The Mid-Week Rapture #23
by Karl Kemp 3/05/2012 / Bible Studies
Holy Father we humble ourselves before you. We thank you for the salvation we have now in the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the glorious things you have prepared for us in the near future. We want to be fully ready to stand before you. We pray in Jesus' mighty, holy name! Amen!
We finished discussing Rev. 19:11 in the last broadcast. I'll read verse 11 and make a few comments; then we'll go on to verse 12. As is typical, I'll read from the "New American Standard Bible," 1995 edition. (When I quote from my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," it uses the 1977 edition.) "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war." The time setting here is very near the end of Daniel's 70th week. The Lord Jesus Christ returned at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, right in the middle of the seven-year period, and the resurrection, glorification, and rapture of the saints took place at that time. The devil and his angels were also thrown down to the earth at that time. Since that time the Lord (and the glorified, raptured saints with Him) has been progressively judging the world according to plan. By the time we get to Rev. 19:11, He has already judged and totally removed Babylon the great harlot (which is a major feature of God's end-time judgment of the world), and the first six bowls of wrath have already been poured out.
As we have discussed, every eye will see the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, but He will not be visibly present on the earth throughout at least most of the next three and one-half years, when He is judging the world. He (and the glorified saints with Him) will be living (at least for the most part) in the heavenly (spiritual) dimension at that time, but they will be very actively involved in judging the world.
As we discussed in the last article, heaven was opened here in verse 11 so John could receive further revelationby visions; it was not opened so that the Lord could leave heaven and come to the earth. He had already returned to the earth to judge the world some three and one-half years earlier. The fact that His robe has already been dipped in the blood of His enemies in verse 13, before He judges Antichrist and his followers at the end of Daniel's 70th week, serves to strongly confirm this interpretation.
I'll read Rev. 19:12, "His eyes are a flame of fire [see Dan. 10:6; Rev. 1:14; and 2:18.], and on His head are many diadems [or, crowns]; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself." We probably will be able to know and understand the meaning of this name after we are glorified, or at least by the time His eternal kingdom has been fully established, with its new heaven and new earth and its new Jerusalem. I'll read Rev. 3:12 (Jesus is speaking here), "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name." Also see Rev. 2:17. That verse speaks of our being given a new name, a name which no one knows and understands but the one who receives it. Our new name will undoubtedly reflect our new glorified status and existence (in union with the Lord Jesus), so too for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has many crowns on His head could demonstrate that He has the authority to judge and fully take over the world (verse 16 mentions, for example, that he is King of kings, and Lord of lords; also see Rev. 17:14), but these could be crowns of enemies He has conquered already. In 1 Cor. 15:25, the apostle Paul (speaking of Christ's end-time reign) said, "He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet." In verse 24 he mentioned that Christ will abolish "all rule and all authority and power."
We'll go on to Rev. 19:13, "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." Many Christians have trouble with this verse because they think that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming to the earth at this time (very near the end of Daniel's 70th week) to judge the world, but His robe has already been dipped in the blood of His enemies. However, as we have discussed, the book of Revelation shows that He returned to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and He has already judged and removed Babylon the great harlot and the first six bowls of wrath have already been poured out. As I mentioned, these words about His robe being dipped in blood serve to strongly confirm that the Lord doesn't come to judge the world at Rev. 19:11 (near the end of Daniel's 70th week); He comes at Rev. 11:15-18 (right in the middle of the seven-year period).
These words about the Lord Jesus Christ's robe being dipped in blood build on Isa. 63:1-6. I'll read these verses, "Who is this who comes from Edom [Edom is used here, as it is in Isaiah chapter 34, as a symbol for the world. God's judgment of Edom here includes His judgment of Babylon the great harlot and His judgment of Antichrist and his followers.], With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah [Bozrah was a city of Edom.], This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? 'It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.' [God cannot fully save His people, or fully establish His kingdom, until He has judged and removed His unrepentant enemies.] (2) Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? (3) 'I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. [There are some things that God must do Himself, but the book of Revelation informs us that the glorified saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ (and even ruling with a rod of iron) from the time of the rapture.] I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My rainment. (4) For the day of vengeance was in My heart [This includes God's avenging all the shed blood of His people.], And My year of redemption has come. (5) I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me. (6) I trod down the peoples in My anger and Made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.' "
The verses in Isaiah speak of God's treading His enemies in the winepress in His end-time judgment of the world. Revelation 19:15 goes on to mention that the Lord Jesus Christ "treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." I'll comment further on treading the wine press when we discuss verse 15.
