Time is running out for you and your family http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Orion.htm
01 Start. .
12 Seven Horns
17 Seventh Seal.
23 War Rev 12:7
47 The Temple
Revelation Revealed is a chapter by chapter, verse by verse, line by line, commentary. To help you get the most out of Revelation it is vitally important to begin at 01 and work down to 50. You will not fully comprehend Revelation if you randomly select links out of order The bookmark links are there to help you get back easily to resume your studies, all you need do is write down the number you wish to begin at as you progress, and click the link which will take you directly to the next chapter. The commentary runs through from Revelation chapter 1 to Revelation 22 and will answer a number of questions which were perhaps unanswered up until now.
Copyright © 2004 by Tony Garland.
Anyone may reproduce and distribute unmodified copies of this commentary in any media provided that this copyright notice is retained in full. Copyrighted images which appear herein by special permission may not be extracted or reproduced for use in derivative works. In preparing this commentary the writer has received help from many sources, some acknowledged and many unacknowledged. He believes the material contained herein to be a true statement of Scripture truth, and his desire is to further, not to restrict, its use. This commentary may be obtained free of charge from www.SpiritAndTruth.org.
From before Genesis when God’s creation was ruined by the rebellion, and arrogance of Lucifer we were all very happy to be where we were. Unfortunately the result of 33% of the sons of God decided unequivocally to join Lucifer, and the results were disasterous. It would have been very easy for God to have ended the rebellion there and then; but the seeds had already been supplanted in the minds of the rebellious ones. The objections raised by these rebels, and particularly Lucifer were;
1. Living under God’s conditions were too restrictive.
2. It would be more beneficial to rule themselves, and make their own decisions.
3. That Lucifer; instead of God would rule over-all, and in his own way.
As you can see by todays standards it is totally unworkable, and disasterous situation we find ourselves in; blaming God for all the misfortunes that befall us.
Lucifer is just a man trying his hardest to replace, and to become God, but it was not always like this.
This tells us that Satan was in the Garden of Eden in this earth age. This also goes on to tell us that Lucifer was very blessed in the first earth age. At one time, God was very pleased with him and gave him great responsibilities. It is very important to note that God created Lucifer; he was not born of woman. Lucifer, who had his name changed to Satan by God, is a supernatural being. He has more powers than we do but even Satan has to ask God's permission to do something. (Read the first two chapters of Job). Also, in Luke Christ gave us power over Satan. The Garden of Eden is always where God Himself is.
God immediately put His plan into action:
This meant He had to destroy the whole of the first earth age, and everything living on it. First He had to move His Garden of Eden off the earth, and His light, to its heavenly realm where it is today, including all the loyal angels, as well as the “Tree of Life,” (Christ) and the “Tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Lucifer) who He would use to punish the rebellious people in the second age, then flooded the whole earth leaving it dark.
"the face of the waters" of Genesis 1:2. The whole earth was covered with those waters to end that time. The earth was created at Genesis 1:1, then it became 'tohuw Va bohu' (a waste and a ruin), and God brought the drowning waters upon it to end Satan's rebellion, but the earth was still always there from its original first formation.
God then set about restoring His creation, putting in place His plan for a way for those who love Him to return. We were all created by God so quite rightly He is our Father, and no other. By going about His plan this way He ensured that the right ones came back to Him, because they searched and wanted to, and not the rebels.
When any of his children die the souls return to Him and it is these souls that are born into the flesh age, this one we are now in with God’s covering, (Flesh)
To get back to Him we have to discard our corruptible flesh bodies, and put on our incorruptible spiritual bodies. This is why the whole of the Bible (KJV) from Genesis to Revelation is about the only person who can lead us back to God, and that person is Jesus Christ our Saviour. He took away the sins of the world, was crucified, dead and buried, and arose on the third day, where He sits at the right hand of God our Father until the Lord’s Day, His victory over death is a sign to the overcomer. Meanwhile Lucifer the dragon is hurled down to earth and will rule until Our Saviour Jesus Christ returns at the second advent to crush Satan’s head, and rule with a rod of iron.
Satan all this time is in Heaven and because of the fall and rebellion of Adam and Eve, instigated by Satan, is doing his hardest to undo God’s plan. But God is aware of it and allows him to continue, so that all who want to be with him can be. “Tares & Wheat” parable. Tares being the enemy, known as Kenites. (The Kenites are a race of people created by satan and not God wheat being Christ’s). All will be separated at Christ’s advent.
Jude 1: 4, 10. (KJV)
04 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, (feeling morbid sexual desire or a propensity to lewdness) and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Restoring His Ruined Creation. God’s Plan of Salvation.
Revelation is the compliment of Genesis. Either without the other would be unintelligible.
Finds its correspondence in Rev 21-22 THE PEOPLE ON THE NEW EARTH.
So here Genesis and Revelation are the two clasps of the Divine Word, which link together and enclose between them in “perfection of beauty’’ and harmonise the whole of the Scriptures in which God has been pleased to reveal His “Eternal Purpose’’. “The day of the Lord’’ being yet future, it follows that the whole book must concern the things belonging to “that day’’, and consequently is wholly prophecy. Though partial adumbrations (A faint sketch; an outline; an imperfect portrayal or representation of a thing.) of judgement may be traced in connection with affairs of past history, yet the significant, solemn warning here;
John 1:10 (KJV) He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
that the “judgements’’ in Revelation relate to the day of the Lord, “the day of vengeance.’’ The gospels contain the prophecies of the great tribulation: Revelation describes it; In between, come the Scriptures of the intermediate period. Acts and the Epistles. Chronologically and canonically, Revelation follows after the Epistles, though logically in God’s purpose.
It follows the Gospels. Therefore we see the scope embraces the wind- up of all the affairs of time; it records the end of prophecy, the end of “the secret of God’ the end of all “enmity towards God’’, and the dawn of the “ages of the ages’’
The language of the book is Greek: Its thoughts and idioms are Hebrew. This links it with the O.T. (Old Testament), and shows that its great purpose is to declare God’s final dealings with the Jew and the Gentiles as such; and that “the church of God’’ of the Pauline Epistles and this dispensation has no place in Revelation (other than in association with its glorified Head). All the imagery of the book, Temple, Tabernacle &c, belongs to Israel.
Again in Matthew (the Hebrew Gospel) are some 92 quotations from and references to the O.T. In Hebrews there are 102. In Revelation are found no fewer than 285. This emphatically stamps its close connection with the O.T. and Israel; and it equally stamps the latest utterances of “modern scholarship’’, viz. (Viz. and the adverb videlicet are used as synonyms for "namely," "that is to say,") that whatever view may be taken of the indebtedness to Jewish sources, there can be no doubt that he (the writer) has produced a book which taken as a whole is profoundly Christian’’, as being the dicta of men who wittingly or unwittingly, are blind to this fundamental fact of Revelation.
God our Father had created the heavens and the earth but this, (as will be shown further on) is only the beginning of the restoration. Take note of the three trees: “Knowledge” mans ruin; “ the Cross” mans redemption; “the Tree of Life mans Regeneration. Good and evil; Knowledge sense or perception, Obedience proving what was good, disobedience; revealing what was evil. Opposition to God’s Word is Satan’s sphere of activity. This is Satan’s first utterance in scripture. Eve misquotes God by omitting “freely’’
Eve adds the sentence; “neither shall ye touch it,’’ and “lest ye die.’’ Is also misquoted; by not repeating the emphatic figure, and thus omitting “surely’’
Ye shall not surely die = Satan’s second utterance, and contradiction of God’s word. This has become the foundation of Spiritism and traditional belief as to death. Ye shall be as gods = be as god, Heb Elohim. This is the foundation of Satan’s second lie; “The immanence of God in man.’ Good for food = “Lust of the flesh”
Matt 4:3 (KJV) And when the tempter came to Him, He said, “ If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Pleasant to the eyes “Lust of the eyes’’. Make one wise. = “Boastful of life’’.
Matt 4:5 (KJV)Then the devil taketh Him up to the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple.
They knew before, but their knowledge now received a new meaning. Adam becomes “naked’’ by losing something of Elohim’s glorious likeness.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them, which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit, may refer to this. The man-made covering contrasted, in the structure, with the God-made clothing.
Thou gavest’’ is Adam implying blame to Jehovah as well as to his wife. Here God asks the serpent no question, there is no parley, and the sentence was pronounced.
Gen 3:15 (KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.’’
This denotes the temporary suffering of the Seed (Christ), and the complete destruction of Satan and his works. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm
Revelation 1:11 (KJV) The First and the Last. This is our Lord Jesus Christ giving instructions to John to write down in a book (Revelation) all he sees.
Revelation 21:9 (KJV) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, “Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
Must not be confused with the “wife’’ of Rev19:7.
Revelation 19:7 (KJV) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
The latter is Israel called out from among the nations for blessing in “the Land’’; the earthly consort of “the Great King’’
Ps 45 (Read all)
Jeremiah 3:14 (KJV) Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
This “wife’’ of Revelation 19:7 (KJV) is connected with the Millennial Jerusalem; which, with the rest of the earth “that is now’’ will pass away and give way to the new earth with the new Jerusalem, succeeding and replacing the former. “The bride, the Lamb’s wife’’ of Revelation 21:9 (KJV): is still of Israel, but the Israel of the “heavenly calling’’.
All those connected with the” heavenly country’’ and “the city with the foundations’’ for which they looked;
Heb 11: 13 -16 (KJV)
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/faith.htm
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, (Israel) they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.(New Jerusalem) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/kingdom.htm
The Israel of Rev 19:7 is not spoken of as bride (numphē) because she has become wife (gunē). The “married to you’’ = am become your husband (consummation), of Jer 3:14, and see the note there relating to the “restoration’’ time. Here (Rev21: 9) the term “bride’’ indicates clearly that the betrothal has taken place and that the marriage will be consummated when the bride shall have come down out of heaven. John sees her coming down.
Revelation 21: 10 (KJV) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
The loose way in which we speak of a “bride’’ as not only a contracting party at the time of the marriage ceremony, but also of her after she has become wife (gunē), is responsible for much confusion as to the wife of Rev 19:7 and the bride-wife of Rev 21:9 Strictly speaking, “bride’’ is to be applied only to a betrothed virgin (Gr. Parthenos = Heb bethūlāh), when the marriage (legal) ceremony takes place. Directly after, she ceases to be “bride’’, and has become (legally) “wife’’, although from the forensic point of view, consummation of the marriage may be delayed.
Matt 1:25 (KJV) And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS.
See the Note there: Knew her = for cohabitation. Note the imperfect tense = was not knowing, till Matt 12:46-50; 13 55, 56, clearly show that she had sons afterwards.
According to the Mosaic Law, a betrothed maid (Heb bethūlāh) was legally a wife (‘ishshāh),
These seven Spirits of God will be sent forward into all the earth as we approach the Day of the Lord. The seven Spirits represent the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, which He will give us for reverencing and following Him, which means to believe on His Son, the Branch, Jesus Christ, and do our best to follow His Commandments. They are:-
1.Spirit of the LORD.
2.Spirit of Wisdom.
3.Spirit of Understanding.
4.Spirit of Counsel.
5.Spirit of Might.
6.Spirit of Knowledge.
7.Reverence of the LORD.
The question has to be asked; How many will take up this offer? I would hazard a guess that very few will, which leads to God causing a great delusion. When Satan is thrown out of heaven, (and his followers) he will take up his position here on earth as the False Christ, supported by the Man of sin, and the Beast. Billions will worship this counterfeit evil trilogy as they begin performing miracles.
All because they have not studied the Bible properly from beginning Genesis, to the end Revelation, preferring instead to listen to man’s word and doctrines, or neither. These billions are made up of atheists, and agnostics, the majority of which are Christians who love Christ but have preferred to remain on the milk of God’s Word, by listening to false prophets. May I ask you, how many churches preach the Gospel of Christ properly? That Christ came to earth to fulfil the law, not to destroy it, (why?) That He was persecuted by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. (Why?) That He was crucified dead and buried. (Why?) That He arose on the third day. (Why?) That He ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God (Why?) That He will return to earth. (Why?) (When?) And (How?) The churches; almost all of them, are very quiet on all these questions as was the Pharisees of Christ’s time and raises even more questions.
1. Do they know themselves?
2. If they do why aren’t they telling everyone?
3. Are they like the Pharisees keeping it Quiet?
The answers to these questions will be answered as we read through Revelation
Revelation 1: 3 (KJV) Blessed is He that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Revelation 1:4 (KJV) John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne.
Revelation 1:11 (KJV) Saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and what thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
These seven Epistles, however primarily addressed to these seven Churches of Asia, were also written for the edification of the Universal Church; in the same way, that is, as St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, or to Timothy, or St. James’ to the Dispersion, were written with this intention. The warnings, the incentives, the promises, the consolations, and, generally, the whole instruction in righteousness in these contained, are for every one in all times, so far as they may meet the several cases and conditions of men. . . Thus far there can be no question. “All Scripture,” and therefore this Scripture, “was written for our learning.”
The letters recognize that each church is composed of both believers and church-going unbelievers. “Church” is a compound word made up of “from” or “out” also “I call” and is used in a variety of contexts:
This word [ecclesia] translated church or assembly is found in at least four important meanings in the New Testament. It is used to mean an assembly of people. In this sense it has no special theological meaning. It can refer to Israel as a gathered people in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) or a regular assembly of citizens (Acts 19:39) or a group of people gathered for religious worship (Heb. 2:12). The same word is used for an assembly of Christians in a local church (Acts 8:1, 8:3; 11:22, 26) and in the plural for a group of such churches (1Cor. 16:19; Gal. 1:2). Each assembly or church has a local gathering composed of professed Christians. That all in the assembly are not necessarily true believers is clear from the messages to the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 2:1-3:22). Ecclesia is also used of the total of professing Christians without reference to locality and is practically parallel in this sense to Christendom (Acts 12:1; Rom. 16:16; 1Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Rev. 2:1-29, 3:1-22; etc.). The same word is used of the body of Christ, composed of those baptized by the Holy Spirit into the church (1Cor. 12:13). Ecclesia used in this connection becomes a technical word referring to the saints of this age.
If we fail to understand that the letters address both believers and “church-going” unbelievers, then the promises attending each letter will be misconstrued.
The letters involve the visible church rather than the invisible Church. The latter is the Body of Messiah, composed of all true believers since Pentecost. It is sometimes referred to as the Universal Church. But the visible church is the local body or local church, which may have both believers and unbelievers. It includes all professing believers whether they really are or not.
The omniscience and piercing gaze of Jesus is evident by His detailed knowledge of the condition of each church. Jesus “knows” their works (Rev. 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1 8, 15). “Know” [Oida] , (Rev. 2:2) expresses the Lord’s self-claim of knowledge in each of the seven messages in contrast to [ginōskō]
(“I know”), which speaks of progress of knowledge, oida reflects full or complete knowledge. It depicts absolute clearness of mental vision, which photographs all facts of life as they pass. It, not ginōskō, is always the word used of Christ’s knowledge in Revelation. We call the contents of these chapters Epistles; but they are not so much messages from an absent Lord but as sentences of a present Judge, engaged in the solemn act of inspection and decision.
As to the definition of overcomer, it can best be understood in light of what John says elsewhere: http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm
1 John 5:4 (KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:5 (KJV) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
The overcomers in each church do so, not by their actions—rather their actions are an indication of their identification with the Overcomer, Jesus Christ
John 16:33 (KJV) These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
1 John. 4:4 (KJV)Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He That is in you, than he that is in the world.
John indicates that those who overcome do so by way of their relationship with God:
1 John 2:13 (KJV) I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him That is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one
Revelation 12:11(KJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Those who overcome do so by trusting in Christ and His sacrifice, remaining unwavering in their faith, even when faced with death.
Revelation 21:7 (KJV) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall My son.
They inherit all things because of their position in Christ as sons of God.
The multitude of dissertations, essays, and books, which have been, and are still being written, in support of this scheme of interpretation, must remain a singular monument of wasted ingenuity and misapplied toil . . . a future looking into Scripture for that which is not to be found there . . . a resolution to draw out from it that which he who draws out must first himself have put in. Men will never thus make Scripture richer. They will have made it much poorer for themselves, if they nourish themselves out of it with the fancies of men, in place of the truths of God.
Revelation 2:14 (KJV) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
It is said that Balaam taught Balak to influence the Israelites “to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. How similar this is to the warning given to the Gentiles by the Jerusalem council:
Acts 15:19-20 (KJV)
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God.
20 But we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
In both passages a connection is made between eating meat sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality: The Jerusalem conference had in its decree brought into juxtaposition the eating of and indulgence in sexual impurity and John had not lived in a Greek city without becoming aware that the two things were in fact closely bound up together. Pagan festivities were too often occasions of immoralities from which Gentile converts had been rescued with the greatest difficulty. (Christmas-Easter-Whitsun etc).
Acts 15: 27 (KJV) We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
If the Nicolaitans taught a similar doctrine to Balaam, it most likely urged believers to make a practical compromise with the society within which they found themselves. “They taught that Christians ought to remain members of the pagan clubs, and that they might do so without disloyalty to their faith.” How doubly-dangerous is such compromise with the surrounding culture: eroding the sanctification of the believer while simultaneously denigrating the witness of the Church.
However, the view that this was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans supposes that the mention of the Nicolaitans adjacent to Balaam indicates a similarity of teaching. If this is not the case, then we know virtually nothing specific from Scripture about Nicolaitan practice and beliefs. Those who discount the historic witness to an actual sect known as the Nicolaitans see the meaning of the name as being a key to understanding their errant teaching.
The meaning of the Greek is “rulers of the people.” This meaning may imply that this was an attempt to divide and make an unnatural distinction between the clergy and laity, creating a division in which the clergy exercised rulership over the laity. (In religious organizations, the laity comprises all persons who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not an ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity), Certainly, elders have the biblical authority to determine the policy of the local church. But the authority described here probably went much further than the issues in the local church and may have extended to the personal lives of the members. If this is the Nicolaitan error, then one only need look at the top-heavy ecclesiastical structures which characterise much of Christendom throughout history to see the sour fruit of such teaching. This is one of many reasons why the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer (2Cor. 3:6; 6:4; 1Pe. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10 ;20:6 is so important for the saints of every age.
The letters to the Seven Churches of Asia describe a range of conditions which can be seen within different churches to differing degree throughout history. Much of the criticism which Christ levels at the churches is an indictment of the ever-present tendency to compromise with the culture.
The Bible does not hesitate to condemn worldliness for the serious sin that it is.
John 15:19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Worldliness is any preoccupation with or interest in the temporal system of life that places anything perishable before that which is eternal.
Since believers are not part of the world system, they must not act as though they were.
Rom. 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world,” wrote the apostle Paul, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”
In the case of the historic churches of Asia, pressure to compromise came on at least two fronts:
1. Pressure by the state to worship the emperor and,
2. Pressure by the trade guilds to participate in pagan activities.
Because of its belief in one God the church found itself engaged in a struggle with the Roman state which permitted no compromise and from which eventually only one of the two parties would emerge victorious. The Martyrdom of Polycarp sets out quite clearly both the issue at stake—Lord Christ versus - Lord Caesar—and the state’s (as well as the general population’s) view of Christians as disloyal atheists who threatened the well-being of the empire. ( In those days Caesar was considered a god).
The Christian was faced with a cruel dilemma. His safety was assured only by preparedness, in time of need, to identify Himself either with pagan society, by sacrifice to the emperor and the expected participation in the religious aspects of guilds and social life. . . or with Judaism on whatever terms would gain him acceptance in the synagogue, that is, probably, at least an implicit denial of his Lord. The first inducement was naturally strongest in those places where the pressures of authority and pagan society were most direct (Pergamum and Thyatira, and also Ephesus, where it was steadfastly rejected): the ‘synagogues of Satan’ brought the opposite threat against those who scorned the pagan compromise (Smyrna and Philadelphia, and perhaps the commended minority in Sardis). The situation also introduced a new occasion of disunion between Jewish and Gentile Christians, on whom it impinged (to have had an effect : made an impression) differently. (Mark of the Beast)
(2. Having no regard for accepted rules or standards). Rom. 6:1-2; Jude 1:4).
1 Corinthians 8: 9-13 (KJV)
09 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.
10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols?
11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
1 Corinthians 10:19-23 (KJV)
19 What say I then? That the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything?
20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to devils and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify not.
Of the absence of heathen adversaries there has been occasion to speak already; but more noticeable still is the fact that there neither appear here nor there Nicolaitans, as at Ephesus, or Balaamites, as at Pergamum, or Jezebelites, as at Thyatira, or those who say they are Jews and are not (Kenites), as at Smyrna and Philadelphia; seeking to seduce Christ’ s servants, and constraining (restricting) them to earnestly contend for the truth.
The world could endure the churches at Sardis and Laodicea because they were not only in the world, but of the world. Consistent peace with the culture is a clear indication that the believer is not separated to God, but is considered one of the world’s own: This road to peaceful coexistence with the culture is typically paved with a series of incremental compromises.
The Jerusalem conference had in its decree brought into juxtaposition the eating of and indulgence in sexual impurity; and John had not lived in a Greek city without becoming aware that these two things were in fact closely bound up together. . . . From participation in a pagan guild-feast to licentiousness was but a step.
“To effect a reasonable compromise with the established usages of Graeco-Roman society”; they taught that Christians ought to remain members of the pagan clubs, and that they might do so without disloyalty to their faith. Such a course involved nothing worse than the abandonment of an obsolete decree. The Jerusalem decree had been issued at the first beginning of Gentile Christianity; it had been circulated by St Paul in Pamphylia and Lycaonia (Acts 16:4), and doubtless had reached Ephesus. But St. Paul himself had permitted at Corinth some modification of the ban against, recognizing the liberty of Christians to partake without question of meat which was sold in the markets or set before them at a friend’s table, which he insisted that charity to weaker brethren should preclude them from eating and which had been declared to be such, or from taking part in a banquet held in a pagan temple.
1 Corinthians. 8:10 (KJV) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:25 (KJV) Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
As the church becomes comfortable with the culture, its witness is compromised and it begins to forfeit the favour of God.
By enticing God’s people into an idolatrous practice, Balak got them out of God’s favour, compromised their testimony, and caused internal chaos and grief—this is what compromise with the world does to the Church.
II Corinthians 6:17 (KJV) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing.
Makes this same point of separation from the world by repeating…
Isaiah 52:11(KJV) Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence , touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
Clearly, God requires Christians to be different from the world.
1 Corinthians 10:28-29 (KJV)
28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness.”
29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?
Compromise has always been a chief tool of Satan.
If the path of accommodation and compromise continues unabated, eventually the church reaches a point of friendship with the world. This is an extremely dangerous place for the believer. Like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot, he has lost the ability to sense the heat slowly rising and is likely to slowly cook until almost all distinction from the culture is lost.
This was precisely God’s point when He dealt with Israel in the Old Testament. God went to great lengths to separate Israel from the surrounding nations because He knew all too well the eventual destination of the path of incremental compromise and accommodation:
Exodus. 34:12-16 (KJV)
12Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be a snare in the midst of thee.
13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves.
14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous GOD,
15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice,
16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
How often do we read similar passages and wonder at the seeming harshness of God’s instructions to Israel? Yet the seriousness of God’s commands to Israel are merely a reflection of the waywardness of man. In many instances, God’s laws are not motivated as much by rectifying the immediate situation as they are by His perfect foreknowledge of the consequences which will eventually ensue once men begin down such a path.
Christ’s New Testament condemnation of the worldliness of the Thyatiran and Laodicean churches stands in stark contrast to the modern “seeker-friendly” strategy of church growth: “Today’s user-friendly, seeker-oriented, market-driven church doesn’t preach much against worldliness. To do so might make unbelievers (not to mention many believers) uncomfortable, and is therefore avoided as poor marketing strategy.” In John’s day and our own, we need to be constantly reminded of the words of Paul, John, and James:
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (KJV)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God. As God hath said: “I will dwell in them and walk in them. and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17” Wherefore “Come out from among them and be ye separate”, says the LORD. And touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
1 John 2:15-17 (KJV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
James. 4:4 (KJV) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Revelation 3:10 (KJV) Kenites. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thenephilim.htm
Rev 3:21-22 (KJV) Overcomers. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm
“Here, then, in the Prologue are five links in the chain of authorship: God, Christ, his angel, his servant John, and those servants to whom John addressed his book [the seven churches and the saints of all ages].”
The revelation is to be shown to His servants, these are they who hear His voice (John 10:3, 16, 27; Acts 22:14; Heb. 3:7, 15; 4:7) and respond in faith. Those who lack faith in the Son are unable to comprehend what is shown here: This is why unbelievers find the book of Revelation incomprehensible; it was not intended for them. It was given by the Father to the Son to show to those who willingly serve Him. Those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord cannot expect to comprehend this book. “A natural man,” explains Paul,
1Corinthians 2:14 (KJV) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Isaiah provides a list of qualities of the Spirit which shall rest upon the Messiah who shall come from the stem of Jesse (David’s father):
Isaiah 11:2 (KJV) And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
In the fourth chapter, John calls our attention to…
Revelation 4:5 (KJV) “Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
These Spirits are also said to be…
Revelation 5:6 (KJV) “seven eyes, which are the Seven Spirits of God sent out unto all the earth.”
The omniscience of the Holy Spirit is in view and His worldwide ministry, also mentioned by Zechariah (Zec. 4:6-10). One of His worldwide ministries is convicting “of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). He provides the breath of life to all the world’s creatures (Gen. 2:7; Job 34:14-15). He strives with all men to restrain sin (Gen. 6:3; 20:6; 2Th. 2:6-7). The number of spirits matches the number of lampstands and would seem to represent the activity of Christ through the Holy Spirit in and to the seven churches (Zech. 4:6). The epistle to each church closes with the admonition,
Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22 (KJV) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”
And from Jesus Christ.
Within this simple greeting can be found a neglected doctrine of paramount importance: the Trinity. The greeting is from each member of the Trinity: from Him who is and who was and who is to come (the Father), from the Seven Spirits who are before His throne (the Holy Spirit), and from Jesus Christ (the Son). Before we have even begun to plumb the depths of the amazing statements made concerning Christ in the verses to follow, His divinity is already in plain view before us.
Firstborn from the dead.
He is the firstborn from the dead “that in all things He may have the preeminence”
Colossians 1:18 (KJV) And He is the Head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.
He thus establishes the pattern for all His brethren who will also rise from the dead
Romans 8:29 (KJV) For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
These are the loyal followers from the first earth age, through death to glory.
Made us kings and priests.
Appointed us a kingdom (singular), priests to God. A similar difference occurs in Revelation 5:10. The singular form (a kingdom) would be in keeping with the original calling of Israel to be “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6). Some have noted the Jewish audience of Peter’s epistle and rightly understood 1Peter 2:9 as being a reminder to his readers of the original calling of the Jews. Yet in this book the concept is unmistakably broadened to include all those who trust in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, from among every…
Revelation 5:10 (KJV) And hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.
Our priesthood is made possible by our…
Hebrew 4:14 (KJV) Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.
Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” therefore we have complete and full access to the Father.
Both now and in the future, our function is primarily priestly. That is, we are to minister to God. Here we run into an extremely important distinction which has not been adequately appreciated among many who lead God’s people. Our primary responsibility is to minister to God and not to men. Our focus is to be God-ward rather than man-ward. We are to,
1Peter 2:5 (KJV) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God byJesus Christ.
As we take care to minister to God, He will minister to men through us.
The focus of our ministry is the…
New Covenant 2 Corinthians 3:6 (KJV) Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
not the Law of Moses, and is characterized by a series of contrasts and seeming contradictions 2Cor. 6:4-10. Our lives should evidence a consistency of living whether with the people of God or with unbelievers:
Zechariah 14:20-21 (KJV)
20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the alter.
21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein; and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
God intends the eventual abolition of all distinctions between holy and profane, sanctified and common. In one sense, there has been and will only ever be a single “kingdom of God.” This is His universal dominion over His entire creation. Yet, in another sense, God has chosen to use men as mediators of His rule during periods of history. The progression of the kingdom of God is revealed in stages:
John’s mention here of Jesus coming with clouds is an allusion from the book of Daniel which records the presentation of the Son to the Father:
Daniel 7:13(KJV) “I saw in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.”
This presentation of the Son is to receive His kingdom (Dan. 7:14) and does not take place until all of His enemies are made His footstool (Ps. 110:1). This includes His future enemy, Daniel’s “little horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20-21). At present, He is seated at the right hand of the Father awaiting that day. The Son began the period of sitting at the right hand and waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool at His ascension (Acts 2:32-35; Heb. 10:11-13). His earthly kingdom did not come at the time of His ascension, but occurs when He rises from His seat beside the Father and descends to take up His Davidic throne on earth (Matt. 25:31; Luke 1:32-33).
A subgroup from among every eye, establishing the global nature of the manifestation of Christ.
Both Jews and Gentiles are responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 4:27-28). It was Jewish mouths (Mark 15:13; Luke 23:21; John 19:6, 14-16) together with Gentile hands (John 19:23) which crucified Jesus. Ultimately, it was the sin of all mankind which sent Jesus to the cross (Rom. 4:25). Yet this passage refers to the Jews who have a particular responsibility (Acts 3:12-15) because Jesus is their promised national Messiah (Rom. 9:4-5). The Jewish generation which witnessed the crucifixion of Messiah made the fearful mistake of pronouncing a curse upon themselves and their children:
Matthew 27:25 (KJV) Then answered all the People, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.”
So it is Jews who will specially mourn when they realise their grave error and the historical destruction it has wrought. As Lightner observes: “You don’t put kings on crosses, you put them on thrones!”
The sword goes out of His mouth in agreement with all the creative acts of God which were spoken forth by the Word of God (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26; 2Pe. 3:5). It is for this reason that Jesus is the Word [logos] . The speaking forth of God’s will can bring creation or destruction. Isaiah informs us that the mouth of the Messiah is “like a sharp sword” (Isa. 49:2) and with His lips He will “slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:4). The Word spoken through the prophets is a weapon in the hand of God (Hos. 6:5). It is the only offensive weapon of the Christian (Eph. 6:17). Its power as a sword is seen in its ability to pierce “even to the division of soul and spirit” and discern “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The Word of God has already slain His enemies because it sets forth their impending doom in words “which cannot be broken” (John 10:35). That which is prophecy today, will be accomplished history tomorrow. It is in this sense that Jesus slays His enemies with the sword of His mouth (2Th. 2:8; Rev. 2:12, 16; 19:15). The sword signifies His judicial power which will be in accordance with His Word (Mtt. 25:31-32; John 5:22; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom. 2:16; 14:10; 2Cor. 5:10; 2Ti. 4:1; 1Pe. 4:5; Rev. 20:12).
Having completed the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, John is called up to the throne room in heaven where he is given a vision of God the Father on His throne.
I will show you.
This is the primary purpose of the Revelation being given to John (Rev. 1:1, 19; 22:6). The scenes in the book of Revelation often follow a pattern where a heavenly setting is described followed by an earthly setting:
Things which must take
place after this.
The things to come are sure for they must take place. God’s prophetic word cannot be broken (John 10:35). This is why the sword extends from the mouth of Jesus—the will of God, once having been spoken forth, is unstoppable (Rev. 1:16; 19:15). After this is perhaps better translated after these [things]. It is the same phrase which begins the verse: [meta tauta] . This verse follows “the things which are” and Jesus is now introducing the next major topic—the things which are yet future to John’s time.
One sat on the throne
Prior to being given great revelation, prophets are often exposed to the glory of God. Earlier, John saw the glorified Jesus. Now he will be shown the throne room in heaven. Isaiah had a similar vision of God on His throne (Isa. 6:1). This is where Jesus is presented to the “Ancient of Days” to receive His kingdom (Dan. 7:9-14). In Ezekiel’s vision, “on the likeness of a throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man” (Eze. 1:26). Isaiah also saw Him:
Isa. 6:1. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.
A rainbow around the
The brilliant light emanating from the throne resembled a rainbow of emerald hues. The rainbow was given as a sign following Noah’s flood to remind God of His covenant never again to destroy all flesh with a flood (Gen. 9:13-16; Isa. 54:9-10). Ezekiel saw this same rainbow as the brightness around the throne (Eze. 1:28). The world that was previously perished in the flood. In the chapters to follow, the judgment will be “reserved unto fire” (2Pe. 3:5-7).
The twenty-four elders repeatedly worship the Father One of the elders comforts John explaining that Jesus has prevailed to loose the seven-sealed scroll (Rev. 5:5). Later, an elder explains to John the identity of those coming out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:13-14). The 144,000 with the Father’s name on their foreheads sing a new song before these elders and the living creatures (Rev. 14:3). A wide range of opinions attends the identification of these elders. “There are at least thirteen different views of their identity, ranging from the twenty-four ruling stars (or judges) in the heavens to the simple figure of wholeness and fullness.”
Four living creatures.
There are four creatures indicating the universal character of their representation They are Living creatures, [zōa] : “to denote beings that are not human and yet not really animals of the usual kind . . . Of the four peculiar beings at God’s throne, whose description Rev. 4:6-9 reminds us of the [zōa] in Eze. 1:5 the cherubim. Ezekiel also sees four living creatures, [tessarōn zōiōn] (Eze. 1:5-22; 3:13; 10:1-20). Ezekiel’s creatures have close similarity to these:
1. They attend the throne.
2. They are winged.
3. Aspects of their character represent a lion, an ox (or calf), a man, and an eagle.
But there are also significant differences:
1. Ezekiel’s creatures had four wings whereas these have six.
2. Ezekiel’s creatures each had all four faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle whereas these each have one of the characteristics.
3. No mention is made of Ezekiel’s creatures themselves having eyes—although the wheels they attend are full of eyes. These creatures themselves are full of eyes. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm
Satan was created as one of these cherubim serving at God’s throne until he fell (Eze. 28:14). “Here are the living ones, in every way his equals, yes, infinitely his superiors, since they have access to all the power of God. These are not with him in his rebellion. They are ready to carry into effect the orders of divine judgment.” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thenumbernine.htm
These living creatures call John’s attention to the effects of the Lamb’s loosening of the first four seals whereupon the four horsemen of the Apocalypse ride forth (Rev. 6:1-7). One of the four living creatures gives the final seven bowls of God’s wrath to the seven angels who will pour forth the seven plagues.
Him who lives forever.
The one living into the ages of the ages. This is God the Father seated on His throne. How similar His identity is with that of Jesus:
Rev. 1:18. I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
His eternal existence is coupled with His role as Creator because He alone is without previous cause. He is the unique “uncaused cause” which has always existed and from which all else was brought forth. If God were not eternal, then all eternity would have been nothingness because no agent would have pre-existed creation to bring it forth. “This is the strongest possible expression for an unending eternity. We make special mention of it because later we shall see that the same phrase is used of the duration of the punishment of Satan, his captains and those of earth who have followed him.”
They recognized the supreme worthiness of the One on the throne. Their own crowns are entirely dependent upon His grace and bestowal. “What are these crowns? . . . they are the symbols of reward. They are the prizes, which have come from God’s heart of grace, given unto those who, at the best, were unprofitable servants. When we shall see the worship of the mighty cherubim, we shall realize therefore, that no crown belongs to us rightfully and we shall cast them down before the presence of Him who lives forever.”
You created all things
If there could have been any doubt about Who is seated on the throne, here it is removed. He alone is creator, all else is creature. He alone is independent, all else is dependent upon Him. Recognition of this distinction is the foundation of all right worship, for worship of any other is directing to that which is dependent what is only for the Originator (Rev. 22:8-9). All worship directed elsewhere is idolatry.
Scripture reveals that all three persons of the Trinity participated in creation:
1. The Father (Gen. 1:1-31; Isa. 40:21-28; Isa. 43:1, 7; Isa. 45:12, 18; 48:13; 51:13; Acts 14:15; 17:24).
2. The Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Ps. 104:30; Isa. 42:5).
3. The Son (John 1:3; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 3:14).
Here we need to alert the reader of the danger of allowing the chapter break between chapters 4 and 5 to destroy the flow of the text. There is an intimate connection between the words of the cherubim and elders concerning creation and the events of the next chapter where the Lamb takes the seven-sealed scroll. For here the subject is creation and there it will be redemption http://godsplan.org.uk/christtheredeemer.htm. Not redemption positionally which was accomplished at the crucifixion, but experientially. (Relating to or derived from experience) Not just redemption of saved men, but of the entire created order (Rom. 8:18-22) which has been subject to Satan since the fall (Matt. 4:8; Luke 4:6; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2Cor. 4:4; 1Jn. 5:19; Rev. 13:1; 13:7).
Having seen the Father and His glorious throne, John’s attention is now drawn to a scroll held in the Father’s hand. The redeeming Lamb takes the scroll and prepares to open its seals, initiating God’s judgments in the Day of the Lord and beginning the reclamation of the earth in preparation for God’s direct rule.
And I saw.
John’s focus now shifts from the details of the throne and the living creatures and elders to that which lays upon the right hand of “Him who sat on the throne.” The scene which presents itself to John is among the most sublime in all of Scripture. If Isaiah 53 can be said to be the “holy of holies” of the OT, then perhaps Revelation 5 holds that honour in the New Testament.
The side of favour and strength (Ps. 20:6; 74:11; 80:17; 89:13; 98:1). This is the side at which the Son is seated awaiting His kingdom (Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13-14; Mark 16:19; Acts 5:31; 7:55; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 10:12) and making intercession for His Church (Rom. 8:34).
Revelation 3:21 (KJV) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.
and shares the power and reign of the Father (Rev. 5:13; 6:16; 7:10 The long period of waiting while He remains seated is about to come to an end.
A scroll. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/formerage.htm
[biblion] , Also rendered book, later a mighty angel appears with a little book [biblaridion] and cries out at which seven thunders utter their voices. John is told to seal up the things which the seven thunders utter and not write them the angel declares(even swears) that “in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” John is then commanded to eat the little book which will be sweet to the taste but bitter in the stomach. The book given to John, like that eaten by Ezekiel, apparently contains prophetic pronouncements of God, of woe and judgment, which must come to pass. There are similarities between this scroll and these other books. This scroll is also sealed. Great prophetic streams find their fulfillment in the opening of the scroll.
These similarities have led some to suggest that the sealed scroll primarily contains prophetic information previously unrevealed which is now made known through the things shown John.
Ladd suggests the scroll is a form of ancient will. “The little book is in the form of an ancient will, which was usually sealed with the seals of seven witnesses. It contains God’s inheritance for His people, which is founded upon the death of His son. This view has the advantage of explaining the emphasis found here upon the death of the Lamb. The events which transpire following the loosing of the seals are directly related to Christ’s inheritance
Although the loosing of the seals results in the realization of the promised inheritance ( Pledge a promise or agreement) it seems that more than just a will is in view. (Purchase) was made at the cross, and now the deed of that purchase is being claimed by its rightful owner. (Redeemed reclaimed, and redeemed).
While Babylon had besieged Jerusalem, God told Jeremiah to purchase a plot of ground in Israel. Even though the land had fallen to Babylon, Jeremiah’s purchase demonstrated the reality of God’s promise to restore Israel back to the land (Jer. 32:14-15, 43-44). There are significant parallels between Jeremiah’s deed of purchase and Messiah’s redemption described in this chapter. In both cases, a purchase was made in advance and a period intervened before the possession was fully awarded at a future date.
Who is worthy to open.
“A mighty angel shouts out a challenge for anyone to come forth who is ‘worthy’ to open the great scroll and its seals. All creation in heaven and earth and under the earth stood motionless and speechless. . . . no one had the authority and virtue for such a task.” “As the echoes of his cry recede there is only silence. The powerful archangels Michael and Gabriel do not answer. Uncounted thousands of other angels remain silent. All the righteous dead of all the ages, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Peter and the rest of the apostles, Paul, and all the others from the church age, say nothing.” The question of worthiness hinges on several factors. Only Christ has the necessary qualifications:
Perfect Judgment - A combination of perfect justice and perfect compassion. One who extends perfect mercy while not flinching from exacting perfect justice. “Because He is faithful. He must discharge His office as judge, not shrinking from the administration of discipline or punishment where it is needed. Because He is true. He cannot alter the standards of God which condemn sin. Favouritism and laxity cannot be found in Him, for He is the perfect administrator of justice in a world where injustice has long since reigned.”
Relationship to Mankind –
Dominion of the earth was originally given to Adam from whence it was lost to Satan due to sin. “As a result of getting the first man, Adam, to join his revolt against God, Satan usurped tenant possession of the earth away from its original tenant and has been exercising administration control of the world system against God ever since. Several things indicate that this is so. For example, Satan had the authority to offer Jesus all the power and glory of the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-6); Satan declared that it had been delivered to him by someone else (Adam, Luke 4:6); Jesus called Satan ‘the prince of this world’ (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11); and Paul called him ‘the god of this age’ (2Cor. 4:4).” Dominion is to be restored by a man. Not just any man, but the perfect man “Just as the Israelite redeemer had to be a kinsman (a relative from the same clan and tribe) of the person who lost the tenant possession, so the Redeemer of mankind and their forfeited tenant possession of the earth had to be a kinsman (a relative of the same kind) of mankind. He had to be a human. No angel or any other kind of being would qualify.”
Right of Possession.
Possession of that which was lost required the payment of a redemption price. The price to redeem a world lost to the ravages of sin was the shedding of truly innocent blood.(Rev. 5:6, 9).
Ability to Possess.
The right to possess is meaningless without the might to possess. “Martin Kiddle wrote: “The strong angel’s challenge to find someone worthy to open the scroll and to break its seal was much more than to ask for some one capable of revealing the world’s fate. The demand was for one able not only to disclose God’s plan, but to set it in motion, accomplish it, bring it to pass.”
When Adam forfeited dominion in the Fall, all men born of the line of Adam fell with him (Rom. 5:12; Acts 17:26). Having inherited the sin of Adam, none is able to prevail. Herein lies the need for the virgin birth of Christ. For Christ is the only man for which the truism “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” does not hold. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/book1.htm
I wept much.
I was weeping. John evidently understood the significance of the scroll and the great need to open it and to read its contents. From this we understand overwhelming sadness attends any future which continues apart from redemption. For the horrors of sin, sickness, murder, death and the warping of all things God intended for good would continue unabated for unending millennia if it were not for the stake of Christ. If God had not sent His Son—at His own initiative—mankind would have forever and completely remained lost. Locked within an eternity of generations darkened by depravity and pain, there would have been forever no hope. Aside from the cross, the history of man is one long testimony of inability to overcome the ravages of sin. Thankfully, man was not left abandoned to a history of self-perpetuated depravity. For history is HIS story—
“History, then, has its Centre in Jesus Christ and its goal is His triumphant reign over all the powers of the world.” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/lifeofjesus.htm
of the tribe of Judah .
God had revealed that the ruler would be like a lion, an offspring of Judah (Gen. 49:9-10; Ps. 60:7). Jesus was born in the line of Judah. Although Reuben was the firstborn, due to his sin and the sins of his brothers, the right of kingly rule fell to Judah: The genealogical records of the tribes of Israel were lost in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. This poses a problem for Judaism which, having rejected Jesus, still awaits Messiah. If Messiah comes now, how will it be determined that He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah? http://www.godsplan.org.uk/eightsigns.htm
Job 14:7-9 (KJV)
7 For there is a hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
This root was repeatedly chopped back, but never completely terminated as Satan attempted throughout history to thwart the Messianic line of promise. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/markofcain.htm
To loose its seven
Having paid the ultimate price of redemption, being made sin on our behalf (Isa. 53:6; 2Cor. 5:21), the Lamb has earned the right to loose the seals bringing judgments on those who continue to reject His gracious offer of redemption (John 3:35-36). As each of these seals is loosed, additional judgment is brought upon the earth. The first six seals result in preliminary judgments. At the loosening of the seventh seal, the judgments become more pronounced as all seven trumpet judgments are within the seventh seal (Rev. 8:1-6). At the opening of the seventh seal, the first four trumpets are sounded because the last three trumpet judgments are especially severe, there is a pause in the judgments as angelic warning is given concerning the severity of the last three trumpets. Then the first two of the final three trumpets sound. At the sounding of the final trumpet, the declaration is made:
Revelation 11:15 (KJV) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.”
By this we understand the last seven bowl judgments to be subsumed within the seventh trumpet. Prior to the pouring forth of the seven bowls of wrath, three more additional angelic warnings are given. The judgments of God’s wrath are completed in the pouring forth of the seventh bowl.
In the loosing of all seven seals, and the subsequent trumpet and bowl judgments, Christ retakes that which He purchased at Calvary. To bring the kingdom of God to earth, the kingdom of Satan must first be overthrown.
Much of what follows in this book must be understood in the context of the overthrow of Satan’s kingdom prior to the setting up of God’s kingdom on earth. http://godsplan.org.uk/fleshage.htm
“When John turned, he saw, not a Lion, according to the Elder’s announcement, but a Lamb, according to the prior historical fact.” For the Lion of Judah must first be the Lamb of God in order to purchase redemption and earn the right to go forth as a Lion in judgment. Here we see the character of God—grace and mercy preceding judgment. “In one brilliant stroke John portrays the central theme of NT revelation—“victory through sacrifice.”
