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Lowell Brueckner

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Revelation 16


Chapter 16

1.  Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
2.  So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
3.  The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
4.  The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.
5.  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.
6.  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
7.  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”
8.  The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.
9.  They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
10. The firth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish.
11. and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.
12. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
13. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.
14. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

Pouring out the bowls of wrath

The time has arrived for the seven angels to pour out the final bowls of wrath upon the earth. The time is easily dated in the last 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation. The empire of the antichrist has been established and the entire population, except for the faithful servants of God, has received his mark and are worshipers of the antichrist image. The angels step out of the heavenly sanctuary (15:6), the throne room of God, at His command, to accomplish their task.

Revelation 15


Chapter 15

1. Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.

2. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire – and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.

3. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!

4. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

5. After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened,

6. and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.

7. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,

8. and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.

There are three series of seven judgments in the book of Revelation. In chapter 6 and in 8:1, we learn of seven seals, which had the power to destroy a fourth part of all that they effected. They seemed to involve calamities that man brought upon himself. In chapter 8, 9 and 11:15, we studied seven trumpets bringing judgments, which showed signs of demonic activity, and they destroyed 1/3 of all, into which they delved. This chapter begins to relate the woes of seven bowls, which come entirely from the wrath of God and they bring unlimited destruction, upon everything and everyone on which they fall.

By the time that the Bible student comes to this part of Revelation, he should have developed a correct theology concerning God’s wrath. No one with a normal personality derives any pleasure from the subject, but, on the proof of Scripture, he is obligated to acknowledge that wrath is necessarily a part of God’s character. I cannot imagine anyone lacking this understanding, who will find any profit from reading chapters 15 through 20.

Revelation 14


Chapter 14

1.  Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

2.  And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,

3.  and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

4.  It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,

5.  and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

The Lamb and 144,000

Now, we will learn of several things which will occur during the 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation and I will simply bring them to your attention. The tribes of Israel, the number of apostles and the 24 elders in heaven, all have to do with the number 12. Of course 144,000 is also a multiple of 12. This chapter begins with a picture of the Lamb on Mount Zion, accompanied by 144,000 disciples. They are in sharp contrast to those in 13:16, who receive the number and name of the beast. We have a great number of faithful, loyal followers of the Lamb, who hung in shame on Golgotha, but now stands triumphant with the choicest people on earth in the eyes of God. They may not be among the governmental rulers, the high ranking military officials, the intellectual giants, or the greatest examples of physical strength, but before heaven’s throne these are the finest of creation, the prime product of the earth.

I have already stated that the contents of this chapter seem to unfold during the Great Tribulation, which is evident by the fall of Babylon in verse 8 and the mark of the beast in verse 9. The Lamb and the 144,000 are positioned on Mount Zion (v.1), but the context seems to indicate that this is not literal Zion on earth, but heavenly Zion. Verse 3 shows that only the 144,000 could sing a new song and that song was sung before the throne, the living creatures and the elders. Zion is the southern hill in the city of Jerusalem and the seat of divine worship on earth. It became emblematic of the dwelling place of God in heaven.

Revelation 13


Chapter 13

1.  And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
2.  And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
3.  One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
4.  And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5.  And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
6.  It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7.  Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,
8.  and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
9.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10. If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

The end-time beast

Here we can see that the events of Revelation do not appear strictly in chronological order. Already in chapter 11 we have been introduced to the beast, who is now described to us in this chapter, as he rises out of the ‘sea’. It is essential to study Daniel’s prophecies before attempting to interpret the book of Revelation, especially as they relate to the beast and his kingdom. King Nebuchadnezzar saw this same prophecy in a dream, but in the form of a great image. The final kingdom is seen as the ten toes on the image.  

Revelation 12


Chapter 12

1.  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

2.  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

3. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.

4. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

5.  She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

6.  and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

7.  Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,

8.  but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

9.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

11. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

12. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13. And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

14. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

15. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.

16. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.

17. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Revelation 11


Chapter 11

 1.  Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there,

2.  but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

Two witnesses
The rebuilt temple (a compromise)

I neglected to point out an important difference in translation in chapter 5, verse 9, when we covered it. The four living creatures and the 24 elders prostrated before the Lamb and sang a new song. In the song, the King James Version states, “(Thou) hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.”  That would give great weight to the argument that the 24 elders are the church in heaven. However, the better translation and the one followed by almost all versions, including the Greek/English Interlineal New Testament, does not use the pronoun we and us, but they and them. That might indicate that the church is not yet in heaven in chapter 5.

During the Time of the Gentiles, that is the Church Era, there will be redemption among every nation, that is, every governmental area; every tongue, that is, every language group; every tribe, that is, a clan with a common ancestor, and people, that is, an ethnic group or race. As explained in chapter ten, the Jewish period that Daniel outlined stopped at the crucifixion and the time for the redemption of the Gentile people began.

Still the great majority of saints in the early church were Jewish, before the conversion of Paul. It is clear then, that there was, for all practical purposes, an overlapping of these times. It is logical that the Gentile period might overlap the Jewish time schedule in the last seven years.

Children of the Day


 Children of the Day (Prelude to chapter 11)


Day breaks in Aniak, Alaska
Because this is a book of prophecies of the end times, students of eschatology search from beginning to end, looking for the rapture of the church. They want to know where and when it occurs among all the events in the book. I used to hear frequently that John represented the church, when he heard a voice like a trumpet that said, “Come up here…” (v.4:1). I don’t hear that claim very much now and I don’t know the reason why. However, the majority of people, who hold the view that Revelation prophesies of future events and of a literal Millennium, still feel that the rapture takes place after the messages to the churches in chapters 2 and 3 and before the scene that takes place in chapters 4 and 5. That is called the pre-tribulation rapture view…. simply that Christ will come for His church before Daniel’s 70th Week. 

Others believe that the rapture takes place, when Christ returns as described in Revelation 19 at the end of the tribulation; that is the post-tribulation rapture viewpoint. Verse 7 of that chapter announces the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, after which Christ is presented, sitting on a white horse. They teach that, almost simultaneously, the church will rise to meet the Lord in the air and then will follow Him to earth. They will enter with Him into the Millennium and reign with Him upon the earth.

One things is for sure: Because of the spiritual nature of the writer, John, and because of the style of his book, the rapture is not easy to find here. The apostle Paul laid it out so clearly for us in his epistles (that I asked you to contemplate at the end of the last chapter), but that is not John’s way. With the help of Paul’s descriptions of the rapture, we must try to find the place, where it occurs in Revelation. A friend of mine, who taught expertly on this subject, used to say: “There is no other place like this place, anywhere near this place, so this must be the place!” There is humor in that remark, but it describes quite well the puzzle that we will try to solve.

Revelation 10


Chapter 10

1.  Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.
2.  He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land,
3.  and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
4.  And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
5.  And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven
6.  and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay.
7.  but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
8.  Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
9.  So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”
10. And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
11. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

A mighty Angel with divine characteristics

Since chapter 6, we have been involved with events that will take place at the opening of seals or the sounding of trumpets. In this chapter and following through 11 and 12, we will follow a chronology. This chapter begins with a description of a mighty angel, unlike any other in the book of Revelation. In fact, throughout the entire Bible, we do not find any angel similar to this one, with the exception of certain characteristics of the one called, specifically, the Angel of the Lord. We believe that the Angel of the Lord is a Christophany, or God, the Son, revealing Himself in the Old Testament.

Not all the commentators are in agreement, so there is room for other opinions, but because of the details surrounding Him, it seems to me that the majestic Angel in this chapter is Christ. Therefore, from this point, I will capitalize the “A”. It is somewhat puzzling that He should come in this form so late in the New Testament, when, from the beginning of the book of Revelation, He comes in His glorified form and is easily identified. However later, we also hear of the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb that was slain, therefore perhaps it is not so strange that He should manifest Himself as a mighty Angel, as well.

