The Great and The Marvelous Sign

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Revelation 15:1-8 (KJV)

There is a phrase used several times throughout the Revelation which becomes quite obvious after a while. It is the phrase “Inhabitants of earth”. The fullness of God’s wrath is in view upon this group, therefore it is fitting for all who will call upon the Lord, to do so before that day comes, do so by trusting exclusively in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, believing that He died, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave, that He ascended unto the Father, and that He is coming again.

Since we have been in an interlude, the Scriptures have three different times which  take us to the brink of the destruction of wickedness in chapters 11, 14, and will again in 16 only to stop and fill in some details until chapter 19 where it happens.

John is shown seven angels, probably different from the others, “Having seven last plagues”. “Last plagues” seem to certainly indicate these events will precede the coming of Jesus in power and glory. In these plagues is the bringing to completion of God’s wrath upon wickedness on the earth.

These “That had gotten victory over the beast…” are probably those who refused the mark, and all the things of the beast, and died by his hand. They are alive.

The “Sea of glass mingled with fire” certainly implies a persecuted people by the trials and fires of the Great Tribulation. There is another “Sea of glass”, but without fire in 4:6.

These, like the 144,000, sing a song. This song is clearly called “the song of Moses”. I mentioned in the previous chapter the possibility that the 144,000 sing the song of Moses from Exodus 15. These in this chapter, most likely, would fit in singing the “Song of Moses from Deuteronomy 32. The 144,000 being delivered physically would fit Exodus 15, while these of our present chapter of Revelation, being delivered by death would be in accord with Deuteronomy 32 because it is a song of God’s vengeance on the wicked persecutors. The “Song of the Lamb” is a song of grace, apart from which no one can be saved. As the Lamb, it speaks of His blood sacrifice; “Without shedding of [His] blood is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22b).

The Lamb of God is worthy of our worship and one day every tribe, and tongue and nation will worship Him. All shall see that He is holy in His judgments, He is righteous in all His assessments. All the earth shall bow at His feet and call Him “Lord”.

I am going to let John Walvoord describe this scene…

“Another vision now introduced by John as a later development constitutes the immediate introduction of the judgments represented in the vials. Our attention is arrested by the phrase ‘I looked and, behold.” This expression always introduces something dramatically new. As John observes, the Holy of Holies in the heavenly Tabernacle is opened. The expression ‘the temple’ (Gr., naos) refers to the inner holy place of the Tabernacle, the design of which God gave to Israel during the wilderness wandering. The expression ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ is a reference to the whole tentlike structure, a portion of which contained the Holy of Holies. It is described as ‘the tabernacle of the testimony’ because of the presence of the tables of stone containing the ten commandments which were placed in the ark of the testimony in the Holy of Holies (cf. Exodus 32:15; Acts 7:44) and is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Exodus 38:21; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11; 17:7-8; 18:2).” From THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST pg. 229 (1966).

It seems quite obvious that this “Temple” is not the Church. It is actually the temple from which God gave the design to Moses for the tabernacle in the wilderness.

John describes these angels as coming out of the temple. It almost seems to be a quiet, hushed, reverent procession.

These angels are clothed in white. These are angels of God. The white represents the righteous character of Holy God, and the justness of His wrath which is about to proceed from the heavenly throne. The golden girdle speaks of justice and righteousness of His wrath. The truth is bound in this golden girdle.

Each of the seven angels holds in their hands one vial of judgment, which seems to be given to them after they proceed out of the temple. God in His holiness will be glorified.

There is never a wrong time to praise and worship the Lord and to thank Him for His mercy and grace.  Those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb always have a song in the heart. Fill your heart and life with Christ Jesus.  Receive His gift of grace paid on the cross for the redemption of the world.

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Earth Dwellers Worship

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:1-10 (KJV)

The devil is a showman and desires the attention of mankind, and in this chapter, we will be able to see his mode of entertainment, and his seeming attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of God and His Son, and no matter how vicious it may be, he will come up short.

