Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Destruction Of Babylon

Revelation 18:1-24

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:1-2)

Another angel appears whose glory is so great he light the whole earth, announcing the destruction of Babylon.  His description of its destruction is a fulfillment of Isaiah 13:19-22.  “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.  It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.  But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.  And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”  When Babylon is destroyed by God it will never again be inhabited by people, not even by a wandering Arab shepherd. 

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Revelation 18:3)

False religion originated in Babylon when they built the tower of Babel as a way to reach heaven without god in Genesis 11.  In Daniel 3 they threatened to kill any who didn’t bow to the golden statue.  Under the false prophet they will again force people to worship their false god according to Revelation 13:15.  “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” 

All the nations of the world will yield to Babylon’s demands in an effort to gain the financial and political benefits of associating with her, including her religious demands.  Jeremiah 51:7 says, “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.”  Even the so-called “Christian” nations will give up their personal freedoms for Babylon’s approval.  The result will be a period of worldwide prosperity. 

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.  Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” (Revelation 18:4-6)

Christians and Jews will be drawn to Babylon because of her prosperity.  God warns not to fall for the allure because God is going to judge her.  If they go, they risk falling into the same mindset as Lot in Sodom, losing his own moral standards and his testimony with his family.  God warned the church of Thyatira of the consequences of going along with false religion.

“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.  Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (Revelation 18:7-8)

Because they will be so powerful politically, Babylon will think they have everything under control and will be shocked and unprepared to protect themselves from attack.  Their defenses will be completely destroyed and the city burned.  They will be unable to save anything. 
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” (Revelation 18:9-10)

The governments of that day will be upset when Babylon is destroyed because it will mean the loss of much of their influence.  At the same time they will hate her demands, eventually destroying her to get out from under her domination.  Revelation 17:16-17 says, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  Babylon will be destroyed for her abuse of power, and no one will come to her rescue because they are afraid the others will turn on them.

“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.  And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.” (Revelation 18:11-14)

Babylon will be the biggest market for all kinds of luxuries, and every day goods.  They will trade for everything including livestock, weapons, slaves, and religious beliefs of men.  When Babylon is destroyed all those markets will disappear.   The entire world’s economy will suffer a tremendous recession as a result.

 “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!  For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!  And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.” (Revelation 18:15-19)

The recession affects not only the producers, but the lack of demand affects to fuel producers and the shipping companies.  The whole world will regret the decision to eliminate Babylon, realizing it has caused many of their problems.   

“Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” (Revelation 18:20)

Those who have suffered most as a result of Babylon’s power and wickedness will be free to rejoice over her destruction. Knowing she has received fitting judgment and will never again harm other people. 

“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.  And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 18:21-24)

When it is destroyed, Babylon will never be occupied.  The prophecies of Isaiah 13 and 14, and of Jeremiah 50 and 51 will be fulfilled.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Babylon The Great

Revelation 17:1-18

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.  And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. ” (Revelation 17:1-6)

One of the angels came to John and offered to explain the destruction of Babylon to him.   The vision John saw is of a woman being carried by a beast having seven heads and ten horns.  The woman is dressed lavishly, as a rich prostitute, decked with gifts from her lovers and drinking a golden goblet of wine.  She is identified three different ways.  First  she is called “Mystery”, and Proverbs 5:6 warns that a prostitute doesn’t want people to know what she is really doing,  “Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.”  

She is also called “Babylon the Great”.  While many have interpreted this passage to refer to Rome, only one city has ever been known as Babylon the Great.  Finally she is called the “Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.”  False religion started in Babylon with the construction of the tower of Babel, known to history as the temple of Marduk.  Anthropologists link the world wide stories of the flood to the Babylonian version known as the Gilgamesh Epic, and many of the gods of religions around the world are based on the ancient Babylonian gods. 

Throughout history, false religion has sold itself to political leaders, changing their beliefs to fit the desires of the system they live support.  It has been responsible for some of the most horrible wars in history, with many directed against the people of God.  Under the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Greeks, Babylon forced the religion of the day on her subject peoples.  America was settled by people seeking to escape religious persecution on behalf or rulers seeking greater power, and the present Jihad movement in the Middle East is just such a conflict. 