Revelation 9


Chapter 9

1. And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
2. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.
3. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.
4. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.
6. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
7. In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,
8. their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth;
9. they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.
10. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.
11. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

The “woe” trumpets

The prominence of sinister spiritual activity becomes very evident in this last set of three trumpets. These are demonic manifestations, as great hordes of evil are released upon the earth in the last days. They are like– obviously a depiction of things which have not been seen by human beings

The fifth trumpet (v.1-12): After the third trumpet, a star fell from heaven and we noticed that it was given a proper name… Wormwood. We noted that stars sometimes symbolize spiritual personalities, who have been given authority. The blast of the fifth trumpet summons a fallen star and the verb tense indicates that it had already fallen, before John saw it, and was already upon the earth. This one obviously has personality, as he is given a key to the bottomless pit and he opens it (v.1).

Revelation 8


Chapter 8

1. When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,
4. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
5. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
6. Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. 

The power of prayer in heaven

In chapter 5, verse 8, each of the 24 elders held golden bowls full of incense, which the text reveals, are emblematic of the saints’ prayers. The Psalmist called to the Lord: “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” (Ps.141:2). We will notice that the common believer is called a saint, because the secret behind the privilege of prayer in the Holy of Holies in heaven is the imputed, perfect holiness of Christ, with which he is clothed. We could not approach the throne of God in prayer by our own holiness. We notice in the Psalm that heavenly realities are depicted symbolically in Old Testament worship.

The 24 representatives of God’s people on earth present their prayers before the throne and, in this way, John’s Revelation is teaching us the significance of prayer. It is the most important activity of the church. Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations” (Mk.11:17). Prayers will outlive us and continue to be effective in heaven.

Revelation 7


1. After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.
2. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea,
3. saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
4. And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
5. 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
6. 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
8. 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

The 144,000 of Israel

John observes from heaven as four angels position themselves at points north, east, south and west on the earth. They are detaining further destruction, while heaven conducts redemptive purposes upon the earth (v.1). To this day, we use the term, “the four corners of the earth”, speaking of the four principle directions. I mentioned in the last chapter that God takes little regard for satisfying the scientific demands of a few critical people, educated far beyond their intelligence. He is concerned with communicating His word to the common man.

The four winds is a term used by the prophets and also by Jesus, in which case He speaks of the gathering of the elect. They seem to indicate different kinds of world-wide movement or turmoil. Angels are involved throughout the book of Revelation over that, which takes place in nature. Here they hold back the wind, in 14:18 there is an angel, which has power over fire, and in 16:5, there is an angel of the waters.

Revelation 6:9-17


The Last Set of Three Seals

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?”
11. Then 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.
12. When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,
13. and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.
14. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,
16. calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,
17. for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

The Fifth Seal: End-time martyrdom

Now we come to the second division, which involves three seals, and we have no mention of the four living creatures. Instead, when the fifth seal is opened, the souls of martyrs in heaven speak. We are taking this literally, understanding that there are conscious souls in the throne room of God, under the altar. I suppose that they are those, who have been martyred from the time of the apostles and up until the end times (v.9).

They are under the altar and the imagery of Leviticus is extremely important for our understanding of the sacrifice of Christ and our salvation: “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life” (Lev.17:11). Paul saw that his martyrdom was relative to the drink offering in Leviticus: “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (2 T.4:6).

Revelation 6:1-8


The Four Horsemen

1. Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!”
2. And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
3. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”
4. And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
5. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand.
6. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wind!”
7. When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
8. And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

On the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Mt.24:3). The geography is significant, because when Jesus returns to earth, according to Zechariah, He will land on the Mount of Olives, from which He ascended into heaven (Zech.14:4; Ac.1:11-12). Jesus proceeded to give them the signs and they correlate to the seals, which the Lamb opens here, one by one. Remember John is seeing future events that will take place. Jesus knew what is written on this scroll, which is filled on both sides. He is worthy and He will open the seals and He will be in charge of the last-day events that this scroll describes. The Revelation prophecies will now begin.

