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A Jet Tour Through Revelation B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2024 3:00 am

A Jet Tour Through Revelation B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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And the rest of the show is While the environmental movement has picked up considerable steam since then, there's one threat to the planet that relatively few acknowledge or take very seriously and that's this. One day, God himself will cause widespread environmental catastrophe that no one will be able to prevent. See what I mean now as John MacArthur takes you on a jet tour through Revelation. Open your Bible to the book of Revelation. While you're turning to Revelation chapter 1 verse 1, let me just say that no book in Scripture reveals the glory of God and Christ in any more splendor than does this book, and yet no book has been more misunderstood and misinterpreted and neglected than this book. In chapter 22 of Revelation and verse 10, it says, If there's one thing God wants in regard to this book, it is that we know what it teaches. Now the key to the book is found in chapter 1 verse 1, and we're going to dive right in at that point and go from there. The revelation of Jesus Christ, that's what the book is about. It is the apocalypse, the apocalypsis, the unveiling, the revealing of Jesus Christ, the uncovering of the truth about Christ, heretofore not known. We're going to learn things about Jesus Christ in this book that we wouldn't know if it weren't for this book.

Now let me summarize. First of all, in chapter 2, we have the cold, orthodox church. Then we have the church suffering persecution and the church married to the world, the church tolerating sin, the dead church, the faithful church, and the apostate church. Now each of these, as I said, was a real church, and each represents churches in all the periods of history. And so the message to these churches is to all churches throughout all of this period of time in which the church exists on the earth and in which Christ moves among the seven lampstands ministering to His church. And listen, beloved, I believe these seven letters are to be applied to the church today.

Whatever kind of church there is a message for that church, isn't there? Now we come to chapter 4, and we leave the church age. You have the church on earth in chapters 2 and 3, and all of a sudden we appear in heaven.

And I want you to see what happens. The theme of heaven is worship. We go from earth to heaven. John's up there, and now he's going to find out what's going to happen. Now we're in heaven, and heaven's going to begin to act on the earth.

What's going to happen? Well first of all, let's find out who's up there. In round about the throne were twenty-four thrones, and upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting clothed in white raiment, and they had on their head crowns of gold. Now who is this?

Very important. Let me just tell you that I believe this is the church. I believe it represents the church of Jesus Christ.

I'll tell you why. The scene here is rewards. It is a time of rewards.

They bear crowns, crowns of gold. And I see this as the rapture church, now complete, reigning with God around His throne in glory, having been rewarded. And I believe that when Jesus comes to take the church in the rapture, He says, Behold, I come and my reward is with me.

And I think the first thing that happens when we're raptured is we go up there and we receive our rewards. And I believe there they are with their crowns. It says they're on thrones. They have white robes and crowns, and all three of those are promised to the church.

I think that's the safest place to land on that matter. Out of the throne, verse 5, the throne precedes lightnings, thunderings, voices, and so forth, and then the vision of God, and there's the sevenfold Spirit again, and this is the divine throne. Now before the throne, verse 6, there's a sea of glass, like crystal. And this is somewhat like Ezekiel chapter 1, the imagery there. The four living creatures, I believe those are angels.

It describes them in some detail. And then it says they all worship, verse 9, 10, and 11. All of heaven is worshiping. You've got the angels worshiping. You've got the saints worshiping, the church worshiping, all giving praise and glory to God. And as I've said to you before, that's the theme of heaven. Heaven is a place where everybody worships God. And so when John sees heaven, he sees all these people worshiping God.

And then all of a sudden something interesting happens in chapter 5. The worship is broken. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a scroll. You know what it is? It's the title deed to the earth. It's the title deed to the earth.

How do you know that? It was sealed with seven seals. Roman law required that a will be sealed seven times so that it couldn't be broken open. It had to be sealed. In other words, they would roll it so far, seal it, roll it a little further, seal it, roll it further, seal it, roll it further, seal it, and finally they would roll it to the tightest part, seal it the seventh time, and you couldn't break through seven seals without being discovered.

So a will was sealed seven times. I believe this is God's will and testament, and God's will and testament was to give the earth to Jesus Christ. Wasn't that his promise in Psalm 2? I'll give you the nations for an inheritance. You'll rule with a rod of iron.

This is my son. He'll break the power of all the nations. He'll rule in the world. That was the promise to the son, and here's the title deed the Father holds in his hand. And a strong angel proclaims, Who is worthy to open the scroll and lose its seals?

Who can claim to have the will of God? Who can unroll the seven sealed scroll? No man in heaven or on earth, neither under the earth, no one was able to open the scroll or even look in it.

And John wept because nobody was found worthy to open and read the scroll or even look on it. And then one of the elders, and who would know better than one of the elders, one of the twenty-four elders? Who would know better what it meant to be redeemed? And said, We not behold the line of the tribe of Judah the root of David has prevailed to open the scroll and lose its seven seals. And so one of those, I believe, who is representative of the redeemed knows that Jesus Christ is the one who is worthy to open that scroll. And he is in verse 6 described as the one who steps forward in the midst of the living creatures, the angels and the elders. Those representing the church stood a lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns, that's full power, seven being fullness, horn and an animal referring to power, having seven eyes which is perfect wisdom, referred and reflected from the Holy Spirit, the sevenfold Spirit of God. So here is Jesus Christ, full of the wisdom of the Spirit of God, full of power. He came, verse 7, here's a monumental moment. He takes the scroll out of the hand of Him that sat on the throne.

Now keep that in mind. Draw some lines around that verse. That marks the unfolding of all that's going to happen. Jesus takes the scroll and He says, I'm going to take back the earth.

Paradise will be regained. Well, what do you think this causes in heaven? Well, it causes more worship. And so verse 8, verse 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, everybody worshiping, worshiping, worshiping. Why do you think heaven's so excited?

I'll tell you why they're tired of the rebellion on earth, right? And when they begin to see that Christ has taken the scroll, He's going to unroll it, take the title deed, take back the earth, they get excited about that. And there's glory and praise and worship culminating in that marvelous statement in verse 12, worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.

And you can hardly read it without hearing the Messiah. And so you see then that the beginning of this age starts in heaven, or this phase rather, starts in heaven. God on the throne holds the title deed to the earth. All heaven is worshiping. And they say, well, who's worthy to take the earth back and give it to God and restore it to its paradise and intention? Who is worthy?

And no one is found. And all of a sudden John sees himself weeping and then comes the lamb and the lamb takes the title deed to the earth as if to say, I'll unroll that scroll, I'll take back the earth. And when that is established in verse 7, then all heaven begins the hallelujahs again. So you begin in chapter 6 with the Lord beginning to unroll the seals. And you have seven seals.

And each one that breaks open reveals another thing that's going to happen on the earth. The first seal is peace. I saw when the lamb opened one of the seals. I heard a noise of thunder.

One of the four living creatures said, come or proceed. And I saw and behold a white horse and he that sat on him had a bow. Notice he had no arrows, just a bow. And he had a crown and he went forth conquering and to conquer.

Now who's this? On a white horse, that's a conqueror. With a bow and no arrows, that means he didn't have to have a war. He carried his bow, didn't have to use it. It's a peaceful conquering.

He wore a crown. He went out conquering and to conquer. So the tribulation period on earth begins then with a false peace energized by Antichrist. If you have any desire to compare that, look at Daniel 9, 27 where it says the very same thing. He makes a pact with the people of God and sets up a false peace.

So he is the false Christ, brings what looks like peace. But it doesn't last long. I mean it doesn't last long at all because the second seal is broken open in verse 4 and another horse comes out. This one isn't white.

This one is red. These are the four horsemen of the apocalypse by the way. And power is given him that sat on it to take peace from the earth that they should kill one another. The second seal is war. That leads us to the third seal which is broken open and it's a black horse, verse 5.

The one who sat on it had a pair of balances in his hand. In other words, weighing out and measuring out and it says when it measured out, a measure of wheat, verse 6, for a denarius, that means you get about one and a half pints of barley or less wheat, maybe a third of that, for one day's wages. In other words, you work one full day to make not enough for one person to eat or barely enough for one person to eat. Those are famine conditions. And it says, see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. That's the rich man's food.

Don't touch that. So what you have then is peace, followed by war, followed by famine. And where there's worldwide war, there's going to be worldwide famine. And then the fourth seal comes along and it's death. What follows war and famine but death? Verse 8 says, there came a rider on a pale horse. His name was Death and Hades followed after him.

Why? He goes along killing and Hades comes along scooping up all the dead. Power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, the beasts of the earth. Then you come to the fifth seal and you find some people under the altar. These are no doubt the redeemed people who have been slain during that period and now they're in heaven. And they're at the very altar of God, the very throne of God as it were, and they're under there praying, verse 10, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Because in this war and in this carnage and in this famine and all the debacle on earth, the redeemed people are slaughtered by the Antichrist. When their spirits come to heaven, they gather together and they cry to God, how long are you going to let this go on without bringing vengeance on those who are slaughtering the saints? That's a very important section.

You ought to make a note about that. That section is a premise on which much future discussion in Revelation is based. Well, verse 11 says, and white robes were given to every one of them. And it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season until their fellow servants also and their brethren that should be killed as they were should be fulfilled.

What he says to them is, you just be patient. In the meantime, here's a white robe, here's your heavenly garment, enjoy, and hang in there till the rest of the martyrs are done being martyred. It's not over yet, as someone once said, it's never over until it's over.

And it's not over yet. And so back to earth, the sixth seal, an earthquake, sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. Joel talked about that, and so did Peter on the day of Pentecost. The stars of heaven fell to the earth.

Now imagine that, folks. The sun goes black, the moon goes blood, the stars fall out of the sky like a fig tree casting untimely figs. In other words, you have overripe figs, you shake the tree, they all fall down. The stars all fall out of heaven. And the heaven then departs like a scroll. You ever pull down a blind in a window and you let go of it and it went, like that? That's what's going to happen to the whole heaven.

The whole thing is gone. And every mountain and every island moved out of their places. Can you imagine that? Scary time. And they get really afraid. And you have tremendous fear in verses 15 to 17. They scream for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, to hide them from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of the wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?

Now you can only take so much of this and you'd be a basket case. And poor John, can you imagine what it would be like to have all these visions? So the Lord gives him periodic respite. And chapter 7 is one of those. And we find in chapter 7 that there is in the midst of all of this some protection going on. There's going to be some blessing. There are going to be some people spared from this judgment. And everybody's not going to be under the altar. Some believers are going to be spared.

Who are they? There are 144,000 Jews out of every tribe. Dan is omitted because of gross idolatry, Deuteronomy 29. But in case you're worried about Dan in Ezekiel 48, they're included in the kingdom layout. So they are restored graciously to the kingdom. They're just not allowed to serve in this particular ministry.

Now what does this say? In the middle of the week when the Holocaust begins, there will already be Jews saved believing Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord already been saved. And they will go through that same period and they will not be able to be killed.

Why? Because they can't be hurt. They're sealed. They're protected. It says that in verses 2 and 3. Nothing can harm them. So during that second and a half, you're going to have 144,000 Jews going through preaching the gospel.

They're going to be very effective, folks. Look at verse 9, I saw a great multitude which nobody could number. I mean, they were an uncountable number. Of all nations, kindreds, peoples, tongues.

They stood before the throne, before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands. They cried salvation to our God who sits on the throne and under the Lamb, where did they come from? They are the fruit of the 144,000 Jews. You know, it's one of the marvelous statements about God's sovereignty and salvation. God will choose to be saved, 144,000 Jews, and He'll choose 12,000 out of every tribe of Israel. And only He knows where people connect up with their tribes. They lost all the records in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

But He doesn't lose the records. God will literally elect 12,000 out of every tribe, so there will be 144,000 redeemed Jews in that second half. And they will be the evangelists, and out of their ministry will come an innumerable number of people from every tribe and tongue and nation and people praising the Lord Jesus Christ. And then, of course, you have following that a whole lot of worship in the rest of chapter 7.

A marvelous, marvelous thing. Now you come to the seventh seal in chapter 8. And the seventh seal is very often a response to the first six, or the seventh trumpet, a response to the first six, or the seventh bowl, a response to the first six. And verse 1, by the way, is some people's life verse to prove there are no women in heaven because it says there will be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour.

But I think that may be pressing the point a little. Well, when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. What does that mean? That means what stopped?

What stopped? Well, what goes on in heaven? Worship just been going on in chapter 7. So it stops for half an hour.

Why? They're in awe. I mean, they are in awe of the holocaust of divine fury being poured out. So here come the seven trumpet judgments. Another way to signify judgment. The Lord has rolled out the seal, and at the end of it come trumpets announcing judgment.

Verse 6, seven angels had seven trumpets ready to sound. The first trumpet sounded and there was hail and fire mixed with blood, cast on the earth, a third of the trees, and all green grass was burned up. That's a judgment on vegetation. A judgment on vegetation is a judgment on man because he can't live without vegetation in many places, and a judgment on animals because they can't live without vegetation either. And it may be some kind of a judgment on the oxygenation of the world as well, where vegetation is defeated. And so we see the third part of the creatures that were...the third part in the second trumpet in verse 8, the third part of the sea became blood, and the third part of the creatures in the sea that had life died, the third part of the ships were destroyed.

God does a judgment. And imagine, one third of all vegetation is gone, and one third of the sea becomes blood-like, and the third part of the creatures in the sea die, and you've got floating around on one third of the seas of the world a stinking, rotten, eutrifying mess. In other words, man failed to recognize the gift of God in creation, and so God takes it away. Man failed to give God glory for the wonderful things that he'd made, the green grass, the plants, and the trees, the sea, and all the life that's in it. Man wouldn't glorify God, and so God takes it away. And then you have the third trumpet in verse 10, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, did the judgment, and the fountain of waters, it was called wormwood, and it became bitter, and this is the judgment on the fresh water. All the fresh water sources are struck with bitterness, and a third of them destroyed like the rest. The fourth trumpet blows in 12.

A third part of the sun was smitten. Do you know what that'll do to the calendar? Do you know what that'll do to the schedule? You know what that'll do to day by day? You lose a third of the sun.

I don't know what kind of chaos that'll cause in heaven. A third part of the moon is gone. A third part of the stars are gone. A third part of them is darkness, and the day is shown not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. Amazing. The whole calendar is wiped out.

It's gone backhoe. You've got all kinds of screwball eclipses going on all over every place. And I heard an angel flying around in the middle of all this in verse 13 saying, whoa, whoa, whoa. I can identify with that angel. And what that angel says is, you think this is bad? Wait till you hear the next three.

You haven't heard anything. Whew. And then in verse 9, the fifth trumpet sounds. And a star falls. Who's that? Lucifer. And he got the key to the bottomless pit. You know who's in the bottomless pit? Bound demons. Demons that are bound down there by God. There are demons right there bound in the pit.

They can't get out. But the key's going to get in the hands of Lucifer in the tribulation in the fifth trumpet. He's going to go down, unlock the bottomless pit.

And you know what's going to happen? All the bound demons that have been bound down there, some of them have been bound for centuries and centuries and thousands of years. And finally they're going to get out and they're going to gush out of there. And it says in verse 2, a smoke out of the pit like the smoke of a furnace. And the sun and the air darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And they're like locusts it says in verse 3.

It's like a plague. They just sweep the earth. You know why the tribulation's going to be a terrible time? Because all the bound demons in hell are going to be turned loose to add to the ones that are already running all over the earth. And it says they were commanded in verse 4 that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men who have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

The demons aren't going to do anything to the creation. They're just going to wipe out men. And they don't even give the privilege to kill them in the fifth trumpet. They can't kill them, it says in verse 5. They can only torment them five months and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when he strikes a man. And in those days men shall seek death and not find it and shall desire to die and death will flee from them. They're going to get stung like the sting of a scorpion. The locust plague of demons are going to cross the globe, torturing men for five months. Men will be unable to find relief even in death. And then you have a description in verses 7 to 10 of these demonic beings, symbolic language, and it says in verse 11, they had a king over them and the king is the angel of the bottomless pit whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, means destroyer, and in the Greek tongue Apollyon means destroyer.

You think that's bad? There are two more trumpets and during that period of time the sixth trumpet blows and the Euphrates River is opened up as it were and the angels, verse 15, who were prepared for an hour and a day and a month and a year to slay the third part of men. Here comes comes a host released by an angel. We're going to slaughter one third of the world. And the number of the army of the horsemen is 200,000,000, that's 200,000,000 and they come from the east across the Euphrates and so by verse 18 it says they kill a third of the world by fire, by smoke and brimstone which comes out of their mouth.

