Revelation 20—22

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Monday, December 29, Revelation Chapter 20

Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven, who had the key to the Abyss and a great chain in his handCJB  Get the picture.  Satan is boiling in the lake of sulfurous fire and he sees an angel coming with a massive log chain.  Remember that Satan was a cherubim/archangel, one of only six (by tradition).  He ruled over thousands of lesser angels, the seraphim and the lowly teraphim.  In my mind, I see the angel as being a teraphim who now has the power to chain the once mighty cherub.  That power comes from the Messiah.  If you argue that the angel is really Jesus, I have no problem, the result is the same.

Not only is Satan chained, he is locked in the abyss in total darkness for a thousand years while Abaddon continues to swim in the lake, but with power over death.  Yes, we do not yet have an end to death, though Isaiah 65:20 reads:  No more will babies die in infancy, no more will an old man die short of his days —he who dies at a hundred will be thought young, and at less than a hundred thought cursed. CJB

What does John mean when he talks about the thousand years?  We generally call it the millennium, but the number of ideas about what it is may reach a thousand.  We should know that there are three basic positions: 1) premillennial, 2) amillennial, 3) postmillennial.

The first group believes that the thousand year period, the millennium, comes after Jesus returns to earth and judgment is dispensed, but also that Jesus returns again and punishment is once again carried out.

The second position hold that the millennium is only a figure of speech to represent the completeness of God’s action at the time of the Messiah’s return to earth.  Augustine was the first to speak of this argument by pointing out that ten is a perfect number and a thousand is ten cubed.  One hundred (ten squared) represents completeness, so one thousand is all inclusive.

Position three holds that the return of the Messiah to earth will only occur after the millennium.  The argument is that John, as I have pointed out, is describing events all over the time line.  There is no reason to suppose in this chapter that the events described must occur after chapter 19.

My personal opinion is that it is in God’s hands and I cannot see any reason why any one of the three cannot be correct.  What is important is the ultimate victory of God over Satan.

But whichever stance we take, chapter 20 presents some difficulties, though fewer for premillennialism.

Verses 5 and 6 need to be considered in light of our usual image of the end times.  Most of us have the notion that when we die we will be taken directly into heaven to join Jesus in a perfect world.  If you have read this far in Revelation, you should have dropped that notion by now.  If we had been reading this book as a novel, we would have expected that chapter 19 was the end.  Now we have two resurrections to consider as well as more than one return of Jesus.

The battle has been won but the war is not over.  If God is all powerful, why did he not completely destroy Satan and Abaddon and return humans to the perfection of Eden?

The answer lies partially in Eden.  There were two trees in the Garden humans were to avoid, one was named the other was lurking in the background, perhaps guarded.  Humans have eaten of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Unlike God, we are unable to resist evil.  We have it in our limited minds that if Satan is destroyed, we would no longer be able to sin; that the only reason we sinned was because of Satan so if he is gone we will not sin.

Sorry, we possess the knowledge, we cannot return it.  For as long as we live in whatever form, we will know sin.  How then can God bring an end to sin even as we retain that knowledge?  God has a plan to do just that.  John was given a partial vision of that plan but he could not have understood it even if God had let him see the full version.

Who is lifted up in the first resurrection?  If we remember that it occurred on the Firstfruits, it makes sense that only a select few would have been taken from the grave.  We know of the martyrs, the groomsmen and the bride, but there were also witnesses, believers who were not worthy to be part of the bride.  Two questions:  were all these people already dead and buried and if some are taken into heaven rapture style (in a twinkling) does it matter that they never died.  Remember that the two prophets Elijah and Enoch had to die after their 42 months of fighting evil.  Do we have to die before we can experience the fullness of the new life?

So who is going to be living on earth for a thousand years?  Jesus, his bride, his groomsmen, his witnesses and all the people still living on earth who were not marked as belonging to Satan.  There is little information about this period so we will have to trust God in it.

When the thousand years are over, the Adversary will be set free from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for the battle. Their number is countless as the sand on the seashore; and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and everCJB

This short war with the ancient enemies, Gog and Magog, is described in more detail in Ezekiel 38-39.  Ezekiel goes on in 40-48 describing much the same images as Revelation 21-22.

At the end of the millennium Satan is turned loose only to finally be thrown into the lake of fire.

