by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
We left off in Revelation Chapter 5 with Christ ready to take the scroll out of the hand of God the Father. He was qualified to do that because of His finished work of the Cross – because of who He is, the Eternal, the Creator God of the universe. And He is the One we might say instituted that mortgage in the first place (we will point that out in just a bit). He alone is fulfilling all the requirements to pay off the mortgage. He is the Next of Kin; He is able, and He is going to show Himself willing. We like to tie the Old and New Testament together as much as we can, so come now to Daniel Chapter 7. There are two verses that speak almost the identical language that John uses in Revelation:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man…”
Notice that Son is capitalized? Sometimes I shock people by telling them the Son is mentioned in the Old Testament. Here is one of them. Psalms 2 mentions the Son twice in that one Chapter. We don’t call Him Jesus in the Old Testament, because that’s the name of His body of humiliation. But nevertheless, as a personage, He is certainly referred to as the Son back here in the Old Testament.
“…came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days (God the Father), and they brought him (The Son)near before him.” And now verse 14. As a result of all that took place in Revelation Chapter 5.
“And there was given him (God the Son)dominion…”
Who had dominion back in Genesis 1, and then lost it in Chapter 3? Adam. He had dominion and was to take care of all of God’s creation. But he lost it when he sinned. Who picked it up when Adam dropped it? Satan did. So Satan is the mortgage holder, or the one who has the planet under his control, and that’s the mortgage we are dealing with – the same mortgage that God is going to pay off in full by virtue of the judgments and events of the seven-year Tribulation. The end of it will bring the world to a delivery from the curse. And that is why Jesus in Matthew 24 refers to it as the beginning of travail. We are talking about a delivery from the curse. Now verse 14 again:
“And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom (isn’t it amazing how often that word kingdom pops up? It is a visible, political, viable, governmental kingdom on the earth that we are referring to. It is also a Spiritual Kingdom. I pointed out in a previous class that you and I, as Grace Age believers, have our citizenship already in heaven, according to the Book of Colossians. We have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son, which is in heaven. But when God the Son leaves heaven and brings the heavenly Kingdom with Him to set up the earthly Kingdom, we will be with Him. And He will be King of kings and Lord of lords), that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him (The King of kings): his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Coming back to Revelation we find in verse 8:
“And when he had taken the book (or scroll out of the hand of Him Who sat on the throne),the four beasts (or creatures)and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”
Whenever you pray, don’t ever think that your prayers are lost. The prayers of the saints I feel are accumulating up in glory as sweet smelling fragrances before the God of heaven.
“And they sung a new song, saying, `Thou (The Son, The Lamb) art worthy to take the book (or scroll), and to open the seals thereof (now here are the qualifications): For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood (we are living in a day and age where many people don’t like the Blood aspect of the Gospel, but we can’t compromise that. It is one of the absolutes of the program of God from day one. Remember there are two absolutes in Scripture you can’t compromise or detour around; they must be faced head on. Number 1: “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” Number 2: “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Both are found in the Book of Hebrews.)out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;’”
“`And hast made us unto our God kings and priests (of course, this is the future of the believer. We will indeed rule and reign under the King of kings and Lord of lords and will have a Kingly priesthood.): and we shall reign (where?)on the earth.’”
A lot of people don’t like to believe that. But we are going to rule and reign with Him in an earthly Kingdom, promised all the way back to the Book of Genesis. Now verse 11:
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts (or creatures)and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;”
I believe this angelic host, so often referred to in Scripture, are the clouds. Do you remember at the ascension, a cloud received Him out of their sight. I don’t think it was a moisture cloud, but a very heavenly host escorted Him into glory. And other times when you speak of the clouds of heaven, unless the text is definite that it is weather clouds, you can just about rest on the fact that it is the very multitude of the heavenly host. And that certainly is depicted here. They are there by the millions. And they all say in verse 12:
“Saying with a loud voice, `Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (who was crucified) to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth,…”
Look what the Book says, not just humans but every creature. Turn to Romans 8 for a moment. It’s a perfect parallel that every creature is aware of the Creator. You drive along the road and see a little cottontail rabbit or bird and we think of them as just another wild animal. But they are all God’s creatures and they are all aware of Him. Beginning in verse 18, Paul tells us as believers:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (or to us. That’s our future), For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation is a better translation)waiteth for the manifestation of the sons (or children) of God.”
