This is the first part in the Bible study series: End-Time Prophecy 101. The mysterious book of Revelation has been the center of debate for almost 2000 years. Join us as we get an overview of Revelation to help unlock this vision of the events that culminate in the return of Jesus Christ.
[Gary Petty] Well, good evening, everyone. I'm glad all of you could make it here this evening. We were discussing what we would like to do for our next series of Bible studies, and the subject came up of prophecy. And so we discussed, well, what type of prophecy or what prophecies do we want to cover. And we came up with the idea, we just called it End-Time Prophecy 101. We wanted to, over the next five studies, just give an outlines of what the end-time prophecies talk about. We could have gone through messianic prophecies, we could... there's all kinds of prophecies we could have gone through. But we want to go through the basics. And we want to give some details, some details, we won't have time to give. Other times, we're going to be covering material that we don't have all the answers to.
So before we get started, why don't we all just rise and bow our heads. Father in heaven, we thank you so very, very much for the opportunity to be here tonight. We ask You to open our minds to Your Word, and to Your truth, and to be humbled by it, Father, that You give us this information, that we, in our minds guided by Your Spirit, understand part of it. As Paul said, “We see through a glass darkly,” but we can understand what You give us. So we ask for Your direct help tonight. You will inspire us to learn more about what You tell us about the future, so we cannot live in fear, but we can be prepared, Father, and know that You will be with us. So we thank You, we praise You, and we ask all things in Jesus's name. Amen.
So in our theme of End-Time Prophecy 101, tonight, what we're going to try to do in an hour is tell you everything you always wanted to know about the Book of Revelation. Now what I want to do is just give an overview of the Book of Revelation. Now, we're going to go through a lot of material, and we're going to be through it, some of it very quickly. I'm just going to be touching on certain things. I mean, obviously, we can spend an hour on each chapter of the Book of Revelation and still not cover everything. We're not going to speculate a lot. When we're speculating some, I'll tell you when we're speculating. We're just going to try to give you an overview of what the Book of Revelation shows us about end-time events.
One of the reasons, too, we decided to do this was because of the questions that we get. Our people write in to Beyond Today, or they write in to the UCG website, and a lot of questions we get lately, because people see the world unraveling, is “Is the tribulation starting? Is the tribulation about to begin? How will we know when it begins? Is President Obama the Beast?” We get those kind of things all the time. So I think we can go through tonight and at least figure out that the tribulation isn't going to start tonight. We know that much. There's some events that have to happen before, and I think we can come to a pretty, pretty clear understanding that Mr. Obama is not the Beast. Okay? There's something greater here that God is doing. And there is an evil that is on the horizon, and is probably going to happen in our lifetime.
Let's start with the first slide we're going to show here is Revelation 1:3 Revelation 1:3Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
American King James Version×. "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it, for the time is near." So we know that this book was written specifically to help Christians throughout history, but also specifically to help those at the end of the age when the time was near, so they could see what was going on.
Now, not to always know and predict exactly what's going to happen next, but to know what's happening as it happens. Sometimes we try to speculate on specific prophecies so much. If you've been in the Church long enough, you've been through many times where there was some specific prophecy with the idea of how it would be fulfilled. Those are fun things to do and we should be watching prophecy, but we have to be very, very careful. Now we can speculate, but there's a difference between that and actually making predictions. We have to be very careful about making our predictions.
So what can we then derive from the Book of Revelation? A little later in this same chapter, and we're just going to briefly touch on the first few chapters, in verse 5 of Chapter 1, the next slide, we have some seven statements about Jesus Christ and His followers. So this sets the stage. The focal point of this book is the second coming of Jesus Christ and what His followers they need to know to be prepared for that. And here we have these statements made about Jesus Christ and His followers.
One, Christ is the faithful witness, “who is the faithful witness.” He is “the firstborn from the dead… the ruler over the kings of the Earth.” So His power, His glory, His Majesty is a theme in this book. “To him who loves us,” speaking still specifically of Jesus Christ, “and has freed us from our sins in His blood”—we could literally give three sermons on this two verses or three verses—5, 6, and 7—“and made us to be a kingdom.” Now, this is talking about the saints, His followers. "And made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power forever and ever, amen.” So the saints are made to be a kingdom prepared for God to serve God, the Father of Jesus Christ.
And then the last point. "Look," this is really important, watch for this. “Look, He is coming in the clouds and every eye will see Him, and those who pierced Him. And all the peoples of the Earth will mourn because of Him." The Book of Revelation does not teach the rapture, and it’s not generally used to even try to preach the rapture. It does talk a lot about Christ’s coming and the visual impact, the audio impact it has when He comes.
