You must again prophesy. The continuing migration toward Revelation 16. Part 5


Suppose you find yourself in unbearable circumstances.

That seems a rather odd thing to write because I am also involved with a Recovery program and, even if our immediate safety may not be at stake, our sanity might be. Having been rescued, in a sense, you often have to return to the only dry place you know, but that is where the factors that feed your instability or addiction are. At times and seasons like this, it feels like you are going to die here, and that is not what I really wanted.

It is possible that the Apostle John felt that way. First ask yourself, where is he? This dream/vision that he is having did not come to him while sleeping in the penthouse of some safe, warm hotel. He is stuck on a small island, intended for prisoners, and he might be in a cave. Why is John here? Because he is a dissident – someone who thinks differently, not conforming to government standards. The possibility that he will never know life off this rock he is living on is good.

Out of the midst of the most incredible dream a person could have, God says to him:

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” (Revelation 10:8-11 ESV)

I am involved with several bible studies. The people who write the questions for them have probably been sitting in a comfortable, safe, well-lit place. As they sit there this brilliant question comes to them. How does it make you feel as you read that God is saying to you, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings”? Wow, my mind runs through a huge range of emotions in a moment like this:

If what I was doing got me here, would I be willing to do it again?

If it seemed as if there was no hope, what would I be hoping in this time?

Can God really come through for me?

Does he really care about me enough to get me out of here?

Hey, I am just being honest; sorry if you can’t handle that. Oh, and this message that John received, it is not going to be valid or highly understandable for a couple of thousand years, which puts the message in our ballpark. Did John know all that? Because many of us in the church have lived in an expectancy of Jesus return ever since?

Think about this. Once Saul/Paul gets put back on the road as an evangelist, a huge aspect of his message is based upon on what is known from the Old Testament, and it consists of this, that Jesus is coming back soon and that we can have a strong hope in that; evidence of this comes from the letter Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica. One line there reads:

“ and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10 ESV)

And yet, Paul had to write them a second letter because someone or something had gotten them off track. They had lost their hope or, at least, had it dashed to bits. One of the prominent things I see when I read Paul’s letters to this church body is that we as a church will be delivered from wrath, just as Noah was, and so was Lot. Wrath is God’s punishment upon the nations – those who fight against God, and the Jews who reject him. It is not a judgment upon the church (those of us who are in Christ). And, it is a primary focus of the Revelation. That brings us to Paul’s second letter, which states,

“Don’t be fooled by anything they might say. That day of the Lord will not come until the turning away from God happens. And that day will not come until the Man of Evil appears, the one who belongs to hell.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 ERV)

The turning away has a name, apostasy, and you find it in many translations. Look around you, and be honest; do you see people turning to God, or rejecting him?

On a recent Friday morning, 1/29/2016, one of my older friends shows me a portion of some thesis about apostasy. There was no title, and the author was not listed, but the theme was wrapped around judgment, sin, and hopelessness; standard religious junk. The comments I read proved to me that the author did not understand the character and nature of God. My friend asks for my thoughts and comments. When I began to share why this paper was wrong, my friend began to defend this garbage. As I thought about this throughout the day, and how I had referenced the apostasy in this post, I felt I needed to talk about the apostasy for a moment.

What apostasy is may have been best defined by John MacArthur (Note: I am not a huge fan of John MacArthur because he despises the work of the Holy Spirit, but he is very intelligent and worthy of paying attention to in many other areas.) In commenting on 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he speaks of the apostasy or the falling away, when he says,

The “Day of the Lord cannot occur until a deliberate abandonment of a formerly professed position, allegiance, or commitment occurs (the term was used to refer to military, political, or religious rebellion). Some have suggested, on questionable linguistic evidence, that this refers to “departure” in the sense of the rapture. Context, however, points to a religious defection, which is further described in verse 2 Thessalonians 2:4. The language indicates a specific event, not general apostasy which exists now and always will. Rather, Paul has in mind the apostasy. This is an event which is clearly and specifically identifiable and unique, the consummate act of rebellion, an event of final magnitude.”

So, even before I looked at MacArthur’s commentary, my mind was already going in a similar direction, and, there is no doubt that there is a generalized apostasy happening all around us. I pay attention to the not-so-mainstream news, and I am aware that the Vatican is telling us that God and Allah are the same; I see churches appointing openly homosexual priests and pastors; and, we of the “civilized nations” are sacrificing babies on the altar of abortion, just as Israel did shortly after their escape from Egypt. Are we turning our backs on God? Absolutely.

The key to identifying the event MacArthur speaks of is to find the main character, which Paul does, calling him the “man of sin.” That event may not have happened yet, and it may come in the form of a Presidential order, making Christianity illegal. I know, some will shout for joy at that, but what people do not think about when things like that happen is that if they can strip the rights of one group, what makes you think they will not strip your rights too. Here in America the FEMA camps, just like pow camps, are awaiting us.

The phrase, “That day of the Lord” is used many times in end times prophecy to show a point at which God/Jesus intervenes. Because of the context, I understand that this is talking about the rapture of the church.

Within verse three we see three things happening:

  • The day of the Lord coming

  • The turning away from God (the apostasy)

  • The appearance of the man of evil.

He has different names: The man of sin; the man of lawlessness; the son of perdition; the son of destruction, and, the Antichrist. These names are translations of the same verse, however, Daniel 9:26 gives him another name, “the prince who is to come”. Look at other translations and you get “future leader”; “their leader”, and, “a coming leader.”

I want to add one more thing to this conversation. As I skimmed through the apostasy thesis, the author decided to make this the unforgivable sin.

Sadly, my friend seems to agree with the thesis. I pointed out quickly to him that Jesus himself gave us the definition and said it was attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan. My friend, in trying to explain to one of our group that showed a few minutes later, took my position as though it had long been his. I have heard comments about committing the unpardonable sin my entire life, and NO ONE has ever given a clear definition. Then one day, just a few years ago, while studying the Gospel of Matthew, I ran across this:

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32 ESV)

Who was he talking to, and what did they say, that drew this kind of ire? We have to back up a little bit to find the answers we need.

Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” (Matthew 12:22-24 ESV)

Jesus had cast the demons out of a man who was blind and could not talk. However, when Jesus gets done with the man, the man can now, both talk and see. The crowds were amazed and began speaking rather excitedly about it, and this catches the ears of the Pharisees; they respond with, “ It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”

Yep, they said it. They just said that Jesus, the Son of God, was only able to operate through the power of Satan. That must have put a real bad taste in Jesus’ mouth for in response to the Pharisees, we see Jesus saying this:

Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:25-37 ESV)

The Pharisees had been far enough away to espouse their murmured hatred, but Jesus knew their thoughts and began to tear into them verbally. He was very clear when he told them that they had crossed that line of unforgivable sin, blasphemy.

So, I can comfortably say, that apostasy is not the unforgivable sin.

Why are we giving this section so much attention? Because the day is coming in which so many things will happen come upon people like a sudden devastation and far too many don’t seem to believe it. You might liken the coming chain of events to an F5 tornado which you can see coming. Those of us that have not experienced a tornado perceive them as a sudden event, even though the signs have been hanging in the sky for hours. Although the tornado may be somewhat random in its direction, the devastation is widespread and complete where it touches down.

I wish I could tell you who we are looking for, then you could either be aware or find something else to scoff at. I imagine John felt the same way, but Islam and Allah had not been invented as yet.

I have my opinions and I believe that one of the major players in the prophetic scheme is Islam. I think it and it’s world leaders fit nicely into the prophetic scheme of things, as do their twisted beliefs and prophecies. Since we in America, at least, those who are paying attention, know we have a Muslim president, then there is the possibility that he actually could turn out to be the Antichrist. Only months ago I would have told you that was impossible, but things have changed and anything goes now. Since we know it is a man we can clearly rule out Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.

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Why would anyone ever say this? Migrating to Revelation 16, part 4


We are still under the seventh seal, and, why anyone would ever say this I do not know, but we are awaiting the seventh trumpet. Until that trumpet blows we have this grand and yet cryptic scene to decipher.

Revelation 10:1-7 ESV Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. (2) He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, (3) and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. (4) And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” (5) And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, (7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

As a layman – without theological training, I run into scenarios like this, and I find myself overwhelmed with words and visuals. How I deal with overwhelming scenarios is to dissect them. So, that is what I am going to do now.

“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring.” (Revelation 10:1-3)

His face shone like the sun.

His face shone like the sun.

Sealed-Scroll

 

I am immediately struck some visuals here and they describe the Jesus I know.

First, most of us understand that instances of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, are pre-incarnate visitations of Jesus Christ. I hate fancy words when I don’t understand them, so let me explain. This idea of pre-incarnate visitations are the instances where Jesus appeared on earth prior to his birth. An example:

Genesis 16:6-10 ESV “But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. (7) The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. (8) And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” (9) The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” (10) The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”

Secondly, we see Jesus wrapped in a cloud with a rainbow over his head. Is this a common visualization? Apparently.

Revelation 4:3 ESV And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

I have taken on the mindset that this entire book is a Jewish book. Why is that important? Because the majority of the early church consisted of Jewish believers. That also means that 99% of what we read makes an instant impression on a Jewish community that was trained through memorization of the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish community is also very much in tune with prophecy, but prophecy is not flash and bright lights. It is pattern and consistency. So, do we have a pattern here? Yes, and we find it here in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 1:28 ESV “Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”

What about this little scroll? Although we may not be looking for a particularly little scroll, the concept of scrolls carrying important information is an part of the Old Testament. One example that speaks to this is:

Psalms 40:7 ESV Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:

I am convinced I am looking at imagery of Jesus.

“And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring.” Revelation 10:2

I am not sure why we have to look for the dark and deep meanings in everything, but of the assumptions made about why Jesus would plant one foot on the sea and the other on the land, while giving out a shout, the one makes the most sense to me is that Jesus is reestablishing his authority and reign on this earth. Is the reign of Jesus in question? Not at all, but Satan is still running rampant for a while, and, therefore, we think that God is not in control. Therefore, this may be a visual demonstration meant for the people still on earth.

This next aspect taunts me. What did John hear? Good, bad or indifferent, we will never know this side of heaven.

“Revelation 10:3-4 ESV “ and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. (4) And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”

Speaking to God, he lifts his right hand to heaven and says:

Revelation 10:5-7 ESV And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, (7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

While the ESV says, there would be no more delay, the KJV translated it like this, “that there should be time no longer:” To say that there would be no more delay would imply that there have been delays and that they had been intentional. And why not? God himself told the martyred before the throne, to wait a little longer until the full number had been brought in. We also know that God never longed to lose even one, so the delays could be meant to give people time. You also know that not all will come to him. So, are we seeing God’s mercy in what we perceive as hesitancy?

