Revelation: Looking at Cause and Effect
We often choose to read the Bible when we are in need of peace and solace; However, it is in the Bible that we read of severe conflicts that speak of a desperate war between good and bad.
In the Gospels we see Jesus, who usually speaks of peace and love, speak words of heated anger and wrath, we see that the look on His face is such that the priests and scribes run in terror from His presence. After that incident they decided that they would never run from Him again. Well, Jesus came the second time to cleanse the temple, and in spite of their determination not to run, they ran in absolute terror. They could not even face Jesus at this time. What is happening? What is the reason why Jesus has to act this way? Also, What is it that the priests and scribes are running from?
We know God operates on love. We also know that love can result in rather harsh treatment. Often a parent, who truly loves his child, has to face this reality. The parent will give a stronger punishment if he or she feels that the punishment will help change the actions and outlook of the child.
Others, not directly involved with the child might let some types of bad behavior slide, but the loving parent who sincerely wants the child to improve will press on harder.
Christ's actions suggests a similar situation. Jesus is facing a crisis. People all around Him would eventually be led by the leaders He is facing to face eternal death unless He can reach their hearts. God is apparently willing to whip or even kill in order to save them.
We also find ourselves in this same life and death struggle while not fully realizing it. God would have us depend on Him for much more than solace, because there is an intergalactic war in the Universe. A war between Christ and Satan.
Listen to what Isaiah says about Satan: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." Isaiah 14:12-15
No other place in the Bible speaks as clearly of this war than Revelation. There are, of course, indications throughout the Bible of the struggle, Job being perhaps the most notable; However, the main emphasis of Revelation centers on the dramatic closing events of this war.
In Revelation 4-22, we see how Jesus will end the misery that Satan has brought in starting this war. In spite of the fact that Revelation speaks of war and bloodshed, of evil and God's wrath, we can have comfort in knowing that Jesus will be eradicating sin from the face of the universe. All evil and misery will be done away.
As evil and sin increase we will feel an ever increasing need to know the assurance that God still is in control, that He will end all the confusion and that if we choose to believe in Him, that we will end up in a place that will be free of the death and destruction that is so common in today's world.
In that place, the place where Jesus lives, will be a place of love and peace. The promise that Jesus has given us is at the very center of our hope of the future and we must read and study His promises again and again.
Please note that when John wrote Revelation, he did not tell what the order of the events would be. Instead, what John did was to describe them how it was told to him by Jesus. We must remember that in the beginning of the book, the revelation is identified as the Revelation of Jesus Christ. What Jesus did was to show what would take place in the last days by allowing John to view a series of events that will take place in their order. Then Jesus allowed John to see another series of events which was different from the first.
So, John described several series of events. First he described the first series, then he would start over and describe another series of events. One might call them parallel accounts, but I have called them anything from pictures, subjects or themes.
Because Revelation is organized by themes, the book is topically driven rather than being event driven. Instead of having a list of events, John the Revelator discusses different topics of note. So, Revelation is composed of a series of verbal pictures or subjects or themes. John discusses every thing within a single topic before approaching another topic. Because of this the timing of the events between two different typics cannot easily be placed, indeed one is not often sure how these series of events or pictures relate to one another; they definitely seem to be far more theme orientated than time orientated.
The Five subjects which I have coined as pictures are as follows:
- Rev. 4-6 Opening of Judgement, ending with the Second Coming of Christ
- Rev. 7-11 Close of probation, ending with the Second Coming of Christ
- Rev. 12-13 Activities of the Dragon (Satan)
- Rev. 14-16 The Loud Cry followed by the Wrath of God upon the Wicked
- Rev. 17-22 Punishment of the great whore; Rejoicing in Heaven; The complete destruction of evil; and the New Jerusalem and the New World.
A Meeting in Heaven,
Opening of the first six seals,
The Second Coming of Christ
Heaven Praises God and the Son
Revelation 4:1-11 :5:1-14
Something special happens in Revelation 4 and 5. After all if the process was not important, why would Jesus Himself go through the effort to give us this book!
We are seeing the beginnings of the process that will start the events as described in Revelation, we are seeing the process that will end pain and bloodshed and allow peace to reign everywhere in the universe.
