When talking with people about what is “church” I often hear someone say, “But hey, the Bible says ‘where two are gathered in Jesus’ name, I am with you.’ People will often use this phrase to describe how a small group is a church. Yet, the context of that passage has nothing to do with what a church is or what a church does. In Matt 18:19-20 the context is correcting another believer and prayer, not what is or is not a church.

What is the Church

Photo Credit: Peter’s First Preaching (The Bible and Its Story, vol 10)

With that said, let’s look at what the church actually is. From my understanding of the Bible there are seven key elements of a church.

I. MAKE DISCIPLES

First, the church is commanded to go into all nations and make disciples. Continue Reading…

A Brief Study of Hell

December 4, 2017 — Leave a comment

I have worked hard during the last year and a half to provide a verse-by-verse teaching through the book of Revelation. There are a few sections of the book that I skipped which I hope to teach on in the future. Throughout a study in the book of Revelation the topic of “hell” comes up a lot. Here I wanted to provide a short summary of what the Bible says about hell and the different views about hell. 

A Brief Study of Hell

Photo Credit: Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926)

I. A BIBLICAL DESCRIPTION OF HELL

Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment. Worms which will “never die” devour people and the fire that devours people will “never go out” (Isa 66:22-24; Mark 9:48). At the end times many bodies will rise up to “everlasting life” or to shame and “everlasting disgrace” (Dan 12:2-3). Hell is also described as an “eternal fire” (Matt 18:6-9; 25:4; Jude 7). The smoke of this fire that torments unbelievers in hell will rise “forever and ever” (Rev 14:9-11). Continue Reading…

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Story of Joe Rantz

Joe Rantz was a man born in 1914 which means he lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, hard economic times were not the only hardship that Joe had to endure. When Joe was five years old his mother suddenly died and as a result Joe was sent via train (by himself) to live with his aunt, Alma. Joe had to live with Alma because his dad had went to Canada to figure life out after the death of his wife. After Joe’s dad had time to morn and collect himself, he came back to the United States, found a job, and quickly remarried. Joe was sent back via train to live with his father and his new stepmother which he had never met. Growing up Joe’s parents had three additional children; three step siblings for Joe. When Joe was ten his step-mother was fed up with him and told Joe’s dad that Joe must move out of the house. So, Joe lived at the school house where he did miscellaneous chores as a way to pay his rent and food allowance. When hard economic times hit Joe’s family they decided to move, but Joe’s stepmother gave Joe’s father an ultimatum: Either Joe stays or she will stay with the kids. Joe’s stepmother was fed up with Joe and would not tolerate him any longer. In her mind, the family was moving for a fresh start and they were not going to take Joe with them. So, the family left for a new area to start over and left Joe in their home. Joe stayed there for a while. He continued to go to school and find food to eat. One way that he provided for himself was going down to the local water canal to fish. Him and his friend would go to the canal together. One boy would stand up stream with a wooden spear in his hand ready to throw it at a fish while the other boy went down stream, jumped in the water, and tried to rush the fish up stream. The boy with the spear would through it into a salmon, then the two boys would take the salmon to town and sell it for cash as if they had caught it with bait and tackle (despite the big hole through the fish). Over time, things started to get better for Joe. Joe’s older brother learned about Joe being left by his family and had Joe come live him and his wife during high school. When it came time for college Joe was accepted to the University of Washington. Just before college he met a woman who would eventually be his wife. Joe had worked hard to save up enough money to pay for school, but he would need to find part-time work while in school. In fact, the one way to guarantee that you would get part-time work while in college was to play a sport. If you were a student-athlete the school would put you to work. So, Joe tried out for the rowing team. It was work that Joe loved because it was difficult, painful, and masculine. So many of his life experiences caused him to develop grit and determination and rowing was a way for him to use that experience. Joe’s rowing team eventually competed in the 1936 summer Olympics which the United States took the gold medal! While his life started out very difficult, later in life he was able to taste some of the sweet things of life. He got a college education, married a lovely woman, and won the gold medal for his country!