But what if the interpretation is more closely matched to the KJV translation? “that there should be time no longer:”

What then could that mean? It could mean what it says. However, if this is indicative of the close of the time of wrath, then, as many perceive, this would be the end of all time. Sorry, but that cannot be. Why? Because as the time of wrath closes, the 1000 year reign of Christ, where Satan is bound, begins. Here, in the 1000 year reign, the nations are forced to come bow before him every year as they take part in the Feast of Tabernacles. Doesn’t that need a keeping of time? It does, so it is not valid to say that time would be no more, during this period.

One of our comparative clues comes from Daniel. (This also corroborates the prophecy of Revelation 10.) Pay attention to the action and conversation. Daniel had seen two men standing by the river bank. One of them asks an angel standing upstream when the end would be. This is what the disciples asked Jesus. When will the end be?

Daniel 12:6-7 GNB One of them asked the angel who was standing further upstream, “How long will it be until these amazing events come to an end?” (7) The angel raised both hands toward the sky and made a solemn promise in the name of the Eternal God. I heard him say, “It will be three and a half years. When the persecution of God’s people ends, all these things will have happened.”

His response has two critical events buried within it:

  • It will be three and a half-years.

  • And, “When the persecution of God’s people ends,”

This is the primary time frame that God refers to, and, if I can be bold here, the only time frame God refers to. However, our main source of this information is associated with the Antichrist making and breaking a seven-year peace treaty. God, as we see here in Daniel, only seems to be interested in three and a half of those years. Do I have to be dogmatic about this? No, and honestly, I cannot, because beyond this is simply a variable contingent upon God’s plan and timing. Something we are clearly not given in Daniel’s prophecy. Can we find a definitive scripture that tells us when the persecution of God’s people (Israel) ends? No, but you can make the assumption that it is in near to this three and a half-year mark.

Allow me to recap our timeline here.

  • At some point, soon, the church is removed from the earth.

Why is that important? Not because you get to escape from some wrath that man is pouring out upon the earth, but because as the church leaves, the limiting force (our voice) that holds back the Antichrist is then removed. With that limitation gone the beast/Antichrist erupts in full fury.

  • After the church is gone the Antichrist initiates a peace treaty, with many, for a seven-year period.

No, there is nothing that says this is with Israel. I get the sense that Israel will get some benefit from it. We know this because Israel gets the chance to build the temple. This will happen relatively quick. Initiating a peace treaty by no means guarantees that it is maintained for the seven years. If you are even remotely honest, you will admit that you see nothing that indicates God’s intent to support some sort of seven-year treaty either.

  • We know that the Antichrist breaks his own treaty at the end of three and a half years.

There are so many things happening at this point, but pointing them all out is not my purpose in this. Let’s simply say that this is the time that Jesus alluded to when he said, pray that your flight is not in the Winter.

the mystery of God would be fulfilled”

“but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)

You remember where we are in the scheme of things, don’t you? The nations and a rebellious Israel are under the seventh seal. Enduring torments, many have come to knowledge of Christ, and they are now anxiously awaiting the seventh trumpet.

What happens at the blast of the seventh trumpet? The end of the time frame, and, the mystery of God would be fulfilled. As a follower of Christ surely you are familiar with this terminology. The Apostle Paul wrote about it several times.

Romans 16:25 KJV Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

The Him, referenced here, is, of course, Jesus Christ. Since we, through our acceptance, have given him the reigns of our life, then He, through his power is establishing us through the good news of the Word. All of this is part of the secret plan, the mystery. Kept secret from whom? Well, Satan of course, or that fool would try to thwart God’s plan by killing Jesus off prior to the proper time. Did we see anything like that happening in scripture? At every turn. It seems like Satan tried to kill off anything that had God’s mark and

Kept secret from whom? Well, Satan of course, or that fool would try to thwart God’s plan by killing Jesus off prior to the appropriate time. Did we see anything like that happening in scripture? At every turn. It seems like Satan tried to kill off anything that had God’s mark or seal on it. I am even thinking about Lot and his family. The biggest event that comes to mind is King Herod, killing off every baby two years old and under, after finding out that the wise men had come to pay homage to the Messiah. Does it seem like such a mystery when men from the regions of Babylon had come seeking him? When you consider that the chief priests and elders knew these things also, and did what about it? Nothing. Brought before Herod and questioned, they said the same things the wise men did, but they did not seek the Messiah. So, maybe it is still a mystery to some.

Romans 16:26 KJV But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

I suppose the next question is, if you are a follower of Christ, then why do you not spend time in his word. It is the primary place where you will find out what his character, nature, and plans are. Those plans involve you.

To the zealots, this passage, among others, tell us that the commandment of God has been made known to all the nations. Does that exclude me from preaching the gospel as though they don’t know? No, but tramping through the jungles of Borneo, trying to reach some lost tribe, is not my calling. Talking to the heart as though you do know, but choose to act like a Jew that refuses to look at the truth, is more my thing.

Should you have stumbled upon this, and have no comprehension at all, then I suggest that you ask Jesus to make himself real to you, and then accept him. Many former Muslims have done just that, some have even lost their lives because of it.

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This is the stuff bad dreams are made of. Migrating toward Revelation 16. Part 3


We are still within the seventh seal, and we are up to the sixth trumpet.

THE SIXTH TRUMPET BRINGS THE SECOND TERROR

Revelation 9:13-15 AMP Then the sixth angel blew [his] trumpet, and from the four horns of the golden altar which stands before God I heard a solitary voice, (14) Saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, Liberate the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates. (15) So the four angels who had been in readiness for that hour in the appointed day, month, and year were liberated to destroy a third of mankind.

Liberate the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

After you sit under some of the teachings out there, you begin to develop at least the hope that Satan and his cohorts were put out-of-the-way. I know I did. But, if that were the case we wouldn’t be having most of the troubles we have. Spend some time in the Word, sorting these out, and you will find out that Satan still runs around deceiving, and he has helpers in the form of fallen angels. (These are what many call demons. If you watch any of those ghost chaser shows, you know that these angels will throw stuff around the room. This is very real.)

The number of angels is an unknown to us, but Satan convinced a third of them to follow him. Four of those have been chained in Euphrates river. Remember, it only took one angel, working on behalf of God, to kill all the firstborn of Egypt in one night.

So the four angels who had been in readiness for that hour in the appointed day, month, and year were liberated to destroy a third of mankind.”

The Greek word for readiness is hetoimazō (het-oy-mad’-zo), and means to prepare. Are the angels preparing for the time they would be freed, or is it that God has placed them there because of their destructive capabilities, while he awaits the proper time to release them?

Try reading some of Frank Peretti’s books, such as This Present Darkness; Piercing the Darkness, or The Visitation, and you will get a fairly accurate picture of how these fallen angels operate on the earth. We seem to forget that they are extremely powerful even if they have fallen, but we – those who follow Christ and have his name, have all authority in the name of Jesus. And, every knee will bow before that name, even if it does not seem like it now.

So, four angels get released and destroy a third of mankind. Are they selective in whom they kill? It does not specify. I feel safe in saying that they will not be able to harm those sealed by God. And, if you are paying attention, they are not excluding their own followers. Isn’t that a strange irony. Satan does not care about anyone, not even his followers.

What is this sudden transition?

Revelation 9:16 NASB The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.

In verse 15 we see four angels, held in chains for years, now released upon the earth. But just that quickly we are looking at 200 million horsemen.

Where did 200 million horsemen come from? Are they human or inhuman?

When I was younger I heard that this would be a Chinese infantry. The impracticability of mounting 200 million horses becomes more evident when you see some practical numbers. The IVPBB Commentary gives us this: “Two hundred million” would be a huge standing army even today (nearly the entire population of the United States, almost four times that of Great Britain, over twice that of Nigeria, and eight times that of Canada); in the first century it may have represented more than the population of the entire world.” Is it impossible for God? No, but it seems highly improbable, especially after you read the description in verse 17.

Revelation 9:17 NASB And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.

It seems easy to associate passages like what we see in Ezekiel. However, because there is an undeclared quantity of people and horsemen I do not believe we should be looking for a physical, mounted force.

Ezekiel 38:1-6 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, (2) “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him (3) and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. (4) “I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; (5) Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; (6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops–many peoples with you.

The visuals we see in verse 17 do not sound like anything from reality, horses with heads like lions, and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. Seeing as there is nothing like this on earth, then it has to be spiritual, even demonic, and they come out of the pit with these fallen angels.

By these three plagues.

Revelation 9:18-19 ESV By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. (19) For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.

By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed. We are within the seventh seal and the sixth trumpet. When I paid attention to what this said, I found myself saying, what plagues?

Coming out of the horses mouths are:

  • fire

  • smoke

  • sulfur

For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.” So, one-third of mankind dies because of them.

I was recently asked, what about the survivors of the time of wrath? It is hard to imagine anyone surviving. This tells us that they did not repent nor give up worshiping demons and idols.

Revelation 9:20-21 ESV The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, (21) nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The Greek word translated repent here, means to think differently. All this is being done to get hardcore fools to think otherwise, change from their own way of doing things, and turn toward God. This shows a special kind of arrogance, as these people just continue the godless lives they were living.

In what ways do we worship demons? Idols I can understand, but unless you joined yourself to a Satanic cult, what else could this mean? The word worship here is proskuneō and means (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his masters hand). Hasn’t the worlds ways taught us that money and the pursuit of it, is the only way to go? In living like this haven’t, we enslaved ourselves almost in worship to the ways of the world?

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These are not your regular locusts. Migrating toward Revelation 16, part 2


I suppose by now you have figured out that I struggle to stay on point. I suppose that is why you love me so. I really am going to get to Revelation 16 eventually. But in the meantime, you and I are going to get a grip on the layout of the judgments being poured out on the earth.

Ah, here it comes, The Seventh Seal

Since we know that seven is indicative of completion, you might think it is all about to end. Sorry, there is more, and they seem almost as if they were a subset of the seal judgments.

Revelation 8:1-5 ESV “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, (4) and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. (5) Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

Under the seventh seal an angel, having filled the censer with fire from the altar that is before God, throws it upon the earth. The effects of this are experienced through: “peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” I venture a guess that most would consider these to be an effective tool, but have you ever heard some of the sounds people have recorded coming from the skies? Many have told how the sounds have gone on for days, vibrated their homes, and in some cases sounded like trains crashing. The effect may intentionally be more psychological. Do a search on the effects of lightning; you might as well have a bomb go off next to you. And, a violent earthquake can literally swallow you, among other things.

I do not see how we can separate the trumpets from the seals.

The Trumpet judgments.

Revelation 8:6-7 ESV Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. (7) The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

The first angel blew his trumpet.

  • there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth.”

    • a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”

      I do not need to say much, just look at the numbers. The effects of devastation are typically not selective. That means anything getting in the path of this will be destroyed.

The second angel blew his trumpet.

Revelation 8:8-9 ESV The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (9) A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

  • and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea,”

    • a third of the sea became blood. (9) A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

Once again, the impact is dished out in thirds.

The third angel blew his trumpet.

Revelation 8:10-11 ESV The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. (11) The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

  • a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. (11) The name of the star is Wormwood.”

