You may be thinking I don’t devote much time to prophecy, but that isn’t really true. After all, most of these lessons have been about prophecy; prophecies of salvation, prophecies of the millennium, prophecies of the second resurrection, prophecies of final judgment. So in that sense, I spend a great deal of time on prophecy.
When most people speak of prophecy, they speak primarily of things in Revelation: the plagues, the woes, the battles. These things are exciting, and intriguing. I know many people who spend their entire life just studying Revelation – and never really understand it.
Because that’s the problem – they were studying Revelation without understanding the rest of the Bible first. See, the end-time prophecies are things God is doing to punish mankind. If you don’t know why God is doing that, or what God is like, or how He punishes people, you cannot possibly understand the symbols of Revelation. I’ve waited until now to touch on these things because you needed to have a good foundation of the Bible, a good handle on things that were INTENDED to be understood, before you started trying to understand things that God deliberately HID from most of mankind.
The other reason is that end-time prophecy really isn’t very important. Before you gasp in shock, think about it; mankind has been on this Earth for 6,000 years or so. There is a millennium of reigning with Christ after that, and then an eternity to look forward to – an eternity of using the things you’ve learned in the rest of the Bible about faith, grace, the law, and living in the family of God.
When you stack all that up against the fact that all the end-time prophecies take place in a matter of a few years – the vast majority take place in less than a ten year period – you can see it really doesn’t matter that much. Ten years come and go in a blink of an eye against the backdrop of eternity. This is not to say it’s totally unimportant, or God wouldn’t have written it – but compared to the lesson on faith, or the Sabbath, or the family of God, it must take a backseat, and so it has.
Prophecy has its place, and to understand the next few lessons you need to understand the background of prophecy; not all of this is end-time prophecy, just as Revelation itself has frequent digressions to the distant past to explain the who, when, why, and how this all came to pass.
Lesson 10: The Foundation Of Prophecy
To begin with, prophecy is pretty simple to understand once you follow a few basic rules. First, Man NEVER interprets prophecy. If the Bible doesn’t interpret it, then we are not meant to understand it (and can’t even if we try). See Revelation 10:3-4. If anyone tells you they know what the seven thunders said (and I know some preachers who claim to know), be very suspicious; sure, look at their proof – but if it isn’t explicitly from the Bible, tell them the truth – they made it up. If God wants you to understand it, the Bible will interpret itself. There are no exceptions.
THE SECOND KEY
Second, God works in “types”. When God said something will happen “three days hence”, usually something – a “type” of the real fulfillment – happens in three literal days. Something else – another type – happens in three years, a day-for-a-year (Numbers 14:34, Ezekiel 4:6), and something else – the REAL fulfillment, or “anti-type” as it’s called, happens in three thousand years – day-for-a-millennium. To show an example of that in practice, read John 2:19-21.
Jesus was in the temple at the time, so naturally they assumed He meant a literal temple, but He didn’t. Or did He? Literally, He “spoke of the temple of His body”, which laid in the grave for three literal days. So the temple (His body) was destroyed, and raised up after three days. That’s a type of the real fulfillment.
But there is another fulfillment going on at the same time, for from the time Jesus died, to His return in 2,000 years; then a millennium, another 1,000 years; then the second resurrection – when God builds His REAL temple, His spiritual temple in all nations as He offers salvation to all mankind – happens EXACTLY three days from the time Jesus died. Three thousand-year-days, that is.
At His death, He caused all need for sacrifice to cease in the temple (Daniel 9:27), and so although it continued to be used by the Jews for about 40 years afterward, it was not necessary as Paul made clear because now WE are the temple (1 Corinthians 3:17). So in a sense the temple was “destroyed” as far as God was concerned when Jesus died – to be rebuilt three thousand-year days later. That’s an example of “types”. In that sense, nearly all, if not all, prophecies are DUAL, or sometimes TRIPLE. The principle of duality is one of the greatest keys to prophecy. Just because it was sort-of-fulfilled once doesn’t mean a great fulfillment isn’t coming later.
THE THIRD KEY
The third key is that you have to look at prophecies as a whole; remember how we connected Isaiah 32:14 and Isaiah 34:9-17 in Lesson 9. Once you have an anchor point, you must use that as a bridge and then interweave the surrounding scriptures from both passages until you have a complete picture. In fact, that same story is told over a hundred times in the Bible; once you find a verse that connects it clearly to another version, you can use the other pieces to fill in the gaps. As you do it more and more, it gets very easy because your picture is more complete so you can find more bridges!
A perfect example is the question “what words were written over the cross”? Each gospel account disagrees. Read Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19-22. Which of those is correct? Is the Bible unable to accurately record such a mundane detail?
The only way to make sense of this is to harmonize it! Add them all together! When you do that, you can only conclude that Pilate wrote a sign in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which said “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews”! Each of the versions will fit perfectly with that rendering!
Alone, none is complete, but all are accurate! And only when added together, taking EVERY WORD God wrote on the subject, can you get the full meaning of these verses – or any verses!
THE FOURTH KEY
The fourth key is similar, and is revealed in 2 Timothy 2:15. Notice what God says you have to do – “rightly divide the word of truth”. An excellent example of this is Isaiah 61:1-9. Israel was very familiar with this verse, and correctly understood it to apply to the Messiah – Christ. But they did not rightly divide it! Now read Luke 4:16-21. Notice it is the same passage – PART of the same passage! Jesus stopped reading mid-verse in Isaiah 61:2. And then said THIS scripture – the part of it He had read – was fulfilled THAT SAME DAY.
Why didn’t He continue reading? Because the rest of that verse says, “and the day of vengeance of our God” – that day wasn’t to come for 2,000 more years! So that part wasn’t fulfilled that day! Jesus “rightly divided” that word into the section that applied THEN, and the section that was yet to be fulfilled in the future. In between two words there was a gap of 2,000 years, and that gap CAN ONLY BE DISCERNED BY USING OTHER SCRIPTURES! It was because Israel did not rightly divide the word of God that they were expecting the Messiah to “at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6).
Another excellent example is in Genesis 1:1-2. Casually reading, one assumes God created the Earth and it was unfinished, and then went on to “create” it in the rest of Genesis 1. Thus we would conclude when God created the Earth it was “without form and void”, translated from the Hebrew words tohu and bohu. Did God create the Earth in tohu and bohu? Isaiah 45:18says He created it NOT in tohu (translated into English as “in vain” in this verse). So how do we explain that?