Notice that before either God or Jesus chooses to do something, that all of heaven praises Their worthiness to do what They are about to do.
Remember, there is a war of trust! It was Satan who accused both God and Jesus of being selfish in not letting the angels do anything they want to do. Read Paul's description of what Satan has done:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
In addition we can see that Satan has succeeded in deceiving one third of the angels of heaven:
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Revelation 12:3-4,9
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and Revelation 4:11; 12:3-4,9 indicate the following points
1) That Satan's plot will be discovered, "that man of sin be revealed"
2) Satan wanted to be God yet without the Godly character.
3) In the process of wanting to be God he has turned himself into a dragon having:
.a) deceived a third of the angels of heaven so that they would get the same reward of death as himself.
.b) deceived the whole world.
4) In the process His character has been revealed to the whole of the universe
5) God has created all things. It is evident that even God's pleasure is good
A third of all heaven did not trust God originally to stay with Him, instead they chose to follow Satan.
However, as described in Revelation 4 and 5, we see that the angels in heaven are fully decided. They are declaring both God and Jesus as the winners in the contest because of their character and power.
This action on the part of the angels was part of God's plan. God chose that not He but His creations decide who was to be worthy to sit on the throne. God chose to wait until all of heaven could exclaim with their voices that He was indeed worthy to sit on the throne. Read the following verse: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Revelation 4:11
Immediately after God is declared worthy, we see that He has a scroll. It seems to be very important because the cry is made: "who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals."
Since heaven has just finished praising God for being worthy, it stands to reason that God Himself wrote the words in the scroll. Only God could write something that could cause all of heaven to wonder who was worthy enough to open it.
As heaven is waiting for the answer to who is worthy to receive the scroll, the angel gently informs John that one has prevailed. The angel must be hinting at Christ's prevailing against Satan on earth in spite of everything that Satan could do to Him.
Jesus, standing with those at the throne of God reaches out and takes the scroll. The response is immediate. The creatures and the 24 elders fall before Christ (the Lamb) and declare Him worthy to take the scroll.
Only after Jesus is declared worthy is He able to open the seals of the scroll.
We can only wonder what is in the book. It is not clear what is in the book that has the attention of all heaven. Could it be the book that has the names of all the righteous? Maybe the message and purpose of the trumpets are in the book, or maybe it contains the mystery of God that is spoken of later in the book.
Opening the First 6 Seals
As the Lamb opens the seals, things begin to happen on earth. This connection between heaven and earth is strong. As the lamb opens the first seal we see the first man going forth conquering and to conquer. apparently the earth is immersed in war.
When the second seal is broken we see that peace is taken from the world.
The third seal results in famine. Starvation will be a major concern
The fourth seal results in massive death across the earth.
The breaking of the first four seals could very indicated the initiation of the time of trouble. This is the time when we know there will be sudden unrest on the earth.
Especially is the unsettled nature of this evident when the fifth seal is opened. We see that the righteous will be killed for their faith!
The question: "How long?" Indicates time. More time than the righteous want. The time of the breaking of the seals may cover the entire time of trouble.
In verse 11, the righteous are told to rest awhile while others are to be killed as well.
Apparently the Greek could be made to say: rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be threatened with death as they were killed, should be fulfilled."
It is quite possible that the fifth seal is indicating the close of probation.
The sixth seal results in many signs in the heavens: A great earthquake, the sun turns black, the moon turns red, and the stars fall.
At this the people of the world hide from the face of the one on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.
The end of Chapter 6 Ends with the second coming of Jesus.
Close of Probation,
Sounding of the 7 Trumpets
God's Two Witnesses,
God Inherits the World,
The Temple of God is Opened
Opening the First 6 Seals
We see four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth. Then another angel comes with a loud voice, saying hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Could the four angels holding the four winds of the earth be the four horsemen of the first four seals in chapter 6? In the Book of Zechariah we get a possible connection:
Zec 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. Zechariah 6:1-5
The similarities are striking, also the angel has named the four horsemen, the four spirits that which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. It's quite possible that the four angels of chapter 7 are also the four horsemen.
If so then it only stands to reason that chapter 7 describes the conditions when the four horsemen start their actions.
The four angels must hold back the winds of strife until God's people are sealed on their foreheads.
