos" in Greek is literally "messengers". It is usually used of a heavenly messenger, but also used of earthly messengers too. Anyone who is bearing a message could be an aggelos, a messenger. The word by usage has come to mean a divine messenger, a heavenly being.

The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches (Rev 1:20).
So the seven churches are the complete church and those who are ministering to the church.

Now it is always to me a very comforting, and yet an extremely exciting concept, to realize the place of the seven stars. They were being held in the right hand of Him. And how beautiful and comforting it is to realize that as a messenger to the church, your life is being held in the right hand of the Lord. I don't know of anything more exciting than that and comforting than that. Another thing that is extremely exciting is where Jesus is. He is walking in the midst of the church or the churches, the seven golden candlesticks or the seven churches. So Christ is walking in the midst of His church.

So the Lord reveals the meaning of the imagery. This is another key to understanding Revelation. If something requires explanation, the Lord will put forth what it means. Otherwise we can accept what is stated as fact. Spiritualizing the meaning is not required.

Revelation 2 The Church in Ephesus

Verse 1.. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

We found in Revelation 1:20 that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches.

Verse 2.. I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: Verse 3.. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.
These guys had it going on! Works, labor, patience. They hated evil. They had a spirit of discernment. False teachers were identified and found to be liars. For the Lord's name they labored. They have not fainted. What more could you ask for? What a dynamic ministry. But wait. 

Verse 4.. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Apparently the Lord is more interested in our relationship with Him than our works. He is not near as concerned about our establishing a mighty ministry as He is about our fellowship with Himself. We become sidetracked with ministry and doing works. Jesus says I just want to walk with you and talk with you. Enjoy time with you.

Verse 5.. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Remember the first works. Remember how your relationship with Him was the most important thing in your life. Remember, repent, and return.

Verse 6.. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Verse 7.. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

They did hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. This was a good thing. Nicolaitans comes from the combined Greek words nika (he conquers) and loan (people). So conquering or lording it over the common people. Hierarchy in the church. This is exactly the thing that the disciples were arguing over. Luke 9:46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.  And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, 48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

So we are to be childlike around one another. If one would desire to be great then become a servant. 

Remember the conditions of the blessing back in Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. If we overcome. If we hear the words and keep the things which are written therein then Jesus will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

We've heard about this tree before. Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. After Adam fell, this tree was no longer available to partake of. Genesis 2:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. 
We will one day be able to again enjoy the fruit from this tree of life. The Lord promises it here in verse 7.  This fruit which really improves our quality of life. We really begin to have access to it when we repent and turn and trust in Jesus Christ. He truly does give us life and that abundantly.

Now these churches all exist concurrently. In other words one can receive this teaching today. The conditions in any one of these seven churches can be seen in the church today. There is also an historical prospective which is very interesting. The first church or Ephusus may be referring to the period of time during the ministry the apostles or the first century.

The church of Smyrna could be referring to the second and third century church which experienced tremendous persecution. It was estimated that six million Christians were martyred during this period of time. Look at the Lords encouraging words to this church.

Verse 8.. And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; Verse 9.. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Verse 10.. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of Life. Verse 11.. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Now this is an interesting statement. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. This would naturally imply that he who doesn't overcome would be hurt by the second death. Jesus is talking to believers here. What is the second death. Revelation 20:13 says  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. Verse 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Verse 15 whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. And again in Revelation 21:8 But 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. Is there a place in hell for believers who don't overcome? Why the warning if it wasn't so. It would probably be a special place though. A place where the torment would not be as bad. But a place where there is no fellowship with the Lord. That would be hell indeed!

Verse 12.. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is; and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 

Verse 15.. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Verse 16.. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Verse 17.. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him  white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. The white stone was a stone of acceptance. The black stone was a stone of rejection, black-balled. I will give them a white stone. I will receive him. I will accept him and give him a name, which no man knows except him who receives it.

Now we see the development of the state church under Constantine.  We see a church trying to dwell in the world. A church trying to join with the worldly system. A church state system. An effort to legislate religious issues. We see idols coming into the church. Representations of Jesus and Mary and of the Apostles and Saints and Moses and so forth. The introduction of the arts and statues within the churches. External beauty and art. But we must worship internally. Jesus said in John 4:24 God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. This church also holds to the doctrine of the Nicloaitans which was previously discussed.

Now we have a continuation and development of this church state institution.
Verse 18.. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; Verse 19.. I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Verse 20.. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thous sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. Verse 21.. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Verse 22.. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 

So here is the first mention of a church having to go into the tribulation period. The implication is that repentance would have spared them the suffering of the great tribulation.

Verse 23.. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Verse 24.. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. Verse 25.. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 

Verse 26.. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Verse 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. Verse 28 And I will give him the morning star. Verse 29..He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Revelation 3 The Church in Sardis

Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of  God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Verse 2.. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. The seven spirits being the fullness of the Holy Spirit. 

Verse 3.. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Verse 4.. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. Verse 5.. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Verse 6.. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

This church looks a lot like the Protestant Reformation.  To get a picture of dead Protestantism, we can take a look at Europe. We see a post-Christian era. Dark, no life, dead. The Protestant Reformation wasn't complete. Many pagan practices that originated in Babylonian religious systems were adopted. The celebration of Saturnalia for example. This was a huge celebration of drunkenness, feasting and the exchanging of gifts during the winter solstice. This occurred around December 25th. In an effort to convert the pagans, the early church changed the name of the holiday to Christmas. This didn't seem to stop the party though. Today people are still given to drink, feasting and gift giving. I doubt that most folks even think about Jesus while they are fighting the crowds and lines of people trying to do last minute Christmas shopping.