Some translations of the Bible read, “And he stood” referring to the dragon. It really does no harm to the text to read it either way. If this is a reference to John then he is referring to what he is seeing in the revelation; while, if to the dragon, standing so would place him among the people of earth; them that dwell upon the earth”.

The description given of the beast would imply a great empire. It would be the Roman Empire revived and empowered by the dragon (Revelation 11:7; 17:8). Daniel speaks of these same beasts (Daniel 7:1-8) only he refers to seeing four – the fourth being indescribable. Daniel mentions a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the fourth beast being “Dreadful and terrible”. John sees the leopard, the bear, and the lion; and the fourth must be the dragon.

Let’s look at these as Daniel has them interpreted to him (7:17):

  1. The lion would be Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar the king;
  2. The bear would be Medo-Persia – Darius the king;
  3. The leopard would be the Alexandrian empire – Alexander the Great being the king.

Each of these kingdoms were “Swallowed up” by the one following it. All three of these are swallowed up by the “Indescribable beast” or the Roman empire.

Why are these likened to these beasts? Babylon had majesty and power likened to the lion. The Medo-Persian empire had strength and tenacity like the bear. The Alexandrian empire moved swiftly like the leopard (Daniel 8:5 “…touched not the ground”).

If you will note John sees and writes of these in reverse to Daniel. Daniel is seeing these in the future tense. John is seeing them in the past tense.

The seven heads and ten horns probably refer to the remnants of the Confederacy that formed the Roman empire in the beginning. In Scripture, the horn is symbolic of power. Ten nations of which three were overthrown by the “…little horn” of Daniel 7:8. The ten crowns referring to the symbols of governmental authority. The kings of these confederacies exalted themselves as gods, thus having the “name of blasphemy”.

If we look at this in the light of the other Scriptures the head “…wounded to death” would be one of the Confederacy, probably the Roman empire itself. Since the empire fell many of the confederate nations have risen and fallen silent, but the Roman empire is dead. Of course, the empire is represented by an emperor. For a period of time, the dragon [Satan] will be given the power to deceive. It seems he may even give the appearance of raising an individual from death. It would be so much like him to counterfeit what God has done.

Because of this “resurrection” “…all the world” will follow him. Worship will be directed to the dragon. The dragon giving power to this resurrected beast could be Satan himself possessing this one who has yielded himself to Satan’s will (11:7; 17:8). This individual would probably be the ruler of the revived Roman empire, promising peace to Jerusalem and the world.

It is quite possible that the resurrected beast is a form of government represented by an emperor. The renewed life is the “resurrected” nation able by satanic influence to deceive people and nations.

Here we even see Satan’s counterfeiting the Holy Trinity. The dragon, and he within the anti-christ. The third being the second beast “…out of earth” a messenger of the anti-christ. Antichrist not only means “Against Christ”, but also, “In place of”, or “Instead of”.

This ruler is probably only over the Roman empire until the last three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. He makes peace with Israel, only to be slain in the midst of the week, raised up in Satan’s power of deceit, then, breaks the covenant with Israel, and becomes the world ruler.

His mouth to speak, is against God and His saints (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), calling himself god, blasphemes the name of God Most High. In this state of satanic power, he is given 42 months to rule (1260 days or 3.5 years).

The dragon’s purpose instilled in the antichrist will be to attack all that is holy and of God (Daniel 7:21). All those on earth “…whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” will worship the beast. Only those redeemed by the blood of Jesus will not worship this beast. These are those who have been won to Christ by the 144,000 Hebrew witnesses of Revelation 7. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12. They are not exempt from worshiping the beast. They will give their lives (6:11). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This is where this verse fits into the interpretation of Scripture.

An appeal, maybe even an invitation or warning is given us in verse nine. Listen up! John appeals for us to hear and heed the awfulness that is about to come upon the earth. Verse 8 is quite clear in showing a great ecumenical peace will come at last. A world religion where all give up their beliefs to join one religion. The worship of Satan.  Some today promote peace at any price.  There can only be peace through the Prince of peace, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice this plea is similar to the ending statements of the letters to the seven churches. The only difference being, this one does not end with “Unto the churches”. This tends to give support to the teaching of the absence of the Church because it has been raptured out at this time.  It is also a word to those who profess Christ as their Savior today, but their lives bear no evidence, no fruit of the Spirit, and no Holy Spirit within (Romans 8:9).  If you are without Christ you could find yourself at this time worshiping the Beast.