Since the four horsemen are to spread war and bloodshed, famine and unrest; it would seem that they would actively cause the misery. However, in Revelation 7:1 we see that the four angels are holding back the four winds of strife. When the death and destruction begin it is because these four spirits stop their work. Its not the time they start their dirty work.
God has all along helped to control this world's peace. It is only because of God's protective hands that we have received the blessings of peace, law, and order.
Once God's people are sealed that complete anarchy will prevail.
We see that the 144,000 come from the 12 tribes of Israel.
Right away this scenario does not seem right. Where are these tribes today? They don't exist. Only a few tribes exist today. Most disappeared when the northern kingdom of Israel was taken away to Assyria. Those tribes today don't exist.
What are the possible meanings? Some ignore this list of tribes and the numbers. Others declare that Christians have been drafted in to the various tribes, according to the character of each person drafted in.
Still others suggest that the 144,000 were selected long ago when the tribes actually existed, possible from the time of Christ. Could they possibly arise from the special resurrection?
The major problem for having the tribes sealed from the past is found in verse 3. Don't harm the servants of our God until they are sealed on their foreheads.
The 144,000 must be living on earth in the last days when the time of trouble comes on the world.
A Great Multitude
John's attention now seems to be directed to heaven and he sees a great multitude so large that he can't number them.
Who are these people? "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." "They serve Him day and night in His temple."
This language sounds much like the description of the 144,000 as described in Revelation 14:1-5. Also, remember,The earlier part of Revelation centered on the 144,000 as well. Would it make any sense to suddenly jump to another group other than the 144,000. John is talking about the righteous who were sealed on their foreheads. If the great multitude is not the 144,000 then who are they?
Some say that since the great multitude is so large that no one can count it, shows that the group can't be the 144,000 since a 144,000 is a number that can be counted. An additional reason is in the identification of the group. The 144,000 comes from the 12 tribes of Israel; However, the great multitude of composed of people from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.
What could this great multitude be? Some suggest that it is composed of all who are saved upon the earth, from all times. Even of those who are long dead. Others think that a second group other than the 144,000 will go through the time of trouble, however they are not part of the first fruits group that is identified as the 144,000.
There are some reasons not to go along with the notion that the great multitude is some other group than the 144,000.
1) Looking at John's prophecy so far, we see that John has introduced each new topic in a logical sequence. John first sees the opening scenes in heaven that allows Jesus to start opening the seals of the scroll. Then we see what happens when the seals are actually opened. Then in the seventh chapter we see that the seals can't be opened until the 144,000 are sealed.
John now starts describing the 144,000. Why would John now start speaking of another group without saying what the group is or how it relates to the sealing or to the seals?
Contextually John is still talking about the 144,000. The 144,000 could be the great multitude.
2) The arguments against the great multitude are not conclusive. When John says the groups is too large to number, he could just be using a figure of speech. Any group composed of humans can be numbered since the number of humans throughout history is a finite number. Even if we include the wicked.
John could we seeing 144,000 and find the group too large to number. In other words, he could not then easily determine the number of people in front of him.
3) The other argument says: look the 144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Israel, but the great multitude is from all peoples of the world. How could they be the same group?
We need to remember that there is a problem with having the 12 tribes making up the 144,000. Most of the tribes no longer exist now, much less at the time of trouble. Either the 144,000 was chosen from people from an earlier time when the tribes existed or some other explanation is needed.
Some think that since Christians have been drafted in to Israel, making up Spiritual Israel that it is only natural that the 144,000 would be comprised of people from all the peoples of the world.
Another explanation might be: Yes the tribes don't exist as tribes any longer but the descendents of the lost tribes could be found among all the peoples of the world. They might be found among all races.
It makes no sense to say that these people come from before the time of trouble. Since in verse 14 the angels says "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation." It seems safe to assume that the great multitude are the ones who went through the time of trouble.
We also remember that the 144,000 also are living in the time of trouble as the seals can't be opened until they are sealed of their foreheads.
It seems that the 144,000 and the great multitude is the same group. In heaven we see that they "serve Him day and night in His temple." Etc. This description sounds like the 144,000 as well.
