We have just noted that the Revelation is not a revelation to anyone apart from God's servants. The reason for this is because it's not a revelation of anything except Jesus Christ. People often call the book "Revelations" (plural), as though it's a box of goodies that one can pick and choose from. Even the people who put together the various books of the Bible into the one volume had trouble with naming this one. They called it "The Revelation of St. John the Divine". But that's not the title of the book either. The real title appears in the opening words: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

The key to understanding The Revelation, and all that it had to say about the future, is to believe the teachings of Jesus. People have tried to make The Revelation say all sorts of things that it never says; and they have almost always concluded that it is a revelation that their church or their denomination is the right one and all others are wrong. But it's not a revelation of any such thing.

The Revelation is a poetic picture of how the teachings and example of Jesus Christ work to overcome all the evil forces in the world. The amazing accuracy of its predictions is there to give hope to those of us who will be called on to die for our faith, particularly in the years just before Christ returns to rule the earth. They are not there to startle and amaze the general public.
(Bible passages referred to in each chapter appear in an appendix at the end of each chapter.)

In the tenth chapter of The Revelation (verses 9-10) an angel comes to John with a "little book" that he tells him to eat. He says the book will start out tasting as sweet as honey when he puts it in his mouth, but by the time it reaches his stomach, it'll be "bitter". This is a good description of The Revelation. It's great fun to crack the code and work out some of the mysteries. But when you've finally seen what it is revealing, far from feeling entertained, you'll feel more responsible for the evils of the world, and for taking (or not taking) a stand against them. So once again, we must warn those who come to read this book just out of curiosity: You are not going to like what you find.

Christ had a problem with all the hoop-la about anything supernatural. People with bad spirits in them were always trying to spout off about him being the Son of God, and he was always telling them to shut up. (Mark 3:11-12) He told his disciples to do the same thing. (Mark 8:29-30) Whenever he healed someone, he would tell them to keep it quiet. (Mark 1:44; 5:42-43; 7:35-36) He said, "An evil generation seeks miracles, but they will not be given what they want. All they will get is the sign that Jonah gave to Nineveh." (Luke 11:29-30) (Note: All that Jonah gave Nineveh was the truth… from both barrels; and they repented as a result of it.)

The record shows that Jesus gave the general public quite a few miracles. But he did not indulge them by doing so. He called the shots. He decided whether he was going to do a miracle or not; and "an evil generation" did not like it. They wanted to be able to harness his powers and use them for their own selfish ends. (John 6:26)
 
We human beings just naturally feel that if someone could do a really convincing job of healing the sick or raising the dead or predicting the future, then people would recognise that person's spiritual authority, and start following God. But Jesus knew better. And that is one of the themes of The Revelation: God's ways are not our ways.

In The Revelation, Jesus Christ is referred to as "The Lamb". And the various kings and empires throughout world history are referred to as "Beasts". What the book reveals is how a harmless sheep… make that a harmless baby sheep… no, less than that: a harmless slain baby sheep... conquers all the raging and roaring empires of the world. How unbelievable!
 
The "Lamb" does so in direct contradiction to all our natural expectations. And he does so in order that God's power and God's wisdom might be more dramatically demonstrated. This is consistent with all that Jesus Christ taught. He was always emphasising the paradox of winning through losing, of turning the other cheek, of the meek inheriting the earth.

The "Beast" of Revelation is a carry-over from the writings of Daniel, in the Old Testament, where he used animals to depict world empires. Daniel lived at the time of the Babylonian Empire. A lion with wings was its symbol. Daniel had a dream one night (recorded in Daniel 7:2-7), in which he saw a lion with eagle's wings. But the wings were eventually plucked, and the lion became a man. Then he saw a bear, followed by a panther with four wings and four heads.
  The last creature that Daniel saw really bothered him. It was a cross between an animal and a machine, with iron teeth, brass claws, and ten horns, each of which represented a different leader. It was "dreadful and terrible" as it "devoured and broke in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet of it." Finally, Daniel saw "The Ancient of Days" overthrow the thrones of all these beasts. He saw "The Son of Man" come with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:1314) and receive a kingdom which will never be destroyed.