“And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.  The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.  And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.  And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Revelation 17:7-11)

John was amazed by the richness and beauty of the woman.  The angel explains what the different things mean and that it shouldn’t cause any surprise.  As he explains, the beast with the seven heads represents a satanic system of government.  It is founded on seven different empires of history, the seven mountains or kings.  Five had already had their day, The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Parthians or Selucids.   The Roman empire was in power and the eastern part would remain until about 565 AD.  The Byzantine  or sixth Empire ruled only a short time before being pushed out by Moslem forces around 650 BC.  Under all those empires, Babylon was a major religious center, even after they had lost their political power.  The Antichrist’s government arises out of the same Satanic philosophy and is part of the same plan.

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14)

The Empire at the end of time will be divided into ten geographic and political districts with their own governments, answerable to the central government similar to the states in the United States.  According to Ezekiel 38:13, some of them oppose the actions taken in the Middle east, and Daniel 7:24 tells us that the Antichrist will personally take control of them, eliminating any opposition.  They will be united in their opposition to Christ and will follow the Antichrist in his attempt to take God’s place.

“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.  And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:15-18)

The water where the woman is carried by the beast is comprised of the various political, religious and ethnic groups around the world.  Though the political powers have used the prostitute, false religion, they hate her demands and power over them.  When the opportunity arises they will turn on her, fulfilling God’s prophecy against Babylon, as found in Isaiah 13 and 14, and Jeremiah 50 and 51. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Seven Last Plagues

Revelation 15:1-16:21

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.  Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:1-4)

The events described here seem to happen between the time the Lord takes out his and the angel casts the wicked into the winepress.  The ones who have gone through the tribulation without yielding to Antichrist are standing on the sea or lake of glass with flames mixed in and shining through it.  They are all playing harps, and singing songs of praise, thanking God for his wonderful plan and rejoicing that all nations will finally acknowledge him as God.

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.  And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” (Revelation 15:5-16:1)

Next John saw the temple in heaven opened again and the angels having the seven last plagues of God’s wrath sent out.  They are instructed to empty the vials or containers on the earth. 

 “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” (Revelation 16:2)

The first plague is like lesions or boils on the skin of every person who has accepted the mark of the beast or worshipped his image.  They are oozing pus and smell horrible, in addition to being very painful, and make people miserable.  This resembles the plague of boils in Exodus 9:8-11.

“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.   And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.” (Revelation 16:3-4)

The second angel empties his plague on the ocean and the water congeals like a dead person’s blood clots in the veins within a few hours.  Unable to swim or get oxygen, every animal in the ocean died.  The third angel poured his plague on the fresh water, and it all turned to blood. 

“And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.  And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” (Revelation 16:5-7)

Because they have been so bloodthirsty, murdering God’s people the angels consider it only fair that the people be given nothing but blood to drink.  The plague is reminiscent of the plague in Egypt in Exodus 7:14-25, when the waters of the Nile turned to blood, killing the fish and making the river stink.  This time, however, it is all the fresh water.

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” (Revelation 16:8-9)

Earlier, the sun had been blocked by smoke and ash and the length of the days changed.  Now the it is like there is a huge solar flare that intensifies the heat the sun put out people are not only sunburned but physically burned by the heat.  People are miserable and curse God because of the heat, rather than asking him to forgive them. 

“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” (Revelation 16:10-11)

The fifth angel pours his vial over the Antichrists capitol, and the sky is blacked out completely, but does not shield them from the heat.  Already suffering from thirst and sores and the heat, and unable to produce enough electricity to run their air conditioning, people become even more resentful and irritable, but they still don’t acknowledge their sin.  This plague resembles the plague of darkness described in Exodus 10:21-23.

“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” (Revelation 16:12)

The Euphrates River has been running since the beginning of the world and has supplied Babylon with water since the tower of Babel was built.  When the sixth angel pours out his plague the Euphrates river stops running in preparation for the Eastern nations to participate in the final attack on Jerusalem. 

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” (Revelation 16:13-14)

The devil, the Antichrist, and the false prophet all conspire to incite the entire world to final attempt to defeat God’s plan in a concerted attack on Christ.   Zechariah 14:3 says, “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15)

Once again we are reminded that there will be no advance warning signs of the Lord’s coming.  Those who have accepted and faithfully served him will be prepared and have nothing to worry about.  Those who have not trusted him will be revealed in all their shame. 