B. Text of Rev 21:1-8

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were gone and the sea was also gone. 2Then I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—coming out of heaven from God dressed like a bride prepared up for her husband.
3Then I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Look! The home of God is with mankind. He will live with them and they themselves will be his people and God himself will be with them. 4God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. Those prior things are gone forever.”
5Then the one sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, because these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me: “It is finished! I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts I will give from the spring of the water of life for free. 7The one who is victorious will acquire these things. I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But, the cowardly, unfaithful, abominable, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars will burn in the lake of fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:1-8) 1

The New Heaven and New Earth of Revelation 21.1 to 21.8

C. General Remarks about Rev 21:1-8

Like most of the book of Revelation, this passage is a little controversial and difficult to interpret for two reasons:

  • First, the rest of the Bible does not say a lot about the new heaven, earth, and Jerusalem.
  • Second, when the rest of the Bible (both OT and NT) mentions the new heaven, earth, and Jerusalem it appears to describe this future state in the same time period as the Millennium.

Meaning, when OT prophets or NT writers described the end time they seemed to describe all of the events happening together. Instead of a sequential or chronological way. Examples are Isa 61:1-2; 65:17; 66:22; Dan 12:2; Luke 4:17-19; 2 Peter 3:10-13. However, the book of Revelation provides a clear description of events that happen in a sequential and mostly chronological way.

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II. THE NEW HEAVEN, NEW EARTH, AND NEW JERUSALEM (Rev 21:1-2)

A. The New Heaven and New Earth (v. 1)

Καὶ εἶδον οὐρανὸν καινὸν καὶ γῆν καινήν. ὁ γὰρ πρῶτος οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ πρώτη γῆ ἀπῆλθαν καὶ ἡ θάλασσα οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were gone and the sea was also gone. (Rev 21:1) 2

1. New or New?

The Greek word used here for “new” is the adjective, καινος, which describes something that is recent in contrast to something old. Often it is translated as new. According to one lexicon it describes new “in the sense that what is old has become obsolete, and should be replaced by what is new. In such a case the new is, as a rule, superior in kind to the old” (BDAG, 497). Walvoord describes the word meaning both “new in character and in the sense of recently made” (Walvoord, Revelation, 329). Metzger says it is a “new kind of heaven and earth” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 98).

2. No Sea Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text.
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Review of Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 20:11-15

11Then I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence. No place was found for the earth and sky. 12Then I saw the dead—the great and the small—they were standing before the throne. The books were opened, then another book was opened which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged from what had been written in the books according to their deeds. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it. Death and Hades also gave up the dead that were in them. Every person was judged according to his deeds. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire—this is the second death—which is the lake of fire. 15If someone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, he is thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15) 1

The Great White Throne Judgment in Rev 20.11 to 20.15

Photo Credit: “The Last Judgment” (Stefan Lochner, 1400-1451)

C. General Remarks about Rev 20:11-15

“The account in these few verses, in spite of their brevity, is one of the most impressive descriptions of the Last Judgment ever written.” Metzger, Breaking the Code, 97

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II. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE (20:11)

Καὶ εἶδον θρόνον μέγαν λευκὸν καὶ τὸν καθήμενον ἐπʼ αὐτόν, οὗ ἀπὸ °τοῦ προσώπου ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς.

Then I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence. No place was found for the earth and sky. (Rev 20:11) 2

A. Who Sits on the Throne

The one sitting on the throne is the Father and probably also Jesus. In the New Testament the Father is described as providing the last judgment (Matt 6:4; 10:32-33; 18:35; Mark 8:38; Rom 14:10; also see Dan 7:9, 10, 22), but Jesus has been given authority to judge (Matt 7:22-23; 25:31-46; John 5:22, 30; 2 Cor 5:10). Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Preview Blog Posts 

B. Text of Revelation 20:1-10

“1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the keys of the abyss. He also held a large chain in his hand. 2He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent-who is the Devil and Satan, and tied him up for a thousand years. 3The angel threw him into the Abyss, shut it, and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the 1,000 years were over. After this it is necessary for him to be released for a short time.

