Revelation 18

Highlight:

Revelation 18:4–5 (NKJV) 

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 

Explain:

Revelation 18: 1-10: Another angel comes down from heaven crying that Babylon has fallen and become a place of demons and every foul thing. All nations have engaged in fornication with her, becoming rich because of her abundance. The people of God are called to come out of Babylon lest they be caught up in her plagues and judgment. The kings who participated with her will see her burning and say, “Alas . . . for in one hour your judgment has come.” 11-20 The merchants who profited from all the precious stones, fine linen, etc., will mourn because she has fallen. On the other hand, heaven, the holy apostles and prophets are told to rejoice because God has avenged them.

21-24 A mighty angel throws a great millstone into the sea and says that this is the way Babylon will be thrown down. There will be no more music, no more merchandising, no more light, and no more marriage in Babylon because the nations were deceived by her sorcery and the blood of the prophets and saints was found in her.

I particularly find that vv 4-5 speak to me and to the church today. We are told to come out from “Babylon.” The various interpretations of this are:

Historicist: This is the call of the reformation to come out from the corrupt papal system.

Preterist: This is the call Jesus gave to those living in Jerusalem to flee the city before the destruction in 70 a.d.

Futurist: This is the call of Christ to separate from the corrupt Babylon which will be the economic centerpiece during the Tribulation.

Spiritualist: This is Christ’s timeless call to be separated from the corrupt system of this world.

Apply:

For our present application, I think the spiritualist’s interpretation the most practical. Believers must be careful not to get sucked into the system of this world. The question is, where do you draw the line? The answer to that question finds expression in various ways in various sects. Sadly, as time passes we seem to be less and less separated and that is why Christianity is less and less important in society. Actually, this is only part of the problem. Yes, separation is important, but separation without a commensurate filling with the Spirit only makes things worse. It is the Spirit’s presence that attracts the world. The point is this: To be filled, you must be emptied: To be filled with the Spirit, you must be emptied of a love of the world. 

Respond:

God I need you to change my heart! Help me to love You, not the world.

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Revelation 17

Highlight:

Revelation 17:5–6 (NLT) 

5 A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” 6 I could see that she was drunk—drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement. 

Explain:

Revelation 17: 1-6: John receives the vision and the explanation of the judgment of the great prostitute. She sits on a scarlet beast with 7 heads and ten horns written over with blasphemies. She holds a goblet of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. She is named “Babylon the Great, Mother of all Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” She is drunk on the blood of the saints. John is amazed at the sight. 7-18: The angel explains this vision:

The beast: Was once alive, now is not, yet will come up from the bottomless pit to be destroyed. Those without their names in the book of life will be be amazed when the beast reappears.

The seven heads: Represents the seven hills where the woman rules and also seven kings. Five kings have fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come.

The eighth king: This is the scarlet beast

The ten horns: They are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will reign with the beast and go to war with, and be defeated by the Lamb who is the King of all kings and the Lord of all Lords.

The waters: These are the masses of people from every nation and tongue. The beast will turn on the prostitute along with the ten horns, strip her naked, eat her flesh and burn her remains with fire.

The great prostitute here is seen by almost all interpreters to be the Roman Papal church, no matter their approach to Revelation. The false church, therefore, will turn on the true believers, even to the point of shedding their blood. This happened in history and will happen again.

Apply:

Since this is true, so is the following:

  • There is a false church and a true church—one who truly follows Christ and one who doesn’t. I must be in the true church!
  • The false church will persecute the true church. I should not be surprised at the persecution.
  • The plan of God will allow for both the rise and the persecution of the false church.

Respond:

I will meditate on how to regard Roman Catholicism, since this seems to be the meaning of the symbol of the prostitute.

Revelation 16

Highlight: 

Revelation 16:8-9 – The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. The fierce heat scorched them, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Explain: 

In this chapter we see seven angels pouring out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.  The seven bowls were various plagues that caused extreme pain to the people.  In the highlighted verses we see the sun become even more intense in it’s heat, and scorching the people.  With this plague, as with the others, the people cursed God rather than repenting and giving him glory.

Apply: 

People continually miss out on the grace of God because of their rejection.  God allows things to happen in our lives, and we have the choice to respond with anger and curses to Him, or with repentance and surrender to Him.  So often in life, painful circumstances cause people to turn from God, but these painful situations can be a tool that causes us to turn to God, and to see our desperate need of Him.  When we turn to God in repentance and surrender, He receives glory and we receive new life!

Respond:

Lord, help me to use the painful circumstances that I will encounter in my life to run closer to You rather than running from You.

Brad Perry

Revelation 15

Highlight:

Revelation 15:3–4 (NKJV) 

3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” 

Explain:

Revelation 15: 1-8: Seven angels appear holding the seven last plagues. On a sea of glass and fire, the victorious church stands singing praise to God, lifting up the song of Moses and the Lamb. They sing that God’s works are marvelous and that He will be feared and worshiped by all the nations because His righteous deeds have been revealed. Then the four creatures hand the bowls of judgment to the angels and the temple is filled with the smoke of God’s glory and power until the bowls are poured out.

The praise of the song that the saints sing in this chapter tells us about God:

  1. His works are great and marvelous. What God is up to is beyond our imagination and, in this context, even the judgment of God is great and marvelous.
  2. His ways are just and true. What God is doing will bring justice to the earth. The persecution of the saints is avenged.
  3. He, in His person, is holy. He is the unique, one and only God in whose presence is awe and reverence. 

