Hi friends! We’re headed for home in two distinct ways. Yes, our study together is coming to a close, but we are also heading for home spiritually! Our Blessed Hope, Jesus Christ, is soon to return and we must be ready! This week, we’ll turn our sights toward the rise and fall of the last earthly empire, led by the antichrist during the tribulation. But first, let’s work our way to Revelation.
Prophecy makes up about 25-30% of the Bible (roughly 8000 verses), thus God apparently thought it was important for us to study! Prophecy is found throughout the Old and the New Testaments. For example, the Old Testament books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel are known as “major prophets,” and there are a dozen “minor prophets.” Thus, those books are virtually 100% prophetic. But we also find prophecy in the gospels and in Paul’s writings in the New Testament. Jesus Himself had much to say about the last days. (Matthew 24-25, for example.)
Indeed, virtually every book of the Bible contains some reference to prophecy. However, when the word “prophecy” is mentioned, the book of Revelation is often the most recognized book. Yet, we have hardly touched it! That is because, though Revelation is a great chronology of end times, detail of the end times is also found in other places. We have looked to other places for detail.
Revelation 1:1-2 provides an overview:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond servant John, who testified to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Notice these things about that passage:
- It is THE Revelation…not plural! There are no “other” revelations…this is the only one.
- It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, given from God the Father and communicated to John. It is the Holy Spirit who enlightens us to understand the things of God. Thus, we see the trinity involved in end times, just as the trinity was involved in creation. (See Genesis 1:26)
- John was to testify to all that he saw. He was given a vision and tasked with explaining things he had never seen before! Can you imagine seeing helicopters, aircraft, nuclear war, etc and trying to explain them without words to describe them? Thus, Revelation contains symbolism. Yet, Revelation should still be taken in a straight-forward literal manner unless Scripture tells us differently. For example, in Revelation, at times John writes, “I saw what looked like….” We know he is talking symbolically at that point.
With that, let’s jump right away to the subject matter of Revelation 17-18, which you will study in depth this week. We are looking at the rise and fall of the Babylonian empire. Babylon is also known as Babel, and you may remember that, in the aftermath of Noah’s flood, the people built a tower into heaven in an effort to “make a name” for themselves. In addition, God’s plan was that the people disperse throughout the world, thus He confused their language. God is into dispersion of government…not One World Order.
Babylon was also the area from which God called Abram, and to which the Southern Kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity. Prophets such as Ezekiel and Daniel wrote their prophetic books while in captivity in Babylon. Ultimately, though, Babylon was overtaken by the Medo-Persians, then the Greeks, then the Romans. It was abandoned about 200 AD. Yet, the Bible tells us that the antichrist will set up shop there during the tribulation.
Indeed, the center of commerce, politics and government will be Babylon. Revelation 17 describes the rise and fall of that One World Order. Revelation 18, on the other hand, describes the One World Religion that the antichrist will establish, and the religious center will be none other than Jerusalem. At the mid-point of the tribulation, the antichrist will enter the temple and demand that the entire world worship him. Oh, what devastation will follow!
That’s our destination this week, my friends, and as is true about so many end time events, we see current events lining up for the fulfillment of those tribulational events. That should lead us to ask, “How close are we?”
Good question! Stay tuned because we will get to that question later this week! Thanks for sailing with us…and enjoy the study!