We just finished up Revelation chapter thirteen in my quest to visualize a chronological timeline of the book. The difficulty lies in the things revealed, for when things seem to fit and I think I got a good feel for the sequence of things, we have had three history lessons inserted into the story that, in the case of a fallen star – Satan, who has the keys to the Abyss throws us back in time. In my mind this throw back takes us back to the creation of the earth, as it demonstrates the reasons why all this is happening, for God is bringing this all to a “legal” closure.
I slipped that term legal in on you because the transaction between the Serpent and Adam was a legal contract between the person who had dominion of the earth and the one who wanted that dominion. If Satan, in his act of gaining control, knew full well that his end would come, then there had to be another motive. The Revelation is all about Jesus, but there is something underlying, and that is the final judgment and putting away of the deceiver of this world.
Knowing this allows me to comprehend the background information and history that is inserted. As some would say, I have read the end of the book and I know how it turns. Praise God, because it is the reason for the hope that I have, a heavenly home with Abba, and a mind that finally works clearly. As my pastor recently said, “God, I appreciate that you gave me a new heart, but why couldn’t you also give me a new mind?”
In Revelation 13 we saw,
The dragon standing on the sea shore.
I wonder why John saw this. Perhaps it is a lead in to the power and authority that the dragon was about to start passing out. “And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”
John then sees a beast coming up out of the sea.
The beast has been explained in Daniel’s prophecies to be empires or kingdoms; and it has four heads. To make it worse the entities look like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.
“I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed.;”
Do something most people won’t do, pay attention to the words. It says, I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain. It is not dead, although the world. for many years, thought so. In spite of the appropriate information that the scripture gives us, some quack will tell you that we are looking for a man to have an assassination attempt made upon him. We use the word attempt, because with their next breath they tell you that this man who gets shot in the head, rises to life once again. When I was a child, John Kennedy, the President of the United States at the time, was shot in the head and a large portion of his head was destroyed. Many thought, this is the guy! Well, that did not happen. The problem is that this is not the head of a man, it is an empire. The message I repeat frequently is that the Ottoman empire fits the description nicely, as this is exactly what happened when the British crushed the Ottoman in 1924. Why is this information significant? Because another empire of Muslims has taken its place and is very alive today; they just can’t settle on a name.
And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast because it came back to life.
So now we have many, around the world worshiping the dragon, even though they don’t know it; I seriously doubt that they realize that Satan gave his authority to the beast, which we will quickly see migrates into a man – a spokesman. I also pointed out how many, after the United States handed Afghanistan to the Taliban, worshiped Allah, saying, Who is like him, and who is able to wage war with him? Wait a minute, are they worshiping Allah, or are they worshiping the Taliban, especially since they are little more than armed bullies, and the nation of Afghanistan of was handed to them by our inept, American President Biden.
This man, who in all likelihood is a Muslim, (I say this because one of his names is the Assyrian,) wages war upon the Christians.
As of this date, 09/29/21, I have watched Amir Tsarfati teaching on the last Jihad. In this teaching he insists that it cannot be a Muslim because they cannot get along among other things. While I appreciate Amir for many reasons, I wholeheartedly disagree with him on this. Amir even says that in one passage that many use to substantiate the idea that we are looking for an Assyrian was most likely fulfilled by Sennacherib. Well let’s see.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, “O My people who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod and lifts up his staff against you, the way Egypt did. (Isaiah 10:24 NASB)
The antichrist will strike Israel with rod, no doubt, so this could easily work. The next verse has a context and places it in the end times; and, that makes it work.
For in that day every man will cast away his silver idols and his gold idols, which your sinful hands have made for you as a sin. And the Assyrian will fall by a sword not of man, And a sword not of man will devour him. So he will not escape the sword, And his young men will become forced laborers. (Isaiah 31:7-8 NASB)
Here, Isaiah uses the Hebrew word that represents the fighting equipment of the day. We, in this case, do not have to take this literally. It goes on to say that he falls by the sword but not of man. There is only one way that can happen, and that would be because Jesus throws him into the lake of fire. So, he dies at the hand of Jesus.