Now, Revelation 2 and 3 tells us about seven churches. And of course, we're not going to go into that. That’s a huge subject in itself. But I just want to make a point about the seven churches. There are three basic definitions or interpretations of this passage. One is that this simply is a message to seven churches that existed around 95 AD. The second is that this is a prophetic meaning and that these represent seven specific church eras. And then three, that this is a prophetic message to the Church, and that these kinds of attitudes will be extant in the Church at any given time. They represent seven different kinds of congregations or even seven different types of Christians. Now, you say, “Okay, which is the approach that we take: one, two or three?” Now this is my opinion on this. My opinion is yes.
These churches did exist in 95 AD, and this was written to the seven churches. I do believe there are seven Church eras, although any attempt to try to create those seven Church eras into exact years generally fails. They're time periods throughout history, but it is not really possible to set them up in the specific years of when one ended and one began. I also believe that you will find these kinds of seven attitudes within God's Church at any given time. I've been in the Church a long time, and every congregation I've been in, I could say there were people who had Ephesian attitude, the Smyrna attitude… These attitudes exist. So we look at the three major ways that this is interpreted, and in the Church, we've actually taught different things over the years about this. So my personal belief is they all three have validity in studying both the Book of Revelation and they all three have validity in understanding prophecy and history.
So next we have Revelation 4 and 5. We have a vision where John sees the throne of God, and he hears a song where Revelation 5:9-10 Revelation 5:9-10  And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
 And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×it says, speaking of Jesus, "You are worthy to take the scroll." He sees a scroll, and John is distressed in this vision because there is no one that has the ability to open the scroll. But he says, "Who could open this?" And no angel could open it, no human being could open it, and John is distressed. But he says, "You are worthy to take this scroll and open its seals, because you were slain. And with your blood, you purchased men for God from every tribe and language of people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign over the Earth." So Jesus Christ opens these seals.
Now, the Book of Revelation is not always in exact chronological order. There are a lot of things that are in exact chronological order, but not all of them. To make sense of it, we start with seven seals. And as each of these seals are unlocked by Christ, we learn what the next series of events are going to be. So now we do have a way to begin to put at least part of the Book of Revelation in a chronological order in its prophetic message, because it starts with seven seals. As each seal is opened, there are events that happen related to those seals.
Now the first four seals are called the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is an old painting. I love this painting of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It can be shared. The copyrights no longer apply to it. But it's a very old painting, but you have the four horsemen of the apocalypse. These are the first four seals. Each of the seals is represented by a rider on a horse.
So let's look at these and turn to Revelation 6. Revelation 6, but as we go through these, there are two template passages that we have to understand to really understand how parts of Revelation fit together. And one of them is the Olivet Prophecy, Matthew 24 and 25. When we look at Mathew 24 and 25, Jesus gives us this just little glimpse into what it's going to be like before He returns. That's the questions He's asked, and He gives this glimpse. When we look at Revelation, with these seals, we begin to see that these things can fit on top of each other. So if you go to... We're going to go back and forth now between Mathew 24 and Revelation 6, so you can compare the two.
Verse 1 of Chapter 6, "Now, I saw when I had opened one of the seals, and I heard the voice like unto thunder, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow and a crown was given to him, and he went out to conquer and to be conquered.”
Now let's go back to Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
American King James Version×. “Now as Jesus said on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, ‘Tell us when all these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.’ And Jesus answered and said to them…” Here's the very first thing He says: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' And will deceive many." So the first thing He says is there's going to be great false teachers that come on the scene.
Now, there are the preterists, which is a certain viewpoint of the Book of Revelation. They believe all of the Book of Revelation was fulfilled in 70 AD. They don't believe the book was written by John at the end of his life. They believe it was written before 70 AD, and actually was fulfilled by events in 70 AD. I'm sorry, not Revelation, but Matthew 24. That Matthew 24, which was written before 70 AD, was all fulfilled in 70 AD. That can't be. That can’t be. Matthew 24 has certain prophecies that have not yet come to pass. So the preterists’ view of Matthew 24 is not true, but they do have a point. Matthew 24 went through a former fulfillment in 70 AD.
Many prophecies have what are called a former fulfillment and a latter fulfillment. The former fulfillment is a much lesser fulfillment of a prophecy. It happens in a lesser degree, then a greater degree. One perfect example of that is the Day of the Lord. Israel experienced a day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is when He passes out judgment. Israel went through a day of the Lord. Judea went through a day of the Lord. The greatest Day of the Lord is yet in the future. When you and I think of the Day of the Lord, what do we think of? The time right before Christ’s coming, when God pours out His judgment on the Earth, and that's true. But you know the Bible also talks about another even greater Day of the Lord? The Great White Throne Judgment, Peter calls it the Day of the Lord.
So the Day of the Lord has former and latter fulfillments. Matthew 24, there are certain aspects of it that did happen in a lesser way in 70 AD. But the greater fulfillment of Matthew 24 is in the future. And what you have is false christs. What we have here is a white horse and a rider, and he goes forth conquering. If we put those two together, Matthew 24 is our template, and this is talking about false religion. This is very important as we go through this book, because there are two white horses mentioned in the Book of Revelation. It is important we understand the difference between the two. So here we have religion that's going forth and conquering.