Accompanying the Lamb are the four living creatures, the cherubim (or possibly seraphim) that surround the throne. We learn of cherubim first of all in the third chapter of the Bible. They guard the way to the Tree of Life that fallen man may not approach (Ge.3:24). In the book of Exodus, they are depicted on the propitiatory above the Ark of the Covenant. There are two, which are made of gold (Ex.25:18). Then Ezekiel gives us the most detailed description of the four, which accompany the throne of God throughout his book (Ez.1:3, 2:2, 3:12-15, 23, 8:4, 9:3, chapter 10, 11:21-24, 43:2-5). 

It seems obvious to me that the living creatures have something to do with principles in the government of God that are carried out in all His works. For example, one can see them in the formation of the four Gospels, by their total concept of all that is the history of Christ on earth.  I think the living creatures are involved in this. In Matthew, He is the King of Israel, in Mark, the Servant, in Luke, the Son of Man, and in John, the Son of God.  

Revelation 5


The Lamb is Worthy

Chapter 5

1.  Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
2.  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
3.  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
4.  and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
5.  And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The depictions in the book of Revelation are not written for our imagination. That of Christ in the first chapter, the one we will see in this chapter, that of the four living creatures and the One upon the throne, were revelations given to John and he alone actually saw them. He alone knows exactly what he saw. It is not for us to depict them in our minds or, as some have done, try to draw pictures from John’s words and descriptions. They are written so that we can learn the character and attributes of the One on the throne and of Christ. We learn something of the part that the living creatures play in the Kingdom of God. There will be much more to follow and we do well to remember this principle as we study.

In chapter four we observed the honor and worship given to God the King. In chapter five we will see the equal honor and worship given to the Lamb. This scene will show us the heavenly fulfillment of the principle that Jesus laid before us in John 5:23: “That all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” This is absolute proof of His divinity; if He were less than true God, we would be witnessing idolatry.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit III


The Holy Spirit, miracles and supernatural signs in the epistles

coals of fire
“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience – by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God – so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.” (Ro.15:18-19)

“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Co.2:4-5)

“I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Co.4:19-20)

“Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal.3:5)

“Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Th.1:5)

“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (He.2:3-4)

One would think that all Christians should want to take advantage of this baptism, along with the gifts that God has given to the church in order to function, but it is not so. Always, when there is a moving of the Spirit, there is opposition and the opposition does not come from the people of the world, but from the church itself. This has been the case in all revivals. We should know and be sure that, although a large part of the church has denied the power that God has granted to it, the enemy has not given any of his power away. His kingdom is threatened by a power that is greater than his.

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit II


“He who believes in Me (who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me) as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow (continuously) springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive. For the (Holy) Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor).  

John 7:38-39, Amplified

“As the Scripture has said”

I cannot find any single verse or portion of Scripture that Jesus is citing here. It seems to me that Jesus is not referring to one certain promise or prophecy, but to a spiritual principle of which the Old Testament Scriptures taught in many parts and many ways. The symbol of water meant much to the Jew. Israel is “a land of hills and valleys which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God care for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Dt.11:11,12). Waters symbolize the abundant blessing of God upon His people. They are waters in the desert: “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (Is.44:8). They are “deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through” (Ez.47:5).

There are two stories in the Old Testament that prefigure the Baptism in the Spirit. One has to do with the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. In Egypt, the blood of a lamb, sprinkled over the doorposts of a house, saved each Israelite from the death angel; they were able to escape Egypt and the slavery of the tyrant, Pharaoh, who symbolizes Satan. Their salvation was not complete until they miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry land; when the sea closed, their old life was left behind. Israel’s liberation from the slavery of Egypt symbolized salvation from sin, brought to pass by the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Every Jew could testify that he had been saved by the blood. Paul called the crossing of the Red Sea “a baptism” (1 Co.10:2), because it signified a death and a resurrection into a new life. Only the miraculous hand of God saved the Israelites from death that day; however, afterwards there was another baptism.

The plan of God was not completed, when Israel arrived on the other side of the sea. Before them was a great desert, which they had to cross, living in tents. It was impossible that hundreds of thousands of Israelites could rest there, building houses, planting and harvesting. God had promised a land that flowed with milk and honey, and wanted them to enter there quickly.