    • A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water”

How many of you remember the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster? Due to a tsunami caused by an undersea earthquake, the nuclear reactors exploded and went into a full meltdown, probably exceeding the Chernobyl disaster. To this day, nuclear waste water still floods into the Pacific ocean. What might the long-range effects of that be?

The fourth angel blew his trumpet.

Revelation 8:12 ESV The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

  • a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

This is over and above the sun being darkened and the moon turning to blood, which we saw before.

We are being warned that it is about to get worse.

Revelation 8:13 ESV Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet.

Revelation 9:1-3 ESV And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. (2) He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. (3) Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

locust swarm

Locusts swarm over Egypt within the last couple of years.

To the Jew, and to us, there should be a correlation. Yes, the plagues against Egypt. We see this in Exodus 10: 4-15.

God had his own symbology going on, as he told Israel that the Midianites and the Amalekites – nations swarming upon Israel, would cover the valley floor in numbers like the sand of the sea. Numbers so large, that it borders on impossible to count. You can find this in Judges 7:12.

We can even find that God decreed a time when he would restore the years that the locusts destroyed. Joel 2:25 ESV I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.

I cannot even imagine what these locusts must look like. Are they symbolic of something else? I do not think so.

The very thing that a locust eats is vegetation, yet, look at this description.

Revelation 9:4 ESV They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

Who is the one group of people they cannot touch? Those that have been marked in their foreheads by God – the 144,000 Jewish men, who are serving as witnesses to God.

Revelation 9:5-6 ESV They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. (6) And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

These creatures are allowed to torment the earth population for five months, but not kill them. Note what the passage tells us: “their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.” Verse 6 says, “And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.” Did you ever wonder why this would be important? If God had sent his wrath to the earth with the express purpose to kill offenders, then why not just allow these locusts to polish the offenders off? I am allergic to bees, so the sting from a scorpion might just polish me off quickly. I venture a guess that most people, without medical aid, would die from a scorpion sting. And yet, death flees from these people.

Is it possible that God is trying to drive people to him? Think about this. When Israel was inundated with vipers, and began to die from the bites, what was the solution? God had Moses put a bronze serpent upon a pole. When someone got bit they could then look upon the bronze serpent and be saved. This did not prevent them from getting bit, nor did it drive the serpents from them, but it did prevent them from being killed due to the bite. Our correlation is that for us Christ became that serpent on the pole for us. Looking to him prevents our death due to the bite of this world.

Revelation 9:7-10 LITV And the likenesses of the locusts were like horses having been prepared for war; and on their heads as crowns, like gold; and their faces like the faces of men. (8) And they had hairs like the hairs of women; and their teeth were like those of lions. (9) And they had breastplates like iron breastplates; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running to war. (10) And they have tails like scorpions, and their stings were in their tails; and their authority is to harm men five months.

  • like horses having been prepared for war”

  • on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold”

  • their faces were like human faces”

  • their hair like women’s hair”

  • their teeth like lions’ teeth”

  • they had breastplates like breastplates of iron”

  • And they have tails like scorpions, and their stings were in their tails; and their authority is to harm men five months.”

These are not your everyday locusts.

Revelation 9:11 AMP Over them as king they have the angel of the Abyss (of the bottomless pit). In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [destruction], but in Greek he is called Apollyon [destroyer].

Think this through with me for a moment. Lucifer, the angel of light, decides that he wants to be the god and mutinies. It is pointless to have a mutiny without followers, and he managed to convince a third of heavens angels to join him. The mutiny is fought off, and Lucifer and his followers are taken captive and thrown to earth. Jesus told the disciples that he beheld Satan fall to earth like lightning. That must have been fairly dramatic. But, like a cartoon character, he springs back, tormenting not only those on earth but also in heaven, where he consistently whines in God’s ear about us. We, as astute students of the bible, know that four angels are held in chains, in the Euphrates river, and here we see an angel named Abaddon, who is most likely released from this pit at the same time as these “locusts”.

The problem I used to have, and still, to some degree, haunts my understanding is: What became of Satan? One might think that a dramatic expulsion from heaven would have done him in. But, that was not the case. An old teaching focused on, “What happened from the cross to the throne” points out how Jesus descended into hell, and then snatched the keys to death, hell and the grave out of Satan’s hands, and led captivity free. That sounds like a satisfactory and permanent defeat to me. And yet the writer of Hebrews stated that Jesus ever makes intercession and mediation for us, before the Father. In the book of Job, we see Satan before God with the sons of God – the angels.

If Satan was defeated as thoroughly as we thought, then why are we still so tortured?

Why does the Dragon (Satan) have the ability to give the beast his power?

And, why does God have to eventually have to throw him into the lake of fire, where he stays permanently?

Maybe the problem lies in my assumptions, and my choice to not read and comprehend what the Word itself says about the situation. As a child, how are you to know any better? Besides, those over you are not supposed to lie to you, or, if you wish to lessen the blow, distort the reality of God. Perhaps it is not so much a lie, as they did the same thing, trusting that what they heard would be correct. Well, it wasn’t, and nothing is going to change until you look into the law of truth for yourself.

Revelation 9:12 AMP The first woe (calamity) has passed; behold, two others are yet to follow.

All we have seen is a subset of the seventh seal and yet there is more to come.

I have heard the phrase “fire insurance” used when referring to those who come to the Lord as an escape from the horrors that are coming. How much sweeter it is to come to him because of the love you have developed for him. There is the story in which the “upright religious” brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, to trap him, and for him to pronounce judgment. My first thought when reading this was, it takes two to tango, and it is usually the man who makes the first move. Scripture was very clear that they were both to receive judgment, but there was no man. I can assume then, that one of these elders was the guy.

She may have known of Jesus as everywhere he went he was healing people, teaching and drawing big crowds. If you were not interested, it was still difficult to get to the well for water. Thrown before Jesus with the idea that you are about to receive a death sentence for your actions, your thoughts are not about love, they are filled with fear. How does Jesus respond to all this? At first, he seems to ignore her, but I can just about guarantee you that he looked so deeply into her eyes that he saw her soul. He then stoops and begins writing in the dirt. We do not know what he wrote, but it got their attention. They rallied again, demanding a verdict. He may have looked at her once again. Saying yet nothing, he turns back to the dirt and writes some more. When he finally speaks, he says, those of you without sin cast the first stone. Do you get the picture here? They came with stones; stones about the size of a softball. And, someone was going to die, her, or this Jesus who claims to be the Son of God. They dropped their rocks and walked away. Jesus in turn, lifts himself up, turns to her and says, where are your accusers?

I can just about guarantee you that she fell in love with this Jesus. Was she drawn to Jesus for fire insurance? No, but the fire was already upon her. Was she drawn to Jesus because of the great works and deeds he had performed? We do not see that either. What we do see is that often, when confronted by his love, we choose to receive it because we have never experienced anything like it before.

I never wanted to scare anybody with this horrendous destruction that we see in Revelation. Having found the love he showed this woman, I turned to him. From that point on I wanted to know as much about him as I could. The Revelation is the revealing of Jesus, but it definitely shows the culmination of all things. None of which are directed at those who have given themselves to him in the relationship. You find this relationship when you finally say, I cannot do this on my own, I need you, Jesus. Come into me and have your way in me. You might as well receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is a gift. Besides, this is where the power lies.

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Seals, trumpet, bowls, and now this. Part 1- Migrating our way into Revelation 16


Revelation 15 ended surprisingly quick, so now it is time to move on to Revelation 16. As I looked at verse one, I was immediately confronted with the confusion I encounter almost every time I try to progress through this book.

While most of Revelation is clear to me, all this wrath gets a little confusing. I suppose as a follower of Christ I should not be concerned, especially since I consider myself to be a believer in a Pre-Tribulation rapture. I always feel the need to clarify this title “tribulation”. First, tribulation is a guaranteed way of life for the believer. It comes in many forms and from many venues; much of will come from the various religious zealots that you will encounter as you walk through life. Becoming a masterful apologist, like Ravi Zacharias, may help put those people in their place, but the Apostle Paul, a man who essentially had his doctorate in the Torah and Tenach, in effect had a contract out on his life, ordered by religious zealots who withstood him.

So, what we are dealing with here is not so much a time of tribulation as it is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth. Thinking this way tends to eliminate some confusion, as you attempt to understand the arguments of those who angrily proclaim that followers of Christ can only be caught away as a mid-tribulation, or a post-tribulation church.

There are also those who think all we are doing is looking for a way to escape the everyday pains of life. Get serious, we here in America do not yet know what tribulation feels like. We have yet to experience being trapped inside our churches only to have the doors sealed as we inside are fire bombed, merely because we are of a differing religion.

Since I am more of a visual learner, I need to build pictures in my mind. If I can visualize it the concept will stay with me for a long time.

A scroll sealed with seven seals. I got it. I can almost see the Lamb striding up and taking the scrolls. He pauses, looks around and nods his acknowledgment that it is time and pops the first one open.

Sealed-Scroll

With each seal, something new hits the earth. Let’s see if we can break this down and make it clearer.

The events associated with the seals begins in Revelation chapter six, verse 1, and continues through Revelation 8:1.

The First seal:

Then I saw the Lamb break open the first of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice that sounded like thunder, “Come!” (Revelation 6:1 GNB)

This unleashes riders upon colored horses, and with them comes great grief.

And I looked, and saw there a white horse whose rider carried a bow. And a crown was given him, and he rode forth conquering and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:2 AMP)

watts-white-horse

This particular rider is understood by many to represent false peace. He wears a crown which indicates some authority or leadership.

As with most everything we see in Revelation, the Jewish believers would have an immediate recognition of these colored horses. Predominantly found in Zechariah 1:8, and Zechariah 6:1-3.

I have my opinions and I believe that this rider is Islamic. Islam proclaims itself to be the religion of peace. Sadly, that only works if you belong to the sect of the moment.

The Second Seal:

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” (4) And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4 ESV)

horse-red-2-picsay

Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another,” How much more violence does it take for us to understand that this is happening. Have you been watching the less than mainstream news? You should, because the government controlled, mainstream news won’t talk about how Muslims staged a fairly coordinated attack upon property and women, in multiple large cities across Europe on New Years eve. Doesn’t that seem convenient; the streets filled with people and targets, in this case, women, and many were raped.

Set all that aside for a moment. What about the rising violence against anyone outside of Islam in Northern Africa? Or, let’s bring it home. What in the world is happening to the streets of America? Have we lost our minds?

These are the kind of things that make me believe that we are operating under, at least, the first two seals of Revelation 6.

Yeah, I know, that freaks many of you out; me too, and here is why.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 ESV (9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

The time we are reading about is the time of wrath. It will only get worse and that is what Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:21.

The Third Seal:

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!” (Revelation 6:5-6 ESV)

the black horse of Revelation

A pair of scales in his hand? There was a time that money was based upon weight. A balanced scale indicated that you had paid enough. Somehow, I do not think things have been equitable for some time now. The Amplified bible says, a quart of wheat for a days wages. Are we there yet? Not quite, but it will only take one calamity and we will be.

