We have been going through the trumpet judgments; the catastrophes that they have brought upon the earth. Now, for a moment we leave the trumpet judgments after the sounding of the sixth, and before we read of the events at the sounding of the seventh, John gives us now a little insight into a yet future event, and that is the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth to claim that which He purchased.
Jesus paid the price of redemption. He redeemed the world so that it would be God’s once again. It was originally God’s by creation. God gave it to man. Man gave it to Satan, so that Satan is called by Jesus, “the prince of this world,” by Paul, “the God of this world.” Satan offered the world to Jesus, if He would only bow down and worship him. But Jesus came to redeem the world, but the price was His life, the shedding of His blood. So, we are redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. But yet, He has not taken possession of His purchased possession.
In Roman eight, Paul tells us that “all of creation is groaning and travailing together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God to wit the redemption of our bodies.” Redemption is not yet complete. But in the mean time, Paul told the Ephesians that God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.
In Hebrews, the writer said that God has put all things in subjection under Him, but we do not yet see all things in subjection. The world is still in rebellion against Him. It hasn’t been brought yet into His power under His reign. Now, God has put all things under Him, but we don’t yet see them there, but we do see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.
So, we and all creation groan together waiting, travailing for that glorious day when the Lord will come and claim that which He purchased, that which belongs to Him. Yes, we rejoice in the Holy Spirit now and the power of the Spirit in our life, which sustains and keeps us until that day that He comes. But we are really waiting anxiously for the full redemption and for the Lord to reign. That has been our prayer. “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done in this earth, even as it is in heaven.”
Now, chapter ten gives us a little insight into that coming of the Lord to establish now the fact that the earth is His and to begin His reign. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, and all they that dwell therein. And God said unto Him, “Ask of Me, and I will give you the heathen for thine inheritance and the utter most part of the earth for thy possession,” Psalm 2. So, here He comes to possess that which He purchased.
And I saw another mighty angel (10:1)
The word angel is messenger.
I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven (10:1),
His description would be that of Jesus Christ.
clothed with a cloud (10:1):
“Behold, He cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him and they also which pierced Him shall mourn”(1:7). So, He is coming with the clouds.
clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head (10:1),
The rainbow was the covenant of God, which is about the throne of God, is now about the head.
and his face was as it were the sun (10:1),
As we read in the first chapter of Revelation, John’s description of Jesus,
and his feet as pillars of fire [also in chapter one]: And he had in his hand a little book that was now open (10:1-2):
Remember this scroll that was in heaven, or book with seven seals. No man was worthy to take the scroll or loose the seals. We found that it was the title deed to the earth. Now, having opened the seven seals, the book is now open. He comes with the open book in His hand, the book of authority, the right and title to the earth, which He has purchased by His blood.
The little book that was open:
he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, and he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices (10:2-3).
Now, this glorious shout of the Lord, the shout of triumph, the shout of victory. I can hardly wait. Comes with a shout of victory, and this is recorded actually in many of the Old Testament prophecies, this coming with a shout, Jeremiah 25, there in verse 30, “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His Holy habitation. He shall mightily roar upon His habitation. He shall give us a shout as those who tread grapes against all of the inhabitants of the earth.”
In Hosea 11:10, Hosea also makes reference to it. “They shall walk after the Lord, He shall roar like a lion, and when He shall roar then the children shall tremble from the west.” And in the book of Joel 3:16, we are told, “The Lord shall roar out of Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake, but the Lord will be the hope of His people and the strength of the children of Israel. And Amos also makes mention of it, “and He cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars.”
And when he cried, the seven thunders had uttered their voices [Now John said when the seven thunders had uttered their voices], I was about to write (10:4):
That is what the voices said.
and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and don't write them (10:4).
So, we don’t know what the seven thunders uttered. We’ll have to wait for that. So, God has left some of the things unspoken of the future. And just what are uttered by the seven thunders is something that we just don’t know, and any attempt to declare what has been uttered or even to speculate is wrong. Whether or not they be judgments or blessings or whatever, we can’t even speculate on this. We just don’t know. Where the Bible is silent, it is best that we remain silent and not try to guess. The Lord said to John to just seal it up and don’t write those things. So, we’ll find out one of these days.
And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and he swore by him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be no longer a delay (10:5-6):
Time no more is literally a delay no more. We have been waiting. The church has been waiting for the Lord to come and establish His kingdom. The Bible encouraged us to patience in our waiting. “Have patience brethren,” James said, “establish yourselves. For the Lord is waiting for the perfect, or complete, fruit of harvest.” Peter said that this delay of the Lord would cause some people to scoff. “And in the last days scoffers will come saying where is the promise of His coming. Since our fathers have fallen asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning”(2 Peter 3:4). But Peter said, “God is not slack concerning His promises as some men count slackness, but a day is as a thousand years to the Lord and a thousand years is as a day, and know ye that this delay is for redemption purposes, that more people might come in and be a part of the body of Christ”(2 Peter 3:9).