“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.  And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.  And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.  And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” (Revelation 16:17-21)

With all the armies of the world gathered in the valley of Armageddon, the last angel pours out the last plague and announces the end.  When he does, there is the biggest earthquake the world has ever seen, accompanied by what seems to be a massive thunderstorm.  Jerusalem is divided into three parts, and the capitols of all the nations collapse.  The islands are shaken into the sea, and the mountains displaced by the violence of the earthquake.  To top it all off, there is a hailstorm with hailstones weighing seventy five pounds each, that destroys almost everything that survives the earthquake.  Babylon will  also be judged by God.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

End Of Antichrist’s Reign.

Revelation 14:1-20

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.  And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.  These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:1-5)

Next John saw the hundred forty four thousand standing on mount Zion with the Lord.  Each one has the identifying seal or mark of the name of God written in their forehead.  These are the ones described in Revelation 7.  There is a multitude of musicians playing a song in heaven on harps but the only humans who can learn it are the hundred forty four thousand who have been faithful to God during the antichrist’s reign.  They are Jewish young men who have not surrendered to natural desires, but have chosen to follow Christ in every situation, even at the risk of their own lives.   They have had their sins forgiven and stand before God without fault, just as every Christian will, but these are the first fruits, the first ones harvested.    

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

In this vision, and angel spreads the gospel to every people on earth, warning them of the judgment to come and the need to worship and obey God.  In Revelation 11, we saw the two witnesses who will be heard around the world, and this appears to reference the preaching.   Romans 1:18-20 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”  Mankind has never had an excuse for not knowing God, but he will make an extra effort to be sure they don’t in that day. 

“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Revelation 14:8)

The first record of Babel declares it part of Nimrod’s kingdom in Genesis 10.  It became known as Babel after God confounded the languages to stop their building the tower and rejecting his command.  A king Named Belus claimed Babel in 2284 BC.   Later, the Akkadian king Sargon claimed Babel.  It was occupied by many groups before Nebuchadnezzar became emperor, about 605 BC.  It was subsequently conquered by the Persians, and by the Greeks in 331 BC.

After Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC, the Greek Empire was split between his generals, with Babylon going to the Seleucid dynasty.   In 275 the Seleucid Empire moved its capitol to Seleucia and Babylon was left with ony a very small population.  Peter spoke of the church at Babylon in I Peter 5:13.  “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.”  It remained an important center of Christianity until after 650 AD, when the Moslem religion largely took over the region. In the 1800’s a village still occupied the site when archaeologists began excavation.

In 1983, Saddam Hussein commenced reconstruction of the city of Babylon, but was forced to stop in 2003 by the gulf war.  In 2006, the UN committed themselves to restoring the city, and it was opened for tourism in 2009.  This is in accord with the passage in Zechariah 5:5-15 which indicates the city will be rebuilt.  Near the end of the Antichrist’s reign, the angel announces the destruction of Babylon.  Another angel warns of the danger of worshiping the beast or accepting his mark. 

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:9-12)

God will pour out his wrath on those who have worshiped the Antichrist and his statue, receiving his mark as indicators of their worship.  They will experience the eternal flame and suffering Jesus foretold repeatedly.  The Christian faith is again said to rest on the belief that the wicked will be judged.

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

Right up to very end people will be dying for their faith in the Lord.  As the Holy spirit says, those who die are blessed because they no longer have to suffer and can rest.  They will not lose their rewards. 

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” (Revelation 14:14-16)

The Lord had already reaped the first fruits, the hundred forty four thousand.  Now John saw him sitting on cloud waiting the signal to begin the harvest, with his sickle in his hand.  When another angel gave the signal, Jesus reaped his children immediately. 

“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.  And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” (Revelation 14:17-20)

An angel was then sent to reap the wicked for judgment.  He reaped them, and threw them into the winepress where they would be squeezed out, just outside the city.  The blood ran to the horse’s bridles, in places as much as thirty inches deep, for a distance of about two hundred miles.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The False Prophet

Revelation 13:11-17

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.  And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” (Revelation 13:11-12)

The second beast that appeared to John has two horns like lambs horn, symbolizing his power yet appearing relatively harmless.  At the same time, he speaks like the dragon, Satan and has access to the power Satan has given the first beast.  He works at getting people to worship the Antichrist and his government.  This second beast, like the first, is led and controlled by a single individual, but is actually a religious organization.  

From the Pharaohs of Egypt, to the Emperors of Japan and the queen of England or the Dalai Lama and the various Islamic sects today, rulers have used religion to strengthen their control of their people, and the antichrist will be no different.   In the Islamic tradition of the Mahdi, Jesus, the Masih or Messiah will come to Damascus, dressed in yellow robes.  He will join the Mahdi in eliminating evil.  He will slay the Dajjal or false religions and unite mankind, breaking the cross.  Though he does not believe in Allah, the Antichrist will use the Islamic religion to establish his kingdom.