By rightly dividing those two verses; in Hebrew, the words for past, present, and future aren’t always clear; the word “to be” also translates just as well as “had become”, as Rotherham translated these verses “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now, the earth, HAD BECOME waste and wild [tohu and bohu], and, darkness, was on the face of the roaring deep” – notice the difference that makes! In the beginning – the REAL beginning – God created the heavens and the Earth. THEN, after the Earth HAD BECOME waste and wild, the events of Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 3 take place!
Thus, just as in Isaiah 61:2, there is a gap between verses one and two of Genesis, which may be anywhere from a few minutes to a few eternities – we must use the other scriptures to decide which, and to tell us WHY it “had become” waste and wild. But that’s another lesson.
THE FIFTH KEY
The fifth key is about national identities. Does it seem probable to you that such insignificant nations as Egypt and Libya are mentioned often in end-time prophecies, but the real PLAYERS in the world scene – the USA, Germany, Russia, China – are completely ignored? Did God not realize they would exist today, or have no words to say about them? Or to look at it from the other angle, when God spoke prophecies about Ephraim leaning on Assyria in the end time, to whom was He referring? Who is Ephraim today, who is Assyria? You CAN know, the Bible does make it clear, but that too is a lesson all on its own. For today, we’ll pass over that.
And finally, once you’ve done all this, by rightly dividing and rightly assembling the word of Truth, you then overlay that over the history of the world and see if it fits any events that happened in history; finding prophecies that have already been fulfilled (and a great many have) to project where and how the prophecies will yet BE fulfilled. And now, we will start at the best foundation of prophecy – Daniel.
Somewhere between 600 and 500 B.C., Daniel had many visions which he recorded in his book; most involved the then-king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. As it happens, all of these visions tell the exact same story – but with different symbols, and a few details added or lost. Start by reading the story in Daniel 2:1-27.
Daniel wasn’t going to reveal this dream, God was going to reveal the secret to him (verse 28), and Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that this dream He was about to reveal, was about the future – a direct prophecy of the future of Nebuchadnezzar’s great kingdom (verses 29-30).
The dream is revealed in verses 31-35. Now how can we interpret it? Must we guess what all these things mean? No! You are about to hear God’s interpretation. Not mine! Man cannot interpret the Bible, only the Bible can interpret the Bible.
First, Nebuchadnezzar is revealed as the “head of gold” (verses 36-38). So the head pictured Nebuchadnezzar, and by extension, his kingdom of Babylon. Notice this is a LITERAL kingdom, a physical kingdom, ruling over all manner of people, animals, and kings!
Next, an “inferior kingdom will arise”, then another even more inferior – just as silver is of less value than gold, so brass is less value than silver (verse 39). History records plainly after Babylon fell in 539 B.C., there was the Medo-Persian Empire. It was indeed a weaker, less noble kingdom. It represented the breast and arms, and just as the body has two arms, so the Medo-Persian Empire was made up of two peoples, the Medes and the Persians.
Then it fell in 331 B.C. to Alexander the Great; and he, it is said, was to “bear rule over all the Earth”; and Alexander did conquer the entire known world, far more than either Nebuchadnezzar or the Medo-Persians had done, from India to Egypt to Greece – all the world worth conquering was his.
So that’s three kingdoms, but what does the prophecy say happened next? Verse 40. This fourth kingdom was of iron. Very strong, very hard, and “broke in pieces” and “subdueth all things”, so next Rome conquered the world with its legions of troops. These are the only four kingdoms that have ever ruled the world! Never since the time of Nebuchadnezzar has world rule been held by anyone except those four kingdoms! What a proof of the inspiration of the Bible!
Notice the two legs of iron. God said this was because “the kingdom was divided”. And we find the fourth kingdom, Rome, was indeed divided around 300 A.D. into the western kingdom, based in Rome, and the eastern kingdom, based in Constantinople (later called Byzantium, now called Istanbul). So the two “legs” of the Roman Empire were indeed divided, nearly a thousand years after God prophesied it!
But the prophecy isn’t finished; remember the feet and toes! (verses 41-42). This describes a period later, in our future yet, of ten kings, some strong, some weak, but they don’t get along very well (verse 43). Now get the point of this whole prophecy! Verse 44. In the days of THOSE KINGS (those ten toes), God shall set up a kingdom! Compare that with Revelation 11:15.
Clearly, the point of this prophecy was to give an outline of every world-ruling power from the time of Daniel to the return of Jesus, roughly 2,600 years later. No details, just a framework, but the symbols are explained, and we have therefore many “bridges” of prophecy to work with now – and thus a way to fill in the details.
THE NEXT VERSIONS
Next turn to Daniel 7:1-3. Notice there are four beasts – the same number of kingdoms we just read in chapter 2. The details of each beast are given in verses 4-6, and then in verse 7 note the fourth beast has ten horns – just as the fourth kingdom of iron in chapter 2 had ten toes. These are bridges! And more will follow! Verse 8 talks about a “little horn”, something not mentioned in chapter 2, who had three of the horns plucked up by the roots. And this little horn had a big mouth. Then in verse 9, we see the return of Christ.
Verses 10-14 take the story past the return of Christ to judgment day, unlike chapter 2. Read these verses and compare them to Revelation 20 and you’ll find many more bridges. This is how we add prophecy together, and then it all makes one big picture! But back in Daniel 7:15-16, Daniel didn’t know what this meant! So he ASKED for an interpretation – and he got one, which he passed on to us!
Verse 17 – just as the four metals of the statue in chapter 2 represented four kingdoms, so also these four beasts represent the same four kingdoms! The SAME STORY just told with different symbols and details! Verse 18 shows the end is the same in both cases; now in verses 23-24 we are told the fourth beast (identified before as the Roman Empire) is divided into ten separate kings. Now before we move on, count the heads on these beasts – the first two each had one; the third had four; and the fourth had one. That’s SEVEN heads. But the last head – the one on the fourth beast – had ten horns. Remember that!
Then another king, DIFFERENT from the others, will arise and subdue three of them. The prophecy stated they were “plucked up by the roots”, meaning they were COMPLETELY eradicated. So who is this “little horn”? Verse 25. We’ll come back to him later.
Daniel 8:1-19. Notice again, we don’t have to interpret; the Bible does it for us. Verse 20 – notice this prophecy begins, not with Nebuchadnezzar, the first beast, but with the Medo-Persian Empire, the second beast. And just as the silver part of the image had two arms, so the ram has TWO horns – the Medes and Persians again. Verse 21 identifies the third beast as the King of Greece – Alexander the Great – who then was “broken” (died), and his kingdom was divided into FOUR kingdoms.