4Then I saw thrones and the ones sitting on them were given authority to judge. These are the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God. They refused to worship the beast, his statue, and they did not take the mark on their forehead or on their hands. They came to life again and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the 1,000 years were over.) This is the first resurrection. 6The blessed and saints have a share in the first resurrection. For them, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

7When the thousand years have ended, Satan will be let out of prison 8and he will go out to deceive the nations from the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for war. Their number will be like sand of the sea. 9They went up to the wide plain of the earth and they surrounded the saint’s headquarters and city which they loved. But! Fire came down from heaven and consumed them completely. 10Then the Devil—who deceives everyone—was cast into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and false prophet are. There they all will be tortured day and night forever and ever.” (Rev 20:1-10) 1

Christ's Reign and Satan's Defeat (Rev 20:1-10)

Photo Credit: Raphael

C. General Remarks

“Jesus wins. All Christians can agree on a few things, and this is one of them.” (Hitchcock, The End, 399)

“At this point above all – above all the rest of the New Testament, itn my experience – it doesn’t do to be too dogmati. We must hold on to the central things which John has made crystal clear: the victory of the lamb, and theh call to share his factory through faith andpatience. God will then do what God will then do.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 181)

“This is one of the great chapters of the Bible. It presents in summary the tremendous series of events that relate to the millennial reign of Christ on earth. In this future period of a thousand years, many expositors believe that hundreds of Old Testament prophecies will be fulfilled.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 297)

D. Prophecies of the Millennial Reign of Christ

  • “May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth. May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more. May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust.” (Psalm 72:6–9, NLT)
  • “All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.” (Psalm 72:11, NLT)
  • “In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2–4, NLT)
  • “He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:4, NLT)
  • “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD. In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people— those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth. Then at last the jealousy between Israel and Judah will end. They will not be rivals anymore.” (Isaiah 11:6–13, NLT)
  • “And in anger I will reach out with my strong hand and powerful arm, and I will bring you back from the lands where you are scattered. I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will judge you face to face. I will judge you there just as I did your ancestors in the wilderness after bringing them out of Egypt, says the Sovereign LORD. I will examine you carefully and hold you to the terms of the covenant. I will purge you of all those who rebel and revolt against me. I will bring them out of the countries where they are in exile, but they will never enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 20:34–38, NLT)

II. BINDING SATAN (Rev 20:1-3)

A. An Angel with a Key (v. 1)

Καὶ εἶδον ἄγγελον καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἔχοντα τὴν κλεῖν τῆς ἀβύσσου καὶ ἅλυσιν μεγάλην ἐπὶ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ.

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the keys of the abyss. He also held a large chain in his hand.” (Rev 20:1)

The “abyss” is the prison house of demonic spirits (1 Enoch 10:4; 18:14; 2 Peter 2:4). They they wait for their final destiny. The abyss (Rev 19:20) is a holding place and seems to be less severe than the lake of fire mentioned in Rev 19:20; 20:10. Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 19:11-21

“11Then I looked and I saw heaven being opened. And behold, a white horse and the one riding it was titled, ‘Faithful and True.’ In righteousness he was judging and waging war. 12His eyes were like flames of fire, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written which no one could understand except himself. 13He was wearing clothing dipped in blood, and the name he is called is, ‘The Word of God. 14The armies in heaven were dressed in fine linen that was white and clean. They followed the rider on the white horse. 15He had a sharp sword coming out of his mouth so that he could use it to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, he will walk on the wine of the winepress of the God Almighty’s angry wrath. 16He had a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’ 17Then I looked and I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried out in a loud voice saying to all the birds flying in the mid-heaven, ‘Come! Gather for the great feast of God. 18Gather so we can eat the flesh of the kings, captains, powerful, horses, those who live with them, both free and slaves, small and great.’ 19Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth gathered to war against the one who sits on the horse and against his army. 20The beast was seized along with his false prophet who had done signs on behalf of the beast. He led those astray who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. The two of them were thrown into the lake of fire of burning sulfur. 21The rest were killed by the sword that came out from the mouth from the one riding the horse. Every bird was full on their flesh.” (Rev 19:11-21) 1

Jesus Christ Returns (Rev 19:11-21)

Photo Credit: Waiting for the Word

C. General Remarks

“The Word of God marks plain that God so loved the world that He gave His Son, and that all who avail themselves of the grace of God are immeasurably blessed in time and eternity. On the other hand, the same Word of God states plainly that those who spurn God’s mercy must experience His judgment without mercy.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 294)

“There is nothing more dear to God’s people and more clearly stated in the Bible than the fact that Jesus Christ is coming again.” (Hitchcock, The End, 384).

