from two Greek words meaning “last” (ἔσχατος) and “study” (-λογία), is the study of “end things”, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world, and the nature of the Kingdom of God
I. Our dedication to humility
A. Scrutinize with Humility
It’s my goal to give you an appetite for the word of God and a desire to study the information for yourself. At no time do I ask that you agree with any of the following teachings or statements. You MUST study it on your own, and if you don’t see agreement with these teachings in your Bible, don’t receive them. You do not want to be declaring things in boldness that you have only heard about. We must dedicate ourselves to becoming a voice and not an echo.
Acts 17:10-11 You are obligated to scrutinize (Examine closely) this teaching. The key to correctly scrutinizing is to do it with humility and tenderness. Verbal sparring and debating divide and create fissures in godly relationships. We must avoid that at all cost. We must learn how to scrutinize with excellence.
B. Fight to to walk in humility and unity
We must fight to remain humble and teachable with our eschatological views, as they are always growing and we are learning. We must honor and respect those with a different view. Preserving our relationships in the Kingdom must be prioritized above proving our theology.
Ephesians 4 is the most complete doctrine in the Bible on unity in the church.
Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
C. Jesus will confront our roots of bitterness
The reality of the book of Revelation’s message has so much weight, we cannot reduce it through argumentative debates and verbal sparring. Communicating this message isn’t about winning an argument or one-upping people theologically; it is about preparing people to live un-offended as the end of the age storyline unfolds.
II. Common negative attitudes toward end time doctrines
A. Avoid being carried by the wind of popular thought
Resist the impulse to respond in the midst of cultural wars and intellectual arguments (especially on social media). We must individually anchor ourselves in the word of God so we are not seduced or shaken by every teaching that contradicts our own. Ephesians 4:14
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…
B. An argumentative spirit
Not having a sufficient answer when a question is asked doesn’t win or lose an argument. We must extend grace at the highest level and keep “people off the ropes.” The desire to be right at any cost will do more damage than good.
C. Developing doctrines from books and experiences
In our western society it is easy to be sucked into the entertainment value of books and media about Bible topics. We would rather have people tell us what to think than to think for ourselves. We hear this a lot: “If you want to learn a lot about this subject then you need to read this book by this author” or “You should listen to what so-and-so has to say about this. Watch this Youtube channel”. Though we can get valuable information (and we should) through these resources, we must be even more committed to encountering Jesus through His Word rather than being served our information quickly and hastily through secondary sources. The best commentary for the Bible is the Bible itself. Milk is fed to you, but you have to hunt for meat.
D. Having an unteachable spirit
Because of past negative experience regarding end time topics, a sense of “I know all I need to know” or “I am set in my ways.” Regardless of how new an idea or topic seems; if it is in the Bible, we must discuss it amongst the body and ask the Holy Spirit for understanding.
E. Passing on little to no legacy in scriptural teaching and practice
Joel 1:2 Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers? 3 Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.
The fathers’ hearts must turn to the sons and the sons’ to the fathers in this hour. This generation is watching the fathers and cares about the conduct of their lives and the information they have to pass on. Malachi 4:6
We want to hand more to our sons than a rapture argument and a passive spirit that explains away the difficult truths about Jesus and His word.
III. The importance of end time teaching
A. Why do we study the book of Revelation?
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Read it – Expose yourself to the truth of the book.
Hear it – Grasp and accept it as the truth. Seek understanding and revelation.
Keep it – Don’t allow it to be taken or explained away, and apply it to your life.
- Because it’s in the Bible.
If the Holy Spirit prioritizes a message by placing it in the word of God, then it is meant to be known and understood on this side of eternity for spiritual growth, gaining knowledge and insight into the heart of God.
- To understand the hour we are living in.
We must have a grid to help us understand the escalation of sin, why evil prevails, God’s judgment, and how Jesus deals with wickedness. We must know this information so we do not become offended in our hearts when the story doesn’t go our way – not just eschatologically but also in the difficulties we face in our own lives.
- Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.
- It is about Jesus, the Man we love and worship.
The book of Revelation is the most detailed description of Jesus, what He is like, how He deals with pressure, and how He sees the Church.
- So we are not offended by Jesus’ leadership, deceived by the enemy, or seduced by the culture.
- So the Church can be prepared to participate in the end of the age storyline.