“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” (Revelation 13:13-14)

Posing as Jesus Christ, the false prophet will be able to do miraculous seeming things that impress many people, and convince them that he is the true Messiah.  As we were told earlier, he exercises all the powers of the Antichrist.  II Thessalonians 2:9-11 describes the powers he will exercise and their purpose.  “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

While he will have supernatural power, much of what the false prophet does is illusion such as some of our modern day magicians do.  God will cause those who have rejected him to be more suggestible so they fall more easily for the tricks. 

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)

One of the things that the false prophet will do is produce an image or figure of the beast that speaks, and execute anyone who will not worship the statue.  Having seen some of the very lifelike figures in some of the amusement parks, I suspect he will use some similar type of technology to protect the real man. 

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:16-18)

Jews were required to wear a star and Nazi’s were expected to wear a swastika in Nazi Germany to identify them.  People wearing a swastika were able to obtain whatever was available, while those wearing stars were refused even basic food.  The false prophet will have similar authority, forbidding those who do not have the proper markings, either of a special sign, or the name or his id number on either their hand or their forehead. 

Today there is considerable discussion whether the mark is some kind of RFID chip or if it is some symbol such as that worn by many Moslems on their arm or forehead to make them readily identifiable.   There is also a great deal of speculation as to what the symbol and number actually mean.  We don’t need to worry about it at this time.  It will become abundantly clear when the time comes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Beast

Revelation 13:1-10

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.   And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:1-2)

Daniel 7:3-8 describes the sequence of empires that would arise in Babylon, using a lion to represent the Babylonian Empire, a bear to represent the Persian Empire, and a Leopard to represent the Greek Empire.   A fourth beast, the Roman Empire is different from all the others and will conquer the earth, breaking it apart.  Out of its remains come ten horns which, according to Daniel 7:24 represent ten kingdoms that will arise out of those earlier empires.

 A little horn arises out of those ten horns, the one we call the Antichrist that Daniel 7:25 describes.  “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”  Daniel 8:24 confirms that his power comes from Satan.  “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”  

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3)

Knowing that the heads represent nations or governments it is obvious that the wounded head is a government that has been almost wiped out.  Daniel 11:14-16 made it clear that the king of the north that preceded the Antichrist had defeated and almost wiped out the Islamic government of the king of the south.  Later, in Daniel 11:40, we are told “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him…,” clearly indicating that the government has been rebuilt.  It seems likely that that Islamic alliance is the head which is rebuilt.  The rest of Daniel 11:40-41 are explained in Revelation 17.

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4)

The Islamic religion teaches that at the time of the end, when Christ returns, there will be a redeemer of Islam, known as the Mahdi, who will rule for several years before the Judgment, ridding the world of evil and bringing the entire world to the Islamic religion.   Many of the Jihadist leaders are seeking to become the Mahdi, and such a belief will provide incentive for the Islamic groups to follow and worship the Antichrist if he restores Islamic unity. 

The Moslem religion did not exist until after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and we know that the Antichrist comes out of it.  Daniel 11:37-38 says he sets himself above every god, and honors a god his ancestors didn’t know about.  ”Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.   But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.”   

“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:5-8)

Once again, scripture teaches that the Antichrist will only be in power forty two months or three and half years.   He will blaspheme the God of heaven, and his religion and those in heaven.  He will do his best to destroy all those who believe in God, and will be worshipped by all those who have rejected Christ’s atonement for their sins.  Daniel 7:25 tells us almost exactly the same thing.  “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

“If any man have an ear, let him hear.  He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:9-10)

Once again we are warned to listen to what the angels have told John.  God will bring judgment on the wicked.  The Christian faith rests on God’s judgment of the world and rewards of those who believe.  As Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

Israel’s Role

Revelation 11:19-12:17

“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Revelation 11:19)

The old Jewish temple was modeled on the temple in heaven according to Hebrews 9:23-24.  “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.   For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”   The ark of the covenant or testimony represented God’s contract with Israel, and sat at the very heart of the temple.  According to Hebrews 9, that earthly templ;e depicted God’s plan for all of humanity, even though it was specifically for the Jews. 