Verse 3 says, "He opened the second seal, and I saw a second living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ And another horse, fiery red, went out. It was taken to one who sat on it to take peace from the Earth, that people should kill one another, and there was given to him a great sword."
Now we go back to Matthew 24, verse 5, verse 6 says, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." That's a very important statement. "The end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom." So we have now Jesus saying, "Okay, there's going to be false christs, and now here we have the first seal is false religion. Second seal is wars and rumors of wars. And what Jesus says, second seal is wars, verse 5 of Revelation 6.
"He opened the third seal and I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked and behold a black horse. And he who sat on had a pair of scales in his hand. I heard a voice from the midst of the living creature saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and the wine.’” This is famine. So we have famine.
If we go back to the book of Matthew 24, and verse 7 says, "For nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and pestilences, and with disease epidemics, earthquakes in various places." But then He makes a very important statement here in Matthew 24, "All these are the beginning of sorrows." All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Verse 7 now in Revelation 6, "When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the four living creatures saying, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, behold a pale horse, and the name on him that was on it was death, and Hades followed with it." So now we have death just coming upon people, when we see these disease epidemics that Jesus talked about.
Now we have these four things. I've had people ask me, "Ebola has broken out. Is that the fourth seal? War in Afghanistan and Iraq, is that the fourth seal? The Islamic terrorism, is that the first seal? Is that the false religion? Is terrorism the second seal? The people are dying." You have to understand the enormity of what's happening here.
Jesus said when these things are happening, not on the small scale... You have to understand what we mean by “small scale.” What you and I are living through today, even by historical standards, is small scale stuff. During the Middle Ages, 25% to 35% of the entire population of Europe died from the bubonic plague. During the First World War, between 11 and 14 million people died. During the Second World War, 50 million people died, 50 million. There's no 50 million people dying from war today. The flu epidemic after War World I killed 18 million. Ebola hasn't killed 18 million. You have to understand the enormity of what they're talking about. Sometimes because we know these things are going to happen and they're beginning, that we run around like Chicken Little. I will tell you when the four seals have been opened. Each one will be opened, and they'll lead to the next, to the next, to the next. I'll tell you when you know the first four seals have happened. And they have not happened yet. So how do you know that?
Revelation Chapter 8, the last part of the verse now. "And power was given to them," this is false religion, war, and famine and disease epidemics, "was given them over a fourth of the earth to kill with the sword, or with hunger and death, and by the beasts of the earth." We will know that the first four seals have reached their chronological order when one-fourth of the world has died. There's seven billion people on the face of the earth right now. What's one fourth of that? 1.7 maybe, 1.7 billion? We're not talking about 3,000 people on 9/11. This is something you can't hide. The first four seals would’ve been completed when at least—who knows where the population will grow to—at least 1.7 billion people have died.
And Jesus said, "This is just the beginning of sorrows." And the reason I bring this out is because as hard as things are right now, these really are the good old days. This is the good times. As far as humanity goes, you and I have air conditioning and we have a car, and we have food. Not too many of us are starving. We don't have to do backbreaking work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week just to feed our families. You and I live like almost nobody has lived in the history of humanity. We don't realize the enormity of what's coming. And so we panic over things, not realizing that this isn't even the beginning of it yet. I think the seeds are planted, and this could happen very quickly. But it's not there yet. So when people worry is the tribulation starting tonight? No. Is it going to start next month? No. How do you know that? Because the first four seals haven't happened yet.
So here we have the first four seals. Now there's two horses I mentioned; it's important to know these two horses. This next slide, we got four horses here, or two horses that are white. One horse represents the false religion of the first seal. The second horse is the white horse that Jesus Christ comes on. Now that tells us something very important, that they will look somehow the same. In other words, this false religion is going to have an element of Christianity in it. It's going to look Christian to the world. In fact, there's another place, we will talk about it in Chapter 13, where it talks about it looks like a lamb. It looks like a lamb. It looks like Christ. But it's not. So this is very important to understand that we don't get deceived by this first white horse.
So how can I be deceived by that? Oh, I can pull out wild scenarios. I’ll just pull out a wild scenario. This is just making this up. What if the Islamic terrorists got worse and worse and worse, and they're blowing up things all over the United States and all over Europe, and what if they're shutting down the oil and gas is $20 a gallon. The economy has collapsed. And what if all the religious leaders, the Protestants, the Catholics, they all got together and said, "We need to build an army and go fight the Satanic Muslims." How many people would say, “There's the white horse. See? Christ wants us go fight the Muslims.” Wrong white horse. So we have to know the difference between these two white horses.
So we have then, the next slide, we have the four horsemen, which also corresponds with what Jesus said is our template. And then you have this fifth seal. Revelation 6, verse 9, "Then he opened the fifth seal and I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slain for the Word of God, for the testimony which they held. And they cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the Earth?’" White robe was given to each of them. It was said to them..." [Audio cut off] Did I go off, I'm I still on? "…a little longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would be killed as they were was completed."
People would say, "Well, this shows that they’re alive in heaven." It says, "You rest, you stay asleep." What we're looking here is an allegory. We're looking at a play that he’s thinking out. And he says, "Okay, then you have to stay dead." "When will be resurrected?" "You have to stay dead." "Until what?" "Until your fellow servants have been killed." The fifth seal is persecution on the people of God.
Let's go back to Matthew 24. Verse 9 is a major switch of subject. As we're going through what's going to happening to the world, then verse 9 begins to tell what's going to be happening in the Church. There is more in Matthew 24 and 25 about the Church than there is about the world. The entire chapter of Matthew 25 is about the Church. And it’s part of the Olivet Prophecy. But here it says, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you shall be hated by all nations for My name's sake." The fifth seal is outright violent persecution on the people of God. Now that hasn't happened yet. You will know this is what getting close when you see a fourth of the people the world die, when things are so bad. If a fourth of the people of the world die, and we're watching war and we're watching famine, and we're watching disease epidemics that are in the news every day, this isn't going to be something we don't know about. It's going to be horrifying. And then there's going to be persecution of the Church.
And then in Mathew 24, it says something very interesting in verse 15. He says, "Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel, the prophet, standing at the holy place,” then they're told to flee. And then verse 21, so they're supposed to...He’s talking specifically to people in Judea here, but the people of God are supposed to flee. He says, "For then there will be great tribulation such as not been since the beginning of the world until the time, to this time, no, never shall be, ever shall be again." Great tribulation, this is where we get the term, “the great tribulation.” And so He says, "What's going to happen now is the really bad stuff.” Now remember what's happened before the bad stuff begins. Because if these seals are opened one by one by one by one, we now have some kind of time reference. If these seals aren’t in a time order, then we have no time order.
So if they're at a time order, then we’ll know, when a fourth of the world has died—and that could happen very quickly by the way, a few nuclear bombs in the right place, and the worldwide repercussions from that would be horrendous. Or we did see how close Ebola could get out of control; it's still not under control. It still could get bad, or it could mutate which is really scary. But at the point where this collapse of the world is taking place, and the Church is going to be persecuted, He says, “Now starts the tribulation, the bad stuff.” The bad stuff starts now. Because remember Jesus said, "This is the beginning of sorrows.” This is just the beginning of sorrows. So we're not even close to that yet.
Now I'm not saying it's a hundred years in the future, I don't believe that. I believe it's very, very close. I'm just saying we can't panic. He tells us these certain things have to happen... Now He doesn’t give us a lot of details, but pestilences and earthquakes, that's enough to know. It's hard to hide worldwide earthquakes happening all the time, right? So we'll know when they're happening.
So you have this persecution on the Church. At this point, the fifth seal, there's a number of other very important things that happen and they all seem to happen so quickly, it's almost like they happen at once. Now they don't happen at once, in other words in one day, but they all happen very, very quickly during this fifth seal. Persecution of the Church, because the persecution of the Church doesn't come out of a vacuum. Remember the world is collapsing, and for some reason, there's a persecution on the Church. And I say some reason, we sure don't seem important enough to persecute, right? But in the collapse of this world… Whenever there's catastrophes, there's always scapegoats. But Satan is behind this.
There's four events or four things that happen. There's four things that happen—we’ll go through these very briefly—that you say, "Well, okay, they're scattered throughout Revelation. How do we know they all start around the same time?" And I'll show you how we come to that conclusion. One is in Revelation 13, there's the rise of the Beast power. Then we have in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, it will tie in a minute, a verse in Revelation, we have what is called the abomination of desolation. Revelation 12, we have part of the Church taken to a place in the wilderness, not all the Church. Part of the Church is taken to a place in the wilderness, and then we have, in Revelation 11, the two witnesses. You say, "Wow, they’re scattered out here. You've taken four things. How are they connected?" Well they're connected by something very, very important.
Let’s starts with the rise of the Beast power. In Revelation 13, you have the rise of the Beast. And in Revelation 13, you have two beasts come up a…one out of the land, one out of the water. We don't know... If I have no template, I have no idea what that Beast is. You have to understand, if I take Revelation by itself, I have no idea who that Beast is. Over the years, I've seen people do huge... they'll write entire books on how Russia and China are combined and they're going to be the Beast. There are books out right now you can buy that says the Beast is the Islamic power that's forming, and that's the Beast. In fact, there's a call for Christian nations to come together to form an army to fight them, which I find very interesting about the white horse. Then you have people who believe, and there's a very fairly large denomination in the United States that believes that the United States is the Beast. They use the bison, American Buffalo as the symbol of the Beast.
