“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9)
The Lord Jesus has given us a book which pre-writes History before it ever takes place. What a blessing it is to be able to see the future as God has prewritten it here in the Word of God. We find that Chapter One is the first part of the natural outline of the Book of Revelation given in Revelation 1:19.
1. First Division: Chapter One.
“Write the things which thou hast seen,...” (19a).
The Past. John saw the vision of the Risen and Glorified Christ. He is the Lord of the Church. He is the Founder of the Church. It is not anyone else. It is none of the Apostles. It’s not Peter, it’s not the Baptists, it’s not the Lutherans, nor the Catholic organization. It is no one but Jesus Christ who is the Chief Cornerstone. He is the Founder of His Church.
2. Second Division: Chapters Two and Three.
“...and the things which are,...” (19b).
The Present. The “things which are” are covered by Chapters Two and Three, and those are the Letters to the Seven Churches existing at the time of the Book’s writing.
3. Third Division: Chapters Four to Twenty-Two.
"...and the things which shall be hereafter;” (19c).
The Future. The “things which shall be hereafter,” are covered by Chapter Four on to Chapter Twenty-Two. In “...the things which shall be hereafter,” you’ll never find a mention of the Church from Chapter Four on, because it is raptured before that seven-year Tribulation Period takes place.
“The Revelation.” It is the Disclosure, the Apocalypse, not the sealed book. It is the Unveiling, letting us know what is going to happen.
“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:”
In the First Century, they thought maybe the things written in the Book of Revelation were going to come to pass just in a few years after John wrote them. God doesn’t always run on our timetable. He tells us that “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” It doesn’t say “It IS a thousand years.” but “AS a thousand years.” There is a time element, from God’s perspective, that does not coincide exactly with time as man has it down here. We think, down here, if we live fifty or sixty years we’ve really come right along. If we live up to eighty or ninety years old, we think, “Boy, we’ve had a long life!”
Time is only an island in God’s Sea of Eternity. It has been allotted to man, so that God can allocate time to run His schedule, and to put things on a timetable for man’s benefit. Time is nothing with God. He has always been. He allots time to man so we can understand His workings, and the approximate time in which He is going to do something.
“Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
How did the Lord communicate the Book of Revelation to John? According to Revelation 1:1, 2, the Father gave the revelation to the Son, and the Son gave it to the apostle, sometimes using “His angel” as intermediary. Sometimes, Christ, Himself, conveyed the information to John (Rev. 1:10, 11). At other times, an elder brought Christ’s message to John (Rev. 7:13), or it was an angel (Rev. 17:1;19:9–10). Sometimes a “voice from heaven” told John what to say and do (Rev. 10:4). But no matter how the book came from God to John, it was all inspired by the Spirit.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
We are saying the Book of Revelation is a blessing! You’re going to be blessed as you follow along. You’ll be blessed if you just read it yourself! And the Holy Spirit will bless you with this reading here, because you’re going to find out what God has in the future.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;”
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia:” John addresses his letter to the Seven Churches which were in the Roman Province of Asia. This area was governed by a proconsul, and is, therefore, sometimes called Proconsular Asia. This is the, present-day, western part of Turkey. The Seven Churches, or, it should be “assemblies,” were not buildings. The early church met in homes and temporary locations. They did not begin to acquire buildings until approximately 200 to 300 A.D. We’re not talking about buildings, but the people, in the congregations, that make up these churches. You’ve got to remember, there were more churches in Asia Minor, at that time, than the seven mentioned in the Book of Revelation. At Colosse and Hierapolis, there existed congregations. Paul wrote an Epistle to the Colossians. These seven churches in the Book of Revelation, however, REPRESENT the entirety of the churches.
“And from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;” The Number Seven, in Scripture, represents divine completeness, therefore the sevens of this Book represent the entirety of the subject at hand. The seven churches represent all the churches. The seven spirits are a personification of the omnipresent Spirit of God, as Revelation 3:1 notifies us that Christ is the Possessor of the Seven Spirits. Notice Isaiah 11:1, 2,
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: (v.1) And the... [1.] spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the... [2.] spirit of wisdom and... [3.] understanding, the... [4.] spirit of counsel and...[5.] might, the... [6.] spirit of knowledge and of the... [7.] fear of the LORD;”
Everything that God does can be identified in all these ways, plus many more. They are not limited. In Ephesians 1:17-20, we find that, by the grace of God, these seven abilities are also available to the Christian to strengthen him in living the Christian life.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the... [1.] spirit of wisdom and [2.] revelation in the knowledge of him: (v.17) The eyes of your... [3.] understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the... [4.] hope of his calling, and what the... [5.] riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,(v. 18) what is the exceeding... [6.] greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the... [7.] working of his mighty power,” (19). Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,” (20).
So, too, do we have the Number Seven, God’s number of divine completeness, with the Seven Seals, the Seven Trumpets, the Seven Bowls, and the Seven Thunders that are going to be described later. All represent the total span of these judgments.
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the Earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Along with that, turn with me now to 1 Peter 1:19,
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
You’d be surprised at the letters that we get, and the people that we have talked to that have said, “You know, Pastor Younce, we’re so glad you have pointed us to the Lord Jesus. Yes, we believe that Jesus died for us, but in the church we went to God’s Word was so diminished, and everything was water baptism for salvation. We heard very little of the Gospel. Oh, Yes. They would say that Jesus Christ shed His blood on the Cross, but if you want to be a part of the Body of Christ, you’ve got to be water baptized. We were told that is what places you into the Body of Christ. You have stimulated us to study this. We now know that it is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that saves us, not our water baptism.”
Water baptism doesn’t put us into the Body of Christ. It is faith in Christ that puts us into the Body of Christ. We find that in 1 Corinthians 12:13,
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized (or placed) into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
I would like for you to read the last part of Revelation 1:5 again,
“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
The Apostle Peter said the same thing in 1 Peter 1:18, when he got on the congregation, there, for the Jewish traditions they were holding on to. We have the same thing today. People want to substitute tradition for the Word of God, and bring in things that have absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. They will appeal to the flesh and look religious, but they are meaningless to God. They are empty, and vain, and have no substance whatsoever!
