And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.
Later, Daniel was shown a vision of four beasts, which also represented these four world-ruling empires. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. The horns represented kingdoms that through history would be part of the Roman Empire and the little horn represented a religious power.
They will then fight against Christ when He returns to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. When the beast power arises at the end of this age, the most important thing you can do is remain close to God.
Just being able to properly calculate the number of the beast and therefore understand the meaning of will not save you. David Treybig and his wife, Teddi, have two grown children and seven grandchildren. He has served in the pastoral ministry for over 40 years, pastoring congregations across six states. Continue Reading. What does the number in Revelation mean? So what does the number mean? What you need to know When the beast power arises at the end of this age, the most important thing you can do is remain close to God.
It comes from God alone. What John writes is the word of God. John is certain of this. And Jesus Christ is a witness that this message is the word of God. What I am saying is true. You can believe it. They are true. John actually saw all that he has written here. And those who hear and obey it. I will come as a thief comes. Happy is the person who stays awake with his clothes ready. But it is not only about what will happen in the future. The book gives to us moral instruction as well. It aims to warn and to encourage them. When they met together, a reader would read aloud from the word of God.
We do not know when the end will be. We do not know when Jesus will come. These things could happen soon. God is the same God who always was. He now exists and he will come in the future. I ask that they will be kind to you. And I ask that they will give you calm hearts. Jesus is the true witness.
He is the first person to be born again from death. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth.
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Christ loves us. And everyone will see him. Even those who killed him will see him. Because of him, all the peoples of the earth will weep. Yes, this will happen. I am the first and the last. I am always the same God. I am the same God who always was. And I will come again. I am the God of all power. Verse 4 The author is John. He does not need to introduce himself. He writes with great authority. They were in Asia. This was part of the country that we now call Turkey. In the Bible, the number 7 sometimes means the complete or perfect number.
If someone starts a journey in Ephesus, the road north goes through Smyrna to Pergamum. Then the road to the south and east goes through Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and it ends in Laodicea. John starts with the usual form of greeting. He prays that God would be kind to them. He asks God to give them calm hearts. He prays to God in three persons. In this verse, there is God the Father and the Spirit. In the next verse, he includes Jesus Christ. God met with Moses in the desert. Moses asked God for his name. God always is. He was there before he made time.
He will be there after time has finished. God did not have a start. And he will not have an end. This is God the Father. He then describes Jesus in three phrases. He received it from God. Then, Jesus showed it to John. But the phrase means much more than this. Jesus was the true witness to God when he lived on earth. He showed us what God is like.
He taught what God has said. He did all that God asked him to do. We can know God only because of Jesus. Jesus was the true witness even through death. They have troubles because they belong to Jesus. Many Christians will have to die because they speak for Jesus. Jesus was born again from death. God the Father raised him from death to life again. He is the first to be born from death. This does not just mean that he was the first in time. He is the first in importance. He now has power over death and the place of dead people That Jesus is the first to be born from death should encourage us.
He has the power to raise people to life after death. He has promised to do this for all who believe in him. He is the first person and the leader of a great crowd of people. These will follow him through death. He will lead his people into new life. He will bring them out of the place of dead people. Strong nations rule on the earth.
Rome was then the strongest nation. They ruled all the nations round about them. But Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth. They can only rule if Jesus allows them. We may not see it now but Jesus is in control. He has all power in heaven and on earth. He is the king of kings. One day Jesus will return to the earth.
Then he will defeat all his enemies. And he will rule all the nations. Although he is so great, Christ loves us. His love for us is a continuous fact. He has always loved us. And he will always love us. Because of his love, he died for us. Through all their troubles, Christ cares for his people.
They can depend on his love. He will be with them whatever happens. They are the people over whom God is the king. But more than this, they will share with Christ as he rules. They will rule on earth as kings together with Christ the king Revelation ; It has no boundaries that one can show on a map. Because of Christ, Christians can now approach God the Father.
They do not need priests to act on their behalf. They are the priests. The first task of the priest is to praise and to thank God. The priest is the agent of the people. He comes to God on their behalf. He is also the agent of God to the people. As priests, Christians are witnesses to the world about what God has done. We should always praise him. Life was hard for the Christians and they had many enemies. But their future is sure. Jesus is coming. He saw someone like a son of man coming.