Understand that Daniel was writing many years before Jesus Christ was even born. "The Ancient of Days" is a term for God, whereas "The Son of Man", as we have said, is a term for the promised Messiah. Christ had not yet come at that time.

Daniel prayed for an interpretation of his dream, and God told him: "These great beasts are four kings that will arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High will take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever and ever." (Daniel 7:17)
 
The "saints" who take over the kingdom are followers of Christ (or the Messiah), who conquers all of these kingdoms, including the most horrible last one. The Jews just naturally assumed from this that the Christ must be a powerful warrior. So when Jesus came, born in a manger, living almost as a beggar, and teaching humility and love, even his closest followers found it hard to think of him as the Christ. How could his meek approach conquer the Roman Empire (or any empire for that matter)? As expected, rather than conquering anything, he himself was finally captured and killed: The Lamb was slain.
 
But history has shown that this one man, who never wrote a book, never owned a home, never led an army, never held any political office… this Lamb of a man has changed and influenced more lives than anyone else who has ever lived. The whole world measures time from his birth. And he promises to come yet again in the near future to establish a visible kingdom here on earth.

Until he comes, all we have are "beasts". Daniel saw a lion with the wings of an eagle, a bear, and a panther. Do these animals represent any countries in the world today? Is there a country that is symbolised by a lion? Does it have any connection with a country symbolised by an eagle? Is there a country symbolised by a bear? And what about the panther (or leopard)? It had four different heads. Could the panther represent several different countries?

The world in the last half of the Twentieth Century was divided between two super-powers - America and Russia – with a rising influence from The Third World on one hand and China on the other. The eagle is the symbol for America (and the lion is the symbol for England, from which the eagle has grown); the bear is the symbol for Russia; and the panther is the symbol for Black Power, or the militant Third World. More on China (the Dragon) later in this book.
 
Here we have the symbols for the three major political forces of the Twentieth Century, plus one final "Beast" which eventually puts the other three to shame with its power and brutality.

ch5b  Of course this could just be coincidence. Mention of eagles, bears and panthers doesn't prove anything in itself. But please be patient until you have seen more of the evidence to suggest that the prophecies are talking about the times in which we now live.

To start us in that direction, we will look at a prophecy which is not open to so many interpretations. In the next chapter, we will look at a prophecy which is probably the most astounding and most verifiable prophecy in the entire Bible. Hundreds of years before the birth of the One whom Christians call The Messiah, the Hebrew prophet Daniel had predicted the year in which the Messiah would die. Read on and see for yourself.

*For more information related to this chapter, please check out the following video: Survivors Ch. #17 - Dangchao (The Antichrist Revealed)

Appendix, Chapter 5

Revelation 10:9-10
. "I went to the angel and said to him, "Give me the little book." And he said to me, "Take it and eat it up; and it will make your belly bitter, but it will be in your mouth sweet as honey." And I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. Mark 3:11-12. Unclean spirits... fell down before him and cried, saying, "You are the Son of God!" And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known".

Mark 8:29-30. "... Peter ... said to him, "You are the Christ." And he charged them that they should tell no man of him."

Mark 1:44. He said unto him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded..."

Mark 5:42-43. Straightway the damsel arose and walked… and they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no one should know it."

Mark 7:35-36. "Straightway his ears were opened and the string of his tongue was loosed and he spoke plainly. And [Jesus] charged them that they should tell no one."

John 6:26. Jesus answered, "You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled."

Daniel 7:2-7. Daniel said, "I saw in my vision by night… and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion and had eagle's wings… Behold another beast, a second, like a bear… After this I beheld and lo, another like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth Beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly. It had great iron teeth. It devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it. It was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns."

Daniel 7:9-11. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of days did sit… A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him… I beheld even till the Beast was slain and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame."

Daniel 7:13-14. "Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven and came to the Ancient of days ... And there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

Daniel 7:16-18. "I came near to one of them that stood by and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever."