Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Revelation 13:5-10

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5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear. 10 “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people. ~ Revelation 13:5-10

We come back to our study of Revelation 13. And, in context, we have the dragon or Satan who is giving power to the beast who is the antichrist. The setting is the earth and it is the second half of the tribulation.

In v.5-6 we read, "5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven."

These verses describe Satan’s final effort to stop the Kingdom of Christ from coming to earth. The motivational drive in the mind of Satan has always been to take the place of God. He wants to be the sovereign one in charge. And, in order to work out his diabolical plan in this world, he has to do it through humans. And, that means he needs men to lead other men to worship him. 

And so, there will come a demon-possessed man who will utter proud words and blasphemies. Blasphemy is to claim to be God. The beast will blaspheme God by claiming to be God and to have His powers. He will also slander the name of God, heaven and those in heaven. There will clearly be a difference between the kingdom of God and that of Satan.

The sin that damned Satan was the sin of pride. His arrogance and pride is of such a nature that he blasphemes God and wants to dethrone Him and replace Him with himself. It will be characteristic, then, of the unhindered antichrist to speak evil of God continually in order to take His spot in this world.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 we read, "He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God."

It was the arrogance of Lucifer that caused him to be kicked out of heaven in the first place. In the second half of the tribulation, God will allow him to execute his diabolical plan of deception. And, once he sets himself up on the throne in the Temple in Jerusalem, his agenda will be obvious, outrageous, monstrous and blasphemous.

According to Daniel 9:27, in the middle of the seventieth seven of the tribulation, the antichrist will stop the sacrifices which Israel will be carrying out in the newly built temple in Jerusalem. And, he will somehow abominate and desolate the temple. These events will happen at the middle point of the tribulation, and his hatred of God's people will be fierce. 

In Revelation 16:9, when the fourth bowl is poured out and men will be scorched with fierce heat, they will blaspheme the name of God. And when the fifth angel pours out his bowl, and the throne and his kingdom will become darkened, the loyalists to the antichrist will gnaw their tongues because of the intense pain. Then, they will blaspheme the God of heaven. So, this individual literally will rule a whole world of blasphemers. It will be at this point that the people will be beyond the point of no return. They will be beyond the point of conversion, and whatever God does, it will elicit no faith in them, no cries of repentance, no cries for mercy, but cries of outright blasphemy.

In v.7-8 we read, "7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world."

Those who have not bowed their existence to the Lord Christ will experience a dungeon which they will not be able to recognize until it is too late. Believers, on the other hand, are identified throughout the book of the Revelation as those whose names were written before the foundation of the world in the Lamb's book of life. Interestingly, the Lamb's book of life is mentioned seven times in this book of the Revelation. And the Lamb's book of life is simply the book in which God inscribes the names of His own. 

In v.9 we read, "Whoever has ears, let them hear."

The Lord Jesus said these words many times during his ministry. And, in Revelation 2-3, in the seven letters to the seven churches this phrase occurs seven times. But, there is a phrase missing from this verse. In the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 we read, "If anyone has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." The phrase, "what the Spirit says to the churches" is missing here. The reason? Well, the churches will not be in the audience given here in Revelation 13:9, for we will have been raptured up into heaven.

In v.10 we read, "If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people."

The law of consequences cannot be endlessly evaded. There will come times when it may look like evil has triumphed, but in the end, the law of consequences will not be canceled. Having said that, the Lord does not call His followers to shoot abortionists. We are not led by His Spirit to fight back with carnal weapons. In the end, God lifts up those who exercise patience and faithfulness to Him.

Satan will have his hour, and the false prophet will shoot his rubber bullets. The future is still God’s, and we are God’s, and the future is ours through the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, we will reign with Christ during the Millennium. That is our faith, and we patiently endure through it all to the glory of the Kingdom promised to us. And in the end, we will be victorious with and through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Revelation 13:1-4

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1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” ~ Revelation 13:1-4

Today, we transition into Revelation 13 where the Apostle John sees the dragon which is Satan who is standing on the shore of the sea. 

In v.1-2 we read, "1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority."

Throughout the Scriptures the sea is illustrative of the gentile nations of the world. John also sees a beast with characteristics of a leopard, a bear, and a lion. It also had ten horns and seven heads with ten crowns on its horns. In Daniel 7 we see four beasts much like these in our text today. This underscores that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.

In Daniel 7:8 we read, “While I was contemplating those ten horns, behold another horn, a little horn came up among them. Three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.” 

The antichrist will arise out of the ten confederacy of countries that we considered first in Daniel 2. And, as is obvious in our text, the antichrist will be closely associated with the dragon. He will be the child of Satan. Most scholars believe this beast will represent the revived Roman Empire. The world is certainly looking for just such a leader with its void of leadership. The fact is, such a man is coming. Satan will design him and possess him. And, he will be everything that the world thinks it is looking for in a leader. He will rise to authority quickly. He will be everything the people on earth at that time will hope for a leader to be. He will bring worldwide peace and prosperity to all.

