Step by Step Through the Book of Revelation/Program 1
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2008
|Today, one in four Christian adults believes Jesus could return in their lifetime. Revelation is God’s message to those who are concerned about the future. In this program, Dr. Ankerberg and Dr. Jimmy DeYoung take you Step by Step Through the Book of Revelation in a clear and concise manner to help you understand its central message and the future events God has predicted.
Today one out of every four Christian adults believes Jesus could return in their lifetime. The book of Revelation is God’s message to all of us who are concerned about the future. It contains Jesus Christ’s last words to the church on such important doctrines as the rapture, the second coming, the final judgment, and reveals what will ultimately happen to Satan, to the Antichrist, and to those who follow false religions. Jesus warns of the terrible future events that will take place on earth during the tribulation, the battle of Armageddon, and His second coming to earth. In this book He tells about the millennium, the final judgment of every person who has ever lived, and what God has planned for His people in eternity future.
Today, we will take you step by step through the book of Revelation in a clear and concise manner, to help you understand its message and the future events God predicts are up ahead. We invite you to join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’ve got an exciting one for you today. We’re going to look at the book of Revelation. Now, don’t get scared. I know a lot of people, they say, “I can never understand that book.” But listen, God gave us this book for a reason. And today we’ve got a fellow that can present it to you and put the cookies on the lower shelf so that you can understand. It’s going to be step by step through the book of Revelation. And our guest is Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, a journalist who lived in Jerusalem since 1993. He’s talked to every Prime Minister of Israel since that time, interviewed them; knows all the key players. And yet he’s also a prophecy scholar. He knows his Bible backwards and forwards. Jimmy, let’s get right into it. Why did God give us this book and it gives some people an Excedrin headache. Help us out. Why is this important, and where are we going to go with this thing?
- Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, first of all, John, the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable,” So all 66 books of the Bible are worth our effort to study through them. Secondly, in Revelation 1:3 it says, “Blessed are those who read this book, hear the words of this book, and live by the words of this book.” So we have a guaranteed blessing if we study the book of Revelation. Thirdly, in Revelation 19:10, it says that “Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy.” So this book, which reveals Jesus Christ, lifts up our wonderful savior, and it is important that we study the book.
- Now, that’s from the biblical perspective. There’s a political perspective to this as well. As we look at our world today, we can go to the book of Revelation, and in particular 16 chapters that lay out a scenario that we see unfolding this day around our world.
- Ankerberg: Alright, let’s take it from the top here. Give me the title of the book, the author, the setting, the time frame.
- DeYoung: The first verse in this book, Revelation 1:1 says “This is a revelation of Jesus Christ.” It is going to reveal Jesus Christ in His person, His power, and His program. It says it comes from God the father; it’s given to Jesus, who will then delegate an angel to give the message of Revelation to John the Revelator.
- John was the pastor at the church at Ephesus. This was in Asia Minor. It’s today what we know as modern day Turkey. And Ephesus was on the coast of the Aegean Sea. It was about 95 AD, it was prior to the death of Domitian, who was the Roman Emperor at the time, who told John because of his testimony for Jesus Christ, because of the word of God being held up so strongly by this man, he was going to be sent to an island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, about 45 miles off the coast of Turkey, the Isle of Patmos. It’s three miles wide, six miles long. In fact, I was there not too long ago. There are 365 churches today on the Isle of Patmos.
- But that is interesting, because John was to receive a message from God the Father, through Jesus, through the angel to himself. He was to write down actually messages to seven churches. Now, I said John was pastoring at the church at Ephesus. He had a connection with the other six churches in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. I’m not sure whether he had actually started those churches or whether he was what we term a circuit-riding preacher. But he had a relationship with them, and he would receive this message to give it to them. And around 95 AD was when he was compelled to be on the Isle of Patmos for that period of time. And that’s when this was all revealed to him so that he could write it down for us to know it today.
- The futuristic or the literal approach to interpreting the book of Revelation is the approach I take, that you would take. And we believe that as we look at the book of Revelation, there are three chapters that are past and present. But then after chapter 4 verse 2 through chapter 22 verse 21, everything is futuristic, everything is literally going to be filled in the future after a special event, the rapture of the church.