On God the Son's name being called the Word of God, see John 1:1, 14; and 1 John 1:1.
Let's go on to Rev. 19:14, "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses." The fact that verse 8 mentions that it was given to the glorified saints to wear "fine linen, bright and clean" demonstrates that the armies here in verse 14 at least include the glorified saints; they have been reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ from the time of their glorification and rapture in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. The angels of God will certainly be present too, but apparently they are not mentioned here.
The glorified, raptured saints will be with the Lord, reigning with Him, and following Him forever from the time of their glorification and rapture. I'll give some important cross-references on this point: I'll read 1 Thess. 4:16-18, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore comfort one another with these words." Yes! I guess so! I won't read Rev. 2:26, 27; 3:21; or 12:5, but those verses demonstrate that the glorified, raptured saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ. Two of these verses even mention that we will be ruling with a rod of iron. Revelation 14:1-5 picture the glorified saints with the Lord right after the rapture. Verse 4 mentions, "These are the one who follow the Lamb wherever He goes." The "fine linen, white and clean" of Rev. 19:14 is matched by the righteousness of the saints mentioned in Rev. 14:4, 5. Revelation 14:1-5 are discussed in chapter 23 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." In Rev. 14:14-16 the glorified saints are undoubtedly included with the Lord Jesus Christ on the white cloud as He swings His sickle over the earth to judge Babylon the great harlot. See the discussion of Rev. 14:14-16 in my paper on Rev. 14:6 through chapter 19 on my internet site. I'll read Rev. 17:14 and briefly comment on this verse, "These [referring to Antichrist and his ten associates] will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful)." "The called and chosen and faithful" who are with the Lord Jesus Christ are the glorified, raptured saints. Antichrist and his ten associates will be waging war against the Lord throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Of course the Lord could destroy them at any time, but (as we have discussed) God is going to use Antichrist in His end-time judgment of the world before He destroys him and his followers. Revelation 19:19 demonstrates that Antichrist and the gigantic multitude who gather to Har-Mageddon will be waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ and against His army, which at least includes the glorified, raptured saints. I'll read Rev. 19:19, "And I saw the beast [Antichrist] and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army." Also see Rev. 13:6.
Let's go on to Rev. 19:15, "From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." On the sharp sword that comes out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ, see Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; and 19:21. Revelation 19:21 shows that the Lord kills His enemies with the sword that comes out of His mouth. Verses like Isa. 11:4; 49:2; and 2 Thess. 2:8 confirm that this figurative language of a sharp sword coming out of His mouth means that the words He speaks will cause the death of His enemies. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks with total authority; His words, backed up by all the power of heaven, will strike down all the unrepentant enemies of God.
These words about His ruling with a rod of iron build on Psalm 2:9. This rule of the Lord Jesus Christ with a rod of iron, which will begin at the time of His mid-week return, very much includes the judgment and removal of His unrepentant enemies, including Babylon the great harlot and Antichrist and his followers. Revelation 2:26, 27; 12:5 prophesy that the glorified saints will also rule with a rod of iron, as they reign with the Lord Jesus Christ. It isn't clear how involved the glorified saints will be in the judging and warfare of the second half of Daniel's 70th week, but it is clear that the Lord Jesus Christ will be the primary One ruling with a rod of iron. He is the One who has a sharp sword coming out of His mouth for striking down the nations, and this verse goes on to say that "He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." Furthermore, verse 13 only mentions the blood of His enemies being on His robe (not on the garments of those with Him), and verse 21 speaks of Antichrist's forces being killed by the sword which comes from Christ's mouth. As I mentioned, there are some things that God must do Himself, but the book of Revelation informs us that the glorified saints will be reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ, and even ruling with a rod of iron. And, as I mentioned, Rev. 19:19 speaks of Antichrist and the kings of the earth and their armies waging war against the Lord Jesus Christ and against His army.
