Why study the book of Revelation? 1) God promises a blessing: “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” (Rev. 1:3); 2) It tells us the end of the story (and a good end for all who trust Christ). Who doesn’t want to know the end of the story and especially a good end. 3) As believers it sharpens our preparedness to meet the Lord (the Judgment Seat of Christ 1 Cor. 3: 10-15) and can motivate unbelievers to repent. 4) It inspires us to be zealous in evangelism and to reach our lost loved ones with the gospel. 5) Jesus tells us to look for the signs of His coming: "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” (Matt. 24: 32-33) In essence, it can wake us up as sleeping Christians. "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5: 14-16) It has been said that the devil will rock the cradle of a sleeping Christian.
Ken Boa has prepared a chart showing the chronology of end time events. (See attached). Here are the Scriptures Ken refers to in order of the events: 1) “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matt. 16:18) When Jesus said this He was referring to Pentecost and the future birth of the church. 2) The Rapture: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.(Also see 2 Thess 2:1-7, John 14:3, 1 Cor. 15:50-52). 3) The Judgment Seat of Christ for believers. “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” (2 Cor. 5:9-11) 4) The Tribulation (first 3 ½ years) and the Great Tribulation (the last 3 ½ years). “He (the Antichrist) will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Dan. 9:27) 5) The second coming of Christ: I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16) 6) The judgment of the Jews: (Please see Matt. 25: 14-30) 7) The judgment of the Gentiles: (Please see Matt. 25: 31-46) 8) The Millennium: “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”(Rev. 20: 1-6) 9) Possible the next event is the judgment of angels (demons): "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. 25:41) 10) The final Judgment – The Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers: “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20: 11-15) 11) The Eternal State – the new heaven and the new earth. (See Rev. 21-22)
The attached article by Tom Roddy is a great tool for us to use at our tables for practical steps on how to respond to the economic and personal struggles we are facing today. It fits with how studying the book of Revelation exhorts us to be ready. I have added a question to the points Tom makes using, F-R-I-E-N-D-S (with the exception of N -now – as I don't know what he means.) So please print this out and bring it with you along with the attachment and read Tom's point and then my question. Also please bring your chart on Revelation I handed out last week as I will go over that in my message. I will also have this scanned and send it out to you Thursday for you to copy if you do not have one or weren't there last week.
F – Feed yourself. Share how you feed yourself spiritual food?
R – Real. Share how you get real with God, yourself and a few close friends? See Psalm 51:6
I – Isolate. Don't. A wolf loves the lone sheep. Share where you congregate versus isolate. Brainstorm on some other possible new venues for fellowship. Please read Heb. 10: 24- 25 and Matthew 18:20
E Empathy. Who is hurting that you can come along side of and be a friend (even if you can't solve the problem)?
N No comment.
D Difficulties. We (can) grow in hardships. Heb 12:7 says "endure hardship as discipline" (or discipleship from our Father). Where is God discipling you now through hardships and what spiritual lessons are you learning?
S Speak. Bless others. Honor, applaud, celebrate, anoint. The Greek word for bless (eulogeo – from which we get eulogies for funerals) means to speak well of or say good things about. So let's speak blessings over others, both to them and to others about them as we see them serving our Lord and honoring His Name in little ways or big ways.