At the end of the millennium every human will receive the final judgment as the Book of Life is opened and God reads the punishment each of us must endure.  Those who remain loyal to Jesus will receive a pass based on his own sacrifice.  Those who have rejected God and His Son will join Satan and his masses in the lake.

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Tuesday, December 30, Revelation Chapter 21

Have you noticed that the first two books of the Bible describe the perfect world with its perfect humans and now the last two books describe the new perfect world.  Not just a new world but new heavens as well; a whole new universe.

We will be able to see the torment of those who chose wrongly but we will be unable to help them.  It should keep us from ever choosing to oppose God again.

The new Holy City includes the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles.  It includes access to God and His Son.

It does not fit our common image of living in Heaven.  We will be living on New Earth and Jerusalem will be beyond belief; 1,500 miles in all directions, a perfect cube made entirely of precious metals and stones.

The sea will be no more may refer to the sea as it is often associated with man’s sin.  What would paradise be without a few beaches?

The listing of twelve precious stones recalls the breast-plate of the high priest, each stone representing one of the twelve tribes.

While the New Jerusalem will follow closely what we know of the old city, every nation will be represented on the new earth, but unlike the old Temple, there will be no barrier to prevent any of us from approaching God.

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Wednesday, December 31, Revelation Chapter 22

We will want for nothing.  We will drink pure cool water and eat perfect food from the tree of life.  We will be able to walk or run as far as we want without tiring.  Pain will no longer exist, nor will a long list of parasites like mosquitoes.

The end of verse 11 is for us here and now:  let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holyNIV  Jesus called John out of Patmos to experience something of the future for humanity.  From this and the rest of Scripture we should be able to make the right choice.  We do not want to be like the rich man who ignored Lazarus at his gate (Luke 16:19-31).
“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride.
Whoever hears, echo, “Come!”
Is anyone thirsty? Come!
All who will, come and drink,
Drink freely of the Water of Life!
 MSG

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

You Will Be A Crown  

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Isaiah 61:10-62:3 
Galatians 3:23-25;4:4-7 
John 1:1-18 
Psalm 147:12-20

 

The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus ChristNIV  These two statements by John are not contrasting but rather mutually reinforcing.  Moses was a shadow of the Messiah who listened to God and brought the Word of God to the Chosen People.  Jesus is the Messiah and the Word of God, who by both being and living the Word has shown all people the grace and truth of the law.

Paul seems to throw out the Law.  Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. NIV  But Paul did not throw away the Law.  What he said, when we look at all his writings, was that love frees us from the rigidness of the Law.  Love is the intent of the Law, so if we love we will not break the Law.

For non-Jews the Law of Love is all that is needed.  A Greek can still be a Greek.  A Roman can still be a Roman.  We do not give up being who we are, we simply focus who we are on God.

Paul goes on in chapter four of his letter to explain that we become children of God.  That does change us.  We are no longer only Hebrew, Greek or Roman.  We now have dual citizenship.  I am both Roman and Heavenly.

That means that I am bound by the Word of God, but I follow the rules of my earthly kingdom only when they do not conflict with that Word.  All too often that puts me at odds with the earthly kingdom.  When that happens I must be willing to accept the punishment the earthly rulers give me.  I am a citizen.

But that punishment, even death, pales when compared with the rewards of being a son of God.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Revelation 16—19

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Monday, December 22, Revelation Chapter 16

This chapter describes the seven plagues visited on the followers of Satan.  The saved followers of Jesus are celebrating but it may be their blood that is being poured from the bowls.  In any case, it represents righteous sacrifice for God.

You might notice the similarity between these seven plagues and the ten plagues visited on Egypt.  It is no accident that the angel’s song in verses 5-6 is similar to the song in Exodus 15:1-3.

Verse 8 shows us the sun in keeping with the fourth lamp of each menorah being about the Messiah.  The power of the Son of God burns away everything that is not good.

Each of these bowls should be thought of as a drinking bowl, more like a cup.  The followers of Satan are meant to drink the blood of true sacrifice which turns to corruption in their mouths.  While they drink the blood of corruption, we drink the blood of salvation and purity.

The three worst types of sin are idolatry, murder and sexual immorality.  In the Torah the punishment for all three is death.  That law is about to be enforced.

