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Revelations 2000

by M.J. Agee

Chapter 1, Part 3

John's explanation of the previous action

In our play, because the Rapture happened so quickly, almost as soon as the curtain opened, John now explains the action that has just taken place so we will not fail to recognize it and become disoriented. In verses 9 and 10, he says,
I John, who also am your brother, and com-panion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was (before the Rapture) in the isle that is called Patmos (which means mortal), for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was (margin: became) in the Spirit on the Lord's day (Sunday), and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
Instead of "became in the Spirit," the New English Bible has, "I was caught up by the Spirit." This is the same trumpet voice he hears as chapter four begins. The passage in 4:1 has been recognized as depicting the Rapture. It says,
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 (margin: became) in the spirit (or as in the New English Bible, 'I was caught up by the Spirit.'): and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
When the trumpet voice shouts, "Come up hither," the Rapture will happen quickly--snap! There will be no time for foolish virgins to go buy oil. Those that try will come back and find the door closed, as the Laodiceans do.

Both the shout of the Lord and a trumpet are mentioned in Paul's account of the Rapture in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 (New Scofield Bible):
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord (at the Rapture) shall not precede them who are asleep. 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: Then we who 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.
The apostle Paul made it very clear that all those who believe in Jesus Christ
should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope (the Rapture), and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (one person, both God and our Saviour Jesus Christ); Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar (special, being beyond the usual) people, zealous of good works (the Laodiceans are not zealous).
In the early days, people saw through a glass darkly, but now that the scriptures are complete, we can see him as if face to face. In our play, he is about to visually appear to John in the heavenly New Jerusalem right after the Rapture.

Believers are to be snatched away when the trumpet sounds. This is significant. The trumpet sounded on Pentecost at Mount Sinai, and on every feast. When the morning service began at the Temple, the door was opened at the sound of a trumpet. This door to Heaven opens at the sound of a trumpet, probably on Pentecost. That is when Moses went up Mount Sinai and received the ten commandments.

We are to escape from all the terrible troubles coming upon the earth during the Tribulation and be transported to Heaven, a definite place that Jesus has prepared for us. When Jesus indicated that he came down from Heaven, he meant that he was from a real place. When he was taken up to Heaven to prepare a place for us, it was to a real place. When we are taken to his home, we will be taken to a real place. Heaven has a recognizable address.

Remember, "the secrets of wisdom...are double (duplicate copies) to that which is." Israelite history contains many types of things to come. Her capitol city represents a heavenly one. There are two Jerusalems and two Mount Zions (Zion from Hebrew, or Sion from Greek), one on Earth and the other in Heaven. Hebrews 12:22-24 addresses us right after the Rapture. It shows that we are going up to another Jerusalem, in the heavenly Sion. Sion may indicate the Father's throne, New Jerusalem Christ's throne.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
As John was caught up by the Spirit on the Lord's day, believers will be born into heaven during the night or early morning and will attend services at the church of the Firstborn in heaven at the proper time, on Sunday morning.

Jesus, the head of the body of Christ, the church, emerged from the rock-hewn tomb on Sunday, went to Paradise, and took the souls waiting in the womb of the Earth to heaven. It would be quite in character for God, who loves to provide us with examples, types, similitudes, and likenesses, and who thinks, plans, and works logically, to see that the rest of the body of Christ is born, or expelled, from mother Earth on Sunday.

In Heaven, Jesus speaks to John

In Revelation 1:11, John tells us what the voice like a trumpet says to him after he acts out the Rapture. Saying,
I am Alpha and Omega, the first (Yahweh) and the last (Jesus Christ): and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia (mud, symbol of the Earth or these bodies of clay); unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
The Lord speaks from behind John, so John naturally twists around to face the speaker. As he turns, he sees what we will see after the Rapture, except that the real things will replace their symbols. Just imagine all of the Bride of Christ standing there with him, turning around and suddenly seeing our Lord Jesus Christ in all his radiant glory. That sight will be breathtaking.

First, John heard a voice, then saw a form. So will we. Next, John describes what has just taken place:

Christ in the midst of seven candlesticks

John sees Christ in the midst of symbols that represent the raptured church.
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man (Jesus Christ), clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps (or 'girded across His breast' as in the NASB) with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 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.
This is our great Lord shining in his splendid majesty. To God, believers indwelt by the Holy Spirit "shine as lights in the world," some even like stars, but Christ is the Sun of righteousness who will arise with healing in his wings. On the mount of transfiguration, Peter, James, and John got to see a preview of Christ's glory. At that time, his face shone like the sun, and his raiment was as white as the light.