I have explained the word manifestation for many years. The other night I saw a book written by a very famous man and it seemed he was using my illustration. He said manifestation meant “to be brought into the spotlight.” That is what I always use when using that word. It’s like taking a glass slide with just a drop of pond water, slipping it under the microscope, and turning on that powerful light. All of a sudden that slide just begins to move. But it wasn’t manifested until you put it under the spotlight; in this case under a microscope. So when you see the word “manifested” in Scripture, that is what it really means. When you are brought under the bright light of a magnifying situation; things appear that are not ordinarily seen. Now verse 20:
“For the creature (or creation)was made subject to vanity (to the curse), not willingly (in other words, it wasn’t the creation’s fault that the curse fell, it was Adam’s. It was man’s fault. So the curse came in.), but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,”
As soon as Adam sinned back in Genesis Chapter 3, what did God come right back and promise in Genesis 3:15? A Redeemer who would be the Seed of the woman, who would be The Christ.
“Because the creature (or creation)itself (not just the creation itself, but all of creation)also shall be delivered (keep that in mind. A delivery)from the bondage of corruption (which is the curse) into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they (not only all aspects of creation, but we humans as well, especially those of us who believe.), but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
What’s that? When we shall be ushered into that glorious rule and reign. All creation is waiting for that day, for the curse to be gone. In other words, when that little cottontail rabbit hops across your lawn and stops for a second, does he ever relax? There is always an enemy he is aware of. He can’t relax because of the curse.
But when the curse is lifted, all the animals, as we see in Isaiah Chapter 11, are going to cohabit peaceably. The wolf and lamb will lie down together, and the bear and the cow are going to feed together. And all of creation is looking forward to the day. The curse is lifted. Today, all of the animal kingdom must fight for their own existence, and many times starve for lack of food. That is not the way God intended it. The curse brought all of that on. How sad that so many people are not aware of that. When you watch the masses of people, do you ever ask yourself how many of them are aware that someday all of this is going to end. Most of them never let it enter their minds. Totally unconcerned; totally indifferent. But listen, it’s coming just as sure we are sitting here today. Now back to Revelation. Let’s read verse 13 once again:
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, `Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ And the four beasts (creatures)said, `Amen (so be it).’ And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
The stage is set. God the Son has taken the mortgage with the seven seals on it. And now He is going to open it and begin the process of paying it off. Now we come to Chapter 6, and the first thing we are introduced to is the four horsemen of the apocalypse; most have heard of it. They are very interesting. Verse 1:
“And I saw when the Lamb (God the Son)opened one of the seals,…”
He will take them off one at a time. And these seven seals are going to take us up to the mid-point of the Tribulation. Now the best way to understand the Book of Revelation is to realize that there are a whole series of sevens throughout the Book. The part we skipped was the seven letters to the seven churches. Now we will see the seven seals; the seven seal judgments. They will introduce the seven trumpet judgments. The seventh trumpet judgments will introduce the final seven bold judgments. Interspersed between, there are seven distinct persons, and seven woes.
The whole Book of Revelation is a breakdown of sevens. And seven is God’s perfect number. The whole Book is not a book of myths and legends; it is a perfectly tuned Book that is definitely a part of the Word of God. What we have is the beginning of this final seven years. Several lessons ago from the Book of Daniel, we showed that this seven-year period of time, which we call Daniel’s seventieth week, or the time of wrath and vexation, or primarily the Tribulation, will be opening when the Anti-christ signs that seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel. That’s back in Daniel Chapter 9. And when he signs that seven-year treaty, this is the beginning of the opening of the seals we see here in Revelation Chapter 6.
The first 3 1/2 years are not so much the wrath and vexation, although they will be bad enough. The last 3 1/2 years are going to be terrible for those who must go through it. Remember, as you study Revelation, that all through Scripture these seven years are divided 3 1/2 and 3 1/2; 42 months and 42 months; 1260 days and 1260 days. And as we come through the Book of Revelation, I suppose we should look at our timeline again, beginning with the creation of Adam and mankind as we know it. About 1500 years later we have the flood. Then we have the Tower of Babel.
At about 2000 B.C., God does something totally different. Out of the mainstream of Adam, of course, He now pulls off one separate nation by promising Abraham that out of him will come a nation of people (the Nation of Israel who would come by virtue of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). The Nation of Israel that we now refer to as the Jews. All through the Old Testament economy God is speaking predominately to Jews with exceptions. I say with exceptions because God is Sovereign and He can make His exceptions. But other than His few exceptions, He deals with the Nation of Israel; bringing them to the place according to His Old Testament program where the Messiah would come. They, of course, crucified Him. Following, the Tribulation was to have come on the scene for seven years (or Daniel’s seventieth week). Then Christ would return and set up His Kingdom. But what did Israel do with it? They rejected it. They had a tremendous opportunity.
All the Old Testament prophecy refers to this as a steady flow with no interruptions. But we know that it was interrupted, because the Tribulation did not come in after the Crucifixion. In the Book of Acts, none of this happens. So in essence, God doesn’t give up on the Nation of Israel. Paul tells us that so plainly in Romans Chapter 11, that they have not fallen out of God’s program. They have merely gone into a period when God is going to set them aside and turn to the Gentiles. And so Paul tells us in Chapter 11, that by their fall, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
I like to picture it as a parenthesis. The Book of Acts takes us up to 70 A.D. At 70 A.D., Titus destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Israel was sent into her dispersion as we saw in the Book of Ezekiel a couple of lessons ago. They were dispersed out in the Gentile world. After Israel is dispersed, we came through that period of time that is totally out of a time frame. I’ve taught that prophecy, as you come out of the Old Testament, is prophetic statements concerning God and the Nation of Israel (but always in a time frame). Remember 490 years are determined upon the people of Israel.
It’s always in a time frame. But as soon as Israel loses her Temple, loses her national state and her sovereign government, and is dispersed; then God’s time clock utterly stops. We then enter into what we call the Church Age or the Age of Grace, or the age where Christ is calling out the Body of Christ, and there is no time frame. No one knows when Christ will return. We call it imminent. He may come before the day is over. It may be years down the road; however, the way things are going, we don’t see how it can be much longer. So never, never subscribe to anyone who says that on such and such a day the Lord will return. We don’t know that. And I have told my classes over the years when someone sets a date, then you just cast him off as a false teacher, because there is nothing in Scripture that gives us the ability to set a date.
So now the Church Age has been coming down the pike these 1900 plus years, ever since 70 A.D., and it actually began before that. But now Israel is in dispersion, and Christ has been presenting the Gospel based on His death, burial, and resurrection. We hold to the fact that, before God can pick up and begin the Tribulation period with the Nation of Israel, the Church has to be removed. The reason I emphasize that is because there has been so much teaching coming in lately, that the Church will not be raptured – that we will go into the Tribulation. This is completely false.
Always remember the Church is predominately Gentile. The Church is totally insulated from all the dealing that God did with the Nation of Israel. The Covenant promises are not ours. So God cannot pick up where He left off with Israel until the Church is out of the way. That is why we put the Church Age in a parenthesis. And when the Church is removed, then God can once again deal fully and completely, and finish everything that was prophesied concerning His Covenant people. That is the best statement that I can make for believing the way I do. And always remember, concerning the out-calling of the Church, this doctrine comes from the writings of Paul as He gave only that great Apostle the revelation of the calling out of the Body of Christ.