Twice in John’s gospel, John the Baptist refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” referring to His impending sacrifice which will atone for the sins of the world. Isaiah also described the Messiah as a sacrificial lamb, a passage which Philip explained to the Ethiopian eunuch. Peter describes the precious, sinless blood of Christ “as of a lamb without blemish and spot,” an allusion to the Passover lamb whose blood “covered” the Israelites from the destroying angel in the plague which took the firstborn of Egypt. In fulfillment of the requirement that no bones of the lamb may be broken, the Roman soldiers found Jesus already dead and did not break his legs as they did those of the thieves crucified beside him, Paul clearly understood Jesus to be the Passover lamb. “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us”. It is by “the blood of the Lamb” that believers overcome the diabolos who “throws-against” them accusations, for it is the blood which cleanses them of sin and provides their white robes. It is the blood of Christ which provides for their eternal life as those who are written in the “Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.
The Lamb is to be contrasted with the beast throughout this book. The second beast who “had two horns like a lamb” may be mistaken as this lamb by those who are deceived, but he speaks “like a dragon”
The lamb had been there for some time. Having been seated to the right hand of the Father for millennia, Jesus now rises. The time of sharing the Father’s throne is rapidly drawing to a close. Once He takes the scroll, as the Root of David, He will initiate a series of irreversible events which will result in the establishment of the Davidic kingdom upon the earth.
“Here is the intimation that something more than sacrifice and intercession is now to be His business.” The horn is a biblical symbol denoting power or government; The seven horns indicate the complete power of Christ and the finality (completeness) of His kingdom. “As a horn is the emblem of power, and seven the number of perfection, the seven horns may denote the almighty power of Jesus Christ.” His is the only “everlasting dominion” and kingdom “which shall not be destroyed”. Other “horns” have risen and fallen on the world stage, but the “stone cut without hands” will strike all previous horns and smash them to pieces. Christ is the horn of salvation who…
Took the scroll
Having stood, Christ now takes the scroll out of the hand of the Father. As Christ initiates these actions, the world slumbers below, oblivious to the thief approaching in their night. “He who moved at first to create, now moves to restore. . . . The Lamb Becomes a Lion . . . in the scene before us Christ is not on the Father’s throne; the age of His intercession has come to a close. We shall see Him acting in an entirely new character. . . . The age of the Church is over. This is now prophecy of the future.” the lineage of the house of David: Here is a pivotal moment in history, second only to the crucifixion in its import. “This is the sublimest individual act recorded in the Apocalypse. It is the act which includes all that suffering creation, and the disinherited saints of God have been sighing, and crying, and waiting for, for all these long ages—for six thousand years of grief and sorrow.” “His taking of the scroll marks the initiation of proceedings to convert its contents into reality and eventually usher in the promised kingdom.”
After age-upon-age of death, murder, disease, and sin—while countless bones piled upon the earth below—God has waited in patience so that all who would come to Him would respond. (Even since the cross, where the cost of sin was paid in full, justice has slept due to grace. With the Lamb’s taking of the scroll, the events of history take a turn toward the impending redemption of all that is God’s from the dominion of Satan and sin. Once the Lamb rises from the right hand of the Father to take the scroll, the die is cast and the program leading to the redemption of the created order moves now in rapid succession. The Son of God has begun to take the nations for His inheritance. He is now about to take possession of that which has been His since the cross, an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away—the one kingdom which shall not be destroyed. When the last of the seals has been loosed, triggering the trumpet and bowl judgments, it will be said,
Revelation 11:15 (KJV) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.”
It marks the beginning of the end of the groaning. This is no gradual conversion of the world to Christ, but the initiation of a dramatic, cataclysmic intervention into His history to reject Satan and unrepentant earth dwellers.
Harps are played by the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel and all those who have victory over the beast by refusing to take the mark and worship him (Rev. 15:2). The Levites used harps as part of their priestly service ministering to God, as did the psalmist.
Golden bowls full of
incense which are the prayers of the saints.
It was at the hour of incense that the people were praying when the angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias announcing the birth of John the Baptist. The prayers of the saints—many of which have remained without answer for thousands of years— will find their fulfillment in the events to come. Later, similar bowls will contain the wrath of God. It seems we are to see a correlation between the prayers of the saints offered up to God as incense and the resulting vengeance poured forth as God’s wrath. Prior to the sounding of the seven trumpets, an angel offers the prayers of the saints with incense on an altar before God. He then exchanges the contents of the censer for fire from the altar and throws it to the earth resulting in “thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake” —all sounds of impending judgment.
The continual cries of God’s elect throughout history are like the fragrance of incense which rises to God.
“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” Malachi spoke of a time when incense would be offered to God, not just in the Temple, but across the entire world. Not just by the priests of Israel, but by all the Gentiles. This offering pictures the global prayer which even now ascends from the saints as a memorial to His throne. When on our knees we are contributing to the contents of these bowls. “And who can reckon up the volumes and oceans of such entreaties, which remain to this day unanswered? But, not one of them is lost. They are carefully treasured in golden bowls.”
By your blood.
A bloodless gospel is no gospel. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The redeemed of this age are “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood”. Redemption provides for the forgiveness of sin—that which separates man from God—and was made possible “through His blood” . This is the reason why Christ’s blood is said to be “precious”.
Every tribe and tongue and people and nation:
The global emphasis of this book is seen in this phrase and similar. The redeemed come out of “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues”. John is told to prophesy about many “peoples, nations, tongues, and kings”.The earth dwellers, who rejoice over the death of the two witnesses, represent the “peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations” The worldwide scope of the Antichrist’s power is seen in that he is granted authority over “every tribe, tongue, and nation” The gospel is preached by an angel to “every nation, tribe, tongue, and people”. The waters upon which the harlot sits “are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The work of the Church is to reach these global peoples with the message of the gospel and results in a global harvest of incredible diversity. The four categories denote global extent..
This is the same promise made earlier to the overcomer in Thyatira and Laodicea. The saints will be given power over the nations and will co-rule with Christ. They will sit with Him on His throne. They shall reign (future tense) on the earth in fulfillment of the familiar petition within the “Lord’s Prayer”: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The rule will be upon His throne, not upon the throne of the Father where He currently is seated. This occurs at the Millennial Kingdom following His appearing. The psalm writer said, “those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth”. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”. There is real, physical land involved in the redemption which pours forth from this book. The taking back of man’s dominion over the earth which was lost by Adam and the restoration of Israel to the Promised Land.
Ten thousand times ten
myriads of myriads, a countless multitude. A similar phrase describes the demonic horsemen, two myriads of myriads. Assuming demons are fallen angels, and only one-third of the angels fell, then the total number of the elect angels is truly staggering, essentially innumerable.
Having taken the scroll from the Father, the Lamb now begins to open the seals. As each seal is opened, a new judgment comes upon the earth. John is shown the judgments associated with the first six seals.
When the Lamb opened.
The Lamb had been slain to redeem men and the world. Having paid the ultimate price, He is now worthy to open the first seal and initiate the steps which will lead to His global rule on earth. “Each time, with the opening of a seal, nothing is read from the scroll (Lenski), but actions occur that unquestionably match the corresponding part of the scroll exposed through each consecutive seal.”
None of the horrendous judgments about to take place transpire until the Lamb opens a seal. Human history records a litany of wars, natural disasters, famines, and the like, but what is about to come forth upon the earth is completely unique. What has transpired up to now is the routine manifestation of human selfishness, sin, and the fallen world in which man lives. As Jesus explained, “all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Wth the opening of the seals by the Lamb, a divinely-initiated series of judgments begin which are historically unique in a number of aspects:
1. Severity - The judgments are more severe than any previously experienced in history. This coming day is unique so there is “none like it”. Wrath of the Lamb - Unlike previous times when God the Father has manifested His wrath upon nations, this is the time of the “wrath of the Lamb”. It is the Son, the Lamb of God, Who’s wrath is being manifested.
2. The Final Flowering of Sin - Humanism and Satanism will be at their apex on a global scale. The ascent of man, as humanists view human history, will have reached its apex—which is in reality its lowest point since the ascent is really a descent. At this time, there will be a full flowering of sin unique in all history for its depravity and extent.
3. Ushering in God’s Kingdom on Earth - The wrath of the Lamb which comes forth is not merely a disconnected judgment of sin. It is part and parcel of the sweeping away of the systems of man to make way for the promised Messianic Kingdom on earth—the only kingdom which will never pass away.
This last point, the ushering in of God’s earthly kingdom, can be seen in the similarities between the events found in this book when compared with the events leading to the establishment of the first Theocratic Kingdom on earth—when Israel was delivered from Egypt.
Since it is the Lamb Who unleashes the events about to transpire, we are not surprised by the close correlation between the sequence of events here and those which Jesus, the Lamb of God, taught would come.
1. False Messiahs: Matt. 24:5, 11; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8; Rev. 6:2.
2. Wars: Matt. 24:6-7; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9; Rev. 6:4.
3. Famines: Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:10; Rev. 6:5-6, 8.
4. Pestilences: Luke 21:11; Rev. 6:8
5. Persecution: Matt. 24:9; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-17; Rev. 6:9-11.
6. Earthquakes: Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11; Rev. 6:12
7. Cosmic Phenomena: Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24-25; Luke 21:11; Rev. 6:12-14
As the Lamb opens the seals, a sequence of events are initiated which are closely parallel to Matthew 24.The first four seals are set apart from the final three in their common representation by riders on horses.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/fourhorses%20.htm
This white horse is the first of four horses of different colours, similar to the horses seen by Zechariah (Zec. 1:8; 6:2-6). Within the context of the book of Revelation, white represents righteousness. “The white horse . . . emerges as an emblem of righteousness, though there is no guarantee that the righteousness is more than apparent.”
He who sat on it.
The similarities between this rider and Christ are striking:
1. Riding a White Horse - Both ride upon a white horse indicating victory (Rev. 6:2; 19:11).
2. Wearing a Crown - Both wear a crown (Rev. 6:2; 19:12). (But Christ wears multiple crowns.)
3. Overcome - Both are “overcomers”—victorious in their pursuits (Rev. 6:2; John 16:33; 1Jn. 4:4; Rev. 3:21; 17:14).
Even so, this is not the white horse which carries He who is Faithful and True in Revelation 19:11. For it is the Lamb who has just loosed the first seal sending this horseman out. It violates all logic for the same person to be opening the seal and sending himself forth. “Moreover, it would be inappropriate to have an angelic being called forth by Christ or his servants.” If Christ rides forth here, who is it that remains in heaven to open the remaining seals? This rider carries a bow whereas Christ’s weapon is a sword (Rev. 2:12; 19:15). This rider is alone whereas Christ is followed by the armies in heaven also riding on white horses (Rev. 19:14). Finally, this rider sets forth at the beginning of the Tribulation whereas Christ rides forth at its end.
In light of related passages, it seems best to understand this rider as representing a movement which ultimately culminates in the one whom Jesus described:
John 5:43 (KJV) “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
To an unsuspecting world he looks like Messiah, the political saviour of mankind, yet he is a deceiver, the anti- or pseudo-Christ.
Here is documented the initial appearance of the figure of the Antichrist upon the stage of world history. Although there will be numerous false messiahs down through history, there will be none as convincing and successful as this final figure. The Restrainer has been taken out of the way so that the Antichrist, the son of perdition, might be revealed in his own time.
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
He is the one who will be destroyed with the breath of the mouth of the Lamb (2Th. 2:8; Rev. 19:20).
The first six seals. . . are thus set here, in order to show us that these judgments do not arise from chance, but are all under Divine control. The great False Messiah of the first Seal cannot be revealed until the appointed moment shall have come and the voice from the throne gives the permissive command “Go!” The judgments cannot fall until the same command is given.
The bow is a symbol representing strength.
Some understand the mention of a bow, but no arrows as an indication of his initial deception by peace and agreement.
Daniel 9:27(KJV) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.
The Antichrist is seen riding a white war-horse, and with bow in hand, but with no arrow fitted to it. The symbol suggests bloodless victories.” Like Antiochus Epiphanes before him, he would “come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue . . . and after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully.
Daniel 11:21-23 (KJV)
21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
Daniel 8:23-26 (KJV)
23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: And he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise; and shall destroy the mighty, and the holy people.
25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart. And by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human hand.
26 And the vision of the evening and morning which was told is true: wherefore shut, up the vision, for it shall be for many days
There is no question among expositors that Antiochus is in view in this prophecy. What was prophesied was fulfilled literally through him. However, the prophecy looks beyond Antiochus to a future person (the Antichrist) of whom Antiochus is only a foreshadowing. This coming one is said to “stand against the Prince of princes” (Dan. 8:25). This can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the prophecy must go beyond Antiochus and look forward to the coming of one whose ministry will parallel that of Antiochus. From Antiochus certain facts can be learned about the forthcoming desecrator:
1. He will achieve great power by subduing others (Dan. 8:24).
2. He will rise to power by promising false security (Dan. 8:25).
3. He will be intelligent and persuasive (Dan. 8:23).
4. He will be controlled by another (Dan. 8:24), that is, Satan.
5. He will be an adversary of Israel and subjugate Israel to his authority (Dan. 8:24-25).
6. He will rise up in opposition to the Prince of princes, the Lord Jesus Christ (Dan. 8:25).
7. His rule will be terminated by divine judgment (Dan. 8:25). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/biblicalunderstanding.htm
So it may be concluded that there is a dual reference in this striking prophecy. It reveals Israel’s history http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Bereshith.htm under the Seleucids and particularly under Antiochus during the time of Greek domination, but it also looks forward to Israel’s experiences under Antichrist, whom Antiochus foreshadows.
So before the terrors of the Tribulation break loose and lead to the battle of Armageddon there will come a period of world peace. But it will be a deceptive peace, as the world is lulled into a false sense of security followed by war, famine, and death.
The world’s desperate desire for international peace will serve as the bait for the satanic trap. That longing for security and safety will play into the hands of Antichrist, Satan’s ruler, who will convince the world that he can provide them. He will particularly deceive Israel, whose people have for so long desired peace…
Daniel 9:27 (KJV) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Antichrist’s peace pact and protection of Israel will not last, however: “in the middle of the week [the Seventieth Week of Daniel’s prophecy = 3½ years); during the tribulation he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. The false peace that Antichrist brings will come to an abrupt halt at the midpoint of the Tribulation when he desecrates the temple in Jerusalem, betrays the Jewish people, and launches deadly attacks on them ( Matt. 24:4-10). There cannot, and will not be peace until the Prince of Peace sets up His earthly kingdom (Rev. 20:1-6).
Like Antiochus before him, the Antichrist plays a special role in relation to Israel during the events to come:
God will have specific purposes for bringing Antichrist on the world scene.
One purpose will be the punishment of Israel, the desolation of Israel by the Antichrist will be part of God’s judgment of the nation because it rejected its Messiah in His first coming [John 5:43]
A second purpose will be the repentance of Israel. God will bring the Antichrist on the world scene to play a major role in shattering Israel’s rebellion, and bringing them to their Knees in repentance.[Dan. 12:7].
A third purpose will be the judgment of the world. God will judge the world by giving it the kind of ruler it deserves.
A fourth purpose will be the exposure of the world’s unbelief. God will bring the Antichrist on the world scene and permit him to make his claim to be God to demonstrate mankind’s unbelief.
A fifth purpose will be the instigation of the final showdown between Christ and Satan’s forces and the defeat of those forces.
A crown of thorns.
Generally used of a victor’s crown or wreath.
Was given to him.
Although the rider likely believes he has gained his own crown for himself, it is only his by permission. Everything which proceeds from the opening of the seals is subject to the permission of the one seated on the throne and the Lamb. The sovereignty of God is heavily emphasized throughout the book of Revelation—there is nothing which transpires that God Himself does not grant authority for it. This is seen in the frequently-found phrase was given which denotes the granting of permission to an agent from another, namely God.
The first horseman (White) is granted his crown (Rev. 6:2).
The second horseman (Red) is given to take peace with a great sword (Rev. 6:4); Death and Hades, who ride with the…
Third horseman (Black) And he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
Fourth horseman (Pale) power to kill a fourth part of the earth.
the four angels are given the power to hurt the earth and sea. the star from heaven is given the key to loosen the demonic locusts from the abyss, who were themselves given power to torment men. the beast is given authority to continue for forty two months, and to make war against the saints and overcome them, the fourth bowl is given the ability to scorch men. All of these horrific and terrible realities—the very manifestation and flowering of sin of which God is no author—are harnessed for His purposes. The troubling and yet comforting reality is that there is no creature which ultimately does not serve God’s purpose , either willingly or unwillingly.
Troubling, because in the inscrutable purpose of God such evil is allowed to continue. Comforting, because everything we suffer is subject to God’s approval and purpose (Job 2:6; Rom. 8:28).
“How irresistible the grasp of Omnipotence on the powers and forces of evil. They are effectually bridled till the plans of God are ripe and ready for action.” Once the reality of God’s sovereignty is understood, the bondage of Satan is seen for what it is. For Satan has less freedom in rebellion against God than he once had in obedient service of the Master.
He will be endowed with the most extraordinary power…
Daniel 8:24 (KJV) And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: And he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice; and shall destroy the mighty, and the holy people.
Before his exploits the fame of Alexander and Napoleon will be forgotten. None will be able to stand before him. He will go “forth conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). He will sweep everything before him so that the world will exclaim, “Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4). His military exploits will not be confined to a corner, but carried out on a vast scale. He is spoken of as the man who will “shake kingdoms” and “make the earth to tremble” (Isa. 14:16).
Ezekiel 34:23-30 says that when God establishes His covenant of peace with Israel, the covenant will result in safety, peace with nations, and the elimination of harmful beasts by famine. By contrast, when the Antichrist establishes his covenant of peace with Israel [Dan. 9:27], God will inflict the world with conditions opposite of those His covenant of peace will bring.
He will unleash war (the sword)…
[the second seal, Rev. 6:3-4, famine
(the third seal, Rev. 6:5-6), and harmful beasts
(the fourth seal, Rev. 6:7-8) upon the earth to demonstrate that the Antichrist’s covenant of peace is not the covenant of peace that will bring true safety, as foretold in the Old Testament.
fiery red “As a colour fiery red, red (as fire).” The same colour as the dragon in Revelation 2:3.
Ultimate power rests with God who allows the judgment for His purposes.
To take peace from the earth.
Although the rider on the white horse appears to conquer by means of negotiation and avoids bloodshed, this does not last. Eventually he shows his true colours as the second rider joins the ride—bringing war and death. This may correspond to the point in Daniel’s vision where another …
Daniel 7:20 (KJV) And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.
It appears that the little horn may only progress so far by means of peace before he is forced to go to war and assert his position with violence. Shortly after this point: “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” This is the time of the “beginning of sorrows” which Jesus spoke of.
Matthew 24:6-8 (KJV)
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
A great sword.
This sword is wielded by the second horseman, but it is sent by God: This is the pattern of God’s judgment to nations who reject Him—He makes them mad and turn upon one another.
Ezekiel 38:21 (KJV) “And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains,’ saith the Lord God: ‘every man’s sword shall be against his brother.’”
A black horse.
Black which is used “Of clothing used in mourning . . . as the colour of evil.”
A pair of scales.
Here the black speaks of judgment and famine, for the rider carries a pair of scales (balances) used to weigh food and indicating its scarcity.
“The measure spoken of here is the Greek measure of capacity of very ancient usage, the choenix. As early as the time of Homer it was indicated as the amount of wage given to a workman for a full day’s work (Odyssey XIX:XXVIII). Herodotus also gives this as the measure of wheat consumed by each soldier in the army of Xerxes (VIII:CLXXXVII).” (Two pints = 1 quart and 4 quarts = 1 gallon.)
Used of wheat in the context of hardship “as an indication of severe famine and rising prices . . . Ignatius, in his fervent longing for martyrdom, uses this symbolic language . . . I am God’s wheat and will be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts.”
That famine is intended here is evident for this amount “was a workman’s average daily wage.” Men will work an entire day and barely procure enough to stay alive. “Ordinarily, from sixteen to twenty measures were given for a denarius.”
do not harm the oil and the wine
Pale is [chlōros] from which we derive chlorophyll, which denotes the green pigments found in plants. It may denote a mottled appearance, like the sorrel or dappled horses in Zechariah’s vision. Here it denotes “the colour of a person in sickness as contrasted with the appearance of health,” for the name of the rider of the pale horse is death.
Death, and Hades followed.
Death and Hades are here personified ( Isa. 28:18 where Death and Sheol sign a covenant). These two are often found together in Scripture for Hades is the destination of the unsaved upon passing through the gateway of death. This seems to be their relationship here because Hades followed behind Death—taking in the soul and spirit of those who had first died. Elsewhere, the appearance of Death with Hades may denote the destination of the material and immaterial parts of man, respectively. For the body moulders in the grave (death) while the spirit and soul enter the underworld (Hades). Thus, “Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them” may refer to the release of the spirit and soul of the unsaved from imprisonment in Hades to be joined with a bodily resurrection from the grave in order to stand before God in judgment.
The eventual casting of death and Hades into the Lake of Fire may describe the total victory over these unsavoury realities brought about by the cross of Jesus, or denote those destined for the lake—the unsaved dead whose bodies remained in the grave and souls remained in Hades until the Great White Throne Judgment. Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades. Death and Hades either both ride the same horse, or Death is the horseman and Hades follows on foot. In either case, the two are inseparable as Hades takes in all that Death supplies.
Over a fourth of the earth.
A staggering judgment when seen in relation to today’s population: If today’s  world population figure of 6 billion is used, . . . “one fourth of the earth” means that Death and Hades have authority, which they apparently will exercise, to take the lives of one and a half billion people. The magnitude of this catastrophe can hardly be grasped because nothing comparable has happened throughout history (Swete). If limited to two continents, which it will probably not be (Beckwith; Lenski; Mounce), it will amount to the elimination of people from two of the world’s most populous ones (Walvoord).
With the opening of the fifth seal, we break from the judgments associated with the four horsemen. “There are no voices of command from heaven under this seal, and no messengers dispatched from the throne; for the reason that bloody persecutions of God’s servants come from beneath—not from above.”
We now leave the “the beginning of sorrows” spoken of by Jesus behind and enter the time of tribulation characterized by martyrdom: All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Matt. 24:8-10 (KJV)
08 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
09 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
The beginning of sorrows have passed and the Great Tribulation is now upon the world, a time of unprecedented martyrdom and anti-Semitism.(Matt. 24:15-22).
The futurist interpretation takes these as the first martyrs of the tribulation of Daniel’s 70th Week. The fifth seal corresponds to Matt. 24:8-28, martyrdoms.” By now, a heightened religious persecution attends the events upon the earth for these saints did not perish due to beasts, famine, pestilence, or war—but were slain for the word of God . Their testimony was seen as a dangerous and undesirable witness against the false religious system riding the beast (Rev. 17:6). At this point in the sequence of events, the Antichrist has not yet become the Centre of all worship:
The testimony which they held.
Like the first martyr of the Church (Acts 7:59) and Antipas of the church at Pergamos (Rev. 2:13) they will hold a consistent testimony up to and beyond the point of death (Rev. 12:11). They are faithful sheep whose blood is spilled for God’s sake.
Romans 8:36 (KJV) “Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Their death is as much a part of their testimony as their life. Those who “die in the Lord” have works which follow them (Rev. 14:13).
Dwell on the earth.
Their persecutors appear to be currently living on the earth which argues for understanding these as recent martyrs from the times described by the seals. This phrase denotes the earth dwellers and has significance far beyond merely designating people who happen to be living upon the earth. In this book, it takes on a soteriological and eschatological sense as a technical phrase describing those in the end times who refuse salvation, persecute the saints, and continue to blaspheme God in the midst of judgment. These are the ones being tested by this time of trial from God (Rev. 3:10) and rejoice when God’s two witnesses are killed.(Rev. 11:10). It is they who are subject to the wrath of both God and the devil (Rev. 12:12) and who will be deceived into worshiping the beast. Even though an angel preaches the everlasting gospel to each one, they continue in their rejection of God to the end. Therefore, their names are not written in the Book of Life.
Here again a most difficult reality presents itself. God Who has the power to step in and end this holocaust at any moment instead chooses to allow it to play out in all its gruesome detail. Although we will never fully apprehend His divine patience, we know that it is explained, in part, by His great mercy toward those who have not yet turned, the glorious testimony being accrued by the martyred saints, and the filling up of the cup of injustice of the perpetrators. If He were to move immediately in vengeance at the time of their request, then some would be eternally lost that are yet to become their brethren.
Killed as they were.
They are probably being slain initially at the hand of the harlot who is…
Rev. 17:6 (KJV) And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
She rides the beast who probably does the actual execution at her behest. Once she is destroyed, then the beast himself will carry out their martyrdom. Many will be beheaded (Rev. 20:4).
Sixth seal. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/roll.htm
“It would be difficult to paint any scene more moving or more terrible than that described at the opening of the sixth seal.” Up to now, the effects of the first five seals, although unprecedented in their global impact, could still be explained away as an intensification of what history already records: conflict, war, death, famine, disease, and martyrdom. With the opening of the sixth seal, all such explanations vanish for the signs which attend this seal are unmistakable in their uniqueness and scope. The magnitude of the earthquake and cosmic disturbances that will occur when Christ breaks the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12-14) forces the conclusion that this will be an awesome expression of the wrath of God, not the work of unregenerate mankind. When the sixth seal is opened, there are unmistakable global signs of astronomical proportions, but the Lamb has yet to ride forth on His horse (Rev. 19:11)—He is still in heaven loosing seals. How can His riding forth to destroy the armies of the earth be tonight if none of these unmistakable signs have transpired? Yet Scripture teaches His coming is imminent. The answer to this dilemma, as we have seen, is in recognizing that signs precede His final arrival in judgment and His coming as a bridegroom for His bride. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/eightsigns.htm
A great earthquake.
The uniquely intense earthquakes which attend the judgments of the Tribulation period provide tangible evidence of God’s hand in the events which transpire. During the Tribulation, even though men understand the source of the earthquakes, most fail to repent (Rev. 6:16). A rare exception is the case of the great earthquake in Jerusalem, where those who avoid death,
Revelation 11:13 KJV And the same hour was was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Jesus said great earthquakes would be one of the signs of “the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7-8). The OT prophets also predicted a time where God would intensely shake the earth. Haggai revealed that global earthquakes and the overthrow of the Gentile kingdoms would precede the return of God’s glory to His (millennial) Temple:
The earthquake affects more than just the face of the earth. [Seismos] means “shaking; of a storm on the sea, with waves caused by high winds [Matt. 8:24].” In the Septuagint, it is used in…
Joel 2:10 (KJV) The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
to describe the heavens trembling. This catastrophic event extends beyond the geography of the earth to effect the cosmic realm.
The sun became black
as sackcloth of hair.
Jesus said that cosmic signs would be associated with the time of the end. From other considerations, we understand that the signs associated with this sixth seal are not the only cosmic signs of this time period. The sun and moon were created for “signs” (Gen. 1:14). They now provide indication that the events associated with this seal cannot be explained by natural phenomena—but result from the One Who controls the universe! The darkening of the sun may be from the perspective of viewers on the earth—due to material ejected into the upper atmosphere by the earthquake or the impact of asteroids in the next verse. Although the sun is darkened, the moon continues to reflect light (as if the path light follows between the sun and moon is only minimally affected). In the fifth trumpet judgment, it is smoke which darkens the sun (Rev. 9:2). Eventually, like the earth, the sun and moon are judged to show those who dwell on the earth Who the true source of light is—the Lord Himself. If the trend in our own day is any indication, worship of the heavenly bodies will still be prevalent at that time and so God interferes with that which man has idolized (Zeph. 1:5). As always, the message is to turn from dead idols to serve the living God:
Isa. 60:19-20 (KJV)
19 The sun shall no longer be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
The moon became like blood.
The entire moon in all its fullness. John uses simile to describe the effects upon the moon. The entire moon takes on a reddish appearance, as when atmospheric dust darkens or moisture refracts its light. The red appearance conveys the idea of judgment.
Stars of heaven fell
to the earth.
Stars is [asteres] from which we get the word asteroid. The word is also used of the supernatural manifestation which led the magi to the babe. Christ who is the “morning star” angels and astronomical objects. Here and in Revelation 8:10 stars are said to fall to the earth. It seems best to understand these as asteroids or meteors for even the smallest sun would consume the entire planet should it ever fall to earth.
The sixth seal presents a disturbance of nature so vast that we naturally seek to explain it as hyperbole, but this is not merely hyperbolic language these are the very signs that Jesus predicted would attend the period preceding His return:
Matthew 24:29 (KJV) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light; and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear.
In heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Isaiah had been shown this fearsome time:
Isaiah 13:9-13 (KJV)
09 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
11 I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.
In these judgments, God is shattering the puny pillars of support which men trust in when they turn away from Him.
Hebrews 12:25-28 (KJV)
25 See that ye refuse not Him That speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him That spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from Him That speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”
27 And this word, “Yet once more,” signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
The increasingly severe judgments which fall during this period are specifically designed to remove hope in all else but God so that all creatures recognize their utter dependence upon the Creator. Hope placed anywhere else is idolatry. God now begins a systematic destruction of the natural order (sun, moon, stars, earth,) and which men have often deferred to in place of the Creator. In its failure to recognize the Creator, environmentalism eventually fails in its effort to preserve the creation. Passages such as this tempt the interpreter to jettison the literal approach and “go symbolic.” Yet events which are so far removed from our daily experience as to be completely foreign need not be incredible when initiated by the hand of the Almighty. It is as if we were to try to explain the design of a nuclear plant to the ant! The construction of the starry realm is far beyond our grasp and the description which meets us here is at best an approximation which only hints at the full dimensions of what transpires. Clearly, it is an enormous and terrifying sight which could not even begin to be explained by modern physics. “This is the human perception of the magnitude of the disturbance, but is not the ultimate passage of the heavens, which does not come until Rev. 20:11; . . . The impression of all these heavenly phenomena is that the universe is coming apart.”
In response to these events, men recognize the wrath of the Lamb. Mills offers an unusual suggestion concerning the purpose for the splitting of the sky:
In order to ensure that there is no misunderstanding on the source of these disasters, God will open the heavens for an instant, and the people on earth will be given a glimpse of God and the Lamb on their thrones (Rev. 6:16). Revelation 6:14 pictures an extended scroll suddenly being split; the two ends recoil, spring-like, around the end rod to which the scroll is attached. Suddenly, earth can peer into Heaven as Stephen did in Acts 7:56. Man sees Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb. Men will know they are experiencing the wrath of God, and this knowledge will be even more fearsome to them than the great natural catastrophes they will have endured. http://godsplan.org.uk/greattribulation2.htm
Every mountain and island was moved
out of its place.
The seismic disturbances will be of such magnitude that the entire geography of the earth is permanently altered. The extensive mapping of the earth, both by GPS and sonar, will eventually be for naught as in a moment every geophysical mapping database is rendered obsolete. As great as this earthquake is, it is but a precursor to an even greater one associated with the seventh bowl at which
Revelation 16:20 (KJV) Every island fled away and the mountains were not found.
It would appear that the islands sink from sight and the mountains are leveled by God’s final outpouring of wrath.
Hide us from the face of Him.
Attempting to hide from God illustrates how sin and fear warp the intellect, for it is impossible to hide from the Omnipresent One (Job 34:22). How different the motivation of the godly from the ungodly.
Those with faith in Christ desire His presence and seek His face. (Ps. 17:15; Pr. 8:7;
Those who reject God fear His presence and flee His face.
This dichotomy is seen today in the reaction of people to the preaching of the gospel:
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (KJV)
15 For we are to God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved, and in them that perish.
16 To the one we are the savour of death unto to death; and to the other the savour of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?
At the scene of God’s final judgment of the ungodly, there will be nowhere available to hide from His face, all things are naked in His sight!
Revelation 20:11 (KJV) And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was no place found for them.
The wrath of God began earlier, when the Lamb arose from His seat to open the first seal. Now it is recognised for what it is. “It should be noted that the passage does not say that the wrath of God begins only with the sixth seal, but that only with the sixth seal do unbelievers recognise that it is the wrath of God.”
Those on the earth are ignorant of the Scriptures. Yet even they recognise that the time of God’s wrath has now come upon the earth.
From the east.
Literally, from the rising of the sun. Within Scripture, east is often the direction of the deliverance or judgment of God. It is the direction to which the glory of the Lord departed from both Solomon’s and Herod’s Temple, and the direction by which it will eventually return (Eze. 43:2-4; 44:1-2). Here, it is “the direction of God,” the direction from which God’s protective sealing comes prior to the unleashing of the judgments to come.
This is not a seal itself, but “the instrument with which one seals or stamps.” This angel carries the means by which the one hundred and forty-four thousand will be sealed “This text does not explicitly say what this seal is, but
Revelation 14:1 (KJV) suggests that it is the name of the Lamb and that of His Father ( Isa. 44:5).” Those who are to be sealed are one of three groups who survive this horrific time of judgment. Two of the groups are described in this chapter
Of the living God.
Throughout Scripture, the One True God is contrasted with dead idols who are dumb and cannot respond. Nevertheless, the pattern of history is that man has more often sought help from dumb idols than from the living God. Satan’s most successful ploy to keep men captive to idolatry, he mimics the living God by empowering the false prophet “to give breath to the image of the beast” (Rev. 13:15). Life-giving power is an intrinsic characteristic of God on…
The seal identifies them as belonging to God (Rev. 14:1) and may be similar to the promise given to the overcomer in Philadelphia that Jesus would “write on him My new name.”
Revelation 3:12 (KJV) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.
Revelation 14:1 (KJV) And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His fathers name written in their foreheads.
The picture of sealing for protection by marking the servants on their foreheads recalls a vision shown to Ezekiel in which most in Jerusalem were practicing idolatry which God was about to judge. Prior to His judgment going forth, an angel was told to;
Ezekiel 9:4 (KJV) Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.
In the judgment which followed, those without the mark (seal) of God were killed (Eze. 9:5-6).
As Master Imitator, Satan, through the beast, will mark those who are his, who are thereafter unredeemable (Rev. 14:9-10).
Revelation 7:3 (KJV) Saying, “ Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
so also we read that Satan, by his angels, will set a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev. 13:16).”
During the time of the Tribulation, it appears there will be three categories of people:
Those who are sealed and protected by God for special ministry. Rev. 7:4-8 14:1 http://www.godsplan.org.uk/faith.htm
Those who accept the mark of the beast, and are doomed They are not written in the Book of Life.
Those who refuse the mark of the beast, many of whom are martyred (Rev. 20:4).
Who were sealed.
The angel recounts the total number of individuals who, by this time, have been sealed. The seal identifies those who are set apart for special protection in the midst of the judgments from God. “The mark which denotes ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner,” in this case, God. The seal may not be visible to men, but is evident to God and the angels and demons who carry forth his judgment (Rev. 9:4). It is analogous to the sealing of believers today, who are baptized into the body of Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/gifts.htm
Seiss suggests that in order to stand in the midst of this time of unparalleled judgment and tribulation, those who are sealed will require a special measure of spiritual enablement:
One hundred and forty-four thousand (12000 x the 12 tribes of Israels Lost Tribes).
In our discussion of Interpreting Symbols , we noted the tendency of many interpreters to ignore the literal meaning of numbers whenever a cherished theological viewpoint makes the literal value given in the text unpopular. Perhaps the two most abused numbers in the entire book of Revelation are the 144,000 sealed individuals here and the 1,000 years of the millennial reign. Although this passage goes to great lengths to make plain the literal nature of what is being conveyed, this hasn’t stopped many from flights of interpretive fancy which substitute subjective conjecture for the plain facts: These sealed Jews are those who come to faith in Jesus as Messiah during the Tribulation period. They are further described as;
Revelation 14:4 (KJV) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the lamb.
…indicating that they compose the first stage of a final harvest of Jewish souls to be gathered later at the Lord’s coming in glory. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/parables.htm These comprise the “remnant” of Israel “who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.
Of all the tribes of the children of Israel. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Order%20of%20Encampment.htm
Literally: sons of Israel. These are the same twelve tribes of the children of Israel whose names are written on the gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12). These are a specific group of people who are physical offspring of Israel and differentiated from the rest of men (Zech 9:1). In the regeneration, Jesus said the apostles will rule over these tribes Luke 22:30. “Immediately after the Translation of the heavenly saints (1Th. 4:15-17), God will work in grace amongst His ancient people, and among the Gentiles at large outside the apostate part of the world.”
A great multitude which no one could
Here is a second group who will survive the time of God’s wrath—the faithful who come out of the Great Tribulation. Like the saints under the fifth seal the majority of these probably die for their faith. But their death—at the hands of the harlot and later, the beast—will be their ultimate victory as overcomers. They have successfully applied the teaching of Jesus:
Matthew 10:28 (KJV) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: But rather fear Him Which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
This innumerable company of believers indicates an innumerable company of people who come to faith in Christ during the time of the end.
of all nations, tribes, peoples, and
A fourfold designation emphasizing the global origin of this group. That the 144,000 of Revelation 7:4 cannot be symbolic of believers in general is seen by this verse. The 144,000 were from “all the tribes of the children of Israel” whereas these are from all . . . tribes. Both Old Testament and New Testament indicate that multitudes of non-Jews(Co-Heirs) will join with the believing Jewish remnant in seeking the Lamb. Like the multitude in Revelation 5:9, these too are redeemed, but at a later date. These come out of the Great Tribulation. These have come from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues. Evidently, by this time, the gospel message has indeed been preached
Matthew 24:14 (KJV) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
If the scene shown John includes future saints which have yet to die in the judgments or persecution about to come, then they will have heard the preaching of the divinely commissioned angel;
Revelation 14:6 (KJV) And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
Now that God’s servants have been sealed for protection, the seventh seal can be opened. Seven angels are given seven trumpets. The first four angels sound their trumpets resulting in great devastation to the life-supporting systems of the earth. As harsh as these judgments are, they are less severe than the remaining three trumpets to come.
We must ever bear in mind that it is the Lamb who opens each of the seals initiating the judgments which befall the earth and its citizens.
The seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments and the seventh trumpet contains the seven bowl judgments. The full effects of opening all seven seals include all seven trumpet judgments and the seven bowl judgments: 6 seal judgments + 6 trumpet judgments + 7 bowl judgments = 19 specific judgments in all. At the opening of the seventh seal, 6 judgments (the six seals) have passed and 13 remain (six trumpets and seven bowls within the seventh trumpet).
Nine. Denotes finality of judgement. It is 3x3, the product of Divine completeness. The number nine, or its factors or multiples, is seen in all cases when judgement is the subject. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thenumbernine.htm
Ten. Denotes ordinal perfection. Another new first, after the ninth digit when numeration commences anew.
The Seven Angels with Trumpets.
These are seven specific angels who are said to stand before God. Some have identified these with angels which are named in the books of Enoch and Tobit.
But God has only chosen within the pages of inspired Scripture to reveal the names of three powerful angels: Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; Luke 1:19), and Michael (Dan. 10:13; It is pure speculation to attempt to identify these specific angels other than recognising that Scripture reveals that Gabriel “stands in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19).
To them were given
The trumpets were given to the angels by divine permission. The judgments which come forth once they are blown are initiated by God.
These are the next set of seven judgments in the series of seals, trumpets, and bowls.(vials) As the judgments progress, they escalate in intensity. The trumpet judgments are more severe than the preceding seal judgments, but less severe than the bowl judgments to follow. For example, at the second trumpet, a third of the seas become blood (Rev. 8:8). At the second bowl judgment, the remaining two-thirds of the seas become blood as of a dead man (Rev. 16:3). At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, whose effects include the bowl judgments which follow, the announcement is made:
Revelation 11:15 (KJV) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “ the kingdoms of this world has become the kingdoms of our LORD and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
All this occurs in answer to the prayers of the saints. There are those who think of prayer as a complete waste of time, and are always asking:
Job 21:15 (KJV) What is THE ALMIGHTY, that we should serve Him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?
The true answer is, ‘very much
in every way.’
There is an eye that never sleeps
Beneath the wing of night;
There is an ear that never shuts
When sink the beams of light.
There is an arm that never tires
When human strength gives way;
There is a love that never fails
When earthly loves decay.
That eye is fixed on seraph throngs;
That arm upholds the sky;
That ear is filled with angel songs;
That love is throned on high.
But there’s a power which man can wield,
When mortal aid is vain,
That eye, that ear, that love to reach,
That listening ear to gain.
That power is PRAYER, which soars on high,
Through Jesus, to the throne;
And moves the hand which moves the world,
To bring salvation down!
Fire generally speaks of judgment. When John the Baptist spoke to the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism, he called them a “Brood of vipers!” and warned them of impending judgment. He spoke of a Coming One who was greater than he who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire . Those who repented and turned to God, after the Day of Pentecost, were baptised by Jesus with the Holy Spirit and joined to the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV) For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Those who rejected God would eventually be baptised with fire.
Matthew 13:41-42 (KJV)
41 The son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
In the context of this baptism, John presented two alternative categories which encompass all men: wheat and chaff:
Matthew 3:12 (KJV) His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Here, the earth dwellers get their first taste of God’s judging fire which ultimately culminates in the Lake of Fire.
Thrown to the earth.
This is the first judgment specifically targeted at the destruction of life-supporting natural systems on the planet. Even now, those who reject God worship the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). At the time of the end, God will set about destroying this idol of the earth dwellers.
People today are very concerned about saving the environment. Fears about the depletion of the ozone layer, pollution, the destruction of the rain forests, and global warming are constantly in the news. There is a passionate concern to save endangered species, everything from whales to spotted owls to California condors, and a host of lesser-known species. For many, protecting the environment has become far more than a concern for health and safety; it has become an issue of idolatry, as they worship “Mother Nature” by trying to protect and perpetuate the earth. . . . Fallen mankind has failed to recognize and honour God as Creator, choosing instead to make a god out of the earth. But the environmental, evolutionary pantheism that devalues man, elevates animals and plants, and ignores the Creator will be severely judged. “Earth Day” that year will be a gloomy and dismal affair; in a scorched and ravaged world there will be little of the environment left to celebrate. These are the judgments which the 144,000 Israelites were sealed for protection from:
Alas for the day!
Joel 1:15-20 (KJV)
15 Alas for the day, for the day of the LORD is at hand; and as a destruction from the ALMIGHTY shall it come.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners (storehouses) are in laid desolate; the barns are broken down, for the corn has withered.
18 How do the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 O LORD, to Thee will I cry; for the fire hath devoured the open pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto to Thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
A third of the sea
In the first plague which God brought upon Egypt where Aaron stretched forth his rod, all the waters of Egypt became blood (Ex. 7:19;). Here, as in Egypt, a literal judgment is in view because the result affects living creatures and ships. Later, in the pouring of the second bowl, all of the sea will become “blood as of a dead man”. Like Moses, God’s two witnesses will also have the power to turn water into blood (Rev. 11:6).
In the third bowl judgment, the remainder of the rivers and springs of water which were not poisoned in the judgments of the third trumpet also become blood. Later, it will be said of the Harlot that she is;
Revelation 17:6 (KJV) And I saw a woman drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.
During the Tribulation, God gives her literal blood to drink.
The destruction of the sea will cause tremendous upheaval to the food chain which supports all life on the planet. The divine hand is systematically removing every means by which man can continue to imagine himself as independent of the one true God.
The price of sin will include the pangs of hunger, for not only will God ensure that the world’s food supply is depleted, but He will also ensure that its meager reserves will not be bolstered, and then ensure that man’s alternate food source, the sea, will be drastically depleted.
God created the sea to be a blessing to mankind, to provide food, oxygen (much of Earth’s oxygen comes from the phytoplankton and algae in the world’s oceans), and water from the rainstorms on the land that is originally gathered up by evaporation from the oceans. But people have repaid God’s gracious provision with ingratitude and idolatry, revering the sea as the supposed source of their remotest evolutionary ancestors. As He had devastated the land environment, the true God judges the sea.
A great star fell from heaven.
The same root word as the “stars of heaven” which fell to earth at the opening of the sixth seal. In both cases, the astronomical body is most likely a meteor or asteroid.. Some have suggested that this star is an angel, possibly even Satan. This view finds support by those who understand the star, already fallen , in Revelation 9:1 to be this very star. Since the star there is clearly a spiritual being who unlocks the bottomless pit, then perhaps his fall is recorded here. Although there are many parallels between this verse and the fall of Satan the context appears to be describing a cosmological event involving a large physical object. This star is said to be burning (Lucifer the morning star) and appears to rain down upon a wide area of the globe causing the waters (God’s Word) to become polluted.
Springs of water.