In 1 Peter 1:18-20,
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;” (18) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (19): Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” (20).
We are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ.” Any church that teaches, or substitutes anything, for the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation being by grace, is a cult religion. Mark it down! Many are coming on the scene. We are seeing some that are sending out prayer cloths, and you send a little bit of money back to them with it. These are big name organizations. One begins to wonder. People want to do something for God, but many times they are deceived by the phonies that are out there. These are charlatans who do anything that they possibly can to fleece you from your money. We just say to them, “If you have such a great ministry, go out and pastor a church. Amen?” If you ever needed one of these pastors that you hear on the radio and television, do you think they would be available?
Let me just say this. We emphasize the local church here on the Heritage Radio Bible Class. Yes, we appreciate that you are listening to the radio ministry, but it is only a support to your faith as you attend a good Bible-teaching church. It is wonderful that we have pastors all over the United States that believe in the truth of the Word of God. You might have to hunt a little bit to find them, but they are out there.
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
We find out that we Christians, who have trusted in Christ, are today’s kings and priests. We are kings in that, as Christ’s servants, we are not under bondage to man. We are priests in that, we, ourselves, can come directly to God in prayer because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need no human ministers, or priests, to ever intercede for us. In fact, the Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:5,
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
“There is one mediator between God and man...,” and God says who it is. It is Christ Jesus, not any human being.
As we begin to get a little background here, we find out that there are many Christians who are not fully aware of the royalty of their inheritance. We tend to look with awe at those in high office, such as presidents, kings, and czars. We see their privileged position, and all the benefits they receive from this elevation, but Christ has made every Christian a king and a priest. He has given us royalty, and our destiny is a royal destiny!
In the Old Testament, only the priest had the right to the access of God. When a male Jew entered the Temple, he could pass through the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites; but, there, he must stop. Into the Court of the Priests he could not go. By our new birth in Christ, we now have royal blood, and we can come directly and boldly into the Throne of Grace. We are told that in Hebrews 4:16,
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
We are to come boldly before the Throne of Grace. God wants each Christian to come directly to Him. You don’t have to go through a church, a priest, or get down on your knees. You can be driving in your car and you may want to talk to the Lord. Well, start talking to Him! He wants a personal relationship with you. He doesn’t want other intercessors to get in the way. You go to the Lord Jesus.
Religion will always try to enslave you. They will always try to get you to go to a man. Wherever you have those requirements, you have a cult religion. You have a counterfeit religion. You have religion, but you do not have Christianity! As we’ve said a thousand times, any preacher that points you to Jesus Christ—that preacher loves the Lord. Any preacher that says, “You come to me and I’ll forgive your sins,” is a false preacher. Christ is the Christo-centric vertebrae of the Bible. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who forgives our sins.
We find out that, in John’s day, Roman citizenship was for the privileged few. John was not a citizen, but he rejoiced in the fact that, in Christ, he now had a heavenly citizenship. He was not only a citizen, but a king, and a priest of the heavenly family, himself. What an inheritance that you and I have!
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
John sees Christ coming in the clouds with power and glory at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period. You will find wherever Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, refer to the coming of the Lord Jesus, it is never the Rapture of the Church.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John never knew of the Rapture. They only knew about two of the “Mountain Peaks of Prophecy.” They saw the first mountain peak, when Christ was going to die on Mount Calvary. They saw the second mountain peak when Christ is coming back in Revelation, Chapter 19, riding the white horse to execute judgment upon this Earth. They never saw the valley in between. That valley is the Church Age, from Pentecost until the Rapture, when Jesus Christ comes as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The Rapture will be immediately followed by the Seven-Year Tribulation Period, for which the Rapture is the precipitating event.
So, when we come to “every eye shall see him…,” there is an amazing thing here. How did John know that “every eye shall see him…?” That is a very interesting thing. The Lord had spoken of this earlier in Matthew 24:29, 30, also, in Matthew, Chapter 25. At that time, he will slay the armies of the Antichrist gathered in Israel at Armageddon. We will get to that in Revelation, Chapter 19. Here we have the Prelude, at the beginning of the Book of Revelation, where it “flashes out” with that mighty theme of the Book, “Behold, he comes with clouds and every eye shall see him.”
Those that “wail” here are the remnant of Israel, and the Gentiles who have trusted Christ during the Tribulation Period. These cry because they have so long turned their backs on their Savior. As they see the One who suffered for their sins, they break into wailing when they behold His wounds on their behalf.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Here is a self-proclamation by Christ that He is the “Alpha and Omega.” If you have any doubt as to whether these verses apply to the Father, or the Son, refer to Revelation 22:13, where they unmistakably apply to the Son.
“I [Jesus] am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
A few years ago, ministers and laymen alike, wondered how it would be possible for every eye to see the Lord Jesus Christ as He comes through those clouds. From a human standpoint, this seemed to be impossibility. However, on Monday, July 21, 1969, people from all over the world watched Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon. Some of us may remember that. Through orbiting satellites that bounced radio and television signals back to Earth, every eye was able to see the event, simultaneously. John did not know about these things. He did not know about television, or satellites in orbit. He knew nothing about sending video and audio signals clear back to the Earth from being in space orbit, but the Holy Spirit knew about it.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Holy Spirit said, “John, you write this down, ‘Every eye is going to see Him.’” How wonderful that is. Now, let us continue.
“He is the “Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator. He is the start of humanity, as it tells us in Colossians 1:16, 17,
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him (16): And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (17).
We are having another resurgence of Theistic Evolution. They are saying, “Well, now we believe in an evolutionary type of creation. That is, God created the “first blob,” but then, He allowed it to evolve however it wanted to. As I said, that is called Theistic Evolution, and it’s a big bunch of trash!
“In the beginning God created the heaven(s) and the Earth.”
Everything was in its perfect order.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27).