“It is as though the wholeness of God is a sharp scalpel in the hand of a skilled and loving surgeon. As the surgeon seeks to cut through our flesh to the cancerous growth that is destroying us, we could easily perceive the surgeon as a spiteful, sadistic, ogre who is seeking to inflict pain and suffering upon us when, in reality, the surgeon, the scalpel, and the suffering they cause are all directed toward our healing and wholeness.” Mulholland, “Revelation” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, 574.

“This passage contains one of the most graphic pictures of the second coming of Christ to be found anywhere in Scripture.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 287)

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II. THE RIDER ON THE WHITE HORSE (Rev 19:11-16)

1A. Passages Predicting Christ’s Return

“Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation! It is I, the LORD, who has the power to save!” Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes.” (Isaiah 63:1–3, NLT)

“The LORD will appear above his people; his arrows will fly like lightning! The Sovereign LORD will sound the ram’s horn and attack like a whirlwind from the southern desert.” (Zechariah 9:14, NLT)

“Then the LORD will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:3–4, NLT)

“For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near. “Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.” (Matthew 24:27–31, NLT)

“Jesus replied, ‘You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” (Matthew 26:64, NLT)

There were many people thinking about and writing about the coming of the Messiah during Jesus’ time and before his time. One of the views from the Dead Sea Scrolls seems to indicate that there would be two Messiahs: a royal Messiah and a priestly Messiah (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 172). Meanwhile, other writings around Jesus’ time indicate that they were expecting a royal and wise king like Solomon, others suggest the king would be a military leader.

I am often asked—especially in my new believers class that I teach at church—why do the Jesus reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Well, it is because the passages I’ve listed above seem to indicate a Messiah that would be a military leader.

While Jesus did come to fight a battle, it was not the battle that many thought he was going to fight. He came to conquer death.

A. Faithful and True (v. 11)

Καὶ εἶδον τὸν οὐρανὸν ἠνεῳγμένον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἵππος λευκὸς καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπʼ αὐτὸν [καλούμενος] πιστὸς καὶ ἀληθινός, καὶ ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ κρίνει καὶ πολεμεῖ.

“Then I looked and I saw heaven being opened. And behold, a white horse and the one riding it was titled, ‘Faithful and True.’ In righteousness he was judging and waging war.” (Rev 19:11) 2

1. Similar to the First Seal Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Review

B. Text of Revelation 17:1-8

1Then one of the seven angels holding the seven last plagues came to me and spoke to me saying, ‘Come! I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, 2with her the kings of the earth have fornicated. The people living on the earth have become drunk from the wine of immorality. 3Then he carried me away in the spirit to the wilderness. Then I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names and who had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman had been clothed in purple and scarlet clothing, was wearing gold, and precious stones, and pearls. She was holding a gold cup in her hand that was full of loathsome things and her sexual impurities. 5On her forehead was written a name—a mystery—Babylon the great mother of all prostitutes and loathsome things on the earth. 6Then I saw the woman becoming drunk from the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs for Jesus. I was completely amazed when I saw her. 7Then the angel said to me, ‘Why are you surprised?’ I will show to you the mystery of the woman and the beast which carries her and has seven heads and ten horns. 8The beast which you saw was, but is no longer. He is about to come up from the Abyss but will go to destruction. Those who live on the earth will be amazed at this. These are the people whose names are not written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. They will see that the beast was, but now is no longer and no longer present.” (Rev 17:1-8)

Judgment on the Great Prostitute (Rev 17:1-8)

Photo Credit: A picture from Martin Luther’s 1534 Translation of the Bible

C. General Remarks

“Chapters 17 and 18 are dedicated to the description of the final destruction of Babylon in both its ecclesiastical and political forms. It is evident from these chapters that the events described precede the events represented in the seven bowls by a considerable period of time. In fact, it is probably that the events of chapter 17 occur at the beginning of the great tribulation.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 253)

