Greg Laurie - Your Password To Unlocking Revelation
We're starting a brand new series in the Book of Revelation, the title of my message is: Your Password to Unlocking The Book of Revelation. Speaking of passwords, do you ever forget your password? I'm forgetting my passwords all the time and I have to reset them and reset them, and I was on an iPad recently and I got the wrong code and I was locked out through a period of time. Have you ever been locked out of anything? Listen to this, I know the password to unlocking the Book of Revelation, and we might call it the golden key or the encryption key. And actually it's hanging on the front door of the first chapter, and we're gonna make sense of this book and try to get a handle on all of these things we hear about like Armageddon.
What is that? The Rapture, the Second Coming. Same event, or are they two events? The Millennium, what does that even mean? The 144.000, who are they? The antichrist, the mark of the beast, all these things we hear about, they're all found here in the Book of Revelation, and we're gonna find that golden key together, that encryption key, and I'll share with you in just a few moments. So I think we're all very aware of the fact that our world is in turmoil right now, there's a sense of fear in the air. This is due in part to this global pandemic that was supposed to have come and gone, but it just seems to go on and on with new strains of the virus, with no real end in sight at the moment. It's caused a global economic shutdown, it's affected people all around the world.
Meanwhile, back at home, we see our cities in turmoil, we see the murder rate up dramatically, we see all the things that are going on and it causes us to wonder, are these signs of the times? Are these the things that Bible told us to be looking for letting us know that Christ is coming back? The answer is, yes, they are. And as we see these signs happening we understand that they're almost like dominoes. Do you know if you take a lot of dominoes and stuck them closely together, when the first domino goes, all the others follow in rapid succession. That's what the last days of events are like, the first domino falls and the others come after.
Lemme give you a big picture of how I see the end times events. I believe the next event on the prophetic calendar will be the rapture of the church. The rapture of the church is that event when Christ comes for His church and we're caught up to meet Him in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. That could happen at any time. Following that will probably be the invasion of Magog against Israel, It could be right after that or a little bit after that, but it seems like it will be in close proximity to that event called the Rapture. Also after the Rapture, that coming world leader emerges on the scene called the antichrist also known as the beast, he effectively inaugurates a seven year period called the Great Tribulation period.
When antichrist first comes on the scene, he seems like a good guy, he seems like a man of peace, a man with economic solution, a man who fixes things, but at the halfway point of the seven year Tribulation, antichrist shows his true colors and commits what is called by Jesus in Matthew 24, the abomination of desolation. He has the Jewish temple rebuilt and he erects an image of himself in it and commands people to worship him. Now there's a series of cataclysmic judgments that fall on the earth for the remainder of the Tribulation period and everything culminates in a massive series of battles called Armageddon.
Armageddon is from the root word, Hermagedon, so it's basically talking about where the final wars of mankind will be fought and they'll be fought in Israel. Then Christ comes back in the Second Coming, it's a separate event from the Rapture. In the Rapture He comes for His church, and the Second Coming He returns with His church. After this, we have what is called the Millennium. The Millennium means a thousand, the word millennium means a thousand and it's the 1.000 year reign of Christ and then heaven and earth become one as the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. Amazing things are going to happen, but the first domino is not yet fallen, the Rapture has not yet taken place, but we know these things because we believe in the Book.
Listen to this, Christians know things that non-Christians do not know. We know that God is good and man is bad, now people often have that reversed, they think man is good and God is bad. And this is often expressed in a question along the lines of, how could a God of love allow this and that? Well, in effect, I'm putting myself in the position to judge God. I'm challenging the fact that God is loving because I don't agree with it. Listen, who are you? When did you become the moral center of the universe? Here's the bottom line, man is not good, man is bad, bad to the bone, he's utterly, sinful, all of us are, but God is good. But because we know man is bad and God is good, we know that man is not gonna solve these problems, but we know ultimately God will resolve these things and we know God is in control. Yes folks, I do believe we're in the last days, I do believe we're in the end times, and it's important that we understand what's happening around us.
In Romans 13, the Apostle Paul writes, "Understanding the present time. The hour has come for us to wake up from our slumber because our salvation is near than we first believed, the night is nearly over". Yes, we need to understand the times we're living in, and there's no better book to explain all of that to us than the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. The word revelation means the unveiling because it is God's desire to unveil or to reveal. God does not want to conceal these things from you, He wants to reveal these things to us, and Bible prophecy is not given to scare us, it's given to prepare us.
So what does it reveal? Well, when we come to the Book of Revelation it's like the veil is taken away, and I see the spirit world, the spirit world of angels and demons and God and Satan, the world of heaven and of hell and the world that shows us what is coming as well. Yes, I will learn about the antichrist and his henchmen in the Book of Revelation, but the primary focus of Revelation is not antichrist, it's Jesus Christ. Don't waste your time trying to figure out who antichrist is give your attention to who Jesus Christ is because He is the very center of the Book of Revelation, and He's the very center of Bible prophecy in general. Revelation 19:10 says, "The essence of prophesy is to give a clear witness for Jesus".
Jesus is the centerpiece and the star and focus of the Book of Revelation. And should He not be the centerpiece and star of your life and my life as well? You know, sometimes we can get so caught up in the study of eschatology which is a word that refers to last days events and so forth, that we can't see the forest for the trees. Listen to this, Bible prophecy is not given to inflate our brains, it's given to enlarge our hearts. Understand the Book of Revelation was written to believers who were suffering. In fact, it was written by a believer who was suffering banished to the island of Patmos, I'm talking about the Apostle John.
Church tradition tells us that they tried to boil him in a pot of oil and they were unsuccessful, so he was banished to this island where the Lord gave him this unveiling, this revelation of things that come. It's sort of like John was pt in a spiritual time machine and catapulted into the future. I don't think it was a DeLorean, but the idea is he saw the future cause he entered into the eternal realm. And so as we look at this book we need to understand that it was meant to be read aloud, and give encouragement to the believers. See, in the 1st century they didn't walk around with their own Bibles like we have today, so they would read aloud the truths of God, and also this is something that will be an encouragement to you and I. Here's something you need to know about the Book of Revelation. It is the only book of the Bible with a built-in blessing attached.
Lemme say that again, Revelation is the only book in the Bible with a built-in blessing attached. By the way, there is no other book in the Bible with an introduction and a conclusion quite like this one. And that blessing is found in Revelation 1:3, when it says, "Blessed". And by the way, that word blessed can also be translated happy, "So happy or blessed is he who reads and hears the words of this prophecy and keeps the things that are written in it for the time is near". Now there are three prerequisites necessary to receive this blessing.
Number one, blessed is the person who reads it, already mentioned that the implication of the original language is to read it out loud. You know, there's something wonderful about reading Scripture out loud, isn't there? And we'll do that in just a moment. So you are to read it, but you can't just stop there, then it says unto the person who hears the words of this prophecy. You see, I can read it, but I have to hear it. And when the Bible says here's something, it means to have an understanding of it, it's giving your attention with intention. Jesus would often say, "He that has ears to hear let him hear". A modern translation of that might be, listen up, pay attention, hear what is actually being said.
There is nothing magical about simply reading this book, you need to pray that the Holy Spirit will open up your mind and your heart to what it is actually saying. Again, when your focus is on Jesus and on heavenly things, it changes you and the way that you live. The fact is those that think more about heaven, make the greatest difference here on earth. This blessing has promised also to the person who keeps the things that are written in it. So first you have to read it, then you have to hear it or perceive it or understand it, and thirdly, you must keep these words. You know, it's interesting to note that whenever you read passages about the return of Christ, there's always an exhortation attached for us to live a godly life as a result.
Number two, studying the Book of Revelation unlocks the mystery of history, it unlocks the mystery of history. We see that God is in control and things are moving according to a master plan. This is not being decided by people in government, or people in power, or people in tech, or people wherever they are, God is ultimately in control, and He sees the future as accurately as we see the pas. Now I mentioned earlier in my introduction that I have the password or the encryption key or the golden key if you will, for unlocking the Book of Revelation, it's in Revelation 1:19, when John writes, "Write the things that you have seen, the things which are, and the things that will take place after this".
There's three sections to the Book of Revelation. Number one, the things that you have seen. This is what is being written about here in chapter one. The resurrected and glorified Christ with all power in heaven and earth, the revealed Jesus who is in complete control of all that is about to happen. Then there are the things which are, this is a reference to the seven churches in chapters two to three that we'll look at where we'll get sort of a flyover or a chronological look at the church from the Early Church to the present day.
And finally number three, the things that will happen after these things. After what things? After the church is caught up to meet the Lord and what is called the Rapture. We're now living in the things which are category. Let's read now Revelation 1, I'm gonna read verses one to eight out loud cause there's a blessing attached to doing that, isn't there? Don't you wanna be blessed? Read along with me.
"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 who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ of all the things he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it for the time is near. John, to the seven churches who are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from Him who was who is and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth, and has made us kings and priests to God our Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him, even so amen".
Finally verse eight, Jesus speaking. "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.' says the Lord, 'who is who was and who is to come the Almighty.'"
So here's what we learn from what we have just read. Number one, Revelation reveals that the events of the end times are closely linked together. Verse one says these events will shortly take place, or another translation, what must speedily happen. We might say, well, wait, ths was written 2.000 years ago, but this is not referring to as soon as, but to quickness of execution once there is a beginning. Remember I said it's like dominoes closely linked together, the idea is when the first one falls, the others follow in rapid succession. This is something that once it begins will not stop, it will go quickly, the whole machinery of human history will be slipped into high gear to run its fatal course into judgment.
Number two, Revelation is from Jesus Christ revealing Himself to us, after all who's a better source on Jesus than Jesus? It says the Lord Himself revealing Himself to each of us. You remember the story of those two discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus after He had been crucified and Christ Himself joined them, but they didn't know Jesus was walking with them, and we read that He showed them all the things in the Old Testament about Himself. So that's what we have here in Revelation, He's described in verse five as, Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.
If the Book of Revelation is nothing else, it's a portrait of Jesus, a selfie of God if you will, and He's presented as the faithful witness. He's a faithful witness, and man we need a faithful witness right now, we need a trustworthy source. People are coming unhinged with all the crazy conspiracy theories that are out there online and all these fanciful weird ideas about what's going on, and sometimes they take Bible truths and hijack them and attach other things to them, and we need to distance ourselves from all of this, and with a clear headed way of approaching this, see what the Bible says about our future. And we have no better source to help us with that than the true and faithful witness says, Jesus Christ. He always speaks the truth to us, but He always does it in love.
What a contrast to the fickle love of our culture today. Our world loves you when you're young and beautiful in contrast, God loves the plain and aging. Our world loves a famous celebrity and breathlessly follows ther every move on social media, in contrast, God loves the unknown nobody. Our world loves the rich and powerful, God loves the poor and the weak. God loves all people, He loves ordinary people like you and me, and you are loved, and because you're loved, He cleanses you of your sins. Look at verse five, "He washed us from our sins in His own blood". I want you to notice the past tense of that verse. In other words, this has already been done. If you're a Christian, God has forgiven you for all the wrongs that you have don, because He loved you, He cleansed you.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten So, and whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life". We also learn from what we just read that when Christ returns all the world will know. Everyone will know when Jesus comes back again, and what we call the Second Coming. Jesus said, "As the lightning shines on the east to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be". Have you ever seen the lightning storm? Kind hard to miss, right? Lights up the sky, that's what the Second Coming will be like, and verse seven of Revelation 1 says, "Every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him". So Christ is gonna return again and in an open way. Also we discover here that Revelation gives us the only description of Jesus Christ and it's largely symbolic.
You know, it's amazing to me that in all the things written about Jesus, four Gospels, all the Epistles, could not someone have described what He looked lik. I mean, we do know certain things about certain Bible characters, but we know nothing about the physical appearance of Jesus. Was He tall? Was He short? Was His hair dark? Was His hair light colored? I can tell you this much, He most likely does not look like the more familiar portray of Him in a lot of the older religious art with brownish blonde hair. No, not at all, I'm sure His skin was dark, and 'cause His hair was dark, He was Semetic, but that's not important, if it was important God would have given us a physical description of Him. But here is the only description of Jesus found in the Bible, again, it is largely symbolic.