Which is elsewhere translated as fountain and well, the emphasis is on water as a life-giving source. When men must exist without food or drink, it is lack of water which first leads to death. There is an intentional contrast between the experience of the earth dwellers who are dependent upon these water supplies and those in the previous chapter coming out of the Great Tribulation who are led by the Lamb to living fountains of waters. Though it is God who made these springs of water to maintain physical life (Rev. 14:7), He now destroys them to demonstrate the dependence of all life upon Him. God is systematically setting about to remove all the props which allow the earth dwellers to imagine there is no God.
[Apsinthos] : “Artemisia Absinthium” . Derived from “absinthe, a bitter, dark green oil made from certain strong-smelling plants with white or yellow flowers, alcoholic in effect; called wormwood from its use as a medicine to kill intestinal worms. The equivalent word (also translated as wormwood) in the OT is לַעֲנָה, “a very unpleasant substance to consume, which may make one sick, either a root herb, leafy plant oil, or liver-bile; wormwood, i.e., a dark green bitter oil used in absinthe Artemisia absinthium.” Significantly, God describes idolatry as “a root bearing bitterness of wormwood” (Deu. 29:17). Idolatry is a prevalent sin of the earth dwellers during this time of judgment. So God judges their bitterness of wormwood by giving them wormwood to drink. This is the same judgment, which God gave Israel when she rejected Him and pursued false Gods. (Jer. 8:14; 9:14-16; 23:15). Wormwood also describes the fruit of unrighteousness, which will be a prevalent characteristic of the…
The sun, . . . the moon, . . . the
Isaiah prophesied the darkening of all three of these sources of light during the Day of the LORD:
Isaiah 13:9-10 (KJV)
09 Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out it.
10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
In Joel’s vision of the Day of the Lord, the darkening of these same heavenly bodies attends the advance of His army (Joel 2:10-11), which are probably the demonic forces unleashed in the next chapter. The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars will be relatively frequent during the various judgments of this terrible period (Joel 3:15).
A third of the day did
The previous description implied the possibility of a continuous reduction in light, possibly due to intervening clouds or dust. Here, the implication is an eclipse or other supernatural phenomena where all light from the sun, moon, and stars is blocked for one-third of the time.
We are living today in the Mayan end times. The Great Cycle of the Mayan Long Count calendar ends on the winter solstice of 2012 A.D., less than 2 years from now. Following Mayan concepts of cyclic time and World Age transitions, this is as much about beginnings as endings. In fact, it was considered by the ancient Maya to signify the Creation of a new World Age.
The ancient Maya noticed that the winter solstice sun was slowly moving towards the Milky Way. Two great markers in the sky were converging, presenting a rare celestial juncture. Their calendar accurately tells us when this will occur, and it meant more than the birth of a new solar year. It meant the beginning of a new Great Cycle of time, the resetting of the great celestial star-clock of precession and, perhaps, an unprecedented shift in the nature of human consciousness and civilization.
3.8.13 - Revelation 8:13
An angel flying through the midst of heaven.
If an eagle rather than an angel, it is interesting to note that one of the living creatures was said to be “like a flying eagle” (Rev. 4:7). A few manuscripts have, an angel like an eagle. Since Rev. 4:7 relates to the description of one of the four living beings, it may be that John intends the eagle mentioned here to have the same significance. The midst of heaven can describe the atmospheric heavens where birds fly (Rev. 19:17). Later, it is an angel which flies through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach (Rev. 14:6).
Woe, woe, woe.
The angel announces that the judgments associated with the sounding of the final three trumpets are especially severe. “The ability of the eagle to speak . . . is insufficient ground on which to conclude it is symbolic. Animate creation other than mankind receive that ability occasionally in Scripture. The first two of the remaining three trumpets unleash demonic forces upon the world: the fifth trumpet results in the release of a demonic hoard of locusts (Rev. 9:1-12); the sixth trumpet releases four fallen angels who lead what appear to be a demonic army against mankind, and In the sounding of the seventh trumpet (the third woe), after the subsequent bowl judgments have reached their climax, the kingdoms of the world will be Christ’s. The two demonic judgments and seven bowl judgments will be especially terrible for those dwelling upon the earth. Woe is also said to the inhabitants of the earth when the devil is cast down to earth.
The threefold repetition of woe corresponds to the three remaining trumpets and emphasizes the completeness of the sorrow to follow.. “One reason for using the word [woe] which usually refers to great calamity is that these [judgments] will have people, not objects of nature, as their direct objects.”
Inhabitants of the
The ones presently dwelling upon the earth. These are the earth dwellers who will experience the remaining severe judgments to come. These are the ones who steadfastly refuse God’s mercy throughout the period of severe judgments, but continue to harden their hearts and blaspheme God (Rev. 16:21).
Dear reader, today is the day of salvation. If you have not yet left the ranks of the earth dwellers to join those whose citizenship is in heaven, beware! For each day of delay provides further opportunity for your heart to harden:
Hebrews 3:8-13 (KJV)
08 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.
09 When your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.
10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘They do always err in their heart; and they have not known My ways.
11 So I sware in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest ”
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God;
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
The first two of the final three trumpets are sounded, releasing demonic judgments upon the earth. Unlike the previous four trumpet judgments, these target men rather than natural systems. Even in the face of “hell on earth,” the earth dwellers continue in their ways and refuse to repent.
“Jesus was not speaking of Satan being cast out at that precise moment, but that his power had been broken and that he was subject to Jesus’ authority.” If the star that had previously fallen is Satan, then there is considerable irony in the fact that he now releases his demonic horde from the very region where he himself will be confined during the Millennial Kingdom.
If the angel is Satan, then some see a further description of him as “the angel of the bottomless pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11).. It is impossible to be dogmatic on this point, for it is also possible that the star which opens the pit is some lesser principality than Satan himself and “the angel of the bottomless pit” may be simply the highest ranking among the fallen angels in the pit prior to their having been loosed.
It is no accident that at the conclusion of these, the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments, we read,
Revelation 9:20 (KJV) And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
As we see in this book, God has a wry wit about His judgments, for example: “stoning” those who are guilty of blasphemy. Here he unleashes upon the world the very beings they worship in order that they may get a fill of their ways, Incredibly they will still refuse to repent!
As the scorpions of
the earth have power.
Here is another hint that these are not normal locusts because they are given power as the scorpions of the earth. This phrase implies not only that these are not scorpions (being locusts), but that neither are they of the earth. Their origin is not of the earth. Originally, they were angels of heaven, but chose to follow Satan in his rebellion, and eventually committed the serious offence which led to their confinement. Now, they are of the abyss (Rev. 9:11). Their similarity with earthly scorpions is found in their ability to inflict a painful sting (Rev. 9:5-6). Jesus mentioned “serpents and scorpions” as representative of “the power of the enemy”
but to those who believe in Him, He gives the power to tread on them ”
Luke 10:19 (KJV) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing by any means shall hurt you.
Not to harm the grass
of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree.
Here we see the reason why the last three woes—the last three trumpets—are separated from the previous four trumpets. The first four trumpets involve judgments on natural systems, including vegetation, whereas the judgments of the final three trumpets target people. In contrast to the previous trumpet judgments, the locusts are told not to harm the natural system, but to attack certain men. These are not natural locusts: “This is an unusual locust that will not attack anything green—unlike the normal locust, neither did they attack human beings.”
But only those men who
do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
Here we see the chronological relationship in the visions related by John, for in order to be protected from these locusts, the men must have already been sealed. Indeed they were, in Revelation 7:4. Thus, Revelation 9 must follow chronologically after Revelation 7.
These are the 144,000 of Israel who were sealed in Revelation 7:3, and their seal protected them in the midst of the judgments of the systems of nature. Now it provides protection from the judgment of the demonic locusts. Here is another indicator that these are not ordinary insects: they are able to differentiate between those who have God’s seal and those who do not. The seal may not be a visible mark, yet these locusts are able to detect those who are sealed. The answer lies in the fact that demons have great spiritual awareness. During Jesus’ ministry, demons frequently identified him as the “Son of God” or “Holy One of God,” a fact which was missed by His disciples and most of those whom He taught. Mark informs us that Jesus would not let the devils speak because they knew him:
Mark 1:34 (KJV) And He healed many that were sick of divers (diverse) diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him.
Luke 4:41 (KJV) And devils also came out of many, crying out and saying, ‘Thou art the Christ the Son of God!’ And He rebuking them, suffered them not to speak: for they knew that He was the Christ.”
Not only did the demons recognise Jesus, but they also recognized Paul—and that he had spiritual authority which the seven sons of Sceva lacked. (Acts 19:14-16). Thus, these demonic locusts will be able to readily identify those which have been marked for special protection by God, whether the mark is physical or spiritual in nature. Demonic Capabilities - We know next to nothing concerning the demonic realm and especially the transformative capabilities of angels—be they elect or fallen. Scripture records that angels are “ministering spirits” (Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7, 14), yet they appear in numerous passages as anatomically accurate human men . When Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John are shown the seraphim and cherubim, there is considerable difficulty describing their appearance in a manner that we could possibly grasp. The description of Satan, the “anointed cherub,” is equally fantastic (Eze. 28:12-14). Thus, we should not be surprised to find malevolent beings of immense spiritual and transformative powers with such fantastic descriptions. “They seem, from their description, to be a kind of Infernal Cherubim . The horse, the man, the lion, and the scorpion are combined in them.
Fantastic Appearance of Natural Insects - When asked to describe a simple spider or dragonfly when viewed under a magnifying glass or a flea under a microscope, how many of us would resort to similes like those of John? Most, if not all of us! The simple fact is that known insects of the natural world are almost equally bizarre—but lacking in demonic power—to those described here. Consider the following description.
The creature had four wings, each of which was covered with something like 250 thousand scales, and a tripartite body with a head as it were with six thousand eyes. Two long hair-like whips extended from its head with which it guided itself over immense distances. Its tongue was like a fire hose and one fourth the length of its body and it pranced upon six legs, the forelegs of which terminated in six needle-like spears.
A bizarre fantasy? Not at all! A female monarch butterfly. A rather benign insect at that!
Once we trade in the Golden Rule of Interpretation for the fools gold of symbolism and allegory, we embark upon a sea of conjecture concerning the identification of this judgment. Bullinger and Seiss, in defence of a literal understanding, identify the mischief which results from jettisoning a literal interpretation:
They were not given authority to kill.
Passive, it is divine permission which prevents them from killing their victims. It is God’s intention that their victims will be unable to escape the torment of the locusts through death. This is similar to the limitation which God put on Satan in Job’s testing (Job 2:6). God ultimately desires to keep these people alive so that they have the opportunity to repent and turn to Him:
They had a king over
These locusts are to be contrasted with natural locusts which have no king: “The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks” (Pr. 30:27). These demonic locusts have a king and advance like their natural counterparts:
The beast that makes war against the two witnesses is said to ascend out of the bottomless pit, his coming is:-
2 Thessalonians 2:9 (KJV) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
Meaning “to perish, become lost, be ruined.” It is translated by “destruction” and associated where it denotes a place which is seen by the omnipresence and omniscience of God. Abbadon is personified along with death as having heard of the fame of elusive wisdom (Job 28:22). It is said to be the destination of a consuming fire and is associated with the grave but differentiated from it. (Ps. 88:11). It is said that hell and Abbadon (“destruction”) are never full (Pr. 27:20). In all of these uses, it denotes a location which is associated with Sheol and the grave, but differs from them. “The rabbins have made Abaddon the nethermost of the two regions into which they divide the lower world.”
The beast that makes war against the two witnesses is said to ascend out of the bottomless pit. His coming is “according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders” (2Th. 2:9). His ascent from the pit may speak of his physical origin, the source of his spiritual empowerment, or both. It appears his ascent from the pit takes place when his deadly wound is healed (Rev. 13:3, 12) for John implies the order of events:
Rev. 17:8 (KJV) The beast that you sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
It is unlikely that the Antichrist would be found in the pit at its initial opening, already having been imprisoned with demons for an extended period of time, or that he would be said to be a king over demons. This king is an angel, but nowhere does Scripture refer to Antichrist as an angel. Instead, he is said to be a man. (Dan. 7:8; 8:23; 11:37; 2Th. 2:3). (See Man of Sin). Admittedly, there is considerable mystery associated with the Antichrist, especially regarding his origin, how he “is not, and will ascend” and the means by which his “deadly wound was healed” Yet, it seems unlikely that this king who is an angel refers to Antichrist. “John uses both names to emphasise his impact on both ungodly Jews and Gentiles.
One woe is past
This speaks of the first of the three woes. the judgment of the fifth trumpet.
Behold, still two more
woes are coming
John writes behold because, as terrible as this first woe has been, the two remaining woes are still worse. This woe brought torment, but the second woe—the judgment of the sixth trumpet—brings the release of a demonic army the likes of which the earth has never seen, (Rev. 9:13-19, 11:14) and the third woe—the judgments of the seventh trumpet—brings the seven bowls of God’s wrath.
Release the four
These four angels have evidently been reserved in bondage for this special purpose of God. Since there are only four, it is likely that they are a specific group of especially malevolent or powerful angels. Even one angel, in a single night, killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians (2 Kings. 19:35). It appears that these four angels will be assisted in their assignment by an additional demonic army. They probably serve as commanders. The number four speaks of the worldwide effect of their destruction. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/significanceofnumbers.htm
At the great river
Later, in the sixth bowl judgment, the Euphrates is dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east to gather to battle against God (Rev. 16:12-14). The mention of the Euphrates both here and in Revelation 16:12 provides further evidence that Babylon (Babel) (Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21) is the literal, historical city on the banks of the Euphrates.
To kill a third of mankind.
A third of the population of the earth would be killed by these four angels and the army which they lead (Rev. 9:16-18). Death will come by three means: fire, smoke, and brimstone. The trumpet judgments share a pattern of affecting one-third of what they target.
In the first trumpet judgment, a third of the trees were burned up (Rev. 8:7).
In the second trumpet judgment, a third of the sea became blood, a third of the creatures in the sea perish, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Rev. 8:8-9).
In the third trumpet judgment, a third of the rivers and springs are poisoned (Rev. 8:10-11).
In the fourth trumpet judgment, a third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck so as to be darkened (Rev. 8:12).
In the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments, all men without the seal of God are tormented, and then a third of them are killed.
If the first seal were loosed today [January 2010], using the current world population of over 6 billion, more than 3 billion would have died by the end of the sixth trumpet in the judgments from God. No wonder Jesus said,
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”.
Two hundred million.
Two myriads of myriads, an essentially countless number. This is a similar phrase to that found in Revelation 5:11 to describe the countless angelic host. But here, the phrase is doubled for heightened effect. The number should not be thought of as specifically denoting two hundred million, but rather a vast, essentially numberless host. Joel saw this army in his vision:
Joel Chap 2 (KJV) A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been, nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many generations. As the morning light spreads itself over the mountains, so a people numerous and strong shall spread themselves.
Some take the horses and horsemen as denoting a human army from east of the Euphrates:
Armies of this size and sophistication have only been a feasibility in recent times (indeed, the world’s population around 1600 A.D. is estimated to have been 500 million; so at the time Revelation was written the world population may well have only been 200 million—surely, only God could envisage armies of 200 million men in that day and age!). We have a prophecy of human destruction which makes World War II look insignificant.
But it would seem this multitude is neither from the east (Rev. 16:12) nor human:
To summarise why these two hundred million are demons and not Chinese, four things should be noted:
1. first, they are led by four fallen angels;
2. second, the location of the army is stated to be the Euphrates, where Babylon is located (which in the future will be the headquarters of the counterfeit trinity);
3. third, the description given in the text rules out this army’s being human;
4. fourth , the kings of the east Rev. 16:12 are not connected with this at all.
Third of mankind was killed
“The terrible slaughter will completely disrupt human society. The problem of disposing of the dead bodies alone will be inconceivable. The sickly stench of decaying corpses will permeate the world, and it will take an enormous effort on the part of the survivors to bury them in mass graves or burn them.”
Their tails are like serpents,
having heads; and with them they do harm.
The demonic locusts had tails with which they stung (Rev. 9:10), but these demonic horses differ in that their tails are like serpents rather than scorpions—having heads and a mouth. The fierceness of this army can be seen in the lethal power which attends both ends of the horses. Approaching the horsemen from the rear is of little avail since their tails also harm. Some have suggested John is describing modern military weaponry, but the description and the source of the army (demonic, from the pit) is evidence to the contrary.
But the rest of mankind, who were
not killed by these plagues
The two-thirds left from the population prior to the sounding of the sixth trumpet Rev. 9:13 representing less than half of the original population of the earth.
Did not repent.
The very reason that only one-third were killed was to provide a witness (at least two) and opportunity for the remaining two-thirds to repent and turn to God. Like Jezebel of the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:21)—who is a type for the earth dwellers of the end—they fail to see God’s gracious mercy in giving them additional time to repent. But, as we shall see, the earth dwellers continue to harden their hearts with the result that stays of judgment which indicate God’s mercy and forbearance are met with a continuance or even elevation of their sinful deeds (Rev. 16:8-11).
This is the purpose of what Jesus described to the church at Philadelphia:
Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Much like the testing of Jesus in the wilderness following His baptism by John (Matt. 4:1-11), this period is meant not so much to see how those being tested respond, but to demonstrate their unchanging character. The analogy of the Tribulation with its plagues to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt is found in the similarity of the character of the earth dwellers to Pharaoh: both refused to repent. In Pharaoh’s case, as the plagues continued to intensify, he continued to harden his heart (Ex. 7:13, 23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:34). So will the hearts of the earth dwellers. And yet, through the mystery of God’s sovereignty, the continued opposition of the unrepentant will be used to bring Him great glory (Ex. 11:9; Rev. 19:1). The proverb writer captured the spirit of the unrepentant:
Proverbs 27:22 (KJV) Though thou shouldest bray (grind) a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
It is God’s specific purpose in the midst of judgment to bring repentance. Yet often, as here, men fail to respond to His correction:
Most frequently, men complain that if only they had more definite information, then they would repent and believe. Our experience has been that the needed information is more often a smokescreen for a rebellious and unrepentant heart which has no intention of submitting to God. For we have spent many an hour in discussions with such as these—providing information and answering objections—only to find that, having answered one objection, a new one quickly arises in its place! These stand in the place of the rich man who asked that someone from the dead be sent back with more evidence to his brothers so that they would accept the horrible truth of the judgment ahead: Abraham recognizes that the problem is not one of evidence, but a hard heart. They already have enough evidence to believe, but choose not to.
Ps. 14:1 (KJV) The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.
Paul catalogues the damning condition of the unregenerate man (Rom. 3:10-18). Even after this catastrophic intervention, men will continue to reject God because they desire independence from God:
The works of their hands. http://godsplan.org.uk/serpentofgenesis3.htm
The problem is not men’s hands, but rather the will of men which motivates their hands. Their will is opposed to God and therefore what they produce by their hands does not glorify God, but rather reflects their own selfishness and sin. In the end, without God’s Holy Spirit, men become creative perverts, dangerous geniuses (Gen. 11:6), bent on creating their own hell in pursuit of what they incorrectly perceive to be wisdom and intelligence.
Romans 1:22 (KJV) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
The works of men’s hands include the very gods they bow down to (Deu. 4:28; 2K. 19:18; Ps. 115:4; 135:15; Isa. 2:8; 17:8; 37:19; 44:10-20; Jer. 1:16; 10:3-5; 25:6; Acts 7:41; 19:26). This is the thrust of the meaning here—that men continue in idolatry—
Romans 1:25 (KJV) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen.
And that which men have produced in the place of the one true God.
In the context of the Tribulation, the image of the Beast is the ultimate work of their hands since the False Prophet;
Revelation 13:14 (KJV) And decieveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and did live.
Thus, they themselves make the ultimate idol (icon) of their own worship! In the delusion which God sends upon the earth (2Th. 2:11), men worship that which they themselves made rather than the God who made them.
During the Tribulation, the ultimate devil and idol worship will take place. Men will worship the dragon (Satan) who gives authority to the beast, they will worship the beast, and even the image (idol) of the beast (Rev. 13:4, 8, 15). Scripture indicates that although idols themselves are lifeless, the inspiration to make and worship them is demonic in origin. To worship or sacrifice to an idol is to worship or sacrifice to demons (Lev. 17:7; Deu. 32:17).
Lest the reader assume sacrifice to demons is only a thing of darkened cultures of the past, we only ask how many lives are being offered up in abortion clinics in worship of the “god of convenience” in our supposedly “modern” cultures today? Not only that, but the continuance and even increase of pagan practices around the world clearly show the tendency of men apart from God. In the time of the end, it will only be worse. History records the descent of man, not his ascent.
idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood.
As one commentator entitled this section: “Stone Hearts and Stone Idols.” At the time of the end, men will worship idols made from the same basic materials as those praised by the men at Belshazzar’s feast ( 550 BC, Dan. 5:4, 23). Some readers will no doubt scoff at the notion of idol worship in the same sense as is recorded for ancient cultures. In reply we observe:
1. Scripture makes plain that when men turn from God, there is virtually no limit to the depravity and ignorance to which they descend (Rom. 1:21-23).
2. The vantage point of western “civilized” society, benefits from a strong Judeo-Christian foundation. Although that foundation is quickly eroding, we still enjoy benefits which lag behind the erosion. Our assessment of what is possible in false worship is limited by this perspective. God’s assessment is not.
3. The very idolatry described here—where inanimate items are worshipped—is taking place today in many pagan cultures across the globe.
4. Pagan belief is rapidly on the rise within our own culture, in the media, and on the internet. With pagan belief will come pagan worship, a return to the darkness of the past.
5. It can take many generations for godliness to permeate a culture and to reap its benefits. This can all be lost in only one or two generations. Consider that at two times in history every person alive knew God directly: (1) at the time of Adam and Eve and, (2) after the flood. Now stop and consider the many “lost peoples” and cultures which have no notion of God. They are “lost” in the truest sense of the word. At one time their forebears had direct knowledge of the God of the Bible, but intervening generations walked away from Him and darkness now prevails.
6. Worship of the work of men’s hands extends beyond basic idols of wood, stone, and precious metals. It includes everything that man produces which is not in the service of God. Items as diverse as weapons of war, computer technology, bioengineering and genetic tampering with the basic elements of life. It is not the items themselves that are so much the issue, but the way in which they are employed. In this regard, technology is a large mirror amplifying the fallen character of men. It can be used for good or for evil, but inevitably the evil use winds up dominating. Meanwhile, man persists in his refusal to recognise his depraved nature.
7. Descent into spiritual darkness will be hastened. “During the last century there has been a tremendous advance in what is called ‘spiritual’ but which is really spiritism or demonism. Commentators speak with one voice concerning the real possibility of demon-based worship becoming a reality for “modern man.”
Which can neither see
nor hear nor walk
An intentional contrast is made between the lifeless idols which men worship (Ps. 115:7; Isa. 46:5-7) and the true living God.
During the Tribulation, Satan will empower the false prophet to produce an idol which comes as close to emulating life as is possible apart from God:
Revelation 13:15 (KJV) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Since history demonstrates the willingness of men to worship inanimate objects, this lifelike image will be irresistible to the earth dwellers—they will worship both the beast and his image. They will be all-the-more willing because God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
2 Th. 2: 10—11 (KJV)
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
If you do not yet know God and believe it preposterous that you would worship an idol, animate or otherwise, beware! For Scripture records that aside from the protection of the Holy Spirit, those who do not know God will not be able to resist the delusion which is sent from God Himself!
Murder has always been prevalent upon the earth. In “civilized” societies such as ours, it is often hidden out of direct view and under the control of policies related to population control: abortion, euthanasia, and genetic engineering. During the Tribulation, there will be increased murders as those who refuse to worship the beast are “purged” from society (Dan. 9:21, 25; Rev. 13:7, 15; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24). Unrepentant murderers will have their place in the second death (Rev. 21:8).
“Magic potion, charm,” related to [pharmakeia] , “employment of drugs for any purpose: sorcery, magic, enchantment.” The term occurs in the list of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:20) and is translated sorcery (witchcraft, KJV). It also describes the sorcery by which Babylon deceived all the nations. “Used in the Septuagint of the Egyptian sorceries (Ex. 7:22. Of Babylon).
Sorcery was forbidden by the Law of Moses as were all practices which involved communication with the dead such as conjuring spells. consulting mediums (1sa. 28:3-9), Spiritism, or calling up the dead (really the demonic realm). This included all forms of magic (Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:31; Lev. 20:6, 27; 2Chr. 33:6; Mal. 3:5). God condemned all these practices and was indignant that men would;
Isaiah 8:19 (KJV) And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them which have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, (whisper, chatter, it is used of an unearthly sound) and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead.
Instead, they were to seek the living God. One need only view modern cartoons on television or observe the recent Harry Potter phenomenon to observe how the foundation continues to be laid for subsequent generations who will have little reservation to participate in these forbidden practices.
And interlinked with these sorceries, and reacting the one on the other, will also be the general subversion of marriage and its laws, and the deluging of society with the sins of fornication and adultery. The Apostle uses the word “fornication” alone, as embracing all forms of lewdness, but as if to intimate that marriage will then be hardly recognized any more. And already we hear the institution of legal wedlock denounced and condemned as tyrannical, and all rules, but those of affinity and desire, repudiated as unjust. Already, in some circles, we find the doctrines of free love put forth and defended in the name of right, a better religion, and a higher law. And it would be strange indeed, if the revival of the old heathen philosophies and religions, which justified, sanctioned, and sanctified promiscuous concubine age, did not also bring with it a revival of all these old heathen abominations.
The term for “sexual immorality” is also used to denote spiritual apostasy, that is, idolatry. “This usage was more easily understandable because some Semitic and Graeco-Roman cults were at times connected with sexual debauchery (Hos 6:10; Jer 3:2, 9; 2Kings. 9:22).” This is the sense in which Babylon is condemned (Rev. 17:2, 5; 18:3; 19:2).
Perhaps at the time of the end, there will also be a resurgence of idolatrous religious practices involving temple prostitution. In our own day, there is blatant disregard for the laws of marriage, even among those who take the name of Christ.
The last crime in this category is that of theft. This is “the statement or general and abounding dishonesty, the obliteration of moral distinctions, the disregard of others’ rights, and the practice of fraud, theft, and deceit wherever it is possible.” In our day corruption in high places gives the example to all classes. The only wrong exists in getting caught.
The conditions and judgments which John describes in this chapter are difficult for us to imagine. Yet if we understand the inspired pages of Biblical history, we recognize the reality of the events attending the Genesis Flood and the tower of Babel. What man has had the capability of doing in the past can easily be repeated in the future. To those who suggest that “modern man” has thrown off such shackles, we answer with just a few words: Chairman Mao, Stallin, Hitler, holocaust. These were not isolated individuals, but entire historical movements supported by countless others. The capability of the same, and worse, lies before us in the pages of the book of Revelation.
People are prone to persuade themselves that this world of sense and time is all that we need be concerned about, and hence have no fears of an unseen world of evil, and no decided or active desire for the blessings of an unseen world of good. They live only for earth, not dreaming that this brief life is only the vestibule to worlds of mightier and eternal moment. Their houses are built by the very margin of hell, and yet they rest and feast in them without a feeling of insecurity or of danger. The flames of perdition clamour after them beneath the pavements on which they walk, but they have no sense of fear or serious apprehension. God and angels are ever busy to win their attention to the ways of safety, but they turn a deaf ear and drift along as they list, crying, Peace! Peace! And so will the wicked and the unbelieving go on,
until ignored and offended Omnipotence gives over the power to Satan to let loose upon them these horrid beings from the abyss, under whose torment they will wish they never had lived at all, and vainly attempt to make their escape from what they once considered their chief and only good.
For those who have not yet trusted in Jesus Christ for a way back to God, now is the time to be reconciled of your sin. For each day which passes brings us closer to the fearsome realities described in this chapter: the incredible scenes of hellish torture as demonic hordes are released upon an unsuspecting world. But more frightening than all is the lack of any willingness to repent on the part of those left alive who dwell on the earth! How often must one harden his heart before he reaches the point of no return? Will you still be able to consider God’s offer with an open heart tomorrow after having turned away one more time today?
The judgments of the first six seals and first six trumpets are now behind us. The seventh trumpet yet remains—containing the seven bowls—which is itself within the seventh seal in a similar way to which chapter 7 stood between the sixth and seventh seal judgments, this chapter is placed between the sixth and seventh trumpets and sets the stage for that final trumpet.
These interludes encourage God’s people in the midst of the fury and horror of divine judgment, and remind them that God is still in sovereign control of all events. During the interludes God comforts His people with the knowledge that He has not forgotten them, and that they will ultimately be victorious.
This part of the Apocalypse is sometimes treated as an episode, thrown between the second and third woe-trumpets, and having little or no relation to either. This is an error. We have still to deal with the blast of the sixth Trumpet. It is only in the fourteenth verse of the eleventh chapter, that we find the note of indication that the woe of the sixth Trumpet is accomplished.
The theme of this chapter appears to be the declaration of God’s intention and right to take possession of the earth—both land and sea—and to bring to fulfillment the many prophetic themes found in Scripture which point to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The judgments which come forth in the seventh trumpet (which include the seven bowls of God’s wrath) are in many ways parallel to the judgment of the flood in the days of Noah. Jesus compared the suddenness of the judgments of the end with the suddenness with which Noah’s flood arrived upon an unsuspecting populace (Mtt. 24:37-38; Luke 17:26). We see an allusion to the judgment of Noah in the rainbow which is on the head of the mighty angel who occupies the central role in this chapter (Rev. 10:1).
Although we may not know what the seven thunders said, we can infer from the context and related passages that it concerns aspects of the remaining seven judgments (the seven bowls/vials subsumed within the seventh trumpet) which result in …
Revelation 11:15 (KJV) kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of the Father and His Christ.
As to their contents, perhaps they uttered “inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2Cor. 12:4). Perhaps their contents would be unbearable down through the centuries:
So terrible are they that God in mercy withholds them, since “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” The godly are thus kept from morbid ponderings over the evil to come; and the ungodly are not driven by despair into utter recklessness of life.
Raised up his hand to heaven
Raising the hand was a common
practice when taking an oath. Another powerful angel lifted both hands before
Daniel to swear “by Him who lives forever”
Swore by Him who lives forever and ever.
Here and in Daniel 12, the
angels swear to underscore the unchangeable nature of the message they give. In
both cases, the aspect of the message being emphasised is the timing
with which prophesied events will take place. Daniel’s angel indicated that the
final period when the power of Israel would be shattered would be “times, time and half a time” (Dan. 12:7).
Here, the angel tells John that the long history of delay where God’s grace
prevented Him from moving in final judgment has come to an end. There is no
higher person by which one can swear than the eternal God (Rev. 1:18; 4:9).
Who created heaven and . . . the earth and . . . the sea.
Emphasis is placed upon the identity
of God as Creator, for the declaration of the angel in this chapter is
intimately connected with God repossessing the title to the earth (both land
and sea, indeed the entire creation), which has been marred by the
interposition of sin and Satan. Mention of God’s creative acts over both the earth
and sea parallels his stance (Rev. 10:2). God owns that which He
has created. (Gen. 2:1; 1Cor. 10:26)!
There should be delay no longer
Revelation 6:10 (KJV) And they cried with a loud voice saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.
Signifying not the abolition of time, which is impossible, but that there would be no further delay or waiting for the accomplishment of God’s covenanted and promised purposes.
The truth of this statement is found in the response of the devil after having been cast to earth. Although prophetic events such as the coming of Christ for His church and the Day of the Lord are Imminent—they could begin at any time—history has evidenced a delay in the consummation of things:
Habakkuk set forth the principle of the patience that is needed in regard to prophetic pronouncements of God:
Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV) For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
God’s prophetic timetable is not ours. How often we forget! The result is the discrediting of His Holy Word as we misrepresent that which it teaches by making it conform to our own expectations concerning the age within which we find ourselves in the plan of history. But we must be patient! God’s predictions are sure, but they are for an appointed time which He alone knows. Let us remember that!
1Timothy 6:15 (KJV) Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
In the days of the sounding of the seventh angel.
This refers to the time period during which the seventh angel sounds and the final seven bowl judgments pour forth.
The mystery of God.
A mystery is something which is unknowable by man unless revealed by God:
NT mysteries reveal information which was not previously made known: “The mystery: of…
Revelation 10:7 (KJV) But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.
is that there will be a series of seven climactic judgments that will destroy the satanic mystery of the man of sin. This was not revealed in the Old Testament.”
He declared to His servants the prophets.
Declared is, the announced good news. The message declared to the prophets was ultimately one of good news: the gospel! Not only of Christ’s provision for man’s sin, but of God’s ultimate reclamation of fallen creation. The complete gospel includes much more than individual redemption, but extends to the entire redemptive revelation of God:
The mystery previously hidden refers to all the unknown details that are revealed from this point to the end of Revelation, when the new heavens and new earth are created. God had preached that mystery (without all the details revealed in the New Testament) to His servants the prophets in the Old Testament, and men like Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah wrote of end-time events. Much of the detail, however, was hidden and not revealed until the New Testament (for example in Matt. 24, 25, and 2Thess. 1:5-2:12), and more particularly in the previous chapters of Revelation.
Peter emphasized this same truth in his first sermon after the Day of Pentecost, that heaven would receive Jesus:
Acts 3:21 (KJV) Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
This is an act of redemption, but on a far grander scale than human
salvation alone. Our kinsman-redeemer will restore the entire created order.
Take and eat.
You take and you eat! The response of the mighty angel to John indicates his superior power and is intended to overcome John’s reluctance to touch, much less take, this important book held in the hands of such a mighty being.
The emphasis is upon John completely consuming what he is given to eat. Eating God’s Word is a frequent theme of Scripture and indicates the acceptance, digesting of, meditating upon, and sustenance derived from that which is eaten (Jer. 15:16).
Job 23:12 (KJV) Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
Jesus, the Word of God, referred to Himself as the Bread of Life (Job 23:12; John 6:27-35, 48). In the same way that God made Israel dependent upon manna, so too are His servants to be dependent upon his Word.
John was told to eat prophetic revelation much like that of Ezekiel.
It will make your stomach bitter.
Used “Of honey when wormwood is mixed.” How well this describes God’s prophetic Word! It is honey for the obedient, but mixed with wormwood in the face of disobedience. (Rev. 8:11) This is the very essence of the Word of God. For those who follow it, it is the Word of Life. For those who reject it, it is the Word of Death. This dual nature of God’s Word was understood by Paul:
2 Cor. 2:14-16 (KJV)
14 Now thanks be unto God, Which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and make it manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one we are the savour of death unto to death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
The bitterness would develop after John had
tasted its sweetness, when its contents were fully digested. “There
was sweetness in the assurance that the prayers of God’s Israel,
who had ‘cried day and night unto Him,’ were about to be answered.” But
the mature student of God’s prophetic Word will come to appreciate its
bitterness. The new believer, excited by the prospect of God’s intervention
into history, readily exults in God’s prophetic program, but often fails to
appreciate the alternate aspect of the fulfillment of God’s promises—the
eternal damnation of those who have not yet trusted in Christ. The bitterness
which John will experience is an appreciation of God’s grace and mercy and the
realization that in the completion of the mystery of God, judgment will have
overcome the current age of mercy resulting in the eternal loss of countless
persons who continue in their rejection of God. For undoubtedly the book
and mourning and woe”
The group John is to prophecy about includes those who “dwell on the earth,” who view the bodies of slain witnesses (Rev. 11:9). This is the same group which an angel preaches the everlasting gospel to (Rev. 14:6). These are the ones upon which the harlot, Babylon, sits (Rev. 17:15). About is [epi] which can also be translated against (Luke 12:52-53). For much of what John relates is both about and against the earth dwellers around the globe.
Temple of God
The word for temple, has two general meanings in relation to the house of God in Jerusalem.
(1) In a narrower sense, the inner sanctuary within a sacred precinct where the divine being resides shrine, (inner) temple (Matt. 27.51);
(2) In a broader yet specific sense, the sanctuary in Jerusalem consisting of the (outer) Holy Place and the (inner) Holy of Holies temple (Matt. 26.61).” The term probably refers to the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place, where only the priests were allowed access. The inner sanctuary, where the divine being resided, is where Jesus predicted the “abomination of desolation” (Asherah) would one day stand in the holy place [topō hagiō] , Matt. 24:15. The man of sin, the son of perdition, will also sit in “the temple of God” (2Th. 2:4). This refers to a rebuilt Temple yet future to our time, often called the Tribulation Temple.
It has been given.
The portion of the temple which is not under the control of the Jews has been given to the nations to tread. (Muslims) Once again, we see the sovereign purpose of God in the events surrounding the temple during the Tribulation. It is He who has ultimately given control of the outer court to the Gentiles. When Asaph contemplated the apparent success of the wicked, he lamented how God’s…
Psalms 74:1-7 (KJV) Thine enemies roar in the midst of Thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs . . . They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, They have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.
In the setting of Asaph, the temple had been completely destroyed (Isa. 63:18). Here, only a portion of the temple is in the hands of the nations.
Often translated as nations in Revelation. These are the nations which John was just told to prophesy about (Rev. 10:11). Hence, he is already beginning to fulfill that command. The emphasis on a portion of the temple precincts being given to the Gentiles (or nations) supposes that the main part of the temple proper is under the jurisdiction of non-Gentiles, that is, the Jews.
This casting out of the court of the Gentiles because it is the court of the Gentiles, proves the present dispensation at an end. Now Gentiles and Jews stand on the same level. The one has no prerogatives or rights above the other. In the Church there is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but all nationalities and conditions in life yield to one common brotherhood and heirship. The text, therefore, tells of a new order of things. . . . the Jew is again in the foreground for the fathers’ sakes, and the Gentiles are thrust back.
they will tread the holy city underfoot
There is only one holy city within Scripture: Jerusalem. In some cases, the phrase refers to the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven (Rev. 21:2; 22:19), but here it is clearly the earthly Jerusalem because a portion of it has been given to the nations to tread . . . underfoot. The treading of the holy city is typified by the similar occupation and desecration of the sanctuary by Antiochus Epiphanes in the days of the Maccabees:
For forty-two months.
The “holy city” which is to be tread underfoot is none other than the “holy city” upon which the seventy weeks of Daniel are determined (Dan. 9:24), of which one-half of the final week is mentioned here as “forty-two months” and as “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 11:3).
Jeremiah explains the reason the
times of the Gentiles will come to an end is so that the nation of Israel will be
free to serve God under the Messianic economy of the Millennial Kingdom. It is
God’s jealousy over His chosen nation which will bring this about. Woe to the
nations who will fail to appreciate God’s zeal for Israel
My two witnesses.
It is an angel which is speaking with John (Rev. 11:1). Yet here, the speaker speaks of the two witnesses as being his own.
(1) The angel is speaking in the first person for God;
(2) The angel speaking to John is the second person of the Trinity;
(3) The voice is that of God directly from the throne.
These witnesses are said to be my witnesses because, like the prophets who preceded them, they are dedicated to speaking forth His word and judgments as His servants (Rev. 10:7). There are two witnesses because two is the number of witness prescribed by the Law of Moses. (Num. 35:30); We concur with many other interpreters who see abundant evidence indicating the witnesses are to be understood as two individuals:
(1) The return of Moses and Elijah;
(2) The return of Enoch and Elijah;
(3) Two future prophets who minister in the power and character of Moses and Elijah.
If God wished us to know He could have told us. The fact that He has not done so ought to stop our mouths.
They will prophesy.
Their ministry will be like that of John (Rev. 10:11) in that their prophecy will be global in extent, for they shall not only prophecy (which includes correction and exhortation), but they will also torment those dwelling on the earth (Rev. 11:5-7, 10).
One thousand two hundred and sixty days.
This is the first half of the final week of the seventy weeks of Daniel, before the beast reaches ascendancy and is able to overcome them (Rev. 11:7). It cannot be the latter half of the week as some suggest:
1. It is the beast who is destroyed at the close of the week (Rev. 19:20), not the witnesses. It is more natural to understand the overthrow of the Jewish prophets as leading to the defilement of the Temple in the Abomination of Desolation to follow. Prior to their overthrow, they are invincible and almost certainly would not allow the beast to sit in the Holy Place to declare himself as god (2Th. 2:4).
2. Why would the two Jewish witnesses, who are key in the revival of the Jews during the Tribulation, be found in Jerusalem after the Jews have fled elsewhere due to the intense persecution of the dragon which begins at the midpoint of the final week (Mtt. 24:15; Rev. 12:6, 13-14)?
3. How could the beast overcome the witnesses at the end of the 70th week and the world throw a big celebration at the very time Antichrist is heavily involved with the Campaign of Armageddon and Christ arrives?
4. The overthrow of the prophets would more naturally contribute to the rise and fame of the beast.
5. If Christ returns with the resurrected saints to the earth at the end of the 70th week, why do these two resurrected witnesses ascend to heaven?
These problems disappear if the 1,260 days mentioned here are understood as denoting the first half of the week, including a powerful witness to Jerusalem culminating in the ascent of the beast to overthrow the witnesses and exert full control over the Temple, as Paul relates of the man of sin (2Th. 2:4).
Sackcloth was a rough, course cloth,
or a bag-like garment made of such cloth which was worn as a symbol of
mourning, grief, or repentance. Its association with mourning and sorrow may
have been not only due to its coarseness on the wearer, but also because it was
made from black goat hair. When prophets wore sackcloth, it indicated their own
brokenness over the message of doom and judgment which they themselves were
delivering. Prophets were never cavalier in their dire predictions, but grieved
over the judgment they proclaimed (Isa. 20:2). In this sense, the sackcloth of
the two witnesses is akin to the bitterness which attended John’s consumption
of the little book of prophecy. The sackcloth indicates the message of the two
witnesses is one of impending judgment to which their listeners should respond
in repentance. Although this chapter records a rare case of repentance in the
judgments of God at the time of the end, it is not directly due to the
testimony of the witnesses (Rev. 11:13). The pattern elsewhere is one of
failure to repent (Rev. 9:21; 16:11)
And the two lamp stands.
The same word which described the seven lampstands which were the Seven Churches of Asia. Evidently, these two lamp stands will serve a similar purpose to the seven lampstands (the churches). As in the previous phrase, the definite article (the ) points to a pair of olive trees and lamp stands which would be known to John. The allusion is to Zechariah’s fifth vision (Zec. 4:1-14) wherein Zechariah is shown a lampstand of solid gold with seven pipes feeding seven lamps. The lamps are fed by a shared bowl of oil which stands between two olive trees into which the oil from the trees drip (Zec. 4:3, 12). When Zechariah asks an angel concerning the identity of the two olive trees and the fruitful oil-dripping branches which extend from them, the angel responds:
Zechariah 4:14 (KJV) Then said he, “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
(lit. “sons of
oil”) They are two who are
anointed by oil (a common figure for the Holy Spirit).
The fifth vision ends with the statement that the two “sons of oil” stand beside the Lord of the whole earth. In the fourth vision, Joshua is said to be standing before the Angel of the LORD. Throughout the fourth vision, it is the high priest Joshua who is being encouraged. In the fifth vision, Zerubbabel is told that the construction of the temple will be completed “
Zechariah 4:6 (KJV) Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, “This is the word of the LORD unto Zerrubbabel, saying, Not by Might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Thus, it is by the hand of Joshua and Zerubbabel that the Holy Spirit will accomplish the restoration of the second Temple. “While in relation to the remnant of Israel at that time, and to the Temple then in building, we are to understand by these two ‘sons of oil’ the actual persons of Joshua and Zerubbabel, it is certain that these two, considered merely as individuals, do not exhaust the symbol, for the simple reason that the supply of oil for the candlestick is a vision designed to describe the abiding, and especially the future position and mission of the congregation of Israel, and could not be represented as dependent on the lives of two mortal men. They must therefore be viewed standing here as types or representatives of the kingly and priestly offices to which they respectively belonged.” The allusion back to Zechariah’s visions is further proof of the Jewishness of these individuals, but also underscores their function in bringing Israel toward the final restoration seen by Zechariah. The Church Age having come to a close, the focus has shifted back to Israel in preparation of a faithful nation suitable for the Millennial Kingdom to come.
It would seem there are three alternatives for interpreting the passage before us:
1. Purely Figurative - The fire which proceeds from their mouths speaks of general judgments which are spoken forth by the two witnesses. The judgments result in death, but not necessarily by literal fire.
2. Partly Figurative - Literal fire devours their enemies. The fire “proceeds from their mouth” in the sense that, like Elijah, they call forth fire from heaven upon their opponents (1Kings. 10:10-12).
3. Purely Nonfigurative - Literal fire actually proceeds directly from their mouths (like the demon horses of Rev. 9:17).
Shut heaven. so that
no rain falls in the days of their prophecy.
James refers to the similar event in Elijah’s life to underscore the power of prayer in the life of believers. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months” (Jas. 5:17). Both Jesus and James inform us that the heaven was shut against rain for a period of three years and six months—a period of time matching the days of their (the two witnesses) prophecy : 1,260 days (Rev. 11:3).
When they finish their
As we have seen throughout the book of Revelation, the ability of the evil forces which manifest during the time of the end is entirely within God’s sovereignty. These two witnesses may not be killed until they have finished their God-given task (John 17:4). So it is with all believers (John 21:18-23; Acts 20:24; 2Ti. 4:7).
Which was used of wild animals including those which fought in the Roman arena. The term is also used to describe animals as revealed in visions, such as that of Daniel It is to be contrasted against the diminutive for Lamb, This name “the Beast” contrasts the Antichrist from the true Christ as “the Lamb;” and it is a significant fact that by far the great majority of passages where the Lord Jesus is so designated are also found here in the Apocalypse. The “Lamb” is the Saviour of sinners; the “Beast” is the persecutor and slayer of the saints. The “Lamb” calls attention to the gentleness of Christ; the “Beast” tells of the ferocity of the Antichrist. . . Under the Law lambs were ceremonially clean and used in sacrifice, but beasts were unclean and unfit for sacrifices.
Revelation mentions two different beasts:
Antichrist (Rev. 13:1) and the
False Prophet (Rev. 13:11). Which beast is in view here?
Evidence indicates it is Antichrist who slays the witnesses.
Pink cites the Teaching of the Apostles (said to be dated to the beginning of the 2nd century), the writings of Cyril (Bishop of Jerusalem in the fourth century), and Gregory of Tours (who wrote at the end of the 6th century) as evidence of the early view that the Beast is an individual rather than a system. He attributes the idea that the Antichrist was the Roman system to the Waldenses: “It is not until we reach the fourteenth century (so far as the writer is aware) that we find the first marked deviation from the uniform belief of the early Christians. It was the Waldenses,—so remarkably sound in the faith on almost all point of doctrine—who, thoroughly worn out by centuries of the most relentless and merciless persecutions, published about the year 1350 a treatise designed to prove that the
system of Popery was the Antichrist.
“This shows that these
Witnesses are upon the earth during the thirteenth chapter; and that the Beast
is on the Earth during the eleventh chapter
A trademark of the beast, and the dragon who empowers him, is his incessant opposition to the people of God. In addition to these two witnesses, he makes war against the saints in general, and against the Jews in particular.
Overcome them, and kill them.
Here is the one who rides forth “conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). This is another external similarity between the beast and the Lamb.. He appears to overcome in the eyes of the world, but those he kills are the true overcomers (Rev. 2:11; 12:11). He overcomes the witnesses after he is restored from his deadly wound:
Their dead bodies will lie in the street.
Lack of burial is particularly repugnant to the Jews. “For a corpse to remain unburied or to be exhumed subsequent to burial, and thus become food for beasts of prey, was the climax of indignity or judgment. The beast and earth dwellers purposefully leave the bodies of the witnesses unburied as an intentional dishonour and insult. This is another indication of the Jewishness of the context.
The great city.
The same phrase is used elsewhere to
describe Babylon earthly Jerusalem (Rev.
16:19), and the heavenly Jerusalem. Both Babylon and earthly Jerusalem have
great significance in the scenario of the Tribulation. One is the centre of the
anti-God system of Babylon, whereas the other is the earthly city where God has
placed His name.. It is within this latter great city, Jerusalem, that the Tribulation
Temple will stand which Antichrist desecrates (Rev. 11:1-2). The
identity of the city among the three possible locations (Babylon, earthly
Jerusalem, heavenly Jerusalem) is established by its identification as the
place “where also our Lord was crucified.”
Those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations.
A fourfold designation indicating global
scope—all the peoples of the earth. This is the global community which John was
told he “must prophecy again about” (Rev.
10:11), over which the beast is granted authority (Rev. 13:7), and upon which
the harlot sits (Rev. 17:2, 15).
Will see their dead bodies.
The phrase “from the
peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations” generally speaks of a global
community which is worldwide in scope and not necessarily restricted within a
single city. It is unlikely that we are to understand this as describing a group
of people from the global community who are resident in Jerusalem
at the time, but that the populace of the entire globe is aware of the events
which are transpiring. Television or a similar technology would be a natural
explanation in our own day. Bullinger, writing before 1913 and the advent of
television said: “The older commentators might have felt a
difficulty in understanding how the whole earth could rejoice at an event
happening in Jerusalem. But in these days of electric inventions, telephones,
and wireless telegraphy, we all know how the next day the whole world sympathises or rejoices together.”
The global audience will not just see the dead bodies at the time they are slain, but will continue to observe the bodies over the three-and-a-half day period. That these are not to be taken as lengthy periods, but literal days, is seen from their lack of advanced decomposition at the time of their resurrection. Their bodies would have probably remained exposed and allowed to slowly decompose over an extended period, but God intervenes and resurrects them on the third day. Three days speaks of life and resurrection.
Not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
There are at least two reasons burial is withheld from the witnesses: Jewish Sensibilities - One reason their bodies will remain unburied is as an intentional insult to Jewish sensibilities which consider lack of burial an indication of being judged or cursed.
Trophies to the Beast.
Not only will their bodies be withheld from burial, but it seems likely they will be proactively protected from disturbance by scavengers, such as birds and dogs which would normally descend upon unguarded carcasses. They are prevented from burial and protected from scavengers because they serve as trophies which testify to the power of the beast and the victory of the world over the torment which they delivered at the hand of God. So long as they lie inert on the pavement they provide visual confirmation of the superiority of the beast (Rev. 13:4).
Those who dwell on the earth.
This technical phrase denotes the global populace of the time of the end who consistently oppose God (Rev. 9:20), worship the beast (Rev. 13:8), and reject the things of heaven in favour of the things of earth. They are the ones for whom the time of testing is purposefully designed (Rev. 3:10).
The same root word describes “eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). It is used “of religious and spiritual jubilation rejoice, celebrate, be jubilant (Acts 2:26).”
Although they make merry for a few days, their triumph will be short-lived:
Breath of life from God entered them. Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV) Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Here it speaks of the life-giving force which animates men’s bodies of clay (Gen. 2:7; Job 33:4). The return of the spirit by the power of God attended the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:54).
Although there are significant
parallels between the breath of life which animates the dead witnesses and that
which will animate the nation of Israel, the spiritual restoration of the
nation is not in view here. This is a literal resurrection of two individuals.
The Jewish nation has not yet been spiritually revived as evidenced by the
opposition to the witnesses by many residing in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:13). At this
point in the events of the end, the spiritual revival of the Jews is in
progress, but not yet complete (Rom. 11:25-26).
Great fear fell on
those who saw them.
The “peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations” were watching the bodies of the dead prophets for the entire period they lay in the street and now saw them stand as they watched! Their rejoicing is cut short as they witness the unthinkable—the two dead, partially decomposing corpses rise to their feet. What they see is manifestly impossible, yet impossible to deny. Unlike the resurrection of Jesus which was witnessed by relatively few, this resurrection is seen by an international audience of probably many more. The testimony to the superiority and victory of the beast unravels in a moment and exultation turns to great fear as the power of God is seen to overcome even the death inflicted by the beast. The demonstration of God’s power universally results in fear, especially for those who do not know Him (Jos. 2:9; Mtt. 27:54; Acts 5:5, 11).
The phrase those who saw them seems to speak directly to the global community rather than denoting a subset of peoples who happen to be present in Jerusalem at the time of their resurrection. The implication is that their resurrection is seen as part of a global broadcast.
Their enemies saw them.
We are specifically told that their resurrection is seen by their enemies. Their resurrection is perhaps the greatest moment of their ministry since they manifest the power and promise of God:
the power to overcome death and the promise to raise believers from the grave. This, their greatest and last testimony, is not ineffectual for it contributes to the fear of those who survive the coming earthquake and results in their apparent salvation.
A great earthquake.
There are numerous earthquakes during the Tribulation. A previous great earthquake attended the opening of the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12). As great as this earthquake is, a still greater earthquake—the greatest of all recorded history—is yet to follow at the pouring forth of the seventh bowl judgment (Rev. 16:17).
A tenth of the city fell.
In the subsequent earthquake associated with the seventh bowl, Jerusalem is said to be:
Revelation 16:19 (KJV) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Great Babylon came in rememberance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
In this lesser precursor to the final great earthquake, only one tenth of the city falls. Only a portion falls resulting in a relatively lesser death toll in order to provide opportunity for those remaining to respond in repentance and turn to God.
The rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thetwowitnesses.htm
Since the ministry of the two witnesses occurs during the first half of the final week of Daniel, they are overcome by the beast near the midpoint of the Tribulation. During this period, it appears that the covenant of the Antichrist is in effect (Dan. 9:27) and the Jews have control of the Temple, except for the outer court, and are able to worship and offer sacrifices there (Rev. 11:1-2). Thus, the covenant has not yet been broken, the Abomination of Desolation has not yet transpired, and the most intense Jewish persecution has not yet occurred.
Thus, it is likely that the majority of the population of Jerusalem is still Jewish up to the point that the two witnesses are killed and resurrected. This would make sense since, as we have noted, the ministry of the two witnesses is very similar to Jewish prophets of old, both in their God-given powers and their wearing of sackcloth. Although the ministry of the two witnesses obviously affects the entire world, it is uniquely Jewish and seemingly designed to have the greatest impact upon those who are Jews and who have not yet accepted Jesus as Messiah. When a tenth of the city falls, the remaining population is said to give glory to the God of heaven. Their response to the final ministry of the two witnesses—their resurrection—and the subsequent earthquake is markedly different than that of the earth dwellers in general as recorded elsewhere in the book of Revelation for these apparently repent. The text says they fear and give glory to God! In concert with the 144,000 sealed of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8), this would appear to be further evidence of the ongoing spiritual regeneration of the Jews which Paul so plainly predicted:
The second woe is past.
The woes referred to here are the three woes which correlate with the last three trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:13). These are more severe than the previous four trumpet judgments and target men rather than natural systems. The second woe refers to the judgments attending the sounding of the sixth trumpet. This verse provides a helpful indicator which correlates the events of Revelation 10 and 11 with the trumpet judgments which were underway in Revelation 8 and 9. Although the immediate effects of the second woe (the sixth trumpet judgment) comes to a close with the ending of chapter 9, we are here told that the events recorded in Revelation 10 and 11 transpire before the end of the second woe—that is during the times of the opening of the seven seals and the sounding of the first six trumpets. This confirms our observation that the “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” during which the two witnesses prophecy
coincides with the first half of The 70th Week of Daniel
The seventh angel sounds the seventh trumpet (Rev. 8:2). This last of the seven trumpets is not to be confused with the “last trump”.
Kingdoms of this world.
The use of the singular term kingdom of the world instead of the plural “kingdoms” introduces an important truth. All of the world’s diverse national, political, social, cultural, linguistic, and religious groups are in reality one kingdom under one king. That king is known in Scripture by many names and titles, including the accuser, the adversary, Beelzebub, Belial, the dragon, the “evil one”, the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the roaring lion, the ruler of the demons, the ruler of this world, the serpent of old, the tempter, and, most commonly, the devil, and Satan.
The sounding of the seventh trumpet “proclaims the coming coronation of earth’s rightful king, the answer to the prayer of the ages, ‘thy kingdom come’ [Matt. 6:10].” The seventh trumpet is typified by Zadok’s blowing of the horn when Solomon was anointed as King (1Kings. 1:39). The coming of the kingdom of God is connected with the overthrow of Satan (Rev. 12:10) and involves the reclamation of the earth as the Lord’s, but for now, Satan is “god of this age” (Matt. 4:8-9; 2Cor. 4:4).
The event is so certain in the sounding of the seventh angel that it is treated as if it is already past. However, the kingdom will not have arrived in totality until all seven bowl judgments are poured forth (Rev. 16:17) and the King Himself returns to earth to defeat the armies of the nations. That day is described by many passages of which a small sample appears below:
An appellative the Anointed One, the Messiah. This speaks of His office as the promised Anointed One and is a direct allusion to the Father’s pronouncement concerning the Son:
Psalms 2:1-3 (KJV)
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and His Anointed,
3 Saying, Let us break Their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.’
The anointed of His is a direct parallel to, the Christ of His . The seventh trumpet proclaims the impending fulfillment of Psalm 2, especially verses 7-9 which will be realized in the pouring forth of the final seven bowls:
Forever and ever.
Into the ages of the ages. His kingdom is without end the nations were angry and Your wrath has come. This refers to the rage of the nations (Ps. 2:1) exhibited throughout the Tribulation by an unrelenting opposition to God. The response of God to the anger of the nations was predicted long ago:
Psalms 2:5 (KJV) Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.
The nations of the Tribulation are ruled by unwise kings who fail to;
Psalms 2:12 (KJV) Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little, blessed are they that put their trust in Him.
The wrath of God speaks of the entire period of the judgments which are being loosed upon the earth, beginning with the first seal loosed by the Lamb. Even the earth dwellers understood that God’s wrath was being poured forth at the time of the opening of the sixth seal (Rev. 6:16-17). Yet, this statement is made in response to the sounding of the seventh trumpet which proclaims a period of intensified judgment specifically characterised as seven “bowls of the wrath of God” (Rev. 15:7; 16:1). In these impending “seven last plagues … the wrath of God is complete” (Rev. 15:1).
The time of the dead that they should be judged. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/satancomesfirst.htm
Here it denotes a “specific character of time” —the time during which God will judge the dead. Every man, once dead, will face judgment (Heb. 9:27). To Daniel it was revealed that the time of Jacob’s trouble would precede the time of the judgment of the dead and that there would be two categories of resurrection: to everlasting life and to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:1-3). Later in the book of Revelation, we will find that the timing of these two categories of the resurrected dead differs by at least one thousand years. All the righteous dead are resurrected by the advent of the Millennial Kingdom in order to participate therein, whereas the unrighteous dead are not resurrected until after the final rebellion at the close of the Millennial Kingdom.
The resurrection of the unsaved dead and their final judgment is referred to as “the second death.” For the saved dead who participate in the first resurrection preceding the Millennial Kingdom;
Revelation 20:6 (KJV) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”
Although the righteous dead will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, it is for reward rather than punishment and those who trust in Christ cannot themselves be lost. It is in this sense that Jesus said,
John 5:24 (KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believes on Him That sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life.
Believers will not undergo judgment for their sins because Christ has taken their sins upon Himself in their stead. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/necessityofgrace.htm
The judgment of all those throughout history who reject Christ occurs at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11). This judgment cannot transpire until every last rejecter of Christ has met physical death. This is one of the purposes found in the loosing of Satan for the final rebellion at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-9)—to manifest the last generation of Christ-rejecters prior to the judgment. The result of the Great White Throne Judgment is the assigning of varying degrees of punishment, based on works, and the casting of the unsaved dead into the Lake of Fire. “This is the second death” (Rev. 20:14).
Jesus promised that the
overcomer would not participate in the second death, that
you should reward your servants the prophets and the saints
The reward of the prophets and saints is associated with Christ’s return (Rev. 3:11; 22:12) and is to be contrasted with the judgment of the dead just mentioned. The prophets refers to both Old and New Testament prophets.
Those who fear Your name both small and great.
A healthy, reverential fear
undergirds the attitude of those who trust in the Lord both small and
great describes every category of mankind—all variations in physical
stature, wealth, or position—are found in His kingdom. (Ps. 115:13; Rev.
Destroy those who destroy the earth.
Destroy which can denote either physical or moral destruction. Here is God’s assessment of modern environmentalism—which purports to radically care for the earth while denying the Creator behind the creation and creatures which it panders to. At the Second Coming, the condition of the earth has reached the equivalent of the time of the flood where
Genesis 6:13 (KJV) And God said unto Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth”.
This corruption was due to the great wickedness of man in that…
Genesis 6:5 (KJV) And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
This is the predictable end of
unregenerate men once the Restrainer is removed and the mystery of lawlessness
reaches full flower (2Th. 2:7). “The word ‘destroy’ is the same, actually, as ‘corrupt.’
Man had destroyed the earth by corrupting the earth, using it not for God’s
glory, but instead to satisfy his own greed and lust.”
The temple of God was opened in heaven.
This is the heavenly not the earthly temple in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:1-2). The chapter begins and ends with Temples: the earthly Temple in Jerusalem and now this Temple in heaven is opened to reveal its contents to John (and subsequently to the reader).
The ark of His covenant.
Ark of the Covenant (Heb. 9:4; Rev. 11:19) and Noah’s Ark (Matt. 24:38 Gen. 6:14,) The ark of His covenant refers to the box which stood in the Holy Place containing items which testified of God’s relationship with Israel. This testimony had both positive and negative aspects:
Lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
All of these manifestations speak of impending judgments of the seven bowls/vials (Rev. 16) which are in accord with the wrath of God based upon the righteous law as recorded in the Ark of the Covenant. The ark is revealed after the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15), but before the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on the earth (Rev. 16:1-17). When the final bowl is poured forth, the manifestations of judgment seen in this heavenly scene are delivered to earth : lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake (Rev. 16:18) and a plague of great hail (Rev. 16:21). These manifestations underscore the connection between the heavenly Ark of the Covenant (containing the “testimony,” the Ten Commandments) and the final judgment of the God-rejecting world below. 3.12.1 - Revelation 12:1
The scene which John is shown next is an extension of what has preceded. In the previous chapter, Revelation 11 , John was shown two witnesses who prophecied and tormented the whole world and were eventually killed in Jerusalem. The character of their ministry is that of Jewish OT prophets and their connection with Jerusalem emphasizes their probable Jewishness. It is our view that one of their ministries is to act as witnesses in a way which is especially effective at reaching unbelieving Jews and so contribute toward the spiritual restoration of Israel prophesied elsewhere in Scripture (Jer. 31:34-37; Eze. 37; Rom. 11:25-27).
Now, the scene shifts to a series of signs which depict a woman struggling against her adversary, the dragon. This too is a Jewish scene, but with aspects which range all the way back to man’s Fall in the Garden of Eden and the subsequent promise of a redeemer. The signs which John sees in heaven portray events which have happened and will happen on the earth.
Indicates that which John sees is symbolic or figurative of the reality being conveyed. This is not a real woman in the heavens standing literally on the moon! Rather, the elements which John sees signify truths which are not directly stated in the text, but which are conveyed by the symbolism. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, the symbolism is drawn entirely from the OT—as one might expect since all Revelation is given by the same Holy Spirit. And the fact that we are here told that this is a sign, goes far to prove that the Apocalypse in general is to be taken literally, except where indication to the contrary is given. It would be quite superfluous to tell us that this thing is a sign, and that certain things mean certain other things, except upon the assumption that whatever is not so labelled is to be taken just as it reads, . . . But, whatever else is literal in this book, the case of this woman is not.
As we shall see as we proceed through the chapter, the woman is best understood as representing Israel, but with elements which reflect the role of Mariam and which stretch back all the way to Eve and the promise of a redeemer (Jesus Christ our Lord) (Gen. 3:15). This harmonises with the gospels which present both aspects of Messiah: his Jewish (Abrahamic) genealogy (Mary) (Matt. 1:1) and his human (Adamic) genealogy (Eve) (Luke 3:23).
To capture all that is related concerning the woman, she must be seen as representing an historic development within God’s overall plan which originated with the promise of a redeemer to Eve (Gen. 3:15). Moving from Gen to Rev which led to the creation of the nation of Israel through whom the redeemer would come (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Mic. 5:2; Rom. 9:5). Found partial fulfillment in His First Coming by the virgin birth from Mary (Isa. 7:14; Mtt. 1:25; Luke 1:34).
Finds ultimate fulfillment in His Second Coming to establish the Millennial Kingdom and to rule in the line of King David of Israel. It is this aspect, often overlooked, which explains the continued persecution of the woman after having birthed the Man Child.
That Israel will play a key role in the end-time drama is not surprising. The seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (the Tribulation) will primarily concern Israel, just as the first sixty-nine did ( Dan. 9:24-27). Israel’s presence in the end times is consistent with God’s emphatic promises of her continued existence as a nation .
A Virgin and a Harlot.
First, it should be noted that a primary function of clothing is to provide shelter and protection from external elements.
Whatever the sun represents, it protects the woman in some way.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield” (Psalms 84:11).
When we examine the Scriptural use of the sun, we find both the sun and the moon often appear together as a dual witness. When God created the sun and moon, He said they would be;
Genesis 1:14 (KJV) “for signs and seasons, and for days and years (Most of us can readily understand why the sun is for seasons, and for days and years, but in what way is the sun for signs?” Precession of the Equinox
There is another way in which the sun serves as a sign, along with the moon. God uses the sun and the moon as dual witnesses to important promises He has made, much in the same way that He swears by heaven and earth. Of particular interest to our passage, God has said that both sun and moon will be witnesses (signs) of His unconditional promise to…
Preserve the nation Israel http://godsplan.org.uk/fulltentribes.htm
In relation to the events which transpire in Revelation 11 concerning the two witnesses, we note that the promise to preserve the nation Israel is found in the context of His promise to regenerate the nation—the only explicit mention of the New Covenant in the OT. This promise given through Jeremiah is essentially restated in the words of Paul:
Rom. 11:1 (KJV) I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid; For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Let the reader and the nations of the world take note! The Jews will continue as a people so long as the sun and moon remain visible in the sky! If the enemies of Israel understood the full impact of this verse, they would immediately reprogram their missiles for a new target: they must first take out the sun and moon before they will be able to wipe out the physical seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! The sun and moon not only witness of His promise to preserve the nation, but also His promise that the throne of David shall continue before Him and that there will be Levites to minister to Him:
As we have seen, Jesus is not now seated on the throne of David, an earthly throne centered in Jerusalem. These promises are important to grasp because they are key to understanding why the dragon continues to persecute the woman, even after she successfully brings forth the Man Child Who then accomplishes the crucifixion and is resurrected. For what purpose could the dragon have in pursuing the woman beyond the victory of Messiah at the cross?
The answer is found in understanding that God’s Plan includes elements which go beyond the crucifixion, but include promises and themes which are intimately connected with the Second Coming when Christ returns to earth to establish His millennial reign.
The promise that Israel will always exist is a key motivator behind the doctrine of the faithful remnant of Jewish believers which stretches throughout Scripture. It is part and parcel of the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation.
A garland of twelve
Here we are given another evidence concerning the identification of this woman. What do these stars represent? Earlier we saw that stars represented angels of the churches (Rev. 1:20). But they were only seven in number, not twelve. At times, stars also represent angels (Job 38:7; Rev. 9:1;) Yet here the stars are not in isolation, but found with the sun and moon. This clearly is an allusion to Joseph’s dream which mentions the sun, moon, and stars:
The sun represents his father Jacob, the moon represents Leah, and the eleven stars represent his eleven brothers. When we include Joseph as an additional star, we have our sun, moon, and twelve stars. This is perhaps the most important aspect of the identification of the woman: the twelve stars are to be understood in the sense of the gates (tribes) rather than the foundations (apostles—representing the church) of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12).
Being with child
Something we should immediately
notice about this entire vision is the lack of any mention of a father. This is
most uncharacteristic of a Jewish writing dealing with genealogy (Matt. 1:1;
Luke 3:23). The lack of a father is significant and, when combined with
the rest of Scripture (Isa. 7:14; Luke 1:34), points strongly toward the virgin
birth. Another point which is critical that we understand: the woman produces
the child and not the other way around! How often commentators stumble over
this simple point! If we keep in mind that the woman is the source of the
child, then we avoid all sorts of confusion as to the identity of the woman
in relation to the child. She is the mother of the child and not
Cried out in labour.
The woman was in the midst of birth pangs at the time John saw her. Although Scripture is replete with instances of women experiencing birth pangs, this is one instance where the pain is both symbolic and literal for it finds its fulfillment in the virgin birth of Christ by Mary. Yet there is more.
Remember that the book we have before us is one of two bookends of Scripture, and that many of the themes from the beginning of creation (Gen. 1) are to be brought to consummation in the eternal state (Rev. 22). When we consider the woman in labour from the perspective of the grand scheme of Scripture, we think immediately of the curse. For it is at the curse, God’s response to The Fall of mankind, where we see the first mention of both childbirth and labour pain:
Notice several elements of this most important passage and their correlation with the chapter before us:
1. A woman and the serpent.
2. Enmity between the woman and the serpent. Gen 3:15 (KJV)
3. Conflict between her offspring and the serpent. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/apostasytogodskingdom.htm
4. Childbirth (first mention in Genesis).
5. The woman will experience labour pains.
The ties between the curse brought about by The Fall and the events of the chapter before us are undeniable!
Here we see the Eve/Mary aspect of the symbolism of the woman. For Eve received the initial promise that a redeemer would come by the seed of a woman. Thus is the genius of God ; through the same vessel by which mankind fell would the redeemer of mankind come forth! The woman was first to eat of the forbidden fruit, but she would have the ultimate honour of producing the Fruit which would crush the head of the serpent! This promise of a redeemer must be seen as a backdrop for all Biblical history which flows forward from this point. It must never be forgotten or overlooked. In all the subsequent births, deaths, covenants, kingdoms, and promises, this central promise of the redeeming seed through woman is paramount in God’s plan.
This, and nothing less, is what is set before us in this chapter of John’s vision. We find another woman in Scripture who is in labour. Unlike this woman, she gives birth before her labour pain came.
Isaiah 66:7(KJV) Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
This speaks of the suddenness of the establishment of the Jewish nation prior to the Millennium ( Mic. 5:3-5; Mtt. 24:8): Thus, the labour of our woman precedes and differs from the woman of Isaiah 66. Our woman has been in labour for long ages. She laboured from the first promise to Eve until its culmination in the virgin Mary:
No matter how definite the text before us, there will always be some who avoid the obvious in favour of another interpretation. Thus it is with those who attempt to make the woman the Church, totally reversing the symbolism of the text which indicates that she gives birth to Christ and not the other way around:
Another sign appeared in heaven.
Like the woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, a second sign is introduced. These two signs are meant to find juxtaposition and highlight the contest between God’s promise to the woman and the intention of the dragon to undermine God’s work.
Here God asks the serpent no question, there is no parley, and the sentence was pronounced.
Genesis 3:15 (KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.’’
This denotes the temporary suffering of the Seed (Christ), and the complete destruction of Satan and his works.
Fiery red dragon.
Like the horse which rode forth at the loosing of the second seal (Rev. 6:4). The colour speaks of blood and destruction.
With what carnage and misery has he over-flooded the earth! There has never been a murder, but he caused it. There has never been a sanguinary war, but he instituted it. There has never been a death scene, but it is traceable to him. Every blight of human happiness, every failure of human peace, every sorrow of human life, has come from him. All the fiery passions that rankle in men, and break forth in deeds of violence and blood, are his inspirations.
The dragon is a key player in the events of the end time. He is explained to be the dragon;
Revelation 12:9 (KJV) 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 (Followers) were cast out with him.
It is the dragon (Satan) who gives the beast his power, throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2) and receives worship along with the beast (Rev. 13:4). His words are those spoken by the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11). Later, a demonic spirit comes forth from the mouth of the dragon to lead the kings of the earth to the Campaign of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13).
Although he works intensely during the period of the end he is unable to prevail and is eventually cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:2). The dragon is known by several names: Five names are given to Satan, all describing his person and his work. In the great dragon, his fierceness and ferociousness is seen. The old serpent points back to the Garden of Eden . In the word devil [diabolos], Satan is viewed as the accuser of all God’s children. Satan means adversary and in this he is seen as the opponent to God’s Plan. As the deceiver, he is pointed out as the great master counterfeiter who attempts to deceive the elect and non-elect alike.
Professor Milligan says: “In these words ‘devour,’ Rev. 12:5 we have the dragon doing what Pharaoh did to Israel (Ex. 1:15-22), and again and again, in the Psalms and the Prophets, Pharaoh is spoken of as `the dragon’ (Ps. 74:13; Isa. 27:1); Nor is it without interest to remember that Pharaoh’s crown was wreathed with a dragon (the asp or serpent of Egypt), and that just as the eagle was the ensign of Rome, (and is now the ensign of USA along with the Senate) so the dragon was that of Egypt. Hence, the significance of Moses’ rod being turned into a serpent.”
Seven heads and ten horns.
Some see the seven heads and ten
horns as representing the original ten kings of the time of the
end, three of which are overcome by the little horn leaving seven.
We believe it is better to understand the heads and horns as representing different
entities rather than different numbers (phases) of the same group of
kings. We believe the seven heads represent seven sequential kingdoms of
history while the ten horns represent the ten contemporaneous kings which
emerge from the final kingdom (Dan. 7:7).
Seven diadems on his heads.
Some believe diadem speaks of royalty whereas stephanos a victor. But this may be an over simplification as these terms are not technical terms, but have an emphasis defined by the context. Here, the seven diadems denote seven kings and seven historic kingdoms. The ten horns upon the seventh head also wear ten crowns. (Rev. 13:1) These are the kingdoms which were delivered to Satan and through which he has dominated earthly history:
Luke 4:5-7 (KJV)
5 And the devil, taking Him up into a high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto Him, “All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomever I will give it..
7 If thou therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.
At the time of the end, he shares this authority with the Beast who also has these seven heads (Rev. 13:1).
His tail drew.
He exhibited considerable influence over the stars with his tail. He was key in their rebellion. This is not his final casting out, but his original fall in sin and corruption of a portion of the heavenly host (Isa. 14:12; Eze. 28:14). This occurred early in God’s created order (First earth age), prior to the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-5).
A third of the stars of heaven.
Stars refer to the angels
(messengers or leaders) of the churches (Rev. 1:20). They also refer to angels.
Here, they refer to angels which followed the dragon in his rejection of God
and fall into sin (Isa. 14:12; Eze. 28:15). They are “his
angels” Since there is an innumerable host of angels, one-third of such
a vast number is countless. Those angels which remained in heaven are God’s
elect (1Tim 5:21).
Threw them to the earth.
Fallen angels (demons) were on the earth well in advance of Christ’s advent , and were known as Nephilim, men of renown.
Genesis 6:2-4 (KJV)
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that,(After Noah’s flood) when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Woman who was ready to give birth.
The promised birth witnessed by the law
and the prophets was about to find fulfillment (to devour her child).
As God had prophesied, there was established ongoing enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). This is born out in the lengthy pattern throughout history of attempts to destroy the genealogy leading from Adam—through to Abraham—to bring forth the promised Lion from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10)..
Historic evidence of Satan’s attempt to thwart the Messianic promise is abundant: Cain’s murder of Abel (Gen. 4:8); the pollution of the offspring of men by the “sons of God” (Nephilim) with the “daughters of men” (Gen. 6:2-4); Pharaoh’s attempt to kill all male Hebrews (Ex. 1:16, 22; Acts 7:19); Haman’s attempt to wipe out the Jews (Est. 3:6); Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, attempts to wipe out all the royal heirs of Judah (2Chr. 22:10); Herod’s slaughter of the babes in his attempt to murder Jesus (Mtt. 2:16). “The most direct attempt was, of course, in the crucifixion of Christ.” The importance of the line leading to the Messiah is also seen in God’s supernatural intervention to allow Sarah to conceive in her old age (Heb. 11:11). Ultimately, the seed of the serpent did in fact bruise the heel of the redeemer—at His crucifixion (John 8:44). Yet this “victory” of the serpent resulted ultimately in the bruising of his own head (Gen. 3:15). For the child overcame death and ultimately ascended up to God.
As soon as it was
Although the serpent stood before the woman over an extended period of time, he made one last attempt when the child was first born. Through Herod, the serpent ordered the slaughter of all male children in Bethlehem and its districts who were two years old and under. (Matt. 2:16).
A rod of iron.
Alludes to Psalm 2 which makes
clear that the initial form of His rule will be violent. “They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels”.
His rule with the rod extends through those who will co-rule with him. “Scripture clearly shows that Christ the man child (Rev. 12:5),
the church saints, the tribulation saints, and indeed all the saints are to so
rule.” The certainty of the rule of Christ and His kingdom was set forth
in the sounding of the seventh trumpet
It describes how the “wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown” (Matt. 13:19). The term is used to describe physical transportation by the power of the Holy Spirit: Philip is caught away from the sight of the Ethiopian eunuch and is later found in Azotus (Acts 8:39); Paul was caught up to the third heaven (2Cor. 12:2) Here it is passive—an external agent (the Father) catches the child away. The same passive aspect is seen in Luke’s detailed record of the event which employs a passive verb and participle to describe the ascension:
Acts 3:19-21 (KJV)
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
The times of the restoration of all things includes the regeneration (Matt. 19:28) which precedes the promised Millennial Kingdom. (Rev. 20:4-6).
To God and His throne.
Notice that the child is caught up to God’s throne
, not His own throne. He remains seated to the right hand of the Father until
the time comes for Him to rule from the throne of David on earth.
Then the woman fled.
We have a similar sequence before us: The child is caught up and the woman flees. The child was caught up over 1900 years ago and the woman has yet to flee in the sense of this passage. [When] the woman flees into the wilderness . . . we meet with another, and yet more lengthened parenthesis. Between the ascension of the Man Child and the woman’s flight—yet future—the history of Christianity comes in. The great point to lay hold of is the connection between Christ and Israel, not Christ and the Church, hence the two omitted parenthetic periods:
1. between the birth and ascension;
2. between the ascension and the flight.
This vision next recognizes Jesus’ ascension (Rev. 12:5), and then takes up Israel’s story as though the Church Age does not intervene, just as Dan 9:26 ignores the same period. The Church Age is the “mystery” of the Old Testament (Rom 11:25; 16:25), and is distinct from Israel’s history.
Zechariah saw the same sequence, contiguous in the text, but separated by the age of grace during which the body of Christ preaches the gospel before the focus shifts back again to Israel: In Zechariah’s passage, the shepherd is struck (the Great Shepherd crucified) and then the sheep are scattered. In the time of testing, only one-third survives. The remainder turn to God in faith.
Can this be said of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? Both Zechariah’s passage and this passage refer to the same events of the time of the end. In both contexts, they are related as being immediately after the First Coming (shepherd struck, child caught up) yet an intervening age occurs. The flight of the woman takes place after the final casting out of the dragon (Rev. 12:7-12). The woman fled because of intense persecution by the dragon (Rev. 12:13-14).
Although the woman has not yet fled in the sense of this passage (where only 3.5 years exist before the return of Christ, the dragon has great enmity toward her on an ongoing basis. For, as we have mentioned, the return of Christ involves the Jews coming to repentance and calling for His return (Matt. 23:39). And the character of His millennial reign upon earth is intensely Jewish, as indicated by a temple standing in Jerusalem. This all reflects the important fact that God is not through with the Jews: they remain an important part of His plan (Rom. 9-11). Therefore, we should expect to see great opposition by the god of this age to the chosen nation. And indeed we do!
Is there any one nation which has survived persecution and pogroms as have the Jews? Can one point to any other nation which has a Holocaust like that of the Jews? A Holocaust, which destroyed some six million people, and is even now denied as a ruse by some,
a mere six decades after the event, when the piles of shoes, teeth, and hair of the victims may still to be seen? Even portions of the Church serve as a hireling of the dragon. Large numbers among Christianity deny Israel’s right to the Promised Land and oppose her attempts to defend herself against unreasonable hostility. The same wayward Church denies God’s OT promises which are manifestly for Israel—attempting to rob them for her own purpose and producing a distorted understanding of Scripture in the process.
Although all race-related persecution is of the dragon, he has a special penchant for opposing Israel because she is a key in what remains for God’s Plan of the end times and beyond. Unless we realise this spiritual reality, we will be forever puzzled by anti-Semitism. How else does one explain the possession of The Temple Mount by Israel, but her inability to ascend there to worship?
Or her possession of Jerusalem while the nations of the world, including the UK & United States, refuse to recognise Jerusalem as her capital? Or what about the countless resolutions of the United Nations condemning Israel and the veritable silence from the same body in regard to hostilities by her enemies? None of this makes logical sense because it has nothing to do with logic!
There is a dark spiritual dimension behind anti-Semitism and its cousin, anti-Zionism:
Among the most notable times of Jewish persecution are found the Crusades,(England) the Inquisition, (Spain) the pogroms of (Russia), and the Holocaust.(Germany); Sadly, the persecution of God’s chosen nation has not yet reached its climax, for Scripture reveals the darkest hour is yet to come. We can only pray that she repents sooner, rather than later.
Into the wilderness.
The woman flees from the dragon. But where? She flees to the wilderness. Note that her flight is to a place of refuge for a period of 1,260 days (see below). This indirectly tells us when she flees—the precise event which triggers her flight. She flees at the middle of The 70th Week of Daniel when sacrifice and offering is halted and the Temple of God is made desolate by Satan: (Ashera standing).
Matthew 24:15-21 (KJV)
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,
(whoever reads, let him understand),
16 Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house.
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to get his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days.
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter or on the Sabbath.
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
This appears to speak of a specific location within the wilderness, rather than merely fleeing to the wilderness in general. This is “her place” which the eagle takes her to (Rev. 12:14). It is a specific place which was prepared beforehand by God (The wilderness of the people). (Rev. 12:6).
We believe this event occurs just
after the Beast overcomes the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7). When reading Jesus’
words recorded by Matthew, one is immediately struck with the Jewishness
of His comments which speak of a “holy place,” “Judea,” and the “Sabbath.” This is no
accident! For the words of Jesus in Matthew 24, while of value for all saints
of all ages, are of ultimate value to the Jewish saints at the
time of the end who reside in Judea and understand the signs of their times.
For them, Matthew 24 will not just have a spiritual application, but a real
physical application for it is they who will see the abomination set up
at the mid-point of the Tribulation and will know to flee.
A Hebrew word occurring frequently in the Bible and signifying, except in a few late passages noted below, a wooden post or pole planted near the altars of various gods. In the Authorised Version (KJV) the word is rendered "grove."
It has often been inferred from Deut.14: 21 that the Asherah was originally a tree,(a Cedar with the top cut off, and carved into the shape of a phallus) Since the sacred tree had a name of its own, el, Elah, elon, and the Asherah was sometimes set up under the living tree (II Kings 17: 10). This pole was often of considerable size (Judges 6:25), since it could furnish fuel for the sacrifice of a bullock. It was found near the altars of Baal, and, down to the days of Josiah, near those of Yahweh also, not only at Samaria (II Kings 13: 6) and Beth-el (II Kings 23: 15), but even at Jerusalem (II Kings 23: 6). Sometimes it was carved in revolting shapes (I Kings 15: 13), and at times, perhaps, draped (II Kings 23: 7). It is most often associated in the Bible with the pillars that in primitive days served at once as a representation of the god and as an altar. (W. R. Smith, "Religion of the Semites,"). It was proscribed in the Deuteronomic law and abolished in Josiah's reform (II Kings 22: 23). This is the setting up of pagan and idol worship that is the abomination of desolation.
Those who are in Judea will flee eastward to the nearest mountains. Initially, they will probably attain the Judean wilderness westward of Jericho “Fleeing first to the ‘mountains’ and then on to the ‘wilderness.’ ”
In the day of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7-8), the latter days (Jer. 30:24), prior to Israel’s restoration for the Millennial Kingdom
(Jer. 30:9-10) God promises to give a surviving remnant grace in the wilderness. “Thus says the Lord:
Jeremiah 31:2 (KJV) Thus saith the LORD, “ The people which were left (survived) of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause Him to rest.”
Those who are in Jerusalem flee to the wilderness. Jews will also undergo purging among the wilderness of the peoples—among the nations where they have been scattered. In the same way that the rebellious of Israel fell in the wilderness and were prevented from entering the Promised Land, so too will the rebellious of Israel in the time of the end perish rather than participate in the promised Millennial Kingdom.
They should feed her.
The physical needs of the woman are met in her wilderness hiding place. They , an indefinite plural, seems to indicate the participation of others in providing for her nourishment. In the same way that the ravens (1Kings. 17:2-3) and the widow of Zarephath in Sidon) were used as intermediaries to feed Elijah during his time of drought, so too will others be used to provide for the Jewish remnant. During the Tribulation, there will be numerous situations involving drought and lack of provision.. The need for provision will be exacerbated in her case because no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast during this three and one-half years (Rev. 13:17). We note that Elijah was fed by a raven (an unclean bird) and a Gentile widow (Luke 4:26-29). Perhaps this is a typological indication that the Jewish remnant will be provided for by Gentile means. Provision for the Jews by Gentiles during this time helps explain the context of the Sheep and Goat judgment when the nations Gentiles are gathered before Christ at His return and rewarded based on their provision for His brethren (Matt. 25:32).
God used Moses as an intermediary when He supernaturally fed Israel in her previous time in the wilderness after the Exodus where he provided water from a rock and manna from heaven: During her time in the wilderness, Israel will remember the days of her youth when she came up from the land of Egypt. God will speak comfort to her and she will be purged of idolatry:
Hosea 2:14-17 (KJV)
14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
15 And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the Valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 And it shall be, at that day,” saith the LORD, “That thou shalt call Me ‘Ishi;’(My Husband) And shalt call Me no more Baali (‘My Master),’
17 For I will take away the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
The context indicates this precedes the Millennial Kingdom:
Hosea. 2:18-20 (KJV)
18 And In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground:And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19 And I will betroth thee unto Me forever: yea, I will betroth thee unto Me In righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving kindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shall know the LORD.
Isaiah spoke of the pure who would dwell with God and would be provided with water and bread: This time of testing in the wilderness, fed by God, will result in the full conversion of those who remain alive. Whereas Israel had been
Hosea 2:23 (KJV) And I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My People, ‘Thou art My People;’ and they shall say, ‘Thou art My God.’
Isa. 33:14-16 (KJV)
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despises the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands, from holding of bribes, (refusing) that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood (shed), and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil:
16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure.
This time of testing in the wilderness, fed by God, will result in the full conversion of those who remain alive. Whereas Israel had been
Hosea 2:23 (KJV) “not My people,” then it will be said, “You are My people!”
One thousand two hundred and sixty days.
This period is also described as “time and times and half a time” (Rev. 12:14), which corresponds to half of The 70th Week of Daniel . It is the last half of the week during which the nations trample the holy city (Rev. 11:2) and the beast has authority (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5). A period Jesus referred to as consisting of “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21). This is also the period during which Daniel was told events of the end would come to fulfillment:
Daniel 12:7 (KJV) And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him who lives for ever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half time; and when he hath accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
One of the purposes of this period is to shatter “the power of the holy people” to turn them back to total dependence upon God. In the time of Jacob’s Trouble, God will both tear and heal in order to bring the Jews to recognise Jesus as Messiah and urgently seek His return on their behalf:
This refers to “a third of the stars of heaven” which were thrown to the earth by the tail of the dragon, and their eventual destiny is the Lake of Fire, which was specially prepared for them; Some are confined, reserved for judgment. The dragon’s angels are organized by rank.
Ephesians 6:11-12 (KJV)
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the high places.
Perhaps one of the more powerful ones is the angel of the bottomless pit, an angel which spoke with Daniel, fought against high-ranking angels on his way to Daniel (Dan. 10:13, 20-21). while the existence and influence of these malevolent spiritual beings is a well-established theme of Scripture. This is why it is so important for believers to have a grasp of what Scripture reveals concerning the world which we live in. For there are forces and objectives at work that underlie the physical realm which the instrumentation of science is entirely unable to reveal. They are at work in the non-physical realm where science is blind.
Yet we see their results in the workings of sin, reigns of terror, and the machinations of powerful nations and corporations through history.
They did not prevail.
Indicating that the dragon and his angels had insufficient
power to withstand Michael and his angels. The elect angels of God are
able to defeat the most mighty of the fallen angels, including Satan (Rev. 20:2). Christ does not
even condescend to participate in the conflict, for like all the angels, Satan
is a creature, albeit a powerful one. Many people have the
completely cockeyed view that the Bible concerns a battle between Satan and
Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth, because Satan himself is a
creature of Christ’s creating (Col. 1:16). The gap between Creator and
creature is inestimable. Christ could merely blink and Satan and
all evil would instantly and permanently be vanquished. Yet he withholds their
doom for His purposes, only a tiny corner of which He reveals to us—much of it
in this book. For Christ, as God, to stoop to battle directly with the devil
would be providing Satan with a great compliment. Hence, he is dealt with by
Michael or other angelic powers, who are themselves creatures.
Nor was a place found.
The woman had a place prepared for her to which she fled, but the dragon no longer has a place in heaven.
Prior to this battle with Michael, the dragon had access to heaven as he does in our day.
That serpent of old.
The serpent, the ancient . This is a direct allusion to his role as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and especially God’s prophecy which set forth a number of truths concerning the serpent (The lowest of the low) and the genealogy leading to Messiah (Gen. 3:14-16):
1. God would put enmity between the serpent and the woman and between the serpent’s seed and her Seed.
2. The woman’s seed would bruise (crush) the serpent’s head.
3. God would bring Messiah via the rebellious woman, but only through pain (of childbirth).
The reference to serpent of old indicates that the stand-off between the woman in labour and the serpent is an age-old situation which spans the time from Eve to the virgin Mary and beyond. Thus, the woman signifies not just Mary, nor just Israel, but the promise of a redeemer through the line of Israel stretching all the way back to the first woman, Eve; Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
This title emphasises his role as slanderer, throwing accusations against the saints.