II. THE DISPLAY TO THE PROSTITUTE (Rev 17:1-2)

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A. Angelic Revelation (v. 1)

Καὶ ἦλθεν εἷς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλων τῶν ἐχόντων τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας καὶ ἐλάλησεν μετʼ ἐμοῦ λέγων· δεῦρο, δείξω σοι τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης τῆς καθημένης ἐπὶ ὑδάτων πολλῶν,

“Then one of the seven angels holding the seven last plagues came to me and spoke to me saying, ‘Come! I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters,” (Rev 17:1)

1. One of the Seven Angels Continue Reading…

I. INTRODUCTION

Famous commentators and teachers of Scripture often state that Revelation 11 or Revelation 12 are some of the most difficult chapters in the Bible to interpret. However, in my opinion the two chapters about the fall of Babylon are the most difficult for me to interpret and wrestle with.

I’ve heard many ideas about the identity of Babylon, Rome, the United States of America, the Roman Catholic Church, Dallas Texas, Jerusalem, Apostate Christianity, New York City, an unknown future city, or Babylon on the Euphrates.

Five Views on the Identity of Babylon in Rev 17-18

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

II. BRIEF EXPOSITION OF REVELATION 17-18

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There are several key observations that we need to make about Babylon in Revelation 17-18.

A. Making Other Nations Rich

First, Babylon is described as a world empire with economic influence. Babylon is called “great city” (Rev 17:17; 18:2, 10, 16, 19, 21). The kings of the world have subjected themselves to Babylon and received punishment because they have allowed Babylon to influence them (Rev 17:2; 18; 18:9). The name written on the forehead of the woman is, “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World” (Rev 17:5). Babylon rules over “masses” of people from every nation and language (Rev 17:15). Additionally, it is described as the great city that rules over the kings of the world (Rev 17:18). Babylon’s economic influence is seen in her desires for extravagant luxury (Rev 18:3, 7, 9) which caused merchants of the world to grow rich (Rev 18:3, 11-19).

B. Babylon Was Wicked and Evil

Second, Babylon is described as being evil and wicked throughout both Revelation 17 and 18. The people who belong to this world became drunk on the wine of her immortality (Rev 17:2; 18:3). Babylon is a home for demons and everything that is wicked (Rev 18:2). The nations of the world have committed adultery with her (Rev 18:3, 9). Holy people are told not to participate in her sins otherwise they will be punished with her (Rev 18:4). Babylon’s sins are piled high (Rev 18:5) and she commits evil deeds (Rev 18:6). The two chapters about Babylon end with the most severe of Babylon’s sins about how her streets flowed with the blood of prophets, of God’s holy people, and the blood of people slaughtered all over the world (Rev 18:24).
Babylon will never be inhabited again (Isa 13:20)

III. VIEWS ON THE IDENTITY OF BABYLON

A. Apostate Christendom or Apostate Church Continue Reading…

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons & Review

B. Text of Rev 16:12-21

“12Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east. 13Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14For they are demon spirits making signs which go out to the kings of the whole earth to gather them for the battle of the great day of the Lord, the Almighty! 15Behold! I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothing, so that nakedness does not walk around and people see his nakedness. 16The demonic spirits gathered the kings and their armies to the placed called in Hebrew, ‘Armageddon.’ 17Lastly, the seventh angel poured out his bowl on the air. And I heard a loud voice coming out of the temple from the throne saying, ‘It is done!’ 18Then there was lightening, roaring, thunder, and a great earthquake. The earthquake was so great and severe, that one of that magnitude had never been felt by man before. 19The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the Gentiles fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God and gave her the cup of wine of his angry wrath. 20Every island disappeared and no mountain was found. 21Then great hailstones that weighed 100 pounds each were coming down from heaven onto people. So people slandered God from the hailstone plagues because they were the most severe of his plagues.” (Rev 16:12-21) 1

The Sixth and Seven Seals and War of Armageddon of Rev 16.12 to 16.21

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“Those who fall under judgment here are those who have been given every chance to repent, and have refused. They have chosen to go down with the monsters rather than to suffer and be vindicated with the lamb. In the language of chapters 17-22, they have chosen the way of the harlot rather than the way of the bride.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 146)

“Though we are not able to immediately understand all the details of these dramatic judgments, the unmistakable impression of the Scriptures is that the whole world is being brought to the bar of justice before Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no escape from divine judgment except for those who receive the grace of God in that day of faith in Jesus Christ.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 251)

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON A “PLACE” OR A “BATTLE?”