Divine retribution is the topic of verse 10. Those who persecute these saints will be tormented likewise. The faith and patience of the saints, of all ages, is in the fact that that “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay’, saith the Lord”.

Trust the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:11-18 (KJV)

The first beast (v. 1) is said to come “out of the sea”, cast out from heaven (chapter 12), and from the mass of humanity. “Sand of the sea” is often a reference to a great mass of humanity. This second beast is come “out of the earth”. This seems to imply that this one is simply a man, not possessed by Satan; because two men could not be possessed by Satan himself at the same time. Satan is not omnipresent. The “horns like a lamb” show that he is a man of religion. He will be the leader of the world religion leading people in the worship of the first beast. This one is truly a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, for he speaks “as a dragon”.

He is given power as the first beast and deceives the people into worshiping the dragon. He deceives “with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9), with such intensity that, “if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). We may even now be asking, “Why would God allow such things? The answer which is plausible is only to say, “To bring an end to sin”.

People always want to see the miraculous, but miracles, or at least what appears to be miracles, can only lead to deception, when not tested by faith in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. The miracles of God point to Him. Some of what seems to be miracles today often point to something or someone other than God.

Some in Jesus’s day asked Him for a sign, and He told them no sign would be given, except the sign of the prophet of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-41), and they did not get it. The Word of God is sufficient enough for those who believe God. The sign of the prophet Jonah, was he came alive out of the belly of the fish, and Jesus was raised alive out of the belly of the earth. The resurrected Jesus is all the proof God needs to generate faith in His children (Romans 1:3-4).

Verse 14 says that every one should make an “Image to the beast” (probably similar to the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s of Daniel 3; of course, maybe a lot smaller). It almost sounds as though every home would have an image of the beast. It would only be speculation, but this could be some electronic device to keep track of his followers. It wold be a way of determining those who worshiped the image and put to death those who did not give him laud. Of course those who are God’s would not have the image in the first place.

These worshipers of the beast are identified by a mark, another counterfeit of God’s work. Here Satan, the dragon, counterfeits the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God seals those who are God’s to the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The mark “in the right hand, or in their foreheads” would seal these people to eternal destruction. The Church today needs to hear this message and take the gospel of Jesus Christ out to the perishing, because what awaits the lost is doom. These with the “Mark of the beast” would be able to buy, sell, and trade. They would be able to obtain the things of earth, but be kept from the eternal blessings of God.

“What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The number of man is six (6). It falls short of God’s perfection, “short of the glory of God”.

When man tries to obtain the glory that belongs solely to the Lord he will always come up short. So will the devil.

No one knows what this number means. There are numerical equations which figure into names. For example each Hebrew letter is also a Hebrew number. Since I do not know these things I can only share what I have read and studied. There has been a whole lot of numerical accusation and fraud, and I will not indulge in the hysterics, neither do I want to lead into conspiracies or suppositions.

As discerning Christians we can see an antichrist spirit; but let us be certain, first, that we have the Spirit of God concerning the matter. One thing we can be sure of, is that, the attempt by Satan through man will come up short. Sin will be eternally put away and Jesus Christ will reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Satan’s final attempt and fall is certain because of who Jesus is.

If you are outside the righteous/holy character of God, then you need to know Jesus Christ the Son of God who is God the Son who died on the cross for our sins, so that, we might have fellowship eternally with Him.  Trust the God/Man who died for you.

Witnesses

“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”  Revelation 11:1-6 (KJV)

God who is rich in mercy provides man with every opportunity to repent and believe on Christ by sending His empowered witnesses to tell of His atoning love, and warn of His coming wrath to deal with sin unrepented of. In the day in which we now live we are witnesses to a people ever increasing in darkness, and away from God and His light.

This beginning in the chapter continues the interlude between the end of the sixth trumpet and the sounding of the seventh.

Previously in chapter 10, John is told, “Thou must prophesy…”. In verse one of our present chapter that seems to be exactly what John does. There is no reason to spiritualize the text here. To do so would only add confusion, and confusion breeds doubt.

“Measure the temple of God” does imply God’s ownership.

The “Reed” was used as a measuring rod. It measured about ten feet in length. This as we note is God’s standard of measure. Since the earthly temple was designed in Heaven it still must meet God’s expectations. All things must be measured by God’s standard, lest we get a false measurement. The temple, the altar, and the worshipper are measured as God’s evaluation of what is His.

As previously mentioned in chapter ten the “Little book” is possibly the Bible, the Word of God. The Scriptures when taught by God’s Spirit measure earthly things and people. The ten-foot rod when stood against any man shows by man’s stature how short he falls from God’s standard (Romans 3:23). We cannot attain God’s standard by fleshly works.

God practically ignores what is called “The court of the Gentiles”. The simple reason being that this “Court which is without [outside] the temple…” was not in the heavenly plan. What was the court of the Gentiles, had become a place for all kinds of idol worship.

This temple is not Solomon’s temple or Herod’s temple. It is the temple of the “Seventieth week” of which Daniel writes, or what is called the seven years of tribulation (Daniel 9:24-27).

These measurements are certain to affirm that we fall “short of the glory of God” – we fail to meet His required standard for holiness. The only way to meet that standard is by trusting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Then, His holiness and righteousness are put to our account, because our filth of sin was put to His account upon the cross.

There is some disagreement to the time of these “Two witnesses” ministry. Some relate it to the first 1260 days (42 months, or 3 1/2 years), and others to the latter.

It would appear – at least to me – that the two prophets ministry is in the latter. I draw that conclusion by looking at the close of verse 2. Because the “Antichrist” leader allows the Hebrews to worship and then breaks his covenant with them in the midst of the week (Daniel 9:27); this happening the prophets would have been free to speak during the first half.

The message these men are given is preached near the end of the “second woe” (v. 14). While the vile and rebellious men of earth are enjoying their sin and having their way, God chooses not to destroy them without opportunity for repentance. God owes; lost, unredeemed, unrepentant humankind, nothing, except to fulfill His every word. These two witnesses are tormentors to evil hearts. It is still that way in the present. People do not want to be confronted with their evil ways.

The length of their ministry is 1260 days. Their days being listed last seems to imply the latter half of the “Seventieth week”. The seventh trumpet would bring in the “Day of the LORD”.

The power of God is the unction of their preaching. They are “Clothed in sackcloth”. This implies that their message is one of repentance and salvation. God’s mercy is astounding.

John the apostle is given the message that these are the “Two olive trees” and the “Two candlesticks”. The olive tree was the source of oil for the lamps – a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and candlesticks were instruments of light. Certainly, the two witnesses are Spirit-empowered and giving light in the darkness. This takes us back to Zechariah 4:2-3, 6, and 14.

Since they are standing before “The God of the earth…” they stand fearlessly. Verse five even tells us that if anyone could harm them, or even try, they have power to devour their enemies.

The powers they are given are from God. Elijah was one who prayed and shut up the heavens – it did not rain for three and one-half years. Moses is the one who turned the Egyptian waters to blood with the rod of God in his hand, and Egypt was smitten with plagues by his hand. Some have said these are Moses and Elijah. It would do us much good to remember that it was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Jesus on the Mount we call “Transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-8).  Others have said Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24), and Elijah because these two never died, but were translated and would be in keeping with Hebrews 9:27. Jesus likened John the Baptist to Elijah (Matthew 17:11-13), but John Baptist said he was not Elijah (John 1:21). What did Jesus mean and what did John the Baptist mean? The same Spirit and fire of Elijah was on John, but he was not a physical “reincarnation” of Elijah. The same is true of these latter-day “Witnesses”. Our concern should not be on who they are, but upon the message, they preach. I see Hebrews 9:27 only stating the fact that death is a certain thing, except in rare circumstances. With the exception of a “Snatching away,” we will all certainly die.