No other book in the Bible is written that excludes the Church’s participation and partnership with the Lord in the supernatural acts He performs. Why would the the book of Revelation be any different?
- So we can hand more than confusion to the next generation
We must avoid relegating this information into “nobody knows so why try?” or as peripheral information. There are 150 chapters that we can gain understanding, so we don’t need to use “It’s a mystery to me” as an excuse.
B. Regarding the word “Soon”
“Soon” Transliteration: tachos (τάχος, ους, τό) quickness, speed, hastily, immediately.
The significance of this word is when the end of the age chain of events begin, they will happen quickly. The verse is not attempting to pinpoint the time of the Lord’s coming but what the events will be like when he returns. Once one domino falls, the rest fall shortly after.
C. Common Misconceptions about the End Times
- It cannot be understood.
This is the #1 lie the enemy promotes regarding this book! Why try? It can’t be understood anyway. If you believe you can’t understand it, you will never read it. Don’t buy it. It’s a lie from the pit of hell. The Book is called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ!” This is the Man we love! Read it, hear it, keep it! It’s like someone handing you a book in a foreign language. Of course you are not going to read it. You won’t even find an inkling of motivation to read it because there is no way for you to understand it. It’s true that we can only know the message in part; however, the Holy Spirit did not give us this information to keep it a mystery. The Holy Spirit did not give us the Book of Revelation so we could assume that it was peripheral, optional information. Revelation 1 “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.”
- It’s not important to study.
The #1 message that Jesus preached was “He who has ears let him hear” Mark 4:9, Mark 4:23, Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:43,Matthew 13:9,Luke 14:35, Luke 8:8, Revelation 3:13, Revelation 3:22, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:29, Revelation 3:6, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 13:9, Revelation 2:17
- You have to be really smart to understand it.
The Bible was written for everyone and everyone is qualified to read it, pray, and be led by the Spirit.
- It is all symbolism.
Much of the book of Revelation uses symbolism to describe events, but oftentimes the Bible itself interprets the symbols for us, making them understandable. The book of Revelation has 7 main symbols, all which are interpreted within the book itself, making the events easy to understand in a straightforward way.
- Jesus is coming any minute.
This is one of the common statements made by believers, but it is completely untrue. Before Jesus comes back, there will be a great falling away and the man of sin will be revealed. 2 Thessalonians 1-4
- The Church is going to be persecuted and judged.
There are 403 verses in the book of Revelation. There are 12 verses about persecution on the church. Just 3% of the book of Revelation is about persecution on the church. For an Old Testament foreshadowing concerning the protection of the Church from God’s judgment during “the day of the Lord,” let’s look at the following passage: Exodus 8:22. The land of Goshen where the Jews lived was untouched by the plagues. This biblical history gives us confidence that the Lord will work in the same way in the final judgments; there will be places of safety and refuge for the saints.
IV. Prioritizing our end time beliefs.
Not all of our end times beliefs have to bear the same weight. Some topics we cannot move on. Other topics we need to be willing learn and grow together in.
A. Essential Doctrines
We do not back down or move from essential doctrines. Every believer should easily agree on the following values:
- Authority of Scripture. The Bible is our only source for truth in the end time teaching. We do not base our views on prophetic experiences or personal revelations.
- Second Coming. The literal return of a fully God, fully man Jesus to the earth to rule as King of Kings.
Revelation 11, Zechariah 14, Psalm 2, Isaiah 63
- Resurrection of the saints. There will be a bodily return of those who have died in world history who were faithful to God.
Revelation 11, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, Daniel 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:35-44
- Heaven. All saints through history will live with Jesus in the New Jerusalem on earth.
Revelation 21, Revelation 22:3-7
- Hell & Judgment. The lost and rebellious will be judged for never accepting that Jesus paid for their sins. As a body, we must strongly stand against the heresy teaching that there is no hell or judgment.
B. Core Convictions
I am aware of the varying eschatological beliefs within the body of Christ and how our views differ. The following outlines our core convictions for the end times and shapes the way we interpret the book of Revelation and related chapters of the Bible. We honor and respect those with a different view; however, the view that we will take during this teaching is a futurist view, meaning we believe the events described in the book of Revelation are yet to come.
- Victorious Church The church will mature and unite in purity, power, and the knowledge of God. As sin escalates, so will righteousness and those who take a stand for it. The church will walk in the greatest supernatural power in history at the end of the age.