And so, it will be, in the time of the tribulation, that Satan selects his leader and empowers him to take over the world. And, his ultimate goal, of course, will be to prevent people from turning to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will begin by trying to destroy all of the Jews on the earth, so they can’t come to Christ and enjoy His Kingdom. 

This is not the first mention of the antichrist in the book of the Revelation. We find him first mentioned in Revelation 6 as the rider on a white horse who comes to conquer. We find him again mentioned in Revelation 11:7 where he is identified as the beast which comes out of the abyss. 

The antichrist will be an individual who will rule over a conglomerate of ten world nations that have ten horns and seven heads. The horns represent kings. Horns are symbols of strength and power in the Scriptures, and they will represent these kings. Ten of them simply represent the nations of the world that will assist the antichrist in the implementation of his kingdom here on earth.

In Revelation 13:3-4 we read, "One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beastPeople worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?"

There will be such chaos on the earth at that time that it will present the perfect situation for the antichrist to be presented to the languishing people of the world. And, as we all know, leaders are born in a crisis. Leaders rise in the midst of the unsolvable problems. Whether they are bad or good, leaders come to the top when there are no solutions. It will be in this frightening and horrible chaos of the world that this man will arise. He will be empowered by by the god of this world, Satan, in order to seize authority in the midst of this worldwide emergency.

So successful will be his entrance into the world that the people of the world will throw aside their freedoms just for peace that he will offer. This man will come on the scene at the beginning of the tribulation and he will bring peace, which tells us that before that happens, there’s going to be utter worldwide chaos. And, yes, the rapture of the church will surely contribute to the disruption.

The people on the earth during the antichrist's arrival will be amazed and astounded at his charming personality and his great miraculous abilities. And, as a result, they will follow him in droves. He will experience a fatal wound but he will come back to life. This will only increase his mystique before the world.

So, the antichrist will be a great world leader on the earth during the first part of the tribulation and he will be killed. And then, he will come back to life. He will deceive the whole world and through his ability to pull together the ten confederation of nations, the world will fawn all over him. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9 we are told that he will win the world's trust through his power, signs and deceptive abilities. 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10 we read, "... They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." 

When the people of the world reject God's truth, they will have no truth to prevent themselves from recognizing the lies of the antichrist. It is the nature of the truth to protect us from deception. As these people reject the truth, they will be deceived. This highlights for you and me the utter necessity of being devoted to being defined by God's word. And, in order to be both protected and effective in helping others from being deceived, we must make it our goal to be defined by God by the study of His word. Perhaps this is why George Orwell once said, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Monday, July 19, 2021

Revelation 12:13-17

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13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. ~ Revelation 12:13-17

Today we close out our study of Revelation 12. The story of the nation of Israel is a story of anti-semitism, persecution, and tremendous pain. And this will be the case throughout all of time until the Lord Jesus comes back to establish His Millennial Kingdom.

Yet, pain has its purpose. We all experience pain, and even suffering at some time in our lives. While our natural reaction to pain is to avoid it, get rid of it, or numb it; we need to realize that God allows pain. In fact, there is a protecting purpose of pain. Pain tells us something is wrong and protects us from harm. But, the greatest benefit to pain is that it convinces us that we need the Lord.

Now, down through the ages, some of the suffering that Israel has undergone was the result of their rejection of God. With the rejection, the nation of Israel has been made vulnerable to her enemies. God promised Israel in the very beginning that if they did not follow Him and did not obey His Word, they would be punished. Israel's history informs us of their choice.

God disciplines us for our good. It is our arrogance that convinces us that we know better than the Almighty. But, as God reminds us, pride arrives in our lives before our scars. We could call it the judgment of love. Israel's history reveals their hardheadedness, but their hardheartedness is the greater issue. And, as bad as it has been for Israel, the worst is yet to come. It will be worse because God’s final fury will be poured out on the world and on this unrepentant and unbelieving people.

In v.13-14 of today's text, we read, "13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach." 

After the Rapture and just as the Tribulation begins, the dragon or Satan will be thrown down to the earth, and his kingdom on earth will increase as time marches on. He will enter into a covenant with Israel for seven years according to Daniel 9:27. In the middle of that seven year period he will break this covenant with Israel. At that time, Israel will flee for Petra and the dragon and his forces will pursue her relentlessly.

At this point God is going to come to Israel's aid for He will give Israel two wings of the great eagleThis imagery is actually borrowed from Exodus 19:4 which reads, "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself." 

The eagle’s wings is a metaphor for God delivering His people, allowing them to escape the threatening force. Wings in the Scripture speak of strength, speed, but mostly they speak of God's protection. The language is picturesque, perhaps it speaks of some kind of an airlift from God. And, the duration of Israel's hideout will be three and a half years.

Part of being led into the wilderness is that we potentially grow in a greater degree in our faith in the God of the Bible. Israel will be cut off from the whole world while they hide out in the desert. And, during this time, they will be privileged to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. This is the way the Lord works. He uses calamity to grant of a heart that seeks for what is really real. 

In v.15-16 of today's text we read, "15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth."

So, since Satan can’t get to Israel to cause them harm, he will utilize this "river of water" which is likely a symbol for the huge host of soldiers that will be sent by the Antichrist after Israel. But, the Lord will use the earth to protect Israel. This is probably a reference to the natural disasters that will occur: earthquakes, a hailstorm. This, we have seen several times before in our study of the book of the Revelation.

So, our text today ends with v.17 which reads, "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus."

Satan then will turn his attention to "those who keep God's commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus." Some suggest that these who Satan turns his attention to are the one hundred and forty-four thousand mentioned in Revelation 7. The point is he will go after everyone who is a follower of the Lord Jesus.

Having learned of all of these horrible events that will come upon the earth during the Tribulation, I find myself overwhelmed with the fact that God has saved me. I'm dumbfounded that He called me to Himself and redeemed me. Oh, to be as involved as I can be in the rescue of the perishing that He is engaged in right now across this world. I trust that you are engaged, as well.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Revelation 12:6-12

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6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” ~ Revelation 12:6-12

In these few verses, we move from eternity past and the fall of Satan all the way to the end of the tribulation. These verses underscore war in heaven and wrath on earth. And, in the midst of all of this, Israel will flee into the wilderness where she will have a place prepared for her by God, and she will be provided for and protected by God for three and a half years.

This is exactly what was spoken of by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21 which reads, "15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."

In v.6 of today's text we read, "The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days."

Many believe Israel, during the last half of the Tribulation, will flee to Petra which is located in southern Jordan. Petra can only be entered through an opening fit for one person. But inside the entrance is a massive city carved out of the rock walls. Petra's narrow entrance is roughly a mile long with towering cliffs above reaching as high as 300 feet. The long winding entrance opens up into open spaces and canyons large enough to hold 5 million people, when fully excavated.

In the ancient book of Isaiah we are given some hints that supports this idea that Israel will flee to Petra. In Isaiah 2:10-11 we read, "10 Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty. 11 The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day." 

And, in Isaiah 2:19 we read, "And men will go into caves of the rocks, and into holes of the ground." And then, in Isaiah 2:21 we read, "...In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs." And, this is all written in the context of Jacob's Trouble. Whoever is still remaining in Jerusalem at the end of the Tribulation, they will be cared for by God, even though they will be continually pursued by Satan. Yes, Satan has always wanted to destroy God's chosen people. This underscores the fact that Satan is not bound in Hell, yet. In fact, Satan has yet to go to Hell. But, He will be banished to Hell for eternity after the Millennium.

In v.7-9 of today's text we read, "7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

Satan and his demons have been waging an ongoing war with Michael and the holy angels since Satan's rebellion against God. This is not a battle between Satan and God. No, this is a battle between Satan and Michael the archangel. Satan is identified in Ephesians 2:2 as the prince of the power of the air. He is also described in 2 Corinthians 4 as the god of this world. So, the theater of his operations descends from heaven right down to earth, where he and his demons are engaged in controlling this world's system, including its religions and governments.

In v.10-11 of today's text we read, "10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."

In response to the defeat of Satan, a loud voice in heaven sounds. And, from believers in heaven, rejoicing will explode because those in heaven will recognize the defeat of the accuser, and he will be finally defeated. And, praise in heaven in v.11 will turn to praise for triumph on earth in v.12. 

In v.12 we read, "Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."

The scene now moves from heaven to earth, partly because for the first time, Satan has no more access to heaven. The people of God will not only rejoice over what will happen in heaven, but they will rejoice over what will happen on earth. As always, when Satan and his demons try to destroy Israel, they will fail and they will be defeated. And, John reminds us that they will overcome him because of the blood of the Lamb.

As with all of God's redeemed, they will overcome Satan because their sins will be cast out of existence and no accusation from the evil one will be able to endure. And, it will not be that these will have some personal power of their own. No, the weapons of our warfare are not physical, they are spiritual because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. And, in us is the Christ who is our advocate, along with the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. All of the accusations of the wicked one against all believers will fall on deaf ears because all believers have been saved by the blood of the Lamb.

