The Chronological Setting of the Revelation...The Summary
The Only Peace of Mind
TEXT FOR PRAYER
Half-Hearted Religion Causes Instability
I shall read from page 49 of Christ’s Object Lessons:
“If we love Jesus, we shall love to live for Him, to present our thank-offerings to Him, to labor for Him. The very labor will be light. For His sake we shall covet pain and toil and sacrifice. We shall sympathize with His longing for the salvation of men. We shall feel the same tender craving for souls that He has felt.
“This is the religion of Christ. Anything short of it is a deception. No mere theory of truth or profession of discipleship will save any soul. We do not belong to Christ unless we are His wholly. It is by half-heartedness in the Christian life that men become feeble in purpose and changeable in desire. The effort to serve both self and Christ makes one a stony-ground hearer, and he will not endure when the test comes upon him.”
We shall now kneel and pray that we may not forget that anything short of a sacrifice for souls is not the religion of Christ; that if we are half-hearted in our duties, we shall become more and more unstable; that whole-hearted religion and whole-hearted deeds can be the only evidence that the blood of Christ has done its work in us, and the only thing to ensure our right to the Holy City.
Our past studies have shown that all the books of the Bible meet and end in The Revelation (Acts of the Apostles, pg. 585); that The Revelation covers the entire history of mankind.
In these studies we have also learned that the event which caused the book with the Seven Seals to be opened, disclosed The Revelation itself, and that strictly speaking, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him” begins with chapter 6 and ends with chapter 22 – eighteen chapters in all, which the breaking of the Seals disclosed. We also learned that the things that were to be “hereafter” from Saint John’s time, after 96 A.D., were those things which the event brought forth, the great assembly itself round about the Throne having met to examine the things that were inside the Book.
Now I would have you note that The Revelation contains several subjects, each of which is complete in itself, although one chapter or subject may overlap or intercept the others; that is, not all the subjects and chapters are in chronological arrangement with one another.
These facts shall be shown as we proceed in our study.
We previously found that the judicial-like event opened with The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him, the Book sealed with the seven seals. It disclosed The Revelation, and with it the heavenly assembly began its work of reviewing the past, present, and future of mankind. We shall now read the closing verses of chapter six.
Rev. 6:14-17 – “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Since chapter six ends its story with the end of the world, it is obvious that chronologically chapter seven is sandwiched between the event with which chapter six begins, and the event with which it ends.
The seventh chapter begins with the sealing of the 144,000, and ends with the gathering of the great multitude, touching eternity.
Chapter 8, the opening of the seventh seal, begins by introducing another subject, the subject of the Seven Trumpets. The Trumpets as we learned in our previous studies spread through chapters 9 to 11. what the cloud and the rainbow signify). He also caused the little book to be eaten (taken to heart), which later became bitter inside the eater.
We further learned that the Trumpets disclose the messages of God and the consequences to the unrepentant sinners; that the Trumpets begin with the first such message, the message of Noah, and end with the last message in probationary time, the message which announces that the Mystery of God, the Gospel work, is finished, that probationary time is at an end. This is further seen from the fact that the rest of the men who were not killed by the fire, smoke, and brimstone which came out of the horses’ mouths (Rev. 9:18) repented not. Indeed, it could not be said, “They repented not,” if their time of repentance had not passed. Thus it is that chapters 8 and 9 bring us to the close of probation. Chapters 10 and 11 consequently sandwich in chapters 8 and 9.
The Trumpets themselves are shown to be in two divisions, four in the Old Testament time, and three in the New; that is, the last three are “woe” Trumpets. The first of the woe Trumpets introduces the descending of the heavenly Star to Whom the key of the bottomless pit was given. Obviously the Star is symbolical of the Angel who at the commencement of the millennium shuts Satan into the bottomless pit, for He, the Angel of Revelation 20:1, is the Angel Who has the key of the bottomless pit. He could not possibly have the key if it had been given to some other.
Chapter 10 discloses that the angel who opened (unsealed) the “little book” is the angel who brings the spiritual rain for the developing and ripening of the spiritual grain (for that is to the end of the world, the time the kingdoms of the world “become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.” Verse 15.
The honey sweetness while the book was being eaten obviously denotes that the things written therein were joyously received. But to the eater of the book it later caused indigestion, so to speak, and thus a disappointment; that is, the things in the book were not fully comprehended, and thus in the end the joy vanished away, and disappointment crept in. After this, the book eaters were commissioned to “prophesy again,” to preach again.
This angel in the stream of time, therefore appears at the unsealing of the book of Daniel, for it is the only book of the Bible that was ever sealed, and never to be opened from the time it was written to “the time of the end.”
The subject of chapter 10 ends with the second verse of chapter eleven, the verse which brings us to the time of the measuring (numbering) of the people, which obviously is the numbering of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:3-8), for they are the only numbered company of people in the thread of prophecy. Thus it is that chapter ten, including verses 1 and 2 from chapter 11, begins at “the time of the end,” and ends with the numbering of the 144,000.
The eleventh chapter (save for the first two verses which chronologically belong to the tenth chapter) goes still further back in time than does the tenth chapter. It contains the subject of the two witnesses who prophesied during the 1260 prophetic days. It, too, brings us forward to the end of the world, the time the kingdoms of the world “become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.” Verse 15.
Chapter 12 takes us even further back in time than chapter 11, way beyond the birth of Christ, then forward to the time the earth opens her mouth and swallows up the flood, and to the time of the remnant (the remnant are those who are left after the others are swallowed up by the earth). They as a people keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. They are persecuted by the dragon immediately after the earth swallows up the flood.