Revelation 1:14, "His head and His hair were white like wool and white like snow, His eyes are like a flame of fire, His feet like fine brass as if refined in a furnace, and His voice is as a sound of many waters". It mentions His eyes being a flame of fire that can be literally translated, His eyes shot fire. So it appears that Jesus is indignant about something, there's something He's seen that He is not pleased with. He sees and knows everything, the Bible says, "Everything is open before the one with whom we have to do". You probably used to think your mother had eyes on the back of her head, right? She saw everything, Jesus sees everything, He's aware of everything.
You know, when you meet someone, you look into their eyes, and doesn't wanna make eye contact, that's usually maybe an indication of something not being quite right, but Jesus is looking at us. We read in the Bible that Jesus looked at Matthew and said, "Follow me". We also read that Jesus lookd at Peter after his denial. He's looking at us, He's looking at you and His eyes are filled with fire. Also, as He looks at us, He's telling us something that's very important, and this is my final point, the Book of Revelation tells me to not be afraid. The Book of Revelation tells me not to be afraid. I know I've said some things that might alarm somewhat Oh wow, what is the mark of the beast? And when is the antichrist gonna show up and will I have to go through this Great Tribulation period?
Here we have this important word in the first chapter of this great book, don't be afraid. Verse 17, "'Don't be afraid.' says Jesus. 'I'm the first and the last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I'm alive forevermore. And I have the keys of Hades and death.'" Don't be afraid. Jesus said when you see these things begin to happen, freak out because you're dead. No, He didn't say that, did He? He says, when you see these things begin to happen, look up for your redemption draws near. Don't be afraid. See, the problem is, we're afraid of the wrong things and we're not showing the proper fear of God. We're afraid of, oh, going to the dentist or being audited or someone giving us a hard time, but we don't reverence and fear God. The Bible says, "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom".
Now, when the Bible tells us to fear God, it doesn't mean be afraid of God, it means to have reverence for God, have a sense of awe about God, have respect for God. In fact, the remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, but on the other hand, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else. Are you paralyzed with fear right now about things that can happen, if your life is cut short, if you get the coronavirus, or some other thing happens? Listen, don't be afraid, fear God, and when you fear God you'll have confidence in Him because you're trusting in Him. David said, "The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom then shall I be afraid"?
When we say the Lord is the strength of my life we can then say, of whom then shall I be afraid? Is the Lord the strength of your life right now? If so, don't be afraid. But as non-believers I'll tell you what you should be afraid of, you should be afraid of death, and you should be afraid of Judgment, and these are things that are coming, but if you put your faith in Jesus, you do not have to be afraid. Don't run from God, run to God because listen, Jesus is coming back again. Yes, one day he'll return as King of kings and Lord of lords wearing that crown, but before He would wear that crown when He returns, He would wear a crown of thorns or He would die on the cross for our sin and suffer and die in our place. Because as I said earlier, we're all sinners separated from God, but we can be forgiven of our sin and know Him in a personal way.
Maybe God has spoken to your heart and you have seen your need for Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came from heaven to this earth. He was born in a manger, He died on a cross, He rose again from the dead. Why? Because He loves you, and He wants a relationship with you. Listen, I'm not talking about religion, I don't wanna be a religious person, I don't think you wanna be one either, I'm talking about relationship with God. Jesus who died and rose again stands at the door of your life and He knocks and He says, if you'll hear His voice and open the door, He will come in. Question, have you asked Jesus Christ to come and live inside of you?
You might say, well, I think so, I'm not sure. Hey, if someone moved into your house in the middle of the night, do you think you would be aware of it? I'm sure you would. And in the same way if Christ has come to live inside of you, you will know. And if you don't know, maybe He has not come in yet. He's just a prayer away, all you need to do is say, "Jesus I want this relationship with you, I want you to forgive me of my sin, I wanna go to heaven when I die". Would you like to do that? Would you like Christ to come into your life? If so, why don't you just pry this simple prayer with me? You could pray it out loud or you can pray it in the quietness of your heart, but this is a prayer where you're asking Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord. Pray this with me now.
Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Now come into my life. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Did you just pray that prayer with me? If so, I want you to know in the authority of Scripture that Christ Himself has come to live inside of you, and lemme be the first to say to you, congratulations and welcome to the family of God.