Remember the four heads on the third beast of chapter 7? Here we have the same meaning, just different symbols; here, instead of heads, God uses HORNS to represent kingdoms. Daniel 11 again tells the exact same story, but this time with much more detail, too much to go into here. Notice however verses 2-4 describe again Alexander’s kingdom being divided “to the four winds” – that’s north, south, east, and west – and not to his descendants. History records that Alexander the Great’s empire was divided to his four generals, NOT to his offspring.
The rest of Daniel 11, up to verse 32 was all fulfilled in the next few hundred years, and can be tied definitively to specific historic events which culminated in 168 B.C. Request more information on that, if you’re interested. After verse 32 it shifts to the Christian period and then jumps to the end-time in verse 40. But it takes us away from the beast, and it’s time to jump now to Revelation and see the VERY SAME STORY is told in Revelation as well!
Read Revelation 13. Now knowing that it is the same story you’ve just read, see how many bridges you can build on your own; go ahead, take the time, set the lesson aside, and try to figure it out. You’ll notice that Revelation 13 does not interpret these symbols – that’s why we started in Daniel, to get the FOUNDATION, where the symbols are explained!
In verse 1, notice this beast has the SAME number of heads as the four beasts combined in Daniel. You’ll also notice that the image in Daniel 2 had ten toes, and the fourth beast had ten horns, so this beast has ten horns. The same beast, then! But why is the description so different? Verse 2. Go back now and read Daniel 7:4-7 again. Notice the beast in Revelation is made up of the strongest features of all the four beasts in Daniel! The strongest part of the lion is its mouth; the best part of the bear is its feet; and overall it was built like a leopard – sleek and strong.
Revelation doesn’t tell us which head had the ten horns, but Daniel made it clear it was the seventh head – the only head on the fourth beast – that had the ten horns. Who did this beast get its power from? Verse 2. And who is the dragon – a person, a church, a nation? Revelation 12:9. So the devil is the power behind ALL these kingdoms? Luke 4:5-7. Is Satan called “the god of this world”? 2 Corinthians 4:4.
What is being revealed here as the beast, is a series of KINGDOMS – kingdoms headed by Satan himself – who is the “god of this world”! And each time we trace the story of this kingdom, we find that after causing destruction and mayhem on the Earth, it is finally destroyed at the return of Christ when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of God! (Revelation 11:15).
This story is told many more times in other places, but before we read any more versions it’s time to stop and summarize. Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold, the lion, the first beast; the second beast was the Persian empire, the silver torso/arms, the bear; the third beast was Greece under Alexander the Great, who was pictured by the brass legs and the “great horn” that was broken into four pieces; this third beast was subdivided into four separate kingdoms, representing the four generals of Alexander. So far we have six heads.
Then the Roman Empire came along, and gradually absorbed all of the heads that came before it. Occupying all of their land, and more. By the time of Christ, all the heads had been incorporated into the fourth beast, the seventh head. In it were combined the royal pomp and ceremony of ancient Babylon – the head of the lion. The sheer numerical power of Persia’s armies – the strength of the bear. Add to this the speed, strategy, and brutality of Alexander – all qualities of the leopard. Thus it was like nothing the world ever saw before.
Men can invent all sorts of fanciful, exciting interpretations to Bible prophecies. They can say the beast is a literal person, or a church, or a world dictator, or the antichrist, but if you want to understand the Bible, you have to let it explain itself. And after seeing symbol after symbol explained by the Bible, the conclusion is clear: the beast of Revelation 13 represents the world-ruling empires of this Earth – specifically the greatest of all, the Roman Empire! The most powerful world government this planet has seen.
THE LITTLE HORN
But now we need to explain that “little horn” back in Daniel 7:8. First though, we need to clearly define how a “head” is different from a “horn”. Clearly, a head is a kingdom – this is plainly stated as you’ve already read. But a horn also appears to be a kingdom, from what you’ve read – so what is the difference?
Read Daniel 8:3, 20. There was one EMPIRE – the Medo-Persian, sometimes just called the “Persian” empire. But in this kingdom were TWO kings – that is, two dynasties or factions of power. One headed by the Medes, and one by the Persians – that meant there are TWO horns on this one head. So the simple interpretation is that a head means a single empire; but a horn means a dynasty or kingdom that is within or a part of that empire!
Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s empire is always pictured with only one head, and no separate horns – because Babylon was always ruled by Nebuchadnezzar’s descendants. On the other hand, Greece is pictured having first ONE large horn – read Daniel 8:5-8, 21-22 – and then FOUR horns. Because there was one dynasty (Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great), which ended abruptly with the death of Alexander. So that “horn” was broken!
And in its place – but on the same beast, out of the same empire – stood up four smaller horns, which it says represent less powerful kings, and which history records were the four generals of Alexander! Each of which started their own dynasty – originally as part of the same “Grecian” Empire. But though these new kingdoms started out as Greek kingdoms – thus, horns – they were fiercely independent, warring constantly among themselves. They eventually established stable, separate kingdoms, which lost most of their Greek identity, and thus became separate independent HEADS as they are called in Daniel 7:6!
Now you can see when Rome took over, six of the heads were killed, along with their horns, and that left the SEVENTH head, Rome. And the prophecies spoke of this seventh head having TEN horns – which means ten separate dynasties. Note these are not necessarily genetic but rather political dynasties. ONE dynasty merely means a continuation of a single system of government.
Now read Daniel 7:23-24. See what it said there? The ten horns come OUT OF this fourth beast. The fourth beast itself, the Roman Empire, is not counted as one of these ten horns; these all CAME OUT from that empire. Ten separate kings, or dynasties, that shall arise out of this seventh head.
Now we see again that “little horn”. So this is a little dynasty – built out of the same original Roman Empire – and yet “different from the first”. And this “little horn” subdues – conquers – the first three horns. Now take out a pad and start making a list of the characteristics of this horn; we’re going to do some detective work and gather clues from across the Bible. Then you should be able to figure it out easily just who this horn is!
Verse 25 says this horn “shall speak great words against the most High”. He will “wear out the saints” – that is, fight against them, and win: “they shall be given into his hand”. He will “change times and laws”. Now back to verse 8 to gather more information. Here it says the horn has “eyes like a man”, and a “a mouth speaking pompous words” (NKJV translation there). Verses 20-21 tell us this little horn is “more stout than his fellows” – that is, a longer lasting, more powerful, resilient kingdom. And this little horn “made war with the saints, and prevailed” – so this horn KILLED the true Christians!
