Overview of the end-times

– Introduction to the book of Revelation

sermons index at nlife.ca/audio

  • Andrew Fountain – May 22nd, 2011

The Book of Revelation

  • It’s not “Revelations
  • Literally Apocalypse = unveiling
  • At first reading it can seem very chaotic and confusing
  • Actually there is a very organized structure of
    • seven series of visions
    • with seven visions in each series

Approach to end-time prophecies

  1. Allow the simple and straightforward parts of Scripture to interpret the complex and difficult
    • Jesus’ teaching on the events preceding his coming in Matt 24
    • Paul also gave similar teaching in II Thessalonians
  2. Understand the language of symbols from other similar literature in the Bible
    • Symbols can be understood from other prophetic (apocalyptic) literature in the Scriptures (e.g. Daniel)
    • e.g. dragon/serpent → Satan
    • e.g. Sun darkened & stars fall → collapsing of earthly powers

End-times teachings

  • Jesus gives us an overview of the future in Matthew 24:3–51
  • Then Paul gives us a description in II Thessalonians 1:7–2:12
  • These two fit together very well to give us a framework
  • Revelation uses the same framework

Matthew 24:3–51

Jesus is asked by his disciples about the end times

  1. Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
  2. And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
  3. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

Wars and Rumours of Wars.

  1. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
  2. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
  3. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
  4. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
  5. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
  6. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
  7. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
  8. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
  9. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The ‘Abomination of Desolation’ and the Great Tribulation

  1. Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
  2. then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
  3. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
  4. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
  5. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
  6. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
  7. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
  8. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

(Don’t be deceived because when Christ does come, it will be very obvious)

  1. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
  2. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
  3. See, I have told you beforehand.
  4. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.
  5. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
  6. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  1. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Christ returns in Power and great Glory

  1. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  2. And he will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

People will be carrying on lives as usual, so be prepared!

  1. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
  2. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
  3. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
  4. and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
  5. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
  6. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
  7. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
  8. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
  9. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Outline of Matthew 24:3–51

  1. The “Beginning of sorrows” & falling away
    • wars, famines, disease and earthquakes
  2. The Great Tribulation (need endurance)
    • False christs and false prophets do signs and wonders
  3. The shaking of the powers of “heaven”
  4. Return of Christ
    • Very obvious to all
    • He takes his people to be with him

II Thessalonians 2

Jesus will not return before “the falling away” comes, and the “man of sin” is revealed

  1. Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we ask you,
  2. not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
  3. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
  4. who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
  5. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
  6. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
  7. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

Jesus will destroy him at his coming

  1. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
  2. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
  3. and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  4. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
  5. that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Matt & 2 Thess combined

Matt 24:3–51 II Thessalonians 2:1–12

“Beginning of sorrows” & Falling away

  • Many deceivers and false Christs
  • Wars and rumours of wars
  • Famines, disease and earthquakes
  • Tribulation & persecution
  • Many will fall away/grow cold because of lawlessness
  • Gospel preached to the whole world

The Falling away

  • Falling away comes first
  • “Mystery of Lawlessness” is already at work

The Great Tribulation

  • The Abomination is revealed
  • False christs and false prophets do signs and wonders
  • Great endurance is required Mk 13:13

Man of Sin is revealed

  • The “son of perdition”
  • “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”
  • The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  • The sun is darkened and the stars fall from heaven

 

Return of Christ

  • Great sound of a trumpet
  • As obvious and visible as lightening flashing from the east to the west
  • He will come with power and great glory
  • Elect will be gathered in
  • so be prepared!

Return of Christ

  • “the Lord will consume the lawless one with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming”
  • believers will admire and glorify him
  • unbelievers will be punished with everlasting destruction

Rev 6–8:1 —Seven Seals

  • Two of the 7 series of visions are overviews of all history
  • They fit the same pattern
  • We will look at the first, the Seven Seals
  • (The other one is chapters 12–14)

Matt, Thess & Rev combined

Matt 24:3–51 Rev 6:1–8:1 II Thessalonians 2:1–12

The Tribulation (“Beginning of sorrows”) & Falling away

  • Many deceivers and false Christs
  • Wars and rumours of wars
  • Famines, disease and earthquakes
  • Tribulation & persecution
  • Many will fall away/grow cold because of lawlessness
  • Gospel preached to the whole world

The Tribulation

  • 1st seal: Jesus’ kingdom growing
  • 2nd seal: wars
  • 3rd seal: famine
  • 4th seal: disease famine & sword causing death

The Falling away

  • Falling away comes first
  • “Mystery of Lawlessness” is already at work
  • (see also 1 John 4:1–4 The Antichrist is already at work)

The Great Tribulation

  • The Abomination is revealed
  • False christs and false prophets do signs and wonders
  • Great endurance is required Mk 13:13

Time of endurance

  • 5th seal:
  • Many have been martyred
  • But the time is not quite ready for it to end

Man of Sin is revealed

  • The “son of perdition”
  • “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”
  • The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders
  • The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven
  • The sun is darkened, moon fails and the stars fall from heaven

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  • 6th seal: The sun is darkened, moon fails and the stars fall from heaven

 

Return of Christ

  • Great sound of a trumpet
  • As obvious and visible as lightening flashing from the east to the west
  • He will come with power and great glory
  • The nations will be terrified
  • Elect will be gathered in
  • so be prepared!

Return of Christ

  • 6th seal continued
  • As obvious and visible as the sky rolling up
  • The nations will be terrified
  • Elect will be gathered in to glory and every tear will be wiped away
  • 7th seal: (judgement in next section)

Return of Christ

  • “the Lord will consume the lawless one with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming”
  • believers will admire and glorify him
  • unbelievers will be punished with everlasting destruction

Revelation 6:1–8:1

1st seal: Jesus’ kingdom growing

  1. I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!”
  2. So I looked, and here came a white horse! The one who rode it had a bow, and he was given a crown, and as a conqueror he rode out to conquer.

2nd seal: wars

  1. Then when the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!”
  2. And another horse, fiery red, came out, and the one who rode it was granted permission to take peace from the earth, so that people would butcher one another, and he was given a huge sword.

3rd seal: famine

  1. Then when the Lamb opened the third seal I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” So I looked, and here came a black horse! The one who rode it had a balance scale in his hand.
  2. Then I heard something like a voice from among the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat will cost a day’s pay and three quarts of barley will cost a day’s pay. But do not damage the olive oil and the wine!”

4th seal: disease famine & sword causing death

  1. Then when the Lamb opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come!”
  2. So I looked and here came a pale green horse! The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth.

Time of endurance

  1. Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given.
  2. They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?”
  3. Each of them was given a long white robe and they were told to rest for a little longer, until the full number was reached of both their fellow servants and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been.

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  1. Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red;
  2. and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a fierce wind.

Return of Christ

  1. The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.
  2. Then the kings of the earth, the very important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
  3. They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb,
  4. because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”

Chapter 7

  1. After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so no wind could blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
  2. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea:
  3. “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
  4. Now I heard the number of those who were marked with a seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel:…
  5. After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands.
  6. They were shouting out in a loud voice,
    “Salvation belongs to our God,
    to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
  7. And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God,
  8. saying,
    “Amen! Praise and glory,
          and wisdom and thanksgiving,
                and honour and power and strength
    be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
  9. Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?”
  10. So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!
  11. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them.
  12. They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat,
  13. because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Chapter 8

  1. Now when the Lamb opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Conclusions

  • It’s going to be a rough ride
  • Jesus will win in the end
  • We need to be very discering
  • We need the power of the Spirit to keep us faithful

Updated on 2015-06-19 by Andrew Fountain