In the beginning, “God created man in own his image.” Mankind is doing everything they possibly can to discredit the Word of God. They even came out with this nonsense about Theistic Evolution in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The term, “Theistic Evolution,” is an oxymoron. If God does something, it is “Theistic,” but God, the Creator, is the opposite of false “Evolutionary Science.” Satan is behind evolution; therefore, evolution cannot be “theistic.” That is like saying “I am absolutely unsure about that!” They have some idiots they interview at the newspaper over there. I wish they would interview someone, sometime, who has some intelligence! You say, “Oh, Pastor Younce, You shouldn’t talk that way!” My Friend, God talks that way! In fact, He said it more than once. I’ll just give you two:
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Psalm 14:1).
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good” (Psalm 53:1).
Some of these modernistic preachers are coming out now, under the pressure of your feminist movement, and saying, “Oh, God can be a female.” They are putting all this garbage out. It’s a very interesting thing. If God is a female, why in the world do we pray, “Our Father which art in Heaven,” in the Book of Matthew? If that is true, why wasn’t Jesus Christ a female? What you have are hard-headed women, portraying themselves as fools, in denying the Word of God. They want their feministic rights, and they want to overrule God. These are your God deniers under the disguise of religion. These are not women that love the Lord, but women that defy the Lord. These are women that want to do away with the Bible, make God a female, and they publish this garbage in the Star Tribune! It would be nice if they would get somebody, on the positive side, who would quote from God’s Word, but this is the bias of the newspapers that we have today. Anything degrading the Bible, they are going to publish for nothing. When someone stands up for the Bible, and can prove the Bible to be true, they don’t want anything to do with that.
At the time of this writing, there are three women candidates from both major parties, who are contending for the highest office of our land—the Presidency! In fact, this is the second run for one of them. They do not realize this is part of what brought down the nation of Israel. Let us take note of how God sent the Prophet Isaiah to plead with the nation in Isaiah 3:12,
“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”
“They which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Now, there is a quote worth repeating. “They which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Ladies, don’t take offense to Pastor Younce. God said that, not Pastor Younce! I have to say that we have many lovely ladies in our church. God bless them, and we need every one of them! It gives me great joy to say that they, all, agree with God as to how a woman is to serve Him. If God was against having a woman in leadership over the nation of Israel, should not we realize that He would be against having a woman as President of this great country of ours?
Let’s go back and pick up Verse Nine,
“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Here, we find John in exile on an island located about seventy miles from Ephesus. John had pastored the churches, there, in Asia Minor. Now, after being sent to prison by Domitian, he has become a “companion in tribulation” with the other disciples. In Mark 10:35-45, we find that James and John asked for thrones, yet in the later years, they were both given tribulation. James was slain in Acts Twelve, and, now, John suffers in exile. He was exiled because of the Word of God which he had preached.
You know it is interesting that John mentions the sea twenty-five times in this book. He, also, says he was, “...in the isle…in the spirit…” What a wonderful situation. Our geographical location ought never to rob us of our spiritual blessings. In this case, John is being blessed with an opportunity to serve His Lord again, and John’s faithfulness in tribulation has given us “the Book that we can read to receive a blessing.”
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”
We find here that John hears the voice of Christ “as a trumpet.” Trumpets are important in the Book of Revelation:
- In Revelation 4:1, the trumpet calls John up to Heaven, a picture of the Rapture.
- In Revelation 8, 9; 11:15-19, trumpets signal the wrath of God poured out upon the world.
- And in the Old Testament, the Jews used trumpets to gather the assembly. We find that the Temple Institute in Jerusalem has certain trumpets already prepared to use for their services in what they believe is going to be their rebuilt Temple, but will actually be the Tribulation Temple.
“In the Holy Temple, silver trumpets are used during the Divine service, as well as for announcing the arrival of the Shabbat, the New Moon, the three Festivals, and for other various occasions. The gold-plated shofar, (ram's horn), is blown in the Holy Temple on Rosh Hashana. The silver-plated shofar, (ram's horn), is blown in the Holy Temple on fast days.” [They already have them manufactured and waiting.] http://www.templeinstitute. org/vessels_gallery_17.htm
- In Numbers 10:9, they used them to announce war,
“And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.”
They used them to announce special days. Notice Numbers 10:10,
“Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.”
- In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, God’s trumpet will call the Church home,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (16):
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (17).
When you speak about the Lord’s Coming, you always have the God-deniers, and infidels. You have some of these modernistic preachers coming out and saying, “Oh, we don’t believe in a Rapture.” Then, you don’t believe the Bible. Read 1Thessalonians 4:13-17. It’s there! A promise of the coming of the Lord Jesus is, also, at the end of every chapter in the Book of 1 Thessalonians.Yes, the promise of the Lord Jesus’ coming rings all through the Bible, and He is coming! But in Isaiah 53:1, they said the same thing about His First Coming.
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”
“Where is the promise of His coming?” they say. If you’re not saved, you’re going to hate hearing about the Rapture, because you’re not going to meet Jesus in the clouds. And, if you’re not looking for His Second Coming, then you haven’t trusted Him in the First Coming. You’ve got religion, but you don’t have Christ. If you loved the Lord Jesus, you’d remember the last word back from Heaven, when He ascended, in Acts1:11, was, “I’m coming again.”
“…Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
If you deny His Second Coming, you are denying the Rapture when He comes to take the Church home. One man asked not long ago: “Are those that are alive going to recognize those that are the dead in Christ on the way up?” I said, “I don’t know, but they sometimes call the Baptists the ‘dead in Christ.’” That was supposed to be humorous. When the Bible speaks of the “dead in Christ,” however, it is talking about, literally, being dead. These were Christians who were “in Christ,” who have died. They will be raptured first. God knew there would be religious people who are going to deny the Rapture. They are going to deny the Lord Jesus’ Coming, and He tells them here in 2 Peter 3:3
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?”
“Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
He names the seven churches that we will find, as we go on into Chapter Two,
- Ephesus is the Apostolic Church. (2:1-7).
- Smyrna is the Persecuted Church. (2:8-11)
- Pergamos. (2:12-17). This church began to be married to the world under Constantine.