John Klein and Adam Spears in Lost in Translation, vol. 3 (pages 164-165), compare the seven bowls to the seven symptoms of syphilis, often associated with sexual immorality.  It is interesting.  Compare this list to each bowl: 1) ugly and painful sores; 2) disease retreats into the bloodstream; 3) random internal capillary bleeding occurs; 4) fever and intense flu-like symptoms; 5) blindness and blistering sores; 6) dehydration, insanity and hallucination; 7) death.

Biblically, the Hebrew word for earth is Adamah from which Adam comes.  The first bowl is poured on the earth and the followers of Satan suffered.  The second bowl is poured on the sea, killing its life-giving potential.  The Hebrew word for blood is dam, from Adam also.  The third bowl is cuts off the source of life, the rivers.  The fourth bowl affects the central sun, the source of life on adamah.  God has provided the sun for our benefit; now he turns it against the followers of evil.  The fifth bowl removes the power to control adamah from humans.  That is the power he gave to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2.  God must take back that power to return adamah to its rightful form.  The sixth bowl is poured on the River Euphrates.  The Hebrew word for the river is Perath, meaning fruitfulness.  God removes all the sources for growing or producing food.  The Hebrew word for frogs is tsephardea, a word used to suggest temptation.  Satan is still at work as he calls his earthly armies to battle God at Armageddon.

Before the seventh bowl, God sends one final message to earth in verse 15.  The reference to keeping your clothes probably refers to the punishment to any guard caught asleep while guarding the Temple at night.  He spent the rest of the night on duty naked.

When the seventh bowl is poured into the air, familiar words are spoken: It is finished! TLB  It may not be fair to try to say whether the voice was God’s or the Messiah’s; they are one in the same.

The earth is flattened and bombarded but Satan lives.

Tuesday, December 23, Revelation Chapter 17

We are now back at the center menorah, Thunders.  We see clearly that God is separating the wheat from the weeds, the sheep from the goats, the believers from the unbelievers, the righteous from the unrighteous.  The message to Laodicea, be hot or cold, make a choice.  To be lukewarm is to choose death.

Chapters 17-20 describe the two groups: the believers and the unbelievers.  Chapters 17 and 18 describe those of whom Jesus will say Out of my presence, cursed as you are, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! Phillips

Chapters 19 and 20 will have Jesus saying, I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me;  Phillips and those who have done what God wants will go to eternal lifeCJB

First John is taken by an angel to a desert where he sees the harlot riding on a beast.  Who is she?  She is Astarte/Satan’s bride/the whore/the false high priest/the weeds.  The woman was dressed much like the priests in the Temple.  Verses 9-13 describe what she represents on earth.

One of the things we will see is a wedding in Hell.  We will see what Satan does with his bride.  Verse 16 describes the fate of the harlot.

Satan is still the dragon.

Abaddon is still around.

The False Messiah is Satan combined with the beast from the sea (a nephal).

The False Prophet is Abaddon combined with the beast from the land, also a nephal.

The beast is not Satan but a representation of the seven evil kingdoms; he is Baal.

In verse 18 we learn that the harlot is also a city which is to be destroyed.  More likely, she represents all cities in which sin is practiced.  Yet, Babylon in the Bible is always a representation of that which is evil.  Notice that the seven evil kingdoms has Babylon listed first, fourth and seventh.  They are the evil kingdoms and Satan places himself in the center position (fourth) on that menorah.  He tries to imitate the Messiah again.

Do not forget that Satan will appear in the world in the dress of the religious.  He will try to pass himself off as a man of God.  We must be on our guard.  Isaiah 14:6-23 describes the fate of Babylon/Satan.

Wednesday, December 24, Revelation Chapter 18

The new Babylon will fall to Isaiah’s prediction once again.  Remember that Revelation is a description of what has happened, what is happening and what will happen.  John is looking at all of history from beginning to end as though it is one giant photo.  He gets to step out of time and look at events as God sees them.

When Babylon falls for the last time an angel will announce the good news.  A second angel will encourage people to leave Babylon before they too are destroyed.  This is a good example of seeing events “out of order” as we think of them.  This is important because it shows that God never gives up on humans.  God wants everyone of us in Heaven with him.

The Hebrew tradition is that the Book of Life has every name of every human who has ever lived or will ever live written in its pages.  Those people who insist on having their names removed can do so, but God reserves the right to continue to offer opportunities to reenter the list.

Starting in verse 9 we see many followers of Satan weeping for the loose of Babylon, kings, merchants, sailors all see their fortunes lost.

The millstone in the ocean seals the fate of the city of sin; Babylon will never rise again.  Verse 24:  In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people, of all who have been slaughtered on the earthNIV

Thursday, December 25, Christmas

Friday, December 26, Revelation Chapter 19

This chapter opens with a beautiful picture of everyone in Heaven celebrating the elimination of Babylon.  At first we are told it is a multitude, then the Twenty-four Elders are listed along with the four living creatures/the archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael).  Next is a voice from the throne which must be Jesus the Messiah.  The response comes from, apparently, everyone who was rescued from earth, everyone who ever believed in God.

In verse 7 the wedding is shouted out.

In verse 9 an angel speaks to John who is so caught up that he bows to worship a mere angel.

Yet, before the wedding one more bit of business has to be attended to.  Satan and Abaddon live.  This time when the white horse appears, the rider is the Son of God.  The name written on him is unknown to any but God alone.  [We call Jesus my dozens of names but none of us know his real name.  We will.]  The name that John could read (not the unknown name) is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Verses 17-21 cover the entire battle of Armageddon.  An angel calls all the birds of the earth to a feast.  Satan and Abaddon are immediately thrown into the lake of fire and the Son of God speaks the Word of God to kill everyone left standing on earth.  None of God’s army even get dirt on the white linens.  Hollywood will never make this into a movie.

But this movie is not over.  Satan and Abaddon still live, if in a very warm place.  The thousand year period now begins.  More in the next chapter.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

The Son of David  

photo credit: char1iej via photopin cc
photo credit: char1iej via photopin cc

Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16: 25-27
Luke 1: 26-38

 

Dan and Brenda Cathcart have written an excellent three book series called the Shadows of the Messiah in the Torah.  One chapter compares David’s early life with Yeshua’s First Coming.  Here are some of their major points:

No surprise, they are both from Bethlehem.  The name Bethlehem means House of Bread.  Bethlehem is in the region of Ephratha meaning fruitful.  The name is connected to God providing the manna in the wilderness.

In 1 Samuel 16:1 God sent Samuel to anoint David as the new king, saying to Samuel I have chosen myself a king from among his sons. CJB  The Cathcarts added, God provided both the manna and the king, providing King David from the house of bread.  Later, He provided Yeshua who is the bread (manna) of life and the eternal King.

Both were anointed by the Holy Spirit.  1 Samuel 16:13 and Luke 3:21-22.  There were witnesses to both anointings.

Both David and Yeshua were shepherds watching over their father’s sheep.  David fought both bears and lions to save his flock.  Jesus did lose Judas Iscariot to the Lion of Lies, but it was David who promised that it would happen.  Psalm 41:9 Even my close friend, on whom I relied,
who shared my table, has turned against me
. CJB

Both David and Yeshua provoked the jealousy of those in authority; Saul against David and the religious leaders against Yeshua.

But not everyone in authority hated the two men.  Saul’s son Jonathan loved David and did his best to help him.  Jesus had Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea among others.

Neither man believed in harming the authorities.  Saul had two chances to kill Saul himself but would not even allow his men to do it.

In John 18:10-11 At this, Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and slashed at the High Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” Phillips  The name Malchus means king.  Yeshua would not even allow a servant of the priest be injured.

David and Yeshua both had to flee to the Gentiles.  David spent sixteen months fighting with the Philistines against the Canaanites.  The preaching of Yeshua’s Word moved among the Gentiles within the first generation of Followers.  Still, both had loyal followers among their own people.

In 2 Samuel 22:5-7 David spoke of his experience as being like death.  The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.  The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.  “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God.  From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. NIV  For Yeshua it was a physical death, yet both returned.

David mourned the deaths of both Saul and Jonathan as well as others who opposed him.  He provided for the descendants of Saul.  Yeshua mourned the coming destruction of Jerusalem and on the cross he asked God to forgive all those who put him there.

David was anointed king a second time after Saul died.  Jesus was anointed king over Judah by Pilate with the title King of the Jews placed on his cross.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Revelation 11—15

Seven Sevens

Monday, December 15, Revelation Chapter 11

John is told to get a stick and do some measuring.  This section is part of the wedding.  John is told only to measure the portion of the temple that is covered.  The covered portion represents the chuppah where only the Bride and Groom are to stand.