John 17:21-23, Ephesians 4:13
Fruit of the victorious church.
A. World wide harvest Matthew 24:14, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 14:14
B. Global focus on intimacy with Jesus from every nation.
- The Millennium is a literal 1000 year reign. Jesus will return to the earth and rule the nations for 1000 years, taking His place as King of Kings.
- The Antichrist is a real man. “The Man of Sin” will deceive the nations and will be like a “beast.” He will not be reasoned with.
Daniel 11:29-39, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Revelation 13:1-2
- Futurist view of most of the prophecies found in Revelation and Daniel. It is critical that we honor and respect those who have a different view, we must preserve our unity before our theology or eschatology. I believe we must stand firm on our convictions and the truths that are found in the Bible, we must not be easily swayed into breaking fellowship with those who do not agree with our view.
- The Abomination of Desolation is a sign for recognizing the beginning point of the great tribulation.
- There will be a falling away from the faith. Matthew 24:9, Matthew 13, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Timothy 4:3-5, 2 Peter 2:1
- Eternal rewards and reigning on the earth with Jesus.
Revelation 2:26, Revelation 3:21Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:4-6, Revelation 22:5
C. Helpful but not essential information
These themes are helpful for those seeking to understand the broader storyline in the Scripture related to he end times. Understanding these themes helps us to grasp many end-time passages that are commonly neglected based on their being difficult to comprehend outside the context of the broader biblical storyline.
- The storyline of the Book of Revelation is sequential and literal. The 21 Judgement series (7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls) happen in the order described and are literal and not symbolism.
- Identification of the Harlot Babylon.
- Signs of the times. Identifying what they are and how they are fulfilled in today’s world.
IV. Seven main symbols in the book of revelation
The primary symbols in the book of revelation are given to us to create clarity for what John is describing. The symbols are not meant to generate unknowable information regarding the end times. The symbols are used to describe key parts of the book so we will know what the key players in the storyline are like.
- Dragon – Satan
Revelation 20:2, Revelation 20:2
- The Beast – the Antichrist
Revelation 19:19-21, Revelation 20:10
- Another Beast – the false prophet
- Ten Horns – Ten nation confederation that serves the Antichrist
Daniel 2:41-42, Daniel 7:7, Revelation 17:3-16, Revelation 13:1, Revelation 12:3
- Harlot Babylon – A demonically inspired worldwide economic and religious system.
- Woman with a male child – Faithful remnant of Israel through history.
V. Four parts of the book of Revelation
- John’s call to prophecy. Revelation 1
- Letters to the 7 churches. Revelation 2-3
- Jesus receives the scroll. Revelation 4-22
- The battle plan to cleanse the earth (5 chronological sections)
Part 1. John’s call to prophecy. Revelation 1
This is the most detailed chapter in the Bible about how Jesus thinks and feels. This information about Jesus equips the church to be confident in Him and His instruction as His tenderness and leadership are revealed through 30 detailed descriptions.
Each of the 3o descriptions is like the title of a book in the library of heaven. Each description of Jesus in Revelation 1-3 is a dynamic door to seeing into His heart and leadership. It is important to know these 30 descriptions and ask Jesus about them. Jesus chose to reveal himself in this way for a reason; ask Him about it and thank Him for it.
Try in your prayers to thank Jesus for being the firstborn from the dead. Thank him for being the faithful witness. Ask Him what it means. These descriptions change the way we relate to Jesus.
The 30 descriptions prepare our hearts to receive the encouragement and the weighty correction in the letters to the seven churches.
Part 2. Jesus’ letters to the seven churches
How to apply the Seven Letters
- Individually – It inspires wholehearted love in our personally lives.
- Historically – These letters were for the seven historical churches. Just as Paul wrote letters to the churches, these are Jesus’ letters to the primary churches at that time.
- Universally – These letters are beneficial to the whole body of Christ throughout history.
- Eschatalogically – The letters are beneficial to the end time church, the final generation of the church in this age.
Common Elements in the letters
The letters to the 7 churches are the information that the saints need to overcome persecution and temptation. Jesus is telling us in plain and clear language how he wants us to operate as a body.
Jesus’ letters to the seven churches are to encourage the church not to quit or leave the faith, specifically in the face of persecution. Jesus speaks into the virtues of each of the churches and encourages them in their good works but also sternly warns them in their areas of weakness.