Daniel 8:9 adds more information; keep making a list of the key features! I won’t try to explain all the prophecy here – there simply isn’t space – but verse 12 adds that his army “cast down truth to the ground”. Verses 23-25 interpret these verses. There is a king “understanding dark sentences” – or pretending to – but verse 24 holds a great key: “his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power”!
Now think about that – how can a king be MIGHTY, but not have his own power? All kings have armies, and those always do the fighting for the king; that’s still “the king’s power”, because they are the armies from his land, a part of his own empire. And yet this dark king’s power does not come from HIS kingdom, or HIS armies – but from someone else’s!
And by this power that is not his own – someone else’s armies fighting for him – he “destroys the mighty and holy people” – or as Daniel 7 said, he “wears out the saints”. But notice his greatest weapon isn’t a sword! It’s by PEACE that he destroys many! How can that be?
Ask yourself what authority came out of the former Roman Empire, murdered the saints, changed times and laws, cast the truth (of the Bible) to the ground, speaks pompous words, has the power to start wars – in the name of “peace” – and can send armies from other nations to battle? If you know your history of the Middle Ages, you already know the answer. I won’t give it to you just yet, but keep reading!
Back in Revelation 13 now, which is again, the exact same story as all these other prophecies have been telling. This beast is the Roman Empire – this is one beast containing all the heads, all the horns, and all the features of the previous empires – just as Rome contained all the land, the best features, and the greatest glory of all the preceding kingdoms.
So start by reading verses 1-3. We’ve covered the first two verses heavily now, but verse 3 is new; one of these seven heads is wounded to death. It dies! That means one of these kingdoms died. But then it was healed – the head was resurrected! The Roman Empire was given a deadly wound in 476, was overrun by barbarians, and utterly defunct; no one thought it would ever recover... but it did!
And they worshiped the dragon – Satan – who gave power to this beast. And they worshiped the beast – Rome – saying “who is like the beast? Who can make war with him?” – which in passing I should mention proves that the beast is NOT a church, but a MILITARY power, so mighty that the other nations fear to make war against it!
Now read verses 4-8. There was given to this beast a MOUTH. This mouth is NOT the beast, but it is given TO the beast. Now take that pad you had a moment ago and compare what this “mouth” does, to what the “little horn” with a “mouth speaking pompous things” (Daniel 7:8) did; here, the mouth speaks “great things and blasphemies”. He makes war with the saints, and overcomes them. And he has power over all kindreds, tongues, and nations, and they WORSHIP him!
This is the answer to how the little horn could be “mighty, but not by his own power”! He exercises power over OTHER nations by getting them to worship him and the beast that was healed! The source of his power comes from the WORSHIP these other nations give him! Surely it is becoming clear who this is!
Verse 11 starts again to tell the same story from a different perspective, picking it up where verse 3 left off; but the Bible assumes you already read verse 3, so it didn’t give all the information all over again! Verse 5 says that this first beast was given a MOUTH – the mouth of the beast – and compare what that mouth said, with what this “beast” in verses 11-15 says! It’s the same thing!
So then verse 11’s “another beast... like a lamb” must be the same as the MOUTH of the beast, and since he also “exercises all the power of the first beast”, he must also be the same as the little horn who “is mighty, but not by his own power”!
And this beast has people worship, not itself, but the ORIGINAL beast! And this new beast has two horns – two dynasties – and “spoke as a dragon” – which, to put these prophecies together, means that the MOUTH, or the little horn, “spoke as a dragon” for this new type of empire, fashioned after the FIRST military empire – Rome!
Yet the mouth masquerades as a lamb – it pretends to represent THE Lamb, Jesus – but in reality it speaks the words of Satan, the dragon. Verse 14 says this mouth, the little horn, DECEIVES people, and causes them to worship an IMAGE, or a COPY of the original Roman Empire! And this mouth gave life to that image of the beast, and “resurrected it” – and causes whoever will not worship that new copy of the ancient empire to be killed. Notice carefully that he CAUSES them to be killed – he doesn’t kill them himself! Remember, his weapon is PEACE! (Daniel 8:25).
THE HISTORICAL FACTS
If you have studied any history of medieval Europe, the identity of this “little horn” cannot be denied. It is the Papacy. The Pope contends he is “God on Earth”, he says he is able to overrule the commands of God, that he is above the Bible; and the replacement (vicar) of Christ. Thus, he speaks “great pompous blasphemies against the most high”, “casts down truth to the ground”, and “magnifies himself against the prince of princes” and masquerades as the Lamb (Christ).
It is at the behest of the Pope that the Catholic Church slaughtered in the most horrific fashion, perhaps as many as 50,000,000 – yes, that’s 50 MILLION – Christians, on the suspicion of serving the true God, and not serving the Pope’s decrees. He verily did “make war against the saints, and overcame them”. The Pope was responsible for the crusades, fighting mightily “but not by his own power”, yet in the name of “restoring PEACE to the holy land”! Because the Church itself killed no one; it CAUSED the local governments to martyr and kill the “heretics” who were suspected of obeying the Bible instead of the Pope.
All these things the Pope accomplished in the name of “peace”, just as Daniel prophesied a thousand years before the first Pope! There are many in EVERY nation that worship the Pope as the vicar of Christ – just as the Bible said that “all nations, and peoples, and tongues” would serve him.
He has changed times and laws, moving the Sabbath to Sunday as you read in the Sabbath booklet, moving the Biblical Passover to Easter, and changing even the calendar itself (the present “Gregorian” calendar we all use is named after Pope Gregory XIII). He also deleted commandment #2 and divided #10. He dispensed with pretty much every law in the Bible actually, and replaced them with those of his own choosing – rosaries, catechisms, penance, holy water, confession, etc.
In spite of all these things, he masquerades as a lamb, pretending to be a minister of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), when in fact he is merely a mouth for the devil – all of that is in your Bible. You read it right there, and every single fact I’ve stated here is easily verifiable in any library, internet site, or probably in an encyclopedia already on your shelf. There will be much more about this subject in a future lesson, but that’s enough for now.
Meanwhile, now that you’ve identified this “little horn”, the “mouth”, it’s time to discover some of the other key Bible names for this office. You do this by comparing the notes on your pad to the descriptions of some of these other prophecies that men make such a mess of, simply because they don’t read the Bible and let it do the talking.
Read Revelation 19:20. It should be an easy matter to identify these people now – who is the beast? Rome. Who then is this “false prophet”? What does it say about him here? Then compare this verse with Revelation 13:14. Can anyone argue that this “false prophet” is different from the “little horn”, the “mouth”, and the Pope? They all do the same things, in the same way! This is just a different title!