The measuring rod was a scepter, a sign of authority, and he was told to take measure of all those within the chuppah, not outside.  The people outside are believers who will be guests at the wedding.  They will be able to see the wedding because the vail was torn away when Jesus died (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:450.

In an ancient wedding the bride’s dowry was inspected to make sure it was the agreed sum and the Groom’s payment to the bride’s father was also inspected.  John was invited to take the role of the scribe and make sure the contract was fulfilled.  As we read on it becomes clear that John will be measuring for at least three and a half years (remember, this is a vision).

The two witnesses of verse 3 are not named but Enoch and Elijah seem most likely.  They are the only two people who never died on earth (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11-12, and Hebrews 11:5).  Several scriptures say that Elijah will come before the Messiah comes (Malachi 4:5).  Enoch (not the Enoch born to Cain, another deception of Satan) is described in the Book of Enoch as locking the teraphim in the abyss.

It makes sense that these two would be called on to return to earth to take up their duties, die and be resurrected on the third day.

Two numbers are given that are actually equal; 1260 days equals 42 months which equals 3.5 years.  Remember that Hebrews used a lunar calendar.

Following this time-line, the two witness/prophets will be killed in the exact middle of a 7 year period.  They will defend the earthly temple before they are killed.  After their deaths the followers of Satan will rejoice and praise him for sitting on God’s throne.  That will be allowed to happen for the remainder of the 7 years.  Daniel 9 describes this period.

We are getting a little ahead of the story, but consider how many people, places and events of the past keep recurring.  All those prophets of old who spoke of the disasters to come for the people of Israel all while they were speaking of additional disasters to come in the End Times.

Or consider that God created 7 feast days (a perfect number) and that Jesus died on Passover, was buried on Unleavened Bread, arose on Firstfruits and sent his Holy Spirit to the believers on Shavuot, Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit arrived on the central feast of the menorah of feasts.

Daniel wrote in a years-for-weeks ratio, meaning that each week was 7 years long.  His seventieth week (7 years long) began on the New Year, Rosh Hashanah.  It is also known as the Feast of Trumpets.  God plans ahead.

If the two witnesses are following Daniel’s time-line, they will start their 1260 days on Rosh Hashanah, be killed on Passover, and rise on Firstfruits, just like Jesus whose ministry is thought to have lasted over three years.

The two witnesses will be left in the streets for 3.5 days.  In the days-to-years ratio, that equals the 3.5 years that Satan will rule, which means that Jesus will return to earth on….The Feast of Trumpets.

Verse 15 SEVENTH TRUMPET.

This is it, the one we are waiting for.  The Last Trumpet.   Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
 NIV    1 Corinthians 15:51-55

But wait, this trumpet is an announcement of the coming wedding.  It is blown on Rosh Hashanah.  We have more than three years to get through before the end is really here.

We are half way through Revelation and there is plenty more to come.  What we will look at next is the left hand side of the seven menorahs chart.  There is more to the story.

Tuesday, December 16, Revelation Chapter 12

This is a good place to take stock.  The Revelation contains a two part Main Plot: There are two brides, two weddings and two destinies.  Most of the Revelation concentrates on the Bride of the Messiah and their wedding.  The other bride is the bride of Satan.  Remember that Satan always tries to imitate the Messiah and God.  That is what he was doing in the Garden when he convinced Eve, then Adam to eat the forbidden fruit; he was pretending to know more than God.

There is also a major subplot that is best described as the disasters.  The left side of the seven menorahs contains most of the disasters.  Most of us like to read a book that follows a straight line; Revelation does not.  John saw things that have happened, that are happening, that will happen.  Some of the things described in the next few chapters actually happen at the same time as some of the events already described.  Just one of the reasons Revelation is a difficult study.

In chapter 12 the woman and the dragon is an example of mixing time periods, like flash backs and flash forwards.  When we Gentile Christians first read verses 1-6 we see Mary avoiding the attacks of Herod, and that is correct but it is not complete.  The woman is also Israel giving birth to the Messiah with a gestation period of thousands of years.  Satan (the dragon) knows the Messiah is coming and he does all he can to prevent his arrival.

Notice in verse 1 that the woman is clothed with the sun, meaning she has the protection of the sun (God).  The Moon is under her feet, meaning that she belongs to all people.  The twelve stars represent the twelve tribes.

Verse 2 has the woman ready to give birth.  She is Mary but also Israel giving birth to the New Israel.  The New Israel includes the non-Jewish followers of Christ.

