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.

Revelation 11

Highlight:

Revelation 11:15–19 (NKJV) 

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. 

Explain:

This is a powerful scene of worship that provides an interlude and, frankly, a relief to the awful picture of judgment that precedes and follows it. You see:

  • The Reign of Christ- The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and He shall reign forever and ever.
  • They Eternality of Christ – He is the One who is and who was and who is to come. 
  • The Sovereignty of Christ – You have taken your great power and reigned.
  • The Dominance of Christ – The nations are angry, but they can’t stop Him v18
  • The wrath and judgment of Christ – The nations will be judged.
  • The Reward of Christ – The prophets and saints will be rewarded.

Apply:

  • Since Christ is the sovereign King, I can serve Him.
  • Since Christ is the eternal King, I do not fear losing Him.
  • Since Christ is the dominant King, I cannot ultimately lose.
  • Since Christ is the judging King, justice will be done.
  • Since Christ is the rewarding King, I will be rewarded!

Respond:

I will tell someone today that they can serve Christ with confidence because He is the King!

Revelation 10

Highlight:

Revelation 10:1–4 (NKJV) 

1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” 

Explain:

Revelation 10: 1- A mighty angel comes down from heaven holding a small scroll. He puts one foot on the sea, and another on the land. He shouts with a voice like a lion and is answered by the seven thunders. John is commanded not to write down what the seven thunders say. The angel swears an oath that there will be no more delay. God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. John is told to take the scroll from the angel and eat it. It is sweet to his taste, but goes immediately sour on his stomach. He is then told that he must prophesy again about many people, nations, languages, and kings.

Though this chapter has a lot of interpretations, the passage I have highlighted reveals one of its universal themes: Though God reveals many things to us, He does not reveal everything, or, perhaps, even most things. He insists that we trust Him for what He has not revealed.

Apply:

Since God doesn’t reveal everything, I will study and apply what has been revealed.

Since God doesn’t reveal everything, I will trust Him for what He has not revealed.

Respond:

I will look for something that God has not revealed and intentionally trust Him in that today.

Revelation 9

Highlight:

Revelation 9:3–6 (NKJV) 

3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. 

Explain:

More than one of the views of Revelation see the “locusts” as demonic forces released on the earth. This makes sense in that they come out of the “bottomless pit” which has “smoke like that of a great furnace.” Their mission is to torment men who will be unable to die, even though they will seek it because of the pain that they are in. There will be one group unaffected by these demonic forces: those who have the seal of God on their foreheads (i.e. those who are believers).

Apply:

Here are some applications:

  1. Since this reference is probably to demonic torment, such torment does exist.
  2. Since they have the symbolic sting of a scorpion and since men will wish to die, but will be unable to do so, their torment must be unbelievably bad.
  3. Since this is a judgment of God, Satan’s work is always under His ultimate control. Satan is not a puppet of God; he is simply doing what he desires. God, knows how to release and retain him for His own purposes.
  4. Since none of those who are sealed will be impacted, I can be confident that God protects His own children.

Respond:

I will thank God for His protection from Satan and his forces.

Revelation 8

Highlight:

8:3-4 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.[1]

Explain:

Revelation 8: 1-6: One-half an hour of silence follows the opening of the seventh seal. Seven angels appear having seven trumpets. Another angel burns incense mixed with the prayers of God’s people before God, then fills the incense burner with fire from God’s altar and casts it down to earth causing lightning, thunder, and a terrible earthquake. Four of the angels blow their trumpets causing the following to happen:

Trumpet 1: v7: A mixture of hail, fire, and blood are thrown down. One third of the earth is set on fire, one third of the trees and all green grass is burned.

Trumpet 2: vv8-9: A great mountain of fire is thrown into the sea: 1/3 of the water is turned to blood; 1/3 of living sea creatures die; 1/3 of all ships are destroyed.

Trumpet 3: 10-11: A great flaming star, named “Bitterness (or wormwood)” falls on 1/3 of the rivers and springs and people die because 1/3 of all water becomes bitter.

Trumpet 4: v12: 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars become dark. 1/3 of the day and night are darkened.

Many commentators see the prayers of the saints being mingled with the incense to be the saints praying on earth and (the incense mixed) the prayer of Jesus in heaven for the saints. 

Apply:

I am so thankful for several truths from these verses:

  • My prayers rise before God like incense and are pleasing to Him.
  • My prayers are mixed with the prayers of Jesus for me.
  • God will avenge the suffering of His people one day. The ending of this chapter speaks to that judgment that will fall and is related to the suffering endured by the church.

Respond:

I will pray today with the awareness that Jesus is mixing His prayer with my prayer.

Revelation 7

Highlight:

Revelation 7:14–17 (NLT) 

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. 15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. 16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. 17 For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” 

Explain:

Of course this vision of those who come out of great suffering has many interpretations. I think that we can at least say this much: Suffering is a part of being a follower of Christ. V14 seems to make some connection between being washed in the blood of the Lamb and going through great suffering. Paul said in Romans 8 that if we suffer with Him we will reign with Him. Thus, the blessings described in Rev 7:15-17 (i.e. receiving shelter, never being hungry or thirsty, never being scorched by the heat of the sun, receiving life-giving water, and never crying again) are given to those who suffer with Christ.