Then do the same thing in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. You’ll find the same answer holds true for the “man of sin”, and you’ll hear much more about him in Lesson 12. For now, let’s wrap this up succinctly by comparing the following scriptures one after another: 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Daniel 11:36; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:11, 23-25; Revelation 13:5-8, 11-16; Revelation 19:20.
After reading all those different scriptures from all over the Bible, doesn’t it feel like you really just read the SAME SCRIPTURE, just re-worded as the story was told in different ways? All of those verses say the same things about a certain person, but each calls him by a different name; yet all of those people, the “man of sin”, the “mouth of the beast”, the “little horn”, the “false prophet” – they ALL persecute the saints. They ALL deceive the nations. They ALL blaspheme God and proclaim themselves more powerful than God! That’s because they ALL are the same person – or at least, they all fill the same office!
This is how we resolve prophecy and make it SIMPLE!
There is much more to say about the beast, the Pope, and the history of these kingdoms. But that really isn’t the point of this lesson. With the knowledge you now have, any decent history of the last 2,000 years will allow you to put the pieces together. They’ll tell you that the first three horns that were plucked up were the Heruli, Ostrogoths, and Vandals; these each overran Rome in turn, giving Rome a “deadly wound”; then in 554 A.D. Justinian restored the empire of Rome, subservient to the Church and hence the Pope, and at the Pope’s behest, Justinian utterly wiped out the first three horns.
Today, no trace of them exists, those nations are completely destroyed. Thus Daniel said they would be “plucked up by the roots”. Justinian was himself the fourth horn, then followed, so far, five more incarnations of what later was titled the “Holy Roman Empire” – the ninth was begun in Italy by Garibaldi and destroyed with Mussolini – and the tenth is growing as we speak in Europe.
As I said, you can figure this out for yourself, and request more information if you’re interested. Meanwhile, we need to keep moving, because there is much more prophecy to study!
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
The Pope wasn’t the image. The Pope caused the world to WORSHIP the image. But what was this image? Was it the same as the resurrected beast? Revelation 14:9. So they are distinct – the beast is Rome, the resurrected beast is the resurrected Roman Empire under Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto, etc.; but the COPY of the beast is something else. So what did the nations worship that was copied from, or patterned after, the Roman Empire?
Leo I, considered by many to be the first Pope (circa 400-461), was a key to starting this “image of the beast” just as the original empire was about to receive a mortal wound. As head of the Catholic Church, he organized the political structure of the Catholic Church government. To understand the image of the beast, we must read what historians have said about him and his accomplishment: “During the reign of Leo I, the Church set up, within the Roman Empire, an ecclesiastical STATE [or GOVERNMENT] which, in its constitution and its administrative system, was shaping itself upon the [ROMAN] imperial MODEL.” (Myer’s Ancient History). The Encyclopedia Britannica calls the Roman Church an “Ecclesiastical EMPIRE”.
Get that! Leo I (the “mouth” on the “little horn”) patterned the Church – his kingdom – AFTER the ROMAN EMPIRE! So that the Catholic Church became an “ecclesiastical state”, just as today Vatican City is not a part of Italy; it is a sovereign state, with ambassadors and embassies just like Germany, France, or Japan. And in its administrative system and constitution, it is patterned after ROME – the BEAST! Thus making it an IMAGE of the beast! And the Pope causes ALL to worship this new IMAGE of the beast!
Further, there are TWO factions to this “dragon-in-lamb’s-clothing” ecclesiastical empire; the Catholic Church in the west, and the Greek Orthodox church in the east; TWO HORNS on that image of the beast!
Revelation 17 is – you guessed it – yet another version of the same story. This time focused on the image of the beast – here called a “woman”. Read verses 1-3. Notice that this woman RIDES the beast with seven heads and ten horns – that is, she controls it, she guides it, tells it where to go and what to do.
The Pope did all these same things – for example, he caused the empires of Europe to fight in the crusades. But this “woman” is not the Pope! The Pope is male, and the Bible is not so sloppy with its symbols! In the Bible, a woman ALWAYS represents a church (2 Corinthians 11:2), and this particular woman is “drunk with the blood of the saints” (Revelation 17:6), so surely it can only be one church.
Revelation 17:18 says this woman is “that great city” – so it is a church based in a great city. Which city is that? Well, verse 9 says the woman sits on seven mountains. And believe it or not, the city of Rome is actually BUILT on seven literal hills! It is known as the “city of seven hills” for a reason! So this geographically identifies the woman! What other church is based in a great city built upon seven literal hills, that has reigned over the kings of Europe for much of the last 2,000 years?
Notice in verse 7 that the beast “carries” the woman. It supports her – it is from it that she draws her power. Verse 9 explains the symbols here of the beast with seven heads; it says they are “seven mountains”. But besides the literal meaning of seven literal hills (remember, duality!), what is a mountain in Bible symbolism? Compare Daniel 2:35 and Daniel 2:44. So a mountain is a KINGDOM!
So far we have four Bible-verified symbols for a government or kingdom – a beast, a head, a horn, and a mountain! When you read any of these in a Bible prophecy, you can now UNDERSTAND what God really meant using these tremendous keys to prophecy!
BUT WHO IS THE WOMAN?
I don’t want to focus on the woman here, because we are saving her to study in Lesson 12. For now, I’ll just make the obvious statement; she is the Catholic Church, the “image of the beast” that the “mouth given to the beast” causes the world to worship. The false prophet/man of sin/little horn/mouth of the beast is the Pope.
The Pope is NOT that woman, but he is the HEAD of that woman! Which is why they often appear doing the same things – because the Pope LEADS the woman, and the woman – the Catholic Church – LEADS the beast! And the beast is the Roman Empire, or in a broader sense the kingdoms of this Earth that Satan was given (Luke 4:6).
There is much more in Revelation to say that is just as easy to understand, but we must move on. This is the FOUNDATION of prophecy, not an exhaustive course in it. There will be other lessons and booklets about it as we go on.
You may have noticed an apparent discrepancy if you’re paying close attention; Daniel 2 makes it clear that these ten toes – the final ten kingdoms of the beast – are destroyed only when Jesus returns. That plus the simple anatomy of toes indicates that they are co-existent kingdoms that are around when Jesus comes back.
Revelation 17:12-14 again says that the ten horns – the ten toes of Daniel 2 – have power only briefly at the very end right before Jesus returns, they have “received no kingdom as yet”. And they give their power to the beast – which is why they are merely “horns”, not heads!
