Summary: Message 16 in our exposition of Revelation. This message discusses the Seal judgments.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Beginning of the End”
I. PROLOGUE 1:1-20 (Things you have seen)
II. Messages to the Seven churches 2-3 (Things with are)
III. Last Days 4-22 (Things which are about to take place)
Commentators vary widely in their approach to interpreting Revelation. Some that the approach that it describes historical events already past. Others view it as event s contemporary to John’s writing. Still others deny any historical connection but view it as symbolic as spiritual truths to ponder.
I approach the book as literal future events (other than the first three chapters). Wherever possible we need to interpret the plain meaning of the language used. We talked at length in the introductory sermon regarding interpretation. Up to this point things have been pretty straightforward. From here on out it gets pretty rocky. Any attempt to get specific in who is who and what is what does so at the risk of missing the main point. The point is, there are certain events foreseen and revealed by God leading up to Christ’s return to the earth for the final showdown between Satan and his followers and the remaining governments.
The prelude to the beginning of the end is a worship gathering in the throne room.
A. Heavenly worship around the throne 4-5
These two chapters lay the groundwork for all that will take place throughout the rest of the book where the Almighty and the Lamb and the Holy Spirit bring to completion the plan conceived before the foundation of the world.
Two were directed to the Creator on the throne.
Two were directed to the Lamb before the throne.
A fifth was directed to God the Creator and Christ the Lamb.
Each successive hymn increases participants and intensity.
1. Worship the Creator sitting on the Throne 4
2. Worship the Redeemer before the Throne 5
We left Jesus standing in the midst of the multitude having received the scroll from the Father.
He stands to break the seals signaling the time for ushering in the end times. John’s attention now shifts from the praise gathering around the throne to the earth. I think that each time Jesus breaks one of the seven seals signals a new event on the earth. Upon the breaking of the seventh seal the scroll is opened revealing the final events about to transpire on the earth.
There will be seven trumpets followed by seven bowl judgments interspersed with additional details and a run up of history to the current event. The seven seals are divided into
B. The first six of Seven seals 6:1-17
Before we dive into this chapter there are a few things to discuss. Historical placement of the events – basic timeline. Timing of the rapture of the church. The wrath of God.
The events mentioned in this chapter closely follow the teaching of Jesus in Matt 24.
Jesus calls them birth pangs. Just as a labor pains begin far apart and slightly painful, so the events begin small and then accelerate and intensify up to the final showdown. This could be called, “the beginning of the end.” This is not the tribulation but the lead up to the tribulation period. Daniel provided a timeframe for prophetic events called the 70 weeks of Daniel.
They actually refer to 70 seven year periods from the time of the decree of the Persian ruler Cyrus authorizing the Hebrew captives to return to Jerusalem. At the end of the 69th group of seven years, Messiah would be cut off refereeing to the crucifixion of Jesus. The prophetic clock in regard to Israel then stopped momentarily when they formally rejected their Messiah.
Paul talks about Israel being cut off and Gentiles begin grafted in. He also reassured the Jews that God was not finished with the Jews yet. There would be a future dealing with the Jews.
There is yet one 7 year period remaining in which Israel is the focus of Biblical prophecy.
It is a period where God not only deals with the Jews but the unbelieving world. This has been called the period of Tribulation divided into two 3.5 year periods; the second half is also referred to as the Great Tribulation. This is a time when God pours out the full measure of His wrath on the unbelieving inhabitants of the earth along with Satan and his fallen cronies. Some feel that the seal events are the prelude to the tribulation and the trumpets initiate the final outpouring of God’s wrath.
What about the church? Where are we going to be? What are we going to do during this period?
There are some basically undisputed major end time events. The differences regard not the fact but the timing of these events and their nature.
• A catching up (rapture) of Christ’ followers to meet Him in the air in resurrected bodies