Apply:

I must remember that suffering is normal for me as a follower of Christ. 

Respond:

O God, help me in the middle of suffering to remember this!

Revelation 6

Highlight:

Revelation 6:9–11 (ESV) 

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. 

Explain:

Revelation 6: 1-2: The first seal on the scroll is broken and a rider wearing a crown and carrying a bow is seen riding on a white horse. He is going out to win many battles. 3—4: The second seal is broken and a rider on a red horse appears with a mighty sword and authority to take peace from the earth so that war and slaughter is everywhere. 5-6: The third seal presents a rider on a black horse carrying a pair of scales to measure wheat and barley, etc. The idea is of scarcity of food, oil, and wine. 7—8: The fourth seal presents a rider on a pale green horse and the rider is given the name “Death,” and he has a companion named “Grave.” They are given authority to kill one-fourth of the earth with sword, famine, disease, and wild animals. 9-11: When the fifth seal is broken, under the altar John sees all who have been martyred for their testimony crying out to God for vengeance and asking how long until He judges the world for what has been done to them. They are told to wait a little longer until the “full number” of their fellow servants who will be martyred has joined them. 12-16: The sixth seal brings cataclysmic earthquakes, the sun turns black, the moon red, and all stars fall from the sky. In response all the kings and leaders of the earth hide themselves in caves and cry for the mountains to fall on them because they believe no one is able to survive.

Apply:

The fifth seal speaks of Christian martyrs. While some interpretations of Revelation see them as specific groups of people (i.e. martyrs in the early church, martyrs during the tribulation period), I think the Spiritual interpretation best here: These are representative of all those who will be martyred for their faith. The question of vengeance applies as well. We leave the retaliation to God knowing that He will bring justice to us in His time. His justice, however, will be powerful and terrible as seen in the very next seal.

Respond:

I will thank God that He is going to bring justice for us. I will also look for ways in which He wants to bring justice through me.

Revelation 5

Highlight:

Revelation 5:1–14 (NKJV) 

1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. 

Explain:

Revelation 5: 1-5 The one on the throne holds a scroll, written inside and out, containing seven seals. A strong angel seeks for someone worthy to open the scroll and read it, but no one is found. John weeps over this until one of the elders tells him not to weep because the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has won the victory and is worthy to open the scroll. 6-10 Then John sees a lamb that looked like it had been slaughtered standing before the throne having seven eyes representing the seven-fold Spirit. He takes the scroll and the elders and the four living beings worship singing “You are worthy because you were killed and your blood ransomed the people from evey tribe and you have caused them to become servants of God. They will reign on the earth.” 11-14 Then John saw millions of angels around the throne and living creatures around the throne singing, “Worthy is the Lamb to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing.” Then every creature in heaven, earth, under the earth, and in the sea sang, “Blessing, honor, glory and power to the one who sits on the throne, the Lamb, forever and ever.” The four living beings say, “Amen!” and the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the Lamb.

The greatest word for this chapter is “Overcome.” The creatures who are watching this heaven drama are overcome with worship at what they see. They do not fall on their faces because everyone else is doing it. They do not fall on their faces because they feel like it’s the right thing to do. They fall on their faces because they are “overcome” with worship.

Apply:

I cannot be satisfied with mediocre, have to worship. I must persevere in my seeking of God until I am “overcome.” I must see Him for Who He is!

Respond:

I pray, overcome me with the reality of Who You are, O Lord!

Revelation 4

Highlight:

Revelation 4:8 (NKJV) 

8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 

Revelation 4:11 (NKJV) 

11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” 

Explain:

Revelation 4: 1-11: John is called up into heaven where he sees someone sitting on a throne. He is brilliant with light and has an emerald glow around His throne. Twenty-four thrones were there with twenty-four elders sitting on them clothed in white wearing golden crowns. In front were seven torches burning with the sevenfold Spirit of God and in front of the throne was a shiny sea sparkling like crystal. Four living creatures covered with eyes having six wings. One was like a lion; the second, an ox; the third had a human face, and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. They kept crying out worship to God who sat on the throne, saying “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord who was, is, and is to come.” Whenever they spoke, the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne. The elders say, “You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things and they exist at your pleasure.”

In v 8 the description of God details His person. He is

  1. Holy in His character – He is uniquely set apart from any other being. The three repetitions of Holy denote Holiness at the highest possible level.
  2. Unmatched in His power- He is the Lord God Almighty
  3. Eternal in His existence – Was and is and is to come.
  4. Worthy of praise – You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power. He is worthy of praise for several reasons: 
    1. Because He is the Creator. For He created all things.
    1. Because He is the Sovereign. And by Your Will they exist
    1. Because He is the sustainer. He is the constant sustainer of all things.

Apply:

Since God is holy in His Character, I can trust Him for justice.

Since God is unmatched in His power, I can trust Him for help.

Since God is unmatched in His eternality, I can trust Him for my future

Since God is Creator, Sovereign, and Sustainer, He is worthy of praise!

Respond: 

I will meditate on this today!