But Daniel 7:8 says the Pope (as we have identified the little horn) plucked up “three of the FIRST horns” (of the ten). This tells us that the ten horns are consecutive – one after the other, with the FIRST three being plucked up by the Pope – which history confirms!
The simple answer is duality; both are true. There are ten consecutive kingdoms (nine so far) and there will be ten concurrent, co-existing kingdoms at the very end! Only in this way, can the Bible agree with itself – and “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
Revelation 17:9-10 speaks of something strange, however; it says the woman rode seven of the heads of this beast. That means, of the ten consecutive kingdoms that took over after the collapse of the Roman Empire, only SEVEN were ridden – controlled – by this woman. We know the Pope had the fourth horn (Justinian) destroy the first three horns because they never acknowledged the power of the Pope! And so the Pope, AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, never rode those first horns!
Since then, EVERY single resurrection of the “Holy Roman Empire” has acknowledged the supremacy of the Pope and Church – the little horn and the woman – and obeyed them! At the time John is seeing this vision – that is, at the date in future time the vision is showing him – five kingdoms are fallen, one exists, and one is not yet come – meaning at this point, John was seeing the time of reunited Italy – between 1870-1945.
But while the woman (called “the great whore”) rode and guided the last seven consecutive heads, the ten concurrent horns at the end (the ten toes) “hate the whore” (Revelation 17:16). That’s because these belong to the eighth beast (verse 10). It exists briefly, at the very end, and these ten toes gain their power from it (verses 12-13).
PART 2: SPECIFIC END-TIME EVENTS
Having studied in past lessons the broad prophecies of salvation, the return of Christ, and so on; and having studied in this lesson the outline of prophecy; to finish this lesson it seems appropriate to take one specific prophecy and explain it using the same methods as we used on the others. To do this, we are going to take Matthew 24 and add it to Revelation 6 and see what we have. Go ahead and read both chapters before we start.
Now, it is commonly believed that Revelation is a sealed book, which no one can understand; and certainly it seems that way! But is that true? Revelation 1:1. Notice the name of the book is REVELATION – think about that name! Webster says a “revelation” is “an act of revealing or communicating divine truth”. Revelation is given to REVEAL and communicate divine truth! Not to hide it! Read Revelation 22:10 – God told John NOT to seal it, or hide it, but to make it known!
Next, most assume JOHN was the revealer of these secrets; some Bibles even title this book “The Revelation of St. John the Revelator” – but was John the Revelator? Revelation 1:1-2. This was the revelation of Jesus Christ, which His Father gave to Him! John was just a WITNESS, a secretary of sorts, who merely wrote down what he saw – but the REVELATION came from Jesus Christ, NOT JOHN!
Now skip down to the TIME FRAME of this prophecy; Revelation 1:10. Many use this verse to justify Sunday worship, but is Sunday, Sabbath, the first day of the week, or ANY form of worship mentioned? No! Merely that John was, in the spirit, PROJECTED into the “Day of the Lord” which as you have learned ALWAYS means the day of God’s JUDGMENT.
Remember how Jesus stopped reading in mid-verse in Isaiah 61:2? John was sent, in vision, to the REST of that verse – to see “the day of vengeance of our God”! For more proof, simply read Jeremiah 46:10. “The day of the Lord” is grammatically identical to “the Lord’s day”. And it’s the day of God’s VENGEANCE, and Revelation certainly depicts a God full of wrath to vent on an evil world! (Revelation 6:17, 19:15).
So Revelation 1:10 has nothing to do with a certain day of the week; it is referring to the day of God’s wrath; it gives us a timestamp of John’s vision (compare to Ezekiel 8:3), and it sets the stage for all the rest of Revelation. The first three chapters of Revelation are prophecies of God’s true church as it goes through seven eras from the time of John to the return of Christ; this is a fascinating study all by itself, but that’s for another day.
Chapters 4-5 depict Jesus going to heaven after His resurrection and receiving His office. Lots to talk about there, but again, that’s for another day. Finally in Revelation 6:1 we get into the specific end-time prophecies, as the Lamb starts to open the seals on this book. But before we get into that, what is this book – and how did it get sealed?
What does it mean when God seals something? Isaiah 29:11. Does God sometimes deliberately seal prophecies? Daniel 12:4. And they are sealed until WHEN? Verse 9.
Excepting people – which is a different type of “sealing” – the only thing God seals is understanding, usually of prophecies. Often, these are hidden so they cannot be understood until the proper time. The best modern analogy is when the military classifies a file. It’s SEALED, marked “top secret”. Why would God do this? Well, it’s like when you’re playing chess; you don’t want your opponent to know what you’re planning until AFTER it’s too late to do anything about it!
Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 2:8. When you think about it, if Satan hadn’t crucified Christ, where would we be? Suppose for a moment that Satan had decided not to kill Him. You and I wouldn’t have His blood for our sins. We couldn’t be forgiven! So Satan unwittingly played right into God’s hands!
There are prophecies throughout the Old Testament that speak of Jesus’ sacrifice – Isaiah 53:7 for instance – but they were SEALED! And no one could understand them, not even Satan with all his wisdom. Because you can be sure if Satan and his minions – the princes of this world – had KNOWN just how much the murder of Jesus would help mankind and hurt Satan’s cause, he “would not have crucified the Lord of glory”!
Here’s a question – are there things you and I understand that the ANGELS desire to know – and don’t? 1 Peter 1:12. And can we understand things that David, Elijah, and Moses COULD NOT UNDERSTAND? Luke 10:24.
God sealed these prophecies – He classified these files, so to speak – because He did not want the other side to understand until it was too late to stop the plan! Many other prophecies have been sealed for the same reason, not to be revealed until the end time – OUR TIME! That’s why we can make such clear sense out of these prophecies that men have been trying in vain to understand for thousands of years!
The most advanced prophecies in the Bible at the time of Christ were Daniel’s. This is why Daniel is so much like Revelation. But some of Daniel’s prophecies were too advanced, and even Daniel wasn’t permitted to understand them (Daniel 12:8-9). Notice what God commanded Daniel in Daniel 12:4. He said SEAL THE BOOK! Get that! A book was SEALED! Until when? The TIME of the END – the end-time! Why? Because they were END-TIME prophecies that God didn’t want “leaked” until the end was almost upon us!