The appearance of the temple in heaven emphasizes God’s special relationship with the Jews, as a picture of his love for those who believe in him.  Daniel 9:24 tells us, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”  God has designated seventy weeks or sevens of years to bring Israel to the place where he wants them, a total of four hundred ninety years. 

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” (Daniel 9:25)

The command to build Jerusalem was given about 495 BC.  Please note that there is considerable debate among historians as to the actual date, with the traditional date commonly set at 535 BC.  Records discovered in Babylon indicate the later date is more accurate.    Forty nine years after Cyrus gave the command, when Darius died and Artaxerxes became emperor, the temple and city were built, but the wall was not completed until during Artaxerxes reign, amid growing unrest.  Four hundred thirty four years after Artaxerxes assumed the throne. The wise men from the east began their journey to find the infant Messiah, Jesus.

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.   And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:26-27)

Later Jesus was executed, and the city of Jerusalem was razed by the Roman Empire in 66 AD.   Israel did not even exist as a nation until it re-established in 1948.  Even today, they are under constant attack.  The treaty with Israel begins the last seven years of God’s dealing with Israel, known as the tribulation.  The primary purpose of the tribulation is to turn Israel unto God, although the entire world will be affected by it. Chapter twelve focuses on Israel’s role in history.

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Revelation 12:1-2)

The vision of the woman has a great deal of similarity to the dream Joseph had in Genesis 37:9-10, and is clearly a reference to the nation of Israel.  Messiah’s birth had been predicted for a thousand and more years, and finally the time came, about 7 BC.

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Revelation 12:3-4)

The dragon is Satan as we see from Revelation 12:9.  “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”  The stars represent the angels which followed him when he was cast out of heaven.  The seven heads, ten horns and seven crowns represent various governments under Satan’s power throughout history that have tried to destroy Israel, preventing the fulfilment of God’s plan, as we will see in Revelation 17.

“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.  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 threescore days.” (Revelation 12:5-6)

Despite Satan’s best efforts. Christ was born and fulfilled what was needed to provide salvation.  After his resurrection, he was caught up into heaven in Acts 1.  In Matthew 24:15-16. Jesus warned the disciples there would come a time when they would have to flee from Jerusalem. 

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

And 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.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:7-12)

Satan’s forces were defeated and cast out of heaven by the archangel, Michael and his forces.  They came to the earth, and are attempting to deceive the whole earth.  Satan is no longer able to stand and accuse those who oppose him because Christ has paid for the sin and stands as their advocate.   Knowing he has been defeated and that ultimate defeat is just ahead, Satan is desperate and will attack and destroy everything in his desperation. 

“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.  And to the woman were 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, from the face of the serpent.” (Revelation 12:13-14)

Seeing the destruction of Israel as his last chance, Satan will cause the nations of the world to turn on her half way through the tribulation, led by the Antichrist.  As Jesus warned the disciples they will need to flee to the mountains to a place God has prepared where they will be protected for three and a half years during the Antichrist’s reign.  Many believe that place will be the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, although scripture never says so. 

“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood 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.” (Revelation 12:15-16)

The Antichrist’s forces will be unable to destroy the Jews with ordinary military attacks, but Satan will attempt to destroy them by flooding the area where they have taken refuge.  God will cause the flood to be diverted, saving the Jews.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)

Frustrated in his attempt to destroy the Jewish people, Satan will then attack the Jewish people who had not gone to Israel, and the Christians around the world in a last ditch effort to change the outcome. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Two Witnesses

Revelation 11:1-19

“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.  But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” (Revelation 11:1-2)

In Ezekiel 40-47, Ezekiel sees a vision of a man measuring the land and dividing it up among the people who return to Israel from the countries of the world.  He describes it as time when the Jews turn to God, offering the ancient sacrifices and worshipping him fully.  The king of the North’s treaty with Israel and defeat of the surrounding nations will free Israel to rebuild the temple and worship God as they once did, and many who desire to worship will take advantage of the opportunity, according to Daniel 11:1.  “He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.” 

At the same time, there will be a widespread rejection of god by many in the land, and John was told not to mess with the land outside because it has been given over to the unbelievers.  After the Antichrist comes to power, the entire city of Jerusalem will be controlled by the unbelievers for three and a half years.

“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a 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 proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.  These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (Revelation 11:3-6)

God will give two special witnesses power and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, apparently in Jerusalem.  They are special to God, and will be protected by him, miraculously sending fire from their mouths to burn their opponents and kill them.  They have been given control of natural phenomena, controlling the weather and the spread of pollution and disease. 