You are probably aware that January of 2016 North Korea announced that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. While the experts say no, some are saying that what they may have tested was a successful EMP blast. That would do it.

Note that it says, do not harm the oil and wine. Have you ever wondered why? Maybe it is because people will have the need to numb themselves and therefore still have the need for some two-buck chuck.

The Fourth Seal:

So far the seals do not seem so bad, and, as I noted, we may be embroiled in it already and not even realize it.

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8 ESV)

This is where life on earth starts to get very intense. I tend to believe this is more toward the midpoint of this time period because of the carnage we see here.

Stop for a moment and think. Since what we are primarily considering is God’s wrath being poured out, can we eliminate the violence man is capable of? The answer is no. Therefore, it is possible that what is being described here is God unleashing man’s fury as well. If that concept bothers you; it bothered me too, but if you will consider things like Israel being taken into captivity. You know, the same captivity that brings Daniel the prophet to the forefront. In reality God: preserved his people; fulfilled his prophetic word; handled punishment for disobedience; established men like Daniel, and apparently, because of Daniel, established a school of wise men trained to ascertain the signs in the heavens, whom, because they were willing to compare those heavenly events with scripture, came to Bethlehem in search of the young child Jesus – something the religious leaders of Israel would not do. (Without reading a bible, you will not understand all the ramifications of the wise men’s actions. We know from history that there was a large number of them, including entourage. When Herod became aware he was alarmed, as was all Israel. Isn’t that odd? Herod questioned the chief priests and elders as to what might be going on, and they told him. They knew that the scriptures told of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, and apparently they had all seen the sign in the heavens. So, what I say is valid.)

And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts”

Who is the “they” in this scenario? My strongest assumption is fallen, angels. Balaam met an angel in the road as he traveled and it had a sword in his hand. So, it is possible. Again, we cannot eliminate the acts of man, and the religion of the sword is Islam.

One fourth of the earth’s population is killed in this barrage. Don’t expect this to happen overnight.

The Fifth Seal:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11 ESV)

How appropriate. Consider that we have just witnessed, in a sense, the death of one-fourth of the earth’s population, and now John is shown a large quantity of the martyred before the throne in heaven.

Note that they are saying, how long before you avenge our blood? Doesn’t that tend to indicate that at least some of the previous violence was dealt out at the hand of man?

In an effort to get people thinking differently out about this time we are dealing with, I tell them to stop calling it the tribulation. Using the term that way, tends to make it sound like a problem coming against people from an external source – an enemy, when it is not. This grief is coming from God as punishment for unbelief, and, it is God’s vengeance for man’s cruelty. It is wrath. Spend enough time driving a Southern California freeway and you will think that is tribulation. In a sarcastic moment, I will point out that having to replace a broken propeller on your speed boat does not even come close to tribulation. Living under the constant threat of death, or the potential of having your young daughter taken at gunpoint to be raped or sold as a sex slave tends to define tribulations more accurately.

I say we, but cringe, when I say it, for many, have already died, and they had hope for the rapture to come and get them out of harms way, but that did not happen. It may not happen for us either. If that is the case, how will you handle it?

We have many examples of God sparing his people from the wrath that was to come. Two come quickly to mind:

  • Lot – The angels said, we can do nothing until we get you out of here. So they grabbed him and his family, escorted them outside of the city and allowed them to escape to the town of Zoar. When the angels knew that Lot’s family were safe the wrath from God rained down on those cities.

  • Noah – Built an ark as he spoke to those who would listen about a wrath from God coming upon the whole earth. On that day, God himself put Noah and his family in the ark and closed the door. Nobody believed Noah and only the believers were spared from the wrath.

Note the response to their plea for vengeance: “ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been”. Rest a little longer until the rest are killed. It only gets worse. There is no need to separate whether they die by God’s hand or man’s, for it is God’s purpose that is being served.

You may struggle to see this, but the Revelation also demonstrates God’s mercy. Everything you see was intended to drive men toward him. Even if they come by meeting a brutal end, the result is the same, you get restored to live, oppression will cease, and you get to spend eternity with your Father. Scripture tells us that even the rocks cry out to be released from this destruction; what makes you think you are so different?

The Sixth Seal:

Revelation 6:12-17 ESV When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, (13) and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. (14) The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (15) Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, (16) calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, (17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

I want to show you something.

  • The sun became black as sackcloth.”
China must broadcast videos of the sun because the smog is so bad

China must broadcast videos of the sun because the smog is so bad

Is it possible that it can get worse? Absolutely.

  • The Moon will turn to blood.

    eclipse_total_espanek_10-27-2004-e1358526755212

    This has become rather common place due to the smog. Perhaps it will get worse.

    There was a great earthquake

The Northridge California earthquake of 1994 was a 6.6. What is coming will be much greater.

  • the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.”

    I cannot even imagine what that will look like.

  • The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up”

    This moves into science fiction imagery. Try to imagine the sky being rolled back like a carpet.

every mountain and island was removed from its place.”

This is something we may have an easier time visualizing because we have memories and video of things like Mount Saint Helens in Washington state.

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17 ESV)

I do not know about where you live, but there are not any caves around here to hide in. This opens the door to speculation. What if the caves are man-made?

Looks like the VIP entrance to a posh hotel, doesn't it?

Looks like the VIP entrance to a posh hotel, doesn’t it?

This underground bunker/city, has not only a 25-ton blast door but is well equipped with private apartments and food.

This underground bunker/city has not only a 25-ton blast door but is well equipped with private apartments and food.

The reality is that everyone is suffering during this time. The rich may have been able to escape some of man’s violence by hiding in these bunkers, but then, why are they crying out for the mountains and rocks to fall on them to hide them from the face of God. Don’t they realize that God is trying to drive them to him?

All this calamity and yet We are still only under the sixth seal.

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1-3 ESV)

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.

A commentary by Joseph S. Exell, M.A., titled, The Biblical Illustrator, states that the explanation of the four winds comes down to two things:

1. Divine judgments. Wars, famine, pestilence, the overthrow of kingdoms, and the universal wreck of all earthly things. The particular judgments to which these winds refer are, I think, those mentioned in the sixth seal, at the close of the sixth chapter, and whose fearful operations are represented by the seven trumpets in the eighth chapter.

2. All events and influences unfavorable to the cause of Christ. The wind of persecution; the wind of false doctrine; the wind of delusion and wild fanaticism; the wind of temptation; the wind of infidelity; the wind of open profanity and blasphemy; the winds of affliction, adversity, and distress; by all of which the Church is frequently assailed. These things are called “winds,” because they produce agitation and commotion—breaking the branches, blasting the fruits, and uprooting the trees of God’s spiritual vineyard. They are called “four” winds, to show their universality, their wide-spreading desolation. They are called winds of the “earth,” because the earth is the scene of their operation—they are forever excluded from heaven; they are coming from the four cardinal points at once shows their violence, rage, and fury.

What if there is a third explanation: natural weather events. In a sense, the wind the pushes global events around. It also cools the earth. Withholding the wind will cause the surface temperature of the earth to raise.

Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads

This terminology might be one of the main reasons authoritative speakers try to convince you that the 144,000 are entirely symbolic of the church. This idea does not seem feasible for several reasons:

First: The servants are explained in the next verses as being from the tribes of Israel, therefore making them Jews, but it does not close the door to them being what we consider to be believers.

Second: People from every nation, tribe and tongue will continue to come to the Lord. What do you think he will call them? Depending upon the translation, names like servant comes to mind.

The next scenario almost feels like a victory to me.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”” (Revelation 7:9-17 ESV)

This is different from what we saw in Revelation chapter six, for in chapter six they were crying out for vengeance and it was a countable number. With a scene in which one would assume that God is done, why not end it here? I do not have the answer to that, nor is it clear in my mind as yet. God is keenly aware of how many are going to come into the kingdom, just as he was aware of how many others would hear the message and get onto the ark that Noah was building. Regardless, he offers salvation to all who will listen.

Do you see the mercy? I realize that it is difficult when you are on the receiving end of wrath to comprehend it as an act of mercy, just as children may not realize what you are doing as you explosively snatch them out of the path of an oncoming car that does not see them. Yes, this destructive period is really a time of mercy, for everything is meant to point men to God. Do they listen? No, but some do, and it is more than we imagined.

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There are obviously those that make it through the tribulation


I have something I need to talk about. Hopefully, I can keep it short. This has more to do with a question I have been asked repeatedly. I try to answer the question, but, because of tradition, bad teaching, or a lack of desire to pursue the answers, the question keeps coming up.

The question goes something like this,

“There are obviously those that make it through the tribulation. Are they saved?”

I thought about it for a second and then I responded with, what does it mean to be saved? He answered back with,

“You know, saved!”

No, I don’t know. However, if you are trying to say that these survivors, based merely on the merit of making it through to the end of the “tribulation”, are comparable to finding salvation in Christ, then the answer is NO. If you think of salvation in terms of pulling someone out of a fire, then, YES, I think they are. How do I equate making it through the hell of the tribulation years to getting pulled out of a fire? It’s easy, they will both kill you.

So the essential question that needs definition is, what does salvation mean? But that is not what you are asking me is it. You already have this crazy notion of what things look like and want me to validate it. Well, that is not going to happen. I am going to try to get you to look at the truth, which I deem to be the word of God.

Sadly, even using the Word of God as the source of truth creates a problem. The problem is that the answers to your question are not neatly packaged in one place, so this forces both of us to do our homework, and, we have to have open minds about the answers we find. Lacking that, you are no better off than a rock.

Often, when I try to respond with an answer, most remove logic from the equation and dismiss scripture as the foundation of truth. Having attempted an answer I referred the person asking to Matthew 25. I did this because he opted to change biblical history by putting the great white throne judgment immediately before the 1000 year reign. He quickly opened the bible program on his cell phone and read Matthew’s account back to me.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”.

An interesting representation of the throne.

An interesting representation of the throne.

“So there it is. He gathers the nations before him and judges them.”

Yep, it says that. However, it does not tell you when that takes place. It does not explain that this throne is the same throne that we see in Revelation 20, and, there is nothing to indicate that these are souls that have died from at least Christ’s resurrection forward; Neither does it make any clarification as to who they are or how they got there; Besides all that, and contrary to popular belief, not all are sent to an eternal punishment.

I want you to understand what I perceive the original question to be:

“ those that make it through the tribulation, are they saved?”

Because I told this person to look at Matthew 25, I want you to look there also.  Before you jump into Matthew 25 you need to understand that there is a context to what Jesus said.

  1. What we see in Matthew 25 is a continuation of a response that started in Matthew 24:1.

  2. The things that motivated the disciples question really began in Matthew 21 as they placed him upon the colt. Ask yourself why that would be significant.

  3. So what happened between them placing him on the colt, leading him into town in Matthew 21, and the end of Matthew 23 that would prompt them to say, when will these things happen and what will be the sign of your coming as the Messiah we anticipated (My version.)

In Matthew 21, at his direction, the disciples went and took the donkey and it’s colt. This was finally it. Jesus was going to step up as the Messiah they anticipated for every king triumphantly rode into town like this, but that did not happen. After all the fanfare and adulation Jesus sees the money changers in the outer court of the temple (this was a weekly occurrence, but today it pushes him over the edge), so he makes a whip of cords and drives them out. This, of course, brought the wrath of the Chief priests and elders upon him, and he battled with them verbally for two days. We seem to forget that the disciples were right there; they had no place else to go (we assume).

Jesus finally says to the disciples, let’s go to the mount. It was his favorite place to rest and recover when he was in Jerusalem, and it is only a short distance away from the temple.

The disciples, discouraged, disillusioned, fatigued by the intercourse are now grateful to get out of harms way. Trudging along behind him they try to lighten the mood by pointing out how great the temple was, and at this point, they were making comments about it’s massive stones. Sadly, Jesus, the true temple, was standing right there and they did not yet realize it. I happen to think this understanding plays a role in how Jesus responds. Thus begins a rather long discourse and the answers to some very Jewish questions.

Matthew 25:31-46 is an aspect of Jesus response, and is to be taken in context. In the context timing is everything and the timing has everything to do with, when will you come back as the Messiah we were hoping for?

Matthew 25:31-46 ESV “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

While I did not quote the verse in rebuttal, there is no doubt that it says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations,”. If all you ever read was this, you could build a variety of themes around it, and be rather convincing.

Here is one of the aspects of this verse that give people trouble: Before him will be gathered all the nations,” 

Do you understand that there are only three people groups (as far as God is concerned) in the bible narrative? They are:

  • The Jews – Israel

  • The nations – Also called the gentiles. This is literally anyone outside of Christ – those who refuse to follow him.

  • And, the church. The church is the followers of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is not a gentile god, He is God and he is Jewish. Those of us who have accepted that he paid a price for us have been adopted in; we Gentile believers were at that point grafted into the root stock – Israel. Paul explained that having accepted him, he accepted us and made us be in Him.

So, God calls all those outside of a relationship with Jesus the nations.

Note: in the Revelation all that happens there is a revealing of Jesus, and therefore, substantiates that Jesus is God.

I told the person asking me the question, that Revelation 20 is the same story as we see in Matthew 25. There will be some obvious differences, but I will attempt to explain.

Revelation 20:1-3 ESV Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. (2) And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (3) and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

When does this take place? After the tribulations of the seven years (it may not be a precise seven-year period.) Read Revelation 19: 17-21. There you will see Jesus coming back with a mighty army and all those who choose to fight against God will be slain. In Ezekiel, we find that the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven and the martyred reign with Christ during the thousand years. Are they holding judgment over the nations as we see in Matthew’s account? No. With Satan bound for a thousand years, any evil done is purely the creation of man’s desire, and that will continue to happen. I believe that they will keep rein over that kind of nonsense. Keep in mind, all oppression shall cease.

Revelation 20:4 ESV Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Since we already saw these in heaven (Revelation 6:9) why are they identified here as having come back to life? The assumption, and I think it is a pretty good one, is that the souls are reunited with the body. Consider that after his death Jesus cooked some fish for the boys and ate with them. So that same body that can eat fish and apparently enjoy it can still walk through walls.

So let’s address the major point of contention. The argument started with the idea that at the beginning of the millennial reign is where Jesus sets up the great white throne, judges all survivors, and sends them all off to hell.

Is that what we see here in Revelation 20:4? No, instead of one throne there are many, and instead of one person, as in Jesus, all the martyred take part in the judgment.

  • Instead of one throne, there are many.

  • Instead of Jesus doing the judging, the martyred take part.

You will not see the multiple thrones or the martyred judging with Jesus in Matthew’s account, and, if you only look for the final judgment, you will not find these extra thrones or the martyred in Revelation 20:11-15 either. You have to piece the puzzle together in it’s context.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

Here are a few more points to consider as you contrast and attempt to grasp the context of the final judgment and where it is placed in time.

  • In Matthew, we find a glorious throne (a place of dignity and glory) instead of the great one (indicating it’s size or prominence) we see in Revelation 20. 

  • Matthew 25:32 “Before him will be gathered all the nations.” Now look at how John describes those standing before him in Revelation 20, “and I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened”. In both instances, no one is left out.

  • In Revelation 20 the crowd is separated according to their deeds found in the books. Matthew 25 shows the Son of Man separating them into sheep and goats. We must assume that the sheep are those whose names are found in the books.

This recurrent event is very intentional and meant to register quickly in the mind of the Jewish reader/hearer. Why? Because repetition is the accepted pattern for prophecy to the Jews, and this book we call the bible is a very Jewish book.

In Revelation 20:12 we see books opened, and the book of life.

Revelation 20:12 ESV And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

Catch the distinction here. In Revelation 20, the dead are judged out the books based upon what was written in them, according to what they had done. However, in Matthew’s account, there is no mention of any books. Question: Does a difference in the stories make them invalid when we try to use them to corroborate these events? Not at all. Revelation always seems to be read from the viewpoint of an angry God, while Matthew is portrayed as the gentle shepherd.

Is there a comparable result? Yes.

Revelation 20:15 ESV And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

While in Matthew’s account we find:

Matthew 25:41 ESV  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Jesus, the shepherd, explains to them how they did no good works and what that looked like. What amazes me is the simplicity involved in these works. It all boils down to this, step outside of your selfishness and show some kindness.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
(Matthew 25:35-36 ESV)

Perhaps all of this will be easier to understand if we can see it in a timeline format. Note: This is only attempting to show a short window of time from the moment Jesus physically returns to the earth, and the beginning of the 1000 year reign.

Timeline as we enter the 1000 year reign.

Timeline as we enter the 1000 year reign.

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Revelation 15:5-8 seven angels with the seven plagues


Since our last look at Revelation, I have side tripped on several things. As I thought about what to say I remembered that one of those topics was my having to deal with depression.

  1. I don’t know about you, but I survived Christmas. Many, like the song, believe that it is the most wondrous time of the year. I admit, I love Christmas lights. There is a little town near me that has lights (white ones) in the trees lining the street all year-long. I love that street, but Christmas is not just lights. There is the prepping we do, all while babysitting the grandchildren – several of which are more than willing to tear apart anything you put up, like a tree with ornaments. Then, there are the family members that have fractured the emotional relationships with most, and this year their mother-in-law pushed her way into the trip. Do you want to know how I dealt with it all? As one of my friends said, “I suit up, show up, and shut up.” I was not aware of this phrase prior, but this is what I was doing.

Hang around  the church for any length of time and someone will tell you that you just need to put on the armor of God! I suppose then all your problems will go away, but that does not always happen; in most cases, it never happens. What happens is that you look at things differently, and perhaps if your lucky, deal with them differently, even if this, in its simplicity, is what you do, suit up, show up, and shut up.

[As a side note: I hate having people tell me that I need to put on the armor of God. You might as well tell me that you do not care about me and that I need to go away. That happens enough by your turning your back to me, as you find someone more interesting to talk to. Besides all that, God has placed this armor in our repertoire, but most of us do not even realize it is there. I happen to believe that it is on me all the time; it was placed there the day I placed myself into Christ care. I think it might be easier to visualize this if you can picture yourself being brought into the kingdom as a knight. Knighted, dressed and assigned to function on behalf of the king and the kingdom. Can I take off my armor to at least bathe? Well certainly. Since what we are dealing with here is emotional and internal, are you really taking it off? Having set aside your armor then, do not forget to redress yourself. Hence, suit up, show up, and do the appropriate thing suitable for the situation.]

Well, shutting up is primarily what I did, and I guessed it worked. There is always the possibility that God had been working from the other end of this nightmare and calmed the problem child down. All the craziness fell into the category of not my circus and not my monkeys. Fortunately, I do not have to train them or discipline them. Now, in reality, you spill too much of that crazy on me, and I will be struggling immensely to not react. So when people asked me, how was my Christmas season, I said, good. No one got to me, and I did not get to them.

I imagine some of you reading this started screaming that Christmas is all about remembering Jesus birth, and we do that; we remember that our Messiah was born in a manger, having chosen to come as a man; chosen to set aside what he had with the Father, just so he could ransom, rescue and restore. Jesus is the reason for this hope that Paul preached throughout the New Testament, and, it is one of the reasons that many of us come to Jesus. Having lost our hope, someone showed us that Jesus can bring and restore hope once again, and, therefore, we follow him.

This takes me back to where I wanted to be, the book of Revelation. Isn’t that odd, I speak about having hope and restoration in the same breath as the book of Revelation. That is because the book is the revealing of Jesus Christ. If you hold that one concept in your mind as you read it will help keep you centered on one thing: Jesus paid the price for all, but will not tolerate those who intentionally fight against him. This battle we see is for the heavyweight title belt, and we already know who wins.

Having said all that, open your bibles to Revelation chapter 15.

We ended last time at verse four.

Bear with me as I recap.

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels, with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:1-4 ESV)

It has just gone from ugly to bad, to worse, but what is this?

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass..”

This sea of glass mingled with fire is before the throne, and what a sight it must have been.

But these are not angels standing here, these are the multitudes “who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name”. The time of wrath still continues, and Christ, as the Messiah, has yet to come; however, here, they are represented as conquerors.

How did they come to be conquerors?

  1. By accepting that, the Messiah/Jesus Christ is their life.

  2. By refusing to: worship the beast; it’s image, and not taking on themselves whatever mark it is that represents its name.

While some may fight and be moderately successful, we are told that those who fight with the sword will die by the sword. Do you see that described in Revelation 15: 1-4? Not at all. Putting this scenario in context you become aware that the first image of these before the throne, given by John, has them calling out, “how long until you avenge our blood?” The implications are clear, they died as martyrs.

Do people, in general, go to a violent death willingly? No! Does everyone that is martyred profess a relationship with Jesus Christ? No, many are merely non-compliant with the beliefs of their assailant. What is the primary religion that is killing others because they are “non-believers”? Islam. I am aware that other belief systems have died in conflicts over religion.

Seeing some of the horrific pictures that come out of the Middle East, carrying descriptions of people that have been slaughtered because their faith was in something other than Islam; you get the impression that some of them had no chance to make a blatant refusal of Allah.

Others, after some thought, decided that this Jesus is for real, and that what those crazy Christians were saying was true. But some apparently, do not put all that much thought into this decision, to refuse one god over another. Overrun by radical Islamists’, some have, in those moments before their death, merely chosen not to worship Allah, nor pay the Jizyah tax, and in their death it seems that God deems many of them to have chosen Him (If I err, I chose to err on the side of mercy).

Logically think about that process of choosing whom you will serve for a moment. If you refuse to serve some god, in this case, Allah, are you not accepting some other? Yes, I get it, there are other possibilities in this scenario, and we see the result of this in the Great White throne judgment.

Matthew’s gospel is where we find the “great white throne” and the sheep and goat judgment. (Although it is not called that here.)

Who is handing out the judgment here, as some are deemed goats and sent off to eternal separation and punishment? You want to say, God. Everyone does; it is almost instinctive, but this is Jesus doing the judging. This is the same throne we see in Revelation 20. I told you to keep in mind that the Revelation is the revealing of Jesus. Therefore, this is Jesus we see in Revelation 20, just as it is Jesus in Matthew 25; the difference is that in Revelation we see Jesus as the vengeful God, and in Matthew we see him as a gentle shepherd. Those brought before him in Matthew’s account are the dead from among the nations.

This is where you need to sort things out.

This is especially hard for Christians as most of us were trained to be harshly judgmental. So here is a quick overview to help you understand who these are before the throne.

  • The rapture has come and gone. The dead in Christ have risen, as have those who remained.

  • The end of grace, therefore, salvation primarily comes by the showing of total commitment and more than likely death.

  • Seven years of God’s wrath, and man’s. Where multitudes have continued to die. The tribulations of this time period will get to be so bad that God has to intervene, and He will.

  • Jesus comes once again, and those who choose to fight against him will die. Thus begins a thousand years of peace. Why is there peace? Because the martyred rule and reign with Jesus during this time. Do you think they tolerate nonsense? I doubt it.

  • At the end of the thousand years comes the great white throne judgment I have been speaking of.

These dead from among the nations are those that did not go up in the rapture, and quite probably those that have died since the beginning of time. Since the martyred seem to be gathered to the Lord as they are killed we can exclude them. Out of this group of dead he calls some sheep and invites them into the kingdom. When asked he explains that it was because of their acts of kindness. Did you get that?

We could not seem to find the time or the words with which to worship God, but clearly the day will come. How could I not worship the one who rescued me, and showed me such love?

The plagues

After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. (Revelation 15:5-8 ESV)

Angels “clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests” come striding out. Most of us have never seen an angel, but Daniel did, and he fell on his face as though dead. Balaam’s ass saw one and turned to avoid the sword in his hand. Jacob fought with the angel of the Lord and walked away a cripple because of it.

How I want an angel to look.

How I want an angel to look.

Illustration 1: While I can only conjecture, I suspect that the angels are more warlike than we like to imagine.

and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests”. I wanted so badly to say this sounds like Jesus, but I did a word search in Revelation and could not find him described like this. However, I did find this description of Jesus, and it is much more war-like.

His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Revelation 19:12-13 ESV)

Other examples of angels and their appearance are similar.

  • The two Mary’s, arriving at the tomb, see two “men”, dressed in dazzling white apparel. Luke 24:1-10

  • Cornelius, the Roman Centurion had an angel appear to him. That angel was dressed in shining clothing. Acts 10:29-31

I do not know if it is worth trying to make something out of the word seven; it feels like the concept of seven has been beaten to death. We should understand that it indicates completeness, but is this the end of the wrath? No. Nor is it the beginning. The context of what is happening here is just one aspect of the wrath. It is not consummated with the actions of these angels, they are just messengers, but each scene must be completed.

Revelation 15:7 NET. Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,

One of the problems we have has been our lack of understanding of God’s character and nature. We read a sentence like this and all we seem to see is God, filled with an eternal wrath. I know this happens because I sit with guys one day a week reading then discussing the book of the month. [Currently, the John Eldredge book, Beautiful Outlaw. I suggest you read it if you have not.] Several, must have learning disabilities as I have. They read common words but twist them to the manner that their brain perceived them. Having the book in front of me I can see instantly what they did. Most of the time they too noticed their error, and attempted to correct it, and then said the same thing a second time. It is almost as if the mind, having seen a particular accepted pattern, refuses to see anything different from what it wants to see.

seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,”

While there is no doubt God gets angry, his anger seems to be directed at those who abuse. It is so easy to carry on with descriptives that show God angry, I suppose the ideal thing at this point is to merely point out a couple of things that demonstrate the opposite.

    • A classic is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that …” When you consider that he gave his son to die, for the redemption of the world, at a time when the world hated him; they still do. The point here is that God loves the world; the opposite of hatred and wrath.

    • When Saul, soon to be referred to as Paul, was confronted by God/Jesus, he was not verbally abused, but asked, why are you persecuting me? Of all the things an angry God could ask or say. Apparently God is not angry with us as we think.

    • Is God capable of being angry? No doubt. Then whom is he angry with? Israel, for its rejection of him as Messiah; in general, that has been an ongoing process. The other group receiving God’s wrath is the nations. Who are the nations? The other name they go by is the gentiles. This includes everyone outside of a relationship with the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These are generally considered those willing to fight against God. Having this in your mind is key in our understanding of his character.

      [As a side note: Wasn’t Saul, while lying on his back due to the bright flash of light from God, confronted by God, saying, why are you persecuting me? Saul was fighting against God. Does that make Saul among the nations? No, but Israel had some real problems with their desire to follow the nations and, therefore, acted like them. Therefore, the end result will be comparable lacking a repentance from the offender.]

and the temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from his power.”

Revelation 15:8 NET. and the temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from his power. Thus no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues from the seven angels were completed.

This seems like a good stopping place, as you focus on an aspect of God’s character and nature we seem to forget. The idea of his glory eludes me. Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament words gives this as a part of their explanation: “acts of God in self-manifestation”. Since no man has ever seen God and lived, then what else do we have that explains him? Jesus told the listeners, if you have seen me, then you have seen the Father, but didn’t that sort of apply to his character and nature? God is a spirit, but that is so difficult to comprehend; that it, unless that spirit is evil and trying to kill you, like Satan’s henchmen – these are fallen angels or what we like to call demons. So what John sees is the remnant of his presence, a fog or cloud that fills the temple. The temple is the original and a pattern for the things we have seen on earth. You find this in Hebrews 8:5.

There is no doubt that God is powerful. You are standing on the earth he created with a spoken word. All that we see and know calculated, balanced, and intricately designed long before they were spoken. And isn’t it odd that it takes mankind with their electron microscopes years to find these evidence of his perfect design.

God has the power to create and to destroy. This reminds me of the saying some use on their rebellious children; I brought you into this world, and I can take you out! Since you are trying to understand the character of God, how do you interpret the mass annihilation of man from the earth in a flood? There was more going on in the background than most want to understand. But since you know that God spared one family, then you know that concealed in that destruction was mercy and love.

The Jews understood that Noah appealed to all that would listen, that they could join him in salvation. How many chose to listen? None.

and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2Peter 2:5 NASB)

God also made a promise to the man – Noah and signified it with a rainbow. So we know that, never again would God do a mass destruction of man from the earth. [Genesis 9: 15-17.]

So why does God not destroy all of us? Thanks to this sin nature thing embedded within us, it would seem we should be unlovable and hopeless, and that might be true if not for one thing. Jesus, the Son, gave himself as the final sacrifice; a payment in full that redeems us all from the penalty of that propensity to fight against God. It would be easy to say, he made us lovable again, but that is not the case, he loved us, and that is why he allowed his son to be the payment through a horrific death.

He loves us. He made the world for his creation, and the creation gave it away in exchange for what? So he himself, could be a god? That was Satan’s problem; amazing was simply not good enough, and humanity has been tossed about in the middle of the struggle ever since. How do you change any of this? By changing addresses; it is really that simple. In accepting that Christ paid this price for you and by believing that his promise is true – that there is a hope of life with the Father, you instantly change addresses. You are now in Christ and have a permanent home there.

Unfortunately, this all happens internally and spiritually, and much like a recovery group, you are going to need support. This is one of the reasons people want to drive you – like cattle sometimes, to church because that is where people of strength often gather. But the church can have drawbacks and sideshows. I think that many of us merely tolerate the sideshow aspect. Personally, I need real people around me; people that care about me, someone willing to sit and listen when I am in pain. If you were to be honest, your heart cries out for that as well.

The relationship with Christ is easy; finding someone you can trust and share your life with, might be a little more difficult. It is going to require your trust and you will be taking a risk. Find a Celebrate Recovery group because they will accept anyone there, then observe people. You will find someone there that you mesh with; then ask them to be an accountability partner as you walk through life.

One last thing: Learn to trust the voice inside of you; that is the Holy Spirit of God, and it is his job to lead and guide you through life.

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How can we know when we are close to the end? Chapter three.


What do we know from other examples – in scripture or life – that substantiates a definitive time frame?

Allow me to point something out; a date slipped by us quietly and got ignored, September 13, 2015. It marked not only the end of the Shemittah year, but the beginning of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashana. Is it possible that Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar was also the beginning of the seven-year period that culminates the Fiftieth year, the year of Jubilee – the time of restoration of all things; that will happen when the Messiah returns to earth. Coincidentally, Jesus as the Messiah, will return physically to earth at the end of the “Tribulation” to do just that – put everything right. If this is a Jubilee week, then we are in that seven-year period as we speak. Because the end of time concludes with God’s wrath being poured out, there is that possibility that we are already seeing that happen.

We have the two witnesses who stand in the streets of Jerusalem for 1260 days.

So when do the two witnesses show up? Scripture is not clear on that.

Do we have any clues? Certainly.

These two witnesses cause the rain to cease; call fire down from heaven, and cause the same plagues to come upon the earth that Moses brought upon Egypt.

Revelation 11:6 ESV They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

At the end of their time here, God allows them to be killed. The two witnesses will then lie dead in the street for three days, but will be raised again to life, just as Jesus was.

Revelation 11:7-9 ESV And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, (8) and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (9) For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,

The one thing that is definitive about this is the 1260 day time frame. Outside of that we have nothing that tells us when they show up except for the association with their being killed and that is related to the entrance of the false prophet.

It is the prophecies of Islam that shed a tremendous amount of light on this subject. Islam expects their own version of Jesus to show up and bring everything under the control of Sharia. To have everything under one religious leader is what Islam desires and is called a global caliphate. The resume of the false prophet begins with him being a Jew of the lineage of Aaron, and he will be a priest with access to the temple. This character/false prophet will pledge allegiance to the Mahdi (when he comes). This Mahdi seems to be the Antichrist we understand from scripture, and leader of the global Caliphate. It is rather obvious that many will be deceived, and aspects of this deception would be that he performs wonders, just as Jesus the Messiah did, and now the two witnesses have done. God’s witnesses stopped the rain, now he will make it rain.

Islam calls this man, “Isa Ibn Maryam (Arabic: عيسى بن مريم, translit. ʿĪsā ibn Maryām; English: Jesus, son of Mary), orJesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and al-Masih (theMessiah) in Islam,i the enforcer of Sharia.

Scripture tells us that this person – the false prophet, will cause all to worship the beast [this is probably the Mahdi, but since the beast is not clearly defined it could be the fallen angel/demon we call Allah.] Regardless, it will be the bloodiest time the earth has ever seen.