- Ankerberg: Alright, what is apocalyptic literature, and what I find fascinating in listening to what you’ve said before in other places, is that God has given us a timeline for the Jews, He’s given us a timeline for the Gentiles, and He gave one for the Christians, and put it in three different books. Talk about that and answer the question, what is apocalyptic literature? Why did Jesus deliver His message using apocalyptic terms?
- DeYoung: The first 2,000 years of human history, from creation until the time of Abraham in Genesis 12, that 2,000 year period of time only had Gentiles, the first member of the human family. From Genesis 12 to Acts 1 then you had Gentiles and Jews. And from Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost, when the church was brought into existence, into eternity future, through chapter 22 of the book of Revelation, you have the three members of the human family, the Gentiles, the Jews and the Christians.
- Now, the book of Daniel is a timeline for the Gentile. It starts at the time of the Babylonian captivity and takes the Gentile into eternity future. The book of Ezekiel is a timeline for the Jew, starting also at the Babylonian captivity, and taking the Jew into eternity future. The book of Revelation is a book that starts with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Revelation 1:18, and then it helps Christians to understand what is going to happen in the future after the rapture of the church.
- Apocalyptic literature, the basic principle behind apocalyptic literature – and by the way, there are four books in the Bible that are apocalyptic, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and the book of Revelation – apocalyptic literature will use a symbol, now listen, it’s not a fairy tale, and it’s not an allegory, but a symbol that will communicate an absolute truth. For example, as we will begin our study in a moment, in the book of Revelation chapter 1 it talks about Jesus standing among seven golden candlesticks. And then it says He had seven stars in His hand. Well, that’s apocalyptic, it’s using a symbol – the candlesticks, the stars in His hand – but in verse 20 of chapter 1, it says the seven golden candlesticks, those were the seven churches of Asia Minor.
- Ankerberg: So it defines it itself.
- DeYoung: Yes. And the stars in His hand, those are the angels of the seven churches. So, apocalyptic literature will interpret itself.
- Ankerberg: Now, you’ve said that to get an overall understanding of the book of Revelation, you can’t go verse by verse. What do we need to do?
- DeYoung: You need to study the book of Revelation, as you approach it, it unfolds chronologically. If you are to understand it ever, and get a handle on what this book is trying to relate to us, it must be approached from a category of chronologically letting it unfold. Not numerically. Many pastors will teach it from chapter 1 verse 1 all the way to chapter 22 numerically. It must be looked at and understood with a chronological unfolding of the book.
- Ankerberg: And you have got a fabulous illustration. And let’s start it right now. You’ve got three pillars here, and you’ve got a timeline that you’re going to teach the people that I think if they get in their head, they’re going to say, “This is terrific, we can understand what’s going on in the book of Revelation.” This is the timeline that’s in Revelation. Would you like to present it for us?
- DeYoung: John, these three pillars represent the three main events in the future as recorded for us in the book of Revelation. This first pillar represents the next event, which is the rapture of the church. Jesus will shout, the trump of God will sound, the archangel will shout, and then those of us who know Christ as Lord and Savior will be caught into the heavenlies. Chapter 4, the rapture of the church. Chapter 5, a great choir of angels singing “Worthy is the lamb,” chapter 5 verse 12 to be exact.
- There’s a space between the first event and the second event. That would be a seven year period of time. It’s the tribulation, and it’s dealt with in the book of Revelation chapters 6-19. Chapter 19:11 and following deals with the return of Christ back to the earth. He’s riding a white horse; we that are in the heavenlies with Him, having gone there at the rapture of the church, will come back on those white horses, coming back to Jerusalem. This thousand year period of time is chapter 20 verses 1-6. And then this is chapter 20, verses 11-15, the Great White Throne Judgment.
- So this is basically a roadmap through eschatology, a road map through the book of Revelation. And on this roadmap, I can take every single verse in Revelation and place it in the location in history where it will take place.