Christ is the brightness of God's glory. Hebrews 1:1-3 helps us understand. It says,
GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son (literally, in Son), whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
In our play, we first see him wearing his long priestly robe, a vestment that suggests the truth, honor, and dignity that befits his role at this moment. His hair is white like wool. This ties in to Daniel 7:9, where the Ancient of days is seen with hair like pure wool.

His voice, like the sound of many waters, ties in with Ezekiel 1:24, where the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, is like the noise of great waters. These and the golden girdle across his chest are symbols of Christ's deity that almost shout the great news. He is The great high priest, "The mighty God, The everlasting Father, and The Prince of Peace."

The girdle was a symbol of authority in the ancient world. The working man wore a short loose-fitting tunic and no girdle.

In Scripture, when one thing is described as being "like" or "as" something else, it is figurative language. For example, Christ's eyes are not literal fire. They are "as a flame of fire," symbolic of the intensity of his power to know all, see everything, do anything, and judge righteously. The New American Bible says, "his eyes blazed like fire."

We might say his eyes shot fire, showing his indignation over those things that were not right within the churches. It ties in with his feet looking like brass, a symbol of judgment throughout Scripture. At this time, he is judging the church to choose his Bride. She must be as a virgin wearing a white robe (pure, with no unconfessed sin).

When Ezekiel saw him, he exclaimed, "From his waist upwards I saw what might have been brass glowing like fire in a furnace; and from his waist downwards I saw what looked like fire. Radiance encircled him."

When we see him at the Rapture, he is not wearing a crown. Therefore, Coronation Day has not yet arrived. Here, he is the Son of Man who is judge of the churches.

Somewhere, Scripture shows us what its symbols represent. It interprets itself. A good example is found in verse 20. Listen as Christ explains what the stars and candlesticks stand for. We want to be part of this group.
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.
Luke said that the children of the resurrection can't die any more, for they are "equal unto the angels." Therefore, these angels must be members of the church that have just been raptured. They seem to be the choice leaders that are part of the Bride of Christ, special people, active in the Lord's work, leaders that minister to the church, messengers that take God's message to the people.

After the Rapture, the seven candlesticks that represent all the churches are seen around Christ, but these leaders in his hand are the outstandingly talented stars, the top performers, the apostles, the John Wyclifs, the Martin Luthers, the Billy Grahams. They are still in his hand because he has just snatched them up at the Rapture. Since seven means complete, the seven stars represent the entire group.

Out of Jesus Christ's mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. This is the Word of God, called the "sword of the Spirit" in Ephesians 6:17. According to Hebrews 4:12, it is "sharper than any two-edged sword."

It is necessary at the Rapture because there are some unrepentant ones who will be cut off from the group. These are the foolish virgins whose flickering lights are going out for lack of the oil of the Holy Spirit. He does not want any of our light to become shadow. He wants us glowing bright and strong through and through.

In the message to the church in Pergamos, "where Satan's seat is," we find the strong warning, "Repent: or else I will come unto thee quickly (at the Rapture), and will fight against them (the Nicolaitanes) with the sword of my mouth." The Nicolaitanes are those who divide believers, who are actually all priests, into priests and laity.

Church leaders are meant to be the Lord's servants and feed his lambs. Luke 12:45,46 shows that if a faithful and wise steward does not give the church their portion of meat in due season (when the Lord's coming is near ), but says in his heart,
My lord delayeth his coming: and shall begin to beat the men-servants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant (a believer) will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (the Jerusalem Bible has, 'cut him off'), and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
What is this "meat" that is to be given in "due season"? Some information or understanding is to be given the church when Christ's coming is near that was not given to the infant church. No new scriptures can be given. The existing ones can not be added to. All the clues are in the Bible already. In Mark 13:23, Jesus said, "But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things."

We need to read our Bibles very carefully now. Everything we need to know is there somewhere. The only new things are current events. They tie in with the Bible and open our eyes to new truths. Our Lord Jesus Christ hid the necessary clues in the existing scriptures. We only need to find them and understand what they really say to this generation.

This is most important today, for there are leaders who say that we cannot know when Christ will return, it may be a long way off, it doesn't matter, just be ready any time, but are the individuals who listen to them prepared? Those who hear these people do not feel the urgency of being ready RIGHT NOW, it could happen at any time, and it has been like this ever since Jesus ascended.

Avon Books pub date is January 1, 1998. Books should be in bookstores mid December.

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Updated 4-26-08
© 1997 Marilyn J. Agee