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”  Revelation 11:7-14

The ministry of these two witnesses will be short. A number of 1,260 days is what they will have. Really, we who are witnesses only have a short time, but most have longer than 3.5 years.

God does not allow them to be harmed until their testimony is finished. The “Beast” (not of those mentioned in 4:6-8) arises to wreak havoc and he has hated these messengers of God. According to 13:3 the “beast” receives a deadly head wound and is healed. This undoubtedly means he is a man struck in the head, is killed, and is raised supernaturally [using means of deceit] by the devil himself – “The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”. It is he whom, when their mission is finished, God allows to capture and kill them.

Where does this event take place? Their dead bodies are allowed to lay in the streets of this city. Here, God allows spiritualizing, because He does it, “Which spiritually is Sodom and Egypt”. What is this place? It is the city of Jerusalem, “Where…our Lord was crucified”. In verse 2 it is called the “Holy city” now in verse 8 it is called “Spiritually…Sodom and Egypt”. Sodom, a place of depravity and great immoral behavior. Egypt, a place of many gods, which are not gods at all, and the place which hated God’s people. Most of the problems for God’s people come within religion, within the visible Church. We can see that in the death of the two witnesses.

For many days the people “that dwell upon the earth” have been tormented by the prophets of God. The Word of God torments self-serving, evil, God-despising souls.

The Scripture tells us that the dead bodies of the prophets lay in the streets of Jerusalem for the whole world to see. Their depravity is shown in thinking they could be spiteful to an empty human body which lays decaying in the streets.

These are so evil in their hearts, that they rejoice and celebrate over the prophets deaths. Elijah the prophet was asked by King Ahab, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” The king accusing the prophet of the trouble. It was not the prophet who troubled Israel, but the kings vile and wicked ways. There is nothing more wicked, vile and evil than putting on the pretense of worship. Elijah answered back the king saying, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:17-18). When these people see their “troublers” are dead they celebrate, glad because the “beast” has overcome them. What they do not realize is that God had protected them for 3.5 years. The unrighteous are rejoicing today when the righteous fall, or are removed through death or tragedy.

Their celebration is, however, short-lived, for when the 3.5 days have expired the people hear a voice from Heaven. Notice the words used. “Come up hither” the same words used in 4:1. There are similarities in the rapture of the Church and this, but they differ as well. The bodies of these prophets are seen by the world being resurrected and ascending into Heaven.

Probably for the first time in some time they recognize a power even greater than the “beast” and “Great fear fell upon them”.

These people “of the earth” are enemies of the prophets. They were thus the enemies of God but look at God’s mercy. It is shown in His sending the prophets to warn them. The people who are the enemies of the prophets are the enemies of God. Jesus said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41). If you have a problem getting along with the man of God, you have a problem with God. Certainly, these people “of the earth” had a problem getting along with “God’s men”.

“The same hour” judgment fell upon God’s enemies. At the opening of the sixth seal, there is an earthquake (6:14). At the ending of the sixth trumpet, which is the “second woe” there is another earthquake. This quake destroys one-tenth part of Jerusalem, seven thousand men are slain, and the remainder of those alive are fearful. One almost surprising thing is that those who remain give “glory to the God of Heaven”. Does this mean that they believe God and trust His way of salvation? Some think so. It does not mean that it was glory God received. It probably means, that they saw His power, but not believing Him.

It is sad, even today when the glory of God is seen through His mercy, grace, His people, and in creation, and people still reject Him and His Son Jesus. So sad it is too, to see such power displayed and yet they proceed after their own ways, hardening their hearts to God and His Spirit (Hebrews 3:7-11).  Maybe because they cannot see.

Remember the “woes” are mentioned in 8:13 and begin with the fifth trumpet in 9:1. The first “woe” is past in chapter 9:12 and the second begins. The pronouncement given in 8:13 is warning of the seriousness of these next three trumpet judgments. When this “second woe is past” it is like God is saying, “This was it. Your chance of repentance, of salvation, is past. There will be no more delay. No more prophets” (Amos 3:7). “The third woe cometh quickly” is certain to relay that message.