It seems strange to have the 144,000 being sealed on their foreheads on earth before the seals can be opened yet to have them in heaven following the lamb where ever He goes. The second coming doesn't seem to have yet happened, yet we find the great multitude in heaven. How did they get there? Is it possible that they are there because they are the first fruits and thus will be brought to heaven earlier. If this is true then why doesn't John describe the 144,000 departure from earth separately from the others?
Either John is describing things in the order that they happen or he is describing things in the order that will give the greatest sense to the topic that he is discussing.
If John is describing things in order than the great multitude is in heaven (the 144,000 is in heaven). This logic has encouraged some to assume that these people came up in the special resurrection when Christ was brought up after He rose from the grave 2000 years ago.
There are problems. This would allow them to be composed of the 12 tribes however it does not explain why they must be sealed before the seals are opened. If they are in heaven they should already be sealed.
The other explanation is that John is describing things in the order that will give the greatest sense to the topic that he is discussing.
John has just introduced the 144,000, it makes sense that he would give us a larger picture of who this group was. Also, John shows the position that the 144,000 will have in heaven.
It is the opinion of the author of this harmony that John introduces subjects topically. The events are not always introduced in their correct order but instead he introduces things in a way that will give the greatest sense to the topics he discusses.
What is the main point of seeing the great multitude (144,000) in heaven. In this text we not only hear who this group is and what it continues to do, we are told what they say before the throne of God.
They cry out saying: "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" We now see a new group who praises both God and the Son.
The 144,000 is an important group in the world. They are those who will live through the time of trouble. Its important that we see that they also will praise God, even after experiencing the trials of the time of trouble.
It makes sense for John to add this small section to the prophecy since he has shown others to have the same attitude toward God. Remember God's purpose is to win the hearts of the universe. He especially wants to win those of this world.
Opening of the Seventh Seal
If the first six seals goes from the time that the 144,000 are sealed to the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ, when does this seventh seal get opened?
If everything is discussed according to a sequence of events, then we would expect the seventh seal to be opened at or after the second coming of Christ. But it is clear from the text describing the seven trumpets that are sounded once the seventh seals is opened.
The time of the different trumpets is marked as being given at a time when the people on earth will not want to follow God. It must be during the time of trouble that the seventh seal is opened.
So the trumpets are discussed out of sequence. This scenario fits in with the rest of Revelation that has been discussed so far. John discusses the different aspects of prophecy in a way that will add to the meaning of the prophetic events, not to the order of the events.
Why would John separate the first six seals from the last seal? They must be different in character. One possible difference is that the first six seals result directly in trouble on earth. The seventh seal seems to result in some action in heaven, a golden censer with fire in it is cast to the earth.
However the distinction between the two groups of seals lessens when the trumpets are blown. The trumpets seem to result in much trouble on the earth.
It must be realized that all actions in heaven are felt on the earth. The throwing of the censer with fire somehow enables the seven angels to blow their trumpets that cause misery on the earth.
Some wonder if the throwing down of the censer is not the close of probation. Others believe that the close of probation is between the fourth and fifth trumpets. Still others believe that the close of probation is after the seventh trumpet.
One of two things is happening in Revelation 8:5. Either the angel throws down both the censer and the fire or he throws down only the fire. The Greek is not fully clear on this distinction either. The only way to determine which is correct is to determine the logic of the text and to determine what makes the best sense taking in to account what was before and after that event.
If only the fire is thrown down then the event is only seen as a special time when the prayer of the saints are answered. Sins are dealt with.
On the other hand, if both the fire and the censer is thrown down it then represents a time when the sanctuary process is stopped in heaven. This action would mean the close of probation. A time when the sins are no longer dealt with.
You will see evidence that a change has occurred when the later trumpets are sounded. The people no longer come back to God when trouble occurs. Also we see the people of the Earth (except those who are sealed, the Righteous) only curse God for their problems.
In the description of these trumpets there is no evidence that the wicked have any conscience any more. They no longer hear that inner voice so they do not ask help from God.
Because the people act this way, the author of this harmony believes that the censor along with the fire was thrown down, indicating that God is no longer forgiving sins as He previously did.
These people, the wicked, are fully decided against God and as a result, God no longer strives with them. Their case is decided because the people themselves have fully decided against God to the point where they will not change their mind.