The result of God’s work will be universal worship: All the nations will come and worship before Him.

Apply:

Since God’s works are great and marvelous, I can trust what He is doing.

Since God’s ways are just and true, I do not have to retaliate in my own wisdom.

Since God is holy in His person, I will meditate upon Who He is and be moved to worship.

Since all nations will come and worship before Him, I will personally begin that worship now.

Respond:

When things go wrong today, help me O God to remember to trust You.

Revelation 14

Highlight:

Revelation 14:12–13 (NLT) 

12 This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!” 

Explain:

Revelation 14: 1-5: Then John sees the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion, followed by 144,000 who have the Father’s name on their foreheads. The heavens erupt with a new song which is sung by a great choir. Only the 144,000 can learn this song and they have kept themselves pure and follow the Lamb wherever He goes. 6-13: Another angel flies through the sky calling on man to Fear God and bring Him glory. Another angel flies pronouncing that Babylon is fallen. A third angel follows shouting that anyone receiving the mark of the beast is under the judgment of God and will be tormented forever. God’s holy people must endure persecution and maintain their trust in Christ. Those who die in the Lord will be blessed by God. Their good deeds will follow them. 14: Jesus, seated on a white cloud, has a sharp sickle in his hand and he harvests the earth. The grapes are gathered and trampled out into the winepress of God’s wrath. The result is that a flow of blood is released that is 180 miles long and as deep as a horses bridle.

Specifically 14:12-13: The people of God will endure the persecution and obey God through their faith in Christ. The result of this faithfulness will be that they “die in the Lord.” Those who die in the Lord are blessed, they rest from their works, and their good deeds follow them.

Apply:

I must be willing to endure persecution since it is endurance that will be rewarded.

I must be willing to obey God by faith since, this is what will produce endurance.

I must desire to die in the Lord since these rest from their works and are blessed by God.

Respond:

I will meditate on what obedience is in my life today.

Revelation 13

Highlight:

Revelation 13:6–8 (NKJV) 

6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 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. 

Explain:

Revelation 13: 1-10: A seven-headed, ten horned beast with names written on each head blaspheming God rises out of the ocean. It looks like a leopard, has the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion. The dragon gives it power. One head causes the world to worship the beast when it is wounded and healed. The result is that the people of the world ask, “Who is greater than the beast and able to fight him?” The beast is allowed to wage war against God for 42 months and he is given authority over all people and the people worship him. During this time, God’s people are persecuted. 11-17: A second beast with two lamb’s horns rises with the voice of a dragon who, through miraculous feats, causes the world to make a statue to the first beast and worship him. The statue is brought to life and anyone not worshiping it must die. He also causes everyone to be given a mark on their head or their right hand. No one is able to buy or sell without the mark. This mark is said to be the number of man: 666.

The description of this beast sounds so familiar to what we are seeing on the news each night. Great blasphemies are being spouted and the beast makes war on the saints of God. There is one key phrase in v 7: It was granted him to make war on the saints and to overcome them. I don’t like the fact that the beast will overcome the saints, but I do like the fact that God is still in control. Any loss the people of God suffer is temporary, reversible, and glorifies God.

Apply:

This principle applies not just to the end times (or whatever time you peg for this book); it is for today. There may be times when the enemy makes war on us and seems to be winning, but all of this still falls under the control of God and, ultimately, our enemy will lose!

Respond:

Help me to remember this today, Lord, when I go through trouble.

Revelation 12

Highlight:

Revelation 12:10–12 (NKJV) 

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” 

Explain:

Revelation 12: 1-9: John now sees a pregnant woman giving birth, clothed with the sun and moon beneath her feet and 12 stars on her head. A red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns, whose tail sweeps away 1/3 of the stars. He is ready to devour the son the woman is about to deliver. The son the woman bears is meant to rule the nations and is snatched from the dragon and caught up to God, while his mother escapes to the wilderness 1260 days. In a heavenly battle, Michael and his angels defeat the dragon (who is Satan) and throws him down to earth. 10-12 A loud voice proclaims that Christ has been given all authority because Satan has been thrown down to earth. Followers of Christ have defeated Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony because they have been willing to give their lives for their faith in Christ. Terror, however, has come down to earth because Satan, knowing that he has little time, has been thrown down. 13-18: On earth, Satan pursues the woman, but is given wings and escapes into the wilderness to be protected there for 3.5 years. Satan tries to drown the woman with a flood of water out of his mouth, but the earth swallows the water. He then declares war on followers of Christ taking his stand on the shore beside the sea.

Specifically, the Preterist approach seems most logical to the interpretation of this passage. From the very birth of Christ, Satan was trying to “devour” Him. Finally, through the crucifixion, he makes war on Him and, through Christ’s resurrection, Satan is defeated. He is no longer able to stand in Heaven to accuse the saints because Christ’s blood has atoned for us. We have overcome Him, not by our own strength or goodness, but through the blood of the Lamb and the word (our confession of Christ) of our testimony. This testimony is proven in our lives when we are willing even to give our very lives for Christ.

Apply:

Since I no longer have an accuser in heaven:

  • I will be confident in living my life here. If God is for me, who can be against me?
  • I will be deaf to the accusations of my life by Satan. My sins—past, present, and future—are atoned for and I will not face them because of the victory Christ won. 

Since Jesus, the Lamb of God, shed His blood for me.

  • I am an overcomer. I cannot be defeated by the schemes or power of Satan

Respond:

I will share this with staff.