One great victory for God’s witnesses in any period of time is seeing the word of God, which was spoken, fulfilled.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”  Revelation 11:15-19 (KJV)

This seventh and final trumpet ushers in the seven vials of wrath. Although they are not mentioned until chapter fifteen there is a break in the judgments to reveal some things that will happen during the latter half of what is often called “The tribulation period” – the latter half is referred to as “Great tribulation” (2:22).

There were voices saying that the Lord is King and “He shall reign forever and ever”. This only means God has allowed sin to run its course, and “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4). It seems that this would fit chronologically with chapters 19 and 20.

The Lord Jesus will take possession of the property which He died to redeem. At the last trump, the Lord takes what is His. Praise Him.

The same “twenty-four elders” of chapter four are in Heaven worshipping the Lord of glory.

They are awed by His awe-inspiring power over sin and evil and the vanquishing of all wickedness from the earth.

How do they worship Him?

  1. They recognize His power – Almighty;
  2. They praise His eternalness and immutability [Unchangingness];
  3. They recognize Him as Judge – both to reward His servants and punishment upon the wicked. Worship to God is simply given by recognizing Him for who He is.

“The nations were angry” takes us back to Psalm 2:1-3. The wrath of the nations is powerless and vain – for man’s own selfish revenge. God’s wrath is not for revenge, but to dispell sin, and His wrath is powerful and purposeful.  When we think of God and His love we must always remember that God is holy and no sin can stand in His presence; therefore because He is holy He does judge sin; our sin.  We must also remember the cross, for it was there that all our sin was laid on Him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There is a great need for the fear of God in our day. It does not matter what the false prophets are saying about “God is love” – a half-truth is a lie. God is love, but He is also hating sin and judges it. He is wrathful. That is the truth. He is to be feared – held in awe.  A few years ago I stood upon a portion of the Rocky Mountains and I said, “This is awesome”.  A few years later I stood on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and wept with tears and said, “This is so awesome”; however, when I look into the Word of God, and I see Him in His Son Jesus I weep and rejoice at His Awesomeness, because there is no awe, such as His AWE.  He made the mountains,  the Grand Canyon, and all that there is.  He is holy and AWESOME.

The original temple. The one in Heaven. The one used to model the “Wilderness tabernacle” after. The one where God in His glory dwells. It is opened. The way to God is open today. The way into the holiest of all is through the Lord Jesus Christ. This reminds us not to take for granted God’s open door.

Within the temple, there was seen the “Ark of the testament”. The ark of God. This was the “Ark of the covenant” behind the veil, in the “Holy of Holies”. It contained the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded.  It is, in fact, the testimony of God dwelling among men; and that is Christ Jesus

Those who know God have received Jesus – the Bread of Life; Jesus – the fulfillment of the law written in the heart, and Jesus – the resurrection to new life. Talk about the temple being open, access to God, we have it. At least for now.  The day of the closing door, however, is drawing close.

Because many refuse God’s open door to Himself judgment upon the Christ-haters and sin lovers is certain. The lightnings, voices, thunderings are mentioned in 4:5. “Earthquake and great hail” is added to this sentence.

It seems that the very source of our salvation is also the source of judgment upon the wicked. We have the choice to be saved now or be judged through eternity. Bless the Lord.

The two witnesses of verses 1-14 who are yet to come will be empowered by God. So are all of those who know Jesus today, by the presence, glory, and power of God’s Spirit who lives within. The door is open. We too are the witnesses of God.  Let us never forget that His holiness and awe is with purpose.

Glory Departed from the Temple

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple:” Matthew 24:1 (KJV).

Beginning chapter 24 one must go back to view a little bit of chapter 23. Chapter 23 is a discourse Jesus had with the Scribes and Pharisees, condemning their legalistic, condemning practices of the people. Jesus refers to them as “Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” seven times, and one of the “woes” pronounced Jesus calls them “blind guides” (v.16).

These were the ones who secured the temple and loved to be called “Rabbi” or in our area it would be similar to a PHD. or a doctorate in theology. Arrogance of their education, and wanting, desiring it above even, a right attitude with the Lord.

