21 February, 2018
Study 23 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 20: 1-10
Great differences exist among Christians concerning the interpretation of ‘the thousand years’ and ‘the first resurrection’. Either the thousand years follow Christ’s second coming, or this section is a fresh symbolic description of the period between Christ’s first coming and His second coming. There does seem to be parallel sequence in the main events of Rev. 11-14 and 20. It was through Christ’s first coming that Satan was bound. Cf. Mk. 3:23-27; Lk. 10:17-19; Jn. 12:31. Rev. 20:7-9 can be understood as yet another reference to Armageddon. Cf. 16:14-16; 19:19. ‘The first resurrection’, however understood, is a privilege shared in only by faithful followers of the Lamb. Some think the phraseology symbolically predicts that the age of the martyrs would be followed by a far longer period of Christian supremacy during which the faith of Christ for which the martyrs died would live and reign.
1- What activity is particularly attributed to Satan? In what different ways is he dealt with? How is his activity made to serve God’s purposes? Cf. 2 Thes. 2:9-12. What will be his end? Who will share the same fate? Cf. Mt. 25:41.
2- What are the rewards of the martyrs who are faithful to death? Cf. Lk. 22:28-30; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:10, 11; 5:10. What grace should such awareness make us covet?
1- Verses 1-3 ‘The bottomless pit’: as the abode of evil spirits (cf. 9-11) this is to be carefully distinguished from ‘the lake of fire’ (verse 10).
2- Verse 3. ‘Must’: for reasons hidden in the divine will.
3- Verse 8. ‘Gog and Magog’: the reference here is to Ezk. 38; 39, where the prophet conceived of a great invasion of the land of Israel.
20 February, 2018
Study 22 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 19:11-21
Following upon the destruction of ‘Babylon’, the beat and the kings in alliance with him (cf. 17:12-14), make war upon Christ, who comes forth from heaven in judgement to overthrow them. The end of the present age, prophesied throughout the book, has now come, and we have in today’s portion Christ’s second coming described in its aspect of judgment upon His enemies, as in 2 Thes. 1: 6-10 and Ps. 2:9
1- Verses 11-16. In this symbolic picture of Christ seek to appreciate the suggestive significance of each descriptive phrase. Contrast some of the phrases of Zc. 9:9, 10. In what ways will Christ’s second coming be different from His first coming? Should this prospect fill us with fear or joy?
2- Verses 17-21. This is the battle of Armageddon, spoken of in 16:14-16. Note the contrast between ‘the great supper’ of judgment and ‘the marriage supper of the Lamb’ (verse 9). Cf. the contrast in 14:14-20 between the two harvests. See also Mt. 13:30, 40-43. What truths are thus repeatedly emphasized concerning the final settlement and issue of world history?
1- Verses 13a, 15b Cf. is. 63: 2, 3.
2- Verse 14. These are armies of angels. Cf. Mt. 16:27; 2 Thes. 1:7-9
3- Verse 20. ‘The lake of fire’; so also in 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8; elsewhere called ‘the eternal fire’ or ‘the Ghenna of fire’ (Mt. 18:8, 9; 25:41; also ‘the furnace of fire’ (Mt. 13:42, 50). It is the place of final destruction.
19 February, 2018
Study 21 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 18:21 – 19:10
1- What thoughts does the action of the angel in 18:21 suggest as to the purpose of God towards ‘Babylon’? Notice especially how many times the words ‘no more’ occur in 18:21-24. Cf. 19:3. What truth is thus enforced concerning the whole system of godless luxury and lust which the name ‘Babylon’ represents? Cf. 1 Cor. 7:31b; 1 Pet. 1:24, 25; 1 Jn. 2:17.
2- What calls forth the praises of 19:1-3, 4, 5-8, and by whom respectively were they spoken? What truths about God’s character and ways are here acknowledged? Cf. 19:10; Is. 45:21-25.
1- 19:3b. Symbolic of final destruction. Cf. Is. 34:10.
2- 19:7. ‘The marriage of the Lamb’: the fulfilment of God’s purpose as described in Eph. 5:25b, 26. A final decisive contrast to the harlot and her impurities.
18 February, 2018
Study 20 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 18:1-20
1- Consider first the messages of the angel and of the voice from heaven. What aspects of God’s judgments do these emphasize? What urgent imperative does the Lord here speak to His own people? Cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18
2- In contrast, listen to the voices of earth on Babylon’s fall. Who are the speakers? To what fact about Babylon’s fall do they refer, and for what reason did they thus mourn for Babylon? Observe the difference between the points of view of heaven and of the world. In such circumstances, in which would you join -- mourning or joy?
3- When time permits, read Is. 13 and 47; Je. 50 and 51 and Ezk. 27 to see how deeply steeped is the mind of John in the visions and prophecies of the Old Testament.