Micah 5:5 is the verse that Amir uses to disprove the idea that the antichrist could be an Assyrian. So let’s analyze it.
And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men. They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, The land of Nimrod at its entrances; And He will deliver us from the Assyrian When he attacks our land And when he tramples our territory. (Micah 5:4-6 NASB)
Notice how this starts, and yes, I took a couple extra verses in order to establish context.
“He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain,” Who is Micah talking about? Jesus.
Still speaking about Jesus, we get this, “Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace.” Now, it is definitely Jesus.
Next it says – not if, when. “When the Assyrian invades our land.” To be honest, the Assyrian invaded the land on many occasions, and, to the best of my knowledge, Nebuchadnezzar was the first. Some will argue, he was Babylonian, however, if you do your homework, you will find that they were all, in God’s eyes, Assyrians, all the way down to the toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue that Daniel interpreted. If I wanted to operate on the basis of the this Assyrian issues being fulfilled by Sennacherib, then I have to consider that the word tells us that the temple will be destroyed. But that also happened twice, the last time in 70 A. D. under the Roman General Titus. Obviously, it will happen once again. Because of that, we can know that the Assyrian will be coming once again.
In the religious understanding, the people in the 7 year period probably should not be called Christians. So then, why do the Muslims label them in this manner? Because they see all Americans as the people of the bible and, therefore, Christians. God will sort them out at the end, so for now give them the benefit of the doubt.
We also learned that all the earth will worship him.
But God himself tells us that this not true as it is spelled out how that those whose names are written in the book of life will NOT worship the antichrist.
What do you suppose it is that motivates and directs them, for many will tell you that the Holy Spirit is removed with the church in the rapture? The removal of the Holy Spirit seems logical since the Holy Spirit is assumed to live exclusively in the spirit of believers. That logic works until you realize that people continue to be drawn to God’s love; and, it is the work of Holy Spirit of God that does that.
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. (John 16:13 NASB)
The number of people that worships the antichrist will be close to uncountable.
And finally, the false prophet shows up.
This occurs at the three and one half year mark. He performs great signs, deceives many of the elect, and operates in the power of the antichrist. He also becomes the enforcer of Sharia law, which means he continues the killing of “Christians.”
So much for the chronological attempts at understanding the Revelation, let’s just try to understand what we read and perhaps the timeline will fall into place.
Revelation 14:1 NASB Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
When did we first see the 144,000 Jewish, male, virgins?
And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: (Revelation 7:4 NASB)
I pointed that out that they were male, Jewish, virgins, because the Jehovah’s Witness believe that they have the 144,000 as their elders. What they won’t tell you is that they may well be dead by now, and since the positions are already filled, there is not much hope left for you but works, which looks a lot like mandatory, Saturday mission work. In following Christ, He did all the work to gain our salvation. We do need to make an effort and believe, that and this idea of taking His yoke upon ourselves. If that seems ominous to you, then you need to consider that we who follow Him have given ourselves to Him. Paul said, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.
“I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”
The lamb, and these young men, are standing on Mount Zion. Mount Zion, according to Hebrews 12:22, is the “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” I say all this to ask a rhetorical question,
Where are we in the timeline of end times events?
John saw the Lamb, with the 144,000, standing upon Mt. Zion; this does not happen until after the seven-years of wrath; after, Christ has come back as the warring Messiah, and the battle is over. One of the major problems we have is how long it takes to make all these governmental type events happen.
Notice what I did there?
I just applied broken human thinking to God’s plan; a plan that does not have to operate according to our earthly timing or understanding. If He spoke the universe into existence, then He can speak order over this transition into an eternal existence as well.
You might rightly assume that the Lamb, standing upon Mt Zion, with the 144,000 would be a celebratory and victorious time. You might also assume that God is holding these untainted men out before us.
Why speculate over why He might do that?
Because we the church have bought into the lies of the enemy and the world, that tell us that purity and focus is impossible.
One more thing. Notice that these men have the name of the Father written on their foreheads.
This evokes a question. Has Satan created anything?