In this way the wicked people of the world become life their leader, Satan. Satan, long ago has become a decided enemy of God and Jesus. So it is with the wicked of the Earth. They will not change and so they cannot change. God responds by letting the people reap their own reward which is the natural outcome of their decision. Probation is closed for them!
Opening of the
First Six Trumpets
Revelation 8:6-13; 9:1-21
What are the trumpets? Are they really plaques like the 7 plaques of wrath described in Revelation 16 or is there a difference. Also we need to ask what the difference is between the seals and the trumpets.
A difference between the trumpets and the plaques might be seen upon close comparison.
The plaques are literally described as bowls of wrath of God and the bowls are to be poured on the earth. The different plaques are poured directly on the object that is to have the plaque. That has the connotation that God is directly producing the plaques.
The trumpets on the other hand do not have the same connection with what happens on earth. A trumpet sounds and things happen. The trumpet does not directly connect with the object. It is not described in the same way as the plaques are described, where wrath is poured directly on the object.
Its true that the sound of the trumpet is heard by something but what is it or who is it that responds to the trumpets?
Looking at the actual results of the trumpets indicates a series of natural disasters. A trumpet blows then hail mingles with fire are thrown to the earth; Or, a great mountain is thrown into the sea. A great star fell from heaven. A third of the sun, moon, and stars are struck.
The fifth and sixth angels give a different kind of result. The fifth results in opening the bottomless pit.
The sixth angel's trumpet produces an interesting result. Four angels held at the Euphrates are let loose so they can kill one third of the people on earth.
Are these the four spirits involved with the first four opening of the seals of the scroll? Its a possibility. If true than the trumpets are describing with even more clarity the circumstances of the seals.
However there are some differences between the four spirits (horsemen and the four angels held at the Euphrates. The two groups could be just that, two separate situations.
So what is the difference between the plaques and the trumpets. The plaques are the direct result of God's wrath. The trumpets could be the result of letting go of protecting the earth.
We know that God has kept Satan at bay, limiting his power. If God did not limit Satan, there would be no one alive today. Satan hates us with more passion than we can know.
It could be that God is finally letting loose of the reigns that have held and limited Satan all these years.
The first four trumpets could either be the result of Satan inflicting harm on the earth be cause God is now letting Him do so, or the they could be a natural result of God no longer protecting the earth.
It may be that this world is constantly protected by God. But now, as His Spirit leaves the earth, the world will start to feel the result of God not protecting the earth. So the earth could be pelted with comets, meteorites, etc.
How might the seals be different from the trumpets. The seals may be the releasing of the God's protection of the people of the world. As a result, total unrest gets established since God no-longer restrains people.
The trumpets then would represent the time when God no longer protects our world (the physical planet) from natural disasters and from Satan's anger.
When is the close of probation in relation to the trumpets?
1) If the censer is indeed thrown down to the ground, then the close of probation could be before the first trumpet.
2) On the other hand, many have determined that the trumpets are all before the close of probation. This position seems to ignore all what John has introduced thus far. The context of the seals and trumpets is that the righteous have been sealed on their foreheads. This would indicate the close of probation.
The conditions concerning the fifth and sixth trumpets enhance this position that the close of probation has already occurred.
In Revelation 9:4 we see that the locusts were commanded not to harm what? They could only harm those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
In the sixth seal we see even more evidence: Those who were not killed would not repent of their works; Instead, They chose to worship demons and idols. Also they decided to continue to murder, rob, steal and to commit sexual acts.
We can see that the people are fully decided in their sins. They will not change. On the other hand God's people are protected. It really looks like all the decisions have been made, that the close of probation is passed.
3) A third position is that the close of probation is between trumpet four and five. It is true that the first four trumpets are of a different nature than the last three trumpets.
It is also true that people can only be seen to have fully made their decisions from the fifth trumpet and on. The first four trumpets give no indication on how people respond.
Since the fifth and sixth trumpets have to happen after the close of probation, the only choices are to have the close of probation before the first trumpet or between the fourth and fifth trumpet.
The question revolves around the throwing of the censer and fire or only the fire. The other text that is in question is Revelation 8:13. The angel saying with a loud voice "Woe, Woe, Woe to those who live on the earth for the next three angels are about to sound!"