Now we fast-forward to Revelation 5:1, and we see a book – surely that same book Daniel sealed! Verses 2-5 say no one is able to unseal that book – until Jesus “prevailed” and was found worthy. So then Jesus took this book – this book of PROPHECY (verse 7) – from the hand of His Father, who was on the throne! And that is the PROPHECY His Father gave to Him (Revelation 1:1)!
Each time Jesus pops off one of these seals, it becomes possible for man to understand that segment of prophecy as Jesus “de-classifies” the document! And so as each seal is opened, John sees a vision of what happens as prophecy progresses towards the return of Christ!
As you read through the opening of the seals, you see the first seal is a white horse whose rider has a crown and bow and “conquers”. But this must not be MILITARY conquering, because the second seal is WAR – military conquering. So the first seal must have been something else – some other sort of conquering!
The third seal is a shortage of grain – famine. The fourth is death. The fifth shows the ancient and medieval martyrs were only a TYPE – a small fulfillment – of the brutal end-time persecution of the true saints yet in our future. The sixth shows signs in heaven – darkness, blood, earthquake, wind, etc.
What are these six seals – in plain language? Revelation never tells us. Because Jesus already did! Now turn to Matthew 24:3. The disciples asked, in plain language, what the SIGNS would be of His impending return. What are the first words out of Jesus’ mouth? “Take heed that no man deceive you”! His first prophecy is then of false Christs, deception, and false ministers claiming to serve Christ (Luke 21:8, another version of this prophecy, adds that last detail).
Jesus’ first warning is “religious deception”. What is His second warning? Verses 6-7 – WARS! Now compare this with what you read in Revelation 6; the first seal was of a man riding a white horse, with a crown, a bow, and who “conquered” but NOT MILITARILY! Then the SECOND seal was of WARS!
Here Jesus’ second warning is identical to the second seal; that could be a compelling “bridge” if it is valid. Now think about the first seal; the man rides a white horse. Who else rides a white horse? Revelation 19:11. So this first horse is a COUNTERFEIT of the TRUE Jesus’ horse! The man wears a CROWN – so does the Pope, the COUNTERFEIT of the TRUE Jesus! The man “conquers”... what? If it isn’t a military conquest, then it must be a SPIRITUAL conquest – and surely the Pope has “conquered” most of the world, spiritually! Just as Daniel prophesied he “made war with the saints, and prevailed” – not in a military war, but a spiritual war! Also read Revelation 13:7. This then, is the first horseman of the Apocalypse – religious deception!
The second seal is plainly stated – war, just as Jesus stated war would be the second sign. Then Jesus’ third warning was famines. Compare what the third seal was (Revelation 6:5-6). So the second and third warnings/seals are identical, and we have identified the first warning/seal as religious deception; that’s 3/3!
The fourth warning in Matthew 24:7 is pestilence (pests, plagues). And the fourth seal (Revelation 6:7-8), death, includes death by hunger, beasts of the earth, and “death” – presumably disease. Jesus also mentions earthquakes, which Revelation did not mention at this time. But that’s what we do, find bridges, add the prophecies together, and let the missing pieces fill themselves in!
That’s the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, right there from Jesus’ lips – in order! Are you beginning to see how EASY prophecy is to understand, when you just get out of the way and let the Bible make sense of itself?
After that, what’s the next thing Jesus warns us to watch for? Matthew 24:9-14. And what’s the fifth seal? Revelation 6:9-11. Do you see the parallels? These are BOTH warnings of religious persecution; of the saints being martyred; of a time of great trouble for God’s people, a time you might well live through! So the fifth seal is the same as that time of persecution spoken of by Jesus!
After that, Jesus digresses to talk about the coming fall of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15-20), which was literally fulfilled in 70 A.D., but which is only a TYPE of a future, REAL fulfillment yet coming in your future. This is the same thought began in Matthew 24:9-14, and it picks up again in verses 21-22.
He again digresses, by His own admission (verse 25), then picks up the story flow again in verse 29 saying immediately AFTER the tribulation (persecution) of those days (the fifth seal), there will be signs in heaven; the sun and moon won’t shine, etc. Now compare that – remember, this now is the SIXTH warning Jesus gives us – with the SIXTH seal, Revelation 6:12-15. It’s the EXACT SAME WARNING!
Jesus then gives us the PLAIN EXPLANATION of the mysterious seals of Revelation; we needn’t guess, Jesus lays it out step by step; deception, war, famine, death, persecution of the saints, the signs in heaven, and then comes the SEVENTH SEAL!
THE SEVENTH SEAL
Revelation 7 pauses the story flow to tell of “sealing” the saved from the four corners of the Earth before the arrival of the seventh seal. Think of it as branding people that are God’s, before He starts to punish the Earth, so He’ll be able to see clearly who is His and who is not. Revelation 8:1-6 resumes the story where it left off, at the seventh seal.
Remember, these seven seals covered the entire book of prophecy; as each was removed, John saw what was underneath – but the seventh seal is not like the others. This time instead of seeing a specific plague, curse, or event, he sees SEVEN TRUMPETS. That’s because the seventh seal is divided into seven trumpets. The trumpets aren’t happening at the same time as the seals – that isn’t what the Bible says. The Bible said the opening of the seventh seal REVEALED seven angels with seven trumpets!
So out of the seventh seal came the seven trumpets. These prophesy doom of various sorts – keep reading from verse 7 and read on into chapter 9:21 (Revelation 8:7-9:21). I won’t try to interpret each of these symbols – it can be done, but this course isn’t about giving you the answers; it’s showing you how to get them for yourself. The point is, these are symbols and the Bible must explain them, according to the rules you’ve learned in this lesson. For now, we’ll study only the big picture.
The first four trumpets are called “winds” (Revelation 7:1), the last three are called “woes” (Revelation 8:13, 9:12, 11:14). So far, you have read about only six trumpets. Revelation 10:7 prophesies of the coming of a final trumpet. Then chapter 11 digresses a bit to talk about the two witnesses – again, another lesson – who are resurrected and ascend to heaven (Revelation 11:11-12).
The resurrection of the two witnesses must happen at the time Jesus comes back, the same time as the general resurrection of the firstfruits, because “those who are still living when he comes will not in any way precede those who have previously fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Philips translation). The reward is to all the saints at the same time – and the two witnesses cannot “in any way precede” Abraham, Enoch, or you – if you are worthy when the time comes.
Just a few verses later we see this happened at the very END of the sixth trumpet/second woe (verse 14), and the very next section (verses 15-18) describes the return of Christ and the resurrection of the saints! But notice what else verse 18 says – “thy WRATH IS COME” – so when the seventh trumpet first blows, the saints are resurrected, and it’s time for God’s WRATH to be spent on everyone else!