I believe these areas of weakness are the primary issues the church has dealt with through history and the primary issues the church will deal with at the end of the age. Jesus’ primary message is “don’t be deceived.”
- Jesus reveals something about himself in each letter. He reveals something about himself that equips us to deal with persecution. In the western world the primary facet of persecution is reproach, being mocked or laughed at. If you preach the seven letters you will bear reproach in the church. There is a struggle to accept how straightforward Jesus is in these letters and how he wants his Church to respond to him.
- Jesus affirms each church’s area of faithfulness. These statements give us insight into what is important to Jesus and what he finds valuable in the church’s actions.
- Five out of seven churches get a correction. What is interesting is the areas Jesus corrects are still relevant to the church today. Jesus highlights six specific temptations to “overcome”…
- Immorality & Idolatry
- Doctrine of the Nicolaitans
- Leaving our First Love
- Having a name that we are spiritually alive but are actually spiritually dead
- Lukewarmness – Of the six temptations highlighted there are three primary compromises that Jesus addresses
2. Idolatry – Covetousness
3. Spiritual Passivity – Spiritual Passivity is the compromise that is addressed most frequently in the seven letters, a total of three times.
The #1 warning in the seven letters is “do not fear.”
- Promise to the overcomers
Jesus describes specific rewards to the churches for overcoming these areas of temptation. In total, there are 18 rewards that Jesus describes. It’s important for believers to have an introductory understanding of each reward because they motivate us to obey Jesus in a wholehearted way. Many scholars and commentaries surmise these rewards are something every believer receives. I believe Jesus coupled these rewards with the specific areas of compromise, so if we overcome those areas we get those specific rewards. “I am the first”. The 30 descriptions to prepare our hearts to be confident in His leadership in the face of persecution. He is the first, He is the source of everything good we have; and when they take it way, they are first taking it from Him. If we claim that we are building a church after God’s own heart, Revelation 1-3 should be our central point of emphasis on what a church after God’s own heart looks like.
Part 3. Jesus receives the scroll (title deed) of the earth.
A. The interesting thing about the earth is that it has been given to men and will always be ruled by men. Men have sinned against it and a Man also redeemed it. Jesus, in His purity and complete innocence is the only man worthy of taking the scroll and receiving the earth as His inheritance and as King. The earth was originally given to Adam.
B. Genesis 1. Adam gave his authority to Satan. Satan has used corrupt men to rule the earth for a time. Revelation 4 is the title deed of the earth being given to Jesus. The title deed contains the battle plan for Jesus to take back His inheritance and be placed as King of Kings with full power, authority, and dominion over the earth.
Jesus to receive the nations as King of Kings.
I saw in the right hand of Him [the Father] who sat on the throne a scroll…sealed with seven seals. 2 I saw a strong angel proclaiming… “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”…5 One of the elders said, “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah…has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals”… 6 in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God…7 He took the scroll out of the right hand of Him…on the throne.
13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Jesus referred to himself as the “Son of Man” 85 times total in the four gospels. He was referring to this ONE verse in the Old Testament. This is the only “Son of Man” prophecy.
Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
Part 4. Jesus’ battle plan in action against the antichrist army. (Chronological Section)
The 4th part has five sections. We strongly the believe the sections are intended to be presented in chronological order, making the storyline easy to understand.
One of the most offensive, yet true, doctrines to the Church today is that Jesus himself will judge the nations. Jesus does not have a mean or bad streak. The way we think of Jesus is deficient if we limit Him to our own personal definition of “good.” We must be committed to defining love on His terms and not our own. When we lean on our own understanding, we have difficulty seeing Jesus as the judge.
The purpose of judgment is to remove everything that hinders love being expressed in the nations. Jesus does not lose His love because He judges; He judges because He loves. John 5, Romans 2:4-16, Matthew 25:31-45,
- Chronological Section #1 – The seal judgment
- The first four seals stem from the wickedness of man. The Lord will pull back some of his protection and favor, and He will allow men to wallow in their foolishness. They will suffer the consequences of their sin.
- The fifth, sixth, and seventh seals involve supernatural activity from heaven. Each seal naturally leads to the release of the next seal.