17 February, 2018
Study 19 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 17
The people of Christ have another enemy—Babylon. Babylon is the name of a city, and John uses it to denote the Rome of his day, seated upon her seven hills (verse 9(, and also upon many waters, i.e., upon nations and kingdoms making up the Empire (verses 1, 15, 18). But, Babylon, like the two beats of chapter 13, is a symbol; not, like the first beast, a symbol of material power; nor, like the second beast, of false religion; but rather a symbol of the world’s lust, of gain, pride and corruption. Wherever these aspects of the worldly spirit find embodiment there is Babylon, and there, God’s judgment will fall, unless men repent.
1- John’s wonder at the woman (verse 6) should lead us to examine her closely. What does each feature of the picture symbolize? Contrast the woman and her brood with the woman of chapter 12 and her seed (with 17:14, cf. 12:17). What, in the face of such a foe, is the prospect before those ‘who follow the Lamb’ (14:4)?
2- Verses 7-13, as the interpreting angel himself admits, require for their understanding a mind that has wisdom (verse 9). Observe that two different meanings are assigned to the heads of the beast. Note carefully also the difference between the heads and the horns. The main lesson of the chapter is the certain ‘doom of Babylon. How is this brought about? What does this illustrate concerning God’s judgments?
1- Verse 2. ‘Committed fornication’: to the immoral practices which kings and rulers committed in response to the seductions of Rome.
2- Verse 8. It ‘was, and is not, and is to ascend’: the beast is a satanic counterpart of God Himself. See. 1:4.
3- Verse 10, 11. The Emperor Nero committed suicide, and the historian Tacitus says that a rumour spread abroad that he was not dead and would return. It is commonly thought that there is an allusion to this belief in verses 8a and 11. This is a satanic counterpart to the death and resurrection of Christ. Assuming that the seven kings of verse 10 were Roman emperors, the most probable theory sees in the five who ‘have fallen’, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero; in the one who ‘is’ Vespasian (AD 69-79), and in the one who ‘has not yet come’, Titus came Domitian, who would be the ‘eight’ (verse 11), and who resembled Nero so closely, especially in his persecution of the Christian, that he might well seem to be Nero come to life again.
4- Verses 15-17. The harlot city will eventually be brought down by a united revolt on the part of the provinces and their local rulers
16 February, 2018
Study 18 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 15 and 16
The series of judgments here described, though similar to those of the seals and trumpets, is seen as a separate ‘portent’ in heaven. What follow are no longer warnings but a final outpouring of the wrath of God.
1- John is looking at the seven angels, when his eye is caught by another vision, which he describes in 15:2-4. No doubt for the comfort of believers, in face of the terrible judgments which are about to fall. What great truths are they thereby assured of, and encouraged to rejoice in? What should such awareness make them---and us----do? Cf. 16:5-7.
2- In what respects are the ‘bowl’ judgements more severe than those of the seals and the trumpets? What was the reaction to them (a of men, and (b) of the dragon and his allies? Before such a prospect, what ground have we for hope, and what reason for watchful concern? With 16:15, cf. Mt. 24:42-44.
1- 15:3,4 ‘The song of Moses’: cf. and contrast Ex. 14:30-15:19.
2- 16:16. ‘Armageddon’: the hill of Megiddo’: i.e., the plain of Megiddo, where more than one famous battle was fought (Jdg. 5:19; 2Ch. 35:22), and the hills around.
15 February, 2018
Study 17 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 14
This chapter, like chapters 7 and 10:1-11:13, is an interlude introduced for the comfort of believers.
1- Verses 1-5 present a picture of the true followers of Christ. Although outwardly scattered, suffering and in danger of death, spiritually they are with the Lamb on the impregnable rock of Mount Zion, owned of God, not one missing (verse 1), and sharing in the worship of heaven (verses 2, 3). To what do they owe their position and what four characteristics mark their life? See verses 4 and 5 and cf. Mt. 5:3; Lk 14:27; Eph. 4:25; Phil. 2:15. How does your own life appear in the light of these standards?
2- In verses 6-11 are shown three angels, each with a message for all who dwell upon the earth. Examine the contents of their threefold message. Verse 12 and 13 are addressed to believers. What encouragement do they give to those who may have to die for Christ’s sake?
3- In the twofold vision of verses 14-20 what are the differences between the two parts of it (verses 14-16 and 17-20)? Cf. Ps. 1; Mal. 3:16-4:3; Mt. 13:39b-43.
1- Verse 3b. The song is ‘from heaven’ (verse 2); the saints on Mt. Zion are learning to sing it.
2- Verse 4. A symbol of purity of heart Cf. 2 Cor. 11:2.
3- Verse 6. ‘An eternal gospel’: cf. Ec 12:13, 14; Acts 14:14-18; 17:24-31.
4- Verse 9:11. The very marks, which once ensured benefits (see 13:15-17), now single out individuals for judgment.
5- Verse 13b. The weariness of labour will be over, the reward of their deeds awaits them. Cf. Mt.25:34-40. Contrast verse 11; ‘they have no rest’.