And, it is and will always be that God's presence in His people's  hearts will cause us to persevere in the faith. The believer in Christ always overcomes because of the word of our testimony, and our testimony is our story with the Lord Jesus. We have and will forever overcome because He is and will always be the One who overcomes and He has given to each believer this testimony.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Revelation 12:1-5

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1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. ~ Revelation 12:1-5

We now enter into our study of Revelation 12 which looks at the birth of Christ from the perspective of a long war between the two most powerful spiritual persons in the universe: God and Satan. The eternal God and the much-inferior, rebellious and proud adversary are the two most powerful beings in the universe according to the Bible. 

The battle began at the very throne of God when Satan rebelled against God when he was the worship leader of all of heaven’s praise. This battle then descended into the demonic realm when a third of the angels joined in Satan’s rebellion. As a result, the angels became demons, and all of them were cast out of heaven due to their wickedness. Since then, these fallen angels have engaged God and the good angels in spiritual warfare.

The battle then descended to earth in the garden when Satan came in the form of a serpent and approached Adam and Eve and seduced them into joining his rebellion into turning against God and joining the enemies of God. And since then, we have this great war which will culminate at the end of the Millennium.

In v.1 of today's text we read, "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head."

Revelation 12 opens with a great sign. A sign is symbolic of something else, it is something that symbolizes a reality. The sign here in v.1 points us to this great war that continues to this day. In this great sign, there are three persons: a woman, a son, and a dragon.

The woman is Israel because of how it describes the war that we have been considering. Israel was exalted and is associated with 12 stars which represents the 12 tribes of Israel. On her head is a crown which is really a wreath that is used to identify the 12 tribes of Israel. 

In v.2 we read, "She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth."

This woman is with child and she is experiencing labor pains. This is Israel who for centuries has suffered these terrible pains to try to realize God's promises, to wait for and ultimately realize the coming of the Messiah. They await the fulfillment of all of the promises of God, since the first promise of the seed of the woman in Genesis 3, given about four thousand years before. 

In v.3 we read, "Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads."

The second person is an enormous red dragon which is clearly Satan. He is referred to and explained as the dragon in v.9. The scene is of this pregnant woman in the midst of giving birth, screaming out, and then, appears, this daunting and deadly dragon. It’s red, which speaks of blood and fire and all that destroys and is cruel. And this dragon is powerful because it has seven heads and ten horns. And on his heads are seven crowns.

In Revelation 17, we are given God's description of these seven heads. They are kingdoms of this world and they are controlled by the dragon, the serpent of old. He is the one who is responsible for the entrance of evil into this fallen world. 

The ten horns represent a ten-nation confederacy in the world that will be ruled by the Antichrist. So, this symbol of Satan is seen as the world ruler of all of human history, not only of the past but even of the final ten-nation confederacy that will mark the final world empire of the Antichrist. He will be the ruler of all of it. 

In v.4 we read, "Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born."

This indicates that not only is he the ruler of the evil system, but Satan is not alone. When he was kicked out of heaven, a third of the angels also rebelled and joined him in the mutiny. Not just him, as powerful as he is, but a third of the angels have now become demons. And they aid and abet him in his enterprise here on earth.

Satan has always done everything he could to destroy Israel. This is amazing evidence of God’s sovereign power. The fact that Israel perpetuates proves not only His existence but also His sovereignty. And so, Satan has never been able to destroy Israel.

This brings us to the third person. In v.5 we read, "She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne."

Satan couldn’t stop Israel from perpetuating, nor could he stop the Savior from being born. And, he was not able to stop the Son from being exalted to the right hand of God, where He literally, at this moment, intercedes for His people. And, he will not be able to prevent the Savior from coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords to establish His eternal kingdom.

The iron scepter in v.5 speaks of the justice the Lord Jesus will establish on the earth during the Millennium. Although it will be a time of worldwide blessing and prosperity and the curse is at least partially removed from the earth and nature, it will be also a time when sin is still manifest to some degree. During the Millennium the righteousness of the Lord Jesus will reign throughout the earth, but evil will still exist. During that time Satan will be bound into the bottomless pit with his minions, and they will be released for one final war at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ on the earth.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Revelation 11:18-19

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18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. ~ Revelation 11:18-19

Today, we conclude our study of Revelation 11 which closes out with the words of the twenty-four elders who are prostrate before God in heaven. Highlighted will be the rage of the world which will be front and center. The unbelieving man's hostility will escalate so much and so fast that they will openly fight Christ, thinking that they will somehow destroy Him.

So, while we will have on the one hand in heaven praise for God's just sovereignty, on the earth we will have this great hostility against God in the face of His judgment upon unredeemed man. This will be a world that has felt God’s judgment, but they will have felt it in doses that should have led them to repentance. But instead, they will have wasted their opportunities and privilege to believe in the One who gave Himself for them. They will have wasted the evident reality that they needed to make a choice for Christ in the wake of their impending disaster. Their hearts will be totally hardened by their continual rejection of His truth. 

In v.18 we read, "The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth." 

