Now we have come to the third portion of the Book of Revelation, the things which will be after the things of the church. We are about to take a trip into Heaven. John is about to enter a time warp and be catapulted 2000 years into the future to view the things which are to come. To begin this chapter, I want to share a few bits of information, provided in other books of the Bible, which I believe to be extremely pertinent at this point.
In the Book of Genesis, we find the story of Noah. Because the earth had fallen into a perverse nature and was found unacceptable to God, God decided to purge the earth with a great flood. In order to continue the human race, God selected Noah and his family to save for the purpose of replenishing the earth. God assigned Noah the task of building an ark on dry land. Needless to say, this task was viewed as the acts of an insane man. Noah and his family were ridiculed, but Noah was true to God’s request.
When the rains came, God told Noah to enter the ark and close the door. In Chapter 7 of the Book of Genesis, we find the following:
7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Decide for yourselves the significance of this command being found in the very first verse of Chapter 7.
7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 7:3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 7:4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 7:5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
7:6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
It is interesting to me that man was created on the 6th day of creation, and Noah was 6 hundred years old when the flood came, noted in the 6th verse of the story of the new beginning.
7:7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
Again, the number of completion seems pertinent to the story. In the 7th verse of the 7th Chapter of the new beginning, Noah and his family receive the reward of their faith. The task is complete. Noah and his family escape the great judgment of God.
A similar story appears in the 19th Chapter of Genesis. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are found by God to be evil and perverse. God sent two angels to bring Lot and his family out of the city before God destroyed it. The wickedness of Sodom was evident in the fact that the men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and called for Lot to send out the two men “that we may know them.” The two men were the angels sent by God. Lot went so far as to offer his two virgin daughters, if the men of the city would leave the angels. The angels actually had to blind the men to keep them from making further advances.
Lot’s son-in-laws laughed at Lot, when offered the opportunity to leave Sodom and be saved from God’s judgment. They did not escape, because they refused to believe. Lot and his wife and two daughters were the only ones to escape the destruction of these wicked cities. Please take the time to read for yourself this amazing story of the grace of God.
Gen 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 19:3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 19:11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 19:12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 19:18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD: 19:19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 19:20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 19:21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 19:22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither.
Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 19:23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 19:27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 19:28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. 19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. 19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 19:31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 19:33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 19:35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 19:37 And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 19:38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.
In the times in which we live, we are told that we must be “sensitive” to the beliefs of others. We are told that we must be “politically correct” in addressing other beliefs. I cannot do that. I must speak the truth. From the pulpits all over this great nation, we hear the politically correct story of Lot. We hear the denial of the fact that sexual perversion is an abomination to God. Preacher in churches all over the county are telling the flock that it is “okay” to be different, it is “okay” to be sexually perverse, even to the point of accepting “gays” as pastors and teachers.
Let me share a few key scriptures regarding God’s thoughts regarding today’s “gay movement.”
Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
If you have a sexual relationship with a man, and with a woman, it is an abomination to God. Not a good thing to do.
Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
If a man has a sexual relationship with another man, both men have committed an abomination before God. Not a good thing for either to do.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Men and women having homosexual relationships are called “vile” affection. Homosexual relationships are not “natural.” In all cases, they are worthy of death.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
The “wrath of God” is warned to all those who do not repent of “inordinate affection.”
II Tim 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Here, Paul is talking of the last days. Warning of perilous time to come. One of the signs is man “without natural affection.” Sound familiar doesn’t it? Billy Graham said “If God doesn’t pass judgment on San Francisco, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.” The signs of the times are all around us. Not only do we accept the “gay liberation movement,” we actually offer special privileges to those with a “gay” lifestyle. There is no doubt that we are moving toward the final judgment from God. But, there is a way out.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Paul tells us here in Hebrews that Noah moved with fear and prepared an ark to save his house from the destruction to come.
In Second Peter, we find the same comparison of the things to come in the last days with the things of Noah and Lot.
II Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 2:8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Peter knew that there would come a time when final judgment would come upon the world. He was also keenly aware of the fact the some would be spared this time of great tribulation. He uses the same examples that are used elsewhere to describe the escape of those chosen by God. Noah and his family escaped the judgment of the entire world. Lot and his family escaped the judgment of the evil cities. We, the church can escape the final judgment that is soon to come upon the earth, just like Noah and Lot.
Still have doubts? Then listen to what Jesus said.
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 17:27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Jesus compares the final days to the days of Noah.
Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Jesus compares the final days to the days of Lot.
Luke 17:31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife. 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
The angels warned Lot not to look back. Lot’s wife did so and was turned into a pillar of salt. She still had desires for those things left behind and suffered great loss for acting out on those desires.
Luke 17:34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 17:35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 17:36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Notice the warning of Jesus about the escape. It is instantaneous. Two together, then one is gone. Instantaneous. Also of note are the three examples. You sleep at night, you grind in the evening, and you work the field in the day. People from around the earth will see this event that has come to be called “the Rapture of the church.”
Let’s take a look at some other key verses contained in the Bible regarding this instantaneous event.
I Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
We, who are alive when the Lord returns, will be caught up in the clouds to forever be with the Lord. We are directed to comfort each other with these words. I find them to be a personal comfort every minute of every day.
I Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Both these passages of scripture are speaking of the same event, the Rapture of the church. Both speak of a trumpet sounding and us changing from a physical body to a spiritual body. When will this happen? Two passages of scripture provide what I believe to be the answer to this question. The first in found in Matthew, Chapter 24.
Matthew 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
The fig tree is commonly used in scripture to represent Israel. In 1948, the state of Israel was re-established after almost 2000 years of wandering. The fig tree is yet tender and putting forth leaves. Summer is nigh.
Matthew 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
When you see Israel become a nation and the signs of the times begin to take place all around you, know that the Lord is coming soon.
24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
The generation that sees Israel become a nation shall not pass away until the fulfillment of the scriptures.
24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels of heaven, only God. Then, Jesus goes on with the promise of escape, as did Noah. The day and the hour are not ours to know, but we are told to watch and look for his coming, lest we be caught unaware. Israel is a nation again and we are to be watching for His coming. The times and the seasons are ours to know. We have been told that summer draws near. The times of the Gentiles must be completed before the church is taken away and the Jewish people will know the reality of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Now, here, in Verse 1, of Chapter 4, of the Book of Revelation is another announcement for us to heed. Chapter 4, Verse 1 begins with the Greek word “Metatalsa.” Chapter 4, Verse 1 also ends with the Greek word “Metatalsa.” This word literally means “after these things.” The church age comes to an end, with the end of Chapter 3 of the Book of Revelation. Now begins the things, which must come hereafter. “After these things.”
Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The main point I want you to see here is the voice, which he heard. He describes it “as it were a trumpet talking with me.” A trumpet? I believe it to be the same trumpet described in I Thessalonians and II Corinthians. I believe it to be the same trump that calls the church to be with the Lord. I believe it to be the Rapture of the church.
The times of the Gentiles are complete with the end of the church age. The church has to be gone from the earth so that the promises to the church are fulfilled. The church has to be rescued so that it truly can be as in the days of Noah and Lot. We are leaving, before the tribulation begins. We have a glorious event for which we are told to watch. My heart races every time I study these scriptures, especially this one. Revelation Chapter 1, Verse 1. The Rapture of the church, the beginning of John’s travel through time, the end of the church age, the beginning of God’s judgment on the earth, the opening of the eyes of the Jewish people, the beginning of the wedding feast in heaven, the beginning of the final seven years preceding the Millennium, are all events portrayed in this verse. If you are not excited about that, start over in Chapter one of this book and read it again. Don’t miss this. Come with us. Become a member of the church of Jesus Christ. Do it now, before it is too late.
Just my thoughts!
Don D. Stephens
From my review notes from the Book of Revelation. This will be the 3rd or 4th Chapter of my book on my notes.