So the Lord, it would seem to us, has delayed His coming, but He has a purpose in it. But even as the Lord waited patiently during the days of Noah for a hundred years before He sent the flood, so the Lord waits patiently now. But the day of the Lord, Peter said, “shall come.” You can be sure of it. So, at this point there is the declaration there is to be no longer a delay.
Now, there are some who object to the angel being identified as Christ because of this verse, the fact that he swore by Him who lives for ever and ever who created the heaven and the things and so forth, and the lesser swears by the greater. And Christ being the creator, why would He then swear by Him that creates? Well, we are told in Hebrews that God, because He wanted to establish His promises, because He could swear by no greater, swore by Himself saying, “In blessing, I will bless thee”(Hebrews 6:14).
Now, a man many times, to establish the credibility of his word, will take an oath. “I swear by my mother’s honor.” “I swear on a Bible.” And man will take an oath in order to establish the credibility of his word, and he swears by something higher than himself. You wouldn’t say, “I swear by my pet dog”. Your dog may be a liar. So, you swear by something higher than yourself.
Now, when God wishes to establish an oath, a promise with an oath, He can’t swear by any higher, so He swears by himself, we are told in Hebrews. So, I find no difficulty in this swearing by Him, because again being the Lord, He can swear by no higher, so He swears by Himself that this is it. There shall be a delay no longer. That the time has come for the establishing of the kingdom and there will be no more delay. This does not mean that time no more, as far as watches, clocks, days, months, almanacs, and so forth. It means that there is to be no more delay before the kingdom is established.
In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God will be complete, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (10:7).
Now, as we go back to God’s declarations to the servants, the prophets, we find that God has promised the glorious kingdom that shall come, God’s kingdom upon the earth, and the wonders and the glories of that kingdom as the lion and the lamb will lie down together, a little child shall lead them. The lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:6-7). And there are just so many things. The lame will leap for joy. The blind will behold the glory, and the dumb will sing forth praises unto God. Just the glorious restoration of the earth.
You see, you do not see the world that God created, nor do you see the world that God intended. The heavens declare the glory of God; the earth shows forth His handy work. Day unto day they utter their speech; night unto night their voice goeth forth. There is not a speech nor a language, where their voice isn’t heard. God intended that man would come to the knowledge of Him through nature.
Rational man looking at nature is brought to the awareness and the consciousness of God. Irrational man worships nature, rather than the creator of nature. But a rational man in looking at creation is brought to the consciousness of God. But living in a highly urbanized area, the fields are covered with buildings or with black asphalt or freeways, and the flowers and trees are destroyed, are placed by the works of man’s hands. The skies become polluted and clouded with the smoke of man’s industry, the pollutants that are placed in the air, so that we don’t see the crystal blue skies too often, only after a rain or strong wind.
So, God’s message to man becomes muddled. We don’t really understand God, as He would have us to understand Him through nature any more. Man loses the consciousness of God, as he becomes all absorbed in the works of man and the works of man’s hands. And we lose that awareness and consciousness and awe of the creator. That is why it is so helpful to take a vacation. It is so helpful to go to the beach or go to the mountains or go skiing. It is good for you. If nothing else, it allows you to see nature in a purer form. And as you see it, God can speak to you of His existence.
I have no argument with a man that says, “I find God in nature.” I do too. He has revealed himself in nature. But we must realize that even nature itself is not what God intended it to be. It is not as God created it. God did not intend that our water supplies become so polluted. God did not intend that the atmosphere become so polluted. That is all the result of man, and man’s works. So, we don’t get a clearer picture of God from nature any longer, but it will be restored. You will see the world as God intended it to be.
Man is fallen. Man is governed basically by greed, and thus, he is not as interested in his neighbor. He isn’t so concerned in the welfare of others. He is concerned with his own welfare, and thus, we do not see man as God intended him to be and man to live. We see the greed of man as he seeks to hoard for himself and take from others. And we see those then that are deprived because of the greed of others. Those that have money and spend it lavishly upon themselves and buy dresses for twenty-three thousand dollars or some ridiculous stupid thing. They wear diamonds that cost one hundred thousand dollars. It is ridiculous when people are in such need. So, you don’t see man living as God intended man to live, the sharing of the resources, but we will when His kingdom comes. We will see then what God intended the earth to be and we will see how God intended man to live.
“In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, then mystery of God will be complete, as he has declared to His servants the prophets.”
And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and he said, Go and take the little book that is open in the hand of the angel which stands upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and I said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it will be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter (10:8-10).
The idea is to devour the book, devour the contents. And we sometimes use that term, “Well, he really devoured that book.” In reading it, glorious what is going to be, glorious when the kingdom comes, glorious when Christ lays claim to that which he purchased, but the bitterness is the awful convulsions that the earth will have to go through before the kingdom comes. So, when you read the things that took place when the seals were broken, the judgments that came upon the earth, that is a bitter pill, but the sweetness of course is the hope of that kingdom when it is established. The fact that He has taken His power and now reigns.
Then he said unto me [that is to John], You must prophesy again before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
So there was given unto me a reed like unto a rod (10:11-11:1):
That is a measuring stick about the length of a rod.
and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those that worship therein (11:1).
Now, this tells us many things. First of all, that the temple is to be rebuilt, because this is a yet future event. In fact, this is a event that takes place during the midst of the tribulation period, for we have not yet come to the seventh trumpet nor have we yet come to the seven vials of God’s wrath that are to be poured out. So, during the tribulation period the temple will be existing in Jerusalem. So, the temple is to be rebuilt and the worship is to be reestablished in the temple in Jerusalem.
At the present time there is a small, but very dedicated group of Jewish people who are fanatically involved, almost religiously so, in the desire to rebuild their temple. There are two or three organizations in Jerusalem that have dedicated themselves to the purpose of the rebuilding of the temple. Some of them are extremely radical to the point that they feel that they have to by force drive the Moslems off of the Temple Mount and claim it for the rebuilding of their temple. There are others who have taken a much more moderate view and feel that the Temple Mount should be divided. So, as not to create a holy war, they should partition the Temple Mount with a wall just to the north side of the Dome of the Rock allowing them to rebuild their temple on that northern half of the Temple Mount area.
There are scholarly men, such as Dr. Asher Kaufman who has made a study over many years of the Temple Mount. And in his studies of all of the ancient records that he can get hold of, of all of the pictures of that area, all of the accounts, he has become convinced that Solomon’s Temple stood to the north of the Dome of the Rock Mosque. That three hundred and twenty-two feet north of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, where this little flat rock outcropping called “The Dome of the Spirits, or the Dome of the Tablets” exists, that is where the Holy of Holies was in Solomon’s Temple. The fact that looking from it directly east, you look over the east gate to the Mount of Olives helps to confirm the position of Solomon’s Temple. And thus, he and other Jews take a more moderate stance believing that they can rebuild the temple over the site of Solomon’s Temple and not disturb the Dome of the Rock, and thus, not disturb the Moslems.
I believe that Dr. Asher Kaufman’s group will prevail. For here as John is told to rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those that worship,
But the court which is without the temple [that is the outer court] leave out [that is don’t measure it]; and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot for forty and two months (11:2).
So, this outer court, the area where the Dome of the Rock stands, is not to be measured because it is given to the Gentiles.
There is in Ezekiel another prophecy of the temple that is to be built. Ezekiel also is told to measure it, and Ezekiel records the measurements. But Ezekiel says that he measured a wall around it and the wall was to separate the Holy place from the profane.
So, I am convinced that the temple will be rebuilt, but I am convinced that the solution will lie in a wall north of the Dome of the Rock partitioning off the Temple Mount, giving the Jews ten to fifteen acres there on the north side of the Temple Mount for their new temple, and it definitely will be rebuilt. I expect that to take place probably not in the time that I am here. I believe that the whole arrangements will be made by the antichrist once the church has been taken out. For he shall make a covenant with the people, but in the midst of the seven years he will break that covenant. And he will come to the temple and stand in the Holy of Holies and declare that he is god and demand to be worshipped as god. So, I don’t expect to see the temple built. I think that will take place after I have departed with the rest of the church, and when the antichrist then takes over.
So, it is interesting to see this powerful movement growing in Jerusalem. There is one of the Ushivas, a school for the training of rabbis in the old city, that are training these young men how to butcher the animals for the sacrifices according to the Levitical law. They are actually training them now for sacrifices, the offering of sacrifices. So, it is something that they are very committed to and they would like to do it now.
In fact, there was a group last year that was headed up there with explosives. They were going to blow up the Dome of the Rock Mosque. They were caught by the Israeli police and arrested and are still facing trial. But in God’s time it shall be, but I don’t believe it will happen until we’re gone and they didn’t know that I was still here when they made that preemptive attack last year. They can do anything they want after I am gone, because it is going to be theirs.
Now, the Lord said to John,
I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy for thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devour their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed (11:3-5).
God is going to send two witnesses to witness to the Jewish people. The time of the Gentiles at this point will have been complete. Now, God is going to deal with Israel for one more seven-year period. Seventy sevens were determined upon the nation of Israel. Sixty-nine were fulfilled from the time of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah the Prince. It took place four hundred and eighty-three years after Artaxerxes gave the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, Jesus came.
Now, there is one seven-year period left for Israel in which God will be dealing with Israel. And in the beginning of this seven-year period God is going to send two witnesses. One of them will be Elijah.
In the last book of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi, in the last chapter and in the last few verses, as God is ready now to close the door on Israel and going to open the door to the Gentiles and He is going to send the Holy Spirit out among the Gentiles to draw out a body for Christ. So, God’s final word to Israel, of course, came through Jesus Christ. But here in the Old Testament, “Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
So, the promise of the coming of Elijah again. So, he will be no doubt one of the two witnesses. The fact that they call down fire from heaven against their enemies-you remember when Elijah was here and the king sent out a captain with fifty men to arrest him and he was sitting up on the hillside and the captain came up and said, “Thou man of God come down. I have come here to arrest you.” And he said, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came and consumed the captain and the fifty men. So, the king sent another captain with fifty men to arrest him and he said, “Thou man of God come down. I am here to arrest you.” And he said, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” And fire came down and consumed them. The king sent out another captain with fifty, and he said, “Sir, I am a married man. I have a wife and children and they love me. Have mercy on me. I am only following orders. I wish you would come with me, please. The king would like to see you.” And Elijah went with him.
The ability of these two witnesses to call down fire from heaven to consume their enemies, Elijah is up to his old tricks. They are the two olive trees. The book of Zechariah, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, Zechariah saw this vision. You see Zechariah was a priest. And one of the jobs of the priests were to fill the little cups of oil in this lamp stand that stood in the Holy place of the temple. There was this menorah, this seven-armed lamp stand that Moses had constructed. And they would fill the little cups with oil each day, a special type of oil that was prepared for this lamp stand, the formula that God had given to them. And this would burn and was the light in the Holy place of the temple. And it would burn continually. The fire was never to go out. So, it was the duty of the priest to keep these things constantly filled with oil. And any job that done over and over and over gets monotonous, washing clothes, dishes or whatever. And Zechariah being a priest and no doubt many times going in and going through, and of course, it was a ritual that you had to go through, you can't just do things simply. You can't just pour more oil in. You've got to do things in a ritual way. You have to bathe before you go in and do the whole routine, and Zechariah was probably getting tired of the whole routine so he had this vision.
And the vision was that he saw these two olive trees. And there were pipes coming out of the olive trees, and the pipes were going to the cups. So, the olive oil was coming directly out of the trees through these pipes into the cups and it saved from having to go in every day and do the routine. And the word of the Lord came to Zerubbabel and said, or said to Zechariah, "This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” The oil being a symbol of the Spirit. And therein is where the strength will lie, the power will lie in the Spirit, and that continual supply of the Spirit that is ours.
So, these are the two olive trees. These candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
They have power to shut up heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy (11:6):
So, for three and a half years it won't rain upon the earth anywhere. Imagine the drought that that is going to create.
Now, remember Elijah when he was here before prayed and it rained not for the space of three and a half years. There was a great drought in Israel, during the time of Elijah, the reign of Ahab. Now, again shutting up the earth.
they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all of the plagues, as often as they will (11:6).
We know for certain the identity of one of the witnesses to be Elijah. The identity of the other witness is not so certain. There are different Bible teachers who take different views. There are some who are certain it is going to be Moses representing the law and Elijah representing the prophets. The fact that Moses appeared with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, it seems that they are buddies and they working together. The fact that they turned the water to blood, one of the plagues that were brought upon Egypt by Moses, and it then refers to the fact that they have the power to strike the earth with the plagues as often as they wish, points to Moses.
Others believe it will be Enoch who did not die but was translated directly into heaven. “For it is appointed unto man once to die” and in the Old Testament two men missed their appointments, Enoch and Elijah. And so they come in order that they might make their appointment with death, because we are told here that after they have prophesied for three and a half years then the beast, the antichrist, has power to put them to death. So they finally make their appointment a little later, but yet they make that appointment with death.
So, there are good arguments for either Enoch or Moses. I really don’t know and it doesn’t really matter.
Now when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the [abusso] bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them (11:7).
He cannot until they have finished their testimony. They have an allotted time, one thousand two hundred and sixty days, their allotted time to witness. Once they have finished that then he has power, but he hasn’t power until they have finished their testimony.
In a sense, I believe that God has control of our lives when we commit them to Him. And He has a special task for us to fulfill and that He will preserve us until that task is finished. There are a lot of times when a person has a very narrow brush with death, when you are in an accident and you really should have been wiped out. You look at the whole thing and there is no way you could have come through that, but you have. But God is not through with you yet. And I believe that that is true. I believe that there is a divine protection upon us as we serve the Lord that is going to sustain us until God is through with us. But I think that as soon as we have finished our testimony, then the Lord is going to take us to be with Him. Why would He leave us here any longer? So when they had finished their testimony. God has a task for each of us.
Paul said, “I have not yet apprehended that for which I was apprehended of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:12) recognizing that when the Lord apprehended Him, the Lord had a special ministry in mind. In fact, the Lord even showed Paul the things that he was to accomplish and suffer for His glory. And several times they tried to kill Paul.
Once they stoned him and really thought he was dead. They drug him out of town and for all anybody knows he was dead. Paul himself didn’t even know. “There was a man in Christ fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body, I don’t know)”. Whether or not he had an out of the body experience, hey I really don't know. “But I do know that I was caught up to heaven. I spent a little time up there in the third heaven, heard things that were so glorious I couldn’t really try to describe them. It would be a crime to do so. And because of the abundance of the revelations given to me there is also going to be given to me this thorn in the flesh, this minister of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure because of the abundance of revelations”(2 Corinthians 12:2-7).
So, they thought that they had done him in. His friends thought that he was dead. They were standing around all mourning and Paul suddenly shook himself, stood up and said “Let’s go back into town and preach some more.”
“You have to be kidding, man. They just stoned you.”
But God wasn’t finished with him yet. So, God preserved him. God preserves us until we have finished our testimony.
When they had finished their testimony, the beast that comes out of the bottomless pit—we'll get to that when we get to the seventeenth chapter—makes war against them and overcomes them and kills them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city [Jerusalem], which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified (11:8).
So, he identifies it as Jerusalem.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies for three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves (11:9).
How can the whole world see them? You say, “Simple. Satellite TV.” Right. How could the whole world have seen them twenty-five years ago? They couldn’t. You see this particular prophecy could not be fulfilled until the present day, until just a few years ago, when they put up the satellite by which now they can transmit directly from Jerusalem live broadcast to the United States. And you can sit in your living room and watch events live that are happening in Jerusalem. So, CBS, NBC, and ABC will send their reporters. I am sure they will still be around for the most part, and will go over to cover this remarkable event, these two men who have brought such consternation. These men who had such miraculous powers. These men who had created such a problem to the earth in stopping the rain and calling down fire and things of this nature. And they will go over with their crews to do a special story.
Interestingly enough, CBS is going over to Israel with us this year to do a special story. Who knows what they will make of it? You know, you really feel like you're—You say one thing, but when you hear it again, after it has been edited, you say, "What?" It is amazing what they can do to you. I am always leery.
But the camera crews will be over there and they will be filming these guys and the whole world will be seeing their bodies lying there in the streets. You see the people will have been so incensed against them, because of the plagues and all that they brought, that they won’t even allow them a decent burial. They are just going to let their bodies lie there in the street. And they will come by and spit on them and kick them and just do disgraceful things.
And they that dwell upon the earth will rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts to one another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth (11:10).
So, there will be a great worldwide celebration, partying and all, because these two guys that created all the problems are dead and the antichrist becomes a tremendous hero in the eyes of the people of the earth.
But after three and a half days the Spirit of life from God enters into them, and they stand on their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come on up. And they ascended up into heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them (11:11-12).
Can you imagine the camera crews and their amazement when suddenly these guys stand up and ascend on up into heaven?
And the same hour there was a great earthquake (11:13),
You remember when Jesus was crucified there was a great earthquake.
and the tenth part of the city [of Jerusalem] will fall, there will be slain seven thousand men, [we don't know how many women and children in this earthquake]: and the remnant of the people are frightened, and gave glory to the God of heaven, the second woe is past; and, behold the third woe comes quickly. And then the seventh angel sounded (11:13-15);
Now, we come back to the story again. We have been dealing with the seven trumpets and the judgments that ensued at the sounding of these trumpets, and now we come back again to the trumpets.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (11:15).
The judgments are coming in order to prepare the earth for the return of Jesus Christ and the establishing of His kingdom. So, as the seventh trumpet has sounded the proclamation of His reign and of His kingdom and with this proclamation,
the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and reigned (11:16-17).
Finally, the waiting is over. We are there giving glory to the Lord, because the time for His reign has come.
And the nations [We are rejoicing. We're giving thanks, but the nations] were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to thy saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven (11:18-19),
The earthly temple or tabernacle was just the model of that which is in heaven.
and there was seen in his temple the ark of his covenant (11:19):
The ark of which Moses built the model here on earth.
and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail (11:19).
Now, as we go into chapter twelve, we are digressing from the progression of the story again, which will be taken up when we come to the seven vials of judgment that will be poured out. So, now we are taking a broader view of some other scenes.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head [the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head] a crown of twelve stars (12:1):
The identity of the woman is found in Genesis as we read of the dream of Joseph, how the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to him and so the same figure here. We have the identity of the woman as the nation of Israel, those twelve tribes that came out of Jacob.
And she being great with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered (12:2).
So she was ready to give birth to the child.
You see the purposes of God for the nation of Israel was that they were to bring the Messiah into the world. He was to be of the seed of Abraham and of the seed of David. And so God was working with this nation preparing them as the instrument, the nation, by which His Son would come into the world. God had to choose some nation, so He chose the nation of Israel. And that is why they are the chosen people. Chosen for what? Chosen to be the instrument, the people, through which God would bring His Son into the world.
Now, the tragic thing is that when God used them for this purpose, then they rejected His Son that He sent. But they had rejected the prophets before they had rejected His Son. In fact, Jesus got them quite angry one time with a parable that he gave of a certain man who went away to a far country and left his fields in the charge of his servants. And he sent back a servant that he might collect the fruit from the field, but they beat the servant, mistreated him. So he sent other servants. They beat them and mistreated them. He said, “I will send my own son. Surely they will respect him.” And when they saw his son coming, they said, “Here is the heir. Let’s kill him.” He said, “What will the master do when he comes?” They said, “He will utterly wipe them out.” The Lord said, “That is right.” But it was a parable really against the Jews who had persecuted the prophets. “Which of the prophets have you not slain? Have you not persecuted?” Stephen said (Acts 7:52).
And so God chose this nation to bring forth the Messiah.
And [the nation] being with child, travailing in birth, and paining to be delivered. And there appeared [a second wonder in heaven] another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon [Satan], having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born (12:2-4).
So, the two wonders, the woman Israel ready to bring forth the Messiah, the Christ, and Satan ready to destroy it as soon as it was born.
You remember Herod, when the wisemen came to him and inquired where the king was to be born. Herod inquired of the Bible teachers. They said “Bethlehem”. So Herod directed them to Bethlehem, but he said, “When you have found the child, come back and tell me about it, so I can come and worship him also.” Herod was paranoid. He was fearful that someone was going to take his throne. He killed his wife. He killed his sons. In fact, they used to say it was safer to be Herod’s pig than it is to be his son. He's paranoid. He felt people were plotting, trying to take his throne.
So when he heard that the king had been born, he was threatened. So he asked the wisemen to come back and tell me, but he intended to go and kill the child. And when the wisemen didn’t come back, he then ordered that all the baby boys in Bethlehem area be killed that were two years and under. The dragon was ready to devour the child as soon as it was born.
Now, here an interesting thing with Satan. The stars of heaven, angels are often referred to as stars and this would indicate that when Satan rebelled, a third of the angels rebelled with him. That is why that I believe that there were probably three angels created in the highest order of angelic being, called the archangel. They were of the cherubim class of angels, but three special, and that was Gabriel, Lucifer and Michael. And that they each probably had under their authority a third of the angelic host. And those that were under Lucifer’s authority, when he rebelled against God, joined in his rebellion. With his tail he drew a third part of the stars of heaven.
Now when this happened, we don’t know. Where in prehistory this took place, we don’t know. Before the world existed, no doubt, this rebellion took place of these angels. Prior to his rebellion, Satan was a perfect model. Ezekiel says he was perfect in wisdom, perfect in beauty, perfect in all of his ways, until the day that iniquity was found in him (Ezekiel 28:17).
Isaiah fourteen tells us that pride filled his heart. He said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven. I will sit in the congregation of the sides of the north. I will ascend above the clouds. I will be like the most High. I will be like God. And yet, art thou cast down”(Isaiah 14:14). There will come a time that you will see Satan one day, and you will be amazed. You’ll say, “Is that the critter that caused us so much trouble?” Isaiah fourteen tells us that.
So, there appeared this other wonder in heaven, this red dragon with seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns upon his head. We are reminded of the description of the antichrist who is the embodiment of Satan. His tail drawing a third part of the stars.
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron (12:5):
When Jesus comes to establish His reign and kingdom, He will rule the world with a rod of iron.
and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne (12:5).
And that is where He is right now. Jesus has been caught up into heaven. He ascended into heaven. Luke records it in his gospel, as do other gospels. And He is there now sitting on His throne waiting for the Father to put all things in subjection unto Him. So the woman brought forth the child, he was caught up to God and to His throne.
So we move into the future.
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and [sixty days] (12:6).
They asked Jesus what will be the sign of His coming, the end of the world. And Jesus began to give them the signs of His coming and of the end of the world. And He said, “Now when you see the abomination that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, the abomination of desolation, then flee to the wilderness. If you are on your housetop, don’t even bother to get your coat going through. Get out of there as quick as you can. If you’re out in the field, don’t even go home. Split. Get down to the wilderness”(Matthew 24:15).
The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet; what is it? When the temple is rebuilt and the worship reestablished, after three and a half years, or three and a half years into the seven-year cycle, or in the midst of the seven-year cycle. Not three and a half years after the temple has been built and worship reestablished. That will happen. It may be just a very short time after worship is established. It could take them three years to rebuild it. The antichrist will come to Jerusalem and he will go into the Holy of Holies of this rebuilt temple and there he will proclaim that he is god and he will demand that they worship him as god. This is the abomination of desolation that Daniel speaks about.
Now Jesus said, “When you see this abomination of Desolation spoken about by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, let him who reads understand.” That is what it is all about. The antichrist coming to the temple, stopping the worship, standing in the Holy of Holies proclaiming himself to be god, at that point Jesus said to flee and don’t stop for anything. Get out of there.
So, the woman flees to the wilderness that she should be taken care of, the place prepared of God, that they should feed her for a thousand, two hundred and sixty days or through the last three and a half years of the seven-year cycle.
Now this wilderness place is probably the Rock City of Petra, south and east of Dead Sea. For Isaiah in the sixteenth chapter, God says to Moab, which is present day Jordan, “Open up your borders and receive My people. Shelter them in Petra until the tribulation is complete.” So, until the indignation be over passed; “indignation” is the Old Testament word for the Great Tribulation. So they will flee to the Rock City of Petra where God will take care of them for three and a half years.
Now, how could God take care of them there? Well, He took care of them for forty years in the wilderness before. He fed them manna. He could feed them manna again. God has no problem feeding people. He fed Elijah with ravens. Ravens brought his food. So, God will take care of them for three and a half years.
Now there was then war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels (12:7),
So, you see the dragon also has angels. The third part, so he has a great force of angels.
And they prevailed not [the dragon and his angels]; neither was their place found any more in heaven (12:8).
Now at the present time, Satan does have access to heaven. And he goes up there just to harass us before God. “Look at that fellow down there. He is supposed to be your servant. Did you see what he did last week?” No good. Accusing you before God. What a rascal.
We have a picture of it in the book of Job. The sons of God were presenting themselves to God and Satan also came with them and God said to Satan, “Where have you been?”
“I have been going up and down throughout the earth, to and fro through it.”
“Hey, have you seen my servant Job? Have you considered my servant Job? He is a good man. He loves Me and hates evil.”
“I seen that character. And I have also seen how you have blessed him. You have given that guy everything anybody could want. Who wouldn’t serve you when you are blessed like that, you'd be a fool not to serve You. Let me take away those things that you have given him and he will curse You to Your face.”
He accused Job of being a mercenary, serving God for the profit.
God said, “All right, go ahead, but don’t touch him. Strip him if you want.”
So, Satan began to strip Job until he wiped him out completely. Financially he was totally wiped out. And Job fell on his face and worshiped God and said, "I came into the world naked, looks like I am going out that way. The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all these things Job did not curse God or charge God foolishly.
So, the sons of God again were presenting themselves to God, and Satan came with them and God said, “Where have you been?” And he said, “Going around the earth, up and down, to and fro through it”.
“Hey, have you considered My servant Job? He is a good man. In spite of all that you did, he maintained his integrity.”
“Oh yeah, but You wouldn’t let me touch him. Let me touch him? Skin for skin, all a man has will he give for his life.”
God said, “All right you can afflict him, but don’t kill him.”
The limitation that God placed upon him. Job was afflicted with boils. He was covered and had to lie in the ashes. His wife saw his miserable condition and said, “Honey, why don’t you just curse God and die?” Horrible. His friends came and they couldn’t understand his plight. They began to accuse him falsely of all kinds of secret sins.
But Satan was accusing the brethren. That is what he is doing up there. He does have access into heaven, but here shortly he is going to get kicked out. Michael and his angels are going to fight against him and going to prevail against him and he is going to be cast out.
that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world (12:9):
And what a deceiver he is.
Now because man does not want the truth, God allows man to be deceived. God allows deception. You don’t want to believe the truth, then don’t. God will allow you to believe some crazy hair brain tale if you want too. If you don’t want to believe that God created the earth. You don’t want to believe that God created you. You don't want to believe that God designed your eyes in such a glorious way, the optic nerves and the whole system of sight. You don't want to believe that that is creation. Then all right, believe in wild yarn. That a worm coming out of the ooze got burned on the forehead with the sun—wasn't really the forehead then, just the upper part of the anatomy—and it formed a freckle, mutations, and over the process of millions of years this freckle formed into an eye with all the intricate aspects of an eye. The nerves transmitting the message of the vibrations into the brain able to interpret it, the movement and so forth. Marvelous. Yarn story that deluded men, called scientists believe. You tell that to your kids they won’t believe it. So, if a person doesn’t believe the truth, God let's them believe a lie as preposterous as the lie may be.
“Because they served the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forever more, God gave them over to reprobate minds” (Romans 1:25,28). They believe the lie rather than the truth. You don’t want to retain God in your mind; God will give you over to a reprobate mind. You don’t want to believe the truth; God will let you believe a lie. We read that the antichrist is going to bring a strong delusion on the people that those who did not want to believe the truth, and they will believe the great lie of the antichrist.
Jesus said, “I came in My Father’s name and you didn’t receive Me. Another is going to come in his own name, him you will receive”(John 5:43). You don’t want to receive the truth, then you will receive the lie of the deceiver who has deceived the world. Make sure you haven’t been deceived by Satan. Make sure that Satan hasn’t deceived you in turning you away from God and the truth and the love of God that He has for you in Christ.
he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him [and heaven now being rid of this creature]. I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (12:9-10).
He is continually accusing us.
And they overcame him [the brethren being accused] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (12:11).
So, we have victory over Satan through the blood of Jesus Christ. The fact that we have been redeemed, purchased. “I am a debtor,” Paul said, “not to live any longer after the flesh, not to the flesh to live after it, but to the Spirit.” “Know ye not that you are a temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you. You have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and Spirit which are His. You are not your own. You have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The old nature, the old life was worthless. It is dead. We count it dead. We reckon it to be dead that we might live this new life after Christ in the Spirit. Our testimony is that of redemption through the blood of Jesus, the new life, the new nature that we have in Him. So, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, the testimony of that redemption, we overcome Satan.
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. [Satan has been cast out.] Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea. for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows he has but a short time (12:12).
In just about three and a half years he is going to get chained and placed in the abusso, so he is angry and upset. He has been defeated and he is going to take it out upon those that live upon the earth at that time.
Now, when the dragon saw that he was cast onto the earth, he persecuted the woman or Israel. So, Israel again is going to be facing a time of persecution. These people who have gone through historically such tremendous persecution, the inquisition in Spain, the slaughter by Hitler and now the persecution in Russia, these people have had such a tremendous share of persecution. There are people who hate them that don’t even know why they hate them. Anti-Semitism is an evil, wicked thing, but it is so prevalent. The tragedy is that they have yet more persecution to go through. Satan is going to seek to persecute the woman which brought forth the man child.
And to the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (12:13-14),
Time is a year. Times-two years, and half a time would be, of course, a half-year, so three and a half years; one thousand, two hundred and sixty-two days from the face of the serpent.
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood (that is an army) after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth (12:15-16).
So the army that pursues after Israel will be destroyed as the earth opens up.
During the time of Moses when Korah came and said that you have taken too much on yourself making your brother the one who offers sacrifices, we are Levites and have just as much right as does Aaron, and Moses took the rods and set them before the Lord. And then the next day after Aaron’s rod had budded said; “Okay, Korah, you and your buddies stand out there. If God is in this thing let the earth open up and swallow you guys whole right down into the pit.” And the earth opened up and Korah and his buddies went on down. So, here again the earth will open up.
Actually this great rift of which they call the Jordan Valley, of which the Dead Sea is a part, and of course the city of Petra on the other side, this great rift they believe was caused by a tremendous earthquake, seismic movement and all, and of course it is the greatest rift in the world. The Dead Sea is thirteen hundred feet below sea level and it is called the Great African Rift. It goes from Syria down into Africa. So, it is a place of historic, cataclysmic earthquakes and fire and brimstone that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So again, even as Mount St. Helen’s laid dormant for one hundred and thirty-seven years and then suddenly popped, this area is just going to open up and close up again, and the army that is pursuing Israel will be swallowed.
And the dragon was angry with the woman, and he went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (12:17).
So, chapter twelve deals with these interesting little vignettes into aspects of the past and future.
As we get into chapter thirteen next week, we get into the antichrist and we will get some historic background on him, as we take a look at this man, who I believe to be alive in the world today. And I believe that he is about ready to take over, but the only thing that is keeping him from taking over is the presence of the church. But I believe the earth is ready for him and ready to receive him and that he is ready to establish his kingdom, his reign over the earth. And that he probably is already involved in world politics. I don’t know who he is. I am not even going to guess who he is. But I do believe that we are at that time, that he does exist and probably is actively involved in world politics and will be taking over as soon as the church is gone.
We'll be dealing with that next week as we get into chapter thirteen. May the Lord be with you and give you a beautiful week. May you enjoy His presence and His fellowship as you walk with Him. May the Spirit of God give you strength and power in your inner man. May He help you to begin to comprehend how much God does love you, how much God cares for each one of you. May you come to a new rich love relationship with Jesus Christ where your heart burns with passion for Him and for the things of the spirit. May you be enriched in His fullness. May the Lord watch over and keep you in Jesus' name.