- The first seal Revelation 6:2 the release of the Antichrist, naturally leads to seal #2 war, which causes seal #3 famine, naturally followed by seal #4 death and disease. Angelic Explanation #1 – Revelation 7
- Chronological Section #2 – The trumpet judgments
The Trumpet Judgments serve a three-fold purpose
- To hinder the antichrist’s spread of evil and persecution
- To warn unbelievers
- To rally to war and rally the saints to prayer
- Trumpet Judgments begin at the end of the seal judgments. The trumpet judgments are progressively more severe than the seal judgments. Trumpet judgments are not symbolic.
- Joshua 6
The familiar story of Jericho plays out again, but on a global level. Joshua has the priests blow seven trumpets seven times, and on the seventh time Jericho supernaturally is destroyed and Israel has a sure victory. In Revelation the seven trumpets will blow, and with each trumpet the antichrist’s empire and resources will be destroyed. On the seventh trumpet Jesus returns.The trumpet judgements also begin similarly to the plagues of Egypt. It is a retelling of the story of Exodus but on a global level.
- Angelic Explanation #2 – Revelation 10-11
- Chronological Section #3 The second coming of Jesus
The replacement of world governments. – Revelation 1515The seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” This makes the nations angry!Revelation 15:18, Psalm 2
- Four primary things that happen when Jesus Returns
- Jesus inherits the earth and replaces world governments.
- The dead are sentenced.
The dead are judged and sentenced to hell until after the millennium. Then they are thrown in the lake of fire.
- The saints are rewarded.
The saints are rewarded according to their works. The works are the saints’ expressions of love in the context of the great commission. The rewards are outlined in Revelation 2-3
- Jesus will destroy those who destroy the earth. Jesus will destroy those who have put wicked policies into place. He will rule them with an iron rod and dash them to pieces. Psalm 2, Isaiah 63,
- Jesus inherits the earth and replaces world governments.
- Angelic Explanation #3 – Revelation 12-14
- Four primary things that happen when Jesus Returns
- Chronological Section #4 The bowl judgments
It’s important to note that the plagues of Egypt and the bowls of wrath mirror each other. This gives us confidence as believers for interpreting Bible prophecy. This has already happened once the past; therefore, it will happen as described in the future. No mystery; it means what it says and says what it means.
- Micah’s prayer for revival and deliverance will be answered in fullness at the end of the age.Micah 7:15
“As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them wonders.” We would not say the plagues of Egypt were symbolism or a fable. The trumpets and bowls mirror the plagues of Egypt and not by accident; it’s plain and clear that this is the Exodus story retold. Moses split the Red Sea – the people had their backs to the water with no hope of escape, but God through Moses supernaturally splits the sea and makes a way for the people through a valley of water, leading them to safety and ultimately the promised land.
Exodus 14:21 Jesus will split the Mount of Olives – the people will ones again be cornered with no hope of escape and Jesus himself will split the Mount of Olives and create a valley for Israel to escape to safety and ultimately to the New Jerusalem (Millennium)
Zechariah 14, Revelation 15:3-4 The Israelites will once again sing the “Song of Moses”. The song of Moses Deuteronomy32 was to serve as a reminder to the Israelites of God’s faithfulness. When they would commit apostasy (turn their backs on God), the song would remind them of their deliverance from Egypt. Angelic Explanation #4 – Revelation 17-18
- Micah’s prayer for revival and deliverance will be answered in fullness at the end of the age.Micah 7:15
- Chronological Section #5 Jesus enters Jerusalem
- Seven Scenes of Revelation 19-20
- Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem (19:11-16). Isaiah 63, Zechariah 14
- Jesus defeats the Antichrist at the Battle of Jerusalem (19:17-21).
- Satan will be cast into prison for 1,000 years (20:1-3).
- Saints will be given governmental leadership over the earth (20:4-6).
- Satan is released after 1,000 years (20:7-10).
- God’s great white throne judgment of all His enemies (20:11-15).
- The Father will establish His throne with His people on the new earth (21:1-8).
- Angelic Explanation #5 – Revelation 21-22
- Seven Scenes of Revelation 19-20
VI. Bridegroom King & Judge
Jesus is a Judge
Jesus is the perfect judge who will execute perfect justice. Jesus will judge unbelievers according to their sin. He will Judge believers according to their works, and He will Judge governmental leaders according to their wicked policies.
Psalm 2:9, Revelation 15-16, Isaiah 63, Romans 2:4-16, Matthew 25:31-45
Read those four verses in the context of Revelation 11:15-19