- Thyatira is the Church of Continual Sacrifice. (2:18-29). This is where Rome began to bring in purgatory, prayer beads, and holy water. All of these continual sacrifices are contrary to the Word of God. They brought those in during the Dark Ages.
- Sardis pictures the Reformation, or the New Birth. (3:1-6). Johan Gutenberg, of Germany, had the first printing press, printing the first Bible. During this time, there were great men who rose up in opposition to the Church of Rome, and all of the sacrifices they brought in by councils. None of the sacrifices which the Church of Rome brought in were from the Word of God, whatsoever.
- The Church of Philadelphia is the Church of “brotherly love.” (3:7-13) This is the time where you had David Livingston, Hudson Taylor of China Inland Missions, David Brainerd to the Native Americans, and Jonathan Goforth, a great, great missionary to China. There were many great men, during this time, who were preaching, “You’re ‘saved by grace, through faith, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.’” It would be great if we had men like these today, wouldn’t it? Well, we do have some. We thank God for Bible teachers all over America, and God does have them around.
- Now we move to the Church of Laodicea. (3:14-22). This church characterizes the time we are living in today—the time of “people’s rights.” It is a time when men are straying away from the spiritual leadership of the Bible, and turning to the humanistic philosophies of men. In Revelation 3:17, they claim to be rich, characteristic of the ecumenical church today. Rich and wealthy, but absolutely dead! This is what is called dead Protestantism. All of these churches picture this, as we’re going to see.
“Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book [Greek, ‘biblion,’ a scroll], and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
“What thou seest, write in a book” The Greek word for scroll is biblion, and it is so translated in Revelation 6:14 when the heavens are seen to be departing as “a scroll when it is rolled together.”
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
In the 12 occurrences of the word “book” in the Book of Revelation, it is always translated from the Greek word, “biblion,” meaning “scroll.” (See: Rev. 1:11; Rev.5:19; Rev. 6:14; Rev. 10:8; Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8; Rev. 20:12; Rev. 21:27, Rev. 22:7, 9, 10, 18 (twice), 19).
A little background: Papyrus was too brittle to be folded, so it was rolled to form a scroll. Sometimes a scroll was anywhere from 35 to 40 yards in length, a long piece of scroll. The more durable animal parchment scroll, however, was mainly a possession of the wealthy. The first Christians were not wealthy and they could not afford such costly parchment scrolls. Their only means of writing the Christian message was on any strips of papyrus which they could obtain. These strips were then sewn together and formed a scroll.
The Book of Revelation was written on a scroll. A book of pages which we are familiar with today is called a “codex.” They did not come into use until the 2nd Century A.D., at the earliest.
“The Codex Sinaiticus, one of the oldest manuscripts, was found by Lobegott Friedrich Constantin (von) Tischendorf. It was bought by the British Museum from Russia in the year 1933 for about $500,000. It was written in Greek about the 4th Century A.D. This ancient Bible text was written in brown ink, on three-hundred-twenty-six-and-a half-leaves, found in the Monastery of Saint Catherine’s on Mount Sinai. It had pages similar to books today.
He (Tischendorf) was talking to one of the Stewards, just prior to departing, who advised him he had kept in his room some copied manuscripts the monks had discarded. These contained about half of the Old Testament (Greek Translation, the Septuagint), and the New Testament, with the exclusion of Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11. Tischendorf secured these in return for some gifts to the monastery at Sinai. They were given to the great Imperial Library at St. Petersburg, now Leningrad, Russia. In 1933, the U.S.S.R. sold it to the British Museum in London, England, where it resides today.
Since we have touched on this subject, even though the Codex Sinaiticus, also called Aleph, is one of the two oldest manuscripts of the Bible we have, as noted above, it is not necessarily the best. The complete information on this codex will be found in Appendix III, New Bible Versions. This collection of manuscripts omits some 4,000 words from the Gospels alone, plus, about 1500 readings that show up in none of the 5400 New Testament manuscripts of the Majority Text. It also contains many other discrepancies.” (work-menforchrist.org)
But we thank God for preserving His Word. Anyone can buy a very inexpensive King James Translation of the Bible, and be assured that he has the very best translation that money can buy!
“Heaven and Earth shall pass away; but my word shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;”
We are going to find out the identity of the One who speaks with John, since God very simply explains it to us, Himself, in Revelation 1:13-17:
“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle” (13). His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; (14). And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters (15). And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (16). And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last” (17):
This is the Lord Jesus. I’ve had so many people come and say, “You know, I have seen Christ.” My question to them was always, “What did He look like?” He is usually described with a beard, and with the long hair that you see in the picture that we have of Christ. But you have not seen Christ, and you have no idea what Christ looks like. Did He look like the description we have just read, when you saw Him? Did He have a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth, as in Revelation 1:16? Did He have in his right hand seven stars? Did you see that? Unless you have seen someone that matches this description here, you did not see Christ. What you saw was a counterfeit. This, along with the description given in Daniel 7:9, 10, are the only descriptions we have of Jesus Christ.
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire (9). A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened (10).
And in 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul says,
“And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
No, you that claim to have had visions and dreams of Christ, I tell you that you do not need visions and dreams. You need to open your eyes, and look into the Word of God, which tells us there are no more visions and dreams today. There are none! But you do find in Job 4:12-16, that Eliphaz, one of Job’s three “friends” had a dream, which turned out to be a satanic dream.
“Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof (12). In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men (13), Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake (14). Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up (15): It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, (16).”
He, then, continued to lay out his supposed message to Job in 32 more verses, extending to the end of Chapter Five. We often speak of “the patience of Job.” Just put yourself in his place, now, as he lies in misery, covered with boils, and has to listen to a foolish friend go on, and on--about a dream? But...Eliphaz had a dream, and he related that to Job! Actually, he had a satanic dream. If you read through what he told Job (4:17-5:27), you will find it was all contrary to the Word of God. It was contrary to the purpose of God in Job’s life.
Satan lied to all Job’s friends, and God rebuked them in Job 42:7-9.
“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath (7). Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job (8). So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job” (9).