Because of the statement in Revelation 10:11, “…Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings,” many think John will be one of the two witnesses.  Based on other things Jesus said, it may well be true.  Some believe Elijah will be the other witness. 

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.  And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.  And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” (Revelation 11:7-10)

When their time of ministry is complete, the one thousand two hundred sixty days, they will be killed in Jerusalem by satanic power.  for three and half days their bodies will be left lying in the street with photos broadcast to the entire world, extolling the antichrist’s power to eliminate these men who have stood against him.  There will be a great celebration that they can no longer oppose what is happening.  

“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:11-12)

One can only imagine the consternation when the two witnesses are restored to life and ascend into heaven on camera. 
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Revelation 11:13)

To further shake people up, when the Two witnesses ascend into heaven, there will be an earthquake that destroys one tenth of the city of Jerusalem, killing seven thousand people.  The survivors will finally give God the glory.

“The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” (Revelation 11:14)

Daniel 12:11-12 told us, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”  Just thirty days after the two witnesses are killed, the antichrist’s kingdom will be destroyed, when the seventh trumpet sounds.

“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.” (Revelation 11:15)

When that seventh trumpet sounds, Christ will establish his earthly kingdom.  He will reign for eternity. 
“And 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 hast reigned.  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:16-18)

When Christ takes the throne, the twenty four elders thank God for finally ending the rebellion and taking control.  They look forward to the judgment and rewards of mankind. 

“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Revelation 11:19)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Beginning Of The Second Woe

Revelation 9:13-10:11

“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.  And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” (Revelation 9:13-15)

When the sixth angel blew his trumpet, four angels (demons) were to be released from the Euphrates River.  For just over thirteen months, they will be allowed to attack mankind.  They will be supported by a huge army.

“And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.  And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.  By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.  For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.” (Revelation 9:16-19)

The four angels unleash an army of two hundred million on the earth.  They are armored, so that they cannot be readily destroyed, spewing flame and smoke and brimstone, both from the front and the tail.  People will die from the flame directly, from breathing in the fumes, and from coming in contact with the molten materials they spew out.  Some teach that these descriptions are John’s efforts to describe modern military equipment in first century terms, and they may well be.

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21)

God is bringing all these horrible things on mankind in an effort to get then to think about what they are doing and change, but they refuse.  Rather than turning to God and asking for his help, they continue to worship the same old false gods they have made, that have no power of their own.  They continue to practice the acts of rebellion against God that brought his judgment in the first place, the murders, dabbling with satanic forces, sexual sin of all kinds, and stealing from each other.

“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. ” (Revelation 10:1-4)

An angel then appeared, dressed in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head.  His face shone like the sun, and his legs were like columns of fire.   He took his place on the earth with one foot on the ocean and the other on land, holding a little book of judgment.  His voice is loud like a lion’s roar and when he speaks, seven voices like thunder describe what is about to happen, but John is forbidden to tell what the thunders said. 

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth 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 time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:5-7)

The angel announces that when the seventh trumpet sounds, all Gods secret plans that he has shared with the prophets will be finished and time will cease to exist.   
“And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall 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.
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Revelation 10:8-11)

John took the book from the angel and ate it as he was directed, and as foretold, it tasted sweet, but caused an upset stomach that wouldn’t allow him to relax.  John was then told he would prophesy again before many nations, peoples and rulers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Like Swarms Of Locusts

Revelation 9:1-12

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.  And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.  And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. ” (Revelation 9:1-3)

When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, an angel comes to earth and unlocks the bottomless pit, releasing a huge cloud of smoke, similar to the cloud from a volcano.  The smoke was so dense as to block much of the sunlight and fill the air.  Accompanying the smoke were swarms of creatures with a fierce stinging ability.

 “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.  And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.  And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Revelation 9:4-6)

The creatures eat human flesh, and while extremely painful, are not fatal.  They are repelled by the seal God has placed in the foreheads of his servants, as described in Revelation 7.  The infestation will last for five months.  The bites are so painful people will try to commit suicide to escape them, but will be unable to do so.

“And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.  And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.  And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.  And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.  And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:7-11)

Apparently the creatures were quite large, with shells resembling armor, with humanlike face and hair but with teeth designed for tearing flesh.  Their wings are large and the swarms sound like a heard of horses when the fly.  Their stingers are in their tails and serve to immobilize their prey.  They are led by a leader referred to as a destroying angel. 

