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.
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 horns. CJB
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 them. CJB
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 amazement. CJB 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 head. TLB 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 elect. CJB
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 earth. CJB 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 dragon. CJB 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 maligned. CJB 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 am. Phillips
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 foreheads. NJB 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 presence. NIV 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 stadia. NIV [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 end. Phillips 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.