So, you CAN have a satanic dream. You can dream, if you want to visualize what Christ is like, but Christ does not appear to you. He has no reason to appear to you. He has given you the Word of God and that is all that you need. You will have your hands full teaching the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation.
I love to study the Bible and, the more I study, the more I find out how much I don’t know. It is inexhaustible. When I get ready to die, if I have two minutes of having all my faculties before I die, I’m probably going to say, “Lord Jesus, I wish I knew more.” There are things I wish I knew more about, but the Word of God is inexhaustible.
You have everything you need from Genesis to Revelation, and the last thing you need is a counterfeit of visions and dreams. Keep your eyes open, study more, and the less visions you will have, or need. We are not saying that to degrade anyone, whatsoever. We are saying it truthfully. You don’t need visions and you don’t need dreams. If you do not have enough faith in the Word of God, and you have to have a vision, or a dream, in order to substantiate your faith, you’re in bad shape, Brother! You’re in real bad shape.
All the prophecies we need are given in the Word of God, and you do not have enough faith knowing that all these hundreds of prophecies about Christ have taken place? All were fulfilled, including the “thirty pieces silver.” Not twenty-nine pieces of silver, not thirty-one. Exactly thirty pieces of silver. This was prophesied hundreds of years before Judas sold Him out for...how many pieces of silver? Thirty!
God names names. He gives dates. He has given hundreds of prophecies that have come to pass. If you need more than that, then you don’t have faith in the Bible. You have faith in some dream that is going to let you down, and, probably, you’re satanically—and I make no apologies for this—satanically deceived. You need to strengthen your faith, and spend more time in the Word of God, with your eyes open, reading, believing, and trusting the Word of God like every other Christian. Our faith is in the Word of God. Amen? He wants you to have your trust in the Word of God that “liveth and abideth forever.”
We’d like to make a comment on Revelation 1:18. I believe it has significance, here, and I think it will be an encouragement to each and every one of us,
- “I am he that liveth…” That is Christ.
- “And was dead;…” He was crucified. He could have summoned more than twelve legions of angels. That is more than 72,000 angels, as one legion is made up of 6,000 men. He could have killed those that were putting Him on the Cross, all at once!
- “And, behold, I am alive for evermore,…” This is the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hell could not keep Him in the tomb. Satan could not keep Him in the tomb. The demons could not keep Him in the tomb. The Lord Jesus conquered Death, and He has arisen from the dead. He is alive today and “ever liveth to make intercession for us,” we are told in Hebrews 7:25 and Romans 8:34.
- “Amen; and (I) have the keys of hell and of death.” Let me say this. It’s not your church that has the keys. It’s not your pastor that has the keys. It is Christ, Himself, that has the keys of Hell and Death. He is the One who permits death. He is the One who sometimes orchestrates death, as had happened to some in the Church at Corinth in Paul’s time.
An Example: The Corinthian Church.
In 1 Corinthians 11:30-32, we have the account of some in Corinth that were partaking of the Lord’s Supper, yet these “dignitaries” of the church were drunkards. Like some today, they had one foot in the bar, and one foot in the church. Whenever you find a man that is associated with, and continues to endorse drinking of alcoholic beverages, but is a “big shot” in the church; you have a Diotrophes, as spoken of in 3 John 1:9-16. You have a false teacher. Is this the kind of teacher you want to teach your children that it is all right to drink? Some churches, through the use of alcoholic wine in their communion services, teach, by example that it is OK to drink. They do this, in spite of God’s forbidding Israel to take strong drink into the Tabernacle, in Leviticus 10:9, 10,
“Do not drink wine nor strong drink,...when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die:...(9a)
That ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;” (10).
Is it any wonder that God would have the Apostle Paul write to the Corinthians in Verse 30?
“For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (have died).”
Judgment had been rendered! Some of them had died. They had been profaning the Lord’s Supper. The “dignitaries” would set their banquet tables, have their big feast, and get drunk! Therefore, God said, “For this cause” of making a mockery of the Lord’s Supper, you have eaten to yourself damnation.”
“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (krima) unto himself, not discerning the Lord's body” (1 Corinthians 11:29).
Literally, the word “condemnation” is “krima” in the Greek, and it means you have brought upon yourself judgment. When we have the Lord’s Supper in our church, it is to remember that our Savior bled and died on Calvary to pay for the sin of the world. It is not a sacrament that imparts any type of grace to the partaker. It is an ordinance, of solemn commemoration, of what our Savior has already done for us. It is a time to remember that it cost Christ everything to offer us eternal life as a free gift! We are to do this...
”..often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
That is why it is such a serious matter to partake of the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy” manner. Why does God view it as serious? It is a reminder that it cost Him the death of His Son.
Revelation 1:18 can be of great comfort to all who have lost Christian loved ones, such as a child, or a husband or wife.
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18)
Christ, Himself, experienced death, and because of the Resurrection, He emerged the Victor. Now, as Lord, He has the authority over Death and Hell. Keys represent authority. Christ controls all who enter, and all who leave Death and Hell. Consider what Lazarus’ sister, Martha, said to our Lord,
“Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21).
We note that, when Christ saw Mary and the others weeping at the tomb of Lazarus, He, also, wept out of compassion for their grief. He, being the infinite God, knew what He was about to do, but recognizing their humanity; He had compassion on them as they suffered in their grief. That is why mothers and fathers who have lost children, or anyone who has suffered through the loss of a loved one who is a Christian, can be comforted by the power of the One who has “the keys of hell and of death.” Just as Jesus said to Mary that day, He says to you today.
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25).
There is something interesting here, as there are many religions and cults who claim to have the “Key to the Scriptures.” The Bible says that Christ alone has the “keys of hell and of death.” Many of these cults have originated in the last 150 years, and they are coming up all over the place. I talked to a wonderful pastor in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, not long ago. He was telling me there are so many groups, actually cults, springing up in that city and the surrounding area, they can’t even keep track of them. And so it is everywhere!
The Enemy: The Cults Do Not Have the Keys!
It is true that in these “last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves...” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2), and Christ warns in the Book of Matthew, “Beware of false prophets. Beware of false Christs.” We are having them spring up everywhere!
