The Key to Unlocking Revelation
By Gerald Flurry • April 24
The book of Revelation is the most important prophetic book in the Bible. It has more prophecy than any other book, and it is essential for us in this end time. The entire book is prophecy for today.
Yet Revelation is also the Bible’s most misunderstood book. Even Bible commentaries are full of confusion and devoid of logic and sense.
How can that be? How could God allow that to happen?
The prophecies in the book of Revelation are pictured in Revelation 5:1 as being written in a book that is “sealed with seven seals.” The number seven signifies completion. This is the complete message of Revelation to this world; the seven seals comprise the entire prophecy of this book—for this world, anyhow. Those seven seals just cover the entire book.
Those seal all the events to occur just before the return of Jesus Christ. The problem is, those seven seals are in symbols that nobody understands. How can you unlock or loosen those seals? Those seals have been loosed in this end time, yet almost nobody knows that.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah
The book of Revelation opens with a description of the seven eras of God’s Church. The first three chapters prove that Revelation is meant to be understood by the loyal members of the one true Church. Chapter 4 then depicts the glorious setting of God’s throne room, where these events are taking place and the book of Revelation originated.
Then chapter 5 presents a practical way to understand the entire book—a book we desperately need as Christ’s return draws near. It shows that there is only one key to unlock the book of Revelation.
It is explained in this passage: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:2-4).
How can anyone read these verses and think that a man or a church or a particular denomination or any religious leader could possibly unlock the book of Revelation? It won’t come from a church leader or any man. That is simply impossible.
The one and only key to unlocking Revelation comes from a source we often don’t even consider. It was revealed to John about 1,900 years ago. It is revealed in verse 5: “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” There is the key to this riddle, this prophecy in Revelation—the one way to unlock this most important prophetic book: Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain …. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb …. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof” (verses 6-9).
Jesus Christ is able to open up the understand of world events from the first century right down to the present, with a heavy emphasis on this end time.
Six of the entire seven seals are opened up in Revelation 6, and the seventh seal is covered in the last 16 chapters. There is a reason for that.
In The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:
[T]he writing is in symbols. And God uses symbols to hide the meaning from men, until that meaning is revealed by none other than Jesus Christ Himself! … Christ reveal[s] the writing, which is in mystic symbols; but Christ, who alone is the Revelator, does not at this time and place open up the meaning! He has here merely opened up the words, in symbolic form, but not here the meaning.
Why would God purposely put His revelation in symbols and hide it from human beings? He doesn’t want mankind to understand until they are ready to submit to Him. Until then, God reveals only to a small number of humble and childlike “babes” (Matthew 11:25). Mr. Armstrong continued:
And since Jesus Christ the Revelator does not reveal the meaning in this particular passage of Scripture, we must look elsewhere to find when and where Jesus Christ does explain the meaning of these symbols! That is the paramount key to the book of Revelation!
Few people realize this, but Jesus Christ spoke in parables so the multitude wouldn’t understand! (Mark 4:10-12). He wasn’t trying to convert the world back then, and He isn’t trying to convert the world today. But He does give a key to a little remnant that proclaims His message. That key is in another passage of Scripture.
We must look elsewhere besides Revelation to understand this book! Mr. Armstrong wrote:
[W]e find in this sixth chapter of Revelation a prophecy cloaked mysteriously in symbols which have hidden the true meaning from men these [1,900] years! And so, if we want to really understand, we must do as those disciples did—we must go to Jesus, who alone is the true Revelator—and since His message to us of this day is now the written Word of God—the Bible—we must look to see where in His written Word, this same Jesus explains to us, in plain language, the same identical events which are represented by these symbols.
The Olivet Prophecy
The synoptic Gospels contain a prophecy that Christ gave at the Mount of Olives. This prophecy—found in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13—unlocks the seven seals of Revelation! Matthew 24 is the most complete version.
Here is the description of the first four seals in Revelation 6: “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2).
This is the first seal. You have to go elsewhere in the Bible to understand it, as with every one of these seals. Most people think this is Jesus Christ, but the rider on this white horse has a bow, whereas Christ, when He returns on a white horse, has a sword (Revelation 19:15). This horseman is a counterfeit of Christ! It is referring to false and deceiving religion, promulgated by people who talk about the person of Christ but don’t teach you about Christ’s message. Matthew 24:3-5 explain this in plain language.
The first four seals are the four horsemen of the apocalypse (Revelation 6:3-8). Matthew 24 explains this very clearly. The first seal, as explained above, is religious deception. The second seal is wars and rumors of wars that will lead to World War iii. The third seal is famine. The fourth seal is pestilence and epidemics that will exterminate a third of all human life on the planet.
The fifth seal is the martyrdom of God’s rebellious people (Revelation 6:9-11). Matthew’s account foretells the destruction of God’s Church in the end time (Matthew 24:10-13), which leads to this martyrdom during the Great Tribulation.
The sixth seal is heavenly signs (Revelation 6:12-13; Matthew 24:29). This takes place immediately after the 2½-year Tribulation. The sky will go completely dark—no sun, moon or stars!
The seventh seal is seven trumpet blasts that announce seven plagues on the modern descendants of ancient Israel as punishment for their sins (Revelation 8; Matthew 24:30-31). In the past, trumpets announced war. War is coming to the Earth! After the Great Tribulation comes the Day of the Lord, when God will wreak more havoc on Earth than there has ever been! (Revelation 9:20). Sadly, this is what it takes for stubborn mankind to turn to God.
Christ will return just before man annihilates himself (Matthew 24:21-22). The short term brings tremendous suffering, but it all leads to good news! “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
We can know the key to unlocking Revelation—to understanding the sequence of events leading to Christ’s return. What a faith builder! What a hopeful future!Read More