Chapter 23 ends with a lament from Jesus over the city of Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23:37-39 (KJV)

There are a few things we need to see concerning Jesus leaving the temple. This phrase “Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” seems almost permanent. In Matthew’s Gospel this would be the final time Jesus visited the temple, before His cross in Jerusalem. Luke’s account of Jesus’s lament over the city does not mention all that Matthew records; they are different (Luke 19:41-44). Following Matthew’s account Jesus leaves the temple not to return again until He comes in His glory as King of kings (23:39).

Let’s consider why Jesus left the temple. He departed because He, His life, His message, and His Father had been rejected by the one’s to whom He first came. “He came unto His own; and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Two times Jesus had came to the temple and found it to be full of profiteers, who were gouging the people out of their mammon and means; and He drove them out. Matthew’s gospel (chapter 21), Mark’s gospel (chapter 11), and the gospel of Luke (chapter19) has Jesus driving the “money changers” out of the temple in the latter part of His ministry; the apostle John records Him driving out the money changers early in His earthly ministry. The only plausible explanation is that Jesus cleansed the temple twice, and they never received the message. He very strongly, without wavering, was saying to them, “My house is to be a house of prayer for all people, but you have made it a den of thieves.”

Jesus spoke very strongly to all who came to Him. He did not withhold what He should say for fear that someone might be offended. Some were, especially those who were guilty of the charges; those were mostly the religious leaders who were given to their systems of belief, and refused to hear the message of Jesus. These so called spiritual leaders were angered by the clear, simple, and direct teaching of Jesus. He spoke with authority; as though He knew what He was saying and that He had it on direct authority from heaven. He did.

Jesus knowing that He had been rejected by His own and that the time of His crucifixion was drawing near; looked out over the city and pronounced this lament toward Jerusalem. The lamentation was from a broken heart, grieved that for many years and at many and various times they had rejected the prophets of God, even killing them. They were basically refusing the comforting, sheltering, loving of the Father. The warning preaching of the prophets were God’s call to gather under the sheltering wings of God, “but you would not”.

Very much unlike their favored, God annointed king of old, they would not flee to the wings of God, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wing.” Psalms 17:8 (KJV). “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalms 57:1 (KJV). “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.” Psalms 61:4 (KJV). By these few verses from the heart of David we see that they were far from having the heart of king David, and far from the heart of God.

Jesus’s departure from the temple was very similar to the capture of the ark of the covenant in 1 Samuel 4. The ark of the covenant was a symbol of the power and presence of God. There was great and grave evil in the camp of Israel, and were foolish in sending the ark out to the battle in the first place, because they were attempting to use God in their evil. When the ark was taken, and did not come back with the defeated troops of Israel, as “his heart trembled for the ark of God” (1 Samuel 4:13), Eli died when he received the news of the captured ark. His sons Hophni and Phineas also died, and then Phineas’ wife had a son, and she died in child birth, naming the son “Ichabod” meaning “the glory is departed”. When Jesus left the temple that day; the Glory of God was departed from it, and would only return to it when they would look upon the One whom they pierced.

There are other places of Scripture which mention the departure of the glory of God from the temple. Ezekiel mentions the glory of God much in the closing chapters of his prophecy. Chapters 43-48 mention much about the return of the glory of God to the temple; speaking of the Millennial Temple; when Jesus returns in all His glory to set up His reign upon the earth. However, nearer the beginning of the prophecy, Ezekiel mentions the departure of the glory, because they have departed from God, as the nation, and gone into captivity. The prophet wrote, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.” Ezekiel 10:18 (KJV). Jesus Himself was the physical manisfestation of the Glory of the LORD, as the writer of Hebrews says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV). The apostle John mentions Jesus being the glory when he wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (KJV)

The glory incarnate was rejected by His own people. They crucified the Glory, buried the Glory, thinking the Glory was finished. The work was finished. The work which the Father had given His Son to do, was finished. He died to live again. He died that all who believe in Him might be saved. Jesus rose again. Now, the Glory of God lives in His temple; which temple we are, who profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior.