Revelation's setting: when the Rapture is "at hand."
ARE YOU PREPARED?
Do you know the exact date of the Rapture?
Do you know when the Tribulation will begin?
Do you know precisely when the world will end?
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.The tenth verse of the last chapter says,
Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand." Everything sandwiched in between is viewed from the vantage point of the Rapture.
As the playwright, Christ decided what years his dramatic production, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ," would cover. In his miraculous play, as he stands on that pinnacle of the Rapture and looks backward, he draws on their historical background and portrays the state of the churches when the Rapture is "at hand." He then tells about the Rapture itself. After that, he looks forward to tell us what is coming upon the world following the Rapture. Therefore, "the things which thou hast seen," of Revelation 1:19, are things that precede the Rapture. The "things which are" happen when the Rapture is taking place. The "things which shall be hereafter" follow the Rapture.Christ's basic outline is simple. He views the past, present, and future from that point in time when the Rapture is actually at hand. This puts what he said in a new light. Recognizing this fact opens our eyes so we can see exactly what was meant by the prophecies. We can see things that have not been recognized before.
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Without recognizing that the one who "is" is not a first century Roman, but a 20th century Roman, it is hard to figure out which king is the first one in the list.
If we examine the verse closely, it is easy to see that the sixth and seventh kings are the Beast and False Prophet of the end times. The False Prophet is the one who will be Satan possessed. The next verse reveals Satan himself, "the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
This chapter and the following one are about the doom of Mystery Babylon. Therefore, it makes sense that the first king is the first king of Babylon where the Mystery Religion began--Nimrod at the Tower of Babel. That religion truly was "THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
Thus the first five kings are the leaders of the Tower of Babel, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Media-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, and the old Roman Empire. At the time of the Rapture, those five have fallen. The Roman Ecclesiastical Beast is the sixth one. He "is" in office at the time of the Rapture. At the beginning of the Tribulation, he will be elected head of the world government and will rule 42 months (Revelation 13:5). The "other" who is yet to come is the False Prophet, who is called "another" in Revelation 13:11 and Daniel 7:8,24. He will take over the duties of the Beast after the Beast is wounded and rule the world church and the world government during the last part of the Tribulation.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning (Lord of the Old Testament) and the ending (Lord of the New Testament), saith the Lord, which is (at the Rapture), and which was (at the First Advent), and which is to come (at the Second Advent), the Almighty.As he is signing off in the last chapter, he gives us one more chance to understand who he really is if we have not fully understood it before this. In Revelation 22:13,16, Jesus says,
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last....I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.He is both Yahweh, "the root," and Yahwehshua (Y'shua, Jesus), "the offspring of David." The pre-incarnate Christ is the Lord of the Old Testament. He always was the one that had to do with man. The incarnate Christ is the Lord of the New Testament. In II Cor. 5:19, Paul explained that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself."
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together....Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me (Isa. 48:12,13,16).
Thus saith the LORD (Yahweh) the King of Israel, AND his redeemer the LORD (Yahweh) of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isa. 44:6).
For unto us a child is born (inheriting his human nature from his mother), unto us a son is given (inheriting his divine nature from his Father): and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (I Cor. 2:7,8).
For it pleased the Father that in him should ALL fullness dwell....the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 1:19;2:2).
I am from above, ye are of this world; I am not of this world...if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins...They understood not that he spake to them of the Father (John 8:23f).
I and my Father are one....the Father is in me, and I in him (John 10:30,38).
Hear, O Israel: The LORD (Yahweh) our God (Elohim) is one LORD (Yahweh) (De. 6:4).
IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:1,2,14).
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD (Yahweh), and his name one (Zech. 14:9).
And..thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins...they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Mt. 1:21,23).
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia (which means muddy, i.e., to the churches that are still on the earth): Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is (at the Rapture), and which was (at the First Advent), and which is to come (at the Second Advent); and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne (in Heaven); And from Jesus Christ (who is in Heaven)...And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.After Jesus tells who he is, John explains what happened. It took place in the twinkling of an eye, so quickly that we missed recognizing that it was a Rapture Preview for a long long time. He says,
I John...was in the isle that is called Patmos (which means mortal), for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ ('the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,'Rev. 19:10) I was (margin: became) in the Spirit on the Lord's day (Sunday, the Imperial day), and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last...I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks ('the seven churches'): And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man...And he had in his right hand seven stars ('the angels of the seven churches').Jesus Christ stood among the churches that had just been raptured. The stars were still in his hand for he had just snatched them up. His hair was as white as snow, he was wearing a golden girdle and "his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
Write the things which thou hast seen (before the Rapture), and the things which are (at the Rapture), and the things which shall be hereafter (after the Rapture).
The messages to the seven church groups are as Jesus sees them at the time of the Rapture. He portrays himself as he looks at the time of the Rapture. For instance, unto Ephesus he says, "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks."
He digs into their past and stretches it up to the Rapture. To Thyatira, he even says that he will cast those that commit adultery (join) with her into great tribulation. Thus these seven messages portray the history of the church and at the same time show the status of the churches when the Rapture is at hand. Thyatira is warned of what is coming after the Rapture. It is also significant that in the Old Testament adulterers were to be stoned, for in Revelation 8, we find both a mountain and a star (aster) falling.
Some must repent (metanoeo, think differently, reconsider, to have another mind). The church of Ephesus is told "repent." The church in Pergamos is told "Repent." The church in Thyatira is given "space to repent." The church in Sardis is told "repent." The church of the Laodiceans is told "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
The Laodiceans are like the foolish virgins that are left behind. Matthew 25:10 says, "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut." The Laodiceans face a closed door in Rev. 3:20.
The Philadelphians are like the wise virgins. Notice that the Philadelphians are not told that they have to repent, and the open door is set before them in Rev. 3:8. Jesus says, "I have loved thee" (Rev. 3:9), and Philadelphia means brotherly love. There is love in this church. Love is one of the attributes of God, therefore if we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the love of God in us. The Bride and Bridegroom must love each other, and not be only lukewarm like the Laodiceans.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (I Cor. 2:9).
Jesus tells the Philadelphians,
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (the Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
In Luke 21:34-36, Luke warns us, saying,
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (as in the Rapture Preview in Revelation 1:13).
AFTER this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven.
The Rapture in the Song of Songs
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© 1996, 1997 Marilyn J. Agee