  • I already touched on this verse earlier, but it does hold a time frame within it.

Daniel 7:25-27 ESV He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (26) But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. (27) And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’

1260 days is the equivalent of = time, times, and half a time, or 3½ years. BTW: Islam has but one goal, and that is to change times to match theirs.

“and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.”

Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

  • “He” is the Antichrist.

  • Strong or firm

    it does not matter.

  • “he will make a firm covenant with the many

    great number, abundance

  • for one week”

    A numeral. It is what it is.

Daniel 9:27 LITV …And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. …

This literally means, in the midst of two parts. Jump back to Daniel 7: 25-27 and you get what appears to be a detailed description of the second half – time, times, and half a time, or 3½ years.

Daniel 7:24-25 ESV As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. (25) He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

If you were to use Daniel 7:24-25 as the limits for establishing a time frame, you still have a problem because you cannot prove who the “he” is, nor when he comes on the scene. Since we Americans have a Muslim President, which has turned his back on Israel and taken the side of those attacking Christians, it is much easier to believe that we are already in the seven-year period.

I cannot change what God has decreed, and if it is to be a precise 7 years, then so be it, but there are so many things that I read in scripture for which we do not have a definitive answer for, therefore it is possible that we are in the seven-year period we love to call the tribulation. This period is clearly laid out as the time of God’s wrath, and that has a defined distinction from tribulation, which Jesus told us is an integral aspect of the Christian life.

We, as followers of Christ are reprieved from God’s wrath because Jesus took the punishment we deserved upon himself. In addition, since we, the church, are in Him and he is no longer subject to punishment, then “we are not destined for wrath” either.

Jesus told the disciples, numbering in the thousands at this point, that he will come again and receive them to himself, minus the wrath part. This is the rapture/Harpazo that we long for.

How then could we be in the seven-year period, a time of wrath, expecting Him to rescue us, while all this other stuff is going on? Part of the answer lies in Jesus response to the disciples, and we find that in Matthew 24. The question asked was really very specific: When will the temple be destroyed and when will you come back as the Messiah we have looked for.

Because Jesus arrival as the Messiah comes at the end of the time of wrath, then it is proper to respond to his disciples in a way that describes the events surrounding his return. With that in mind, what did he say, because we will use his responses as potential markers indicating that we are either in that period or closer than we thought.

  • Matthew 24:4,5 ESV And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. (AMP) For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.

    The implications are that Jesus takes this very serious, and therefore we should as well. Are people being deceived today? Absolutely. Is there the potential that the deception could be greater? Absolutely. Because it says that the elect will deceived we are talking about Jews.
    Most versions say, “For many will come in my name”. We tend to interpret this to mean that people will be passing themselves off as Jesus. Fortunately we have translations like the Amplified which tells us that they will come in the strength of the Messiah’s name, Jesus. I have told you that Islam is looking for a Jesus as well. This will not be his name, they call him Isa bin Mariam (Jesus the son of Mary – they can handle that but not god, for god to them is Allah and Allah would never have touched a woman). This person may try to represent himself in this way, but the most convincing aspect will be the signs he performs. Jesus of the bible performed his fair share of miracles, and many of the crowds that gathered around him came only because of the miracles. It will not be any different in the last days.

  • Matthew 24:6 ESV And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

    Fighting in the streets of Paris.

    Fighting in the streets of Paris.

    Constant warfare in the Muslim impacted nations, rioting in the streets, police being assassinated, oh, and don’t forget the mass murders and terrorist acts that seem to be a daily event on the news.

  • Matthew 24:7 ESV For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

    All these things are happening as you read this. Oklahoma, a state which though very familiar with tornadoes, had rarely experienced an earthquake, but is now the leader in earthquakes for the nation.

Since these are a description of times associated with Jesus return as the Messiah, is it possible that we are within that period? I believe the answer is yes. Most will argue from the terminology of tribulation that we are not and cannot be, simply because God is supposed to save us tribulation. I told you that tribulation is the hallmark of our relationship with Christ, however, wrath, coming from God, is not, so you have to make a distinction.

As you try to define the oddities you find in the Revelation and other apocalyptic books, what do you use as the basis for your answers? I ask because it does not seem as though anyone seems to know. Oh sure, plenty of people have answers, but when you read their answer it does not make sense.

Surely you have heard that, scripture interprets scripture; so then, it is possible that the answers are right there in the Word of God.

Good, and free resources are out there. If you have a computer you can download a program called E-sword. It comes with enough information to do what any college graduate can do – research. Lacking a computer, but having a bible and nothing else, then you are going to have to do what Daniel did and read. Read Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Isaiah. You should be getting the picture because they are all interrelated. The Apostle John wrote to Jewish Christians – believers that understood the importance and symbolism he spoke of. Whether you have a computer of not, you are going to need do word searches (at least pay attention to trigger words such beast and day of the Lord), and don’t be afraid to look up even the simplest of words in the Strong’s concordance. Why? Because the simplest of words can have the deepest of meanings in the Hebrew or Greek (something we, in the western world miss). It will alarm you to find that the translators severely weakened an act or statement by choosing one phrase over the other.

Have you ever sat in church and heard the speaker say, this word in Hebrew means precisely this. Well I have, and I have a problem with that, because when you look the word up for yourself, you find out that the word has variability to it. Does that make God look bad? Not at all. It merely shows that God has the ability to deliver life changing freedom to us, even if it is garbage. It also shows that God has the ability to adjust to the circumstances; evidence of that is found in the story of Jonah and his calling to Nineveh. Truth be known, Jonah hated the Assyrians – I wonder why, and desperately wanted God to obliterate them. However they repented at Jonah’s message. (It is quite possible that his appearance played a big role in their reactions.) So God’s choice to be variable allowed him to relent. Note that word relent. It is not repent, as though God made a bad decision, nor does it mean that they are off the hook. It merely meant that because they backed away from their violent ways for the time, that God backed away from his choice to destroy them. In time they went back to their old habits and God brought judgment against them. Remnants of Nineveh were found in the mounds outside of Mosul Iraq not that long ago. So God did bring the judgment declared.

So what is my bottom line on this seven-year period? It may well be exactly as we presume, but God is running the clock and all creation will come into compliance with that. I do know that a time of punishment from God is coming upon this earth, and it will exceed the evil that men will continue to do. However, Jesus taught us that we have a hope, and that hope is that followers of Christ will rule and reign in eternity with him. There is a day coming when all this grief and pain will end, and I can that assurance now by making Him/Jesus the Lord of my life.

Posted in Apostasy, Deception, End times, In Christ, Prophetic, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How can we know when we are close to the end? Chapter two.


Does God have a seven-year period, or is this just man’s idea?

God has given us a multitude of examples that prove that He is deeply invested in the number seven. Creation happened within six yoms of time, and then God rested on the seventh, why God would be exhausted, especially if He was merely speaking things into existence, but none-the-less, he rested.

The word rested is shabath. We also find it spelled shabbath, and sabbath. It also carries the meanings to cease and desist. Therefore we could just as easily say, that on the seventh day, God ceased from creating. I suppose it is much like an artist, who at some point looks at what they have painted and says, it is good, and therefore stops the creative process.

I inserted the Hebrew word Yom instead of days, because the word that we choose to define as a day can actually mean: a space of time defined by an associated term, it is often used adverbially as age. Oh sure, there were other words used prompting our choice to limit God to a twenty-four hour period of time, like heat, cold, and lights to govern the day and night, but this idea of God only working because it is daylight, tends to fall apart if you are holding to a precise chronology in the creation of earth. You see, the Sun is not made, nor placed in the sky until the fourth day, after these conversations about lights to govern the day, and heat and cold.

This idea of time is one of those where you scratch your head as you: try to date the earth; attempt to figure out how the dinosaurs fit into creation, or wonder how long Adam walked this earth alone. And though it is not directly time related, there are those who bravely ask, where did Cain get his wife. Obviously, there are things in scripture that can keep you up at night.

I cannot find a single decree in the New Testament where God has stated that there would be seven years of wrath coming upon the earth.

Oh, don’t get me wrong wrath is coming, but I cannot say it holds to a definite time frame.

Do a word search for wrath, and you will find that a time frame is not specified, however, if you do a search for the word seven you will find 326 verses in the Old Testament alone. The number seven is significant because we, by association, can find allusions to end time eschatology in stories such as the one in which Joseph interprets the dream for Pharaoh, where he saw the fat and skinny cows.

Genesis 41:30 ESV “but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land,”

The symbology in this could easily parallel what we see in end times eschatology. While I will not exclude famine from God’s scenario, the unequaled death and destruction might be analogous to the famine that consumes the land in a seven-year period.

We do have something rather definitive in terminology, when we come to this person we see in Daniel 9, as “he makes a strong covenant with many for one week.” With some help from scripture and commentaries, we find out that “one week” represents a seven-year period.

Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

The covenant or treaty, is made by this person, and it is broken by him. We are making a huge assumption if we think that God has to honor the time period described in Daniel 9:27. While the time period, and the person setting it up, play well into God’s scheme of things, it seems to come out of the man’s mouth.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 GNB You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.

Who is this “he”?

He” has many names.

    • The son of perdition”. (2 Thessalonians 2:3, John 17:12)

      This phrase is only used twice in scripture. Once when Jesus was speaking of Judas Iscariot, and the other was when Paul describes the man of sin that is to be revealed.

    • the prince that is to come” as the King James bible calls him. (Daniel 9:26)

      The Hebrew word for prince is nâgid. It is the same word used to describe Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem. In this case Jesus was called the Messiah nâgid. The word nâgid means commander, leader, or noble. A ruling authority.

Robertson’s Word Pictures helps to define what we see in Matthew 21:9, and tells us that in declaring: “Hosanna to the Son of David (Hosanna tōi huiōi Daueid). “They were now proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and he let them do it.

    • the little horn” as seen in Daniel 8:9-12.

      You see this again in Daniel 7:8. Daniel goes on to describe in chapter 7 verses 20,21: “the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them,” 

      Daniel 7:25 gives us tremendous insight if we will look outside the box of religion, for Islam has the intent of changing the times and the laws of the land to suite their needs. One of those would be the mandatory times of prayer.

      (ESV) “He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”

      1260 days = time, times, and half a time = 3½ years.

    • the beast” – Revelation 13:5 tells us that “the beast” was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.”

      Because of this, we also call him the beast, however that may not be appropriate. Note the forty-two months. That equals 1260 days, or three and one half years.

    • the king that does what he wills” Daniel 11:36

    • the lawless one” 2Thessalonians 2:3.

      This sounds very much like our American president. He too is a Muslim.

    • The bloody and deceitful man”. Psalm 5:6.

    • desolator” which is how the ESV bible translates it. Daniel 9:27.

he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,”

We make the assumption that this treaty is made with Israel, however this says nothing about Israel. It does say many. While it would be nice if Israel was included, there is nothing here that implies that.

Do we have a guarantee that this period of time is purely chronological? Not necessarily.