But not all is lost. There are a few which have not defiled their garments. So be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.

Verse 7.. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hat the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Verse 9.. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 

(PC) No rebuke for this church. They have a little strength which is enough. An open door allows them the go forth and bear fruit. Their ministry is effective and life giving. If the Lord opens the door, no man can close it. If the Lord has set you on your course, you don't have to fear when any man comes against you!
This is not a super church, these are not super saints. There is a doctrine known as the manifested sons of God that advocates the super sainthood. One of these days we are going to go into the phone booth and change our clothes and we are going to come out with super power and we are going to just point at the Russians and they will just shrivel and die. And all of the enemies of God we are just going to subdue when we are manifested finally as the sons of God before the world. Balderdash. You have a little strength.

We are not very strong. You know it is true that God is doing a wonderful work here and it is exciting to see what God is doing, but we have hardly touched the tri state area. There are so many out there who need Jesus Christ. We can't really sit back and say, "Look, how many we have got coming here." There are so many more to be reached. We have a little strength. Thank God we have a little strength. Thank God that He has set before us the open door.

Verse 10.. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. So this church won't be going into the tribulation period. They will be kept from that hour, that time which shall come upon all the world. This is the church that I want to be in!

Verse 11.. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Verse 12..  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. Verse 13.. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

These verses speak of permanency. Secured and established. Overcoming the world (with His help) enables us to reap these wonderful benefits.

Verse 14.. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; Verse 15.. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold of hot. Verse 16.. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Verse 17.. 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: What a difference between how we think of ourselves and how the Lord thinks of us! Verse 18.. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

(PC) A lukewarm condition. Indifference to what is happening in the church. Probably accepting all sorts of teachings and doctrines. Trusting in their increase and numbers. Rich in their own eyes. The final apostate condition of the church, the church of Laodicea represented by those ministers that are pro-abortion and pro-pornography and pro homosexual and pro every other evil that comes down the pike, who dress in clerical robes and claim to be ministers of Jesus Christ but are really of the synagogue of Satan.

Actually the church has put Christ on the outside. You read the polls and it is frightening to find out how many ministers do not really believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, do not believe in the virgin birth, do not believe that there is an actual heaven or hell. The percentages are falling. It is sad. You wonder why they are ministers. You might as well establish another religion on Mother Goose rhymes or something, or Aesops Fables. Why espouse a book that you can't trust or is not true? In Thessalonians Paul said that the wicked one won't be revealed until there is a falling away. 2 Thess. 2:3

The Laodiceans are trusting in their riches and are missing the mark. This brings to mind the story of Jesus and the rich ruler. Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Verse 19.. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Verse 20.. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother. Verse 21.. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.Verse 22.. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. Verse 23.. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. Verse 24.. And when Jesus say that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! Verse 25.. For it is easier for a camel to go through  a needle's eye, that for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Verse 19.. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Verse 20.. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Verse 21.. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Verse 22.. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Eating with someone signified becoming one with that person. Jesus was always wanting to eat supper with people. He wants to become one with you. I always like to say that relationship is the currency of the kingdom. Gold and silver will not hold their value in the kingdom. As a matter of fact, they will be used as pavement which we will see later on in Revelation. But right standing; relationship with the Lord holds much value. Drawing closer and closer to Him will translate into riches in the kingdom to come. It will also enable peace and blessed recreation in your life in this world. Just open the door and He will come in and become one with you. He will eat supper with you!

Revelation 4 The Heavenly Scene

Revelation 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 of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Back in revelation 1:19 John was instructed by Jesus to write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the  things which shall be hereafter; 
He saw the glory and the power and the majesty of Christ. The things which are or the things of the church seen in chapters 2 and 3. Now, the things which shall be hereafter. Hereafter what? After the things of the church. The time of the church is passed. The church is forcefully removed from the earth. 

Paul said in 1 Thess 4:13-17, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. Verse 14.. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Verse 15.. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. Verse 16.. 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: Verse 17.. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

We also know that this event will happen at the same time the Antichrist is revealed. 2 Thess 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. Verse 8.. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: So the Holy Spirit who is keeping that Wicked from appearing will be taken out of the way and the church will taken with Him. 

We are now introduced to the heavenly scene. Revelation 4:2.. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. Verse 3.. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

Verse 4.. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. Verse 5.. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Some commentators believe that these elders refer to angels or heavenly beings. I believe they are representatives of the church. There is no instance in the bible where the word elder refers to an angel. It is always a person and a representative of the people. The seven lamps being the fullness of the Holy Spirit there before the throne.

Verse 6.. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. Verse 7.. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  In Ezekiel 28 we see a parallel description of the creatures. He names them cherubim.

Verse 8.. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Verse 9.. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, Verse 10.. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Verse 11.. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Now it is interesting that these elders cast their crowns before the throne. When we look at the use of the word crowns in the bible we find. Phil 4:1.. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, 1 Thess 2:19.. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 2 Tim 4:8..  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. James 1:12.. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 1 Peter 5:4.. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Rev 2:10.. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev 3:11.. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.  

How fitting that these elders should cast their crowns before the Lord! It is because of him that the crowns are made possible!