If I don't have any template to work off of, I have no idea who this Beast is. But I do have a template. Somebody tell me what the template is. It's like you all know it, when I say it, you're going, "Oh, yeah." What is it? Daniel 2. If I go to Daniel 2, you got beasts, or you got this image, I mean, and in later Daniel, they're called beasts, in Daniel 7. And we know that Daniel 2, Daniel 7 tells us what the Beast and this image is. The first one is Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian Empire, followed by the Persian Empire, followed by the Greece Empire, and then followed by an empire that would conquer Greece. We know who conquered Greece. It was Rome. And then at the end of time, when that Roman Empire is in two legs, it's revived. It still exists. It doesn't say there's a fifth empire. It's some form of the Roman Empire. And how do we know it exists at the end? Because the stone comes and crushes it, it falls down, and the stone represents Christ. It tells us there. That's our template.
If that's our template, then this must be the fourth Beast, or we don't know who it is. We have to be honest. It's either the fourth Beast or you and I can just sit down and make up something. It'll be sort of fun to do, but it would have no meaning, right? I mean, it'll have no meaning. There are people voting yesterday. Some people went, "Those are the Republicans." Others go, "No, those are Democrats. They're the Beast.” But if we have this template, and we put it together, now what we have is this is now that resurrection of that Roman Empire. If this is that resurrection of the Roman Empire, we know that the mark is 666. We also know from Revelation 13, it’s in two parts. One is a religious part and one is a political part. And that's going to come up again in Revelation.
Okay. So if Daniel 2 and Matthew 24 give us our templates, that’s the only way we could put... that I know how to put Revelation together. Okay, so during this time of the fifth seal, they raise up, the Beast power comes in absolute power. And in Revelation 13, it says that this political power and this religious power, they have power over the earth for 42 months. How long is 42 months? Three and a half years.
Now, let's go to the next one that we talked about was abomination and desolation. Abomination and desolation, we can look at Luke, where in Luke's account, it involves an invasion of Jerusalem. We go to the next slide that shows that Jerusalem will be trampled until the “times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Well, that doesn't help us. What's the times of the Gentiles? Then we go to Revelation 11 and it says, "The times of the Gentiles will be 42 months." How long is 42 months? Oh, we have found something that connects these two events together. They both last three and a half years.
The next event we talked about was the woman in Revelation 12 being taken to a place in the wilderness. Remember, the rise of the Beast power, Jerusalem being invaded by armies—this is all happening very quickly. And during this time period, the saints begin to be persecuted and actually killed. And we have this strange story in Revelation 12 where this woman is taken into the wilderness. Now there's a lot of different explanations for this. In Catholicism, many times, this is seen as Mary. That this is a prophecy about Mary. Others say, and this is very common among some Protestant groups, is that this means Jewish Christians. Because you see, Gentile Christians are raptured, and the poor Jewish, I thought… well, you talk about second-class citizens. The Gentile Christians get raptured and the Jewish Christians have to go live in the wilderness for three and a half years.
How we see this, and it's a whole another subject, but we believe that this is the church. And yes, the United Church of God still teaches that the Church is taken to its place of safety, its place in the wilderness. Not all the Church, because as you read through this, those who don't go, Satan goes to persecute. We know what the fifth seal’s when this persecution starts. You see how all these things have to be happening at the same time very quickly? The Beast power gets into power. They persecute, they invade Jerusalem. The Church is taken to its place in the wilderness because it's being persecuted. And the Church is there for a time, times, and half a time.
Very seldom will you find common agreement in Biblical commentators about almost anything. In fact there's one passage in Galatians that according to William Barclay, he said he found 350 different interpretations in Christian commentaries over one passage in Galatians. The only reason I know that is, one time we were doing a study of that in the doctoral subcommittee for the council, and we came up with two interpretations. We said, "What's wrong with us?" We came up with two interpretations. The same conclusion, but there were two different ways to get there. Then we didn't feel so bad when we realized, oh, well, everybody else has only come up with 350. We had it down to two. But the Church is taken to its place for a time, times, and half a time. Almost all commentators agree that’s three and a half years. So we have a commonality here that that was a colloquialism for three and a half years. So now we have three and a half years appears three times.
By the way, these two women, in next slide, these two women are very important. There's the woman who was chased by the dragon. The dragon is Satan, and it says that in Revelation. So we have the Church being persecuted by Satan. But we also have a woman that rides the Beast. If the one woman represents the true Church, this represents a false church, a false Christianity that rides the Beast. Revelation 13, one beast is political, one beast is religious. Here we have these two women. We have to know which woman to be part of, which church to be part of.
And then there was a fourth event that I said happens here at the very beginning in this part of this fifth seal is the two witnesses. The two witnesses come out and they stand against the Beast, and they prophesy for 1260 days. How long is that? Three and a half years. Okay.