God certainly has a time frame, but He is the one that is keeping the clock. We find an example of this in Daniel 9:24. It seems that all of time has been put on hold, and now we are stuck between the 69th and 70th week, for over 2000 years.

Daniel 9:24 ESV “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

What many of us do not comprehend it that this book we read, the Bible, is a Jewish book. It was written with a Middle Eastern mindset, therefore the phrase seventy weeks would have an immediate recognition to the Jewish readers. It carries the significance of the shemitah, a seven-year period which finishes with a time of releasing Jewish debtors from their debts. It is quite possible that we are in what is known as the Jubilee year; the period of time which is considered the grandest of them all, when all things are made right, and their land is restored to them again. Seventy weeks then, is really 70×7, or 490 years.

490 years have come and gone, and yet the most telling aspects of this prophecy over Jerusalem are the aspects about anointing a most holy place, and the destruction of the city and the temple. If the holy place is the rebuilt third temple in Jerusalem, has that happened yet?

[Many would argue that the prophecy about the temple was fulfilled when, as most will say, Titus Vespasian destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. Since he was the Roman emperor over Jerusalem, then the troops who destroyed the temple would be Roman troops, or as some presume, Italians. This presumption has caused us to look to Europe to bring forth not only the Antichrist, but the people who will destroy the last temple and Jerusalem. The problem with that thinking is that we ignore recorded history, for both Josephus and Tacitus recorded that the greater percentage of troops, fighting under the Roman banner, were conscripts from nearby conquered nations, in this case Assyrian. The Assyrians had an aggressive hatred of the Jews, and openly expressed their desire to destroy Israel and it’s people. It was then the Assyrians who sacked the temple, ignoring direct orders from Titus to cease. Having this information, it is much easier to see that the people of the prince will be Assyrian, or Middle Eastern, and an event that is yet to come.]

I will present you the evidence available and let you decide for yourselves.

And yes, I have looked up the occurrences of the words: wrath; week, and weeks; 1260; combinations of 42 months; seven, and tribulation, and I find nothing in the New Testament that shows me God specifying that He will pour out his wrath for this period of time.

  • Revelation 11:3 ISV I will give my two witnesses who wear sackcloth the authority to prophesy for 1,260 days.”

    It is what you do not know that hinders your understanding. You do not know when then these two show up. There are some extremely logical clues, and my opinion is that they show up almost immediately after the rapture, partly to serve as an example to those who come to knowledge of Jesus Christ.

     

  • Revelation 12:5-6 ESV She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, (6) and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

    She is Israel, and the male child is Jesus Christ. He did not come initially as the ruler of the nations, but he will. He was caught up to God and to his throne. Obviously a portion of this verse has been fulfilled. Here we have Israel fleeing into the wilderness; when will that happen? Several clues come out of Ezekiel’s prophecies. Look at chapters 38, 39, where it describes of a multi-fronted attack against Israel. It also sounds as though there are nuclear weapons involved.

     

  • Revelation 12:14 ESV But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

    Can you legitimately tell me that there is a definitive starting point for any of these time frames?

     

  • Revelation 13:5 ESV And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.

    42 months = 31/2 years = 1260 days = time, and times, and half a time.

     

    Again we are lacking information, but as before, we have good clues. Daniel chapter 9 tells us that “he” makes a treaty with many for 7 years. However he breaks that treaty after 31/2 years. Question; when does one make treaties? Typically during or right after warfare.

     

  • Revelation 11:2 ISV But don’t measure the courtyard outside the Temple. Leave that out, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the Holy City for 42 months.

    The intriguing aspect of Revelation 11:2 is that there is now no temple. This means the temple would have to be rebuilt. Ask yourself, where is the courtyard given to the nations? It is the majority of the area deemed to be the temple mount, and for the most part it is given to the Muslims (the nations).

    A computer representation of the third temple.

    A computer representation of the third temple.

    In this representation,almost everything left of the Temple would be considered the court of the Gentiles. What a coincidence.

    I used to think of this period of 42 months as happening after “he” breaks the treaty, and the false prophet defiles the temple once again. It seems logical that this is when this would happen, especially if there is no protection left in Israel.

     

Chronologically this is what we have:

 There is one other possibility we need to entertain.

We are told by the writer of Hebrews that Jesus, as a high priest, entered the holy place in heaven, the pattern for things down here on earth, and splashed his blood – the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the heavenly altar and utensils, anointing them. You can see this in Hebrews 9:11-24.

Ephesians 1:7 ISV In union with him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our offenses, according to the riches of God’s grace

This alone should have been the end of transgression, however, every human on the earth does things outside of God’s will, continually. It almost seems as though the sin is built into us.

As you read Daniel 9:24 you see transgression finished, an end of sin. Look around you; has that happened? Not in the physical world. Violence is increasing, as is the coldness of men’s hearts. So he is either telling us about a spiritual event, or a future event.

The passage goes on to speak about an everlasting righteousness. I could argue that everlasting righteousness came through the cross, that was spelled out by the writer of Hebrews, therefore I, and you, have been made righteous by the blood of the sacrifice of Christ. Again, this tends to be more spiritual, and does guarantee you a life with the Father; that comes through your acceptance, but it does impact how God looks at us. We will not be judged for sin, by Him, but we will be judged based upon what we did with His Son.

Ask yourselves, if an everlasting righteousness came through the cross, then why is it not automatic?

How God looks at us is much like the artist that decides the work is done, however there is that idea that no one comes to the Father but through the Son. So here we have a forgiveness of our inherent sin that exude constantly to the surface, and yet still must accept the Son, Jesus, as the door into the kingdom. Strangely, I see this pattern throughout the time of judgment upon the earth. Salvation is still available by acknowledging the Son and not some other, even if shoved down your throat at the edge of a sword.

Perhaps I over simplify when I say things like: the earth is one big adoption agency and we are all in it, but the concept works for me.

At some point God, in the form of the Son, comes to earth, pays the fee to adopt us all, signs the paperwork, and then tells everyone to hop in truck. (The cool thing is that here in America, we used to be able to just hop in the bed of the truck.) Some come readily while others hesitate. The guy playing video games with the spiked, multi-colored hair finally decides to jump in the truck, but bellows out – I don’t take out trash. God accepts him anyway, just as He accepted all of us with our quirks. Eventually we all come into line and do our part. Initially, all I have to do is accept Jesus into my life.

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How can we know when we are close to the end? Chapter one.


If I was trying to assess what I knew for sure about the seven week period we call the Tribulation. It only seems reasonable that I would try to find things in scripture that speak of this period. For example:

  • Do we know about when this seven-year period will take place.

    Because there are always skeptics, can we know at all?

    The short answer is yes

  • Does God have a seven-year period?

  • Does God have to stick to man’s plan?

  • If it is a man’s plan, then who is this guy?

Do we know about when this Antichrist will show up, or when God will pour out his wrath?

The skeptics will quote, improperly and out of context, that no man knows the day or the hour. So what does scripture say to the believer?

1 Thessalonians 5:2-5 ESV (2) For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (3) While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (4) But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. (5) For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

Jesus told the disciples –

Matthew 13:11 And he answered them, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

So apparently not everyone has a security clearance, or the ability to know, and yet we all have the same clues.

What then are the clues that indicate we are close to the end?

Although Matthew 24 is filled with these clues, lets focus on something that we might be able to relate to. Matthew 24:32 begins a parable of a fig tree. Israel is that fig tree.

Matthew 24:32-33 KJV Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

a fig tree beginning to bud

a fig tree beginning to bud

Israel became a nation in 1948, and it is the general assessment that this was the tender branch. All these years later, she has put forth leaves, summer is nigh, and the time to pick the fruit has come. While all these aspects may be telling, it is this part of the statement that draws our attention: “when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Once again the things we were to look for:

  • The branch putting forth leaves

  • Summer and the time of harvest. (This is not a literal time, but could be.)

  • know that it is near, even at the doors.” What is the “it”? The Day of the Lord.

While the next verse has many interpretations, there is something very plainly stated in it:

Matthew 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Remember, we are looking for clues, therefore the general idea is that when Israel became a nation the limb budded, and it is understood that: that generation that would not pass away without all these things being fulfilled, and that includes the coming of the Day of the Lord. However, many feel that Israel did not become the nation God intended until the six-day war of 1967 (I suppose that ignores the fact that the United Nations pressured Israel into giving back much of the captured lands. A person born in 1948 would today be 67, but the person born in 1967 would today be 48. Both of these ages lay outside of a commonly understood time frame, which I discuss in the next paragraph. I suppose the hardest part of this equation is to decide what determines a generation.

Genesis 6:3 tells us that God changed the time frame for man, giving him only 120 years, but it is rare that someone lives that long. Why is that important? What if man, living to be hundreds of years old, as they did in Noah’s day, did not mature or have an interest in starting a family, therefore a new generation, until they had lived at least one hundred years? Ancestry.com writer, Donn Devine, says, As a matter of common knowledge, we know that a generation averages about 25 years—from the birth of a parent to the birth of a child—although it varies case by case. Our western mindset gets in the way of understanding this eastern mentality book we call the bible, therefore the possibility exists that a generation could have been as short as fourteen to sixteen years. All this merely creates confusion, because as we read statements like Matthew 24:34, or possibilities like this we immediately attempt to constrain God into a box of our own proportions and making. Then, because God does not fit into our box, we consider his actions and intent impossible to understand, and everything about him a mystery.

Even though we think we understand the meaning of a simple word like generation, we, because we are astute students of the Bible, look the word up so as to not let anything escape us. The problems we create for ourselves is that we, without further training, do not understand the nuances of the Greek word γενεά / genea, the basis for our word in question. Genea was also translated as nation and age. If I apply either of those words to Matthew 24:34 it opens the door to a rather large and variable time frame.

This (age or nation) shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

With that in mind, this idea of generation does not even apply to us, but to Israel. Therefore what Jesus was saying in Matthew 24, really was Israel (his people specific.)

While we did not pin God down to a specific time, we do have the evidence that He is near, even at the door.

I have for a while now been telling people that we are no longer looking for His return in terms of years, but that we are in the last minutes or seconds of time. Now consider that I have been saying that for a couple of years now. Does that change my enthusiasm about the eminent status of His coming for his church and beginning the final countdown prior to His return as the conquering Messiah that Israel longed for? Not at all, for He created time and passes in and out of it, putting it on hold, even if meant bringing you (that one person) back into the kingdom.

If you can not honestly say you know you are a part of God’s kingdom, then all you really have to do is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord. Allow him to rule your life; you have not been doing all that great of a job ruling it yourself. He will come into your life and make you his. No, he is not going to strip your will and decision-making abilities out of your life, but you will find that things go so much better when you turn those things over to him. He loves you and intercedes for you before the Father.

We have a promised life in eternity, free from the pains of this life, if we will do this. He loves you very much. Now how would I know that, because I have experienced this love for myself, and I now know that it is his character, and the nature of the Father’s.

God bless and have a blessed Christmas.

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