Now we'll discuss these words at the end of verse 15, "and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." Isaiah 63:1-6, which I quoted above, mentioned a wine press in verse 2, and it mentioned treading in the wine press in verses 2, 3, and treading down His enemies in verse 6. Verse 2 spoke of His garments being red, and verse 3 spoke of their lifeblood being sprinkled on His garments. Revelation 19:13, which speaks of the Lord's garments being dipped in blood before He judges Antichrist and his forces at the end of Daniel's 70th week, helps confirm that these words about treading the wine press include Christ's judgment of Babylon the great harlot. And, as I mentioned, Edom, which is a symbol for the world in Isa. 63:1-6, includes Babylon the great harlotBabylon is a symbol for the world too.
Will the Lord Jesus Christ literally have the blood of His enemies on His robe? It is possible, but we must face the fact that the book of Revelation is packed with figurative language, figurative language that deals with reality and communicates very important truth in powerful ways. I have found that many Christians go way too far with insisting that every detail the book of Revelation must be understood in a literal sense if it is at all possible to take it in a literal sense. Our goal must be to interpret God's Word in the sense He intended. It is true, of course, that some Christians totally misinterpret the book of Revelation (and other parts of the Bible) by taking just about everything in a symbolic/figurative sense. We need the wisdom of God to rightly interpret His Word. It is clear that the Lord will not have a literal sword coming out of His mouth, and it is clear (I believe) that He will not literally smash His unrepentant enemies with a rod of iron, and that He will not literally tread on His enemies with His feet. Since He won't literally tread on His enemies, He probably won't have His robe dipped in their blood. But His enemies will be killed by His judgment, and the wrath of God will be manifested in powerful ways.
Let's go on to Rev. 19:16, "And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'King of kings, and Lord of lords.' " See Rev. 1:5; 17:14. The expression "King of kings and Lord of lords" is used of God the Father in 1 Tim. 6:15. God the Father has put all things under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor. 15:27, for example).
Let's go on to Rev. 19:17, 18, "Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, 'Come, assemble for the great supper of God, (18) so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.' " All the birds that feed on carcasses (including the vultures) will be able to hear the angel's loud voice inviting them to come partake of the bodies of these followers of Antichrist after the Lord judges them. See Rev. 19:21; Ezek. 39:4, 17-20.
I'll read Rev. 19:19, "And I saw the beast [Antichrist] and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled [or, gathered together] to make war against Him who sat on the horse [the Lord Jesus Christ] and against His army." The Greek verb that I would translate "gathered together," with the KJV, NKJV, and the NIV is the same verb used in Rev. 16:14, 16, where the demons that come out of the mouths of Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet GATHER TOGETHER this gigantic multitude to Har-Magedon.
I'll read Rev. 16:12-14, 16. These verses prophesy of this gathering together that takes place under the sixth bowl of God's wrath. In the ultimate sense, God is gathering them to judge and destroy these unrepentant enemies. This is a common prophetic theme. "The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. [Verse 14 shows, however, that the demons will go to the kings/rulers of the whole world, not just to the kings/rulers from the east.] (13) And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon [the devil] and out of the mouth of the beast [Antichrist] and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; (14) for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. (16) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon."
"Har" means mountain, or hill in Hebrew. There is widespread agreement that the large plain on the edge of the remains of the ancient city of Megiddo will be the likely gathering place. Megiddo is about fifty-five miles north of Jerusalem. In ancient times, and in modern times, many major battles have taken place there, but we need not assume that all, or most, or any of the destruction of Antichrist and his followers will take place at that location. For one thing, many prophecies show that Jerusalem will be the major center of attention in those days (see, for example, Joel chapter 3; Zechariah chapters 12, 14; and Rev. 14:17-20).
I'll read Rev. 19:20, "And the beast [Antichrist] was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone." Revelation chapter 13 prophesies of Antichrist, and it is the primary cross-reference to learn about the false prophet and his miraculous signs, the mark of the beast, and the image of the beast.