Now if these events all happen at the… or all four things are going on at the same time, then they all of must start about the same time. So with this fifth seal—remember the world's chaotic. 1.7 billion people have died. That means economies are collapsing, there's wars all over the place. Entire nations would have collapsed at this point. Famine, you have massive migrations across borders, and countries setting up machine guns and shooting people down as they try to cross borders. It will be chaos. And in this chaos, there is a power that comes together and says, "We can fix this. First thing we have to do is we have to take Jerusalem. We have to stop this fighting. We got to get control of the Arab nations and the Muslims.” They invade and take Jerusalem. Two witnesses come on the scene. The Church is persecuted. Part of the Church is taken into the wilderness. Part is not. Part of it is left to be martyrs. Now people are left behind to be martyrs for two reasons. One, they need more spiritual development. And two, they're so strong that God says, "You're going to go die for Me." It's easy to say anybody who is left behind, those are the weak ones. I don't know, because in the New Testament, almost everybody that was martyred was a strong one. So sometimes I think, "Oh God, please help me be weak enough and strong enough that I get to go." I don't want to be too weak. l don't want to be too strong. I just want to go.
Revelation 7… I think, let's go on one, two more, I think. Oh yeah, they're resurrected after two and a half days, oh, I mean it’s three and a half days. Okay. So now you can see, these four events all start to happen very quickly. Let's go to the next one. Because now we come to Revelation 7. Let's go past this; that's too much information. We're awash with information now.
Now you have the sixth seal which is signs in heaven. I won't go there, but if you go to Revelation 6, we're still, say, in Revelation 6 and Matthew 24, you have signs in the heavens. Matthew 24:29 Matthew 24:29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
American King James Version×talks about signs in the heavens. Let's look at Matthew 24:29 Matthew 24:29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
American King James Version×and see what it says here. "Immediately after the tribulation," this is very important. So this tribulation period last three and a half years. We've already shown there’s four things that begin at the fifth seal which is the persecution of the Church, there's these four things going on, and all of them last three and a half years. And this is called the great tribulation by Jesus.
Now what we have is “immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give us light. The stars will fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” So now you have the signs in the skies, and God is now going to intervene in human events. And now we have the seventh seal, the Day of the Lord. Oh good, that's the end of the story. No, because the seventh seal has seven trumpets. Now once again... You say, “Oh, I find this Revelation so confusing.” Just skip all the stuff you don't get, and line up the seals and line up the events of the seals and line up what happens in each of those seals, and you begin to see a chronological order of the collapse of the world. Step by step by step.
So now we have the Day of the Lord. This is very important, because the Day of the Lord, remember, is any time God intervenes to judge. Now this is no longer just humanity and Satan doing this to ourselves and him doing it to us. Satan has two goals. He either wants to make us animals, because we are made in the image of God, he can't stand it. He wants to either make it so degenerate that we're nothing more than animals, which he’s getting real close to it by this point. But he can't do it, so he decides to kill all of us, because that's what he wants. Either we become so degenerate that we're just animals and he could go to God and say, "Hey, look, there's Your special children in Your image, so nothing more... Why are they any better than lions? They are killing eating each other" Or if he can't do it to all of us, he just wants…just kill them all.
What I find very interesting, at the end of World War II, Adolf Hitler who was so proud of his army that they had fought so well, really. I mean, when you look what the German army did in World War II, and they're still fighting tooth and nail at the end of the war against overwhelming odds—the Allies just overwhelmingly outnumbered them—and he knew they couldn’t win. So you know what he decided? “I want them all to die,” and he literally sent them into combat to destroy and kill every German. That’s what he wanted to do at the end. “If I can't make them into my image, kill them all.” That’s exactly how Satan thinks. If we can't be in his image, kill us all. Well, that's interesting because remember what Jesus says in Matthew 24, if He doesn’t return exactly when He does, no flesh would be saved alive.
So now we have the Day of the Lord. There is a scripture in Isaiah, I won't mention it, that talks about the Day of the Lord being a year. I don't know if that's exactly applicable to this, but sometimes people do say the day of the Lord may be the entire last year of the tribulation. If it is, it’s going to be a tough time. Or it may be just a very quick period of time at the end of the tribulation.
So here we have the trumpets. So we go through the trumpets very quickly in Revelation 8, the first trumpet is hail and fire. A third of all the trees and green grass is destroyed. You think how bad it's going to be, you've got the four horsemen, those are the good old days. That's the good times, because then the tribulation starts. And now you’re years into the tribulation, and this begins to happen. Second trumpet, one-third of the sea becomes blood and one-third of the sea creatures die, and one-third of ships destroyed. That's got to be a massive, violent event, and maybe it's a meteorite or something that hits the earth. But it destroys a third of the ocean, a third of the ships. Third trumpet, a third part of the freshwater turns bitter. Now you have people dying of thirst. You can last longer without food, but you can't without water. The fourth trumpet, the atmosphere deteriorates so that one-third of the light is filtered out. So now one-third of the light is filtered out. You say, "Wow, those four trumpets are as bad as it can get."
