FoundationsForGrowing

The End Times: Part II

by Joanna Pierce on May 12, 2016

Theme of Revelation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John (Revelation 1:1, KJV).

The book of Revelation depicts real-life, human events. However, some of the text provides insight into what is to come—by way of types, shadows, and analogies. The writer, John (who was a Disciple of Jesus), knew Jesus as more than a Savior. He walked with Him in real life and saw Him as a tangible human being. But, what has been revealed in the dramatic pages of Scripture showed Jesus in a way John had never experienced (Revelation 1:13–16). John saw Jesus as the eternal God (Revelation 1:17–18).

Revelation begins with who Jesus is, shows what He has done, illustrates what is to come upon this earth, and how He will take His church home. But, the larger picture we can glean from this book is its main theme—beyond the excitement of the rapture of the church and fear of the tribulation. Revelation is about Jesus: who He is, and is, and is to come (Revelation 1:8).

Understanding Revelation

When we read the book of Revelation, we need to make considerations when attempting to analyze and comprehend Scripture for a complete understanding. It takes experience and the leading of the Holy Ghost to understand when Scripture moves from literal to figurative exhortations. And, we need to consider the Biblical and historical setting, as well as grammatical (literary style) of what we’re reading. There is a chronological sequence to the revelations (Revelation 1:19), which will help us further understand God’s plan. Scripture can’t be understood in a vacuum, per our own ideals and interpretations!

The Great Tribulation

Theologians have earmarked a focus of Revelation to be the “Great Tribulation.” This is a period of time when God will pour out judgment upon the world. There are varying opinions as to when the tribulation will be on the earth.

Tribulation Beliefs

Pre-tribulation is the belief God will rapture the church prior to the period of tribulation. Mid-tribulation believes God will allow the church to remain on the earth for half of the tribulatory period (3.5 years), and then will remove them. Post-tribulation is the belief God will allow the church to remain on the earth for the full tribulatory period.

Matthew references the “Great Tribulation” in Matthew 24:21 as well as John in Revelation 7:14. We are currently living in a dispensation of grace, experiencing God’s mercy. But, God will pour out His wrath upon the disobedient of this earth. The “Great Tribulation” will be 7 years of judgment, with 3.5 years of man’s wrath and 3.5 years of God’s wrath.

Revelation, and other corresponding verses in Scripture about the tribulation are warnings to God’s creation to live right and to get ready for His coming. The church has a hope (the Holy Ghost)—we will be removed from this life and onto our future reward (I Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9). If we live right, heed the signs, and follow Him, we will make our heaven our home!

Seven Seals

Revelation was sealed up in a book, but in John’s vision, the Lord allowed the seals to be opened and to reveal what was to come upon the earth (Revelation 5:1–14). John was given knowledge and understanding to explain the events of the tribulation and the blocks of time/events that would proceed in the future.

First Seal: White Horse

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer (Revelation 6:1–2, KJV).

An Evil King

Theologians explain the white horse is a foreshadow of the antichrist. Daniel also foretells of his coming in Daniel 8:23–27. We understand in the latter times, the antichrist will come and he will bring a false peace with him. He will be a leader and will move into a position to control the world through a one-world government or alliance. The antichrist will work through manipulation and deception and utilize both technology and globalization to further his plight.

The Beast

Revelation continues to reveal details about the antichrist in Revelation 13:1–9. The antichrist will mimic the power that Jesus had. Therefore, he will have favor among the people, but also cause wars, and eliminate anyone who worships the Lord.

The Man of Sin

Paul warned the church about the “man of sin” (the antichrist) in II Thessalonians 2:1–12. We cannot read the insights of John the Revelator and not know these evil workings have been in place for a long time (II Thessalonians 2:7). The antichrist will deceive many with his lying wonders. All people who refuse to believe and worship the Lord will believe in a strong delusion and will experience the wrath of God (II Thessalonians 2:11–12).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on May 11, 2016