Apparently Antichrist and the false prophet will be the first two men (and they may be the first two beings) ever thrown into the eternal lake of fire, which can also be called hell, or Gehenna. On that eternal fire, see, for example, Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10, 14, 15; and 21:8. Revelation 20:10 shows that the devil will not be cast into the lake of fire until the end of the millennium. The word Gehenna (Greek "géenna") came from the Hebrew. The Greek noun geenna was used twelve times in the New Testament. (I listed the verses in my paper on my internet site.) It was always translated "hell" by the NASB and the NIV, and the KJV translated it "hell" nine times and "hell fire" three times. But there is considerable confusion because the KJV also translated the Greek noun "hades" as hell in the New Testament. The NKJV and the NASB translated hades as "Hades" in all ten of its uses, which eliminates the problem. (I listed the ten verses in my paper.) Hades (Hebrew "sheol") was where people went after death in Old Testament days, including the believers (but for the believers there was no torment). Now that the new covenant is in effect, the believers from Old Testament days have been taken to heaven, and true Christians go to heaven at death (heaven in a preliminary form in that the resurrection and glorification are still future). Revelation 20:14 shows that Hades will be cast into the lake of fire at the end of the millennium.
Let's go on to the last verse of chapter 19, verse 21, "And the rest [the rest of the people who were gathered together to make war against the Lord Jesus Christ and against His army] were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh." Verse 15 spoke of the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ, with which He may strike down the nations. And verses 17, 18 invited the birds to come and assemble for the great supper of God.
Now we'll begin a verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapter 20. I'll read verses 1-3, "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; (3) and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time." Satan and his angels had been thrown down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. Now at the end of the seven-year period, he will be thrown into the abyss for the duration of the millennium, and the evil angels and the demons will surely be restrained too.
Verses 7-10 show that when Satan is released for a short time at the end of the millennium, he will be able to persuade a gigantic number of people living on the earth to rebel against God and to gather against Him. God will quickly put an end to that rebellion with fire from heaven. Then the devil will be cast into the lake of fire. The evil angels and the demons may be released with Satan at the end of the millennium to help him deceive as many people as possible. Anyway, it is clear that the evil angels will end up in the eternal lake of fire. Jesus spoke of "the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" in Matt. 25:41, and He also spoke in that verse of many people being sent there too. It seems clear that the demons will all end up in the lake of fire too (see Matt. 8:29).
Let's discuss the "thousand years" of the millennium mentioned in verses 2, 3, and in verses 4, 5, 6, and 7. The word millennium comes from Latin and means a thousand years. Many verses of the Bible speak of an intermediate kingdom before the eternal state, but these six verses in Revelation chapter 20 are the only ones that specifically mention a thousand years. There's much use of symbolic numbers in the book of Revelation, and this could be a symbolic number, but it probably will last a thousand years.
Verse 3 mentions that Satan will not be able to deceive the nations any longer until he is released for a short time at the end of the millennium. But who are "the nations"? The Bible doesn't tell us everything we would like to know about the nations and God's salvation plans for the nations, and we don't have a need to fully understand this topic; God will take care of the details, and we will know more as time goes on. As I understand "the nations," they will be totally distinct from God's true Israel in the millennial kingdom (of Revelation chapter 20) and in the eternal state that follows (of Revelation chapters 21 and 22). The glorious woman of Revelation chapter 12 is God's true Israel. She embraces all the believers from Old Testament days, and all true Christians, including those converted before the rapture and those converted after the rapture. Apparently true Israel will be complete, and all the saints who make up true Israel will be glorified and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ, by the time the millennium begins. They will be reigning over the nations throughout the millennium and in the eternal state. We have discussed God's true Israel quite a bit in the past, and I'll comment further on true Israel under verse 4.
It is quite significant that "the nations" still exist after God's end-time judgment of the world. God (in His mercy) will leave this remnant of the nations at the end of Daniel's 70th week to enter the millennial kingdom. They will be ready to repent and submit to Him, His Son, and His salvation. This is no afterthought with God. This was part of His plan of salvation from the beginning, including the people He leaves as a remnant. This remnant could include a billion people, or even more. As I understand it, none of these people will have become Christians before the end of Daniel's 70th week. If they had become Christians, they would have become part of God's true Israel. At the same time, they will not be people that God had dealt with about the gospel who had rejected the gospel. And it is clear that none of these people will have worshiped Antichrist or taken his mark. Revelation 14:9-11 demonstrate that those who worship Antichrist and take his mark are doomed. The fact that these people will not have worshiped Antichrist and that they will still be alive to enter the millennial kingdom seems to demonstrate that Antichrist's authority will not be fully established worldwide.
We'll come back to Revelation chapter 20 and further discuss true Israel and "the nations" in the next article God bless you!
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.