He will come with the clouds of the sky Daniel And every person on earth will see him come. All who see him will weep. Jesus died outside the city called Jerusalem. The people from Jerusalem will weep and be sad. They killed Jesus and they will be sorry about it Zechariah Therefore, we all are responsible for his death. All people will weep because of him. But many will weep with shame. They know that Jesus will be their judge. He will punish them with a terrible fate. Verse 8 God himself now speaks.
He declares that he is the A and the Z. A and Z are, of course, the first and last letters of our alphabet. These letters represent the whole alphabet. So, this phrase does not just mean the first and the last. It includes all that is between the first and the last. He made all things.
He controls all things. The end of all things is in his hands. God is alive now. God was there before time began. God will be there beyond the end of time. God has all power and he rules over all. There is nothing outside the control of God. Nobody can escape from the power of God.
And I suffer with you as you are suffering. I was on the island called Patmos. I was there because I taught the word of God and the truth about Jesus. When I turned, I saw seven gold lamp holders. He wore long clothes that reached down to his feet. Round his upper body, he had a gold belt. His eyes were like a flame of fire.
And his voice was like the sound of many waters. A sharp sword that cuts with both edges came out of his mouth. And his face was like the sun as it shines in its strength. Verse 9 The writer again tells the readers that he is John. He did not think that he was better than them. He was just one of them. He suffered with them the same troubles that they were suffering. This is what Paul wrote to Timothy 2 Timothy That will be a time of joy for Christians. John expects to share that joy with them. This kingdom has partly come. But when Jesus comes, it will be completely here. Until that future comes, Christians have to be patient.
They must live through all the troubles. They need to look beyond the present and to live for the future. They must put their confidence in Jesus. And they must trust God. John also trusts God with patience. John was on the island called Patmos. This was a small island of rocks. It was about 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. He did not choose to go there. The rulers sent him there. It was like a prison. His crime was that he taught the word of God. It was the first day because on that day Jesus rose from death. Christians chose the first day of the week in order to respect Christ.
They met on that day to praise God together. John was in the Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit came on him. The Spirit spoke to him and showed him many things. John heard a voice behind him. So, this voice was loud and clear. Verse 11 The voice told John to write what he saw. Asia Minor was an area that is now a part of modern Turkey. There was about 30 to 50 miles between them.
The list starts at Ephesus. It follows the road north to Pergamum. Then it goes to the south and east to Laodicea. Verses John heard the loud voice. He turned to see who was speaking.
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People use lamp holders so that the light will shine into dark places. It is to show the light of God to the people. A man was moving among the lamp holders. He was like the Son of Man. This person was a man but not just a man. He is more than a man. He is the Son of God. He was the Son of Man. The clothes that the man wore were those of a high priest. By his death, he has united us with God. And he is always with us to help us.
Verse 14 John then describes the Son of Man. This is not so much a picture as an impression. They respected old age and gave honour to the wise person. The Son of Man deserves all honour. We can hide nothing from the eyes of the Son of Man. So, John describes his eyes in a special way. It is as if the flame of fire sees all things. He knows all of history from the start to the end. He knows the thoughts and actions of each person. It is a very strong metal. The sound of the waters reminds us of their immense power. Such is the effect of the voice of Christ. Christ holds all of them in his right hand.
He looks after them. And he protects them, because nobody can take them out of his hand. He has the sharp sword with two edges. This means that nobody can defeat him. The sword comes out of his mouth. So, the sword means his word. In the end, the word of Christ will defeat all his enemies. He will speak. What he says will happen.
The word of God is sharper than any sword with two edges Hebrews The face of the Son of Man shone with a bright light. The strength of that light was like the sun. I am the first, and the last. I was dead. I am alive for all time and without end. Moreover, I have the keys of death and of the place of dead people. And write what is going to happen after these things. Verse 17 John saw Jesus among the lamp holders. The sight was so powerful that it made John afraid. The effect of what he saw caused him to fall down at the feet of Jesus.
John was on the ground as if he were a dead man. Jesus put his right hand on John. This seems to have put new life into John. Jesus tells John that he is the first and the last. This has the same meaning as in verse 8 above. Jesus is one with God. He is God. Verse 18 Jesus adds to the meaning of the first and the last. Jesus shows that he is the same as God. The false gods of the world are not alive. There is only the one real God who lives. Jesus has always been alive but he died. But death could not hold him.
