Life can get hectic at times, and in that short time I got distracted and needed to remind myself what I am working on.
I opened the last post with “Seven seals have been opened. Within the seventh seal are seven trumpeters. The previous trumpet, the sixth in this vision, has blown releasing four angels who have spent their traitorous lives bound in the Euphrates river. These must be comparable to great generals within the armies of Satan, for they command an army of 200 million demonic horsemen. These creatures are like nothing man has ever seen, and are therefore fallen angels themselves.”
We are on a relentless migration in our attempt to absorb and understand Revelation. Currently, we are in Revelation 11 where we covered the two witnesses.
They no sooner die and are taken off the earth when this happens.
Revelation 11:13 ESV And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Previously we saw: 200 million demonic horsemen killing and tormenting mankind; two prophets from God that have the ability to kill, and now, a hellish earthquake, only one of many. Because of this earthquake, a tenth of the city fell. I believe I would fear the horsemen over the earthquake, but nonetheless, a destruction it is.
Here’s an odd thought. Since the wrath, we are reading about, and this is all under the wrath, is directed at two people groups – the unrepentant Jews and the nations, then how does this earthquake impact the nations? I suppose an earthquake of this magnitude has a global, far-reaching impact, but haven’t we already experienced a global earthquake that has the rich and poor hiding in caves, crying out for the rocks to fall on them and save them from the wrath of God? So, let’s assume that the intention is to have a local impact. Then who are the recipients? Israel/Jews, and one other people group, who like to call themselves Palestinians. What has been happening immediately before this quake? Two witnesses, who maintain a strong position in the streets of Jerusalem, declaring the greatness of God, spewing fire (I think that would be correct since the Palestinians/Hamas/Muslims will be trying everything they can to kill these two), reigning plagues and shutting off the rain for 1260 days. Is it possible that this “woe” is a directed judgment at Israel for not acknowledging God in the evidence of these two witnesses and at the same time a judgment against those who continued to spit in the face of God by attempting to kill the witnesses?
Consider this. Jesus told Pilate,
“You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. ” John 19:11a ESV
And to the crowd who came to take him in the garden, Jesus replied,
“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53 ESV
The point being, no man could have touched these two witnesses, to harm them, unless, as Matthew’s gospel quoted,
“all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” Matthew 26:56
just like the events that happened to Jesus. Keep in mind that the Jewish mind thinks very critically, and will be looking for the evidence in the law and the prophets. They have that evidence in this statement of prophecy.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Malachi 4:5 ESV)
You can argue about who these two persons are until you are blue in the face and you will not change the fact that they are coming and in a powerful way.
Back to our migration.
Do you realize that the first woe, announced in Revelation 9, coincides with the blast of the fifth trumpet and continues along with the second woe, for two chapters? There is nothing that segregates the first woe from the second. By the time we get to Revelation 11 the world is deeply under the effects of the sixth trumpet. It is possible that the deadly impact of 200 million horsemen and the two witnesses may be the second woe.
What is the premonition given to us in chapter ten of Revelation?
“ 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 ESV
I do not know what that says to you, but it tells me that the entire reason we have run this race is about to come to fruition. The idea of a mystery is splattered throughout the bible. While it was a mystery to many, some got it. We see that in Hebrews and a few other places.
“By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations–the City designed and built by God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10 MSG)
They may not have known the name, or where it was, but they knew it was real and they were going there eventually. Not so different from us, is it? The mystery really came down to redemption and a restored life with the Father, to those who wanted it. But, you cannot go telling that to just everyone, like Satan or he would try to thwart the plan; that was his only hope. However, Satan’s attempts failed, but oh how he tried. (Having King Herod kill off every child in the region, two years and under is a good example. Thinking that putting Jesus on the cross and killing him there must have seemed like a good idea for a moment, but that failed also.)
Just knowing that the mystery will be finally fulfilled has me excited.
Revelation 11:15-19 ESV (15) Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (16) And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, (17) saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. (18) The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (19) Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
As usual, I have to tear it up to see what is in it.
there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
This in itself is merely a statement. It denotes an action taking place, but where do we see that? We already have some evidence that Christ has completed his mission and taken the seat of authority.
Revelation 1:17-18 ESV When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, (18) and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
This introduction is made in – if I may take the liberty, the beginning of the story, and still I am having difficulty wrapping my mind around all that it conveys. However, it demonstrates that God was never really out of control as he fulfilled his plan, and that was to create an environment for those which were made in his purposeful and exacting image. Nothing has changed, WE are still his purpose, created in his image.
In the book of Hebrews, we find Jesus, our high priest, having taken His seat at the right hand of the Father. The important aspect of this is why, and you find the details that answer the ‘why’ embedded on almost every page of the letter to the Hebrews.
Consider that for a moment: The writer wrote this letter directly to unbelieving Hebrews. This is the same uphill battle that the Apostle Paul waged, as he would come into a city and go to the synagogues, where he would preach about the hope we can have in the Messiah, all the evidence of which is found in the scriptures they so fervently study. Some believed while others rejected what Paul said.
Why would the writer Hebrews make such a detailed effort to change hearts and minds, unless he wanted the Jews to see that Jesus was the warrior king they awaited and that he was seated, merely awaiting the moment when the Father says go get them and end this mess.
Hebrews 7:23-8:1 NASB The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, (24) but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. (25) Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (26) For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; (27) who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (28) For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. (8:1) Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
Doesn’t this, much like Revelation 1:17-18, show us a king that has already conquered. He is not stressed but waiting. Until that time arrives Christ constantly intercedes, on our behalf, before the Father.
For me at least, the obvious part of this equation is the cross. It was the line drawn in the sand. On that cross, no less an altar than the one the priesthood used, the price was paid. That cross was no different from the pole with the bronze serpent wrapped around it, that Moses raised in the desert, for Jesus became the serpent on the pole that day. The price, paid by his blood and life, was the full price necessary and mandatory to buy the freedom of man out from under an oppressive ruler, Satan. I strongly suggest you read Hebrews, for all this is there.
If you are like me, then you have asked questions like:
Why then aren’t things different?
Why is Satan still running rampant?
And, why is the world still filled with evil and getting worse?
I suspect the best answer lies in God using these things to refine us, and, at the same time, bring about His judgment upon the world. Don’t get me wrong, the day will come when Satan is put out-of-the-way and men of violence will be silenced. Until that day comes we have to stay faithful.
“And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, (17) saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
Let’s focus on the elders for a moment.
When I try to make sense of this based upon what I know, I get twelve tribes and twelve disciples. Alright, there is clearly some significance. Now, based upon my understanding that this book of Revelation was written to Jewish converts with a deep understanding of the law and prophets (The Old Testament), then there is something there that few understand and fewer have been taught. So, allow me to defer to Pastor John MacArthur’s commentary.
In his notes on Revelation 4:4, where the elders first show up, he writes:
twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments (Rev_19:7-8), and their golden crowns (Rev_2:10) all seem to indicate that these twenty-four represent the redeemed (Rev_4:9-11; Rev_5:5-14; Rev_7:11-17; Rev_11:16-18; Rev_14:3; Rev_19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the seven-year tribulation time (cf. Dan_12:1-3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (Rev_7:9-10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at this point—the church. Here, elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (Rev_5:8-10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (cf. John 14:1-4).
While I have issues with some of the things Pastor John says and believes, this makes sense. What do I do with it is the next question. Let’s work on the principle that Revelation pertains to a time of judgment upon the earth that we mistakenly call ‘the tribulation’. I say that because God never promised us an exclusion from tribulations, in fact, they are guaranteed to us.
John 16:33 NASB “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
The time of judgment is specifically called a time of wrath, and, it is God’s wrath. Since Jesus Christ took all the wrath we deserved when He went to the cross, then, WE are NOT destined for wrath or punishment.
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB
All this tells me that WE, the church and body of Christ, are already there, with Him, in heaven. When did that happen? I believe that it happens right here.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Revelation 4:1 NASB
What things is John being shown? He has just been shown the church age, ending with the apostate Laodicean church. If you are not aware, naive or just choose to close your eyes, refusing to see what is going on around you, we are that last church, the Laodicean church.
The elders cry out:
“We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:17-18 NASB)
I think it is fairly clear that God has never suffered defeat, nor has He relinquished control of the throne at any time, although we think so. God is merely awaiting the moment that he unequivocally makes his enemies His footstool.
It seems as though Satan is in his last throes of death on earth and he knows it. So, what does he do, raise more havoc? This has nothing to do with Satan attempting to win converts to his side of the fence, he could care less. It has everything to do with him trying to kill anything that looks like God. Think about that for a minute. We are created in God’s image, now the fact that most of us do little to act like that is irrelevant, we are still the enemy, and in his mind, worthy of death.
But consider this scenario: In the movie Saving Private Ryan, in the process of taking Omaha beach, one of the squad members gets killed and must be replaced. The only available person is a clerk and would rather not fire a weapon. At the end of the movie, he is relegated to carrying ammunition. However, the stress of being shot at finally gets to him and we find him sitting in a stairwell sobbing as one of his squad mates, who is upstairs, desperately calls out for ammo. In the scene, a big German soldier goes up that same stairwell. He pushes the sobbing soldier aside, goes upstairs where the other squad member is, and gets into a bloody, hand to hand fight, eventually killing the soldier upstairs. The German, on his way back down merely, looks at the pathetic, sobbing soldier and walks away because it is obvious that he is not a threat.
I have to tell you, I know far too many people like this (I was one), and it has motivated me to be more proactive in how I talk to people and how I pray. Whether I can make an impact or not, I have determined that the enemy is not going to win on my watch.
In a sense, what I am ending on is the idea that we get back in the battle. I understand, you did not even know there was a battle. You certainly would have known if your family member struggled with substance abuse or cancer. Perhaps you are like me, and you have no problems except your own personal anger issues, that someday get you killed as you mouth off to someone on the road.
Get a grip, we all have issues and there is only one person to turn to, and that is Jesus Christ. The Word of God tells us to cast all of our cares on Him. One could imply that means all of them, including how much I might be hurting inside. Ask Jesus into your life as a permanent resident. Not a part-time slumber party guest, but the lasting relationship that He intends to make, and then watch how He changes your life.