In verse 3 Satan is the Red Dragon.  His seven heads is a cheap imitation of God, the head representing authority, so seven different kingdoms.  The seven crowns are another imitation.  Daniel 7:15-28 has background on the ten horns that represent ten nations.  These nations will rule on earth before the Second Coming.

“I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.  I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:  ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth.  But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

“Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

“He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

“‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ NIV

Verses 4-6 of Revelation describe the fall of ⅓ of the angels before moving to the birth of Jesus.  Remember that he speaks of both Mary/Jesus and Israel/Messiah.  The statement about the child being taken to God occurs after Jesus’ resurrection.  Verse 6 returns to the 3 ½ year two witnesses period when all of Israel will be protected.  The next 3 ½ years belong to Satan.

In verses 7-9 we see Satan losing a fight with Michael and being thrown out of heaven as we have mentioned before.  That occurred with the resurrection of Jesus.

The rest of the chapter is straight forward.  Satan cannot get Messiah/Jesus, so he goes after Israel/Mary.  Failing there he turns, in verse 17, to attack the church/Israel, those who follow Jesus who is his real target.

Do not miss this important point.  Far from being “raptured” away before the trouble begins, Jesus tells us through John that we, the people who follow him, will be attacked by Satan.

Isaiah 56:6-8.  “And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai
to serve him, to love the name of Adonai,
and to be his workers,
all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it,
and hold fast to my covenant,
 I will bring them to my holy mountain
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.”
Adonai Elohim says,
he who gathers Isra’el’s exiles:
“There are yet others I will gather,
besides those gathered already.”
 CJB

When I read a novel and I reach chapter 12 of 22, I know there is much more of the story to come.  Here we find ourselves just 3 ½ years away from the end of Satan.  What could possibly happen that will require that many more chapters?  Read on.

christ4ever.hubpages.com

Wednesday, December 17, Revelation Chapter 13

Now begins 42 months of rule by Satan.  First to come is the beast from the sea, the False Messiah.  That he comes from the sea indicates human origins.  This is crucial for Satan’s plan because the beast, being from humans, will provide the human body Satan has longed for since he saw Adam in the Garden.

The beast is as ugly as the Messiah is beautiful.  However much he tries to mimic the true Messiah it always fails.  The description of the beast matches Daniel 7:4-7.  The first was like a lion, but it had eagle’s wings. As I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted off the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a human heart was given to it. Then there was another animal, a second one, like a bear. It raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up, and gorge yourself with flesh!’ After this, I looked; and there was another one, like a leopard with four bird’s wings on its sides. The animal also had four heads, and it was given power to rule. After this, I looked in the night visions; and there before me was a fourth animal, dreadful, horrible, extremely strong, and with great iron teeth. It devoured, crushed and stamped its feet on what was left. It was different from all the animals that had gone before it, and it had ten hornsCJB

Once the beast appears fully human it will become what we call the anti-Christ, the exact opposite of the Messiah.

In both Daniel and Revelation, the seven heads are symbolic of seven governments and the ten horns symbolize strength.  A few verses on in Daniel (7:24-17) we read about that strength.   As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and yet another will arise after them. Now he will be different from the earlier ones, and he will put down three kings.  He will speak words against the Most High and try to exhaust the holy ones of the Most High. He will attempt to alter the seasons and the law; and [the holy ones] will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time [3⅓ years].  But when the court goes into session, he will be stripped of his rulership, which will be consumed and completely destroyed.   Then the kingdom, the rulership and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. Their kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey themCJB

Back to Revelation, verse 3.  One of the heads of the beast appeared to have received a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed after the beast in amazementCJB  This is based on Genesis 3:15.  From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers. You will strike his heel, but he will crush your headTLB  The prophesy was fulfilled when Jesus defeated death, causing a crushing blow to Satan.

But we need to look more closely the other part of the prophesy.  Satan attacked the heel of Jesus, which we generally assume refers to the nails in his feet or the murder on the cross.  But it has a more powerful meaning.  The heel for Hebrews is where the sandal belongs.  The sandal is the symbol of the third level of covenant relationship, that of inheritance.  Only a child can inherit from the parent.  Only a child of the Messiah can inherit his Kingdom.  Satan tried to prevent that from happening but was himself struck a deadly blow.

The horns represent authority but the number ten represents righteous government.