He defeated death and he rose from death to live again. He is now alive and he can never die again. Jesus has the keys of the place of dead people. This means that he has power over that place. Life and death are both under the control of Jesus. He is able to take his people through death to new life. This again shows that Jesus is God.
Verse 19 Jesus then repeats the command to write. John must write all that he has already seen. That is, what is in chapter 1. Then he must write about what is now. And then he must write about those things that are still in the future. And it is for the end period of history, which is yet to begin. I am Jesus. I hold the seven stars in my right hand.
And I walk in the middle of the seven gold lamp holders. This is what I say to you. I know how hard you have worked. You have been patient and you have not grown tired. I know that you will not accept bad people. But you tested them. You found that they were telling lies.
However, you have continued and you have not grown tired. You do not love as you did at the start. When you first believed you did well. Live like that again. You hate what the Nicolaitans do. I also hate what they do. To those who overcome, I will give the fruit from the tree of life. That tree is in the garden of God. Ephesus was the chief city in the region called Asia Minor. It was a major city for commerce and trade.
Three great trade routes came through Ephesus. It was one of the greatest buildings in the ancient world. Here, it is from verses 13 and The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the seven stars. They are safe in his hand. Nobody can take them from Jesus. He walks in the middle of the gold lamp holders. Jesus is present with them. He knows their situation. This should both encourage and warn us. They had almost worked too hard.
The situation that they were in was not easy. Some of these people were false teachers. They had suffered much trouble.
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They were patient as they suffered for Jesus. They had troubles because they lived for Jesus. Through all the problems, they remained true to Jesus. They did not turn away from him. They were careful to teach the truth. They would not believe what was wrong or false. All this was good but it was not enough. They had lost the most important thing.
These Christians did not love as they used to. They did not love God as much as when they first became Christians. Their love for each other was not as strong as it had been. But a hot object becomes cool. And their love for God and for other people had become less. They had fallen from that high place. Their love was not now as strong as it was then. Also, they loved each other. And they worked for each other. Now it was not the same. They had lost something of that first love. They must turn again. They must do as they used to. Love must again be very important in their lives.
Love for God must be the reason for their actions. Their actions must show love for each other. Actions without love have no worth at all. Jesus will come and remove the lamp holder. But the most important thing was their love. Love is more important than good actions. But love will always produce good actions. Verse 6 There was a group of people called the Nicolaitans. We do not know much about this group. But they did things that were not right for the Christians. They ate the food that people gave to false gods. And their ideas about sex were not what Christians should believe. He also hated what they did.
There are many such strange groups. Christians must be careful to obey what the Bible teaches. They must refuse the actions of those who teach against the truth. They should hate all that is false. The Spirit of Christ gives a promise to those who overcome. They are those who obey God.
Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. In that garden, there was the tree of life. He put a guard there so that they could not eat the fruit of it Genesis Then they would not be able to live with God. They can eat the fruit of the tree of life. I came to life again. I know that you are poor. However, you are rich. And I know the evil things that some people say about you. I tell you, the devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. And you will suffer much trouble for ten days.
And I will give you life as a crown. The second death will not hurt those who overcome. Verse 8 On the route north from Ephesus, the next city was Smyrna. Its modern name is Izmir. It is about 35 miles from Ephesus. It is on the sea and it had a good, safe harbour. In trade, it was second only to Ephesus. Jesus writes to Smyrna as the first and the last.
The Mark of the Beast
He defeated death. He was now alive Jesus suffered much. He knows what it is to suffer. Jesus died and came to life again. So, they too can be brave even to die. They can be sure of the life beyond death. He saw all the troubles that they had. They were very poor and they struggled to live. Life was very hard for these Christians.
They were poor. But Jesus said that they were rich. But they were rich toward God. They caused a lot of trouble. They spoke lies and said evil things about the Christians. Perhaps they thought that they were serving God. But by their actions, they were against God. They would suffer much. Ten is a whole number. Some would die because of their trust in Jesus. In all of this, they must remain strong. They must continue to trust in Jesus through it all. They must not deny Jesus. People will do these evil things but the real cause is the devil.
He uses people to do his work. So, the devil will put them in prison.
Rather we should be afraid of God who can punish the whole person, both body and spirit Matthew To those who overcome, Jesus will give life as a crown. The reward, like a crown, is life itself. This crown is the sort that the winner in a race receives. They had races in Smyrna. This life is like a race. Those who win the race will receive the prize. All who trust Jesus to the end will win the prize.
There is a second death. We all live and die. Then he will be the judge of all people. He will decide their fate by what they have done. But those who overcome will not die a second time. I have the sharp sword. It cuts with both edges. But you remain true to my name. He was my loyal servant. He spoke the truth about me. The people in your city killed him. Some among you follow what Balaam taught Balak. He tempted them to eat food from the table of false gods.
He tempted them to have wrong sex. I will fight against them with the sword that comes out of my mouth. I will also give to each person who overcomes a white stone with a new name on it. Nobody knows this new name except the person who receives it. Verse 12 The road north from Smyrna follows the coast for about 40 miles. Then it turns away from the sea up a river valley. Ten miles from the sea is the capital city, called Pergamum. Here they had a large and famous library. The city was on a hill. Zeus was their chief god. The people in Pergamum had four main gods that they served.
These were Zeus, Athene a special female god , Dionysos and Asklepios. The local rulers had the power of life and death. They could arrest and kill any person. But Jesus has the sharp sword. His sword cuts with both edges The power of life and death belongs to Jesus and not to the rulers. They can only kill the body. But Jesus has the power of life and death of the whole person. Verse 13 Jesus spoke to them. There were so many false gods. People did so many evil things in that town. It was very hard to be a Christian there. The Christians lived in constant danger.
They killed Antipas because he trusted in Jesus. They were brave. They were even willing to die for Jesus. Some members did not live as they should. Some people there did what Balaam taught Balak. The story of Balaam and Balak is in Numbers chapters 22 to These members did not want to be different from the other people in Pergamum.
They were happy to eat the food of false gods. They did the same things as other people. They even had sex with those who did not trust in Jesus. They may have had sex with more than one partner. This is against what Jesus taught. Some also followed what the Nicolaitans taught. Perhaps they belonged to the same group because they did the same things. Christians ought to be different from those who do not trust in Jesus.
They should do what he taught. They should not live to the standards of the world. They ought not to have members like these. If they do not then Jesus will come. Verse 17 What other people do tempts us. We may want to live as they do. But God calls us to live for him. Jesus taught us how we should live.
They were in the desert and he gave them this for food Exodus chapter Those who overcome will have the food of heaven to eat.
This may mean food for the spirit while on earth. It may be a promise of heaven. On that stone, there is a name. It is a new name and nobody else knows it.
Jesus died for all people. In the races at Pergamum, those who win receive a white stone. Those who overcome have won the race of life. The new name on the stone may be the name of the person who overcomes. That new name is a prize and an honour. This will be the name of that person in the new age. In chapter , Jesus has a name on him, but nobody except Jesus himself knows it. He gives his name to his own people. Those who know the name will be close friends of Jesus.
I am the Son of God. My eyes are like a flame of fire. You are doing more now than you did at the start. You let that woman called Jezebel remain among you. She encourages them to have wrong sex. She causes them to eat food from the table of false gods. However, she does not want to change.
And whoever has sex with her will suffer greatly. They must turn from the wicked things that they did with her. And I will give to each of you whatever your works deserve. You have not believed what Jezebel taught. So, I will not make life any more difficult for you. Hold on to it until I come. To them, I will give power. They shall rule the nations. And they will break the nations as if they were dried mud. This is what I also have received from my Father. Verse 18 This is the longest letter and it is the most difficult.
We know less about Thyatira than the other cities. It is south and east of Pergamum at a distance of 40 miles. It was famous for its trade. There were many trade unions in Thyatira. Each one of these was for a particular trade. This caused real problems for the Christians. They had to belong to the union in order to get work in their trade.
Jesus describes himself as the Son of God. This is very different from the local god. His name was Apollo Tyrimnos. People thought that he was the son of a god called Zeus. But Jesus really is the Son of the real God. The eyes of Jesus were like a flame of fire. He could see all the problems of the Christians.
He could see through all that Jezebel taught. He sees all things. He is able to deal with all the problems. This shows that Jesus is more magnificent than any false gods, or even the king of Rome.