Revelation 12 digresses to talk about the TRUE church, chapter 13 talks about the Beast – to bring all the storylines up to speed – then chapter 14 talks about the resurrected saints (verses 1-4). Notice that it is spoken of as PAST TENSE – “these WERE redeemed from among men” – because it is then FINISHED, for they WERE redeemed! And they can now follow the Lamb “wherever He goes” because they are “like Him” and they “see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2)!
The rest of Revelation 14 is another minor digression, then Chapter 15 gets back to the main story flow with the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES. What are these plagues? “In them is filled up the wrath of God” (verse 1). These seven last plagues ARE the wrath of God! And remember what Revelation 11:18 said when the seventh trumpet sounded? “Thy WRATH IS COME”. So when the seventh trumpet sounded, the seven last plagues of God’s wrath BEGAN! Just as the seven trumpets came out of the seventh seal, the seven last plagues came out of the seventh trumpet!
Read Revelation 15:1-4. Notice particularly that, while these final plagues are being poured out on the Earth, the saints are no longer there (verses 2-4). They were there for all the others, but are pointedly excluded from these. The rest of chapter 15 and all of chapter 16 describe the seven last plagues, and men’s reaction to them. Notice Revelation 16:16 speaks of the gathering together to “Armageddon”. This is a bridge we’ll need later. Just remember this happens at the sixth vial.
EGYPT A TYPE OF JUDGMENT
It is important to notice the saints suffer the seven seals, and the seven trumpets with everyone else. In particular, they are there for the three woes; but they are spared the seven vials of the wrath of God. Here we are going to build a bridge back to Egypt and show the same pattern happened there.
Everyone knows about the ten plagues in Egypt. What not many have noticed is that Israel suffered the first three plagues with Egypt. But Israel was delivered from the last seven plagues! The story of the ten plagues starts in Exodus 7:14 and continues up into chapter 12, but the key fact you need to notice is the first three plagues happened to everyone; the water turning to blood, the frogs, the lice, all of them happened all over Egypt, and Israel as well (Exodus 8:4-6 for example).
After the third plague (corresponding to the third woe), God made a DIVISION between the two nations: Egypt, who throughout the Bible represents the bondage to sin, the world, Satan’s kingdoms, the beast, etc.; and Israel, who are God’s people, a symbol for the saints, the church, etc. Read Exodus 8:21-23. Notice that! God put a DIVISION between HIS people and this early prophetic “type” of the BEAST! So that the plagues that affected the BEAST would not in any way affect the SAINTS!
He continued to do this for the next seven plagues; see for example Exodus 8:4, 9:25-26, etc. These things, Paul said, happened to Israel “for our admonition UPON WHOM THE ENDS OF THE WORLD ARE COME” (1 Corinthians 10:11). These things were written for you and me to help us understand END TIME PROPHECIES!
They are bridges, to help us understand things like the plagues! And the fact the saints escape the last seven vials, but like Israel, must partake of the first three woes. This digression is just to illustrate that bridges don’t necessarily come from the “prophetic books”, but can be found in the experiences of random nations or individuals anywhere in the Bible. God wrote it that way.
Now read Revelation 16:17 whichannounces the END; “it is done”, the voice says. This is the last plague, at the end, at the final return of Christ. Some denominations teach that all men are destroyed by the plagues of Revelation and the Earth lies desolate for 1,000 years after that – but read for yourself; after God said “it is done”... are there still men on the Earth, or not? Verse 21. Men still exist, granted a lot fewer men, but NOT EVERYONE IS DESTROYED BY GOD’S WRATH!
Chapters 17-18 talk about the great whore and the beast; chapter 19 picks up the main story flow again with the wedding supper. This depicts the resurrected bride of Christ – the church – being symbolically married to Christ and thus invested with official authority entitling them to be “kings and priests”.
This ceremony is taking place during the seven last plagues, it seems, because remember the saints are resurrected at the seventh trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52) – before the first plague (Revelation 11:15) – that’s one bridge – and we saw the nations gathering together at the sixth plague to “Armageddon”, which is the second bridge; and in this story we find Jesus about to go to that same battle. So we know this ceremony must take place between those two events – which are probably only separated by a few days. After all, God is merciful and won’t drag out the suffering of mankind any more than absolutely necessary to make His point.
Pick up the story flow again in Revelation 19:11. Notice these ARMIES following Him (verse 14). Who are they? The answer is easy when you ask another question: what are they wearing? Who else wears that, and “follows the Lamb wherever He goes”? Revelation 19:8, 14:4.
So it is the SAINTS who ride out of heaven to go with Jesus to the battle of Armageddon; the resurrected saints, as their first act as kings and priests, following Jesus to finally help Him revenge all disobedience, now that THEIR OWN obedience is fulfilled! (2 Corinthians 10:6).
Revelation 19:19-20 is a bridge which ties directly to Revelation 16:14, 16. These are happening at the same time, John is just telling the story, as it was revealed to Him from many different angles, regularly digressing to bring a different plot thread up to date with the others. You’ll find this same period bridged to Revelation 14:14-20, particularly verses 19-20 which is nearly identical to Revelation 19:15.
Again, these are all the same story told from a different perspective, different time frame, or with a different point; just overlay all the ones with solid bridges, and you will understand all prophecy!
The story concludes, naturally, with Jesus and the saints winning the battle of Armageddon; then it relates what you’ve already studied about Satan being bound a thousand years, the coronation of the saints (Revelation 20:4), the release of Satan, the second resurrection, and finally the New Jerusalem.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
This is by no means all of the prophecy in the Bible; this is only the foundation, a few of the biggest themes in prophecy explored so you fully understand the methods by which prophecy must be understood. And in the process, you’ve learned some basic facts that will help you understand the coming lessons.
But as I said, there are many other prophecies to study, these are the most important; the broadest scope, the biggest impact to mankind. Most books like Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are specific prophecies telling what will happen to the USA, Europe, the Middle East and the rest of the world in the next few years; yes, that information is in your Bible, with specific indications about YOUR country, by name – if you know the Bible’s name for your nation – and if you continue with this course long enough you will understand it yourself.
It is ironic that the book most people consider to be the most complicated in the Bible is actually one of the most simple. That’s why it’s called a REVELATION – because it has been revealed! The only reason people can’t understand it is they can’t stop talking about their opinions long enough to hear what the Bible plainly tells them.
As you can see, there is no reason to spend a lifetime studying prophecy. It’s just not that complicated.