One of those two places is indicating the close of probation. The author of this harmony favors the close of probation before the first trumpet because of the way John introduces the different elements of prophecy. The sealing of God's people has already become a reality.
What are the trumpets? Are they really A point by point blow.
The Little Book Open
in His Right Hand
Who is this angel who stands with one foot on land and one on water? His appearance should give us our first indication. He is clothed with a cloud, a rainbow (of promise?) on his head, and his face was like the sun. His feet were like pillars of fire. Have we seen anything like this before? This description is a little like the description of Christ in Revelation 1:13-16 but the match is not very good.
The next indication is that the angel rases his hand and "swear by Him who lives for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer"
Who is it that has power to swear by the God of Heaven? Is it Jesus?
What is the little book the angel has in his hand. Could it be the scroll that only the Lamb of God was able to open? We don't know. If it is, than the Christ's part in this process becomes evident. Only Jesus could open the scroll, but now that it is open (He has paid the price) John in now able to take the book.
Could the seven thunders be indicating what is in the book? Who knows. They are sealed up till they are to sound in the future.
What does the sweet as honey in my mouth, bitter in my stomach mean? Somehow the truth found in the book will seem good to John but as the experience of that truth becomes a reality it will turn into a bitter experience.
Because of the new truth, John (or is it us who will live through this time?) will have to prophesy again.
The author of this harmony believes that there will come a time when God's people will understand the little book (could it be the book of Daniel or even both Daniel & Revelation?) to such as extent that they will have extreme pleasure, knowing that the end of all things is at hand and they are soon to live with Jesus!
However, once they understand the nearness of Christ's coming, the awful experience of the time just before Christ's coming, God's people will experience the times described by the little book. That time will be a bitter experience inspite of the fact that Christ's coming will be so very soon in the future!
Measuring the Temple of God
John is to measure the temple of God, and altar, and those who worship there. However he not to measure the court which is given to the gentiles. The word eqnesi really means nations instead of the more limited meaning gentiles. So the court is given to the nations for 42 months or 1260 days. Some see that Jerusalem will be controlled by the nations of the world for 42 months at the end of time. In addition, since the nations are apart from those who worship there it can only mean that the nations are not of God. It could even be the one world government that Satan sets up to try to rule the world.
The Two Witnesses
Who or what is the two witnesses. A prominent position that the two witnesses represent the old and new testaments of the Bible. A careful reading should discount that idea.
In the Bible, the two witnesses are real messengers with real bodies that lie dead in the streets fore three and a half days!
Looking at what these two witnesses do it becomes easy to guess who they might actually be. One has the power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy. The other is able to turn water into blood, and to strike the earth with all plaques as often as they desire. Look up the following verses 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:10; Exodus 7:19
These are the things that Moses and Elijah did. The Jews for a long time have known that Moses and Elijah will come back before the Messiah is to come. Read the prophecy of their appearing:
"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:4-6
Some wonder at having Moses and Elijah come back to die. Why would they do that? We'll have to wait on the whys later. One thing is sure, Jesus came to die on this world first. The idea of one coming to this world to die is not totally foreign to us.
Notice that the time period is the same period that the court of the temple, the holy city will be tread underfoot for 1260 days. Presumably both occur at the same time, the same 1260 days.
The Seventh Trumpet
Remember what the angel of Revelation 10:7 said? "When the seventh angel is to sound that the mystery of God would be finished.
When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet there is an announcement; "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" This announcement initiates the new reign of Christ. It is when all the mysteries of God will be made plain.
This announcement that Jesus now reigns forever and ever is the result of the court proceedings in heaven. Revelation chapter 4 and 5 show the beginning of the process. Now the Earth has been taken from Satan and given to Jesus Christ. In addition Jesus also becomes the ruler of the whole universe!
The seventh Trumpet that brings on the new reign of Jesus could not happen until the two witnesses could give their testimony. Satan could only be laid aside when the proper witnesses could testify to what Satan has done. The killing of the two witnesses ended that process.
The time of the seventh angel does not necessarily represent the time that Jesus comes in the clouds. Instead, it could be called the blessed day when God announces the day and hour of His coming.