“One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” (Revelation 9:12)

After five months of being attacked by these swarms of creatures, people would be willing to do anything including commit suicide to escape their misery.  People were afraid to venture out for fear of attack.  Unfortunately, this is just the first woe.  There will be two more, even worse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Opening The Seventh Seal

Revelation 8:1-13

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” (Revelation 8:1-6)

When the Lord opened the seventh seal, the entire assembly was struck dumb by what they saw and took about a half hour to recover. 

Seven angels were given trumpets to sound, but before they do, another angel gathers the prayers of the believers and offers them to God.  He takes some of the fire from the altar to cast it to the earth, where it results in huge lightning storms and an earthquake, terrorizing the people on earth.
“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” (Revelation 8:7)

When the first angel sounded his trumpet there was a huge hail accompanied by ground lightning similar to what we call St. Elmo’s fire running along the ground, setting fire to the forests and grasslands.  The hail kills many people and animals and the resulting fires burn all the grass and a third of the forests in the most devastating fire season ever.

“And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” (Revelation 8:8-9)

When the second angel sounded, something like a huge flaming asteroid plunged into the ocean.   It polluted the ocean, making a third of the seawater red, almost like blood and killing one third of the sea life.  It also destroyed about a third of the world’s shipping fleets.

 “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” (Revelation 8:10-11)

The sound of the third trumpet released a meteor that fell into the fresh water contaminating a third of the planet’s fresh with a bitter poison called wormwood.  Thousands of people died as a result of drinking the contaminated water.

“And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.” Revelation 8:12)

The sixth seal had already resulted in major changes in the paths of the stars and planets.  This fourth trumpet results in something reducing the light received by the earth by a third, blocking out some stars completely, and almost completely blocking the light for several hours every day.

“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” (Revelation 8:13)

Another angel flew through heaven warning that things were going to get a lot worse when the other three angels sounded their trumpets. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Christians During The Tribulation

Revelation 7:1-17

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1-3)

Before the natural disasters described in chapter six, there will be a brief period of when things seem pretty stable.  During that time God identifies those who are his to be protected during the events to follow.  The brief respite will probably be used by the antichrist to convince the world that his policies are working, if he is like most political leaders.

“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.  Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.” (Revelation 7:4-8)

This first one hundred forty four thousand are young, unmarried Jewish men,  twelve Thousand from each tribe.  Revelation 14:1-5 describes them. “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:1-5)  
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

In addition to the hundred forty four thousand there is a vast multitude of people from every family and race and language standing before God and Christ, believers in white robes of righteousness, waving palm branches and shouting thanks to both God and Jesus Christ for their salvation.

“And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:11-12)

When the believers shouted, the millions of angels around the throne bowed in worship in agreement,  God and extolling his glory, wisdom, prestige, and power and thanking him. 

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.

And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.   For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:13-17)

As the elder explained to John, these are millions of Christians who have gone through the tribulation, staying faithful to God.  They will have special relationship with Christ for their faithfulness.  He will supply their every need, and protect them from every possible discomfort or regret.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Fifth and Sixth Seals

Revelation 6:9-17

In Matthew 24:15-21, Jesus warned the disciples, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.   And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

When the antichrist comes to power, halfway through the tribulation period, those who believe in God, whether Jews or Christians will be forced to flee for their lives, with many being killed who were caught unaware.  The fifth seal relates to those who are killed at that time.   

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

When the fifth seal was opened, John saw the souls of the those who had been killed for their faith asking how much longer God would allow things to go on the way they were.  Jesus gave them their white robes and told them that they were to just relax and wait until the world had killed all they were going to kill before they would be resurrected. 

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” (Revelation 6:12-14)

Jesus described the same events in Matthew 24:29.  “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”  During the Antichrist’s reign there will be a series of natural disasters unlike anything people have ever seen.  There will be a one of the strongest earthquakes the world has ever experienced.  Days will be like they are in Alaska, with no sun except for a short time.  The moon will appear red, similar to the way it sometimes looks when it first rises or just before it sets.  There will be huge meteor showers, and our charts of the stars will be thrown out of order.

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)

People will finally realize there are powers man cannot control or manipulate.  People will panic and even experience heartattacks.  They will acknowledge that God is real and beg to die to escape his judgment and the things that are happening.  The Antichrist’s reign will not be without problems.