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Lowell Brueckner

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Revelation 20

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Chapter 20

1. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3. and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
4. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.
6. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Leading up to the Millennium

We have a very short account by John, concerning the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, but the prophets had much to say about it. We will not be able to give an exhaustive study on the subject, because that would easily require a book. However, we will go back to the prophets and pick up more details about this tremendously important period of human prophecy. After six millenniums of man’s rule, the return of Christ brings them to an end and then, He will reign on earth for a final one thousand years. This gives much more sense to God’s creation, after Adam sinned so early in human history and chaos has followed ever since. God will show us an ideal reign through the Prince of Peace, the last Adam. There will be paradise on this planet!

We have just studied the Battle of Armageddon and the destruction of world empires. The beast and the false prophet have been thrown for eternity into the Lake of Fire. There are other events preliminary to the Millennium. One is the Judgment of the Nations, as described in Matthew 25: 31-46. Notice when this takes place: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne” (Mt.25:31). This will involve the treatment given to Christ’s brothers, according to the flesh, the Jews, during the Great Tribulation. The participants will be divided into two groups, described as sheep and goats. They have carried out the law of their nature, apparently unconscious of the source of their actions, and either aided or neglected the Jews in their tribulation plight.

Revelation 19:10-21

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Dear Friends, please note that I am adding the following two paragraphs to the last article of Rev. 19:1-9. I just put them here for your convenience. Thank you. Everything I do is in flux, and always open for improvement and correction 😃 . The new article starts below with verse 10

“Write this!” (9). This command is common in the book of Revelation, as the canon of Scripture comes to an end. The first human writer, who recorded the words of God, was Moses and God on various occasions, commanded him to write. Israel’s history and literature was written for future generations. God commanded the prophets to write. Luke told Theophilus concerning the Gospels, “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you” (Lk.1:2,3). Even Pontius Pilate wrote on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews” in the three most important languages of the day. Paul told the Colossians, “When this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and also read the letter from Laodicea” (Col.4:16). So the Gospels and the epistles prospered in the early church and hundreds of copies were written to pass along.



That, which is written, is preserved beyond the spoken word and is validated over the spoken word. The Holy Spirit is the Author of all Scripture and He has shown His concern for future generations, seeing to it that His Word has been preserved through writing. It alone holds absolute authority over everything that concerns the people of God. Jesus spoke the written word, in replying to the temptations of the devil. In history, the devil always mounted persecution against the translators of the word, as well as those who have had the word in their possession. To this day, he is attacking those who possess, read and practice the written word. Beware of those, who deny or belittle the whole, or any part, of the written Word. Liberals, who still like to call themselves Christians, question the veracity and authenticity of the Bible. Society largely considers it an antiquated book. Let us give it its rightful place in our hearts, minds and lives and give thanks continually to God, because today we have the full revelation of God’s word. He has faithfully preserved it to this present generation. “These are the true words of God.”

 
Revelation 19:10-21



10. Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11. Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

12. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

13. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

14. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

15. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

16. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.


Revelation 19:1-9

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Chapter 19



1. After this I heard that seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

2. for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3. Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

5. And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you is servants, you who fear him, small and great.”



Heavenly hallelujahs and an amen



These verses describe heavenly praise. Warren Wiersbe comments that this is the heavenly “Hallelujah Chorus”, referring, of course, to that well-known part of Handel’s “Messiah”. Wiersbe would agree wholeheartedly, I’m sure, even though he used this comparison, that the praise that John heard in this chapter far exceeds any comparison with songs that are merely earthly, no matter the fame that they have received.



I know some people who claim that the words hallelujah and amen are religious terms. Sadly, they show their lack of spiritual understanding and, for that reason, their lack of appreciation for heavenly things. Let me ask you a couple questions: What do these words mean to you? Do you think that they are English vocabulary? I believe that they are words that can only receive a proper definition from a “heavenly dictionary". They were given to the Hebrews because, “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Ro.3:2). They cannot be justly translated into human language and therefore, in the church in every part of the world, Christian pronounce these words, as they were in the original Hebrew language.



While the judgments of God are falling upon the world, there is great joy in heaven, expressed by loud voices of a great multitude. They are voices of prophets, apostles and saints in general, who are now rejoicing in heaven. They begin with the first Hallelujah, which we try to translate, as best we can, Praise the Lord.  In heaven, doubt does not exist, as to the outcome of what is taking place on earth. In spite of everything, the heavenly multitudes give praise to God! He is the fountain of salvation, glory and power and everything is securely in His powerful hand. He is our God and, because that is so, He works salvation, glory and power towards our well-being (1). We, who are still on earth, should continually mix our praises with those in heaven.


Revelation 18

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Chapter 18

1.  After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.
2.  And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3.  For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
4. Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
5.  for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
6.  Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7.  As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
8. For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

Double retribution: “Fallen, fallen”

In chapter 15, we saw the introduction of the seven angels with the seven bowls of wrath and chapter 16 related the act and result of each one being poured out. Similarly in chapter 17, we received an introductory description of Babylon and in this chapter, its actual destruction is detailed.

This is a future, figurative Babylon and I tried to describe it in the last chapter as basically a religious system, but heavily involved with the financial and political situation in the world. Her destruction is total and everlasting. “She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast” (v.2) I thought of the fall of literal Babylon, as it was depicted in Isaiah 13, and wondered if that record wasn´t left for us to ponder, as a precedent to the fate that John predicts for this final city.

Here are a few observations from eye witnesses, who visited the ruins of historic Babylon a couple centuries ago. Compare their testimonies with verse 2: “There are many dens of wild beasts in various parts. There are quantities of porcupine quills. In most of the cavities are numberless bats and owls. These caverns, over which the chambers of majesty may have been spread, are now the refuge of jackals and other savage animals.”… “The natives believe that the ghost of Nimrod walks amidst them in the darkness, and no one would venture on so hazardous an experiment (that is, to enter the ruins at night)”…  “All the people of the country assert that it is extremely dangerous to approach the mound after nightfall, on account of the multitude of evil spirits by which it is haunted.”

Revelation 17

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Chapter 17



1.  Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters,

2.  with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”

3.  And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.

4.  The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.

5.  And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

6.  And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.

7.  But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.



The prostitute and mother of prostitutes

One of the seven angels of the bowls of wrath reveals the fall of Babylon to John, therefore its fall takes place during the time of the outpouring of the bowls. Verse 19 of the last chapter points us to a spiritual principle, concerning God’s measurement of sin. In that verse, Babylon the great has measured up to the full and the time of her judgment had come. Zechariah, in his seventh vision, brings the same principle to our attention, illustrated by an ephah, a Jewish measurement of about one bushel of dry material (Zech.5:5-11). He sees a receptacle which contains that amount and symbolically, it represented the collective sins of a people in Zechariah’s land that had come to its fullness.



The sins of the people in the time of Noah reached this point and in Genesis 15:16, God tells Abraham that the sins of the Amorites was not yet complete. That would happen in another four generations. Daniel told King Belshazzar, “You have been weighed on the scales and found deficient” (Dn.5:20, 22, 27). Belshazzar’s ephah is full of deficiency! Jesus said to the Jews of His day, “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers” (Mt.23:32).



In the ephah is a woman representing the sin of the people and it is carried into Shinar, originally Babel, and later Babylon. The “ephah people” are taken into the land of false religion and idolatry. This woman becomes a part of the great Babylonian harlot. Scofield comments, concerning Babylon in Revelation: “The professing Gentile church at that time, condoning every iniquity of the rich, doctrinally a mere “confusion”, as the name indicates, and corrupted to the core by commercialism, wealth, and luxury, falls under the judgment of God.”