The Activities of the
Both Revelation 12 and 13 center on the activities of Satan. They can be considered as parallel passages. In fact, Revelation 12 can also be broken up into two accounts as well. Both chapters cover the 1260 years of Satan's activity of persecuting and killing the righteous.
The Woman Clothed
With The Sun
Chapter 12 concerns itself with the woman and how the Dragon persecutes her as well as her offspring; However, John does not seem to cover the conflict in an orderly sequence. Instead, John seems to go over the scenario twice.
In the first six verses, John takes time to describe the woman, the red dragon, and also the circumstances concerning the birth of the male child. Then he mentions that the woman flees into the wilderness for 1260 days.
John then starts over and discusses how Satan comes down to earth and why he is angry at the woman. John then goes into quite some detail of the battles during the 42 months (also 1260 days, the same period of time).
This second time, John says that the woman was able to fly into the wilderness where she is protected from the serpent for 42 months.
It is easy to see that Satan doesn't wait until some group tells him he is worthy. He is definitely not worthy for anything except death. In chapter 12 we see that Satan runs on fear, anger, and hate. He only seeks death and destruction for others.
The Beast With Seven
Heads and Ten Horns
The beast rising out of the sea is described elsewhere in prophecy as is seen in the harmony. However, there are specifics found here that are not found anywhere else.
Chapter 13 can also be seen as a parallel to chapter 12. Both cover the activities of Satan during the 1260 days (42 months or three and a half years). In addition, both concentrate on the activities of Satan to kill the saints.
The difference between chapter 12 and 13 lies in the way Satan's activities are seen. In chapter 12, Satan's position and loss in heaven is the concentration. Because he was ousted, he returned to earth really angry and decided to really attack the woman and her offspring because he knows his time is short. The prospective is of the great controversy between him and heaven.
Chapter 13 on the other hand specifically centers on the manner in which he is able to persecute the righteous.
This beast rising out of the waters represents a great system of government that will rule over the people of the world. It could very well be the New World Order that today is slowly gaining strength.
This power very specifically is given power to blaspheme God's name and to overcome the saints.
With Two Horns Like a Lamb and Spoke Like a Dragon
The second power gives power to the first beast. We use to apply this power to the United States. However if the first beast is really the New World Order than the second beast may not be visible yet. It may be some power that is able to act as a police for the New World Order. On the other hand, we may yet find that the US will be this power. We will have to wait and see.
It should be easy to see in the description of the second beast that it actually forces all to worship the first beast. The first beast must not have the physical armaments to threaten directly but apparently it does have political clout and it is able to use the second beast as its big stick.
The Activities of the Righteous
The Loud Cry
The Wrath of God Upon
Remember that God never does anything until His subjects in heaven declare that He is righteous and deserves to do what He is about to do.
This very thing is seen in these chapters. We begin with the 144,000 always following the Lamb where ever He goes; then, we see the three angels crying out to the world that the time is now, That the coming of Jesus is imminent, even at the door.
In Chapter 15 we apparently see all who have overcome Satan through the ages. Just before the bowls of wrath are poured on the earth, they sing a song declaring: Great and marvelous are Your works. . . Who shall not fear You, . . For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.
It is only then that the seven angels come out of the temple with the seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God.
We again have the 144,000 on the forefront. However this time they are before the Lamb on Mount Zion. In Revelation 7 they were before the throne of God.
We have to face the same controversy again. Are the 144,000 in heaven? There possibly is a Mount Zion in heaven as well as the one on earth. After all, the word Zion can mean heaven, paradise, beyond or Eden in addition to being the mountain that Jerusalam is on.
It is clear in Revelation 7 that 144,000 were sealed just before the earth is hurt in the time of trouble. On the other hand we see that they are chosen from 12 tribes of Israel which don't seem to exist at this time.
So, whether we have them sealed long ago or whether they are sealed in the last days, there is a problem!
In verse 4 is reads "These were redeemed from among men, being first fruits to God and to the Lamb".
There is a possibility that they were redeemed before the others at the second coming. That would explain the term first fruits.
On the other hand, the organization of these chapters could be organized to show this relationship between God's created beings acknowledging God's right to do what He is about to do and His actually doing it.
The Three angels Messages