THE 7 CHURCHES (REV 2:1-3:22)
In the opening chapters of the book of Revelation we encounter descriptions
of seven churches.
These messages are of greater significance than many have realized. They
represent the 7 lamps of the lampstand of the tabernacle of meeting. In
the New Testament these are the 7 major divisions of Christianity which
exist in the end time!
Ephesus - 'you have left your first love'
Smyrna - 'do not fear ... be faithful until death'
Pergamos - 'Balaam ... Nicolaitans ... Repent, or else'
Thyatira - 'you allow ... Jezreel ... to beguile My servants'
Sardis - 'you are dead ... repent ... watch'
Philadelphia - 'set before you an open door, and no one can shut it'
Laodiceans - 'buy from me gold refined in the fire'
Ephesus - 'else I will ... remove your lampstand'
Smyrna - 'you will have tribulation ten days'
Pergamos - 'else I will ... fight against them'
Thyatira - 'I will kill her children with death'
Sardis - 'I will come upon you as a thief'
Philadelphia - 'I will also keep you from the hour of trial'
Laodiceans - 'I will spew you out of My mouth'
All churches - 'to he who overcomes'
[He who persists in the exercise of his faith;
escaping any corrupt perspectives prevalent
in his church and demonstrating a desire to
work in the vineyard of God.]
THE 1,000 YEAR REIGN (REV 20:1-10)
The text of the 1,000 year prophecy has caused many to believe there will
be a 1,000 year period when Christ and the righteous will rule on this
earth. However, there are a number of factors which suggest this is not
the true teaching of this prophecy.
1) This 1,000 year era is not implied by any other prophecy.
(NB: The 7th day of creation, unlike the first 6 days, is not
described in Genesis as being comprised of an evening and a
morning. This suggests the 7th day is an undefined or open
ended period of time.)
2) All other prophecies relate directly (or indirectly) to events
in our immediate future. One does not encounter prophecies
which detail events or time periods considerably beyond those
associated with the tribulation and the return of Christ.
3) 2 Peter 3:8 states 'one day is as a thousand years and a
thousand years as one day'. Although the first clause,
ie 1 day = 1,000 years, is utilized to associate the 6 days
of creation to a period of 6,000 years; it appears the second
clause is never considered. Should this period of 1,000 years
be understood to represent one day?
3) Prophetic periods of time relating to the 'end time' are
never plainly stated! (Many not having an adequate awareness
of biblical 'end time' prophecy have failed to realize the
existence of symbolic time periods.)
A common symbolic meaning attributed to the 1,000 years is to see it
as the period of 2,000 years, the period from Pentecost to the Great
However, the correct understanding of the 1,000 year scriptures presented
in Rev 20:1-11 requires greater discernment.
Firstly we should notice that the period of one thousand years in this
text is encountered 6 times over a span of 7 verses (Rev 20:1-7). This
frequency is too high!
The reason for this excessive repetition lies in the fact that two periods
of time are being portrayed!
- First period. Rev 20:2, 3 and 7.
- Second period. Rev 20:4, 5 and 6.
These two successive periods are mentioned together in Isaiah.
Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God; ...
In summary the verses would be viewed as follows:
ADMONITION The first period of the symbolic 1,000 years is the end-time
equivalent of the restraint of Satan during the ministry
of Jesus Christ. (A time when demons could be cast out,
refer Matthew 12:22-29.)
An angel appears with the key to the bottomless pit. (The
key of David held by Christ. Rev 3:7.)
Following this Satan is bound and the warning is announced.
This is the prophetic acceptable year of the LORD (typified
in Luke 4:19). During this time the first resurrection
(a spiritual resurrection) is taking place.
TRIBULATION The second period of the symbolic 1,000 years is the 'little
while' of Rev 20:3 (also mentioned in Rev 12:12), ie the
duration of the Great Tribulation.
Those who possess the 'gospel of the kingdom' can not be
hurt by the dragon's deception and are therefore described
as 'reigning with Christ'.
However, everyone else has to face the full deception
of Satan and through this means God brings the day of
vengeance upon the religious hierarchy guilty of the
blood of the saints.
Toward the end of the Great Tribulation Satan knowing his
time is about to finish gathers the nations together
against the betrothed wife of Christ.
RESOLUTION The work of the dragon is brought to an end.
The second spiritual resurrection begins.
THE THREE ANGELS (REV 14:6-12)
ADMONITION The 1st angel - 'having the everlasting gospel to preach'
TRIBULATION The 2nd angel - 'Babylon is fallen' (ie religious Babylon)
RESOLUTION The 3rd angel - The judgment of those who worship the beast
'he himself shall also drink of the wine
of the wrath of God. And he shall be ...
tormented ... in the presence of the Lamb.'
[NB: Wrath is poured out not only during the
Great Tribulation, but in a different
Five verses in the book Revelation mention the word 'earthquake'.
Rev 6:12 - Opening of the 6th seal
Rev 8:5 - Prelude to 7 trumpets
Rev 11:13 - After ascension of the two witnesses
Rev 11:19 - Blowing of the 7th trumpet
Rev 16:18 - Pouring out of the 7th plague
Earthquakes tend to indicate major changes/milestones in the revealed plan
of God. For example in the Old Testament, Zech 14:5 and Amos 1:1, there is
mention of an earthquake which appears to be connected with a form of God's
judgment at that time.
The book of Revelation the suggests the following arrangement.
PRELIMINARY 1) Rev 8:5 - Verses 8:3-5 are a side commentary placed
prior to the blowing of the seven trumpets.
These three verses indicate the reason for
the blowing of the trumpets. They show the
trumpets were blown because of the prayers
of the saints. These prayers being cries
for due justice to be levied upon those who
had persecuted them - typified in Rev 6:10).
TRIBULATION 2) Rev 6:12 - The opening of the 6th seal. A great
earthquake occurs at this time and it
represents a major shift in the heavenly
scene, ie a shift in authority in the work
At this time the 'nations' trample Jerusalem
and its sanctuary.
RESOLUTION 3) Rev 11:19 - The opening of the temple of God in heaven
signals the return of Christ. It is the
appearance of the sign of the Son of Man
in heaven - refer Matt 24:30.
4) Rev 16:18 - The pouring of the 7th bowl and the words
from the temple in heaven, 'It is done!'.
The Great Tribulation has finished.
5) Rev 11:13 - 'in the same hour' (following the glorified
return of Christ) a tenth of the city falls
and a symbolic 7,000 men die (ie, the 7