Seven trumpets blow, heaven praises, and earth begins to panic. At this point, it is clear, God's plan of judgment has unfolded. This verse is a condensed review of the Tribulation and the Millennium. At this point in time, the judgment of the Lord will be exacted upon those who have resisted every reason that He will have given them to render their allegiance to Him. This will happen at the end of the Tribulation and at the beginning of the Millennium. 

When the Lord Jesus comes to earth, He will reward the ones who revere His name. His reward will with Him, to give to everyone who has been made righteous through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross. 

For those who failed to revere His name, He will banish them to Hell. These are those who destroyed the earth not with their pollution of smog and trash. These will be those who polluted the world with their rebellion against God. 

In v.19 we read, "Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm."

In the book of Exodus we learn that the earthly temple was opened only once a year and into that place where the ark was went the high priest to pour out the blood to atone for the sins of the people and to keep access open to God. The very thing which God used to provide communion with His people is seen here in heaven. The earthly ark was made of acacia wood and gold and it was placed in the Holy of Holies. According to Exodus 25, it was 45 inches long and 27 inches high. It was a symbol of God’s presence, covenant and atonement.

The temple will at this point will be open to all who have been made right with Him. The ark of the covenant will be there, and in the midst of all the judgment, God will open the Holy of Holies, so that His people may enter. The temple of God speaks of His presence, His throne, the place where He dwells. Included in this seventh trumpet is the promise that we are going to enter into unbroken fellowship with God forever. 

History is not rambling on to some haphazard ending. History is moving forward with every detail formed fully in the mind of God and being executed in His own way to His own end. History is moving specifically down a path, culminating in the precise events described in the book of the Revelation.

After the awful days of the Tribulation, righteousness shall be the characteristic of the times, not unrighteousness as it is now. In that day, drug traffic will end, abortions will cease, divorce will be a thing of the past, families will live together in beauty. In that day, peace and harmony will be intimately known by the redeemed. Wars will cease throughout the earth, crime statistics will drop to zero, sex scandals will never again be known, truth shall be taught again in schools, and politicians and lawyers will have to find honest work.

And the message of the seventh trumpet will be the Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign, and He will reign righteously as King of kings and Lord of lords. And, it will be obvious that He will be the only One who will have the right to rule the earth.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Revelation 11:15-17

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever." 16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. ~ Revelation 11:15-17

With the blowing of the seventh trumpet we reach the midway point of the book of the Revelation. This marks the end of the tribulation period and the beginning of the millennium. Up to this point in our study of Revelation, we have been given heaven’s viewpoint, and it is obvious that heaven is exhilarated at what is about to happen. 

This brings up a very important point. Many things in life do not make sense to us, especially when we only see it through the lens of time and this world. But, when we view it from the viewpoint of God, we see it differently. This is one of the main points in the book of Ephesians. The phrase "In Heavenly Places" is a very prominent theme in Ephesians. The point is that unless we transcend in our perspective of this life, we will be overwhelmed and debilitated in our understanding of the will of God for our lives. Incidentally, when we get to the bowl judgments, in Revelation 16, we will view these same events that we have been viewing through the seven trumpet judgments, but through the bowl judgments we will see them through the eyes of those on the earth at that time. Learning to view life from God's perspective is of major importance for us to walk in the will of God. This is what faith in the God of the Bible is all about. If we only view life from our vantage point our understanding of Him and life will be quite limited.

In v.15 we read, "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever."

With the seventh trumpet, we are being introduced to the one thousand year reign of Christ on the earth which will take place after the Tribulation. The angels here loudly proclaim the beginning of Christ's millennial reign on the earth, and this creates great worship in them. They worship Him because He has taken His great power and He has begun to reign righteously for eternity. The power of Satan is now broken forever, the issue of God's sovereignty is revealed and forever sealed.

Now, notice that in v.15 we read “The kingdom of the world,” not the kingdoms, the kingdom, it is singular. That is very important because the world, though it is divided into many different nations and peoples and languages is really one kingdom under the god of this world, the ruler of darkness. This world is really one kingdom with one monarch, namely Satan. He received his dominion of the earth after Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden.

Government was designed and ordered by God for the well-being of man. There is no government on earth, nor has there ever been that is submissive to God. God has ordained government and put it in place, but people within those governments and even the leaders are not totally submissive to God. His sovereignty has never been recognized by the governments of this world. There are no Christian nation, there have never been any Christian nations. Yet, the long rebellion of this world’s kingdoms against God will end at the end of the Tribulation.

In v.16-17 we read, "16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."

At this point those who represent the Church, the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God, fall on their faces and worship God. They praise God for His sovereignty. And here, we are given the events of the end from the viewpoint of God. When we get to Revelation 12 we will look at the Tribulation not from God’s point of view, but from Satan’s point of view. We will view it not from the side of the conquering Christ, but from the side of the eventually defeated Antichrist. 

With the sounding of the seventh angel, the effects of the judgment will not be explained until we get to Revelation 15. Heaven rejoices with praise because God has already given these happenings from the eternal viewpoint, and it is obvious that righteousness will win the day.

So the end of Satan’s power has come and the establishment of the sovereign kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ will now be reality. The twenty-four elders fall on their faces and worship God. They did the same thing in Revelation 5:14. They are so exhilarated because this is the moment for the fulfillment of the age-old prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”

This will be a time of thanksgiving, according to v.17. It will be a time for the elders to express their gratitude to God for answering the prayers of the tribulational saints for justice to reign. All the prophecies predicting this event will once and for all be fulfilled. All the hopes of God’s people throughout time will be fulfilled, and thanksgiving will be the most proper response.

Notice the wonderful truth in what they say: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty.” The word “almighty” means “the absolutely sovereign one.” They will acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who is able to fulfill the promises of the prophets, because His power surpasses the power of Satan. This has the sense of God exercising His all-encompassing, all-embracing will by His unbelievably mighty power, against which no one can stand.

They also identify Him as "the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign." In Revelation 1:8 we read, “The Lord God is the Alpha and Omega, who is and who was and who is to come; who is, who was, who is to come.” And, then in Revelation 4:8 we read, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty who was, who is, who is to come.”

Here in Revelation 11, the words “who is to come” is not included, because this will be the time of His arrival. And, when we go to Revelation 16:7 we read, “O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous,” again He is identified as the Almighty One. In Revelation 16:5 we read, “The one who is and who was.” Again, the words “who is to come” is not included because it’s not any longer in the future. It will be at this point that Psalm 24:1 will be realized. It reads, “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world, and all who dwell in it.”

To pray "Thy Kingdom come" means to invite God’s will in the world and to open our hearts to what God wants for our lives. It’s a prayer that summarizes the entire Bible and what God wants to do on the earth. We experience brokenness in this world because of our rejection of God and His plan. This is why we have war, sickness, injustice, and all manner of brokenness in the world. His Kingdom is good, merciful, and full of wisdom. This is the message of the entire Bible from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation. God wants to restore this broken and hurting world to His original design, where there will be no more brokenness.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Revelation 11:7-14

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7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. 13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. ~ Revelation 11:7-14

Our text for today begins with: "Now when they have finished their testimony." No one will be able to interfere with the work of these two witnesses until their work is done. But then, according to v.7, "the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them." 

This is the first mention in the book of Revelation of the beast. There will be thirty-five more mentions. The mentioning of this beast takes us back to Revelation 9:11 where we saw the star that fell from heaven who was given a key to open the Abyss and out of it came awful locusts. Their king, we are told, was from the Abyss. His name was Abaddon, which means "destruction," and Apollyon, which means "destroyer." It was evident, as we saw then, that this was Satan himself, the king over all the demons. 

The Man of Sin, the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2, will be possessed of Satan. Just as Satan entered into Judas before his betrayal of the Lord, so Satan will possess the antichrist, this Man of Sin. It is he who attacks these two witnesses and puts them to death. By the time he will kill them, they will have been a constant thorn in his side. They will tell the truth to the people, pointing out to them the deceptive tactics of Satan. They will warn the poeple that they are being deceived by the lies that will be widespread in that day. This will outrage the antichrist who will have all the world under his control, except for those who believed the two witnesses. But now, at last, he will be allowed to kill them.

In v.8-10 we read, "8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth."

Remarkably, because of the death of the two witnesses, there will be a great celebration on earth. In fact, they will refuse to bury these two men but gloat over them and display their bodies for all the world to see.

The city is here figuratively called "Sodom and Egypt," because of its corruption, and persecution. Yet it is clearly identified as the city "where the Lord was crucified." The   hatred of the world against the cause of Christ will be put on display as they celebrate the deaths of these two who had been such a painful rebuke to their sinful practices.

In ancient times, when pagan people wanted to dishonor their enemies, they would leave their corpses lying in the street. That was the ultimate dishonoring, the ultimate denigration of someone.

In v.11-14 we read, "11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. 13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon."

This part of the story proves one thing: Signs and wonders do not make the gospel believable, the Holy Spirit does. When the two witnesses are raised to life, it will be at the perfect moment when everybody on the earth will witness this miracle. At that moment there will be a strong earthquake. Interestingly, the largest earthquake fault on earth runs just east of Jerusalem, down the valley of the Jordan River. It is called the "Great Rift Valley," and it extends under the Dead Sea into Africa. The theory of continental drift and the movement of tectonic plates upon which the continents rest enables us to understand how all of this will take place exactly as described. Immediately afterwards, the seventh angel will sound his trumpet. 

As we come then to the seventh trumpet, we come to the very end. And, we wonder, “Why does the book go on from there?” Because beginning with the seventh trumpet, God takes us back and describes the career of the Antichrist, describes the one-world church, describes the one-world economy, and we will look at that in our next blog and podcast.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Revelation 11:5-6

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5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. ~ Revelation 11:5-6

We return to our study of Revelation 11. In Revelation 10-11 we are introduced to an interlude or an intermission before the final series of judgments of God. This will be a time the Scriptures calls "the day of the Lord," and it will happen at the end of the seven-year period many call the Tribulation. Just after this event, the second coming of Christ will take place when the Lord Jesus Christ will establish His millennial kingdom on earth.  

As we have seen, the seven seal judgments will stretch across the Tribulation, that period of seven years when God will judge sin and Satan. The seven trumpet judgments and the seven bowl judgments will happen far more rapidly, at the very end of the seventieth-seven of Daniel 9:24-27. 

As we have seen with the seals and the trumpets six of them will be opened and poured out, and then there will be an interlude or an intermission before the seventh seal will be opened or the seventh trumpet will be sounded. The same pattern will happen with the seventh bowl judgment. Before the seventh bowl will be presented, there will be an interlude or an intermission.

In addition, between the seals and the bowls is a series of judgments that don’t take as long as the seals and aren’t as brief as the bowls, called the seven trumpet judgments. We’ve gone through six of them, and now we are in the interlude before the seventh. So in each case there is a pause, an interlude before the final and seventh judgment.

The purpose of the final interlude or intermission will be to comfort and encourage those believers in Christ who will still be on the earth. But another purpose is to offer yet another opportunity for those who have not believed to come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As the judgments increase in their fury, those who come to faith in the Lord Jesus will be reminded that the Lord will still be in ultimate control. And so in each case before the final and worst judgment, the Lord stops to pause long enough to remind them of comforting truth about His care for His own.

Today, we look deeper into the two witnesses the Lord provides. These two witnesses have been identified in the previous verses as two olive trees and two lampstands who stand before the Lord while on the earth prophesying for 1260 days.

In Matthew 24:15, the Lord Jesus said that the sign of the end will be when the abomination that causes desolation is seen standing in the holy place. The holy place is the temple, and the abomination of desolation, which Daniel had predicted, will be an action of the Man of Sin, the antichrist. Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonian 2:4 that "he will sit in the temple, magnifying himself as God." This means that the temple will be built on Mount Moriah, and will be occupied by the antichrist who will do some abominible act that will cause the people to leave the temple, making it desolat.. 

These witnesses will be allowed to witness for 1,260 days, 42 months, or 3-1/2 years. If the 42 months that the nations trample down the holy city is the first half of that period, as I think it is, then the change to 1,260 days as a time-designation here probably indicates that the witness of these two is during the last half of that final seven of Daniel's prophecy. 

Here, we are told these witnesses are "two olive trees and two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth." In Zechariah 4 we read of two olive trees that drip their oil into two lampstands as a witness to Israel. So, we have two men who symbolically are like lampstands giving light in the midst of the darkness. They are led by the Spirit of God Himself, for olive oil stands for the Spirit; thus their witness cannot be extinguished until their work is done. They are especially protected by God for fire comes out of their mouths to destroy anyone who tries to harm them.

During the final three-and-a-half years while Jerusalem is being trampled by the antichrist and his forces, these two witnesses will be given the power so that they will be able to deliver God's message. As a result, the nation of Israel will believe in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.

Two is a very important number in the Bible for it is the number for confirmation. Any time there is a testimony that needs to be confirmed, according to Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15 and Numbers 35:30, one must have at least two witnesses.

According to v.5, "If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.

Then in v.6 we read, "They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want."

Breathing fire, causing drought, turning water into blood, and striking the earth with every kind of plague are judgments very similar to the judgments inflicted in the Old Testament by Moses and Elijah. In 2 Kings 1, Elijah brought down fire from heaven that consumed the enemies of God. He also shut off rain from heaven in 1 Kings 17. And Moses turned water into blood, and smote the people of Egypt with all kinds of plagues, according to Exodus 7-10.

In Malachi 4:1-6 we are told that, “Before the final day of the Lord, Elijah will come.” And, according to Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Moses told the people of Israel that the Lord would raise up a prophet like him in the final days.

Throw in the fact that in Matthew 17, Moses and Elijah were given a preview of the second coming at the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus on the mountain with James, John and Peter, it is not a far reach to believe these two witnesses will be Moses and Elijah.

Whether these two witnesses are Moses and Elijah, the most important part is the Lord will yet again make it possible for people to not only hear the gospel, but also to be given more opportunities to believe. God can never be blamed for anyone spending eternity in Hell.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Revelation 11:1-4

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1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” ~ Revelation 11:1-4

The book of the Revelation is designed to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to its reader. It focuses on His second coming, His return to earth in glory, with a twofold purpose: to judge the wicked, and to rescue those who have the righteousness of God applied to them. The book tells about the events leading up to His return and the events following His return. The Tribulation leads up to His millennial kingdom.

As we have already pointed out, Revelation 11 is part of an interlude or an intermission between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpets. The Apostle John is given a new assignment at this point. At the close of Revelation 10, the Apostle John was given a little scroll of prophecy to eat which he ate, symbolizing personal involvement with God's plan of restoration in the last days. From this point on in Revelation John is no longer a mere observer; now his involvement is unquestioned. 

In v.1 we read, "I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers."

This measuring rod was used in ancient times for measuring. The word is kalamos. It refers to a reed that grew in the Jordan Valley, it’s the name of a reed. And they grew down in the lowlands of the Jordan Valley, and they grew to be somewhere between ten and fifteen feet high. They were a hallow stalk, like a bamboo stalk; and because they were so very light they were cut down and cut into proper lengths, and used as measuring instruments like a yardstick. 

There are two things that occur in the Bible with regard to God in measuring out things: one is judgment, and the other is ownership. God in Old Testament history has at times measured out something for destruction. This is a way of saying, “I’m confining My destruction to this particular area, or this particular city, or this particular location, or this particular people."

So, this act of measuring the temple is clearly, showing God's judgment and ownership. He is claiming the measured object as His to use, either for blessing or for judgment. That is the way we use measurement today. If we have a dispute with our neighbor over a property line, we hire a surveyor who measures the property and establishes the boundaries. So, here God has given the prophet a measuring rod with which he measures the temple and the altar, and even the worshipers who come there. But, John is told to exclude the outer court of the temple.

This appears then to be an act of defining the parameters of God’s property. In fact, God is measuring out the people of the temple, the people who worship in it, the people to whom it belongs, namely Israel. God is measuring off for Israel an earthly temple. Previously in the book we have seen a temple opened in heaven. It is clear from the mention of "the holy city" in v.2 that this is a temple in Jerusalem. Currently, there is no temple in Jerusalem. There has not been a temple there since the Romans destroyed it in 70 A.D. Obviously, a coming earthly Temple will be built by the Jews in Jerusalem. This will probably happen very quickly at the beginning of the Tribulation.

In v.2 we read, "But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months."

John is told to exclude the outer court because it has been given to the Gentiles for 42 months. This means there will be some non-Jewish control allowed of part of the temple mount for 42 months which is 3-1/2 years which is obviously one-half of the last seven years of the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. Of course, 3-1/2 years leaves two periods possible. This is probably referring to the first half of the Tribulation, for that would allow for the construction of a restored Jewish temple on the top of Mount Moriah.

God instructs John to measure out the temple, because He has plans for it, and those plans have to do with God’s purpose in the redemption of Israel. All of this is to say that the promises God made in the Old Testament to Israel will come to pass; there will be a future temple, not just a millennial temple, but even a tribulation temple in which God will accomplish His purposes.

This clearly underlines the fact that the church is not present on earth during the seventieth-seven, because this doesn’t feel like the church age anymore. In Colossians 3:11, and in Ephesians 2:14-16 we are told that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. But here, all of a sudden, there is definitely Jew and Gentile, as God says, “Measure out the Jew as My people, but not those Gentiles.” And the middle wall of partition which was torn down by the Lord Jesus is back up again. And that’s another of the reasons why I believe the church has been removed in the Rapture.

In v.3-4 we read, "3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth."

Introduced into the coming unfolding events will be two witnesses. This is so characteristic of God. These witnesses come warning the people, telling them of the imminent impending blowing of the seventh trumpet. In fact, they start at the midpoint in the tribulation, warning the people during the seal and trumpet judgments that take place in the second half of the tribulation, the time known as the Great Tribulation.

These two witnesses will preach the gospel, calling people to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And they keep doing that right up until the end. This tells us that people will have many opportunities to hear and to respond to the gospel until the end.

God instructs John to measure out the temple, because He has plans for it, and those plans have to do with God’s purpose in the redemption of Israel and the fulfillment of His promises to them. All of this is to say that Israel was not permanently set aside, but the promises God made in the Old Testament are going to come to pass. 

This is what the Lord Jesus told us in Matthew 24:14, “The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

In the end, the grace of God will triumph for those who have willing hearts. To triumph in Christ means that only in Christ are we able to overcome the power of Satan and sin.  By His death on the cross, Christ triumphed over sin. By His death on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ disarmed the power of the devil. We triumph the same way we received forgiveness of sins, by faith. Victory is fixing our eyes by faith on the Lord Jesus Christ who has triumphed on the cross. God has immersed us in Christ’s victory! This is the truth that sets us free!