I think not. I do not believe that he invented concept of mutiny or treason either, but he sure put it into practice when he deceived Eve in the Garden. He does, however, mimic, or imitate the things of God. I mentioned earlier how our introduction to the 144,000 comes in Revelation 7:4, but shortly after that we see the antichrist demanding that all take his mark, and it is no coincidence that it is on the right hand or the forehead, as God had already initiated.
Revelation 14:2-5 NASB And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. (3) And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. (4) These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. (5) And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
John’s vision of the 144,00 seems to have been interrupted with this voice, that he describes as the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. Picture yourself on a rocky seashore, on a stormy day, where large waves are crashing against the rocks. The noise is horrendous if you are close to it; and yet John tells us it is like harpists. Out of all of this noise there is singing. It is the 144,000 doing the singing and they are singing a new song. No one knows this song but them.
The verses give us an interesting description, as it describes the 144,000 as having been purchased from the earth.
Haven’t we all been purchased by His blood?
The answer is yes. Paul, in speaking to the people of Ephesus, told them this.
“… the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28b. NASB)
A part of his statement is about the church of God, which He (God) purchased with His own blood. In writing to the church in Corinth Paul also affirmed that we were purchased.
“For you have been bought with a price..” (1 Corinthians 6:20a. NASB)
The passage about the 144,000 ends with, “And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.” Are you aware that God chose us that we should/could be faultless and without blame.
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him….” (Ephesians 1:4 NASB)
For the Jew, in their understanding, you could not come close to this condition without offering a sacrifice. This may be going to far, but it was the blood that protected God’s people in Egypt at the first passover.
‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments–I am the LORD. ‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12-13 NASB)
In Leviticus the blood is what made you accepted.
“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock. ‘If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD.
(Leviticus 1:2-3 NASB)
Little did they know that Christ became the final, all sufficient sacrifice, that gave us the ability to be holy and blameless. Allow me to qualify what I just said. Christs blood was and still is sufficient, but it requires our participation by acceptance and belief.
The next verse is an answer to those who whine that Christ cannot come back because NOT everyone has the gospel.
Revelation 14:6 NASB “And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;”
It is clear that God’s intent is to preach the gospel, beside that. Paul tells us that the law is written upon the heart of every human.
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, (Romans 2:14-15 NASB)
Many will read Romans 2:14,15, and give themselves an excuse for not acting right, as they think God does not hold you responsible unless you believe in Him.
For those who like me struggle to see the concise chronology of the Revelation, there is definitely a line of events happening between Revelation 14:6 and 7. There are no excuses allowed. An angel has just declared the gospel of Jesus Christ, to the whole world, and now comes the judgment.
Revelation 14:7 NASB “and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
“Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come,”
We have heard this before. Revelation 11:18 is one of those places, however, verse 18 includes the time to reward the prophets, the saints, and those who fear your name.
“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 11:18 NASB)
Hour is the Greek word hōra. It can mean: an “hour” (literally or figuratively): – a day, an instant, or a season.
Fear is the Greek word phobeō. While it includes the idea of being frightened the context leans more toward awe of, or reverence of the Lord.
Judgment (judged) is the Greek word krinō. It means to separate; to make a distinction between, or to exercise judgment upon.
[In Matthew’s gospel we see all three aspects of this definition when we read of the sheep and goat judgment. There, as in Revelation 20, the dead are brought to the throne of judgment, however, in Matthew’s account the dead are separated, and a distinction is made as to their fate. Here we see the sheep obtaining mercy and entrance into the kingdom of God. Read Matthew 25:31-46.]
Imagine the verse remastered to read, reverence the Lord, and give Him glory, because the season of His judgment has come. We are there and the events going on around us only demonstrate the urgency of the season. I am not a good gambler and hoping that He classifies me as a sheep, merely because I handed a guy named Richard a sandwich is not what I call good odds.
I gave my life to Jesus a long time ago, but to be honest, I have turned my back to Him on several occasions. I discovered that He never turned His back on me, and for that I love Him more. The ABC’s of salvation can give you an assurance that you are His, and I might add, He will never let you go.