Well, the last trumpets are known as the three woes. In other words, okay, this is even worse. This is even worse. Fifth trumpet, first woe, Beast power brings about world war. There's been wars and lots of rumors of wars leading up to the tribulation. That's one of the reasons that causes the tribulation. There's all kinds of wars during the tribulation, but now, everybody's involved. Everybody's involved. It is a massive worldwide war like it's never happened before. The sixth trumpet or the second woe, Asia becomes involved in the war and the two witnesses are killed. And the seventh trumpet or the third woe, “Oh good, it's the seventh trumpet. I know what that means, Christ is coming back.” Well, there's a series of events that are in the seventh trumpet. And now people will look back on the trumpets and say, "Oh, those were the good old days," because you have the seven vials or the seven bowls.
I’m going to skip Revelation 14. It's a series of messages. But let's just go right to the seven vials. Sores, massive sores on humanity. It seems that maybe the majority of, if not all human beings, are covered with sores. Now there's world war going on, I don't know if this is radiation, but this is God doing this. When we get to the seven trumpets, it's either God directly doing it, or God has been keeping, holding things back. He's been protecting us from ourselves, He finally takes His hands off, but either way, once the Day of the Lord starts, it's God being involved. He'll let us and Satan go to a certain point, and then He gets involved. You have mass deaths of sea creatures. The second vial. Well, already a third of them on the whole globe have died. Now the rest of them are dying.
Number three, fresh water turn to blood. You understand, at this point, the earth can only exist or humanity can only exist for a few days. We are to the point, at this point, that human life is unsustainable on the earth. Without water, you cannot live. The atmosphere is already so poisoned that a third of the light is... Growing crops is going to become impossible on much of the Earth. See why when people say, “Has the tribulation started,” and I say no? This is so horrendous. Now, I don't say this to scare you. I say this because “Oh, good, God’s going to take care of us.” God’s gonna take care of us.
Number four of the seven vials or bowls, the sun scorches the earth. The atmosphere can no longer keep the sun rays from coming down, and now everybody is just starting to burn. Your skin is starting to burn and peel. There's darkness. How can there be darkness and people burning from the sun? Well, you destroy the atmosphere. You get enough debris in the atmosphere, that's exactly what would happen. The Euphrates River dries up. The Asiatic armies and the remaining Beast armies converge on Megiddo. The seventh vial is a great earthquake and hail, and the entire Babylonian system collapses. It turns on itself. And at this point there is no way, Satan says, "Okay, I've gotten what I wanted, look, they're all acting like animals, and they're about to all die."
And fortunately, we come to Revelation 19 and 20, the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the saints. Now people would want to put together chronological charts and say well, "This will happen on this day and then…" I’m giving you an overview and I know we can't put together the exact chronological chart. We can only see that these things happen in order and what happens as a result of each event. So the return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the saints, Matthew 24, Revelation 20. Revelation 19 talks about the return of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4. All these talk about how Christ is returning and the dead rise first, and then we're changed. So we're not raptured before this point. And the dead rise first. The two witnesses seem to have been dead three and a half days, and they rise.
A lot had happened between their death and their resurrection. Now, there's basically the destruction of the world. Between the death of the two witnesses and the resurrection, there's the destruction of the world. But they rise. What we have in Zechariah 14, Matthew 24, Revelation 19, the destruction of the Beast power and the destruction of the Asiatic armies that have crossed the Euphrates to come to fight Jesus Christ. The only thing that seems to unite all the world together is what they must think is an invasion from outer space. So they all decide, in this desolated globe that nobody can live on anymore, what's the last thing human beings do? “Well, let's kill Him.” They don't even know what's coming! And they decide to fight against Christ. And I think Satan at this point thinks he's won. So I really think... just like when Christ was killed, he must have thought he won.
But Revelation 20 shows us that when Christ resurrects the saints, destroys the armies that fight against Him, and Satan is bound. This all happens very quickly. Satan says, “Wait a minute, I won.” “No, you're going to prison.” And Christ binds him, and he has no influence on humanity for a long, long time. And then we have what we just celebrated at the Feast—a millennium.
I feel better. Revelation is such a depressing book. But it's not, because can you imagine those things happening and you didn't know what was happening? That would be horrifying. To be before God, to be able to know that whatever's happening, whether you're protected, and the saints are taken to its place in the wilderness, but there are people... we didn't go through that passage, but there's people that come out of the tribulation—144,000 Israelites, and a multitude of Gentiles. So that it says He has to gather the saints from the four corners of the earth, not just the woods in the wilderness, but coming out of the tribulation all over the globe are saints.
If saints are going to be martyred, I've wondered... now this Gary Petty speculating, I've wondered if there's going to be saints scattered all over the world because they're going to tell people, "Those two witnesses? Those are the people you follow." Can you imagine being killed because you support the two witnesses, but that's your job? Now, that's a tough job. That's a tough job, but who's going to work with all these people? This huge multitude that comes out of the tribulation. It’s going to be people God calls to go work with them. And we know a lot of them aren’t gonna survive. That's a great persecution on the Church.
But that's not the end of the Book of Revelation, because we know at the end here, we have the last events. We have the millennium. At the end of Revelation 20, we have the Great White Throne Judgment. The last Day of the Lord, the last great judgment where everybody has to stand before Jesus Christ to be judged, and Satan is removed forever. He's let loose for a little bit, at the end of the millennium, as we know from Revelation 20, that there's this Great White Throne Judgment where all the dead are resurrected, which we went through on the Eighth Day and the Last Great Day of the Feast. And then Revelation 21 and 22 gives us just a little glimpse into the New Jerusalem. It's when God's throne comes to earth. Everybody thinks when you die you go to heaven, and the truth is God's coming here. His throne comes to earth. It says He creates a new heaven and a new earth. It better be a new heaven and new earth, because if you look at the dimensions of New Jerusalem, it can't be physical.
You couldn’t put something that big on the earth. That’d throw it off its axis, it would spin off into space. The physical laws don't apply anymore. The New Jerusalem is 1500 miles high and 1500 miles square. And you take something that big and stick it on the earth, and see what happens. So this new heaven and new earth breaks all the laws of physics. God's got a whole new set of laws. He’s gotten a whole new set of how things are going to work, because the only beings that are left as far as human beings are those who have been changed and are spirit. That's the great hope, that's the great message of all this. That in all this, this isn’t God's doing to bring humanity to the very edge of destruction. We're doing that with Satan’s help.
He's not describing—you know, the great tribulation isn’t God's doing. You say, “Why is God doing this? Why is God causing this?” He's not. What Revelation is about is, "Okay, folks, when it finally gets to the place where it's out of control, I'm going to stop it." When you finally get to the place, humanity speaking way, when humanity gets to the place where it's tried everything and failed, everything is going to fail we do. And I think the American experiment has been the most amazing thing ever done in the history of humanity. I also know it will fail. Inside of it are the seeds of its own failure. It is human.
The United States of America was not created, I mean the Constitution, by God. Now, it had some inspiration from the Bible in a few places, but this isn't God's country. It never was. What I mean is a converted country. This never was a converted country, ever. George Washington is an amazing man. Did he lead people into following God? No. Did he get up and tell everybody repent of your sins? No. As much as I love this country, it's going to fail. It was doomed to fail from the very beginning. Anything created by human beings will fail. And we have to get to the point where we all get it. All humanity says, "We can't do this. The best we could do won't work.” And with Satan around, even if we come up with something good, it will fail because he'll make sure it fails. So we have to understand there is no hope for humanity except Christ coming back.
There's a lot of good things human beings do, a lot of brilliant things. We were going touring Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, and talking to one of the people that work there. And I said, "Isn't it amazing? This is 50 of the most brilliant minds in history came together at one point in time." And she looked at me and said, "Yes. And you would have to believe for that to happen there was some kind of divine guidance.” But in the end Thomas Jefferson's dream won't work because it's not biblical. None of it was biblical. I mean, parts of it were, that's why it's done so well.
And in the end, the Beast power will seem to work. People will follow the Beast power because it actually gives them hope. Remember, the four horsemen ride before the Beast power comes on the scene. Now it may be working underneath, but I mean really comes on the scene. Because it only lasts three and a half years. The Beast power will seem to be the answer and people will flock to it. Mankind’s last, great genius. And of course, he’s going to end up being the most destructive power in the history of humanity.
So it is a book of hope. So I'll be passing out the test now. [audience laughs] I know that's a lot of material, but if you if you go through, you'll see, all I did was logically say, "The seven seals fit together." That's all I did, and how each seal fits, and that if you have four events that are all three half years long, they must... we come to a conclusion, and I guess that's maybe a speculative conclusion, but we come to the conclusion they all happen at the same time. So we put them together. Why would those time periods be so specifically mentioned unless they all must happen at the same time? When you do, you actually have now this incredible chronological order of things.
So don't fear, don't be distressed. God's in charge. You are loved by God. Remember what Jesus said at the very beginning of Revelation? He loves you. That's what He says, why would He say that at the beginning of this book? “He who loves you,” because He wants us to know. He will take care of us. He will get us through. He will make sure that we're part of that resurrection, that we're changed. And just pray that God will do with you in your life what He wants, and that God will protect you when the time comes.
Well, thanks for coming out and have a safe trip home.