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5).
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11).
The Error: Baptism By Proxy, Or Any Other Way, Will Not Give Eternal Life.
We might say this, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church, was organized on April 6, 1830. Its claim is that Joseph Smith was directed by a heavenly messenger, named Maroni, to a hill in upstate New York, and was shown a sacred record, engraved on metal plates, that had the appearance of gold. These are called the Golden Plates. These plates, purportedly, show a history of ancient civilizations in America from about 2200 B.C. to about 420 A.D.
They, supposedly, give an account of Jesus Christ’s ministry on the American Continent, and after His Crucifixion, also. One theological aspect of their belief is that those, who have died without a knowledge of the Gospel, may be baptized by proxy. So, they preserve millions of microfilmed baptismal records, and store them in a vault carved out of a solid granite mountain. This mountain is outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. It holds millions of records on microfilm preserving the genealogies, or the births, the marriages, and the deaths of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.
It’s a storage vault, out there, called Granite Mountain. They say it can even take an atomic blast. I have seen the photographs of the inside of this tremendous cavern, and there are millions of baptismal records kept in sealed vaults there. Yet, this is a cult. We, as Christians, should learn all we can about what they believe so we can witness to them. They are numerous. If we, Christians, were as busy about serving the Lord as they are about spreading their false doctrine, we could accomplish a lot for the Lord! You can’t even go to Heaven by being baptized, yourself, let alone having somebody else do it for you by proxy!
The Catholic and Lutheran Organizations Also Teach that Baptism Gives Eternal Life.
The religion of works that Martin Luther taught in ALL his writings, ALL of his life were exported ALL over the world. Martin Luther believed that you have to be baptized to be saved. He said it over and over again.
“Here are his words from Page 174 of The Small Catechism.
- “II. THE BLESSINGS OF BAPTISM. What does Baptism give or profit? It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”
- Or, from his Large Catechism, P. 83, #24. “To put it most simply, the power, effect, benefit, fruit, and purpose of Baptism IS TO SAVE.”
- Nor did Luther believe that you had to have faith for baptism to be valid.
- “Further, we are not primarily concerned whether the baptized person believes or not, for in the latter case, Baptism does NOT become invalid.” (Large Catechism, P.87, Par. 52). “Baptism is valid, even though FAITH be lacking.” (Par. 53).
Now, we turn to the Catholic organization and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 319, Paragraph 1252 Infant Baptism," which reads as follows:
- “The practice of Infant Baptism is an immemorial TRADITION of the church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the Second Century on, and it is quite possible, that from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism**, infants may also have been baptized."
**Note: Acts 16:33 tells us that when the Jailer “was baptized, he and all his [house],” Acts 16:34 adds the fact that he was “believing in God with all his house.” Only those capable of believing were baptized and that certainly did not include infants!
In reading their (the Catholic organization’s) statement, it reveals that infant baptism is a TRADITION; therefore not found anywhere in the Word of God! The words "quite possible" and "may also" show they are grasping at straws to try to give some kind of authority to an unscriptural TRADITION!” (Source: Excerpt from Martin Luther, Master of Deceit by Author)
The Catholic and Lutheran Organizations Do Not Have the “Keys of Hell and of Death.”
The same guarantee of God backing up His Word from Heaven is in Christ's words to Peter in Matthew 16:19,
"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Vine's An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words has this to say in reference to the Word "bind":
"The Lord’s Words to the Apostle Peter in Matthew 16:19 as to binding and to all the disciples in 18:18 signify, in the former case, that the apostle, by his ministry of the Word of life, would keep unbelievers outside the kingdom of God; and admit those who believed."
The "keys" spoken of in Matthew 16:19, were first used by Peter on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts, Chapter 2. Nowhere did Peter, or the Eleven, ever even HINT that they could, or would, forgive anyone's sins! The whole chapter is a testimony concerning Christ. The people were saved because of the Word of God that Peter preached. They were, then, baptized as a public testimony of their faith. Note Peter's Words in Acts 2:41,
"Then they that gladly received his Word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
Peter used the "keys" (symbolic of God's Word) again in Acts 10. God sent Peter to the Gentile, named Cornelius, to show the Jews that the Gentiles could be saved also. Read Chapter 10 and nowhere do you find Peter EVER claiming the power to forgive anyone's sins. Peter directed the lost to Christ and Him alone! Here are Peter's words in Acts 10:43,
"To him (Christ) give all the prophets witness, that through his (Christ’s) name whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM (Christ) SHALL RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS."
Unlike Peter, some clergy, through pride, love to claim this power for themselves. They love to mediate between God and man. In doing so, they outright deny and resist God’s Word. 1 Timothy declares in 2:5,
"For there is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, the man CHRIST JESUS.”
When God's servants preach His Word on Earth, it will divide—those who believe it are saved and—those who do not are lost! God's Word is so powerful it will divide as a sharp, two-edged sword that cuts both ways.
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12).
Isaiah 55:11 declares that His Word will not return unto Him void and empty.
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Those, in Matthew 16:10, that are bound on Earth, are those who have believed the WORD and are saved. They have the promises of the Omniscient and Omnipotent God that, in Heaven, He will make good the promises that He gave on Earth.
The same goes for those who reject God's Word (John 3:36). Even though many do not believe in Christ, the Word of God, or Hell, it will not alter God’s faithfulness to His WORD when He pronounces their final sentence in Matthew 25:41,
”..Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Then they will realize that—not in all the New Testament, nor in Peter's two epistles—is there the vestige, either claimed or exercised, of Peter forgiving anyone's sin! Who will you believe? Man or God? Romans 3:4 makes it perfectly clear concerning God's Word,
"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar..."
(Source: Excerpt from Who Can Forgive Sins? A Minister, A Priest, Or Jesus Christ? By Author)
The Eternal Christ Has the Authority of “The Keys of Hell and of Death.”
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18)
Therefore, we find out that Christ is the One who has the “keys of hell and of death,” in John 14:6,
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
1. First Division: Chapter One.
“Write the things which thou hast seen,...”
