Rebel factions had popped up in Jerusalem and had caused so much trouble for the Roman government that the Roman Empire declared war against the city and it's people in the neighboring country.
They had entered the lower part of the city and tore through it burning and destroying as they went. When they got to the temple, they removed every stone seeking hidden gold. Absolutely nothing was left, just like Jesus had foretold!
Matthew 24:1-2- And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The Jews that had survived were carried away to be slaves, or had fled away to far off countries seeking asylum.
John, the last remaining apostle, had been boiled by the wicked emperor of Rome, but he didn't die. Because he lived, the emperor exiled him to the volcanic island of Patmos, where he sent criminals and other people he deemed dangerous to die.
Sitting on this lonely island, John went through something that not many people in history have had the opportunity to see. John was transported through time and space! He was taken to heaven and shown the future- the end of all things.
Then he was sent back to earth, to that small island of Patmos, to write down what he had seen for those of us who would come after.
Revelation 1:1-3- The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
John starts out with a warning to 7 specific churches located in Asia Minor, currently known as the country of Turkey. These churches were given specific warnings that related to things that would happen in the world throughout the centuries. I'm not sure if John understood everything, but as the time came to pass those who read of the events were given the understanding of what was being spoken.
Revelation 1:9-11- I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Can you imagine sitting on a small, lonely, deserted island and then all of a sudden hearing a voice so loud that it sounded like a trumpet going off?
When John turned to investigate who was speaking an awesome sight was before him.
Revelation 1:12-18- And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
John saw the body of the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. It was such a dreadful sight that John fell down with his face flat on the ground and didn't move.
It wasn't until the Lord laid his hand on John and told him he didn't have to fear that John was able to relax and take in what he was seeing.
Revelation 4:1-6- 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. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
John was taken straight to heaven by the sound of a voice saying so loudly, "Come up hither!"
One minute he was looking at the ocean from the island of Patmos, the next he was seeing the throne room of the Lord God Almighty!
He tried to describe it to us, but it's hard to imagine. A beautiful throne with a being that shined like blue and red. There was greenish rainbow surrounding it, and lightening shooting out from it, and he could hear loud sounds or voices.
All around were seats with men wearing long white robes and golden crowns, and strange creatures with wings and animal faces. But they weren't being still and just starting at the throne.
Revelation 4:8b-11- and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
What could John be thinking of this site? As the beasts praised the Lord God Almighty, the men fell on their knees and cast their crown before the throne and started praising His as well.
Perhaps John stood there in awe. Or maybe, he joined in the praise. He doesn't tell us.
This instance marks the beginning of a new era on the earth- the Rapture of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation.
Jesus promised while He was on earth that He would come again to receive us.
John 14:3- And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
I Corinthians 15:51-52- Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.
How does this happen? A trumpet will sound? A loud noise will be heard?
Philippians 3:20-21- For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
I Thessalonians 4:16-17- 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: 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.
We will know when it happens. There may be many trumpet sounds. But the trumpet will sound. The Lord will shout- possibly the same thing that He shouted to John on Patmos "Come up hither."
The ones who asked Jesus to save them so long ago will have their bodies pulled from the ground and assembled into an indestructible vessel, while those who are still alive will have the curse of sin stripped from their body. Then together our feet will leave contact with the ground as we float up to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds.
What do you think will happen here? Absolute chaos!
Luke 17:34-36- 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. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Every saved person will disappear from the mortal world. Cars will be without driver, planes will be without pilots, Mothers and Fathers will be without children, kids will be without parents. Possibly every person left will have lost someone.
But, we won't be sad. We will be heading for the most amazing sight! Not only will we see Christ, but we will see all the saints from all around the world, both living and dead, gathering together to go with Him to see exactly what John saw- the throne room of God!
What happens next?
The Judgement Seat of Christ.
Romans 14:10-12- But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Each of us will take a turn to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and explain to Him why we did or didn't do the things in our lives. We aren't going to be asked about our brother, or our sister, or our parents- what they did won't matter then. You will be asked about you only. You will be standing there alone.
It is important to know that our works will be judged, not our souls.
Philippians 4:3-And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Our names were written in the Book of Life when we asked the Lord to forgive us of our sins, wash us in His blood and save our souls. And, when He washed us in His blood it removed ALL of our sins.
Ephesians 5:25-27- Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Colossians 2:13-14- And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Our sins were judged at Calvary. These were forgiven when we knelt in faith at the foot of the cross and laid them there for Christ's death to pay the wages.
It is our actions that are judged.
II Corinthians 5:10- For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
And by this judgement, we see what it is that we will be rewarded.
I Corinthians 3:9-15- For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
As we stand there, everything that we have done will be presented as one of six types of things- gold, silver, gem stones, wood, hay, or stubble. When the fire of God's Word is shined upon it, the gold and silver and gem stones will be safe, but the wood and hay and stubble will burn up.
What are these things? Gold and silver and gem stones represent faith and our Bible reading and witnessing and the souls that we led to the Lord. Wood and Hay and stubble are the things we waste on our selfishness, our worldly desires, or our flighty impulses.
What survives may be placed into some of the crowns we can earn.
I Corinthians 9:25- And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
II Timothy 4:8- Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I Thessalonians 2:19- For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
James 1:12- Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
I Peter 5:4- And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Why would we need a crown? Perhaps to throw at Christ's feet like the elders did before the throne of God? Or, perhaps to wear while we rule with him.
Revelation 20:6- Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
II Timothy 2:12- If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Deny us? How will He deny us? He will deny us the privilege of reigning with Him. Wouldn't it stink to live for a thousand years on a planet and see all of your friends and family with a city to rule, and you're stuck walking in some meadow somewhere because you didn't want to bother?
I Corinthians 15:57-58- But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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.
Remain strong! Stay the course! Stand up and work for the Lord, because He's promised a sure reward!