- Ankerberg: Alright. We’re going to take a break, folks. This is absolutely terrific, and you’re going to love this. We’re going to ask Jimmy to define just a little bit more inside of this timeline that comes from the book of Revelation. And then we’re going to plow right in. So stick with us.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. And folks, I want you to see this. We’re going to give you an overview of the entire book of Revelation right now. Jimmy, tell us what these pillars are, and walk through the entire book of Revelation for us.
- DeYoung: Just let me remind everybody, this first pillar, the rapture of the church, and then seven years after the rapture, the return of Christ, or the revelation of Christ, a thousand year millennial kingdom, and then the Great White Throne Judgment or the time of retribution. And then eternity future. Prior to the rapture of the church, you have in chapter 1 of Revelation, the person and the power of Jesus Christ.
- In chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation we see the last words of Jesus Christ to the church. I mean, if you want personal revival, you study chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation. Those seven letters to the body of Christ today are just powerful. In the fourth chapter, chapter 4 verse 1 is the rapture of the church. Jesus will shout, the archangel will shout, the trump of God will sound, we’ll be caught up to be with Him in the air. Chapter 5 is a great choir of angels singing “Worthy is the lamb,” chapter 5 verse 12 to be exact. And then chapter 6, the beginning of three sets of seven judgments. There are seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments, and seven vial judgments.
- You divide this seven year period of time into two parts. The first three and a half years, you have the seven seal judgments. Also, there will be two witnesses that will preach and 144,000 male virgin Jews will come to know Jesus Christ as lord and savior. During this time they will scatter around the world preaching the gospel of the kingdom. At the end of the three and a half years these two witnesses will be killed, they’ll lay in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days. The entire world will witness that event. And then they’ll be resurrected and go into the heavenlies.
- Also at the midway point of the tribulation period, there’s going to be a fight in the heavenlies between the angel Michael and the good angels army in the heavenlies, and Satan and all of his evil angels, that evil army. They will be cast upon the earth and at that time start to attack the nation of Israel.
- In the last three and a half years of the tribulation period you have the seven trumpet judgments, the seven vial judgments, culminating with the kings coming out of the east to join the Antichrist to fight the battle of Armageddon. At that time, chapter 19 verse 11 and following tells us, we get on white horses – and I believe that is literal – Jesus gets on His white horse, we all return to the earth. That’s the revelation of Christ when He steps back on the Mount of Olives in the city of Jerusalem.
- That will be followed by a thousand year period of time. Satan, during that thousand years, will be bound in a bottomless pit. Also, those who know Christ as lord and savior will rule and reign with Him for that thousand year period of time. At the end of the thousand years Satan will be loosed for a season, captured again by God, and then the Great White Throne Judgment, at which time Jesus Christ will be the judge. He will sentence those who have rejected Him into the lake of fire, which is the second death. And after that, eternity future, new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem.
- Ankerberg: Fantastic. Now, some people want to know, where is the judgment seat of Christ? When we have the rapture, Christians are taken out of here. We go to heaven, and there’s a series of events that take place in heaven, while there’s events happening on earth. Take us through what Christians are going to experience in heaven.
- DeYoung: At the rapture of the church, John, immediately, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15, in the twinkling of an eye, that’s faster than a blink of the eye, in the twinkling of an eye we will stand before Jesus Christ. At that point that will then begin the judgment seat of Christ. The reason for this is, we have to have garments, our wedding garments, that we will wear when we are married to Jesus Christ. In chapter 19, verses 7, 8 and 9 of the book of Revelation, we see that there will be a marriage ceremony and then the marriage supper of the lamb, and that will last for a seven year period of time.
- But between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation period there’s a short space, we don’t know how long it is, that’s when the judgment seat of Christ takes place. This is not a time to determine saved or lost; you will not stand at the judgment seat of Christ unless you are saved. It is a time to have your works judged. There will be some good works you did in His power, for His glory, that will reap for you rewards. There will be works that some Christians have done in their own power, for their own glory, they will suffer loss. But this determines the garments we will be wearing when we’re married to Jesus Christ.