The Past. John saw the vision of the Risen and Glorified Christ. He is the Lord of the Church. He is the Founder of the Church. It is not anyone else. It is none of the Apostles, it’s not Peter, it’s not the Baptists, and it’s not the Lutherans, nor the Catholic organization. It is no one but Jesus Christ who is the Chief Cornerstone. He is the Founder of His Church.
2. Second Division: Chapters Two and Three.
“...and the things which are,...”
The Present. The “things which are” are covered by Chapters Two and Three, and those are the letters to the Seven Churches existing at the time of the Book’s writing.
3. Third Division: Chapters Four to Twenty-Two
"...and the things which shall be hereafter;”
The Future. Hereafter” means after Chapter Four. The Church is pictured as being raptured up, or taken out of this Earth. The Church is the Body of Christ, the One New Man, made up of every born-again believer. Nothing has transpired here on Earth, as yet, to fulfill anything from Chapter Four on. From Chapter Four to the end of the Book of Revelation, it is all yet future.
“The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
Who are the seven stars that Christ holds in His right hand? In Scripture, the word “mystery” does not mean something hidden. It is a truth, previously hidden, but now revealed at the proper time. Since the Book of Revelation is an open book, the “mystery” is quickly solved. “The seven stars are the angels [Gr. angelos, ‘messengers] of the seven churches.” These are the pastors who bring Christ’s message to their congregations.
What are the Seven Candlesticks?
“And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
For the word “angels,” here, a better translation would be “the pastors.” Why do you say that, Pastor Younce? The word “angels” is translated from the Greek word, “angelos,” meaning “deputy, messenger, or saint,” according to the context. Angels truly are God’s messengers. They brought the messages to Daniel, and they brought them during Christ’s time. However, the seven stars—since this is used in the context of the seven churches—would be the messengers that God has sent to the churches, or the pastors that He has sent there to pastor these churches.
So! It should read, “The seven stars are the pastors of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches,” and Christ stands in the midst. He is standing there in the midst, as we’re going to see from our study of the seven churches here. We just wonder. What about your church? Is He in the midst of your church? We have so many people who fight for their church, instead of for Christ.
When I was going through Bible College, we pastored a little church over on Marco Island, south of Naples, Florida. I would work all week, attend college, then drive over from Miami on weekends. My wife would just stay over there in the parsonage with the children.
The “Belle of Paducah.”
We had a lady visit our church one Sunday morning from Paducah, Kentucky. She was quite a charming lady, a true Southern Belle. But she was so proud that she was a Southern Baptist. I’ve found this from experience. When you hear someone always bragging about I’m a Lutheran, or I’m a Catholic, or I’m a Baptist, I have to wonder. Are you a born again Lutheran? Are you a born again Catholic? Are you a born again Baptist?
She began to tell us about her “jail ministry,” and the Lottie Moon Fund, and whatever else she found irresistible about that organization. It soon became clear that what she was telling people about the way to go to Heaven, did not agree with God’s way of salvation in the Bible.
When you get the emphasis on your denomination, instead of on the person of Christ, I begin to question whether you’re saved. Now, I’m not saying whether you are, or not; but, it is a sure thing I am going to ask you about it. If it’s more important to you to be identified with a particular denomination, whatever it might be, you have your priorities wrong. Being a Catholic does not take you to Heaven. You can be a Catholic and go right straight to Hell. You can be a Baptist and not be saved. You can be a Methodist and not be saved. Being a member of a denomination never gives you Eternal Life. A lot of times that denomination wants you to believe that, if you do everything they say, you are saved. That is simply not true. If you “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved.” Every church has to be tested on its own merits.
This lady came down and she was bragging “Oh, I’m a Southern Baptist,” and telling everyone what a wonderful organization her Southern Baptist Convention was.
After church I asked if I could have a minute with her by herself.
She said, “Yes, Sir.”
I asked the same question I always ask. “Do you know if you’re going to Heaven when you die?”
She said, “Well—well, I’m pretty sure I am. You know I have gone to that church since I was just a little girl. I have always tried to be a good person, and I am very active in my church. I really don’t know why you would ask me a question like that.” At that point, the charm began to fade.
We talked a little bit, and I said, “Ma’am, I’d like to point something out to you. Christ doesn’t care if you’re a Baptist or not. He would like for you to testify that you are saved because you believe he paid for your sin on the Cross, and that you trust Him, and Him alone, as your Savior. You have your entire mind twisted up, compared to the Bible, because you are talking more about your denomination than you are about Jesus Christ. Are you actually trusting just going to church on Sunday morning, and belonging to this denomination is going to get you to Heaven? If so, then you need to rethink your situation, and believe what the Bible says. I find nowhere in the Bible where it says: ‘If I’m a Baptist, I’m going to Heaven.’” The Bible says that,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
And how did the “Belle of Paducah” respond? With a haughty “Humph,” and off she flounced down the aisle of the church, never to allow that subject to be brought up in her presence again. That might sound humorous at first, but Folks, if she went on that way, that beautiful Southern lady split Hell wide open!
The point is, Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and accepting His payment for your sin is the only way to Heaven.
Just like the famous television detective, Columbo, there is “just one more thing” we want to bring out here before we finish up with Chapter One. We are going to digress to Zechariah 12:1-10, an excellent passage to use when you are speaking with Jewish people that do not recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah. They have accepted over some 30 false messiahs and rejected the only true Messiah, Christ Jesus. You will find the Book of Zechariah is one of the most amazing books in the Old Testament, especially in Chapter Twelve. You can isolate words in this chapter, and show the Jewish people that Jehovah God is none other than Jesus Christ in the flesh.
We have just read in Revelation 1:7 that “…every eye shall see him.” Of course, we know that with the satellite systems that we have beaming their signals back to the Earth, when Christ comes, the whole world will see His coming in glory.
We want to point out one thing right before we start, and we thank God for the King James translators that made this distinction. They’ve done this all the way through the Bible, so it is very easy to understand. When you look at the words, “LORD,” and “GOD,” you see they are all capital letters. When you check your concordance, you will find that is Jehovah, “J-H-V-H.” That is what was called the “Tetragrammaton,” or the “Unpronounceable Name.” With the vowels included, we pronounce it Jehovah. We pronounce it the way the Bible gives it. But when you come to the word “God,” written with a capital “G” and small letters, it is always “Elohim.” “El” is for God and “im” in the Hebrew is the plural, as in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God.” That is not Jehovah. That is Elohim. That sort of blows the mind of the Jehovah’s Witnesses; nevertheless, that is what the Bible teaches. That is “the Putter-forth of Power,” or, “Elohim.”
We are going to show you in Zechariah, Chapter Twelve, how you can use this chapter to show the Jewish person that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, God Himself. Notice in Zechariah 12:1.
“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the Earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1).
You say: “If you’ll notice, the word ‘LORD’ is all capital letters. Look this up in your concordance you will find it is ‘Jehovah.’ Then, you come on down to Verse Two,”
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:2).
You bring this to their attention: “Behold, I,” that’s Jehovah! And, in Verse Three,
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the Earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:3).
You say: “I,” that’s Jehovah! Go with me to Verse Four,”
“In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness” (Zechariah 12:4).
You say: “See there. It is ‘LORD,’ all capital letters, that is Jehovah.” You can thank the King James Translators for this. It is so much easier to understand with that distinction made in the English Translation. Wherever you find in the Old Testament, all capital letters for “LORD” or “GOD,” and you look it up—look everyone you want to up—it will always be “Jehovah.” Let’s continue. We’re just pretending we have a Jewish person here that we’re showing that Jesus Christ really is God in human flesh. “Notice in Verse Six,”
“In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:6).
Show them that: “I” is Jehovah. Look now in Verse Seven,”
“The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah” (Zechariah 12:7).
You say: “The ‘LORD,’ and that is all capital letters again. That is ‘Jehovah.’ We go on down to Verse Eight. You just hang in there with me a minute, and I’ll show you what we’re getting to here.”
“In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them” (Zechariah 12:8).
You say: “Shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem;’ ‘LORD’—all capital letters, and when you look it up in your concordance, that is ‘Jehovah.’ We come on down here to Verse Nine,”
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9).
Show them: “I,” that’s Jehovah speaking here. And ‘…I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.’ Now, get this in Verse Ten,”
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
Show them: “And I will.” That’s Jehovah. Get this, now! ‘…and they shall look upon me—look upon me—whom they have pierced…’ That is Jehovah! Jehovah is going to die in human flesh, as the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, and Jehovah truly is Christ and the Jewish Messiah!” Hopefully, they will realize that Jesus is God in Human Flesh, and He is their Messiah that was crucified for their sin. Go now to the Second Part.
We are saying, “Show this to a Jewish person.” This is one word, from one verse, that will show them Jesus Christ truly is God in human flesh.
“and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced,...” Zechariah 12:10b).
You will notice here the little word “whom.” This is very interesting, as it is composed of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, “Aleph” and “Tav.” In Revelation 1:8, Christ is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the “Alpha” and the “Omega.” He is the “beginning” and the “ending,” you see.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
In Revelation 22:13, He is…
“…Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
We see Jesus is none other than Jehovah.
In the Hebrew alphabet it’s “Aleph” and “Tav,” the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet in the Book of Zechariah. He is the “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet, in the Book of Revelation. Jesus Christ is none other than Jehovah, Himself. We use the word “whom” to show that.
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
So, “every eye shall see him” is speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes back in glory. And, “all kindreds of the Earth, they shall wail because of him…” We find out that Zechariah prophesies about the Lord Jesus; and if you go on in the book, you will find out in Zechariah 14:4,
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
In the section on how to use the Twelfth Chapter of Zechariah to witness to a Jewish person, I made the statement that the word “whom” in Zechariah 12:10b is spelled with the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, “Aleph (א),” and “Tav (ח).” I thought I would prove it by scanning a page from one of the Bibles I have in my library. The “Aleph” and “Tav” are in the lower right-hand corner of the verse outlined in blue.
Note: This Hebrew Old Testament belonged to a gentleman who signed his name in the corner of what, to us, is the very back page, but in a Hebrew Bible, is the first page. Hebrew, of course, is written from right to left, and the Bible reads from the back to the front. On that page he noted that he had begun reading on May 23, 1933. He made a few notes on the first few pages and.., then, there is nothing more. The only English words to be found have been left by an inked stamp, “Printed in Germany,” and the verse and chapter numbering. I have no clue as to where I got this Bible, but given the fact that on March 23, 1933, Hitler became the de facto dictator of Germany, and on May 10, 1933, in Germany, they burned all the “non-German” books, it is probably a miracle it survived at all. There is a saying, “When books are burned, the burning of people will not be far behind.
But before we close this section, let me tell you this. The most important decision you’ll ever make in your life is not what home to buy, or what stocks, bonds, or CDs to invest in. When you die, they are all going to be left behind. The most important decision you need to make is—where is your spiritual home going to be? Where are you going to spend your eternity? Jesus said He has a place prepared for you.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”(John 14:3)
God allowed His Son, the Perfect Lamb of God, to die on the Cross on Calvary, so that when you die, your sins will have been paid for. They were paid for 2,000 years ago. The price for your sin has been paid, and you do not have to go to Hell and do it yourself. God says, “If you accept that payment, realizing there is nothing you can do to save yourself, you are passed from death to eternal life.”
The minute it comes time to leave this world, I will leave my home behind. I will leave my car behind. I will leave all my possessions behind. I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer yet! I have never seen one that even had a trailer hitch. I hope to have many possessions in Heaven, because God loved me, and I wanted to use my life for Him. I hope you’ll do that. Don’t trust your water baptism. Don’t listen to these modernistic preachers who are trying to divert you away from Christ by saying they can forgive your sins, as the Lutheran preachers and Catholic priests claim to do. Simply believe that Christ died for you, and He makes you two promises: 1. “You will never perish, 2. but have everlasting life.” We hope you’ll do that and have the peace that passes all understanding.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)