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON THE “LAST” BATTLE ON THE EARTH?

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON A “WAR” OR A “SINGLE BATTLE?”

QUESTION: IS JESUS PRESENT DURING THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON?

II. THE SIXTH BOWL JUDGMENT ON THE EUPHRATES RIVER (Rev 16:12-16)

“Numerous interpretations have been offered for this bowl judgment. Some have been farfetched, and the historical school has in the past attempted to identify this battle with a previous major world conflict. But the most natural explanation is the best, which is that this judgment actually dries up the great Euphrates River, thereby preparing for an invasion from the East.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 245)

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A. The Euphrates Dries Up (v. 12)

Καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἐξέχεεν τὴν φιάλην αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸν ποταμὸν τὸν μέγαν τὸν Εὐφράτην, καὶ ἐξηράνθη τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα ἑτοιμασθῇ ἡ ὁδὸς τῶν βασιλέων τῶν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου.

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east.” (Rev 16:12) 2

QUESTION: DOES GOD ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN?

1. The Great Euphrates River

The river is called the “great river . . . Euphrates” in Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; Josh 1:4.

Two Old Testament prophecies seem to predict this future event of the drying up of the Euphrates River:

  • “The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot.” (Isaiah 11:15, NLT)
  • “They will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end.” (Zechariah 10:11, NLT)

2. Kings from the East Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons and Review

B. Text of Rev 16:1-11

1Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven plagues of God’s wrath on the earth.” 2So the first angel left and poured out his bowl on the earth. Then painful and harsh sores appeared on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. 3Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. As a result the sea turned into blood like from the dead, and every living thing in the sea died. 4Then the third bowl was poured out on the rivers and water springs. As a result they turned into blood. 5Then I heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘You are righteous. The One who is, was, the holy one that judges with these things, 6because the blood of the saints and the prophets has been poured out, so you gave them blood to drink, which they deserve.” 7Then I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Yes! Lord God, Almighty! Your judgments are true and just.” 8Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and it caused the sun to burn up humans in fire. 9People were scorched with a scorching heat. So they slandered the name of God who holds power over these plagues, yet they did not repent and give him glory. 10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast. As a result his kingdom was darkened and people were biting their tongues from the pain. 11They slandered the God of heaven because of their pain and sores. Yet, they did not turn from their evil deeds. (Rev 16:1-11)

The First Through Fifth Bowls (Rev 16:1-11)

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“God will allow natural elements themselves (earth, sea, rivers and sun) to pass judgment on the human beings who have so grievously abused their position as God’s image-bearers with creation.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 142)

D. Opening Illustration

Well known Bible scholar and writer N.T. Wright, was cycling down the street one day when he came up beside a former teacher of his. Wright had studied the New Testament under him a few years earlier, but now Wright was neck deep in studying and writing about Rom 1:18-3:20. That section of Paul’s letter to the Romans is all about God’s wrath against all human wickedness. Wright confided in his former teacher saying, “I’m having a hard time with wrath.” To that statement his former teacher said, “Aren’t we all” and he cheerfully cycled off (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 141).

II. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOWL JUDGMENTS (Rev 16:1)

“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the seven plagues of God’s wrath on the earth.’” (Rev 16:1)

QUESTION: WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE? SEEMS TO BE THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE.

QUESTION: WHAT IS THE TIMING OF THESE BOWLS? FIRST OR LAST?

QUESTION: WHO’S VOICE DO YOU THINK THIS IS?

A. The Seven Angels

These are the same seven angels that are first mentioned in Revelation 15.

B. God’s “Wrath” Continue Reading…