As yet we know not of a people in all the world, of whom Inspiration can say that they as a people (all of them) actually keep the commandments of God. The only such group of people that could possibly be found in time are the 144,000.
The testimony of Jesus Christ, Inspiration explains, is “the Spirit of Prophecy.” Rev. 19:10. To have the Spirit of Prophecy, is to have the Spirit Who uttered the prophecies and who only can interpret them, for “no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation,” nor without the inspiration of the same Spirit. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Pet. 1:20, 21), and consequently only holy men of God in the Spirit can interpret the Scriptures.
Thus it is that chapter 12 ends its story with the remnant, the servants of God, the first fruits, the 144,000. They become the remnant after the hypocrites among them are swallowed up by the earth, so to speak. This remnant will as a people be keeping the commandments of God, and be without guile in their mouths. They being the first fruits, Inspiration thus points out that there is to be a second fruits, for without second there can be no first. And so we see that chapter 12 brings us to the time the church is purified, the time she as a church truly keeps the commandments of God.
When in time does chapter twelve begin? – Well, it begins with the day the woman mentioned therein conceived the man child. Specifically speaking, her conception of the child points back to the time Inspiration promised to send the Redeemer to the Church.
Chapter 13 begins with the dissolution of the Roman Empire, and with the kings who arose from it, who then took their crowns, as symbolized by the crowned horns of the leopard-like beast. This chapter ends with the two-horned beast’s decree, the decree to kill all who dare not receive the mark of the beast. Thus will the dragon be wroth with the woman, and thus will he persecute the remnant.
The fourteenth chapter starts with the 144,000 standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Then follow the Three Angels’ Messages in their direct and final application for the gathering of the second fruits. Thus the chapter closes with the harvest of the earth. The chapter itself shows that the harvest is in two sections, the first of which is reaped by the “Son of Man,” and the second by an angel. Evidently these two harvests yield the first and the second fruits.
Chapter 15 describes the events that bring probationary time to an end, and chapter 16 tells of the seven last plagues.
Chapter 17 begins with the rise of Babylon the Great and her dominion. Figuratively speaking, the scarlet-colored beast, the beast she drives, rules, is her dominion. This ecclesiastical world government develops after the leopard-like beast symbolization (chapter 13) ends its career, for the horns of the scarlet-colored beast are crownless, whereas the horns of the leopard-like are crowned. Its crowned horns show the world ruled by crowned kings, which already are about to pass away, and the scarlet-colored beast’s crownless horns show a crownless world ruled by Babylon who rides the beast, rules it. This beast, says Inspiration, “was and is not, and yet is.” That is, he lived before the 1000 years, and therefore “was”; does not live during the 1000 years, and therefore “is not”; lives by resurrection after the millennium, and therefore “is.”
He is the eighth and is of the seven; that is, Daniel’s four beasts of chapter 7, and John’s two of chapter 13, total six, the scarlet-colored of chapter 17 is therefore the seventh at the commencement of the millennium, and is the eighth after the millennium. Is of the seven because, as I said before, he is to die his first death at the commencement of the millennium, and in the resurrection after the millennium he lives again for a short period before he meets his second death, and that makes him the eighth in his second phase, and seventh in his first phase. Chapter 17 therefore begins with Babylon the Great mounting the beast, his first phase, and ends on the other side of the millennium, the beast’s second phase.
As a result of the purification of the church, the sealing of the 144,000, the servants of God, the earth is lightened with the glory of the angel (Rev. 18:1), with “the everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6). God’s people are then called out of Babylon’s domain that they be not partakers of her sins (Rev. 18:4). Then are they brought into a place where there are no sins, where the remnant keep the commandments of God, and where there is no fear of the plagues ever falling (Rev. 18:4). And so chapter 18 begins after the sealing of the servants of God, and ends with the destruction of the woman, Babylon the Great. This takes place after the saints have been called out and taken home.
The nineteenth chapter reveals the dissolution of the beast and of the false prophet, also of the remnant (of those who are left in Babylon, the rest of the world). Thus the millennium, brought to view in the twentieth chapter, commences after the beast and the false prophet, also the rest of the unrepentant world, perish. And the only inhabitants that are left on earth at the commencement of the millennium are the first and second fruits (the saints) of earth’s great harvest field, and the “blessed and holy” who come up in the first resurrection. Thus it is that Satan cannot deceive the nations during the millennium, and thus it is that the millennium is a time of peace. But from the day the nations are resurrected at the end of the millennium to their second death, the great rebel of the ages will again deceive them. The dead, then, who come not out of their graves in the first resurrection (chapter 20:5), live not again until the thousand years are finished.
From these we see that where chapter nineteen leaves off, chapter twenty begins.
The twenty-first chapter pictures the earth made new and the new Jerusalem.
The twenty-second chapter describes the throne of God and the river of life, and closes with warnings against those who in their private interpretation add and subtract in order to construct their theories. The restriction against adding and subtracting shows that The Revelation is complete as it is, that it needs not man’s wisdom, nor his help. If they violate this command, God shall take away their part out of the book of life.
To graphically and chronologically illustrate what I have tried to present to you, I shall let you now study it at your leisure through the aid of the chart on the following page.
(Those who may wish to study The Revelation in more detail may do so from the tract, To The Seven Churches. The subject of the Seven Trumpets, however, complete in every detail, you will find in Tract 5, The Final Warning.)