Let us take a look at Daniel 2:28-45.  But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:

“As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.  As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.

“Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.  The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,  its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.  While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.  Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.

“After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” NIV

This is the description of the statue pictured above, called the Nebuchadnezzar statue because he saw it in a dream.  He asked Daniel to tell him what the dream meant.  It took some courage even for Daniel to tell the king his hard won kingdom would soon be replaced.

Read chapter 13 with this image in mind because Daniel and John described the same kingdoms as well as the same beasts.  The seven heads are the seven kingdoms and they line up with the seven letters to the seven churches.  At the time John wrote the first five kingdoms had come and gone.  Kingdom six was strong in his day.  Kingdom seven will reform at some time as Rome/Babylon.  There are a thousand theories about that kingdom, but it is a waste of time to try to identify it until we see the clear signs that come with it.  People under Nazi rule saw many signs, but Hitler was not the anti-Christ.

In the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:15-24 (condensed):  So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the electCJB

Jesus was speaking of the beast, the False Messiah.

Verses 8 and 10 have two important statements.  Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded…  This is when God’s holy people must persevere and trust! NIV  NOTICE, even this late in the time frame God’s people are still on earth and still expected to defend themselves against the lies of Satan be staying true to the Truth of God.

Verse 11, Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earthCJB  This is the seventh beast found in Daniel.  The earth symbolizes humans, but also the grave.  Like the first beast, this one comes from humans but perhaps also from death.

It had two horns like those of a lamb, but it spoke like a dragonCJB  Compare this to 2 Peter 2:1-2.  But among the people there were also false prophets, just as there will be false teachers among you. Under false pretenses they will introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and thus bring on themselves swift destruction.   Many will follow their debaucheries; and because of them, the true Way will be malignedCJB  A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

This beast if not the False Messiah, it is the False Prophet.  God promised that Elijah would return to announce the coming of the Messiah.  This False Prophet tries to convince people that it is Elijah.  It will twist the Word of God just the way Satan did in the Garden.

Verse 13 reminds us of Elijah calling down fire in 1 Kings 18:16-40.  Now Satan is finally able to appear to duplicate the power of God, but like the magicians of Pharaoh, Satan has to fake it.

There is a surprising similarity between this chapter’s description of the beasts and the book by Mary Shelly, Frankenstein.  Victor tries to find and destroy the creature that has killed family and friends in retaliation for Victor’s rejection of his “creation”.  Near the end, the monster leaves a note, “My reign is not yet over, you live.”  It becomes a fight between the two and both parish in the artic.

I do not know if Shelly had Revelation in mind when she penned the well-known story published in 1818, but the idea of a beast seems to fit.

Verses 16-18 have caused a blizzard of words in attempted explanation.  It is not our social security numbers or our bank or credit card numbers.  It is the short-hand expression of our relationship with God.  Adam and Eve shared God’s perfection, thus the number 777 described them as being perfect in body, mind and soul.  With sin they became simply human, 666.  But Satan has always wanted to be human, that is what he has been after from the beginning.  He wants us to share that number with him.

God wants us to return to Him and share his perfection; He wants us to return to the 777 status.  By accepting Jesus and his great gift, we can receive our first of three sevens.  To receive the second we must actually follow Jesus and do what he did.  It is not enough to say, “I believe.”  The second 7 will come with work.

Yes, Paul stressed faith, but he wrote often of the need to do.  My soul will be saved by faith.  My mind will be saved by learning and doing the Word of God.  My body can only be saved by receiving a new body, in the twinkling of an eye.

Bottom line? The mark of the beast is to remain fully human.

Thursday, December 18, Revelation Chapter 14

This chapter contains seven Angelic Proclamations.  This is where we see Jesus fulfilling his promise in John 14:2-3.  There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I amPhillips

We see Jesus in the first verse:  Next in my vision I saw Mount Zion, and standing on it a Lamb who had with him a hundred and forty-four thousand people, all with his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheadsNJB  Jesus, the Lamb of God, standing on God’s mountain with his faithful groomsmen.

The announcements or proclamations are what most of us want to concentrate on and they are important, but so is the upcoming wedding so we will look first at that.

In the traditional wedding the groom and his groomsmen set out the night before the wedding to the house of the bride.  They carry shofars, lyres, drums and general noisemakers.  They wander up and down most if not all streets of the village, singing loudly.  No one can doubt that the wedding will be tomorrow.  At the bride’s house the groom picks her up and carries her to a large room or courtyard where most of the wedding party gathers for a party before the wedding.

At the beginning of this chapter we see everything up to the arrival at the bride’s house.  That will come after the proclamations.

The groomsmen, the 144,000, are called the firstfruits (verse 4).  Remember that Jesus died on Passover, the first feast of the year; he was buried on the second feast, Feast of the Unleavened Bread; and he rose from the grave on Firstfruits, the third feast.  The first harvest of the spring was of barley and the very best of the first cut crop was harvested, presented at the Temple, thrashed, ground, made into bread and presented to God as a thank offering.  A greater harvest of wheat was made during Shavuot, Pentecost, and included the same kind of thank offering.

These feasts are important to an understanding of when Christians will be taken from earth to join Jesus in Heaven.  Clearly the 144,000 are a small, select group that few of us have much hope of being selected for.  In this account in Revelation they have already been chosen by Jesus back in chapter 7.  But no other faithful believer has yet been taken up or even raised from the grave.  When does that happen?

After the first harvest of barley, the next harvest comes on Pentecost.  Jesus will arrive to sweep his bride off her feet and take her to heaven.  But as we read this chapter we see that it does not occur until after Satan has been defeated.  We who have not died must endure through 42 months of Satan’s rule.  The line between sheep and goats should be clear by then.

With verse 6 we move into the Angelic Proclamations that make up the second menorah from the left.  Note that these events occur at the same time as some of the events on the right.

The first angel gives a clear warning to everyone on earth that the time of judgment is near.  Repent now while you have a chance.

The second angel describes the fall of the great harlot/Babylon/the False Messiah.  The fall is yet to come, it is announced here as being very near.

The third angel warns against taking up with the Satan.  Anyone bearing his mark will have to drink from his cup.  Followers of the Messiah are asked to drink from his cup.  Verses 12-13 harken back to the church at Philadelphia, especially verse 3:9.

The fourth angel does not appear at first.  Then the scene changed, and I saw a white cloud and someone sitting on it who looked like Jesus, who was called “The Son of Man,” with a crown of solid gold upon his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.  Then an angel [number 5] came from the temple and called out to him, “Begin to use the sickle, for the time has come for you to reap; the harvest is ripe on the earth.” TLB  Daniel said it first.  In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presenceNIV  The center angel of this menorah is all about the Messiah/the Son of Man.

This is it.

We who are faithful are to be taken to God.  This is the second harvest, the firstfruits at Shavuot/Pentecost.  This is the harvest of the Bride of the Messiah.  In this harvest only those marked 776 will be taken.  They may not be as pure as the 144,000 who assist Jesus in the Harvest, but Jesus will make them pure by paying the price.  The Bride will be the center of the Holy Wedding.

In the traditional wedding remember that the bride is collected the night before the wedding, so this harvest also comes before the wedding.  Several events need yet to occur.

In this chapter we learn that Jesus makes more than one Second Coming.  He first harvested the 144,000, then returns to harvest his Bride.  We will soon learn of the third return, the one involving a sword instead of a sickle.

Those marked 766 will have to remain on earth for a time.  There will be a third harvest, the wet harvest of the fall crops at the Feast of Trumpets.  That last harvest is described in verses 17-20.  Angels 6 and 7 announce the harvest, but notice that the crop is thrown into a winepress and left on earth to bleed.  Verse 20:  They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadiaNIV  [A Roman stadia was 608 modern feet.]

Yes, every translation reads blood.  This harvest is of those who are saved but who did little to follow Jesus in their lives.  They must follow Jesus now into martyrdom before they can take their positions in the courts of the Temple to be guests at the wedding.  They will not be a part of the Bride.

Friday, December 19, Revelation Chapter 15

Then I saw another sign in Heaven, vast and awe-inspiring: seven angels are holding the seven last plagues, and with these the wrath of God is brought to an endPhillips  We have reached the last of the seven menorahs, the one with the seven bowls of plagues.  In the next verse John looks ahead to see the victors celebrating.  Among them are those who were just thrown into the winepress.  It has not been easy but they are at least ready for Heaven.

John then sees the seven angels receive the bowls of plagues.  The Temple is shrouded in smoke so that no one can look in until the plagues have been delivered.

Everything is ready for the end of sin.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence