Romans, Ephesians and Hebrews should be known before Revelation. Romans, justified forever by faith; Ephesians, our calling, one with the Risen Christ; Hebrews, our Great High Priest, Who makes continual intercession for us, and leads our worship in heaven.
Remembering that the Father hath committed all judgment, and also the authority to execute it, unto the Son, “because he is a son of man,” we shall expect Christ to be seen as the Judge, in each judgment scene in The Revelation; and also that He will have a special character towards each stage of judgment.
I. The part concerning judgment will include:
judgment of the assemblies
(churches) as God’s house on earth; for judgment must “begin at the house of God”
(1 Peter 4:17). This judgment
Christ carries on as risen, glorified Son of God,
in His priestly character, but as a priest dealing
judicially. Church testimony on earth is finally rejected. Chapters 1 to 3.
the scene is removed to heaven, where is seen the Throne of God as holding
the whole earth in responsibility.
Christ, as the Lamb slain, takes the sealed book
of the divine counsels of earthly judgment. The seals, trumpets and vials follow. Chapters 4 to 18.
Third, Christ Himself comes as King of kings and Lord of lords in the Great Day of Wrath; sets up on earth His iron-rod judgment rule of 1000 years, at the end of which, Satan being released and man rushing again to his banner, the world’s affairs are closed up, and heaven and earth pass away. Chapter 19.
all moral, responsible beings (except Christ’s own) are called to the judgment of
the Great White Throne,
which has nothing to do with earth or with dispensations, but with
eternal destinies only.
Chapter 20: verses 11-15.
II. Then we have the New Creation: a new heaven, a new earth,—“all things new”; with the new Jerusalem the home of God and His saints; the Throne of God being established therein.
It is for this new heaven and new earth wherein righteousness is at home, that the Spirit, through Peter, declares the saints are looking.
The Various Judgments
1. Of the Church’s earthly history—chapters 2 and 3.
2. Of the rebellious nations—especially the Beast-worshippers—chapters 4 to 16.
3. Of the system of earth idolatry called “Babylon”— chapters 17 and 18.
4. Of the Beast, the False Prophet and the Kings and armies of earth at Armageddon—chapter 19:19-21.
5. (This is the Great Day of Wrath.)
6. Of the devil’s permitted career on earth, for 1000 years—chapter 20:1-3.
7. Of the spared nations, in enforced righteousness, justice and peace, during the Millennium—chapter 20:4-6.
8. Of the rebellious earth, upon Satan’s release—chapter 20:7-9.
9. Of Satan himself in the Lake of Fire forever—chapter 20:10.
10. Of the unsaved, at the Great White Throne—chapter 20:4-15.
We repeat over and over that our Lord is not seen in the book of The Revelation as the Head of the Body, the Church. This description belongs wholly to Paul, who unfolds in his epistles the character, calling and destiny of the Church of God. in The Revelation we are not studying the calling of the Church as the Body of Christ, as risen and heavenly.
But The Revelation does deal with outcomes: (1) of the earthly church testimony, for as a witness for God the church is proved unfaithful and removed from the scene: the real Church taken to heaven (4:1), and the false, destroyed by the Wild Beast (chapter 17). (2) Then the nations, under responsibility to occupy and govern the earth, are judged and desolated. (3) Jerusalem, “the holy city,” is seen as “Sodom and Egypt” (except for a remnant). The nation is handed over to the delusions of Antichrist. (4) Finally, the rebellious of the race of Adam and the earth they chose and claimed, following Satan’s captaincy in their final testing, are destroyed, and new things are brought in.
Christ In The Revelation
We find our blessed Lord directly named in seven chief characters:
1. He is the
risen, glorified Son of God
among the churches as the lightbearers of this present age, judging their state by His Spirit
(chapters 2 and 3).
2. He is
the Lamb in heaven (after the rapture of the Church) publicly invested with authority to carry out the determined preliminary judgments upon men before His personal arrival on earth as Judge and King
(chapters 4 to 19:10).
3. He comes to earth as
King of kings and Lord of lords
in the Great Day of Wrath
4. He is
Christ, reigning with His glorified saints on earth, during one thousand years
(chapter 20:1-6). He is
then “King over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9).
5. He is
the Judge upon the Great White Throne,
with the holiness, righteousness and truth of deity absolutely and finally unveiled in judgment (chapter 20: 11-15).
6. He is
the Lamb, upon “the throne of God and of the Lamb”:
through whom, though subjected willingly to the Father
(1 Corinthians 15:28),
the glory and love of the deity will be expressed forevermore (chapter 21: 22, 23; 22:3, 4).
7. He is
“I Jesus … the root and offspring of David, the bright, the morning star,”
to His own, His beloved servants (chapter 22:16). He is the Coming One, expected and longed for by His real saints, the Bride, the true Church, who are under His grace continually. The Revelation’s last words are, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with the saints. Amen.” We must study this book
in the light of this verse,
and of Revelation 1:5: “Unto him that
loveth us, and loosed us
from our sins by his blood!”
Whatever judgments fall, they do not fall on the saints, the Body of Christ!