- And like a Jewish wedding, after the ceremony, that time of celebration lasts for a seven day period of time. We will be celebrating in the heavenlies with Jesus Christ during that seven years in the heavens, while on the earth judgment, damnation, everything unfolding as the Lord is able to bring the earth under submission and earth dwellers under submission so that He can then set up His kingdom.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Paul says, “For we must all” – talking to Christians – “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our deeds, what was done in the body, whether it was good or bad.” The good, we get rewards…
- DeYoung: Yes.
- Ankerberg: …that last through eternity. If it’s bad we suffer loss, but we’re still Christians, we’re still there.
- DeYoung: You know what is really neat; there are five crowns that we’re going to receive. There’s the crown incorruptible, 1 Corinthians 9:27; there’s the crown of rejoicing for being a soul winner, that’s 1 Thessalonians 2:19; there’s a crown of life for not yielding to temptation, James 1:12; there’s a crown of glory for helping the body of Christ to grow, 1 Peter 5:1-4; and a crown of righteousness that Paul said he would receive, but not him only, all of us who eagerly anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ, the crown of righteousness, 2 Timothy 4:8.
- Well, chapter 4 verse 10 of Revelation says we take those crowns and we go to the throne of Jesus, we lay them at His feet in thanksgiving for what He has done. Just one other thought. What we receive in those crowns will determine how we will serve Him and how we will live in eternity future – another program for another time. But this is very key to understanding how we’ll live forever.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. We’re going to talk about all these more, and we’re going to actually show where the verse is at in a little bit. But this is just a walk through here. Alright, then you have that marriage of Christ to the church. And that is important because it plays off against the harlot that’s also talked about in Revelation. Just talk about that a little bit here.
- DeYoung: We have in the first three and a half years of the tribulation period, and this will prove what I was talking about when I said you cannot study the book numerically, but you must approach it chronologically. If we are here at the beginning of the tribulation, after the rapture, that’s chapter 4, the rapture, the beginning of the judgments, chapter 6, but we’re not talking about chapter 17, which describes the harlot, the whore. And it says that that whore, that false church was brought into existence 4500 years ago in the times of Babylon, Nimrod, when he was there on the shores of the Euphrates River, located in Shinar, which is modern day Iraq. But there was a false religion that was set up in Babylon. Chapter 17 reveals that, we’ll get more into that in another program, but it fills the slot here between the first of the tribulation and the midway point. It’s the backdrop of the first three and a half years of the tribulation period. And it is going to be ruled over by the Antichrist. That’s one of 27 names for a personality that will be prevalent throughout this period of time.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. There’s a satanic trinity presented in Revelation. Explain.
- DeYoung: Well, the satanic trinity is doing everything they possibly can to replicate the holy trinity. You have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the holy trinity. Satan, or the serpent, or the devil as he’s defined in Revelation, would be that one who tries to replicate God the Father. Then you have the beast found there in chapter 13 verse 1, used 42 times in the rest of the book of Revelation. And that is talking about the Antichrist. Remember I said that Antichrist has 27 names. One of them is the Beast that comes up out of the sea. And you have the false prophet of Revelation 13:12 and following. And that is the third member of the satanic trinity. He tries to replicate that ministry of the Holy Spirit.
- And so you have the satanic trinity: Satan, Antichrist and the false prophet. John, let me talk a moment about the Antichrist, because this is a major player in the seven year tribulation period. The Antichrist, I believe, is alive and well on planet earth today.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Hold it right there, Jimmy. We’re going to have to pick that up next week. And you’re going to have to explain what you mean. But I want folks to know, here’s where we’re going: John gave us his own outline in the book of Revelation in chapter 1. He says Jesus told him, “Write the things which you have seen,” this is the vision of Jesus, the power and the person of Jesus Christ, which we’re going to talk about more next week. And then he says, “the things which are,” which refers to the letters to the seven churches. And he says then, “the things which will take place after this,” which refers to future events.
- We’re going to talk about the Antichrist, we’re going to talk about the revelation of Jesus Christ, His person, what He said to the churches, and then we’re going to start opening these seal judgments that are going to come on the earth and we’re going to tell people when they will come and the order, and what’s going to be taking place. What is God predicting is going to take place in the future? You won’t want to miss this, folks, so please join us next week.