It may be some kind of weaponry described in those ancient terms. And the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, they should worship demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood that can't see or hear or walk and neither repented they of their murderers nor of their pharmacia, that's drugs, nor of their fornication nor of their thefts. Men didn't repent, they just cursed God. Now those are pretty formidable trumpets, aren't they? There you have the first six trumpets. That's all going to come in the end of the tribulation. Have you noticed that the church isn't around all this time?

Chapter 10 is another little respite. I mean, poor John, poor us. So he gives them another little vision of the good part. His face was as though it were the sun and his feet like pillars of fire and he had in his hand that scroll and his right foot is on the sea and his left foot is on the earth and he cries with a loud voice like a lion and seven thunders out of their voices. And you know, here he is in his glorious vision, but he says to John in verse 5, don't let him know about this. Don't tell him. Too fantastic.

Judgment on sinners, too much, too terrifying, too horrible, too horrifying. Don't tell him. Don't tell him. This is mystery. Verse 7, the mystery of God shall be finished. This part we're not going to reveal. And John saw in that vision that little scroll which represented the taking back of the earth and he took it and he put it in his mouth because he was told, take it and put it in your mouth and eat it up, swallow it.

And he said he did it. And he said, in my mouth it was sweet and in my belly it's bitter. What do you mean, John? I mean when I see the coming of Jesus Christ in his glory, I have a sweet taste because Christ deserves to reign and reign in glory, but I also have a bitter taste because when he comes in glory to reign, I know it's going to mean the devastation and eternal damnation of the world.

And so it's sweet and bitter. You're listening to Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. John's lesson today is titled, A Jet Tour Through Revelation, and it's part of his series, Foundations Volume 2. You know, John, what we saw today about the seal judgments, which include catastrophes like war and famine and widespread death and an earthquake, we know those are real, literal events. And as you teach the book of Revelation, you're portraying these as yet future events. But all of those things are happening right now, so how do we know that what's going on right now in the world isn't a fulfillment of what we see in the book of Revelation? Well, the simple answer to that question is because what's going on in the book of Revelation is identifying the judgments of God in a very, very specific time period. In fact, the scripture is very specific. It speaks about it as a seven-year period.

It talks about half of it as 42 months, and it even counts out the days. The judgments that come out of the seals and the trumpets and the bulls are all within the framework of that seven-year period. And that's clearly identified not only in the book of Revelation, but even referred to in the book of Daniel as a seven-year period. So we're not in that period yet, and I think the Bible is clear in telling us that the rapture of the church will occur before that, that we will be kept from the hour of tribulation, that we will be taken to glory by the Lord, and then that tribulation begins on earth. So what we're seeing now in terms of wars and rumors of wars and corruption and all of that will continue to escalate because evil gets worse and worse and worse, and it accumulates like a snowball going downhill.

So we'll see more and more of that. But the specific issues described in the book of Revelation are for the time of the tribulation to come in the future. I would just encourage you, if you want more detail on this, get the MacArthur New Testament Commentary. You can get the whole 33-volume set if you want, or get two volumes that cover all of Revelation.

That would be a great place to start. A couple of weeks ago I talked about getting Romans and Revelation. You'd do well to get two volumes on Romans and two on Revelation. You'd have the theology right and the eschatology right. It would be a great tool for your own blessing and sanctification. So you can order the MacArthur Commentary or the book of Revelation by contacting us today.

That's right, friend. John's two volumes on Revelation, as well as the rest of his New Testament Commentaries, are great for personal study, sermon preparation, even small group discussion. To place your order, get in touch today. You can go to our website,, or call us at 855-GRACE. Including the two Revelation Commentaries, there are 33 total volumes in John's New Testament Commentary series.

It covers every book in the New Testament. Each volume of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary costs $19, and shipping is free. Again, go to or call 800-55-GRACE to order. And friend, if you're growing from these daily broadcasts, we'd love to hear from you. Also, keep in mind, around the world in communities like yours, people are tuning in to Grace To You, listening, learning, growing. They can access solid Bible teaching because of the partnership of friends like you. To express your support, write to Grace To You, P.O.

Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. Or you can donate when you call us at 800-55-GRACE. Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace To You staff, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to tune in tomorrow. John's going to be talking about two characters in the book of Revelation. He's even said he'd volunteer to be one of them. Who are they? Find out tomorrow as he continues his jet tour through Revelation. Join him then for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
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